The "Judo for Mixed Martial Arts" was the book for me. Its large color step by step pictures were perfect for my visual learning style. I thought the organization of the throws and takedowns was excellent with its color coding of pages into sections. The descriptive text was short and to the point.
"Throws and Takedowns" had a larger collection of just that, throws and takedowns. It was smaller in size and didn’t have color pictures. I think in order to really see what is going on its helps to have color. Its like tying a knot with two pieces of white string or tying one that has two pieces of different colored string. It is much easier to understand the knot when you see how it interlaces. It also didn’t show enough pictures. Where "Judo for Mixed Martial Arts" might show 20 pictures of the throw with different angles "Throws and Takedowns" only showed 6 to 8. "Throws and Takedowns" had much more descriptive text to make up for the lack of visual content. Having never done Judo before and I am new to takedowns and throws, it was hard to visualize how a technique was done.
Karo Parisyan got it right in my opinion. I will be using his book in my quest to improve my BJJ with a arsenal of takedowns and throws from Judo.
I like listening to BJJ podcasts when I’m traveling or waiting around. I have a ample supply ready to go at all times on my iPhone. TheFightWorksPodCast.com is my favorite place for BJJ podcast radio. I just finished #189 (Relson Starts the Controversy), #190 (Renzo’s rebuttal), and #191 (Rener’s follow up to the Renzo’s rebuttal). I have to say that when all was said I think they each had some valid points and flaws. Some of the things that bothered me where Relson’s insistence on not having butterfly and spider guard. He wanted to stick with what he was taught and it was pure in his opinion. I think BJJ evolves. Isn’t that what made it great? Helio and Rolls, from my understanding in the 3 interviews, took traditional Jiu-Jitsu and made it into Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. There is a distinction for a reason. If Relson doesn’t want change that is a warning signal to me. Another interesting note was that stalling in tournaments is because Relson feels the rules are wrong. They allow for it. But Rener seemed to be saying that Helio survived because he waited out his opponent and conserved his energy for the key time to attack. Relson created tournament rules that don’t allow for stalling. Renzo accused him of doing it so his "kids" could win. Renzo also was more then willing to fight it out and put his money where his mouth is. Val Tudo! Hahaha, those were the days. But no one wants to see infighting between the Gracies. I don’t think it will ever come to that. Just some family squabbles as it gets bigger with each generation. In time I wonder if they will be to large for it to be a "family business". This is my opinion from what I listened to. Please share yours with me.
Replacing the guard from Turtle isn’t a new subject to blog on. Steve of SteveBJJ.com blogged not to long ago about it in his post Recovering Guard from Turtle. Here is a video of me doing it from last nights class with Chris, one of your purple belts, and the one Steve used from YouTube.com
Replaceing Guard from Turtle after Pass
Replacing the Guard from Turtle Position
Ya, that’s me in the red Atama Mundial #5. I have seen this a few times but never really got it into my head as to how to use it. I mentally filed it under "next time you’re in turtle do this". I don’t get in turtle much and had forgot about it. But last night Miles, one of our best blue belts, pointed out that after I had my guard passed I should use this. My video is from the point where you have passed your guard. I quickly transition to turtle and from turtle I replace my guard. My video is short and you have to pay attention to the first part to get what I’m saying. After your opponent has passed your guard you shouldn’t sit still and let him get comfortable in side control. Employing this technique keeps you moving and if you are lucky when you replace the guard you might even be in the position to Triangle. It worked out that way for me a few times as I practiced it.
I read John Will’s Tactical BJJ Grappling For Life eBook this week and I’ve been thinking a lot about sport BJJ vs street BJJ. I started training in BJJ because I wanted exercise (I sit at a office all day) and because I wanted to be able to defend myself and family in this increasingly violent world. After reading John’s eBook I began to think to much of my training is sport. This fulfills my exercise requirement but falls short on my defense. If I were in a street fight I think I would still win because I am considering before hand what my game plan would be. For instance, I will only want to go for submissions that choke out or destroy limbs and joints. What good is a bicep cutter in a street fight? I also should take into consideration that just because I destroy his arm in a arm bar doesn’t mean the fight is over. What about fighting more then one person at a time? John gives some ideas. I think I would consider a tactical retreat if I was by myself. I am beginning to think that a little Muay Thai would help with what I know about striking martial arts. Jim from Jim’s Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Journal said that one of the factors that made him quit Jiu-Jitsu was "what I was learning was more how to counter my classmates than how to fight". I think that I get out of Jiu-Jitsu what I want from it. If I want more street practical training then that should be my focus. I’ll never give up BJJ. I’m too addicted. I just think its time for some tuning of my focus.
Westside Jiu-Jitsu where I practice is changing its logo. Georgette of Georgette’s World was taking thoughts for a slogan for a patch. All the Gracie’s have their school patches. It seems like you need a icon for your image. I really like Saulo and Xande Riberio’s pinwheel design. Everyone one who is anyone has something that gives them a branding. I don’t want to be left out. I have decided to help sponsor one of our purple belts, Richard Cesena, as he treks around the world going to tournaments. I have purchased a small space to put JiuJitsuMap.com on his gi. But as of right now I don’t have a patch, slogan, or logo. My original idea for JiuJitsuMap was "Mapping out Jiu-Jitsu". Not very catchy I might say but better then what I had. Where would I even go to get some patches made up if I had something to print on them other then my URL? If any of my readers have some ideas please feel free to share.
Is this a true statement "BJJ practitioners are terrible at takedowns and throws"? It seems like that is the case. I keep hearing things that lead me to believe it. I know I’m deficient in takedowns and throws. In fact when I sought advice on my first tournament I was told to go for the "flop". The meaning was to jump into guard or just go for something that quickly brought us to the ground easily. My instructor realized we needed more work in this area and we had a special seminar on takedowns (click to see one post I did on it). It was very educational and I enjoyed it. But what do we spend most of our time doing in BJJ? Not takedowns or throwing, they are just a few techniques in the vast array of Jiu-Jitsu techniques. So I’ve begun to wonder if Judo wouldn’t help me. I’ve decided to investigate by ordering these books:
I tried to find books on Judo but they all seemed specify for the sport of Judo and I didn’t think they would have the twist I wanted. These two books looked like the closest match. I will continue this post after I get them and have some time to read them.
I also sent a e-mail to John Will of Will – Machado BJJ asking what would be a good book or DVD on takedowns in his opinion. He responded with:
"If I had to pick just one – I would go for John Smiths DVD entitled: ‘How Low can you go?’"
I think I’ll try it next if these two don’t fill my needs. I don’t want to be a flopper and I don’t want to fear takedowns. I think Judo with a emphasis on BJJ and MMA side of things is important to make a efficient BJJ practitioner.
We live in a society of multi-million dollar sport super stars. Their spoiled arrogant behavior is shown often on the nightly news. They are highlighted in newspapers and magazines as they face criminal and civil charges. The sad thing is they are idolized by millions. They have skill and technique that have brought them fame but they lack the other half that truly makes them great. As I read John Will’s post about Chuck Norris and Rigan Machado I read about that other half. I’m talking about humility, kindness, generosity, . . . the list goes on. John Will may have trained many time with Chuck Norris and Rigan Machado. What does he remember? Oh, I’m sure he has improved his martial arts from working with them. What he really got was a lesson in being truly great. I am sure he would say it was a privilege to be in their company. To be in the company of someone that is great but is the least is what will make them legends never to be forgotten. Sports super starts come and go. They are forgotten as others with great sports prowess rise into the lime light. Those that are never forgotten are the ones like John Will says "with a heart of gold". Rigan Machado is coming to Utah in January . After reading John’s post I can’t wait to be there.
This has got to be one of the most fun Jiu-Jitsu sweeps even for the guy being swept. I know in reality you could slam someone to the ground with it and cause serious damage. But we don’t want to hurt our training partner as Conan talked about in his latest post entitled "Injuries". In the two videos I am wearing my red Atama Mundial #5. I am swept by my instructor Mark Johnson and I then sweep Brad, a fellow student. Keep in mind this is the first time I’ve done this. But at the same time my mistakes I think will help you see how to improve your Balloon Sweep. I am sorry some of the sound quality isn’t the best.
Having the power to lift the person and balance them isn’t hard as long as you position them correctly. Notice how I don’t get the positioning right. I weigh 208.5 lb right now. Mark sweeps me like a rag doll. Brad weighs less them me. I have trouble getting my legs straightened. With practice I’ll get it, I know, but the video does do a good job of illustrating difficulties you may face too.
I just finished listening to the Renzo Gracie interview done by Caleb of FightWorksPodcast.com (#190) on November 29th, 2009. For a white or blue belt it gave some very important history right from the horses mouth. For example, I never knew about Rolls. I didn’t know really about anyone but Heilo.
Renzo talks about proving the superiority of the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu by fighting it out. Its dojo wars! He talks about street fighting with another school that was talking trash about the Gracies. The Gracies of course "beat the crap out of everybody there" as Renzo put it. This took place in Brazil. I think it very unlikely that he would follow through with going after Relson when he says "So don’t force me one day to do a visit, because I will do it." But he seems angry enough to do it. Maybe it would end up in the ring but not a street fight. Val Tudo was part of the rise of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu and the spirit of it seems very much alive in Renzo. But I’m getting the cart before the horse. What started all this was the interview with Relson Gracie (#189). Relson made some claims about his school that inflamed Renzo. I won’t ruin it for you and let you listen to them. As I think on them I’ll have more to post.
Time to set new goals again. I hope blogging about them will help me achieve them this year. I didn’t write them down last year. I’ve forgotten what they even were. So if I achieved them or not I don’t know. I read a newspaper article that said you should write your top ten goals each morning. You don’t look at what you wrote the day before. This causes the most important to "bubble up" or remain on the list at all. The goal should be achievable in one year. I figure its worth a try. Here are my ten to start the new year for BJJ.