I've been writing a new series of articles over at HeadKickLegend called Title Writing. For an explanation of exactly what Title Writing is all about, you can check out this post. I thought that I'd cross post this over here for maximum exposure.
Seeing as I can't find a live stream of the Strikeforce weigh-ins I thought I'd write a little bit of a trip report on a no-gi jiu jitsu seminar that I attended last Friday evening in Vancouver, Canada. At the end of the seminar Jason said "If you liked the seminar, tell your friends about it, or mention it on facebook or twitter." I did like the seminar, my "MMA" friends were all at the seminar with me, I don't have facebook and I only have nine twitter followers so I figured the best way to offer my support was to write about it on sbnation.
The seminar was held at Tactix Gym. For those of you in the Vancouver area it's a nice little gym in a nice area of town, located at the foot of the Burrard Street bridge. As for Jason Day, he's one of the first Canadian fighters to make it into the UFC, having fought for the promotion three times. A jiu jitsu black belt originally from Lethbridge, Alberta, Day made his UFC debut at the first UFC event to be held in Canada, UFC 83, defeating Alan Belcher by TKO in the first round before going on to lose fights with Michael Bisping and Kendall Grove. I didn't know too much about him before the seminar, other than that he was a Canadian guy who had been in the UFC, so it was interesting to read about him after the fact. His fight against Belcher contains one of the better displays of striking from the rubber guard I've ever seen. If you missed the fight, or haven't seen it in awhile, give it a watch.
As for the seminar, we rolled in a few minutes late and missed the introduction, but as we joined the drills Jason told my friend and I that since we only had 90 minutes, he was just going to go through as many positions and moves as he could, focusing on stuff that he himself had found success with. During one of the technique demonstrations he explained that he wasn't a big fan of teaching stuff that he didn't use himself, which I thought was pretty practical. One of the things that I really like about jiu jitsu is that you can adapt the game to suit not only your body type but also your personality and I thought that I learned a bit about Jason through the techniques that he showed us.
I'm not going to go into any details on what we learned, but I will say we worked a couple of different "series" from half guard, side control and the back. I'm still a beginner grappler but I found the moves pretty easy to pick up and Jason was very professional in coming over to each group, making sure we had the steps correctly and also asking the guy who the technique was being performed on if they were feeling it correctly. I was able to implement some of the moves he taught into my game the very next time that I rolled at my regular jiu jitsu class, which I thought was pretty cool. At the end of the seminar Jason spent a few minutes talking about jiu jitsu concepts for MMA which was very eye-opening for me as someone who has done both striking and ground fighting, but never in combination. One of the concepts he shared was not to abandon a dominant position to go for a submission, something that any MMA fighter surely has been told by their coaches. Watching Big Nog get his arm broken by Frank Mir (after breaking that rule) the very next night really hammered that point home.
The highlight of the seminar for me was learning the infamous head scissors choke that Sheila Bird used to choke out Kim Couture. Jason gave credit to Sheila's husband Brian for teaching him the move and said that he used it on a regular basis. Being the badass (dumbass?) that I am, I immediately asked him to demonstrate it on me just to see what it felt like. It hurts and the choking feeling came on fast as shit. If you didn't have any experience with the hold, I could easily see someone being put to sleep before they realized what they were dealing with, which very well could have been what happened to Couture.
All in all it was a great experience. I fully plan on attending more jiu jitsu and MMA seminars whenever I get the chance. One of the reasons mixed martial arts appeals to me so much more than other professional sports is the ease with which fans can interact with the participants. Could you imagine a scenario in which you could get on the football field and catch passes from Tom Brady or Peyton Manning? What about catching a Roy Halladay fastball. Maybe if you won a contest, but even then it would likely be equal parts corporate and silly. In the mixed martial arts world though, seminars give you the opportunity to learn from and engage with some of the top mixed martial artists in the world in setting that is, by the very nature of what it is that you are learning, serious and professional. And that, I must say, is pretty cool.
****Moderators, if something of this nature is not allowed on this blog, I'm sorry, I wasn't aware. I'm in no way affiliated with Jason or Tactix and am simply doing this because I thought it would be a fun read****