Monday, December 8, 2014

The 25 (Plus) Differences Between MMA and a Life or Death Street Fight.

My Guest Blogger is my good friend Rob Magao.  Rob is a black belt under Professor Pedro Sauer.  Rob and I were sitting in a restaurant a few weeks ago talking about the differences between MMA and Reality Based Self-Defense on the Street.  What we came up with was eye opening for me.  I asked Rob to write down his thoughts on the subject for this blog and this is what he came up with.  I share it with you now. 

MMA is one of the most physically demanding sports in the world. It takes an incredible amount of skill, conditioning, preparation and mental fortitude to be a successful MMA fighter. MMA is the single closest combat sport there is to a real fight. As close as MMA is to a real fight, there are still many, many differences between the two that have to be considered when making that comparison. 

On the surface MMA has rules (no eye gouging, biting, scratching, groin attacks, strikes to the throat, kicking a downed opponent etc.) just to name a few. Real street fights have no specific rules. The rules of a street fight are decided by the morals of the participants at the time. How far are they willing to go to “win”? But, the real differences between MMA and a real fight go much deeper. 

MMA has weight classes, street fights don’t. Your opponent could be exactly your weight or he could be half your size or he could be 100lbs more. 

MMA has gender specific divisions (male vs male and female vs. female). In the real world that is not always the case. In my job (Police Detective/SWAT) I have seen men attack women and I have seen woman attack men. 

MMA places two fighters that are “agreeing to fight” against each other in a planned event.  They know who their opponent will be, the location that the fight will take place, the date and time of the fight. They will have weeks and even months to prepare for it. They can train specifically to face their opponent. They can watch hours of video on their opponent and have a team of coaches and training partners to help formulate a plan of action (a game plan) best suited to be successful in beating that opponent. 

MMA fighters can bring in other fighters that closely mimic the fighting style, size and strengths of their opponent. They may even find other fighters/coaches that may have competed or trained with that opponent before and know their skill set well.  

MMA is one on one. Sadly, many street fights are not. MMA fighters have medical exams, gloves, mouth pieces, groin protection and a safe secure cage or ring to compete in. Real fights can take place anywhere, anytime and with no preparation or warning. 

MMA fighters usually don’t have to worry about their opponent having a communicable disease (if proper testing was completed) or the opponent being under the influence of a dangerous drug such as PCP. MMA fighters don’t have to worry about their opponent pulling a knife, gun, broken bottle, dirty syringe or some other weapon/dangerous instrument and using it against them.  

MMA fighters have “coaches” in their corner that can throw in the towel if they have to. They have a referee that can stop the fight if one fighter cannot intelligently defend themselves. MMA fighters can physically and verbally “tap out” to surrender. MMA fights have time limits, rounds and doctors cage side ready to give medical assistance immediately if needed. 

MMA fighters are not “really trying” to kill each other. Could it happen? Yes, but very unlikely. The intent, the very purpose behind an MMA fight is much different than a real fight. It is based on competition and not survival. Unfortunately, people are murdered every day in the USA.

When I refer to the term “street fight” I am not referring to the school yard bully fight or even a minor bar fight with the local drunk (most MMA fights are worse than those). While minor bar fights and school yard brawls can be dangerous, I am talking more about an all-out criminal assault by a predator. Examples include; armed robbery, home invasions, domestic violence, workplace shootings, school shootings, random attacks, sexual assaults, muggings, kidnappings etc.  I am talking about someone that truly wants to hurt you and carries very bad (sometimes outright evil) intentions with them. 

I think of “ISIS” as an example of what I am talking about. All the MMA training in the world will not (alone) help you survive an attack like this. Don’t get me wrong, martial arts can help but it is not the only skill you will need to survive. 

Real attacks give little to no warning. You have no say about who your opponent will be, what their skill level will be. If they have a weapon, if they are under the influence or have a mental illness. If multiple people will attack. What the environment will be; outdoors, indoors, large area, confined space, bright sun, darkness, extreme heat/cold, snow, wind rain, traffic, crowds, loud noises/alarms etc… The list is endless. 

All of these conditions are not within your control. These conditions are decided by “chance” or a “higher power”. The only things you can control is are you in shape, have you prepared the best you can and do you truly have the will to survive?  Better yet, do you have the will to train to survive? To train everyday for that one moment you may truly be in danger and need to protect your life or the life of another.

Finally, MMA Fighters do not have to worry about facing criminal charges for having to defend themselves.  Sometimes, in a real fight it is hard to tell who was at fault and occasionally both people get arrested. Ultimately, it has to be decided in court.  This could be the way the civil case goes as well if the attacker decides to sue you.

I'd rather go watch the fights.  

Check out Rob Magao's website or at Rob Magao's Facebook Page      

           Also see Rob's Self Defense Videos at Survival Skills 101 


Monday, September 29, 2014

DVD Review Tim Sledd's Leg Drag Workshop.

I recently received a copy of Tim Sleds new video “ Leg Drag Workshop.”   I want to say that I don’t set out to intentionally make my blog a dvd review site but when important DVD’s come along I feel I need to pass on info about a quality set so that others can have the opportunity to take advantage of ground breaking material.   I get many videos from numerous people all the time and much of the time I don’t feel the need to give a breakdown because it’s typically run of the mill material.

Tim’s new video, however is an amazing compilation on the subject of leg drags and passing.  Many of you know me as a Gracie Jiu-Jitsu practioner with a focus on the self-defense aspect of Jiu-Jitsu.   

At first glance many people who think of the Leg Drag as a position will think it simply another aspect of tournament Jiu-Jitsu.  I disagree.  I think it has applications for traditionalist as well as tournament players.  This video has applications for all Jiu-Jitsu players and besides the leg drag is getting to be more popular and every student must learn to deal with it lest they have it done on them at a tournament or when a visiting student starts to put this move on them.  

Tim Sledd is a black belt under the great Andre Galvao and he learned these moves directly from him.  Tim spends time breaking down the leg drag position from numerous traditional positions that give students another avenue to help pass the guard.   We all know that guard passing can be difficult at best and at worst impossible from a good guard player.  Tim’s video is easy to understand and follow and I have been using the material I have learned during rolling sessions with students at my school with great success.  

I would highly urge you to buy a copy of Tim’s video because it’s an important position and because there isn’t a lot of material out there on this position.  If you decide that you don’t want to, it’s ok.  I would rather keep this info to myself.  

You can get Tim's Video at The Fight Hub  Check it out!

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Tuesday, May 27, 2014

James Clingerman and The Von Flue Choke

I want to endorse a new video I saw from a young black belt named James Clingerman.  It’s entitled "Mastering The Von Flue Choke."   

In the series James is able to get the Von Flue Choke from so many positions that it’s hard for me to fathom.  I was blown away from all the sheer awesomeness that this video series had to offer!  I think this is such an important position (especially for self-defense) that I thought I must highlight it on my blog. 

I’m afraid that a video of this significance will merely disappear in the heap of all the other countless videos have gone away because of non exposure.  I think it’s changed my game and added a bunch of new options especially when someone tries to wrap my neck (hint hint) for any reason.  

 I don’t endorse anything that isn’t awesome.  I am not making any money off of this video.  Check it out if you want to get better

 This is not the video but an intro.  It gets so much deeper.

The Von Flue Choke with James Clingerman

You can download "Mastering the Von Flue Choke"  at 
The Fight Hub 

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Sunday, May 4, 2014

How I treat my Blue Belts.

Being a blue belt is a rough time, both in learning grappling fundamentals and putting up with loss and disappointment.  Injury is prevalent and good technique is scarce. This is the time where many students quit because it’s difficult and because it takes so freakin long to get to purple belt, in many cases up to five years.  I would also like to add that I’m  an advocate for adding another belt in their somewhere but that is a blog for another time. 

I love my blue belts dearly.  They represent all the potential that the school has to offer.  This is the belt that I’m the toughest on concerning defense and choosing when and how you use strength as well as getting the fundamental building blocks of correct technique laid out so they use more angles.  

I let my blue belt students know that the goal is purple belt.  It’s the longest belt to get to.  It’s the hardest belt to get and I judge them severely on how they grapple in order to achieve it.  

Getting through blue belt can mean the difference between getting a black belt and not getting a black belt.  The reason you ask?  Once you get the coveted purple belt then it’s all downhill from there. It’s only a matter of time.  It’s polish, polish, polish instead of prove, prove, prove. 

Remember this (as a blue belt) is where you PROVE yourself to your instructor.  If you feel you deserve it just because you show up and are friendly, you would be wrong.  In my school it’s proving that you understand the fundamentals of all positions and you are a very difficult opponent to grapple with on an intermediate level.  You are also an amazingly tough person on the inside and the outside. 

Is this you?

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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Royler vs. Eddie: The Crazy Breakdown!

Metamoris 3 was outstanding this time!  Man,  I was on the edge of my chair throughout the event.  I remember saying to myself several times, “ The Gracie/Bravo fight is actually happening!”  If I were an older man I just might have peed myself. =)

As many of you know I have said on several different occasions that 10th Planet moves are NO JOKE.  I have spent numerous hours studying it and working at it.  I have BEEN PUT in many 10th planet techniques and most of the time now I am fortunate to see them coming including the Electric chair.  A guy tried to put me in a twister the other day…tried.  They are VERY EFFECTIVE though.  I always advocate to my students to look into it, because one day it’s going to come their way in a match. 

I feel sometimes like I’m the only Gracie black belt that openly talks about it.   I used to get flak from my gi comrades about it like I’m wrong.  Really?  They work great for the gi too!  But my only goal in Jiu-Jitsu is to get awesome moves and pass them on to my students and I don’t really care where they come from.   I hope that watching this match shows you that maybe you might want to investigate it a bit.

The one thing I don’t understand is that I thought the fight was to go on if there was a threat of a submission.  I’m no expert or nothin but it looked to me like there was a credible threat of a submission on Eddie’s part?  Just sayin.

Having said all of the above, getting a great foundation in the basics is important for beginning students and Gracie jiu-Jitsu is a great style.  Most students are not even going to come close to pulling off a lot of the moves we saw tonight…ever.  These are trained elite professionals who work countless hours perfecting these moves.    

It is by working on basics that later we build the confidence to move on to the more sophisticated moves like the berimbolo and especially 10th planet.  It is by understanding through small hand placements, foot, knee and elbow positioning, weight distribution, timing, angles and basic attacks that we get that coveted foundation. If you don’t have that you are just going to generally suck at Jiu-Jitsu.

I want to point out that the thing that makes Royler Gracie so amazing other than his technique is his will power.  He won’t tap to any kind of arm or leg attack.  He would rather break a knee then submit.  His family reputation is on the line. This is the way of the street fight in the minds of the Gracies. To get Royler you are going to have to choke him out.   That’s just all there is to it.

I want to also add that I don’t think 20 minutes is enough time.  I think it should be 30 minute time limits.  That really pushes the exhaustion factor.  I for one would hang around for it, even if the cost was more expensive. 
Overall, it was a draw.  People on all sides will claim some sort of victory especially the point advocates.  That’s not the rules… we have been through this before.  Jiu-Jitsu is about submitting people otherwise it would be called wrestling.  That’s not an offense to the great sport of wrestling. It’s just a fact.

I want to end by congratulating Ralek Gracie on a wonderful program.  You have outdone yourself sir!

I leave you with this quote from the Roman General Maximus Decimus Meridius in the movie Gladiator….


Thanks to the help of guys like Rickson Gracie Black Belt Kevin Casey who stepped in at the last minute I thoroughly was.  You my friend are a warrior!

P.S. I hope Vinny Magalhaes gets better too! MRSA SUCKS!

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