Gracie’s and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Coming To America

No matter how many times you hear a story, if the teller is different each time you find out details that you have never hear before.  In the interview just recently done by entitled #195 Jiu-Jitsu Takes Roots in the USA they talked with Richard Bresler, one of the first students of Rorion Gracie, about when Rorion came to the United States.  Mr. Bresler was witness to the start of BJJ in the USA and even a roommate with Rorion until he got married.  Some of the highlights for me where when Mr. Bresler talked about training with Heilo, Rorion, Rickson, and Royler.  Can you imagine getting personal instruction from so many of the Gracie Family.  I’ll be luck if I get to meet a few of them let alone get personal training.  We know that at the beginning they were training out of a garage but did you know they had 5 garages going before Rorion got help from Mr. Bresler to buy his first school?  But I think the best part is how Mr. Bresler would go find fights for Rorion.  Rorion didn’t want to cause hatred.  He just wanted to show what BJJ could do.  So he sent out Richard to find and arrange fights.  If you want to hear some good BJJ history don’t miss this podcast.

Keep Rolling by Replacing your Guard After the Pass

Replacing the guard from Turtle isn’t a new subject to blog on.  Steve of blogged not to long ago about it in his post Recovering Guard from Turtle.  Here is a video of me doing it from last nights class with Chris, one of your purple belts, and the one Steve used from

Replaceing Guard from Turtle after Pass


Replacing the Guard from Turtle Position

Ya, that’s me in the red Atama Mundial #5.  I have seen this a few times but never really got it into my head as to how to use it.  I mentally filed it under "next time you’re in turtle do this".  I don’t get in turtle much and had forgot about it.  But last night Miles, one of our best blue belts, pointed out that after I had my guard passed I should use this.  My video is from the point where you have passed your guard.  I quickly transition to turtle and from turtle I replace my guard.  My video is short and you have to pay attention to the first part to get what I’m saying.  After your opponent has passed your guard you shouldn’t sit still and let him get comfortable in side control.  Employing this technique keeps you moving and if you are lucky when you replace the guard you might even be in the position to Triangle.  It worked out that way for me a few times as I practiced it.

What Do I Want From Jiu-Jitsu, Sport vs Street?

I read John Will’s Tactical  BJJ Grappling For Life eBook this week and I’ve been thinking a lot about sport BJJ vs street BJJ.  I started training in BJJ because I wanted exercise (I sit at a office all day) and because I wanted to be able to defend myself and family in this increasingly violent world.  After reading John’s eBook I began to think to much of my training is sport.  This fulfills my exercise requirement but falls short on my defense.  If I were in a street fight I think I would still win because I am considering before hand what my game plan would be.  For instance,  I will only want to go for submissions that choke out or destroy limbs and joints.  What good is a bicep cutter in a street fight?  I also should take into consideration that just because I destroy his arm in a arm bar doesn’t mean the fight is over.  What about fighting more then one person at a time?  John gives some ideas.  I think I would consider a tactical retreat if I was by myself.  I am beginning to think that a little Muay Thai would help with what I know about striking martial arts.  Jim from Jim’s Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Journal said that one of the factors that made him quit Jiu-Jitsu was "what I was learning was more how to counter my classmates than how to fight".  I think that I get out of Jiu-Jitsu what I want from it.  If I want more street practical training then that should be my focus.  I’ll never give up BJJ.  I’m too addicted.  I just think its time for some tuning of my focus.

New Years Jiu Jitsu Goals for 2010

Time to set new goals again.  I hope blogging about them will help me achieve them this year.  I didn’t write them down last year.  I’ve forgotten what they even were.  So if I achieved them or not I don’t know.  I read a newspaper article that said you should write your top ten goals each morning.  You don’t look at what you wrote the day before.  This causes the most important to "bubble up" or remain on the list at all.  The goal should be achievable in one year.  I figure its worth a try.  Here are my ten to start the new year for BJJ.

  1. Increase my stamina
  2. Tap out some one I never have before in my school
  3. Compete in a tournament
  4. Post a blog to 5 days each week
  5. Get up early every morning and drill with my Submission Master Grappling Dummy (I’m not a morning person)
  6. Increase my flexibility
  7. Read all my Jiu-Jitsu Books from cover to cover. (Even the ones I buy new this year)
  8. Watch all my Jiu-Jitsu DVDs. (Even the ones I buy new this year).
  9. Keep my BJJ Journal up to date.
  10. Know all the purple belt requirements.

Here is my list to start the new year off.  I’ll try and blog about how I progress and what I can check off.

Dreaming of Becoming a Purple Belt

Last night I had a dream.  In that dream I was competing in a BJJ tournament.  It was gi of course.  I have a progress plan that will lead up to no-gi as I posted in No-Gi vs Gi.  Back to the dream,  I won all of my matches and took the gold but only by a hairs breath.  I felt I was a decent blue belt but needed more time to learn after testing myself against other blues.  At the end of the tournament I was awarded my purple belt.  I was very upset!  I knew I didn’t deserve it yet.  I knew I couldn’t live up to it yet.  I was proud that they thought I should wear it but I knew better inside.  This morning as I ponder on my dream I find it very enlightening.  I do feel a sense of accomplishment and a right to have my blue belt.  At the same time I realize I have growth that needs to take place before I can achieve the next level.  I know that when I get that purple belt I’ll feel like a purple belt.  I’ll know its right about the time my instructor does too I think.  I look forward to that day and to all the fun and learning that leads up to it.

Jiu Jitsu is Life and Life is Jiu Jitsu.

Belt Whipping or Hazing in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

I was surfing my usual blogs and came across this post by slideyfoot entitled "Belt Whipping and Promotion Rituals in BJJ".  I agree with him on his stance we can do without such behavior.  I want to go even farther and call it hazing.  When I got my blue belt they gave me a congratulatory throw.  That was fine.  But running the gauntlet and whipping people with belts!  That doesn’t follow the spirit of what Helio Gracie envisioned at all.  In fact belt whipping just seems sadistic. 

I can see how it can become accepted as commented on by Jim later in the post but then you can use that to justify about any torture to be part of the group.  I thing that participating in the class each and every week, going to things like my instructor initiated to celebrate his 40th birthday ("40 and a Day"), participating in tournaments as a team, and many other thing bind us together.  There is a great spirit of comradery at my school.  There are no belt whippings.  When some one is out or missing we ask about them.  We try to help them not only in progressing in BJJ but in there personal life too.  I feel we are a Brotherhood/Sisterhood bound together by a common love for BJJ.  Look at it this way, my family doesn’t whip my brother on this birthday to celebrate it or let him know we love him.

Finding a Way to do Jiu Jitsu On the Road

I haven’t been able to post at all this week.  I’ve been on the road for work.  I had hoped that at least one night this week I’d be able to get in a practice at a school near where I was.  I even scoped out the two school I hoped to visit, Underdog Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Royce Gracie Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.  But as luck would have it things didn’t work out.  I was bummed and feeling Jiu Jitsu withdrawals until a co-work of mine turned me on to Gi Subs 1, a iPhone application that shows gi submissions by  It wasn’t as good as doing it but while I sat on the plane I could go over a whole bunch of new gi submission all for $2.99.  Once again saved by the iPhone and a enterprising Jiu Jitsu teacher.  I got researching and found two No-gi applications for the iPhone by the every popular Grapple Arts.  One is on sweeps and the other on submissions.  They were a dollar more expensive then Gi Subs 1 but its cheap entertainment compared to the $14 the airline wanted to watch one of their movies in flight.  Plus it goes with me know when ever I have my iPhone with me.  After I had my fill of watching submissions on my iPhone I turned to my old stand by GRACIEMAG.  I had the July 2009 issue detailing the 2009 World Championships.  I never get tired of watching or reading about Roger Gracie, not to mention Marcelo Gracia.  All of this combined I survived the business trip hungry but not starving for BJJ.  I might also not may Mundial #5 Atama was waiting for me when I got home.  I’ll have a review on it this next week after I use it in practice.

Jiu Jitsu is Life and Life is Jiu Jitsu

Rigan Machado comes to Utah

I just got news that Rigan Machado will be giving a seminar on January 30th here in Utah.  He is a 8th degree black belt and nephew of Helio Gracie.  He was the first black belt awarded by Carlos Gracie Jr.  I’m really excited to go.  I am still feeling bad that I miss out on Andre Galvao when he came to Unified.  I won’t be missing this one.  Here are the full details:

UCTC in Kearns, UT (4095 West 4715) at 1pm (should last 3 hours).  Cost $50. quotes BJ Penn as saying "’Training with Rigan Machado was definitely an experience that changed my life. At one time, I definitely think he was the greatest grappler that walked the earth."

It should be really good.  I will of course blog about it after it is over and share any pictures or video that I am able to get.

Giving Thanks for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

We all love BJJ.  In fact we are addicted to it.  I am always trying to get friends to join me and try it out.  That is why when I heard that my instructor was starting a free class for high school age youth I thought "Wow, here is some one who is really doing something to further BJJ".  Here is his blog announcing it: Jiu Jitsu Activists.  But he didn’t stop there.  He has even written a children’s book called "Jiu Jitsu Jack".   Jack defeats monsters with you guessed it, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.  Mark, my instructor, does the drawings and everything.  I think it is some of Mark’s passion that has rubbed off on me and kept me going when the BJJ Blues hit.  How could it not rub off after a few gi burns I’ve got from him. 🙂

As we give thanks this month for our many blessing let us give thanks for those dedicated people who introduced us to this great marital art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.  Thank you God for a country where I can practice freely. Thank you Helio Gracie and your sons for bring Brazilian Jiu Jitsu to the USA.  Thank you Mark Johnson for showing me the way.

Jiu Jitsu is Life and Life is Jiu Jitsu.

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How To Triangle or Replace Guard on a Pass

Rich, one of our instructors, showed me this technique in BJJ class a few days ago.  I thought I would share it with you.  I end up to often with one leg over the neck of the guy trying to pass.  I block the hip but its only a matter of time before they get by because I didn’t know what to do.  With some work I hope to use this escape to either replace my guard or get the triangle choke.  The only thing I worry about is when both legs are crossed around the neck.  If the guy is putting pressure on the one underneath how am I going to pull it out.  I’ll let you know how it goes.  In the video Rick makes it look easy.  I hope it is when I use it in sparring next chance I get.

Double Leg Stack To Triangle or Guard –