Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Best BJJ Blogs of 2007 - Vote Smash Pass

The Fightworks Podcast is conducting it's 2nd annual (?) contest for the best BJJ Blogs of the year. Believe it or not, this pathetic blog of mine here was actually nominated! Of course, it only has 2 votes so far, and one of them is from me... but that means that somebody out there actually likes the blog... or me. Either way, to even be on the list of some of those other blogs is pretty cool.

There are some very cool and well designed blogs on the list that we all have visited. Some of them are even linked on my blog to the right. There are a few new ones/ones that I hadn't heard of yet that look to be very good, as well.

The voting for the Best BJJ Blog of 2007 ends on December 30th. On December 31st, the winner will be announced. The prize for the winner is be 2 Grapplers Quest DVDs. Second place gets 1 GQ DVD.

So go over to the Fightworks Podcast and vote for me or your other favorite blog of 2007.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Rafael Lovato Jr. Interview

The Judo Podcast website has done an interview with Rafael Lovato Jr. following his win at the 2007 BJJ Mundials. Rafael, a Team SRJJA black belt, started Judo about a year ago and talks to the Judo Podcast in a 45 minute interview about his take on Judo and how it impacts his game. He also talks about some of the differences between BJJ and Judo. It's a great interview with insights for both BJJ players thinking about getting into Judo, or Judokas thinking about starting BJJ.

Visit their website to play the interview here.

Also, to see some Judo highlight clips from the 2007 U.S. Senior Nationals visit Judo Throw Down. Great stuff.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Things Are Settling Down

I'm a lazy bum... in regards to this blog. But I know people who are worse (Matt & Seth). Anyway, I'm here in Iowa and am learning my way around the training circles in the vicinity. As I am sure you can imagine, the vast majority of the time I have spent here thus far has been dedicated to learning my way around my new city, finding hot spots and finding people to train with.

Before I go further, the big news is that my friend from back home in Michigan, Don Richards, has made the cut to fight for the IFL. Congrats to Big Don. He's also slated to fight Dan Severn on November 21, 2007 in a King of the Cage match. Big Don is a Team Caique brown belt from Warrior Way in Walled Lake, MI. Keep your eye on him to get his black belt within the next year or less.

In my first month that I have been in Iowa City, I have trained with the University of Iowa BJJ club, the University of Iowa Judo Club and Miletich's Academy BJJ (inactive website) class with Rodrigo Uzeda.

Everybody here that I have trained with so far has been nothing less than extremely nice to me. The UI BJJ club is phenomenal in terms of how they run a class. As far as a University Sports Club goes, this club runs their class like an true academy (30 min. warm up, 30 min. instruction, 30 min. roll). On top of that, they have several blue belts that are very good. Overall, I was very impressed with how this University Club ran it's program. The club also has Pedro Silveria down quite often to teach classes and conduct privates.

Rodrigo Uzeda is a BJJ Black Belt under Fabricio Martins. He is currently living in eastern Iowa and is a friend of my instructor, Saulo Ribeiro. Rodrigo recently began teaching BJJ (with the gi) two nights per week (Monday & Wednesday 7:30 - 9:00 P.M.) at Miletich's academy in Bettendorf, IA. I have been attending his biweekly classes as often as I can, but it is a 2 hour round trip for me to do so. The training area is huge and there are tons of exercise equipment and kicking bags.

The University of Iowa Judo club is currently being run by Richard Finley and is quite different from the Judo club from which I've come (Eastern Michigan University Judo Club). The UI Judo club is more formal, and is run as an instructional club, whereas the EMU Judo club was run primarily without instruction with focus on self instruction/workouts. I have a good feeling that this club will fill in the many gaps in my Judo game and make me not only a better competitor, but also give me better knowledge of the sport overall. I highly recommend training with this Judo club if you're in town.

Pat Miletich's academy also offers a Judo program, but as they are so far away from me right now, I can only make it down for just the BJJ program on Mondays & Wednesdays and must forgo the additional Judo training at the moment.

Unfortunately, within the month that I have been down here I have incurred 2 slight injuries. The first being my lower back with the UI BJJ club, which seems to have become an increasingly recurring problem, and a dislocated pinky toe with the UI Judo club (last night).

I plan to post pics soon of the different training facilities that I have been to, as well as pics taken before I left Michigan.

On another note: Due to the increased prevalence of MRSA in schools I have been getting a lot of hits on my MRSA article. And, the Padilla and Sons Kimonos review has still been getting a lot of attention. Read the comments on these articles for updated info.

Pics (probably) coming soon.


Saturday, September 8, 2007

The Time Has Come - Moving On-

I am sorry for the lack of inactivity on this blog throughout August and September. It was never my intent to alienate or abandon my friends that enjoy reading what I tend to post from time to time. Likewise, it was never my intent to make this blog a personal diary. However, there are some important events forthcoming in my life that have been looming on the horizon and have taken my time away from not only updating this blog, but which have also encumbered my BJJ and Judo training.

Throughout the months of late July and August, my time has been spent helping my fellow team mates train for the BJJ Mundials. Due to this, my Judo training suffered. But, as only one person from my Judo team actually reads this blog (and he's living in Japan now) I doubt I'll catch any flak about it from the Ju-"duh"-kas on my team. ;P

But, the most important event that has delayed my training and posting is that I am moving away from my much beloved Michigan BJJ and Judo scene for new pastures in Iowa. Yeah... I said Iowa. It has always been my opinion that nobody moves to Iowa but only out of it. Not the case for me. In my line of work the University of Iowa (in Iowa City) is on the cutting edge of Molecular Biology, Genetics and Birth Defects research. So the money and opportunity takes me to this new land of hopefulness... and corn. I will be out of the state of Michigan and into some apartment in Iowa by September 30th.

Which brings me to my next dilema: There are no Saulo Ribeiro Jiu-Jitsu Associations in the entire state of Iowa where I can train. Where to train, where to train? While I am excited to train with the other BJJ schools in and near Iowa City, I am very intent on opening up my own place within a year of getting down there. I also intend to train with the Militech Camp (which has an outstanding Judo Coach) as well as the Univeristy of Iowa Judo Club in order to keep my judo and no-gi games at top notch. If I can find a nice wrestling club to complete the picture, I may in fact approach grappling nirvana. With NAGA's happening in Chicago as well as Madison and Milwaukee, WI, all of which are 2 - 4 hours away... I may be able to stay at the top of game.

So, that's the big news. I'm moving and will be leaving the Michigan BJJ scene. A scene that I was a part of since the beginning in 1996-97. I will be leaving all of my (bjj & non-bjj) friends, coaches and best training partners for unknown territory. I will miss them all and I only hope that I can make it work out Iowa.

On another note:

In my previous post I did a lengthy review on the Padilla & Sons (P&S) Gold Weave Kimono. I also linked this review to many of the BJJ and MMA forums/message boards... basically posting it publicly wherever I could find space. It has received a lot of attention and comments from many people around the world. So much so, that somebody at class tonight (commenting on the P&S Gold Weave I was wearing) stated that, "Yeah, I called and tried to order one, but they said that they were sold out."

YES! This means that my post about these kimonos and this company is shedding light on the fact that you don't need to pay more that $100 for one of the best BJJ gis on the planet.

A lot of readers/posters were also asking me about the other kimonos that Padilla & Sons offer (the Single Weave and the Hybrid Weave). Well, I will very soon be able to offer all of the inquisitors my opinion on these two kimonos. Earlier this week I received my new single weave and hybrid weave kimonos from Padilla & Sons. At first sight I am very impressed. VERY impressed. But, I am a skeptic by nature and profession, so I will wait to give my opinion after I have worn them on the mat for at least a week or two before I start giving my critiques. But let me just say, this hybrid weave kimono is like nothing you've ever seen. I am such a stickler for traditional gis, that I typically don't care for gis similar to this Padilla & Sons Hybrid Weave (which appears in photographs to be similar in nature, but not design, to the Atama Summer Weave). But this Hybrid Weave seems to have a little something extra. It is a very innovative design to say the least. As for the single weave, I am astounded at the attention to detail that has gone into this gi. By nature, a Single Weave is not intended to survive long - either on the training mat or in competition. But this one appears to be light weight and built like a tank. In fact, both gis out of the box already appear to rival the competition in design and construction.

So, hopefully by the beginning of October I should have a good review posted on the Padilla & Sons Single and Hybrid Weave kimonos.

Next up in my list of news is my fairwell tour, so to speak. I'll attempt in my final weeks to travel to the BJJ schools around Southeastern Michigan that made me who I am today. Hopefully I'll remember to bring my video camera and get some words from some of the people and instructors I came up with. I also hope to get around to a couple of the Judo dojos in the state that are considered top notch. But, don't hold me to anything.

Check back in a few weeks. Better yet, just subscribe to this blog and get an email update when I post next.

"Lost in the transitions"


Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Gi Review - Padilla & Sons Gold Weave Kimono

Padilla & Sons Gold Weave Kimono. Available at http://www.matrat.us/ . Retail, $80 (white) $90 (blue).

Most of us outside of California are probably not familiar with a little company on the West coast called Padilla & Sons Kimonos that churns out some of the best kimonos to ever hit the mats. If you've been training since 1999, maybe you've heard of this company run by Joe Padilla that use to make an indestructible double weave kimono which retailed for around $60 or so. But, just as the word was spreading about how good his gis were, he stopped making them. There were several factors that caused this to happen and which required Joe's full attention, which meant he was unable to attend to his fledgling kimono business. But, there is good news for us all - Joe is back in the business and now he is also making Gold Weave kimonos. And, with the recent rise in the prices of Atama (~$46 increase on the gold weave kimonos) and Koral, Joe couldn't have got back in the game at a better time for us practitioners.

Back in February and March of 2007, Atama had really increased their prices, which was difficult for me in that I had just become quite fond of some of the Atama gis. But, I am not willing to pay their prices for future purchases. So, I started looking around the net and found that Joe Padilla was making his gis again and I wanted one. I had missed out on getting one of his gis before he stopped making them back in 2001. When I saw the price he was asking for his white Gold Weave Kimono ($80), my jaw hit the floor. I had to have one of these gis, if not for their legendary status, then to hopefully find an answer to the Atama price jack ups. Nowadays, an Atama Gold Weave retails for $145, and the Koral MKM for $144.95. In my opinion, neither gi is worth that price.

I called up Joe on the phone and we talked about the gis and I told him my height and weight (5’ 9.5”, 190 lbs.). He recommended his A3 for me. I gave him my shipping and billing info and about 4 days later his kimono showed up at my door. I’ve been wearing it every day to training since I got it, and this gi is absolutely phenomenal.

My criteria for judging the quality of a kimono and whether or not I might like it depends on (in no particular order): 1) Weight. I am not a fan of heavy gis (double weaves, etc.) and I tend to prefer Gold Weave kimonos. 2) Comfort. I don’t want a gi to be too abrasive or stiff, which can be the case with some Gold Weave kimonos. 3) Fit. The gi obviously needs to fit just right and be comfortable on my feet, in my guard, etc. And, lastly, 4) Construction. I want a gi that will last me years wearing it 3 times per week or so if need be. It should also be reinforced in critical areas with strong material. Even though I have 4 gis in the training rotation, if I really like a particular gi I want to wear it as much as possible.

Let’s start with the weight, fit and comfort of this A3 Gold Weave Kimono. It is noticeably light weight, as a good Gold Weave should be and weighs in at just under 6 lbs. For a Gold Weave, it is very soft and comparable to the Atama Mundial # 5, which was one of the softest gis I had ever worn up until this kimono. The fit of the kimono after washing and hang drying is nearly tailored and felt as if it was made just for me. The gi didn’t shrink but maybe a half inch in the sleeve length from the wash. The gi top is made of all Gold Weave material and does not have a separate skirt made of a thinner material. One topic of discussion that has been mentioned in the BJJ forums is that the sleeve cuffs are wider than most other gis (as shown in the pictures below). But, believe me, the extra width is hardly noticeable and they are not ungainly in any way. The only people that might not like these sleeves are those that prefer Gameness type sleeves. The gi top is pleasantly “un-flashy”, which is perfect for me. Joe’s logos are unobtrusive and are actually embroidered, not sewn on patches. There is a small shark on the left sleeve and his unique logo on the abdomen of the gi near the knot of your belt.

(click pics for a larger view)

The kimono has a tailored fit and is very comfortable. Shown here with my belt pulled down a bit to show the unique placement of the Padilla logo.

The sleeve length and width are comfortable and are within the CBJJ rules and guidelines for competition kimonos. You can see in this picture that even though the sleeve cuffs of this gi are wider than other kimonos, they are not baggy or unpractical.

A close up view of the embroidered logos.

The construction of the kimono, both top and bottoms, are extremely well designed and reinforced like a suit of armor in all of the critical areas. In my comparisons to the Atama and Koral gis, I was actually shocked and how well the Padilla & Sons kimono was constructed. Obviously, Joe put a tremendous amount of thought into these gis. As Joe also trains BJJ himself, I’m sure he’s had plenty of time to recognize the short comings of some of the other gis on the mats.

I took the time to take some pictures comparing the Padilla & Sons Gold Weave kimono (retail $80) to the Atama Mundial # 5 (retail $162) and the Koral MKM (retail $144.95) so you can see how the three compare to each other. In every regard, the Padilla & Sons Gold Weave Kimono is more than comparable to these other two high end gis.

(click the images for a larger view)

Kimono top comparisons:

The collar widths of the three gis are nearly identical. The collar of the Padilla kimono is similar in thickness and stiffness to that of the Atama. The collar is firm, but not cardboard stiff, and is very comfortable.

The edge of the skirts of the Atama and Koral are folded back on themselves for reinforcement. I have found that in my older gis when this edge becomes worn, it is prone to splitting and frays easily. The Padilla gi is reinforced with a separate band of canvas that is 1 3/4" wide and heavily stitched to prevent the wearing of this edge.

The hip split area of a gi is very prone to tearing. The Padilla kimono hip split is reinforced with a big wedge of canvas, where the Atama and Koral are reinforced with small pieces of extra gi material. The other hip split on the Koral MKM gi in this photo is actually torn between the wedge and the edge of the seam.

It was this particular detail that blew me away. The inside edge of the collar where it is sewn to the gi is reinforced with an extra band of canvas identical to that inside judo gis. I have included a picture of my judo gi for comparison. This reinforcement extends around collar like a yoke, covering the most highly gripped areas of the gi. This detail will greatly extend the life of the gi.

Another area of high stress. The junction in the armpit where the seams meet is a weak point that is more than adequately covered on the Padilla kimono. In contrast, look at the small reinforcement on the Koral MKM.

The back edge of the collar and the shoulder area of the gi is decently reinforced.

The ends of the sleeves receive a lot wear from pulling and gripping. Here again, Joe uses the 1 3/4" wide canvas band to strengthen the cuff edges. Atama folds the end back on itself and uses an ~ 1/2" wide band to secure the cuff. The Koral MKM is similarly constructed and due to this you can see some fraying beginning. Granted, the Koral is the oldest of the 3 gis and was purchased about 10 months ago.

At ~ 7 1/4" inches wide, the sleeve cuffs of the Padilla kimono are wider than the 6 3/4" wide Atama and the 5 3/4" wide Koral MKM. As I said before, this extra width is in no way awkward or excessive. It even helps those Ezequiel chokes flow a bit smoother, which are always a pain to get with the Koral MKM.

The pants of a kimono are often over looked by some gi companies. It seems that they pump all of their money into the top, and then stitch together a pair of pants out spare material. Not the case with these pants. These pants are made of a material very similar to the Atama pants that I have worn and loved for years. They are soft, but very durable, and come with 3 belt loops instead of the standard 2. Just like the gi top, the pants are intelligently reinforced throughout.

Kimono pants comparisons:

The pants has 3 belt loops and a standard drawstring, and are very similar to the Atama pants.

Both the Padilla and the Atama have a knee reinforcement that extend all the way from the lower thigh to the cuff of the ankle. The Koral MKM on the other hand has a smaller reinforced knee area.

Also on the ankle cuff, the 1 3/4" wide canvas band is used for reinforcement. The Koral MKM is also reinforced with a band of canvas, but the Atama pants are secured with a folded back method.

Both the Padilla pants and the Koral MKM pants are reinforced at the hip split, which is an area of stress that has been over looked by Atama.

The Padilla pants and the Atama pants have a reinforced crotch area, unlike the Koral MKM pants.

Wash and care instructions are pretty standard. When your gi arrives, there will be an envelope with the printed out care instructions inside. Basically, wash and rinse the gi in cold water either by itself or with similar colors, and allow it to hang dry.

The customer service of this company is phenomenal. If you call and leave a message or send him an email (available on the contact page), they will be returned to you. Joe is great at helping you out and truly does want to put people in a quality gi that will make them happy. He has been a pleasure to deal with.

Taken together, the gi top and pants make a perfect package that feels great on the mat. I have made the comparisons against two of the more popular and higher end kimonos on the market today for you. The Padilla & Sons Gold Weave kimono is comparable to the other gis in some areas, but by and large, is vastly superior to both the Atama Mundial # 5 and the Koral MKM in practically all of the critical areas. The attention to detail that has gone into the production of this gi is amazing. I have made up my mind on which gi company I will be using in the future. I have thankfully found my answer to the recent price increases at Atama. At $80 each, I can buy 2 Padilla & Sons Gold Weave kimonos for the price of 1 Atama Mundial # 5, and I know that the quality of the gi will be better.

Padilla & Sons Kimonos and Mat Rat also sell a Blue Gold Weave ($90), a light weight Hybrid Weave ($80), Single Weaves ($70), as well as various other training gear and clothing. Make sure you check them out at http://www.matrat.us/ and give one of these gis a try. It is sure to be one of the best gi purchases you have ever made.


Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Honey May Increase Athletic Performance

My BJJ team mates and I, have for several years now, been using honey as a simple carbohydrate supplement prior to and during our matches at tournaments. We never really thought twice about the matter, as it seemed straight forward to us: honey is a simple carbo-hydrate that is natural and comes in an easy to use format. We were able to maintain (or so it seemed) a decent amount of energy throughout the duration of the tournament by taking a few table spoons prior to the first match, with smaller servings in between matches if we need it. Recently, we introduced the magic of the "Honey Bear" to our judo club and had some success with using it during judo competitions (picture above with trophy and the Honey Bear).

Just when we thought that plain ol' honey was all we needed, along came the advice of a "sage" in the BJJ world. The Sage recommended that we use all natural, unpasteurized, unfiltered raw honey instead of the honey bought at the super market which is heat sterilized. The reason being that the raw honey contains all of the amino acids and natural health benefitting properties that are otherwise removed from the heat sterilization process. Okay, Sage... I'm game. Let's give it a try. About a week later I found some raw honey at the local farmer's market that set me back about $9 for a mason jar full of the stuff. The vendor was... passionate about his product, to say the least. He went on and on for about 15 minutes telling me ALL of the health benefits of raw honey, "Cures cancer, stomach ulcers, pollen allergies, it's good for the prostrate, blah, blah, blah." These were some heavy claims, and in my line of work - Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence to be believed. So, I abused my work resources and scoured the medical literature databases trying to find support for his claims. I read paper after paper that knocked down the vendor's claims one by one. The only interesting articles that I found were regarding the use of honey as a topical treatment for wounds and possibly as a treatment for staph infections and MRSA. Apparently there is an enzyme in honey that reacts with the water in honey and creates hydrogen peroxide. I'll keep my eye on how that research develops. Bottom line though, there aren't any magic cures in raw honey and it is debateable as to how different it is nutritionally compared to normal heat sterilized honey (which is cheaper, by the way).

The other article I found that was interesting was one in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, where the authors actually compared the use of honey as an athletic supplement during an endurance exercise. The findings were quite promising and supportive of what my team mates and myself have been doing for competitions.

The study had 9 elite cyclists complete 3 randomized 64 km (39.68 miles) time trials and the effects of a low and a high glycemic index (GI) carbohydrate on their performance as compared to a placebo supplement were analyzed. The study was double blind (the cyclists didn't know which supplement they were getting, and the researchers didn't know which cyclist got what supplement until the end of the analysis), where the cyclists ingested either 15g of honey (GI = 35), 15g of dextrose (GI = 100) or a placebo (GI = 0) every 16 km of the time trial. The dextrose group and honey group completed the time trials slightly faster than the placebo group (~128 min 18 seconds compared to 131 min 18 seconds), but these results are not significant. However, the researchers also analyzed the Maximal Power Output of each cyclist in terms of Watts. During the majority of the time trial there were no differences between the 3 groups. However, in the last 16 km leg of the race the dextrose group and honey group produced more watts (power) than the placebo group. These results are indicative of the effects of the carbohydrate supplements and are supportive of the use of a low GI carbohydrate (honey) for an energy source during endurance exercises.

So, on your tournament checklist, add "Honey Bear" to your gear bag. Send me some pics of you, your medal(s) and your honey bear and I'll put them up here. Good luck!

Check out the nutrition data on honey here. Learn more about the Glycemic Index here.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Rafael Lovato Jr. on the Cover of Gracie Mag #124

As posted on the Lovato Jiu-Jitsu website, Team SRJJA member Rafael Lovato Jr. will be on the cover of Gracie Magazine #124 for July 2007.

From Lovato Jiu-Jitsu Academy website:

"Rafael is on a serious streak this year having won the American Nationals, European Championships, Pan-American Championships, and the Brazilian Nationals. After Rafael won the Brazilian Nationals, Gracie Magazine sat down with him to talk about the hardships of being a foreigner competing in Brazil. You can check out this article in the July 2007, Issue #124, of the prestigious Gracie Magazine."

Way to go Rafael! Keep up the good work and best of luck to you as you continue on to the Mundials this year!

Be sure to pick up a copy of this July's Gracie Mag and support our team mate and friend, Rafael Lovato Jr.

Read the On The Mat Wiki article about Rafael here.

In other news, expect a gi review article on the new Padilla & Sons gold weave kimono in the near future. Other articles are also in the works.
(Photo courtesy of The Fightworks Podcast)

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Studio X Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu - Academy Report

I've just returned from being in Manhattan for the past week taking a Statistical Genetics and Linkage Analysis course at Rockefeller University. While I was there taking the course I opted to bring my training gear and train at Studio X, which is run by Fabio Clemente and features the instructors Marcelo Garcia and Josh Griffiths.

Unfortunately, I happened to arrive in New York during the week that Marcelo Garcia was out of town training with Team Quest. And, while Marcelo was a motivating factor for me training at Studio X, his absence was not enough to deter me from the academy. There are 2 University of Michigan BJJ club alumni that train at Studio X so I was excited about meeting up with some old friends.

Other people from Team SRJJA have gone to train at Studio X in the past. I was forewarned of the expense of dropping in on the class. It was advised to me to call ahead and try to work out a deal for a week's worth of training. Unfortunately, my messages were never returned to me and I was unable to work out a deal. I even tried calling during a class time (class schedule here), but to no avail. Granted, I started calling only a few days before I were to arrive, so maybe if one were to begin calling a couple of weeks in advance, they might have better luck. But, in my own defense, I found out I was going to NYC for this course on very short notice. If you can't work out a deal with the academy, it will cost you $40 to drop in. Studio X has about 115 - 120 students and they run two classes in the evening (6:00 P.M. - 7:30 P.M. and 7:30 P.M. - 9:00 P.M.) they also run early classes and weekend classes.

I arrived in NYC on Sunday night (6/3/07) and I wasn't able to train until Tuesday night (6/5/07). The Tuesday 7:30 P.M. class was a gi class and I was the only purple belt in the class of 5 people. There were 2 blue belts and 2 white belts in the class with me. When I asked my training partner Mike (a blue belt) if this class size was normal, he said "No. It's usually much larger." Mike said that the class size is usually about 15 - 30 people. Fabio Clemente was teaching this particular gi class that I was taking, and he opted to, "Do some special exercises for our special guest who is visiting us."

Fabio ran a very good warm up session that was about 30 minutes long and covered exercises, conditioning and stretching. We also did alternating partner drills involving single legs takedowns, jumping to guard, sprawls, double legs and some grip fighting. Fabio was my partner for all of the partner exercises and he ran a very good warm up session. If you plan on going to Studio X, plan on it being HOT inside this 2nd story academy. So, drink plenty of water and pace yourself.

The Tuesday night gi class following the warm ups included 2 techniques that were sweeps/turnovers from the half guard. They were decent techniques and we rep'd them about 15 minutes each. The down side to this particular class was that Fabio was either dealing with a newbie or a administering a private lesson on the side, and he was unable to walk around and provide corrections for us students on the mat. The technical portion of the class lasted about 30 minutes and afterwards we started rolling for the last 30 minutes of class. Due to the small class size we started from our feet doing 6 minute matches. I was fortunate enough to get to have my last match with Fabio himself. I was relaxed and tried my best against him but he was good at exposing my weaknesses. I was trying to pay attention to his methods while keeping my wits and attempting to escape his dominate positions. He was definitely not trying to tap me out as quickly as possible, but he was exploring my reactions to his attempts and positions. He caught me with an armbar towards the end of our match, and when we restarted, he almost had me again before the time expired. Fabio is very good. He is a big man, and while being very strong is also incredibly flexible. His Jiu-Jitsu is solid in my opinion.

I almost didn't go to the Wednesday 7:30 P.M. No-gi class due to not being able to work out a training deal with Fabio, but, my friend Matt was going to be there (he's only training on Wednesdays due to a knee injury), so I felt obligated to attend. I'm glad that I did. The class was packed with white belts and blue belts... if there were purple belts and brown belts in the class I didn't notice due to the fact that it was a No-gi class. Again, Fabio was teaching the class and we went over some guillotine variations from the top cross when the bottom opponent bumps into you to try to get guard. Following this, we started some takedown drills and rolling drills.

Now, I can go on and on about the facility, but it's not going to make much of a difference because Studio X is going to be moving soon to a new location in Manhattan that is supposedly bigger and better than it's current location. I'll have to go back someday to see how it's improved. But I will provide my ratings of this CURRENT academy and it's location, below.

Overall, I will rate this academy using a 10 star system evaluating 10 different critical areas.

Customer Service: 4.5 stars. This is a hard one to rate. Granted, I was a vistor to the academy and there is virtually no chance of me becoming a full time student. Therefore, I can understand, in part, the lack of personal attention and the return of my phone calls. But, I made myself known to the academy on the answering machine messages that I was from a Saulo Ribeiro academy and wanted to spend a week training with them. But, I'm sure they were pretty busy, and that it was hard for them to return my calls. So like I said, this is a hard one to rate.

Academy size (mat space): 5 stars. You can typically fit 3 pairs of grapplers starting on their feet and about 4 pairs starting from their knees. In my opinion this is a typical size of many academies that I have visited. Fabio claims that at their new location that the mat size will be bigger.

Friendliness: 10 stars. Nobody in this place had an ego, and everybody was very nice to me. I hopefully made a lot of new friends in this place. Fabio himself was very nice to me.

Instructor: 8 stars. Fabio is a great instructor, but his personality is a bit aloof. Don't expect him to chat you up or take you out for dinner just because you show up to train. Other than that, he is a 3rd degree black belt, he is very nice and he runs a solid class. His warm ups and drills are old school and very good. His techniques are usable and very tight. Don't expect a lot of criticism from him or input on your technique as a visitor, but he does care about his students from what I saw. Do expect him to roll with you if you show up and time permits. This is very nice and makes your $40 drop in fee seem a little bit more well spent.

Changing Room Amenities: 6.5 stars. I've seen worse and I've seen better. What follows is my opinion of the current academy. As this academy is moving to a new location, these facilities will change. In the academy, there is a separate changing room with a shower, but there are no lockers to secure your gear. I used my combo lock to secure the two ends of the zippers on my gear bag. I noticed that most people didn't secure their stuff by any means. As this academy is totally isolated and not a part of a larger organization, like a gym, it's pretty safe for leaving your gear unsecure. But, I have found out the hard way that in rare occassions it is surprising to find that your teammates will steal from you. As I was the visiting "new guy", I wasn't taking any chances, so I used my combo lock to lock up my bag. I did have some valuables and my wallet in it, so it wasn't a case of over-paranoia on my part. But, to be honest, I don't think anybody in this academy would've taken anything from me. Some secureable lockers in the locker room would've improved things. The shower was a nice touch, but if you're a visitor, bring a towel from your hotel as the academy doesn't provide them for you. The changing room was a bit crowded and there are no benches to sit on. I found myself sitting on the floor to tape up my toes. Overall, the changing room could be improved with benches and lockers, but the shower was definitely a welcomed feature.

Changing Area Cleanliness: 8.5 stars. The changing room was pretty clean. The only discrepancy that I saw was the pile of used towels laying on the floor outside of the shower functioning as a type of bath mat/floor mat for stepping out of the shower. This pile of towels looked a few days old and they might not have been the most comforting thing to be stepping onto in bare feet following a shower. But, then again, you did just get done rolling around with a bunch of sweaty guys and hopefully you're wearing shower shoes. I think you'll live. So in this regard, with a nice hotel bathroom being a 10 and an average gym locker room being a 5, this one at Studio X gets a 8.5 star rating.

Warm ups: 9 stars. This academy does some nice warm ups. Totally old school and exactly what I'm use to. They are difficult, but doable. The warm ups on the first night that I was there versus the second night differed slightly, with the second night being easier than the first. There is some variability, perhaps it was my presence, perhaps it was the size of the class... I don't know. But, overall they were good.

Techniques: 8.5 stars. Fabio showed the class some good stuff. On the first night in the gi class, he showed some half guard techs that don't exactly fit into the Saulo Ribeiro style that I am use to, but, I can see how they might work. This is my just my personal bias, though. But, on the second night, which was a no-gi night, Fabio showed some solid techs about getting the guillotine from the top cross. I can totally see these techs fitting into the game from any fundamental style of BJJ.

Training Area Cleanliness: 10 stars. The training area was very clean. There were no dust bunnies or loose hairs littering the mat. The mat area was very clean. The mats were vacuumed and mopped both nights that I was there.

Academy Location: 10 stars. This is probably not going to change even after the academy moves from 13th Street and 3rd Ave up to somewhere on 27th Street in Manhattan. As long as the academy is below 50th Street it will be in an easy to get to location for any of us that visit Manhattan. When you walk out the door of the academy there will be food and restaurants within a block or two from you. At it's present location, you can walk out, turn right, and there will be a bar right next door to you. There is bound to be a lot to do around the new academy location. In Manhattan, you will almost always find what you're looking for within a few blocks from where you're at.

I rated this Academy on 10 sections of criteria using a 10 star scale. As an average, Studio X scored 8 stars on my rating scale. I highly recommend training at Studio X if you are in the Manhattan area. But, I suggest that you begin calling weeks in advance in an attempt to work out a tuition deal with them because $40/drop in is pretty expensive. It would've been nice to have trained there for the 5 - 6 days that I was there. But, there was no way I was willing to pay $200 - $240 to do so. I was more willing to negotiate about $100 - $120 to train there for 5 days.

If you go to Studio X, be prepared for some hospitality and good training. Be prepared to work hard, train hard and make some friends. You will have a great time and I highly recommend the experience.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

20 Fundamental Moves of Jiu-Jitsu

This is a compilation of what was a 4 part series article published in Gracie Magazine last year (July - October 2006, GM #'s 112 - 115). Gracie Magazine asked 20 of the best BJJ Black Belts what they thought were the best and most fundamental techniques that can enhance or play a major role in your competition game. To expand upon things, I've added most of the photos from a Google Image Search, and all of the videos from searching You Tube or editing existing clips and reposting them. Take a read, see what you think, and post what your comments and/or additions are to the list.

1. Armbar from the closed guard by Ricardo "Cachorrão" Almeida:

"The armbar from the closed guard is an essential submission hold in Jiu-Jitsu. Your opponent has two arms and one neck, so mathematically the probability of an armbar working versus a choke hold is 2:1. First let’s lay the foundation for a flawless armbar from the closed guard (attacking your partner’s right arm). First, use your left hand to pin your partner’s arm to your chest; your right hand controls your partner’s elbow, pinching it to your own hip. Second, use your left foot on your partner’s hip to pivot your body 45 degrees to the right. Use your right leg to put your partner off balance. Third , the left leg catches your partner’s head. Fourth, pop the hips in.

“Now let’s analyze some shortcomings you might encounter and some tips that will help. The armbar from the guard makes you vulnerable to a pass of the guard; make sure you always adjust your hips after any missed armbar attempt. You are exposed to the slam; develop the habit of hooking the inside of your opponent’s leg with your arm so you don’t get picked up and slammed. Especially in the armbar from the guard, because your opponent is on top, gravity is working against you. Whenever someone tries to stack me, I like to turn belly down to use gravity against my opponent’s arm.”

Here's 2 vid's showing slightly different variations of this technique:

2. Mount by Saulo Ribeiro:

“When an individual attains the mount, it’s because all the opponent's defensive resources have been exhausted. When facing a game of life and death, we quickly position ourselves in a position of submission, be it on the arm or the neck, as the decision comes in a split second according to the adversary’s endeavor for survival. Thus, if I place my hand on the collar I don’t necessarily want the neck – but I do want them to react to the emerging discomfort. The most important thing, however, is not how you hold your opponent, but how you snuff his leverage (that is, the bridge) with your hip movement, making your weight double on top of the enemy and creating extreme pessure that he’ll try to escape from, thus opening space for the submission.

“I train this fundamental daily and, as a hint, I suggest you try to keep the mount without using your hands, for that way you develop both your hip game and your balance, not necessarily having to hold your opponent with your hands. Your biggest challenge is searching for efficiency and not diminishing the number of people who can escape your mount, so don’t worry so much about holding them down when training.”

3. Tight guard pass by Fábio Gurgel:

“The first point that must be stressed in order to be a good guard passer is anticipation: you must understand that if your opponent needs to defend, they are not likely to be able to sweep or submit you. Once you have understood this, you have the chance of tightening the position which puts you in a situation of superiority and enables you to rest during the fight, while your opponent finds themselves in a bad position. (Secret: make sure you only rest when it’s good for you and bad for them.) Now you must choose the technique and keep calm while executing it. You don’t need many seconds to perform a tight, slow pass, so even if the fight is nearing its end don’t rush; pass slowly and closely. Another tip is always having variations at hand so that you can switch passes in case your foe can defend and stop your evolution. There is always a good variation in the mind of a good passer.”

Here's a short clip on a close pass that looks a lot like an x-pass variation:

4. Taking the back by Marcelo "Marcelinho" Garcia:

“Taking the back is something simple and fundamental at the time of the fight. The idea is to get control of a very big part of the opponent’s body – one that’s very hard to hide, by the way. Once you get to their back, you must worry about putting the hooks in, which in competitive Jiu-Jitsu means scoring. But there are also great chances of accomplishing a submission without the hooks. The grip can be performed during several moments of the fight, be it from a mount, a half-mount, a guard, etc. The most important thing is for you to have an arm over the opponent’s shoulder and the other under their armpit – this is mandatory for controlling the back. I remember my most exciting taking of the back was against Ricco Rodriguez in ADCC 2005, but the one I like most was that against Shaolin in ADCC 2003, because at that time there were many people who did not believe in me – or my moves.”

Let's just toss up Marcelo vs. Shaolin from the 2003 ADCC's for an example:

5. Loose guard pass by Vítor "Shaolin" Ribeiro:

“I use this kind of pass against nearly everyone I fight. When you stand up, moving around, you kill any chance the opponent might have of sweeping, since while he has his legs within your hands’ reach, nothing holds you and you can try either passing to the left or the right side. The person who wants to pass has to pay attention to the control of the hooks, and not use so much their own weight to control the enemy legs, because that way you open up a lot of space for them to armdrag you.”

Here's a short clip on a Spider Guard pass:

6. Kimura by Rodrigo "Comprido" Medeiros:

“It’s the kind of move you don’t expose yourself too much with. You can use it to attack your adversary starting from many set-ups, be it in the guard, standing, getting attacked from the back, and even from the mount, attacking sideways. It’s a very efficient move, with very strong leverage. I say it’s a safe move because, even when it doesn’t quite work, it doesn’t endanger your position. The care you must take is to observe the leverage, putting the foe’s arm at a right angle. And your hand holding the wrist should be as close to the other hand as possible, thus improving the leverage.”

*Trivia: The Kimura arm lock used in BJJ is one of only two techniques named in honor of a Judo player. This bent arm lock was a favorite of (Kosen) Judo and Jujitsu master Masahiko Kimura, who fought Helio Gracie in 1951.

The Kimura is a versatile submission, and in this clip, Stephan Kesting from Grapple Arts shows how to get it from the Half Guard:

7. Triangle choke by Marcio "Pe de Pano" Cruz:

“It has always been one of my favorite moves, but it’s important to remember that it must be applied as if the fighter was springing, since if the opponent gets to re-maneuver you’ve got a great chance of losing the position. Having long legs can also make the fighter’s life easier, despite the fact that, without training or repetitions in the academy, no one gets anywhere. You must pay attention to the hips’ function in the movement – the tighter the hips, the harder to escape.”

In this clip Dean "The Boogeyman" Lister shows some very nice details about the triangle:

Here's a nice little variation of the triangle set up:

8. Sweep from the guard with the opponent on their knees by Xande Ribeiro:

“The mechanics are very simple. It consists of breaking the adversary’s posture with a kick to the armpit. In order to perform this kick, one must make a slight change in the angle of the hips, so that they create a better lever. As you achieve this break of posture, the opponent’s lower body gets lighter, enabling the reversal with the grip on the pants, on the same side as the leg of the kick.

The other detail is the positioning of the base-foot; it must be fixed on the ground and close to the opponent’s shin. By raising the foot, the lever is lost. There is a variation, putting that very same foot on the foe’s hip. The secret to this sweep is the timing, for if you just execute it, the adversary will be rigid and strong; so it’s necessary to feel they are relaxed and surprise them right then. Another advantage of this sweep is that the opponent doesn’t feel comfortable moving, which makes them, in their anxiety, leave room for other attacks.”

I edited the Ribeiro Brothers HL vid from ZenMonkey to show just the sweep that Xande is talking about in this clip:

9. Rear-naked choke by André Galvão:

“The rear-naked choke is a very good move to use because it’s very difficult to defend; the problem is that many people apply the wrong way, entering first with the hand on the neck and right away holding the biceps, throwing the hand behind the head. Thus the hand doesn’t arrive behind as it should, that is, above the opponent’s head. The ideal way to apply it is by positioning the first hand and then taking the foe’s shoulder. The second hand goes straight to the back of the head to only then grab the biceps. It’s also nice that the fighter who is going to perform the choke stays alert about the adversary’s arm, as the latter will hold their hand to try and stop the progress. So it is necessary to throw one hand over the shoulder and the other under the armpit, being the latter’s job to push the challenging hand down. As sometimes the hand that is supposed to get in from the bottom holds the one coming over from the neck, a good hint is to open the hand to the side, throwing the leg over the opponent's arm.”

Stephan Kesting from Grapple Arts has put together this very nice tutorial on getting the Rear Naked Choke. He also has some great details on the harness hold as described by Marcelo Garcia (above):

10. Pulling guard by Roberto Roleta:

“The first measure to take is to get a grip of your opponent that makes you confident enough to hold him in such a way that you can pull him into guard. The second one is to be careful, when you’re pulling into guard, not to fall victim to that takedown that is not a takedown. This has happened to me: the referee sometimes likes judo more than BJJ, wants to encourage takedowns by awarding points when you’re not even taken down, making you go for points. The important thing is to fall in a position where you feel comfortable, be it with your foot on the crotch, falling straight to the bottom or any other choice at hand. It’s useless to get nervous in the beginning, in that case you end up pulling guard willy-nilly and the outcome is worse than if you hadn’t pulled at all. Here’s the tip: wanna pull guard? Go for it, but have a plan.”

I'm not a proponent of pulling guard. But Ryan Hall from Team Lloyd Irvin is, and in this clip he explains part of his plan in doing so:

11. Armbar from the mount by Royler Gracie:

“Here you have two options: the first option appears when the adversary offers you their arm. So you put both of your hands on their chest and stick to them and use them for leverage. Then you rise up from the ground a bit and pass your leg over the foe’s head. As you get to that position you can already start to trap the arm. The other option comes when the opponent does not give you the arm. So you grab the opponent’s collar and chase the arm by raising you knee and putting it under the adversary’s arm. You keep raising your knee in order to capture their arm. After that you grab your own collar, pass your hand in front of the opponent’s face, use that same hand as a point of support and pass your right leg over to sink the armbar. That’s very simple and is the basic that everyone does. The armbar from the mount is usually taught to white-belt fighters as early as their sixth class. The armbar, as any other lock or choke, does not have a 100% rate of effectiveness, so before you go for it you must be sure the opponent's arm is exposed. If not, you must be sure you have enough control over them that you return to the mount in the event that you don’t finish the fight.”

Paulo Guillobel demonstrates what Royler is talking about in this clip:

And here is clip of a basic variation to capitalize on the opponent pressing you up:

12. Clock choke by "Ze" Mario Sperry:

“I’ve always liked the clock because it’s such a strong position that it can be applied in different ways. Also because it’s a match-defining move, once it’s been sunk, it’s very hard for the opponent to escape. I’ve always known how to pass guard and whenever I would go for it I would do it with the intention of making the opponent commit a mistake like going to all fours or letting me take their collar. Of course, when you try to sink the classic clock – the one where you put one hand under the opponent’s chin and wrap the other around his back in order to grip the other collar – you need to be alert and prevent the opponent from holding your outer arm and rolling over as he tries to gain side-control. The clock can be considered a blue-belt move – at least that’s when I began to use it a lot.”

This is an interesting variation on the Clock Choke using an outside pant grip. Note how his head is still up while applying the choke, this is a common feature of the older variations:

Here is Ze Mario's team mate, Wallid Ismail, putting the Clock Choke on Royce Gracie in a head down variation that is more modern (see the whole match here to see how this position came to be):

13. Half-guard sweep by Roberto "Gordo" Correa:

“It was during the beginning of the ‘90s that I began developing the half-guard. I had an injured knee but kept training. Due to my injured leg, I would position myself sideways. Half-guard was a defense resource that I started using because back then fighters would always try the sweep or would opt to restore the guard. The development of the half-guard made it also a position of attack . The athletes now let the opponent get to the half-guard and then sweep. Whoever is attempting the half-guard sweep must be alert to avoid an attack to the neck or even a kimura, since there are some fighters who are very good on top. One needs to be careful not to expose oneself too much and end up submitted.”

In lieu of being able to find a better clip, here's my team mate Ben getting me with a deep half guard sweep at the 2007 Arnold's:

14. Take down by Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza:

“Each fighter has a different style. We still have fighters that do not like to train standup positions, takedown positions, but that is changing and more and more people are training judo, always seeking the evolution of their game. I for one am a Judo and Jiu-Jitsu black-belt and my routine of training is divided practically in half between standup and ground techniques. The kata guruma is a very efficient takedown and hardly ever is the opponent able to counter-attack. To apply the kata guruma, you can use several types of grips, which is another advantage of the move: you can choose among gripping the sleeve, the collar or even the back. The ideal thing is to throw the opponent down and fall right beside them immediately; with the guard already trespassed.”

Here's a drop knee version of the kata guruma from a judo match:

Here's a standing version featuring Judoka Josh Resnick:

And, here's a Judo Highlight vid to inspire you to train your throws:

15. Choke from the mount by Leonardo "Leozinho" Vieira:

“If you are going for this move, it means that you are in a supreme position in the fight, a position in which you have the advantage of only attacking. The opponent, on the other hand, has no other action than to play defense. The big danger here is to lose the position and go under. How can that happen? It can happen if the opponent successfully throws you down with a bridge. I really like the choke from the mount and the secret for performing it right is to have certain steps in mind: the first is safety. You have to ask yourself to what point it is worth maintaining the choke at the risk of being thrown down. Whenever I felt insecure to try the choke, I chose to abandon the position, to stabilize the mount and to start it all over again. Another fundamental point to any fight situation is to know when to attack. Each position has attack timing and that’s what defines whether the attack is going to be successful or if the defense is going to be able to neutralize the danger. All that has to be done with a lot of calm, since it’s no use to be hasty when trying to finish the fight if you consider that the more desperate the adversary is to escape the mount, the easier he is going to make it for you to finish the match.”

A little clip from the old "In Action" tapes of Rorion Gracie using this choke 3 times in a row to beat the same Hapkido guy in some challenge matches. He's mainly using the one palm up - one palm down variation. One thing I had never noticed before now is how much he arches his back when applying the choke.

16. Choke from the guard by Pedro Valente:

“The greatest virtue of the choke from the guard is that it works against any sort of adversary, regardless of their strength or size. When you face a stronger or heavier opponent, it’s often not possible to stay on top, so the guard is a fundamental resource of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. This position enables the fighter on the bottom to defend himself, and possibly submit the opponent. As they train this choke, the fighter develops the important habit of controlling the foe’s head and breaking their posture, which is mandatory in a position of brawling. The practice of the guard choke helps the student learn to use his opponent’s clothes in their favor. In order to perform it, the fighter must place the first hand well into the collar and wait for an opportunity to place the second hand, always deeply, with agility and precision.

“There are some variations to this move, but the traditional grip is made with both thumbs facing the outside. As they achieve the grip, the fighter must twist his wrists (palms up) and pull the foe’s head toward their own chest. It is important to bring the opponent’s head very close to the chest, stopping them from defending or counter-attacking with punches. The pressure must be exerted continuously until the adversary gives up or passes out, which won’t take long if the technique is properly applied. When they use this choke the fighter must pay attention to the guard pass. In order to avoid the pass, they must use their legs, for their hands will be busy attacking.”

This is a clip of the most basic variation of this choke:

Jean Jacques Machado shows a more advanced variation:

17. Sweep from the open guard by Vinicius "Draculino" Magalhaes:

“This is a technique I like very much, and that I used a lot as a brown-belt and a beginning black-belt. The first step is to control the adversary’s heel before performing the outside hook. The hook is performed knee-high, but without getting in too close, for if that happens there is the risk of a leg lock. The fighter has to progressively apply the hook at the same time you sit on the floor, placing their hips back, since if they stay with their back entirely on the ground it gets very difficult. So one must start working with that same hand that was on the heel in order to control the collar. With the other leg – the one that was performing the outside hook – you slowly push the opponent’s knee with your foot. This push breaks the opponent’s base. If all works out, the tendency is for the victim to fall a little forward, thus being forced to find support on the ground. That’s when you exchange the collar grip for the pull of the arm that is supported on the ground while the leg that was pushing starts working as a wedge, making the foe fall on their shoulder, thus offering the sweep.“One of the aspects the athlete must pay attention to is that at the beginning of the move, when they are about to use the outside hook, it’s mandatory to be alert in order not to overstretch the leg, at the height of the opponent’s hip, for thus they run the risk of getting leg-locked, which the foe would do by taking a step backward.”

Draculino is referring to a sweep from an open guard variation more commonly known as the de la Riva (DLR) Guard (named after Ricardo de la Riva Goded). Here's a clip of de la Riva showing a sweep from a variation of the guard he made famous: (Kinda funny - he also calls the outside leg hook the "de la Riva" hook.)

18. Ezequiel by Marcio Feitosa:

“I’ve always enjoyed playing tight on top, without letting positions slip, and undermining my adversary. That’s why I’ve always preferred chokes to armbars. When you get a choke wrong, you usually remain on top; when you miss an armbar, you generally fall on the bottom. The good thing about the ezequiel is that you can prepare it without moving one inch away from the foe, and for those who like to fight tight there is nothing better. Usually I only teach this move to someone who is already a blue-belt. This for two reasons: as it is very easy for a white-belt to apply it on another, the student ends up getting addicted to this technique and stop using important techniques to pass guard. Another reason is the fact that when you tighten the ezequiel both your arms are busy, and thus you have to maintain balance with only your hips and legs. That takes some experience. It’s important to say that there’s no tough guy when it comes to the neck. Tough guys can even resist other kinds of submissions. With the choke they either tap out or pass out. Up to them.”

Here, Judoka Hidehiko Yoshida uses the Ezequiel (Sode Guruma Jime) to tap out Kiyoshi Tamura in a Pride MMA match:

(*Trivia: The Ezequiel choke (sode guruma jime) is the other technique named after a Judoka in BJJ. It is named after a Brazilian Judoka, who had much success with it when he would enter BJJ tournaments. Unfortunately, I haven't been able to find out what his last name was.)

19. Knee on the belly by Gabriel "Napão" Gonzaga:

“Despite the fact that nowadays there are not very strict rules about when to teach a move to one’s students, I usually detail the knee on belly for those who are at blue-belt level. When the fighter tries to place their knee on the opponent’s belly, they must pay attention to balance. A good base is fundamental for performing the move perfectly. Without it, the athlete will be subject to reversals and some armlocks. As they use the knee on belly, whoever is on top forces the foe to dispense a huge amount of energy, as they try, at all costs, to achieve a comfortable position. As they try to escape, the victim winds up exposing themselves, thus augmenting the chances of submission.”

A little knee on belly with a baseball bat choke to top things off. It's in French, but you don't need audio:

20. Leg lock by Eduardo Telles:

“A leg-locker must always aim at the opponent’s joints. A good moment is after getting a guard pass: one crosses their knees, turns back a little and then springs. Because of the position itself, one must always be alert to defend their back, something that can be achieved by holding the opponent’s leg tightly. The leg lock is a move I have always liked using, but lately haven’t had many chances to do it: my opponents have gotten wise and come to the fights with the strategy of defending their legs. A good leg lock defense is to turn one’s knee, in a similar way to how one defends their arm from an armbar. These two moves, by the way, hold many similarities, as they can both be used on top, on the bottom, the side – pretty much at any moment of the fight. It’s good to remember that the leg lock is only allowed from the brown belt on, and I see no reason to teach it to the undergraduate, Truth is they end up learning it anyway, but I always make it clear that this particular move is forbidden, except if an undergraduate student tries to use it on a black- or brown-belt during training sessions.”

This is a nice basic clip that describes what Telles is talking about:

So, there they are - the Top 20. I'm interested to know what your opinions are and if there are techniques that you feel should be added to this list of 20.

Tuesday, May 8, 2007

Michigan Morels - 5/6/07

Okay, I'll admit it - I didn't watch the ADCC's on ProElite over the weekend. In my opinion, I was doing something better, instead. It's Morel Mushroom season in Michigan. If you're not familiar with these things, they are phenomenal! The are a gourmet mushroom that retails for about $100/lb depending on where you're at and the time of year. Basically, you have a small window of time in which to find these shrooms, and this year it fell on the same weekend as the ADCC's. With the ADCC's, I can always buy the DVD when it comes out later.

So, I spent my ADCC weekend outside in the woods with my girlfriend finding these elusive bastards and getting ripped apart by picker bushes. We found about 100 or so in 2 days for ourselves, and I helped some Judo friends of mine (Brenden & Danielle) find some for themselves, as well.

I'll be up north this coming weekend looking for more, so I won't be at any of the upcoming tournaments.