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How to Throw the Lead Hand Uppercut - Boxing - MMA - Muay ThaiAfter receiving a bunch of emails asking to see more videos about the uppercut (lead uppercut in particular) I decided to film a breakdown of the lead uppercut punch. I also include simple way to disguise the attack while throwing it with more power and snap than ever before.

The lead uppercut is a great technique to use when:

  • Your opponent is expecting a hook after your cross because that is what you’ve thrown often throughout your sparring rounds or fight with them
  • Your opponent leans forward to avoid your hooks and straight punches or because one of those punches has rocked them a bit.
  • You sense your opponent is about to try and take you down with a leg attack such as a double leg or single leg takedown.
  • Your opponent is standing very square and open for the uppercut right up the middle between his guarding hands.
  • You slip your opponent’s (a right handed one) cross to the outside.
  • You block an opponent’s body shot with your lead arm.
  • Your opponent is walking towards you without jabbing. You must throw a jab(s) while backing up then, after turning yourself into lead uppercut throwing position, let it fire!

Here’s the video breaking things down the punch and a setup:

 

 

Sometimes during sparring and fights we find ourselves in a situation where we need to cover up and minimize the damage our opponent can dish out. It can truly be our only option at times. Obviously I’d rather be attacking or counter-attacking during those moments but sometimes it’s not possible and often it’s dangerous to try.

coveringupAnytime you find yourself rocked, severely overwhelmed by an attack or caught off guard I want you to cover up and move quickly in many directions until you are out of striking range and safe. You’ll then be able to return to your regular fighting stance and get back in there to mix things up with your opponent.

As you move, keep your eyes open ad watch your opponent’s body for signs of attack. If you notice that they are about to throw a powerful cross immediately move away from it. As soon as you see them adjust to throw a technique that will catch you as you move the other way, switch directions again immediately. Continue to keep switching directions often! Constantly switching your movement in response to the attacks you anticipate makes you a very hard target to pin down. An opponent that misses punches, punches your arms ad chases you aggressively will often tire making your counter attacks very effective.

When up against a very aggressive opponent be sure to mix in some head movement as you move your feet. As you feel them miss with strikes stand your ground and initiate an upper body clinch or take down. Staying close or scoring a takedown can be a great way to recover from any damage taken.

Here’s a video from the MMA QuickStart training program where I break down the fundamentals of covering up and staying safe:

 

 

I just got back from the AMMA Championship Series event which took place today in Brampton, Ontario.

I thought it was awesome! Truly a great competition for the spectators, coaches and most importantly the competitors.

A first of it’s kind in our province, this amateur mixed martial arts event featured a rule set that promoted athlete safety without taking away from the true essence of mixed martial arts. A few things that I liked about the AMMA event were:

The Headgear – It’s definitely not the most comfortable thing to wear during a fight but the fighter headgear definitely minimized the facial swelling and damage that quickly occurs when strikes land in professional MMA. Fighters ate some pretty hard punches from the standing and ground and pound positions without sustaining very much damage at all. With the athletes being amateurs, that is a very good thing!

The 7-8 Ounce MMA gloves – The larger gloves that every fighter wore allowed room for fighter error. That’s good because beginners, intermediate and even advanced amateur fighters make them often. Drop your guard and you’ll eat a strike that will let you know that you made a mistake but you’ll most likely be able to fight on. Four ounce gloves (pro standard) are not as forgiving: one mistake could mean trouble and you may quickly find yourself with a loss on your fight record. I like the fact that knockouts will be less common in the amateur ranks compared to the pros, due to the many safety measures put in place: If rookie fighter’s can gain experience and learn important lessons without taking any serious damage they will compete often, improve their skills and grow into veteran MMA athletes.

The Tournament Format – With each bout in the tournament lasting for five minutes (one round), it gave the fighters an opportunity to compete against a variety of opponents. The goal of amateur competition is to build an athlete’s experience level and confidence. Facing opponent’s of body types, styles and ability levels does exactly that. It also makes the entire process a lot of fun.

The Referees and Officials – I believe each match had 5 officials overseeing the MMA action (some scoring striking, some scoring grappling and another overseeing fighter safety). It worked very well! Fighters who were hit by 3 solid strikes on the ground without defending themselves had their matches stopped and were awarded a loss. Defending fighters kept moving and protecting themselves when they heard the referee instructing them to do so which was great to see. After watching numerous bouts I thought the system was a very fair and safe way of doing things.

One thing that I would change is the amount of points earned by a fighter for completing a successful take down. Currently a take down scores a single point:  That’s equal to a solid strike from standing or on the ground but less than a guard pass. I think 3 points would be a better and more realistic number for successfully completed take downs. Being on bottom is not a good thing in professional MMA so I think any fighter that earns the top position should score more than a single point for doing so.

Its also important to not make a take down worth too many points because ultimately I think that what you do after scoring a take down is more important than the take down itself: Things like passing the guard and/or dishing out solid ground and pound striking being some of the most dominating actions a fighter can do from the top position during a ground fight.

I think sweeps from the bottom were one point as well at today’s event. If the take downs are changed to 3 points I think a 2 point score awarded for a sweep from the guard would work very well.

Overall I really liked what I saw today on the mats. Hopefully the AMMA continues to put on events so that Ontario’s amateur athletes can compete in realistic and safe mixed martial arts action. I have absolutely no doubt that these types of events will help prepare fighters for future professional mixed martial arts careers.

Oh yeah, I almost forgot. One of our fighters from Team Joslin’s fought in the event and did very well! Johnny Sanguinetti won the 170lbs. advanced division after defeating three very tough opponents. Nice work Johnny!

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Last night was a great night of action here in Red Deer, Alberta at the Havoc MMA event.

My fighter Ryan Dickson won his fight in the 2nd round by submission and really fought well by showing solid striking, wrestling and ground skills. His new record is 12-1 overall (6-1 pro) with all finishes. His opponent last night, Advin Omic, was very skilled and tough and the two of them matched up made for an awesome fight.

Very proud of Ryan and have no doubt that his hard work, dedication and skill will take him to the top. Next up is “The Ultimate Fighter: Canada vs. Australia” tryouts in 2 weeks.

Thanks to all the students at Joslin’s MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) and his other great training partners that helped him prepare. Huge thanks to our awesome sponsors,Thunder Tribe Vitamin B Blast Energy Shot , SST Hamilton, Tapout Training Center – Burlington, Dr. Callum Cowan Performance Medicine, Mucho Burrito, JKR Financial and M&A Sports Media.

“The Ultimate Fighter” here we come!!!

 

I’m writing this from home, a day after one of the most accomplished grapplers of all time Marcelo Garcia taught a seminar to a monstrous group of BJJ’ers at the Alliance BJJ Headquarters during the 6th and final day of the world championship training camp.

The seminar was excellent and I picked up a few new techniques that will fit nicely into my BJJ game. The most notable being a slick way to pass the De La Riva Guard into side control.

Ever since Marcelo visited Joslin’s MMA several times to teach classes –for nearly a month’s time in total– back in the mid 2000’s, I’ve used many of the guard attacks and guard passes that he taught as a big part of my BJJ game. What’s awesome about Marcelo’s style of jiu-jitsu is that the movements he teaches can always be applied to both gi and no-gi training and often MMA fighting as well. His game inspired me to develop the butterfly guard game that I now use constantly in BJJ and have put into MMA action as well, most notably when I fought Josh Koscheck at UFC Fight Night 7.

Marcelo started the seminar by showing a simple and very effective sweep from the butterfly guard. He then showed everyone how to apply the same attack from the kneeling position and from standing as well. I really liked the standing variation and look forward to busting it out during training very soon.

He followed up that first movement by teaching several guard passes and a few variations that are needed to deal with the variety of defenses an opponent will most likely try in an attempt to stop the initial pass.

Lastly he broke down a choke that he has used countless times to submit his opponents during competition, the north/south choke. It’s definitely a great choke especially in no-gi when there is often less submission options available.

After everyone spent time practicing that final technique, each person had an opportunity to take a photo with Marcelo taken by the highly talented Alliance BJJ brown belt/professional photographer Preston Smith ( Preston Smith Photography).

Master Jacare, myself and Marcelo

After the seminar my students Mike, Mark, Joey and I headed out to get some lunch with Marcelo and Master Romero “Jacare” Cavalcanti before we headed to the airport to travel home.

It was a great day!

I want to take a moment to thank everyone at Alliance BJJ Headquarters for making our trip to train with them such a fun one. Similar to every other time I’ve visited there in the past, everyone there made my students and I feel completely at home. The training was very, very tough and there were no easy rolling sessions that’s sure. Three a day workouts made my body feel like it had been in a car accident but I’m already looking forward to the next time we visit. In fact I’m planning on bringing between 10-20 of us next time!

Thanks to my students Mike Paiva, Mark Uveges and Joey Martin for joining me on the trip and for making our down time so much fun. You all worked your butt off during the week and did an awesome job during training. Big respect!

After class with 4x World Champ Lucas Lepri

Special thanks to Lucas Lepri for the daily rolling and drilling rounds and all of the great techniques you shared with me during my stay. If  any of you are reading this and don’t know who Lucas is, check him out online. He’s an absolute beast on the mats and a really awesome guy as well! Looking forward to training with you again when you come to Hamilton and Joslin’s MMA in June! Thanks again for everything!

and lastly, huge thanks to my Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu instructor Master Romero “Jacare” Cavalcanti. I am very fortunate to be a part of your team and proudly represent you and Alliance BJJ. You’ve always made me feel so welcome during my stays in Atlanta and I want to thank you greatly for that because it means a lot to me. You have an awesome group of students at your academy and we’ll definitely be back soon for some more amazing BJJ training!

With my BJJ instructor and BJJ legend Master "Jacare"

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Continued From Part 2…

Fractured Orbital Bone

This was the scariest injury I’ve ever sustained in my life!  After getting cracked in the eye with a roundhouse kick during a NBL –National Blackbelt League—world championship title fight— my vision was messed up to the point that I could no longer see my opponent. Instantly I saw two of him!  One eye could see everything fine but my damaged eye was seeing everything at a 45 degree angle. It was really frightening!

My vision didn’t improve at all during the next two weeks but a doctor at Georgetown university hospital made me feel a little better when he said it would all heal up in time without the need for any surgery. A few weeks later I felt a small popping sensation in my face as the nerves from my eye escaped from being caught in the orbital bone fracture. Things slowly got better from that point on and I soon had my normal vision back.

Back Muscle Tear

When your back is messed up it affects everything that you do. My back injury happened early in my career; two months before one of my professional fights. With the fight already booked I decided to push forward, taking anti-inflammatory medication so that I could still train hard. It seemed to work fairly well as my back would no longer spasm like it was before I began taking the pills.

The problem was that I could only box and jog during my preparation for the fight. Grappling, kicking and wrestling would still make my back spasm. Close to fight time, I was easily blasting through 10 rounds of hard boxing sparring and running like a friggin gazelle on the roads by my house but the entire fight ended up being fought on the ground. That created a problem for me because my ground techniques were extremely rusty –since I hadn’t rolled on the ground in 2 months– and all of my conditioning work was of the stand-up fighting type.

I was so damn tired during that fight that at one point during the scrap I was thinking about being at home watching television instead of hitting my opponent. Luckily my technique was strong enough to keep me in good positions throughout most of the fight. If it wasn’t I would have be huge trouble! I still remember my coach signalling me to raise my hands up in the air –in victory– after the bell signalled to end the final round but I couldn’t move my arms no matter how hard I tried. In fact, I almost fell over when they were pulling my gloves off of me in my corner.

The good thing is that I learned a very valuable lesson that night. I would never take a fight unless I was able to do the necessary fight preparation work in all areas: groundwork, takedowns, striking and strength/conditioning. Also, to not mask any future symptoms with anti-inflammatory medication so that I could still train like a madman.

After that fight I took some time off to allow myself to fully heal up naturally. When I returned back to the cage I had some of the best fights of my career.

Strained/Torn Ligaments in the Knee

I’ve been very lucky that after 25+ years of training I’ve had had very little trouble with my knees. So many people that are heavily active in sports are not as lucky and have to deal with knee surgeries and other treatments throughout their athletic careers.

I did however on three occasions hear a disgustingly loud popping sound originate from my knee. The sounds were always followed by a lot of pain that lasted for many weeks. These injuries all happened during my late teens when I had just begun training in the grappling art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. I think it was a case of me turning the wrong way to escape a leg lock or times when I forced an attack in the wrong direction that caused my knee injuries. Fortunately, every single time I hurt myself, my knee seemed to heal up fine without the need for surgery or major rehabilitation. I was very lucky!

Meniscus Tear

This painful injury still bugs me 8 years after it first occurred. If I push my finger forcefully into a spot just outside of my right kneecap I can still feel some pain.

I tore my meniscus one day in training by kicking a heavy bag without going through a proper warm-up routine. The very next day I knew I was messed up because I couldn’t bend my heel to my backside and was in a ton of pain. It took three or four weeks of rest before I could train again but even then I would sometimes feel a massive amount of pain while pushing off of the ground with my foot while grappling.

After a visit to the highly reputable sports doctor that I mentioned above, I finally found out what it was: A tear in my meniscus.

Since the tear was slightly off to the side of my leg, my knee wasn’t locking up during training, which meant I didn’t need immediate surgery. Instead, I worked on strengthening my leg muscles by doing squats and other leg exercises which helped minimize the stress placed upon my meniscus during training. The strategy worked very well and the injury never became bad enough that I had to have it surgically fixed. Nowadays, I sometime feel the pain return when I train really hard, throw a ton of kicks or neglect my leg strengthening exercises.

Concussion

This last injury was the one that ended my career way too early. I’ve had a long story of concussions starting with my very first one that occurred during a hockey game was I was barely a teen. I covered it all extensively in another blog post. –> Click here to read it.

Well, those are all of the injuries I can recall facing throughout my entire sports and martial arts career. I’d love to hear about some of your sports injuries or your experience with the same ones I mentioned above so please comment on this post and share all the juicy details.

 

–> Click Here to Read PART 1

–> Click Here to Read  PART 2

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Continued from Part 1

The Shouldice Hospital

Hernia

Now I’m not sure if hernias are hereditary or not but I did end up getting one when in my early twenties. Maybe I had a weakness and would have got one regardless but I really think my hernia was caused because I used improper technique while bench pressing.

Initially I felt no pain from the injury and with the consent of a specialist–he said “keep training until it gets worse”– I continued training very hard. A year later, I began to feel a throbbing pain in my groin area after hard training so I opted to get the surgery to fix it. I went to the Shouldice Clinic in Thornhill, Ontario which is world renowned for their experience and methods (permanently cures hernia at a 99.5% rate I believe). Nearly fifteen years later I haven’t had a problem with the work that they did and I now lift weights properly of course J.

Damaged Rotator Cuff

Atlanta, Georgia was where this next injury happened. I was training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu at Romero “Jacare“ Cavalcanti`s  –my instructor– Alliance Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu School. One day during my two week stay there, a few of the students were to test for their next belts. I think I was a white belt at the time I was asked by one of the guys testing to be his partner for the throwing portion of his belt exam.

I agreed, jumped to my feet and we gripped up with each other in the classical throwing position. Next thing I knew I was flying through the air at full force, my body moving at a very weird angle; a split second later as I smashed into the mats my shoulder burned immediately. I guess the guy who had thrown me, so pumped up because he was testing for his blue belt, overdid his movement and ended up losing his balance causing me to fall directly on my own arm. The fact that I didn’t expect him to throw me so intensely probably makes the injury occurrence somewhat my fault too. I should have been ready!

I got up and finished off the rest of my throwing dummy responsibilities but I had a lot of trouble using my left arm over the next month or so.

Broken Nose

First off, I must say that I still miss my old nose. It was so much straighter than the one I have now.

When you have a facial feature for over twenty years and see it every day when you look in the mirror you get kind of use to it. Then one day when you look in the mirror and you’re face is just not the same, it`s a little traumatic. I’ll admit that after breaking my nose, I did feel like everyone around me was staring at it. At the mall, on the bus and anywhere else that I went, I`d have that same feeling.

It happened during an exhibition kickboxing match between me and a friend of mine. Sometime during the first round I took a full power cross to the face. Normally that wouldn’t have been much of a problem but the strike honestly his nothing but nose. Shortly after the impact, the round ended and I went back to my corner. I knew something was up when both my corner man were tilting their heads side to side while staring intently at my face.

“Was your nose always crooked?” one of them asked me in a serious tone.

“No” I replied as I felt a slight panic set in. I ran to the nearest mirror and saw the monstrosity that my nose had become. My nose was half way across my face! It didn’t hurt at all and didn’t bleed much at all which I thought was kind of strange.

A few days later, I was passed out on a table at the hospital while a plastic surgeon worked his magic and straightened my nose out. It looked pretty good again but I wasn’t supposed to do any jiu-jitsu or wrestling –and obviously kickboxing sparring– for the next six weeks. I just couldn`t wait it out. Two weeks later, I started grappling with a cage karate style helmet on that protected my face –but made me look like Hannibal Lector– because I just couldn’t sit on the sidelines anymore.

Four week post-injury, thinking my nose was ready to take a bump or two, I took off the Darth Vaderish looking helmet to test it out. That was a big mistake! In the very next grappling round I took an accidental elbow directly to my nose and heard a crunching sound. Another sprint to the mirror revealed a slightly crooked nose. It was not nearly as terribly distorted as my original injured nose was. Not wanted to undergo cosmetic surgery again, I decided to leave it as it was and to this day my nose is a slightly different version of the one I used to have. I’ve gotten used to this one but still miss my old one!

 

Here's what I looked Like After Eating the Head Butt

Two Teeth Knocked Out

There’s a time when every fighter knows they`ve become a real warrior. Or maybe it’s a time when they realize that modelling is no longer an option for them.

My special moment was when I felt my two front teeth collapse inside my mouth guard during the first round of a fight against Jon Fitch. I was smashed by an illegal head butt –an accidental one in my opinion—that really shook me up and left me incisorly challenged for life. Good thing is that I managed to fight on despite getting dropped to the mat for a brief moment by that hit. To get your teeth knocked out and your ass TKO’ed? That’s embarrassing.

After that, we battled hard for the full three rounds and when they were announcing the decision my wife, who was ten rows back, somehow knew that I had lost my teeth. She was stressed!

It really didn’t hurt very much when it happened and after the fight I somehow managed to jam both of them back into my gums before the camera crew came to my dressing to interview me about a controversial moment in the fight. Throughout the interview I had to keep pushing one of my teeth upwards because I could feel it dropping down every time I spoke.

For a month or two, those two front teeth stayed in my mouth without much trouble –although they had become a bit crooked. Eventually I found out that root canals would be necessary to keep the teeth alive so I opted to have both the teeth removed and some fake ones put in their place. It made no sense to spend all that money to fix them when another solid shot could have knocked them out again even easier than the first time it happened.

Today, I’m still wearing the fake ones but eventually plan to get permanent implants put in. Well maybe not for a while because it’s been a bit of a blessing in disguise. My toothless grin recently helped me to better play a crazed forest dwelling psycho in the film “The Secret Cross” (You can see me with no teeth in the film trailer by CLICKING HERE). Maybe I can use my toothless grin to my advantage in other films as well. I just have to be careful to not become typecast as psychos, homeless guys and pro-hockey players.

–> Click Here to Read PART 1 of the Blog Post Series

 

–> Click Here to Read PART 3 

 

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Minutes after I ate the headbutt that bloodied my nose and knocked out my front teeth

In every sport there are certain injuries that participants face. Fortunately it doesn’t happen that often but if you put enough time into your sport you’re bound to be sidelined from practice/competition at one time or another due to injury.  Some injuries occur due to overtraining, others because of the high intensity of tough competition, and every once and an injury can be blamed simply on bad luck. I hate those ones!

It’s an accepted part of the playing the games we enjoy and putting our athletic limits to the test.

Martial arts is a very safe, extremely fun activity that allows its participants to benefit and grow in so many ways. I’ve spent my entire life training and truly still love it with a passion.

As a teenager I trained very hard and competed often; sometimes doing two different tournaments in one weekend. Once I became an adult my training intensified and at the peak of my career while fighting as a professional mixed martial artist in the UFC and many other shows, I was training 2-3 times per day, six days per week.

With that amount of training and an active competition schedule, I’ve experience a handful of different injuries during the last three decades of training.

Here’s my personal list, where I name and describe all of the ones that I am able to remember:

Nearly Complete Ankle Tear

This nasty injury put me out of commission for over a month. It happened during a University Wrestling Practice when I was going for a throw on a training partner that I had caught in a very tight body lock position. In the middle of my throwing motion my foot became stuck in the mat as the rest of my body kept on going forward. The popping sound that I heard originate from someplace down below was so loud that a bunch of people around me heard it too even though the training room was anything but quiet.

Strangely, I felt no pain!

I had a fight coming up, and was really feeling great on the mats that day, so I decided to keep on wrestling. Two minutes later, I began to feel a little bit of pain just above my foot but it was bearable. So once again, I kept on wrestling. Four minutes after that, between wrestling rounds I started to limp a bit; it was becoming more and more difficult put all of my weight on my left foot without feeling a very sharp pain shoot up my leg­.  Twenty minutes later, there I was, hopping on one foot across the vast university parking lot toward my van.

A month and a half later I was finally able to train again. However I did tap out extra quickly to foot locks for some time after getting back at it.

Cauliflower Ear

I really couldn’t tell you exactly when I got my first bit of cauliflower ear but I do remember being pretty damn proud of it.

I was teenager at the time and had heard a little bit about the injury beforehand from wrestlers that I knew and trained with. They told me that in some countries, where wrestling was the national sport, the lucky guys that had noticeable cauliflower ear got restaurant meals for free!

I was quick to find out that people here in Canada did not do the same thing and that a very high percentage of our doctors had never drained –which is a common treatment for the injury—a cauliflower ear that was filled up with fluid.

Luckily I have very small ears and the first few bouts of cauliflower ear were the only times that I had to deal with the painful injury.

Torn Ligament in Finger

After landing a full power cross, during boxing training, on the forehead of one of my sparring partners I had no idea that I had hurt my hand pretty badly. The damage was done to my right hand’s ring finger but it really didn’t hurt very much at first. It wasn’t until a few days later that my top knuckle on that finger became very swollen and bright red; I couldn’t punch a heavy bag, hand mitt or person without feeling sharp pain shoot through my hand.

The dark red colour of the knuckle area really had me worried that my finger had become infected. I probably should have got it checked out by a doctor but decided not to.  Instead I kept on training, adjusting things as best I could to avoid any pain but I had little success in doing so.

It took a long time before the pain totally subsided: At least two months. I’m sure it would have healed faster had I taken some time off training but that would have been way too depressing.

Eventually when all of the redness and swelling had disappeared I figured out what had happened. It turned out that I had snapped a ligament in my ring finger and to this day still cannot straighten that finger completely. It’s definitely one of my coolest injuries to show people.

Torn Sheath over Knee Cap

This was the most annoying injuries I ever sustained! It caused one of my kneecaps to have a spot on it that was brutally sensitive for over a year. Every time the spot touched the mats –which was everyday in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu class—the pain was excruciating!

How’d it happen? Unfortunately, the story really is not that cool in comparison to how much the injury irritated me.

Erik Paulson, who I had trained with many times in the past, was in Mississauga at the time teaching a seminar at my striking coach Vito’s school (www.allcanadianmartialarts.com). I jumped into the training session and soon after beginning to trade leg kick with my drilling partner our knees collided. Normally that wouldn’t have been a problem at all but I guess it was my unlucky day. The pain was instant and severe.

After a month of adjusting my ground fighting style so that my left knee would rarely touch the mats, I decided to visit one of the best sports doctors in North America. His diagnosis of a torn sheath on my kneecap didn’t make me feel any better but I immediately began getting some treatment for it.

Six months later I had a lot less pain in my knee but I really hoped that I would never again experience a “Torn Sheath” in my knee! Reaching down with a hand as I write this –six years after the injury occurred– I can still press a spot on my knee and feel a lesser version of the same pain I felt way back then. I really hope you never tear your knee cap sheath. It sucks!

Torn Rib Cartilage

I think this is an injury that pretty much every serious grappler sustains at one time in their life. It really sucks!

Once the pain of torn rib cartilage sets it, it’s pretty much impossible to bend over, difficult and uncomfortable to stand up from a seated position, and painful to sneeze, laugh or breathe deeply. Obviously it’s also impossible to do any sort of athletic training other than the simple act of walking.

The strange thing is that it doesn’t take very much force to damage ribcage cartilage. Usually it happens during an awkward twist towards a resisting training partner that causes it.

I hurt mine doing a basic escape movement while preparing for a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu tournament. My rib area was sore during the entire week leading up to the competition but I decided to compete regardless. That was a big mistake!

After winning my first match, I attempted to throw my second opponent –who was built like a tank—with a twisting type throw and instead ended up feeling my ribs ripping apart from one another. It friggin’ hurt! I pushed through it, fighting on and winning the match by points. After the match, the pain increased and I wasn’t sure if I’d be able to fight the final match.  I did fight, using an adjusted game plan that avoided any movement that would cause me to scream out in agony.  I ended up winning that gold medal match by points.

Fighting on with torn cartilage definitely made my injury worse, but I had just come off winning gold at the BJJ Pan/American Games and didn’t want someone else to come out the victor so soon afterwards. The injury knocked me out of training for nearly two months and for the six months that followed my return I could still feel some pain in my side every time I’d hit a heavy bag with a hard left hook.

Oh yeah, it`s easy to tell which grapplers have had the same injury in the past because it leaves a very noticeable bump along the ribcage. I’m rubbing mine right now as I write this.

CLICK HERE TO READ PART 2

CLICK HERE TO READ PART 3


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It took me a little while to put this list together. I thought hard about both the present and the past tonight when I visited my mother in-laws place for dinner.

In the end I came up with a bunch of facts, some pretty embarrassing, that you probably don”t know about me.

In return for my honesty :),  do me one favour in return after reading the rest of this post. Comment and share at least one thing –hopefully more– that most people wouldn”t know about you. C”mon don”t be shy!

Anyways, here we go…

1)  I was on my grade school`s chess team for one year back in the day.

2)  My parents almost named me Lee instead of Jeff. My middle name is now Lee.

3)  My brother used to call me Bruce Pee because I would sometimes wet the bed when I was very young. I friggin hated that!

4)  I used to compete a lot with my “Bo Staff” when I was a teenager. (click to watch)

5)  I started training in martial arts when I was five under my father, Rick –who was a three time Canadian champion—but it wasn’t until I got into a fight in high school that I became motivated to devote my life to martial arts training.

6)  My two front teeth are fake due to a head butt that I received during one of my pro MMA fights. (click to watch)

7)  I place 2nd in the city (for our school board) for public speaking when I was 11 years old. I won $10 cash!

8 )  I tried out for “The Ultimate Fighter” show twice –making the final 10 in Boston– but was turned down because I was “Too quiet”.

9)  I am a computer RPG video game fanatic. I`ve had had characters on Everquest, Star Wars Galaxies, Neverwinter Nights and many other games. I currently have forced myself not to play them at all because I get way too addicted.

10)  I’ve sustained 22 injuries over a lifetime of martial arts training. The worst one being a cracked orbital bone. I couldn`t see straight for nearly 2 weeks!

11)  I had to defend myself in the street on the night of my brother’s wedding, while wearing a rented tuxedo! It kind of felt like I was James Bond as I was doing it. Luckily I got the grass stains out of the pants before I had to return them to the store.

12)  My first MMA Fight was inside a small night club in Montreal. They coolest part was that they had cages with Go Go Dancers inside them. In between every fight the girls would do their thing.

13)  I used to play AA hockey when I was young. A bad coach kinda ruined the sport for me.

14)  I failed English twice because I had zero interest in reading books at the time. I started this blog to make my former English teacher proud. Well not really, but I remain hopeful that she would be.

15)  I was in a hip hop group when I was 16. We did one live show. It went really well but beforehand I was more scared than I have ever been in my entire life.

16)  I`ve had a black eye in the pictures that were online casino taken at almost every important event in my life including my wedding, my sister in-law`s wedding and many other important family events.

17) A week after my UFC fight we went out to a local bar. The owner –a great guy—gave me a VIP booth and a big bottle of Grey Goose vodka. I hadn`t drank any alcohol during the six months leading up to my fight and the stuff we drank that night hit me way too hard. So hard that when I got home I rushed to take a piss in what I thought was the bathroom. Turns out it wasn”t. My wife was not impressed…

18) Thanks to my 7 year old daughter”s influence I’m now a Justin Beiber fan. Did I just say that?

19) My favourite musical artist of all time is “Redman”.

20) My favourite movie is “Braveheart”.

21) The heaviest I’ve been in my life is 213 lbs. and the time when I was in the best shape was right before my fight with Josh Koscheck when I was weighing in at 186lbs with 6% body fat.

22) My favourite NHL hockey team has always been the Detroit Red Wings. My favourite player: Steve Yzerman of course.

23)  A while back, I got the opportunity to do the pre-game coin toss for the Hamilton Tiger-Cats season opener. I also got to lead the crowd of 30,000 fans through the  Tiger Cat’s Oskee-Wee-Wee cheer. That was really cool and the Hamilton fans are ­awesome!

24)  I have a 200 lbs. English Mastiff named “Zeena”.

25)  Today, I love the sport of martial arts more than ever. I also look forward to helping many others achieve their goals so that they can experience the great things that the sport has given me.

Categories : Predictions
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I came across this video today and I must say it’s really disturbing.

I honestly don’t feel like embedding the video, and give these guys any more views –which is obviously what they’re looking for by posting it on youtube– of their stupidity filled upload, but in doing so hopefully I can help spread the message that doing this kind of thing is a terribly bad idea.

That being said, I don’t believe that the guys making the videos are bad people. The sport of MMA is exciting; It’s great to watch and super fun to practice so it’s no surprise to me that some young guys are emulating what they’ve seen on TV. The problem is that they’re oblivious to the dangers they face every time they gear up for a scrap.

If these “Backyard MMA” contests don’t stop someone will be killed. Of course no one will have meant for it to happen but it’ll be a tragedy that will change the lives of every participant  –the fighters, spectators and makeshift referee– forever. I can’t imagine the guilt I would feel if I were part of something that ended somebody else’s life. Especially that of a teenager who has so many great years ahead of them.

If you’re reading this, and are currently participating in or thinking of fighting in this type of thing, I do think it’s a dumb idea and I strongly suggest that you don’t do it. But I know that hearing those words is not enough,  so I’ll share with you the reasons why I feel it’s such a dangerous thing to do.

Obviously, the choice is yours to make, but I really hope that I can provide you with some knowledge of the risks involved so that you can make an educated one.

The Dangers:

1) Getting hit by punches, kicks, knees, and elbows is very dangerous when proper training gear isn’t being worn. It may not feel that way while your getting hit because of the adrenalin rushing through your body, but it is.

Even though I’ve fought in the UFC and other big shows, I’ve never hit someone with 4 ounce gloves (MMA style) outside of a sanctioned professional fight. When we train, my sparring partners and I always wear big gloves, head gear and other protective equipment to keep ourselves safe.

2) Head injuries and concussions are some of the worst thing that can happen to you in your life. You may end up depressed, permanently spaced out or confused and in some cases never be able to exercise again.

What kind of life would that be?

There’s absolutely no way that you can trust that an untrained person will stop your fight at the right time. Take too much punishment and you can screw up the rest of your life or worse. For what? It’s not like you’re protecting yourself or earning a living by doing it.

Watch the video below, and you’ll notice that the one guys gets choked unconscious at 0:59 and the other guy doesn’t let go of the choke until…sixteen seconds later!  Then they fight two more rounds after that. That’s totally messed up and that guy could have really been hurt.

3) You’re WAY more likely to get seriously hurt when you don’t learn MMA properly. With no real idea of how to stop punches, kicks or submission holds you’re always a split second away from a serious problem even when you’re winning.

4) You won’t be able to take back an action that severely injures or kills someone else (maybe even a friend). With no doctor nearby –they have them at every professional and amateur MMA fight– chances are that an injured person’s situation will get worse quickly.

Again, this all happened for what good reason? None that come to my mind that’s for sure.

If you want to do MMA, do some searching and join a local  gym. You’ll have a ton of fun, get in great shape, meet some really cool people and learn the techniques that really work all while you’re training in the safest way possible. In a short amount of time you could find yourself in the cage doing what you love to do and maybe one day, after putting in a lot of hard work, you may find yourself battling inside the UFC Octagon.

Believe me it’s an amazing experience…

Here’s the video of the fights…

Comments (4)