Monday, December 29, 2008

Throw Down With These Techniques


Hope you had a great holiday! It's been a few days since the last post (I've been traveling and unable to access a computer too often) so I thought I'd pick up with a good video on some solid throwing techniques.

It's also been too long since I've been on the mats! I fly back tomorrow, and plan to train at the open mat on Thursday at noon. Let's ring in the New Year in a healthy way and set the tone for 2009!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Holiday Greetings

To all of our SCMA family and friends, we'd like to wish you all a wonderful holiday and a happy New Year. Thanks to each of you for allowing us to do what we love, and that's teach this beautiful art of Jiu-Jitsu to the young and old, and everywhere in between.

You're the reason we're here and are the foundation of our Academy. We're grateful you're training with us, and look forward to an incredible 2009.

Remember, we're closed tomorrow but back in business on Saturday -- come ready to train!


The SCMA Instructor Team

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Class Log for Dec. 20, Open Mat Tomorrow at Noon (Dec. 21)


Great work on the mats this afternoon! We want to congratulate those who were awarded stripes today.
It's something to celebrate, and they're like mini-markers along the way in your jiu-jitsu journey. At the same time, don't worry too much about rank.

As Scott said, always be a white belt, even at blue, purple, brown and black. Keep the enthusiasm and the fire inside burning strong. Never close your mind or think that you've learned enough. Complacency in any venture will lead you off the path.

During class today, we went into additional detail on a Koshi Guruma (hip wheel) and Ouchi-Gari (large inner reap). Below are some videos of these throws in action:

In addition, Scott covered a few escapes for when your opponent is on your back. Remember to protect your neck. Fall to the side opposite of the arm that's coming around your neck (think finger point). Straighten your leg to help remove the hook and kill the leg. Move your hips away from your opponent as you block the far knee from the mount. 

Let's say your opponent does in fact get a hand worked into your lapel. Remember to look toward the bicep of the arm around your neck and work to prevent your opponent from gaining access to the other side of your lapel from under your other arm.
If you do fall to the wrong side and your opponent is getting close to choking you, remember to grab the elbow of the arm around your neck and move your body down so that your head is touching the mat...make sure to keep it there, too! Then, work the escape as you normally would. 

Again, great work on the mats today! Open mat is tomorrow at noon. Come ready to train and work hard!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Interview with Rickson Gracie


Excellent work on the mats tonight! We covered a takedown series from the "T" or "side clinch" position, worked off a circular strike. Remember to feel your opponent's energy, and go with the flow, or, as Rickson says, "flow with the go".

We ended class with several five-minute rounds of an "offense" and "defense" drill, whereby one person attacked (sweep and submit) while the other could only defend (survive and escape), and switched back and forth between the two.

We'll leave you with a recent interview with the legend, Master Rickson Gracie:

See you all on the mat -- this Saturday!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Xande Ribeiro in Judo Tourney


Here's a video of a 2007 judo bout at Michigan State University between Xande Ribeiro and Clint Denison, graciously uploaded by Xande's opponent in the match. Note: often white and blue belts are used in judo tournaments to differentiate between competitors for scoring purposes, not reflecting their belt levels.

Xande is a multiple-time BJJ world champ, but it's clear he's a monster when it comes to judo competitions as well:

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

D'arce Choke in Competition


We covered the D'arce choke plus several defenses in class on Saturday, and we wanted to make sure you guys see how it's applied in a real-time tournament situation. This is a very common maneuver, particularly in no-gi, so understanding how to prevent from being caught in it is critical. 

Here's a sample video of it being applied in action. Notice that the set-up occurred after opponent X passed opponent Y's guard and established cross-side. Remember your hand positioning on the bottom, and how to trap your opponent's arm should he decide to attempt the D'arce by weaving inside your top arm. 

As with everything in jiu-jitsu, timing is a key element to both your offense and defense.

Old School...

No weight limits, no time limits, no gloves, bare minimum rules, a choice to fight wearing a gi, up to four fights in one night...these were the early days of the UFC:

New Items in Master Pedro Sauer's Internet Store


There are several new items available for purchase in Master Pedro Sauer's web store. The hoodies are back (in blue and gray) as well as long-sleeve shirts in a variety of colors. In addition, don't forget about the association gi, which is still $115.

Click here to go directly to the store, then pass along the link to the folks who still need to buy something for you this holiday!

See you on the mat -- Thursday night!

Monday, December 15, 2008

The Sister Arts of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu

From our friend Roy Dean:

Originally published in Gracie Magazine, Issue #138.

My name is Roy Dean. I am a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu under Professor Roy Harris.  Before training in BJJ, I studied several Japanese martial arts systems, receiving my black belt in both Kodokan Judo and Aikikai Aikido.  Early on in my study of BJJ I realized that there were many overlapping areas with the arts I’d been exposed to, with surprising similarities in their movements and the avoidance of force on force.  I would like to briefly explore some of those areas of common ground, and where the arts may compliment each other.

Each art operates in a separate range of combat, and are all unique flavors of jujutsu.  Aikido focuses on the moment your opponent is grabbing you, pulling as they push, while turning and redirecting their attack.  Judo takes place in the clinch range, scooping your partner off balance and obstructing their movement to tip them to the ground.  Off course, BJJ is the premier groundfighting art, controlling the space and your partners movement options until your steer them into a joint lock or choke.

The yielding techniques of each system rely on distraction, angles, and leverage to work.  As your timing and sensitivity improve in each discipline, so does your efficiency in affecting the techniques.  They are all arts of pushing and pulling.  Ultimately, awareness, timing, and sensitivity are the attributes that will take you the farthest in acquiring deep skills, and conserve the most energy when facing larger opponents. 

Jigoro Kano’s Judo is a selective synthesis of many older jujutsu systems, and was the seed of Brazil’s own flowering of the art. Judo’s focus has been narrowed towards competition strategies since it’s inclusion in the Olympics, and this emphasis on tachi-waza, or standing techniques, has had positive and negative consequences.  Grip fighting has been elevated, while submission oriented newaza has declined. Many Brazilian Jiu Jitsu champions have trained extensively in Judo, and the results of that combination are already proven. 

But BJJ practitioners could also take notes from the art of Aikido, particularly their ukemi, or methods of falling, when receiving the dynamic wristlocks and throws characteristic of the style.  Learning to fall is perhaps the most practical of all martial art skills, and the circularity of Aikido’s blending movements translate well from the vertical plane to the horizontal.  BJJ and Judo players could also expand their self defense awareness by using Aikido’s elegant footwork to get off the line of attack against strikes, weapons, and multiple attackers.

Of course, benefits go both ways. I have found the effectiveness of my Aikido greatly enhanced after studying BJJ.  Ground fighting not only gives you a back up plan if your initial techniques fail, but also a deeper sense of confidence in your martial abilities, expanding your options wherever the fight may go.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu’s openness and wide technical palette adds not only to the sophistication of the art, but also to it’s effectiveness against other styles.  What gives BJJ the edge in effectiveness is Kano’s genius of randori, or full resistance sparring, combined with the aim of finishing the fight.  Throwing your opponent or pinning them may end an altercation, but BJJ picks up from that point, cutting off the avenues of escape in smooth and clever ways.  

Ways that work over and over again, against different bodies, strategies, and skill levels.  Rolling keeps the art alive, with the its teeth sharp, so a player can take on an opponent’s best effort and redirect it into a submission.  With sparring, each player can re-invent effectiveness for themselves, using techniques that fit their body type and disposition.

A descendant of Daito Ryu Aiki-jujutsu, Aikido founder Morihei Ueshiba used his interpretation of the art to stress non-violence and non-resistance.  While Aikido is philosophically rich, competition and practicing at full resistance are generally discouraged.  This is a reflection of the religious orientation of the founder, and makes Aikido accessible to all ages and abilities.  

The idea of a compassionate martial art has resonated with millions of people worldwide, and launched a philosophical movement that takes the principles off the mat and into daily life.  BJJ is beginning to head in this direction, going beyond the idea of winning and losing, and creating more inclusive environments that stress brotherhood and camaraderie.

Personally, I feel Aikido could benefit from full resistance training.  Working with non-resistant opponents can lead to a false sense of security, setting a student up for disappointment when their skills are needed most.  Sparring clearly illustrates that the first attempt at a technique does not always work, and the secret to repeatable effectiveness is found in the transitions between one technique and the next.  

Ironically, Ueshiba’s vision may be well served, and even enhanced, by incorporating the training methods of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.  Even if trained as a separate art, the lessons learned in one discipline can be transferred to another, enriching understanding.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is far more than a sport, and even more than an art.  BJJ is a modern budo.  A warriors way.  Preserved tools of the samurai class, used to bring people together into a lifestyle, and allowing them to discover who they are and uncover their potential.  

Players from each discipline should not view the other styles as separate, but rather as sister arts, where even occasional cross training can expand awareness.  The future is not about separation, but rather integration with these other styles of jujutsu, fueling the evolution of each art.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Class Log: Dec. 13 -- Cross-Side Escapes Revisited, D'arce Choke


Great work this afternoon. After reviewing the leg throw to ankle pick takedown (and transitioning to the triangle if you get the stiff arm) we covered the specific details of two common cross-side escapes and transitioned into the D'arce choke.

Per Gracie Magazine:

The D'Arce choke is similar to the Anaconda choke. The difference being that the choking arm is thread under the near arm, in front of the opponent's neck, and on top of the far arm. The choke gets its name from Joe D'Arce, a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt under Renzo Gracie. Though not the inventor of the choke, D'Arce performed this choke often and with great success in many Jiu Jitsu and submission grappling tournaments. Another name for this choke is the Brabo choke.

Remember, when escaping the cross-side, watch your top arm. If your opponent begins to hook under it with his arm, trap it with your elbow. For instance, if your escaping the cross-side and your opponent is on your right side, your top arm (or left one) will be attacked. As your opponent feeds his arm through, hug his arm with your left elbow and grab his wrist with your left hand.

This is illustrated in the following video we produced after the training camp. Master Sauer works the choke at :07, and the defenses at :11, :17, and :20.

Work these into your game! It's a common choke, and one that is a threat whether you're training gi or no-gi.


Open mat will be held at noon tomorrow for all registered students of Spencer County Martial Arts. Come ready to train hard!

See you on the mat!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Class Log: Dec. 11 -- Cross-Side Escapes, Single Leg to Ankle Pick Takedown Combination


Great work on the mats last night! It was a pleasure to work with each of you on perfecting the two cross-side escapes (guard recovery and to the knees) required for blue belt, in addition to the single leg and ankle pick takedown combinations. Remember, you must not only attack by combination on the ground, but also standing up, whether you're trying to bring the fight to the ground or striking your opponent.

In addition, remember your "survival" position on the bottom in cross-side. Where are your hands placed? How best can you gain leverage and utilize the bridge and hip escape? Where are your opponent's hands...are your hips blocked or free? Is your opponent cross-facing you?

These are all things to consider while you attempt to work an escape, prevent getting submitted and your opponent from upgrading his position by mounting you.

See you all on the mat -- tomorrow afternoon!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Open Mat Sunday, Dec. 14 at Noon


For those planning ahead for this weekend, I plan to host an open mat for registered members of SCMA this Sunday at noon. Come ready to train and work technique. Of course, normal classes will be held tonight and Saturday as well.

See you all on the mat!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

The Animal Drill Workout

Guess what some of our warm-ups at tomorrow night's class will consist of? :) Here's a preview:

Monday, December 8, 2008

Ginastica Natural for Fighters


I've done some extensive research on a jiu-jitsu workout routine known as Ginastica Natural. The regimen combines the techniques of stretching, flexibility, and respiration of hatha-yoga, the ground movements of jiu-jitsu, and the natural movements of the human body. I ordered a DVD online this weekend and will let you know what I think of it once I have an opportunity to try it out. Has anyone else tried it before?

See below for a sample:

Let me know what you think.

See you on the mat -- tonight!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Congratulations, Competitors


We'd like to congratulate the entire team on their performance during Saturday's tournament. We took six members to the tournament and all did an outstanding job. We're proud of all of you, and want you to know that you represented our Academy well. Keep up the great work.

See you all on the mat -- tomorrow night!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Gracie Insider: Technique of the Month - Triangle Shoulder Walk


Great work on the mats tonight! It was a loaded class and we focused on tournament preparation with a slew of drills and positional training. We'd like to wish all our competitors luck on Saturday. Again, we will not have group classes on Saturday so we can all attend the tournament and support the team.

If you're not competing but would like to come out and watch, it's going to be held at Taylorsville Elementary School in Spencer County (see below for a map). It's a $5 admission but well worth the price, considering we have a whole team that's competing! You can find more information on the tournament at http://www.kybjj.com/.

View Larger Map

In addition to Saturday's excitement, we plan to hold an open mat on Sunday at noon for all registered students of the Academy. Come with a game plan and be ready to train!

Here are the Gracie Brothers' Technique of the month. It's very relevant, since we've covered this in class time and time again, including this evening. Very effective technique! See you all at the tournament!

See you all at the tournament!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Competition and Jiu-Jitsu: Saulo Ribeiro's Perspective


I came across this passage in Saulo's Jiu-Jitsu University and wanted to pass it along to you. I think it'll resonate well, considering the recent preparations we've been making for this Saturday's tournament. What's your take on competition in jiu-jitsu? What role does it play in your own development? Get the discussion going in our forum.

Competition and Jiu-Jitsu: Saulo's Ribeiro's Perspective
It is not necessary for every student of jiu-jitsu to enter into competitions. Some may do jiu-jitsu simply because they enjoy gaining the knowledge. Others perhaps dislike the limelight or just don't want to compete in this particular sport. I love to do other sports, but I don't have the desire to compete in those sports. Some people don't like to compete because they don't know how to deal with loss. If you win, you're happy, and if you lose, your world gets turned upside down. 
That is a problem. This fear of losing scares some people from competition. Then there are those who live and die by competition, but fail to realize it is just a game. It is a game where you mix knowledge, strategy, timing, health, and attitude. Like any game, the best jiu-jitsu practitioner doesn't always win. Take the World Championship for example. 30 guys sweat blood in their training, and there is only one winner. What about the 29 who worked so hard? Is the champion really better than all of them? It depends. Sometimes, the person with the best technique gets eliminated in the first round.
If you decide to compete, realize that competition is the art of dealing with pressure. Some people face pressure early in life and others not until much later, but in every case, where there is pressure there is competition. The student who doesn't compete at the tournament is still competing if the pressure is there. Perhaps he even feels more pressure than the one who does go to tournaments because he fights against himself...competes against his feelings and choices. This is the toughest opponent you can have -- yourself.
Ultimately, the opponent you will face in the ring is you, because you cannot compete successfully if you do not address internal issues that will affect your performance. When competing, you will not even be able to think about overcoming your opponent if you are too worried about yourself. However, if you are comfortable with your preparation, you will have the confidence to perform. Becoming the champion is not about your opponent. It's about you.
Finally, if you want to learn something about someone's jiu-jitsu, you should learn it in the academy. Many people enter competition with hopes that it will be a fast track to getting better. However, the quality of training partners actually has a much greater impact on skill level than competition does. Though competition can be a part of training, it alone will not improve technique. 
Competition shows such a small part of any given competitor's knowledge that it masks what he really knows. In the academy, you can see him for who he really is. You will see him relaxed and in the proper environment to exhibit his understanding of jiu-jitsu and educate you and others of its benefits. This is what will keep jiu-jitsu evolving.
Competition will always be a window to show the world how professional the sport can be. But the growth of the sport over the coming generations will not be reliant on the competitive aspect. 

Xande Ribeiro Explains Some Signature Techniques


Excellent job on the mats last night! Per our conversation about the modified v-sweep, attached is a video of Xande Ribeiro explaining the technique in greater detail. Remember, it's all about timing:

See you all on the mat -- Thursday night!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Stocking Stuffer: Saulo Ribeiro's "Jiu-Jitsu University"


Just released last week, we highly recommend Saulo Ribeiro's newest release, "Jiu-Jitsu University".

I just picked up my copy today and I'm really impressed with the way Saulo presents the material. Whether you're beginner, advanced, or somewhere in between, I think you'll find this book to be a good resource.

Your local bookstore should carry the book or, if online shopping is more your style, click here to order it from Amazon.  

Here's a reader review:

This is a fairly comprehensive survey of the basics, covered in a belt-by-belt perspective. The photographic quality is emblematic of the new style of MA tutorials, with clear pictures, and techniques portrayed from multiple perspectives in a top-down, linear fashion. It's the same style used in Couture's "Wrestling for Fighting" and several other recent works. 
There are scads of GJJ books on the market, so I will only cover what makes this one different from the rest. One noticeable difference is in the belt pedagogy. In the Gracie books, the techniques assigned to belt levels (if at all) are often apparently randomly selected and organized. Ribeiro, on the other hand, assigns a principle goal of each belt, and then organizes techniques in accordance with the goal. The main thing to realize is that many (most?) classes put defensive techniques and offensive techniquest together at each belt level, with proficiency, as well as learning some advanced techniques, being the key to getting the belt. Ribeiro, on the other hand, groups like techniques. Therefore, the reader's class will likely be out-of-step with this book. Ribeiro is presenting a pedagogy, not an encylopedia of techniques, so if you're considering this book, keep that in mind. 
Amazon won't let you see the TOC yet, so I will break the chapters down.
White belt: The goal is "survival," which seems completely reasonable to me, at least as a focus. This chapter covers the correct positions to attain and to hold while you're under another player's mount (top, side, back, etc.). Ribeiro lists the mistakes he thinks players typically make when defending against submissions in these positions, and some of his techniques are slightly different from what I've seen taught elsewhere. The point here is that the new player hasn't learned, or at least, isn't proficient at, escapes or submissions yet, and he needs to learn how to survive while thinking of his next move. I found Ribeiro's pointers to be useful...things I wish I would have learned on my first day of class (instead of being thrown to the wolves).
Blue belt: The goal of the blue belt is to focus on escapes. Escapes are discussed from the the above positions, and, as in the earlier (and later) chapters, Ribeiro lists mistakes players typically make, as well as his own unique techniques.
One primary difference, then, is that this book provides no offensive techniques for either the white belt or the blue belt. That's okay from the standpoint of this book being a supplement to actual classes, but would be quite interesting if the book were akin to Ribeiro's classes. My school failed where Ribeiro succeeeds -- focusing on survival, or at least, defensive techniques, for the lower belts -- but my school was also, I think, more conventional in that it required excellence in dozens of offensive techniques in order for blue belt to be acheived.
Purple belt: The goal of this belt is to become proficient in the guard. The earlier pattern continues.
Brown belt: The goal of this belt is to learn guard passing. The earlier pattern continues, and a variety of basic and advanced techniques are presented.
Black belt: The goal of the black belt chapter is to learn submissions.
Anyway, the moral of the story is to be clear on what you want when choosing a supplemental text. This book presents sound techniques and an interesting approach to study, but one that is likely to be completely out of sync with what the reader needs to learn in order to get ahead in class. Other books present laundry list of techniques without any sense of order or purpose.
Hope this helps.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Training Tip: Controlling the Opponent's Head


While waiting for the turkey to cook, I came across the following article written by one of Roger Gracie's Black Belts. It's a strategy we've discussed at length in class repeatedly, but it's one worth emphasizing again, particularly if you find someone escaping your cross-side or mount like a dull knife through hot butter.

"Controlling the head" is the focus of the following article. Remember though, that it's only one part of the equation. You must also control your opponent's hips...like Professor Luis "Limao" Heredia discussed at the training camp.

"Prevent" your opponent from escaping rather than "stopping" or "resisting." Controlling the head and hips is part of your preventative medicine. Positional dominance is criticial to submission success. Think about it. Let's discuss it more in the forum. Until then, here's the article for your reading pleasure. Then go enjoy some turkey!

Control the Opponent's Head
by Nicolas Gregoriades

The head is attached to the top of the spinal column, and can therefore be used as a lever to ‘steer’ the entire torso of an opponent in a desired direction, or stop movement in another. By twisting the head you cause your opponent great discomfort, and severely compromise the mobility of his spine. Also, as the head is the center of a person’s physical awareness because it contains the brain and many of the major sense organs, it is very easy to distract and upset the rhythm of an opponent by interfering with their head.
You may have heard the wrestler's axim, "Where the head goes, the body follows." To take it one step further, think about your opponent's line of site. Where he looks is where he is going. If you have your sparring partner in the sidemount and he is trying to turn in towards you, he will have to turn his head and look towards you. You can counter him by making him look away using your forearm or shoulder.
Figure 1: By lifting and controlling White’s head, Black has greatly reduced his opponent’s bridging ability.
Figure 2: By twisting White’s head and pinning it to the floor, Black has severely compromised the mobility of his opponent’s entire torso.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Tournament Clip: 2001 U.S. Open -- Roy Dean vs. Nick Diaz


Here's an excellent display of technique and a good example of the intensity you'll face in a tournament. Remember, your opponent is there to defeat you, not "flow" with you. If you haven't already done so, change your mindset to an aggresive one and visualize domination. Give nothing and take everything. Go for the tap.

See you on the mat -- Saturday!

Happy Thanksgiving from SCMA


All of the instructors at SCMA would like to wish each of you a happy Thanksgiving. We have so much to be thankful for this holiday season, both inside-and-outside the Academy. You each play an intergal part in building our success, so again, we say thank you for your commitment.


Due to the holiday, regular classes will not be held this Thursday, Nov. 27. All scheduled classes will resume on Saturday, Nov. 29 at their normal times (both for kids and adults).

I (Brian) am out of town this weekend in D.C., so my access to blogging will be limited the next few days. In lieu of checking the blog for updates over the next three days, please use the forum to communicate to one another.

Keep training hard. I'll be training at Capital Jiu-Jitsu this weekend in preparation for the upcoming tournament. I'll be thinking about you guys!

Have a great holiday and I'll be in touch.

See you on the mat!


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Congratulations, Grant Deetch


After more than a year of consistent training and dedication to Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, Mr. Grant Deetch was awarded his yellow belt yesterday in class. One of the first young men to enroll at Spencer County Martial Arts, Grant has displayed an exemplary commitment to improving his technique and that of others.

We're all extremely proud of you, Grant! Keep up the hard work -- only great things are in store for you!

See you all on the mat -- tomorrow night!

Thanks Again to our Spencer County Martial Arts Family


The annual SCMA Christmas party was an incredible time last night. Thanks to everyone who made an effort to attend and support the Academy. We estimate that more than 80 people stopped by at some point during the evening, and that's not counting me twice!

To the parents of our Spencer County Spider Monkeys, thank you for taking time out of your Saturday night to stop by. Your children are the future of our Academy, and each have extraordinary potential both on-and-off the mat. It's a pleasure and an honor to instruct these young men and women!

To our students in the adult class, thank you for your continued commitment to yourselves and bettering your mind and body through this exceptional art known as Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. We're building a phenomenal school at Spencer County Martial Arts and it's all because of the attitude of the students we attract...that's each and every one of you!

To our SCMA 2008 Student of the Year, Randy, we say thank you for your inspiration, dedication, and contribution to our family. Across the board, you continue to shine and improve your game.

One of the unexpected benefits a new student experiences and enjoys is the camaraderie and friendship. The brotherhood and sisterhood of jiu-jitsu, if you will. Training becomes a lifestyle that permeates  every facet of one's life. At SCMA, our community and atmosphere is second-to-none, and it's all because of our students' support.

Finally, where would we all be without the captain of the ship, instructor Scott Smith? Finding a leader who is both a skilled technician AND a talented instructor is a rare thing. Fortunately, we all get the pleasure of learning from such an individual, and all of our lives are better for it.  

Looking forward into 2009, we have many incredible events and plans in the works. It's going to be another year of positive growth, both for each of you and our Academy. Thanks for your contributions and commitment to our Academy. We wish all of you a wonderful holiday season!

See you on the mat!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Open Mat Sunday, Nov 23 at Noon


We'll be hosting an open mat for registered students of Spencer County Martial Arts tomorrow from noon until 1:30 p.m. Let's train hard and come ready with a game plan. If you're competing on Dec. 6 then pick up the pace and work for the submission.

See you all then, but first tonight at the Christmas party!

Thursday, November 20, 2008


Spencer County Magnet Article on our Academy, Fall Training Camp


Please give it up for Craig Conrad for working his PR magic and getting us published in the Spencer County Magnet...once again!

Craig submitted an article to the local paper about the recent Master Sauer Fall Training Camp hosted at Louisville Martial Arts Academy earlier this month. Pictured with Master Relson Gracie is our very own Scott Deetch.

We'd like to thank Craig for his efforts to promote Gracie Jiu-Jitsu and our Academy to Spencer County and the surrounding areas. Here's the complete article:

The Chance to Learn from a Legend
By Craig Conrad
Would you spend a weekend learning to drive a race car from a legend like Richard Petty?
Of course you would.
Many locals and students from Spencer County Martial Arts, owned by Spencer County resident Scott Smith, spent this weekend training with a martial arts legend in Gracie Jiu Jitsu. That is none other than Relson Gracie (pronounced Helson Gracie).
Relson Gracie is the second oldest son of Grandmaster Helio Gracie, the man who is credited as innovating the Jiu-Jitsu taught by Mitsuyo “Count Koma” Maeda into what is now known as Gracie Jiu-Jitsu.
The Gracie Family is also credited with helping create the popular mixed martial art events known as the “Ultimate Fighting Championship or UFC” which began in 1993.
Grandmaster Helio Gracie whom turned 95 this year still trains and teaches in Brazil.
The weekend long camp hosted by Louisville Martial Arts Academy was led by Master Pedro Sauer, and included special instructors Professor Luis “Limao” Heredia (Black Belt under Rickson Gracie) and Master Relson Gracie.
The Spencer County Martial Arts Students included Kevin Wheatley, Scott Deetch, Craig Conard, Randy Stewart, Tim Black, Brian Phillips, Allen Shumate, Derek Goodman, Robert Rogers, Scott Sale and Tim Wimsatt.
Search on the web for Gracie Jiu Jitsu, Pedro Sauer or Spencer County Martial Arts to learn more about the art of Gracie Jiu Jitsu, which promotes the principle that a smaller, weaker person using leverage and proper technique can successfully defend against a bigger, stronger assailant.

SCMA Christmas Party Reminder -- Nov. 22 at 7 p.m.


Saturday, Nov. 22 at 7 p.m. will kick-off our inaugural Christmas party, held at Spencer County Martial Arts. Friends and family of all ages are all welcome. If you'd like to contribute a dish but don't know what to bring, please see one of the instructors and we can let you know what else we still need. This is going to be a great time and is a chance for us to celebrate the year's successes. There will be good music, games and maybe even a surprise or two.

See you on the mat!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Spencer County Martial Arts Student Forum


Thanks to one of our in-house tech gurus, Mr. Deetch, we now have an interactive student forum that will complement the blog and the other cool things on our website. Active students and our friends can register at www.spencercountymartialarts.com  and start contributing right away.

Feel free to reply to a current topic or start a new one. Remember, though, to keep the discussion clean and your topics civil. Respect one another and everyone's opinion. Most of all, have fun.

In addition to using the blog for news items, we'll also post important announcements and information in the forum, so be sure to check both regularly. Think of these tools as an extension of your learning in class.

See you all on the mat -- tomorrow night!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Kron Gracie vs. Andy Wang


Attached is a video of Kron Gracie's first pro match against Andy Wang, an "Ultimate Fighter" participant and BJJ Black Belt. Very good display of technique.

See you all on the mat -- Thursday night!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Some Words of Wisdom From Master Pedro Sauer


For those who were unable to attend Master Sauer's Fall Training Camp in Louisville earlier this month, here's a brief clip of what you missed. Remember, it's not just technique Master Sauer brings to his seminars.

Just as important, if not more so, is his philosophy on Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. He trained for decades directly under Grandmaster Helio Gracie and Rickson Gracie, in addition to the other family members.

I would pay just to hear him tell stories about his past experiences. You can't fully appreciate the value of this unless you've taken it in first-hand.

Here's a brief clip on one of the many stories he told at the camp. If you missed this seminar, definitely make it a priority to attend the next one. You won't be disappointed.

Again, we want to extend our sincere thanks to Louisville Martial Arts Academy for orchestrating this incredible Fall Training Camp. Their team of instructors and students are top-notch.

See you all on the mat -- tomorrow night!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Open Mat Tomorrow at Noon


There will be an open mat tomorrow at noon for registered students of Spencer County Martial Arts. While this isn't a "formal" class, come ready to work on technique and have a game plan.

It'll last until about 2 PM.

In addition, remember that tonight is the chili cookoff at instructor Scott's house. See our previous post for details, but feel free to contact us if you have any questions.

See you on the mat!

Friday, November 14, 2008

The "Official" Pedro Sauer Gi Now Available


The association uniforms are now available to order online. They're $115 and you can click here to take a closer look at the gi. 

These are a bargain at $115, especially considering that they come already embroidered with association patches on the jacket and pants. 

Treat yourself to one for Christmas, or email the link to that special someone who usually wraps multiple pairs of socks and places them under the tree for you every year. 

Special Announcement:

Nov. 14 is Brian Phillips' birthday. You still have time to purchase him the perfect gift (see above) and he wears a size A2. Cash is always accepted -- and if you can't fold it, hold it. 

See you all on the mat -- tomorrow! 

Don't Forget: Chili Cook-Off is Tomorrow

Attention Chili-heads:

SCMA will host its inaugural chili cook-off tomorrow at 7 p.m. at instructor Scott's house. Scott would like to invite you and your family to his home for a "friendly" competition of culinary skills. All we ask is you bring your favorite chilli then we'll put all of them out to be judged.
We award the best chilli with cash and a trophy. It is $3 to enter per chilli, so please RSVP!

Email us at info@spencercountymartialarts.com if you need directions to Scott's house.

Let's train hard tomorrow in class to prepare for this!

See you on the mat.

Class Log: Nov. 13 -- Review of Master Pedro Sauer Training Camp Material


Excellent work on the mats last night! We'd like to officially welcome Brandon and Brad to the family and are excited to help them grow in the style. Scott covered a throw series that Professor Luis Heredia taught at the training camp. The first variation is shown at the one-minute mark in the attached video:

In addition to the variation in the video, remember you can also cup the back leg if your opponent escapes his arm. If he escapes his arm and bases, you can work the ankle pick. Finally, if you come to the side and your opponent postures and bases, hug his hip and chalk his far foot with your left leg (assuming you're on your opponent's right side).

Work this into your training...repetition, repetition, repetition!

See you all on the mat -- tomorrow afternoon!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Gracie Jiu-Jitsu: Flow with the go...

New philosophy, per Master Sauer and Professor Luis "Limao" Heredia:

"Prevent" and not "Stop"

"Prevent" and not "Resist"

"Humility" and not "Ego"

Another key to success: Control the hips AND the head.

Never two of your limbs on only one of your partner's; however, always one of your limbs controlling two of your partner's. Maximum efficiency, minimum effort.

See, anticipate, premeditate. Flow with the go. If you get caught in a submission, tap and smile. Who hasn't been there before? Ask your partner how he/she set you up. Learn from it. Grow.

Attend class consistently. Some of the worst days can turn into your best, both on-and-off the mat.

Now, let's train. See you on the mat -- tomorrow night!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Three Masters of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu


This photo was included in the slideshow previously posted, but I wanted to post it seperately to draw your attention to it.

Master Relson Gracie is in the background facing the camera. Pedro Sauer and Luis "Limao" Heredia are in the foreground.

Some unbelievable talent attended the camp over the weekend. It was an experience I will never forget.

Relson Gracie Seminar -- Slideshow

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Training with Relson Gracie, Day Three at Fall Camp


We had the distinct honor and privilege of training with Master Relson Gracie at day three of Master Pedro Sauer's Fall Training Camp. The second-oldest son of Grandmaster Helio Gracie, Relson was incredible. His session -- the last of the camp -- was as intense as it was informative. 

A virtual encyclopedia of Jiu-Jitsu, Relson is passionate about his family's art. Pure Gracie Jiu-Jitsu is what he preaches. It's practical, effective, and designed to save your life on the street. That's the primary difference between "Gracie" and "Brazilian" Jiu-Jitsu. 

All three masters at this weekend's camp made the point that "Brazilian" Jiu-Jitsu has evolved into more of a sport than a form of self-defense. 

You play the rules of the game in tournaments and even in MMA to a certain degree, whereas what Masters' Relson Gracie, Pedro Sauer and Luis Heredia stressed at the camp was a focus on true self-defense, which is applicable to any situation...and it translates well in the ring or on the street.   

After three solid days of training, I'm sure I speak for everyone else who attended the camp when I say that I'm on a bit of a "runner's high." My entire body hurts, and my head is spinning from all the information received.

It's not how many classes you take but what you take from each class that is important. Most of us took in 12+ hours of training with an awesome pool of talent, with all the instructors and more than 70 students from across the country. We experience the "formal" camp. Now is the time for self-discovery and reflection on what we learned, while everything is still fresh. 

We'd also be remiss if we didn't thank Louisville Martial Arts Academy for hosting a top-notch event. We sincerely appreciate their efforts and dedication to bringing world-class instruction into our own backyard. 

Finally, Scott and I would like to thank each of you for supporting our Academy at the seminar. We each received several compliments about your skill-level, technical ability, and great attitude. That is a testament to your character and a reflection of our camaraderie as an Academy.  

Here's a group school photo with Masters Gracie and Sauer, taken on day three of the camp. In addition, the video clip is of Relson from the "Gracie in Action" DVD. 

See you all on the mat -- tomorrow night!

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Day One and Two: Master Pedro Sauer's Fall Training Camp


Master Sauer's Fall Training Camp has been nothing short of incredible. We'll share more of our experience in the coming days, but here's a taste of what it has been like so far:

We have the privilege and honor of training with Master Relson Gracie tomorrow afternoon for Day 3. This camp has truly been one of my best experiences in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu! The quality of instruction and technique is unparalleled. 

More to come...

See you all on the mat!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

A Primer on Throws


Repetition is the mother to all technique, or so you've heard us say that countless times over. Below are several throws we've learned in class in recent weeks and months. Work them into your game and develop your comfort level with each throw. Which throws work best for you, and why? Know each of these throws well and be proficient in executing them in class. These are just a few of the throws required to achieve blue belt in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, so work them into your game.

Throws from Spencer County Martial Arts
O Goshi – Large Hip Throw
Koshi Guruma – Hip Wheel
Harai-Goshi – Sweeping Hip Throw
Tai Otoshi –  Side Body Drop
Morote Seoi Nage –  Two Arm Shoulder Throw
Osoto Gari – Large Outer Reap
Ippon Seoi Nage – One Arm Shoulder Throw
Kouchi Gari – Small Inner Reap
Ouchi Gari – Large Inner Reap

Tournament Clip of the Day: Kron Gracie vs. Bill Cooper

The attached clip is of Kron Gracie (Rickson Gracie's son) vs. Bill Cooper. The two met in the 2005 finals of the Copa Pacifica. An excellent display of jiu-jitsu is shown by each competitor. We selected this clip to demonstrate the intensity of competition. Prepare yourself for a back-and-forth battle. Attack and go for the submission. Our philosophy is that there are no "points" or "time limits" on the street. Capitalize on opportunity but don't rush strategy. Relax, and flow with the go!

SCMA Christmas Party, Nov. 22 at 7 p.m.


Mark your calendar and make plans to attend SCMA's annual Christmas party on Nov. 22 at 7 p.m. Held at the Academy, every student is invited to bring friends and family to what will be a great time filled with food, music and games. 

A sign-up sheet for food and drink will be forthcoming, so stay tuned. 

See you on the mat -- tomorrow evening! 

Master Sauer's Training Camp This Weekend


If you haven't yet done so, pre-register for Master Sauer's training camp this Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Louisville Martial Arts Academy. Guest instructors include Luis "Limao" Heredia and Relson Gracie. Each three-hour session is $70, or you can attend all four sessions for $195.

If you're already an association member , the $50 membership fee you've already paid comes off the total, so you're looking at 12-hours of jiu-jitsu with three world-class instructors for only $145. If you can only do one session, then it's only $20 if you're a member.

Just Announced: One Lucky Participant Will Receive a Free Association Gi 

Per Mike Horihan, Association Director for Master Sauer: 

We will choose one person, who has pre-registered either by pre-paying the deposit or full payment, to receive one of the new Association Gis. Winner will be randomly pick from all pre-registers received by Thursday Nov 6th, 12:00pm. If you are a currently a member in the association, you can pay the deposit ($50) online to be eligible for drawing. Your discounted member pricing will be collected at door.

Visit www.pedrosauer.com today and sign up. Don't miss this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to train with world-class instructors and improve your game! 

Regularly Scheduled Classes Canceled This Weekend

Don't forget that due to Master Sauer's camp SCMA will not be conducting regularly scheduled classes on Saturday, nor will open mat be held on Sunday. Classes will resume Monday, Nov. 10. 

See you all on the mat -- tomorrow evening! 

Monday, November 3, 2008

Kids' Jiu-Jitsu Class This Wednesday


All Spencer County Spider Monkeys are welcome to attend a special class this Wednesday at 5:15 p.m. for what promises to be a good time. Due to Master Sauer's training camp this weekend, all regularly scheduled Saturday classes and Sunday's open mat will not be held.

See you all on the mat!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Two Masters in Action


Here's a clip of John Machado teaching Dan Inosanto...definitely two masters in action. For those unfamiliar with Inosanto, he was Bruce Lee's right-hand man for many years. At more than 70 years young, it's incredible to see how open he is to learning new skills and evolving his own game. This isn't always the case with experienced martial artists, who can sometimes grow complacent with their own skills and shun new styles. Don't fall into this trap!

The second clip features a demonstration by Guru Inosanto. Enjoy, and we'll see you on the mat -- tomorrow night! 

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Training at Spencer County Martial Arts


Here's a video of some of our recent training at SCMA. We also wanted to let you guys know that all of you are welcome to shoot video with our camera in the event you're sitting out for a turn while we train. Everyone is really looking great -- we'll see you on the mat, tomorrow afternoon!

Open Mat Training Tomorrow at Noon


We'll be at the academy tomorrow at noon to 1:30 p.m. for open mat. Please come out and train!

Reminder: please remember to fall back tonight and set your clocks back an hour so you show up at the correct time.  

See you on the mat tomorrow!  

Friday, October 31, 2008

Tournament Clip of the Day -- White Belt Finals Match


In preparation for the upcoming tournament, we plan to post a clip of the day that focuses on competition. While World Jiu-Jitsu Championship clips are fun to watch, we also want to post clips on a variety of skill levels and divisions. The first clip is a white belt finals match. Prepare yourself mentally, beginning right now. Visualize the atmosphere, the nerves, and how you plan to deal with -- and react to -- a new environment.

See you on the mat -- tomorrow afternoon!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Tournament Details, Article on Mental Toughness


As instructor Scott mentioned in class tonight, the 2008 Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Cup will be held at Spencer County High School on Saturday, Dec. 6. Competition isn't mandatory, but if you've ever thought of competing this is an incredible opportunity since it's in our own backyard.

There are gi and no-gi divisions, broken down by weight and skill level. To compete in one division is $40 and it's $50 for both. Registration must be received by Dec. 1. They will not accept registrations at the door. 

Visit www.kybjj.com for more information. If you're not interested in competing this time, no worries! However, please consider coming to support the team and make sure to wear your Spencer County Martial Arts gear. If you do decide to compete, play to win. Go for the submission.

Let's continue to support jiu-jitsu in this community. We'll be stepping up the intensity level in our training up to the tournament, so let's keep the focus and the encouragement for our competitors.

Here's a good article on mental toughness, courtesy of www.graciemag.com. If you haven't bookmarked that website, do it now. They have some incredible articles and training tips.

The Mental Predator

Over the last number of years, my training has focused on a number of different areas. As I continue to grow as a trainer, the art form of the training that I deliver evolves.

In the beginning, I was solely concerned with the strength and speed of my MMA athletes. When my athletes reached the upper boundaries of these areas, I began to attack nutrition. After the fighters had their nutrition cleaned up, I started to explore the area of strategy development. Once all of my fighters were prepared in strategic analysis, I was led to mental training.
When I talk about the mental aspect of training, I am not talking about intelligence, but a combination of drive, desire, confidence, toughness, will power, focus and fear.  What I am talking about is what I sum up as being a Mental Predator both in training and in the ring.  At first, I thought that being a mental predator was just the will to win or the ability to endure more pain than another athlete. 

Now, after years of studying my athletes of all ages, I know see how sophomoric those original definitions were.  Each year I gain more clarity when training my athletes.  I am beginning to hone in on who will make it and who will not at an early stage in all of my athletes training.  Yes, there are physical characteristics that help me to predict an athlete’s level of success, but I consider the mental toughness of the athlete far more important.
A mental predator has the ability to control himself under any situation.  Without the knowledge that you as an athlete control all of your emotions, or the ability to exert that control, you will be limited in higher levels of performance.  I believe that 
mental predators are both nature and nurture.  What I mean by this is that an athlete may have better gifts of self control in extreme situations, but all athletes have the ability to improve this area to increase performance.
I feel that MMA requires an incredible amount of mental predation at the higher levels of the sport.  As I have walked out with my fighters at Pride in Japan in front of packed stadiums, I can only imagine the self control needed to stay relaxed and focused before a fight.  Then try to imagine being on your back in front of that crowd with a stalker trying to pound your lights out or squeezing for a submission.  It is here, and even following the fight where mental discipline is necessary to stay in control. I know that there have been many occasions in my own life that have held me back due to an underdeveloped mental game.  This area can surely be nurtured, but the athlete has to be ready, and the teacher has to be there.

Both the shark and the lion are famed predators.  When they attack, motivation in instinct, not something that they are forced to create.  The desire to finish their opponent is pure, and there is no emotion or remorse.  There is no anxiety or stress leading up to the event for the shark and the lion, it is simply part of their daily routine. 

There is, of course, risk of injury, but they do not allow fear to interfere. 
Their lack of abstract thought and the ability to question themselves is an advantage.  With questioning comes indecision, with indecision comes anxiety, with anxiety comes mistakes, and with mistakes comes defeat.

The shark and the lion have practiced and mastered many of their methods of attack.  There is no fear that they are underprepared.  There is no concern for what  could have been done or what might be missing.  This unconscious confidence is a huge edge, and predicts that the way things have been practiced are the way things are going to be performed.  The shark and the lion are master predators. 

That is what they do for a living.  Don’t get me wrong, they are not wild beasts with absolutely no plan.  There are distinct strategies that they are using, so thinking does occur.  This thinking is solely directed toward execution, not indecision.  This proves, that with great predators, thinking does not hold them back.

I have interestingly found with many of my athletes that this predatory zone is sometimes inversely related to actual experience and knowledge of the sport.  Sometimes when there is less knowledge or skill present, and athlete will actually enter a battle with more confidence and abandon of a predator than a seasoned athlete that now questions himself. 

Many athletes go into such detail that their thinking becomes paralysis by analysis. 
The mental predator must remember to keep things simple and in perspective.  No attack by the shark or the lion is ever bigger in their mind than any other.  We as athletes often make the mistake that an event is too important. This self increased pressure on an event again adds to indecision, stress and opens the door for an opportunity for defeat. 

The shark and the lion’s motive for victory is a simple one: survival. The knowledge of the true meaning behind what you do is critical to not only high level performance, but also fulfillment. As an mental predator, it is essential that you know exactly why you are competing.  There is no reason that is any more important than any other, you just need to know it. It is the core of who you are and what you do in sport. Without this knowledge, preparation will surely suffer, and eventually the quest will be all too easy to give up when the road suddenly gets rough.

I have heard other athletes call what I am talking about here as 
“being in the zone?"  This predatory zone can be seen as letting the subconscious take over and lead you to supernatural performance.  This zone is for real, and the ability to get there can be learned.  The first step on the trip to the zone is the removal of doubts and fears while letting performance happen.
The shark and the lion are both going to age. As this occurs with the mental predator, he must be ready to adapt and overcome.  With age, certain physical attributes are going to disappear.  Great predators will figure out a way to maximize their current gifts and continue to be successful.
There are many top MMA athletes out there today that are what I would consider pure predators.  Somewhere deep in their minds they know that victory is critical to the survival as who they are.  
Their confidence has allowed them to remove fear. In this state, they are relaxed and prepared to dominate their prey.  Beware of this athlete as an opponent. Unless you are equally relaxed and prepared to engage in a war, he may be currently at a different mental level. 

Here is my quick list of 10 ways to increase your chances of becoming a mental predator:
1. Monitor your daily self talk.  Make sure that your comments to yourself are keep positive and supportive.

2. Surround yourself only with positive people that believe in you. 3. Develop defined goals and the reasons that you want to achieve them. 4. Develop the precise strategy for attaining your goals and follow it precisely. 5. Do not overemphasize the importance of any single event. 6. Stay busy.  Do not linger over upcoming events. 7. Do not forget that nothing replaces practice and hard work. 8. Monitor your breathing.  Make sure that you slow and control your breathing under times of stress. 9. Visualize success. Use mental imagery as a tool.  Picture yourself at the event and everything that is going to happen. Be positive. 10. Research everything about your opponent and train under the exact conditions you expect for the fight.

"Martin Rooney is director of the Parisi Speed School and conditioning coach for Team Renzo Gracie.  He has trained fighters for the ADCC, UFC, and Pride FC". His "Training for Warriors" book and DVD are at www.parisischool.com.