Friday, April 29, 2011

Friday Night Fights: Carlos Gracie Jr. and Marcio Feitosa

Training Day: Friday

Guard passing heaven at Gracie Barra Seattle.

Today's installment with Prof. Carlos continued on the theme of open guard passes, starting with standing inside control and using the "guard split" (one leg up, one leg on the mat) to set up passing opportunities. There were variations for with and without double sleeve control.

For shorthand - and to remember them better - they were The Fold, The Hug, The Sitout and The Backflip. The one pass that seemed the most complicated and hard to do, The Sitout, is actually turning into one of my favorites of the group - especially on my good side.

I especially like one thing both Profs Rodrigo and Carlos are doing with very specific sparring. Forcing us to work specifically on the guard passes that we have just learned really helps in grain them more - and keep specific training from devolving into just another opportunity to train what you already know. I know I've had that tendency far too oftem and this added bit of structure is a lot of help.

162.4 on the scale post-train. I didn't get a chance to spar, which probably would have knocked off another pound to keep me under weight. With any luck, I'll more than make up for it tomorrow.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Guard Passing Drills

There have always been days when I've felt like the orixas of jiu jitsu were looking out for me. Catching this video this evening - and being reminded of these great drills I can add to my skills conditioning - is just another example of that as far as I'm concerned.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Training Day: Wednesday

Another great session this week. It's still all about the guard passes, which is great as far as I'm concerned, tonight working against the spider guard (another version of Rodrigo's folding pass v.s. the DLR and a pass I call the Jack Pass) as well as a refresher on the Fowler pass from Monday.

As I've said, I love the fact that I'm getting to spend so much focused time on guard passing. So much of jiu jitsu is about developing sensibilities, and there's no better way to develop sensibilities than do repetitions, drill, over and over again. There are a lot of other considerations, I suppose. You don't want "bore" anyone. But the fact of the matter is that there's really only one way to get better, and training lately has been especially geared toward that very purpose.

The armbars from mount/armbar escape to side control was a nice late drill, and then to finish up with something fast paced like the arm drag drill - just a perfect class.

Live training was about 30+ minutes with Danny, Lance (2x) and a purple belt from Bellevue, Darrin. Great challenges all - and different looks. My game wasn't flowing as automatically as I'd like, even from half guard. But there were some good moments, including my first ever Glover #2 deep half pass to the back (I didn't get the back-take, but it was the first time I'd ever really gone after that move in live training), that are worth carrying forward.

One thing I've noticed rolling with black belts over the past week (Profs. Rodrigo and Carlos, Casey and Lance) is that I end up pulling out of my gi all sorts of techniques that I never use otherwise, but have been desperate to integrate into my game. That deep half move is one example. The single X is another. And even though I'm rarely successful, the fact that these moves come rocketing out of my subconscious when I'm under the stress of a black belt trying to pass my guard.

Most of the time I just get passed. But every now and then, something I'm not expecting happens and it's the second or the third attempt at the pass that works instead of the first. And sometimes defending until the second or third pass is accomplishment enough.

161.2 on the scale, post-train. Steady as we go. Off the mat tomorrow. Back on Friday and Saturday if I'm lucky.

Rafa Mendes = Kobe Bryant?

Posted a link to this on my Facebook page (what?!), but I wanted to make sure anyone who is visiting the blog gets a chance to check it out.

Rafael Mendes: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb
Those of you who do a bare minimum of online research on Rafael Mendes will discover that at the age of 19, he became a World Pro champion and won perhaps the most prestigious title in submission grappling, the ADCC. Those of you who do some more digging, watch videos and talk to Brazilian jiu-jitsu aficionados near you will discover that a surprising number of people dislike him. They really dislike him. Talk of "ruining jiu-jitsu" and the name "Cobrinha" will probably feature heavily in their commentary. That dislike should no longer matter and here's why.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Get In Your Game

"Instead of creating new moves to deal with exotic situations, use your already known familiar techniques that are part of your game."

--Marcelo Garcia

Monday, April 25, 2011

Training Day: Monday

A nice session all around. Even though it was a combined "Fundamentals/Advanced" class in the first hour due to some illnesses among the other instructors, I have to admit that there was something in the mix that was almost perfect.

A little self-defense, then a pair of guard passes (double unders and a pass I've called the Fowler), then a little time to train them semi-live. Given my focus right now, this was a great way to start the week.

There were a lot of things that I wanted to do that I did tonight. The best in a long time in that regard. I got to work the backstep pass against the half guard, the Marcelo pass series from standing (#1 and #2, but no #3), even a little bit of the Fowler in one instance. For some reason, I go totally dyslexic when it comes to the basic grab the sleeve 'n' stand guard open and pass, and never get the foot forward and grip side coordinated right. But tonight was a very good, "first night" kind of training session. The trick will be following up over the balance of the week (and weeks, and months).

To that end, I am overjoyed that GB Seattle is having a special training this Saturday with folks from Lake Stevens and a local MMA school bringing guys over. The interschool is a chance for those who want to get in some tournament-type atmospheres ahead of the May Revolution. But it looks like the real opportunity for some top quality training is going to be on South Hanford this Saturday morning and early afternoon and I couldn't be looking forward to it more.

Training with Prof. Rodrigo and Casey, the goal is movement. Nothing is more important. I agree with Pete Roberts in that fun post from BJJ Weekly that "movement" is the real final frontier as far as jiu jitsu is concerned. At the advanced level, maybe at the "black belt" level, that's the key to everything else that follows.

I remember Lance telling me about something that Prof. Christiano told him, the idea of not stopping until you are in an advantageous position. It sounds simple, even obvious. But the practical implications in everything from attitudes toward conditioning to tactics and strategy are immense. And when you combine that with something very insightful Ryan Hall said about Marcelo Garcia, you have a jiu jitsu that becomes increasingly coherent, or at least potentially so.

Great encouragement during the advanced session late in Live Training. I think I was in the 160 bpm range by the time I was done (I know for sure I was clocking between 148 and 152 after my first round). But it was really nice to get to train with two exceptional black belts. And if I can keep at it, I'm more and more convinced that I'll be glad that I did.

162.1 on the scale, post-train. Not bad at all one month out, especially for a Monday.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

4 Weeks Out

With a month to go before the May Revolution, now's the time to hammer into place what's going to be my gameplan, and to hammer out of place any weaknesses that I can forsee that might get in my way.

Interestingly, all three of my training sessions the last time I was on the mat (Wednesday, ugh!) played a role in defining each of the three critical areas I need to address.

Sauleh: Here there were two things that stood out. First, and practically speaking, I'm still without a coherent approach to attacking the full guard, and am too hesitant when it comes to attacking the half guard with the passes I know well.

There's a lot embedded in the first point. But the bottom line is that I need to embrace toreano passing 100% as the foundation of my dealing with the full/open guard. Toreano passing is tournament tested at the highest levels and will help me deal with the most problematic part of guard passing for me: the legs.

The hesitancy issue is the hesitancy issue. That's just a matter of smashing through ego and inhibition and just getting to it. That and a little focus to train specifically what I need to train when the opportunity comes up.

The second thing training with Sauleh was just a matter of intensity. It is easy to get into a lazy rhythm of training - even when the technical edge is not large. But this is the road to a slow and lazy jiu jitsu and sooner or later, someone will come along and expose it. Better now then four weeks down the line.

Glenn: I've long known that I have a great half guard on one side, and a virtually non-existent half guard on the other. I've also not done anything to fix that problem. And when someone has done a good job of putting or keeping me on my worse side, then they've pretty much got the drop on me.

I don't need to be as good in southpaw half as I am in orthodox half. But I need a nice trio of interrelated moves that work for me when I do wind up in southpaw half guard - whether they are the same as on the orthodox side or not.

Prof. Carlos: The big lesson here was having an objective with the guard. Prof. Carlos has the fastest attack of anyone I train with, in large part because he is one of the few higher belts who will challenge your guard from standing.

It was an education to see elements of real jiu jitsu emerge from time to time, moves like the single X that I've never really trained, in the midst of my scrambling to try and avoid the inevitable pass. And it served as a reminder that there is more jiu jitsu locked up in my superego than there is being demonstrated on the mat at any given time.

That said, as the saying goes, "have a point." I've been migrating from the half guard over the past few weeks, feeling a little limited in its ability to attack relative to a more open sitting guard a la Marcelo Garcia. There will always be a little half in my world. But I think a key to getting where I want to be in terms of having a truly effective jiu jitsu from bottom to top lies somewhere other than the half guard that's gotten me from blue belt to where I'm at these days.

Interschool Tournament This Saturday

Friday, April 22, 2011

Friday Night Fights: Yu Shu Lien v. Jen Yu

"The Secret in Jiu Jitsu is Movement"

"That's one of the last secrets in jiu jitsu is movement. There's a lot of stuff out there, but I feel like personally it's still kind of a secret."
--Pete Roberts, BJJ Weekly, Ethos BJJ.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

More from Michael Langhi

I don’t hide, and I compete everywhere I can. I’d rather lose than not fight. The sting of defeat is something I can live with, but the shame of not fighting and being afraid. . .

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Langhi on Losing

GracieMag talks with Michael Langhi after the World Pro, where he suffered his first loss in almost three years.

How did it feel to lose?

I was of course saddened by it. I hadn’t lost in practically three years and was pretty bummed. But it comes with the sport, it’s something everyone is subject to. Two go in, and one leaves the loser. Unfortunately, I was the loser this time.
Read the rest here.

Training Day: Wednesday

Decided to give the early session a shot again after spending most of my time over the past few weeks on the late shift. And as luck would have it, Sauleh was there training - taking advantage of the fact that he's taking some time off to finish his MSU dissertation to get in a little extra training time.

I got to do both the last bit of the lesson with Sauleh before we rolled. It was the first time I ever got to train with him - something that's been a little odd insofar as we've been moving through the ranks of GB Seattle at the same time, competing at the same tournaments, yet never once (before today) actually trained together. As I admitted to someone a few years ago, I've competed against Sauleh more times in intramural tournaments than we have trained together.

Our training roll went about as expected, with Sauleh's spider game from the bottom and very Rodrigo-like top game pretty much equally unstoppable. Sauleh is probably the one person whose top game is most similar to Prof. Rodrigo's and, by comparison to that agility, I pretty much feel like Big Mac after a long lunch at the churrascaria (no disrepect to Mr. Theodoro, intended).

Following up that ample appetizer with an entre of Prof Carlos made Wednesday's trading quite a meal (and no, I haven't eaten anything all day but a handful of grapes, hence the relentless food metaphors, I suppose). My initial reaction was to plan a return to the mat tonight. But the reality of the matter is that I've still got too much going on at the Asteroid to get away with skipping out again tonight.

I'm hoping that I'll be able to get on the mat tomorrow morning. I felt very much out of sorts training today - typically when training with folks that are significantly better than you - and feel a little desperate in terms of patching and repairing what's not working. So it goes on the long road toward getting better.

161.3 on the scale-post train. Holding serve.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Ask Burien Top Team: Instructors Who Have Never Competed

Q. What do you think of instructors who have not competed in BJJ? Is it even possible to prepare a student for competition if you have never experienced competition yourself?

A. If you were ever looking for a world-record in mentions of John Danaher in a Jiu Jitsu/Grappling message board thread not titled "John Danaher", then I've got the URL for you.

My two cents is Shawn Williams' two-cents. Like Danaher, Williams is a renowned Renzo Gracie Black Belt, as well. And one of the most interesting things I heard during the Pan 2011 BJJ tournament was during Williams' live color commentary of the event with The FightWorks Podcast's Caleb when asked by the Fightworks host if he had any regrets over his long time in jiu-jitsu.

"I regret stopping competing when I did."

I find it fascinating to some degree that many of the same people who freak out about the 50/50 guard or fret over the relevance of the gi, are the same people who seem a little too eager to minimize the role that competition - at some level - plays in development of a person's skill at jiu jitsu.

Helio competed. Rickson competed. Saulo competed. Kyra competed. Kron competed. Everyone I've ever trained under - including Prof. Rodrigo and Carlos - has spent at least some time putting his or her skills to the test.

Reading through the thread that got this "Ask Burien Top Team" going, I found something almost a little disingenuous about the way some seemed to minimize competition when it comes to jiu jitsu training. That's not to say that competition is or should be mandatory. Of course not. But I can't help but find it fascinating that so much of the conversation on this topic takes place without acknowledgement that one of the main things that differentiates jiu jitsu from many other martial arts is that you are constantly engaging against a resisting opponent in order to perfect technique.

Even though I'm not wholly convinced that boxing and wrestling are martial arts, their effectiveness and virtue as combat sports is due to the fact that, at the end of the day, the effectiveness of the techniques learned in boxing and wrestling is tested against a force that is actively resistant to those techniques.

So it is with jiu jitsu - whether your focus is "sport" or "self-defense".

And like it or not, there is nothing like the force of a skilled competitor to put those skills to the test.

As someone who has lost far more competitive matches than he's won over the past two years, the truth of the matter is that the experience has been and continues to be exceptionally valuable. And my guess is that this is true whether you are competing in a local, in-school "friendly" or making a return trip to the Pan. You learn things about your jiu jitsu when you compete in a way that is far more immediate - and often enduring - than what happens over the same amount of time back at the academy.

This is a martial art, after all. It was developed to be tested. And in a world in which, thankfully, most of us don't need martial arts to defend ourselves on a regular basis, there is something that competition offers the person training in jiu itsu that may be more important than in any other martial art. It is true that competition isn't everything. But I wouldn't want a life in jiu jitsu without having stepped on the competition mat at least once.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Training Day: Monday

So I'm on the secondary mat, about 20 minutes early for the evening class, getting ready to warm-up a little bit and I'm walking across the mat and suddenly am hyper-aware of being in the gi, preparing to train, and feeling a strange instant connectedness with all those guys I've been watching so intensely over the weekend: Rodolfo Viera, Rafa Mendes, Claudio Calasans, Langhi, Pereira, Tanquinho ...

A very egoless moment, the stuff of Buddhist meditation and entheogenic "capacitation", the kind of oneness that reminds you that are you where you supposed to be because you are truly where you want to be.

A smallish class tonight - I suspect the warming weather has something to do with it, though we're still in the low 50s midway through April. Prof Rodrigo kept us all together, the white belts all the way up, which was a nice change of pace.

We worked on two guard passes and again I thank whatever inspiration it is that is keeping it simple these days. What was especially nice was that Rodrigo had us to a light specific training after we drilled each pass - a great way to burn the techniques into muscle memory.

The first pass was the double underhook pass. The biggest key here was in getting the initial destabilizing pull of the guy hips onto your lap. Too often you end up fighting to get to this position AFTER the guy on the bottom knows what you are trying to do. So getting that initial pull is a big advantage.

From here, keep the elbows wide as you open up the collar on the left side and get the deep grip with the right. Sprawl out to keep the pressure on (his knee to his nose) and tiptoe around to the side. Shuck the near leg with a look back and slide the north arm over across the neck and control the shoulder in a watchdog like side control.

The second pass was a real gem and seemed to be at least partially inspired by Rodolfo Viera's pass of Cobrinha. Here, a simple pistol grip on the left knee, with forearm and elbow parallel to lower leg in a motorcycle grip like way, and stuff grip on the ankle with the right grip (the stuff grip is sort of an arm bent down, scarecrow like position, with the shoulder just over and inside the knee.

This pass works by stuffing the leg and turning that shoulder down into the guy's torso as you come around on that side. It's a nice combination of smash and toreano, with a lot of control early, then a switch to a dominant toreano control of the legs.

This one I'd really like to work on. I'm still a bit adrift when it comes to a Unified Field Theory of Guard Passing, and this one - in addition to being competition tested at the highest levels - makes a lot of sense for me.

161.3 on the scale post-train, everything but the coat. Not bad for a Monday.

Henry Akins: Kimura from Cross Body

Here's another one from Rickson Gracie black belt, Henry Akins, courtesy of's Technique of the Week

Rumble Readiness

Everything you need to know about the Revolution

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Rafa v. Tanquinho

The most controversial match of the weekend. Judge for yourself.

Whatever anyone's thoughts about this individual match, Tanquinho put on one of the most amazing performances of 2011 in this tournament, beating three Atos fighters en route to his gold medal winning match against Atos superstar, Raphael Mendes.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Leandro Pereira v. Michael Langhi

More great guerilla footage from some of this weekend's "top of the food chain" jiu jitsu.

Why I Listen to/Read Jordan Breen

Friday, April 15, 2011

Friday Night Fights: Matt Serra v. Terere

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Building a Better Spider Sense

I've been struggling against some very tough spider guards lately, especially the set-up with the leg hooked over the outside of one arm on one side instead of the double biceps control.

Here are some older posts looking at options for the pass.

Low Spider Guard Pass

Leg Strategies vs Spider Guard

And here is something more recent that I don't know if I've posted before.

Training Day: Thursday

Finally made it to the morning session on Thursday's. Lindsey is leading the class, and training Thursday morning was just what the doctor ordered.

The class was small - Frank, Chaim and a couple of white and blue belts I didn't recognize. Lindsey had us working on the scissor sweep from spider guard and the triangle choke in the first half of class and the triangle/straight armbar off the arm wrap/Rap Star guard.

Managed to get in a little bit of Live Training - though it was more of a guard specific, which was fine with me.

Mostly it was great to get back on the mat for a third time this week. Friday will be very busy, but I'm hoping to be able to squeeze in at least a little time on the mat around noon.

158.3 on the scale, post-train, everything but the coat. That's what an evening training followed by a morning training will do for you.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Training Day: Wednesday

As great as I felt after Monday's session, Wednesday's session, in some unfortunately typical regards, was a bit of a different matter.

Good enough technique lesson: three sweeps from sitting/DLR guard. I still don't feel as this is much of a guard for me - especially when it comes to the DLR hook. But there are aspects of the position that are similar enough to the sitting guard that I can probably incorporate to one degree or another into what I'm doing currently.

As for the rest of the evening, as Roger Gracie says, "sometimes you just go to the gym." I didn't feel as if there was a single thing that I was able to work on with any efficiency. For propriety's sake, that's all I'm going to say about that and hope that training over the rest of the week is more productive.

I'd probably feel different if I didn't feel like I have to fight just to get in three training sessions in a week nowadays. But, as the kids say, I do so I don't.

159.3 on the scale, post-train. Best news of the day.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Training Day: Monday

Back on the ATM tip ...

Very good advanced training. We spent about 30 minutes doing flow-work, where the guy in the guard works sweeps against a passive opponent, then three minutes of guard passing under the same rules, three minutes of back attack each and three minutes of turtle attack each. I got to train with Brock, which was great in part because I think it has been months since we got to train together. Even though Brock has some good size, I never feel as if he is taking advantage of it. That actually describes quite a few of our bigger guys, which is great.

Got to train with Rodrigo for about 30 minutes. That was one hell of a session. I'm still working to get my jiu jitsu cardio back (I was fairly whipped after the training with Brock), but insofar as I was able to put in 30 pretty active minutes with Rodrigo, I don't think I'm too bad off. One thing I'm definitely getting better at is making that one strong urgent move to get at least from a horrible situation to one that is not so horrible.

More to do on that front, of course. But I'll take what I can get.

Nothing special really stood out for me out of tonight's training. I forgot to ask Rodrigo to show me that detail with the clock choke where you use the shoulder of your choking arm to help add pressure. But hopefully I can get to that later this week. I think the most surprising thing was finding myself in Marcelo Garcia's one-leg X-guard and actually being able to work with it a bit.

160.1 on the scale post-train, everything but the gi. Again, a perfect number, even though I'm about as far from a six-pack as the Schick Shadel Client of the Week. Interestingly Rodrigo, who is about an inch or two taller than me, is at 153 and change and looking to get where I am. I'd take his sub-155 pre-train weight any day.

More from Henry Akins: Katagatame from Mount

Here's another classic from Rickson black belt, Henry Akins.

Head and Arm Choke from the Mount

Courtesy of Sherdog's Technique of the Week.

Six Weeks Out

As life at The Daily Planet increasingly has become life on my own Private Little Asteroid, I'll admit that it has been difficult to keep the focus necessary to train at a good level. A weak Week One, was followed by a solid Week Two which was followed by another lackluster week. Heading into training on Monday, my four-week training average will be 1.25.

The good news is that the training I did on Saturday showed me that I'm not slipping much. To the positive, I've been able to work in the Rickson from top control after a few days of studying Henry Akins instruction of it (see it again here)

And I was at least 50% impressed with my squat pass the Saturday before. So the paltry per week training pace over the last three hasn't been entirely ruinous. But given that my goals are to improve at a much more rapid pace, steady-as-he-goes is not going to work.

If I can train four times a week for the next five weeks, then I'll have a 4-week training MA of 4.0 going into fight week, which is as good as anything I've expected of myself in the past. Essentially, a 4-week training MA of 4.0 means that you've trained four times a week for the past month, which is a solid, competition pace for the average, amateur competitor.

This shouldn't be too much of a problem. The real goal is to get that 4-week training average up to 5.0 heading into fight week by adding in a few open mats/Live Training sessions in the morning or on the weekend. That would be possible with one 4x week out of the next five weeks (the rest would have to be 5x). But again, potential am and Sunday sessions could actually make this a doable project.

To a degree, a lot of this depends on how things go off the mat. The vagaries of wage slavery have been a bigger distraction over the past 30 days than they've been in more than three years. And while I seem to have come out on top - and in far better shape than others - it is not without a world to bear.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Rafa on the World Pro Cup

Read the mini-interview with GracieMag and Rafa Mendes here.
What lessons have you derived from this first stage of the World Pro, following your good run in the No-Gi absolute division?

Once again I could see that I can trust my Jiu-Jitsu. As well as have faith in my training and even my self. I proved once again how Jiu-Jitsu techniques are efficient, and I saw how when you’re well trained you can fight anybody, regardless of strength or size. I entered to test myself, and – who knows? – maybe even win. I was seeking a challenge like this one; I knew I could do it and, thank God, I fought well.

The Return of Bruno v. Megaton - Abu Dhabi Pro 2011

I cannot get over how absolutely gorgeous these videos from Abu Dhabi look.

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Training Day: Saturday

Today was the seminar for Prof Christiano. It was great to see the entire academy packed - both mats - with students from white belt all the way up.

I got there a little late. But it seemed as if they had some of the brown belts helping the lower belts with some of the techniques the black belts were sharing. Rather than try and steal a partner from some pair, I figured I'd just go ahead and follow Jeff B.'s lead and help some of the guys - mostly the white belts - with the new moves.

That was a lot of fun. Having been off the mats for a week, just being back in the "ocean" again was incredibly refreshing. Seminars are as much opportunities for reunion as they are anything else, IMO, so any technical tips I pick up are often just a bonus. It's nice a great opportunity to feel the energy and to be reminded of being a part of something that is in many ways just in its infancy (at least here in the U.S.).

I got a chance to get a little rolling in, training for about 15-20 minutes or so with Daniel. He showed me a nice Andre Galvao move to combat the knee cross pass that is a bit less complex than some of the versions I've been working with lately that involve a lot of lapel control. I'll have to make sure to work on it some the next time the opportunity comes up.

165.0 on the scale in the gi, post-train. And while there is a part of me that would love to knock another five pounds off that number, there's nothing not to like about being 2.5 pounds under more than a month out.

Thursday, April 07, 2011

The Greatest Leve of My Generation

Around the time I started training jiu jitsu, the top lightweight was
Celso Venicius

Compared to some of the stars in the division below (Cobrinha, Fredson Paixao) and above (Andre Galvao, Marcelo Garcia), there weren't nearly as many people talking about Celsinho at the time.

But as a leve myself, I always tried to keep an eye out for him, to get a better sense of who is arguably the greatest lightweight jiu jitsu fighter in the world (Celso has placed every year but one in the Mundial from 2005 - 2010, including first place 3x in 2005, 2006 and 2008).

So it is a little sad to read not so much that Celso may be retiring after this year's Mundial, but WHY he feels it is time to call it quits.
I’ve been at it for 13, 14 years and there comes a time when it gets to you. There’s no more government financial backing for athletes, that’s been taken away. These days I make my living teaching, not competing. Competing is entertainment, I don’t make money from it. I’ve got my Atama sponsorship and nothing more. I kind of lack motivation to keep at competition rhythm without support.
Read the rest at Gracie Mag here

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

"Chess Game"

"The secret? It's hard to explain, because, like I said before, this is a chess game.

What for me looks easy because I have the capacity to set him up in a way where when he is trying to fight he is always one second late. So it is a tremendous amount of precision and understanding of what is coming next to keep myself a beat ahead, and to give to him the feeling where he is going, little by little, down, going in a worse position."
--Rickson Gracie

Rickson's Gift Wrap to Back

As shown by Rickson Gracie black belt Henry Akins. MMA Technique of the Week: Taking the Back

Fightworks Podcast Interviews Caio Terra

Next to Rodolfo Viera, the talk of the Pan 2011 was Caio Terra. Caio not only submitted all of his opponents en route to a gold medal victory over rival Bruno Malfacine, but called out steroid users in jiu-jitsu, suggesting that all Mundial finalists should be tested for performance-enhancing drugs.

#237 Caio Terra and the Pan Jiu-Jitsu Championship

Caleb of The Fightworks Podcast catches up with the Pan champion in the first Podcast interview after the event.

4th American Cup Registration Deadline Only 9 Days Away

Registration ends on April 15th for the 4th Annual American Cup BJJ tournament in San Jose, California. I know that some folks from Seattle have made the drive down to compete in the past. This year's tournament is being held on April 30 - May 1st.

For information, including a growing competitors' list, is available here.

Monday, April 04, 2011

Rei Rodolfo

When I listed some of my top memories from a weekend of watching the Pan 2011 Jiu Jitsu championships, the performance of Rodolfo Viera was at the top of my list.

In turns out I wasn't alone. The other evening, while training with Prof Rodrigo, I heard Lance talking about how impressed he was by the irresistible top pressure and passing game of Viera.

Here's an interview that Gracie Magazine did with the absolute and weight class black belt winner of the 2011 Pan - including footage of one of his tougher matches of the tournament.

Rodolfo going for the gold in Abu Dhabi
Does your winning two divisions at the Pan make you confident you can repeat the feat at the World Pro?

The Pan gave me a lot of confidence because pretty much all the current top fighters were there. I feel that to win weight and open weight I had to fight really well. I only got tired in a couple of matches, when I felt my grip wearing out a but, but in the others I was fresh. That did give me a lot of confidence. I hope it will stay that way in Abu Dhabi. There the fights will only be six minutes, so there will be no way to get tired.

Spring Seminar and Training Camp at GB Seattle

1st 2011 Jiu-Jitsu Seminar and Training Camp
We will be having a special training camp and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Seminar. Over ten black belts will each be presenting on a topic. This is a great opportunity to learn new moves and re-learn some trusty old ones. We will have the mats and facility open for training after the seminar and expect to have some good live training available to practice some of this things you just learned.

Only $30 for what sounds like a mind-melting amount of jiu jitsu in a single afternoon.

Sunday, April 03, 2011

A Brief History of Gracie Barra in Washington

Here's the best history of Gracie Barra in the Evergreen State that I've come across.

A Brief History of Gracie Barra in Washington

Warrior Diet

I mentioned the Warrior Diet in an earlier post.

As someone who always hated eating breakfast first thing in the morning (especially as a child) the Warrior Diet has more than a few things that struck a chord with me. I've always enjoyed eating, but the idea of multiple meals just seemed like an indulgence when I could just have once nice feast a day and then just nibble or sip on whatever I needed to keep me energetic enough during the day before.

Each to each. But this is one that I'm very interested in experimenting with in 2011.

Warrior Diet

The Warrior Diet is a call for action. Based on survival science and historical evidence, the Warrior Diet proposes a radical yet proven effective solution to modern man's ailments and deteriorated physical condition.

Its premise: eat one main meal at night, avoid chemicals, combine foods adequately and challenge your body physically. The Warrior Diet shows how to nourish the body in sync with its innate circadian clock – separating between a.m. foods and p.m. foods for effective removal of toxins, increased conversion of fat for energy, increased utilization of nutrients and improved resilience to stress. The result: a leaner, stronger and healthier body.

The Evidence is Undeniable
Recent studies on intermittent fasting have shown the benefits of following eating programs similar to The Warrior Diet. Mice and rats maintained on an intermittent fasting regimen lived up to 30% longer than those fed ad libitum. Especially striking are the improved insulin sensitivity and cardiovascular risk profiles in animals maintained on diets with long inter-meal intervals.

Of all the different diets I've seen (and this one, like many, is considered a lifestyle by its devotees), this one seems to be most compatible with a jiu jitsu lifestyle. From what I've gleaned from the Gracie Diet, they practice a similarly minimal approach, often fruit in the morning, soups and quiches at midday and a more common protein/starch/vegetable dinner in the evening. In fact, I remember one of them saying something along the lines of only eating one cooked meal each day.

Jesse was talking about how he had read that you should be able to train a full session of jiu-jitsu on the energy provided by a single banana. For me, this is another reminder that it isn't necessarily a great idea to be trying to "fuel" the body all day long with meals and foods.

Saturday, April 02, 2011

Cachorrinho is Coming to Gracie Barra Seattle

June 18, 2011, Gracie Barra Seattle will host Gracie Barra black belt, Flavio "Cachorrinho" Almeida. Professor Almeida will be in town for a seminar on Saturday. The date is definite, but times are still being worked out.

If you don't know much about Flavio Almeida (other than the fact that he runs Gracie Barra and is the younger brother of recently-retired Ricardo Almeida), I've found a few nice links to help you get acquainted.

Learn a little about Flavio in this interview from the spring of 2008 with The Fightworks Podcast.

#106 Flavio Almeida and Gracie Barra

Here is an interview from 2007 from OntheMat.

Flavio “Cachorrinho” Almeida Interview

And here is Flavio writing about his thoughts on teaching BJJ

Why Do I Teach

Training Day: Saturday

Some truly great training on Saturday. I arrived a little late (surprise, surprise), but got there just in time to work on some guard/pass guard specific with Nate, a four-stripe brown belt from GB Lake Stevens/North Shore Jiu Jitsu/Tap or Snap who actually was awarded his black belt at the end of the first class.

I also got to train quite a bit with Doug, who's become a regular training partner whenever I've been lucky enough to train on Saturdays. Training with Doug in particular reminded me of how I need to work my 2on1 guard back into my game, and that will be something I work on for the next few weeks. At the end of the day, passing guard is going to make the difference for me. But to the extent that training begins on the ground and that often you've got to pull guard to get things started, re-introducing the 2on1 will be a good thing for training overall going forward.

Got to talk with both Pat and Professor Carlos about the Pan. For both, the Pan seemed to be a turning point type of experience. It all got me thinking more and more seriously about competing at the Pan next year, and the idea of starting to train for it NOW in the small ways that will accumulate into something big 11 months from now.

Talked with Prof Kevin about training at GB Federal Way on Sundays. That will be a great fit for those weekends (most of them) when I can't train on Saturdays.

159.6 on the scale-post train. I've started to embrace a one-big-meal, Warrior Diet approach to eating now that it is starting to warm up and brighten up outside. Right now, it's more like a one-big-meal, one-little-meal strategy, but I can already feel the difference in body load. Ideally, I'd love to get to a walking around weight of about 155 by the end of the month.