Tag Archives: Philadelphia Jiu jitsu

Saulo Ribeiro Seminar Tonight

Hey Everyone,

Saulo Ribeiro- the head of our association, and winner of a bajillion medals is having a seminar at our academy tonight. Should be fun, informative (and a little smashy). I’ll be sure to write all about it tomorrow.

Have a great day everyone!


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Ribeiro East Coast Tournament: a Success!

Hey Everyone,

This past weekend we had a tournament down in Virginia Beach for all of the East Coast affiliates in the Ribeiro Association: a number of schools competed for a pretty sweet trophy, made some great friendships and overall had a fantastic time.

How was your weekend? Let me know- otherwise, have a great day!


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Explaining vs. Showing: How Do You Best Learn Jiu Jitsu?

So, anyone who has talked to me for longer than 12 seconds knows that I’m a visual person: I think in very visual terms, when I speak or write I like to build an image for my intended audience, and when I learn something, I need to “see” it with my mind’s eye to understand it. It’s one of the nice things about jiu jitsu class: in addition to explaining the technique, more often than not the instructor will go through the motions of the technique, offering the best of both worlds, showing the technique and then providing additional explanation and focus on certain details.

I’m bringing this up because I know there are some blogs out there that go tremendously in depth in their explanation of a technique, and basically provide a how to: and more often than not it’s all Greek to me. Not that I lack the capacity to eventually imagine what the person is trying to explain, or that the person is somehow failing in their explanation- it’s just I can’t “see” what they are trying to explain very easily.

It’s just a learning preference: I imagine there are people out there who love the step by step, written instruction on how to do something. If so, let me know who you are, and what appeals to you about that method: I’m genuinely curious.

Otherwise, have a great day everyone!


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Pans Training Camp Weekend

In preparation for Pans this week, our academy had a training camp during the entire weekend- hours of drilling, positional training, we even threw in some strength & conditioning and a yoga session. It was a good time, and in addition to a great training session, just a fantastic time to be around friends and teammates.

I’ll post some photos when I get them (I know, I never seem to take photos of these events- usually because I’m in the middle of doing said activity). How does your academy get ready for a big tournament? Let me know- otherwise, have a great day everyone!

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BJJ and Takedowns: Attacking “On the Move”

My coach had an excellent point last night (which you know, happens now and again…I kid, I kid) during class- one of the more difficult elements of takedowns, other than the actual technique itself, is executing it with a live, moving target. We become used to drilling a particular takedeown- a judo throw, a single or double, etc- that when it comes to go time, it’s hard to translate those “static” drills into a smooth execution of the technique.

It’s beneficial to work on attacking “on the move”- either through sparring, or a light back and forth with a partner who isn’t necessarily overly resistant, but more mobile and offering a more dynamic situation to work off of, rather than just standing there (we call this “hop randori” in our academy). Practicing in this fashion is a better representation of just how you will execute your takedown during more intense sparring and in competition, leaving (relatively) little surprise when it comes to use it.

Just wanted to share with you all- have a great day everyone!

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People Say the Darndest Things (About BJJ)

Meerkatsu has a post up of 10 Dumb Things People Say About BJJ– I’ve heard one or two of those comments, but I’d like to add a few comments I’ve heard a couple of times over the years:

“So, do you think you would be able to handle yourself in a fight [on the street]?” – I always find this question odd,  and the snarky part of my personality always itches to say something really sarcastic in response to this comment. I suppress it for the most part, but there’s still that urge- I can’t help it, I was born this way.

“What would you do if I took you down right now?” – I would get out of the situation and forever refer to you as “the creep who tried to assault me in public”.

And one of my favorite interactions with a coworker:

“It’s karate?”

“Well, no, it’s more like wrestling,”

“Oh…so karate wrestling.”  

That’s what we’re doing everyone: karate wrestling.

Anyone else have any notable comments you’ve heard over the years about jiu jitsu? Let me know!


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BJJ and Competition: “If You Do This, I Will Lose My Mind”

This is another one of those phrases I never thought I would say in jiu jitsu class.

Sometimes competition can be just as nerve wracking for the coaches as it is for the competitors themselves. I firmly believe half the white hairs which comprise my gray streak are probably from coaching my teammates at tournaments. Well worth it, but still.

We’re headed to a NAGA this weekend, so during one of the classes we (the higher ranks) did a quick review of the rules and points with the white belts. We started to talk about mount, and points for taking the back, and I’m not entirely sure how we got to this point but I rolled onto my belly with my legs straight and just laid there, explained that position is what we call a flat turtle, cautioned them to avoid it and said,

“If you do this, I will lose my mind.”

I understand things happen sometimes beyond our control during a match, but in complete honesty- yeah, I would probably lose my mind. I don’t think it’s something they would even think about consciously doing, but again, crazy things happen sometimes in tournament.

Just wanted to share with you all. Have a great day everyone!

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The Snowstorm That Wasn’t (Not in Philadelphia, at Least)

So as a precautionary measure our academy cancelled some classes last night in preparation for a hella-ton of snow.

… That didn’t happen.

It can be frustrating, especially when you’re getting ready for a tournament or itching to get into the gym to train and try some new stuff, but we do have to keep safety in mind. Or whatever. The bright side to this however is that since the snowstorm in Philly is so relatively mild, that means pretty much everyone who was planning to come to class still can-hooray! (within reason- I’m sure some people have to deal with more snow than the majority of us in the city).

Does this happen to you often? Or enough times that you can remember- cancelled classes due to a bad weather fake-out? Let me know: otherwise, have a great day everyone!


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Progressing in BJJ: The Better You Are, the Longer it Takes

I was talking to one of our purple belts last night, who admitted to being a little frustrated: he mentioned that up until now there had been some peaks, and admittedly some valleys to his progression, but those lulls were always fairly short and after a couple of months he would progress again. This past lull however seems to be particularly long for him.

So I actually drew a parallel between jiu jitsu and playing video games for him. Sure, in the beginning you progress or “level up” at a relatively quick rate: you’re learning new (basic) skills all the time, and you feel quite accomplished with yourself. Once you start to get the basics down, more skills are built on top of that basic foundation, and may take a little longer to master….Or at least not be terrible at executing.

And this trend continues: you keep building your skills, and inevitably it will take longer and longer to notice progress. But rest assured, as long as you keep attending class, drilling and training, being open to new ideas, progress will eventually happen. Sure it can be frustrating at times, especially when you become accustomed to that initiate rate of success. But, as I mentioned to someone else last night, I highly recommend the Dory approach to jiu jitsu:

“Just keep swimming, just keep swimming….”


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BJJ and Drilling: Feel the Rhythm, Feel the Rhyme

Whenever we emphasize drilling in class to lower belts, two things happen. First, we talk about how students should find a rhythm to their repetitions.

And second, I pretty much always have to suppress the urge to make a Cool Runnings reference.


What do we mean by finding a rhythm? It’s really about putting the steps together. Often, particularly among lower ranks, you have the independent parts of a technique down: you understand what you are doing, and maybe even why- but your movements are jerky, and sometimes the technique falls apart because the next piece requires momentum or movement from the previous piece to bring it all together. So we tell students to try to put elements together to make a more smooth execution of the technique.

Does this mean you have to zip through drilling like you just took an entire bottle of Adderall and chased it down with a Redbull? Absolutely not.  If you are not familiar with the technique, and you don’t feel comfortable drilling at a fast pace, don’t. If you’re not confident in the technique, there’s a very high chance there are small (and sometimes large) details you’ll miss if you focus more on speed than execution. It’s more of an encouragement to take the building blocks you’ve been given and create one cohesive piece. And, the more you practice the technique as that one cohesive piece, the more confidence you’ll have to execute it in live training and competition.

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