Monday, January 28, 2013

Post 2013 European Championships (Noteworthy Matches & Thoughts)

The IBJJF European Championships may not have been packed full with as many household names as we might see at Worlds or Pan but there were plenty of great, high level competitors that filled the brackets last weekend.  From what I have gathered there were some great matches and definitely some notables.
  • Terere returned to competition and loses a controversial DQ (knee reap) against Claudio Calasans in the Middle weight Final.
From GracieMag: 

Alan Do Nascimento just brought the venue to tears. After conceding the win to Fernando Tererê in their middleweight match, he handed Fernando Tererê his black belt. He later explained his actions: Fernando Tererê made what I am in Jiu-Jitsu. He taught me since the white belt. This belt, he gave one day and asked for 5 reais and I knew it he was going to buy crack. I told him then that I was going to give him back the belt when when he got back on his feet. There's no better moment than that! I will sleep filled with joy and proud today!"
  • This was the first IBJJF tournament that both the Miyao brothers competed at Brown belt
  • Team Lloyd Irvin came in 2nd place overall team points in a gi tournament
  • Leo Nogueira (Alliance) takes the black belt Absolute
  • Mackenzie Dern wins her first title at black belt
  • Joao Miyao choked unconscious by Keenan
Just a quick review of the team results from over the weekend.

1 - Alliance - 105
2 - Team Lloyd Irvin - 71
3 - Gracie Barra - 64 

1 - CheckMat - 71
2 - Alliance - 65
3 - Gracie Barra - 44 

1 - Gracie Barra - 27
2 - Frontline Academy - 16
3 - Icon Jiu-Jitsu Team - 15 

1 - Gracie Barra - 245
2 - Alliance - 156
3 - CheckMat - 131 

1 - Gracie Barra - 42
2 - Nova União - 31
3 - CheckMat - 30 

Notable divisions:

Brown Adult Male


FIRSTJoão Ricardo Bordignon Miyao -PSLPB Cicero Costha
SECONDNicolas Gallard -Gracie Barcelona
THIRDAlysson Gustavo Da Cunha Miranda -Nova União
THIRDAdam Adshead -Combat Base UK


FIRSTPaulo Henrique Bordignon Miyao -PSLPB Cicero Costha
SECONDGianni P Grippo -Gracie Elite Team America
THIRDWojciech Piekut -Gracie Barra
THIRDTuomas Kristian Tammilehto -Brasa


FIRSTKeenan Kai-James Cornelius -Team Lloyd Irvin
SECONDBruno Ferreira Cuppari -Brasa
THIRDTomasz Skórkowski -Atos JJ International
THIRDAJ Agazarm -Gracie Barra

Open Class

FIRSTKeenan Kai-James Cornelius -Team Lloyd Irvin
SECONDJoão Ricardo Bordignon Miyao -PSLPB Cicero Costha
THIRDPaulo Henrique Bordignon Miyao -PSLPB Cicero Costha
THIRDChristopher Bowe -Gracie Barra

BLACK - Adult - Male


FIRSTBrandon Mullins -Gracie Barra
SECONDKoji Shibamoto -Tri-Force Jiu-Jitsu Academy
THIRDJordy A. Jean Antoon Peute -Gracie Barra
THIRDTakahito Yoshioka -Tokushima BJJ


FIRSTLaercio Fernandes -Alliance
SECONDCarlos Vieira Holanda -CheckMat
THIRDThomas Lincoln Correa Lisboa -Alliance
THIRDAndre Carvalho Monteiro -BJJ Revolution Team


FIRSTRubens Charles Maciel -Alliance
SECONDAugusto Lopes Mendes -Soul Fighters BJJ
THIRDOsvaldo Augusto Honorio Moizinho -Institute of Martial Arts - Caio Terra
THIRDEduardo Ramos da Silva -Atos Jiu-Jitsu


FIRSTMichael Josef Russell -Mauricio Gomes Origin BJJ Team
SECONDVinícius Tavares Marinho -GF Team
THIRDGabriel Rodrigues A. Goulart -Alliance
THIRDMaxime Silvére Olivier -CheckMat


FIRSTClaudio Calasans Camargo Júnior -Atos Jiu-Jitsu
SECONDFernando Augusto da Silva -Alliance
THIRDMathias Fernandes Ribeiro -Alliance
THIRDAlan Douglas Pereira do Nascimento -CheckMat


FIRSTRômulo Claudio Barral -Gracie Barra
SECONDRodrigo Fajardo -Gracie Barra
THIRDRenato Guimaraes Cardoso -CheckMat
THIRDVitor Fabio Martins Toledo -Atos Jiu-Jitsu


FIRSTDimitrius Soares Souza -Alliance
SECONDLeonardo da Costa Maciel -GF Team
THIRDFabiano Junior Leite de Souza -Alliance
THIRDMarcelo da Silva Bernardo -United BJJ


FIRSTBernardo Augusto Rocha de Faria -Alliance
SECONDLucio Furtado Rodrigues -Gracie Barra
THIRDMauricio Henrique Cristo Lima -PSLPB Cicero Costha
THIRDFilippi Soto Mattos -Barbosa JJ


FIRSTAlexander Riis Hilligsoe Trans -CheckMat
SECONDRodrigo Henrique Cavaca -CheckMat
THIRDJosé Ferreira da Silva Júnior -UAE Jiu-jitsu Team
THIRDLeonardo Pires Nogueira -Alliance

Open Class

FIRSTLeonardo Pires Nogueira -Alliance
SECONDBernardo Augusto Rocha de Faria -Alliance
THIRDAlexander Riis Hilligsoe Trans -CheckMat
THIRDClaudio Calasans Camargo Júnior -
Atos Jiu-Jitsu

Keenan Cornelius vs Paulo Miyao (Absolute Semi-Finals)

At the 4:35 mark, Keenan attempts a toe-hold which he abandons and momentarily gives up his back.   P.Miyao defends the foot lock well and inverts moving towards his back.  P.Miyao only manages to get one hook in and Kennan double underhooks that same leg and forces P.Miyao back to his guard.  Very well defended and not often that we see Keenan in this kind of trouble against a fellow brown belt.  Even once they land in the guard, there is a brief moment P.Miyao may have been able to work to the back again with Keenan's left arm so heavily committed across his body but he cuts off that opportunity by posting his left foot and shutting down that option.

At the 6:37 mark Keenan is standing, P.Miyao on his back playing open guard during a restart.  Keenan steps his right foot onto  the inside left knee of P.Miyao, slightly passes the right foot of P.Miyao to the side and drops down beating P.Miyao's hip to pass the guard.  Very fast and surprising guard pass!  The match was essentially won here for Keenan and this was a fantastic match in my opinion.  I realize that the double guard pull, fighting for grips and attempted Berimbolo game isn't everyones cup of tea but this is some high level stuff and the entire fight didn't remain in this position.

Keenan Cornelius vs Joao Miyao (Absolute Final)

Cobrinha vs Osvaldo Augusto (Feather Semi-Final)

Cobrinha vs Tanquinho (Feather Final)

Paulo Miyao vs Gianni Grippo (Feather Semi-Final)

Terere vs Claudio Calasans (Middleweight Final)

This was a very disappointing match.  Everyone was happy and excited to see Terere back in the competition scene and off the street.  There is some debate as to what exactly happened during this match, whether he had already been warned for the knee reap prior to the eventual DQ or immediately DQ'd without warning.  It appeared to me that he had already been in violation of the knee reap rule well before the match was finally stopped.  Very anticlimactic finish to what could have been a great match.

Brandon Mullins vs Koji Shibamoto (Rooster Final)

The complete results can be found here:

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

IBJJF 2013 Euro Championships Brackets

Here are the brackets for the Adult Men's Black Belt Divisions:

Brackets can be found here if there are additional divisions you are interested in viewing.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Tatami Estilo 3.0 Gi Review

Tatami Fightwear is fairly new in the Jiu-Jitsu scene but you might not know it.  They have been busy making quality, yet affordable gear since 2009 and are based in the UK.  One of the things I admire about Tatami Fightwear is that they make some very high quality gear at a reasonable price.  I was very fortunate to receive a Tatami Estilo 3.0 from Martial Arts Supplies and couldn't wait to test it out.  I would like to point out that Martial Arts Supplies has a bevy of Jiu-Jitsu gear ranging from kimonos, shorts, rash guards, to pretty much anything you could imagine.  On top of that they offer free shipping and hassle free returns.  Something worth noting is that Martial Arts Supplies will allow you to mix and match the jacket and pants sizes in case you don't fit the standard sizing chart with Tatami gi's for no additional charge.

If you like a little bit of bling than I think you will probably enjoy the Estilo 3.0. This gi has black contrast stitching and embroidery throughout.  It sports traditional patches along the shoulders and lapel.  I like that the shoulder patches in the form of a black belt with "3.0" integrated onto the red competition bar.  The bottom of the jacket also has a Tatami patch to add some additional flair.  Each sleeve features Estilo logos embroidered in black along with Tatami Fightwear embroidered directly behind the collar on the back of the jacket.  The cuffs of the jacket, inner portion of lapels, and cuffs of the pants have Estilo taping in black which looks good.  The pants match the jacket well with the contrast stitching, patches, and embroidery on each leg.

This gi seems to be built very well.  The jacket is a 550gsm single piece pearl weave.  It features a rubberized collar that is adequately thick.  The jacket and pants both have triple stitching in high stress areas such as the crotch and knee pads.  The pants consist of 14oz heavy cotton with a four loop enclosure system for the drawstring.  The traditional stretchy drawstring is present here.  While I do like the stretchy feeling of the drawstring it could be a bit shorter and almost requires a triple knot to keep it out of the way.  Nothing a pair of shears and lighter can't fix.  The knee pads are reinforced to give some extra cushion and add some durability.  There are few spots on the pants where the stitching is not perfect but nothing that looks unacceptable or might become problematic.  This gi weighs in at about 4.4lbs.
Note some minor flaws in stitching

One thing I really like about the Tatami Fightwear website is that they offer an interactive sizing chart.  You can simply select your height and weight using their gi size calculator and it will select the appropriate size for you.  Being UK based, they were kind enough to provide both metric and standard units of measure for us Yankees here in the States.  If you have any concerns about sizing I highly recommend checking out the sizing calculator here:

The gi used in this review is an A1 and retails for $129.99 at One thing I have noticed with  Tatami gi's is that the sleeves do tend to run a bit longer than most other gi's.  Out of the package this kimono fit very well.  There is plenty of intentional shrinking that can be done in my case but not much is required to get this closer to a tailored fit.  The jacket is roomy for those with bigger torso's but not so much that I am swimming in it.  Sleeve length is just a hair long but nothing that can't be fixed in the washing machine and dryer.  The skirt length is perfect...not too long nor short.  I really like the fit of the pants.  They provide plenty of room in the crotch and aren't overly baggy.  Pants that are too baggy are one of my biggest pet peeves.  The length of the pant legs is adequate and required very little shrinking in the wash.  As a reminder, MAS will allow you to mix and match jacket and pant sizes if you find that the standard A1 pants fit but need a larger jacket such as an A2 for example.

Rolling Impressions
Before training in this gi I did wash it and intentionally shrink it some.  I never shrink a gi too aggressively the first time out.  I prefer to shrink it just a bit, roll in it, and evaluate how it feels and go from there.  First time out I did feel like it would need some more work as the sleeves were a tad long and easily manipulated while rolling.  A second trip through the wash and I feel much closer now.  The pants are perfect at this point but the jacket will require a bit more shrinking.  I absolutely enjoy training in this gi.  It provides the perfect balance between a light and heavier gi.  The gi is quite sturdy but feels like it can take plenty of punishment.  The pants feel super light but not flimsy by any stretch of the imagination.  The support in the knee pads is very welcome too.  This gi will definitely be in the regular rotation and can be a great every day gi to train or compete in.

As previously mentioned the gi used in this review is an A1.  I did run this one through the washer and dryer (medium heat) twice with the intention of shrinking it a bit.  I experienced a little more shrinkage in the pants than the jacket and will probably be okay to run the jacket through the dryer a couple more times.

Closing Thoughts
This is my second Tatami gi and they have really delivered with the Estilo 3.0.  They have managed to design a gi that looks good, provides a little flash with well placed patches and stitching, is priced very reasonably, and performs well.  It seems like there are so many choices for gi's and so few of them really deliver the quality for the money.  I don't think you can go wrong with Tatami Fightwear if you are looking for a great gi without spending $200.

Once again, I want to thank Martial Arts Supplies for providing a great gi for me to review.  Please give them a look for your next BJJ related purchases.  They have a great selection of gi's, lots of other grappling related equipment, and offer FREE SHIPPING.

A big thank you to Shervin Alavi for taking pictures of me in the gi.  

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The REAL Berimbolo

I started training BJJ back in February 2008.  Early on in my Jiu-Jitsu consciousness it didn't take long for me to realize the greatness of Marcelo Garcia.  Other BJJ superstars stood out as I was a pretty green grappler but with the emergence of Budovideos and their coverage of IBJJF events such as the Mundials and Pan I realized there were some other GREAT competitors out there as well.  A couple brothers known as Rafael & Gui Mendes garnered a lot of attention during the broadcast of the events and grappling forums.  A lot of naysayers criticized their use of the 50/50 guard to win tough matches by way of advantages at times.  I will agree that  some of these matches aren't the most fun to watch but it's difficult to argue with results.  I found that many high level guys were putting out instructional DVDs, doing lots of seminars, and/or just uploading content to YouTube.

While there was some content out there on the Mendes Bros I always felt like there wasn't nearly as much as there could be. These guys know how to win and recently launched their own online training website.  Having been a member of MGinAction a while back I found the Mendes Bros site to be very similar from a user standpoint.  The functionality of the website is familiar and feels as if it was designed by the same people.  I signed up during the late summer and the amount of content was not great. I was a bit disappointed to find that all the De La Riva and Reverse De La Riva guard stuff they have become famous for wasn't uploaded to the site....yet.  I allowed a month or two to lapse in my membership but recently renewed and was elated to find that they had finally released videos of the Berimbolo techniques and other guards.  Now there is a lot of debate as to whether or not they "created" the position.  I don't think they necessarily claim to have done so but to have "developed" techniques in this position.

For the last two years this position (Berimbolo) has been a hotly debated position or sweep in competition.  Some people love it and some hate it.  The bottom line is if you are under 185lbs and like to compete you should probably learn it or at least understand it enough to defend it.  The Mendes Bros have seemingly made the Berimbolo a phenomonom that competitors and gym rats have tried to duplicate.  Some have put out instructional vidoes on YouTube but I just never found most to clearly explain how to either maintain the position or properly knock an opponent down and begin to implement the sweep.  Because of this I've never really dedicated much training of my own to the sweep not fully understanding or buying into the technique.  With the recent instructional that the Mendes Bros have put out I have realized that a lot of little details have been missing that make sense to me.

Just for reference...this is all we had as a Berimbolo instructional for quite some time from Rafa:

The new and improved version:
Not only is the Berimbolo a's more than that.  It's really a position that creates multiple ways to sweep or reverse your opponent.  I liken it to the X-guard position that provides various methods of reversal depending on your opponents reaction.  It's not always necessary to go inverted and take the back of your opponent.  There are various ways to reverse depending on the type of resistance you encounter.  This is shown here by Ari Farias in this recent video. Here he utilizes the leg drag position to pass and move into side control rather than going inverted and attempting to attack the back.  

I have found that many high level competitors have their preferred methods of gripping and/or sweeping their opponents.  It's really up to you to figure out what your preferred method is.  

In closing, I really can't give enough praise to the Mendes Bros online training website.  I have found the level of instruction and explanation to be the highest level stuff I've seen to date.  The manner in which Rafa and Gui break down techniques and explain why we do this and not that really works well for the way I learn Jiu-Jitsu.  I am a smaller grappler and find that a lot of the stuff they demonstrate works with the style of Jiu-Jitsu I like to use.  Even if you are not a small grappler (under 200lbs) you will find much of their content to be incredibly useful.  Simple techniques that only worked at the white belt level can be cleaned up and once again become useful or high percentage at the blue/purple belt level and above simply because of the way they manage execute the techniques.  If you have not tried out the site and enjoy studying Jiu-Jitsu I highly recommend you sign up for at least a month and see what you think.  For me, $25 is very cheap for the level of instruction you receive.  I have been implementing some of their techniques into my own game and find them to be useful as a teaching aid as well.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

The BJJ Kumite

Love him, hate him, or simply not have an opinion about Lloyd Irvin...regardless of how you feel about the guy there is one thing you really can't deny...he knows how to market his medal chasers. Lloyd  has put together something really interesting for the BJJ addicted to consume.  Episode 1 of the Internet reality show The BJJ Kumite was released over the weekend.  In my super busy schedule I was somewhat aware of this new show/event but didn't pay it much attention leading up to last night.  Here is the basic concept.  Lloyd has created a contest for grapplers far and wide to challenge his phenom brown belt Keenan Cornelius.  Don't know who Keenan is?  Well he has basically been crushing everyone in his path since purple belt and now at brown collecting titles all over at nearly every major competition.  It's downright ugly the carnage he leaves behind.

Seemingly hundreds of applicants jumped at the opportunity to go to DC and fight him for a $5000 winner take all prize.  Out of all the applicants the competitor list was whittled down to 11 brown belts representing different countries.  While many of them may have assumed they would simply get a go against Keenan, Lloyd decided to shake it up and create a Kumite tournament pitting them all against each other in both gi and nogi matches.  This tournament took place between December 10th-16th 2012.  There is no lose once and you're out.  Guys are literally getting the opportunity to go against multiple opponents in both formats.  It is submission only, no time limits, and there are even submission bonuses given out.  Something interesting worth noting is that the competitors aren't given the luxury of being able to watch the other matches so many of them have no idea of the tendency and style of other opponents.

Here is the trailer:

The show is done well and fills a void once left behind by The Ultimate Fighter reality show.  This is a show I once loved but since finding Jiu-Jitsu my enjoyment for that show waned; mostly due to the stale format, predictability, and unnecessary drama.  The BJJ Kumite Episode 1 provided a breath of fresh air for those that like to consume Jiu-Jitsu and you aren't forced to watch 30 minute matches.  The editing is done well so that you get glimpses of each match and the finishes.  Along with that you get a decent dose of drama but nothing that is forced.  I highly recommend watching the first episode and see what you think as there will be more episodes to follow.  Another cool thing is that Lloyd has been uploading entire matches via YouTube if you are so inclined to watch them.

Episode #1

Hopefully you made it this far and watched Episode 1 then you no doubt saw a sick calf slicer.  Sean Roberts was kind enough to post a video of that submission set up and some other options to get the slicer from various positions.