Brazilian Jiujitsu

Putting in Work! (Summertime Jiu-jitsu)

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I’ve been quietly ‘putting in work’ at my academy. It’s summertime and I don’t teach at the college during the summer, so I’m averaging three times a week. I am really enjoying being able to go as much as I have.

Today, we worked on half guard escapes, sweeps and submissions. It felt like a mini-seminar and I liked the way Prof taught the class. There were not that many black and brown belts today so when the professor left class I ended up being the senior student. I ran rounds and kept an eye out to make sure every one stayed calm.

There was a relative new guy today and so I tried to keep an eye on him. I rolled with him first and asked him to roll at 50 percent. In my roll with him I pulled guard and and he leaned into my chest. I pushed him to the side and put him in a head and arm triangle and he said, “Hey, that’s not 50 percent. You’re strong.” When I pushed him to the side I did it slowly and barely used strength, but I went ahead and let him go. When I say 50 percent I usually mean speed, as I try not to use strength. Yet, I can see how he could see it differently. He stayed calm until I swept him and put him in side control. That’s when he started ‘bucking.’ I had to start using a clamp defense so he wouldn’t hurt me or hurt himself. Finally, I just slowed it down and started to give pointers so he wouldn’t go ballistic from being controlled.

I also had a roll with Jeff. Jeff is about 6’3 or 6’4 and 250 pounds and he is solid. As a White belt he was easy to control, but now that he is a Blue belt controlling him is a chore. I can no longer trade positions with him because when he gets in mount it feels like a truck is on my chest. When I had him in mount, today, he just grabbed me and rolled me over even though I had him grape-vined. Holy Sh@$! I shrimped and made space and then swept him. After that I held him in side control where I could be safe until the buzzer sounded. Whatever!

Everything else was pretty uneventful.

Until next time!

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.


Coolest Review Ever!!!

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I just happened to check on my book, Tapmonster, this morning at Barnes and Noble and I saw the coolest review that anyone has ever written for one of my books. It absolutely blew me away! I appreciate every good review that I have ever received, but this one was special.

Here it is:


I don’t ordinarily write reviews, but I am notorious for reading and using reviews to make purchases. This will be my second review ever. That alone should tell you that this book was able to motivate me to actually write this!

Where ever you are at in your grappling game, BUY THIS BOOK! I am currently preparing for my first BJJ tourney, had a horrible class and could not stop thinking about all I had done wrong earlier on the mats. After about 3 hours of tossing and turning. I thought maybe I’ll find a book of some kind, some nugget of wisdom that will rescue the “whatever” BJJ game I had left. I had purchased one of this author’s other books and this one seemed somewhat new.

While I understand that this review seems contrived in that this book ended up being just what I needed, but it truly was. I don’t know if it will rescue my game, but it assuredly got me motivated to get back to work on it!! What ever level in your grappling journey, this book will help you. It will more specifically tell you things that no one ordinarily talks about, on or off the mats. It’s a quick read, but the true take away is that you’re not alone in the feelings, the blood, sweat and tears and just plain difficulty that is the grappling arts! You will not be disappointed with this purchase! And though I haven’t written reviews yet, I have also purchased 20 ways to improve your Grappling, and Grappling for Newbies, both by this author, both highly, highly recommended! Hope this review helps!


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.

Awesome Fights – Ultimate Absolute

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I may be late to the party, but I bumped into all of these videos of the Ultimate Absolute. There are 20 freakin’ videos of top grapplers doing what I love to do. It’s fast paced and I can’t believe it’s free (with a Internet connection). [I almost sounded like Dana White when he says UFC fights on cable/satellite are free.]

Here is the link to all of the matches: Ultimate Absolute

*I found this link through Grappling Weekly via Middle Age BJJ.

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.

Open Mat – De La Riva Style!

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Friday’s class was a nice one. After a short hiatus I was worried how my cardio would stack up, but I did fine. Seems like the Fitocracy kick I am on is keeping me fighting fit. However, nothing beats grappling in class so I was a little winded near the end.

We rolled for an 1hr 20 min for open mat so I will just provide highlights:

I wrestled with one of the newer guys (Dillon) who was promoted to Blue belt last Tuesday. He’s a former wrestler and he has cat like reflexes so I usually just pin him down a lot. I went a little bit harder with him this time since he’s a Blue belt now, but he still weighs at least 80 pounds less than me so I didn’t go gorilla on him.

I also rolled with Jerry, one of the veteran guys, who is also a Blue Belt. I started out with Spider Guard and then I remembered a video I had been watching on Youtube last week and I switched to the De La Riva Guard. I was amazed at how quickly I was able to latch it on. I followed it up with a sweep and then gained side control. From there I went North/South then pulled him up and jumped to his back. He fought me on the Bow and Arrow Choke so I went for an arm-bar from behind and got the tap. —  I surprised myself with that one. First, Jerry is usually super hard to deal with. Second, I don’t know what possessed me to try the De La Riva. Third, I am usually a choke or Kimura type of guy, I hardly ever attempt arm bars.

On another note, we had a Brown Belt (Jason) from one of our affiliates visit. He showed us a cool choke when you are seated and have back control and a bicep crusher for the omoplata and from a guard pass.

Excellent practice!

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.

Two Grapplers apprehend robber at hotel!

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It’s getting rougher for people who rob banks now-a-days. It seems every other week there is a story about a potential crook getting foiled by your friendly neighbor hood grappler. This time, two of our brethren, who were in California for the 2011 No-Gi Worlds Championship, nabbed a down on his luck robber who had just robbed a clerk in the front office.

Although none of the news outlets I watched provided the cashier with any credit WHATSOEVER for his role in stopping the guy, he actually wrapped up the robber with a bear hug after the robber walked out of the office and ‘stupidly’ place his gun in his bag. (I’m not rooting for the guy, but I’m just sayin’.) BJJ grapplers, Brent Alvarez and Billy Dinney, just happened to be walking out of the elevator at the same time the robber was dragging the clerk on his back out of the hotel. They literally walked smack into what looks like a scene from a badly scripted movie. Not only do the trio disarm him, but after the clerk takes the gun away, Brent Alvarez holds the robber down with a Rear naked choke while Billy Dinney holds other body parts down.

Here’s the video with no boring news video in the beginning (note the body triangle at the end):

Here’s one with the news clip (note Billy Dinney does his interview with his medal around his neck from the competition/I would have too!):

In one of the interviews one of the guys said that maybe “they should have just knocked him out” instead of fighting him and holding him for so long.

Here’s Brent Alvarez doing the same thing he did to the robber at a NAGA event earlier this year:

I don’t think it takes much to make Brent Alvarez jump on your back and choke you into submission. I wouldn’t drop anything around him and expect to pick it up without a fight! 🙂

Just Joking!

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.

20 Ways to Increase Grappling Skills Off the Mat

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Excerpt from 20 Ways to Improve your Grappling Skills Off the Mat It’s available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble & Smashwords


We used to train a lot at my house… People used to wake me up at night… Like at midnight, people would come… I would train every time…Caio Terra, Multiple BJJ World Champion, talking about training from home when he had no academy. (Inside BJJ)

Like most people who practice the art of submission wrestling, I try to spend as much time as possible on the mat. And when I’m not on the mat, I think about grappling entirely too much. Yet, sometimes, the only thing I can do is think about grappling because I have other responsibilities clamoring for my attention.

Since I have grappled for nearly a decade, I have had to come up with ways to insure that gaps in training don’t derail my hard earned gains. As a consequence, I have developed numerous strategies. Those strategies are what this book is about. 20 Ways to Improve your Grappling Skills off the Mat will share with you how you can increase your grappling abilities when you can’t make it to class.

It discusses mindsets and approaches and it is designed to help you become a better grappler when no one is looking. The ideas provided in this book will give you an edge when it comes to training. — Following a few of the suggestions will take your game to the next level.

Imagine if you used all of them.

20 Ways also contains quotes from grappling and MMA veterans. It explores:

-How to be 8 steps ahead of your opponent

-The real deal with heavy bags and grappling

-What’s up with grappling dummies?

-Ways to use visualization that are never discussed

-Why solo drills matter

-How a few simple words can change your game

-How Claude van Damme can improve your grappling

-Why maps are important in submission wrestling

-How being a bookworm is good for grapplers

-How you can improve without lifting a muscle; and

-Ideas that will revolutionize your game and make you a tapping machine

Thanks for purchasing this book and I hope you enjoy.

Bakari Akil II, Ph.D./Jiu-Jitsu365

Heavy Bag

You only have two options, you win or you lose. Why not just win.Daniel Cormier-Olympic Wrestler

I would argue that when most people pull up YouTube, looking for a grappling clip, it is not to learn how to achieve or maintain dominant positions. They are looking for ways to tap chumps out. Admittedly, it’s not a bad idea. If you grapple for more than a few months, you quickly realize how difficult it is to make your partner submit when he’s learning the same things you are. Springing a surprise wristlock you learned from your favorite online guru makes training that much easier.

However, most grappling techniques offered online begin with the instructor ordering the uke (one being demonstrated against) to take a certain position on the mat. Then the uke jumps down like he’s expecting a Scooby snack in return. Yet, when is the last time you were able to tell your grappling partner to lie on his back so you could assume side control during a live roll?

Dominant positions have to be earned. Then they have to be maintained. Now, there are many ways that you can practice catching people in submissions and we will explore them in this book. But let’s start off by covering how you can use the heavy bag to improve your ability to dominate positions and improve your overall grappling ability.


Using the heavy bag is the blue-collar way of learning how to hand out beat-downs. It doesn’t do everything you want it to do, but it can get the job done. Its design is simple, sturdy and it can take a beating. They are also large enough to give you the feeling of dealing with a person and heavy enough where you have to exert yourself when working out with one. The length of heavy bags allow you to practice a wide range of moves and its bulk lets you apply pressure that even your training buddies wouldn’t allow.


They are also relatively cheap, especially in relation to the many years of use you can extract from one. I paid $65 for my 60 lb. bag and have owned it for 8 years. You can also purchase one cheaply from a second hand store like Play it Again Sports or from a yard sale. Now if you’re really cheap, you can learn how to make a heavy bag by watching a YouTube clip of some weird guy creating one in his mom’s basement.

No matter how you obtain one, your investment will pay off each time you can’t make it to class due to work or other commitments, yet you still have enough energy to drill at home. (Or, in my case, when I lived in the middle of nowhere and had to use my bag as a training buddy for a few months.)


Whether boxing or grappling, the heavy bag can help you review the basics. Just like in boxing where you can practice jabs, crosses, hooks, uppercuts and combinations, the heavy bag will allow you to practice the rudiments of grappling. Side control, mount, North-South and Knee-on-belly are all fair game on a heavy bag. You can also practice applying pressure to the chest and the proper spacing of your legs when trying to hold an opponent down. You will never, ever find a drilling partner who will allow you to work on your positioning as much as a heavy bag. If you do, money will be involved.

You can also work on transitioning from one position to the next. For instance, transferring from side control to the mount, mount to side control and side control to North-South. The bag can help you develop the speed and timing required to jump from side control to Knee-on-belly and from Knee-on-belly on the right to Knee-on-belly to the left. Drilling these basic positions will give you the ability to ride opponents. I have to admit, I feel like a bull-rider when I am controlling a ‘spazzy’ new guy and a pimp when I’m jumping from position to position on an experienced guy. Sometimes I have to restrain myself from asking, “Where is my money?” That skill doesn’t come from attending class once or twice a week. It’s from my heavy bag training.


You can also practice more advanced positional drills on the bag as well as work a little technique. For instance I cemented my ability to capture…

End of Excerpt

Thanks for reading! If this caught your attention you can purchase 20 Ways to Improve your Grappling Skills Off the Mat at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords.

This book can be read on your computer, tablet or cell phone using your Amazon Kindle and Barnes & Noble free apps. You can also read it on the computer using Smashwords or Lulu.

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.