BJJ Class, May 24, 2008

So I hobbled along to BJJ last night to cover for my instructor who is in Tokyo getting his ass whupped in preparation for the Mundials.

I did get a few strange looks when I came into the dojo on crutches with my gi pants on and a cast sticking out of the bottom of them, but that was to be expected.

Friday nights for BJJ have been pretty quiet lately, so I just sat there and watched the Shooto guys go through a really intense exercise session. Then a couple of people rolled up for BJJ including my buddy Sam, which was cool. I really didn’t do anything other than keep an eye on the timing and lead the warmup. I did some pressups, situps and later chinups, but I realised I have to be careful not to work up much of a sweat otherwise my cast will get majorly funkalicious.

It was great to be back in the dojo, that’s for sure, and I quite enjoyed just sitting on the sidelines and watching, analaysing, yelling out the odd bit of advice in Japanese. I think I was yelling “Grab his lapel with your right hand” but I might have been saying “Your mother sucks donkey balls in hell, stupid-head”… we’ll never know.

That class was over and then a couple of drifters came in for the 10pm class, including one blue belt who is very tough. (But has no stamina… I remember him completely killerising me a few weeks ago, then five spars later, he had nothing left…) He was kind of teaching a few moves to a white belt so I just let him get on with it. The class was very relaxed, we messed around with some rubber guard stuff, I got some pointers on the triangle from the blue belt, and then I watched them spar.

I am really, really looking forward to when my foot heals and I can train again. It was quite frustrating to be there, in my uniform, watching people spar, and not be able to join in.

I had a good opportunity to watch how people roll though and I think this break will ultimately help my game. I could see so many times when people were just doing completely the wrong movements. Wrestling and fighting for some grip or some position when all they had to do was change direction or switch some minor thing and they could have got a sweep or a submission with half the effort.

I am going to try to make my game much more efficient. I don’t mean that in a crappy kung fu way, I mean in a smart way. See the openings and do the techniques that require the least grunting and shoving and gurning. Be like water flowing down a river… when it reaches a boulder too big to go over, it simply flows around it… okay maybe in a vaguely crappy kung fu way.

I did manage to bone up on my BJJ reading, and got through the whole of Mitsuyoshi Hayakawa’s Basic BJJ and Alberto Crane’s Advanced BJJ books. I have rolled with Hayakawa-san when he came to visit our dojo, the man is wickedy-awesome-bo-diggety-wizard. The only thing I know about Alberto Crane is that his legs are bendy and he gets his face punched pretty hard in the UFC.

My verdict? I loved the simpleness and the large clear pictures of the Hayakawa book. Alberto Crane’s book was full of moves with ridiculous names (“Reverse flying omoplata to spinning heelhook armbar counter with extra fries”) and tiny, badly exposed pictures. Still, there was a DVD which might have been more clear.

Osu!

What the fuck is up with UFC 85?!

Just read that Evans will be out of the event altogether. Surely this makes it the most botched card in history?

Shogun vs. Liddell was originally the main event. Then Shogun’s knee explodes so he is out.

Evans steps in to replace Shogun and face Chuck.

Then, Chuck pulls out due to his hamstring crumbling away and his leg beginning to resemble that of an aging stripper.

James Irvin comes in to replace Chuck, to face Evans.

Now James Irvin has pulled out due to a foot injury leaving Rashad holding his balls, thus the UFC scrapped the fight, fearing that if they replaced any more replacement replacement fighters with replacements then they’d have to change the subtitle of the event to UFC 85: THE REPLACEMENTS.

Just so that’s clear:

Shogun vs. Liddell. Shoguns pulls out. Evans vs. Liddell. Liddell pulls out. Irvin vs. Evans. Irvin pulls out. Evans pulls out.

The resulting fight would have been so far away from the super ultra mega bout that Liddell vs. Shogun was going to be, it would have been RI-DICULOUS.

Leben also had to pull out of his fight with Michael Bisping because of some old drunk driving conviction giving him hassle.

RI-DIC!

One more thing from Fighters Only

Jeez, are we in the future or what?

Personally I’m waiting until the magazine can be directly downloaded into my eyeballs but if you can’t wait that long, Fighters Only is now available online with all kinds of Web 2.0 integrated goodness.

Perhaps best of all you can download an entire issue of the magazine (Issue 34 to be exact) FOR NONE OF YOUR ENGLISH PENNIES… that means for free.

I think this link will take you there.

It’s a great issue, I got it sent to me from England. It’s got BJ Penn, Dana White, a training travel guide, and a whole bunch of other stuff in it. What are you waiting for? Quality online MMA journalism with pretty pictures and lots of things to click on! Go! Go!

The official blurb:

Fighters Only, The World’s Leading Mixed Martial Arts and Lifestyle Magazine, launches a digital version of it’s magazine, expanding it’s already massive coverage and giving it a larger international reach than any other publication in it’s sector.

Fighters Only, which is now in its forth year as a publication, has grown from being a UK publication to being on sale in 13 countries worldwide including the USA and Australia. The launch of a digital edition now means that wherever you can get online in the world, you can get Fighters Only.

Using leading technology the full magazine is reproduced with relevant video added to enhance the experience for readers. Other features include the ability to search text for key words, click through to links, both within the magazine and on the internet, and the access to an online library of the readers back issues which can be accessed at the click of a button.

Fighters Only Managing Director Rob Hewitt:

“Fighters Only has always embodied the pioneering spirit – we were the first monthly Mixed Martial Arts magazine in the world, we are the first to launch fan led awards with the World Mixed Martial Arts Awards and are now the first Mixed Martial Arts publisher to offer this digital version of the magazine to our readers sending Fighters Only truly World Wide.”

“The growth of Mixed Martial Arts has been an international phenomenon. To fulfil the global need for high quality features, interviews, coverage and insight as well as supplementing existing readers enjoyment of our magazine we felt that the digital edition was ideal. The digital format allows us to reach readers all over the world instantly, allowing them to enjoy the new issue as soon as it’s available in the stores in the UK.”

Fighters Only are also offering affiliate schemes to online retailers who wish to sell the publication to their customers. A sample edition of Fighters Only Issue 34 is online for people to try out the software at:  https://www.magtank.com/secure/sites/fightersonly/

World MMA Awards

Headed up by Martial Farts commentator (important title, that) Hywel Teague, Fighters Only Magazine is pretty much the coolest MMA magazine I’ve ever read. And I’m not just saying that because they have published two of my articles.

They have organised something that every MMA fan should check out…

The World MMA Awards.

In their words:

Fighters Only announce first World MMA Awards

Fighters Only, The UK’s Only Mixed Martial Arts and Lifestyle Magazine, is proud to announce plans for the first World Mixed Martial Arts Awards.

In a move that reflects the development and growth of the Sport and the Magazine, Fighters Only will organise and host an event that acknowledges outstanding achievements and efforts in MMA worldwide. Fighters, promoters and industry individuals will be eligible to win in a variety of categories that reflect their accomplishments in the sport.

The first World MMA Awards will be held in December 2008 with winners being nominated and chosen by fans throughout the year online. Using state of the art software Fighters Only will accept open nominations from May 2008 and the top 5 nominations in each category will be short listed for fans to choose from when nominations end on 31st July 2008. Fans who nominated will then be asked to vote for their winner from the shortlist.

Fighters Only Managing Director Rob Hewitt:

“The last 12 months have seen huge developments in MMA on a global level. We feel that now is the right time to launch an annual award ceremony which focuses on all that is great in this sport. Fighters Only have been innovators in terms of the feature and coverage that we provide to our readers, traditionally in our magazine and now on our website, and it is only natural that we should continue to blaze a trail by organising what is another first in the industry.”

“MMA fans are the best in the world and we feel that these Awards will give those fans a voice in the industry by allowing them to directly show their appreciation for the men and women who make this sport the best in the world.”

The World Mixed Martial Arts Awards website can be found at:

http://www.onlineawards.co.uk/fightersonly/home.asp

For further information contact:

Jim Burman

(+44) 7970 868333

Jb.i2media@gmail.com

Fighters Only Website:

www.fightersonlymag.com

Now that’s something I can get behind.

Get out there and vote, snotfaces…

The Ultimate Fighter Intro: Redux

With an unexpected afternoon off work and a new musical discovery (Dead Can Dance), I boshed together my own take on the TUF intro.

It is nothing special, I did no fancy editing, I just wanted to give it a different flavour. I tried to do it “Pride style” if you will, with the “epic, earth-shattering consequences” feeling that Sato Daisuke somehow managed to capture in all his videos.

Enjoy!

Tell me what you think. Would you like a TUF that was presented in a more dramatic way, or does it not fit? Do you prefer the nu-metal soundtrack, the locker-room samurai feel?

Off Topic: JapanLOL

Japan makes me laugh sometimes.

It’s like the entire country has a mazacon (mother complex), an Oedipus Complex.

Everywhere you go, there is a soothing female (sometimes male) voice reassuring you that everything is fine.

Example:

Elevators. This is an example of your average elevator journey in Japan (translated, naturally.)

Good morning! Welcome to the elevator. Please step in. The doors are opening now, please watch your step. Thank you. Please choose a floor. You have chosen a floor. The doors are closing now, please be careful. The elevator is moving now. The elevator has arrived. The doors will be opening shortly, please watch out! Thank you. The doors will close now. Be careful. See you. But watch out. Ok I’m leaving now. Bye. Careful.

Apart from the ending where I got a bit carried away, it really is like that. All delivered in the squeakiest little girl voice.

On buses, the bus driver has a microphone and gives a running commentary for the whole journey. It really is this bad:

Hello exulted customers. This is the 1-2 bus to Nokonoshima. The doors are opening now. Would anyone like to get on this bus? Yes, welcome. Please sit down. The bus will be moving shortly, be careful. Please excuse me. The bus is pulling away. The bus has pulled away. The bus will be stopping shortly, please be careful. The bus has stopped for a moment. Please wait. The bus will be moving again, forgive me for disturbing you. The bus will shortly be turning to the left, do watch out. The next stop is Yadda yadda street. Would anybody like to get off here? Alright, I will be stopping the bus now. The bus is stopping. Excuse me. The doors are opening. The doors have opened. I’m sorry. The bus is leaving again. I am touching myself. I will shortly begin decapitating my passengers. I’m wearing women’s underwear.

You get the picture.

Today while getting my leg strapped up I managed to snap this brilliant picture. It is a full A3 sized poster devoted entirely, and with no hint of comedy, to ensuring that you remember to take the pill out of the aluminium and plastic wrapping before you try to swallow it.

Now if you’ll excuse me I have to go, my Bladder-tron 3000 is politely reminding me to go to the bathroom where my toilet will explain to me in a soothing voice how to take a dump before giving me a full-service buttwash.

WTF…

Headspace, evaluation, bollocks.

I had started to write a big post about my situation and my headspace and other early-90s pop psychology terms, but the words of Hywel Teague echoed in my head (sounding surprisingly like those gents from Dirty Sanchez and saying something like “You’re thinking too much, Matty boy. Leeks. Cardiff. Sheeeeeep.”) and I thought, bollocks to that.

Pat at MMALife, a fellow kakutougi blogger, wrote a pretty decent self evaluation here and here, which made me think I should do the same. But I am definitely not in the same situation as he. He seems to be pretty confident with his game at the moment, as he should be, coming off some good wins at the inaugural Rickson Cup tourney. The kind of self-evaluation someone coming off a win writes vs. someone coming off two losses is very different.

Plus, he seems to have everything in order. One of those guys that knows how many calories he eats or what HIIT stands for. (Have Internet, Imbibing Tea?). Unlike me.

So I thought, fuck it. I don’t need to do that.

I’m going to keep it simple.

Turns out, my foot is broken. I had an MRI at the weekend which revealed a squiggly line in the bridge of my foot which is apparently a BAD THING. One of the big bones was fractured but has begun fusing together again in the last week, which is good. No big deal though, there is almost no pain at all and I think I will be able to persuade the doc to cut this cast off in three weeks.

That gives me time to chill and think about stuff. I’m still scheduled to teach a few days at the dojo to cover my sensei while he is in America at the mundials, and I think I will still do that. Chuck the gi on, direct the class, maybe do a technique and some pressups and situps, but skip the sparring. I can do that with a cast, right?

As for my game itself. I’m going back to basics. Keeping things simple. When I’m healed up I’m going to attack BJJ with a new vigour, a new mindset.

Priority number one: FUN! When I enjoy something, I do it well. When it becomes a chore, I don’t. Competing had become a bit of a chore. The next comp I’m going to go out throwing uchi-matas, wild triangles and crazy scrambles. Who cares if I lose, as long as I enjoy myself and perform well.

Priority number two: THINK FAST. My physical game has reach a certain (not very high level), but my mental game has yet to get there. I know the escapes. I know the submissions. I know the sweeps. But I am always a second too late in seeing the opportunity. So I am going to work on my reactions, my mugen, my zen mind state thingamjig. See the moves before they happen.

Priority number three: WORK HARD! That means never to “settle” for any position, to always push harder than the other guy in the scramble, and basically, make the other person work really, really hard to get position on me.

I’m going to print out some really basic self-affirmations and stick them on my wall to look at and remind myself when I am doing a little training at home. Nothing too cheesy… Something reminding myself to think fast, to play the game, and that I can win.

Oh, lastly, I can heartily recommend bashing your students with chairs* if you ever want to let off a little steam. Look at him, he loves it, the little bugger.

* I don’t actually recommend this at all, dickheads.