What Motivates You to Train?

I don’t consider myself to be a super athlete by any means, but I’m somewhat surprised sometimes that I’ve somehow found the motivation to continue training after all these years. I certainly have my ups and downs…I often joke about being a fair weather runner, but that inner drive to stay fit and that strife to better my Jiu-Jitsu game never fail me.

Nowadays I have a single thought that keeps me motivated to continue my Jiu-Jitsu training. It may sound a bit corny, but here’s my story.

My first days of Jiu-Jitsu practice consisted of trying to learn a confusing array of new movements. And although I couldn’t see past the tip of my nose, there was something about what I was learning that compelled me to keep coming back. Of course I began to progress and eventually realized I was actually learning something. As it is with most Jiu-Jitsu practitioners, the dreaded plateaus began to sink in.

During that early period, the Jiu-Jitsu world for me didn’t extend beyond the edge of the mat. Living in that vacuum, my only means of comparison was to see just what was placed in front of my eyes: my instructor and fellow students. In my mind, my gauge of success was based off of how well I matched up to others in the class.

My first instructor was a tall, lanky MMA fighter with cauliflowered ears and a crazy collection of tattoos. He was a good teacher and a great ground technician. Even as I saw myself getting better, I could see him and those ahead of me getting even better. For a brief period, it was somewhat disheartening to see their skill level rising at a faster rate than mine. Whether that was actually true or not, I’ll never really know. Unfortunately perception usually overshadows reality.

This all changed one day when I had an epiphany. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that if I was improving and they were still improving, it was only logical that I would continue to improve as well. In fact, I decided at that moment that even though my instructor seemed to me to be an untouchable force, if I continued to train, I would someday be just as good.

So now here it is many years later and I’ve certainly improved. If my first teacher were to come back, and those who came before him, they would surely triumph over me, but to me this is an exciting prospect. Just knowing that someday I will be as good as they are now is all the motivation I need to continue training.

For some of my students it seems to me they become disheartened when they lose a match with me. I would say to them, don’t gauge your success, or failure, or progress based on a single match with a more experienced practitioner. But rather broaden your perspective and see the possibilities of what you can achieve.



News: Fedor in ADCC 2009!

Hello from San Diego, everybody!

Continuing with our recent Fedor fetish, below is interesting news as reported by MMAFighting.com, along with other sources I've consulted. This is something I have thought about for a while. How will he do? I have no idea. This is very, very interesting.

It is also reported that Fedor's Red Devil teammate, Gegard Mousasi (Dream Middleweight Grand Prix champ) will also compete. He also has grappling credentials. Watch his Dream bout with Jacare to see how effective his guard was against one of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu's finest.

I, for one, am greatly anticipating how this will go down!

Fedor Emelianenko to compete at ADCC 2009

Originally posted by MMAFighting.com

Fedor Emelianenko, widely considered to be the number one heavyweight in the world, will tangle with the world's best grapplers when he enters the ADCC Submission Wrestling World Championship next year in Abu Dhabi, ADCC News announced today.

Fedor carries with him a world-class background in the Russian martial art of Sambo. Although he's arguably more known for his vicious ground and pound, Fedor has finished his last five MMA opponents with submission holds.

2008 DREAM Middleweight Grand Prix champion Gegard Mousasi was also announced for the tournament.

The ADCC, which takes place every two years, is the world's most prestigious grappling tournament.



Vinicius Draculino Magalhaes BJJ Progressive

I came across this video today of Gracie Barra instructor, Vinicius Draculino Magalhaes. This is from his BJJ Progressive Book & DVD by Vinicius "Draculino" Magalhaes. In his book and DVD package, he teaches what he believes to be the best way to improve students' learning of BJJ. Through progressive teaching, Draculino guides students through takedowns, guard passes, side control attacks, and guard attacks. In all the techniques shown, the situations are connected, beginning from a general and basic situation to the development of each movement and where each case can go.



Jiu-Jitsu 365: BJJ and Grappling Study

Jiu-Jitsu 365 is the blog of Bakari Akil II, Ph.D., started with the thought of chronicling his first year (365 days) of Jiu-Jitsu training. A couple of months ago I stumbled upon one of his posts, Do Most Fights Go to the Ground?, where he questions the claims:

Ninety to Ninety-five percent of fights go to the ground; or
Most fights go to the ground.

He presented some very revealing findings that I think are worth checking out if you haven't already.

More recently, Bakari has started another BJJ and Grappling Study. From Bakari's post he says, "I am now conducting research on people’s experiences in BJJ and other grappling arts. I believe that there are a lot of great stories out there and hope to explore in-depth why BJJ is so captivating...This survey is open to all grapplers. So If you would like to participate in this brief survey (6 open-ended questions and 8 demographic questions, i.e, age, belt rank, etc.), so you can share your experience with others, I would be grateful to hear from you. Also, feel free to share this information with others."

Bakari can be reached at bakil@fccj.edu. Please place BJJ Study in the Subject Line so he can give it prompt attention and send you a survey.

Bakari Akil II is an Assistant Professor of Communication at Middle Georgia College and received his Ph.D. in Mass Communications from Florida State University. He has studied no-gi Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for over three years and also holds a green belt in Judo. He trains with Team Praxis in Macon, GA. For more information on this study contact Bakari Akil at bakil@fccj.edu.



Guard Passes Technique Video

After Monday night's class, Jerad, Phil and I messed around a bit with some guard passes. This video is a little longer than most, but I thought I'd include some of the practical applications during live grappling. As always, Jerad did a great job filming. Phil was a good training partner. With the added bonus of his great sense of humor, we had an entertaining session.


Fedor's Sambo Loss

As we've been discussing Fedor's loss the last couple days, this is the best video I've been able to find. He does seem a bit out of his element, missing his typical methodical aggression. Nonetheless, awesome job by Blagoi Ivanov. Someone needs to sign Ivanov to an MMA organization.



The Jiu-Jitsu Fighter in an Alternate Reality

Okay, so I'm messing around on the Internet today trying to find the latest video of Fedor's decision loss in the 2008 World Combat Sambo Championships, and it's nowhere to be found. Getting a little frustrated and bored, I start searching for Jiu-Jitsu links and come across a crazy Web page with pictures of our fighters and links to the school's Website and our blog. The mouse cursor is all funky, with a yo-yo string attached to the pointer and our Jiu-Jitsu patch logo bouncing around off the other end of the string. I'm checking out the page and see a quote attributed to me, "Be like water. When you can't go through a brick wall, go around it." I'm beginning to hear the Twilight Zone music playing in the background of my mind.

The whole thing is starting to get a little too weird for me. It's like I'm in an alternate reality where the blog has evolved into a life of its own, with a crazy bouncing Jiu-Jitsu patch jumping all over the page. I begin whipping the cursor from side to side across the page just so I can watch it. For a moment, this little game becomes the proverbial train wreck. I don't want to watch it, but I can't take my eyes off of it.

I snap out of it and make my way to the bottom of the page and see a photo of Carlos winking at me. Well, I'm sure he's not actually winking at me, but I like to think that he is. The text above his photo attributes the page creation to him, so I take look at the URL to see exactly where this is all coming from, and then it all makes sense.

This was obviously a Webpage design project Carlos did for one of his classes. What a fun project and a thrill for us that he chose Roseberry's to highlight.

Now Carlos is winking at you too! Check it out: Roseberry's Judo and Jiu-Jitsu


Jeremy Horn Seminar

Elite Performance MMA is hosting an MMA seminar featuring Jeremy Horn. He is a top notch Mixed Martial Artist and veteran of UFC, Pride, IFL, EC, KOTC, Rings, Pancrase, Gladiators and WEC.

Location: Elite Performance MMA, 11261 John Galt Blvd., Omaha, NE (402-453-4448)

When: Saturday, December 6th, 10:00 am - 2:00 pm (Doors open at 9:30 am)

Cost: $50.00

Pre-register only at 45Fight.com



News: Fedor Emelianenko loses decision in semifinals

Original post by MMAFighting.com

A day after Brock Lesnar made his case for being the number two heavyweight in the world, Fedor Emelianenko, the number one heavyweight, suffered a rare loss in St. Petersburg, Russia.

Fedor, a 4-time world combat sambo champ, lost in the semifinals of the over 100kg division to Bulgarian wrestler Blagoi Ivanov at the 2008 World Combat Sambo Championships. Fedor lost on points 5 to 8.

Ivanov advanced and took home the gold medal, defeating Stefan Janos of Germany.

In professional mixed martial arts, Fedor is 29-1-1. His sole loss was due to a cut 17 seconds into the fight. Fedor would avenge the loss five years later.

Combat Sambo is a popular Russian sport which combines throws with limited striking and submissions. Fedor lost the decision with a point score of 5-8. Ivanov received 4 points for a takedown and 4 points for pinning Fedor down. Fedor got 1 point for a takedown and 4 points for a knockdown.

Fedor was quoted as saying, "I don't want to make any excuse or argue the...I lost fair and square. Ivanov is better with his throwing techniques than with his striking. In general I don't think I am bad with my throwing skills, but I was not able to grip him properly and Ivanov made the better throws. With the remaining time, I was not able to catch up."

Head coach of the Russian Combat Sambo Team, Aleksander Konakov, stated, "Fedor is only human, he lost due to not having time to prepare properly with all the interviews and movies. He has no plans to leave Sambo and will make proper adjustments in the future. As far as losing goes, everyone loses, it's the nature of the sport."

Prior to the tournament Fedor was in Thailand shooting a movie with Michael Madsen, and missed the training camp. Fedor uses Combat Sambo competitions to practice and stay sharp for MMA on regular basis.

Blagoi Ivanov was signed by Affliction moments after the match, although they had been involved in negotiations for several weeks prior to the tournament. Ivanov holds an amateur MMA record of 14-0-1.

Fedor won his previous encounter with Ivanov earlier this year. This first video is their match on February 15, 2008.
The second video is their recent match on November 17, 2008 where Fedor loses.

Fedor Emelianenko v Blagoi Ivanov (2-15-08)

Fedor Emelianenko v Blagoi Ivanov (11-17-08)


Marcelo Garcia's Takedowns

Over the past couple of months, I've been working with different takedowns in order to figure out which ones work best for me. I know how to do a lot of takedowns, but truthfully, I've never felt like there was any one takedown that I could call my own. A nice Judo toss is always good on a less experienced opponent, but much more difficult to execute on an experienced fighter. I guess I never really felt like I had a high percentage takedown, one that I could almost always count on, or recover from after a failed attempt, and finish it off. That is until now. After experimenting with various Judo throws and wrestling takedowns, I've really become hooked on Marcelo's takedowns. Of course he makes it look easy, but the basic concept of it is that it's a basic arm-drag set up for a single leg takedown. The key is the initial kazushi (off balancing) that sets it up and puts him in a position to attack the leg and either get the takedown or utilize any number of follow up attacks to finish it off.

I've been watching a lot of his videos lately and have included a couple of them here that really highlight this concept. Another point is that he doesn't just utilize this technique for his standing takedowns, he also utilizes these concepts from multiple positions to gain a dominate position or transition out from the bottom.

Watch how Marcelo uses the arm-drag to set up his takedowns. Also, pay attention to how he uses it to come out of the guard to reverse his opponent.


Overcoming Fear