Saturday, August 31, 2013

My UFC 164 Predictions

One of the most highly anticipated rematches in MMA is going to happen tonight!  I can't wait!  I have never seen Bendo in a boring fight, and Pettis is so gifted that he makes you believe that "The Matrix" is real!  Here are my predictions for tonight's card!

Koch vs. Poirier: This is a toss-up, in my opinion.  I'll go with my gut and say Poirier.

Winner: Poirier via decision. 

Rothwell vs. Vera:  This is a no-brainer.  Rothwell will punch "The Truth's" lights out.  I would be surprised if this made it out of the first round.

Winner: Rothwell via KO in Round 1.

Mendes vs. Guida: I'm going to pick "Money" over "The Carpenter" on this one.  Mendes looks amazing against anyone not named Aldo.  Guida is no joke, but I think that he will just go from being the lightweight division's top-ten gatekeeper to the top-five gatekeeper at featherweight.

Winner: Mendes via KO in Round 3.

Mir vs. Barnett:  This fight would have been absolutely amazing about five years ago.  However, even though both of these men are on the downside of their careers, I still think that they will put on a decent grappling clinic.  My gut is telling me to go with "The Warmaster" on this one.  I just hope he stays PED-free this time around. 

Winner: Barnett via decision. 

Henderson vs. Pettis: I'm definitely rooting for "Smooth" in this fight.  Nonetheless, I personally feel that "Showtime" is the best fighter in the division.  Anyone who can pull off capoeira-style moves at the UFC level is beyond amazing.  I believe that Pettis will take the title from Bendo and rule the division with an iron fist.

Winner: Pettis via KO in Round 5. 

And My Next Black Belt Will Be In...

I absolutely love Kung Fu.  That's why I am going to write down the forms which I have learned so far and practice them in my spare time.  One day, I will earn an advanced black belt in Kung Fu.  But now is not the time.

The reason why?  Kung Fu is a striking art and I already have a black belt in a striking art: karate.  Can I improve my striking?  Absolutely.  That's why I practice striking techniques every day.  However, it's miles ahead of my grappling, which is terrible.  Just look at my best amateur wrestling record: 1-5.  One win.  Five freaking losses.  Not to mention the fact that I only put half my heart into it and eventually, gave up entirely to pursue a girl in a different extracurricular activity.  Suffice it to say that my attempts to woo her ended in total disaster.  This was in high school, after all.  What really burns me is that if I had truly focused, I could have rehabbed my back injury and gotten a winning record on the wrestling team.  My back feels perfectly fine now, and I'm ready for redemption.  So ready that I'm not even going to think about romance until after I get my BJJ black belt. 

So that's why I'm going to throw myself into BJJ.  I don't want to be completely screwed if someone throws me on my back, and I want to atone for being a lazy slacker when I was a teenager a decade ago.  Can I change the past?  As much as I'd like to, no.  However, I can learn from it and excel at my next martial arts goal: earning my BJJ black belt.   

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

How Fencing Made Me A Believer In European Weapons' Arts

When I was in college, I did fencing for over a year.  Since people don't carry rapiers anymore, I never thought that I would utilize it in a real fight.  That changed at Elite Krav Maga Academy many months back.  I adapted a move where I feint to one target and circle around to stab another into a slick lateral palm strike-backfist combo.   Brian has excellent striking and I was able to catch him with it twice in a row.  I knew that, if it could work on him, that I was on to something.  That was confirmed earlier tonight when I sparred with Jeremy.

Jeremy is such a dynamic striker that he can clip my chin with his foot and tag me elsewhere before I know what hits me.  Yet I managed to get him multiple times with different variations of this attack.  Using empty-handed techniques, I would feint to his face and attack his body.  Then I would feint to his body and attack his face.  I even adapted the representative snake movement, attacking his arm, but going to his body rather than his face.  Even though I still lost the match, I did better against him than I've ever done.  I didn't get into real trouble until I abandoned the tactic for dragon-style moves, at which point I got my butt handed too me.  At any rate, I've wanted to study the European martial arts since I was in college, weaponry in particular.  Originally, it was just to have accurate swordfights in my book series.  However, now I believe that fencing and other European weapons' arts can be adapted to modern combat.  It will take a lot of study, experimentation, and practice, but I know that I can do it. 

Friday, August 16, 2013

How many black belts do you need?

It is easy to be fooled into believing that you need a dozen black belts to be an amazing martial artist.  After all, if you can become a great fighter through gaining one black belt, getting a dozen should make you even better, right? 

Wrong!  Getting multiple black belts is completely unnecessary for one simple reason:  all EFFECTIVE martial arts systems which cover the same aspect of fighting will have similar techniques.

Does this mean that all striking systems are exactly the same?  No.  Does it mean that all grappling systems are identical?  No.  It just means that no matter what you train in, a front kick is a front kick and a rear naked choke is a rear naked choke.  The name, setup, position, or target may vary.  However, the move itself will be more or less the same.  This is because:

1) People of all cultures and nationalities have two arms, two legs, two eyes, a neck, and a groin.  For this reason, the body mechanics of each move will be similar.

2) The best martial artists cross-train to borrow/steal ideas from each other.  For example, Sambo, while incorporating striking and the folk wrestling styles of Eastern Europe, has judo as its base.  Judo, in turn, was heavily influenced by Catch-As-Catch-Can wrestling from Europe.  Krav Maga has moves from multiple styles, such as karate, Muay Thai, wrestling, and Brazilian jiu-jitsu.  I could go on and on, but you get the basic idea: everybody basically copies everyone else.

So how many black belts (or instructor-level ranks) do you need?  At most, two: one in a striking art and one in a grappling art.  If you are doing a martial art which covers all areas of fighting, such as Krav Maga or Combat Sambo, you only need one.  Getting more than two is pointless unless:

1) You are doing this for a career and want to stand out from the competition.
2) Studying self-defense is an enjoyable hobby for you and you are doing this to have fun while meeting cool people.

Under those circumstances, it is worth your time.  Other than that, you are better off excelling at two styles at the most.

Monday, August 5, 2013

UFC 163: The One That Got Away

I am seriously disappointed that I missed this PPV.  Nonetheless, I know a lot of people who are in debt because they confuse wants with needs.  I want to see every UFC PPV that will ever come out.  However, I won't die if I miss one now and then.  That being said, I will make it a point to miss as few as possible. 

At any rate, let's see if I correctly predicted the winners of each fight. 

Lineker vs. Maria:  Lineker defeated Maria via KO.

My prediction: Wrong

Leites vs. Watson:  Leites won via unanimous decision.

My prediction: Wrong

Ferreira vs. Santos: Ferreira won via submission.

My prediction: Wrong

Machida vs. Davis:  Davis won by unanimous decision.  However, from what I've seen online, the majority of people believe that Machida got screwed by the judges, so I'll have to watch the fight myself before I make up my opinion.

My prediction: Wrong.  For simplicity's sake, whatever the judges decide is final.  That being said, I will speak up if I feel that they made a mistake. 

Aldo vs. The Korean Zombie: Aldo wins via TKO.

My prediction: Right

1 out of 5?  Yikes.  Good thing that I didn't gamble last night.  At any rate, I will take steps to ensure that I don't miss the rematch between Benson Henderson and Anthony Pettis at UFC 164.

Here's a link to the play-by-play at

Saturday, August 3, 2013

My UFC 163 Predictions

I will be referring to this event as "the one that got away."  I love watching Jose Aldo fight, and I really wanted to see "The Korean Zombie" in action.  Unfortunately, I just can't afford it right now.  Nonetheless, here are my picks for who will win tonight's matches.

John Lineker vs. Jose Maria: I think I saw the match where Lineker was subbed by Gaudinot a while back.  Other than that,  I know very little about either of these guys.  While I'm tempted to go with Lineker because he has fought in the UFC before and Maria hasn't, I am going to follow my gut and pick Maria.

Winner: Maria via submission in Round 3. 

Leites vs. Watson:  Again, I'm really not that familiar with either fighter.  All I know is that Leites once challenged Anderson Silva for the title and that Watson has defeated Mauricio "Shogun" Rua's brother, "Ninja."  Since Leites hasn't had a UFC fight since 2009, I'm going with Watson.

Winner: Watson via KO in Round 2

Ferreira vs. Santos:  I know nothing about either of these fighters, so I'm going with my gut on this one.  Take this prediction for what it's worth.

Winner: Santos via KO in Round 3. 

Machida vs. Davis:  Davis has a good wrestling pedigree and some slick submissions.  However, I don't see him taking Machida to the ground.  Machida is simply too fast and elusive.  This bout is going to stay on the feet, and when it comes to striking, Machida is one of the best.  Davis, on the other hand, is not so wonderful in that department, pun intended.

Winner: Machida via KO in Round 2.

Jose Aldo vs. Chan Sung Jung:  A guy who finished Mark Hominick and Dustin Poirier is no joke.  Nonetheless, I think that Chan Sung Jung is in over his head.  Jose Aldo is the second best pound-for-pound fighter on the planet and he hasn't even reached his prime yet.  Will he lose the title one day?  Probably.  I just don't think "The Korean Zombie" is the one who has his number.

Winner: Aldo via KO in Round 2. 

Friday, August 2, 2013

Unlocking The Secret Techniques In Forms

Today, in Kung Fu class, Sifu Amanda had us do an awesome exercise.  We had to chose one technique from our forms and find two different real-life applications for it.  It was challenging, but extremely fun.  For example, I took the double kidney strike from Hon 1 and converted it into a double knifehand strike to both sides of the neck first.  Then I turned it into a double-leg takedown.  I also turned a tiger attack from Hon 2 into a 2-hit face rake and a tiger claw/single-leg takedown.  The latter was a bit of a stretch, but Sifu Amanda seemed to appreciate my effort. 

Sifu Amanda had us do this exercise because she wants us to remember that katas are supposed to be practice for real-life self-defense.  The techniques aren't as readily apparent, because the Asian martial arts masters disguised them.  They didn't want their enemies to learn their system and turn it against them.  In some cases, they were forbidden to practice martial arts by an occupying power, so they disguised the techniques as dances.  In creating katas, they found a great way to both practice and memorize hundreds of moves.  However, many students have either lost sight of this fact or never learned it to begin with.  They are basically just going through the motions and doing "combat zumba."  Sifu Amanda stressed the importance of actually figuring out what we were doing so that we could defend ourselves properly.  She also emphasized seeing all of the aspects of our art as one instead of compartmentalizing them into sparring, forms, and self-defense.  She said that doing the latter is just as bad as being a Christian and keeping your church life, work life, and social life separate.  To be an effective martial artist and a Christian, you have to synergize.  She didn't use that exact word, but that was the point that she was making: every aspect of your life should work together in unity.  I look forward to synergizing the different areas of martial arts to make myself a better fighter.  In the same way, I look forward to synergizing my life so that I can be a better witness for Christ.