Archive for May, 2013

bjj like chess

I’m going to start off with a saying we’ve all been introduced to when it comes to beginning Jiu-Jitsu. It goes something like this – “Jiu Jitsu is like the game of chess. It’s based on strategy and various movements that can lead you to success.” Or something like that. If you’ve heard from someone or read somewhere that Jiu-Jitsu is like chess, you know what I’m referring to. I just found this, yet again, while listening to a podcast yesterday.

And it makes sense. I’ve never questioned that statement. I’ve easily drawn the parallels in my mind and connected the dots of how Jiu-Jitsu may be like the game of chess. One person makes one move, which causes the other person to react and make their own move, which causes the other person to react and…you see where I’m heading with this. For the average fellow (me being one of them), the idea is easily digestible.

There’s a problem though. And it’s a problem I only recently discovered (or more appropriately said, “considered”). And the problem is this – not only is Jiu-Jitsu similar to the game of chess in many respects, it’s also like the game of checkers, risk and for that matter, football. Each and every one of the games I just mentioned depend on the movements of others. They’re sequential and are won or lost based on the skill and shrewdness of their players. Now, if this is the case and if Jiu-Jitsu can easily be compared to many, many games out there, what makes us continually put our sport in the same room as chess?

After thinking about it for a while and after realizing that the comparison we’ve been making for years had become somewhat marginalized, I turned to the game of chess itself. I asked myself, “Jay, what do you know about the game of chess? Have you ever played chess beyond simply shuffling a few pieces around an unfamiliar board? What are some strategies used in the game of chess and what’s its history?” These questions didn’t bode well for me. I felt defeated when I came to the conclusion that my answers to the questions I had asked myself were nothingnoI have no idea and again, I have no idea.

And worse yet, I couldn’t even answer the most basic question of all. “How do you play the game of chess?

But for some reason, and even after admitting to myself that I don’t have even an ounce of knowledge concerning the game, somehow I’m still comfortable telling a white belt, or any belt for that matter, that Jiu-Jitsu is like the game of chess. Perhaps I’ve heard it too much and it simply won’t escape my mind. Or perhaps my gut is telling me something.

Have you ever heard of something called “Chess Theory?”

The game of chess is commonly divided into three phases: the opening, middlegame, and endgame. As to each of these phases, especially the opening and endgame, there is a large body of theory as how the game should be played. Those who write about chess theory, who are often but not necessarily also eminent players, are referred to as “theorists” or “theoreticians”. – Source: Wikipedia

I read a bit on chess theory this morning and began thinking about how in depth the game truly is. By simple awareness of there being a board, some pieces and game-play, I was merely scratching the surface of what others have committed their lives to. Chess is old. Chess is complex and chess is fascinating. I imagined standing before a crowd of advanced chess players proclaiming that, “My love – my game of Jiu-Jitsu is much like your own love – your game of chess…” only to be stopped mid-sentence, cut off, if you will, by one of the chess players and asked, “How so?”

“Ummm, uhhh, errr. Well, you see, we have moves that depend on the moves of others. We base our reactions on the reactions of our opponents.” I’d reply.

“Oh, you mean like tennis?” I’d get thrown back at me by the insulted aficionado.

I decided this morning that I can’t compare Jiu-Jitsu to chess any longer. Not until I either learn about Jiu-Jitsu, chess or both. Both would make sense if I were making a comparison. I couldn’t legitimately do something like this with limited information.

Upon further study, I discovered that there wasn’t a “first moment” for chess. It was more of an evolution into the modern game.

The origins of chess are not exactly clear, though most believe it evolved from earlier chess-like games played in India almost two thousand years ago.The game of chess we know today has been around since the 15th century where it became popular in Europe. – Source:

I suppose that’s somewhat similar to the origins of the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu we see today. Read up on your history of BJJ here. You’ll see that our sport is a culmination of earlier adaptations of Judo and Japanese jiu-jitsu.

Fair enough. We have similar, if not fuzzy, histories of both activities. Modern Jiu-Jitsu’s history is more clear, but as for chess, things are a bit murky. But I’ll take that as a win for comparison’s sake.

Now, I’m not going to get into every single intricacy of both games here – I’m going to focus more on what I had originally intended to – the theory and game-play of both sports (if chess can be considered a sport). And then I’m going to talk about my disappointment in what I think should be the primary focus of Jiu-Jitsu – which actually is the primary focus of chess.

When we compare Jiu-Jitsu to chess, I think we’re mostly referring to how the games are played. The theories, the principles, the concepts and techniques of both games. It makes sense. Both games have all of those aspects, but only one game teaches and truly hones their students in to more of the upper level “academic” view of things – and that game is chess.

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Jon “Super” Manley of Team Link defeats Mike Winters at Victory 2

Jon Manley vs Mike Winters

Victory Combat Sports put on very good show at The Dorchester Armory on Saturday May 18th 2013.

Here is the review and play by play of the fight.

Jon Manley vs Mike Winters
Pro Welterweight division
Jon Manley (Team Link) vs Mike Winters (Bombsquad)

RD1: Jon comes out aggressive landing a variety of strikes. Mike shoots for a takedown and is unsuccessful as Jon easily stuffs him. Jon getting the better in these early exchanges. Jon keeps landing solid strikes, landing a right hand that drops Mike. Mike now looking to get this fight to the ground but Jon is doing a great job at defending.

RD2: Mike gets this fight to the ground to start the second. Jon gets the fight back to its feet very quickly though as Mike can’t capitalize on the takedown. Mike gets another takedown by slamming Jon to the mat and landing right in side control. Both fighters scramble and the fight is back on the feet. Jon is landing over and over again; he is outclassing Mike on the feet right now. Mike needs to do something here to get this fight to the ground because he hasn’t shown he can strike with Jon.

RD3: Dejavu from the previous round, Jon is just much better than Mike on the feet and its showing. Mike lands some nice shots but Jon is landing more frequently. Mike is doing much better in this round in the stand up department but Jon is still showing he is the better stand up fighter. Mike shoots for a much needed take down but is easily stuffed by Jon. Mike lands some solid strikes but too little too late as the round comes to an end.

Jon Manley Wins via unanimous decision.

Jon Manley defeats Mike Winters

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What to do when favorite submission is not working
Submission Grappling in Western Mass


Your favorite submission is not working as often as you would like.


-Most people attack with their best submission first.

-Most often the submission you attempt first does not work.

-Start attacking all the submissions that are not your favorite.

-Your opponent has no idea that you do not like those submissions.

-Use the submissions that are not your favorite to disguise your favorite.

-Take the submission your opponent gives you.

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BJJ Injuries Happen and What to Do

We here at Team Link Ludlow, we train hard, but train smart. Injuries will happen in any sport. We take all the proper precautions. Have fun and go hard!!!!!

common-injuries in Western Mass

A few nights ago I was sitting on the mats talking with a few of my teammates from our competition team, and then I realized we had all actually been talking about our current injuries for the majority of the conversation. No, we certainly weren’t all sitting around throwing ourselves a pity party. We were sharing valuable information with each-other on how to get healthy again. Chances are, the injuries you experience in BJJ are not new. You likely know someone who has experienced the same injury. So it makes sense that you would take advantage of that social capital around you.

When you train hard, train a lot, or simply train long enough, you are bound to develop some injuries. When you’re a jiu jitsu “junkie”, one day away from the mats can become an eternity, so you find ways to compensate for injuries just to make it into class. Unfortunately, some injuries can leave you out of commission, and you find yourself going crazy wanting to get back out on the mats. The good news is that some other obsessed individual has likely already experienced the same thing and figured out the fastest road to recovery. So let’s tap into some common injuries, and see what others have to say about a speedy recovery that will have you back out on the mats in no time!

Note: We are not doctors, so don’t kid yourself. The information below is for educational purposes, and is not designed to diagnose or treat any conditions.

Outside Knee Sprain:

Outside Knee Sprain

As someone that has experienced a fair amount of knee injuries and surgeries, I can say that without a doubt that ice is your best friend. Other things that have made  a big difference for myself when dealing with this particular type of knee injury is the inclusion of collagen and hyaluronic acid supplements. Making sure that your legs are strong and balanced can help prevent future injuries, and when recovering from an injury, nothing helps more than improving flexibility and dexterity. Yoga poses have provided a tremendous benefit to myself. You may also want to look at methodologies like “Ginastica” as well. Loosening up your hips and IT bands can provide a way to address a common root problem. Foam rolling and stretching can be some of the best ways to address this issue.

Jacked Up Fingers!

hurt fingers in BJJ

My close friend and podcast co-host, Jon “the Queen” Perrine, recently shared some valuable knowledge with me about keeping my hands healthy. Jon often tapes his fingers  to save his grips and fingers from unnecessary damage. By taping your fingers correctly you can reduce your ability to squeeze, thus saving your hands and fingers from “over-gripping”. If you are the kind of guy that squeezes every grip as hard as you can, and then leaves class writhing in pain. You might wan to give taping a try. Again, ice is your friend when recovering from almost any injury. Finally, by improving grip strength by performing exercises like: farmers walks, dead hangs, and gi pullup’s, you can build a strong grip that will protect your hands in-of-itself.

Sore Neck

Neck Injuries in BJJ

Have you ever heard anyone say, “I really messed up my neck at BJJ practice, but then “popped” it by twisting it with my hands and it felt 100% better after that!!!!!”? Yeah, me neither, so don’t mess with your neck when it feels sore and injured. It is injured, so treat it with respect. Roll out the muscles against a wall by using a lacrosse ball, and then use ice to help the muscles recover more quickly. Using menthol creams to warm up the muscles prior to exercise or training can also help when you are easing back into activity. Ultimately, you need to make your neck stronger as soon as it’s healthy again. Practicing bridges on the mat before class can help you build and strengthen these muscles.

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Suggestions For Grappling Marathon Style
If you are going to be grappling all day, here is some advise.

1. Bring at least four gis, with accompanying rashguards
2. Forget utilising pocket grips too heavily, your finger grips will blow after 6 hours or so. Use pistol grip from the get go.
3. Pace it conservatively, i.e. a break every 3,4 rolls, even more towards the wee hours.
4. Avoid Red Bull, caffeine etc, the crash is evil, just get lots of sleep night before and then plan to take a nap in between if needed with someone to nudge you to wake up at X hour.
5. There should be snacks but bring your own just in case, esp in wee hours when shops are closed.
6. Drinks lots (obviously)
7. Bring something to sharpen the mind when resting, eg Facebook or Twitter updates and answering social media messages is a good one, or something, just to break away from the mats for ten minutes or so.
8. Use the chance to work on crazy positions, try new techniques, have a sort of plan or list of things you want to try since clearly you will not be rolling like it is the Mundials (though the odd hard roll is actually quite stimulating)
9. Bring a towel – several in fact – to wipe your sweat and save one for the amazing shower facilities when it all ends.
10. Enjoy the day, it’s a great achievement to hit the big 24 hours. Last year I managed roughly 21 hours straight then collapsed waking up with half an hour to go before the end.

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Summer is here!!!! Get fit with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu at Team Link Ludlow

x-guard sweep in action

x-guard sweep in action

Discover the “Little Known Secrets” to Quickly Becoming Stronger, Healthier, More Energized and Confident While Learning Self-Defense Skills That Can Save Your Life!

I’m not sure if you thought Martial Arts were “just a kids thing.” But when you read further you’ll find out that is certainly not the case. Yeah, you’re right, a lot of kids are doing martial arts. But…Guys just like you are discovering that “having it all” and getting in shape can be a reality…
And really quick…I’m sure you’ve heard of MMA, Jiu-Jitsu, and Kickboxing, right? Well, I get questions all the time from professional men just like you who aren’t quite sure if training was only reserved for guys who watch a lot of Spike TV or have tattoos covering a high percentage of their bodies.
I can assure that what you’re about to discover is something that you’ll find to be simply amazing!
What I’m about to describe to you has the answers you’ve been searching for when it comes to getting in shape and adding some excitement back into your life!
First, please take a second to answer these questions….
� Are you interested in managing stress so you can feel better and more accomplished in your business and personal life everyday?
� Do you want to get some balance back into your life so you can feel good knowing that you’re looking out for number 1?
� Are you interested in increasing your self-confidence and personal magnetism to improve your persuasive abilities in your professional and social life?
� Do you want to get in the best shape of your life without being ‘bored to tears’ with your exercise routine?
� How would like to become more flexible than 90% of your peers so you are less prone to nagging injuries that can zap the quality out of your life?


How many ‘dumb dumbs’ do you have to deal with all day? Wouldn’t it be great to get around some goal oriented success conscious people who have the same interests as you?
I know what your thinking… I want to get in shape first.
You DO NOT Have To Be ‘In Shape’ To Get Started!
Face it! You can’t keep waiting until you are “fit enough” to really get in shape! Do you wait until all of the lights are green before you start your commute to work?
Our Martial Arts training is designed to accommodate you!
We have workouts tailored to increase your flexibility, coordination, balance, reflexes, strength … and you’ll get in the best shape of your life. I can tell you some amazing stories of students losing up to 60 lbs, and doing away with bad habits forever! You’ll be amazed. Another common excuse is…
“I’m too busy right now. Maybe I’ll start training three months from now when things quiet down a bit…” Well guess what? Later never comes.
Please don’t get me wrong: if your work and/or family commitments make it impossible for you to train right now then I have a lot of sympathy for you. Although it’s sometimes hard to admit, family does come first.

…if you’re ‘too busy’ to train and still manage to watch 2 hours of TV, or spend your whole weekend playing video games, then you’re NOT too busy. It’s just that you have different priorities. At some point you have to make the decision, “Do I want to learn martial arts?”, and if the answer is “Yes!”, then you have to adjust those priorities accordingly. The bottom line is…
You Can Make A Positive Change In Your Life NOW!
But only if you take action….This is YOUR Moment….
Whether you want to just get in shape, learn self defense, compete or become a Martial Arts black belt, we’ve made getting started very easy and convenient for you. All you need to do is call us at (413) 589-0080 to set up a FREE Introductory Trial and Consultation or visit us at