Wednesday, 29 April 2015

An Interview with Mikey Musumeci

Hey guys, today I bring you an interview with Mikey Musumeci. At only 18 years old, Mikey is already a three time World Champion and four time Pan Am Champion.  He has recently been dominating in the brown belt division and seriously has a bright future ahead of him. I hope you enjoy the interview!

Source: Preston Smith

Could you please give a brief outline of yourself?

My name is Mikey Musumeci. I am 18 years old, and I am currently a senior in High School and a brown belt in Jiu Jitsu.

Could you tell us about your beginnings in Jiu-Jitsu?

I started training Jiu Jitsu when I was about 4 years old. My dad was always into MMA and trained also, so I wanted to do it too and haven’t stopped since!

At what point in your life did you start to take Jiu-Jitsu seriously?

I would say about 12 years old I started to get extremely into it!

Source: GracieMag

 How do you manage school and training?

It’s sometimes hard managing both, sometimes I don’t get the sleep I need for proper recovery from training because I’m doing school work, but nothing comes easy in life and my mother has always told my sister and me since we were young, “work hard now and enjoy life later.” But I enjoy every second of the struggle and I think it builds character.

How important is your sister, Tammi to your training?

My sister is extremely important to my training routine. We train together every day, and she helps me so much. I am so thankful and lucky to have a sibling to train with every day.

Mikey with his sister, Tammi

 Who would you say are some of your biggest inspirations in Jiu-Jitsu?

I have so many lol but to name a few of course the Mendes Bros have been huge role models to my Jiu Jitsu, I trained with Gui Mendes the first time when I was like 12 or 13 and he inspired me so much. Also, Bruno Malfacine has had a huge impact on my Jiu Jitsu as well. Gilbert Durinho Burns, Jonatas Gurgel, Emyr “Shark” Bussade the Miyao Brothers and Murillo Santana to name others!

In a lot of your competition matches, you frequently use the berimbolo. Why do you favour this technique?

I have been doing the berimbolo since about the end of 2010 and I constantly keep learning new things from there still!! The berimbolo I feel is a very safe competition game, and if you understand the position well, it is really easy to be effective with it in competition. There are usually a handful of reactions from your opponents there to the position and I feel once you have an answer to them like any other position you can use the position extremely well.

What do you say to people that say that you only use the berimbolo?

At Pans this year in brown belt I did a closed guard muscle sweep to the back!! But seriously lol I work so much more stuff than just berimbolo in training, and maybe you guys will see it in the future!

Source: GracieMag

Do you believe in drilling? If so, could you give us a reason why?

I like to drill, because I feel the type of Jiu Jitsu I do it is essential to drill, and to be mechanical, but some legends and greats in Jiu Jitsu don’t like to drill also, so it just depends on the person and their type of Jiu Jitsu they do.

Percentage wise, based on your training, how much percentage you would give to each of these – Drilling, Sparring and Technique.

Well I would base drilling and technique together so about 50 for those two and another 50 percent for sparring.

Do you think teaching improves your Jiu-Jitsu?

For sure you always learn a new detail about a position when you are teaching it to someone.

Source: GracieMag

On the subject of teaching, what are your aspirations in regards to teaching?

Maybe one day I would love to teach and run a school, but I am only 18 and have to do so many other things before aspiring to teach.

What are your first memories of competition?

I was I believe 5 at a NAGA in New Jersey. I won the fight by a takedown I think and ran off the mat and ran into my dad’s arms crying and didn’t want to fight again lol.

How important is competition to you?

Competition helps me see how my Jiu Jitsu is and what I need to fix, it always teaches you whenever you’re uncomfortable to keep going which is a very important life lesson.

What has been your toughest match in competition thus far?

My toughest match so far was probably Brown Belt pans finals with my friend, Darson Hemmings. It was a war, but I managed to pull through.

Mikey against Darson Hemmings in the 2015 Pan Ams final
Source: Lineage

In 2013 you won the Worlds at Juvenile, what was the transition like to adult?

So the transitions to adult has been very interesting, for example I felt Juvenile was a lot more difficult for me than adult purple belt! Seriously, lol but now in brown belt everyone’s tough and sometimes I see myself as a kid and I expect to be fighting juveniles, but when I look across the mat I see brown belt men!! Haha, so the transition has been quite interesting…..

Then in 2014, you won the Worlds at purple belt, getting promoted to brown belt on the podium. How was that experience?

It was an amazing experience, and it was an honor to receive it from one of my idols Gui Mendes!! The second I got my brown I was already thinking of the competition and was focused on competing again!!

Mikey receiving his brown belt from Gui Mendes
Source: GracieMag

For this year, what are some of your main goals?

Win Brown belt worlds, Win Brown belt worlds and Win Brown belt world’s lol

Could you take us through your weekly schedule?

Every day is usually the same thing, school and as many trainings as I can get in and also some conditioning.

For somebody who wants to start taking Jiu-Jitsu seriously, how many times a week would you recommend they train?

As many as they can get in!

Source: IBJJF

In your opinion, what does it take to become World Champion?

To become a world champion I believe having good technique is essential but really the desire to not give up and to want it.

If you could give one piece of advice to a white belt, what would it be?

Some advice I would give a white belt would be to be as mature and open-minded as possible when learning and to be persistent and keep going!

What other things do you like to do besides Jiu-Jitsu?

All I do is stuff related to Jiu Jitsu and School! lol

Do you have any plans to venture into MMA in the future?

I don’t think so; my sister will beat me up too much! Haha, she plans to go into MMA.

Just to break things up from this formal interview, I would like to ask you some trivia questions, they are:

1.            Goro or Shao Kahn? ?
2.            Vegeta or Batman? Batman
3.            Splinter Cell or Metal Gear Solid? ?
4.            Devil May Cry or God of War? ? lol
5.            DX or NWO? ?
6.            Blink-182 or Simple Plan? ? I have no life idk what these things are!!
7.            Fanta or Sprite? I don’t drink soda
8.            Write or Type? Type
9.            The Rock or Randy Savage? The Rock
10.          Small or Large? Small?
11.          Coke or Pepsi? I don’t drink soda
12.          Ice Cream or Cake? I don’t eat that stuff
13.          PlayStation or Xbox? PlayStation
14.          Beyond Belief or The Twilight Zone? ?
15.          Tea or Coffee? I only drink water
16.          Salt or Pepper? Salt
17.          Basketball or Baseball? Baseball
18.          Gordon Ramsey or Anthony Bourdain? ?
19.          Messi or Ronaldo? Messi
20.          Ermac or Rain? ?

I just want to say thank you Mikey for giving me the opportunity to interview you. It really been great! Before we finish, is there anybody you would like to thank?

Yes I would like to thank my awesome sponsors, SHOYOROLL, BULL TERRIER, THE ARMBAR SOAP COMPANY, FIVE GRAPPLING, and 3 PERCENT for all their support! Also my parents who help me so much and my sister, and all the people I train with that help me every day. God Bless you all! OSSS
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Monday, 27 April 2015

The Berimbolo Kid's Match of the Week - Week 33 - Claudio Calasans vs. Marcus "Buchecha" Almeida - 2011 CBJJE Pan Ams

(The previous edition can be found HERE)

Welcome to another edition of Match of the Week! This week's match is Claudio Calasans vs. Marcus "Buchecha" Almeida from the 2011 CBJJE Pan Ams. 

Claudio Calasans is a black belt under Erivaldo Junior and fights for Team Atos. Claudio is one of top grapplers in the very competitive middleweight division. Besides this, Claudio also holds a black belt in Judo and was once part of the Brazilian National Wrestling Team. 

Throughout his time competing in the black belt division, Claudio has done very well, taking gold in numerous prestigious competitions. He is a four time Abu Dhabi Pro Champion (2012, 2011, 2010 weight & absolute), a three time European Champion (2014, 2013, 2011), and a two time Pan American (2012, 2011) and Asian Open Champion (2014 weight & absolute). He is also a one-time CBJJE World (2008) and Brazilian ADCC Trails Champion (2011). 

Claudio Calasans is well known for using his Judo background in Jiu-Jitsu. You will commonly see Claudio kick the match off with a throw, trip or takedown. He is very dangerous off is back also, especially from the closed guard. Here he likes to execute one of his favourite submissions, the wrist lock, a very painful and underutilised submission. 

Claudio Calasans

Marcus "Buchecha" Almeida is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt under Rodrigo Cavaca and fights for Checkmat. Since his late teens, Buchecha has been seen by many as the next big star in BJJ. He has more than lived up to that, and has gone on to win his weight division and absolute division three years in a row (2012, 2013, and 2014) at the World Championships. As of today, Buchecha is the number one black belt in the world under the IBJJF rankings. 

Being the number one ranked black belt in the world, it's not hard to imagine that Buchecha has won his fair share of medals throughout his time in competition. He is a six time World Champion (2012 weight and absolute, 2013 weight and absolute, and 2014 weight and absolute), a four time WPJJ (2012, 2013 absolute, 2014 weight and absolute) and Pan American Champion (2011, 2012, 2013 weight and absolute), and a one time ADCC Champion (2013).

One thing which is surprising about Marcus "Buchecha" Almeida is his speed for such a big guy. He is so fast and explosive. You will often see him start off a match with a take down, typically a double or single leg. From there, he quickly passes the guard and transitions to a dominant position which is usually the back. It not to say that he's afraid to pull guard either. He is just as dangerous and explosive off his back as he is on top. 

Marcus "Buchecha" Almeida
Source: Mike Calimbus

So many exciting moments in this match to count! Just constant action all the way through. Even though at this point, Buchecha was a relatively new black belt, he puts in an incredible performance against an experienced competitor. It truly is a great match!

The video of the match can be found below! I hope you guys enjoy!

See you next week!

(If you are viewing on a mobile device, please click HERE)

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Friday, 24 April 2015

The Man From Taured - A Real Time Traveler?

Quick question; have you ever heard of a country called Taured? Well, no such country actually exists. However, a man in summer of 1954 arrived at Haneda Airport, Tokyo, Japan, and claimed to be a citizen of that country. 

During the summer of 1954, a routine European flight arrives at Tokyo's Haneda Airport. As the passengers disembark, they inevitably make their way to customs point. It's pretty much an ordinary day for the custom officials, until a smartly dressed Caucasian man appears at the front of the queue. He presents them with his passport which has been issued by the country of Taured. Of course, they have never heard of such a country. When asked where Taures is, he casually tells them that Tuared is situated on the border between France and Spain. 

When further questioned, he informs the officials that he is on business trip to Japan, and that this is one of three trips he's planning on making this year. His first language is French, but he is able to speak fluent Japanese along with multiple other languages. His wallet contains several different European currencies, indicating that he must be a very frequent traveler. 

At this point, the man is taken into a private room to be interrogated further. Looking slightly confused, the officials tell the man that no such country exists. When they ask the man for further proof of his identity, he presents the officials with his driver’s license. This too is issued by the unknown country of Taured. He also provides them with multiple bank statements and business documents all from the country of Taured. 

His passport includes dozens of visa stamps from his previous travels including Japan which he tells them he has traveled to numerous times without any difficulty. On closer inspection of his passport, it doesn't seem to be a forgery. The layout and theme is correct, and is made from the correct materials. The images on the paper inside are also typical of any official passport. 

In order to prove their point that no such country exists, the custom officials show the unknown man a world map and ask him to locate the so called country of Taured. The man points to the Principality of Andorra, but then becomes disturbed to find out that this is not his homeland. If you are not familiar with Andorra, it is a very small European country which is indeed situated between France and Spain. Today it has a population of around 85,458 people, but back in 1954 it only had a population of approximately 5,500 people. 

The Flag of Andorra

He then tells the officials that Taured should be exactly where Andorra is and he has never heard of Andorra. He says that his country of Taured has existed for over 1000 years. An awkward silence engulfs the room. The man now starts to become confused and frustrated.

In order to get back on track, the officials ask more about his business ventures in Japan and if he can provide any proof of the company he is associated with. He provides them with paperwork for the company along with a phone number. They then find out that no such company exists.

Not sure what to do with the mystery man, the officials decide to detain the man at a local hotel, several floors up, which will be guarded immigration officials throughout the entire night until they decide what to do with him. The room has no balcony or outside area in order to make the chance of escape pretty much impossible.    

A Map of Andorra

The next morning, when the officials enter the hotel room, the man from Taured is gone. He has simply vanished, along with all his personal belongings and documentation. The hotel room is several floors from the ground and the only way he could have escaped is through the window which would have led to near certain death and would sure have caused a scene. 

The guards report that they didn't see nor hear him after he entered the room. They didn't hear any suspicious activities or anything which would indicate he was trying to escape or gain contact with anyone.  

Both the police and immigration officials send a search for the mystery man but no trace of him is ever found. As mysterious as he appeared, he vanished. It's as if the event never actually took place. 

Right, so did this story actually take place? Well, as of now, no documentation has been brought into the public light. No police reports were published or there was no mention of the story in local newspapers. Then again, if this story did really happen, I doubt any official would write a report on this story. 

However, it has been mentioned in numerous different books. The two most famous being The Directory of Possibilities by Colin Wilson and John Grant (1981, p.86) (ISBN: 0-552-119946) and Strange but True: Mysterious and Bizarre People by Thomas Sleman (1999, p.64) (ISBN: 0-760-712443).

I am actually kind of surprised that this story hasn't been featured on any mystery/investigation TV shows. I think it would be great if somebody would look more into this story to see if this story is nothing more than an urban legend.

Okay, so, as I see it, there are three main possibilities for this story. Firstly, this story is nothing more than a hoax/urban legend. Secondly, the man featured in this story had somehow entered our reality from an alternate universe. And finally, this man suffered from a mental illness or this is some sort of joke. 

Let's look at the first one. I guess this is the easiest to wrap your head around. This story could just be a hoax... sorry, I mean urban legend. Right off the bat, there are a few problems I see with story. Firstly, there is no mention of his name or age. Surely, if he was being interrogated they would have note of some of his personal details. Also, they do not mention the name of the hotel he stayed at. Probably the biggest thing I see is that this story varies a lot! Search this story on the internet, and each one will vary slightly. 

Now, the second option, the time traveler. I suppose this is everybody’s favourite (including mine!). In some way, this man entered our universe from a parallel universe (or multiverse if you want to get all scientific). There are many theories out there about time travel and how you would connect our universe to another. 

Realistically, is time travel even possible? Scientists believe that time travel into the future is definitely possible. However, time travel into the past is a whole different animal, and the science behind that is not understood very well at this time. Obviously, there is loads of material available about the principals involved with time travel, but I found this ONE summarised it excellently. 

Another theory is of course the theory of wormholes. In a nut shell, it's a passage from a black hole to another universe. Like I said, this is just a theory, and most scientists and astronomers don't think they exist. Anyway, even if they did exist, it would be impossible to find them as they are in black holes. 

Finally, the idea that the man was mentally ill or playing a joke. Well, the idea of the man being mentally ill on the surface sounds realistic. However, how do you explain the forms of I.D. he had and other documentation? Again, this is 1954. There is no Photoshop, or computers. I mean creating forged documents back then wouldn't have been impossible, but extremely difficult for an ordinary person. 

If he was playing a joke, why take it that far? Why go all that trouble? Okay, customs back then aren't like they are today, so it's plausible that you could get around on a professionally done forged passport for a trip or two, but I doubt you could do it for dozens or trips abroad. 

Whatever happened that day, we may never know. Either this story is nothing more than a story or somehow, the man from Taured was a real time traveler. 

Thanks for reading.

Catch you later,

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Monday, 20 April 2015

The Berimbolo Kid's Match of the Week - Week 32 - Michelle Nicolini vs. Luanna Alzuguir - 2013 Brazilian Nationals

After a four week break, welcome back to another edition of Match of the Week! I have done over thirty editions of Match of the Week thus far, so I thought it was about time to cover my first female match. The match this week is Michelle Nicolini vs. Luanna Alzuguir from the absolute finals of the 2013 Brazilian Nationals. 

Michelle Nicolini is black belt under Robert Drysdale and fights for team Checkmat. Michelle is one of the greatest female Jiu-Jitsu competitors of all time, and arguably the pound for pound best female competitor out there today. She saw tremendous amounts of success from 2010 onwards when she started to train fully under Rodrigo Cavaca. She left his academy in late 2013 when Cavaca decided to start his own team.

Michelle is a eight time World Champion (2014, 2013, 2012, 2010, 2007 weight & absolute, 2006), a three time Pan American Champion (2011, 2010, 2008), a two time World NoGi (2010, 2008) and European Champion (2012 weight & absolute), and a one-time ADCC (2013) and Abu Dhabi World Pro Champion (2012). 

One guard which Michelle has become particularly well known for throughout her career is the shin on shin guard. She will often pull straight to it at the start of her matches, normally falling back to the closed guard if she fails to get it. Looking at submissions, Michelle is very good at the toe hold. In fact, she probably finishes the majority of her matches with this submission. 

Michelle Nicolini

Luanna Alzuguir is a black belt under Marco Barbosa and is a member of Alliance (formerly with Barbosa Jiu-Jitsu). Luanna is one of the best and most dominant competitors in the female lightweight division today. As a result, she holds many major titles to her name. 

Luanna has had great success in competition at the black belt level. She is a five time World Champion (2013, 2012, 2011, 2010 absolute, 2009), a three time Abu Dhabi World Pro Champion (2012, 2011, 2010), a two time European (2011 weight & absolute) and CBJJE World Cup Champion (2007 weight & absolute), and a one-time ADCC (2009) and Pan American Champion (2011).

The open guard is Luanna's favourite guard of choice. She is excellent from that position and flawlessly sets up sweeps and transitions to submissions. She doesn't seem to have one particular favourite submission, but she does seem to have a little bit of a preference for triangle, something which she sets up great from the open guard position. 

Luanna Alzugair

Boy, this is a good one! Probably one of my favourite female matches. It starts off quite slow for the first three minutes or so, but then the match starts to pick up with some great guard passing and back take attempts from Alzuguir. The finish of this match is great, so make sure you watch until the end. 

The video of the match can be found below! I hope you guys enjoy!

See you next week!

(If you are viewing on a mobile device, please click HERE)

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Monday, 13 April 2015

Update (13/04/15) - Time Flies

Time flies... 

Jeez, it's been almost three weeks since I've posted anything. S***! It's been over four months since I even did an update post. Well, now Easter and everything that comes with that is over, I can get back to writing on my blog. Woop woop!

Some things are going to be different for the next few weeks. Firstly, I want to start talking a lot more about topics which interest me other than BJJ. I'm not saying I'm totally going to banish BJJ, there will still be plenty of that, but I would like to paint with a few different colours rather than sticking to just one. 

I'll be talking about weird and strange things mostly. I love bizarre things, and things which seem to confuse all rational explanation. I have a few goodies lined up, so it should be a breath of fresh air. I will also do some more top 10's, maybe even another top 10 Beyond Belief stories. I think I'll do a Top 10 Twilight Zone episodes from the original series. That sounds good to me.

I may talk about some professional wrestling as I have touched on that in the past. If you don't know, I'm a really big pro wrestling fan, and I have been since I was a kid. I really enjoy learning about the professional wrestling business and creative teams. I could listen to that stuff for hours! I may sneak a little bit in, but we'll have to see. 

Of course, Metamoris 6 is coming up, and as usual I will give a review on my thoughts of the up and coming card. That will be pretty soon actually, probably in about two weeks’ time. Also, the Abu Dhabi Pro is on later this month, so I'll hopefully do a review of that event as well. 

The heel hook article has been in the can for quite some time now. Damn! There's so much to put into it. I never want to rush anything, and there's so much to the topic itself, I don't want put out something and feel like a missed something. It may even be a two part article, but I don't really know as of yet. The next BJJ articles will be less intensive topics.

Interviews... oh, interviews. I finally got the Jean Machado interview out. It took a while, but I thought it was a really interview. I have an interview with Mikey Musumeci coming out very soon, maybe as soon as this weekend. I ironed out some creases with him today and now he's very close to completing the questions I asked him.

I've been thinking of maybe doing an interview with some non-BJJ people. I was thinking about maybe doing an interview with Scott Raynor who was previously the drummer from Blink-182. I think I'll sit on that idea for a bit. I'm already doing a lot of non-BJJ stuff as it is, so I don't want to go too far away from my core audience, but it's something I will definitely consider. 

Really, that's all I have to say for now. Lots of exciting new content set to be published soon. I can wait to get it out. 

Catch you later,

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