Monday, September 29, 2008

Tournament highlight video

Here is a small highlight video of our team that I made from the weekends tournament:

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The competition comeback - Analysis

So yesterday, I was competing for the first time in over two years and I will write a little about it while it is still all clear in my memory.

The short version is, that I won four out of five fights and ended up with a third place. Our team came in first on the team competition. My personal goal for the day was to reach the finale and for the team to win the Best Team title, so I am very satisfied with how it all went anyway. Here goes the long version - it is ok to just skim through it ;-)

No-gi submission wrestling with special rules. No points the first three minutes. After that, first fighter that scores three points win. One point for takedown, guard pass, mount, sweep and backmount. Submission always win of course.

As you can see, both the hair and the belly was like Chuck Lidell's. This was to trick my opponent so they would never guess that my gameplan more resembled Marcelo Garcia's ;-)

My preparation for this tournament has not been optimal since I have had three injuries which has prevented me from sparring with full intensity and focus. Besides some minor problems with my knee and neck, I have had a very very sprained thumb that has made any gripping with my right hand almost impossible in the last two months. I have tried to spar anyways, but it has been difficult not to think about the thumb all the time, so keeping focus on the sparring has not been easy. A week and a half ago, I hit it really hard and basically cramped out my entire body in pain. I decided to go through with the tournament anyway and just see how it would go. I actually expected to hit the thumb again during a match and then have to leave the competition.

I had put more focus on getting the right food and sleep up to the tournament, and I think it made a big difference for my energy level on the day.

The primary thing for me with this competition was to just get on the mat again, get the feeling back, see how I would react and how well my game would work under pressure. During the matches, I had a lot of focus on relaxing, thinking and just play technical and smart instead of just powering through. I was also a little worried for my conditioning because of the lack of hard sparring in the recent months, so therefore I would put extra emphasis on being as economical with my energy as possible.

Strategically, I had made a gameplan that was the result of going through my a-game gameplan in training over the last three months. I have taken some things out and simplified it a bit for this tournament, so it was really a minimum of techniques I would be looking for.

In the clinch I had two scenarios. If I could control the pace, I would set up the Marcelo Garcia style armdrag to single leg setup, which is basically my number one takedown at the moment. If I felt like it would take too much energy to clinch with my opponent, I would simply pull guard and go for a sweep, where X-guard and simple sweep are my two favorites.

While on the ground and on top, I would do anything to get to sidecontrol, where I can set up the kimura or armbar from baiting the opponent to underhook. In case I needed to take some energy out of my opponent, I would go to mount and make him work a bit from there.

Basically I think it went really well in all my matches. Naturally, my mind was playing tricks on me up to the competition, and I was a little worried about how I would perform after being away from the scene for so long. I can only conclude, that competing daily in the gym has definitely been enough to prepare for a tournament mentally, as I felt really good and confident in my technique while on the mat.

Amazingly, I didn't feel any pain at all in my thumb the entire day. It was probably adrenaline or maybe the laser treatment I got the day before really helped.

While preserving energy and feeling confident worked great, it was also this lack of intensity that cost me the spot in the finale, since I got caught with a kimura while in halfguard top during a short moment with lack of focus and a little overconfidence. Besides that, I pretty much executed the gameplan perfectly in all matches, so I am satisfied with my performance.


My first match was against an opponent I know a little about, since I have been watching a lot of his pro MMA fights over the last few years. Nice guy who I have known for a while. From watching him grapple before, I expected him to come out with a low base and handfight, so that was perfect for setting up my armdrag single. It went as expected and it didn't take long before I got the grip I was looking for, and while having executed this move a thousand times in the gym, I pulled it off without thinking about it. Unfortunately, I did not get enough of my weight pulled into him to move his leg and break his base enough, so I had to swith to a double attempt and then a single. I went right into a scramblepass and ended up in sidecontrol where luckily he had the underhook ready and my armbar/kimura setup was right there.


This was an unknown opponent, but I saw him fight my first opponent, so I kind of knew what to expect. Muay Thai background so he was playing really hard clinch and going for the double necktie to power me down. Big strong guy, so I wanted to make him use a bit energy before I tried to finish him off. Due to his aggressive clinch, I did not expect to armdrag him, so I let him try and catch me for a bit and was just waiting for us to clinch up so I could pull guard and sweep. Worked fine first time where I butterfly sweep to mount but he manages to escape. Same recipe again, and this time I got an X-guard sweep, pass and was setting up the kimura. I felt he still had a lot of energy to power out of it so I decided last second to bail on the kimura and go for the mount instead to win on points.


The quarter final against another MMA fighter. Again a physically strong opponent, but I was confident that technique would overcome strength :D I had no idea what he would try, but his clinch seemed aggressive so I pulled guard and went for a footlock. He has very strong legs so I decided it would take too much energy to try and finish it. Sat up instead and passed the guard while setting up a bicep slicer on the way. he was not tapping to that, so I baited the underhook and finished by kimura.



Semi final against one of the experienced grapplers from another gym in our city. Due to his clinch style, I was very confident that I could pull off the armdrag. I set up the grip and went for it, but he reacted quickly and sprawled. I followed up with a simple counter that a wrestler currently visiting Denmark for four months showed me just days before, and I easily finished the takedown and ended up in a low mount. He had some very good escapes and good movement from bottom so I went in and out of guard, halfguard and sidecontrol a few times. I felt in total control of the situation and was just waiting for the opportunity to escape the halfguard, grab the kimura and step over the head to finish. It was almost there at a point, but right when I tried to step over, he managed to pull halfguard back. At this point, I was a bit too relaxed and confident, and for a split second I look up to say something to my cornerman. Immediately, my opponents grabs a kimura and initially I was not worried about it since I have never really been tapped on that particular move from bottom halfguard before, but he had a very strong grip and before I knew of it, I had to roll and he got the tap out. Very nice move by him and I will definately work more on my halfguard top in the next period :)


This was against one of my own team mates, who is extremely explosive and technical. Luckily, I had almost 8 kilos on him, so size was definitely to my advantage. I have rolled with him a thousand times before so it was difficult for me to figure out how to beat him, since he knows my game in and out. Luckily, I could just follow my original gameplan and win by kimura from sidecontrol, but it took a few attempts, where I really had to work for it. Definately my toughest fight of the day. I like to joke around during training, so fighting my own team mate was a great opportunity to make a little fun out of it all :)


This weekends compeition has really made me think a lot about what actually motivates me to keep doing this sport, and my thoughts about this, will be written in another post soon. I think this post has been long enough already :)

Monday, September 22, 2008

Getting back in the competition game

Besides competing in the gym almost every single day against a bunch of really skilled teammates, it has been a very long time since I have entered any sort of competition. I always have a lot of projects going on, and given my time consuming roles as full time gym owner, promoter, coach and instructor, it has been difficult for me to find the required time and energy to focus on my own training enough to compete again. Last time I competed was about two and a half years ago and shortly after that, I got a pretty bad pelvis/hip injury from a deadlift, that has held me from doing any form of lower body (and thereby cardio-)training since. These factors combined has put my focus on all the other factors of the sport besides competing.

I have tried several treatments for my injury over the last few years, but nothing has really worked until recently where a friend of mine referred me to a physiotherapist of his. Over the last two months, I have paid her for literally torturing my body, and finally I see some results. I can now run, squat, jump, etc. without feeling pain for a week afterwards. It is not fully treated yet, but definitely going in the right direction.

With my newly acquired luxury of being able to actually train my lower body, I have decided to join my team in a submission wrestling tournament next saturday. We are 29 competitors from my gym and I will join them in our quest to gather most points and win the team contest.

Competition for me will never be about honor, winning, being "the best" etc., but is merely a tool for me to develop my skills and explore my own potential. I do this for myself and myself only. Self confidence has never been a problem to me (in the good way :)), so I am not out to prove anything to myself or anyone else. What I am trying to do with this project though, is to use competition as a catalyst to evolve, improve and develop my skills in the sports. A natural step on my way to brown belt and beyond! :)

Recently, I was thinking back and realizing, that I have actually competed at about 15 tournaments in the past, but it is such a long time ago, I have a tendency to about forget it. I dug up some old photos from my hard drive from these events and have uploaded them to this post. Skinny kid!! :D

Now, getting back in the competition game is gonna be a long term, slow starting thing for me. I think that technically I could not be better prepared. Physically, I would rate myself to be about 75% of my potential in my current weight class. Mentally, I am obviously lacking experience and I am totally out of the rhythm in this area. Nerves or concentration has never really been a problem for me during matches at competitions in the past, and I have always felt confident in my game, so I hope this will also be the case saturday. Naturally, my mind is playing tricks on me these days about my confidence in getting back on the mat after such a long time and with high expectations for myself, but I am aware of it and working on turning it all to my advantage.

Basically, my plan with this particular competition is to get back in the rhythm. Get on the mat, feel the nerves, do my best to execute my gameplan and see how it goes. I hope to win, but it is not my primary goal this time. I have been making a gameplan for the matches, that I have trained in the gym again and again under pressure against all my team mates, so I feel very confident in being able to execute it saturday. But we'll see how it goes. My toughest opponents will be my own team mates, who are not only extremely well prepared like myself, but also knows my game in and out :)

So these are some of my thoughts about getting back into the competition game. I will be sure to post here after the tournament to evaluate my performance and also put my matches up along with the gameplan I had been using (not gonna reveal that for my opponents just yet ;-)).

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Adrenaline 3 - what an amazing experience

I have not been posting a lot on this blog lately. The last few months I have been really busy preparing Adrenaline 3, which was my biggest MMA event to date. The preparations were done well, so everything went smoothly on the day and I could really enjoy experiencing the whole show, audience and fights. The fights were awesome and had some of the most spectacular finishes I have ever seen, including one guy getting hit by a kick to the neck in the title fight and just kept standing up while being completely knocked out.

We had three guys from our team fighting MMA at this event, and we had put a huge effort into preparing them for these fights. They were very, very hard matched and all three lost their fights. That is what happens, and I don't want my own fighters to get easy matchups at my own show. The most important thing is, that the whole process of preparing the guys for the fights have been amazing and they have all taken a huge jump in skill level since we started. Win or lose, I am very proud of all of them.

Parts of the established danish media was covering the event and they got some really good videos out of it. Here are some of them:

- Interview with me about MMA
- Feature about Christoffer Volf from my team
- Christoffers fight

A week before the show, I put together a promotion video for the event, you can check it out here: