A brief and ridiculously biased review of Metamoris 4.

Metamoris: Ralek gracie claims the name came from a native American story that unites tribes of different backgrounds. Using Latin one could infer that “latin/ancient greek for “beyond ethos”.
“meta” means “beyond” (metaphysics, metareferential and so on), “moris” could be “customs”, “habits”, in that sense.”(Bubblun from Sherdog) Thus, the competition Metamoris seeks to show the effectiveness of a number of different grappling styles from around the world. It addresses the oldest question in grappling: Which one is the best? Folk style wrestling? Catch-as-catch-can? Brazilian Jiu Jitsu? Sambo?

Thousands of internet debates often ignore the most important aspect of each of these grappling arts, their intentions. They simply don’t have the same goals. However, after each specialist learns a few submissions and how to adjust their skillset to a new set of rules it may be possible to properly analyze who has become the most adept at proprioception and controlling their opponent. Then again it may not. Both cases are elucidated in Metamoris 4.

Kit Dale vs. Gary Tonon went the way that most people assumed. Kit is still young in his grappling career and despite being one of the most talented IBJJF competitors early on struggles without the gi and in competition with the most elite. Especially with a limited skillset competing in submission only type tournaments. He did seem calm early on rolling out of Tonon’s heelhook attempt but Tonon’s unorthodox style coupled with his constant chain of submission attacks led to him catching a guillotine. Kit tried to roll but Gary followed and finished the guillotine in mount. Fortunately for Kit he’s young in his career and has maybe the most charismatic personality in the entire sport. People who do BJJ often forget that it’s more about the culture. How much time do you spend training in comparison to simply talking about the sport or spending time with your rolling buddies? My guess is that it’s about a 1:10 ratio. In addition, Kit as far as I’m concerned gave the best performance I’ve ever seen in an attempt to pass Keenan’s guard at brown belt: This solidifies his position as an elite level grappler and his potential to be an integral figure in the future of the sport.

Keenan Cornelius vs Vinny Magalhoweverthehellyoupronounceit once again showed us that Keenan will most certainly be the most talented American grappler that has ever lived and maybe simply the best period. Vinny’s heavily muscled frame was 30 pounds more than Keenan’s (in fact this weight differential seemed to be the theme of Metamoris 4 and made a difference only in some cases) and his athleticism was likely his only chance. Vinny after all has had quite the run in grappling having defeated some extremely high level opponents such as Fabricio Werdum and Rustam Chsiev. His specialization in flying armbars however is no match for the worlds best butt scooter. As Keenan quoted after the match “We’re both made of rubber so it’s hard to finish.” The match had continuous leg lock attempts early on. Vinny even caused Keenan to wince a few times with a solid inside heel, that Keenan rolled out of (being maybe the only person on the planet that can do this) and a toe hold that caused a similar grimace. Jeff Glover, the secret match competitor, even said “These guys don’t tap to caution, they tap to snap.” Watching Keenan compete however is nothing short of mesmerizing, as his ability to adapt risky positions from gi to nogi without getting submitted is unmatched. Most grapplers would easily lose a leg from open guard foot placement similar to his. His proprioception development is simply so heightened he seems to know where all parts of his body are in any instant while he works unmatched strategy. He dominated Vinny towards the end with multiple leg drag passes to north south and a mounted triangle/armbar attempt that he likely would have caught again in another 5 minutes. Vinny had nothing for him and why would he? This guy almost beat Buchecha for goodness sake.

Saulo Ribiero vs Rodrigo ‘Comprido’ Medeiros showed us that a lifetime of jiu jitsu is possible. It’s always great to watch legendary contributors to the sport compete. Hearsay told us that Saulo would have his way with Comprido but it became apparent early on that Comprido’s size would make that impossible. Saulo hit an impressive Seo nage but most of the positional exchanges were quite equivalent. Nonetheless, it probably was the least exciting of the evening as neither competitor was ever in much trouble, likely due to a lifetime of positional jiu jitsu. More interesting than their match was their assertion that the berimbolo and lapel guard positions were used early on by people such as Terere in BJJ. Sure and Da vinci did indeed draw flying machines-but never flew in one. This example just reiterates the age old discussion of whether or not current invention exists in BJJ. My guess is that everything has been done-but not as effectively as possible by the perfect person to do it.

The introduction to the secret match was actually kind of cool. Jeff Glover (an announcer for the event) deloused in front of a crowed of people to reveal slightly too-low cut nogi pants. He was to face Barrett Yoshida whom at this point looks like an old but wise Buddhist monk. Everyone assumed he’d finish him but the entire match was nothing short of bizarre. Glover showcased his donkey guard rolling for knee bars, heel hooks, and toe holds. Yoshida comfortably countered in a 20 minute long centripetal ball of what looked like extremely fun jiu jitsu training. This 20 minutes of rolling was only periodically interrupted by Glover walking backwards towards Yoshida to secure the donkey guard. It’s a confusing position and borders on what looks like pure invention coupled with disrespect. Knowing Glover’s personality and charisma though, he’s not likely to offend anyone. His skill and personality has landed him in an indispensable role as both an entertainer and highly skilled grappler.

No doubt though, the talk of Metamoris 4 will regrettably be Josh Barnett vs. Dean Lister. Everyone was well acquainted with both of their accomplishments. Despite Barnett’s pivotal role at a CACC wrestler Lister seems to be the favorite. That hope quickly faded when everyone realized as soon as Barnett stepped on the mat that he looked to be far bigger than Lister. Sure there was once again only a 35 pound difference but his frame was nothing short of gigantic. At one point his thigh was in a straight line with both of Lister’s legs and it was still larger. People will talk about how remarkable his performance was and how he proved that CACC can be just as effective as BJJ but it was a terrible match and didn’t even properly justify the submission before position ideology. He dominated Lister by position and easily passed his guard but spent the majority of the match sitting on top and crushing Lister with what appeared to be the frame of a modern day Viking. He did have a few kimura attempts and eventually finished him by crushing his diaphragm and squeezing him with a head and arm. This submission fellow wrestler Rustam Chsiev regularly uses and is part of a breakdown wrestlejitsu has done in the past. There will be a number of breakdowns of his movements in the following weeks but the truth is 18 of the 20 minutes were spent with Barnett pushing his huge frame into Lister and squeezing the life out of him while not going for the finish-at-all-costs movement that would have generated a more exciting and entertaining match to watch. Nonetheless, Barnett is obviously a monster and is a prime example of what experienced grapplers know to be true: there is a limit to jiu jitsu and that limit is based on size differential.

The finals match of Andre Galvao vs Chael Sonnen was what the grappling world expected and a joyous affirmation of a skilled BJJ practioner. Chael was determined and of course as always entertaining, but despite limiting Galvao’s options by staying on his knees for most of the match and shoving Andre’s chin down (a move that is legal but hardly acceptable on a scale of one to douche) ended up getting caught by turtling. Andre constantly attacked and as he has in many of his matches secured double unders from butterfly, transitioned to his side with an extremely low underhook and stood up with an strategy-only setup takedown that caused Sonnen to turtle (the biggest and most common mistake for wrestlers), Galvao then jumped into seat belt and slowing worked his hooks into a body triangle. He then spent the next few minutes pez-dispensing Chael’s head back until he mata leon-ed him. Wearing a lion Atos rash guard it only seemed appropriate.

In the end Metamoris 4 showed us how it helps to practice nogi sub only tournaments if you’re going to compete in them, that Kit Dale is the most entertaining man in all of BJJ, that the Berimbolo has been around since 1635, that it’s not a good idea to try and leg lock a Viking, that Keenan is the second most entertaining man in all of BJJ and will likely be the best, and that nothing makes you more unstoppable than when you’re competing for a higher power. Lastly, grapplers of all backgrounds can be equally effective in elite level competition and sometimes people with wrestling backgrounds win jiu jitsu matches.

But I do doubt it could happen the other way around☺

2 thoughts on “A brief and ridiculously biased review of Metamoris 4.

  1. Please do an article on not the history of Catch Wrestling, but your opinion of it’s effectiveness. Josh Barnett never shuts up about it and Neil Melanson does a lot of Catch demonstrations that show him working from the guard. IMO Neil’s stuff looks like an upper body version of Rubber Guard with something called K position, which is pretty much a held flower sweep with options to Granby. I’d love to see you do an actual Freestyle/Collegiate or Greco wrestler’s perspective on Catch and not just Randy Couture pitching his hat in with whoever makes him look good for the time being. Thanks in advance.

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