Matwork! BJJ Proposal, IBJJF Chicago Recap, North American Sambo Catch Throwdown


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.

[Professor Farnsworth voice] GOOD NEWS EVERYONE - Matwork! is back!

The recent hiatus was due to the accumulation of real world demands that combined to overwhelm even my fiery passion and set-aside time for combat sports. Hopefully, the faithful readers of Bloody Elbow have been satisfied with the other content produced on this here site. Now, we can jump back into the happenings of the ground-based combat sports of the world and revel in the daily awesomeness that people can and do bring to others. First, we start with a dose of mega-cuteness:

On February 6th 2012 Joshua Smith asks Heidi McCreery to marry him

at the beginning of their Brazilian Jiu Jitsu class.

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:Oh, and these guys are probably worth following as well: BloodyElbow Official Twitter, Luke Thomas, Kid Nate, Brent Brookhouse,Leland Roling, Richard Wade, Chris Barton, Damon O, Scott Broussard,Tim Burke, Matt Bishop, Fraser Coffeen, Dallas Winston, KJ Gould, Matt Roth, Anton Tabuena, Josh Nason.

Hit the jump for wrestling, judo, sambo/catch wrestling and Brazilian jiu jitsu news, blogs and videos.

Wrestling News:

Early in February, Jordan Burroughs continued his march towards the Olympic qualifications with a win in the Dave Schultz Memorial. This tournament regularly features the best freestyle wrestlers in the U.S. and winning or placing usually means a spot in the Qualification tournament that will be held soon. Burroughs has been vocal about his appreciation for MMA and has talked about switching careers after he achieves the goals set out for him in the wrestling world.

The Fila 2012 Pan Am championships were held on February 23rd. The Freestyle results, the Greco results and the women's freestyle are all out and ready for you to take a look. The Cubans had a disappointing tournament, but again, all eyes are really on London for the 2012 Olympics games. A ton of matches are available on YouTubethrough USA Wrestling's channel and there are some doozies for wrestling purists to geek out over.

The NCAA championships are almost upon us. The competitors list is being released in 30 minute installments and we shall have our brackets soon enough. T.R. Foley has a brief look into the minds and anxiety of those on the selection bubble. Instead of entire college basketball teams sitting and watching for text updates on the NCAA big cheeses making the decisions, it's a young kid unsure of his immediate future. Go read the piece.

Foley also has another piece on a back-up wrestler at Penn State who has managed to make his mark, despite being behind two elite wrestlers at 174 and 184 pounds. Foley calls Matt Brown wrestling's "Jeremy Lin", but the comparison is not quite that accurate. Still worth a read though.

Judo News:

Unfortunately, this is the section that gets left behind this week. I promise to comb through the judo highlights and matches for the best moments next week. Until then, enjoy the official Judo channel on YouTube.

Day 1 and Day 2 recaps of the Dusseldorf Open.

Day 1 and Day 2 of the Paris Grand Slam.

Submission Grappling/Brazilian Jiu Jitsu News:

The development of a specific style in grappling is a long process marked by failure after failure made while hunting the tiny bits of success. It can be influence by coaching, by teammates, by old injuries or even by the specific personality of the person grappling. This is not limited to BJJ alone, as wrestlers or judoka talk about the European style or the Cuban style all the time.

I'm not sure I've seen that many people talk about the specific characteristics of the styles that general groups of people from this region or that region seem to have, but the diversity makes for a truly interesting clash when on the mats. Leah, a brown belt living and training in Hong Kong, has a great three part series on her development of style, her perceptions of the style of others and how that gets imprinted in people. Check out Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3 when you can.

In no-gi news, the Ultimate Absolute 2 tournament was held with a stellar cast of lightweight grapplers. Fan favorites Ryan Hall, Justin Rader and Mike Fowler were three of the sixteen competitors. Celso Vinicius (commonly called Celsinho) won in slightly controversial fashion over Justin Rader in the finals and took the $10,000 cash prize. The matches were broadcast online at (where you can get a replay if you like) and the overall tournament was generally well worth the 10 dollar charge. I'll include the following photo of Rader and Samuel Braga simultaneously armbarring and calfslicing each other. It's nuts.


via Christian Buitron, Gracie Mag

More Gracie Mag photos can be seen here.

Dave over at the Jiu Jitsu Lab blog has a truly fantastic breakdown of how the Mendes brothers train. This is immensely valuable stuff for grapplers looking to get in better shape, to drill better and to start thinking about competition in a way that professionals or elite competitors do.

Our own T.P. Grant attended the IBJJF Chicago Winter Open. Here is his brief write-up:

The IBJJF Chicago was this past weekend, which drew grapplers from all over the midwest for an all gi jiu jitsu event. Former WEC Champion and current UFC fighter Eddie Wineland competed at the event as and spoke to me [Bloody Elbow] about the experience.

Zach Lennon took the lightweight crown for the second year straight, defeating a new face to the black belt divisions, Brick Welch of Gracie Barra. Brick just received his black belt in December at the age of twenty-two. He has a very aggressive, kill or be killed style, which served him well in the early matches but in the final, Lennon caught him in a toe hold as he went for a sweep. Lennon defeated Brick again in the opening round of the Open Class, but despite the losses it was an impressive showing for the young black belt and he is certainly one to watch going into the heart of the competitive grappling season.

Rodrigo "Comprido" Mederios won the Masters Ultra Heavyweight and Open Weight classes, and was an extremly active coach for Brasa during the event. And it was Brasa that took home the team award, with Carlson Gracie and Gracie Barra coming in second and third. Comprido even had a funny moment where he gently twisted a white belt's arm into doing absolutes. "You're doing absolutes." "No, Comprido, I'm going to get food." "Wasn't a question. Put on gi."

Sambo/Catch Wrestling:
KJ Gould had this to say about the North American Throwdown tournament that happened a few weeks ago:
The tourney was a Freestyle Sambo and Catch wrestling double tournament meet hosted by Stephen Koepfer and the American Sambo Association, as well as Kris Iatskevitch of the International Submission Wrestling Alliance.
The video highlights were done by the same guy who obviously enjoys noisymetal music. Not my cuppa tea, but you can always forewarn readers and tell them to hit mute.

It was an open tournament so skillsets of participants varied, but it's the first of its kind so worth reporting on.

If you want, you can see the Full Catch Wrestling match for the Light Heavyweight tournament final, at the North American Throwdown.

Odds and Ends:

George Dorhmann over at Sports Illustrated might have published the finest piece in recent mainstream sports journalism with his absolute demolition of Ben Howland's handling of the UCLA basketball program over the past few years. The long feature has everything - vivid descriptions of the people involved, sources giving up the full dirty on all parties involved and an expose of the darker side of collegiate athletics/academics. It's a truly amazing read and that Dorhmann was allowed to publish it at SI is a bit surprising in today's world of journalistic coddling.

Of late, the AV Club (spin-off of The Onion that deals with TV, movies, music, books, games and so on) has been on fire. The recent interviews with Bill Lawrence of Cougar Town and Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim of Tim and Eric Awesome Show Great Job! are maybe the best interviews in a pop culture e-magazine about the creation of television and stories combined with the need for ratings and a firm creative voice. This is kind of strange on its face since Cougar Town is essentially a hang-out show with middle aged, good looking people and Tim & Eric are completely immersed in absurdist comedy, but trust me, the interviews are great reads for long commutes and so on.

Todd VanDerWerff has a decent think piece over on AV Club on piracy and how it relates to television content. There's not a ton that is applicable to the usual MMA/BJJ model, but it may be a harbinger of the future for the regular stuff we watch.

Kevin Kelly, one of the better philosophers/technology tinkerers out there, has an installment of pithy/funny quotes.

To close this edition off, I leave you with a Gibbon vs. Dog grappling contest in which the gibbon exhibits the finest guardwork I have ever seen from any non-human being. It is so good, I am wondering if three hundred years from now, our grapplers will have gibbon DNA chimerically blended into them for better performance.

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!

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