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Photographer Pilot

There’s a new white belt in class named Shawn that I've worked with a few times recently.  He's a nice guy (a little goofy) with a lot of natural ability.  He remembers technique details really well right out of the gate, and he's naturally aggressive.  He's a pilot by trade, and an amateur photographer.  I was talking with him after class when his eyes glazed over and he asked me if he could take my picture.  Apparently, I was sitting in really good light.  I tried explaining to Shawn that this "good light" was actually my body radiating goodness and positive energy, which was both a blessing and a curse, but he would have none of it.

I don’t know much about photography, but this guy’s got some talent.

On Throttling the Hell Out of Someone

Next to leading warm ups, tapping people out is my favorite part of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.  It's better than an ace in tennis, a home run in baseball, hitting the sliotar under crossbar in hurling, or receiving perfect 10s from all the judges in ballroom dancing (while looking fabulous doing so).  It is total pwnage.  Another human being submits to you.  They surrender power to you.  They are forced to acknowledge your superiority, if only for the sparring session that just took place.  I do not have much of a will to power, but I can't deny that I love to submit people.

Captain Caveman took Q&A on Saturday, and I asked for a badass choke from side mount.  CC obliged by teaching a gi wrap choke.  Since learning the choke, I've got two subs in training with it, and the thought occured to me, both times, that as much fun as any submission is, there is a particular thrill in throttling the hell out of someone with a collar choke.  It is probably the closest thing a civilized human being can do to killing someone else without injurying them.  Your hands are at your opponent's throat, their face is turning red, they are making gargling noises, and blood flow to their brain has been clamped shut.  In spite of the fact that they can end it at any moment, they are literally dying in your hands.  To continue with the choke and ignore the tap would be to murder your opponent.

And this is what we do for fun.  But damn, we're some messed up people!

Injuries Suck

About a month ago, I was on top of my game.  I was in great shape (see above), I was down to my competition weight, and I was looking forward to gearing up for the South Bay and American Nationals tournies.  Then I done messed up my knee, and it has taken a long time to heal.  I vowed to keep training as much as possible, skipping out of rolling, but staying active.  That went out the window when all hell broke loose at work, and now I'm chubby, my timing is off, and I'm lacking in cardio/warrior spirit.  I went from wearing a six pack to drinking a six pack, and I feel great shame.

My knee is getting better, and today Captain Cave Man, one of our black belt instructors, after thrashing me for seven minutes, encouraged me to look on the bright side, and focus on my bottom side control and mount as I'm going to spending a lot of time there for the next few weeks.  He's right, of course.

It was a good class.  The Captain taught a single leg takedown and Single Leg Defense.

Encyopedia of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Techniques

I've been kicking around implementing a web-based encyclopedia of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu moves/techniques for a long time. I spent hundreds of hours on my first attempt, and made a lot of great progress when the hosting company I was working with deleted my web site (long, tragic, and boring story). It took me years to get over the loss enough to give it another shot. Many people do not create a single web site their entire lives, let alone create the single most important web site in the history of the Internet only to have it deleted by the ravings maniacs of SiteGr0und.com.

I'm mostly over it now, and think I have a few ideas to make it even more awesome, but I would love to receive some feedback. My vision is to have a place where anyone with Internet access can go to look up Brazilian Jiu Jitsu techniques. This place will have the techniques organized so they are easy to find. If I am consistently getting lost in bottom turtle guard, I can look up bottom turtle guard techniques quickly and easily. The techniques themselves will combine written descriptions with pictures and videos. Some of the content will be self generated, and some of the content will come from other web sites. Just as techniques are constantly evolving, the web-based techniques will be constantly evolving as well. If this kind of thing doesn't interest you, then why not, and also, what the hell is your problem you can leave right now and never come back to this web site because your not welcome here anymore.

For the rest of you, I'd love to hear some feedback, check out an example here.

Thoughts and Rambles From the 2010 Brazilian Jiu Jitsu World Championships

Monstro is back from the Mundials!  He won his first match in the purple belt Pasado division by submission, and unfortunately broke his rib during the second.  Monstro being Monstro, he shrugged off medics, and finished the match losing on points to the guy who won 2010 Pan Ams both in his weight class, and absolutes.  I cleaned up his post-Mundials comments below.  He's a tough S.O.B., but apparently they didn't teach grammar on the rural Hawaiian island where he grew up.

- King

  • Roger Gracie became the first three-time absolute Mundial champion in addition to (of course) winning at weight!  This guy is unbeatable, and possibly the best ever.  I worry that he will pull a Michael Jordan, decide that BJJ is no longer a challange, and take up Tai Quan Do.

 

  • Speaking of Roger, Demente (who, incidentially has the coolest nick name in all of BJJ) put up an oustanding fight against Roger in the Super Pesado final.  He began with a sweep, ended up losing 13 – 2, but was the only competitor not be submitted by Roger in the tournament.  After the match, I saw him look to God and give a big "thank you!" fist pump which means a non-submission loss to Roger Gracie is the closest thing to a win we will ever see.

 

  • Gabrielle Garcia (above, right) is gigantic!  She receieved her black belt on the podium from Fabio Gurgel after winning brown/black heavyweight division.  She promptly ate the black belt and demanded another "this time, with hot sauce."

 

  • The fight of the tournament took place in the quarterfinals of the Purple Belt Absolute division.  Alec "Don't call me Baldwin" Balding – Middleweight from Alliance vs Willie Leonard – Ultra Heavy from Lloyd Irvin.  Alec caught the big man with an arm bar from omoplata transition, demonstrating amazing technique!  I should note that Willie received his purple belt only two weeks ago, however, he was also a D1 wrestler at Kent State, a sport providing a somewhat better base of grappling knowledge than, say, hurling.  That being said, Alec's talent is simply amazing.  I remember training with Alec at Alliance when I was a new blue belt in 2007.  His skills impressed me then, and blow me away now!  You heard it here, first, these two are going to be among the top American BJJ stars in in the next few years.

 

  • Thank you Cobrinha!  You have brought BJJ forward light years with your innovations!  Best of luck in your new pursuits!

 

  • The next up-and-coming BJJ team is the Gracie Elite Team, a combination of Rillion, Ryan, Cesar, Renzo, Ralph, and Gordo, all of whom are old school Gracie Barra war horses.  It will be interesting to hear what Carlinhos thoughts are on this, but whatever they are, they will be in Portuguese, and so I will not be able to understand them until they are translated.

  • Alliance is the best team in the world!  There, I said it.  They have won the Mundials three years in a row, and just missed out on winning all the major IBJJF titles this year.  Their lone blemish was losing the Brazilian Nationals to Checkmat a month ago.  I have a ton of respect for Alliance’s team unity.  Watching them compete during the Mundials, it was clear that they were a true team, and not just a collection of individuals.  At every single belt level, they consistantly brought the largest cheering section.

 

  • Kayron Gracie has a very bright future ahead of him.  As a newly minted black belt, he already has won Pan Ams and placed 3rd in the Mundials!

 

  • Marcelo Garcia is awesome!  In arguably the deepest division in the world’s, and possibly in the history of the worlds, Marcelo mowed through the field and beat Claudio Calasans in the finals of the middleweight division.  Nice work!

 

  • Gui Mendes' upset in the early rounds was a huge surprise!  Things didn’t start well for him.  He was caught in a very deep triangle, but broke free before the match ended with a tie in advantage points. His opponent was awarded the victory.

 

  • Lloyd Irvin, in spite of his relentless emails (you know what I'm talking about if you are on his mailing list), is doing something special on the east coast!  It seemed as that ALL of his athletes medaled in their divisions. 

  • I was inconsalable when I heard that Nino Schembri was injured, and could not compete in this year's Mundials.  Heal up, Nino, we want to see you back on the mat and competing!

 

  • Speaking of healing, best wishes to Rominho for a speedy recovery!

 

  • Xande losing in the absolute semis to Barral was a personal disappointment.  I was rooting for Barral, but the fan in me wanted to see a Roger vs Xande final.

 

  • Faria, in case anyone hasn't told you this, you have a sweet half guard game!

 

  • Cyborg’s last second win against Braga Neto was one of my favorite moments of the Mundials!  Cyborg was down 8 – 0, and caught Neto with a triangle with a little over a minute left!

 

  • The Cobrinha vs Mendes match went as expected.  It was another 50/50 snoozer that got exciting with 2 minutes left when Cobrinha went for a toe hold which was returned by Mendes.  Is there a training regimin for double jointedness?  Did they both repeatedly break their ankles leading up to this competition to be able to withstand their toes touching their shins?  How didn't either one of them tap?  Personally, I think the 50/50 is a legit part of the new BJJ game, but something has to be done about its stalling tactics.  I don’t make the rules, but I think heel hooks should be reintroduced at the black belt level.  Although an admittedly innovative guard, it does detract from the overall jiu jitsu game. 

 

  • Xande's loss to Faria in the Pesado finals was surprising.  It was the old Pesado King (Xande) vs the New Pesado King (Faria).  Faria has been performing oustanding since recieving his black belt last year, adding the Mundials title to his Brasileros and Pan Medals.  Interestingly, Xande's loss meant that he did not break Fabio Gurgel’s record for most Pesado gold medals.

 

 

  • Per tradition, there were copious amounts of hot guys (and girls) walking around.  If there isn't a BJJ dating web site out there, someone should start one up.

2010 Mundials Black Belt Division

It’s here!  In less than one week, the Mundials (aka the Worlds) will begin with their largest field of competitors to date!  This year, 1,989 people signed up for the most prestigious Brazilian Jiu Jitsu tournament in the world!  This is a staggering number.  To put it into perspective, the Pan Americans had roughly 3,000 competitors, however, the Pan Ams had four extra age divisions per belt!  With all age brackets rolled into one division, there are some huge brackets.  The lightweight blue belt division has 107 competitors signed up! 

Let’s take a look at the black belt favorites:

Galo (Rooster) - Under 126.5 lbs (57kg)

Bruno Malfacine

Favorites:  Bruno Malfacine, Felipe Costa, Pablo Teixeira, and Bernardo Pitel

Bruno Malfacine (shown above posing for a Got Milk? advertisement) has been on fire for the past two years upon leaving the Gama Filho Team and joining Alliance.  A strong competitor and 2007 Mundials champ prior to switching teams, he has been on an absolute tear as of late.  Since the 2009 Mundials, he has won the Europeans, Brazilian Nationals and the Pan Ams.  In the recent 2010 Nationals, he beat Felipe Costa 9 to 0.  Costa, always in the running, has recently returned from surgery, and should be in shape to finish on the podium this year.  He placed second to Malfacine in the 2010 Pan Ams and Nationals.

Prediction:  Malfacine vs Costa with Malfacine winning. 

Pluma (Light Feather) - Under 141 lbs (64kg)

Favorites:  Gui Mendes, Samual Braga, CaioTerra, Megaton, and Dai Yoshioka

We have a lot of seasoned veterans in this division, including the 2009 Mundials champion, Gui Mendes (shown above).  As a fan, I would love to see a rematch between Mendes and Braga.  Last year, the final was marred with controversy when Braga shoved Mendes after the match.  (To Braga's credit, Mendes was a bit over the top when he channeled an diminutive samari in his celebration.)  Megaton, a true warrior, drops down a division and will be fun to watch.  I believe he is the only competitor to have competed in every single Mundials.  Caio Terra is another favorite who could win after moving up a weight class.

Prediction:  This really depends on how the brackets play out, but I am hoping for a Mendes vs Braga final with Braga getting revenge, and Megaton winning the lifetime achievement award. 

Pena (Feather) - Under 154 lbs (70kg)

Favorites:  Rubens Cobrinha Charles, Rafael Mendes, Theodoro Canal, Mario Reis, and Marcelino Freitas

Don't get stuck in the Acaii line for the featherweights, because this is perhaps the most exciting division in the Mundials!   Obviously, the two favorites will be Cobrinha (shown above) and Rafael Mendes.  These two met recently at the Brazilian Nationals with Mendes winning 4 – 2, however, Cobrinha plans on retiring after this year, and so I would be hard pressed not to give him the nod.  Mario Reis is another consistent competitor, but has fallen short the last few years to either Cobrinha or Frazzato (who has since moved up a weight class).  Freitas, who took second in the 2010 Pan Ams, is another likely podium finisher.  I see him as a dark horse who could throw a wrench in Mendes and/or Cobrinha’s plans to take home the gold.  This division also features Ryan Hall, 2008 Mundials champion, Theodoro Canal, a bronze medalist in the 2010 Pan Ams, Gabriel Wilcox, Daisuke Nakamura, and Renan Borges.

Prediction:  Mendes vs Cobrinha in another another 50/50 guard battle.  The fan in me hopes Cobrinha retires with a Mundials win, but Mendes has won their last two matches. 

Leve (Light) - Under 167.5 lbs (76kg)

Favorites:  Lucas Lepri, Michael Langhi, Jonatas Gurgel, Bruno Frazatto, Gilbert Durinho Burns, JT Torres, and Celso Venicius

The Light and Middleweight divisons are perhaps the two most competitive brackets this year making it difficult to predict.  The favorites have to be the two juggernauts from Alliance, Lepri and Langhi.  Michael Langhi (shown above) has arguably the best open guard in the world.  Upon earning his black belt three years ago, he has been unstoppable, and will be the returning champ.  He has also recently closed out the Pan Ams with teammate Lucas Lepri.  Lepri has also been performing well, but suffered a setback to Torres in this year Brazilian Nationals.  Torres is one to watch, a black belt for only a little over a year, but this Lloyd Irvin soldier has been performing with verve submitting Lucas with his patented back choke.  The two Atos fighters, Frazzatto and Burns, are two other favorites.  Frazzatto will be moving up a weight class, and Burns is the runner up in last year’s Mundials.  Celsinho is also back after beating Lepri in the Worlds a couple of years back.

Prediction:  It will be a combination of Lepri, Langhi, Frazzato, Durinho, Torres, and a seriously confused Japense Jiu Jitsu martial artist whose katas prove surprising effective.  I am hoping the Alliance – Atos rivalry will live on, but Torres is em chamas as of late!

Medio (Middleweight) - Under 181 lbs (82.3kg)

Favorites:  Marcelo Garcia, Sergio Moraes, Claudio Calasans, Murilo Santana, Tiago Alves, Lucas Leite, Finfou, Abmar Barbosa, Kayron Gracie,  Kron Gracie, and Bill Cooper

This will clearly be the most watched division of this year's Mundials.  For starters, two Gracies, Kayron and Kron (shown above, with awesome retro mustache that has only gotten more bushy over the past year) will be competing.  Kayron is a newly minted black belt but has already beaten some strong competitors, including Sergio Moraes and Abmar Barbosa en route to his 2010 Pan Ams championship.  Garcia and Moraes will look to close out the division again this year, but unlike last year, there is more talent in this division than thongs on Ipanema beach in January.  Keep your eye on Leite, the 2009 Pan Ams champ, Bill “The Grill” Cooper, the Barbosa Duo of Tiago Alves and Murillo Santana, Abmar Barbosa, who beat Kron and Leite at the Pan Ams this year, Claudio Calasans, who killed it at the Abu Dhabi pro winning the Absolute Division, and Alan “Finfou” Nascimiento, who is really exciting to watch, think a combination of Jacare and Terere.

Prediction:  I have no clue. The sheer talent in the division could create a rift in the time-space contiuum in which they all end up on the Lost island en route to LAX.  Any of the aforementioned competitors could win the gold without it being considered an upset.

Meio – Pesado (Medium Heavyweight) - Under 194.5 lbs (88.3kg)

Favorites:  Romulo Barral, Tarsis Humphreys, Guto Campos, Eduardo Telles, and Otavio Sousa

Barral and Humphreys (shown above) are favored to repeat their finals from last year’s Mundials in which Barral came out on top.  Barral will terrorize the field with his ridiculous spider guard.  Humphreys, one of the most entertaining grapplers in the tourney, gives it his all every fight.  He is super aggressive and fun to watch.  Otavio Sousa has an amazing spider/oma plata game that I try to incorporate into my own style.  I would imagine the brackets will have Sousa on the Tarsis side, and we'll see if he can manage a win to advance.  The Turtle Master, Eduardo Telles should be in the mix as well, and Campos is another strong competitor who should at least make the quarter finals

Prediction:  Barral vs Humphreys with Barral repeating his win

Pesado (Heavyweight) - Under 207.5 lbs (94.3kg)

Favorites:  Alexandre "Xande" Ribeiro, Bernardo Feria, Alexandre Souza, Nino "Elvis" Schembri, Rafael Lovato, and Alexandre Ceconi

Faria (shown above) seems unstoppable after winning the absolute division of both the Pan Ams and Brazilian Nationals, but this year we will see the return of Xande!  Although Alexandre "Xande" Ribeiro didn't compete last year, he was the 2008 Mundials heavyweight and absolute champion, and has to be considered the favorite.  Elivis lives on as a Brazilian incarnate named Nino who will be returning to the Mundials for the first time since 2006.  Nino recently opened up his academy in Manhatten Beach, and has shaken off some mat rust winng two matches at the Fabio Santos.  Alexandre "the other Pasado Alexandre" Souza and Ceconi are exciting competitors as well, and should be in the running for a podium finish.  Lovato is my pick for the division dark horse, and if he wins the bracket lotto, he could go deep with his incredible guard.

Prediction:  This all depends on how the brackets play out, but I predict a Faria vs Ribiero final.

Super – Pesado (Super Heavyweight) - Under 221 lbs (100.5kg)

Favorites:  Roger Gracie, Roberto Tussa Alencar, Roger Gracie, Bruno Bastos, Roger Gracie, Marcel Fortuna, Roger Gracie, Ricardo Demente, and Roger Gracie

Roger Gracie (shown above) is the greatest jiu jitsu athelete in recent times, and arguably the best in the history of the sport (No, I'm not confusing him with another R.Gracie).  He is the division favorite.  He is the absolute favorite.  He is the favorite to take your girlfriend with him back to London.  Rumor has it, he can turn water into Acaii.   There is one caveat!   Roger has been focusing on MMA after a recent win against Kevin Randleman, and only Roger knows if this will dectract from his Brazilian Jiu Jitsu game.  In 2008, fresh off of an MMA win, he won his division, but merely took second in absolutes, and did not display his usual dominant game, which he admitted after the tourney.  In 2009, he brought his A-game, and put on the most dominant display of jiu jitsu ever!  As Roger Gracie is unable to compete against himself, other competitors will be in the bracket, including Tussa Alencar, who is an exciting athelete to watch.  I suggest keeping an eye on Demente, last year's runner up, assuming his recent knee injury does not hamper his performance.

Prediction:  Roger Gracie will become the first Mundials comeptitor to take first, second, and third place while blindfolded.

Pesadissimo (Super Super Heavyweight) - Over 221 lbs (100.5kg)

Favorites:  Luiz “Big Mac” Theodoro, Gabriel Vella, Antonio Peinado, Cyborg, Rodrigo Cavaca, Antonio Braga Neto, Marcio “Pe De Pano” Cruz , and Marcio Corleta

This is one of the most competitive Ultra Heavyweight divisions in recent memory.  Normally, we only see a couple of elite competitors stomping around in this bracket, however this year we'll see a lot of talent sporting A-6 kimonos.  Gabriel Vella (shown above), is both the returning Mundials champion and this year’s Pan Ams champ.  Pe De Pano will be returning as well, and while he hasn’t been competing with Gi for a while, he is a two time Absolute Champion in past years.  Marcio Corletta is another legend returning after a long layoff , who placed third in the 2009 Mundials.  Braga Neto, who normally competes down a weight class will most likely be on the lower end of the weight spectrum.  Peinado, Cyborg, and Cavaca are strong competitors as well.

Prediction:  While this is a very competitive bracket, I predict a Vella vs Big Mac repeat of this year’s Pan Ams.  Expect to see a brutal grip fighting judo match, followed by carbo-loading on Rooserweights for sustanance.

June is my favorite month...

Ever since the Mundials moved to California in 2007, June has been my favorite. For the first week of this month the BJJ stars from all over the world converge to my neck of the woods, Southern California. As the tournament draws closer I get more and more excited. Today is the final day to sign up. Once the official athlete lists are up, I will take a look at each of the Black Belt divisions and discuss the favorites. For the time being, here is a Graciemag article which talks about Alliance, who in my view is the best overall team at this time, and favorites to win in Long Beach.

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