Monday, 31 December 2012

Muscat Mixed Martial Arts Club - part 2

Once I was safely reunited with Taimur, we headed out for something to eat, before heading to the club to train.
The club is owned by Ali Fajwani, who teaches the Thai at the club and Taimur runs the grappling side and Tariq Kareem is the general manager and between the three of them, they keep the jiu jitsu flame alive out in Oman.  The club has been running for over eighteen months and the club now has its own premises, thanks to the hard of Ali and the team.  Although the club is still in early days, the guys have been competing in Abu Dhabi and have taken medals at the Asia Cup, so full credit to the all the team.
Club entrance
There is a full timetable at the club, offering ladies, kids and adult Thai classes and gi and no gi classes and when the class started there was a very good turnout; like all good jiu jitsu clubs, the session started with drills, then went onto specifics and finihsed with sparring and  before we knew it, three hours had passed in the blink of an eye.
Ali (left), Taimur, YT and Tarik
All that remained was a group photo, before heading for a much needed shower, it felt a lot warmer and humid out here; my gi was soaking wet, so it was left in the gym to dry out along with the rest of my training gear.  All clean and fresh, I was shown around a few sights before heading to Nandos for a much needed feast and then on to a bar for a quick drink before crashing out for the night.
Group photo
Up bright and early the next day, it was time for the long drive back home, with the sun blazing down, burning my arm and neck, a nice little souvenir; huge thanks to Ali, Taimur and Tarik for inviting me over to the club and checking out the club and meeting the students and sharing their passion for jiu jitsu. 

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Muscat Mixed Martial Arts Club - part 1

Before I start I'd like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas back in the UK and hope you haven't all been flooded out! Well, it's 30 degrees outside and I don't mean Farenheit, it's tough out here, I can tell you.
I was at the Asian Cup last month and I met a few guys from Muscat Mixed Martial Arts Club (3Mac) and after chatting to them, I told them I was a reporter and would love to come and visit the club and do some training and reporting out in Oman.  The lads duly agreed and a few days ago, I filled the car up with essentials for a four hour drive, namely water, juice, Skittles and a memory stick filled with driving tunes and I was ready to go.
On the road to Muscat
I live five minutes drive from the Hili border point to Oman and there was little traffic as I went through the barriers and in less than a few minutes I was in the Sultanate of Oman;  Muscat lay four hours away and I was driving through some of the most breathtaking and rugged places on the planet.  It was bad enough driving in December, God only knows what it's like in summer when the temperature rises over 50C.
The mountains on each side of the road stuck up like jagged spikes and the road is literally just carved into the mountains; the first hour is driving through the desert before arriving at one of the Omani border points and I went inside to get my vistor's visa and was duly informed I hadn't been given an exit stamp from the UAE, so I had to drive back to another check point to get one, before I could progress further.
After a short drive back, I had my stamp and went back to get my visa and after a few stamps in the passport, I was ready to go again; I have to say I have never met a more friendly set of officials here in Oman, not like the jumped up little power trippers that disgrace the UK airports.  These guys welcomed me in to the country with a smile and a handshake and were really helpful explaining to me about the exit stamp and when I came back they even made me a cup of coffee.  We had a quick chat about my being there and another shaking of hands I was back on the road and a little bit closer to Muscat.
It's one long big road that takes you into Muscat, namely the Sohar-Buraimi Road and it wasn't long before I saw civilisation and like back in Al Ain, roundabouts; they really look after their roundabouts, the grass is trimmed to within an inch of its life and all bursting with colourful plants and clipped trees.  It really makes driving out here a pleasure, all along the dual carriage ways it's the same, all trimmed hedges and palm trees, no different to back here in Al Ain.
One of the many brightly coloured roundabouts
Back in Al Ain, cats and dogs are everywhere; in Oman, it's goats; many on the loose and many by the roadside, not quite so loose.  Obviously these animals don't know the Highway Code and come a cropper straying into the paths of HGV lorries, laden with steel rods and construction equipment, so not much of a match for the poor goat.
Driving into Muscat
There's a huge construction project going on in Oman, especially on the roads, with new roads being laid and bridges built, so some of the way there, the roads veered off, but even still, the drive was by no means stressful, one just had to keep an eye out for any goats on the run.  Driving through Sohar, the roads stretched out for miles in front of me and the miles were slowly reducing and before long I was starting to make my way into Muscat and to the Corniche Hotel, which I'd set in my sat nav; I'd stopped at a petrol station to buy some credit for my phone and was told they don't work here in Oman, so I was unable to contact my friends, so I thought they'd contact me instead.
Local Omani's playing a game called Hawalees
As I finally arrived into Muscat, there was still no call from the guys, so I popped into the Mina Hotel and asked the guy behind the desk if I could make a quick call to my friend; the guy was called Ashraf and couldn't have been more helpful and so contact was re established with Ali, who called me back and I was met by the grappling coach Taimur.  Turns out that they couldn't call my phone here in Oman, so next time I'm there an Omanian SMS will be purchased to save any hassles.
With Ashraf, my life saver
Taimur took me for a quick bite to eat at a local restaurant and we spoke about the history of the club and of course jiu jitsu;  by now the sun was setting a deep shade of red, so I enjoyed the scenery and food and it was time to go to the gym and meet the guys and gals, all of which will make up Part 2 of this report...................

Christmas Day on the mats!!

Just returned from another awesome session tonight with the guys and a great way to celebrate Christmas Day :)  As always the rolling was tough and I had some real wars, learning every session  and getting stronger.
Christmas Day grapplers
Thanks to all the guys for rolling with me tonight and pushing me forward every session. 
With my brother Rogerio; the same, but different :)

Monday, 24 December 2012

Merry Christmas!

As ever, can't wish you all a Merry Christmas, without adding my favourite Yuletide photo :)

To all my students, have a great time and don't give any doormen in town any grief!  Thanks to The Proff for running the club in my absence and keeping the guys sharp!!

Thanks to you all for your continued support of Combat Base Bolton - OOOSSSS!!

BJJ pix - Grab and Pull!

One of my students, Mike Taylor, is a rather talented photographer and after taking shots at the few BJJ comps, supporting the lads, Mike has decided to conentrate on taking shots of BJJ events.

Here's a little album he's made for his site, which is under a revamp; make sure you take a visit and when you see him at a BJJ comp ask him to shoot you!!

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Three stripes for Flavio!

Huge congrats to Flavio Serafin who became eligible for three stripes earlier this week; a huge achievement and best wishes from myself and all the coaching staff at Al Ain :)

Flavio on the left with fellow three stripers, Erik Cardoso (middle) and Eduardo Machado


Friday, 21 December 2012

Festive fun on the mats

All is well and still very much business as usual out here in the sunshine, which I'm sure will put your minds at ease back in Blighty :) Training hard every evening with the guys and gals and making good progress; all classes run with drilling for warm up, specifics and sparring. 
Reppin the Tatami brandwith Marcio and Higor
If there's anything left of me at the end, I attend the regular class, usually run by Erik or Leopoldo and get my share of techniques in that session, plus some extra sparring, having all the blues and purples after me, taking advantage of me being totally cream crackered.
With Eduardo Machado, my first black belt opponent in my BJJ comp the other month
The weather here is great for training, nice and warm in the afternoon and a lot cooler at night, having the burden of wearing a track suit jacket after training, but it's a cross I have to bear, my shoulders are broad.
On a road trip tomorrow, visiting friends in the lovely city of Muscat in Oman; they have a BJJ and MMA academy there, so it's a road trip out there to meet the guys, make some reports and enjoy some more jiu jitsu.

Wednesday, 12 December 2012

Double gold for Polyana!

Alliance black belt Polyana Lago flew the flag for the females at the Emirates Super Cup and won gold medal in her weight bracket and also in the Absolute.  Polyana works and trains in Al Ain and is always giving the guys a hard time, cracking jokes and putting the hours in on the mats.
Polyana and the bling
Congrats Polyana from myself and all your team mates here in Al Ain :)

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Training pix

It's been business as usual out here in Al Ain, not been as busy on the Blog, due to one thing and the other; suffice to say the training keeps on getting better and better and tonight was no exeception.

A whopping thirty two black belts were on the mats for the Open Mat and after ten minutes of drilling with Rogerio, my brother from another mother, it was straight into rolling.  Six minutes on, two minutes rest and boy was it tough.  Just like every night.
Al Ain Massif
Each roll is never the same out here, so you can never prepare yourself for what's about to come your way from the black belts; all shapes and sizes, all kinds of guard passes, all manners of sweeps and a never ending supply of submissions, keep you well on your toes and as sharp as a new pin.  There's so many academies represented on the mats out here, it really is a unique place to learn jiu jitsu, probably the only place on the planet you'll find so many black belts from different academies, all training under one roof, week in, week out.
With Gilberto, after a WAR!
This for me is a truly humbling experience; to be part of such a great wealth of jiu jitsu talent and experience, I have to pinch myself at times to make sure I am not dreaming all of this. 
Another session ended and I pick myself up off the mats, dust myself down and wipe the sweat that's flowing freely down my face and into my eyes and head to the water cooler and have a well earned drink, with the rest of the guys; then I find myself a small space on the mats and stretch off and cool down and try and get my heart beat back to normal, as I can still feel the pounding in my chest, like a jackhammer on full power.
With 3 stripe Felipe, a real pocket rocket!
The weather here is ideal for training, nice and warm in the day, around 29/30 degrees C and drops down to a mild 18/19C in the evening; it's track suit jacket weather after class to avoid a chill, but the drive back home offers a welcome cooling breeze, so better make the most of this fine weather and carry on training hard. 
Iron sharpens iron.   Oooosss!


Monday, 10 December 2012

BJJ Demo Team!

Had the pleasure of being involved in a  BJJ demo at a local school in Al Ain this evening, that caters for students with special needs; a number of the black belts have taught jiu jitsu in the past at the school and they were warmly welcomed by the students, who were all involved in soccer matches, when we arrived at the school.

The BJJ demo team
Come half time and the mats were rolled out and myself and all the black belts from Al Ain stepped forward and gave a short demo of BJJ to the staff and students; starting off with basic rolls and break falls, a number of the black belts demonstrated BJJ techniques and some nifty Judo throws as well, before engaging in light sparring to round the demo off.
Team photo in the shape of the number 41, celebrating National Day
that was held last weekend; photo taken by Kaka Quintana

The demo area


Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Jiddu's golden weekend!

HUGE congrats to Jiddu Bastos, one of the coaches here in Al Ain, who competed at the Emirates Super Cup competition at the weekend in Abu Dhabi and came away with four gold medals.  Jiddu entered the no gi comp on the Saturday and won his weight bracket (+92K) and took gold in the absolute and repeated the feat the next day in the gi event, bagging gold in the +92K bracket and gold again in the Absolute division.

Jiddu with the bling!

A magnificent achievement from Jiddu, who was over the moon at the end of the weekend and who wouldn't be with four gold medals in two days.  Jiddu has trained hard with the rest of the guys and has been duly rewarded for his efforts.

Massive thanks to Alexandre 'Baby' Carvalho for taking the time in preparing all the guys for the competition, with competition specific training for the last six weeks; everyone has benefitted from the training and all have improved from the hardcore sessions.

Next competition is in January 2013 - expect more gold!


Friday, 16 November 2012

Training pix

 Had a very busy session on Wednesday evening, twenty five black belts on the mats for the Open Mat session, including three stripe black belt Dani Piermatei and blue belt Jude Abadi, who had travelled from Abu Dhabi to join in the fun.
Al Ain BJJ in da house!
The Open Mat sessions get better every week, starting off with one minute rounds of drills, which is a good time for me to look round and see what the black belts are doing with their time.  Pretty much the same as my time, basic arm bar from guard, omoplata and triangle set ups, Andre Galvao transition drills, open guard drills and lots more.

After ten minutes warming up, it's straight into specific training; guard passing, first to score scenarios, finishing from mount, finishing from back position and then a few rounds of rolling to really finish us all off.
MMA room with Dani (back left) and Jude and with Polonio and Marcio
After the Open Mat, the regular session starts and you can either join in or go in to the MMA room and carry on rolling; I went into the MMA room with Polonio, Eduardo, Jude and Danni and had an extra thirty minutes rolling and got some more great tips from Polonio, the guy is a mine of information, with a great sense of humour as well.
Mr Smooth :)
Interviews are in process, I aim to get all the black belts interviewed over the coming months; I have a number of questions I ask each individual, I like to hear their views on  a number of issues that are relevant to all belt colours, so keep on reading the Blog :)
Clowning around :)
Once again, another awesome session, enjoying the cooler nights, but still losing half my bodyweight in sweat and tears; really excited about the interviews, it will be a great insight into the mind of a black belt from so many different academies, be nice to see differences and similarities in their approaches to training and competition and lots more, so stay tuned!


Thursday, 15 November 2012

Rodolfo Vieira - HL Reel

I love HL reels, I think they are a great tool for raising your motivation and stirring your soul; watch these and I'm itching to throw my gi on and hit the mats!

Enjoy :)

Thursday, 8 November 2012

No Gi Open Mat

What better way to round the week off, than with an Open Mat session with the guys :)  The working week out here runs from Sunday to Thursday and the last training session of the week is sans gi.  There is usually a coach taking the class, but tonight it was to be an Open Mat session and after a quick warm up, the rolling began.
Each roll was six minutes and my first roll was with a newbie, a local kid who's been training for two weeks, so we played some guard passing and I gave him a few tips on passing guard; second roll was with Higor Polonio, a black belt since the age of twenty two and is now twenty three.  Twenty three and a black belt.  His whole life ahead of him and a bad ass at such a young age, awesome!
Brand Tatami in the house!
We always have a good roll together and tonight was no exception; we traded positions and I almost caught him with a kimura, but he wriggled out like a slippery politician whose been accused of fiddling his expenses.  Very slippery indeed :)
Jiddu Bastos was up next, a great bear of a guy, who is very lithe and quick off the mark for such a big guy; we had a real war, slipping and sliding all over the mats together.  I've been working with Jiddu at the schools and he's a real character, loud and funny and always with a smile on his face.  Great guy.
Tiago Bravo was my next partner and a real bad ass; he won triple gold at the Asian Open the other week, in gi and no gi and an interview of Tiago is in the process.  He's one of the most technical fighters I've rolled with out here, he really pushes you and lets you try a few moves out, before switching on and stepping up about eight gears and wipes me out double quick time.
MMA champion Flavio Serafin followed Tiago and out of the frying pan and into an industrial size furnace springs to mind to describe rolling with Serafin; a three stripe black belt and a fearsome MMA fighter and you've got the whole package and we had an enjoyable roll, well enjoyable for Flavio as he twisted me up this way and that and showed me a wicked submission from standing - can't wait to try that one out!
The session ended with a roll with Eduardo Belluomini, a Brazilian carved from granite, with huge arms and the strongest grip known to mankind; soon as he locked guard I was in deep trouble.  He grabbed my wrist and I thought 'Oh dear' to myself and I was triangled in a nano second.  This was going to be a long six minutes.  In fact, it was a lot of fun, even though I got crushed like an over ripe tomato.
Another session ended.  Rash guard soaking wet.  Knee pads wringed out matside.  Shorts steaming.
You know the kind of session - the best session!!
No Gi Open Mat - Al Ain Style
An interesting footnot to this post - I was going home with two stripe black belt Bruno Fornari and we got talking about training.  I will be interviewing Bruno real soon as he has some great tales to tell and he has been training since he was three years old and has thirty odd years in BJJ.  His father is seventy nine years young and a black belt, his brother is a brown belt and Bruno commented on how he loves to train as he feels he is always learning something.
Always learning.
Listening to seasoned black belts talk like that just shows you how vast the scope is in learning jiu jitsu and listening to Bruno has made me want to get back on the mats ASAP.
So when you're in a rut, feeling like your motivation has gone for a Burton, think about how much you have left to learn.  Then go and get your kimono and hit the mats.
Drill to win!!!!!!

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Training photos!

From the lens of Leonnardo Cordeiro Medeiros, a few photos from gi training this evening; had great fun drilling techniques as a warm up, before rolling with different partners.  First round was ten minutes, then the next was eight minutes and two six minute rounds ended the class - thanks to Raphael Medeiros, Leandro Cordeiro, Jose Lopes for the rolls :)

With Raphael Medeiros
With Polonio
Jiddu Bastos sets up the arm bar
Sitting out one of the rounds, due to odd numbers - honest!

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Abu Dhabi Warriors 1!

Huge congrats to Flavio Serafin, who stepped in with one day's notice and fought on the opening bout at the ADNEC Exhibition Centre on 2nd November; facing the tough US fighter Andrew Nicola, Serafin won the fight via arm bar.  For Nilson Pokemom Lopes, things didn't go his way in his fight and Nilson succumbed to a third round TKO against Moldovian fighter Mihail Cazacu.

Photos taken from

Full fight report and results -

Pokemom in action
Flavio sets up the arm bar

Friday, 2 November 2012

Shedding the gi!!

Thursday night is no gi night down at Al Ain FC, which has been put on the back burner the last two weeks, as last week was Eid celebrations and the week before was the Asian Cup in Abu Dhabi. 
The session was taken by Leopoldo Pires and after a quick warm up and stretch, Leopoldo showed a very sneaky way of getting to a high percentage guard pass, specifically for no gi and I have to say it has a PhD in sneakiness.  This was drilled for quite some time as numbers were low, which suited me down to the ground; I was partnered with black belt Higor Polinio and Higor's been out of the loop for no gi for a good few months, so were both happy  to drill both sides and really get to grips on the guard pass.
With fellow sponsored athlete, Leo Pires
After the drilling, it was time for rolling and I rolled with a couple of very technical and game blue belts, then had a very technical roll with Leandro Polonio (I always do with this guy) and he showed me the sneakiest set up for a wrist lock I've ever seen.  I'm afraid I'm not at liberty to tell you from what position this little gem comes from, suffice to say it can come on from many positions, but I'll be more than happy to show you all when I return ;)
Next roll was with two stripe black belt Bruno Fornari and this guy is tough.  Looks tough.  Proper cauliflower ears, calcified bones on his head, gnarled hands, hardcore scars on his feet and shins from mat burns and burying knees into heads.  That kind of tough.
Bruno Fornari
He rolls hard and fast, but at the same time, coaches you on when stuck in a position , which happens to me a lot; I get to a position and pause, knowing one wrong move and I'm toast.  Bruno tells me to move and complete the move instead of waiting, as this just gives my opponent time to react, so I just go for it and some times I'm caught and sometimes I'm not.  Great stuff and always a handshake and a smile at the end of rolling with Bruno.
By now class was almost over and after Polonio showed me the nifty wrist lock, I had a quick three minute roll with Emirati local Ahmid, a brown belt himself and that took us to the end of the class.  Ahmid is a big bear of a guy and moves surprisingly fast and we've always had a good technical roll with each other and as the timer timed out, the class was at an end.
With Ahmid - either I've shrunk since I got here or he's HUGE :)
Huge thanks to Leo for taking class and to all the guys for the rolls and to Polinio and Bruno for the tips and new moves; I really enjoyed the no gi class, felt my rolling was a lot slicker out of the gi, which I suppose it would be without the gi to slow you down and it was nice not to have my metacarpals seperated from one another, every time the black belts stripped my grips off their jackets :)
Tatami trio - Tiago Bravo (middle) and Leo Pires
Obrigado and Ooooossssssssssss!!

Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Specific Training - sharpening the iron!

The last two evening classes at the open mat session out here in Al Ain have been dedicated to specific training, the cornerstone of any serious training regime; in my classes back in the UK, I have seperate technical classes and a sparring/specific class straight after the technical session, giving students time to walk the walk.
With my long lost brother, Rogerio Teixeira, who's helped me no end in every training session
Bearing in mind all classes should be taxing on the body, mind and spirit, yet fun at the same time, specific training can be very hard to get your head around, especially as a beginner; I'd argue the case that specific training gets harder as you progress through the belts and I type this as a man with two night's worth of the hardest specific training I've done in my life.
When doing specific training, your partner is always given a heads up as to what's going to happen during the time limit and so in his head is more than half way prepared for his opponent.  Finishing from the mount and back position, for me, I think are the most hardest positions; hell, in fact they all are, but in my experience I rank these two at equal top spot.
That said, nothing prepared me last night for the specific training; it's one thing rolling with twenty odd black belts every night, but to actually train specifics with these guys, well it's another story all together and I'd happily trade specifics with rolling.  However, if I were to do that, then I'd really be doing myself a disservice, when I have all these highly talented individuals at my disposal to learn and improve from.  It's a learning and improvement curve that is as steep as it's soul destroying, but nothing can get you into better shape and improve your game faster than specifics.
With numbers like this in class, how can you NOT improve?!
Last night covered finishing from the mount position and we lined up in pairs facing each other in a big line along the mats and we had ninety seconds in each position, which would last for fifty minutes after a quick warm up of drills.  Even with all the years training and all the drilling done back in the UK, I was taken apart and submitted time and time again, it was horrible!  All done, mind you, with a smile on their face, which didn't make it any better, it was still horrible, but in jiu jitsu, nothing's ever easy, you just have to dig in and take the shit and keep on keeping on.
When it was my turn, it was no different; my unstoppable mount (he dreams) was broken like an extremely easy to break item and a submission swiftly followed.  This is no fun dear reader, no fun at all.  For me that is, I've had my students all lol'ing online and revelling in my pain and misfortune, but it's all gone in the memory banks for when I return to Blighty.
This evening we warmed up with drills and then went straight into finishing from the back position; words can't really describe the thoughts and feelings that flow through your mind when a gnarly, tough as superheated dried out boots left out in the desert sun, three stripe black belt sits behind you and slaps on the seat belt position.  All you can see are his cauliflower knuckled hands, as he starts to squeeze the Bejeesus out of you and holds you in a vice like grip with his legs and slowly but surely, works his hands into your collar.  From this unenviable position, one hears the squeaking and straining of cotton fibres as they tighten up around your neck and then things start to sound a little dreamlike, your hearing is all blurred as well as your eye sight.  Tap tap tap!!
Six seconds I lasted, a Herculean achievement for me (well that's the way I'm looking at it) and so it continued, one black belt after the other.  Whether it was my turn or theirs, I was duly dispatched in short shrift and all too soon, it was the end of the class.  Thank God!
That said, as much as a battering to the ego, my face and ears as it was, by Christ I've learned more in those two sessions than all the rolling thus far and that's saying something.  At the end of both sessions, all the guys I trained with took me to one side and gave me loads of tips and pointers, so I hope to make use of these in the next class and start to see some improvements in my specific training.
Obrigado to Alexandre 'Baby' Carvalho for putting us through our paces and to my training partners over the last two nights - Rogerio, Polinio, Flavio, Gilberto, Maozinho, Emerson, Jiddu, Zelo, Leonnardo, Pedro, Rafael, Felipe and Higor :)
Iron sharpens iron - Ooooosss!!

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Haueter v Glover - BJJ Superfight!

Here's the footage of the Superfight between Jeff Glover and my chief instructor, Chris Haueter, taken at the Best of the West competition, in Las Vegas on September 28th; as most of you will know, Glover called out Chris via Twitter and Chris being Chris, responded without hesitation and issued forth a crazy post fight video to add to the fun and games.

Monday, 29 October 2012

Al Jhali Fort by moonlight

It's not all Brazilian Jiu Jitsu out here in Al Ain, though it sure consumes a huge part of the week's proceedings; there's plenty of things to do out here and tourist destinations are dotted all over the UAE.  At the start of October, I had a superb afternoon at Al Ain Zoo, a huge place, packed with all kinds of fabulous animals from all over the world, a place to keep you occupied all day.

This weekend has seen the Eid celebrations hit the Emirates and the streets have been packed with families all enjoying the extra few days off work and I was one such lucky individual.  The weekend for me consisted of chilling out with my fellow colleagues and enjoying a roof top BBQ, hanging out at the pool party at the Rotana Hotel and more hanging out at the Rotana, using the gym and enjoying the pool post training and then rounded the weekend off with a walk round the park at Al Jhali, with some new found ex pat teacher friends.

Al Jhali Fort - like a birthday cake!
Nearly all of the ex pat women you meet here are mainly school teachers, with a few nurses thrown in for good measure and they are the most helpful people you could wish to meet; most of the teachers I've met here have been here for over three years and have a mine of information for new starters such as myself and last night's walk in the park was one of them.

In the park
Full moon on show, the park was packed with families, squeezing out the last of the holiday celebrations and at the end of the walk, a brand new Starbucks was waiting for us, rounding the night off with coffee and blueberry muffins.

Main entrance
There's plenty to fill the weekends with out here in Al Ain, as well as trips to Abu Dhabi, Dubai, the desert, the mountains and the border of Oman is ten minutes away in a car; rest assured I'll be getting up to all kinds of adventures in my time off out here and will share the photos with you and hopefully some of the sun will rub off and into your homes :)


Got to love these practical jokers................... 

Remember - never make eye contact!!

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Abu Dhabi Warriors next weekend!

Looking forward to an evening of high octane MMA fights at the ADNEC Exhibition Centre in Abu Dhabi on November 2nd; Kaznuori Yokota is headlining the event, fighting Anatoly Safronov on the main fight of the night and the full fight card is as follows :-

+93kg: Maro Perak (Croatia) vs. Travis Wiuff (USA).
-77kg: Jose Landi-Jons (Brazil) vs. Yevgeniy Mahtenko (Czech Republic).
-70kg: Kazunori Yokota (Japan) vs. Anatoly Safronov (Ukraine).
-70kg: Kurt Kinser (USA) vs. Amir Visalimov (Cecenia).
-84kg: Benjamin Brinsa (Germany) vs. Caleb Dysert-John (USA).
-84kg: Keith Smetana (USA) vs. Magomed Magomedkerimov (Russia).
-93kg: Mikhail Zayats (Russia) vs. Marcin Elsner (Poland).
-84kg: Claudio Conti (Italy) vs. Levi Da Costa (Brazil).
-70kg: Nilson Lopes (Brazil) vs. Mihail Cazacu (Moldova).

Thursday, 25 October 2012

MMA Commercial!

November 2nd sees the first MMA event, organised by the UAEJJ Association; the event will be held at the ADNEC Exhibition Centre in Abu Dhabi and I will be there cageside, capturing all the excitement on the night.

One of my fellow colleagues, Nilson 'Pokemom' Lopes is on the fight card and appears in this snazzy little TV commercial for the upcoming event.  Nilson is wearing the Ready Fight Gear shorts in the video.

 For more info visit

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Swimming with the sharks!!

Today was the final day of the Asian Cup, a three day grapplefest, featuring kids jiu jitsu, no gi and gi competition; today was the gi event and for me my first time in a mixed brown/black belt bracket.

Given that there were no Senior brown belts in the UAE, or enough to warrant its own division, I was to be mixing it with the adults in the -94K bracket; I usually fight in the IBJJF bracket of -88.3K, but due to the absence of this weight group and not fancying cutting weight the minute I landed out here three weeks ago, -94K it was.

First fight was against a three stripe black belt, Eduardo Alexandre Machado, so no pressure, I joked to myself; I admit I was very nervous beforehand, thinking I was going to get torn apart and thrown into a body bag at the end, but that's part and parcel of competition, so I tried to focus on my breathing and stay calm.  Prior to the fight, we were both back stage sat next to each other chatting away, which helped to ease matters and then we were called up to the mat.

Post fight with Eduardo
Once we were called up to fight, all the nerves left me and it's just you and him, man to man; we shook hands and circled about and Eduardo pulled guard first and boy was he strong.  He attacked my arm for an arm bar and I was on survival mode, as I didn't want to be tapped out in a few seconds and made to look a fool.

The fight stayed on the ground and Eduardo carried on attacking and next thing I knew, had the s-mount and side control and was piling on the pressure and I was merely delaying the inevitable, which came by way of a bow and arrow choke, that I knew if defended would lead to an arm bar.  And I was right.  Fair play to Eduardo, although it was in tight, he didn't slap the submission on, so I tried to escape and my hand hovered in the air with a fleeting tap in the air, which the ref took for a submission on my part and mainly for my won safety.  I was trapped.  Good call referee.

Second fight was for the bronze medal, against another black belt, a bearded Vitor Reis, quite a scary looking opponent and on this match I was really really nervous; after we shook hands we circled and Vitor beat me again with the foot in the foot and SHIT this guy was strong.  Freaky strong and I sensed a ten second humiliation was on the cards.

With Vitor Reis
Not quite, but again, it was sheer survival mode once again as Vitor mauled me into mount position and sliding a well muscled forearm into my collar from mount, Vitor switched base and promptly started to choke the living daylights out of me, which led me to tap out once again.

Prior to the event, I gave myself one little goal, that was to try and last at least one minute in my fights and I am pleased to say I lasted ninety seconds in both matches, so at least two positives came from the fights.  In fact, as the old saying goes, you either win or you learn and I learned not to hesitate at the start of a fight; get that foot in the hip FIRST!

With Al Ain team mate Pedro Peres, who took gold in my weight group
After each fight, the guys sat down with me and gave me some tips and pointers and more importantly their respect for me stepping up to fight on the day, as I've only been here not three weeks, so in at the deep end as they say.

Limbs intact, I survived my first competition out here and needless to say it won't be the last event for me out here, far from it.  Swimming with the sharks is mighty dangerous, but swim with them often enough and soon you'll get sharp teeth of your own.


Full results at