Archive for December, 2008

Martial Arts for Christmas 2008

Tuesday, December 30th, 2008

My Christmas present from my son and his girlfriend is a huge book on martial arts from around the world, The Way Of The Warrior, by Chris Crudelli. Crudelli is a martial arts tv host and kung fu specialist who lived in China for ten years and travelled throughout southeast Asia. I believe his show is on BBC in the UK. 

The book covers dozens, if not hundreds, of different martial arts, some in detail, others only a cursory glance. There are vivid photographs and descriptions. It’s truly amazing that so many martial arts have been developed over the last three thousand years. Some are still in isolated areas and found no where else; others have made it across the pond or ponds and have proponents everywhere.

If you love martial arts and are open to learning more, this book will surprise and enlighten you.


December 30, 2008

The Way of the Warrior, Chris Crudelli, Copyright 2008 Dorling Kindersley Limited; Text Copyright 2008 Chris Crudelli, Published in the US by DK Publishing, 375 Hudson Street, New York, New York 10014; ISBN 978-0-7566-3975-4

UFC 92 Ultimate 2008

Sunday, December 28th, 2008

This UFC night was not geared to my interests (generally, lighter guys who go to the ground and use lots of submissions). In fact, no one managed a submission and I’m not sure any were attempted. Most of the fights were short and standing. The longest fight went no further than the middle of the third round.

Kongo, who had been a pro-kickboxer, punched Al Turk to the side of the head (it looked like the ear), and that was it.  Al Turk grabbed his head, wobbled, and was on the ground shortly thereafter. Elbows and hammerfists from Kongo ended the match in the first round.

Jackson‘s and Wanderlei Silva‘s fight was quick and brutal: Jackson used one solid left hook and Silva was out.

The next fight broadcast, I believe from the undercard, Pat Barry versus Dan Evensen, ended after some powerful leg kicks by Barry. Evensen’s knee buckled horribly and he was unable to stand. The end was seconds away. TKO.

In the Dollaway versus Massenzio bout, two college wrestlers who had fought before with Dollaway the winner, I thought I might have some clever submissions to talk about. Instead, while on the ground, Massenzio gave up his back and Dollaway flattened him and applied punches which couldn’t be answered. No submission, but TKO.

Matt Hamill‘s fight against Reese Andy, both wrestlers, had potential for submissions as well. Once again there were lots of punches from standing. Both guys had facial injuries: Hamill had a cut below the eye and Andy had a mouse close below the left eye. Hamill applied some heavy body shots to Andy, as well as knees. Eventually Hamill got Andy to the ground in full mount and pounded him. TKO in the second.

I had great hopes for Nogueira versus Mir. Both are Jiu Jitsu black belts, so there should be some nice submission techniques, right? Mir controlled the fight from the beginning, showing superb striking, managing right jabs, combinations, and kicks in combination with punches. In the first round he knocked Nogueira down twice, but let him get up. In the second round, Mir knocked Nogueira down again, although this time, Nogueira’s head snapped back to hit the canvas. Mir jumped in. TKO. Best boxing of the night. Co-fight of the night.

The audience were invited to post their guess as to the winner of Griffin versus Evans, with 70% believing that Griffin would win.  Evans was undefeated coming in to the match. Had they forgotten that? This fight went to the third round, with rounds one and two going to Griffin, in my opinion. His kicks were fantastic, inside, outside, at least one to the ribs. Evans changed from right stance to left several times, since his lead leg was getting mashed. In the third round, Evans took Griffin to the ground and his elbows and punches ended the champion’s reign. TKO. Griffin congratulated Evans on the fight and admitted that his guard was “lazy”. Always interesting fights with Griffin. Co-fight of the night.

The last fight broadcast was Hardonk versus Wessel, heavyweights. Wessel had Hardonk on the ground and had the top position, but let Hardonk get out and around and got himself flattened. Ground and pound followed. TKO.

I really prefer a variety of weight classes and styles. The lightest guys last night were Dollaway and Massenzio at middleweight (at least those that were broadcast). The amount of time on the ground in total for the night could be counted in minutes on one hand. When on the ground, we saw ground and pound only. Perhaps the next fight night will be better suited to my liking.


December 28, 2008

TUF 8 Finale

Sunday, December 14th, 2008

I truly hate the antics in the house, but once a week for dozens of weeks (well it seems like it), we get to see drunks and punks, hear arguments, watch bloated egos, and witness destruction, practical jokes and disgusting behaviours.  Then we get to hear Dana White curse every third word. This season we had the pleasure of watching Junie Browning mess up for at least three episodes and White didn’t evict him. His behaviour was far worse (quite unhinged and dangerous) than others who were evicted in past seasons and, yet, White kept him. He won one fight (not well and displaying poor cardio and mediocre ability against a guy who had even less technique) and lost the next fight, and here we find him at the finale. I had hoped we wouldn’t see him again. 

So, I wanted Browning to lose; however, he was against Kaplan (“I’ve never been knocked out; punch me, go ahead….No, I wasn’t out” – or words to that effect), another egomaniac, so I didn’t want either of them to win.  Between a rock and a hard place. Once again Kaplan left his face out there – a prime target. Browning was in control from the beginning of the match. He actually had technique and skill. Damn. A competent juji gatame by Browning in the second round.

Marshall’s semi-final match had him on his back for most of the time and he couldn’t get out. Since he’s a BJJ guy, that surprised me. Don’t they teach sweeps and escapes? This match against Bruchez (whom I don’t remember) had Marshall in solid control from the bell. Rear hadaka jime in the first round.

Mir expected Soszynski to be in the final, but Soszynski lost his semi. Last night, in his fight against Primm (once again, ?) Soszynski proved himself to be more than just strong; he showed us some of his many skills. His ude garami was excellent, reefing on the shoulder, leaving Primm in so much pain, that Primm lay on the mat for some time. Technique of the night. Canadian of the night.

In the Burns versus Johnson fight, a re-match, Johnson (wrestling) produced a huge kick to the head of Burns, a taekwondo and BJJ guy. WOW of the night- I said it before Joe Rogan. :)  The wrestling guy got the TKD guy with a kick.

The best fight of the night was between Nover and Escudero. Perhaps because of White’s comments about Nover, I overlooked Escudero.  Both guys were likeable on the show, were roommates, and training partners. They knew each other’s abilities well. In order to avoid Nover’s punches, Escudero controlled where the match was going, taking Nover down repeatedly. The match went to a decision, neither guy submitting the other, both showing all their skills, but it was Escudero all the way.

Johnson and both winners of the finale – Bader and Escudero – are wrestlers.  Do you suppose the wrestling clubs in North America will see an increase in membership?


December 14, 2008

p.s. Follow-up: Officially the UFC gave Junie Browning the fight of the night.  I can’t do that.  Much as he seems to have improved from his previous fights during The Ultimte Fighter, I have no desire to reward, financially or otherwise, a guy who could easily have been jailed for assault, more than once, during the filming of the series. A jackass is still a jackass. 

If Dana White and the owners of the UFC want to project a cleaner image, appeal to the masses, they can’t showcase drunks, assaults, destruction of the house, and a new levels of grossness. Right now, they appeal to the 18 to 34 year-old males. Basically, that will continue until their approach changes. It has to start from Dana White right on down. ayjay Dec. 30, 2008

…Little Things Pt 1 Addendum

Saturday, December 13th, 2008

We had our regular class yesterday.  The classes are usually small, but this was tiny – three seniors and a white belt who comes out regularly from the jiu jitsu club. Dave loves these classes because we do far more when there are fewer people: we can all work on the same thing and “study” techniques in greater depth.

Alex, our white belt, is gearing for yellow; however, there were a few throws he had not yet learned – sasae tsurikomi ashi, hiza guruma and  o uchi gari. We went into detail on each throw, way more detail than we teach if there is a larger group. 

While we were practicing sasae tsurikomi ashi (my doing uchi komi [practice throws] on Dave, Alex, on Chris), Dave suggested a different arm movement for the arm holding the lapel: basically I was to try to hoist him with that arm, pull his sleeve horizontally and then down with the other, while blocking his ankle. Also, I was to step more to the outside and beside his leg, less to the front. OK, I’ve done this throw many times over the last fifteen years, and watched and taped Dave do the throw many times as he worked for his black belt grading (and also videotaping for this website), but I’ve never done the throw like that. The throw has always felt feeble to me (i.e. my version).

This time, when I moved outside more – not too far since I am short – moved my right arm UP instead of horizontally and pulled on the other sleeve, the foot placement was incidental to the throw. The throw was so strong and easy. Chris and I just gaped at each other, saying, “We’ve done this throw how many years?” Why have I never done this arm movement like that before, or stepped out quite that way before? Who knew sasae could be so fluid and powerful?!

So after fifteen years doing throws, I learned a slightly different movement (a little thing) and, when I applied that movement, did a throw well and strongly. It was fun.

(A version of Sasae Tsurikomi Ashi for MMA is here.)

Click here to go to It’s The Little Things – Pt 1

Click here to go to It’s The Little Things – Pt 2

Click here to go to It’s The Little Things – Pt 2 Addendum

Click here to go to It’s The Little Things – Pt 3


December 13, 2008

Fight for The Troops 2008/12/10

Thursday, December 11th, 2008

Since we live on a sailboat (see, we have limited space in which to sit and watch television, basically an area about 13.5′x8′.  We make a lot of noise, sometimes with as many as eight people crammed in here, commenting on the fights and laughing and groaning.  Charlie the bird (see website above) wants to be involved and screams louder and louder in order to get out of his cage or to get attention.  It’s an experience.  So you can imagine what the evening was like: not only were we making a lot of noise, but Charlie was screaming, and the television was blaring with announcers, music, and troops howling. It was something special.  We may tape it some day.

I won’t comment on all the fights: some were so short (a good shot here and he’s down); most were standing virtually the whole time and I generally won’t comment there.

Cantwell did a beautiful ude hishigi juji gatame on Al-Hassan to end their match.  It looked bad when he did it and much worse in slow motion, showing the elbow poking forward – that’s when we had groans here. Gak. Al-Hassan should have tapped out earlier!

About this fight: As soon as Dave heard that Al-Hassan was a TKD guy, he said there’d be problems. The guy stood too straight with neck extended and his arms were in front of his chest (they don’t punch to the head in TKD). Literally seconds after Dave commented, Joe Rogan said the same thing and so Dave said that he’d just said that. It went on.

Regarding the Wolff and Saunders fight: We’re sure that Wolff would have had to go to the hospital.  There were so many knees to the head, his forehead was hugely swollen.  The fight should have been stopped earlier. Wolff looked far, far, worse than Ken Shamrock on his night of a thousand bee stings (the fight against Ortiz a few years ago when he looked as though he’d been stung a thousand times).

The main event was between Koscheck and Yoshida.  We were keen to see Yoshida as he’s a top judoka in Japan. He had mentioned worrying about Koscheck’s big looping right. Why was his left hand down? It should have been up by his temple the whole time. He was out on his feet after the first solid punch with that right hand. Sad.

A final note: I don’t know about the Wolff and Saunders fight since I don’t think they gave the tale of the tape for them, but other than Cantwell versus Al-Hassan, I think everyone who had a reach advantage won.  Does anyone keep tabs?


December 11, 2008

Nover vs Roop – TUF8 Semi

Saturday, December 6th, 2008

Dana White considers Phillipe Nover the best fighter he has seen since a young GSP. Since he looks at hundreds of fighters a year and probably thousands of fights, he might be right.  What I saw during this fight was a persistent and talented fighter, not afraid to get in there, look for something, in this case, an arm, and hold on until the technique worked.

Nover held on to Roop’s arm and eventually got him into a strong ude garami (aka oma plata),  behind Roop’s back.  The deciding factor was Nover’s grabbing Roop’s legs with his own in a figure of four, preventing him from rolling out, and cranking the shoulder lock.  Roop was doomed. 

Very nice technique and strong fight.


December 6, 2008