Thursday, May 28, 2015

Bloody Elbow's 2015 Mundial Preview

Check out Bloody Elbow's preview of the 2015 IBJJF World Jiu Jitsu Championships or "Mundial" featuring Bloody Elbow grappling editor, Roy Billington and no-gi world champion and ADCC veteran, Tom DeBlass.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Eddie Bravo Invitational: EBI3

The future of "sport" jiu-jitsu (if we're lucky!)

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

King Conor: Freeing the Body

I've been loving The Notorious series spotlighting the rise of Irish featherweight mixed martial artist, Conor McGregor. I can't wait for his upcoming match against champion, Jose Aldo from Brazil. 

I especially appreciated his remarks on the body and movement in episode five. As much as cynicism bores me, I'll admit that I was surprised at how Rickson-esque and Ginastica Natural-like some of his movements and comments were - so much so that I couldn't help but share my rough transcription of them here. 
"You're almost going to trick the mind to do stuff that it's not used to. 
What's happening there is that the brain is working more than the body - your brain is outworking the body, there's no stopping you. 
People work the body over than the brain. And that's where the skill level stagnates or it declines. 
In the fight there is no pattern. It's just a blank canvas. You go out and just let the instinct take over. Let it just click. 
Prizefighting is short. Get in, get rich, get out. But martial arts is a way of life. It's for life. 
It's about movement. It's not about resistance. You should be going in there fluid. I feel like I'm understanding this game a lot more. It's not about coming in and getting the rounds in like it was.  
It's a 24/7 process to free the body. That's what I'm ultimately trying to do. I'm trying to become free. I'm trying to open up my body in all ways. 
I have a routine. I wake up. I drink water. I stretch. I shake it out. 
That's me beginning to free my body again after whatever amount of time I've been asleep. 
People just usually jump up get out of bed straightway, go and brush their teeth, eat their fill, rush to whatever they have to go, do what they have to do and their body is just locking up, getting tighter and tighter and tighter until it just locks or cracks. 
I don't see it as showing up and doing jiu-jitsu, showing up and doing boxing, showing up and doing Tae Kwon Do. I just see it as moving. Waking up. Freeing the body. Becoming more loose. And moving."

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Metrics: May 17-23

Training Days: Tue / Thu

Four Week training average: 2.00

Techniques of the Week
GB Curriculum Week 4

Strength &Conditioning
Tabata - Tue
Tabata - Thu
Tabata - Sat

163.6 lbs - Tue
162.4 lbs - Thu

Live Training
20 min / Specific Training

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Metrics: May 10-16

Training Days: Thu  / Sat

Four Week training average: 1.75

Techniques of the Week
GB Curriculum Week 3

Pullups / Pulldowns / DB rows - Sun
Berardi 3 sets / 15 lbs - Tue

LSD - 2 mi - Sun

156.2 - Thu

Live Training
20 min / 2 sessions

Saturday, May 09, 2015

Metrics: May 3 - 9

Training Days: Tue / Thu 

Four Week training average: 2.0

Techniques of the Week
GB Curriculum Week 2

shoulder shocker - Thu

LSD - 2 mi - Thu

165.2 lbs. (Tue pm)
162.2 lbs. (Thu pm)

Live Training
15 min / 2 sessions

Friday, May 08, 2015

The Six Things You Need to Compete in Your First (and Last) Jiu-Jitsu Tournament

I was talking with a white belt after class the other evening. He had only been training for a few weeks, was curious about competing, and wanted to know what I thought.

As someone who competed in his first jiu-jitsu tournament less than a month after his first jiu-jitsu class, I was more than happy to help.

Below is a summary of what I shared:

The Six Things You Need to Compete in Your First (and Last) Jiu-Jitsu Tournament

1. A way to get the fight to the ground
2. A way to reverse from the guard
3. A way to pass the guard
4. A way to get to your dominant position
5. A way to finish from your dominant position
6. A way to recover your guard if you lose it

That's it. It is very easy to overthink things. But if you boil down any sport into its essentials, you'll find a breakdown that's comparable.

What makes the sport beautiful are the near-infinite variations on these goals that individual competitors pursue. But make no mistake: these are the goals, and if you have a sound, practiced way to achieve them, you'll be surprised at how successful you are when the referee shouts, "Combate!"

Wednesday, May 06, 2015

Saturday, April 04, 2015

Metrics: March 30 - April 4

Training Days: Tue / Thu / Sat

Four Week training average: 1.50

Techniques of the Week
GB Curriculum Week 13

squat press deadlift - Mon
squat bench row - Wed

post-train HICT (50 tech lifts) - Tue
post-train HITC (50 timed tech lifts) - Thu

168.6 lbs. (Tue pm)
163.4 lbs. (Sat noon)

Live Training
36 minutes / 6 sessions

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Eddie Bravo Invitational 3: Tonon Wins 2nd WW Belt

Great coverage of the Eddie Bravo Invitational 3 this afternoon and evening.

Eddie Bravo Invitational 3 Results: Garry Tonon Repeats as Welterweight Champion
Garry Tonon of Ocean County Jiu Jitsu repeated as Welterweight champ with an overtime submission win of Josh Hinger. Tonon is one of the young rising American stars who has made a name for himself at ADCCs, Metamoris, and the EBIs. Hinger is a veteran, high level  Atos black belt who employed more of an old school pressure game to breakdown his opponents. He was able to force Tonon to his back and stop much of Tonon's famed leg lock attack and force the overtime. In the first period of the overtime Tonon really took his time escaping from Hinger's back control and then in the bottom half of the period Tonon put the squeeze on a rear naked choke and forced the tap despite Hinger having his hand in and chin tucked.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

BJJ: Joint Taping: Turf Toe

Saturday, March 14, 2015

Rickson Gracie "on" dos Anjos v. Pettis

"The fundamentals of self-defense present in Jiu-Jitsu give you a clear notion of how to deal with your foe's specialty. I'm no great boxer, but I have a deep knowledge of how to clinch, how to avoid the right distance for punches. I'm no great kicker, either, but I know what a guy needs to kick me. Strikers must have a certain gentlemen's agreement to stay in that distance, for otherwise the referee stops the bout. That's evident, so my specialty is precisely not to give a striker whatever it is they need to strike me."
--Rickson Gracie, Rickson's Way, January 2006

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Metrics: February 15 - 21

Training Days: two
Four Week training average: 1 2/3

Techniques of the Week
GB Curriculum Week Seven

SPD (strength) - Wed
SBR (strength) - Fri

LSD (conditioning) - Sat

168.0 lbs. (Tue pm)
166.0 lbs. (Thu pm)

Live Training
0 minutes / 0 sessions

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Shinya Aoki v. Jung Bu-Kyung

Sunday, February 01, 2015

Metrics: January 25 - 31

Training Days: three
Four Week training average: 2.5

Techniques of the Week
GB Curriculum Week Four

SPD (Squat Press Deadlift 5x5) Wed
SBR (Squat Bench Row 5x5) Fri
post-train HICT (100 hipscapes ) Sat

169.0 lbs. (Tue pm)
165.8 lbs. (Sat noon)

Live Training
21 minutes / 3 sessions

Friday, January 30, 2015

"I Wanna Be Your Superhero"

Thinking about a theory that suggests football players see themselves as either "destroyers" (think Marshawn Lynch) or "thrillers" (think Richard Sherman). I had a conversation with a non-BJJ martial artist last year that went along similar lines. He suggested that most people who did martial arts either thought of themselves as "superheroes" (i.e., potential defenders of the weak) or "warriors" (i.e., potential challenge-seekers). Obviously the categories aren't mutually exclusive, but I still think it is interesting to think about. Do you love teaching white belts? Do you prefer training with and competing against the toughest guys and gals around? This may help explain why.

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Metrics: January 4 - 10

Training Days: three
Four Week training average: 1.25

Techniques of the Week
GB Curriculum Week One

Box Step / Power Clean / Arnold Press circuit, 20 / 5 / 5 for 10 sets - Sun am, Sat am

168.2 lbs. (Mon pm)
164.2 lbs. (Thu pm)

Live Training
0 minutes / 0 sessions*

* 12 minutes specific training / one session

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Jiu-Jitsu Circuit Training

Takedown Specific Training - 2 minutes

Reverse from Guard Specific Training - 2 minutes

Pass Guard Specific Training - 2 minutes

Rest - 2 minutes

Repeat twice

Monday, January 05, 2015

"To Give the Weak Ones a Chance"

"The Jiu-Jitsu that I created was designed to give the weak ones a chance to face the heavy and strong."
Helio Gracie

A l w a y s.  T r a i n.  M o n d a y s.

Sunday, January 04, 2015

Rule #1: Cardio

"Zombies Lead A Very Active Lifestyle ...

So Should You."

Friday, January 02, 2015

Joe Rogan's Reasons for Extreme Fitness Over 40

There’s a big difference between how I respond to situations in life when I’ve been working out hard on a regular basis and not. If I get out of jiu-jitsu class after a really hard roll and a boulder landed on my car, I’d be bummed out, but my reaction would be so different than if I was on my way to class all tense and angry cause I haven’t had a chance to work out for a few weeks, and a boulder landed on my car. Then I would be like, ‘What the f—!?’ The perspective changes depending on the stress level.
Read the whole interview with Steph Daniels.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Know When to Hold 'Em

Danielle Martin, Gracie Barra Black Belt

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Know When to Fold 'Em

Indefinitely suspending "MMA Submission Hero of the Week" in favor of supporting this excellent effort for the foreseeable future.

Friday, December 26, 2014

Resistance 12.26.14

DB squats

DB deadlifts

DB seated overhead press

DB upright row

Calf-raises (machine)

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Resistance 12.24.14

Pull-ups / Dips

Incline DB bench

DB one-arm row

Low to high cable pull

Incline Bench (machine)

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Metrics: December 14 - 20

Training Days: 3
Four Week training average: 1.75

Techniques of the Week
Counter to Thai plum / Armbar from mount / Keylock from mount / Double leg to ankle pick / Spinning armbar from knee on belly / Rollout escape from armbar

Tech Lift / Push-Row circuit (Thu)

166.8 (Mon noon)
approx. 160.0 (Sat am - no gi)

Live Training
26 minutes / 3 sessions

Keep: Santana pass, UBS/LBS, tracking metrics
Start: Instep guard v. standing passes, 3x/week conditioning
Stop: Staying up past 11pm on weeknights

Sunday, December 14, 2014

MMA Submission Hero of the Week: Rousimar Palhares

Rousimar Palhares (leglock v. Jon Fitch) - World Series of Fighting 16

Stop me if you've heard this one before.

Guy squares off against Rousimar Palhares. Fight goes to ground. Palhares grabs opponent's leg. Squeeze. Pain. Tap.

While scientists and fight fans have uncovered one individual able to withstand the relentless and often punishing leg lock attack of Rousimar Palhares, the rest of humanity would be well-advised to keep combat contests with the limb-snapper affectionately known as "Paul Harris" on the feet.

Jordan Breen once made a great point that for all the talk of "well-roundedness" in mixed martial arts, there is and may always be something special if not vital about successful fighters with only a sole path to victory. And while there will always be killshot artists like Chuck Liddell, you've really got to hand it to a fighter whose single path to victory is a submission.

Palhares is just that kind of guy. And even if his submission-uber-alles approach proves not be enough to make him more than the champion of a second-tier mixed martial arts organization, it's hardly a bad way to spend a career kicking ass.

Rousimar can be a hard guy to love - even for those of us in the "take few prisoners" school of jiu-jitsu in MMA. He has been criticized for holding submission holds - particularly heel hooks - "too long" and subjecting his opponents to greater than necessary injury. And as someone who has seen Rousimar grapple in training, I would love to see more of his submission arsenal (why not add a few arms to his growing collection of legs?).

One interesting MMA Submission Hero of the Week trivia note. Last week, two our of our top three submission heroes were heroines. This week, two of the top three submission heroes got it done with leglocks. In fact, compared to last week, the diversity among submissions was impressive with chokes, armbars, and leglocks each earning equally effective fight-ending applications.


Runner's Up
Ian Entwistle (leglock v. Anthony Birchak) - UFC on Fox 13
John Moraga (choke v. Willie Gates) - UFC on Fox 13

Honorable Mention
Yancy Medieros (choke v. Joe Proctor) - TUF 20 Finale
Felice Herrig (armbar v. Lisa Ellis) - TUF 20 Finale
Aisling Daly (armbar v. Alex Chambers) - TUF 20 Finale
Drew Dober (choke v. Jamie Varner) - UFC of Fox 13


What is an MMA Submission Hero?
Death to the death of jiu-jitsu in mixed martial arts! There are guys and gals getting it done with chokes, armbars, leglocks and more every weekend in the cage! 

MMA Submission Hero of the Week recognizes the men and women who finish fights "the gentle way." Each week we'll highlight MMA's best stranglers, arm collectors, and leg snappers, be they well-known jiu-jitsu superstars or a small-show strikers with a knack for pulling off the occasional submission surprise.

Check the sidecontrol blog every Sunday after a weekend of MMA action and see just who is this week's MMA Submission Hero of the Week!

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Metrics: December 7 - December13

Training Days: 0
Four Week training average: 1.5

Techniques of the Week

Box Step/Upright Rows/Overhead Press circuit: Saturday
"Shoulder Shocker": Saturday

Begin: N.A.
End: N.A.

Live Training


  • Keep: Track of the metrics - woeful as they may be sometimes
  • Start: Training at least twice a week when I'm in town
  • Stop: Not training at least twice a week when I'm in town

Tuesday, December 09, 2014

As Jiu-Jitsu Evolves, When is Difference Different?

Brazilian jiu jitsu is evolving but evolving into what? Anyone who has trained in multiple jiu jitsu schools will notice the differences in philosophy and technical emphasis that exist between academies. Certainly, there is a common body of techniques and transitions that they all share; but what they emphasize is so different, so as to call into question whether the term “Brazilian jiu jitsu” will continue to be adequate in describing them all.
Either Brazilian jiu jitsu will reproduce new styles of martial art or it will continue to exist as a single combat sport, with disparate competition rule sets, the way Wrestling does. With the current state of jiu jitsu variety, simply saying one has a black belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu isn’t as descriptive as it was in the early 90’s.

I'll admit to being somewhere between the first and second schools, myself. I've never been especially preoccupied by having the best jiu-jitsu in a room full of guys and gals who know jiu-jitsu. For me, jiu-jitsu is a shield against the world outside the academy, a self-defense resource first and foremost, a response to the great philosophical question: "What if he tries to punch you in the face?"

Everything else, as enjoyable as it is, (and it is) is secondary.

That said, I'm especially curious about what drives people to want to learn to train jiu-jitsu now. What is motivating the folks signing up to learn jiu-jitsu today - or, even better, the ones who will sign up in 2015?  Self-defense? A dream of being an IBJJF champion or MMA star? My suspicion is that it will be the same thing that's always drawn a certain percentage of the population toward martial arts, something that's a little superhero, a little warrior, and more than a little spiritual, as well.

More on that last later. 

Sunday, December 07, 2014

MMA Submission Hero of the Week: Herica Tiburcio

Herica Tiburcio (choke v. Michelle Waterson) - Invicta FC10

There will be some who wonder how submitting one of the top lightweights in the world - which is what UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis did last night in his victory by choke over Gilbert Melendez - does not earn you the title of MMA Submission Hero of the Week.

It's a fair point. For all the talk of guys like Eddie Alvarez, Gilbert Melendez was the great white whale of the UFC's lightweight division. For years, if there was one lightweight competing outside of the Ultimate Fighting Championship who could claim to be better than the dudes in his division inside the Ultimate Fighting Championship, that lightweight was Gilbert Melendez.

So for Anthony Pettis to return to the cage and make the first defense of his title a victory by submission over such an opponent, it is not hard at all to see Mr. Showtime as a Submission Hero of the Highest Order.

And he is.

But if there is one thing more dramatic than defending the belt by submission, it is taking the belt from the champ by submission (ask Benson Henderson, who lost his title to an Anthony Pettis armbar a little over a year ago). And I think we can also agree that it is even more impressive if that submission victory and belt-changing comes at the hand of a substantial underdog.

That's the spirit that has me giving the nod to Invicta's new Atomweight Champion, Herica Tiburcio. Tiburcio dominated former champ Michelle Waterson en route to a finish by choke in round three.

The fighter from Minas Gerais was a +600 underdog coming into the fight against a champion on a six fight win streak with five finishes. Tiburcio controlled much of the contest, putting Waterson on the defensive with strikes, including one that left a large, vision-impeding mouse under the champion's left eye.

The submission victory is Tiburcio's seventh out of eleven pro fights, and her third victory by guillotine.

To say that this shakes up the Atomweight division is an understatement. And while there will likely be many clamoring for a rematch between Tiburcio and the "Karate Hottie", there are other Atomweights, such as Jinh Yu Frey, who should be in the conversation, as well. Frey won her contest at Invicta FC 10, defeating winless Cassie Robb by choke.


Runner's Up
Anthony Pettis (choke v. Gilbert Melendez) - UFC 181
Racquel Pennington (choke v. Ashlee Evans-Smith) - UFC 181

Honorable Mentions
Bibiano Fernandes (choke v, Dae Hwan Kim) - One FC 23
Tony Ferguson (choke v. Abel Trujillo) - UFC 181
Borys Mankowski (choke v. David Zawada) - KSW 29
Jinh Yu Frey (choke v. Cassie Robb) - Invicta FC 10
Tonya Evinger (armbar v. Cindy Dandois) - Invicta FC 10
Urijah Faber (choke v. Francisco Rivera) - UFC 181


What is an MMA Submission Hero?
Death to the death of jiu-jitsu in mixed martial arts! There are guys and gals getting it done with chokes, armbars, leglocks and more every weekend in the cage! 

MMA Submission Hero of the Week recognizes the men and women who finish fights "the gentle way." Each week we'll highlight MMA's best stranglers, arm collectors, and leg snappers, be they well-known jiu-jitsu superstars or a small-show strikers with a knack for pulling off the occasional submission surprise.

Check the sidecontrol blog every Sunday after a weekend of MMA action and see just who is this week's MMA Submission Hero of the Week!