I am a shark, the ground is my ocean...and most people don't even know how to swim. - Rickson Gracie

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пятница, 13 апреля 2018 г.

10 Tips to Improve Your Grappling Game

Whether you are a serious competitor or an avid UFC fan, or just training brazilia jiu jitsu for self defense, we all are looking to improve our grappling game. Here are my tips:

1. Train More :)  obvious but cannot be overlooked. If you have a friend or an extra few hours a week, why not train a little more than your partners. Hours on the mat never lie and you cant find a serious competitor that is not a mat rat or spent years on the mats.

2. Train Smart. This one cannot be overlooked. If you keep doing half guard on white belts, never pass guard or simply are a one hit wonder, you are not going to go very far. Jiu jitsu is a huge game and you have to be proficient in a variety of situations. Get out of your comfort zone, train leglocks if you suck at them... train guard passing if you are a leg lock guy... pass standing if you pass on your knees... do something you dont normally do .... take a white or blue belt and master something new that will take your game to the next level

3. Cross Train. You dont have to be a takedown wizard but you dont want to be the bjj black belt that flops on his bit and knows nothing about taking a guy down... nor do you want to be a judo guy with no ground game. Train a little bit of everything and your overall game will improve

4. Cardio. Technique conquers all they say but I think there should be a caveat and that is you need the cardio. Even if your jiu jitsu game is sick, if you cant handle the pace of your partner you will get tired and lose especially in competition. How you develop cardio is your business. Regular sparring is a fun way of doing it though:)

5. Compete. No matter what they tell you, competing is an important element of grappling and you will progress much faster when you regularly compete. It not only motivates you but you learn from your mistakes. Believe me when you lose in competition, you will remember your mistake for a long time. Get to it!

6. Privates.  It is expensive but if you can afford it or can share a private with a friend, its worth it at any level. Find a guy that you admire, respect. Put together list of questions, problems you have had with your game and figure it out. Spending an hour or two going through positions that are a problem is the ultimate way of training smart. Choking random whitebelts with the same technique you have been doing for 10 years is not going to get you very far.

7. Travel  This could sound strange or unloyal but if you want to be great you have to get out there and learn from as many people as you can. Go to Roger Gracie's Academy in London or Atos Jiu Jitsu in California. Train with the best and learn from the best as much as you can. There are now academies all around the world and in almost every city you go to. Drop an email in advance and visit, you wont regret it. It will be a fresh perspective, different training partners and you might just learn something or see something you havent seen before

8. Drill.  you have to become proficient and beyond in your technique. Hours of drilling will make your game better and accustom your body to new positions and moves. You will also wear your body out less by spending time on drilling.

9. Open mats. Open mats are often held at many academies around the world. Why not come by and roll with some tough guys from other academies. You will develop better cardio and gain access to training partners you dont know. I think too many academies have relatively low level of bjj among students so training with a tougher group of competitors could be beneficial to leave your ego at the door and learn.

10. Ask questions. I think this one is the most critical of all. You need to constantly ask your instructor questions, Questions about techniques, questions about mistakes or positions you lose. This one will really separate you from the others., After class stay and take a few minutes to try to figure out some errors you made 

среда, 28 марта 2018 г.

7 Things to do to Gain Your Blue Belt! (Checklist)

Your Checklist to gain your Brazilia Jiu Jitsu Blue Belt:

1. Learn a Take Down!!  - doesnt matter which one it is. Just try to learn one that you feel most comfortable with and just go for it!

2. Learn One Pass - ideally you should have several types of guard passes that you can chain together to develop a complete passing game but at the white belt level, after a few months of learning and drilling the different passes, choose one and be relentless about going for it. 

3. Learn a Sweep - as a brazilian jiu jitsu player you need to be able to work off your back. I would learn and try to drill several sweeps from the closed guard, half guard and any other guard you feel comfortable but at the end of the day you need a GO-TO move. My preference would be the butterfly guard sweep or the classical half guard underhook sweep. 

4. Submission - try learning one basic submission to attack. I recommend either the arm bar or the triangle. Both are available from top and bottom. Both take years to really master but you can use these basic attacks at any level. 

5. Go to a Seminar - you want to get your belt but you really have not seen any BJJ until you have gone to a seminar, preferably with one of the top instructors or competitors. You will find seminars everywhere on the internet. Pick one and try it out. It would give you a second perspective and its a lot of fun if you go with your team for a few hours to learn something different. 
I strongly recommend seminar of more classical jiu jitsu guys especially and white and blue belt levels. 

6. Private Lesson - an excellent way to make progress is to take private lessons. At the end of the day it is for you to actually make notes and ask the questions. if you ask the good questions, you will get the information from your instructor that you need to make progress. Take a private lesson every month or two and you will be a much better brazilian jiu jitsu player. 

7. Compete! So you want your next belt huh? well you need to deserve it! you may have been training for a year or two but only in competition can you really find out where you are on the food chain. Compete as much as you can at white belt, gain confidence and it will be a matter of time before your instructor just hands to you that long awaited blue belt

I would say that typically it should take at least 2 years to gain a blue belt training at least 3-4 times per week (consistently) but the reality is that if you actually want to get good at this sport you need to train as much as you can. 

Khabib Nurmagomedov's BJJ Game

The upcoming UFC 223 main event looks is due to feature Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Tony Ferguson on April 7 2018. These two guys have proven themselves to have the incredible ability to get the W with Khabib proving especially dominant in the last few fights.

While Khabib's takedowns have been spectaculor I think there is an overlooked fact that we actually have not seen him grapple on the ground against top brazilian jiu jitsu black belts and while Ferguson is not a specialist, I think it will be interesting to see how he is able to control Tony on the ground.

What we have seen little of is actaul pure grappling from Khabib and looking back to Fedor's days, it has been especially worrying when Sambo fighters have claimed that Sambo and wrestling was sufficient in terms of ground game for MMA. I would argue there are nuances to the ground game that arent covered. For example you are definitely not going to see a great passing game from a pure sambo player and on the bottom, sambo fighters have very basic guard retention skills.

If we look back to Fedor's days he had great trouble with Ricardo Arona in Rings and then when Bigfoot started passing he showed very little in terms of both guard skills. He had this great arm bar but when tough BJJ guys reversed the position and got on top he had very basic defenses.

In Khabib's case I think his top game is very strong and it would be difficult to easily sweep him but I would argue that all three of Khabib's last opponents were mainly strikers and I think he should watch out with Tony even if he gets his favoured half guard position.

From what i've seen Khabib's passing game is based on setting up passes with strikes but in some of the grappling videos in Naga floating around on the internet it really looks like he did struggle to pass the guard in a pure grappling environment. It could be that he does not need this skill as he is not really looking for submissions but I would be curious to see from the ground game stand point he is able to actually improve position on the ground.

In Russia & Dagestan BJJ and Grappling is still in its early days as far as I understand and although there are some good submission grapplers around, I would be curious to see what is the ground game level in some of these places where Khabib trains at back home. 

среда, 21 марта 2018 г.

BJJ All Roundness

I think one aspect of BJJ that is not talked about enough is regarding building up an all-round game.

Classical BJJ has been oriented at judo take downs, passing the guard => mount => taking the back

Today one should consider two additional aspects:

1. Leg lock game = still very neglected aspect that due to the IBJJF rules is almost a part of a different sport these days. (IBJJF does not allow heel hooks)

2. Wrestling game = as great as Judo is, i think anyone will agree that some of the throws expose too much and leg focused takedowns are not allowed based on the latest iteration of judo rules

Both are better trained in no-gi/grappling in my opinion but its great to mix it in the gi as well.

I think wrestling & judo are an important aspect given that many schools have little or no takedown training. Im a brown belt at the moment and as I progress, more and more I feel the need to tighten up my takedown game because it would be a shame to start training takedowns when you reach black belt level as it feels like being a black belt with white belt takedowns is just embarassing.

For street self defense the takedown game is critical. The reality is you dont want to be on the bottom in a real fight no matter how good you are on the ground. You never know what situation you will be in and it just makes sense that if you can take the guy down and start from the top position, you can not only win but also stay safe. afterall the guy could be much stronger than you

пятница, 18 сентября 2015 г.

Aikido Effectiveness vs Sport Oriented Martial Arts Such as BJJ, Wrestling or Boxing

Guys I thought I would write this post, perhaps some will dislike it and we have to respectful to other martial arts but there comes a point when you simply just have to open people's eyes to the truth out there.

Just watched Joe Rogan's interview of Andrew Hill and having wasted almost two years of my life on aikido and several years on other traditional martial arts before that, it made me want to write this article to try to perhaps guide some young guys that wanted to learn a martial art that will work in real life and help them not only get in shape but also to help give them the skills to protect themselves or their family.

Check out the link here:





I know it is sometimes painful to admit that all those wrist locks and movements you were studying are not going to work but lets be serious catching someones hand will they are swinging at you is nearly impossible against a trained striker.

Aikido does teach some basic break falling which is useful but the lack of sparring or effective techniques just makes it an art whereby two people on the mat cooperate with each other. Yes some of these wrist locks will work on almost anybody if he lets you do them, but lets be honest, if you get a trained wrestler or judo fighter, he will dump you on your head and there is nothing in the aikido that will help you.

I know there are lots of haters out there that will tell you that all those techniques are very dangerous and while doing the takedown, the aikido guys can strike you with a deadly punch. In reality I think its worth while if you do plan to dedicate your life or a significant amount of time to aikido, why not actually take a free grappling lesson or brazilian jiu jitsu class and compare, ask questions and make the decision FOR YOUR SELF what works and what doesn't. I think the big problem is the influence on other people of a one sided story that your aikido instructor gives you.

What is obvious right from the start is that aikido does not prepare you for neither striking nor grappling. You just can't step out of the way of a guy that will relentlessly try to grab your legs and take you to the ground where you will likely have not idea what do to.

All I want to advise you guys training aikido is that I was one of you and I wish I tried some other martial arts earlier. If you don't want to strike, just try some wrestling, grappling or BJJ. It will change your world. I think BJJ personally is the better option for older guys.

The scariest thing about aikido is that it creates a false sense of ability (or invincibility). You go on the street thinking this stuff is going to work but the reality is that if your opponent has any real physical ability or real martial arts skill, the fight will likely end in a very nasty KO or submission for you. If you don't believe me or anybody else THATS Fine!! Just turn up to your closest JUDO/Wrestling/BJJ academy and just have a friendly roll with the instructor there, or even just some of the students :))


четверг, 13 августа 2015 г.

BJJ Organizations - Supporting BJJ Growth

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu I believe has a real potential to become a successful a popular sport despite what critics may say in my opinion. Beginning of this year, the IBJJF Europeans had over 3000 competitors. (I think it was 3500 in fact!) and that is tremendous growth over the years as I remember just 5-6 years ago the number was closer to 800.

These kinds of large successful events will inevitably attract sponsors despite the spectator unfriendliness. How can BJJ go mainstream? It is through comps like the Worlds and the Europeans. The Europeans I personally believe has the potential to become even bigger than the IBJJF Worlds though precisely due to the fact that they have separate Masters divisions.

The average age of pracitioner in BJJ is over 30 and many just dont feel in the same boat competing against a tough 21 year old when you are a 39 year old purple belt who hasnt trained for a while and has a huge load of other things going on in your life.

The Europeans is a comp where teams of guys can travel from all over Europe and compete with packed divisions (blue belt divisions hit over 100 competitors these days!). There is prestige and Lisbon is generally a warm and inexpensive location to visit in the beginning of the year. All things are set for a great event.

A lot has been said about IBJJF's lack of prizes in their events and of course we do get a lot of other positives that compensate for this most notably organization quality. I do think however nominal prizes would be cool if money is just too much. I dont think it would be hard to arrange something with the Sponsors for at an event like the Europeans and I think this too would give an additional boost. Afterall IBJJF benefits from the scale of the events (economies of scale) and profitability of the even would increase a lot if in a few years we see 5000 or 10000 players competing, bringing along their family in some cases.


вторник, 26 мая 2015 г.

IBJJF Losing It?

The International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation is the largest and dominant organization in bjj competition around the world. The Worlds (Mundials), Pan Ams and Europeans are extremely succesful tournaments that have been held for almost two decades now attracting thousands of players. Now the dynamic seems to be changing.

IBJJF Competition Rage

IBJJF is slowly but surely proving to be a very for profit organization not really concerned about either developing bjj as a sport nor with its own brand. Theoretically it should be motivated to hold only a few larger comps but instead now the schedule is full of watered-down international and regional comps with just a couple of players in the divisions. With this in mind paying $100+ per comp is a bit strange just to compete with like 2 or 3 in your division which is very common for purple and above grades.

Examples of this approach are comps like the one held in Zadar recently. If you look at the Nice Open in France and even the UK Nationals, there are too few players. Either the price is too high or there are just too many competitions around to choose from.

Rule Dynamic

While many of us believe that it was valid to eliminate heel hooks from the IBJJF tournaments to prevent injury, the new rules involving jumping guard and others are hurting competition. Knee reaping is also hard to understand but the fact of the matter is that moving away from the original jiu jitsu could make bjj much more like judo, with limited rules and a lot of politics.

IBJJF Cash Prizes 

It is sad to see that IBJJF cannot find a way to compensate their best competitors in the black belt divisions. Guys competing in the black belt division in the top division are now getting more coverage and we need to compensate the very best. Sponsors could be one way of doing this. I think if they don't sort it out, it will take just a few years before someone else takes over.

Brazilian jiu jitsu is a sport where the community aspect is very strong. This community I think can do more to reach out to sponsors and seek support. With the continued growth of the sport, I think we could see top competitions attracting even more players and viewers and organizers need to leverage this to support the competitors.