December 29, 2009
09 has been a good year overall where I have made some big jumps in my martial skills, made more friends than enemies (I hope), learned some important lessons, and shed some tears I wish I could get back.
My personal training has had its ups and downs in 09, but overall it has been nothing short of great. I have surrounded myself with great coaches such as Brian my BJJ coach, Wes my boxing coach, and of course Hu Xi Lin and Tim Cartmell who remains one of the biggest influences in my life. I owe all of you more than I can ever repay and am eternally grateful!
Firstly I want to say to all my students worldwide (okay, in North America anyways), just how proud I am of all your dedication and hard work. I do not have many students, but the ones that have stuck around and dedicated themselves have made huge improvements in their skills and met many of their personal goals. I love teaching. Period. And their is nothing the makes a teacher happier than seeing his students improve at something they have put 110% of their blood, sweat, and tears into.
Two students in particular stick out:
"The Shadow" is my right hand man both on and off the mat. When Mike first came to me he could not strike his way out of a wet paper bag. His previous teacher ingrained some things that were just plain fucked up and wrong. We had to work to de-program such teachings, and rebuild a foundation from there. A strong wrestler (who has taught his teacher much in that regard) without striking skills is no good in my opinion. So Mike put his mind to it and has worked hard on all aspects of his striking game. Lets hope he does not forget everything I taught him over the next 6 months away!
The other is my silent Asian assassin, "Bonzai!" Bonnie has been my most consistent student in Seattle. She started at Allstar where she continues to attend EVERY kickboxing class I teach (6 classes over 4 days, EVERY week), and eventually came to my group class at the academy where she has been working hard on the grappling aspects of her game. For those keeping score that is over 9 hours of group training a week! In the dictionary under consistency and dedication it says "see her." Bonzai holds her own with scrappy students half her age. I cannot express how proud I am to have her as a student and a friend. "Xie xie ni Bonzai."
Most of 09 (and 08, and 07.....) has been quite dismal in terms of my competition. I have little desire to do any striking events anymore, coupled with my lack of health insurance (thanks Bush, you fucking prick!), pretty much means I only compete in grappling events anymore. And in that regard I have little to brag about this year. To be honest I was seriously contemplating whether or not I am made to compete. Losing consistently screws with your confidence and when your confidence fades your mind weakens. BJJ does NOT come naturally to me and I have (still do) struggled in terms of grasping the central themes and principles of the art. But I have found a new love for competition and now yearn to put my skills to the test as I learn more and more about myself every time I touch the mat!
In the end it all paid off. The 2009 No Gi World Championships last November has been one of the greatest experiences I have ever been a part of! Even without a win I would feel the same way (just not as happy). Taking first in my division, third in the absolute, and getting my first two submissions in competition is a feeling I will never forget! I look forward to the challenges and precedents I have set for myself in the coming years. Competing has awoken a fire in me that is quite needed at this stage in my life.
09 has been one of the toughest years of my life in regards to loss in the martial realm. Over the summer I received one of the worst phone calls I could imagine (short of family of course) when I heard my teacher, my friend, my bud Mike Martello passed in Belgium. I write this with tears dripping from my chin, as not only is this a great personal loss to me, but also to the whole martial arts community and the Chinese martial community specifically! Mike was taken from us too early. Loss such as this serve as a lesson to remind us that life is NOT guaranteed tomorrow. It is precious and can be taken from us in a flash. Kiss your lover, tell mom and dad you love them, and do what makes you happy every single day. That is how Mike lived and that was his enduring lesson to us all.
2009 also marks the final year of the Shen Wu Academy of Mixed Martial Arts in Garden Grove, CA. Tim has decided to close the doors of his long running academy to go teach at Ace Jiu Jitsu full time. Though this certainly is not the end of Tim's teaching it marks an end of an era where many of us cut our teeth and trained with one of the best teachers in the world! Farewell to the Wu.
What would 2009 be without this blog?? First of all you would not be reading my rants, reviews, and raves. I sincerely hope this blog has brought something positive to you over the past 10 months or so. Even if it is just a smile it is my sincere hope that I have affected your life positively via this blog. Secondly I want to thank each and every one of you for your support, and I wish for nothing other than bigger and better offerings in the year 2010.
December 24, 2009
December 23, 2009
Here are some pics of a seminar Alberto gave while visiting Tiger Muay Thai.
Rumor has it that Alberto will fight in China's Art of War 16, but I have not confirmed that anywhere reliable, nor do I have a clue who his opponent would be.
One more win for MMA in the Pacific Northwest where we have some of the greatest fighters on the planet!
The City of Vancouver has legalized MMA in Vancouver during their council session today. The motion to allow MMA on at two year trial basis was passed by a vote of 6-3. Councillors Meggs, Stevenson, Anton, Chow, Deal, Jang voted for MMA legalization, while Councillors Woodsworth, Reimer, Louie voted against MMA.
Smaller promotions may still be out of luck as they will have to purchase enough insurance to indemnify the City of Vancouver from any liabilities. There is no idea how much insurance would be required. The City Manager will determine the appropriate amount.
Earlier this week, a report was prepared for the Vancouver City Council that was very favorable to MMA. Today the Council debated the report and decided in favor of sanctioning MMA.
The Maximum Fighting Championship easily Canada top MMA organization and one of the biggest in North America will be applying immediately for a show in 2010.
December 22, 2009
Hope you find something of value in Campbell's words.
Goats and the Tiger A fable tells of a tigress, pregnant and starving, who comes upon a little flock of goats and pounces on them with such energy that she brings about the birth of her little one and her own death. The goats scatter, and when they come back to their grazing place, they find this just-born tiger and its dead mother. Having strong parental instincts, they adopt the tiger, and it grows up thinking it's a goat. It learns to bleat. It learns to eat grass. And since grass doesn't nourish it very well, it grows up to become a pretty miserable specimen of its species.
When the young tiger reaches adolescence, a large male tiger pounces on the flock, and the goats scatter. But this little fellow is a tiger, so he stands there. The big one looks at him in amazement and says, "Are you living here with these goats?" "Maaaaaaa" says the little tiger. Well, the old tiger is mortified, something like a father who comes home and finds his son with long hair. He swats him back and forth a couple of times, and the little thing just responds with these silly bleats and begins nibbling grass in embarrassment. So the big tiger brings him to a still pond.
Now, still water is a favorite Indian image to symbolize the idea of yoga. The first aphorism of yoga is: "Yoga is the intentional stopping of the spontaneous activity of the mind-stuff." Our minds, which are in continual flux, are likened to the surface of a pond that's blown by a wind. So the forms that we see, those of our own lives and the world around us, are simply flashing images that come and go in the field of time, but beneath all of them is the substantial form of forms. Bring the pond to a standstill, have the wind withdraw and the waters clear, and you'll see, in stasis, the perfect image beneath all of these changing forms. So this little fellow looks into the pond and sees his own face for the first time.
The big tiger puts his face over and says, "You see, you've got a face like mine. You're not a goat. You're a tiger like me. Be like me." Now, that's guru stuff: I'll give you my picture to wear, be like me. It's the opposite to the individual way. So the little one is getting that message; he's picked up and taken to the tiger's den, where there are the remains of a recently slaughtered gazelle. Taking a chunk of this bloody stuff, the big tiger says, "Open you face." The little one backs away, "I'm a vegetarian." "None of that nonsense," says the big fellow, and he shoves a piece of meat down the little one's throat. He gags on it. The text says, "As all do on true doctrine." But gagging on the true doctrine, he's nevertheless getting it into his blood, into his nerves; it's his proper food. It touches his proper nature. Spontaneously, he gives a tiger stretch, the first one. A little tiger roar comes out—Tiger Roar 101. The big one says, "There. Now you've got it. Now we go into the forest and eat tiger food."
Vegetarianism Is the first turning away from life, Because life lives on lives. Vegetarians are just eating Something that can't run away.
Now, of course, the moral is that we are all tigers living here as goats. The right hand path, the sociological department, is interested in cultivating our goat-nature. Mythology, properly understood as metaphor, will guide you to the recognition of your tiger face. But then how are you going to live with these goats?
Well, Jesus had something to say about this problem. In Matthew 7 he said, "Do not cast your pearls before swine, or they will trample them under their feet and turn and tear you."
The function Of the orthodox community Is to torture the mystic to death: His goal.
You wear the outer garment of the law, behave as everyone else and wear the inner garment of the mystic way. Jesus also said that when you pray, you should go into your own room and close the door. When you go out, brush your hair. Don't let them know. Otherwise, you'll be a kook, something phony. So that has to do with not letting people know where you are. But then comes the second problem: how do you live with these people? Do you know the answer? You know that they are all tigers. And you live with that aspect of their nature, and perhaps in your art you can let them know that they are tigers.
A Joseph Campbell Companion, Diane Osbon, 1991 by the Joseph Campbell Foundation, pp 117-119
December 21, 2009
Shen Wu Martial Arts Academy
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Clinic
Black Belt Tim Cartmell
Dominate Your Opponents with:
The Transitional Guard
The “transitional phase”(between open and closed guards), is often overlooked. It is a powerful technique
that applies the best of both guards creating openings for a multitude of submissions, sweeps, and counters that aren’t available from just one guard. The crab can be used with or without a Gi and has been employed successfully by Mr. Cartmell and his students at all levels of competition.
Guzman’s Sport Karate and
All Experience Levels Welcome
Fee: $55.00 at the door
$45.00 if fee paid before January 10th
Register Early Space is Limited!
Sat. the 23rd beginning at 1pm an open forum at least 6 hours long
of "ask any martial question" from Tim Cartmell. That day is $125 by itself.
Both days can be attended by payment in advance of $150.
Potential participants need to contact Russell or Norwood for accepted attendance in this special workshop!
For more info and registration call:
Tim will also be in Portland OR. Feb. 13-14, 2010 / October 2-3, 2010
And Seattle, WA. in March. More details on both seminars soon!
December 19, 2009
Congrats to all,
December 18, 2009
December 17, 2009
From John Will, our brother and teacher in Oz:
In the last few seconds of the last round on the Saturday 12th December, Haydn Clasby from Submission Martial Arts (NZ) suffered a serious injury to his neck. This injury was sustained in a controlled BJJ environment and was a freak accident.
Haydn broke one of his vertebrae in his neck and damaged his C5, C6, C7, he is paralysed from the shoulders down at present. At the end of this week they will operate and put a plate into his neck.
At the moment the Doctors are providing worst-case scenario information to us, but due to the complexity of the injury it is going to be a wait and see. So as we all sit here with all our fingers and toes crossed, the initiative has been taken and an account has been opened in Haydn’s name at Kiwi Bank.
The aim of this account is to provide funds towards the costs of Haydn’s recovery and to help his partner Gen and family as they take extensive time off work to support Haydn during his recovery.
Any contribution no matter how small would be greatly appreciated.
Following are the account details for anyone wanting to contribute.
Haydn Recovery – M E McDonald
38 9000 0109787 02
Please visit this link to donate!!
All here at NWJJA and Three Harmonies wish the very best for Haydn and his family. Incidents such as these bring a sober moment of reality to something we often do not think about; we are engaging in combat sports which can be very dangerous! From the sounds of it this was just a freak accident, I do not know more specific details.
What I can offer is a few words to contemplate over the next few hours before you hit the mat tonight with your brothers and sisters. As much fun as we have training in the martial arts, as much release we get from our daily grind of stress and anxiety, as much gratification we get from training hard for an upcoming bout... we must always keep in mind our own safety, and the safety of our partners.
Since I have come back from the worlds it seems as if I have a big target painted on my back. Their seems to be an abundance of testosterone and spaziness with some of the people I have sparred with both inside and outside my academies. Perhaps coincidental, these rounds have gotten me a bit dinged up, and quite frankly I have learned very little. Spazy bursts of 120% have left me wondering what I have been doing wrong to deal with such situations, and in the end I become quite defensive in my sparring which is not something I want to become accustomed to.
So I leave you with some food for thought from my experience... think about your partners growth, development, progress, and most of all their health! Sure their are times to go all out, but let us not forget the principles ALL martial arts were founded on: leverage / position / skill. Martial arts were developed so the little guy can be given a fair shot against a bigger, stronger opponent. Their seems to be an overbearing reliance on strength and brute force lately which is stalling the learning of both partners involved, and leaves everyone more susceptible to injury. Leave the ego at the door kids, a tap is not the end of the world and quite frankly sometimes it is the best learning tool.
December 14, 2009
I do not follow boxing as closely as I should, but here is a great compilation of Gorilla Productions' top five fights of 2009. Can't argue, some awesome highlights! Thanks to Ross Training for this!
December 12, 2009
Some of you may remember the review I did of the inaugural issue of BJJ Legends back a couple of months ago. Against my better judgement (I was not impaired at the time) I purchased the second issue of the new rag, lured by the promise of deep, inspiring words and thoughts by BJ Penn; Luis Heredia; Penny Thomas; Leo Viera.... and of course the crack at the bottom of the gift box... an exclusive DVD!
In an effort to improve my writing skills (In the latest issue of Journal of Asian Martial Arts I reviewed Liang and Yang's book "Bagua") I have been reading a bit about how to review a products, and one of the first things they say is to review what the product IS, not what I want it to be. Seems simple enough, lets give it a whirl.
What is needed is a magazine that covers grappling. Not just grappling, but we need a rag that represents BJJ / Sambo / Judo / Catch / Freestyle etc. etc. Currently the market is saturated with MMA magazines. It is worse then the women's clothing section at the bookstore! So lets just get that out of the way, we need serious grappling coverage!
Suffice to say our cravings will not be quenched with this second issue of BJJ Legends. Dare I say it has actually gotten worse if such a thing is possible. The DVD was the highlight this time, only because there was footage from 2008's Joe Moreria's Black Belt Challenge including matches with Jean Jacques Machado black belt Jimmy Tang, and Megaton Dias! The interviews were lame. No pressing questions, even with pro trainer Lou Smith it was basically three pages of people saying how good Lou Smith is! I don't give a shit how good Josh Barnett thinks Lou is, I assume if he is worthy of being interviewed then he knows his shit! I want to hear some tips from Lou. Some training ideas to keep things fresh. How he approaches dietary concerns. I am not interested in hearing BJ talk about how nice it is to live in Hawaii. No shit Sherlock! I can't imagine it is too bad!
All the interviews lacked substance, and journalistic integrity. The techniques shown were basic and nothing to get excited about. Nothing wrong with basic, but at least add in some tips. Not just "put left foot on right hip, push." The one exception to this is Ary Farias an up and coming competitor in the brown belt division, who had some cool bicep cutters from guard , and top 4 quarter. Save your $13+ and I will show you in class next week!
So in closing...reviewing what this is... it is a waste of money. Save your bills for Jean Jacques Machado's newest book due out next month!
December 11, 2009
SAMBO Roots clinic on Mongolian Folk Wrestling
Sea-Town Sambo and the Seattle Jujutsu Club
An American Sambo Association Seminar Series clinic
Saturday December 12th , 11 am – 3 pm (or so)
20 dollars for the day
Aaron Fields will be showing Mongolian folk wrestling technique as well as talking about the cultural background of the sport
This is as close as you are going to get without living in Mongolia!
All experience levels welcome
Sea-Town Sambo/Seattle Jujutsu Club
1314 NE 56th St
Please reserve space ahead of time and feel free to contact Aaron directly with questions.
Please bring a ju jitsu/judo dogi top, kurtka, belt, shorts
The club has a limited number of loaners
December 10, 2009
Lets get this out of the way right off the bat... I hate running! I figured out early in life that I was not going to outrun anyone so I may as well learn to stand and fight, hence my first step into the martial arts. And I have seriously tried. Throughout high school I played Lacrosse which had us running, oh I don't know, ALL THE GOD DAMNED TIME!!! Grew up playing basketball. I even tried in the off season's to get in the "groove" (whatever that means). Never got into it. Experienced what some call a "second wind" a couple times, but it was not worth the effort!
So when I started getting serious about cross training for my martial arts practice I had to reconsider running as a supplement. Plane and simple verdict; running long sustained distances does not mimic what I train / train for in the martial arts! I need short, intense bursts of 120% both aerobically and anaerobically! This is more representative of what I will experience either on the mat, or in a self defense situation.
I will do sprints and what not when close to a competition. I jump rope all the time which I find better and more stimulating than running. But most of all I grapple for cardio.
I have had the luxury to train with such notable pro's as Anderson Silva who claims he hates running as well, and when asked how he trains for a fight... "I fight. I am not running in a fight, I am striking, grappling, wrestling. So that is what I do to prepare."
As of late a lot of information has been coming out about the detrimental effects of long distance running. So check out this article for some food for thought regarding one of the most popular exercises in the US!
December 8, 2009
So my little blurb about diet seems to have opened up some different avenues in respect to supplements, vitamins etc. I have always been a bit leery of any supplement being sold by anyone. I have tried many things over the years especially going through massage school where it seemed like everyone had the next best thing!
Overall my experience has been that many of these tinctures, pills, and powders are bunk. Bullshit. Nothing to 'em. You dish out lots of money for very little, if any, return. Currently I take three things: Glucosimine - Chondroitin / Cod Liver Oil / Greens Today.
The greens formula is loaded with veggies and in general things that are good for me. I have tried many greens formula's and not only is this the best tasting one (mixed with apple juice), but it seems to be the strongest one I have found in terms of how it makes me feel. Typically in the past I would take a formula for about 2-3 weeks feeling positive effects (increased energy / better bowel movements / clarity in thought / better food digestion etc.), but then it would taper off and eventually I would feel nothing. With the Greens Today powder I get all those positives without it ever tapering off! I have been using it for about 2 years now (I think) and to be honest my body misses it when I run out. I try to listen to what my body tells me, as it is much smarter than I am;)
The Glucosimine - Chondroitin is purely for the joints. My joints take a lot of abuse with the activities I am involved with, so this is one preventative measure that is worth it to me! Again, when I am off of it I really feel the difference. As always I try to be as smart as possible with my training but a certain level of abuse is simply a factor of what I do. I try to minimize it and supplement with GC.
The Cod Liver Oil is for Omega fatty acids. I do not eat a lot of fish due to the cost, and I am not a big fan of the taste, so I feel a need to supplement my diet with CLO. I have a history of high blood pressure and cholesterol in my family, and since I cannot afford health insurance I try to be proactive with such risks. Will it save me? Who knows. But I check my own blood pressure regularly and it stays in the healthy range (except after driving in Seattle!!!!). I check my blood sugar when I visit my sis (she is diabetic), and I had a free Cholesterol screening a few months back. It was a couple points high, but I had just eaten some eggs and what not.
Beyond those I try to get all I need from food, water, and exercise. The greatest gift the martial and healing arts have given me is the ability, patience, and quietness to listen to my own body. Our intuition is our strongest attribute in my opinion, and most people are so out of touch with it they can eat McDonald's day in and day out without noticing the damage they are doing to their bodies!
There is a lot of evidence coming out lately that not only are supplements a waste of money, but they can quite possibly do damage to your immune system and retard certain health promoting effects!
Check out this very scholarly article on the subject!
For those who wish for a little easier of a read, check out this study on antioxidants and their effects on patients with various diseases. To summarize the results of this study:
Plain language summary No evidence to support antioxidant supplements to prevent mortality in healthy people or patients with various diseases Previous research on animal and physiological models suggest that antioxidant supplements have beneficial effects that may prolong life. Some observational studies also suggest that antioxidant supplements may prolong life, whereas other observational studies demonstrate neutral or harmful effects. Randomised trials have largely been neutral. We need evidence from randomised trials to decide if antioxidant supplements should be used for prevention.
In the end I encourage you to listen to your body, exercise every day, and try to eat and drink as clean as possible. It is your body, your vessel, the only one you get...love it, respect it!
Train Hard, Train Smart
December 7, 2009
Train Hard, Train Smart
We shall call him "Mike," and Mike is from Arizona and stumbled across my blog in his ramblings on the world wide intertube! I wanted to share Mike's words with you all, including his personal lab results from a recent physical. Also Mike included some links you all may find interesting.
Thanks for your recent blog post on diet.
I've been following a primal type of diet since the beginning of the year. I can tell you that I feel it's the true way to live. You're also right in that eating like this is not so much a diet but a lifestyle. Less sugar and starches in the diet is always a good thing, especially in these days. I did a couple of experiments on myself just to test the theory. September last year I challenged myself to give up juices and just drink water or milk during meals and such. I weighed 180 lbs at the time. Well 2 months later I was down to 170. I wasn't really doing any exercise either, just moderate stretching every now and then. Then in December, I found Mark Sisson's blog: www.marksdailyapple.com and absorbed everything written. I tried out the high-fat, low carb lifestyle and lost 12 lbs and 12% body fat in about 3 months. I also gained 8% skeletal muscle.
I too recently watched Food, Inc. It's very similar to these which I think you'll like too
I just had my annual physical and bloodwork done about a week ago. Here were the results with their percent differences from last year:
235 Total +25%
63 Trig -22%
73 HDL +40%
152 LDL +36%
11 VLDL -21%
3.2 Total Cholesterol / HDL
0.86 Trig / HDL radio
As you may know eating fat doesn't make you fat nor does eating cholesterol (eggs, etc) hurt you either. It's the insulin response to sugars that tells the body to store fat.
My doctor also ordered up a CRP (C-reative proteins) test. This test measures the amount of inflammation in the arteries. It is the swelling of the arteries and their eventual bursting that causes clots and heart attacks. Any number below 1.0 is fine
I've also learned how LDL is a calculated number and very inaccurate when triglycerides are below 150.
From what I understand, most labs just use the Friedewald method which if your trigs are greater than 150 is decently accurate. However the more that trig number is below 150, that method it can become very skewed. Using the Iranian method to calculate my LDL result was 126. I hear that to accurately test for the different kinds of LDL (small dense vs large puffy) is more expensive so almost all labs just go with the calculated Friedewald method.
Also with the trig/HDL ratio way below 2.0 and Chol/HDL ratio below 5.0, I'm doing pretty good. My doctor is onboard with all this actually said that some of her cardiologist and doctor friends might want to prescribe me a statin to lower the LDL and total cholesterol. Thank goodness that we have other ways (CRP, etc) to determine if that number really means anything.
Take care and thanks for a great blog.
Congrats to Semmy Schilt who won his 4th K-1 World Grand Prix Title over the weekend in Japan! Semmy destroyed his competition with 6 KO's in 7 fights! Check out Fights 4 You for the latest clips!
December 4, 2009
Kyra Gracie is offering a ten day Brazilian jiu-jitsu training camp in Rio de Janeiro from February 24th to March 3rd, 2010. This is the first time Kyra is offering a training opportunity of this sort, and it is only open to women over the age of 16. There is only room for ten students so if you are interested you had better move fast.
Kyra is of course, a multiple time world champion in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and well, Kyra Gracie. We expect some of the female members of the Mighty 600,000 to attend this camp and bring back a full report!
Kyra has asked that anyone who would like to make arrangements to attend her training camp simply contact her at email@example.com. To confirm I’m not just making this stuff up, check out Kyra’s site.
Thanks to fightworkspodcast.com for this announcment!
December 3, 2009
Well in case you missed it, even the greatest of the greats gets caught every now and then. Sad thing is the punch Green threw was relatively weak. But since Jones' hands were down, Green found the "button." Lesson to all....
Here is a fascinating article on Jack Johnson, boxing's first African-American Heavyweight Champion. Johnson is an inspiration not only for his physical attributes, but also for his unwavering attitude and outlook on life and society living in a time when even champion sportsmen were treated with indifference and racist hatred! In the early 1900's he was convicted of transporting women across state lines for immoral purposes (they were prostitutes with whom he had personal relationships with). Johnson skipped bail and fled for the next few years, eventually coming back and surrendering to the authorities. While in prison he patented a tool and was a model prisoner.
Posthumously George W. Bush signed a bill in 2008 to pardon Johnson, but a companion bill by good ol' boy John McCain shot it down (the more I read about McCain, the less I like him, and I hate fucking politicians!!!!) with the same animosity he has exhibited towards MMA. It is interesting to note that McCain has argued against MMA because of it being "Human cock fighting" and not civilized like boxing. Yet he shoots down a bill to pardon one of boxing's great, POSTHUMOUSLY! I mean really how big of a douche waffle do you need to be to NOT pardon someone for a draconian, antiquated crime even after they have died!?!?
In July of this year Obama passed the pardon 53 years after Johnson's death.
Anyways... check out the article. Neat stuff from one of the greats of the sport!
Check out the size of the gloves in the pic to the right!
Originally published in the May 1905 issue of "The Cosmopolitan," this article (thanks to EJMAS) sheds some interesting light on the subject of grappling in general, western wrestling (CACC) and Judo specifically. Take a peak at the way these arts were portrayed over 100 years ago! Very interesting.
Igor Gracie, is the son of the legendary Rolls Gracie was born in Rio de Janeiro, and currently resides in New York teaching with his cousin, the world renowned Renzo Gracie. Igor Gracie is a black belt from the Gracie Barra Academy and is a successful competitor, including two time state champion and Pan American and Mundial medalist.
Wreck MMA sat down with Igor, who will be the first Gracie to ever fight in Eastern Canada on December 12th in Gatineau (5 minutes from Ottawa) at Wreck MMA: Fights for the Troops.
Wreck: At what age did you realize you were a part of a very special family?
Igor Gracie: My family was always very united. So since I was a kid my mom always made sure I knew family comes first. But it was around 12 years old that I started understand how my family spread the art all over Brazil and soon the World.
Wreck: How old were you when you began studying Gracie Jiu-Jitsu?
Igor Gracie: I started going to the academy very young. Going in there to play, learn a few moves… a kid’s class. When I was about 4 or 5 years old.
Wreck: Was there any point in your life where you thought of becoming anything either than an instructor and professional fighter? Or being born with a famous name like Gracie, did you feel it was your destiny to learn Gracie Jiu-Jitsu and help teach the world about the sport pioneered by your family.
Igor Gracie: I went to Law school for 2 years and Business School for another 2. I think it’s very good to have an education regardless of what you want to be in the future, you got to be ready to whatever life throws at you.
But when I was 22 I started training and teaching full time, moved to New York and could finish the University.
Wreck: In 1993, when Royce Gracie won the first UFC, what was your reaction as a young Gracie in Brazil?
Igor Gracie: I grew up seeing those types of challenges. My Grandfather traveled the whole country challenging other martial artists to show how efficient Jiu-Jitsu was. But 3 fights in one night that was pretty impressive, I knew that I wanted to get in the ring and show my skills just like my Grandfather, Uncles and Cousins.
Wreck: Do you believe that your legendary father, Rolls Gracie, being the first Gracie to openly study other arts and integrate techniques into Gracie Jiu-Jitsu have a great impact on how Gracie Jiu-Jitsu has evolved to where
it is today?
Igor Gracie: Of course. That’s what everybody from the earlier generation keep telling me. How he developed tons of moves; made the guard more offensive; did conditioning training for jiu-jitsu; trained sambo; judo etc… He was many years ahead of anyone else at that time.
Wreck: Why did you decide to move from Brazil to New York to work with your cousin Renzo?
Igor Gracie: Renzo Invited me and I didn’t think twice. Because I knew that in New York I could focus 100% in teaching and training.
Wreck: At this point in your career, what do you believe is your greatest accomplishment?
Igor Gracie: I think I’m a pretty successful Jiu-Jitsu Competitor with major titles. But I want to prove that I can do well in MMA as well.
Wreck: Who are your main training partners and coaches for your fight in Wreck?
Igor Gracie: I train with the guys here in New York; my brothers Rolles and Gregor, Rafael Sapo, we got a good team over here. I also go twice a week to Ricardo Almeida Academy in New Jersey were he got an awesome training session. All that under the supervision of Renzo of course.
Wreck: How does it feel to be the first Gracie to ever fight in Eastern Canada?
Igor Gracie: I think that’s a great opportunity the event is giving me. I want to fight hard for the Canadian fans. And help develop the sport there.
Wreck: You have come to Ottawa on numerous occasions to conduct seminars with your brothers Rolles and Gregor. What are your thoughts on the city and the talent level of the students you have taught.
Igor Gracie: I love going to Ottawa because of the people. Even though it’s a cold place in the winter the people are very warm and welcoming. And the level is very high, Pat Cooligan and his crew do a awesome job running the school and keeping the level very high.
Wreck: How much of an honor is it to see your brother, Rolles Gracie, be the first Gracie since Royce to compete in the UFC?
Igor Gracie: Words can’t explain how happy I am. He trains so hard and dedicates himself so much that, I think he’ll do a great job at the Heavyweight division.
Wreck: Is your goal to follow your brother and become a UFC fighter?
Igor Gracie: Yes it is. I want to fight in the biggest event.
Wreck: Which current MMA fighter do you enjoy watching compete?
Igor Gracie: I enjoy watching Jiu-Jitsu fighters competing in MMA. Proving the efficiency of the art. Minotauro, Minotouro, Renzo, Rolles, Damian, GSP, Jose Aldo, just to name a few.
Wreck: Is there any fighter in MMA that you would like to face in the future?
Igor Gracie: When you decide to compete in MMA you can’t pick opponents, you have to build yourself to fight the best.
December 1, 2009
Every now and again one stumbles, quite accidentally, onto a small nugget of gold while wasting away hours on this silly talking box. I just struck gold with Fights 4 You an all access site that has just about any and every kickboxing, boxing, MMA fight cataloged in it's database! Simply put, fight heaven! Especially for those of us without HD Net, since they are pretty much the sole keepers here in the US of K-1 fights. Do you like head kicks like the one to your right?? Well then click on the above link right now for more head splitting action!
For those of you not in the know, K-1 was / is considered to be THE premier kickboxing venue for fighters! They have also started putting together MMA shows as well.
I am putting Fights 4 You on the Blog roll to the left as well!
It blows my mind that the powers that be still preoccupy their time with such trivial matters such as pot smoking, when (in my humble opinion) there are much, MUCH, more important issues at hand in the MMA world.
Yet the CSAC (California State Athletic Council) has just passed a ban on medical marijuana's use in MMA.
The most obvious thing even a novice smoker will tell you is that pot seriously does not give ANY advantage athletically to anyone, especially a MMA fighter!
There has been a lot of controversy over the use of “Medical Marijuana” and how it affects drug testing for mixed martial artists in California.
The California State Athletic Commission recently issued a statement declaring its stance on Medical Marijuana as it relates to drug testing for athletes it licenses.
The Commission made it clear that legal use via Proposition 215, also known as the Compassionate Use Act of 1996, in California does not negate disciplinary action due to a positive drug test result in relation to events overseen by the CSAC.
“The California State Athletic Commission's position is that Marijuana is a banned substance pursuant to Rule 303 and that any positive drug test may result in discipline,” read the statement.
The Commission stated that a Supreme Court ruling in the case of Ross v. RagingWire Telecomm “found that an employer may discipline an employee for off-duty medical marijuana use.”
In the case of athletes licensed to compete, an athletic commission isn’t an employer per se. The CSAC, however, argued its case, saying, “Because the Compassionate Use Act only provides a defense to criminal charges, any argument that the Act would allow an athlete to use the drug without consequences to his or her license must fail. If the Court were to take up a similar challenge to discipline of a licensee, it would likely find that the Commission has a legitimate interest in whether or not an athlete uses the drug because marijuana could slow a fighter's reflexes and endanger his or her health and safety in the ring or the cage.”
November 30, 2009
November 29, 2009
"Fighting Fit" is in it's fourth issue which can be found at your local bookstore. Originated in the UK, this mag is a step above what we have seen in a lot of the latest rags to jump on the MMA bandwagon. Encompassing martial arts, MMA, BJJ, boxing, and any other combat sport the variety of interviews, articles, and tips was refreshing. Most of the articles talked about various approaches to training and diet, which is a refreshing break from the typical "I am going to kick his ass until..." testosterone BS found in most of the MMA rags.
I always find it fascinating to see inside of fight camps and their approach to training, diet, focus, mental game etc. This magazine fits that niche for sure. The only down side is the price... 4+pounds UK, equals about $11 US!! I am not sure it is worth the price in that respect. Grab a latte and sit and read this one at the local bookstore.
Tim's latest article "Throwing Techniques in the Internal Martial Arts: An Elucidation of the Guiding Principle of "Sticking and Following" appears in the latest issue (vol. 18 #4) of the Journal of Asian Martial Arts. The issue is on newsstands now!
The article addresses some of the strategy and technique behind throwing methodology found within Xing Yi / Bagua / Taiji.
This article is required reading for all of my students regardless of what you train under me!!
The Abu Dhabi World Pro Trials US qualifier is coming to Santa Cruz, CA. Jan 24th, 2010. Winners receive full accommodations and airfare to World Pro Jiu Jitsu Cup where one can potentially win prizes upwards of $10's of thousands of dollars!!
For more info on the US qualifier click here!
Here is more info on the World Cup!
Train Hard, Train Smart!
Hakuho won his third title of the year by stealing the victory with a perfect 15-0 record in the Kyushu Basho! Hakuho ends the year with a never before seen record of 86-4! Best ever for a single year. The Mongolian Yokuzuna finished the tournament with a great throw vs. his rival, fellow Mongolian himself Asashouryu.
The actual bout begins at the 6 minute mark. Great fight!
Here are the highlights from the last day:
Here is the Japan Times breakdown.
To the right is a picture of Hakuho in his traditional Mongolian Wrestling uniform, and his current Sumo Mawashi. Don't forget about the Aaron Fields Mongolian Wrestling Seminar coming up in a couple of weeks!
November 27, 2009
But it occurred to me that perhaps many of you have not seen video of my teachers, and their teachers. Lineage is a fascinating subject matter in the martial arts, some take it more serious than others. But regardless of its importance to you, the knowledge passed on from one generation to another is crucial to the survival of the art, and really kind of amazing when you sit down and REALLY think about it!
So here are some videos I have been able to scrounge up on the web of my various teachers and some of their teachers as well!
Here is a clip from when Tim was a Purple Belt:
Here Tim is training with Xie Pei Qi (Yin Fu Bagua):
Great Bagua throw:
Here is the beautiful Sun Jian Yun, Sun Lu Tang's daughter, doing Sun Taiji. Tim studied Sun Taiji, and Bagua under Sun and her family while living in China:
Here is Mao Ming Chun one of Tim's teachers doing some Xing Yi. Tim studied Li Gui Changs Xing Yi under Mao:
Luo De Xiu, one of Tim's Bagua teachers from Taiwan:
Hu Xi Lin, my Mantis teacher in BC has been another guiding light in my martial journey. I met him and Tim around the same time and have trained with both nonstop since! Here are some clips from various seminars and training sessions we had throughout the years. Everyone always asks if I am "giving" him something, going with it, not resisting.... the simple answer is...no. He takes whatever he wants, and hopefully you tap quick enough!
Here is one of the only clips I am aware of showcasing Ma Han Qin, Hu Laoshi's teacher in Plum Blossom and Six Harmonies Mantis Boxing. This was part of a documentary project my uncle Ilya Profatilov was working on, but it never came to fruition to the best of my knowledge. Ilya is the one just off camera smoking. This is a shame since Ilya collected TONS of articles, photos, and video of Ma Laoshi before he passed. I hope it does not die with Ilya!
And I could never forget one of the biggest influences on me, as well as one of the most broken hearts I have ever had, Mike Martello. Here is a link to a playlist, as Mike put up too many videos to cut and paste here. Search Mike Martello on Youtube and you will find tons of shots.
Miss you Mike!
If you are more interested in my lineage, some of the teachers I have trained with that are not shown here, or any of the teachers above feel free to visit Three Harmonies and puruse the specific style pages for lineage charts, articles section for information on various teachers, and if you have any questions feel free to email me.
November 23, 2009
November 18, 2009
Diet is probably one of the most confusing, frustrating, inconsistent aspects of a combat athlete. Everyone has a personal opinion based on any number of factors, and it is very, VERY, difficult to sift through the bullshit out there to find the "truth" if such a thing actually exists. Any given day we are inundated with a plethora of information about what foods cause what diseases, and what foods are good for you. These lists seem to change and shift any given week (think of how many times the authorities have flip-flopped on the quality of eggs, or alcohol), and if you are like me, you really have to question ANYTHING the government has their grubby little fingers dipped into!
I recently viewed the film "Food Inc." which is one of the better documentaries I have seen in the past years. Regardless of your thoughts on diet, meat, and the effect our consumption on mother earth, this film is required viewing. Not only shedding some light on how mass production has created such a health epidemic in our country, but it also showcases the sad lack of respect we have for the marrow of our fine country, the local farmer. Here is a clip:
I recently competed at the 2009 No Gi World Championships, and decided to cut weight so I did not have to fight big mofo's on the mat. I wanted to fight in the 215# and under division (I believe it was 203-215#). I overshot my goal and fought at 205 the day of! I was not weak nor tired, but note to self...next time an extra 8#'s would be good!
So some people have been asking me how I lost the weight, and more importantly, how I lost the weight while not making myself weak.
First of all I stepped up my BJJ as well as my boxing and started training my ass off. But diet certainly was a factor. I have been more aware of my diet since I have been about 24-25. I started to get more in touch with my body and how it reacts to certain foods, and basically did not follow a certain diet per se, but listened to my body and did what I thought was common-sensical.
Tim, one of my teachers, has been researching diet and the human body since he was 11 years old. He is one of the more intelligent, well read, people that I have ever met and again Tim has a very common sense approach as well. Tim is a huge advocate of the Paleo Diet (two websites that offer overviews of such a diet are Paleodiet.com and thepaleodiet.com. I offer these sites simply as a general reference for those who are unfamiliar with such a diet), which very basically says to consume meat and veggies, and pretty much nothing else.
I am not strict about the Paleo diet, but as time has progressed (IE. I have grown older) I have been more and more diligent in this approach, and overall I feel better. And really that is my goal; feel better, live cleaner, and get better performance from my body. I do not concern myself with how I look, or how fat I am. I train daily, some days 2-3 times a day, so I get plenty of exercise and can "work off" anything I put on. I understand many of you do not have that luxury, so I hope some of this information can help you with maintaining the image you want, losing fat, and living a better life. I should note that I am NOT a doctor nor anyone you should take advice from on any level, so I present this simply for informational purposes only. Consult your doctor before trying anything, if you believe in doctors. I do not have the luxury of having health insurance, so I listen to my body and try my best without the knowledge of western medicine.
Though it is thick, and rather academic, "Good Calories - Bad Calories" by Gary Taube is one of the best resources out there, and lays to rest the low carb vs. low fat controversy. This book has over 100 pages of citations, where Taubes has read and referenced every medical report and paper published on the subject since the late 1700's! I have heard there is an "easier to read" version coming out soon. I have not read the whole thing, but read excerpts while staying with Tim in LA last week. Certainly something I need to add to my bookshelf.
Another great resource is Paleonu. Kurt Harris is highly educated and offers some great information for those curious about changing their diet, and his site has lots of invaluable information on it. I offer one of the basic lists to start off with when changing your diet below:
PaNu - A modified paleolithic diet that can improve your health by duplicating the evolutionary metabolic milieu.
How do you do it?
Here is a 12- step list of what to do. Go as far down the list as you can in whatever time frame you can manage. The further along the list you stop, the healthier you will be. There is no counting, measuring, or weighing. You are not required to purchase anything specific from me or anyone else. There are no special supplements, drugs or testing required.*
1 Eliminate sugar (including fruit juices and sports drinks) and all flour
2 Start eating proper fats - Use healthy animal fats to substitute fat calories for carb calories. Drink whole cream or half and half instead of milk. 3 Eliminate grains 4 Eliminate grain and seed derived oils (cooking oils) Cook with butter, animal fats, or coconut oil. 5 Get daily midday sun or take 4-8000 iu vit D daily 6 Intermittent fasting and infrequent meals (2 meals a day is best) 7 Fruit is just a candy bar from a tree. Stick with berries and avoid watermelon which is pure fructose. Eat in moderation. 8 Eliminate legumes 9 Adjust your 6s and 3s. Pastured (grass fed) dairy and grass fed beef or bison avoids excess O-6 fatty acids and are better than supplementing with 0-3 supplements. 10 Proper exercise - emphasizing resistance and interval training over long aerobic sessions 11 Eliminate milk (if you are sensitive to it, move this up the list
2 Start eating proper fats - Use healthy animal fats to substitute fat calories for carb calories. Drink whole cream or half and half instead of milk.
3 Eliminate grains
4 Eliminate grain and seed derived oils (cooking oils) Cook with butter, animal fats, or coconut oil.
5 Get daily midday sun or take 4-8000 iu vit D daily
6 Intermittent fasting and infrequent meals (2 meals a day is best)
7 Fruit is just a candy bar from a tree. Stick with berries and avoid watermelon which is pure fructose. Eat in moderation.
8 Eliminate legumes
9 Adjust your 6s and 3s. Pastured (grass fed) dairy and grass fed beef or bison avoids excess O-6 fatty acids and are better than supplementing with 0-3 supplements.
10 Proper exercise - emphasizing resistance and interval training over long aerobic sessions
11 Eliminate milk (if you are sensitive to it, move this up the list
12 Eliminate other dairy including cheese- (now you are "orthodox paleolithic")
If you can do step 1, that is about 50% of the benefit and alone a huge improvement on the standard American diet (SAD) By about step 6 you are at about 75% , by step 9 about 80% and at 10 you are at 99% for most people.
Here is the skeleton of the theory:
Insulin is a phylogenetically old hormone. It is a biological messenger that in excess, is metabolically saying the following to your tissue and organs: "Go ahead and store energy, and go ahead and mature, reproduce and die." Excess insulin in humans is linked to diabetes, Alzheimer dementia, metabolic syndrome, obesity, coronary disease and cancer.
We did not evolve under conditions of insulin excess. Food was intermittently available and not superabundant like today. Scarcity and famine were frequent everywhere until recently in evolutionary time. Preferred foods were available year round and dense in calories and nutrients. Animal products, including organs and bone marrow of mammals, fish, and invertebrates (insects) were the preferred foods, supplemented by edible plants (not grains) until the dawn of agriculture. Fruit was seasonal and not yet bred for maximum sweetness. Food was eaten less frequently, had lower carbs than the typical American diet which is about 60%, and was supplemented by often involuntary periods of intermittent fasting and lower calories overall.
We are not adapted to chronic hyperinsulinemia.
We are also not adapted to eating grass seeds, to which we have been significantly exposed for only about 10,000 years. They contain molecules that are specifically designed to discourage consumption, as well as other problematic chemicals.
The diet is not about eating exactly what "cavemen" ate, or killing your own food. It is solely about duplicating what I believe are the key elements of the internal hormonal metabolic milieu that we evolved under from especially less than 1 million years ago to about 10,000 years ago. This is likely to be achieved not by eating specific things, but more by not eating specific things.
Calorie restriction is a severe, uncomfortable way to have low insulin levels and if calorie restricted (starving) your insulin levels can be reasonable even if your carb percentage is high. However, with calorie restriciton you can get muscle wasting, fatigue and weakened immune function. In animal models, calorie restriction increases longevity substantially. Remember the metaphorical message of insulin? It says, "Mature, Reproduce and then Die". This message is attenuated by having low insulin levels.
Is there another way to live in a world of abundant food without being hungry all the time, yet avoiding the risk of immune dysfunction associated with eating grass seeds that cannot even be eaten without mechanical processing and cooking ?
Yes, you can work your way down this list.
Check the website occasionally for more details - I will elaborate as time allows - or you can post questions in the comment section of the blog.
* This is not medical advice. I am confident this is the healthiest way to eat based on currently available science. However, if you have any serious medical condition that requires treatment and in particular if you take medication for diabetes, thyroid disorders or autoimmune diseases, make dietary changes only in consultation with your physician. Your medications may need to be adjusted, as you may well need less of them!
Again I do not buy into all he has to say. I like fruits, but have been trying to limit them since they are full of sugar. I have switched over to Coconut Oil for cooking, but have done so recently so I cannot offer any insight into its effects yet. For instance though I am not an advocate of fasting. I train too much, too often to fast.
Keep in mind that moderation of moderation is key. Do not cut out everything, and allow yourself to "cheat" once a week. Eat whatever you like, do not fret about it on that day or two. Ease into changes such as these. You will be surprised how addicted to sugar or grains you are, and eventually after cutting such things out your body will no longer crave them, and if you do eat them your body will let you know what it thinks about the fuel you are giving it.
I have met, befriended, and pissed off many vegans and vegetarians over the years. I live in veggie heaven (Seattle), and came from New Mexico where it is quite popular too. Back home in Ohio we slaughter and eat vegetarians as we are mostly "meat & potato" folk;)
Again, many things factor into such personal choices and I am not "anti" anything though I do not prescribe to such a diet.
I have linked a great read on the myths of being a veggie here by Stephen Byrnes who is a ND and RNCP. Though lengthy, I like Byrnes because he is common-sensical and does not "dis" being a veggie. He simply lays out the facts.
The one argument for veggie type diets that I can see is the treatment of animals. It does disgust me how we slaughter and process meat on all levels! If it were up to me these aspects would be changed immediately. But not all things are that simple. As a society we have moved away from the hunter - gatherer lifestyle, and are now dependent on buying processed, easy to get/cook meat at supermarket's. How many of you have ever slaughtered an animal from start to finish? I feel for such deplorable conditions, but in the end I am at the top of the food chain and I am hungry! Hopefully the cow/chicken/pig will have better kharma in its next life.
We have strayed away from this approach to our diet, and are now dependent on others doing such things for us. We have grown, population wise, to the point of saturation! Too many people on too small of a planet, consuming more than we are producing. We are no longer in touch with our local farmers / community, and are now dependant on getting food shipped in from long distances which requires certain preservatives and chemicals that are just not part of our natural diet.
I think these resources are valuable starting points and I encourage you to check them out and see if you cannot try even the first 2-3 levels above. I think you will be surprised at the outcome.
Also build a healthy environment around you. If your friends / associates are lazy, overweight, and in general enjoy a shitty diet...guess what... you will not progress out of this lifestyle. It is hard, requires discipline and work! Do not stock munchie foods that are unhealthy for you. If you smoke weed try to have healthy snacks around the house to munch on. Eating an apple is MUCH healthier than a Snickers bar! When I get the munchies I will not seek out shit food, but if it is in the house I will eat it (damn Reese's PB cups!).
In the end you must enjoy life, so do not take any diet too seriously. Allow yourself to cheat and have fun while maintaining a healthy body, mind, and spirit. I like beer. Sure I cut out the frequency I drink when training hard, or trying to cut weight. But I still have it. I love food of all kinds so I am constantly trying new things and enjoy eating and cooking. I use healthy alternatives if I have the choice, and do not fret about meals to the point of stress. Also remember just because it is on your plate, does not mean you have to eat it all! Moderation in moderation.