Hope your holidays are going well. Me? I'm going to my parent's house where we'll have about 20-30 people over. Two turkeys for dinner, one of them barbequed!
Hope your holidays are going well. Me? I'm going to my parent's house where we'll have about 20-30 people over. Two turkeys for dinner, one of them barbequed! Yum-yum! Afterwards I should be ready for the super fat-ass division! Actually, I'll probably be training tomorrow morning to attempt to undo the damage from the night before. Heck, I'd probably go train today if I weren't recovering from the flu bugâ€¦
â€¦Or I could do like Dave Camarillo, who travels to the great Northwest this weekend in search of Bigfoot. No, really.
There's a lot to talk about this round. Since we've last chatted I've been to three events, visited three different academies (in addition to my home base of Mountain View) and the first Jiu-Jitsu based Martial Arts supply store in the US, partied my ass off in Vegas and began to move out of my apartment. That's a pretty hectic schedule for two weeks; hope I can fit it all into a column. Needless to say most of these items deserve their own articles, which will come in time. Sheesh, I finally put up the Music City Grappling Championships that happened back in September for Pete's sake, although I confess my computer taking a header at the time affected that one.
We'll work backwards from today then. For starters, for those of you who have known and loved the infamous Warehouse over the years (really the center of the universe as far as both jiu-jitsu and partying is concerned) an era is ending this month as we were all forced to move out. The good news is that a new compound has been established: a six-bedroom monstrosity complete with an actual guest bedroom, and a barn where actual mats will be laid down! Plus my personal rent actually drops, so you can bet I'm excited about things.
Last weekend I attended a tournament out in Fresno thrown by my buddies at Pacific Martial Arts. It was a small affair, split into a Karate point tournament and a grappling tournament with maybe about 30 competitors but among those thirty was a former UFC vet and a WEC champion. I think I actually had more fun watching the Karate tournament, and that's no knock on the grapplers, it's just that these kids were really beating the crap out of each other. KIIIII-YAH! I'm going to start yelling as I practice jiu-jitsu. In fact I think I'm going to incorporate it in everyday tasks, such as doing laundry and typing these reports. WHOO-HA! (clickity-clickity-click).
Here's something that's true of every tournament I've EVER been to: The best action is often in the children's division. Aside from the fact that the skill level is somewhere near outrageous (I had about a 30 second attention span when I was younger, which is now up to maybe 45 seconds), the kids simply have no fear. They just go for it and compete with tons of heart. If you're ever nervous about your upcoming match, I'm telling you, come a little early to the tournament and watch how the kids just get on the mat and give it their all.
I spent the previous week in Los Angeles, recuperating from what turned out to be a wild weekend in Las Vegas (more on that in a bit, I'm working backwards, remember?) Two events of note: Firstly visited our good friend Gilberto's Jiu Jitsu Pro Gear store, to my knowledge the first actual storefront in the United States that specializes in Jiu-Jitsu and MMA gear and apparel. He also gets the plug, naturally, because he carries OntheMat videos and DVDs. You can visit the Jiu-Jitsu Pro Gear store at:
4646 Manhattan Beach Blvd,
Lawndale, CA 90260
And be sure to tell Gilberto OntheMat sent you!
Also spent the week visiting and training at Eddie Bravo's 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu Academy. Personally I hardly ever take the gi off, but let me tell you how much fun I had over there. Eddie really is a gifted instructor, the moves he shows are both innovate and relatively simple to accomplish. Plus Eddie's teaching style is unique (I can safely say that after working with a number of instructors). In time he'll have a number of students carrying the 10th Planet flag, but you can either book him for a seminar or drop by his academy at:
10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu at "The Bomb Squad"
7327 Santa Monica Blvd (between Fairfax and La Brae)
And be sure to tell Eddie that Onthemat sent you!
The morning before I left from Vegas I attempted to make it to Marc Laimon's Cobra Kai class, but in part due to a hang over from TWO nights previous and an inability to follow my own directions I didn't make it in time to roll around. We wound up sitting around, shooting the sh** about jiu-jitsu and video games (which is his other main passion. I lost the address to the academy, but if you want to chat with Marc or book him for a seminar or private drop him a line at:
And be sure to tell Marc that Onthemat sent you!
The days and nights previous are something of a blur, but I'm sure stories (if not photographs) will be circulating shortly. Much thanks to our gracious host Mark Bieri! I should make an apology to John Lewis about Saturday night; nice to see you still have your cat like reflexes! (Here's a tip kids, never take a product with ephedra in it before a big night of drinking!)
I won't go too much into detail about the Grappler's Quest West IV until the report is ready to come out. It was a blast, of course, and a lot of stars were either made or solidified that day. Of course, the appearance of Roy Nelson threw off my odds of the tournament considerably, but I was at least gratified that everyone thought my scouting of their talents was accurate. Although he half joking said he was ready to retire to the seminar circuit after defeating Frank Mir, Roy put on an amazing performance and emerges as the new king of the West Coast. How did the big guy celebrate his victory? By getting in his car and driving to promote his company "SuperAction" at the Dragonfest convention.
And be sure to tell Roy that OntheMat sent you!
Other superstars emerging that day included the most technical grappler Jeff Glover from Paragon, who has submitted everyone of his opponents he's ever faced in the Grapplers' Quest, east Coast wunderkund Mike Fowler from Lloyd Irvin, Russ Miura from Next Generation (and webmaster of Subfighter.com) who maintains an incredible win streak against tough competition and "Nasty" Nate DuCharme, a Dave Terrell protégé who will be making his mark shortly.
It would also be impossible not to mention the performance of Diego Sanchez in the absolute division and the entire Jackson Gaido team. Diego personified skill and HEART and attacked every competitor with the same ferocity he's always shown. In between rounds Diego literally looked like a caged tiger, ready to pounce. Despite giving up a minimum of 60 pounds in the finals to Roy Nelson Diego never backed down for a second. This kid is going to be HUGE. For the second year in a row Jackson Gaido takes the team title and from seemingly out of nowhere proves to be one of the most dominating forces on the submission grapping circuit.
And what of Frank Mir, whom I picked as the favorite in the tournament, but who lost in the first round? Frank is routinely praised as the savior of the UFC heavyweight division and simultaneously called one of the most overrated figures in the sport. What you should be seeing is a young, talented fighter who got his big break and ran with it. Frank Mir is hungry and eager to learn and prove himself in as many areas as possible and proved it by stepping up to the challenge of the Grappler's Quest Absolute. Frank even attempted to have a kickboxing exhibition against Marvin Eastman the night before at the Shooto show before Dana White nixed it. Frank Mir has a ton of potential and the best things are yet to come from him, which given what he has accomplished already is a scary thought.
Finally we've come back to the Shooto: Warrior Spirit: Evolution show thrown by Tuff-N-Uff. It was a fun show, with good production despite some problems that could not possibly be foreseen (as mentioned before Marvin Eastman was left without an opponent and Jamie Lyn fell down the escalator and dislocated her shoulder moments before her match with Erica Montoya.) The biggest surprises were saved for the ring however, as what has to be concerned two major upsets occurred. First, Sam "The Squeeze" Morgan submits UFC and HooknShoot vet Aaron Riley. You may think Morgan came from out of nowhere, which is close, he's from Minnesota (that was for all of my buddies in Minneapolis). Something about the freezing cold weather there breeds a different type of fighter. Then John Fitch completely dominate one of the more entertaining fighters on the circuit Shonie "Mr International" Carter. John Fitch didn't exactly come out of nowhere either, he's the former wrestling captain at Perdue and currently teaching at American Kickboxing Academy. He's actually been wearing the gi (along with a white belt) and training in Dave Camarillo's class (heck he even took my class when I substituted for Dave!) Once again, the keyword of the day is scary potential, considering what he did to Shonie, Fitch believes he has a about a year of hard training to get to where he wants to be!
Well that about covers my last two weeks and seems like a good place to wrap up this column. I'll be back early next week to handicap the upcoming 4th American International Championships (the line up on this one looks killer) as well as give out some thoughts rumors and some other match ups. Until then, try not to eat so much turkey that it affects your training.