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.
Tom Ryan, Ohio State wrestling coach, is a really, really intense TV watcher.
The biggest grappling news in the past couple weeks have been the NCAA wrestling championships, which were excellent, and the Abu Dhabi World Pro Trials. March is typically the resting time for international competitors in both wrestling and judo, as the national qualifications for the July Olympics are about to begin in April and May. Thus, I claw back through the judo events of February for the best throws and matches, trawled through tons of excellent Brazilian jiu jitsu content to bring you the best articles, videos and news and found gibbon ninjas to round out a solid Odds & Ends section. Join me after the jump for all that and more.
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.
A list of official crew Twitter accounts is right here for your pickings: BloodyElbow Twitter, Luke Thomas,Kid Nate, Brent Brookhouse, Richard Wade, Chris Barton, Damon O, Scott Broussard, Tim Burke, Matt Bishop, Fraser Coffeen, Dallas Winston, KJ Gould, Anton Tabuena, T.P. Grant.
The North American scene essentially ground to a standstill as the NCAA Division I wrestling championships took place from Thursday to Saturday. K.J. Gould had some of the finest coverage I have ever seen of this sport right here on Bloody Elbow. The following is basically all K.J. and all glorious:
NCAA Division I Wrestling Results: NCAA Division I Wrestling Finals Results and Recap | Penn State Officially Win Team Title For Second Year Running | NCAA Division I Wrestling Championships Semi-Finals Results | NCAA Division I Wrestling Championship Quarter Final Results | NCAA Division I Wrestling Championship Session 2 Results | NCAA Division I Wrestling Championship Session 1 Results
Sure, other sites like FloWrestling, Intermat and Onthematmay have the fancy videos and audio podcasts, but this is pure, raw fan devotion from an unexpected source: a British catch wrestler who primarily follows MMA. Imagine him speaking all of this aloud in a Liverpudlian accent, while sipping on tea and munching on crumpets, while he competes with Ian McCall for "Best Mustache and Derby Wearer".
In the long run, the favorites mostly won at the NCAAs. They were who we thought they were. David Taylor might be the single best wrestler in college. Pinning four competitors and tech-falling the last en route to a title is dominance that is found only in the history of the greats in American wrestling. Taylor's team, Penn State, is composed of the best recruits and coached by the legendary Cael Sanderson, which is awesome, but somewhat bittersweet to Iowa fans since a good chunk of those recruits were once headed Iowa's way before Sanderson's move to Penn State. Cornell has cemented itself among the top ranks of the NCAA and Kyle Dake might be the best threat to win four national titles out there (with at least three being in different weight classes). The long and short of it is that college wrestling is as strong as ever and the Olympic coaches have to be feeling fairly good about the long term prospects of the next generation, despite MMA's inroads into the sport.
That being said, we MMA fans get Chris Honeycutt, 2012 runner-up to Cornell's Cam Simaz at 197 lbs. We might also get a few of the lighter weight guys, if Team Alpha Male continues keeping their wrestling connections strong.
International wrestling took a knee for a bit too - not for the piddling NCAAs though. The freestyle and Greco-Roman grapplers are in the final stages of the Olympic Trials qualification process. The United States will have its own Trials in April and as things currently stand, the U.S. can send wrestlers in only five of seven weight divisions. Two of the best American wrestlers, Shawn Bunch and Brent Metcalf, are entering the FILA Pan Ams to try and qualify the U.S. in the remaining two divisions (60 kg/132 lbs and 66 kg/145.5 lbs). They have to make the finals or the trip down there is kind of a valiant waste. The Cubans are going to be gunning for nearly every division too, as they actually have only qualified in one of seven divisions thus far. This could turn nasty...
In other wrestling coverage, GreatGama over at MMATakedown dot net has undertaken a labor of love to break down the evolving takedowns of Georges St. Pierre. Right now, he is focusing on the single leg and may transition over to the double leg if given sufficient feedback and encouragement. I am overusing my favorite Herman Edwards quote, but we can build on this! Let him know that this is great stuff and he should keep going. Part 1 and Part 2 of the single leg GSP-style.
Keep an eye on Bloody Elbow for some interesting catch-wrestling stuff. I think we have some fun in the pipeline coming up there, thanks to KJ again.
Paul Graham with a short article about how great public speakers might actually not be saying all that much. Pay attention closely to what is actually being said and whether it matters after you've thought about that stuff for a while.
The NY Times came through recently with a fairly good article about how airplane food is purposely different because altitude messes with our sensation of taste. However, the best piece anyone wrote for that place in recent memory is this one by Simon Romero about a Brazilian industrial magnate who is building a garden designed to last 1,000 years and stuffing it with crazy good art. I like my hubris spiced with a dose of not-quite-crazy and artistic awesomeness, so this is squarely in my wheelhouse.
Some of you may recall the Gibbon vs. Dog grappling match from the last edition. I now submit to you that gibbons are nature's ninjas and probably would out-parkour any other living being on this planet - while wearing a pillowcase.
People, I always need more awesome Odds & Ends. Videos, gifs, links, whatever. Do not hesitate to send them my way in the comments or on Twitter.
Def Grappler out!