Semi-Charmed Life


Rooting for the Underdog

Americans love a good underdog story, and the story of Frankie Edgar's ascent to the top of the lightweight division in the UFC is possibly one of the best underdog stories in all of mixed martial arts. FE was doing extremely well in his career, and when it came time for him to challenge BJ Penn for the belt, he was written off as an extreme underdog. He was always undersized for the division, as he typically walks around at the weight he fights at while most other fighters cut down significant amounts of weight. Not only was he fighting a naturally bigger fighter this time, but he was fighting BJ Penn. Most considered BJ Penn to be an extremely dominant fighter (and one of the top pound for pound fighters in the world) that excels in nearly all aspects of the game, but surprisingly FE fought him to a decision and won.

Critics wrote that off as a fluke, and the general concensus was that there needed to be a rematch. The rematch happened with the same outcome, but fans still weren't sold on Frankie Edgar as a champion.

His next title defense was against Gray Maynard, who handed FE's only career loss. This was an EPIC fight. Maynard absolutely ROCKED Frankie in the first round and it was pretty much a foregone conclusion that the fight was over. It was an absolute testament to the heart of Frankie Edgar that he was able to tough it out through that brutal first round. Huge credit also goes to the ref for properly letting the fight play out and not stopping that fight prematurely, which he had a case for. Frankie came back out in the second round and fought with some fire. He put on an absolutely jaw dropping performance that was able to turn the outcome of that fight into a draw.

This past weekend, Edgar and Maynard met for the third time in the octagon. The first round played out in nearly the same fashion as their second meeting. I had my hands on my head, pulling at my hair, as Frankie got rocked early on by Maynard. Miraculously, he was able to weather the storm and fought the 2nd and 3rd rounds as if the 1st never happened. In the 4th round, he ended any possible questions as he was able to knock out Maynard.

If you watched the Edgar vs Maynard 2 and 3 and you did not walk away a fan of Frankie Edgar, then I don't know what to tell ya. Maybe mixed martial arts is not for you. For the longest time I've admired GSP but even though I think he is one of the world's most talented fighters, he has never displayed that level of courage, heart and determination inside the octagon.

At the heart of this story is a tale of a smaller fighter, who was discounted as an underdog even as the defending champion, who was brutalized and nearly stopped early on in the fight and courageously fought back to maintain his title as the lightweight champion of the world. This is Rocky in real life.

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Damnit I spent the last half hour trying to figure out how I can make another page on my blog that would act as my training blog but I couldn't figure out how to do it. So I guess I'll just keep posting random things about training here for now.

I doubled up on classes today and did the no-gi class followed by the mma class. The no-gi class was great. I paired up with a really great partner who is very good and also does not hold back on very useful tips during our rolls together. It also helps that he is around my size. Height-wise anyway . . . he's definitely still a bigger guy than I am.

Anyway, Leo was instructing today and he showed us a great move from the mount. In no-gi, there are less attack options from the mount because a lot of the choke attacks from there are depending on the gi. He showed us one option you can go to from full mount: taking the back.

One hand underhooks his head and I use my shoulder to drive into his face and pin it side ways. Assuming he's defending by putting his arms in an "X" shape under his chin, my free arm underhooks his same-side arm and I walk his arm up with my arm so that it looks like I'm trying for an arm triangle. Once his arm is against his face I sandwich it between his head and my head and replace the original arm underhooking his head with the arm that walked up his arm.

I wrap my hand under his neck and around his shoulder like I'm trying to dig downward into his armpit. I used that grip to turn him belly-down, while my leg kicks his legs down to spin him all the way.

After Leo's class, I took a 15 minute break until the next class, which is the mma class taught by Sapo. The technique of the day he showed us was a way to transition to full mount from side.

Shoulder pressure to make him look away, top arm underhooking his head. My bottom arm weaves under and then over his legs and I drive his legs away so that I'm pinning them down away from me. My head-side leg turns parallel and flush against his back while my other leg pins down his top knee that is pointed away from me. My knee is resting on the ground while my foot is stepping on his thigh and not the ground. The arm I used to drive his legs away and pin it down gets replaced by my knee, and I complete the transition to full mount by underhooking his far arm to make sure he does not put me back in guard as I make my way towards full mount.

I took a picture after class:

27 Me with Rafael "Sapo" Natal

I met up with with Pat after class. I went to his lion dance youth club today to work on some stuff with him. His club just got brand new gear and I had the chance to learn some kicks from him to break in their new banana  bag. It's too bad his gym does not have mats. The wooden floor is old and definitely not good for any type of barefoot activity.

I'm trying to look for some mats to donate to his club. He's trying to get something started at his club and I think it's a great idea. Like the character "Cutty" from The Wire, I also think that training in martial arts is a great thing, especially for younger people. It develops discipline. In The Wire it was boxing. At Pat's club, it's muay thai.

If the only thing stopping anybody from training is the lack of resources, I would always be more than happy to help. I really hope he gets something good going at his gym. I'm hoping it will also be a positive thing for him too because it might motivate him more to attend his own classes at his gym more often.


Joe Rogan on Living in the Moment

Wow. Joe Rogan's outlook is so similar to mine, and he words it so well. This was part of a longer interview between Joe Rogan and Mike Schiavello. Fantastic interview if you are a fan of Joe Rogan or a fan of mixed martial arts. This particular clip is good regardless if you are an mma fan or not.

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NYS MMA Legislation

Currently in NYS, there is a movement to legalize mixed martial arts in the state. I have already signed a petition at my gym, despite my skepticism in the effectiveness of petitions. On one of the forums I browse, one of the members wrote a very cordial email to NYS assemblyman Joel M. Miller urging him to support efforts to legalize mma in the state:

David Karchmer wrote:

I am urging you to support efforts to bring Mixed Martial Arts to New York. I have been a long time fan of the sport and I am hoping that the New York State legislature will pass bill # A2009/S2165, which would finally legalize MMA in New York.

Mixed Martial Arts is one of the fastest growing and most exciting sports in America, featuring world class athletes and a high degree of skill. In the past five years, the sport of Mixed Martial Arts has seen a meteoric rise in interest from nearly every age and demographic, adding to its cache as a mainstream sport.  MMA fighters are former Olympians, former NCAA wrestlers, elite-level athletes that deserve the support of New York. MMA events are heavily regulated under the Unified Rules of Mixed Martial Arts to ensure that the highest levels of safety for all the athletes.

Mixed Martial Arts events regularly sell out venues, bringing millions in tourist dollars to states that sanction events. At a time when our state is facing difficult economic times, the additional revenue that MMA events would drive in would be a great benefit for our cash-strapped cities and arenas.  Hundreds of thousands, if not, millions of New Yorkers are watching MMA on TV, so our outdated ban merely deprives us of the revenue.

It is time for New York to the join the 36 other states, including New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Ohio, in regulating this sport. Thank you for your time.

This was Mr. Miller's response:

Dear Mr. David Karchmer,

This is in response to your postcard regarding Assembly Bill A2009C.  This bill would establish protocols for combative sports, authorize, and tax gross receipts for mixed martial arts events. Thank you for taking the time to write and advise me of your views.

This bill was referred to the Tourism, Parks, Arts, and Sports Committee.  This is a brutal activity. These fighters should not be viewed as role models. The Governor claims it would generate about $2 million in revenue for the state. It would be better to cut spending than to allow to be viewed in auditoriums or on TV which might encourage immature individuals to mimic this behavior. Should it come to the floor of the Assembly I will  be voting against it. 

If either my staff or I can be of further assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us at 845-463-1635 or via email at

Thank you again for writing.


Joel M. Miller

Member of Assembly

102nd Assembly District 

 Wow! The level of sheer ignorance is ridiculous. I am offended because I do hold many mma fighters in high regard. The level of training, dedication and skill to succeed in this sport is very high. Many of these fighters, even the champs who are on top of the food chain, do not receive compensation anywhere close to other professional athletes such as boxers, football players, basketball players.

For this guy to insult such dedicated athletes (YES, these are fucking atheletes!) shows just how close-minded some individuals are. I acknowledge that the sport in its infancy was very brutal. Gloves were not used. Kicks to head on a down opponent were allowed, and so was just about anything short of eye gouging and fishhooking. But the sport of mixed martial arts has come a LONG way since the times of UFC 1 and when John McCain referred to mixed martial arts as "human cock-fighting."

Measures and regulations have been put in place to ensure the safety of the fighters, which helps to prolong their careers. It is upsetting that people do not acknowledge the legitimacy of mixed martial arts as a sport and do not give its athletes the respect they deserve.

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