Comp Review: The Iron Man 2 in Savage, MN

Yup, that’s a ring. Hey, it worked for Pride (*sniff*, I miss you), I’m game.

So, The Iron Man 2 (the second in what seems to be intended as a monthly occurrence) is an event put on by Savage Entertainment. It took place at Neisen’s Bar in Savage, Mn on 01/29/11. Sign-ins were to have occurred around 10am, but lasted until almost 11 as the event wasn’t entirely prepared.

Nothing against the organizers, it just seemed that more grapplers showed up than they expected (perhaps partially due to this blog, yes, because I am awesome).

Word is that the last event had far fewer grapplers and those in attendance were broken into groups of four, each getting two matches.

This event had around 35-45 adult grapplers (there were 10 or so kid grapplers that all seemed to be from ASMA). A good turn-out, most likely having something to do with the fact that the event was free. Though, as we were reminded time and again, it was out of the good nature of the bar owner that the event was free to all. And if we didn’t spend money that they would have to start charging.

On that note I feel the need to mention it was announced to us that they were against events like Sub Hunt that charge $60 or so and that we should instead spend that money at the bar. A feet that wouldn’t have been too hard as the Bloody Mary with too much celery salt cost $6. But I digress.

The event was interesting. The promoters decided to pair people up according to their combined BJJ/Wrestling experience as well as by weight. It didn’t seem that any brackets of groups were formed, instead pairings were written on a piece of paper and announced softball style (up, on deck and in-the-hole announced).

If a competitor won the two matches they were guaranteed, they got their pick of a shirt. If they won three they got their choice of available gear.

There were no points and the matches were to submission only. If no submission after the allotted time (4-5 minutes, couldn’t really tell) then the competitors would choose the overtime starting position (standing, top guard or bottom guard). The winner determined by the first to achieve dominant position.

So, was it worth it? Yes, after all, it was free.

I know it sounds mean, but there is some work that needs to be done.

First, they need to prepare for the larger numbers. I think they are sure to do this for the next event as the ref mentioned that he would most likely look into some bracketing software.

Second, you can save the announcements. There was a lot of strange announcing going on during the event. Most of which reminding us to spend money so they don’t have to charge for the event.

Personally, if you want me to spend money, just charge me. I don’t want food or drink when I compete and I shouldn’t be made to feel guilty for it. However, by the fourth or fifth announcement, a beer was sounding inviting.

Third, well, structure. An idea of time lines, some way for competitors to know when they will be competing, a heads-up about rules and legal or illegal moves. These things were all covered in the rules meeting, and it was just fine, but it would be good to know these things ahead of time so we can spread the word and get people’s interests piqued more thoroughly.

And I think that interests really can be piqued. I love the idea of an event that favors the submission. That wrestlers don’t just get to point stack or lay and pray. I think that this could turn into a regular event and get more people interested that don’t have extensive experience.

It is a good thing to not have to worry about points.

There were a lot of people there represented by ASMA, 10th Planet (more than I have seen at any local event, most likely since it was a no gi only event), No Rules, MWCM, Team Militia and other places. I think that this could be a great way to prep for bigger events and I love that the idea of it all is just to compete and do the thing we all train for:

GO FOR THE F***ING SUBMISSION!

Minnesota and Wisconsin Grappling Events After 01/30/11

Here is a list of the upcoming grappling events in Minnesota and Wisconsin (links provided where available):

02/05/11: MKG International in Minneapolis (gi only, all levels) $25, weigh ins 6-9pm on the 4th and 10am on the 5th. No early registration. IBJJF rules. Clink HERE for further details. THIS IS AN ADULTS ONLY TOURNAMENT!

02/19/11- Combat Corner Grappling Championships Vol. 6, Milwaukee, WI ($400 prize for absolute nogi!) Click HERE for event page and more details.

03/12/11: MatMania Ground Grappling Tournament. Saturday, March 12 · 9:30am – 12:30pm. At Petushin Martial Arts 2930 146th Street, Ste 110 Rosemount, MN   MORE DETAILS TO COME

***JUST ADDED***
03/12/11: Iron Man 3 at Neisen’s Sports Bar in Savage, MN. FREE (as of the posting of this blog), No Gi tournament. No points, submission only event. If no submission after the initial time period, competitors will chose either standing, bottom guard or top guard starting position. The first to secure a dominant position will be awarded win via advantage point.
Weight classes to be determined based on weight, BJJ experience and wrestling experience. NO SANDBAGGING!

04/04/11: Spring 2011 St. Croix Valley Grappling Games in Hudson Wisconsin. This is a “Gi Trumps” event, meaning that if one of the two competitors wants to wear a gi, both have to wear a gi. To avoid disappointment, DO NOT COME WITHOUT A GI. Click HERE for registration packet and more info.

04/30-05/01/11: NAGA Chicago (not Minnesota or Wisconsin, but close enough). Pre-registration is open. Click HERE for details.

05/21/11: Submission Hunt (Back at Champlin Park High School… Thank God!) Click HERE for website and details.

08/27/11-08/28/11: NAGA Midwest, Chicago, Il (not Minnesota or Wisconsin, but close enough). Details to come.

11/12/11-11/13/11: NAGA Illinois, Chicago, Il (not Minnesota or Wisconsin, but close enough). Details to come.

Flying Submissions: Awe-Inspiring or Stupid?

Ah, the flying submission. The grace, the fluidity. Is there anything in jiu-jitsu that has the same power? The ability to make even the lowliest of amateurs and white belts look like seasoned vets on the fast track to ADCC glory…

Or are they just f***ing stupid?

Don’t get me wrong, the above video is entertaining as hell. Of course, highlights of anything are amusing. It works on ESPN, it works in movie montages and it definitely works for something that can end as badly as a submission in which one voluntarily leaps into the air.

Arm bars, triangles, omoplata, even the toe-hold (the latter once attempted on yours truly. Well executed, surprised the hell out of me, but just missed. I have rarely felt so much pleasure in sinking in a choke as I find a flying toe-hold to be the apex of reckless sub attempts) they are all there for the taking.

Or at least the attempted taking.

If it works, you are the hero and potential youtube phenomenon (as much so as any grappler can be). If it fails you are a dumbass and potential youtube phenomenon, fated to be mocked by everyone from blackbelts all the way down to people that tried a free BJJ class once.

If opportunity presents, that moment when your opponent is reaching that arm out just a little too far, their base and stance just a little off, you pounce! Your position and technique is flawless, you feel the tap and your spirits are uplifted.

Or, you can jump, your opponent can be caught mid shoot and you go rocketing to the ground on the back of your neck. Maybe you are lucky and just plain miss it all just to be passed immediately to side control.

Is it all worth it? Sure, if you get the submission.

You know what, damnedest thing, forgot what the hell side I was on for this post. For the life of me I can’t remember if I am for or against these…

"It was a KNEE-BAH!!!" Jersey Shore Invades BJJ!!!

How can you not laugh at this?

Now, I would like to play my favorite roll as Devil’s Advocate for just a moment…

First, he got reset in an armbar from mount, that’s tough. I have no idea where they were when the ref decided to reset them, but I hope it was damn near in the bleachers.

That being said, let’s look at his opponent.I mean, come on kid! You had an armbar from mount!

And what the hell is up with you looking at the ref when someone goes for an illegal move? Kick him in the butt and get out of it. Be a man, already.

Then, oh, what? You got your boy with the camera on your side like capturing this for the world to see is going to prove that Knee-Bahh is some kind of loud-mouthed douche?

Now let’s get real for a moment. Knee-Bahh Kid, can I call you Bahh? Bahh, settle down. The ref said not to do the move. State your case. If provided that you are right, you should get to start in the same position, just like the kid that started in mount.

It turns out that you were right anyway, the refs talked about it in the background, that it was legal for beginners to do straight knee bars.

Now, did you handle it rationally? No, you argued location and inconvenience as your main empirical evidence.

Perhaps if you had actually started crying while making your jelly belly jiggle even more, you would have gotten a free advantage point for your efforts.

Not only that, but when you got mad, while still holding the knee bar, you jerked your back, which is the moment the camera drops. Your little tantrum could have blown the kid’s knee out. Of course, maybe that would have made your hour drive worth while.

And finally, before we assume that this kid just can’t a lose with some level of maturity, actual evidence that he is capable of being completely civil… when being owned, totally dominated and finally choked out.

Are you a Jits-ist?


First, get over whatever little proclivities you might have about referring to jiu-jitsu as jits.

Done?

Good.

So, the question remains, are you a jitsist? In other words, do you have some kind of unfounded or deep-seeded resentment towards another lineage of BJJ?

Are you a Gracie roller that hates Machados? Are you a Machado roller that hates Gracies? There is a name for that: jitsist (I just made it up but hope to one day have a wikipedia reference).

Here is a simple test:

– Have you ever heard a rumor about a rival BJJ family and assumed it was true without looking into it?

– Have you ever spread a rumor about a rival BJJ family because it “just sounded like something they would do”?

– Have you ever avoided a fellow grappler because of the patch they wore?

– Have you ever assumed that because you had a run in with one overly aggressive grappler, that they all must be like that? The entire family and all?

– Have you ever bad-mouthed another gym because they are a different affiliate, but made up another excuse like they roll too hard or their instructors suck?

– Have you ever avoided another competitor or laughed at them because of the color of their gi?

(Disclaimer: yes, I realize the proximity these questions have in terms of racism, sexism and homophobia. This article is meant to humorous as well as point out how stupid we all act from time to time. Deal with it.)

If you answered yes to any of these questions, yes, you are a jitsist. Or at least you used to be.

I don’t understand this phenomenon. At least not in Minnesota. We are so far removed from not only Brazil, but also the coasts, that for the life of me, I can’t figure out why we carry on these feuds that have absolutely no impact on who we are.

I have rolled at a great number of gyms around Minnesota and Wisconsin and I have competed against even more, and with few exceptions, I don’t have bad experiences with them.

Here is the worst case scenario: a grappler went too hard in a competition and either didn’t let up a submission fast enough or did an illegal move (like slam a locked-in triangle attempt).

Do you know what these behavior means? It means that grappler, and only that grappler, is a douche.

Yes, there is a chance that this reflects on the gym or his instructors, but it isn’t your place to make that assumption. Unless you go to that gym and their defense for a triangle is a Rampage Jackson style slam, you can’t place the blame on an entire school.

And it can be difficult. There are a lot of assholes out there. Not only ones that have affiliate patches, but especially the ones that don’t. The ones that claim they are a purple, brown or *gasp* black belt, but are just posers.

Of course, what does this mean for the affiliate if the gym owner or instructors or entire comp team are douches?

Again, nothing.

As a people, we grapplers want to think that we are doing everything in a superior manner. Our techniques and flow charts are better. Our instructors are more learned. Our comp teams win more metals. That is what we want to think.

The reality is that the only thing that matters in this sport is that we support it and show what incredible competitors and human beings we can be. That we can come within millimeters of breaking a limb or even suffocating someone, but show that we have the skill to check it.

That we can be fierce competitors, but still give each other a hug and handshake after wards. The animosity left on the mat in a pool or sweat. There only to be wiped up and lost forever.

If you haven’t ever rolled in another gym, talked to another instructor or even tried to see things from a different colored gi, then shut the f*** up.

We are bound by this sport. It is still a fledgling sport. We pray that it will make it to the Olympics. We pray that it will get so popular that we can get sponsors and live our lives doing it. We pray to get better venues with more than a single bathroom for 200 competitors.

But if we keep fighting amongst ourselves because of rumors and the quest for more students, we are only hurting each other. We are adding fuel to a fire we did not light.

Is there a “best”? Well, let’s check the competition flow chart:

Rickson Gracie beat Rigan Machado. However, Ron Tripp beat Rickson Gracie and Rigan Machado beat Ron Tripp.

Hmmm…

Okay, Royce Gracie brought BJJ mainstream through his dominations of UFC 1, 2 and 4 (withdrawing from UFC 3 only because of injury). However, Matt Hughes TKO’d Royce in an MMA fight and Wallid Ismail put him to sleep in a BJJ comp.

Crap, what else… what else?

Okay, Eddie Bravo tapped Royler Gracie at the ADCC. Of course, then he got worked by Leo Viera in the finals and never competed again.

Hmmm…

Well, Robert Drysdale tapped Marcello Garcia to win the ADCC absolute. Then he got beat by Jacare at the following Superfight.

Jacare got dominated by Roger Gracie… wait! There it is! Roger Gracie (who isn’t really a Gracie, but that is or another post). He has dominated almost every competition the last five years.

Almost…

In that time span he has three losses, all to Alexandre “Xande” Ribeiro.

Damn it!

Sure, this actually goes on and on and on, these are just the ones I could name off the top of my head. Some one always loses. That’s the game. There is no best. There are just those that are a little (or a lot better) than the rest of us.

Look where we are: Machado, Gracie, Nth Dimension, 10th Planet, Guerrilla, the list goes on and it is still growing. Let’s leave the rivalry with the rivals.

Go ahead, if you need to judge me for something, judge me for my religious beliefs or my political stance or by the brand of beer I drink and the toppings I put on my pizza. But please, don’t judge me for the patch I have on my gi.

Don’t be a jitsist.

Upcoming Minnesota/Wisconsin Grappling Events

Here is a list of the upcoming grappling events in Minnesota and Wisconsin (links provided where available):

***JUST ADDED***
01/29/11: The Iron Man: Neisen’s Sports Bar in Savage, MN. FREE!!! Click HERE for event page and more details, weight classes, etc. Be there by 10am for weigh-ins.

01/29/11: Lifetime Submission Quest (at Chanhassen Lifetime Fitness):. Weigh-in starts at 9am Competition starts at 11am

TWO EXPERIENCE DIVISIONS:
0-1 year of grappling with no wrestling
1-2 years of grappling with limited wrestling

PRIZES GIVEN FOR EACH WEIGHT DIVISION WINNER

REGISTRATION is FREE if you register before January 22. $20 registration fee after January 22.
Members and Non-members welcome. All non-member contestants will receive a free 30-day guest pass.
All contestants receive 25% off all LifeCafe items (excluding the supplement wall).
Required equipment: Mouthpiece, grappling/board short (no pockets) and rash guard/T-shirt optional.

A SUBMISSION GRAPPLING TOURNAMENT FOR NOVICES
144.9 and under
145 to 159.9
160 to 174.9
174 to 189.9
190 to 214.9
215 and up
FOR DETAILS, EMAIL LANCE ANDERSON AT SUBQUEST2011@YAHOO.COM.
Presented by Life Time,
in conjunction with
*Weight Divisions may change

02/05/11: MKG International in Minneapolis (gi only, all levels) $25, weigh ins 6-9pm on the 4th and 10am on the 5th. No early registration. IBJJF rules. Clink HERE for further details. THIS IS AN ADULTS ONLY TOURNAMENT!

***JUST ADDED***
02/19/11- Combat Corner Grappling Championships Vol. 6, Milwaukee, WI ($400 prize for absolute nogi!) Click HERE for event page and more details.

03/12/11: MatMania Ground Grappling Tournament. Saturday, March 12 · 9:30am – 12:30pm. At Petushin Martial Arts 2930 146th Street, Ste 110 Rosemount, MN   MORE DETAILS TO COME

04/04/11: Spring 2011 St. Croix Valley Grappling Games in Hudson Wisconsin. Click HERE for registration packet and more info.

04/30-05/01/11: NAGA Chicago (not Minnesota or Wisconsin, but close enough). Details to come.

05/21/11: Submission Hunt (Back at Champlin Park High School… Thank God!) More details to come.

08/27/11-08/28/11: NAGA Midwest, Chicago, Il (not Minnesota or Wisconsin, but close enough). Details to come.

11/12/11-11/13/11: NAGA Illinois, Chicao, Il (not Minnesota or Wisconsin, but close enough). Details to come.

Some stand (or triangle) alone…

For those of you not as familiar with the intircacies of BJJ (and I know there are several of you as this blog is almost as popular as a baby making a face and falling over after eating grapefruit) the two men pictured are kind of famous.

The man on his knees in the black rash guard is Andre Galvao (a person favorite of mine in the realm of gi competition). He holds IBJJF world championships in blue, purple, brown and black belt levels. As well as Pan American championships at multiple weights and the prestigious Absolute division.

He is not in a good position.

The man on the bottom, who looks like his neck is twisted and legs in a position not advantageous outside of the Kama Sutra is Braulio Estima… he is some other kind of monster.

He hold titles at the CBJJ Championship in 2004, 2006, and 2009, Absolute World Cup Champion 2006, European CBJJ Absolute Champion 2006 and 2009, and finally the 2009 double gold at the ADCC ( 88kg and absolute). That is where this picture comes from.

More recently he won the 2010 World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Cup (83kg division and 2nd in Absolute).

As for the picture itself, this became kind of famous around my BJJ gym. It is a triangle choke. Well, it is an inverted triangle choke. Well, it is an inverted triangle choke being applied by an expert.

The choke itself is set up with a somewhat inocuous windshield wiper movement of the left leg up and around the head. The hope being that the right leg is forgotten about and available to snap on the triangle.

The depth provided by the angle doesn’t rely as heavily on controlling the trapped arm as the thigh muscle is pressed deep against your opponents neck.

The instructional video can be found on youtube by searching: Braulio Estima Inverted Triangle Instructional Video (due to copyright laws I wasn’t sure if I could post it on this blog, so do your own damn work for a change!).

It is this move that is responsible for my rolling partners passing to cross sides of back over and over again for a solid month as I hope and dream of reliving this kind of moment to help solidify my little life.

It happened twice.

It made me happy.

Then there are competitors like Braulio Estima, who can do this kind of think thanks to his combination of tenacity, skill and freakishly long legs. He has utilized the positions and angles to make his game better instead of conforming to someone else’s ideals.

That is the difference between the top level competitors and the rest of the slovenly flock that so many of us are a part of. We are trying to be world champions. We are trying to emulate people like Rigan, Rickson, Roger, Braulio, Andre and so many others that have made their own way in the sport.

At the same time, we are lucky. We have the opportunity to stand on the shoulders of giants to take the skill and the sport to new levels.

Unless you are like the douche in the late post who wants to win at such ferocious cost that he will break anyone who stands in his way. Because the best time to go all out and prove how good you are is at a local comp.

Dick.

No, not Braulio. I love him… not like that, but in a respect kind of way… I love Braulio Estima.

Is this really an "accident"? (Disclaimer: Don’t watch with volume on)

Here is how I imagine the inner dialogue of the grappler with the rash guard is going as the match progresses.

(0:00) “Okay, let’s go.”

(0:18) “Head and arm. Nope, don’t like that, let’s push away and start fresh.”

(0:26) “Come on! I really just want to push you down by the back of your neck! Why won’t you let me?”

(0:38) “Yeah! Overhook! Now I am going to wrench as hard as I can for a low percentage standing shoulder lock!”

(0:43) “Crap, he moved. Now we’re on the ground and I’m in his 3/4 guard. Damn it!”

(0:47) “What is that? Some kind of weird rubber guard? As soon as he lets go of his leg I’m just going to hop to side control.”

(1:08) “He let go of his leg and I hopped to side control. Yeah!”

(1:10) “Now let’s utterly overpower this bitch!”

(1:13) “Control the arm, step over the head. F*** the triangle, gimme that arm!”

(1:15) “Okay, I’m going to get the key lock and turn as hard as I possibly can while pinning his shoulders.”

(1:!7) “Holy crap! His arm just snapped like a twig! Did you hear that f***er pop! I need to react like I had no idea this kind of thing would happen even though I was putting ever ounce of strength I have into dominating him and torquing his joints!”

(1:19) “If I stand up and put my hands on my face I can act like it was an accident. Maybe people will pity me instead of the guy whose life is now totally f***ed up. I hope he doesn’t have a job where he needs to use his left arm.”

All of the following was narrated by the Effeminate Guy from Family Guy.

Thank you.

"You Teach People This?" Part 1- The Armbar

I know, I know, I’ve mentioned this before amongst friends, well-wishers and anyone that has ever performed an arm bar before, but come on, it deserves all the attention it can get.

Seeing as how I have watched this video over a dozen times, I have found that several questions keep popping into my head. Here is the short list:

1. Isn’t he giving you his back?
2. Isn’t he giving you an arm triangle?
3. Isn’t he giving you a gogoplata?
4. When you say “3rd” in your progression then say, “cross his face, grab his arm, push the face away” should that have been 3rd, 4th and 5th?
5. Wait, your feet can be open or crossed? Wow, arm bars are easy!
6. Was it a good idea to have an instructor that doesn’t know to squeeze your knees or have the thumb pointed up?
7. Was it good to have a grappling dummy that doesn’t at least fake tap?

More questions not directly related to technique:
– Should I cut the sleeves off of my gi?
– Should I wear a black belt from another discipline while showing techniques of a discipline that I have little to no understanding of?

To be fair, the red box that appears in this video does point out that they are not a BJJ school and that they believe there is not just one way to do things.

Also, at the very end he says, “that’s how we do arm bar”. He doesn’t back himself into a corner by saying, “that’s how everyone needs to do an arm bar.”

That being said, he has proven step by step that if you are fighting/competing against someone that throws a punch then falls asleep due to unfortunate timing associated with their narcolepsy, you can get an arm bar this way.

The Match That Changed BJJ (you knew it was coming)

Yup, it’s Eddie Bravo versus Royler Gracie at the ADCC semi-finals. The sub happens at 8:11 if you don’t want to watch the entire video.

Of course, if you skip to the end, you miss perhaps the most important moments that get overlooked in this match: jailbreak. The fact that Eddie was successfully getting his far-side foot to the inner thigh of Royler meant that Royler couldn’t secure cross-sides.

But that’s for another time. Should we get the simple blasts out of the way (one’s that Eddie himself likes to blast)?

– It was a semi-final match, Leo Viera wrecked him in the finals.
– Eddie has never won a major championship.
– Eddie effectively retired after this match.

These are all points, just not good points. This is assuming that the conversation in question is, “Who is the best grappler in the world?” Actually, I am yet to hear that question when people are blasting Eddie. Usually, it is just someone who wants to pull out there little BJJ nuggets to sound like the know the sport.

The fact is that Eddie Bravo revolutionized the sport of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (actually he did it two ways, his Twister is illegal in most competitions as a spinal cord attack). He took something that had already existed in one form or another and made it his own.

As a disclaimer: I don’t use the rubber guard, even with full knee replacements I probably never would. I don’t agree with his politics and I didn’t attend his seminar when it was in town, however, that doesn’t mean that the guy wasn’t important to the sport.

Bravo looked at MMA, saw the way that it was changing and becoming a hybrid sport and tweeked it. The basic rubber guard is used to keep your opponent from posturing up and being able to strike you.

Not only that, but he made an entire language that, frankly, no outsider would ever understand. Beyond Lock Down, Jail Break or Mission Control are Crack Head, Electric Chair and any number of other terms that seem to have only been possible through a mind that has endured copious amounts of marijuana (calm down, if you didn’t know, Eddie Bravo is a staunch supporter of legalized weed).

From there we get 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu, it’s not exactly his own invention, but it sure as hell isn’t BJJ. Personally, I have no interest in the rubber guard as, even if I were to remove all of my tendons, my body still couldn’t contort into even the most basic of positions.

Then there is marketing. Bravo did a better job of marketing and getting his name out there than Gene Simmons and Dane Cook combined, and in doing so has found himself, in some circles, to be as disliked as both men.

And how did he do this? He beat Royler Gracie. He proved that his rubber guard and half-guard techniques could work against elite level grapplers (though his real intent was to put Royler in a Twister and get himself disqualified. A fact he admits in his books).

Sure, times have changed. The nuance of the rubber guard has faded, but Bravo has created his own legacy, with a little help of Joe Rogan and his near orgasmic exclamations any time a UFC fighter pulls rubber guard
out of their pocket.

What Bravo being Royler showed was that the Gracie’s weren’t invincible. He showed that there is still invention in BJJ. And he showed that with a little effort, a lot of marketing, and a fan-based devoted to the Rubber Guard and Phish concerts, history can still be made in this sport of ours.