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Archive for the ‘Mixed Martial Arts (MMA)’ Category

Jiu-Jitsu Strategy: Frustrate and Annoy

The Brendan Schaub vs Ricardo “Cyborg” Abreu debacle at Metamoris 2 on June 9, 2013 was an embarrassment to Brazilian jiu-jitsu. After Ryron Gracie vs Andre Galvao at Metamoris Pro I wrote about my personal default Brazilian jiu-jitsu strategy – “Frustrate and Annoy” – likening it to Ryron’s KeepItPlayful.com. However, I have to clarify that while Schaub’s performance was indeed frustrating and very annoying, it wasn’t the Frustrate & Annoy strategy endorsed by The Jiu-Jitsu Vortex.

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Jacare, the alligator of Brazilian jiu-jitsu

An alligator, the namesake of Jacare Souza, on the prowl. Photo courtesy of Steven Beger Photography (Beger.com)

An overview of the MMA career of Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza dos Santos, one of the best Brazilian jiu-jitsu fighters in mixed martial arts. Hailing from the jungles of Manaus, Brazil (also the home of BJJ legend Wallid Ismael), Jacare is a jiu-jitsu black belt, judo black belt, and multiple-time World BJJ and ADCC champion. He’s also one of the few to defeat Roger Gracie in Brazilian jiu-jitsu competition (Jacare vs. Roger Gracie match from the 2004 Mundial). At the time of writing (March 10, 2013), Jacare’s MMA record is 17 wins (13 submissions, one KO), three losses (two by KO), and one no-contest.

I’m a big fan of picking an MMA fighter and watching their evolution by tracking down all of their fights and watching them in sequence. A few months back The Jiu-Jitsu Vortex published an overview of Demian Maia’s MMA career up to his brutal “twin blood jets” neck crank victory over Rick Story on October 13, 2012. This time Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza gets the treatment.

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BJJ strategy frustrate and annoy

Frustrate and Annoy – The official BJJ strategy of The Jiu-Jitsu Vortex. With an obvious nod to Craig Stecyk and Thrasher skateboard magazine.

What did Helio Gracie and Vince Lombardi have in common? Brazilian jiu-jitsu strategy is a hot topic and recent events like the Gracie Worlds and the Metamoris Pro have added fire to the debate by pitting the traditional “submission is the only victory” BJJ against more competition-friendly strategies. All of the talk got me thinking about my own approach to rolling and what the strengths and weaknesses are.
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Phoenix, Fred Ettish, UFC 2

Like Fred Ettish, the Phoenix rises from the ashes. Image from Aberdeen Bestiary is in the public domain.

If you’ve been an MMA fan for any length of time there’s about a 97% chance that you’ve made fun of Fred Ettish. I did. His fight against Johnny Rhodes is the stuff of legends, and not for the right reasons. But there’s way more to Fred Ettish than what happened at UFC 2 in 1994. He’s tougher than you are.
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On November 4, 2012, my Brazilian jiu-jitsu coach, Adam Ryan, took gold in the senior 2 black belt category of the IBJJF 2012 World No-Gi Championships, submitting his opponent with a pretty brutal ankle lock. The Dynamic MMA team were all pretty excited to watch this, and in honour of Adam’s leglock finish, I figured I’d put together a quick compilation of leglock-related articles that I’ve written over the years. These articles were published in different places under different sets of publication guidelines, so there’s some repetition, but they give a good overview. The flow is: introduction, examples of leglocks in action, learning resources, and dealing with knee or ankle injuries.

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UFC 131 weigh ins

Demian Maia weighs in for UFC 131 in Vancouver. Photo courtesy of MartialArtsNomad.com

Demian Maia might be the best Brazilian jiu-jitsu technician in mixed martial arts. Of his 17 professional MMA wins, nine have come by submission and three by TKO. Maia’s MMA career has been interesting – from highlight-reel submissions to boring decision losses and back. Watching his recent quick victories over Dong Hyun Kim “The Korean Stun Gun” and Rick Story in UFC 148 and 153, respectively, inspired me to track down some videos and put together a brief Demian Maia MMA retrospective.

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RNC - a classic mixed martial arts finishing technique

An MMA fighter submits his opponent using a rear naked choke (aka hadakajime). Photo courtesy of Eric Langley.

Much to the chagrin of the “stand them up, ref!” sector of the MMA fanbase, the grappling arts like Brazilian jiu-jitsu, judo, catch wrestling, and sambo are as inseparable from mixed martial arts as ugly t-shirts, ring girls, and fights in the stands over spilled beer. Some of the most spectacular wins in MMA history have been by submission and this article looks at a few of my personal favourites.

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Catch-as-catch-can wrestler Neil Melanson performs a leglock

Catch wrestling specialist Neil Melanson demonstrates a kneebar – aka “the king of leglocks”. Photo courtesy of MartialArtsNomad.

Knee injuries are very common in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, especially since it seems like heel hooks, toeholds, and other leglocks are getting more popular. Is it the Toquinho effect? The rise of the 50-50 guard? Rubber guard disasters? Maybe leglock master “Judo” Gene LeBell is to blame. At any rate, the list of high-level BJJ (and MMA) fighters who have been slowed down by knee injuries goes on and on: Kron Gracie, Xande Ribeiro, David Avellan, Dustin Hazelett, Bas Rutten, Roger Gracie, Tito Ortiz, Romulo Barral, Marco Ruas, Georges Ste-Pierre, to name a few. How to these injuries happen? And how do you treat them?

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Many athletes find inspiration and a sense of belonging in boxing gyms. Photo courtesy of fiverlocker.

There’s no shortage of interesting characters in the martial arts. It’s one of the reasons that it’s such a fun world to be a part of. A quick Youtube search for Frank Dux, Renato Laranja, Relson Gracie, Mike Tyson, Chael Sonnen, or Roger Mayweather is guaranteed to yield some gold. But there are also tons of cool and inspiring stories. Take for example the Afghani girls’ boxing team, the redemption saga of Canadian freestyle wrestling champion Khetag Pliev, and boxer Sergio Martinez’s fight against bullying and domestic violence.

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The calf crush attacks the knee, fibula, and tibia. Photo courtesy of Perfect Zero.

Charles Oliveira’s calf crush (aka calf slicer or knee compression) victory over Eric Wisely during the UFC on Fox 2 prelims raised a few eyebrows in the MMA world. Those with a background in BJJ, submission grappling, catch wrestling, or (especially) sambo saw what was going on, but the “stand them up ref!” fight fans had questions – as evidenced by the ensuing Twitter storm. Why did Wisely tap just because his leg was being bent? And how did Oliveira get himself into that position? Read on.

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Judo action at the 2011 NCJA Judo National Championships. Photo courtesy of Mike Strasser, West Point Public Affairs.

Dave Camarillo’s Guerrilla Jiu-Jitsu: Revolutionizing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is an excellent book for BJJ players who want to incorporate judo throwing techniques into their game. The beginning may appear overly basic to experienced judo players, but the introductory section is followed by detailed explanations of how judo techniques can be adapted to be effective in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Whether your foundation is in judo or BJJ, this book will make you better.
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Wrestlers lock up and look for a takedown at the 2011 ASICS U.S. Open. Photo courtesy of familymwr via Flickr.

The basic wrestling sit out escape from turtle is one of the most important wrestling techniques, especially – as fighters like Minotauro Nogueira have shown us – for those planning to branch out into MMA. Mastering the wrestling sit out enables a wrestler to shoot for a takedown without worrying about being stuck under their opponent’s sprawl. It may be among the first wrestling techniques you learn, but the sit out escape is still effective in submission grappling, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and MMA at even the highest level of competition.

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Kickboxing before BJJ class at Dynamic MMA in Vancouver

Boxing isn’t typical Jiu-Jitsu Vortex material, in many ways it’s the opposite of BJJ – there’s no grappling, no throws, and punching is the only way to score. Sure, putting your opponent to sleep is a win in either sport, but boxers try to jolt the brain into shutdown, while Brazilian jiu-jitsu fighters like to cut off its blood supply. Despite the differences, many of us BJJ addicts also love boxing – it’s integral to MMA after all, which is what got many of us into Brazilian jiu-jitsu in the first place. And some of MMA’s best boxers are also high-level jiu-jitsu fighters. Let’s take a look at some examples.

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AFC 7: Break Out. Victoria, BC on November 5th, 2011.

On Saturday, November 5th, 2011, Victoria-based MMA promotion, Armageddon Fighting Championship, will be throwing their seventh mixed martial arts show at the Bear Mountain Arena (1767 Island Highway). It’s not exactly a Vancouver mixed martial arts event but it’s close enough, and there are some Vancouver and Lower Mainland MMA fighters on the card. (more…)

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Mac Danzig MMA seminar at Dynamic MMA in Vancouver. Photo courtesy of vegetarians-dominate-meat-eaters-01

Vancouver mixed martial arts fans take note – Dynamic MMA in Richmond, BC will be hosting an MMA seminar by UFC fighter Mac Danzig.

When: Sunday, October 23rd, 2011. Noon – 4pm.
Where: Unit #140 – 7951 Alderbridge Way, Richmond B.C.
How much: $50 in advance ($75 at the door)
Who can come: Anyone! Not limited to Dynamic MMA members.
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