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VERBAL TAP (Episode 126) with Garry Tonon


VERBAL TAP (Episode 126) with Garry Tonon

[buzzsprout episode='291364' player='true'] Garry and EddieRaf's Recollection | I'll give you a full write up later, but all you need to know right now is Garry Tonon returns and gives us an interview for the ages.

Let us know what you guys think of it!




VERBAL TAP (Episode 124) with Edwin Najmi and Joey Hauss


VERBAL TAP (Episode 124) with Edwin Najmi and Joey Hauss


[buzzsprout episode='287661' player='true'] 10623889_658533720930913_6176385149871435034_oRaf's Recollection | We've got a lot of great guests this week (Edwin Najmi, Gabriel Arges, Joey Hauss), but I suppose the biggest question we ask ourselves in this episode is:

Am I a kleptomaniac?

More on that later.

First up, we somehow manage to keep Edwin on the ground long enough to get him to chat with us about his upcoming match at this weekend's Submission Series Pro.

For those not in the know, Edwin is famous for his flying triangles, as his name has become synonymous with the attack.  A regular staple in the world of competition, we get the chance to pick his brain about competition mindset, studying under Romulo Barral, training at the infamous Church Boys Wrestling facility, and even get to hear a little bit about his experience at this year's Copa Podio.

And if that's not enough, Edwin drops a bit of a surprise on us when he offers us a chance to talk with Gabriel Arges, another spectacular BJJ competitor who (up until last Sunday), we had yet to have the pleasure of meeting.  If you've yet to see Arges in action, just check out a few of his highlights here:

10348864_715875601788048_3003088629943003015_oAnd just because there are some last minute changes to a UFC card doesn't mean we forget about Over/Under Kevin.  This week, we bring on Joey Hauss from The LA Jiu-Jitsu Club who challenges Kevin's ability to think under pressure (and even, somehow, manages to get under the skin of a future UFC Hall of Famer, who makes his return to the podcast after a long hiatus).

Because, as we all know, something crazy is likely to happen this Saturday.  My money is on this happening.


Oh yeah, about that klepto thing, I tell a story this week about something I did after a seminar that I'm not proud of.  I attended a bad-ass seminar of Brian Peterson's over at the LA Jiu-JItsu Club this weekend, made a new friend, and then... Well...

Look, basically, I ask you Verbal Tap fans, if what I did wrong.  I await your judgement on our social media.

Thanks much for tuning in this week, folks!


VERBAL TAP (Episode 89) with Rafael Lovato Jr.


VERBAL TAP (Episode 89) with Rafael Lovato Jr.


[buzzsprout episode='202728' player='true'] Screen Shot 2014-07-14 at 5.05.20 AM

Raf's Recollection | We always seem to catch Rafael Lovato Jr. [28:06] at incredible junctures in his career.

Our first conversation with Lovato took place a little over a year ago (Episode 24; yeesh, time really flies), just shortly after he became the first non-Brazilian to win the Absolute division at the Brasileiro.  Since then, we've had the good fortune of running into him several times around the jiu-jitsu circuit and were even granted the opportunity to cover one of his awesome seminars out in Vegas a couple of months ago.

Always polite, willing to give us a few moments of his time, and extremely supportive of our crazy dog and pony show we call a podcast, Lovato has been one of the biggest champions of our show (and a good friend to us both on-and-off air).

Which is why when we heard a rumor that our pal would be making his way into the world of Mixed Martial Arts, we knew we needed to hear directly from the source about this new major milestone in his fighting career.

Screen Shot 2014-07-14 at 4.55.38 AMOn September 26th, we get the opportunity to see Rafael compete in the Legacy FC cage (alongside his supremely talented BJJ phenom, Justin Rader, who will also be fighting at the Hard Rock Casino in Tulsa, Oklahoma that night).  For some, this is a chance to see how a storied BJJ competitor, known for his aggression and exciting finishes, fares in the world of MMA.

But for Rafael this fight isn't just the culmination of a six week training camp.  It's the chance to test a lifetime's worth of work as a martial artist in an entirely different way.

Just because Rafael is best known for his incredible work as a BJJ competitor, doesn't mean he's ignored other fighting disciplines all these years.  Unlike other BJJ practitioners who make the transition to MMA, the integration of other disciplines is something that was instilled into him at an early age (and has been maintained in-between BJJ sessions at his own gym for some time).  Now Lovato has an avenue to show us another dimension or two of his MMA game.

And it's a challenge that is reinvigorating him.

Screen Shot 2014-07-14 at 5.04.47 AMOn this week's podcast, Rafael speaks candidly about his training regimen, his expectations, and the difficulty of putting away the gi to concentrate on his stand up game.  We hear more about the impressive array of talent coming to help him get ready for his fight and even get to hear Rafael's thoughts about the most recent Metamoris card.

Two weeks out from fight night, there are certainly more questions than there are certainties on how it will all go down (how will Lovato transition to the cage?  what kind of game will he bring to the table on fight night?  what if the fight never goes to the ground?).  And yet, despite the uncertainty, there is one thing you can take to the bank:

Win or lose, we got his back.

Screen Shot 2014-07-12 at 4.14.41 AMWith far and few athletes really carrying the banner of jiu-jitsu in the world of MMA, we root for a guy who has consistently given his all on the mats.  Who has inspired others to play an aggressive game and make history every time they go out to compete.  And, perhaps most importantly, we root for the guy who has a conviction to represent the jiu-jitsu community when he enters that cage.

For all those reasons (and so much more), we are eagerly anticipating this fight.

Check his appearance out on the podcast and hit us up on our social media to let us know what you think!

Facebook: /VerbalTapCast

Twitter: @VerbalTapCast

Instagram: @VerbalTapCast

Vine: @VerbalTapCast

But Wait, There's More!

Oh yeah, in case you haven't been keeping up with us on the YouTube, check out our latest installment of our BJJ panel talk show, Around the Mat.  On our latest episode we breakdown the match between Kit Dale and Garry Tonon (complete with exclusive footage from the event).  Let us know what you think!


Also, if for some reason you don't see our Buzzsprout player embedded up above, you can also listen to this week's episode of our podcast right here on Stitcher.


VERBAL TAP [Episode 59] with Kristian Woodmansee


VERBAL TAP [Episode 59] with Kristian Woodmansee

[buzzsprout episode='150275' player='true']

K Woodmansee1Raf's Recollection | Kristian Woodmansee is a funny guy.  Aside from being a dude who's doing great things on the mat, he also happens to be killing it on the Twitter.

If you aren't following him already, rectify that mistake immediately and start following him immediately.  We get Kristian to play a game of Rep That Tweet that, frankly, I wish could have gone on longer.

Not only does the Robert Drysdale protege get great millage out of inspirational BJJ quotes and training perspectives, but he also happens to have a great sense of comedic syntax and character.

For example:

We learn a little bit about his jiu-jitsu journey, his BJJ arch-nemesis (and if said nemesis is aware they are such a rival), and we even hear a great story about one of his coolest moments training out in Vegas.

Our time with Kristian just flew by, but we will definitely be checking back in with the guy as he continues to progress in jiu-jitsu and mixed martial arts.  Next time I'm out in Vegas, I will definitely be looking to take one of his classes!



It's been a crazy week in my life.  Absolutely crazy.

As some of you know, I've had the pleasure of working at The Tonight Show for the past five years.  When we recorded this episode, I had just finished up my final week with the show (in fact, I'm only just now getting around to writing a proper recap of this podcast).

In many ways, it's hard to believe that my tenure with the show has come to a close, but I leave with no regrets or hardships.  It's been an exhilarating ride that has given me some of the best experiences of my personal and professional career—and, as a student of the genre, I've considered it an honor to work for the most prestigious franchise in television.

Along the way, I've had the good fortune of working with a set of individuals who were exceptionally creative, diligent, and who taught me so much about production value and efficiency.

Wrap Party

If you're a fan of our podcast (and the format and style we do), you can thank the good people I've worked with in Late Night for inspiring a great deal of the practices we have carried over into our podcast.  It's one of the reasons I take such great pride when guests on our show tell us about the wonderful experience they had on our show (especially when they compliment our production value and note how it sets us a part from any other show).  It's my hope to continue taking all of the lessons I learned during my time at The Tonight Show and continue to put them on display on this podcast.  I hope we do them proud.

And while it's a slightly frightening thought of no longer having a regular work routine to wake up to Monday morning, I welcome the change.  Don't get me wrong, I'm a workaholic, so not having a set routine will definitely mess with me for a while.  But this also means I get a chance to do some fun new ventures and to train a little bit more.

Moreover, I feel the end of the show came at the right time for me professionally; for the first time in a really long time, I don't know what comes next... and I'm actually not afraid.  I welcome whatever new challenges and experiences that lie ahead.

But, for now, thank you to all of those I had the pleasure of working with.  I will absolutely treasure the experience and will truly miss you all.


VERBAL TAP (Episode 58) with James Puopolo


VERBAL TAP (Episode 58) with James Puopolo

James PuopoloRaf’s Recollection | Here's the good news: I didn't scare James Puopolo away back at FIVE Grappling.

Last November, I got the chance to conduct a quick interview with James about his participation in the extremely cool five man round robin the good folks over at FIVE Grappling put together.

Not only was James gracious with his time, but he provided us with some cool insight about his recent decision to quit his former day job as a math teacher and devote himself entirely to competitive (and teaching) jiu-jitsu.

Additionally, James gives us some insight into his training, studying under Rafael Lovato Jr., his travels all around the word, what it's like to compete at ADCC (the smog conditions in Beijing are apparently to die for... literally), and even his competitive goals for 2014.

And for those who feel like they'll never quite reach the heights James has in both competitive and recreational jiu-jitsu, you definitely should listen to the story he tells about wanting to get his blue belt to help put things in perspective.

And if you find yourself in the Oregon area and want to train BJJ, definitely hit up Salem Keizer Brazilian Jiu-JItsu Academy.

John EvansOver/Under Kevin UFC 169: The Results Show

I surprise Kevin with the return of John Evans to find out who won our latest installment of Over/Under Kevin.

On the podcast we discover who lost and (by proxy) will be forced to put up a picture on their Facebook of their best impression of Urijah Faber.

Yes, those were the stakes.  No, I'm not even really sure what that means.  But we're always up for this kind of nonsense, so keep an eye on the Verbal Tap Podcast Facebook Fan Page.

But Wait There's More!

bjj training journal logo-mainOur pal, BJJ Training Journal's Amechi Akpom, returns to check in on my training regimen.

Which is nothing to write home about lately.

Sure, I've been training, I just haven't had the time to write the follow up to the training journal blog I started a couple weeks ago.  It's been a chaotic time at work (you might have heard a thing or two about it in the news).

But, rest assured, as I wrap up my final week at NBC, there's going to be plenty of time to give you a worthy follow up.  I'm quite excited to start working on what promises to be a mildly amusing set of narratives about my struggles in BJJ.

As always, hit us up with any questions, comments, concerns, hints or allegations.  @VerbalTapCast.  Until next time, fight fans.