Old friends

Old friends: An unexpected surprise in Singapore as I got to meet an old friend from some of Georges St-Pierre's fight camps, Kru Yod. The full story of our meeting is too long for an Instagram post, so I put it on my Facebook page - you are welcome to check it out there. Kru Yod is a very successful trainer at Evolve gym now. He was a big part of the preparation for Mr St-Pierre's bouts with Carlos Condit and Nick Diaz. It was great catching up with an old friend and seeing positive changes in his life. If you have time, see my Facebook page for details on the story of these remarkable Thai trainers.


Rear mount and classical jiu jitsu

Rear mount and classical jiu jitsu: In the classic point structure of BJJ, which was designed to illustrate to the student the positional philosophy that underlies the sport; there is no distinction between front mount and rear mount - they both score the maximum of four points. This is because the classical point system is designed to work with the notion of striking from dominant position in which case both front and rear mount are extremely effective. Even in sport jiu jitsu without striking, the lapels in the front of the jacket offer tremendous strangulation potential through jiu jime- the cross collar strangle - almost as good as rear strangleholds. In no gi submission Grappling however - where there is no striking and no lapels - I COUNSEL MY STUDENTS TO FAVOR THE REAR MOUNT OVER FRONT MOUNT WHENEVER THE OPPORTUNITY PRESENTS ITSELF. We put a very heavy emphasis on getting to the back, maintaining back position and finishing from the back - considerably more in fact, than front mount position. My students relentlessly hunt the back and put a disproportionate amount of time into developing their skills in this great attacking position. Here Ethan Crelinsten, apprentice squad member (kohai) enters the Ultimate Mat Warriors event, run by 10th Planet standout Boogie Man Martinez. Mr Crelinsten won gold, all four matches by submission to win himself two thousand shekels and gain more invaluable competition experience and help prepare to rise to the next level of competition. Here he shows his quick transitions to the back along with his finishing skills.


Touchdown in NYC

Touchdown in NYC: Just landed at JFK with the squad - in a cab and heading to RGA for Monday noon class. It's a grey old day here in the apple - great day to train early and leave time to reflect and thank those who served our mighty nation. Seventeen hour flight and Mr Tonon and Mr Ryan are ready to train - share in that championship attitude today. Let's rally the team and get some good preparation in for upcoming challenges at noon - see you there


Pikachu checks in at the airport

Pikachu checks in at the airport: We are waiting for our plane at Changi International Airport in Singapore - on to Dohai and then NYC. Out of nowhere Nicky Ryan reaches into his luggage and pulls out the weirdest outfit I have ever seen in my life - apparently it's called a onesie" and he has the pikachu Pokémon variation. He put it on and sat next to a horrified squad! When I criticized in rather harsh language his choice in clothing he took an indignant air and launched into a passionate defense of onesies as a clothing option for men. Then he unleashed the line that floored us all - "actually I bought this for Gordon." It turns out both Ryan brothers are onesie fans!! No wonder they won't wear a gi! They are used to the snugly softness of their onesies!! Garry Tonon's face tells his side of the story. I am trying to pretend I don't know Mr Ryan and trying to change my ticket to another plane. I can't believe he got through security in this outfit - I guess they were just happy to see him leaving the country


Enjoying the view in Singapore

Enjoying the view in Singapore: Three hours before airport - squad heads to Marina Bay Sands hotel - 47th floor and a stellar view of Singapore with City on one side, water and the mighty port with thousands of ships from around the world making their stop on the other. An incredible place and a fascinating look into the heart of modern Asia. From the Far East, back soon to the West - we shall miss this place.


Fun day of seminar work here in Singapore at Evolve gym

Fun day of seminar work here in Singapore at Evolve gym: The squad showed some of our leg lock concepts and tactics to a big crowd at Evolve gym. It was wonderful to watch Garry Tonon teach in a masterful manner his own approach to leg locking - an incredible reactive method that he used to defeat Shinya Aoki and numerous other champions. Young Nicky Ryan showed the link between leg and back systems that he and his brother exploit so well to gain victories in competition. The attendees put up with my foul language and horrendous sense of humor and learned very well the core principles of our ashi garami system. Looking forward to forging links to our friends here in Asia to show our approach to the sport. Now it's off to the airport to return to NYC and see my dear students in the blue basement where they have doubtless been enjoying the absence of my dark and horrid presence Some Acai, some jiu jitsu discussion and then it's homeward bound!


Reflections on the Singapore adventure

Reflections on the Singapore adventure: Garry Tonon won his super fight with Shinya Aoki with one of his trademark moves last night in front of a packed stadium and a very large TV audience. Going beyond that, there was much about the event that was gratifying to observe. First, it was wonderful to see a grappling match showcased on the main card of a big MMA event. It was great to see the crowd get excited to see two grapplers use their skills to put on an exciting match with a decisive finish that got as much audience reaction as the MMA fights. I TRULY BELIEVE THAT PROFESSIONAL GRAPPLING, TAUGHT AND PRACTICED THE RIGHT WAY, CAN BE EVERY BIT AS EXCITING AS AN MMA FIGHT AND DIRECTLY RELATED TO THE SKILLS THAT CAN BRING VICTORY IN MMA. I hope this is the first of many such combined MMA/grappling shows and that the divide between the sports can be narrowed. I hope that one day the athletes who represent our sport and who give so much in their pursuit of excellence can be rewarded with money and fame closer to that of their MMA brothers. I believe advances in this direction will be of great benefit to both sports. I hope that one day there can be professional grappling events on a scale not far below MMA events where athletes can showcase their skills in an exciting format that thrills crowds, advances their skill level, helps prepare them to transition more easily to MMA and compensates them for their commitment. Second, it was wonderful to see a resurgence in Asian MMA. Asia was one of the key birthplaces of our sport - there is a culture of respect here for the athletes and the skills they showcase that is unique and deeply admirable. We North Americans could learn much from them in this regard. It was great to see One FC put on a tremendous show that brought back memories of PRIDE and the glory days of Asian MMA - they just need more development time to grow and who knows how far they can go! Tomorrow we teach a big seminar here in Singapore where we will show some of the techniques Mr Tonon used to gain his victory to the local jiu jitsu athletes then back to NYC and the blue basement of learning to get ready for the next show!


One FC representing Asian MMA/grappling in style

One FC representing Asian MMA/grappling in style: Great to see a resurgence in Asian MMA with One FC putting on an outstanding production that rivals the biggest North American shows for production quality. Here Garry Tonon walks out into a dramatic entrance atmosphere to face rival Shinya Aoki. The sold out stadium created an electric atmosphere for a grappling match and bridged some of the divide between the two sports in a memorable and dramatic way


Victory in Singapore

Victory in Singapore: Garry Tonon won his big match with the great Shinya Aoki tonight in a sold out Singapore indoor stadium broadcast to 118 nations. Mr Aoki showed both his MMA and Judo experience. He did a fine job controlling the initial action on the fence and even took Mr Tonon's back for a time, though did not threaten from there. A nice sasae footsweep saw him again take top position and use his height advantage to intelligently bodylock the hips for control. Using small movements of elbow and knees, Mr Tonon created space and inverted his body to enter his opponent's legs. From there it was an quick path to submission victory as Mr Tonon used his overwhelming advantage in this area to turn the direction of the match and get a decisive win. It's been a fascinating week of preparation and an introduction to the Asian MMA/grappling scene.


Getting ready for the show

Getting ready for the show: The athletes go through rehearsals for tomorrow nights show - the audience introduction that is the tradition at most Asian shows. Production quality looks very good and the match ups are very interesting indeed. Asian cultures have a long and distinguished history of sport combat and it shows here - this should be a great show.