11/15/2012

Making quinoa for dinner

Quinoa (or kvinoa) is a plant that has an eadible seed originating from South America. Nowadays it appears on many recommended diets for jiu jitsu athletes and mma fighters. I've seen at least Urijah Faber, Mac Danzig and Martin Kampmann mention it as part of their diet. Mike Dolce who is the nutritionist of many UFC fighters including Gray Maynard, Chael Sonnen and Thiago Alves recommends it.  I am no nutritionist, but Quinoa has a lot of fiber, iron and protein, so I guess I'll choose it over McDonald's.

Here is what it contains:


Quinoa dishes are often salads or bowls. Many times it is combined with mint, tomato or scallions. I added a few vegetables sauteed on the pan (carrot, cauliflower), chickpeas (use them all the time), mint and nuts (cashew). I also use some olive oil to bind the flauvours together. And of course, added a steak, since I'm no hippie


Preparing quinoa often requires that it is washed before use, check your package

11/14/2012

Christian's "The BJJ Globetrotter" book released

Last week I was training with Christian at CSA in Denmark and he mentioned that the long awaited book of his adventures as the BJJ Globetrotter will finally come out in a couple of weeks after a few revisions. They seem to have had a little spurt towards the end because the book is finally out in both electronic and paperback formats.


When I was visiting CSA, they had a lot of people from different places including Moldova and Russia visiting there. I am quite curious whether some of these guys I met appear in this book. At least there are places I've visited myself that Christian went to on his tour such as Impact MMA in Singapore.

Instruction on how to order are at Christian's globetrotter blog:

http://www.bjjglobetrotter.com/?page_id=2483

11/08/2012

First time training with a Gracie

While staying in Denmark, I had the rare opportunity to train with the first UFC Champion Royce Gracie at CSA Academy. As you most likely know, he is a son of the legendary Helio Gracie, the co-founder of the entire art of Gracie/Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. For me this was a very special day, because his books "Ultimate Fighting Techniques" were what brought me to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I picked the first one up at a local bookstore in Hong Kong in 2005 and I guess I kinda never put it down. So it wasn't really seeing UFC that made me do the switch from stand up arts to grappling but a book about it.

The seminar had a really good format with a sequence of techniques suiting even the people new to jiu jitsu. First, only one technique was shown, then another but you did them both in sequence and so on. This session would actually be perfect after a basic course to tie together the basic concepts of jiu jitsu.

A quick overview on what we were doing

- Pummel for double underhooks and take down by bending the back
- Step to mount
- Walk his hand up and try a modified side choke from mount
- If opponent doesn't tap, secure his wrist from around his head and get a figure four grip, push him to his side with your head and then your chest. Secure back mount, spread the chicken and choke with mata leao.
- If opponent resist the push, you go for technical mount and go for an armbar. There was a really good detail about pinning the arm to the mat for the technique to work better, but for the details you will have to attend one of his seminars
- Finally there were 2 counters to armbar defense (bicep slicer and a triangle)


I recognised some of the techniques from the book that got me here, which was pretty sweet. I also got some advice from the man himself and the few assistant instructors he brought with him. I wasn't so lucky when I tried to figure out the techiques in the book for the first time :).

As a final excercise we played Jiu Jitsu chess, where you could do one move then the opponent would counter with one move and so on. This was a very interesting game because you could have unlimited time to think about your next move without any time pressure.

An interesting curiosity was that Royce was wearing a dark blue belt instead of a black belt. The dark blue was apparently given to people who passed the Gracie instructor's course while his father was teaching it. I also remember Helio preferring to wear a blue belt instead of his normal red belt. Royce wearing this cool belt means I of course outrank him and he wanted to take this cool photo with me :)


11/01/2012

Gi Review: Koral MKM Kimono

Overall impression and fabric

This time I am reviewing an A3 White Koral MKM Competition gi. The gi is quite similar to the old Koral Classic gi apart from a slightly snuggier fit if I am correct. However, as the old Classic gi is no longer available the closest thing to a good old Koral is the MKM Competition (in case you're wondering MKM stands for "O Melhor Kimono do Mundo"). This Koral gi is a common sight in BJJ competitions all around, other most common gis being a Shoyoroll or a Atama. You also see top fighters such as Rodolfo Vieira, Marcus "Buchecha" Almeida and Michael Langhi competing in this gi.

What is interesting and kinda cool about Koral is that along with Keiko Raca, they are one of the few gi companies actually producing their gis in Brazil. The fabric on the MKM actually resembles the facric of Keiko Limited gi which is a good thing. Koral also claims that the gi is 100% pre-shrunk. Many gi companies make this claim, but for Koral it is actually quite true. The gi seems to be 98% pre-shrunk. This worried me at first, because I am 182 cm and 84kg and don't know if the A3 would have been too large for me. It wasn't it fits me great!



The gi is of "average" weight for a single weave gi at around 2kg. This makes it around 300 grams heavier that the Koral Light Gi. If you really want to make the gi lighter, you can remove the patches fairly easily as the gi has a lot of them.

The gi jacket is made of single piece of fabric of good quality cotton, which means there is no seam on the back. It is sturdy but soft on the skin.

The pants are pretty plain with one small patch on both sides. They are quite light, might even be lighter than the Koral Light pants. A large area around the knees has double facric but otherwise, especially around the ankle the fabric is slightly too thin to my liking. I actually like the Koral Light pants slightly more, because they are made of coarser material. Here is a close-up on the border of the double fabric and single layer fabric.


Fit and sizing

Here is the official sizing chart by Koral which seems to be really accurate and since the gis don't shrink that much, you can usually rely on it.

A0 5'0" - 5'4"/1,55 - 1,60m 95 - 120 lbs/Max 60Kg
A1 5'4" - 5'8"/1,60 - 1,70 m 125 - 155 lbs/Max 75Kg
A2 5'8" - 6'0"/1,70 - 1,80m 155 - 190 lbs/Max 85Kg
A3 5'11" - 6'2"/1,80 - 1,90m 190 - 220 lbs/Max 95Kg
A4 6’1” - 6’4”/1,90 - 2,00m 220 - 255 lbs/Max 120Kg
A5 More than 6’4’’/2,00m More than 255 lbs/120Kg

The measurements of my gi are almost exactly the same as with my Koral Light Gi apart from the pant leg being shorter at 97cm instead of 100cm. See review for Koral Light Gi


Key issues with fit

- Wide cut jacket from around the gut and especially around the shoulders
- The pants are quite wide and on the shorter side
- The pants are not tapered around the ankle which gives this gi the 70s look

The comparison is made to Gameness Platinum Gi in size A3 because also like the Koral MKM, it is an established medium-weight competition gi. The sleeves of the Koral are slightly longer (the Gameness has had more washes though). The big difference of the jackets is that the Koral has much more fabric around the shoulder area suiting a person with a more muscular build.


The pants have the same length but the Koral is a bit wider, especially around the ankle area. This makes it easier to grab the pant fabric on the Koral. On the other hand, with the Koral you can still manouver your leg better after your opponent has a grip in the pant leg.



Details

The sleeve width is around average for an A3 gi at approximately 17,5 cm. Here is the comparison to Gameness Pearl which has a wider sleeve at around 18 cm.


The collar is quite thin but pretty close to the Gameness Pearl's. The big difference to the Gameness and actually also the Koral Light Gi is that the collar is much sturdier and stiffer. The stitching on the collar is also very heavy as you can see on the second picture.



The pant string system is simple and it stays tied really well. All Koral gis have this type of pant string. You really don't need 700 loops to keep those pants on.


There is some "Koral Fight Co" tape on the inside of the sleeve.


Conclusion

Key issues regarding Koral MKM gi:

- Gi top fabric is of very high quality

- The gi is a bit on the baggier side as almost all Korals tend to be, especially around the shoulder area. If you have a very slim build, the fit might not be good for you.

- Thin collar but it is very sturdy and harder to manipulate than an average thin collar on a competition gi

- Good pants in terms of weight and material but they are not tapered around the ankles as I would wish

This is most likely the best (and the most expensive) Koral gi around since the old Classic model is no longer in production. Many people have reported quality problems with the new Classic model.

Overall, a very good all around gi. It just feels "Right". Only thing I would get fixed are the pants around the ankle (they are not tapered). Get this if you're not super slim and want to get a Koral

You can order the gi in Europe at http://raspagem.fr/fr/ and many other retailers listed on the Koral site.

Overall grade: 9,5/10