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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понедельник, 13 апреля 2009 г.

Grip Strength for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Judo

Conditioning is a key aspect if you want to reach the top of your game and I think grip strength important aspect of conditioning both for judo and bjj.

I remember when I started out sparring newaza randori, my fingers were so tired after the first two fights that I could not really perform nearly as well as I could otherwise. I could not maintain a good grip on my opponents both standing and on the ground. This is why I believe grip training is important.

You need good grip strength both standing and on the ground, and an important judo exercise is even call "grip-fighting", as getting and holding a good grip is important to carry out a successful throw. On the ground, you often need a good grip not only to keep the pressure and control, but for many techniques involving the gi. Gi strangles involve often involve substantial hand and grip strength.

If you are a beginner, then of course there are other things to focus on. Your cardio and your technique always come first but I think once you've already reached a certain level, this kind of training is also beneficial.

Here are some exercises I've used to improve grip strength or just heard about:

1. Turtle position lift: lift your partner by the part of the gi under the armpits with him in the turtle position.

2. Sleeves pull: as your partner is on the ground, you grab his sleeves and drag him as far as you can along the mats.

3. Rope climb: use only your arms to climb up and then down. Doing this exercise regularly is well known to improve both your upper body and grip strength

4. Gi chin-ups. Throw your gi over a pull-up bar if you have one at your gym and do pull-ups.

5. Sand-bag lifting. Even grabbing the sandbag will make your hands tough while lifting will also improve your upper-body strength.

Many of the past and current bjj legends and MMA fighters are known for their "iron grip" including Antonio Rodrigo "Minotauro", the legendary Pride Champion and Roger Gracie, the current Absolute BJJ World Champion.

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There is a whole bunch of stuff you can do to improve your grip strength. The most boring of all I think would be to purchase hand-grippers. The idea is to sit, watch TV or in a traffic jam and use those things, doing the exercise hundreds of times a day to improve your hand strength. The truth is, it is just not realistic and almost nobody does it.

There are however a bunch of fun ways to improve your grip strength that I would recommend. One is rock climbing. It is a great sport that takes your mind of grappling, jiu jitsu etc altogether and on the other hand has some fantastic side-effects.

Rock climbing improves your upper-body strength (your arms) and your hand/grip strength. Try it out! I have actually seen on the internet and some bloggers already recommending it to help with bjj and judo. Certainly it is a great activity if you are looking to do a sport not related to grappling.

четверг, 9 апреля 2009 г.

Top-10 Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Players of 2008


I have taken this article from fighting-mma.com which I think is excellent. We all know these guys, heroes of our sport!


Top Ten Brazilian Jujitsu Grapplers

1) Alexandre “Xande” Ribeiro

Right now he is the best grappler in the world. He just beat Roger Gracie at the World’s in California in the absolute division and he is a smaller body. Xande Ribeiro was the big name of the event, conquering the absolute after defeating Roger Gracie by 4 to 2, points earned by two takedowns, while Roger scored with a sweep.

Xande Ribeiro became blackbelt open class champion for the second time. Ribeiro has fought and won at every major level and after securing a win over Roger Gracie there is no doubt he is the best BJJ fighter in the world right now with unmatched technical mastery.

He was named as the Submission Grappler of the Year by onthemat.com.

Xande is also brother of Saulo Ribeiro (six time World Jiu-Jitsu Champion, and a two time ADCC Submission Wrestling World Champion) and together they run the University of Jiu Jitsu in San Diego, California.

I have just ordered the DVD "The Road to a Championship with Xande Ribeiro" released in March 2007. As soon as I get it, will post a review.

If you want to see how incredible the guy is I recommend you watch his no-gi match with Jeff "The Snowman" Monson, a fearsome ADCC champion, BJJ black belt and one of the worlds top grapplers.

2) Roger Gracie

Roger is perhaps the biggest, strongest fighter in BJJ today. As a member of the Gracie family he has been doing BJJ since he was in diapers. The son of Reyla Gracie (who is the daughter of Carlos Gracie) and Mauricio Motta Gomes, one of the six Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belts of Rolls Gracie, he has Jujitsu in his blood. His dad Motta Gomes (7th degree black belt( was a six time BJJ world champion and most commonly known as one of the “Famous Five”

Roger is a big strong fighter that over powers his opponents. Hew has one at every level in BJJ and in 2005 he took first place in the 88–98kg and Open-weight categories by submitting all eight opponents ADCC Submission Wrestling World Championship.


Here’s what Robert Drysdale (#6 on this list) had to say about him - "It’s not the fact that he is that tall, it’s that no one is used to going against someone that tall. You can’t just blame it on the fact that he’s tall though, the guy is incredible. He is very, very tight, especially when he is on top. You’ll see guys like Jacare, Margarida, or Xande beating him or coming very close to beating him, and those were basically judo matches. That’s why they were very close to beating him. I’m not the best guard player in the world, but I consider my guard to be above average. But it is very hard to play the guard with him. Look at his match against Romulo Barral in the finals of the open division. Romulo’s got one of the best guards in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and Roger just walked through it. After watching that match it confirmed to me that it is just very hard to play guard with Roger. He is just so tight and so long that when you try to sweep him his base is everywhere. He spreads his weight so well he is hard to move.
He is also incredibly strong. I don’t know if you guys saw this in the finals of 2007 but he ripped my gi. He just ripped my sleeve apart. That was a brand new gi that I had never worn before! That’s not normal! That’s not normal, I don’t care what people say. I have never seen that happen in my life. When he did that I was like, “Holy, &*#!” He was pulling against my sleeve, and I had my hand on his collar with a pretty good grip, and he kept pulling. I thought to myself, “You’re crazy, you’re never going to get my arm out of there”. It was stuck on his collar and it wasn’t going to move. And he kept pulling until he ripped my gi. I have never seen that before. That’s amazing when you think about it. How many people can do that? It’s not like it’s used or anything, it was brand new. The guy is incredibly strong. It may not look like it, but he’s a freak.
But it’s not just that. He knows how to spread his weight, he knows his thing. I still see weaknesses in his game, but it’s hard to get to those positions so you can explore them. I think mentally he’s very prepared, physically very prepared, technically very prepared. He’s on a path where he wants to become the next Rickson Gracie. That’s what he works for. That’s why he has no sponsors, he doesn’t talk much, he’s that quiet guy. The “I’m the samurai” kind of thing. He’s a smart kid and I think he’s going to be the next Rickson. He’s incredible. I’ve got no excuses for losing to him. I still think he’s human, that I can beat him. I think that there are a lot of guys out there that can beat him. But I think that right now he’s the toughest guy with the gi. With the gi I can’t think of anyone better than him right now."


3) Ronaldo de Souza

Ronaldo de Souza or Jacaré as his is best known for his aggressive style in grapping. Jacaré is one of the top submission grapplers in the world, being the 2004 and 2005 Openweight World Jiu-Jitsu Champion and 2005 ADCC Absolute Division runner-up only losing to Roger Gracie. In 2006, Jacare drew with UFC Heavyweight Champion Randy Couture in a grappling contest.

Right now Jacaré has been focusing on mixed martial arts and has stepped back from Brazilian Jujitsu. If he was only doing BJJ he would certainly be the top spot.

Jacare is a god of jiu jitsu and definitely deserves this spot. Just checkout this youtube highlight Jacare Youtube Highlight




4) Andre Galvao

Is known for his base and incredible balance. He is very quick and fast when he grapplers but is very patient. Once Galvao has your back he is one of the best finishers in the game. He has great half guard sweeps. At the 2008 Pan Ams he won the middleweight black belt division as well as the Brasa black belt also won the absolute division as well. Presently he is the seven-time Brazilian Jiu Jitsu World Champion.




Galvao has been trained under the tutelage of two of the most progressive and accomplished BJJ'ers of modern times, Fernando "Terere" and Leozinho Vieira and certainly deserves his spot in this top-10 ranking.

Having signed with DREAM and won the first three of his fights, he is now focused on MMA. He currently trains with Wanderlei Silva but we all hope to have him back in the Jiu Jitsu game some time in the future.

5) Antonio Braga Neto

He is a World Champion in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu with 16 years of experience. Braga is the 2008 Mundials Super Heavyweight Black Belt World Champion. He is also the 2008 No Gi World Champion and the 2009 Pan Amerian Absolute and Super HeavyWeight Champion.

He is the only person to have ever won the Mundials World Championships at the blue, purple, brown, and black belt levels. A very big fighter, Antonio is also surprisingly agile and quick on his feet. 2009 seems to be his coming out party and he is one of the best BJJ fighters to watch out for. He is due to compete in the 2009 World Championships where he will face the most awesome jiu jitsu players of today. We will be watching!




6) Robert Drysdale

Robert Drysdale has Brazilian roots. Born in the US, his family he moved to Brazil in 1987 at the age of six where he first got the taste of jiu jitsu. He received his Black Belt in 2004 from the famed Leo Vieira from the Brasa Jiu-Jitsu Club in São Paulo, Brazil and became the 2007 ADCC Submission Wrestling World Championship Open Division ADCC, submitting Marcelo Garcia.

7) Marcelo Garcia

He is one of the smallest people on the list but his technical skills are among the best. His rubber guard and ability to take on and beat bigger opponents is a testament to how great and technically sound a fighter he is. Garcia is a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu under Fabio Gurgel of Team Alliance, and is considered by many to be one of the top jiu-jitsu and submission grappling fighters. He has five world championship titles in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, two of them as a black belt (in 2004 and 2006). He lost in 2007 to Robert Drysdale in the absolute division of the ADCC. Despite his small size he has beaten some of the best in Jujitsu like Renzo Gracie, Rolls Gracie, Pablo Popovitch, Kurt Pellegrino, Ronaldo “Jacare” Desouza, Ricco Rodriguez, Jake Shields, Shinya Aoki, Chris Brennan, Renato “Babalu” Sobral, and Mike Van Arsdale.



8) Rafael Lovato Jr.

Rafael became the youngest American to ever receive a black belt in BJJ at the age of 21 in 2004. Many consider Rafael to be the top American BJJ competitor, and one of the best in the world. He is the first American to submit a Gracie in a BJJ competition at the black belt level. He is a 2x Pan-American Champion and an American National Champion at the black belt level.



9) Sergio Moraes

Sergio Moraes’ star is on the rise. At the recent 2008 World Championship, the Alliance fighter who was virtually unknown took on Rickson Gracie’s son Kron and put a beating on him. He was up substantially in points before tapping him out.

We will sure be watching this star for future performances.



10) Tarsis Humphries

With recent showings at the Mundial, Pan Ams and now ADCC is he getting the recognition he deserves. Humphries is a young black belt at 23 years old and fights for Alliance in Sao Paolo; run by “the general” Fabio Gurgel. He trains with Marcelo Garcia and is the best thin g coming from the Fabio Gurgel camp. At the recent 2008 Pan Ams he fought Andre Galvao for gold but got a shoulder injury during the match.

Treating Cauliflower Ear

So how do you treat cauliflower ear? What needs to be done is you have to drain blood from the formed hematoma as soon as possible. Any infection must be prevented and therefore you should definitely go to the doctor for this. (you need a syringe if you really want to do it yourself and you may not be able to prevent infection so better go to the doctor) It is also not that easy to do this yourself due to the angle, visibility etc.

Draining the hematoma will re-establish the connection of the skin to the underlying cartilage and hopefully allow the ear to heal and look normal again.

The draining normally involves an incision in the ear and a syringe (in my experience) is used to suck the blood out. If there is no blood to drain then it is likely too long has passed or no hematoma has formed and therefore the ear should really heal by itself.

It is definitely worth wearing an earguard right after you have done this. What may happen if you dont wear the earguard is that the area where the hematoma formed may get filled with blood again in which case the blood has to be drained once again. In practice in judo or bjj this may happen especially if you are sparring with someone and he gets you in kesa gatame or headlock.

Now the other method I've seen instead of using an earguard is tape. Tape is tied right around the head to secure the injured ear. In Russia I've seen this done a few times but it seems to me as an ineffective (and cheaper) way to deal with the problem. You will still get contact with the injured ear after all during training.

воскресенье, 5 апреля 2009 г.

Saulo Ribeiro Jiu Jitsu University Book - My Review

I have bought this book a few weeks ago and I have to say firstly that it blows me away. Saulo Ribeiro and Kevin Howell together with all the other guys that have helped to make this book I think have done a tremendous job.

If you liked Saulo's Jiu Jitsu Revolution Instructional DVD series, you are going to love the book. As in the DVD collection, Saulo is brilliant, teaching the fine technical details that you really need to understand to improve your game.

Firstly it is an enjoyable read and a very nice book, beautiful illustrations! Loads of pictures that show every detail and common mistakes made.

Saulo's reveals his philosophy in this book focusing on survival, escapes and positional play. This is not your average book of submission techniques. Submissions are left for the black belts who already know every aspect and are the last chapter of the book.

The real goal is to escape submissions, survive against more experienced opponents and gain a superior position. This book really focuses on the fine details which are normally omitted by beginners and intermediate students who learn brazilian jiu jitsu and tend to concentrate too much on submissions and power.

Transitions are shown well and also common mistakes which I think are great to fine tune your jiu jitsu

Of course the other thing to mention is that the sport aspect is what is covered here. Take-downs and self-defense aspects are not and I don't believe are needed here. Saulo aims to cover the foundations of the sport at a very technical level.

10 out of 10 , this book is an invaluable gift to any brazilian jiu jitsu practitioner, no matter what level.