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VERBAL TAP (Episode 89) with Rafael Lovato Jr.


VERBAL TAP (Episode 89) with Rafael Lovato Jr.


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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 88) with Mik Milman


VERBAL TAP (Episode 88) with Mik Milman

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Raf's Recollection | Not gonna lie, I'm a little jealous of Mik Milman's photography skills.

As an avid photography enthusiast, I spend a great deal of my spare time researching different photographers and trends within the field.  Which is why it came as a nice surprise when I found there was a photographer taking the time to capture the essence of everyday jiu-jitsu practitioners.

That's right, not the guys you see standing on podiums or shouting out their twenty thousand sponsors.  Nor the guys selling you DVDs, telling you what you need to know about jiu-jitsu.  Not even the people trying to make names for themselves showing you a cool move on YouTube.

In fact, Mik (pronounced "Mick") none of that really seems to matter all that much to Mik Milman.  For him, there's a way bigger interest in the psychology behind why people step foot on a mat.

Mik's passion project, People Who Train, is a photography-based narrative BJJ endeavor that seeks to find out the psychology behind why ordinary people step on the mats.

And the results, thus far, have been fascinating.

Panel Group ShotI first caught wind of the projects a couple months ago and was intrigued by the quality of the photos.  In each of Mik's still frames you truly get a representation of each interview subject's soul.  And while I've never rolled with any of the people in the photos or heard a single word about their story beforehand, the photos give a great peek into the role jiu-jitsu plays in their life.

NextIt's even more awesome when you see the photos juxtaposed with some of the short narratives that give you a little more insight into these folks' everyday lives.

On the podcast [his appearance starts at the 58:30 mark], Mik describes his process (all the way from the photography sessions, the type of people's he's interested in photographing, and the unexpected narratives that have propelled him to do even more for the BJJ community).

If you're interested in being one of the folks featured in this project (seriously, don't be shy.  We all have cool stories that deserve to be featured), be sure to check out People Who Train and hit up

You can also check out Mik's work on Instagram (@retrograding) and give him a like on Facebook.

But Wait, There's More

We talk about Dana White's latest PR fail, some stupid parents on a dumb reality show force their kids to do jiu-jitsu and are pretty extreme about it, the devastation of UFC 177, and Todd Levin [21:11] returns to find out if he beat Kevin on our last installment of "Over/Under Kevin" (spoiler alert, of course he did).

So take a load off and kick back as we help you unwind and make sense of this crazy week in BJJ and MMA.  And don't forget to follow us on our social media stuff as well.

Facebook: /VerbalTapCast

Twitter: @VerbalTapCast

Instagram: @VerbalTapCast

Vine: @VerbalTapCast

Oh yeah, one more thing.  We've got our new Around the Mat episodes coming out (we filmed one episode per Metamoris 4 match).  Check our our first installment right here!


VERBAL TAP (Episode 86) with Karl Penn


VERBAL TAP (Episode 86) with Karl Penn

[buzzsprout episode='198059' player='true'] Raf's Recollection | Jiu JIdiots and UsKarl Penn is our kind of idiot.

Well, jiu-jidiot to be precise.

In a short amount of time, Karl has made a name for himself as the guy behind some of the funniest jiu-jitsu memes hitting the net.

We've had the pleasure of getting name checked in a couple of his memes as of recently (including the one to the right-hand side here, pronouncing his appearance on this week's show), so we wanted to return the favor by having him on the show.

If you haven't seen some of his work, allow us to share a few of our favorites:

Example 4example 3Example 2And my current favorite...

Example 1On this week's episode, we find a little bit about Karl's jiu-jitsu evolution, what he did before BJJ, and even get him to explain a few of his most recent status updates.

We love supporting folks like Karl who help put a smile on our face in this crazy world of BJJ.  For a sport that can sometimes take itself a little too seriously, we love having an ally like Karl Penn who gets that a simple meme can help us make sense of the more ridiculous aspects of BJJ.

Be sure to follow Karl and his facebook page, Jiu Jidiots, and tell 'em your friends at Verbal Tap sent ya.

Where'd I Train This Week?


I made a stop over to train with the guys over at The Warrior's Club this week.

As some of you may recall, our pal Jim Lawson publicly put me on blast on last week's podcast and told me a beating was in in the foreseeable future.

He was certainly right.

A beating did happen, just not at my expense.  As the picture on the right demonstrates, Jim may have pushed this white belt a little too far.

That aside, Jim teaches a really cool class, helping me lay a strong foundation for my footlock game (don't worry, I can't do any of it remotely well, so you're all safe for the time being).

What I appreciate was that as I struggled to grasp the proper grips and technique, Jim really made an effort to make sure I understood the concepts (even going as far as to blame himself for me not getting the techniques right).  I assured him it's my general stupidity (or jiu-jitsu dyslexia I've diagnosed myself with that renders me incapable of even the simplest of BJJ moves), but I sincerely appreciated his efforts to go above and beyond helping me better understand the techniques of the day.

Those are the kinds of instructors you want in your corner, the people who make it their mission to make you better (and feel like they're letting you down if you don't quite get it).  I can assure Jim that his help is greatly appreciated and will one day pay off.

Great rolls and fun times.  I look forward to giving Jim his well-deserved rematch any time he likes, but let this be a lesson to all: it's not polite to call out your podcast host.

They might get angry.

You wouldn't like me when I'm angry.

... or hungry.  Now that I think about it, that's probably worse: hangry.

Nonetheless, my thanks to all the good people at The Warrior's Club and I look forward to getting beat up by you all again sometime soon.

Oh and BTW

If you haven't watched it yet, please go check out the first technique video from your pals here at Verbal Tap.  That's right.  Our pal Travis Conley identifies a problem in my current game.  Please feel free to like and share, and let us know if you want to see more of these in the future!

Let us know what you thought about this week's episode on our social media:

Facebook: /VerbalTapCast

Twitter: @VerbalTapCast

Instagram: @VerbalTapCast

Vine: @VerbalTapCast

Until next time, folks!


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VERBAL TAP (Episode 81) with Cody Bollinger

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Raf's Recollection |"If anybody else would have called me and asked me to do an interview tonight I woulda told them to go fuck themselves."

Kind words from our pal Cody Bollinger who returns to guest on the podcast this week.

You don't get much better than that folks.

It's been a crazy past couple of weeks here at the podcast: We've had over a dozen of the people who have dropped in as guests fight on cards all throughout the world of MMA.  We're happy to say a number of our friends walked away with major victories.

One of those victories happened to come from Cody Bollinger who won with a truly sick rear naked choke a couple weekends ago at the World Series of Fighting 11.

Cody Bollinger 2Naturally we wanted to hear all about the technique, the drama building up to the fight, the aftermath.  All that good stuff.

We also wanted to hear straight from the horses' mouth why he missed weight and if the rumors of him going up to fight at 145 were true (he answers plainly and honestly).

But what we didn't expect was to hear is what he's been up to in his spare time.

No seriously, it's amazing.  And we're stoked Cody chose our podcast to share it with.

Be sure to listen in to his segment of the podcast and follow him over on his Twitter and his Instagram.  Let him know what you think of his appearance on our show!

I've Been Everywhere

Last week was a busy one.  I hit up three different gyms and was stoked I finally got to train with some of our friends here at the podcast (including our buddies Jaime Gonzalves from BJJ Rants and Brandon Mccaghren). 

I talk about what it was like to visit at Higher Ground Jiu-JItsu in Rowland Heights, 10th Planet Headquarters (TapOut Gym, LA) under Eddie Bravo, and Cobrinha's in Hollywood.

I've been pretty fortunate the past few weeks to get to train with a series of folks who have given me some great tips.  All of these gyms have been really kind and friendly, and it's been a blast to even chat with some of the folks at these gyms who are fans of our show (it's insane)!

As the summer winds down to a close, I'm open to the suggestions any of you might have for me to drop in here in Southern California.

Thank of it as a free way to beat me up.

So have at, suggest away folks.

But for now, please enjoy this funny (/silly) video I shot with our pals over at Higher Ground Jiu Jitsu.

Later on for now, folks.

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VERBAL TAP (Episode 79) with Eric Jackman

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Raf's Recollection | I want everyone to look at the photo of Eric Jackman over on the right hand side of this page.

What look do you see?

Do you see the look of a stone cold killer, here to bring an end to the one win streak of Kevin's Over/Under Kevin miracle win?  Or do you see a deer-in-the-headlights realizing he's in way over his head?

Aside from being a phenomenal rorschach test, our pal Eric provides a true challenge to Kevin.  As the main prediction guy over at the MMA Hour, the guy knows a thing or two about being accountable when it comes to picking who will win or lose a fight.

Which is why it only made sense to bring him on our podcast to basically crush Kevin's dreams.

But the question is: does Eric go straight for the kill or does he let Kevin think he actually has a chance?

Only time will tell.

We outline the prospects for not only this weekend's huge UFC 175 card, but we also take a look at this weekend's mercy-killing finale to the "season of boring" Ultimate Fighter.

Speaking of, we've got not just one, but TWO "1 Minute Reviews" of the past two episodes of The Ultimate Fighter to bring you up to speed on a show you probably haven't been watching.

So quick, come get your fix of my BJ Penn impression before Dana White likely makes him try to retire this Sunday night!

Until then fight fans!



VERBAL TAP (Episode 72) with Kit Dale

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kit dale

Raf's Recollection | When we heard that Kit Dale was going to start a podcast, we wasted no time in bringing him on our show to ask him directly why he hates us so much.

Because, as someone who wins the BJJ internet on a regular basis, he has absolutely no reason to make the rest of us look so bad in podcast form as well (I know, dick move, right?).

Nonetheless, despite our plead for him to do otherwise, it looks like we will soon be privy to a podcast by the man the the undisputed best beard in jiu-jitsu.

On our show this week, Kit gives us a rough outline of what we can expect on his own show and assures us there is plenty of room for people who tell dumb jokes in the sport (we'll see about that).

We also chat a little bit about what exactly went down at Pans (ya know, that time where he was in the states to compete but "forgot to register"), we give him time explain what hell his thing is against drilling, and allow him the opportunity to address his internet beef with #HeSoHotRightNow, Keenan Cornelius (if you ask me, their internet beef takes me back to the days of the East Coast/West Coast rap wars... ya know, just minus the massive drive by shootings and whatnot).

Screen Shot 2014-05-15 at 1.15.44 AMAdditionally, Kit Dale talks about his new school, how his silly videos come together, and he tries to convince us that he's trying to pave a new way for the lazy jiu-jitsu practitioner (again, not buying it, if you listen to him, you'll find he's not that lazy).

What I've always liked about Kit is this: When you're around comics or people who are funny on a regular basis, you find they don't tend to laugh at other comedians' jokes.  Be it insecurity or competitiveness, there's often a game of one-up's-manship that prevents some funny people from laughing at other people's stuff.  When you're around Kit, not only does he know how to tell a mean joke, but he's also the first to laugh at someone else's.  You see it on the internet when he interacts with people on threads (or even when he heartily laughs at whatever photoshopped creations his fans have left at his virtual doorstep), the guy's got a great sense of humor and has contributed some much needed comic relief to the jiu-jitsu community.

And, as advertised, what you see is what you get: Kit's more than happy to talk nonsense, but he's also not afraid to get serious when it comes to talking about jiu-jitsu.  Hearing a long-form explanation of his take on drilling and hearing what a class of his feels like sounds like a cool alternative.  I, for one, would definitely be interested to take one of his classes just to see what it's like in action.

So yeah, we'd love to get your feedback on this episode, gang.  And be sure to let us know what you think of the enigma that is Kit Dale.

But Wait, There's More

On this episode, we've also got another installment of our One Minute Review of The Ultimate Fighter.  AND we did something we've never done before.

ZacAs a means of celebrating our 200th Facebook like, we invited "Mr. 200" himself, our pal Zac Calhoun, to have 200 seconds of uninterrupted airtime.

That's right, thems the kinds of perks we offer to our major milestones, kids.  And we think we might be doing it again.

So be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, and Instagram (@VerbalTapCast, for all of them) for your chance to get some airtime on our show.

And what did Mr. Calhoun use his 200 seconds to speak about?  Well, I don't want to give anything away, but the photo above might be a good hint.

All we got for now.  Smoke 'em, if you got 'em, folks.


VERBAL TAP (Episode 70) with James Koh and Brandon McCaghren


VERBAL TAP (Episode 70) with James Koh and Brandon McCaghren

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Raf's Recollection | A day after appearing on our podcast and hearing the show, Brandon McCaghren, sent me a text saying, "don't ever try to sing my song ever again."

Brandon 2.jpg

I can't even begin to tell you how many times I've laughed at that text this evening.

The song Brandon claims we butchered is new hit single, "I Dominated Eddie (The Gracie Filter)"--a gripping acoustic ode to the epic Metamoris 3 match between Royler Gracie and Eddie Bravo.  It's a playful tribute to the epic match that took place at Metamoris, as well as some choice words said after the event.  Most impressively, the breezy vocals and relaxed vibe could easily slip their way into a Jack Johnson discography.

Fans of our show, however, know from time to time Kev and I like to occasionally leave an Easter egg to close out the podcast.  On this go round, we thought it might be fun to try and harmonize Brandon's single over Skype (which is surprisingly hard to do).  It left such an impression, Brandon felt the need to channel his inner GSP and let us know he was not impressed with the caliber of our voices.

And he's right, there is no way we could ever do his song justice.  I mean, just listen to it (and pay special close attention to the bridge).

Brandon 1.jpgThe man has some serious pipes.  Which is why we were stoked when he agreed to come on the podcast.

In addition to getting some great insight behind the song and the accompanying video that was produced for him, we talk a little bit with Brandon about his experience getting into jiu-jitsu, what Eddie Bravo thinks of the song, and talk about his great 10th Planet affiliate he has out in Decatur, AL.

Give his page a look and like and if you make it to the Alabama area, be sure to visit his gym.

Just don't sing the song to him as bad as we did :-)

Over/Under Kevin: UFC 172: Judgement Day

James D. Koh returns to the podcast to find out who last week's installment of Over/Under Kevin.  And while I don't want to give anything away, the following photo might give you an idea of how the end result turned out.

Kevin's Twitter Front Page


It was pretty rough.

But James sticks around to help us recap all the fights that took place at UFC 172 and then Kev and I discuss some of the #TakeAways from last Saturday night's #UFC card.

What's That? You miss the One Minute Review?

A new season of The Ultimate Fighter means it's time for the return of the 1 Minute Review.  Yes, we hear you loud and clear folks.  And boy do I have some impressions in store for you this season.

Let us know what you think of the review on Twitter (@VerbalTapCast) this week and immediately start following us on our new social media.  That's right, bitches, we're on Instagram and Vine now.  So feel free to follow along all of our hijinks.

Until next time, fight fans.