Tuesday, May 26, 2015

2015 IBJJF World Jiu-Jitsu Championships (Preview)

2015 IBJJF Worlds here we come!  This year features a new method of determining WHO can participate at the black belt level.  Competitors were required to compete throughout the year in IBJJF event in order to accumulate enough points in order to qualify for the Worlds Championship tournament.  This has prevented the typical monster-sized divisions at black belt and should ensure that those competing deserve to be there.  Prior to this pretty much anyone could enter the tournament at black belt so I think it's a good thing for this particular event.

So you want to watch this live?  Well you are in luck because it's being streamed here:

I will warn people that I personally have had problems watching some streaming events (2015 Pan & EBI III specifically).  Upon the checkout process I would receive an error stating "invalid country specified."  Unfortunately I could never get an answer from Budovideos or the IBJJF.  I was able to determine that the company that is handling transactions for these events are based in Europe.  My bank was basically kicking back the charges unbeknownst to me.  So that being said if you have any problems ordering the event you may need to contact your bank or credit card company to inform them that it is not a fraudulent charge.

With that out of the way let's get on to the good stuff!

As usual I will list some of the brown belt divisions that I have a vested interest in for the 2015 World Championships preview.  I think it's silly to ignore the non-black belt divisions as were are looking (or should be) at the future crop of talented black belts for years to come.

Brown / Adult Male / Light Feather (34 Competitors)
2014 Champ: Ram Ananda (Alliance) / 2nd place: Windson Ramos Silva (CheckMat)

There are a handful names that stand out for me: Michael Musumeci Jr (ATT), Michael Woolf Barnato (Ralph Gracie), Darson Hemmings (Ribeiro JJ), Jacob Sandoval (Alliance).  Do not sleep on Gustavo Fonseca (Atos) either but the first three are my favorites to make it to the podium.

My pick: Michael Musumeci Jr (ATT)...and I predict a black belt promotion in short order.

Brown / Adult Male / Feather (49 Competitors)
2014 Champ: Marcio Andre (Nova Uniao) / 2nd place: Isaac Doederlein (Alliance)

Cobrinha talent Isaac Doederlein (Alliance) is my immediate favorite in this division.  Rick Slomba of Atos is a personal favorite that I think will do some damage but for me this one is easy. Doederlein is ready for the next level.

My pick: Isaac Doederlein (Alliance)

Brown / Adult Male / Light (60 Competitors)
2014 Champ: Michael Liera Jr. (Atos)

Romulo Barral protege Edwin Najmi (Gracie Barra) will likely be everyone's favorite in this division. Don't sleep on Brandon Russell (Lovato) is a solid competitor to keep an eye on.

Brown / Adult Male / Super Heavy (17 Competitors)
2014 Champ: Erberth Santos (TLI)

My pick: Jared Lynn Dopp (Lovato JJ)

Black / Adult Male / Rooster (9 Competitors)
2014 Champ: Bruno Malfacine (Alliance) / 2nd place: J. Miyao (PSLPB)

This year reigning champ Malfacine return to defend his title but for the second year in a row we won't be treated to Caio Terra in competition.  The usual names are present though: Fabbio Passos (Alliance), Rafael Freitas (Gracie Barra), Joao Miyao (PSLPB Cicero Costha), Koji Shibamoto (Tri-Force).  I would expect to see a rematch of Malfacine x Miyao in the final.  Last year's battle was very close and I'd expect no less.  Miyao has been much more active over the last year so I have to give him the edge.

My pick: Joao Miyao (PSLPB Cicero Costha)

Black / Adult Male / Light Feather (16 Competitors)
2014 Champ: Gui Mendes (Atos) / 2nd place: P. Miyao (PSLPB)

In case you haven't heard in recent news, Gui Mendes has announced that he is retiring from competition so we will not see him in the tournament.  The big names that jump out this year are as follows: Samir Chantre (Brasa CTA), Carlos Vieira Holanda (CheckMat), Paulo Miyao (PSLPB), Daniel Beleza (SAS Team USA), and Vitor Paschoal (Brasa CTA).  Depending on how the brackets are set up I would favor seeing Samir Chantre x P. Miyao (PSLPB) in the final.

My pick: P. Miyao (PSLPB)

Black / Adult Male / Feather (16 Competitors)
2014 Champ: Rafael Medes (Atos) / 2nd place: Cobrinha (Alliance)

Well I will say that Cobrinha was kind of a last minute competitor to show up into the division so I'm really excited to see a very stacked division this year at Feather.  Gianni Grippo (Alliance) has shown that he has the chops to compete at the highest of levels coming off gold at Abu Dhabi among other titles over the last 9 months at black belt.  He has had some wars with P. Miyao and Osvaldo Moizinho aka Queixinho who is also competing at Feather.  Mario Reis (Alliance) will most certainly be a favorite to medal.  The seemingly never againg Megaton Dias (Gracie Humaita) will be present to show these young guys he still has what it takes to compete at 47.  It's very difficult to say who will make it to the final and I'm excited to see how the brackets are set up for this one.

My pick: Rafa Mendes (Atos)

Black / Adult Male / Light (20 Competitors)
2014 Champ: Lucas Lepri (Alliance) / 2nd place: Jonathan Torres (Atos)

I am very interested in the Light division this year.  We are usually treated to a Michael Langhi & Lucas Lepri (Alliance) close out in the finals.  Just a few weeks ago Nova Uniao black belt Luan Carvalho Alves edged out Michael Langhi at the Brasiliero's in the semi-finals and went on to take gold in that tournament.  That said I expect Luan to be a contender at this years Worlds in the Light division.  *EDIT: Apparently Luan will not be competing as it appears he may be having visa issues to travel for the competition.* Enter newer black belts Michael Liera Jr. (Atos) and Andris Brunovskis (Atos); don't sleep on Rodrigo Caporal (Atos) or last year's silver medalist Jonathan Torres (Atos).  Atos has a very strong presence in the division and will make some noise.  I'm excited to see how Liera will do being a newer black belt.

My pick: Lucas Lepri (Alliance)

Black / Adult Male / Middle (22 Competitors)
2014 Champ: Leandro Lo (PSLPB) / 2nd place: Otavio Sousa (Gracie Barra)

I feel very certain the returning middle weights are pleased to see that Lo has moved up to Medium Heavy for this year's tournament.  This is an incredibly stacked division.  2014 silver medalist Otavio Sousa (GB) returns and is likely the immediate favorite.  Sinistro (Alliance), new Marcelo Garcia black belts Jonathan Satava & Marcos Tinoco (Alliance) will have their hands full but should be exciting to watch.  Tanner Rice (Amazonas), Atos standout Claudio Calasans, Murilo Santana (Barbosa JJ), Marcel Mafra (CheckMat), Victor Estima (Gracie Barra), Magid Hage (Gracie Barra), and last but not least Victor Oliveira (GF Team) round out an impressive line-up.

My pick: Victor Estima (Gracie Barra)

Black / Adult Male / Medium Heavy (20 Competitors)
2014 Champ: Braulio Estima (Gracie Barra) / 2nd place: Romulo Barral (Gracie Barra)

Well neither 2014 finalists will be competing this year.  Braulio is out due to suspension for failing PED testing last year and Barral is focused primarily on ADCC this year.  That's okay though because we will be treated to Leandro Lo (PSLPB) stepping up a weight class which I doubt will be a problem for him.  He is usually in the finals of the Open Weight class every tournament so barring injury he has to be a heavy favorite.  Marcelo Garcia black belt Matheus Diniz is going to be someone to keep a close eye on.  Gustavo Campos and Pedro Mello both of Atos will be likely forces.   Depending on how the brackets are set up I expect to see Lo x Campos in the final.

My pick: Leandro Lo (PSLPB)

Black / Adult Male / Heavy (19 Competitors)
2014 Champ: Felipe Pena (Gracie Barra) / 2nd place: Andre Galvao (Atos)

Again we won't be treated to defending champ "Preguinca", Galvao, OR Rafael Lovato (2014 bronze medalist).  Don't fret because Keenan Cornelius (Atos) has moved up a weight class!  Additionally we have Jackson Sousa (CheckMat), Lucas Leite (CheckMat), Manny Diaz (Soul Fighters), and Timothy Spriggs (TLI).  Oh...and don't sleep on Xande Ribeiro (Ribeiro JJ).  Keenan had a really disappointing 2014 Worlds when he lost to Diego Gamonal (BTT) over a (in my opinion) controversial knee reap.  Keenan will for sure be looking to redeem himself and collect his first World's title at black belt.

My pick: Keenan Cornelius (Atos)

Black / Adult Male / Super Heavy (9 Competitors)
2014 Champ: Rodolfo Vieira (GF Team) / 2nd place: Bernardo Faria (Alliance)

Rodolfo won't be competing this year as he's been focused on MMA so make way for a new champ this year at Super Heavy.  Bernardo Faria (Alliance) has to be the favorite as he is usually coming up short against the monster Rodolfo.  Yri Simoes (Brasa CTA) will certainly look to improve from last year's bronze, Roberto "Tussa" Alencar (Gracie Barra) will likely find his way onto the podium.  Joao Gabriel Rocha (Soul Fighters), James Puopolo (Ribeiro JJ), and Erberth Santos (Guigo BJJ) will all be factors in a traditionally small division.

My pick: Bernardo Faria (Alliance)

Black / Adult Male / Ultra Heavy (13 Competitors)
2014 Champ: Marcus "Buchecha" Almedia (CheckMat) / 2nd place: Alexander Trans (UAE JJ)

As luck, or bad luck would have it depending on who you are...Buchecha is BACK!  Rodrigo Cavaca (Zenith BJJ), Alexander Trans (UAE), and 2014 bronze medalist Ricardo Evangelista (GF Team) are my favorites to watch in this division.

My pick: Buchecha (CheckMat)

Black / Adult Male / Open Weight Prediction
2014 Champ: Marcus "Buchecha" Almeida (CheckMat) / 2nd place: Rodolfo Vieira (GT Team)

Of course we can only imagine who will be participating in the open.  2014 runners up include Keenan & Faria.  We can obviously eliminate Rodolfo this year.  If Buchecha is able to enter the absolute then without a doubt he will be the favorite to repeat as I don't see many people being able to dethrone him.

My pick: Marcus "Buchecha" Almedia (CheckMat)

Black / Adult Female / Light Feather (4 Competitors)
2014 Champ: Gezary Bandeira (ATT)

In a tiny division we have the 2014 champ returning.  I'm not going to lie...I don't know the other competitors so my choice is easy here.

My pick: Gezary Bandeira (ATT)

Black / Adult Female / Feather (8 Competitors)
2014 Champ: Michelle Nicolini (CheckMat) / 2nd place: Tammi Musumeci (ATT)

Who can forget this match from 2014?  The final saw Nicolini with a come from behind victory and destroying Tammi's arm.  This was easily the most exciting final of last year's tournament.  Both competitors are back for 2015 but so is red-hot Mackenzie Dern (Gracie Humaita) who just seems unbeatable.  Dern is coming off gold at her weight in Abu Dhabi and not only a close win over Gabi Garcia (Alliance) but gold in the open class at Abu Dhabi.  Dern even beat Nicolini on points earlier in the same tournament.

My pick: Mackenzie Dern (Gracie Humaita)

Black / Adult Female / Light (10 Competitors)
2014 Champ: Beatriz Mesquita (Gracie Humaita) / 2nd place: Luiza Monteiro (PSLPB)

All of the medalists from 2014 outside of Luiza (moved up to Middle) are back this year and will be challenged by Angelica Galvao (Atos), and Nyjah Easton (TLI).

My pick: Beatriz Mesquita (Gracie Humaita)

Black / Adult Female / Middle (8 Competitors)
2014 Champ: Janni Larson (CheckMat)

Reigning champ Janni Larson (CheckMat) isn't returning this year to defend her title but the division gets an instant new challenge in Luiza Monteiro Costa (PSLPB).  Look for Ida Hansson (CheckMat) and Sijara Eubanks (TLI) to be making it to the podium.

My pick: Luiza Monteiro (PSLPB)

Black / Adult Female / Medium Heavy (5 Competitors)
2014 Champ: Ana Cordeiro (Gracie Barra) / 2nd place: Hannette Staack (Soul Fighters)

Hannette Staack (Soul Fighters) won't be competing this year.  Something notable is that 2014 Heavy champ Andresa Correa (Alliance) has dropped down a weight class. Outside of that my knowledge of the competitors is pretty limited.

My pick: Andresa Correa (Alliance)

Black / Adult Female / Heavy (4 Competitors)
2014 Champ: Andresa Correa (Alliance)

2014 Champ Correa has dropped down a weight class which should make way for the Marcelo Garcia talent Dominyka Obelenyte (Alliance).  Tammy Greigo (Gracie Barra) is the only big challenge I see for her this year.

My pick: Dominyka Obelenyte (Alliance)

Black / Adult Female / Super Heavy (5 Competitors)
2014 Champ: Venla Luukkonen (Hilti BJJ)

With the reigning champ returning to a small division I'm not going to make any bold predictions here.  No Gabi Garcia this year.

My pick: Venla Luukkonen (Hilti BJJ)

Black / Adult Female / Open Weight Prediction
2014 Champ: Beatriz Mesquita (Gracie Humaita) / 2nd place: Michelle Nicolini (CheckMat)

Since Gabi Garcia is not competing this year (again) we are likely to see a more competitive field.  I feel like this will be a great tournament for Dominyka Obelenyte (Alliance).

My pick: Dominyka Obelenyte (Alliance)

IBJJF Site: http://ibjjf.org/championship/world-jiu-jitsu-championship/
Schedule: http://ibjjf.org/championships/world-jiu-jitsu-championship-2015-pre-schedule-update/
Brackets: http://events.ibjjf.com/sportos/application/sheet/index.php?idevent=319&dayofevent=1
Divisions: http://static.ibjjfdb.com/Campeonato/000415/en-US/RegistrationsByCategoryAndAcademy.pdf
How to watch live: http://www.ibjjftv.com/

Gui Mendes retirement announcement:

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Bad Coaching & Parenting...Are you Guilty of This?

I am not a fan of public shaming but I feel like there are examples where this should be done.  The goal isn't necessarily to single any one individual out but to be more aware how we as coaches, instructors, and even parents should treat our children.  This is not limited to sports by any means. There is a fine line between being firm as an instructor but we should focus on building our kids up. They WILL make mistakes both on and off the mat.  I am not a proponent of babying kids and ignoring their mistakes but it should be a focus to help them LEARN from their mistakes.  Tearing kids down as shown in this video is a terrible way of helping kids learn from their losses.  This kind of behavior isn't tolerated in our gym.  If you find yourself doing this as a coach or a parent, I implore you to reconsider about how this may affect them.

1.  Is this sport or activity for them or is it for YOU?
2. Do you know how difficult this is for your child?
3. Have you yourself tried this activity?
4. Is it more important to YOU or your child to succeed?
5. What are they learning from the experience?

Remember a few things that I can assure you that your child will go through.

1. They do not want to disappoint you (Parents & Coaches)
2. They do not want to fail because who likes to lose?
3. They will experience stress from the above two items
4. They WILL lose some but hopefully they will also win some as well

If you are a parent that is incredibly tough on your children like what is seen in this video I ask that you work on making yourself a better parent.

1. Back OFF!  Let the coaches do their job and TALK to them.  Get feedback to determine what they could have done better.  If you have a coach like this...I recommend finding a new gym.

2. If you can't do the above then you should reconsider taking part in activities such as BJJ practice and especially tournaments.  I have seen parents here and there that simply cannot control themselves while watching their kids roll & compete.  This may not be the sport for you or your child.

You kids are already participating in a very tough sport and they need YOUR support.

If you are a coach and are guilty of treating your students like this then YOU should reconsider working with children or coaching entirely.  It's our job to make these kids better on and off the mats. They need to have their self-esteem built up, not destroyed.

I'll finish this up by saying that as a parent, if you find your kids in an atmosphere that is not healthy for the development of your child IMMEDIATELY get in touch with the coach or head instructor. If the issues cannot be resolved then it's time to look for a better environment.  Not everyone can be a world champion in this sport but this should be fun, a learning experience, and an opportunity to grow.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Get to Know: Rikki Rockett (Famous Rock Star & BJJ Black Belt)

As a child of the 80's I grew up listening to bands like Poison and am a HUGE fan of that genre of music.   If I had any idea when I was 13 years old that I would have something in common with my rock star idols, or that we would speak to each other on the same level about it, my mind would have been COMPLETELY blown.  I am beyond stoked that Poison drummer Rikki Rockett took the time to contribute some of his life, history and how he became a student of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. 

I believe many people (myself at least) dream about living the life of someone famous. Having opportunities to experience things that the average person may never get to do.  I know that as  kid in my early teens, the idea of being a rock star was incredibly appealing and sounded very exciting.  If you don't know Rikki Rockett because you didn't grow up in the 80's like I did, I think that you can easily imagine this being any other music super star that fits your generation. To date, this has been the most exciting Q&A opportunity I have had. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Q: What are you up to these days?  Are you still playing and involved with music?

A: Very much so. I can’t talk a lot about the changes with Poison right now due some legal stuff, but suffice to say that we are pretty busy right now! We played a show with a different lead singer, Brandon Gibbs, who is in my other band, The Devil City Angels. I started the Devil City Angels with Tracii Guns of L.A. Guns fame (Guns ’N’ Roses), Eric Brittingham from Cinderella and Brandon. I found Brandon in Burlington, Iowa 11 years ago at 17 years old playing with his brother. We have stayed tight ever since and now he is a bona fide rock star in my opinion!

I build custom drums and most important, raise my 5 year old boy Jude and my 2 year old Lucy.

Q: When did you start training?  What drew you to the sport as you got a much earlier start than most people that will be reading this interview?

A: I started over 17 years ago. I was training JKD, Kali and Silat. I was drawn to Silat because of the Sumatran version that was pretty much a ground game. I met John and JJ Machado at a vegetarian rally and told them how I admired Royce Gracie and I wrestled in High School and loved Silat. They invited me to the school. Once I was there I was greated by Renato Magno, (my long time and still my coach) and Eddie Bravo who also trained JKD. I got tapped out 12 times that evening and my life has never been the same! Can I tell you what an experience it is to tapped out by JJ Machado!

Q: When did you receive your Black Belt and from whom?  How old were you?

A: I was 48 years old. Renato Magno (Street Sports BJJ, Santa Monica, CA). Renato moved here with the Machado Bros. from Brazil to help start their school. I got my second degree two years ago. I am eligible for three stripes, but I don’t deserve it! I haven’t been as consistent this year because of all of my musical projects. Four training days a week is great, but this past year has been about two or three. I like to walk around at competition weight and feeling like I could compete at any time, but that’s just a wish most of the time! 

Note: I got my purple belt under Renato and JJ Machado at the Machado Bros. school. I remained a purple belt for 7 years!

Rikki & Renato Magno

Rikki & Jean Jacques Machado
Q: I think most people find it fascinating to learn about famous people that also train Jiu-Jitsu.  Name some of the competitors that you either trained with or against comping up in the ranks.  Any other well-known training partners currently or in the past?  

A: Mac Danzig (UFC), Danny Inosanto, Gabriel Vella de Freitas, All of the Machado Bros., Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini, Eddie Bravo, Ed O’Niel, Rico “The Baltimore Butcher” Chipparelli & playwright / film director David Mamet come to mind.

Q: Any interesting stories to share about training over the years? 

A: I swear, everyday is an adventure.  And thank God for that!!!

Q: What do you feel a new student should focus on?

A: I can answer both this and the second at the same time. Keep a log of your training. I wish, wish I would have done this! We all tend to remember our rolls more than our drills and so it’s important. When your coach sez, “I wanna see 15 chokes from the mount!” and you are going in your head, “Hmmmmm, I only use 3 most of time, what were they now?” It’s important to review. Even if you prefer certain techniques over others. I am not a gifted grappler. I have had to scrimp and scrape for everything I have acquired. It just doesn’t come naturally most of the time for me. Even for our gifted brothers, keep a log. You are probably going to teach too.

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

A: See last answer!

Q: In my experience, famous and well known people that train BJJ don't compete very often.  I personally saw you compete at IBJJF Pan 2010 via the Budovideos stream.  That is how I became aware that you were a Black Belt.  How important is it to compete and its usefulness for development?

A: I think competition is a big part of our art. It pushes the envelope. Sure, the system of competing has it’s limits, but it drives a certain aspect of BJJ that is important. Some people never compete. Ceasar Gracie for example, but he is a bad ass and a great coach. So, it’s personal. However, it does build camaraderie and that is essential. BJJ peeps are, for the most part, a big family. We are like the Marine Corps of martial arts and we respect each other because of that. (I mean that with respect to the Marines, BTW. My Dad and cousins were in the corp.)

Q: What are your thoughts on rolling versus drilling?

A: If you don't drill, you will always defend more than you initiate when you roll because you won't have the mobility or the familiarity of the technique.  Both are critical.

Q: Do you use supplements?  How do you stay healthy?

A: I do supplement, but not overly. Multis, Vega powder after training and I toy with a few other things. Juice from time to time. I have been vegetarian for 22 years and I think it’s the best option for me. Mac Danzig, Jake Shields and others are vegetarian or vegan and do well in MMA. It is a viable option. I’d love to go Raw Vegan!

Q: What do you recommend for training preparation?

A: Sleep!!! What you ate the day before matters. I think too many guys try and eat like bodybuilders and that doesn’t seem to be the trick. Carbs are not the enemy in BJJ. That is a myth. If you are trying to rip for a photo session, sure, protein and low carbs. Doesn’t work with BJJ in my experience. To each his own, I guess, though.

Q: How active are you these days in BJJ?  What is a typical week for you training or simply a day in the life of Rikki Rockett?  Who do you currently train under?

A: Very active. However, my perfect week would be: Mon., Wed. & Fri. Jits. Tues. & Thur. TRX and Yoga. Weekends: Chasing my kids!!! I train under Professor Renato Magno, Street Sports BJJ, Santa Monica, CA. Sometimes I train with Dave Dunne (3rd degree B Belt under JJ Machado) at Fight Academy in Santa Clarita, CA. We have been buds for years. I fill in and teach once in a while for Mr. Dunne. He is a great coach and an amazing person.

Professor Magno has been an inspiration to me over the years on many levels. He is a friend, a great family man, great coach and a positive force in BJJ culture.

Q: 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?

Rikki & Professor Dave Dunne
A: I do. We have guys in our school who travel all over and come back with some unexpected moves. We have guys train before tournaments from Brazil who are affiliates of Professor Magno who have a whole new twist on things sometimes. I have the pleasure of traveling and interacting with lots of Jits guys. Southern California is such a melting pot and hot bed for BJJ. It’s a blessed thing to be here and soak it up. I still suck, though! LOL!

Q: What is the worst injury you have experienced while training?

A: A meniscus tear from a leg lock and a compound fracture of my left big toe. Big toe breaks are like breaking your whole foot. The balance from your big toe is what separates us from the great apes… oh and Rigan Machado! LOL!!! (He’s gonna kick my ass for that one!)

Q: Any big goals for 2015?  Jiu-Jitsu, music, projects, etc?

A: Well, it’s about keeping up the momentum with my musical projects first and foremost. I have a family, so I gotta stay working for awhile. Maybe semi retire in about 5 years and teach Jiu-Jitsu. “Rockett’s Snakepit BJJ”. I would like to compete again. I really enjoyed it. I didn’t win. But, I didn’t get tapped or owned, so it was a positive experience for me.

Q: Do you keep up with current events in the sport?  i.e. Watching events like IBJJF, Metamoris, Polaris, etc?  Might you peruse BJJ forums online under some secret persona?

A: I do, indeed. I love Metamoris and Rigan’s new endeavor The World Jiu-Jitsu Federation. I love the UFC too. Any forum I have ever gone on I was very transparent. Too many ball busters on some of them. Because I am the drummer for Poison, some haters wanna judge me on what I looked like on the cover of a record in 1986! It becomes a little not worth the hassle. However, I thought about fighting a no-gi tournament and wearing bright colored spats, tease my hair and wear guy liner. But, if I lost I’d look like an ass! It would be funny, though!

Q: Name the accomplishment you are most proud of be it BJJ or something personal.

A: My first gold record. I bought my parents a Cadillac with that money like Elvis did! (Except I’m still in the building)

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

A: I think it’s a good thing to occasionally roll with the ballistic white belt who will challenge your current knowledge. The young, over the top Blue Belt hell bent on your destruction! yes, it will keep your instincts fresh. Oh, yeah, do it when you are tired. And… the light girl who trains all the time. Make sure you use no muscle-ing at all. These are things many of us avoid when we roll. Try asking your Police training partners what they run into every day and how you might handle it. This is real life and sometimes we can get bogged down of the sports end of BJJ. Like Bruce Lee always warned about never losing your natural instinct from learning too much technique.

Q: Anything else you would  like to add people might find interesting about yourself?

A: I was an EMT back in Harrisburg, PA.  How's that one?  I was a hairdresser, a dishwasher and a lifeguard before seeking fame and fortune out west.

Q: Any sponsors you would like to thank, products, or services you would to promote?  BJJ, music, etc?

BJJ: Shoyoroll http://shoyoroll.com/
Scramble Brand http://store.scramblestuff.us/
Ludwig Clothing http://ludwigvantheman.com/

Music: Devil City Angles http://www.devilcityangels.com/
Poison http://poisonweb.com/

Clothing: Cult of Individuality Denim http://www.cultofindividuality.com/mens/jeans/
New Balance Sneakers: http://www.newbalance.com/

Drums: Sabian Cymbals http://www.sabian.com/en/home
Drum Workshop Hardware & Pedals http://www.dwdrums.com/
Drum Tacs http://www.drumtacs.com/
Aquarian Drum Heads http://www.aquariandrumheads.com/
Los Cabos DrumSticks http://loscabosdrumsticks.com/
Rockett Drum Works Custom Drums http://rockettdrumworks.com/

Additional Links:

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Luan Carvalho (Nova União) x Michael Langhi (Alliance) 2015 Brasileiro (Semifinal)

Unless you are very plugged into the tournaments going on in Brazil right now last weekend featured the 2015 Brasileiro tournament which is kind of a big deal.  Unfortunately unless you were there or have been able to see some of the posted matches it's a bit difficult to stay on top of the results.  One match that jumped out at me as very impressive is that of fairly new Black Belt Luan Carvalho (Nova Uniao) over Alliance powerhouse Michael Langhi!  Note this was a semifinal and a real nail biter but most did not expect this result.  Luan would go on to win the division and I can imagine this is the biggest win of his career.  I would definitely keep an eye on this prospect in the Leve (Light) division at future events!

2015 Brasileiro Results:


Monday, May 4, 2015

93 Brand 100 Kilo Gi Review

It has been a long time since I have done a gi review on the blog.  I recently had the opportunity to test out one of 93 Brand's latest offerings the 100 Kilo gi and that was just the inspiration I needed get on here and share it with everyone.  93 Brand is an American company based out of New York that was founded in 2012.  They are very well known in the Jiu-Jitsu community for offering basic gi designs that are not overly flashy.  There is something to be said for simplicity in the design of a gi. As much as I take pleasure in a gi adorned in eye catching logo patches and a custom look right out of the box, I also enjoy the ability to get creative and add on my collection of patches from my gym and various others acquired from seminars, organizations and causes I support. They also offer a full line of gear not limited to belts, rash guards, grappling tights, and t-shirts.  93 Brand offers some excellent pricing on their gi's well under the $200 mark.  You can usually purchase their gi's anywhere from $99-140 pretty regularly on various sites. 


If you are Jiu-Jitsu purist then 93 brand has a lot to offer in the way of getting you geared up and on the mat with little fuss. The 100 Kilo at first glance is a clean, organic look with a well blended combination of classic colors. It is a solid off white gi with the look and feel of unbleached cotton, soft to the touch right out of the bag with charcoal grey contrast stitching and crimson accents on the taping, logo patch and embroidery. Each sleeve features 93 brand logos embroidered in black, white crimson and charcoal grey. The bottom of the jacket has some added flair with the words “position/submission” embroidered charcoal grey and crimson.  The cuffs of the jacket, inner portion of lapels and skirt, and cuffs of the pants have crimson taping and are very soft. All of these elements provide a subtle but appreciated balance to the look of the gi. The pants match the jacket well with the contrast stitching, reinforced knee and a vertical 93 brand patch down the front of the right leg rather than down the side as we might see in a lot of other gi’s on the market. 


  • Unbleached natural cotton
  • 450 GSM Gold Weave jacket
  • 10 oz. twill cotton pants
  • Minimal contrast stitching
  • Interior seam taping
  • Gold Weave lined knee reinforcements
  • Gold Weave crotch gusset
  • Stretchy para-cord drawstring
  • 6 drawstring loops on the pants
As many know, Gold Weave gi's tend to suffer from shrinkage more than almost any weave available on the market.  I spoke with George of 93 Brand prior to receiving the gi and he informed me that "the 100 Kilo has undergone two treatment processes since the unbleached fabric tends to shrink quite a bit."  That isn't to say it won't shrink but it should prevent any unexpected surprises after being laundered the first few times.

Touted as the 100 Kilo gi, the actual weight of the A-1 tested came in right at 2.6 pounds. For those of you who don’t want to make that conversion, that is 1.18 kilograms.  Made of 100% cotton, when I opened the package and pulled the gi out I contemplated actually sleeping in it.  Generally treated with a finishing chemical, most new gi’s feel like sandpaper and smell like the rubber sole of fresh pair of Keds.  The collar itself is very sturdy and thick; no flimsy collar present here.  The traditional stretchy drawstring is present here. This type of drawstring seems to be the industry standard these days.  In my experience these usually are manufactured to be longer than necessary as I found with the Kilo. That being said, it is easily cut to the desired length and burning the ends makes for an easy modification. The stitching throughout the jacket and pants seems to be very good. I have seen very sloppy work in this area even with some of the most expensive brands on the market. Sometimes it is simply a cosmetic issue and even worse can affect the structural integrity of the gi. Fortunately that is simply not found here with the Kilo. The pants have reinforced knees that run mid-thigh to just 5" above the cuff on the pant legs. I prefer to see the longer, reinforcement to provide additional cushioning and the Kilo does this well.  As many know this provides cushion, and additional support for those who like a gi that fits relatively close to the body. If you do prefer that type of fit like I do, then you may be familiar with the added wear and tear that comes as a result of added stress and pull on the flat panels of fabric and critical fulcrum point seams.  The crotch gusset is constructed identical to the Gold Weave fabric of the jacket.


Based on my dimensions, 5'7" 150lbs I requested an A-1. Often times when I fall into the top end of a sizing chart for any particular brand, A-1 sized gi's tend to be too small.  Moving up in size tends to put me in an overly bulky gi. Dealing with the added fabric can be cumbersome and allow opportunities for my training partner or opponent to get deeper grip control. A-1 was the perfect choice for the 93 brand 100 kilo, especially knowing I could wash and dry it in warm/hot temperatures without worry. This is something to take into consideration when purchasing your gi, the amount of time it will take to ensure laundering is handled properly every time. The less of a worry that is, the better.  Out of the bag the sleeves were a bit long and wide for my arms, but nothing that a high heat setting on the dry couldn't fix.  The pants were pretty much perfect in length and not baggy by any means.  To my satisfaction the taping on the inner seams throughout the entire gi are also 100% cotton, preventing the chaffing that can be an issue when the manufacturer uses synthetic threading or taping that has been cauterized to prevent unraveling. I found that sometimes taping can be abrasive due to logos and the overall finishing process.  The taping on the Kilo is smooth and just what I prefer.   I can't say enough about the comfort of the pants.  They are so comfortable I have no issue lounging around the house in them.

Rolling Impressions

I can’t help but refer back to my comment about this gi being comfortable enough to wear to bed as pajamas…although my wife might actually be able to defend the middle-of-the-night Kimura or ankle lock I try in my sleep.  That being said, I knew there may be a chance that the jacket sleeves would stretch during training or become more pliable after a sweaty high intensity roll. One thing I knew for sure, I was excited at the idea of NOT getting chaffed to hell with sandpaper pearl weave on my shoulder blades and elbows! The skirt proved to be a very acceptable length, not too short or too long.  The fit in the shoulders is perfect and the overall fit of the jacket does feel a bit roomy for my body type.  It doesn't fit me like a competition gi but I think you can get a pretty good idea from the pictures provided.  If I have one complaint about this gi it is that I did experience some stretch in the sleeves.  Modern day Gold Weave gi's almost all suffer from this due to being manufactured to be "light" and comfortable.  I have had the chance to work with most of the current Gold Weaves on the market these days and almost all of them have some stretch particularly when they get damp from training.  That isn't necessarily a bad thing if you prefer a very comfortable jacket that doesn't feel like you are wearing body armor.  My fix for this issue is to not fret about a little over-shrink in the sleeves to counterbalance any stretch you will experience while training.  In order to custom tailor the fit of the Kilo I ran it through 3-4 trips in the washing machine on a warm setting, low spin cycle.  I followed this up with trips through the dryer to help steam the material and shrink it down.

All in all my experience using the 93 Brand 100 Kilo gi has been an absolute pleasure.  Even under heavy training conditions the Kilo never feels heavy from sweat and doesn't trap body heat.  I have used this gi quite a bit over the last 2-3 months and it handled everything I threw at it.  It appears to be very durable and hasn't shown any degradation at all.


93 Brand offers a great range of sizes for any body type.  The original sizing chart can be found at http://www.rollmore.com/93br-kilo.html where you can purchase this gi and other 93 Brand products.

Size             Height               Weight
A0             5'0"-5'4"           100-130lbs
A1             5'2"-5'7"           125-155lbs
A1L           5'5"-5'9"           125-155lbs
A1F           5'3"-5'7"           110-135lbs
A2             5'7"-5'10"         150-180lbs
A2L          5'10"-6'1"         150-180lbs
A2H          5'7"-5'10"         200-230lbs
A3             5'10"-6'1"         175-210lbs
A3L           6'1"-6'4"          185-220lbs
A4             6'1"-6'3"           215-250lbs
A5             6'3"-6'6"           240-270lbs

*Note that all measurements were taken after shrinking the gi down for my use.

Closing Thoughts

This was a very fun gi to review.  It is not your every day, run of the mill kimono.  I enjoy the unbleached look of the Kilo.  It definitely makes you stand out in the crowd yet remains simple by design, not cluttered with patches and embroidery.  Due to the stretch in the sleeves I personally would wear this for any normal training and teaching day at the gym as opposed to a competition. This is by far the most comfortable gi I have ever worn and trained in.  If you are looking for something different at a very reasonable price then give the 93 Brand Kilo gi some serious consideration, you wont be disappointed.