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!