When I was a teenager, I had basically three interests:
1) Starcraft (ever since I was 12-13)
2) Poker (since I was 17)
3) MMA (since I was 14-15, trained first time when I was 16).
Anyway, after I quit playing Sc2 professionally, I quickly found myself missing some kind of competitive outlet. A new MMA gym had opened up near me like 2-3 months prior, and I'd been going on and off... but around July last year I decided to get a lot more serious.
I'd been out with an injury for like 1-2 months and at the time I was about 90kg, 180~ cm. So I started training 5 days a week, 3~ hours a day... And yesterday I had my first fight, weighing in at around 77 kg.
The event is hosted by Top FC which is Korea's second biggest MMA organization behind Road FC (who also has their own amateur divsion, called Central League I think), and uses the moniker "Top FC Khan Amateur League". This was its 4th iteration.
The rules are quite friendly:
- 2x 3 minute rounds
- Headgear, 14 oz gloves*, shinguards
- No heelhooks, no knees or elbows to the head but OK to the body.
Rest is the same as pro mma, but referees try to stop fights much faster if a submission is on, to avoid serious injuries in an amateur event.
* They told us last minute that from now on we'd be able to opt for MMA gloves if we wanted to but I dont think anyone did since it was a last minute change and everyone had been sparring with bigger gloves.
ONE MORE REP YOU CAN DO IT... More seriously, rules meeting
When I first came to this gym, I had a little bit of grappling skill, but my striking was HORRIBLE. I'm still not a really competent striker (but I'd say I'm one of the best 3 or so regular students in terms of ground grappling --- then there's obviously the coaches and a couple of higher level guys who are a bunch better too), but I've made improvements. My cardio is also excellent since I train for so long every day and I run in addition to that.
So to summarize: striking relatively poor, grappling relatively good, cardio good. I also don't have much power in my strikes, which I need to work on.
I've got really long arms and legs for my size, and since my most glaring weakness striking wise is exchanges in the pocket, the gameplan my coaches made for me was as follows:
- Stay on the outside, use a lot of circling, use your jab and kicks to maintain distance.
- When he closes, clinch!
Oh and I've got a bit of a tendency to be too timid when sparring, and walk back too much, so I've been trying to work on that, alongside a gameplan that can work around that.
Before the fight I didn't know much about him, except that he's a striker. Oh and that he looks a lot like Reis :D
After the fight I talked to him tho and found out he's 32 (I thiiiiink, maybe 31? cant remember), been training for a similiar time to me (a little less in mma, but he's done some boxing before), and funnily enough the dude is friends with one of the guys that trains where I train (neither of us had any idea about this until we talked tho).
In case you want to watch the fight before you read this, I'll spoiler it. + Show Spoiler +
So I lost, but I'm actually pretty happy with how I did. Before the fight I wasnt at all sure if I would want to do this again, whereas now I'm 100% sure I do.
The biggest thing I take away from this is a newfound appreciation for gameplans - watching the fight back I can really tell where I followed the gameplan and did well, and where I strayed and did worse.
Here's some things that went right/wrong:
- Clinch was good, he didn't know how to shoulder out of the thai plum. I should have tried for it a bit more probably.
- I kept distance... decently, not as well as in practice but decently. Front kick worked well.
- My coach has been trying to get me to take smaller steps when I punch, and I think I fell back into stepping too far with my jab, and stranding my back leg a little.
- I completely forgot to even try the main takedown I practiced from the clinch :D Instead I went for a silly un-practiced trip.
- Didn't jab enough!
- I think I tensed my shoulders a bit, because my arms gassed really hard in round 2, which I've never had happen before.
- Forgot to slow down my breathing when on the outside.
- When backstepping I only single stepped too much! I actually worked hard on making sure I always 2 stepped when I was training since there's a huge difference between backstep-circle and backstep, backstep, circle.
- The first low kick I throw, you can see it lands really slow. It's because when I stepped forward for my jab, I didn't follow it with my right leg properly.
Things I learned:
- I've never trained in a ring before, our gym has a cage! In round 2 when we are at the ropes, and I'm defending the takedown... I kind of froze because I had no idea how much pressure I could put on the ropes without falling haha. Also arms were so tired.
- When you are on your back and wearing headgear, the nose-guard blocks your downward vision, I couldnt see his legs haha. I wanted to do a situp sweep but I couldn't tell where the fuck his legs were. I definitely didn't roll enough with headgear.
- Too compartmentalized sparring. Because my standup is weak, I think I did a bit too much pure striking sparring... I think this is maybe why my arms got so tired. Next time I'll work more full MMA sparring.
- Nutshots are very painful.
I'm also gonna add some muscle for next time, I've been cutting for a long time just to get rid of all the fat, now its time to build up a bit
Oh and I guess you could put lack of combination punching in there somewhere, but it was actually part of the gameplan to not do that, since it necessitates remaining in the pocket a bit and we wanted to avoid that as much as possible. But in terms of training its definitely on the to do list hehe
Ah and headmovement! It's something I definitely want to work a lot on. I only really used any headmovement once in the fight haha
Various other things:
- One guy broke or separated his knee, didnt see how it happened but he had to be carried out on a stretcher. Looked reallly painful
- One of my team mates (the guy just above me in the pic below) is a beast. He looks like he's asleep in there then BOOM cracking thunder, boom submission. So relaxed haha.
I did a huuuuuuuuuuge overhaul of my game around hand 50k~ or so, but unfortunately while prior to that I had been mostly playing bad/running good, I started playing good/running horrible, but still really really happy with how I played the last week of the month, I fixed soooooo many leaks and September is gonna be sweet. Also cut down to 3 tables of zoom (had been playing between 4-6 zoom or 4-9 regular), in conjunction with the game overhaul.
Stake breakdown is... 99% PLO100 Zoom, but about half the losses are from PLO200 Zoom and PLO100 Hu.
Got about 28,000 VPPs this month, 32,000 to go before back to supernova. Won a couple of hundred playing live and there's some bonuses etc in there, but numbers are pretty accurate. I think this is the 2nd or 3rd time I have a losing month ever actually, and it's definitely the least concerned I've been about one (if the month had ended around hand 50k I'd have been depressed, but taking a deep look at my own game I just realized there were so many things I could fix, it turned into something really positive).
I spent a couple of days really examining some common opening ranges in PPT, which is something I've been meaning to do for a long time but never got around to. Gotta say it wasnt as difficult or tedious work as I thought it'd be, PLO ranges may contain a lot more hands than NLHE but PPT has some pretty good syntax.
Volume wise, it's a little lower than I wanted but still decent. Next month I'm probably going to go back to Sweden for about a month or so (prob towards the end of the month), hopefully get a drivers license, maybe Vegas after around IPL time, then back to Korea again. Going to shoot for getting the 32k vpps I need for supernova before I go, if I run decent it shouldnt be too difficult (I know I said that last time but hey, this is a lot more modest of a goal :D). If I have to move down to PL50 then it'd be harder but oh well - will just have to buy a laptop in sweden and finish it there.
Friend of mine needed a visa to China, couldn't get it in Korea so we decided to go to Hong Kong for the weekend. Had a pretty brutal first day ---
Some pre-info: My friend had to express re-new his passport as it had run out of pages, so we were due to pick up the new passport just a few hours before our flight left.
8 am: Wake up, get ready to go take BJJ test (first stripe white belt - I'm a fish).
11 am: Take test - scary as fuck, especially as I normally go to the evening classes so when at first I barely recognized anyone I wasn't feeling too at ease, but a bunch of familiar faces trickled in as time went on. Passed just barely, as did the other guy taking the same level test as me. Teacher asked me what I thought of my performance, I said soemthing along the lines of "I'm missing a lot of details, and whenever I have to do it left-handed I'm screwing things up royally". Teacher said "Agree 100% with that. Be better prepared next time!". Then turned to the other guy: "Exactly the same applies to you".
Tests are honestly one of the few things that make me nervous in life - like, I'm not insanely confident or outgoing or anything, but I don't actively dread most things... Tests will keep me awake at night. So glad I passed.
Come back, go to Seoul to pick up my friends passport from embassy, head to airport... head to checkin...... My ticket is NP, my friends ticket? "It appears it was cancelled....". After a long wait my friend has to basically re-book it on the spot (and gets a better price than me wtf, I booked in advance and picked a nicely priced one, wtf is this shit :D). Just barely make it to plane.
Arrive in Hong Kong, it's like.... 11 pm I guess? We get a crazy young HK taxi driver who has seriously 4+ phones all sitting in his dashboard and all connected to his head by various earpieces and what not. Crazy guy and also a bit of a hustler vis-a-vis tollgate fees but w-ever.
We get to our hotel, go to check in....... Ticket booked for 1 week from now. What..the....fuck? Friend re-books. We go to find an ATM and get something to eat, pretty tired by now. ATM eats my friends card. Does not give it back. I put in a random expired gym card, machine is like 'nah, i only eat credit cards' and gives it back... so apparently freak accident. We call support number and go eat, finally get through after 40 minutes on hold (looking forward to seeing what his phone bill will be after that). They say go bank and we can pick it up tomorrow.
Next day, wake up 6 am, get to travelling agency to apply for China visa at like 8:30~, head back to bank... Cute young bank lady is pretty helpful and calls around a bunch and determines that yeah, the card is there etc and let's go down and get it. Older bank manager type woman says hmmmmmmm, yeah the name on the card is your name, and you have a passport, drivers license, ID card, other card from the same bank and papers from said bank... but to be safe we're gonna ship this card back to canada, you can collect it there.
So after 2 hours of this (bank lady #1 fought the good fight for us), my friend gets his card back. We go pick up the visa and do some shopping. Somehow vaguely disappointed with the shopping, I feel like we missed all the good spots :/ We checked out Times Square area, bunch of stuff along Henessy Road (SOGO, Jardine Crescent area etc) and some other random places. Feel like there could have been a lot more quality shopping with someone who knew the place a bit better.
So, Sunday we decide to go Macau for some poker. I've never played live poker in my life, haven't played Hold'em in forever, and my friend hasnt played in forever in general, but has played some live. When we arrived the first mode of transportation we saw was a free bus to the Venetian so we hopped on that, walked around til we found the poker area and sat down at a fresh HKD 25/50 table --- I guess that's like 3.5/7 USD). Probably the softest table in Macau that day lol
All fish except for 2 nits and they are basically 2 empty seats for all the hands they play. Unable to fold anything tho and keep paying the any-2-cards guy off monstrously with their overpairs.
One of the two nits was an old guy in a hoodie and headphones...
I don't know if any of you guys read the Live Poker guide by Rumnchess on twoplustwo, but in there, there's a description of a player type called "Old Man Coffee". Basically old man coffee is an older man who plays incredibly straight forward --- deuces is a limping hand, so I'll limp etc. This guy might have been slightly more towards a nit grinder than that, but when he busted out the starbucks I almost had to start laughing
Eitherway, this guy plays about 1 hand/hour at most, but will never fold top pair ever.
Finished up a little then went to eat at a really nice Brazilian steak house. Delicious o.o
Returned, got back to same table but completely different lineup: Old man-nit is still there, but the rest have been replaced by a bunch of very obviously chinese young-regs. We play 6 handed with them for a bit, until it fills up. One unpleasant retard - who thankfully leaves very soon - accuses my friend of string betting because the 4 chips he picked up to raise the river didn't all drop at th exact same mili-second (it was seriously dumb, the delay was infinitesmal). So 4k raise turns into a minraise. Might be a good thing as the guy talked himself into calling vs the nuts, but who knows.
This guy thankfully leaves, gets replaced by a Korean - we get to surprise him by saying we're from Korea too etc. Always fun. Anyway, funny hand happens.
Korean raises in ep A8s, old-man-nit calls AK behind him, chinese reg flats A3s. Flop A83, Korean bets, old man nit calls, reg raises, Korean calls, old man nit goes all-in. Chinese reg, who btw was a Chinese version of SaSe, complete with hat and everything, starts agonizing. Thinks for an eternity, and folds. Korean shrugs, calls.
Chinese guy sees old-man-nit has AK and goes crazy.
Not too much else interesting - had some run-good with A7 (kept flopping monsters with said hand), but there was one hand:
2 limps, reg in sb makes it 300, I 3bet in bb to 1k (we're like 8k deep or something). One of the limper folds and (accidentally?) shows an ace. SB makes it 2.3k. I felt incredibly strongly he had KK, considered calling for set+to bluff A flops, decided I was too likely to do somethign dumb on low flops and folded. Guy showed me KK, was so happy.
Got recognized at the table by some friends-of-a-friend, which was fun. Overall finished up a little bit, really enjoyed playing live tho --- really makes me 1) Miss hold'em 2) want to start taking some trips out to Walker Hill here in Korea.
Online this month has been meh - I feel like everytime I play badly, I run good and get rewarded, then when I play good I run like acid, part of poker I guess but still annoying to deal with, so much easier on your mind when you play good = win and play bad = lose. Down like 4 buyins or something in 30k hands.
Food in HK = amazing, one of the things i dislike the most about Korea is how difficult it can be to get a diverse selection of food... Korean Chinese restaurants generally only have Koreanized chinese food, and Korean sushi is on average pretty Koreanized too. HK had everything everywhere and that was sweet. Hong Kong also felt waaaaaay bigger than Seoul tho, kind of exhausting just being there. Want to go to Macau again badly, really hope the new table-cap law doesn't fuck over poker there....
I took like.... 3 pictures total from this trip because I'm the most horrible tourist of all time.