Welcome to Myles Vives's MMA Training Journal for Fighters in the Philippines! By PinoyMMA.com

PinoyMMA's mission is about helping Filipino fighters get better. Pinoys have tremendous potential, and I want to help develop their MMA ability by sharing my knowledge and experience. Here, I'll blog about my personal training sessions, various competitions and events, and random thoughts about martial arts, offering personal advice to help Filipino fighters excel. I encourage all of you to get involved too, posting your suggestions, comments, and valuable insights. We all can play a role in taking our fighters to the next level.

Myles Vives

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

New Websites Are Up! More to Come.

Hi all, I know it's been ages since I last wrote in this blog. I have been really busy with a lot of different things. I wanted to drop all of you a note that I have created a new martial arts blog. It is still very empty, but within a week or two, it will be fleshed out a bit and have more substance. My new blog isn't going to be your typical martial arts blog. In contrast, my blog will allow me to mesh two passions that I have: martial arts and business. I will be writing about training, business, and a whole lot of other topics.

PinoyMMA.com has relaunched its forum recently and the new front end website should be up within a month. MMA Shirt Shop has also recently gone live. The online community store will be up and running in June 2009.

I am in the process of launching a few other websites. Things are going real well. Been very busy but in a good way. This will be my last post in this blog. I hope to 'see' you guys on my new blog and on my new sites.

Sunday, August 3, 2008

What if there's no black belt around to promote you?

Some readers commented on my previous post, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu belt promotions. You can check out the comments for yourself in the entry. I wanted to bring up the question as a separate blog, just in case some of you don't get to read the comments.

So, do you think a lower belt, let's say a purple or brown, should be able to promote if a black belt isn't around? The answer depends on who you ask and whether there are special situations that require a lower belt to promote. Did you know that most people who answer, "it's okay" are lower belts? I find that amusing--just thought I'd share that with you. Personally, I think it's better to get promoted by a black belt: it follows tradition, generates more respect for your rank, and it helps ensure that a promotion is genuine (of course, there are some black belts who just give belts away).

Sometimes, if it's impossible for a group of students to visit their black belt or for the black belt to visit, then in special circumstances, I think a brown belt could promote, but there are some conditions. First, the black belt must really know the brown belt and be confident in his or her abilities. Second, the black belt must know the person the brown belt wants to promote (i.e. has seen the person move, knows how the person performs, etc.). Third, the black belt must give the brown belt his/her blessing. Fourth, the brown belt doesn't ask to promote someone. Rather, the brown belt indicates to the black belt that he/she thinks this person is ready and waits to hear what the black belt has to say. Yes, even with this all done, I still think only black belts should promote. Now, if the black belt can visit or the students can visit the black belt, then they should wait until that time comes.

A belt is a belt. Don't be too pre-occupied with it. If you deserve it, it will come.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Belt Promotions

What do you guys think? Can or should a person go through a test for a belt, or is competition/mat performance and time really more important? Personally, I value performance much more than giving any kind of belt test. I do see the value in a belt test though, and for some academies, it's probably the best way to go. However, I like the old school way of having to train long and hard, making a lot of mistakes, and having to discover things on your own (instead of having a curriculum handed to you). It makes everything more challenging, and to me, much, much more fulfilling.

Whatever your opinion is though, to promote a person based on performance is something that takes longer. What do i mean? It takes time for me to see if a student knows what he or she has to know for a particular level and can apply those techniques and strategies. For example, if a student I met only 2 or 3 times came in to take a class, and was killing all the blues and purples, I wouldn't automatically say he is a blue, purple, or even a brown belt. Because I don't know the person well and haven't seen the person roll many times (and haven't rolled with the person myself many times), I don't really know if he or she has the technical skills of a blue, purple, etc. belt. Maybe the person is whipping ass because he or she is really strong rather than technical. This person may not know anything about escaping the mount or passing the guard. How could I promote this person to a higher belt? The answer's simple. I wouldn't. They'd have to spend as much time as everyone else on the mat.

I bring this all up because a MMA fighter who has trained for quite some time wants to finally move up in the BJJ ranks. He asked if I can test and promote him if he passes. I have never rolled with this guy with a gi though. Who knows? He might not even know how to do a lapel choke! In similar scenerios, maybe a formal test would work better. But, I didn't go that route. I simply said, "There's no test. Just start coming to class and rolling . . .If you deserve it, in time, you'll get it."

Monday, July 21, 2008

Manny Pacquiao versus Miguel Torres???

No, this match isn't going to happen, but some people have been fantasizing about this match. I came across the thread on the PinoyMMA forum. Apparently people around the world have posted about this in international forums. In any case, I thought I'd add my two cents to the mix.

Who would win in an MMA match? Miguel. Hands down. MMA isn't boxing. Who would win in a boxing match? Manny. Hands down. Boxing isn't MMA. Get the point? I think Manny is a superb athlete. He's proven it many times in the ring. He's a great boxer. However, for him to enter the MMA world and be successful would take some time. Personally, I say 2-3 years of solid MMA training. He would have to devote most of his time learning MMA and would not be able to work on his boxing as much as he does right now.

I don't think a year would be long enough. I think 2-3 years would give him a very good foundation and he could start fighting against some decent MMA fighters. I don't think he could face top competitors like Miguel Torres. (Coincidentally, Miguel and I used to train with Carlson Gracie Sr. in Chicago before Carlson passed away.) Just like any sport or art, it takes some time to get good. Who knows? Maybe Pacquiao is a natural in MMA and picks everything up real quick. Conversely, he might be a natural in boxing, but for some reason, MMA might not come easy to him. It happens to a lot of people. They are good at one sport, and aweful at another.

It would definitely be interesting to see a match up between Pacquiao and a noted MMA flyweight. I think he could do good if he devoted a couple of years to MMA, but I don't think that's going to happen any time soon.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Thoughts on Brandon Vera's Recent Fight, Anderson Silva, and Affliction Banned

Brandon Vera fought on Ultimate Fight Night tonight against Reese Andy. Brandon moved down in weight and looked leaner, but I think cutting weight negatively affected his performance. Reese didn't perform like you would expect a UFC fighter to, yet, Brandon had difficulty finishing Reese off. After Reese threw several kicks, it was clear Brandon's stand up was much better. In fact, I didn't think this was a good match up. I thought Brandon was going to murder Reese. However, the fact that Brandon cut weight probably was what made the match go the distance. Dehydration and a lack of energy are common side effects of cutting weight. Some people can do it well, some people can't. It will be interesting to see what weight class Brandon continues to compete at. If he decides to stay at the light heavy division, I'm sure he'll have to change his eating/training habits.

Anderson Silva. Textbook counter. The punch was perfectly placed. The first punch is what started it all, and the second punch that landed flush on Irvin's face was the nail in the coffin. I was curious to see the match and thought the match might have some good exchanges. Well, there was one very good, very quick exchange. Silva is awesome.

Affliction Banned had some great fights tonight, too - 3 KOs, 1 TKO, 3 submissions...I thought the match ups were good overall, but I had my favorites. All of the people I thought would win did win. I had no doubt that Fedor was going to win, and win he did (rear naked choke in round 1). Barnett versus Rizzo was one match I was excited about. I think Barnett is a great fighter - a great balance between power and technique. I thought he was going to win and he didn't disappoint (KO round 2). Barnett has been in the game for a long time, but I still hope to see much more of him. Curious to know what Affliction has in store for their next event.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Respect & Training Etiquette

When people talk about mixed martial arts, it's usually about training, competitions, motivation, techniques, and even nutrition and supplementation. You don't hear many people talk about proper training etiquette or respect. Well, I decided to write about that today. Here's why. . .

A few weeks ago, I was teaching a class and a "sandbagger" (i.e. someone who pretends to be a beginner) came to train. We talked before class a bit and he said he's trained for a couple months. It took me only a few seconds to realize this guy was full of it (which I honestly didn't care much about him lying to me). When I explained a technique, the guy wouldn't listen and gave the impression that he knew it all. When he partnered up to do technique, he didn't listen to me call out the steps and used a lot of resistance when beginners were trying to do their reps on him. When it came to sparring time, this guy was toying with all the beginners and basically disrespecting them.

Now, it takes a lot to get me truly pissed off, about anything. I hardly get angry and I rarely am "violent." But certain things at certain times put me over the edge. This guy, well, he pushed all the right buttons. I don't care if people disrespect me by not sticking to the technique I teach or if they don't continue to do reps like I instruct. I don't mind because if they think they know a technique enough to not practice, then that's up to them - even though I know they aren't "masters" at the technique. However, when someone disrespects other students, especially beginners, the way this guy did, it's another story.

To my delight, the guy called me out to spar. I've been telling people for the past few years that since I started my law and mba studies, I haven't been able to turn on that "killer instinct" when I train. I've even told people that they have to get me pissed off and angry or else I'll just be on cruise control when training. I used to be able to turn "it" on whenever I wanted to and always did my best in that zone. But these days, my brain is busy working on other things. Anyway, for the first time in almost 3 years, I found myself extremely pumped to train. In a nutshell, I tried to rip off the guys limbs off. After our round, he stopped sparring, wouldn't talk to anyone, and sat to the side by himself. He no longer was disrespecting the other students and me.

Fast forward to this week. Someone very close to me tells me that this same "sandbagger" went to another school to train. Same story. He was disrespectful. What did the instructor do to the guy? Let's say he did something I wanted to do but couldn't at that time (there were a number of older women watching while waiting to take a boxing class).

What's the whole moral of the story? Learn to show some respect and use proper training etiquette. This is not an exhaustive list and merely reflects some of the more common things I encounter, in no particular order.

1. When someone is teaching, listen. It's simple. Show respect and be polite. Even if it's the most basic technique in the world and you know it like the back of your hand.

2. If an instructor tells you to do a certain technique a certain way, do it. You can experiment and that's often encouraged, but first put in a good amount of time doing the technique as explained.

3. Keep doing reps until you're told to move on - again, it's about being respectful of others. This happens a lot, especially with the arrogant students in class. They do a technique a few times, then either stop, or worse, start to play instructor themselves. As I mentioned above, I usually let them be. I will tell them to keep doing the reps a couple of times, but if they persist, they won't hear from me again.

4. Use control in all of your techniques. First, this will increase your performance because if you can execute techniques without a lot of strength and speed, imagine what you can do when you add all of your physical attributes to your technique. Second, you won't injure your training partners. Third, other students will be more willing to spar with you.

5. If a lot of you are training on a mat, ring, or cage, the area can get cramped quickly as partners get near each other. In these situations, it's normally the lower ranking or less experienced students who have to move and find space. The senior guys normally can stay where they are. Now, I believe that everyone should be treated equally, but this process actually makes sparring and drilling run smoother.

6. If you are rolling, doing take downs, etc. and you accidentally hit or bump the pair next to you, be polite. Say sorry. You won't believe how many people fail to do this. In my experience, I'd say less that 20%.

7. Keep you, your equipment, and the gym clean. For instance, I can't understand how people can go walk barefoot into the restroom, then out to the street, then all over a gym floor, then start sparring on the mats. Ringworm or staph anyone?

Again, there's a lot more. The basic point is to make sure you're respectful and practice a decent degree of training etiquette. Everyone will like you more for doing so.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I'm back!

Yes, I know it's been a very long time. I did myself a favor and committed myself to a lot of projects. I've wanted to write but I've either had no time or if I did, I was dead tired. Instead of writing a half-assed blog entry that's forced, I rather hold off and write something with more substance.

A lot has happened since I last blogged - personally and in the Philippine and International MMA scene. I don't even know where to start. So, I'm not going to. lol I've been keeping updated with what's going on in MMA in the Philippines and it's great to hear that the FFC and URCC had events recently. I still wish more skilled fighters would compete...hopefully sooner than later. I also heard about an incident at Embassy that involved one of my friends, an old student, and a number of other people. When I think about these kinds of occurrences back home, I always wonder when, and if, it will ever end. I guess that's just the way it is.

Taught today, but didn't train. I think I'm coming down with something, so I took things easy. My head hasn't really been focused on training lately. Too many things to do. The past several weeks, it seems like I've just been going through the motions. I haven't been going hard at all or trying any new moves. It's one of those times where I have to get a number of things off my plate then I can place more attention on training.

My shoulder is still not well. It makes me sick, but I don't want to put myself out for a long time by getting surgery. I've started to do some weight training again, and am going real slow, babying my shoulder. Hopefully the pain doesn't get to the point where I have to stop again. We'll see what happens.

Anyway, been keeping busy doing a lot of stuff and surfing more and more. My classes are starting up again so who knows what my schedule is going to be like then. I will get back to writing regularly on this blog, however, I am extremely busy these days. A lot of things I want to do. I can't make any promises, but I will do my best to write at least 5 times a week. I don't think I can manage 7 days a week anymore. As long as you guys are getting some value through my blog and I can give some added insight to you, I'll keep writing.

I'll end with this for today...Damn, can you believe what Rampage did??? That's crazy!