Posts Tagged ‘Best Western Mass BJJ school’

Western Mass BJJ asks, “how does the rear naked choke work?”

Above is the a photo that takes a look at how the choke was applied and at the balloons and tubes used to measure neck pressure and airflow in the University of Calgary study.

Using a choke hold is one of the best ways to win a fight. Mixed martial artists, grapplers and regular civilians have proved this over and over. In particular, we regularly see a submission hold called the the rear naked choke being used to win official bouts between amateurs and professionals and potentially dangerous unofficial fights between civilians.

The rear naked choke is applied from behind the opponent with one arm being wrapped around the neck and the other arm cinching the hold tight to create pressure upon the neck and threaten unconsciousness. The manner in which a rear naked choke is applied can come off as rather brutal to onlookers. Most times, the person in the choke hold is visibly struggling to get free and grimacing like the Hamburglar stole their lunch.


Jim Miller submits Melvin Guillard with a rear naked choke at UFC on FX 1. (Photo by Josh Hedges,Getty Images)

Due in part to the visual imagery, this particular choke has been the target of several small-scale studies over the years that attempt to explain exactly how the choke operates in rendering people unconscious. A University of Calgary study recently came out in November of 2011 that has some intriguing research in what allows a rear naked choke to put someone to sleep. The article has been out for some time and nearly got lost in the deluge of biomedical publications that come out every so often. However, it was brought to the collective gestalt of MMA and grappling followers by Rener and Ryron Gracie, who found a Force Science article commenting on the actual study (unfortunately available to most as an abstract only).

Fortunately, I have some friends at my grappling gym with medical research skills and got ahold of the full study. As a result, we at Bloody Elbow get some spiffy science explaining how the rear naked choke (called a Vascular Neck Restraint) worked on 20 men and 4 women. Even if they are Canadian, it should be interesting and widely applicable to all humans.

Hit the jump for the science talk.


Before we begin, the study is called “Mechanism of loss of consciousness during vascular neck restraint” and was co-authored by Jamie R. Mitchell, Dan E. Roach, John V. Tyberg, Israel Belenkie and Robert S Sheldon. The study comes out of the Departments of Cardiac Sciences, Medicine and Physiology and Pharmacology at the University of Calgary in Alberta, Canada. The Journal of Applied Physiology published it on November 17, 2011.

As the initial picture shows, the researchers had Captain John Warin, a “certified Vascular Neck Restraint instructor” and member of the Calgary Police Service, apply a particular type of rear naked choke (famously used by Anderson Silva to submit Dan Henderson) to 24 healthy police officers, who’d all provided written consent beforehand.

The people to be choked out (chokees) were outfitted with a fluid-filled balloon system to measure neck pressure on both sides of the neck and with heart monitors clipped to a finger, airflow-measuring tubes under the nose and their height, weight, age and gender were recorded. The mean weight of the men was 202 lbs and the mean height was 5’11”. For the women, the mean weight was 165 lbs and the mean height was 5’7″. The researchers told everybody not to drink any caffeinated beverages after midnight of the day before.

The chokees were seated to keep them still and in roughly the same positions as each other. Captain Warin applied the choke hold in basically the same way each time, using the same arm and physical positioning to deliver approximately the same pressures upon the chokees.

To measure the effectiveness of the choke, the researchers accepted a tap out, had Warin let go after 20 seconds of the choke being applied or when the researchers deemed the person was unconscious. The determination of the point of unconsciousness was done by having a person sit in a chair across from the chokee and wave an object around, which the chokee had to follow with their eyes. Once the eyes stopped tracking, the person was deemed to be unconscious and the choke let go.

Warin applied the choke in a way that cut off the carotids and left alone the windpipe. He is right handed, so the right arm was used in all chokes to encircle the neck. The researchers measured a stop in the flow of air during the choke, but it was due to the chokees holding their breath. Nobody complained of windpipe damage after the study was done and nine chokees mentioned slight tracheal compression, while one complained noted slight residual neck pain after the choke was released.

Sixteen people stopped tracking that object being waved around and were deemed unconscious. The mean time of being choked out was 9.5 seconds, although one person went out at 1.6 seconds.

Four people tapped out. The mean time was 11 seconds, although one person stopped just before the instructor was going to let go at 22 seconds. One person tapped out at 0.7 seconds. The temptation to call this person a wussy should be leavened with the knowledge that these chokees are not trained grapplers and the choke was being applied with considerable force.

The remaining four out of the twenty-four chokees did not tap out or go to sleep after roughly 23 seconds of the choke being applied. The carotid artery measurements showed that 70% of their right arterial blood supply to the brain was stopped and 40% of their left arterial blood supply was stopped. For the other twenty, the figure was roughly 80% in both arteries. The researchers could not explain why the four did not tap and speculate that anatomical differences might be an underlying cause.

The researchers found no measurable Valsalva effects (people passing out because they couldn’t breathe) and no measurable baroreceptor action (the body recognizing that blood is cut off and telling the heart to slow down).

The coolest part of this study is quoted below:

Ocular fixation with VNR was commonly associated with brief periods of myoclonic jerking and, in some subjects, the eyes turned upwards. Many subjects reported a narrowing of the visual field with color changes or having entered into a dreamlike state. Importantly, recovery occurred almost immediately on release with no observed or reported negative side effects.

In almost a throwaway moment, the study notes that those with a larger neck went to sleep faster. They speculate that the greater amount of body tissue in the neck allows for better compression of the arteries, but that is probably a whole new study in its own right.

The researchers conclude by saying something along the lines of “Within the confines of this study, this choke hold is a pretty safe way for police to put people to sleep or get them subdued. Be careful when applying to unhealthy or older people, although you probably should not do that to them at all”. That common sense approach to this good science is good news for those who want to show the safety and practical nature of martial arts choke holds to the naysayers out there who get worried over a grimace.

To learn how to perform this move and start trianing – Click Here


IBJJF Pan Ams Finals Live Results via Western Mass BJJ

by T.P. Grant on Apr 1, 2012 6:20 PM EDT in Grappling News


After a full day of intense action the finals for all the black belt weights are set. No shortage of action at any weight class. Caio Terra moved on to finals with a masterful day, with Featherweight is set up for a classic Rafa Mendes vs Cobrinha rematch.

At Lightweight Zak Maxwell seemed to be unstoppable until he ran into relatively unknown Brazilia Leandro Lo, who is a technical beast. Leandro dominated Maxwell and then Phillipe Della Monica to reach the finals against Lucas Lepri. At middleweight Kron Gracie rematched with Vitor Estima, who used footlocks to hold off the son of Rickson and reach the finals against Claduio Calasans.

Yuri Silva’s amazing run at his competition as a black has carried him all the way to the finals of heavyweight to face teammate Lucas Leite, and likely they will agree on a winner off the mats.

The preliminary blog results are here and there was surely some excellent action there. The finals are starting now!

Live results after the jump…


Roosterweight Final: Caio Terra vs Rafael Barata

And we are off, Barata shoots in for a single and Caio slips away. Barata is very high energy right now, faking takedowns, while Caio is very relaxed. Barata jumps guard and gets half guard looking for a sweep. Caio going for an armbar from half, Barata escapes and switches to 50/50. Caio up an advantage.

Action slowing down in the 50/50 guard, both fighters taking stock and looking for an edge. Barata gets a grip and is coming around on Caio’s side, Caio puts him down on the back and they are still in a 50/50 stalemate. Caio driving forward to keep Barata on his back. Caio trapping Barata’s foot and going for a calf slicer, but Barata does’t look concerned. Caio stands now as Barata starts working for a footlock, trying to spin for a kneebar. Caio drops for a toe hold, but Barata doesn’t look concerned.

Now Barata is trying to work to the back from 50/50, Caio defending. Barata spins back to classic open guard and is looking for an X-guard sweep. Caio stands up and moves away, ref pauses action to fix belts. They restart with Barata sitting and Caio leands into half guard, Barata tries to sweep and Caio locks in a kneebar to win!

Caio Terra defeats Rafael Barata via Kneebar.

no post match speech from Caio this year.

Light-Featherweight Final: Bruno Malfacine vs Gulherme Mendes

Malfacines sits as Mendes gets his grips and the two press their forehands together. Malfacine attempts a butterfly sweep and Mendes defends deftly. Both fighters on their knees, pressing foreheads looking for an advantage. Malfacine comes up in a quick single leg and gets Mendes down into guard.

After a ref time out Mendes is back in the closed guard. Malfacines in a low crouch, Mendes controlling a leg looking to sweep. Malfacines stands, Mendes comes with him and reaches for a leg and Malfacines quickly drops back down to his knees. Mendes tries to work Sean Williams guard as Malfacines stays low in his guard. Mendes pulling Malfacines’ lapel across his back to give him more control. Closed guard battle going on right now as Malfacines is unable to open the guard.

Mendes is getting the lapel up higher, he may be looking for a choke as he breaks down Malfacines posture even more. Mendes is using the lapel now to go for a Brabo choke inside the guard, Malfacines defending while trying to save energy as their is still plenty of time. Mendes switching to an omoplata. Malfacines stands, but Mendes comes with him and underhooks a leg, Malfacines drops back down to avoid sweep.

Mendes touching up his grips and then going back to work on the omoplata, Malfacines is stuck right now but still able to fight off the submission. Mendes is preventing escapes but the omoplata is getting looser, and Malfacines is out. Sweep attempt by Mendes and the two roll across the mat, but Malfacines ends up on top, no sweep for Mendes. Time is running out, ref time out.

Closed guard restart, Mendes on bottom. Malfacines is up by 2 points, Mendes looking for a sweep. Mendes has two advantages, so a sweep wins it for him. Malfacines is locking down in the guard, looking to stall out. Malfacines wins.

Bruno Malfacines defeats Gulherme Mendes via points (2-0)

Featherweight Final: Rafael Mendes vs Cobrinha

And now for a rivalry match, these two have met many times. Historically Cobrinha has the advantage but Mendes has gotten the better of Cobrinha of late.

Rafa pulls guard, as is his game. He moves right to De La Riva guard looking for a sweep, Cobrinha controlling Rafa’s leg with a gi grip. Rafa puts a foot in the hip and is looking to hook the near leg of Cobrinha for a sweep. Rafa transitioning to the 50/50 guard and looking to sweep. Score is still even at 0 and the ref is checking Rafa’s grips.

Rafa gets a sweep on Cobrinha for two points, gets around the guard quickly and puts on an armbar! Cobrinha spins attempting to escape and refusing to tap, but Rafa cranks and Cobrinha taps.

Rafael Mendes defeats Cobrinha via Armbar.

Lightweight Final: Lucas Lepri vs Leandro Lo

Leandro pulls guard and gets a quick sweep, from open guard. Leandro in a strong half guard, starting a knee slide pass. Lepri sits back to guard, shoots for double, Leandro rolls Lepri over him and both are back to standing. Leandro pulls guard again.

Leandro is up 2-0 because of the sweep and is playing the same open guard from which he got the sweep. It appears to be the classic foot in the hip guard with the other foot in the biceps. Leandro has a good grip on the cuff of one arn and on the near leg. Leandro switching to X-guard and is elevating but Lepri won’t go over. Leandro switches back to foot in the hip.

Lepri picking up effort to pass, but Leandro is frustrating him. Lepri is being very deliberate, only down 2-0 he has plenty of time to try to figure out Leandro’s guard game. Leandro trying more elevator sweeps, but Lepri’s base is just too solid. Ref time out to re-center them.

Back into open guard for Lepri and the energy is picking up as over half the time is gone and he is still down. Lepri cannot break Leanadro’s grips. Lepri is trying going back to the knees and standing, nothing is working against Leandaro’s guard as he fights for superior grips. Lepri is trying to get his knee in the middle and take one of Leandaro’s legs out of the game, but his hips are too active.

Seconds left and Leandro is still up by virtue of that early sweep. Super impressed by Lepri’s base and balance and how technical Leandro’s guard and grip fighting is!

Leandaro Lo defeats Lucas Lepri via points (2-0)

Middleweight Final: Victor Estima vs Calasnas Claudio Jr.

Fighters start out in low crouches and both attempt to pull guard. Vitor already looking for a footlock and as he rolls he fell off the footlock, very close. Claudio holding on to Victor’s left arm with both hands to prevent ankle lock. Claudio is working his foot out of danger, but Victor’s leg lock assault is relentless and he has a very clever grip on Claudio’s lapel to keep him from slipping away.

Warning for stalling issued. Claudio trying to roll to an inverted 50/50 guard, but Victor is sticking him in place with a lapel grip. Another stalling warning issued. Claudio rolling for a kneebar, both fighters break away out of bounds. Both have an advantage point, the bout is dead even.

Both sit guard again, but Claudio being very careful about footlocks. Victor looking for a footlock but Claudio stands and gets credit for a sweep, Victor’s getting aggressive now that he is down two points. Claudio moves to half guard, and Victor is working a deep half guard. Claudio goes for kneebar, Victor sweeps, but Claudio goes for another kneebar. Victor escapes but gives up sweep and Vitor reverses but doesn’t get sweep points. 4-2 Claudio right now.

Victor playing guard and looking for an arm drag sweep and then switches to another leg lock. Claudio back on top but Victor looks for toe hold. Both stand and Victor looks for throw and then pulls guard trying to get a sweep, but they go out of bounds. Victor looking for takedown but Claudio pulls guard to seal the match.

Claduio Calasnas Jr defats Victor Estima via points (4-2)

Medium-Heavyweight Final: Vitor Toledo vs Kayron Gracie

Kayron Gracie looking to be Gracie Barra’s first male black belt god today. Both come out in crouch, Vitor pulls guard, Gracie gets to half guard and puts his shoulder into Vitor’s neck. Gracie brings Vitor’s lapel behind his head but Vitor swims for underhook. Gracie is able to work his leg out and getting to side control with a lot of pressure. Pass is awarded and Gracie establishes side control.

Vitor attempts to escape and gives up back, Gracie jumps on back and locks up a choke.

Kayron Gracie defeats Vitor Toledo via collar choke.

Heavyweight Final: Lucas Leite vs Yuri Simoes

All Checkmat final here, not match here. Lucas Leite is declared winner on gentleman’s agreement.

Lucas Leite defeats Yuri Simoes via forfeit

Super-Heavyweight Final: Antonio Carlos Jr vs Bernardo Faria

Time for a rematch from yesterday’s Open weight match up. Carlos pulls guard and Barnardo goes right to the double undershooks stack pass. Carlos is keeping his legs heavy and not giving up pass, hooking his legs into Bernardo’s hips to keep him from stacking. Bernardo still driving for pass, but Carlos is staving off the pass.

Carlos is locking up an omplata and sweeps Bernardo into side control. Bernardo puts him back in guard, but Carlos passes to side control. Bernardo gets to deep half guard and sweeps Carlos over and his now looking to pass. Carlos rolls to turtle and Bernardo is looking to take the back now.

Only hook in but Bernardo is look for a ezekiel choke but can’t quite finish it. Second hook is not in yet, so Carlos still up on points, 5-2. Body triangle locked on but that doesn’t earn back points, but Bernardo is looking for a collar choke, not points here. Hooks come in and now Bernardo is up 6-5 and he is working on a choke from the back.

Carlos only defending choke with one hand and trying to get rid of hooks with other hand. They roll around the mats, Bernardo working hard on that choke. More back points awards as Carlos escapes only to be put back into back mount, 10-5 Berandro.

One minute left and Berandro is in control. He switches to bow-and-arrow choke but Carlos rolls back into guard as time expires.

Bernardo Faria defeats Antonio Carlos Jr via points (10-5)

Ultra-Heavyweight Final: Marcus Buchecha vs Alexander Trans.

Another all Checkmat final here, but a real match is anticipated as these two are not training partners.

And they are fighting, both are looking for grips standing. Marcus shoots and pulls guard. Trans smashing down Marcus’ leg to set up a pass. Marucs gets back to guard and rolls for kneebar and then rolls again for toehold, Trans slips out.

The medics have been called out and are talking to Marcus Buchecha, not clear what happened. They appeared to be checking his eye and we are starting up again.

Now in 50/50 guard with Marcus sitting up and Trans laying back, they are grip fighting. Marcus slips out and rolls up looking for side control but Trans pops up and Marcus goes to an open guard. Trans getting to half guard and as Marcus tries to take the back, Trans slips to side control. Marcus goes to tornado guard, elevates Trans, tries for triangle and goes back to tornado guard. Don’t see ultra-heavies using this dynamic of a guard this often, very fun.

All tied at zero still, Marcus tries to get inverted guard but Trans stuffs with his head. Marcus rolling to a traditional open guard. And now Trans is circling trying to pass, but there is nothing there for him. Marcus trying to hold on to guard as Trans gets closer and closer to a pass.

And just like that Marcus gets a sweep from half guard and gets two points and now Trans is working and a deep half guard sweep of his own. Marcus is smashing the half guard and Trans rolls for a kneebar, very close for a second and Trans switches to a single leg. Trans sits for some reason and gives up any chance at points.

Marcus Buchecha defeats Alexander Trans via points (2-0)

Open-Weight Final: Antonio Carlos Jr vs Marcus Buchecha

As predicted Carlos and Marcus are both Checkmat teammates and will not fight this match. A gentleman’s agreement pending, but one of them has to change into a blue gi first as per rules.

Antonio Carlos Jr defeats Marcus Buchescha via forfeit

thanks for sticking with me guys! Had a great time and event wrap up will be coming out sometime tomorrow.

courtesy of Western Mass BJJ

Pan Jiu-Jitsu Championship 2012 training method of the stars

South American Championship-winning black belt Vinicius Marinho (GFTeam) is one of the aces who will be sticking his neck out at the IBJJF Pan-American Championship, which kicks off this Thursday and ends on Sunday, April 1, in Irvine, California.

At’s request, Marinho revealed the training method he’s using to show up at the Pan in tip-top form.

“I’m in really great shape. I expect to be at my best and come up with a good result. Training has been going strong; I’ve been training every day with the guys at GFTeam at CTMMA in Connecticut, along with Ricardo Evangelista and Rafael Formiga, who were a great help to us,” said Rodolfo Vieira’s teammate.

It’s only the second time that Marinho competes at a Pan, but he’s not too nervous about it. The reason: he’s been preparing hard for any situation.


“I like training all types of positions and every kind of situation, both on top and on bottom. We do one day training only on top, another only on bottom,” he explains. “We train three times a day, each session lasting two hours. We dedicate one session just to repeating positions, which helps us fix up the details of the position. One day we work on passing half-guard, passing hook guard, passing spider-guard. The next, we do sweeps from closed guard, open guard and spider guard.”


As the competition approaches, Marinho recounts the trick to getting the positions tight: “The trick is to always adjust your best grip, to make it harder for your opponent to work their grips and positions.”

Now watch a complete half-guard pass lesson from Vinicius Marinho at the 2011 South American Championship, and stay tuned to for the fines coverage of the 2012 Pan-American Championship.

Courtesy of western mass bjj.

Western Mass BJJ ask why Train BJJ with a Kimono (aka Gi)?

As you practice Brazilian Jiu-jitsu in Western Mass or anywhere for that matter, you will find it useful as both an offensive and defensive tool; you will also realize its value as a common uniform to promote safe and technical practice of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu.

The gi game obviously has a lot more to it. Everything that can be done without the gi can be done without it, making it a more complex game. Additionally, taking away the gi allows physical attributes such as size strength and slipperiness to come to play with greater effect due to the lack of levers and friction. Working with the gi is generally considered more of a “thinking man’s” game. Not that no-gi isn’t, it’s just that the gi removes many physical advantages and ads more techniques.

For now, you should view your kimono as a set of training wheels. As you develop a higher level of proficiency, you will learn to perform Brazilian Jiu-jitsu techniques both with and without a kimono. For now, the kimono will add a level of sophistication to your game that will result in you as a student becoming a more advanced and technical fighter.

Why Train with the Gi (Uniform) in the Grappling arts?

The following is a short article pointing out some of the benefits to training with the gi (uniform) in grappling arts like Jiu-jitsu or Judo.

Chess and Checkers

It is simply logic that when you add the gi to a grappling match, it will add more possibilities; it is therefore a more complex game. It would be much easier for a good chess player to join in on a game of checkers than the other way around.

Making Big Fighters More Technical

There is no better way to take the physical attributes from someone than putting him in a gi. Without the gi, a bigger person can use more of their strength and faster opponents, more of their speed. The point of any art is to use more technique and skill than strength; using the gi will help develop that skill.

You can always take it off

I’ve seen submission grapplers and wrestlers with ten years or more experience get choked by people with half that time-in while wearing the gi; they look as if you’ve just put them in a straight jacket.

When you train with the gi (properly), it is just a matter of a few grip adjustments in order to fight without it. If you do not train with the gi enough– you’re the checkers guy.

Military and Law Enforcement Application

Unless you are patrolling a beach (in which case, you have a sweet assignment and nothing to complain about), your opponents are wearing clothes. There have been many reports from the Military personnel I train saying that they favor training with the gi and make good use of collar chokes. In fact the core of the Modern Army Manual is based on Brazilian Jiu-jitsu and soldiers often train in their BDUs.

It gets cold

For those of in Western Mass were it get’s cold, you’ll be wearing something that resembles a gi for a large part of the year. Even if you are in a hot climate, you’ll most likely be wearing some sort of pants or shorts and a t-shirt that an opponent can grab onto. Additionally, the gi is great for training because it won’t rip like a t-shirt.

Training both with and without the gi is important for anyone who practices any type of Grappling art. Make it at least 50% of your practice and you will be better for it.