Archive for the ‘Brazilian Jiu Jitsu’ Category

Fixing the Most Common Armbar Mistakes

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Hip movement is the heart and soul of Brazilian jiu jitsu and grappling in general. When trying to lock a submission such as the triangle or the armbar or even the triangle armbar (serious ninja mystery!) then the most important factor for success is getting your engine (the hips) aligned to the joint you’re trying to attack (the elbow (armbar) / the neck (triangle))

When attacking with an armbar from guard, use the foot on the hip  to align your hips with the elbow you're attacking

When attacking with an armbar from guard, use the foot on the hip to align your hips with the elbow you’re attacking

Question: Where does red in the second picture need to move the hips to put on a triangle-armbar?

Answer: You’re hips are always chasing the joint you’re trying to break, in this case the elbow, so to his / her left

If you're countering the posturing escape against the triangle choke with  an armbar, it's very important to move your hips out and align them with the elbow you're attacking

If you’re countering the posturing escape against the triangle choke with
an armbar, it’s very important to move your hips out and align them with the elbow you’re attacking

In the first instance, get your foot on the hip, or on the mat if you have long legs. That’s not the main issue. Why you put the foot down is. You put it down so you can: chase the elbow, both by rotating but more importantly to bridge your hips up into the armpit to trap the elbow, while the second leg climbs and clamps on their back. Which way do you move your hips? You chase the elbow. If it’s their right arm you’ve trapped, you scoot your hips to their right (your left) and both align yourself behind the elbow and make sure it’s high on your body and not almost out past your groin.

Always chase the elbow, or whichever joint you’re trying to lock. Everything else should fall into place from there.

I will leave you an excellent video on correcting arm bar mistakes:

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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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Taking MMA Lessons in Springfield MA

Some big questions to ask when choosing a gym to take MMA classes in Springfield MA is how many professional fighters does that school have? How many of the fighters are in the UFC, have fought in the UFC or about to be signed in the UFC? Do other fighters and BJJ stars go there train? Do fighters come other countries like Brazilian and Spain to learn and step up there game? I am not telling you what the right answer is to these questions are.  You can figure it out for yourself.

To be good at MMA you must be good at all aspects of the sport. Such as Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Striking, kicking, and wrestling. Strength and conditioning along with cardio are essential aspects of the game as well.

Why should you choose a gym that has a really good BJJ program if you are looking for MMA instruction in Springfield MA? The reason is simply put, Jiu Jitsu is extremely technical and takes a very long time to become good. That is why you should start kids with BJJ and then work in other styles as they age.


Why to start BJJ today in Western Mass

Why does someone who has never done martial arts just decide one day that they are going to sign up for classes? How do they decide what style to take? This is the topic I would l would like to cover today. I think there are many motivators that would make person start martial arts. Perhaps they are out of shape and want some thing fun to learn and lose weight at the same time. Maybe they were not allowed by their parents as a child and now that they are an adult they have no excuse to get started. I big reason I see these days is that people watch the UFC on TV and want to become a professional fighter. What ever reason you may have, I recommend to just get started!!

All martial arts have there benefits, just some have more that others. I am a big advocate for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu(BJJ). It is a big part of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) these days and BJJ is growing in popularity at increasingly high rate just as the popularity of MMA is increasing as well. Be warned BJJ is extremely tough to master. To earn a black belt in most martial arts style can be done in 2-4 years, to earn a black belt in BJJ can take as long as 10-12 years. That is why having a black in BJJ in so desirable. You are not getting any younger. Start training today!!!!

if you want to start you Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training click here

Is Jiu Jitsu Changing? Springfield MA


What if I told you the answer to that question might be “no”. Most people would say that the answer can’t be “no”- not now at least, not after the evolution that has occurred over the last decade. You can point to the exponential growth of competition and it’s competitors, the availability of high-level instruction, the prevalence of video instruction, and a growing group of professional jiu jitsu athletes as proof that the sport has advanced far beyond where it was just 10 years ago. But, all of those things are elements of the sport, not the jiu jitsu. So again I’ll ask the question, has the jiu jitsu actually changed?

There is no doubt jiu jitsu techniques are hard to hide in this day and age, and that new positions and techniques are available like never before. Now with live streaming of every major event, and YouTube, there are no more secrets, so it forces everyone to evolve and grow. But are the fundamentals that win championships any different than they were 10-15 years ago? Earlier this year when we were out in San Diego visiting Master Royler Gracie, he shared something with us that was sort of eye-opening. He told us that the approach he would take to competition now would be no different than the approach he took in 1999 (discussing technique and strategy). Now you are more than welcome to form your own opinions about this topic, but I can tell you that Royler was very sincere in this sentiment.

Let me submit an argument that perhaps you don’t always have to learn the “latest” techniques (although there is nothing wrong with this) to compete at the very highest level in this day and age. The case would be that jiu jitsu in it’s pure unadulterated form can be learnt and applied the same way today in competition as it was in 1999, and that in fact, jiu jitsu’s effectiveness is not changing, merely it’s competitors.


Exhibit A: Royler winning the Mundials in the late 90′s


Exhibit B: Kron winning the Pans in 2008 with relatively similar, and equally fundamental BJJ


Exhibit C: Roger Gracie,  one of the most dominant competitors in the last few years

I understand completely that it is pretty absurd to suggest that jiu jitsu isn’t changing, especially given what you see the Mendes Bros., Miyao Bros., and other high level competitors doing on the mats, but I would simply like to suggest the idea that jiu jitsu is not evolving beyond it’s own effectiveness.  The premise of this article is that fundamental jiu jitsu is never changing, even though the execution might look different.

How can this benefit you? Don’t always concern yourself with learning everything that’s out there. Learn  proven technique from qualified instructors, and focus on application. All jiu jitsu works, old and new. So study all the above videos, there si something we can all learn from each of them.


Learning BJJ in Springfield MA Through Film Study

When you were in college or high school how did you get ready for a test? Ideally you would have studied, right? So why should you treat jiu jitsu any differently. In jiu jitsu you attend class, just like in school. So when you go home from school you should study if you want to be at the top of the class. The same applies to jiu jitsu; however, jiu jitsu is different in some ways from school. Jiu jitsu is hands on, that’s why it is hard to learn by yourself. You need a partner and physical instruction to fully develop. But that’s not to say you can’t learn a lot from studying on your own. The question is, what is the best way?

Think of film and print study as a way to determine and structure your physical training. You can think of this in a variety of ways including: what types of exercises you should do, what drills will be most effective for you, how to build your own “game”, and which techniques you should work on. Allow film and print study to spark your imagination and creativity. The best jiu jitsu players throughout history have been very innovative, gound-breaking, and creative. Think of people like Rafeal Mendes, Cao Terra, and historic figures like Royler Gracie and Leo Viera. Studying techniques, competition, and philosophy can help you expand your vision of where jiu jitsu can go. All this intellectual enlightenment will lead you towards your own personal development in jiu jitsu, and will help you develop a personal style and learning method that you can use forever.

With all that in mind, a great resource for technique, inspiration, and philosophy is Stuart Cooper Video’s. He is a filmmaker that specializes in jiu jitsu mini-documentaries. His videos provide great insight into the world of jiu jitsu.

Take some time and get lost of some of these great productions:

Or view the videos on Vimeo here…

Thanks for reading

If you want to learn Brazilian Jiu Jitsu(BJJ) or MMA in Western Mass click here

How I feel in BJJ when…

… I finally get a picture with Rickson Gracie

… I try to explain the difference between judo and BJJ for my parents

… I couldn’t make the weight for the tournament

… I missed this position last class

… my new teacher is Brazilian and I can’t understand a word he’s saying in english

… two dudes are rolling and it starts to get serious

… a good looking  girl  joins the class

… that idiot gets a belt promotion and I don’t

… I wake up for open mat Saturday morning

… the white belts shows the new position he learned on Youtube

… I go on a date with that girl everybody likes

… I see Gabi Garcia wearing a sports bra only

… I’m wearing my limited edition Shoyoroll gi for the first time

… I’m watching Vitor Belfort’s interview

Thanks  for looking at my blog. Please leave a comment and read daily for new content.

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