Friday, December 5, 2014

Anthony Bourdain on Cooking and Jiu-Jitsu (Charlie Rose 12-2-14)

Do you know who Anthony Bourdain is?  If you don't you probably need to know.  Everyone loves food and he is a food NERD.  He's as nerdy about food as most of us are about Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He had a well known show on the Travel Channel about culinary and cultural adventures known as No Reservations & The Layover.  From here he gained national notice and his talents moved over to CNN where he currently hosts Anthony Bourdain: Parts Unknown.  In a nut-shell...he travels all over, specifically NOT tourist attractions looking for delicious, "unknown" places to eat excellent food.  He is not limited to visiting places within our United States.  He visits exotic countries leaving few stones un-turned.

So some may be asking...why in the heck is this being posted on a Jiu-Jitsu blog site?  Well he has a passion for Jiu-Jitsu like most of us.  The only difference is he is a well known celebrity and I find it really cool to see how far Jiu-Jitsu reaches out and has an impact on the lives of people outside of the normal population.

To a degree I can relate to Bourdain as I myself started training Jiu-Jitsu at an older age (30) and have a lot of respect for his approach to training and enjoying the sport.  From what I have seen and read about Bourdain he is really down to earth and has very little ego on the mats.  Like many of us he sees it as a challenge to help better himself and of course he enjoys the learning aspect of it.

I don't have any particular desire to see our sport be adopted by the majority of people...I think that it feels more special when you can relate to the minority of people that share the seeing someone on occasion that seems to be the last person you might expect to also share that passion makes it a little extra special.

Ironically, Anthony Bourdain's wife, Ottavia, is the one responsible for exposing him to Jiu-Jitsu.
I highly recommend reading more about their relationship with Jiu-Jitsu here:  (EXCELLENT INTERVIEW)

His wife, Ottavia, regularly competes and is very dedicated to Jiu-Jitsu.  Serves her right.  She needs some hobbies while her husband is traveling the world working on his tv show!

Anthony Bourdain & his wife Ottavia
Ready to get a little jealous?  Bourdain with his star power obviously has opportunities to train with some high level grapplers.  I regularly see him sporting Shoyoroll gear and recently saw pictures of him training with Cyborg!

For those interested in seeing what Bourdain is up to be it his travels, food, or Jiu-Jitsu exploits I HIGHLY recommend following him on Facebook:

I had known about his passion for Jiu-Jitsu for a while and seeing this recent video of Bourdain on the Charlie Rose show motivated me to put a small piece together to share with those that might not be aware of him.

Related Links:

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Get to Know: Collin Grayson (Caio Terra Association)

I had the opportunity to meet Collin Grayson shortly after I started training Jiu-Jitsu in early 2008. He was hosting Marcelo Garcia for a seminar and I was lucky enough to attend...even if I could barely tie my own belt.  Fast forward to 2014 and Collin is still teaching Jiu-Jitsu in both Rockwall and Irving under the Caio Terra Association.  

When did you start training?

-January 28, 2002

When did you receive your Black Belt and from whom?

-I received my Black Belt on December 28, 2011 from Jose Reyes

What should a new student focus on?

-Having fun first and foremost.  Experiencing the culture of jiu-jitsu, seeing how it changes people, meeting new friends, setting new goals, acquiring a mentor, etc.  That is what creates a lifelong BJJ’er – not the techniques.  The techniques are simply a means to an end.

What would you change about how you approached training Jiu-Jitsu if you had to go back and start all over again?

-Drill more.  Recognize that rolling/training is merely the output of the input.

How important is competition for development?

-I think it develops character and is good for self-evaluation.  Not necessary for developing good technique though.  Hard work and honest partners can create that.

Collin Grayson (CTA) vs Kelly Rundle (Alliance)

How do you feel about students cross-training at other gyms?

-Learn whatever you can!  Just be sure to share it!

How do you feel about supplementing training with other forms of physical activity such as lifting weights, crossfit, running, swimming, etc? 

-If you want to be good at Jiu-Jitsu, train Jiu-Jitsu.

Do you feel like the BJJ is becoming watered down due to the ease of people uploading instructional videos on sites like YouTube?

-Not watered down, but the evolution of BJJ has changed dramatically.  Advanced techniques are being hit at a much lower belt level

What are your thoughts on rolling versus drilling?

-Rolling should be secondary, drilling helps to develop the tools you use when rolling.

Do you use supplements?   How do you stay healthy? 

-Fish Oil, Flax Oil, Glucosamine & Chondroitin

What do you recommend for training preparation?

-Stretching, eating a light meal 90 mins prior, and having a teaspoon of honey 10 minutes prior

Do you think training wrestling and judo is important?  

-At least enough to defend against it

As an instructor, what does your training consist of trying to balance teaching vs training?  Give an example of a typical week of training for you. 

-Teach 7 classes per week – try to drill and roll as much as possible without taking away from the students instruction.  Also cross-train at other gyms when possible.

Do you continue to study new (modern) Jiu-Jitsu and how do you go about that?  Do you train with other black belts in other gyms, affiliations, etc? 

-Yes – via  Study new techniques and drill them with BB Mark Stites on the weekends.

What is the worst injury you have experienced while training? 

-Torn MCL

Is there anything interesting you would like to say about yourself or any opinions you have on the current state of BJJ?

-I think it’s awesome…there will never be a set of rules that please everyone.  As BJJ evolves, the rules will as well.  The constant evolution is what keeps it fresh, interesting, and fun!

Collin Grayson recently promoted his first Black Belt and
longtime friend Mark Stites who also teaches at the Rockwall location. 

Not only is Collin an excellent instructor but he's also well known for bringing in some of the best talent for seminars throughout the year.  If you have a chance to drop in and train with his group I highly recommend it.  As mentioned earlier, Collin operates out of both Rockwall and Irving, TX. His locations can be found at:

811 E. Yellow Jacket Ln
Rockwall, TX 75087 
(Located inside  of Ridge Pointe Athletic Club)

612 South Valley Ranch Parkway
Irving, TX 75063
(George Prevalsky's Boxing & Muay Thai Boxing Club)

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Robson Moura Brown Belt Requirement 2.0 DVD Review

This is the purple to brown belt requirements DVD and his second offering of a similar series now dubbed 2.0.  The DVD features Robson Moura and his black belt Jeff Mitchell.  The beginning of the video is worth a minute to watch and reflect on Robson's opinion about being a brown belt and working on the transition to black belt.

"To me brown belt is one step to be a black belt and you must be able to put all the pieces and combinations together.  You don't want to be a black belt and continue making the same mistakes.  At brown belt level you really have to begin putting everything all together.  At brown belt you really have to fix all the gaps, the problems to make everything flow and be ready for the black belt level."

Let me preface by saying that this instructional isn't the typical, here's a move, then another, then another.  Robson and Jeff both discuss options and commonly encountered issues with nearly all the moves which gives it a natural feel and provides a nice flow.

1a. Combination Attacks in Full (Closed Guard)

In this section Robson shows one of his favorite ways to set up the omoplata.  He likes to utilize a same side sleeve grip for the targeted shoulder and pivots his body in order to create the lock on the shoulder.  Here he shows some nice details on how to break down his opponent and finish the shoulder lock.

He moves on to show an alternative back-take option when he cannot break his opponent's posture from the omoplata position and finishes with a choke.

There is a third option (armbar) when your opponent tries to use the typical shoulder roll to relieve the shoulder lock pressure that is also very sneaky.

2a. Countering Stand-Up Full Guard Pass

I really like this series which features the opponent standing up while in the closed guard.  Rather than forcing to keep the guard closed Robson uses a slick transition by over-hooking the outside leg (similar to an ankle lock) and moving into X-guard.  From the X-guard position Robson shows a sweep based on posture control landing in knee on belly/side mount.  An armbar option is also shown as he finishes the sweep.

2b. Countering Stand-Up Full Guard Pass (continued)

Robson shows two additional sweep options when he cannot control his opponents posture via the lapel.

3a. Spider Guard Front Side Pass

Robson begins showing how to deal with the spider guard while his opponent has a lasso and bicep control.  He likes to utilize a low base with forward pressure to remove the bicep grip.  He transitions with a knee over pass to finish.  This is a great pass for those that prefer to  pass low and/or on the knees.

3b. Spider Guard Backside Pass

Robson focuses on smashing the legs together in a leg drag fashion.  This is a variation I have not seen before.  It appears to create a nice opportunity to take the back of the opponent.  He is essentially faking a guard pass to the conventional side and switching to the opposite side to complete the movement.

4a. Foot Locks

If you have seen Robson's 93 Guard then this will look familiar.  Robson begins in the half guard and utilizes his 93 Guard to sweep his opponent.  From here he attacks for an ankle lock on the sweeping side rather than coming up to complete the pass/sweep.

4b. Foot Locks (continued)

Straight ankle lock escapes are covered utilizing lapel control, clearing the leg and sitting up into a dominant position courtesy of Jeff Mitchell.

4c. Foot Locks (continued)

Robson adds one of his preferred methods of escaping the ankle lock.

5a. Countering Single Leg to Back Take

This is an excellent opportunity to take back of opponent attacking a single leg while they are ground on the knees.  It is particularly effective if you cannot sprawl hard enough to remove the grip on your leg.

5b. Countering Single Leg to Back Take (continued)

Working from the same position Robson shows a shoulder roll that lands his opponent in an omoplata.

5c. Countering Single Leg to Back Take (continued)

Further exploring options from the single leg attempt Robson shows a darce choke.  Lots of details are shown when it is difficult to get the arm deep enough to finish the darce.  When this happens there is a great ezekiel choke opportunity that Robson covers.

To finish things up they have included a nice collection of bloopers that they encountered while shooting the video of techniques which is always amusing.  That about sums up the content on this disk.  It is not the largest instructional DVD in my library but what it does show is all very good material a lot of which I have never seen before.  Nothing too flashy rather technique that seems reasonable for most BJJ practitioners to pull off with some practice.  I think that this is a well valued DVD instructional at it's price point of $35 I and feel that most people blue belt to black belt would appreciate the content.

DVD's & gear can be purchased here:

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Get to Know: Bruno Bastos

This is a new section of the blog I am starting that is intended to bring fans of Jiu-Jitsu a little closer to some interesting and talented people in the sport and help promote them.  Our first feature will focus on Bruno Bastos originally from Rio de Janeiro.  Bruno and his family live out in Midland, TX and run a very successful gym along with affiliates located just east in the Dallas area.  Bruno Bastos has had a positive impact bringing his brand of Jiu-Jitsu to our State and can regularly be seen on the podium at most of the larger IBJJF events.  In addition to competing he has developed many World Champions at various ranks. 

When did you start training?

-I started training young. I was 10 years old.

When did you receive your Black Belt and from whom?

-I received my Black Belt from Professor Wendell Alexander when I was 20 years old. It came after I beat 3 black belts in a Grappling Tournament. Unforgettable!

What do you feel a new student should focus on? 

-Focus on simple moves that can be use with Gi, without Gi and Self Defense situation. That's how I start my students from every age.

What would you change about how you approached training Jiu-Jitsu if you had to go back and start all over again?

-I wouldn't change anything. All the Professors that I had in my life made me become successful because of the way I learn from them. It wasn't easy but it was worth for sure!

How important is competition for development?

-Very important because Life is all about competition with take a look. You're competing for everything. It's very important understand wins, loses and how to be competitive in a competitive World.

How do you feel about students cross-training at other gyms?

-I'm not a fan maybe because I learned on the old school way but I never tell me students to don't do it because end of the day, they will prove to other that my job is well done and from that I'm able to receive visitors who can become my students once learn from me.

How do you feel about supplementing training with other forms of physical activity such as lifting weights, crossfit, running, swimming, etc?

-You must do extra work if you want to have athlete life style. So it's important for sure. But if that's not your goal(be an athlete), than I believe it isn't necessary. Sure better shape you have, easier gonna be the process, but lot people don't have time because of work, college, family, etc...

Do you feel like BJJ is becoming watered down due to the ease of people uploading instructional videos on sites like YouTube?

-Not at all. I think videos are very welcome for Professors, Coaches and Students. You can use that to study Jiu-Jitsu BUT remember that you must training to learn and that you gonna find some trash fancy moves online.

What are your thoughts on rolling versus drilling?

-For me there is no rolling versus drilling since both are very important on the learning process. People talk about this just to get attention on my point of view.

Do you use supplements?  How do you stay healthy?

-I use when I train very hard for competitions so it helps me to recovery during the day once I still have conditioning, classes to teach and the most important: Take care my family. So that said, I try to balance my diet but not been paranoid at all. After 24 years of Jiu-Jitsu (most of them just training, dieting and competing), I deserve enjoy food the way I want lol

What do you recommend for training preparation?

-Weight Lifting and Cardio done with good Personal Trainer. The training going to be done for YOU. Everyone is different, so I don't like conditioning classes for athletes. Again: I'm talking about athletes! If you're not athlete, than any extra work that you do, like Crossfit, running, etc...going to help you.

Bruno breaks down fundamental 50/50 guard pass 

Do you think wrestling and judo are important? 

-That's necessary on my point of view for you be complete. In my school you have all that and from high level Coaches for Judo & Wrestling that are competing Jiu-Jitsu(successfully), so they understand the transitions between sports, plus they have excellent resume on their own sports.

As an instructor, what does your training consist of trying to balance teaching versus training?

-Training Jiu-Jitsu 3x week minimum and the same for Conditioning. Closer to big tournaments I have good team that helps on my classes so I can train myself more the way it should be done to keep the good results.

Do you continue to study new (modern) Jiu-Jitsu and how do you go about that?  Do you train with other black belts at other gyms, affiliations, etc?

-I study everything about Jiu-Jitsu: New and Old as well. People forget things... If you come to my school, you'll find myself playing berimbolo, warm guard, 50/50, etc believe or not...haha! And gonna see as well the old school style of pressure with no room for the opponent with basic moves and submissions.  I do have some friends in other affiliations but when I have chance to train out of my school, I train with old teammates mostly like Vitor Shaolin, Robson Moura, Marcelo Pereira, Gustavo Dantas here in the States. When I go to Brasil, outside of my Association, I've training few times with old friends like Professor Alexandre Gigi Paiva, Leo Leite, Elan Santiago and Fernando Terere.

What is the worst injury you have experienced while training?

-Nothing in training but full separation of my shoulder while I was competing against Cyborg Abreu at the 2012 IBJJF Dallas Open. It was bad and I was winning... but everything has a reason right?  I was out for almost 4 months.

Is there anything interesting you would like to say about yourself or any opinions you have on the current state of Jiu-Jitsu?

-About myself I believe that I'm just hard worker and because of this I could get good recognition. About the current state of BJJ, it's growing a lot still(with LOT room to keep that process). One very important thing now is that the black belts gonna have to qualify in order to compete at IBJJF Worlds. It's necessary and very positive step for the sport.

(Link for mobile users:

Now for my personal connection with Bruno.  The gym I train out of is a Robson Moura affiliated gym.  Because of their friendship and ties to Nova Uniao we were fortunate enough to have training opportunities with Bruno and his students. He regularly brings in talented people to train like Marcio Andre, Claudia Gadelha, Horlando Monteiro, Luan Carvalho, Daniel "Jacare" Almedia, and of course his talented brother, Rico Bastos.  You can regularly see UFC fighters dropping in for training at BJJ Bastos Midland the likes of Muhammed "King Mo" Lawal and Paul Buentello.  If you have the opportunity to train with Bruno I highly recommend it.  


Tuesday, September 30, 2014

De-Worming the Worm Guard

The rising popularity of the Worm Guard has made the Jiu-Jitsu world take notice.  We can thank Keenan Cornelius for the boom in competitors utilizing this guard in competitions.  Thankfully we are finally starting to see some technique videos popping up showing how to prevent, pass, and even counter this tricky guard.  I am a firm believer that you don't have to be a fan of any particular guard but it is important to understand it enough to be able to defend against it.  That being said, studying the offensive side of this guard will help you understand defense even more than just working on the counters.  

While that quote is so the event that you DO ALLOW your opponent to establish the lapel control they need to set up the worm guard you need to be familiar with methods to regain that lapel control and focus on passing the guard.  

Isaac Doederlein, Cobrinha brown belt, shows a really cool way to neutralize the Worm Guard and turn it into a back-tack opportunity.  

Here, multi-time World Champion Rodolfo Vieira shows how to pass the worm guard with a pressure pass type of approach.

I would be remiss to not post BJJ Scout's videos here.  He does some excellent work!  There are a variety of counters and concepts in these two videos.  

I have found that the worm guard is 100% dependent on lapel grip control.  Because of this it seems that the most effective way (at least for me) to defend against it is to address the grips. This is particularly true if the grips have been established and your base has been compromised or threatened...they have progressed if you will deep into the guard.  I have spent more time playing with the offensive side of this guard but recently started working on defense/counters.  My advice so far is:

1. Defend the lapel!
2. In the event the lapel control is established...focus on your base!
3. Try and square up to your opponent as much as possible to eliminate the angle they need to sweep
4. Dominate/control their own lapel and use it against them to remove THEIR grip on your lapel.  

Friday, September 26, 2014

Watch Keenan Roll with 7 Black Belts (No Rest)

So Keenan is in Denmark for a seminar (BJJ Globetrotters Fall Camp) this week...that's right there are 151 people in attendance!  I once attended a Romero "Jacare" Cavalcanti seminar once and thought that was a big seminar.  I'm not sure what the BJJ culture is like in Denmark but clearly they know a superstar when he visits. After watching the first couple of rolls I can relate to how those black belts must feel.  I've had the pleasure of being dismantled by really good grapplers like Robson Moura and Sean Roberts.  It's kind of like a regular human vs a superstar.  A good reminder of the difference between a regular, everyday grappler and a professional.  Who doesn't dream about being able to effortlessly handle black belts like this?

Visit Keenan's website to purchase his 5 disk DVD set:

You can also see what he offers for free on his YouTube channel:

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Flashback Friday Match: Andre Pederneiras vs Rumina Sato (MMA)

I generally don't post MMA fights on the blog but felt like there should be exceptions particularly when it involves someone that has had a massive impact on Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.  If you don't know Andre Pederneiras (also known as "Dede") then you probably know some of the high level grapplers or MMA fighters he has had a hand in training.  

Notable black belts and MMA fighters:
1. Robson Moura
2. BJ Penn
3. Renan Barao
4. Jose Aldo
5. Gustavo Dantas
6. Vitor Ribeiro
7. John Lewis
8. Marcus Aurelio
9. Renato Verissimo
10. Thales Leites

Andre Pederneiras was originally award his black belt by Carlson Gracie when he was 22 years old. After starting his own gym he became frustrated with his teams inability to be competitive for team points at tournaments.  His team was almost always outnumbered by the likes of Gracie Barra and Carlson Gracie Team.  Andre befriended Wendell Alexander, another black belt, in a similar situation.  Together they formed Nova Uniao which means "new union."  Andre began to focus on MMA and compiled a professional record of 1 win, 1 loss, & 2 draws.  Eventually Andre turned his focus towards training MMA fighters leaving Wendell Alexander in charge of the Jiu-Jitsu side of Nova Uniao.  

Here is a great fight between Andre Pederneiras and Rumina Sato at Vale Tudo Japan 1998 which was Andre's professional debut in MMA.  Very good fight with a spectacular ending.  

Friday, September 19, 2014

2014 IBJJF Dallas Open

The IBJJF came to town last weekend and I was fortunate enough to be healthy and able to participate.  I don't compete often but I do try my best to give it a go when the IBJJF is in town.  The federation does get a lot of flack from some people in the sport but overall it is still the best and brings out the highest level competitors on average.  I feel that they still set a high bar that others try to reach with running tournaments.

This is the 3rd Dallas Open I have competed in and all three have been at the same venue.  I do think they have outgrown the venue a bit but the predictability of location is nice for me.  This was my first real tournament as a brown belt.  There were no competitors in the my age group (Master 2...yeah I'm old) so I decided to move down into Master 1 with 3 other guys already there.  Unfortunately a few days out one of the competitors moved out of our division leaving us in a three man bracket.  My preparation was probably better than any I have had leading up to the tournament.  My cardio felt as good as ever so I felt confident I could at least just focus on NOT making mistakes and playing my game.

I drew the first match with a guy I have never competed against.  The other competitor I was familiar with and had the 1st round bye.  During training I had really focused on my closed guard game and felt great about my ability to chain submissions and sweeps from here.  I was able to pull closed guard right off the bat and get to work.  He did a good job of shutting down my first attacks and attempted to stand a couple times.  I transitioned into De La Riva guard briefly then back into closed guard.  I was able to secure an over hook on his right arm from the closed guard and immediately started to control his free hand.  This allowed me to set up a triangle choke from this position.  He did a good job of hiding the trapped arm which made finishing the choke difficult. I switched from a orthodox triangle to a reverse triangle a couple times trying to wear him down.  I was able to eventually control the trapped arm and finished the match with a kimura from the triangle choke position.

Getting the win was a real confidence booster for me especially since I knew the fresh guy would have to go next against the person I had just defeated.  About ten minutes passed giving me time to talk to my coach and discuss the upcoming final.  After some time had passed the table called for me back on the mat which caught me off guard.  I'm not sure if my previous opponent was injured or what but he didn't compete again so the final came up a bit unexpectedly for me.  I had mentally prepared myself for this opponent and knew I had to avoid his closed guard.  When the match started I was careful and managed to secure my own closed guard.  The match was difficult and most likely boring to watch.  He did a very good job of neutralizing my ability to attack controlling one of my lapels and using a stiff arm to keep me down.  He used his other arm to jam my opposite side hip in order to open and create space.  Some people were confused as to why I couldn't attack that extended arm but the hip pressure he applied made it very difficult and dangerous for me to open and attack without allowing him to move into a passing position.  Most of the match was spent fighting for grips in this position.  Neither one of us was very willing to open up and switch our game plans.  There was at least one time that I did open and transition into half guard.  He immediately started to use a leg weave attempting to pass.  I was very fortunate to avoid the pass and not have an advantage awarded to the opponent here.  I got back to closed guard and the same fight ensued working for grips.  We were both hit with a stalling penalty with the score 0-0, 0-1 0-1 (negatives) around the 3 minute mark. I worked really hard in the final minute to sweep and avoid a referee decision.  With only 00:17 remaining he was hit with another stalling penalty.  Time in the match ended and I was lucky to win.

I hated to win the final in that manner but not every match or final for that matter are going to be the most exciting.  I have found that finals tend to be more closely fought and this one played out just that way.  I have a lot of respect for both of the guys that I competed against over the weekend and hope to have a chance to meet them again in competition.  Huge thanks to all my teammates and friends from other gyms that helped me prepare for this competition.  Five Grappling is coming up next!

2014 IBJJF Dallas Open Results:
Our gym website:

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Guests at the Gym this Week

This week has been pretty fun at our gym.  My coach's first black belt, Hector Munoz, has been in town for the week training with us.  He brought along friend and training partner Leonard Garcia (most known for MMA and his fights in the UFC).  Rather than focusing on MMA during the week they are here working their Jiu-Jitsu.  Leonard Garcia is still based out in Albuquerque, New Mexico and spends most of his time training at Jackson's MMA but said he was going back to his roots and focusing on his grappling.

Garcia is well known for his slug-fests in the UFC and WEC organizations.  He is now fighting for Legacy Fighting Championships and is scheduled to fight Daniel Pineda on November 14th in Houston.  Pineda has excellent Jiu-Jitsu (12 of his 16 wins by submission) so it's not a big surprise that Garcia is focusing on his ground game for this fight.  I didn't know it but Garcia's first exposure to the martial arts was through Jiu-Jitsu.  I got to train with him on Monday night; my coach paired us up and it was cool seeing him train in a gi.  He is currently a brown belt and has been for quite some time.  He said that he was initially a submission guy when he started MMA winning most of his fights utilizing his ground skills.  As many know organizations like the UFC pay very well for fighters willing to keep it on the feet and slug it out.  This had an influence on his training and focus in MMA.  Garcia basically stopped training Jiu-Jitsu and put his focus on Muay Thai kickboxing and nogi/mma grappling.  He says that he wish he had chosen a different path because he knows his first real strengths have always been in Jiu-Jitsu.

It was a real pleasure getting to train with him on Monday.  I can't express enough what a nice, humble person he is. Many of my training partners said the same thing.  We got to roll one round at the end of the class.  I was able to catch a sweep from open guard and almost completed a pass.  He was able to escape and catch me in his closed guard.  From here he had some nice attacks.  He was constantly moving chaining sweeps and submissions.  He caught me in an omoplata that he came close to finishing but I was lucky enough to escape.  I wish I would have had a little more time this week to train with him but my schedule simply didn't allow it.

Both he and Hector have been training twice a day at the gym (nogi days and gi in the evenings) so they along with our own guys have gotten some great work cross-training.  Having them here to visit has really brought in a lot of people that want a chance to train with them.  Both are headed back down to Corpus Christi to train at Hector's gym Full Contact Fight Academy.
Me & Leonard Garcia

I had not rolled with Hector Munoz since I was a newbie white belt in 2008.  All I can say is wow is he good.  He is a little older since then (so am I) and probably even better now having been a black belt for about seven years.  I can say that Hector is a true prototype of my coach; simply a younger version.  He is planning on competing at Nogi Worlds in a couple weeks.  If you are visiting the South Texas area I highly recommend dropping in and training with Hector and his crew.  Very tough and technical bunch of people there.
Me & Hector Munoz
Funny sidebar note.  One of my friends is about to open a new business in Frisco called Below Zero Cryo.  I saw this picture posted on Facebook...somehow Leonard managed to find this place yesterday.
Leonard Garcia test run in the Cryo
Leonard got to talking to the owner and realized they had a common friend in me.  Justin Miller, the owner of Below Zero Cryo, managed to make it up to our gym last night for open mat to train with all of us. Packed house with tons of talent.  I'm hoping to try out the Cryo-craze soon as it's a much nicer experience than the typical ice bath according to everyone I have talked to.  

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Reilly Bodycomb Seminar Review

This seminar review has been a long time coming.  I was fortunate enough to train with Reilly about a year ago during one of his visits to the Dallas area.  I've managed to stay in contact with Reilly since then and was able to help coordinate a seminar at our newly opened gym in June.  If you are not familiar with Reilly he is primarily a nogi grappler with a big concentration in sambo and leg locks.  He offers a very fresh point of view when it comes to grappling as I personally am very gi oriented and more accustomed to competing under a more strict rule set than he prefers.

The subject material for the seminar focused on leg locks and attacking the seated guard.  Reilly has a very cerebral approach to instruction that I can appreciate.  Rather than diving right into the "legal leg locks" most of us wanted to see he spent a good deal of time teaching "illegal" leg locks.  Why might you ask?  Well it's important to understand what makes them illegal in most BJJ competitions and why they are effective. Reaping ankle locks and heel hooks.  Explanation and demonstration about inside versus outside heel hooks were covered.  To finish up leg locks he showed us how to escape the positions which was refreshing.  Lots of time was allotted to drill and explore the positions/attacks.

Moving on from here Reilly showed various ways to attack with straight ankle locks over a seated opponent in open guard and the De La Riva guard (belly down ankle lock).  I can attest this is very effective.  I have seen him and his students pull these off in competitions.  I've also had good luck using the belly down ankle lock against teammates in rolling sessions to counter the De La Riva.

Reilly has a pretty interesting philosophy about guard passing and attacking.  He states that 'there are guards worth passing and guards not worth passing.'

"The purpose of a guard is to defend yourself against attack.  This is true for any combat sport if it's boxing, fencing, or grappling.  If a boxer leaves their hands to high or too low, then it is obvious for their opponent to attack them when they are open.  This is true for grappling in a way."

"Many guards that people employ are designed to stop the pass but not to stop the submission attacks on the legs.  The natural conclusion is that if the guard is not protecting the legs then there is no point to go out of your way for a pass when the nearest submission is right there."

"So I break guards up into three categories:
1. Guards that you pass

2. Guards not worth passing
3. Better guards that require an attack to see what opens up first...the pass or the leg lock"

So moving on from the leg attacks Reilly showed an excellent way to attack for the kimura over a seated opponent.  Specifically if the opponent attempts a single leg from the seated guard.  The situation sets up perfectly for a kimura from the standing position.  Even if the kimura cannot be finished a quality passing opportunity/scramble is initiated and option to get the back of your opponent.

Reilly has an excellent DVD on leg locks "Sambo Leg Locks for Nogi Grappling" that has been around for years.  You can purchase it directly at his website:

He also has digital downloads that you can purchase from his site.  The cool thing is you can pay what you want.  That is a pretty innovative offer you don't see very often.  That being said if you download I do recommend paying what you feel is fair as the material covered is very good.  Something worth noting is that Reilly only shows techniques that are functional and have been competition tested.  I have rolled with him and can tell you that he doesn't waste time on techniques he doesn't use himself.  Reilly is very open-minded when it comes to grappling as he cross-trains in various arts and is always looking to add tools to his unique and effective style.  If you get the opportunity to train with him or at a minimum study/train his instructional videos I highly recommend it.

Reilly's newest offering coming in September 2014:  "No Kurtka"
Purchase here:
& here:

Still not convinced?  Reilly recently won gold at an ADCC event in New York's Pro Division.
Here is a highlight of his matches from a month ago.

Reilly's Top Rock

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Five Grappling Tournament Returning for Texas 2

I had the pleasure of meeting of couple of the gentleman that run this national grappling organization earlier this year.  They made a big effort to tour around the future locations of their planned tournaments, meet with gym owners, pass out their posters and flyers, etc.  It was a nice opportunity to put names with faces and get an idea of what they are trying to accomplish.  I feel this organization is growing and headed in the right direction.  For the most part, IBJJF has been the big dog of grappling tournaments and many strive to replicate their standard but Five Grappling offers a wonderful alternative for all age groups without some of the negatives associated with IBJJF.  Don't get me we wrong...I do support IBJJF and consider it a prestigious organization to compete for but there are some issues such as added costs for membership cards for juvenile, brown, & black belt competitors among other issues that turns people away.    

So let's look at some things that I like about Five Grappling as compared to IBJJF.

1. Annual membership cards NOT required for juvenile, brown, & black belt competitors
2. Discounted pricing for multiple divisions.  ie: $90 for 1, $20 for each additional
3. Website / Registration is much easier to navigate allowing for division change options to be selected
4. Some of the event posters advertise specials like "Small batch run of Shoyoroll gi's for sale" among many other cool things like DVD instructionals, and an opportunity to win a documentary about YOU by BJJ famed documentary ninja Stuart Cooper.  
5. Kids divisions are a plus / IBJJF has separate tournaments generally in California just for the kids.
6. Website is laid out very well and easy to navigate.  Rules, videos, results, pics are all posted and easy to find.  
7. Both Gi & Nogi division the same weekend.  IBJJF doesn't do this as often. 
8. All competitors receive a t-shirt and gi backpack 
9. Lastly is more of a personal note from me.  Five Grappling is new and it's a little different.  Competition is a good thing.  Five Grappling appears to be committed to evolving the way they run tournaments and adapt their scoring system if it makes sense. They are actively soliciting opinions on their Facebook page that are brought to panel meetings for consideration.  

Five Grappling is committed to bringing in high level talent.  At numerous events they've brought in the talents of Keenan Cornelius, Clark Gracie, McKenzie Dern, and the list goes on.  Looking over the competitors list from Texas 1 last April I would expect no less...actually a bigger turnout since they are gaining momentum. Five Grappling has grown since their first big tour and now unfolding their second tour of tournaments across the country.  

Time is ticking, don't wait and miss registering early for the savings and opportunities.  Main Page:
Early Registration ends after September 4, 2014
Registration closes: September 29, 2014 or when 1500 competitors reached

Friday, August 22, 2014

Sneaky Wrist Lock Attack from Otavio Sousa

Lately it seems like wrist locks are becoming a more popular trend in Jiu-Jitsu competitions.  I have also taken a liking to them.  Why not?!  They can end a match quickly and are often overlooked by most grapplers.  I find myself looking for them more often these days while training at my own gym.  I stumbled on this particularly nice wrist lock set up as shown by Gracie Barra elite competitor Otavio Sousa.  The set up is based on having your opponents back and is a response to them defending in a particular way.  Check it out and as always, go slow on them with your training partners!

You can see Otavio Sousa compete soon in the 3rd edition of the World Jiu-Jitsu Expo October 18, 2014.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Throwback Thursday Grappling Match

Life has really gotten in the way of Jiu-Jitsu and keeping up with the blog since last May.  Going through a home purchase and impending move right now.  I've been able to keep a decent training schedule but far from what I'd like with the IBJJF Dallas Open coming up in 8 weeks.  Oh and on top of all that our gym relocated from Plano to Frisco!

Hopefully things will settle down after next week. I have a Reilly Bodycomb seminar review coming up soon that I will share.  In the meantime here is a #TBT grappling match from back in 2011 when I was a blue belt.  It's always cool to go back and watch old matches to see how much you've progressed and of course to evaluate things to work on.  I probably played the most passive game ever at this particular tournament which was a first for me.  Things that I learned most in this match:

1. Passing the guard...I wasn't very good at it then.
2. Importance of breaking grips.
3. Properly defending/escaping the omoplata rather than rolling and losing reversal points.
4. Don't wear old, lightweight gi's that stretch.  The sleeves on this Koral gi were awful and was retired shortly after.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Manny "Beats" Diaz Seminar Review

I've been really fortunate this year to attend a few excellent seminars that have been incredibly affordable; each of them costing less than $50 for three hours of training.  A good friend of mine, Collin Grayson, runs a Caio Terra affiliate in Rockwall, TX and was planning on hosting Gameness sponsored athlete Manny Diaz for a weekend.  For those not familiar with Manny he is a high level, world champion brown belt from Caio Terra's academy. What makes him a little different than the "average" high level competitor is that he doesn't train Jiu-Jitsu on a full-time basis like it's his primary job.  Manny is married, has children, and a regular job that has him traveling from time to time.  He's one of those few guys that is able to balance all of that stuff and somehow compete at the highest levels with success.

Not knowing what the focus of the seminar would be covering I felt like attending was a no-brainer.  We were lucky enough to host Manny and Collin for a Friday night rolling session at our own gym.  Knowing that Manny has a great top game I expected to get crushed the entire time but found that he has an excellent half guard game.  He was fairly playful during the rolls for the most part but had no problems tuning us up and doing what he wanted.  It was a really good experience to see what parts of our A game wouldn't work on him and he was helpful to point out things we could do differently.

The next day we met up at Collin's gym in Rockwall for the seminar.  I managed to get a few guys from my gym to attend as well.  Much to my surprise the first half of the seminar was focused on how he likes to play half guard, maintain distance control, keeping your opponent grounded in the half guard, and 3-4 sweeps from here.  I think most of us expected to see Manny's crushing top game but this was a welcomed surprise as half guard is one of my favorite positions.  To finish up this position he showed us some Williams Guard options and submissions from half which will work very well for my own game.

The second half of the seminar focused on breaking down and passing the uber popular De La Riva Guard. The techniques Manny showed from here were fairly new to me but seemed very good.  Manny likes to remove the DLR hook and use a knee up the middle to smash through the guard, taking his time to nullify any additional annoyances from the legs and controlling the hips before sliding through into side mount.  This is not a lot of fun as an uke much less during a normal rolling session...but it is super effective as evidenced in the video.  This was fairly reminiscent of the Sean Roberts means for passing we learned earlier this year but Manny brought even more pressure and control to the table.

At the end of the seminar Manny rolled individually with every person that stuck around with no breaks between rounds.  What a guy!  I can't recommend enough that if you have the opportunity to attend one of his seminars or simply train with it!  He is very talented, an effective instructor, and a super nice guy. I heard a rumor (well not really) from Caio Terra that Manny plans to open up his own academy in the near future.  We wish him luck with that and at the IBJJF World Championships in a couple weeks!

Big thanks to Collin Grayson of CTA - Rockwall, TX for hosting the seminar.  If you are in his area please check out his gym.