Category Archives: bjj

BJJ and Competition: It Pays to Be Nice

I had this conversation recently while at a function over the weekend: most of the time in sports, but particularly in BJJ it really pays to engage in sportsmanlike conduct on the mat, and to be nice off the mat.

Part of it really has to do with attrition: as you advance in the sport, more and more you will find that you are fighting the same people. You start to recognize faces, you remember names (even if you are terrible at remembering names like I am). And the higher you go, the more often you will see that person- if all of you decide to continue competing.

It’s much easier on all of you to continue competing if you are on good terms with everyone. Think of it this way- what situation would you rather walk into, a tournament where you are basically meeting up with old friends, you all duke it out and win or lose  you are shaking hands with everyone while laughing and smiling? Or you walk into a tournament where you have a problem with everyone, and everyone has a problem with you, and all of you awkwardly ignore each other before and after you fight? Personally, I would prefer the former, but to each their own.

And also, it’s just plain common decency to be nice to one another. We’re all taking time out of our schedules and lives to fight one another, which should be acknowledged and appreciated.

So, in summary be nice to one another, because you never know when you are going to meet that person again…and again… and again…

Have a great day everyone!


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A Tale of Two BJJ Seminars

Hey Everyone,

Last week our academy had two great seminars take place- one was with David Avellan to go over his “Kimura Trap” system, and the other was with de La Riva black belt Vicente Junior and Samir Chantre.

It was definitely interesting to have both seminars in the same week: both were great seminars and all the instructors were friendly and knowledgeable, but also it gave us great opportunities to learn a lot of material and compare the two seminar instruction styles.

First, Avellan seems to have the seminar routine down pat: he started the seminar right on time, informing us there was a lot to get through so let’s get the party started. And there was a lot of information- he even had an org chart printed out of all the items he intended to go through. For a three hour seminar he managed to cram a lot in, answer questions and still keep the momentum going, going over all the different positions from where you can attack with a kimura: from full guard, half guard, stand up, tying your shoes, doing your taxes- all of it.

The second seminar was a little slower paced: as you know people will inevitably show up late to a seminar, so we started a little late. It was more broken up into two smallerish seminars, Vicente or “VJ” going over some of the finer details of the de la Riva guard, and Chantre showing some sweeps from the leg lasso open guard. There was a good deal about certain fundamentals, and a focus on some finer details that people tend to forget about the de la Riva guard. The leg lasso portion had some interesting sweeps and details I hadn’t seen before, so that was pretty interesting.

Again, both seminars were fun and full of instruction, instructors were all friendly helpful, and it was a pleasure to experience both (very different) teaching styles.


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Coaching in BJJ and Life: It Takes Two (At Minimum)

Val Worthington wrote a great article about being honest about your goals and your willingness to commit your time and energy to them. I find this to be a bit funny and apt, as I am in the middle of applying for a coach in my professional life.

I agree with her sentiment that it’s a waste of everyone’s time to state intentions and then ignore the follow through. Coaching- in sports, or even the professional world- is a two way street. It requires cooperation and commitment on both ends in order for it to truly be successful.

Anyway, check the article out and have a great day everyone!

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Article on IBJJF 2016 World Champ Testing Positive for Doping, Stripped of Medal

Jesus, guys. Really?

Leandro Nogueira tested positive for a prohibited substance that is typically taken to boost testosterone after a cycle of anabolic steroids.

Check out the article and have a good day everyone.


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Jiu Jitsu and Rolling: “Don’t Be Rude”

I had a conversation with a white belt recently which brought this issue up: he was rolling with a partner who (I’m presuming/hoping) accidentally kicked the white belt.

Said white belt was understandably pissed. Admittedly I also get a little annoyed when I’m kicked, punched or when I am somehow on the receiving end of a knee to the face. Jiu jitsu is about no striking: if I wanted to get punched I would do Muay Thai kickboxing or capoeira, or something of that nature.

The white belt in question was asking if that kick was “legal” in tournament. I had to explain to our heated white belt that I’m sure it was an accident, and that it was probably an aggressive sweep that got kind of weird. I also had to explain the common, unspoken rule of “don’t be rude”.

Jiu jitsu practitioners have to walk a fine line between technique and really digging deep sometimes to pull off a submission. You want to be technical, you want to quickly and efficiently put your opponent in a position that they will feel the need to tap- whether that be a choke, joint lock…. the list goes on and on. But, the difficulty comes when you add the element that the other person wants the exact same thing, and of course people aren’t perfect- we all try to grind out a technique that may not be the easiest or prettiest one to use at that time.

Still, we try- there’s the idea that we want to submit our opponent without unnecessary pain or roughness. Again, back to the idea of “don’t be rude”. It can be a weird gray area at times, and one that is definitely subject to interpretation, but it’s something we should all keep in mind and- I dunno, personally I give people the benefit of the doubt more often than not because I assume they know about this rule.

Just some thoughts- have a great day everyone!


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Eddie Bravo (Finally) Starts Combat Jiu Jitsu

So this is finally a thing now? I feel like this idea was introduced YEARS ago- adding open palm strikes to jiu jitsu when one opponent is on the ground.

Good for Bravo, for finally getting this ball rolling. Personally, the idea of having someone slap me in jiu jitsu is a bit annoying, but hey if people are into it, more power to them.

Check out an article on it, and have a great day everyone!

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Jiu Jitsu: Sometimes It’s Just that Simple

Jiu jitsu can seem terribly confusing and complicated at times: there are precise movements and placement of various body parts that those who do not pick up on the finer details end up blundering through a technique. I totally get it: there are still some techniques that I haven’t totally picked up all the finer points on- sorry folks, getting your black belt does not magically mean you know all the details to all of the techniques: you have to keep learning, training and evolving your jiu jitsu.

Anyway, now that I’ve burst your bubble (just a little), I’m also here to tell you that sometimes jiu jitsu can really be simple, I promise. Remember, jiu jitsu has no magical element- at the end of the day it boils down to physics and body mechanics. I also think sometimes we overthink and over-complicate a problem in a position or technique, because we have so many techniques that seem to have a gamut of moving parts. We want to tackle the complicated right away: the quicker we work on the complicated, the better we can get a feel for it and eventually master it, right? But sometimes the complicated answer is not always the best or most effective one.

Trust that sometimes jiu jitsu can be very simple- that you don’t need 20 steps to take care of a problem you keep encountering while you roll. Sometimes a simple (yet effective) change or movement may be all that you need.

That’s all for today folks- have a great day everyone!


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Drilling and BJJ: A Little Bit is Better than Nothing at all

It can seem daunting at times, the things you want to work on in order to improve your BJJ game: there’s that sweep you keep trying that just isn’t happening, the position that you just can’t hold on to….The list goes on and on.

And you know (at least in theory) that the best way to improve in these areas is to drill: higher ranks advise lower ranks all the time- drill, drill, drill as it’s really the best way that you are going to improve. Sure rolling is fun, but drilling is really where you hone in on the execution of the technique.

So some people put off drilling, since there is SO MUCH that needs to be done. My advice to everyone who may feel that way is this: obviously you can’t drill everything that needs to be improved upon all in one session. If you tried, it would literally be hours before you left the gym, if you ever left at all. Break down the things you want to work on into more manageable pieces. You’re having trouble escaping half  guard? Work on drilling one or two escapes- it may just be for an additional 15 minutes after class, but hey, 15 minutes is better than nothing at all. It’s a baby step, but it does get you closer to the mastery of a technique than you were before.

Just some thoughts for the day- have a great day everyone!



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NAGA Philadelphia- Ladies Team Bringing Home the Gold

This past weekend there was a NAGA Philadelphia (actually it was about 20 minutes outside of the city but psh, details). Our team did fantastic, but our ladies team really knocked it out of the park. Everyone did wonderfully, win or lose, and I was really proud to see everyone go out there and do their best.


Great job, ladies!

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Science! Article on Woman Who Lived Without Lungs for Six Days

This article doesn’t have so much to do with jiu jitsu, but more with the marvel at how far we’ve come in terms of modern medicine.

This woman lived without a set of lungs for six days, and through the wonders of modern medical technology, was able to survive that period and receive a lung transplant.

Six days- that’s crazy! Maybe I just listen too much about our medical history, but we’ve definitely come a long way from blood letting and “well, let’s just cut it off and see if they make it.”

Check out the article and have a great day everyone!

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