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

How to Tweak the Triangle Choke for Maximum Effect

I am amazed at how no matter how well you know a technique you can always find out something new about it.  For example, just recently I attended Sylivo Behring’s seminar.  He talked about a tweak for the triangle.  He showed us that by turning the guys head towards the hooking leg and pulling to the that same side it greatly maximizes the triangles effect.  This is in contrast to the traditional pulling down of the head.  Master Behring said that it is easier to turn someone’s head and you use less strength to do it.  It looks like this essentially opens up the arteries to more pressure.

I attempted to use it at the Scrap For The Skull but my opponent tapped out just before I was going to try it.  I hope that mean my Triangle Choke is already that effective.

Jiu-Jitsu is Life and Life is Jiu-Jitsu

Sylivo Behring Seminar at One Hit MMA 2010

jason-and-sylvio-behring west-side-gang-and-sylvio-behring

Last night I attended a seminar put on by Master Sylivo Behring and One Hit MMA. It was a night of firsts.  I had ever met a red/black belt in person.  In fact, I have never been in the room with so many black belts or higher belts period.  (That is me in the Camo Koral)

Before I tell you details of what we learned first let me say that being a BJJ Master is more then being highly skilled in BJJ.  You need to be an excellent teacher, presenter, and moralist also.  I came to realize its a whole well rounded package as I listened to him instruct, lecture, and demonstrate.  He did an excellent job.  I paid $60 for the seminar.  It was money very well spent.

After introducing himself and giving a brief history of what brought him to where he is today, Master Behring started of with the Vince Lombardi approach of “this is a football”.  We began with the “How to stand up properly in a street fight” technique.  He showed us simple “tweaks”, as he called it, to improve out technique.  He made it look so smooth and simple.  Then we tried it.  I was amazed that I need to improve so much in such a simple technique.  I guess that is why he is a Master after all.  We went on to talk about comfort zone ranges and how to defuse a situation.  We moved on with escalation of the situation and counters or defense.  I learned how to use my shrimp technique more effectively and how to defend and add “respect” for my zones.  I know now what I’ve been doing wrong with Jeremy, who weighs 100+ lb. then me.  I can’t wait to try it.  His progressive system of teaching builds upon the previous technique or movement.  I found myself learning and internalizing what was presented much quicker then I thought possible.  Before the night was over I had learned a number of sweeps and submissions that flowed together and were applicable in both street and sport BJJ as well as gi or nogi.

I will be blogging more about these techniques as I ponder them and go over my notes from the night.  If you ever get a chance to attend a seminar by Master Behring, do it!  You won’t regret it.

Jiu-Jitsu is Life and Life is Jiu-Jitsu

Top 5 Reasons Why Roy Dean DVDs Rocks!

I just purchased Brazilian Jiu Jitsu: NO GI Essentials by Roy Dean.  I have really enjoyed Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Blue Belt Requirements: Fundamentals for All and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Purple Belt Requirements: Gateway to the Advanced Game also by Roy Dean.  I have the nogi tournament, Scrap for the Skull coming up at the end of the week.  “No Gi Essentials” won’t get here in time of course but if it is as good as the others it will become one of my core instructional videos.

Here at the 5 reasons why I think Roy Dean’s DVD’s rock!:

  1. They show clearly the technique from 5 different view points.
  2. The DVD video is sharp, clear, and well lighted.
  3. Roy doesn’t perseverate or use pidgin English.  He only imparts what is essential.
  4. The techniques he shows are good core foundation techniques.  You can get all the latest slight of hand after you build good fundamentals.
  5. Roy doesn’t just show technique.  He goes into development and how to progress in your game.  He gives insights about what to expect and what you should try to strive for.

Roy Dean is one of the best.  Let me know what you like about him.

Jiu-Jitsu is Life and Life is Jiu-Jitsu

Jiu-Jitsu Dreams or Dreaming of Jiu-Jitsu

sleeping-man-head I’ve missed a whole month now of Jiu-Jitsu because of sickness and family needs.  I’ve gone into withdrawals and now I’m starting to hallucinate.  Well, maybe not hallucinate.  I am dreaming about it.  Not every night mind you but more often then not.  The interesting thing is they are never sport Jiu-Jitsu type of dreams.  I don’t dream about being in class or at a tournament.  I dream about having to defend my self. In some of the crazier dream I’m special forces or an assassin.  What ever the dream it always comes down to hand-to-hand combat and I’m fighting it out with BJJ.  Of course the guy I’m fighting with in the dream doesn’t know BJJ.  I get in a sweet choke.  I wake up the next morning feeling thrilled until I realize I won’t be going to BJJ today and it was all a dream.  My Submission Master Grappling Dummy won’t tap out, ever!  I need a human to roll against.  I’ve watched all my videos, read blogs, and watched enough YouTube.com to last me a good while.  I can’t await to get back to class.  It will be rough for a few classes but I’ve sure missed it.

So what kind of Jiu-Jitsu dreams do you have?

Jiu-Jitsu is Life and Life is Jiu-Jitsu

Scrap For the Skull BJJ Tournament

Scrap For the Skull The Scrap For The Skull is a local tournament between my school, West Side Jiu-Jitsu and Foley’s MMA.  A crystal skull trophy is kept for the year by the winning school. If Foley’s isn’t our brother school then they are good friends and its great to have some local martial art school interaction.

You may have seen last year my post, No-Gi vs Gi Part 2.  I competed in the Scrap For The Skull last year.  It was my first tournament and first time doing nogi.  I lost but learned a lot.  This year I will be competing again despite missing a whole month before due to illness.  I will be in the year and above class this time.  I think even if I lose again I’ll be able to look back and see improvement.

Why am I tensing up just thinking about it?  What is it with tournaments that gives me anxiety?  I’m not going to lose money or really anything but some time.  I want to be a good representative of my school I guess.

Georgette of Georgette’s Jiu-Jitsu World had a good post “Tips for Calming Before and During Jiu-Jitsu Competition”.  I think I might add to that come on time but not early.  Last time I was early thinking I would stretch out.  It just made me more tense.

Wish me luck.  It is on Oct. 23th.

Jiu-Jitsu is Life and Life is Jiu-Jitsu

Johnny Be Good! American Nationals BJJ

Johnny “One Eye” Carlquist is a local black belt.  He is named “One Eye” not because he only has one eye but as the story goes, his first time doing BJJ he was injured and his eye became swollen shut.  He loved BJJ so much he was back the next chance with his swollen eye.  That is true devotion.

I’ve meet Johnny once or twice.  He is just as Pedro Sauer says:

“One eye skills are impressive, very smooth, efficient, technical. [. . .] on top of all this talent is the nicest person you ever going to know.  I’m very proud of you my friend.”

It was very gratifying to watch this match of his.  He does four things in this match that are very clear and easy to see (at least in my opinion).

  1. Attempts a variation of the Tomoe Nage.
  2. Attempts a Arm Bar from what might have become a Triangle.
  3. Attempts a Flower Sweep.
  4. Finishes the match with a variation Handstand Sweep to Arm Bar.

Each of these I’ve used and I’m trying to master.  It was really great to see them all in action in the same match.  I’m going to keep a link to this video and study it to improve my technique.

Jiu-Jitsu is Life and Life is Jiu-Jitsu

Staying Injury Free For the Long Term. HOW?

I’m looking at my copy of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Purple Belt Requirements by Roy Dean.  As I ponder what Mr. Dean is teaching I found myself wondering how he has managed to stay injury free.  When I get to the level of a black belt I don’t want to be a physical wreck.  How do you achieve that level without being screwed up in some way?

Miles, one of my friends at BJJ posted on Facebook "The pain’s of being a grappler! Added a hyper-extended elbow to the list of nagging injury’s occurred during No Gi training!”.  I felt his pain.  I have my own list of “nagging injuries”.  I added to it the week before with a simple accident at class.  While doing a drill my class mate preformed a “Baiana” or double leg takedown on me but failed to lift me sufficiently before twisting to take me down.  With my legs still firmly rooted this put all the force against the side of my knee.  I heard a small pop and experienced a little pain.  Now I’m having sharp pains when I bend over to pick something up.  It was a accident.

How can you make a profession out of teaching BJJ, practice at least a short while once a day and not end up needing therapy or surgery after a while?

Here are some things I’ve been doing that have helped:

  1. Tap early.  Forget the pride!  You want to keep doing this for the long term.  If I feel its good I tap.  No need to risk injury.
  2. Give yourself rest.  If it means sitting out for a while then do it.
  3. Protect your joins.  I had stopped wearing a leg brace.  I’m going back to it.
  4. Learn healing methods that speed the process of recuperation.  The proper use of ice and heat are doing wonders for my back.

Please share with me any insights you have.  I want to be doing BJJ until I die like Heilo Gracie.

Jiu-Jitsu is Life and Life is Jiu-Jitsu

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Jiu-Jitsu Head Gear Review: Cliff Keen Twister vs Asics Unrestrained

Cliff Keen Twisters


I posted a while ago about “Learning About Cauliflower Ears”.  I got my first visible damage to a ear and it made me paranoid of getting cauliflower ears.  I also have had very sore ears from practice.  Its been a pain trying to find a way to sleep on my side at night.  The solution was to find suitable protective head gear for rolling during BJJ practice.

I picked up a pair of Cliff Keen Twisters from MMAOutLet.com and a pair of Asics Unrestrained from my local sporting goods store.  The Twisters cost me $31 and the Asics $24 (tax and shipping not included).


The Twister as you can see from the picture has 3  main straps.  The Unrestrained has 5 or 6 depending on how you look at it.  I’ll cut to the chase and give you the verdict Cliff Keen Twister won hands down!  I couldn’t even make myself wear the Unrestrained.  It gave me a headache just wearing it.  Unrestrained? No, a better name would be headcrab.


Cliff Keen Twister


  1. Larger straps spread out the pressure.  It didn’t feel like I had anything on.
  2. The ear protectors are made of a flexible plastic that moves better with you.
  3. Minimal adjustment of straps was needed to get a comfortable fit.
  4. Plenty of ear space.
  5. Foam on ear protectors is light weight and has no construction edges that might rub.
  6. Detachable foam for cleaning or replacement.
  7. Snap-On-Snap-Off chin strap.  One time adjustment is all that is needed.


  1. Straps have rough ends that might rub during rolling.  I had to mash my hair down on the front strap to make sure I had some protection.  I didn’t get any rub.

Asics Unrestrained


  1. Cheaper


  1. Strap adjustment takes for ever!
  2. I felt like I was the man in the iron mask.  It was giving me a headache no matter how I adjusted the straps.
  3. Ear space is acceptable but only after lengthy adjustment of straps.
  4. Very stiff and inflexible.
  5. It is all Velcro no snaps
  6. Top strap was like some one constantly pushing their thumb into the top of my head.

Jiu-Jitsu is Life and Life is Jiu-Jitsu

If Only He Had Know Jiu-Jitsu!

I love to see news clips like this.  This guy was trying a Rear Naked Choke.  It is also obvious he didn’t have any BJJ experience.  As you will see in the video he doesn’t get his hooks in or really attempt any takedown.  He doesn’t even get the choke on.  The bank robber gets away.  If you listen to the commentators though you would think we was Black Ops or something.

If only he had known Jiu-Jitsu.  He could have taken control and the guy would be in jail awaiting his hearing.  What ever the case its always great to see how applicable BJJ is everyday and that there are good people willing to stand up to crime and terrorism.

Jiu-Jitsu is Life and Life is Jiu-Jitsu

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