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29 of May 2012
Becoming a “well rounded martial artist” is going to mean a lot of things to a lot of different people. I am going to tell you what it means to me. You don’t have to meet all of these criteria, but you should strive to meet as many as possible. If you’re looking for my article about being well rounded at BJJ, that’s over here.
Being able to defend yourself in the street
Many people specialize in the “sport” version of their art, like sport Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Remember, however, that whatever martial art you practice is intended as a way to defend yourself, first and foremost. This doesn’t mean you have to obsess over unlikely scenarios and become paranoid about an attack on the street, but understanding realistic options for defending yourself should it come to that is one aspect of becoming well rounded.
Specializing in an area, but keeping your eyes open to other areas
Nobody is going to be a master of every single aspect of fighting, but what you can do is focus on the art you love with passion and intensity while more casually learning other areas of self defense or fighting. If you love jiu jitsu, train jiu jitsu as much as you can, but try a little boxing or Muay Thai. If you’re a judo black belt, try some wrestling, jiu jitsu, and striking to compliment your skill set. Remember: you don’t have to fall in love with every martial art you practice in order to have a basic understanding.
Understanding the three ranges of unarmed combat: striking, takedowns, and grappling
Having an answer for all three (BJJ, Muay Thai, wresling and/or judo) is crucial. You may be great on the ground, but what if you are simply unable to bring the fight there? You need to have at least a basic understanding of striking so that you understand different ways your opponent is going to be throwing attacks at you. Nowhere is this more evident than in modern MMA.
Understanding the basics of weapons
Unarmed combat in a self defense situation is anything but a foregone conclusion. Educate yourself as to the fundamental concepts of weapons, including- but not limited to- guns and knives.
Yes, we are martial artists, not merely fighters. When we step off the mats, we don’t stop being representatives of our respective arts. The way you deal with problems in life is a reflection of the way you are able to solve problems on the mat. Become the person people want to train with.
This article bears comparison to the earlier article on what makes a well rounded BJJ player, but it certainly expands upon the idea.
29 of September 2011
This past weekend’s ADCC has a lot of us thinking about the top grapplers in the world, no doubt. This list will consider some of the best American grapplers of all time. I’m talking strictly no-gi here- reflecting on Abu Dhabi, but taking all tournaments into consideration, especially IBJJF’s no-gi worlds. Don’t like my list? Make a comment below!
1. Dean Lister I think any such list has to include (if not begin with) Dean Lister. Not only was Dean the 2003 absolute champion and 2005 superfight winner, but he surprised everyone by breaking any legs in his way this year at ADCC (including Rodolfo and Joao Assis).
2. Jeff Monson Monson won ADCC in 1999 and 2005, took silver in 2000 and 2001, and bronze in 2009. Holy crap! He also went on an undefeated tear in tournaments in the US in the mid 2000s that included ADCC (yes, it was in the US that year), the Bud Cup, Grapplers Quest and some other local tourneys. Monson was practially unbeatable for a few years. He even won the IBJJF no-gi worlds at black belt.
3. Mark Kerr If Monson was the immovable object, “The Smashing Machine” was like the Juggernaut on steroids. Literally. He was a comic book character on Vitamin S. Kerr won the 1999 and 2000 ADCC, and added the open class victory to his resume as well in 2000, landing him the superfight against Mario Sperry in 2001. Kerr won. Kerr faded into obscurity in 2003, after losing to Arona in the ADCC superfight (and being featured in “The Smashing Machine”, a very sad movie about his decline), but he remains one of the top American grapplers of all time.
4. Jeff Glover Perhaps Glover’s biggest accomplishment- on paper- was winning the 2007 IBJJF worlds at black belt. He also took home a bronze medal at ADCC this year (2011), submitting a very experienced and savvy Robson Moura (one of the greatest gi grapplers of all time). Glover is more of a people’s champion, though, having literally dozens of local tournament titles, including more than 20 Grapplers Quest titles to his name. Glover continues to be very active in competition, and will probably add several more titles to his resume.
5. Rafael Lovato, Jr Lovato is easily the most accomplished American gi Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competitor of all time. Alas, this is strictly a no-gi list. However, Jr cemented his position in 2010 by winning the IBJJF no-gi worlds at black belt, and then won the Abu Dhabi Pro No-gi Worlds in 2011 (not to be confused with ADCC, but still a legitimate no-gi win at black belt). Lovato also racked up two Bud Cup pro wins, along with 2 Grapplers Quest pro titles.
02 of May 2008
LEVEL: Intermediate / Advanced
Start with Part 1.
8. Here I have secured a solid side control position with my opponent’s arm trapped with the Kimura Lapel Trap.
9. From here, I have lots of options. My personal preference is to switch to the traditional Kimura grip.
10. With this grip, I am in total control. I force my opponent onto his side, and forward.
11. From here, I put my first hook in…
12. Keeping the Kimura grip, I insert my second hook.
13. Now that I have my opponent’s back, I continue to control his hand with my left hand while working up with my free right hand to the “harness” position, over and around his neck.
14. Harness Grip with a one-on-one.
15. Waiting until I have a deep grip on my opponent’s lapel, I will release the one-on-one and start working to choke.
16. If he allows me to control his elbow, I will finish him with the “single wing choke,” kata ha jime.
17. Otherwise, I will grab his pants as close as possible to the knee, finishing the “bow and arrow” choke.
Another Angle View of the Submission
01 of May 2008
LEVEL: Intermediate / Advanced
1. I am in my opponent’s half-guard. I have switched my hips.
2. I reach over my opponent’s left shoulder and grip for the “Kimura” shoulder lock
3. Here I am establishing my grip on my own wrist for the Kimura.
4. Note that my left leg is out at 90 degrees and that my toes are “live.”
5. My opponent grabs his own belt to defend against the Kimura, so I start to untuck his lapel on that side….
6. …feeding the lapel through to my left hand. This isolates his far side arm and pins my opponent’s back to the mat.
7. With my right arm free, I continue to pass the half guard as normal, freeing my right leg.
8. With this particular pass, I always work towards north/south- see part 2 for why.
01 of April 2008
Here I have my partner in my closed guard. This means that my ankles are crossed around his back, over his hips.
I reach deeply inside my opponent’s collar. I’m taking a cross grip here.
With my guard still closed, I take a same-side sleeve grip. Note that my left elbow is pulled in close to my body. This makes it very difficult for my opponent to resist the grip by pushing on my shoulder or planting on the ground with his right arm.
From here, I will simply pull my opponent forward. This is probably the most neglected, and yet, most important element of a scissor sweep – the off-balance.
Now comes the “scissor” part. My right leg extends, pushing my opponent’s torso forward. My left leg scoops, taking away his base.
I follow to the top position, but I don’t slack off here- my right foot is ready to continue hooking my opponent’s left hip. I use this to prevent his escape, and I follow to the top position….
…where I can achieve the full mount, complete with my right hand in my opponent’s collar. I don’t let go of the sleeve grip with my left hand until I have established dominant top position.
From here, I base with my left hand, making sure I don’t get rolled back to guard with an “upa” escape.
Walking my hand all the way over to the other side of his neck, I “find the seam” that my right hand has created under my opponent’s neck. I grab the “seam” with my left hand…..
And I drop my head to finish the choke, bringing my elbows to my sides. This is just before my head drops.
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