Mar 052012

Man, oh man!  Did you guys see that fight on Saturday night?  Holy cow.  Now, I want to say that I want to like Rousey in the worst way.  But her palpable arrogance is making it very difficult.

The point of this post, however, is to talk about the armbar.  I just want to mention a couple of things.  Please bear in mind that I’m not an elite grappler or a professional MMA fighter.  I’m a purple belt who likes the sport and has been arm barred more times than I can remember.  If you haven’t already, check out Ryron and Rener Gracie’s breakdown of the move.  Not only are they entertaining, but they’re very detailed.

A lot of people have talked about how she is doing the armbar incorrectly, but there’s a guy in my school who has always done his armbars this way.   To a casual observer, she has her feet crossed, making it more difficult to pinch her knees together and isolate the arm.

But I’ve rolled with guys before who have caught me in an armbar like this, and it’s not loose.  While I don’t know whether crossing the feet is critical, Rousey’s not being sloppy.  Rather, she’s widening her right knee out to put a lot of pressure on Tate’s head.  Tate can’t roll her hips over to get her knees up and stack Rousey and attempt what is a very typical defense (shown below).  This is a very common defense.

At the same time, she’s got her feet crossed right underneath Tate’s farside shoulder, effecitively keeping Tate from attempting what is a common, last ditch defense shown below.  We’ve always called this one the running man, because it looks like you’re running in a circle.  It’s called the coffee grinder below.

It looks like the one real opportunity for Tate to escape is in the window before her arm is extended, taking advantage of the widened legs to really drive her elbow to the mat.  My personal experience is that this is easier said than done.  With Rousey effectively controlling Tate’s head, she will have less torque in her hips to get the momentum necessary to clear her elbow and begin to come up.  She was successful the first time, but barely.

Ultimately, I’m curious what you guys think.  Has anyone played around with an armbar done in this way?  Or, perhaps more relevant, has anyone been armbarred this way?  What do you think?

My opinion is that it’s not wrong.  It’s different, with its own pros and cons.  And as with any different technique, there are appropriate ways to defend against it.  I’ll also say that I can’t wait for the rematch.  While Rousey certainly won convincingly, Tate hung in tough, and showed some flashes of brilliance.  Tate had heavy hips, scrambled very well and at one time had Rousey’s back.  There’s a brilliant rematch in the future, I think.

In the meantime, I think Rousey’s going to crush Kaufman….

Check out the full fight (while it’s still posted. I expect the following link to disappear at some point):

Jan 112012

Giva SantanaGiva Santana is joining the next Bellator middleweight tournament. Giva is 17-1 with one win in Bellator. He’s a scary looking guy, but he’s one of the nicest people I’ve had the pleasure of meeting in BJJ and his jiu jitsu is at an elite level.

He won the Pan Ams in 2004 in field that included Damian Maia. He’s very good.

I’m definitely pulling for him! Go Giva. Oss!

Full news release can be found over at MMA Junkie.

Jeff Bourgeois Pre-fight interview – Rumble on the Ridge XXI

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Dec 092011

Jeff Bourgeois is a friend of mine and I’m really excited that tomorrow evening he’s going to get a chance to fight professionally at Rumble on the Ridge XX! at the Snoqualmie Casino. Above is his pre-fight interview. Jeff has focused on coaching young MMA fighters, helping his friend Jeff Hougland at Hougland’s school, Combat Sport and Fitness in Enumclaw, WA, and putting on the largest BJJ and Submission Grappling tournament three or four times each year in the PNW. But now it’s his turn to step onto the field of battle. Can’t wait to watch it.

More information about the fights, and how to get tickets (if you want to see it live) can be found at the Northwest Fight Scene website. You can also watch the fights live online, streamed here: It’s a UStream site. I think that the main card starts at 8 pm.

Jeff Bourgeois was one of the first people I met when I started training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. He made an immediate and lasting impression. Jeff stands about… oh, I don’t know. He’s maybe 5’7″, and I’d be surprised if he walks around at anything more than 135 lbs, but he has a limitless supply of energy, and he does everything with intensity. He listens to you with intensity. He types on his laptop with intensity. Just sitting there, he does it and it’s intense. And when he runs a warm-up before class… it’s… well, let me just say that you’re warm by the end of it.

I started training during Matt Hickney’s filming of his documentary, Walking to the Cage, in which he features three fighter: my friends Josh Calvo, Coby Parmenter, and Jeff Bourgeois. This is a terrific documentary about the sport of MMA completed I believe about 3 years ago. Josh is now well into a successful MMA career and the sky’s the limit for him. Coby has a professional victory under his belt and has been focusing on his BJJ (currently a brown belt).

Below is a preview of the Documentary, with a link to the complete film. If you haven’t seen it before, it’s definitely worth a watch.

Direct Link to the complete film here:

 Posted by at 5:00 am

Walking to the Cage MMA Documentary

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Mar 112011

Today’s supposed to be a training day, but my son’s playing drums at his school’s talent show.  So, I’ll be supporting him and his buddies (even though they desperately need a singer :) ).  But consider the following in lieu of a BJJ related post:

Matthew Hickney is an extremely talented guy who used to train up here at Foster BJJ. He’s down in California now making his way in the film business, and I follow his progress on Facebook with interest.

The guys featured in this show are all terrific martial artists and quality human beings. Josh Calvo is thrilling to watch. He’s 3 and 1 as a pro now, with his first defeat coming at the hands of Lyle Beerbohm a few months ago. Josh is also a brown belt under James Foster and a cool guy.

And Jeff B is one of my favorite people in the world. He’s a passionate and competent advocate for the sports of BJJ, submission wrestling and MMA. Anyone involved in any one of these three sports in the PNW knows Jeff.

If you have some time, check out this full length documentary and give Matt some love by rating his video 5 stars!  Below is a preview, and the full length video is available for free here.

Watch more free documentaries

15 Fighters You Should Know

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Mar 062011

“MMA Spot’s David McKinney and J.A. Yount combed through hundreds of fighters to pinpoint 15 of the best fighters that many people have not heard of, but should know.”

And guess who’s number two?  Giva “The Arm Collector” Santana.  Anyone who’s ever met him knows he’s a genuine talent and great person.  I’d love to see him get a chance to showcase his skills on an international stage, and do well.  He certainly deserves it.

Read more on MMA Spot: 15 Fighters You Should Know



 Posted by at 11:06 pm

Sunday Morning Class

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Mar 062011

Todd, one of the three black belts at my school, began running a series of morning classes many months ago.  Todd’s a funny guy, and I’m glad I finally got off my lazy ass and made it to his class this morning.  I had thought that it was a “Guard Drills” class, but I think it’s more of a general gi class now.

We worked what to me seemed like a modified X-guard sweep.  It’s pretty slick and seems like a logical next step off of a tripod sweep.  I’ll see if I can get that to work for me.

Todd’s as mellow as ever.  The class was pretty small, which is cool, allowing for a lot of individual attention.  Seven people, including Todd, myself, Bobi and Doug (both much more experienced purple belts than I), a couple of tough blue belts and a tough white belt who came to us after training in Judo for a while.

Overall, I’m tired.  My conditioning is crap, but I had a good time and hope to make this a regular gig if I can’t make the afternoon class.  There’s a nogi class on Saturday  mornings I might try to get to as well.

Congrats to all of Jeff Hougland’s guys who fought last night at the Rumble on the Ridge XVII at the Snoqualmie Casino.  Three guys fought and they all won.  Ian the Mule pulled a win by guillotine in his pro debut.

 Posted by at 8:32 pm
Jul 122010

Great weekend for the us at Foster Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. First, a big congratulations to Sammy and Rhino.

Sammy’s been training for a while, but keeps getting deployed. Friday was his last class with us until he comes back from, I believe, 8 months at sea. Good luck, Sammy and congratulations.

Rhino is a big, strong, technical guy and he received his well deserved blue belt as well. Rhino’s going to be out for medical reasons for a while, but there’s no doubt in my mind that he’ll be back on the mats as soon as his doctor’s allow it… probably a few weeks before that.

Saturday night, there were fights at the Snoqualmie Casino, Rumble at the Ridge X. I tagged along with Owen, Bingo, and Rhino. I didn’t realize that the fights were going to be outside and ended up getting WAY too much sun for a bald, redheaded guy to get. But that’s not the worst thing that happened. We showed up around 4:30 or so.

The amateur fights were scheduled to start at around 2pm. Gina was checking the fighters in and she gave us the scoop on what happened. I guess the first one started on time, but even though the mats were covered, the area was in direct sunlight all afternoon long. We don’t get a lot of sun here in Seattle. We hardly know what sunlight is. I mean, it’s something OTHER people get. The combination of direct sun, heat (in the 90s, IIRC) and a lack of experience with either was a recipe for disaster.

One of the competitors in the first fight, an amateur, received burns on the bottom of his feet so bad that he literally left the sole of one of his feet on the mat as he picked it up to move. That’s horrific. I think that because it happened before really anyone arrived, the event didn’t seem much affected by it. I don’t know exactly which fighter it was, or where he trains, but buddy, whoever you are, I wish you a speedy recovery. Severe burns to the bottoms of your feet are no joke. Take care. I’m really glad this was a sanctioned event, and hopefully all of your medical bills are covered and you’re well taken care of.

After icing the mats for hours, and as the sun started to move behind the buildings and trees, things cooled down quite a bit. The rest of the fights were fun to watch. Overall, we saw a lot of bad grappling, but some decent striking, and finally, when the pro fights started, we got to see Josh and Jeff demolish their opponents.

Jeff Hougland is the owner and head coach at Combat Sports and Fitness in Enumclaw, WA. Jeff’s a brown belt under James Foster, my coach, and is an incredibly tough guy. You, readers of, may be among the first to hear it outside of the PNW area, but Jeff’s camp is top tier and his fighters are going to be making some waves in elite MMA competitions before long. Fighters like Josh Calvo and Ian Williams, among several others, are among the most technical, best trained guys in the area.

Both Jeff and Josh won in the first round of their matches. Jeff’s victory brings his professional record to, I believe, 9 -4, and Josh is now 2-1 as a pro. It was really cool watching these guys fight. Awesome night.

 Posted by at 11:30 am