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!