Monday, March 25, 2013

2013 IBJJF Pans (Post Thoughts)

The IBJJF 2013 Pan Championship has come and gone.  This year was bigger than ever spanning over the course of five days.  While the Pan may not be considered the most coveted tournament it seems to be the most attended each year which begs the question..."Why is it NOT the most coveted title?"  There were a few big names missing from the black belt brackets this year as some are heavily focused on other tournaments such as the Abu Dhabi Pro.  Such names as Lovato, Rodolfo, Farias, & Marcelo Garcia just to name a few did not compete this year.  As usual, Budovideos did an excellent job of providing streaming coverage which aerial mat views and selectable mats.  The commentary was top notch as well with the likes of Budo Jake, Shawn Williams, and guests like Kurt Osiander popping in.

In Black Belt action:
Caio Terra defeated Bruno Malficine (points)
Guilherme Mendes defeated Laercio Fernandes (points)
Rafael Mendes defeated Cobrinha (points)
Michael Langhi closed out with teammate Lucas Lepri
Clark Gracie defeated Marcelo Mafra in epic fashion (submission)
Andre Galvao defeated Gustavo Campos
Roberto Alencar "Tussa" defeated Nivaldo Lima (points)
Leo Nogueira defeated Gabriel Vella
Marcus Almeida "Buchecha" defeated Alexander Trans

Open Weight
Marcus Almeida "Buchecha" defeated Andre Galvao (points)

In Brown Belt action:
Joao Miyao took gold in Light Feather
Paulo Miyao took gold defeating Gianni Grippo by choke at Feather
Rafael Henrique Pereira defeated reigning Pan champ AJ Agazarm
Keenan Cornelius took double gold in his weight and the open


  • Michael Liera Jr (Atos Purple belt) is one to watch as he is becoming very dominant.  He took double gold in his weight and the open.  We will continue to see big things from him.  
  • Marcio Andre (Nova Uniao Purple belt) followed up his 2012 Worlds title with a gold at Pan.  He will probably be promoted to brown before the next Worlds tournament.
  • Say what you want about the Miyao Bros and Gianni Grippo but their De la Riva/Berimbolo game looked very dominant all day Sunday.  
  • Keenan looked as dominant as ever quieting critics that the TLI drama and move to Atos might disrupt his concentration.  
  • Rafael Pereira's win over AJ Agazarm at Brown Light came as a big surprise since Rafael's performance in the Brown Belt Kumite was less than stellar.  
  • Sean Roberts (Ralph Gracie) got his wish and faced Leandro Lo in the 2nd round of his weight class where he was dominated 43-0 before being submitted by Lo.  You have to give Sean credit for competing at the Pan after receiving his black belt just a week prior.  
  • The Great Kurt Osiander took gold in his respective division.
  • Cobrinha loses another close final to Rafa Mendes.  I do feel Rafa outworked him at the end of the match getting the decision.  One has to think that Cobrinha will have to truly beat Rafa by points or sub if he is going to get over the hump.  Ref decisions have not been good to him.  
  • I was happy to see Caio Terra break out of his funk against Bruno Malficine.  Bruno looked unstoppable on Sunday and Caio executed a brilliant game plan scoring late in the match threatening with a calf slicer at the end.  Caio seemed calm and collected throughout the entire match.  
  • Clark Gracie was impressive with his aggressive omoplatas all day.  Good to see him capture gold.  One of the best finals on Sunday.  See the video below.
  • I can't say enough good things about Buchecha.  Many people hate watching the bigger guys compete because they can be boring. You never seem to get this with Buchecha.  He moves with the speed and technique of a Lightweight.  The absolute final between him and Galvao was epic.  

Clark Gracie vs Marcelo Mafra (Medium Final)

Buchecha vs Andre Galvao (Open Final)

AJ Agazarm vs Rafael Henrique Pereira (Light Final)

Caio Terra vs Bruno Malficine (Rooster Final)


                                    Paulo Miyao vs Gianni Grippo (Feather Final)

Keenan Cornelius vs J. Miyao (Brown Belt Open Semi-Final)

Black Belt Finals HL's

Academy Results

1 - Gracie Barra - 46
2 - Lotus Club Jiu-Jitsu - 34
3 - Gracie Elite Team - 31 

1 - Alliance - 85
2 - Atos Jiu-Jitsu - 83
3 - Gracie Elite Team - 36 

1 - Alliance - 43
2 - Gracie Humaita - 31
3 - Atos Jiu-Jitsu - 30 

1 - Gracie Elite Team - 39
2 - Alliance - 36
3 - Gracie Barra - 19 

1 - Gracie Barra - 199
2 - Alliance - 142
3 - Gracie Elite Team - 129 

All results can be found here:

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

2013 IBJJF Pan Jiu-Jitsu Championship Brackets

2013 Pan JJ Championship - Pre Schedule
The pre-schedule just inform the days of each division will be run, not necessarily in this order.





A more specific breakdown of the brackets can be found here:

If you would like to watch this event live, please visit and pick the package you would like to order.  If you have never done this before take the time to set up an account with Budovideos so you aren't scrambling at the last minute.  In the past the streams have had technical issues working on Apple devices.  I highly recommend using a PC or utilizing a different browser such as Skyfire for Apple users.  

Save 15% off your Budovideos order this weekend with the following code: pan2013

Now on to the Brackets:

Black Adult Rooster
Black Light Feather Adult
Black Feather Adult
Black Light Adult
Black Middle Adult
Black Medium Heavy Adult
Black Heavy Adult
Black Super Heavy Adult
Black Ultra Heavy Adult
Brown Rooster Adult
Brown Light Feather Adult
Brown Feather Adult
Brown Light Adult
Brown Middle Adult
Brown Medium Heavy Adult
Brown Heavy Adult
Brown Super Heavy Adult
Brown Ultra Heavy Adult

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

The Awesomeness of Maynard James Keenan

This post is a bit different than the usual but interesting enough if you are a fan of Tool, more specifically Maynard James Keenan.  I was a big fan of Tool back in the 90's and some of Maynard's other musical projects.  Back in 2008 when I first started training I ran across a video from a live show (undated) where a fan ran on stage.  Maynard calmly tossed him and back mounted him while still performing the show.  

Because of this video it's pretty well known in the Jiu-Jitsu community that he has ties to the sport but I personally didn't know much about his background.  A recent conversation on the Sherdog grappling forum about the above video led me to Joe Rogan's interview with Maynard from last year.  The discussion about Maynard's ties to Jiu-Jitsu starts at the 16:40 mark.  

This video has multiple parts and is mostly focused on how the front man got involved in the wine making business which is also pretty fascinating being a Wine-O myself.  If you like wine or want to see more about Keenan's winery out in Arizona there's a really cool documentary you can watch online or Netflix.  

Monday, March 11, 2013

Shoyoroll Batch #17 Competitor Gi Review

I'm a bit late to the Shoyoroll party but I'm here now.  Over the last couple of years I've seen the unorthodox marketing style that SYR has employed.  Truth be told I was not a fan of the limited releases and having to wait around three months to get a gi from them.  So I sat by and watched release after release and much of the time I'd regret not getting on the bandwagon and snatching up a couple of their gi's after everyone had received them...and I wasn't about to buy one from eBay!  I told myself, "If they would just make them more available and not make me wait a long time I would give one a shot."  As their popularity has increased it seems that SYR has gone that way to a degree.  SYR has increased the number of batches they release of gi's and made the turn around time much shorter.  I came very close to pulling the trigger on the the Gold Star  (Batch #14)  but opted to wait as I didn't want a black gi and figured they might offer something a bit more my style this year.  As luck would have it the announcement of Batch #17 was made and I was very excited to get one.  The hard decision was which color would I get...white or blue?

The Competitor gi design is somewhat borrowed from the SYR sponsored athlete gi of 2012.  There are some obvious differences with respect to patches and placement but the general concept is quite similar.  I am a big fan of patches that are well thought out with regard to design and placement.  Many gi companies utilize a pretty traditional and predictable approach to patches and location.  SYR has shown over the years that they aren't afraid to try something different and that is something that has always attracted me to the brand.  The large SYR patch on the back left shoulder looks great.  I like that they placed this here providing ample room for an affiliation patch to go along side it. The red patch along the bottom of the skirt is tastefully done and different than most setting it apart in a good way.  The white gi features grey contrast stitching throughout which is subtle and executed well.  The classic red embroidery gives this gi some pop along with the traditional SYR yellow patches.

Sticking with the concept of a "Competitor" gi SYR has done just that with the public release of batch #17.   The jacket itself is a lightweight pearl weave.  The A1 used in this test weighed in at exactly 3lbs which is great for someone that needs a light gi for competitions.

The jacket sports traditional red SYR embroidered patches on the sleeves and classic yellow SYR patches adorning the front right/upper portion of the jacket and a very large one over the opposite shoulder on the back.  This patch makes sure everyone in the gym knows you are wearing a Shoyoroll gi.  One thing that will please most is that the patches throughout this gi are all sewn on and can easily be removed with a seam ripper should you want to go with a lower profile look.  The jacket and pants feature the typical Rasta taping (red/yellow/green) throughout the inside of the jacket and pants.  Despite the jacket being ultra lightweight the collar is anything but that.  It is quite thick and seems to have a rubberized material inside.  I think it is very comparable to my Tatami Estilio 3.0.  There were so minor flaws in the stitching which will always show up when contrast stitching is used but nothing too concerning.

The pants are lightweight as well and are made with rip-stop material.  I am not usually a fan of rip-stop but wanted to give them a shot as I don't currently have any lightweight gi's in my closet at the moment.  Much to my surprise the pants feel really nice for being rip-stop.  I have a pair of Atama #9 pants and really dislike them.  They have a waxy feeling due to being a cotton poly blend and feel odd when you train in them.  You can feel the poly blend in these pants but they seem to be made much better and have a more comfortable feel.  The pants feature reinforced knees but there isn't a lot of padding. Surely this is to reduce the weight of the pants which is not a problem.  The pants have an excellent loop enclosure with six total loops.  The spacing and grouping of the loops seems to keep the drawstring comfortable and easy to keep the pants very secure.  The ever popular stretchy rope cord is present and proper in length.

SYR has made efforts to accommodate various sized grapplers by offering a good variety of sizes and you don't see that with all the other gi companies so that is a nice bonus.  For this review I opted for an A1 sized gi: 5'4" - 5'8" & 130-160lbs in white.  My initial impressions of the jacket were pretty good.  The sleeve length is just a hair longer than I'd like.  The skirt is a bit longer than my Koral MKM but not excessively like the Storm Typhoon gi.  I'd say it is very adequate in length but not so much that it feels bothersome to keep tucked away.  I find both the jacket and pants to be very comfortable.  Provided I don't shrink this gi any further I should have no problems with the gi passing IBJJF inspections unless someone takes issue with the patches.  I have read someone ran into an issue with the large SYR patch on the back shoulder of the gi but personally did not experience this.

The pants are really nice and fit very well.  One of my biggest pet peeves are pants that are too baggy and these are anything but that.  There is ample room in the legs and crotch but don't feel like I'm wearing pants that I'm swimming around in.  The length is perfect and had no problems passing the IBJJF inspectors.  I'm a big fan of the 6 loop enclosure system.  This seems to be the best that I've experienced with all the gi pants I've owned.

Rolling Impressions
The honest truth is the first time I got to work in the Competitor gi was at the IBJJF Houston Open just days after I received it.  As I suspected this gi didn't disappoint in the rolling department.  The Competitor gi is light and a real pleasure to train or roll in. The gi never feels excessively heavy after an hour of training and breathes very well.  After a couple washes and trips through the dryer on low heat the sleeves feel much more acceptable in length.  One thing I love about this gi is that even though it is very lightweight, the fabric doesn't seem to be compromised in terms of durability.  I have had lightweight gi's that seem to stretch when pulled on and become problematic in situations where the sleeves are being manipulated.  There don't seem to be any problems like that with this gi.  I'm very impressed with the durable feel of the jacket and pants.  For being so light one might suspect that it can't take a beating but so far I've had no issues.  

Take note that the measurements I took below were post-washing a couple times on warm water and medium heat through the dryer.  I did intentionally shrink this gi a little bit but nothing extreme.  For reference:  I am 5'7" and 150lbs.

Closing Thoughts
After waiting a long time to get a SYR gi I am really glad that I picked this one.  The fit and overall look is exactly what I look for in a gi.  A lot of people not familiar with SYR at the gym are asking a lot of questions and want one after seeing this one in person.  The fit and look of the gi really sets it apart from the standard fare. Since Shoyoroll allowed buyers to buy two of each color I think there will be a pretty big market for them new and probably not far from the retail price since it wasn't such a limited release.  For those that aren't aware of how to keep up when the pre-releases are announced be sure to "LIKE" Shoyoroll's Facebook page in order to keep up with their announcements.  This gi also looks pretty good on the podium too!

Visit or for Shoyoroll products.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

What's your Motivation to Compete?

If you have trained Jiu-Jitsu for more than a few months then you've probably competed or the idea has at least entered your mind.  There are a variety of reasons why people choose to participate in competitions and I'd like to look at some of those motivations.

1. Exciting experience
The idea of going somewhere that is foreign (not your home gym), surrounded by strangers that are seemingly watching you, and going into battle against someone you know nothing about is exciting and sometimes scary feeling.  To me there is something exciting about that and I don't think I'm alone in that thinking.  This is hard to replicate in your own gym.  I feel this is taking Jiu-Jitsu and the rolling experience to the next level.

2. Test yourself and techniques
If you are regularly rolling against the same guys at your gym it is very easy to learn each others games.  There is nothing like rolling against someone you know nothing about.  This is the time to play your "A" game.  This is not the time to experiment with techniques you don't know well.  Win or lose you are going to learn something about yourself that you won't necessarily learn training at your home gym.  My coach regularly tells us that competing raises the level of your game and a path to improvement.  I think there is a lot of truth to that because if you have holes in your game they will likely be exposed here and the things you do well will possibly shine.

3. Gain notoriety among peers
Let's be honest, most people have some desire to compete or at least taste a little glory.  Some achieve that satisfaction by winning small battles at their home gym and others do it in competition.  I don't know anyone that doesn't care what their peers think.  How much stock you put into that is up to you but I think it is nice to have supportive teammates that can be happy for your competition experiences.

4. Some coaches promote based on competition
I know that coaches have different criteria for promoting students.  Promotion through competition is probably one of the most difficult routes to take.  Why is that you ask?  Well it's probably safe to say that a coach may have a more strict criteria for promoting a student that competes a lot versus the BJJ hobbyist that trains twice per week and almost never competes.  Students that compete are a representation of their gym.  What coach wants a student that competes a lot to be rushed through promotions and is getting crushed in competition?

5. Some are doing this to make a living
Let's face it.  The majority of us are hobbyist grapplers ranging from someone that wants to do something different to get in shape all the way to the very serious competitor regularly pushing themselves in competitions.  There are a select few that are professional grapplers and do very little else but focus on training for a living.  Some of us go to secondary schools to become proficient in a field for our careers; others are training Jiu-Jitsu with the intention of making a living from it.  I have run into my fair share of guys in tournaments that fall into this category.  They are generally the toughest, most technical people you will compete against.

Why do I compete?
I compete for a variety of reasons.  I like the experiences I gain from competition and how it makes me grow as a grappler.  I like the memories that are created (hopefully good ones!).  I enjoy breaking down video and learning from my mistakes and looking at the things that I did right.  I also enjoy the historical record that is created for myself that I can revisit in the future.  I like representing my gym and the brand of Jiu-Jitsu that I have shaped into my game.

We all have our motivations for training Jiu-Jitsu.  Participating in competitions isn't for everyone and there is nothing wrong with not doing it.  That said I do feel that anyone that is serious about Jiu-Jitsu and plan to be in it for the long haul I can't stress how beneficial competing can be towards shaping your growth in the sport.

This highlight video from the 2012 IBJJF Worlds tournament last summer always turns up my motivational juices.