Month: December 2007

Crosschoke Talks about BJJ and the Kettlebell

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I read a great article about the use of the kettlebell and Brazilian Jiu-jitsu at Crosschoke.com. The way he described it made me want to find out more ways to incorporate it into my routine. One statement really grabbed my attention:

“I can pull people off their base with a wrist curl, which is pretty cool.”

Dang right it is…..

Check out my new books, The Lazy Man’s Guide to Grappling and Grappling for Newbies on Amazon.com!

Ginastica Natural: Suggestion from Dave

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Dave, a new reader, in response to my post, Solo Exercises – Over the Holidays and Beyond, suggested I check out “Ginastica Natural For Fighters by Alvaro Romano.”

I couldn’t find the book online, but I was able to find a video where guys were using the techniques leading up to a ADCC 2007. The promoters of the video say that Ginastica Natural “improves physical conditioning, flexibility, strength, ground movements and balance.”

Sounds good….

Check out my grappling books on Amazon: Tapmonster: Ideas about Grappling for BJJ and Submission WrestlersGrappling for Newbies20 Ways to Increase Grappling Skills off the MatThe Lazy Man’s Guide to Grappling and much more.

UFC 79 Minor Predictions

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I will be at a family engagement on Saturday so I will not get to see UFC 79. But I do have some feelings on this event.

Although I am not excited for any of these fights, especially a rematch of GSP and Hughes, I do want GSP to pull it off. Unless he gasses I don’t expect for him to lose. He has honed his skills to a level that Hughes can no longer compete with. Plus, he has the strength to nullify Hughes, which is something that Penn lacked.

When it comes to Silva and Liddell, I expect Silva to come through with the victory. I have always felt that Liddell has been viewed through rose-colored goggles and that he hadn’t faced someone who could really ‘bang,’ with skills to boot. As soon as he faced Rampage, who admittedly just began to sharpen his stand-up skills, he lost. For those who followed Silva in PRIDE, you know that he is a BEAST. He comes after you, come “hell or high water.” Chuck has never faced a guy like Vanderlai, ever….

Although Sokoudjou has exploded onto the scene, I still think that Machida will be able to passify his aggression with his counterfighting skills. I think Machida will pull out the victory.

Finally, I think Melvin Guillard should be able to beat Rich Clementi. Should……but often he becomes careless and loses when he shouldn’t. However, I will go out on a limb and say that he will win this one….

I must admit that the rest of the undercard is full of named fighters fighting relative unknowns.

Dean Lister, Tony DeSousa, James Irvin, Manny Gamburyan and Doug Evans are fighting guys I don’t know enough about to make predictions. I would go with the names in most of them.

Women In Jiu-jitsu

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Check out my grappling books on Amazon: Grappling Games: BJJ & Submission WrestlersTapmonster: Ideas about Grappling for BJJ and Submission WrestlersGrappling for Newbies20 Ways to Increase Grappling Skills off the MatThe Lazy Man’s Guide to Grappling and much more.Check out my latest book: M.U.S.C.L.E.-The Cheatin’ Security Guard

When I was at Jax BJJ I noticed two women training together. In my present academy we have no women who train. I am always glad when I see women practicing Jiu-jitsu. Often times, I know it can be uncomfortable for some women to be around so many guys.

However, it has been my experience in Judo and Jiu-jitsu, that men welcome women to the art with no hesitation or reservations. They (men) have been respectful and do not play overly rough, which I have read that some women do not appreciate.

The men who do play rough usually are rough with other men as well. If anything I may be guilty of taking it too lightly, which I know can also be a source of irritation for some women. However, I usually do this with men who are much lighter or not as strong as me because I  believe in technique before power.

I hope that I have not offended anyone with this post. I just noticed that they were training there and I was glad to see it…

I Should’ve Tapped!!!

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The tightness in my neck didn’t really hit me until Sunday. At first I thought that it was due to slinging the kettlebell incorrectly when I first brought it home. However, as the tightness and stiffness  went from my shoulder to my neck I realized it happened while training last Saturday.

When grappling, I am the last one to hold out over a submission, because I want to do this for a very long time. Yet, for some reason when grappling with Larry, the black belt, I thought I could maneuver myself out of a neck choke that he had me in. I held on for what was probably a second too long. Not being too familiar with use of the gi in BJJ I should have known better.

I have had this feeling before so I know it will pass. But I feel stupid for violating my own rule of tapping for safety’s sake…..

More on the Kettlebell and Jiu-jitsu

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Check out my grappling books on Amazon: Grappling Games: BJJ & Submission WrestlersTapmonster: Ideas about Grappling for BJJ and Submission WrestlersGrappling for Newbies20 Ways to Increase Grappling Skills off the MatThe Lazy Man’s Guide to Grappling and much more.

As I mentioned previously, I bought a kettlebell made by Everlast. I didn’t mention that I also ‘threw” my shoulder joint a little out of whack by taking it and hoisting it in the air before learning how to use it properly.

So I have taken the time to view the exercise DVD they included as well as some videos online with people demonstrating the proper way to use the kettlebell.

On the back of the box that it came in, the experts state that by using the kettlebell the user can “develop total body strength, power and endurance.  Kettle weights (also) work the body across a wide range of angles and increases your dynamic flexibility.” This should fit well into my Jiu-jitsu training.

Above is a video demonstrating an exercise that can be done with the kettlebell. Jiu-jitsu and grappling guys can always put a new twist on something…..

Happy Holidays from Jiu-Jitsu 365

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Happy Holidays to the regulars who read this blog and to those who found it by accident!

Jiu-Jitsu 365…..

Taking my Family to Jiu-Jitsu Class…

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Saturday was great! My brother and my nephews thoroughly enjoyed going to the Jax BJJ Academy. My nephews took to their drills like fish to water. I was unable to see what my brother was doing since we were split into groups minutes after we arrived. Even though the academy has Jacksonville in the name it is actually in Neptune Beach, FL and was about 20 miles further than the original 39 miles we had thought. I don’t know if they will return but I am glad that they had a chance to see what I am into.

Now for my experience; I had been wanting to visit this place for a long time (since my last visit to Jacksonville). It is a Gracie Barra Academy and the instructors have trained under the Gracies. I was also able to break out my gi, which I haven’t worn in a long time. The head instructor, Larry,  greeted us immediately and recognized us from the email I had sent him that morning. After briefly assessing our experience and backgrounds we were split into groups and I went in their back room to change.

At first I was sent over to Jim, a purple belt, who was demonstrating to a guy, who I later learned had been there for two months, how to both defend and apply the guillotine. It was a good review and he also demonstrated proper finger placement and how to finish off the technique. This showed me that they were really into the technical aspects of Gracie Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Then the head instructor switched Jim out and brought in a blue belt (sorry, can’t remember his name) to work with me. When he asked what I wanted to work on I told him gi chokes. So he showed me a number of chokes that could be applied standing, in the guard or in side control.  He also showed me some defenses to the choke. He and later on the head instructor told me that the most important thing to remember about chokes is to always watch out for the second hand. Which is good advice. One thing I have learned in BJJ is to never let your opponent do what he wants to do.

After working with the blue belt for a while, the head instructor brought me over to work with him. I believe he is a black belt but his belt was so old that it looked gray. So I don’t know for sure. This is the first time that I have rolled with someone who is above the purple belt level and the experience was an eye opener. (It was similar to when I sparred with the Judo guys who had been to Nationals, like Fred and Otto Hand or when I sparred with Brian Wilson of Olympic judo fame. You could tell you were in the ocean and not swimming in the stream anymore.)

Since I practice no gi, he also showed me a number of ways to use the gi to go for chokes or to gain positional advantage. He then had me go through a number of ways of trying to obtain the mount from a quasi side control position. A few things that he pointed out to me was to not extend my foot out so far when trying to defend a sweep because I could hurt my ankle. He also told me to use my forearm in the hip and not my hand when trying to obtain guard when someone is in side control. He stated that the gi can catch my fingers or twist my wrist the wrong way or when my opponent shifts for certain positions I could be hurt.

The more we rolled I could see what he was saying. Although I could tell that he was strong, he played a very relaxed and calm game. He was able to tap me by doing things like gently folding my wrist, some kind of forearm neck choke ( a few times) and an ankle lock when I was able to get his back. Sometimes he would let go of a submission before I had sense enough to realize I was in danger and could tap out. Once when I had his back, he folded my foot under his thigh and made me tap and that’s the best way I can describe it.

As I do not normally roll in a gi and because of the new setting I didn’t have my normal energy levels. I found myself struggling to keep going as he was non stop, “Let’s do it again.” I basically had the equivalent of a private lesson and that was cool. With my family included I think that there were about 11 people there. The head instructor Larry told me that normally it is much busier but due to the holidays not that many people showed.

For those who are new to visiting other academies in new cities like me; here’s what happened. My brother and his nephews received free lessons and I paid a small nominal fee since I was coming not to join but just work in with them and use the facilities. Everyone was extremely nice and helpful. I was also invited back anytime and they informed us of their tournaments that they hold for people who go to their academy. It was a great experience and I hope to do more of it in the future.

Next stop, Miami……

Kettlebells, Family, Shopping and Jiu-Jitsu

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Friday was a hectic and long day. I didn’t do my drills early in the morning, like I first planned, so I had to squeeze them in at 11:30 PM. It was hard to do anything as I was fulfilling requests from family members and visiting with them at the same time.

While out buying gifts with my wife and sister at TJ Maxx, I noticed that they had a 10lb Everlast Kettlebell mixed in with their electronic gifts. It was very ‘random’ but I took it as a sign and decided to purchase it. So I have joined the kettlebell craze that I have been observing as of late. To be honest though, even though it is 10 pounds, it feels like twenty. It must be because it is so compact. (It looks like a shot put with a handle on it for those who don’t know.) The guy at the cash register picked it up and with a crazed look in his eyes said, “This will do the trick won’t it.” I had to reluctantly agree.

Later that night, I asked my brother if he and my nephews wanted to go to Jax BJJ with me and after asking the kids he agreed. After reading some of the posts at Steve’s BJJ log and Foos-jitsu about their brothers also participating in BJJ, I thought, “Why not ask my brother?”

I think BJJ and grappling is not only fun, but it also relieves stress, has many health benefits and if ‘push comes to shove,’ it can be used for self-defense. Not a bad combination. Plus, one of his sons is a phenom in martial art potential, if you ask me. He could do splits by age 6 and has off the wall physical ability. I think he would love Jiu-jitsu.

I’ll post what happens in our adventure….

Check out my new books, The Lazy Man’s Guide to Grappling and Grappling for Newbies on Amazon.com!

Approaching BJJ Clubs in a Strange City

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Since I will be traveling this holiday season, I will be in two different cities where there are quite a few BJJ academies (Jacksonville and Miami, FL). I have never been to gyms outside of cities that I have lived in or that were close by.

If you have trained in other places while visiting a city, how did you go about it? Did you call first or just show up? Did you tell them you just wanted to train for a day, etc?

If you own or instruct at an academy, how have you handled out of town visitors?