Thursday, September 30, 2010

Marcelo Garcia v. Andre Arlovski

Marcelo is... well, obviously. And Andre Arlovski is a sambo master. 16 minutes of eyecandy here.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Pick your favorite gis!!!

Go to the Tatami Fightwear facebook page and vote for your favorite. There are three categories. All you have to do is “like” the ones you like the best in each of three categories: Ultimate (the coolest gi which, if it wins, will actually be made by Tatami Fightwear!), Funny (the obvious-- a freakin' funny gi), and Crazy (the gi that would be pretty much impossible to manufacture but is nonetheless awesome).

The other judges and I have whittled the field from over 300 to just under 20 finalists. You have until October 12th.


Emily Swindle is Aptly Named-- or, the theft of a gi and its replacement...

So... remember a while ago I mentioned loaning a gi to a chick visiting our school for a month before she moved to Germany? She ignored my face-to-face instruction and left with my gi when the month was up! Her name was Emily, and I recently discovered her last name (aptly) is Swindle. Anyway, my academy owner Christy (who was the intermediary on this gi loan) stepped up like a champion and insisted on buying me a replacement!

Of course I sent her to Mike at and I picked the Ouano womens' lightweight gi (conveniently, already pinked out.)

I really like this gi. I'll do a formal review in a day or so when I've had the chance to wear it a bit.

Anyway, been working on seeing negative passes lately... also taking the back more aggressively.. fighting from guard.. takedowns (Duh!) and then last night's comp class had the pleasant surprise of Donald's return. Responses to single legs at different stages in the game, Peruvian neckties, standing guard breaks, and of course grip fighting. Love, love, love me some Donald.

OK-- got more work deadlines staring me in the face. Hope your training is going well :)

Monday, September 27, 2010

China's First Female Blue Belt: Aihui Xu

Check out my interview with Aihui Xu, China's first female blue belt in BJJ. I became acquainted with her through Brendan McArdle, who trained with me at Relson Gracie in Austin before moving to Beijing. He graciously introduced us when I told him how exciting it would be to hear about her experiences and share them with you. He probably was not so happy when we all realized what difficulties we'd have translating my colloquial English into her Mandarin and back again! Anyway, give it a read here, on

Mostly all better.

Well, the knee healed up more quickly than I expected (or maybe I was just being a big baby whiner..) Good thing too, because my friend Mark (of the Bat Dojo fame) was in town and I wanted to see some of his Marcelo stuff. He taught me a double-negative pass into a spiral armbar as well as the Marcelo guillotine and some tweaks to my butterfly.

Again, big congrats to Dev on his purple belt AND his performance at the nogi tournament this weekend, closing out his division with a teammate and graciously taking the silver..

Ditto, parabens to Kyle in Waco TX -- he's a blue, but tapped a brown this weekend and won his division and absolute at a tournament.

And congrats to Sean in Colorado for the same!

I won't be training today it seems. Big deadline in the Supremes. *sigh*

Saturday, September 25, 2010


So, I was pretty dissatisfied with my crappling at the tournament last weekend. I haven't had time to process the footage yet what with a little accident at the house, crazy work deadlines, and so on.. but I will post what I have soon, I promise. In the meantime my first opponent, Tara Talanco, posted our match on facebook and tagged me in it, if you care.

What little accident? well... we have a saltwater reef tank, and it needs reverse-osmosis purified water for water changes. Accidentally left the water purifier on (filling a 60 gal drum) Monday and left the house around 9:30 in the morning. Upon return around 4 that afternoon, discovered lots of water, in lots of carpet, and running out into the garage and out the driveway. (heavy sigh) Fortunately, called the water extractor guy who sucked a LOT of water out of the carpet, pulled it up, took out the soaked pad, and set up a few fans and dehumidifiers. All that has been running ever since, and I think he'll remove it tomorrow since things seem to be all dry now. Just need to put in new carpet padding and restretch the carpet, put back all the furniture, etc and we should be back to normal.

For Dev, the things I want to work on: Nogi takedowns, nonreversible americanas from top halfguard, not getting reverse triangled from top side control, judo, judo, judo, and judo. Oh, and guard passing, closed and open, gi and nogi.

Yeah, yeah, I know that doesn't narrow it down one bit.

Sadly I have a hyperextended and twisted knee so I won't be training hard any time soon... at least 4-5 days minimum. But that's ok, I have a lot (A LOT) of work to do at the office.

Thanks for the good wishes, people. It's going to get harder before it gets easier. But I appreciate your help.


I am so very, very proud of Dev. You are a rockstar, a badass, a killer... and now a purple belt!

Congrats. Love it!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Cuban black beans.

Sorry. I'm in a funk, dealing with work and home stuff, and while I am still training (of course) I'm not motivated to talk about it right now.

So... food :)

Cuban Black Beans

adapted from Cocina Criolla by Nitza Villapo

1 pound dried black beans, rinsed and sorted
2-3 green peppers, cut into two-inch chunks
1/3 to 2/3 cup olive oil
1 onion, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon oregano
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons white vinegar
2 teaspoons white wine

1. Soak beans in 10 cups of water with two cut up green peppers for at least six hours or overnight, covered.

2. When beans are finished soaking, bring to a boil in soaking liquid. Simmer 45 minutes.

3. In a separate skillet, heat olive oil. Use 1/3 cup if you want the dish to be healthier, use 2/3 cup if you want the dish to be the best beans you’ve ever tasted. Add onion, and, if you wish, the third green pepper, and cook until soft and translucent. Stir in garlic and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds.

4. When onion and peppers are soft, put them in a blender along with 1 cup of black beans and liquid. Blend until smooth and add back to the pot of beans. If you prefer a chunkier sauce, you can just blend the beans and leave the peppers and onions whole.

5. Simmer one hour.

6. Add 4 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, 1/4 teaspoon oregano, 1 bay leaf, and 2 tablespoons sugar. Stir and simmer for one hour.

7. Add 2 teaspoons white vinegar and 2 teaspoons white wine. Stir and simmer over low heat until beans are soft and thick. If beans are not thick enough, leave uncovered for the last simmer.

How to have a good evening.

Late summer saute

Serves 3-4.

2 zucchini, diced
1 sweet onion, sliced into thin wedges
5 roma tomatoes, diced
4 lg cloves garlic, chopped
extra virgin olive oil
fresh basil
shredded parmesan or asiago cheese
8 oz. whole wheat pasta (fusilli or gemeli is good)
1 bottle Malbec

Open the wine so it can breathe. Chop your veggies. Cook your pasta in salted water. Start drinking wine. Saute zucchini with a little onion in very hot pan and olive oil. When zucchini is tender and slightly browned, put in bowl off heat. Saute onions over high to medium high heat till tender and browning; add garlic and stir briskly till the garlic blooms but isn't very brown. Add chopped tomatoes and cook till softened. Add zucchini back to pan with 1/3-1/2 cup of the pasta cooking water-- stir over medium heat for a minute then turn off. Shred some basil. Spoon twice the amount of veggies you anticipate over half the amount of pasta you usually eat-- garnish with basil and cheese. Finish the bottle and eat a small sweet thing (pear, piece of chocolate, both) for dessert.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Orechiette with brussels sprouts, gorgonzola, and pecans.

For a sweet, nutty flavor, roast the Brussels sprouts until they’re just this side of charred. Serves 4 to 6.

Kosher salt
4 cups Brussels sprouts, trimmed
3-4 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper
1 lb. dried orecchiette
1-2 Tbs. unsalted butter
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
2 large shallots, minced (3/4 cup)
3/4 cup heavy cream
4 oz. Gorgonzola, crumbled (1 cup)
1 Tbs. fresh lemon juice

Position a rack in the lower third of the oven, set a heavy rimmed baking sheet on the rack, and heat the oven to 500°F. Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil over high heat.

Slice the Brussels sprouts 1/4-1/2" thick. Transfer them to a large bowl, drizzle with the oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and toss until well coated. Remove the hot baking sheet from the oven and spread the Brussels sprouts on it in a single layer. Roast, stirring once about halfway through the cooking time, until the Brussels sprouts are tender and flecked with charred bits, 15 to 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, cook the orecchiette until just al dente.

In a medium skillet, melt 1/2 Tbs. of the butter over medium heat. Add the pecans and cook, stirring frequently, until the butter is browned and the pecans are toasted, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

Melt the remaining 1 Tbs. butter in the skillet over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the cream and bring to a simmer. Off the heat, add 3 oz. (3/4 cup) of the gorgonzola and stir until melted.

Drain the orecchiette and return it to the pot. Add the Brussels sprouts, gorgonzola sauce, and lemon juice and toss well. Serve, sprinkled with the pecans and the remaining gorgonzola.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Live the questions...

"[H]ave patience with everything unresolved in your heart and to try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don't search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer."

-- Rainer Maria Rilke, "Letters to a Young Poet," 1903

Saturday, September 18, 2010

UFC Fight Night and the Texas Open

My friend and training partner Zade got me a great seat for Fight Night here in Austin as a birthday gift :) 4th row on the floor, immediately behind Arriany and Chandella the ring girls, to Zade's delight.

Zade and Arriany..

Here's me and Eddie Bravo..

And Tim Kennedy, who trains with us..

Rousimar Palhares (l.) and Nate Marquardt...

Good times had by all, but I think 6 hours in the venue was too much.

Then today I competed in the Texas Open Fight to Win tournament.. I registered for intermediate and advanced nogi and blue belt gi, but was not put into the expert nogi brackets which ended up being fine with me. The takehome? Gold in nogi, silver in gi, but that's way better on paper than it was in real life. I will post video in the near future (though I accidentally taped a little bit over the start of my first nogi match, booo.) I hate this picture, it's one of the least flattering I've ever taken, but with Tartovski (of Angry Hugging- BJJ for the Modern Idiot) telling me "pics or it didn't happen" I felt I had to come through with SOME proof.

I won my nogi matches which is frankly a shock. (I think I've won TWO nogi matches in my entire life.) I use the word "won" loosely because they were both tied on points (2-2 the first and 0-0 the second) and my hand was raised by the ref, but... I just felt like I should have been crushing these girls and I didn't.

My takedowns were not taking and not downing. I wasn't getting taken down for the most part which is good, but man, this just re-emphasizes the necessity for taking peeps down and not relying on their guard pull (and thence your guard pass.) Also the whole damn nogi business is so slippery slidey spinny speedy. I prefer to be close tight smashy heavy methodical. So this is something I need to stretch to accommodate.

Then in gi-- Erikka Flom, winner of our division (leve blue) at Mundials this year was my first match. She got her arm popped super bad in nogi (girl didn't let go, but cranked at the tap and only let go when Erikka BIT her. No joke.) So Erikka bailed, I had a bye, and thus my first match was finals. Short version: she pulled guard, I passed, I got her arm in an interesting transition I can't immediately recall, and I thought I had a sweet armbar. In fact, the footage reveals her tapping twice.. I felt her tap... and the crowd exclaimed that she tapped.. but the ref didn't see it so when I let up, she kept fighting and after two of those, I gave up and transitioned to mountish then side control. From there, she caught my arm and head in a reverse triangle, scissored her thighs really roughly, and popped my nose (I thought it was broken so I tapped- and it didn't even have the decency to be broken or even BLEED!) BOOOO.

So that's that.

On other fronts, I am slammed with deadlines at work, and had some personal business come up which is going to substantially affect my focus for a while. I haven't decided yet whether I will blog about it-- sometimes I do think if I don't blog about it, it doesn't happen-- but I'd appreciate your well-wishes. Don't feel like you need to comment or whatever, just send it through the air. Thanks.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Tips for calming before and during jiu jitsu competition...

1. Be prepared. (See lots of other great bloggers' posts on this-- look on the far right column at my blog's link list, there's one titled "Best ever tournament prep collection.") Don't waste energy stressing over stuff. Sometimes it helps to have a little index card with some things you want to make happen... "Grip fight, seoi nage, double leg, straight back, staggered stance, heavy hips."

2. Bring music. Listen to it.

3. Work the tournament (scorer, assistant to director, photographer, whatever.) It helps me take my mind off my nerves and makes me feel more at home.

4. Lay hands on your opponents (I mean in a friendly way, like shake their hands!) so that they're human and real to you. Sometimes it helps to feel their cold fingers or sweaty palms, it reminds you they're nervous too. And sometimes it establishes, subconsciously, that you are comfortable and welcoming them to your turf instead of the other way around. I know it makes me a little nervous when I see girls with this mean face on before a match, but I'm even MORE skeeredy-cat when they're all relaxed and happy and cheerful. Like, what does she know that I don't? So I like to think I can put a little of that worriedness into someone else's heart ;)

5. Know your coach's voice and be listening for it intently. Surprisingly most of the time it won't get drowned out. Occasionally I get really adrenaline-y and then my coach is like the Far Side cartoon-- Blah blah blah Georgette, blah blah Georgette-- but mostly his voice just sings right into my brain. BUT-- also listen to your opponent's corner, as often they're telling YOU what your OPPONENT is about to do. Quite handy ;)

6. HAVE FUN. No one else cares whether you win or lose, for reals, until you are bigtime like Marcelo or Roger. No one hardly even notices. Comfort yourself with the ultimate minimalism of your match-- it's a very important 5 or 6 or 7 minutes and is only important for about that much longer after the end. Then it becomes just a laundry list of the things you need to work on. :)

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Please donate a gi to Hillary's Brazil Project

From Hillary's post today on MMA Underground:

"On every Jiu Jitsu forum I've been on, once every other month (or so) a thread pops up with "how many gis do you have?" People (myself, unfortunately, included) boast about having 8, 10, and 12 gis. Twelve gis? Really? I train hours and hours a week, but let's be honest. I probably don't need more than four gis, much less 12.

One of the greatest experiences I had on my last Brazil trip was the seminar I taught at a projeto social (community service) gym. We didn't have great mats to roll on, some of the students didn't have gis, and we weren't even indoors--but it was probably my favorite seminar I've taught so far. The students were so enthralled that I came out there just to teach them, and I've never felt like Jiu Jitsu was appreciated as much as it was with those students. For the few hours we were on the mats, no one cared about time, money, problems at home, or anything else. We just did Jiu Jitsu until it was too dark to see.

I was talking to Finfou (Alan do Nascimento) about his projeto in Brazil, in the Cantagalo slum. I met a few students back and forth through Checkmat in Copacabana, but the majority stay in Cantagalo. He told me the students are so dedicated, so hungry to learn, but so many don't train because they don't even have gis.

That's where you come in. I'm not asking you to buy a new gi and ship it out, I'm not asking you to donate your Shoyoroll #7, I'm just asking you to reach out. We all have a "starter gi," and you know what I'm talking about. That gi you used as a white belt and developed a different fashion taste, that gi that shrunk too much in the dryer or the gi that just didn't fit you right, the gi your son grew out of when he turned eight. If you can't donate a gi (understandable), PLEASE talk to your gym, the parents of the kid's programs, or someone you know who might. To you, it means so little. To someone in the projeto, it could mean so much.

I need adult and kid gis, hand-me-downs in good condition are absolutely great. My goal is 30-50 gis, and I plan to take them to Brazil with me the next time I go down. If the deal breaker is having to pay the shipping to my gym, well, I'll pay! As well, I hope by now I've earned a reputation of not being someone who would turn around and sell your gis.

I realize this is just one of many projetos, and I realize the task is too grand to be able to get a gi to everyone who is needing them. I hope to help as many as I can and encourage others to do so. Every single person makes a difference. Every single gi will make the life of someone better.

We write daily about how much Jiu Jitsu has given to us, shouldn't we try to give back?"

PLEASE send a gi to Hillary at:

Westside MMA RE: Projeto Cantagalo
1021 Jessie Road, Suite N
Little Rock, AR 72202

A look ahead...

So-- this Saturday is the Texas Open jiu jitsu tournament here in lovely Austin (which happens to conflict with the NAGA tournament in Ft. Worth.) Should be an excellent turnout with lots of peeps from my academy, some from our affiliate schools in other parts of Texas, and a houseful of houseguests here tomorrow evening for weighins.

Then Sunday is the Girls in Gis open mat for September, out in Baytown TX. Still a little iffy if I'll make that drive-- at the moment have no partners in crime and 3.5-4 hours each way plus 3ish hours of grappling is a long day post-tourney. We'll see. I really want to go; I hear Tracey Goodell will be in attendance.

I have so much stuff buzzing around in my head that I desperately want to pull off on Saturday.. :)

Creamy Andalusian Gazpacho

For ideal flavor, allow the gazpacho to sit in the refrigerator overnight before serving. Red wine vinegar can be substituted for the sherry vinegar. I prefer to use kosher salt in this soup, or half the amount of table salt can be used. Serve the soup with additional extra-virgin olive oil, sherry vinegar, ground black pepper, and diced vegetables for diners to season and garnish their own bowls as desired. Serves 4-6.

3 pounds (about 6 medium) ripe tomatoes, cored
1 small cucumber, peeled, halved, and seeded
1 medium green bell pepper, halved, cored and seeded
1 small red onion, peeled and halved
2 medium garlic cloves, peeled and quartered
1 small serrano chile, stemmed and halved lengthwise
Kosher salt
1 slice white bread, crust removed, torn into 1-inch pieces
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus extra for serving
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar, plus extra for serving
2 tablespoons finely minced parsley, chives, or basil leaves
Ground black pepper


1. Roughly chop 2 pounds of tomatoes, half of cucumber, half of bell pepper, and half of onion and place in large bowl. Add garlic, chile, and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt; toss until well combined. Set aside.

2. Cut remaining tomatoes, cucumber, and pepper into 1/4-inch dice; place vegetables in medium bowl. Mince remaining onion and add to diced vegetables. Toss with 1/2 teaspoon salt and transfer to fine-mesh strainer set over medium bowl. Set aside 1 hour.

3. Transfer drained diced vegetables to medium bowl and set aside. Add bread pieces to exuded liquid (there should be about 1/4 cup) and soak 1 minute. Add soaked bread and any remaining liquid to roughly chopped vegetables and toss thoroughly to combine.

4. Transfer half of vegetable-bread mixture to blender and process 30 seconds. With blender running, slowly drizzle in 1/4 cup oil and continue to blend until completely smooth, about 2 minutes. Strain soup through fine-mesh strainer into large bowl, using back of ladle or rubber spatula to press soup through strainer. Repeat with remaining vegetable-bread mixture and 1/4 cup olive oil.

5. Stir vinegar, minced herb, and half of diced vegetables into soup and season to taste with salt and black pepper. Cover and refrigerate overnight or for at least 2 hours to chill completely and develop flavors. Serve, passing remaining diced vegetables, olive oil, sherry vinegar, and black pepper separately.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

UFC Fightnight in Austin -- and Chael Sonnen is an ass!

Here's a highlight from Chael Sonnen's Q&A today here in Austin, as part of the runup to tomorrow night's UFC Fightnight. I'm looking forward to seeing Nate Marquardt fight Rousimar Palhares (from my fourth row floor seat, thanks to my training partner Zade!)

Tonight's competition class was fun. I'm psyched for this weekend's Texas Open. I'll tell you more when I can post my footage. :)

NCAA wrestling highlights


Thanks to Christian Graugart (the BJJ Globetrotter) and Francisco at DSTRYRsg for pointing out this KILLER NCAA 2010 wrestling highlight vid by

It's pretty much all awesomeness, but check out the freakishly good forward roll from turtle into a wrestler's cradle at 2:22 (yes, pretty much the opposite ending we'd like, but it's athletically gorgeous to watch) ... and the insane ankle pick at 3:19..

Then at 3:22-- this single-leg counter is just nutty!

Poor Jimmy... left his window open...

Read this on Jimmy's blog this morning and I'm still stifling giggles... here's just the beginning. Link for the rest at the end.

Dear Skunk,

Last night was one of worst experiences I’ve had this year thanks to you, and so I shall express my feelings about this to you in this letter.

Now, before I go on, let me say that I think I understand your position in this matter. You were probably minding your own business while passing under my bathroom window. And, you probably had no intention of bringing yourself to the attention of my neighbors dogs. And, I understand that your best line of defense is to utilize the mechanism bestowed upon you by evolution although it’s gotta be one of the worst out there.

So this once, I will be of an understanding nature.

But please now let me explain to you my position in this matter. Unfortunately, I had decided to leave open the one window in my home above where you would make your stand.


Read the rest here.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Conversation, today....

[16:40] georgetteoden: so I'm annoyed by judo today

[16:40] georgetteoden: and yesterday

[16:40] georgetteoden: and Saturday

[16:40] georgetteoden: I just want to fast fwd two years

[16:40] vidushr: judo being a cold bitch?

[16:40] georgetteoden: totally

[16:40] georgetteoden: no more fancy dinners out

[16:41] georgetteoden: no more roses

[16:41] georgetteoden: until she puts out.

[16:41] vidushr: nice. i feel like that w/ jits often- sometime she's a freak ho and sometimes she is an ice queen.

[16:41] georgetteoden: LMAO

[16:42] georgetteoden: vidush

[16:42] georgetteoden: I'm blogging that

[16:42] georgetteoden: want a pseudonym?

[16:42] vidushr: i dont mind

[16:42] georgetteoden: :)

[16:43] vidushr: but its true sometimes you can get her to do anything you want no matter how dirty and then sometimes you cant get anything

[16:43] georgetteoden: so so true

[16:44] georgetteoden: women!

[16:44] georgetteoden: can't live with them

[16:44] vidushr: damn right

[16:44] georgetteoden: can't kill them

Sunday, September 12, 2010

More superfights...

Superfight, Penny Thomas v. Shayna Baszler, Grappler's Quest Boston 2010...

Pablo Popovitch vs Lucas Lepri, Grappler's Quest Boston 2010.

Ryan Hall v. Hermes Franca

Superfight: Ryan Hall v. Hermes Franca, UFC Fan Expo, Boston 2010

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Cyborg v. Rolles

Superfight-- Rolles Gracie Jr. v. Roberto "Cyborg" Abreu, Grappler's Quest, UFC Fan Expo in Boston.

Throwdown and Spar-B-Q, Bullshido-style

The Bullshido website is home to martial artists of all persuasions, dedicated to investigating and exposing martial arts frauds. I've been privileged to help with two of these investigations here in Austin and through them have become acquainted with lots of the folks on the Bullshido forums.

Bullshido members routinely organize throwdowns, nondenominational sparring sessions mostly of a regional nature. Annually there's a "mega" throwdown and this year we had it here in central Texas. I hosted two awesome judoka from Lafayette, Louisiana (and their lovely wives) plus a jitsuka who has trained with us before from Waco... and what a fun Labor Day weekend it was.

Seeing people of different martial arts backgrounds get together and exchange techniques in a friendly (yet still trash-talking) noncompetitive (yet still evaluative) forum like this is really satisfying. Cathy Chapaty, head of Austin's Tao of Texas, hosted the first day of the Throwdown with grace and a welcoming spirit. About 25 people from different disciplines landed on her mats at noon on Saturday and immediately started grappling.

We had people from other states and a few guys came all the way from California to join in. The atmosphere was really enjoyable because of the respect everyone showed to each other. Some of the styles represented include Enshin karate, judo, Brazilian jiu jitsu, muay thai, submission grappling, TKD, kali, and kickboxing.

Later in the afternoon people shifted to striking and kicking. Here's Kyle, from Waco, and Chris (red and black rashie) going at it. Chris made the 4000 mile drive from California to be with us.

In between sparring matches, several of the blackbelts in the room shared techniques with an appreciative audience. I especially enjoyed Cajun black belt Josh Artigue's judo lessons. Josh spent significant time with us on Saturday and Sunday teaching some beautiful throws, footsweeps, gripfighting, and groundwork. Here's Coach Josh and his protege, brown belt Scott Sonnier, showing us how it's done.

Best of all, it was not ippon-oriented but 'throwing for control,' thus very useful for me as a jiu jitsu fighter.

Mike MacDonald, former pro fighter with black belts in Kung-fu, Sambo, Judo, Taekwondo, and American Jiu Jitsu taught some gorgeous nogi takedowns and submissions. He also made the long drive from Cali to be with us.

Part of the plus for me was seeing the younger generation participating too, in a family-friendly environment. I got to roll with 3 young women, ages 8-15, and we had a blast learning from each other and watching others spar.

Saturday night we all hit Korea House for their amazing barbeque (and lackluster service by an aging Korean Elvis.) We reunited in San Marcos the next day at Solidarity MMA, hosted by Taylor, for more beatdown.

More how-to-feet-to-the-ceiling was to be had, courtesy of Coach Josh and Scott...

And here's Kyle tossing Scott..

After all the sparring anyone could handle, the group converged on the river for some "spar-b-q", tubing, and cold beverages.

Can't wait for the next Texas throwdown. If it sounds good to you, you can read more and see more pictures of the Mega Throwdown here on Bullshido's forum and future plans for a Texas throwdown will be posted here on Bullshido.

Note: a special thank you to Demitri Pevzner of San Antonio for taking most of these pictures.. a couple were taken by other Bullshido members and pinched by me, with their consent, from the Bullshido thread.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Peanut butter-chocolate bars.


* 1 cup butter or margarine, melted
* 2 cups graham cracker crumbs
* 2 cups confectioners' sugar
* 1 cup peanut butter
* 1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
* 4 tablespoons peanut butter


1. In a medium bowl, mix together the butter or margarine, graham cracker crumbs, confectioners' sugar, and 1 cup peanut butter until well blended. Press evenly into the bottom of an ungreased 9x13 inch pan.

2. In a metal bowl over simmering water, or in the microwave, melt the chocolate chips with the peanut butter, stirring occasionally until smooth. Spread over the prepared crust. Refrigerate for at least one hour before cutting into squares.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Saturday, September 04, 2010


So today was the "Mega Throwdown and Spar-B-Q" for Bullshido members... This year's big meeting, in Austin, hosted people from as far away as California for 2 days' worth of sparring, standup, grappling, throws, and lessons from notable blackbelts in a variety of arts, including a judoka blackbelt and a former pro fighter. I have 2 judoka from Louisiana and their wives staying at the house, as well as one of our jits guys from Waco.

I will write a longer writeup shortly but wanted to gripe for a mo' here.

My first roll of the 5 hour session was with a green belt in another style which teaches some groundfighting techniques. He probably weighed about 195lbs. He approached me on his knees with both hands pointing at me, like a bird's beak with fingers all straight and together, arms up in the air, one high over his shoulder and one lower, about clavicle height. I pulled guard and tried to armbar one of these birds, but failed, effectively pulling kind of a knee on belly/scissor half guard. I don't remember all of the roll, but I got smashed. I maintained high structural integrity of my hedgehog form for a while until, from kesa, he extended my near arm and straight armbarred it. (Note: work on kesa escapes against big people.) He also eventually took my back and choked me (note: don't underestimate people simply because they train some other art.)

I'm griping because I'm mad. I AM A BRAZILIAN JIU JITSU FIGHTER. I'm supposed to be able to wax the floor with people from other styles. WTF! It shouldn't matter that he has a good 60 lbs on me. It sucked!

Friday, September 03, 2010

Application of police training theory to jiu jitsu.

I subscribe to a newsletter that discusses topics relevant to law enforcement, and this morning's issue had a really good article talking about how to most effectively train police recruits. As I read it, I realized it was equally applicable to jiu jitsu. Read it and see if you agree.

Training police recruits to think (part two)

By Sgt. Steve Papenfuhs (ret.) San Jose (Calif.) Police Dept.

In order to develop long-term memory, motor programs, and problem-solution schematics, the science of cognition and motor skill development must be incorporated into the training program. The learning experience must be structured in accordance with contemporary principles of motor learning and performance. Skills can be practiced in blocked, variable, constant or random patterns or some combination thereof. Studies have demonstrated that for both cognitive and motor-skill training, a schedule of variable and random practice proves more effective for long-term skill retention.

Blocked Versus Random Training

Blocked practice is a sequence in which the student works on a single skill or sub-skill for multiple repetitions before moving onto the next task. In a random schedule, the learner minimizes consecutive repetitions of one task and intersperses it with the practice of multiple tasks during the same practice period. The skills are practiced in no particular order. While it may seem intuitive to master one skill before moving to another, experiments have established that practicing in a random manner more effectively develops the student’s long-term retention of the material.

Recruits learning a new skill will most likely need some measure of blocked practice before moving to a random practice model. The extent to which the student must remain in the blocked schedule depends upon the innate traits of the individual, prior knowledge, motivation, attention, and most importantly the simplicity or difficulty of the task to be mastered. The instructor can influence most of these variables by structuring the instruction in an efficient and effective manner, utilizing motivating coaching skills, and minimizing the cognitive load of the material by simplifying the tactics, techniques, and procedures taught to the recruit. As soon as the student has a fundamental understanding of how to perform a technique, random practice scheduling should be incorporated.

Constant Versus Variable Training

Recruits may feel more comfortable practicing a single skill for multiple repetitions believing that they are beginning to “get it,” and may become frustrated when just at that point the instructor steps in and moves on to another task. Since adults have a need to understand why they are doing what they are doing, instructors should explain the science of motor-skill development in order to mitigate that frustration.

In order to improve the recruit’s problem-solving and adaptability skills, tasks should be practiced in a variable manner. Variability refers to a practice sequence that introduces a number of variations of a particular skill during a training session. Variation refers to both “surface” as well as “structural” features of tasks. Since the ultimate goal of instruction is the transfer of skills from the learning environment to the “real world,” the context (surface features) and the content (structural features) of a task must be practiced in reality-based surroundings.

Let’s use a prone-handcuffing tactic as an example. In a constant practice regimen, the student performs his or her instructed handcuffing technique in isolation. The recruit learns a single method for applying the handcuffs with no problem-solving or environmental challenges. In fact, the recruit may be required only to apply the handcuffs from a single approach angle.

Sterile practice in a mat-room environment is not realistic training. Problem-solving scenarios in real-world environments (also referred to as the specificity of learning principle) must be incorporated into practice sessions in order to prepare the recruit for the real world. We can promote this realistic training by varying the task requirements. First, ensure that the recruit is forced to practice his or her handcuffing technique from all approach angles (head, side, foot) and knows how to apply the technique to either hand. This would be an example of surface-feature variability since the underlying procedures to accomplish the task remain the same. Second, vary the structural-features by changing the environmental considerations.

At my agency we are fortunate to have a “Sim-house” and seldom-used hallways adjacent to the mat room. The recruits soon discover that the techniques they learned in a wide-open area do not translate to confined spaces, when operating from a position of cover, or in cluttered rooms where backup officers cannot attain that picture-perfect cover position. Incorporating a problem-based-learning precept, we encourage the students to develop options for adapting their initial training to solve the current problem in this more realistic environment.

Some of the recruits are able to discover practical answers to the novel problem of handcuffing in a more realistic environment. Frankly, we are not looking for a perfect answer, but rather a solution that is reasonable and satisfactory. Other recruits, for one reason or another, discover that the cognitive load of developing problem-solutions is too great. This extraneous load then interferes with learning (Plass, et al., 2010). At any “stall point” in learning and problem solving, the instructor must then use one of several coaching strategies to further the instruction. Strategies include worked examples, part problem solving, prompts, hints, inquiries, or direct instruction when necessary.

Open and Closed Skills

Police work is an open-skill enterprise. Open skills are those that are performed in an environment that is unpredictable or in motion and that requires individuals to adapt their movements in response to dynamic properties of the environment. Unfortunately, most instructors with whom I am familiar train students in a manner that is most consistent with closed skills. Closed skills are performed in predictable and stationary environments that allow individuals to plan their movements in advance (Schmidt & Wrisberg, 2000). This is far from the real-world environment of police work. A byproduct of a random and variable training model in an open-skill environment is a level of stress-adaptation.

The impact of closed-skill training can be measured. Recruits were asked to “self-report” on their experiences in the academy. While the assessments were more observational than empirical, those recruits assigned to the more “closed-skill, constant, and blocked” training methodology reported that they felt less prepared and more stressed about scenario testing while in the academy. Some even reported that due to the monotony of the “more-reps” instructional strategy, they became bored and did not feel challenged during training sessions. These recruits stated that they had difficulty transferring their mat-room theoretical knowledge into the practical knowledge needed for scenarios. They also reported feeling less confident than did the random-practice group in their ability to improvise and adapt to novel situations that they expect to encounter in the Field Training Program.


Blocked and constant training works best for short-term memory retention. Therefore, if your desired outcome was to teach a skill today that the student is to be tested on tomorrow, then direct the student to perform mass repetitions of the skill. If, however, your goal is to develop a skill that must be retained for many years (arrest and defense tactics come to mind), then apply variety and randomness to your training cycle.

New material is soon forgotten if not reinforced. Therefore, review time must be strategically incorporated in practice schedules. We have found that the high-risk, high-frequency skills needed by officers are more readily retained with frequent and short practice sessions distributed throughout the academy training. We start almost every training session with a review of standing handcuffing and searching. These are the tasks most frequently performed by patrol officers. Additionally, after every break we immediately review the new material that was presented in the previous instructional block. Performance rapidly improves with this strategy, as does the interest, confidence, and motivation of the student.

Through appropriate modeling of skills, and the application of the scientific principles of adult-learning and motor skill development, we demonstrate relevancy, motivate the recruit to take responsibility for learning, and develop their ability to transfer their skills to novel situations. Additionally, by developing and applying simulations and training vignettes to their learning cycles, the recruit develops a problem-solving attitude and has an opportunity to adapt to the stressors presented in the event.

In order to more quickly develop the problem solving arrest and control skills of young police recruits, be sure to deliver content; while at the same time remember how equally important it is to set context. Get out of the mat-room as quickly as possible. Work in hallways, on stairs, and in and around vehicles. Set up scenarios that challenge their skills early. Make these scenarios realistic and solvable. Our job is to guide and coach the recruit to an acceptable resolution, not demand that they choose the same solution that we would. You are not going to be there on the street to direct them.

Teach them how to problem solve — how to think — and be confident that you have given them your best.

Thursday, September 02, 2010

Panentheism or monotheism on the mats.

Strep throat sucks. Antibiotics rule. Jiu jitsu is amazing and awesome.

This wasn't me but I have had strep this badly in the past. Thank goodness not this time.

But these were in me.

I caught strep Tuesday before last; did not train till last Friday, which was too early, and then watched 30 min of the Relson seminar last Saturday.

*** I'll note that I LOANED a gi to some girl who wanted to train for a month at our school before moving to Germany... I never met her, she trained at lunch only, so I loaned it indirectly via one of our instructors... this girl thanked me several times "for" the gi instead of for the "loan" of the gi, even though I pointedly told her when she was ready to leave she could just give it back to the instructor to give back to me. Anyway, I finally met her face to face at the seminar... again told her to leave the gi at the front desk when she left, don't even worry about washing it. And noooooo... a nearly brand new sweet-as-**** competition weight gi was NOT returned to the academy, and she's NOT returning phone messages. Of course because she's probably in Germany!!! Grrr... Ahh well, it's her karma. Hopefully it makes its way back to me but if not, great excuse once husband is hired again to get some more gis. My friend Max is totally enabling my desire to add to the collection. Fushida! OTM! Vangaard! Ayabuza!***

Still didn't train until this week... and it's been heaven to be back on the mats. Worked on a new side control escape, a back take counter to it, a counter to the back take, and a counter to the counter that flips them upside down and into your back mount... spiffy! And kouchi gari/ouchi gari..

I also have some backlogged pieces to write.. Got the interview answers back from China's first female blue belt and will be doing that for soon. Writing a review of the last Girls in Gis for and will do the next Girls in Gis for On The Mat's blog which has just opened up some job opportunities for writers and competitors.. check it out! And finally I need to write something for my bud Matt Benyon of Scramble Stuff fame. Just isn't enough time in the day, I swear!

But aside from laundry listing all the myriad things I am working, and need to work, on, I've been thinking about the nature of training as it's changed for me from white to blue to really being a blue. At white and new-blue, I came to every class and sat like a sponge, slurping it all up. I'd use open mat to work everything, because in every position I found something that needed practice, so I was kind of directionless. A panentheist view of jits, if you will-- where god and jiu jitsu are everywhere you look and in everything, and you are open to learning anything and everything.

But now I notice I am being much more selective, even monotheistic, in my focus. It's not that I won't attend class or only show up for the open mat section of class (so annoying!)... but more that I tend to categorize the technique(s) of the day as either relevant to the portions of my game I'm working on or the game I already have, or as less relevant.

If it's relevant, I'm all ears, though my drilling after the first 4-6 reps is likely to start in some position before the entry to the day's technique (so I can see how it flows from other likely starting places) or maybe it will be slightly amped up drilling maybe using 20-30% resistance. This of course assumes I have a like-minded upper blue or higher level training partner. If I am with a whitebelt, I'm all business and pure application of just that technique, straight up.

If it's not super tied in to what I want to be working on this month, then I go through the movements precisely and attentively for the required period of time, but I recognize I probably won't have that retention and application for a while, since it's a puzzle piece alone by itself instead of nestling into a handful of other pieces.

What do you do? notice anything similar or very different? Discuss, kittens...

Last, check out the choke at 1:10... thanks Mark!