To My Good Friend Miles Vigil


I don’t know what caused you to take your life.  I don’t understand the pain you must have been feeling that left you without hope.  Oh, Miles how I wish I could have lent you some hope.  I accounted you a friend and brother in Jiu-Jitsu.  I am greaved that I didn’t communicate that more strongly.  Maybe then you would have realized that no matter how dark the night you weren’t alone.

I have so many questions, Miles.  You seemed the happiest I had know you to be.  What went wrong?  You seemed to have so much going for you.  Why did you want to throw it all away?

Miles, I will miss you.  I don’t mean just at class.  You were part of a small but close knit Jiu-Jitsu family.  It won’t be the same without you.  I will always remember your smile and the funny infomercial jokes you made.  I’ll look for you on the mat still.  I’ll be expecting you to come up the stairs in time for class.  I know you won’t be coming but it will feel like if I watch a little longer . . . you will.

Rest in peace, Miles.

Jiu-Jitsu is Life and Life is Jiu-Jitsu

“I See Flying Triangles” or is that “I See Arm Bars”

Panda’s Roll Too

When you can go to the zoo and watch a set of Pandas play and see (or think you see) techniques happening, that is when you have been doing to much BJJ.

I know that Jungle BJJ is just doing this for fun.  But come on now haven’t you caught yourself seeing it too?  Its like the old phrase from the movie “The Sixth Sense”,  “I see dead people” instead it’s “I see arm bars”.  I have to admit after watching BJJ DVD’s, going to class, and reading BJJ books to much “I see sweeps” or “I see takedowns”.  But I have never reached the level where I see Pandas rolling for submissions.  Maybe I have yet to reach that BJJ plain of existence.  I am a lowly blue belt who seeks BJJ nirvana.

Jiu-Jitsu is Life and Life is Jiu-Jitsu

Hone Your Best Weapon For the Kill

Master Behring talked about “honing your best weapon” in his seminar.  He also said you should “look for ways to get your best weapon”. 

I know the weapon of choice for my friend Justin at West Side.  It is the baseball choke.  I heard him mention the other day that he didn’t want to be a one choke wonder.  He expressed the thought he needs to stop doing baseball chokes and find a new submission.  Brad, another friend at West Side, said the same about his favorite neck crank.

Wouldn’t Master Behring’s advice then seem counter intuitive?  As I thought it over I thought of a funnel.  The mouth of the funnel is the setup, transition and positions.  The spout is a very limited set of submissions.  The larger the mouth of the funnel the more likely you are to get the liquid into the funnel and container no matter the size of the spout at the end.

This began to boil down in my mind to the old idiom “The best offense is a good defense”.  If you are working on building understand of various ways to get to your submission you are increasing your defense.  The other option is to increase you offense or arsenal of submissions.

I came to the conclusion that Master Behring’s advice is the better of the two.  BJJ is about survival first.  A stalemate is not a loss.  Build your defense by increasing your skills and technique in getting positions and improving transitions.  This way you can direct the fight to your chosen out come, the weapon you have honed to perfection for the kill.

Jiu-Jitsu is Life and Life is Jiu-Jitsu

Answers to Questions Submission Master Grappling Dummy

Jon left me this comment.  I’ll thought it merited a post as the questions he asks are excellent.


I hope you don’t mind me asking you a few questions about the Submission Master Grappling Dummy. First of all I have a lot of questions about this equipment. It would help if a sporting store carried one of these so I could go and physically try one out before I make a monetary investment of that size. I realize that it is only a tool and never would replace live sparring or training with actual resistance. I see it as only a tool to get 1000’s of reps of many techniques. This way I can commit movements to muscle memory and then try them on a resisting partner in class. That is essentially what a training partner does when we learn technique in class (they lie there "limp" with no resistance like the dummy). That being said, how life like is the dummy? Will i be able to practice from all positions- guard, mount, side control, turtle, passing the guard? Did you feel that learning technique and refining them on the dummy transitioned well to live partners? I will start with those first. Thank you for answering. Feel free to email if you like since I know I will have some more thoughts and questions.”  – Jon

  1. How life like is the dummy?
    • The dummy is fairly proportional to a human.  With one exception, I feel the arms are a little shorter then I would like.  This has not stopped me from doing arm bars.
    • The dummy is much harder then a human.  It is packed with cloth and doesn’t have a lot of give.  If I am in mount on a human the ribs give or the stomach.  The SM (Submission Master) doesn’t have that give.
    • It weighs 70lbs.  I weigh 220lbs.  It is a little lighter but still gives good feedback to your muscles.  I find my self sweating after moving it around for a while.
    • The nylon fabric the dummy is made of isn’t slick.  In fact if you are doing nogi you should wear a long sleeve rash guard.  If you don’t you will soon feel like you have gi burn.
  2. Will I be able to practice for all positions (guard, mount, side control, turtle, passing the guard)?
    • Guard – Works great!  I can do everything I think of, arm bars, Triangle, Omoplata, Kimura, sweeps, . . .
    • Turtle – Surprisingly good.  It holds itself up on all fours.  If you practice pivoting around the dummy it works better towards the hips as the arms aren’t stiff enough to hold you and it up.
    • Side Control – Great.  The legs do stay in the sitting position and that feels like the dummy is trying to ball up and turn inside like a real person.  The arms stay in a static position sticking straight up but that doesn’t bother me too much.
    • Mount – The dummy has a larger chest.  So if you are a bigger guy like me it fits just fine.  If you are medium to smaller you might not get your knees to the ground.  If you are used to going against larger opponents then this should be just what you are used to.
    • Passing the Guard – Poor.  It can’t hold you in guard.  It keeps its knees.  It gives you more of a space feeling in passing.  I wouldn’t use it if I only wanted it for practicing passing the guard.
  3. Did you feel that learning technique and refining them on the dummy transitioned well to live partners?
    • Absolutely!  My Triangle in particular improved dramatically when I could experiment around with it on the dummy.  I didn’t have to worry about my training partners discomfort.  I could tweak and tune to my hearts content.
    • I often see something now on YouTube or from one of my DVD’s and can go try it out immediately.  I get a good feel for the technique.  I work it on the dummy until I feel comfortable and then I spring it on some one at class during a roll. 

Life is Jiu-Jitsu and Jiu-Jitsu is Life