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среда, 29 апреля 2015 г.

Travelling to Moscow? Where to Train BJJ!

Guys if you're coming to Moscow, Russia check out these gyms:

Lion Team
Lion is the oldest BJJ club in Moscow and has two branches, Lion Crocus (located on the border between Moscow and Moscow region) and Lion Baza (Begovaya Area)

Both clubs have suitable gi and no gi classes, run regularly by experienced instructors so its worth visiting and giving it a try.

Lion Baza runs regular morning classes, something that is seldom offered by other clubs for those of you with work committments. All the information is available on the website, but if any questions please post here!

The club was founded back in 2006 by Leonid Gatovskiy, first Russian Black Belt. Currently classes are lead by Ali Magomedov, European BJJ Champion at Purple (Now Brown Belt) and Stas Varshavskiy, a well known competitor teaching at Lion Crocus. Both are english speakers.

Ludus Team
A good club based in the center lead by Alexandre Deda Faria, a brazilian black belt who regularly runs seminars across the country. Check out their Frunzenskaya location if convenenient. They run their evening classes open for everybody and you may see some top black belts joining you in training down there.

Checkmat / Adaev Team
Setup as a Checkmat branch, the academy offers both gi and no-gi classes with a focus more on the no-gi. The head instructor is Daud Adaev who was one of the students of Leonid Gatovskiy.

Kristian Cestaro Team (Ribeiro Jiu Jitsu Moscow)
Lead by Kristian Cestaro, a brazilian black belt relocated to Russia, this is one of the leading clubs with several branches in Moscow, successfully competing in the local tournaments. The club is affiliated with the Ribeiro associated.

Ronin Family 
This is one of the local clubs run by Igor Lunyakov, a young purple belt and student of Leonid Gatovskiy. The club is affiliated with Roy Dean academy is despite being one of the younger clubs in Moscow is now active on the local competition scene.

You can find all the information about them on their website roninfamily.ru

Ronin I think has a lot more newer belt competitors but will sure show better results in the coming years.

Strela Team

Despite what people say, Strela Team is perhaps the most successful and big team on the local Moscow competition scene here. A lot of the top guys from Lion moved there 4-5 years ago while others left Strela due to their focus on team loyalty / politics which has pushed also a lot of people away out of the club. You can see this from their interview approach for visitors or new members.

Dmitriy Selivakhin is the head instructor down there and no doubt they will remain one of the most important clubs on the local bjj scene for years to come.


Drop by a post if you have any questions or comments. I have mentioned a few major clubs with some other notable such as Zaleev Team (focused on No-Gi Grappling), Creonche and a few smaller clubs (without websites) out of the picture and probably no the best choice for visitors coming over.

I also wrote this post many years ago in 2009! if you are interested how the scene has changed

How Long Does it Take to Gain Black Belt in BJJ (basic grading guide)

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is famed for being one of the martial arts where you truly have to earn your black belt on the mat with thousands of hours of drilling and sparring, showing the people around you that your skill in rolling is up to the level of black belt.

According to the IBJJF guide you have to be at least 19 years old to gain a black belt and should have spent a minimum of 4.5 years training at least 2 times a week. While this is clearly a minimum, there is no doubt that at the top-level competition academies, students train very often 2 times a day if not more combining all aspects of the sport from self defense and standing techniques such as judo throws, to gi and no-gi groundwork.

For example guys like Keenan Cornelius who clearly trained professionally at academies like Atos and Team Lloyd Irvin have dedicated themselves full-time to the sport and still only managed to reach the black belt after 8 years. 

Others such as BJ Penn and Caio Terra have been promoted much more rapidly and without a doubt remain one of the top brazilian jiu jitsu practitioners having won the world championships (IBJJF) at black belt level.

I think you would typically see a lot of practitioners reach black belt in around 10-15 years of consistent training. I think this should refer more to black belt level rather than the black belt itself as unfortunately today with the rise of the popularity of the sport, some instructors have started to bend the rules and gradually bring down the quality of the sport.

For example there is no denying that the level of intensity and general quality of the sparring partners varies significantly between academies. I personally have found that "family" style academies such as Gracie Barra have a much lower quality of practitioners with many blue belts corresponding more to white belt level and purple belts to blue belt level. Even though the instructors may be the top world class competitors, sometimes you will find that the academy as a whole and the head instructor will choose to promote some of his senior purple belts faster than he really should in order to show that his academy has a big group of senior grades and not just blue and white belts.

There is just no real escape from mat time and dedication required and I think to a great extent the quality of the teaching is very important. The student teacher bond whereby the instructor is really investing time into the student is necessary in order to achieve great results.

Overall I think the time required to achieve the technical ability to reach belt differs but I would say that one needs to be training for at least 2-3 years in each belt to attain a certain level of understanding of the techniques and develop the game. This fact is also supported by the polls I have held on this blog for a while now. I think 2 years per belt is something that is achievable with a minimum of 4-5 training sessions a week schedule and 3 years per belt at 3-4 sessions. 

That makes for around 4 trainings*50 weeks*3 years * 4 belts = 2400 training sessions overall to achieve the grade and 12 years of training required. 

2400/ (50 weeks) / 2 years / 4 belts = 6 trainings per week to achieve the black belt in 8 years

Based on the above you should spend 12 years * 12 months / 4 belts / 5 (since you can also have no stripes) = 7.2 months per stripe! (with 4 training per week)

Of course my calculation is probably a little more strict than reality. I think in reality most people will reach purple belt in 500 sessions and black in 1000 sessions.

It is of course a question of motivation.

Training 6 times a week you should spend 8 years * 12 months / 4 belts / 5 = 4.8 months per stripe

четверг, 23 апреля 2015 г.

Tips to Improving Your Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Most of us at some point in our training starts to feel like they've hit a wall. Either its during grueling training when suddenly you start losing to guys that have been training far less than you but for us reason caught you in a bunch of subs or its at a competition where you feel out of place, knocked out in the beginning.

Here are some personal tips that may help you get better:

  1. Private Lessons: private lessons are expensive but are a great way to get over some hurdles. Write down on a piece of paper the positions where you tend to lose and ask your instructor to show you what to do in these situations. Many times you will attempt a sweep but fail to finish. At other times you have a submission locked in but then lose the position. Your INSTRUCTOR IS THERE TO GUIDE YOU. Take advantage of this. 

  2. Training Partners: "In order to become a Lion you have to Train with Lions" - Carlson Gracie. Yes indeed and the great Carslon Snr was right. If you are the top grade at your academy and are constantly winning every position against your training partners, you need to step up the level of training partners. Seek out opportunities to train with tough guys and they will show you your own flaws in your game that you need to correct. This is important for you to progress especially at the higher grades. 

  3. Competition: Even though competition is not necessary to improve, I really believe it is worth competing regularly. It will not only improve your motivation but help you gain varied experiences competing against players from other gyms and around the world. Many of us develop similar styles to our instructors. By competing you will learn that other players may have different approaches that you need to be prepared for.

  4. Visit Other Schools: While the word Creonche does pop up from time to time, the reality is that there are world class instructors out there and there is a high probability that they are not located next to your house. Go on holiday and visit Brazil. Fly to California and train at the best gyms down there including Atos academy and the University of Jiu Jitsu. Make new friends and enjoy jiu jitsu. In the process someone for sure will show you a thing or two about bjj that you did not know.

I hope these pointers will help a little some of the guys looking to improve. Any comments welcome!

среда, 22 апреля 2015 г.

Which BJJ Gi Should I Buy?

Every brazilian jiu jitsu player from white to black belt loves to buy a new gi - the main uniform in bjj which looks a bit like the judo gi and sometimes referred to as the kimono (wrongly)

Unlike 20 years ago today there is a whole range of gi's available sold both online in stores such as budovideos.com as well as at competitions such as the many IBJJF events where you can often buy at discount prices cool gear.

There are many companies that produce BJJ gear with the top brands including Manto, Koral, Hayabusa, Shoyroll, Scramble, Grips and many others varying in price and quality.

From my personal experience it makes sense to try a few different gi brands to get a feel for the different quality available. In any case you are going to need 2 or 3 gi suits for training so inevitably you will be looking for variety.


 - Stay await from Koral and Gracie Barra GI if possible. Koral has been on the market a long time but the last experience I had with their GI was not a good one and the same goes for Gracie Barra. Both disappointed me in terms of quality although to be fair I think Gracie Barra now produce their GI's in partnership with Storm.

- Good to start with cheaper suits initially. You don't need to invest in the latest Shoyroll or Hayabusa gi to start bjj. There are plenty of more basic GI that are normally sold locally. Check with your instructor what he recommends as a starter GI. Tatami produce some cheaper suits you should take a look at as well.

- If you like to look good, make sure the colors of the GI, your current belt and rash guard match. There are plenty of different gis that work. Personally I think black gis go very well with purple and brown belts while blue belts go well with white. I think personal preferences play a big part as well but those are just my 5 cents!