Recent happenings in the worlds of sambo, judo, Brazilian jiu jitsu, submission grappling and/or collegiate/freestyle wrestling. If it takes place on the ground and it's interesting, it should be here.
This issue is hitting your eyeballs nine days before the end of 2011. As an opportunity for a fresh start, assuming no end of the world shenanigans actually happen, 2012 is fast approaching and most of the major combat sports have shut down for the holidays. Nevertheless, there are still events going on, videos to watch and articles to digest.
First, feast your eyes on a terrific combination of scrambles and throws to close out the men's 60 kg finals in the Qingdao IJF Grand Prix. Georgii Zantaraia (Ukraine) went OFF at the end of the match and threw Naohisa Takato (Japan) for ippon with a soto makikomi. The video kicks off at the beginning of some serious action, yet if you've got some time, the whole match is fairly entertaining. Peep this clip and join me after the jump for more combat sports goodness.
If you have any links of your own, questions or comments, leave them below or get word to me at DefGrappler on Twitter. Please let me know if I missed anything major and I will fix this, that and the other thing.
It's winter time. X-Mas is right around the corner. Most college students are already home on break, stuffing their faces with home cooked bakery and figuring out ways to sneak off and party with friends they've missed. Dedicated (and unpaid) collegiate athletes are still watching their diet and sneaking into the gym to get those workouts in and ensuring that their competitors don't outwork them. This particularly holds true for wrestlers.
The 2011 Midlands will be held at Northwestern University on December 29th and 30th. This is the big mid-season tournament, as most of the top individual wrestlers in each weight division will come and battle for the prestigious title. As the cherry on the top of that grappling sundae, the Midlands often feature a Super Match in which now-graduated college stars or Olympic-caliber wrestlers go against each other. Last year's Super Match was between Ben Askren and Jake Herbert, who is now second on the U.S. national team at 84 kg (behind Cael Sanderson).
This may be a bunch of complete hot air, but Chael Sonnen was talking about how this year's Super Match would be between Askren and Jordan Burroughs, the new golden boy and current world champion at 74 kg. Burroughs and Askren have denied it on Twitter, yet it could still be possible.
As can be seen on the World Rankings, several top 10 competitors among the various divisions showed up in Qingdao and had differing amounts of success. IntJudo has three good recaps of eachindividualday on their site. I have only been following judo for a short time, but homecourt advantage really does seem to have an effect. The Chinese judoka won the most medals here, with the Koreans second and the Japanese third. A couple of red cards (for illegal leg-based techniques) and penalty points were decisive factors in several of the semis and finals, which is kind of a shame. To continue the long tradition of America-centric news cherrypicking, U.S. judoka, Kayla Harrison won the women's 70 kg final with an ippon throw of the 2008 Beijing Olympic champion, Yang Xiuli. Big ups to her for the gold medal.
Now that the judo season is at a close, we can come up with some of the better throws out there. I'm partial to the following throw by Artem Vaslyenko from the European Championships in the finals of the 81 kg. The technique has an actual name - sode tsurikomi goshi - and has been used many times in competition, yet in this match, Vaslyenko makes it look like pure magic.
There's a decent compilation of ippons from Judo Scotland here, but I think finding a true 2011 Ippon of the Year is going to take quite a while of trawling through videos. This highlights of the World Championship ippons is a good starting point. This one might be my second favorite though, as Audrey Tcheumeo (France) footsweeps Akari Ogata (Japan) for the ippon:
Submission Grappling/Brazilian Jiu Jitsu News:
The results of Aesopian's Gi Survey are now out. The idea of the project was to take ratings of various gis owned by grapplers filling out the survey and then chop up the data to spit out some useful stuff. The project succeeded and Aesopian is now chopping up the data in bursts and will make the information available when he is ready. For now, he's released a short post that shows that the top 30 some brands essentially have little difference in overall customer satisfaction.
This means that for the most part, gi companies are doing a good job, but also shows that crowd-sourcing which particular gi to buy for your individual tastes is probably not a good idea. Sizes and shapes vary among people and also among gis. Pay attention to shrinkage rates. I suggest that you go to your grappling teammates, find one that you like the looks and feel of and get that one. Or experiment and go get something that nobody there has ever heard of.
My favorite bit of seeing the "We Are All One" slogan at work through combat sports this week has to be the ADCC Serbian Open. The quick results and some photos are available on the ADCC website. Genki Sudo may have retired and moved on to Japan's pop music scene, but that spirit of unity through beating the heck out of each other within the confines of sensible rules is still alive and strong. There is a strange and strong bond between people who have just grappled each other and I genuinely think this is somewhat key to world peace.
The Renzo Gracie Open was held this past weekend within the MMA World Expo event held nearly on the waterfront of Hell's Kitchen. The results and video are not up yet, but I will keep you updated.
David over at the Jiu Jisu Laboratory blog has his 2011 BJJ Awards up. I agree with most of what's in here - particularly awarding Leandro Lo Pereira the Rookie of the Year award. Beating Celso Venicius and Michael Langhi within one tournament is going to turn heads. Stomping through the Brazilian competitions all year long, as Leandro Lo did, is cementing your place with style. I disagree with Competition of the Year, as I thought the Abu Dhabi Pro was better run than the ADCCs and featured a bit better BJJ. Best Throw has to go to Leo Vieira for his massive first round ADCC seo nagi (sadly the video was taken down, so I can't link you to it).
Ricardo Abreu has one of my favorite Brazilian jiu jitsu nicknames ever in "Demente" (for his habit of purposely leaving an arm out for an opponent to seize onto before countering with a pass). He left elite competitive grappling for a while to work as a lawyer for a few years, but came back and started transitioning to an MMA career.
Demente reminds me of a slightly larger, much nicer version of Palhares with armbars being his particular submission love affair. Could be worth keeping an eye on, as he works his way through the Brazilian MMA scene. Celso Venicius is probably not going to make big waves in the lightweight division, but he could make a run in a lower division and his grappling is very, very good as well. Hopefully, I didn't steal any of Leland and Smoogy's thunder here.
Odds and Ends:
For those of you grapplers who have back trouble, try doing some of the exercises from this post by Christian Graugart. I am going to start doing them just to loosen things up and to head off some stuff with my sacroiliac joint that I can feel coming on. Note: this is not medical advice and you should consult with your doctors about your beat up body before doing anything crazy.
Braulio Estima has a pretty decent sense of humor. He's also willing to make himself look silly in the pursuit of laughs. Check out how Santa Braulio gets a reindeer into the X-Mas spirit.
To close out, I end with another Animals Grappling video. It starts off slow, but that tabby cat can go after the neck for sure.
Much credit to DeoWade for showing me this one.
People, I always need more awesome Odds & Ends. Videos, gifs, links, whatever. Do not hesitate to send them my way on here or on Twitter.