Saturday, February 28, 2009

Class Log: Feb. 28 -- Throw Combinations, Guard Passing


Attached is a series of clips from recent classes, including footage from Master Pedro Sauer's 2008 Fall Training Camp held at our sister school, Louisville Martial Arts Academy. The throw series by Professor Heredia was also covered in today's class, with several variations.

See you all on the mat -- tomorrow at Louisville Martial Arts Academy for the combined tournament class!

Mike Swain Tutorial: Judo Throws


We've had a few requests to post videos of the throws we incorporate into the standing portion of our class. Attached are a series of tutorials (some of the finest I've seen) that cover a multitude of throws...some basic, some advanced. 

Use these to supplement the in-class instruction you receive, particularly as a refresher on the details, which make all the difference in live-time. 

These come courtesy of Mike Swain, world judo champ and U.S.A. Olympic team coach. 

Note: this is a playlist, so the next video will automatically start once the previous one ends. 

February 2009 -- Gracie Insider Technique of the Month


Here are some great training tips from the Gracie Brothers, Rener and Ryron. This month's techniques focus on mount prevention. Excellent, simple, and effective moves.

Grandmaster Helio Gracie's Final Interview


The following comes courtesy of The Gracie Academy; these videos are a rare treat.

The Grand Master’s Final Interview 

Last December, Grand Master Helio Gracie was on a Brazilian television show for what would turn out to be his last interview. Ironically, among other things he discusses his preparedness to move on to the after life. The 30-minute television special was originally broadcast on Brazilian television in Portuguese, but we recently uploaded the entire show (cut into three 10-minute parts) to Youtube with English subtitles so that non-Brazilian students and fans around the world could understand the incredible life and unique philosophy of the creator of the most effective system of self-defense on the world has ever known. Parts one through four follow below:


Thursday, February 26, 2009

200 Strong and Growing...


Back when I started training jiu-jitsu in the early 90s, the internet definitely wasn't anywhere near what it is now. The same can be said for our level of exposure and access to black belts during that time. 

Fast forward about 17 years, and we're in a completely different universe. The art continues to evolve, and our ability to acquire knowledge quickly and efficiently is tremendous. One word. YouTube. 

We're in a much better position these days. No one knew what a "blog" or "blogging" was just a few short years ago. 

Spencer County Martial Arts uses its blog as another tool for communication with its students and the family that we've created, both inside and outside of our Academy. In addition to the forum, it's a form of two-way communication that supplements in-class training. It's by no means a substitute. 

Since we forged a new path last year with our blog, we've committed to sharing as much knowledge as we can through this communication channel. Part philosophy, part technique, it's been an excellent form of expression for your instructors. 

Hopefully you've benefitted from our collective efforts as much as we have. That's our goal. 

This is our 200th post. We appreciate the support you've given us, plus the kind words and constructive feedback you've provided us as this blog has grown. 

Our readership is local and it's global. From Kentucky to Kansas, Montana to Montpellier, France, the feedback we've received is tremendous. 

And so are the number of hits. Last month, this blog garnered more than 5,000 unique visits from all over the world. It's also ranked 10th on www.blogger.com in the martial arts category.

We will continue to bring you unfiltered, fresh and frequent content. 

Again, this wouldn't be possible without your commitment to making this site a frequent stop when you browse the internet. 

From all of the instructors at SCMA, we thank you for your support. 

The Next Frontier

Wanted to pass along this excellent post from Roy Dean, in which he discusses being respectful and harmonious towards martial art styles other than Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. It's a solid entry, and one we support. 

The next frontier in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is in making friends with our more traditional martial arts brothers:  Aikido, Judo, Karate, various styles of Japanese Jujutsu, and so forth.  When BJJ first came on to the scene and made a splash with the UFC, it carried a swagger that turned off a lot of potential practitioners.  It had the Bad Boy/Tapout/My school logo depicts an animal or a beatdown down vibe that not too many soccer moms or high level executives want to be a part of.  And that was the allure for a lot of those guys that joined.  The association with tough guys.  The thuggish vibes they feel free to emit when congregated with the larger tribe.  Tournaments are the perfect venue for seeing this.  Group monkey behavior at its finest, groups easily separated by logo’d T-shirts and lineage.
But things are changing.  Many of those elements are more interested in MMA now.  After all, BJJ takes a long time.  Too long.  It’s deep, and in real life, you don’t have to be deep to be effective.  Some guys want to express themselves through the totality of the tools available, as quickly as possible, and that can only be done in an MMA setting.  But for most people, BJJ is more than enough.  Physically demanding, mentally stimulating, and close enough to a real fight with the randori (sparring), training method, pioneered by Jigoro Kano.  Founder of Judo.  A traditional martial art.  And BJJ is no different. In fact, it’s the evolution of Judo.  It has joined the ranks of traditional martial arts, as it recognizes it’s place in the continuum of combat.
This is neither good nor bad.  It just is.  It’s still a foundational discipline for MMA, for those parties that are serious about excelling in the sport.  It’s also a more available option for those interested in cross training.  There are more than just a handful of blackbelts in the US, centered around Southern California, like it was 10 years ago.  Things are different.  We’re not longer the problem child- always getting into fights- and are a little more reserved.  Like our brothers and sisters.  We already know how to fight- now it’s time to share that knowledge with a new audience, who’ll not only pick it up quickly, but have an appreciation how how unique this art really is.

That 70's Show


Many of you trained with Relson Gracie at the Fall Training Camp last year at Louisville Martial Arts Academy, so I wanted to pass along this "throwback" from the '70s that features a compilation of fights featuring the Gracie family. Mr. Relson is featured as the third fight.


No "Strength" Attached


Tim brought this clip to our attention recently in a posting on our forum, but I wanted to give it additional attention in an entry on our blog. It's a good demonstration of the "flow" we talk about so often in class. Of course, this is only one (albeit a very important) method of training.

For instance, tournament preparation requires much more intensity; however, the "flow" aspect of developing one's skill should not be understated or neglected. It's essential to advancement just as continuous repetition and refinement of the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu curriculum

Thanks for the good find, Tim.

See you all on the mat -- tonight!  

Marcelo Garcia vs. Kurt "Batman" Pellegrino


Explosive when it counts, patient when it matters most...so is Marcelo Garcia, a multiple-time Jiu-Jitsu World Champion in the gi and no-gi divisions. His jiu-jitsu is an excellent expression of pure technique and proof that size and strength can be overcome with proper leverage and timing.

For those of you traveling to the Rickson Gracie seminar in Nashville next month, word is on the street that Mr. Garcia will be one of the many black belts in attendance. If you're counting, the seminar is now only 15 short days away.

Now, go train jiu-jitsu!

See you all on the mat -- tonight!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Keep your eye on this guy...


This guy tore apart the competition recently in UFC 94. This is a highlight video of Demian Maia, a Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt who is coming up in the ranks in mixed martial arts fighting. Check him out.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Women's Self-Defense Class: Sunday, March 8th at 4 p.m.


Please spread the word to any women you know who might be interested in attending a two-hour self-defense class. Details are below:

Women's Self-Defense Class

Sunday, March 8 

4 p.m. to 6 p.m. 

Cost: $25 

Spencer County Martial Arts will conduct a two-hour women's self-defense class that will focus on teaching escapes to common street self-defense situations and effective ways to end an altercation against a larger, much stronger opponent. 

Using Gracie Jiu-Jitsu as its core, the self-defense class will also cover rape defense and ground scenarios that are too often left out of women's self-defense classes.

Please call (502) 422-1957 or email us at info@spencercountymartialarts.com for additional questions or to register. 

Class Log: Feb. 21 -- Arm Bar, Choke Series from Guard, Throw Combination


Excellent work on the mats this afternoon. Instructor Scott worked us out really hard this afternoon, particularly us folks who are competing in the tournament!

Modified Arm Bar (from Guard)

The arm bar set-up from guard is similar to the arm drag series we've worked in previous classes. You reach across your opponent's body with your right arm and grip his tricep from underneath. Make sure the wrist of the arm you attack is under your armpit to ensure a tight lock.

The arm bar is worked like the basic lock from there. Once you've locked this in, the risk of your opponent escaping is minimal; however, if you feel his energy coming into you (or stacking you) then you can always transition to his back or perform a sweep.  

Loop Choke (from Guard)

Here's a good video on how to perform the loop choke off an attempted scissor's sweep:

Throw Series

The series of throws we worked in class today were what Professor Heredia covered during November's training camp in Louisville. Here's a video of the series...the combination comes in at the 1:12 mark.

Tournament Class -- Noon Tomorrow

Don't forget that we'll be holding a tournament class tomorrow at noon at SCMA. Come ready to work hard for two hours. Start standing, work to the ground, establish position, work for the submission.


Next Sunday, March 1, we'll travel to our sister school, Louisville Martial Arts Academy, for an all-hands tournament class from 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. This will be a great experience and we're looking forward to training with their team as we all prepare for the March 28 tournament in Louisville at Hoops.

Click here for more information on the tournament.

See you all on the mat -- tomorrow!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

60 Minutes Report on Gracie Jiu-Jitsu


This one is a bit dated, but it's the first time I've seen it so I wanted to pass it along to you. It's a 60 Minutes report on Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, as viewed through the window of the Renzo Gracie vs. Pat Miletich fight. It's a great interview, and you really see the caliber of each fighter's character.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Face-to-face with Kron Gracie


Here's an excellent article on Kron Gracie, courtesy of www.graciemag.com. The young man is only 20, but is wise beyond his years. It's going to be a beautiful thing to watch him grow as a fighter and a  practitioner. He isn't close to being at his peak; a scary thing for his opponents!

Face to face with Kron Gracie

Black belt dedicates title to grandfather Helio Gracie
Gabriel Menezes

Kron Gracie, of only 20 years of age, knows he is just finding his feet among the top Jiu-Jitsu fighters in the world. Judging from the steps he’s been taking, always under the watch of father Rickson, the young fighter has been maturing and working on a strategy to achieving the goal he dreams of: to be a great champion.

His first title as a black belt was unfortunately not the joyous occasion one would expect, as the news of Jiu-Jitsu patriarch and Kron’s grandfather Helio Gracie’s death would throw a shroud his winning the 2009 European Championship middleweight division just days later.

“It was sort of like energy for me to give it my all this championship. I dedicate this championship to him. I thought of him after each win, I dedicated all of them to him,” Kron remarked to GRACIEMAG.com.

More focused, secure and experienced, the black belt summed up how he is feeling at this point in his career: “I think right now as an athlete and fighter I’m better than ever before physically and spiritually. I would change nothing that’s happened so far in my life.”

How do you feel now you’ve won your first title as a black belt?
I don’t feel any different about this victory than I did about any of the ones I had a purple or brown belt, for example. The only difference is that I feel everyone else now respects me as a black belt, because I’ve won at purple, brown and now against the best of the best.

So you don’t feel this win is anything special?
I don’t see any championship as being a special title. I just see it as another step towards being the best I can be. I want to win and in the future be the best at everything so I’m not too concerned with this title.

You heard about Grandmaster Helio Gracie days before the championship. What was your grandfather’s importance in your upbringing?
I found out my grandfather had died a few days before the championship. It hit me hard right when I was most focused and well prepared. In a way it felt like it happened as a way for him to come and be by my side. It was sort of like an he came as energy to make me do my best this championship. I dedicate this championship to him. I thought of him after each win, I dedicated all of them to him.

What are your memories of your grandfather and what role did he play in your Jiu-Jitsu background?
My grandfather was the one to create it all. So, what he’d tell me I’d assimilate. The greatest thing he taught me was the power of leverage, how a weaker guy can use leverage to beat a stronger guy. I try to apply these principles to this day, putting my strength and technique to work and looking to perfect myself.

How did you go about preparing for the European? What plans did you and your father come up with?
It was one of the only championships where I was 100% dedicated. I did everything that could be done for this competition, I gave it my best. I’m a lot more more focused than before, better prepared mentally and I’m only 20, so I’m not even as strong as I hope to be yet, I think only now did I really start my life in Jiu-Jitsu.

What did you think of the level of competition?
I thought there were lots of tough guys; each black belt division had top guys. I think the European is growing a lot each year. I think if it keeps going like this, and with the participation of French judokas, in France along there are 1 million practitioners, the European could become tougher than the worlds. I think it just needs more sponsorship, more money funneled into the sport as support.

Tell us about your fights leading up to the final. How were your wins?
Truth is I only had one fight before the final, since I got a bye in the first round. The guy I would fight, Pedro Bessa, I saw finish a guy off quick with a triangle so I saw he’d be tough. I prepared myself to fight him, since everyone else was saying he was really tough too. Truth is, I felt he was really strong, but I fought him, mounted and ended up winning by points.

And what was the final with Yan Cabral like?
The final was my second fight. Yan started out sweeping and pulled guard, and I nearly passed his guard. At that moment he turned his back and there was no way out. I finished him with two hands on his collar.

What was it like having your father at the event?
My father is always great support. When I win a championship and represent the family he gets happy. I never see him happier than when I win a championship. I fight for him.

After that fight in the Worlds, what did you learn in your quest for titles? What lesson’s did you derive from that experience?
I think the loss at the Worlds was perhaps the greatest learning experience I’ve ever had. It was tough for me, since it’s not easy to accept this loss, but we have to learn to accept everything life throws at us. I think now as an athlete and fighter I’ve never been so well mentally, spiritually and physically. I wouldn’t change anything I’ve been through so far.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Some Random Thoughts on Training


Since I've been somewhat out of pocket the last 48 hours due to traveling, I've had the opportunity to catch up on some much desired reading and reflecting on Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. Too often, the pace of life shapes a routine that is more reactionary than reflectional. You need both, I think, to be healthy and make positive gains on and off the mat.

So, here are some of the things that have been stirring in my head. Sort of like a stream of consciousness, they're in no particular order of importance and are by no means universal truths. It's not a comprehensive list, either. They're simply a perspective on a couple of ideas from a beginner's mind. There'll be more to come on this. Feel free to expand on these initial thoughts.

Utilizing Leverage in Training
How can I armlock someone twice my size and twice as strong? How can I lift a man who outweighs me by 75 pounds? The answer is always leverage. One must always seek out positions that multiply your perceived strength while minimizing that of your opponent. These points of leverage are in every position. It's just a matter of identifying them at the appropriate time and reacting accordingly.

Feeling Jiu-Jitsu
This is an excellent quote from Saulo Ribeiro: "If you think, you are late. If you are late, you use strength. If you use strength, you tire. And if you tire, you die." One interpretation of its meaning is that all jiu-jitsu must be based on how you feel your opponent. The timing to make a decision is not based on what you think you should be doing. It is about your body recognizing the move and automatically doing it. When you react, you don't give your mind time to feel with emotions that can cloud rational thought.

Surviving Under Attack
I think this is something everyone has to learn...and learn well. Inevitably, you're going to face a more technical and experienced, or perhaps stronger and faster, opponent that will push you to a point of exhaustion. You're going to feel crushing weight, claustrophobia, and pressure from many angles. That's when mistakes can happen.

You must liberate yourself from insecurity, and replace fear and anxiety with peace and fortitude while "under the gun". Doing so will train your mind to relax and, as Rickson Gracie says, "flow with the go". Sure, you may still get "tapped" by a more experienced opponent, but that is part of the learning process. Don't get hung up in that.

The real lesson -- in terms of a street or tournament situation -- is to keep a cool head when the heat is turned up. Again, it's not about emotion. It's about clarity of decision that's rooted in a calm demeanor with selective explosiveness. Remember speed, timing and technique -- and the interconnectedness between them.

Lastly, survival isn't just a "white belt" concept. It is one of the major themes of jiu-jitsu as a whole.

Being an Escape Artist
You must learn how to transition out of an inferior position or an attack by your opponent. The basic positions of survival in jiu-jitsu are being inside someone's guard, being on the bottom of your opponent's cross-side, knee on the stomach, and mount, and working to escape someone who has taken your back.

These positions are ones you must learn to successfully escape from. Remaining in them will only lead to bigger issues for you. Drill your escapes habitually from these positions. Of course, you must not only learn positional techniques for escape, but also submission escapes. To clarify, you don't need to know 30 ways to escape someone's mount or armbar...you must understand the fundamentals of how escaping them work.

Again, don't be tardy on your escapes. This leads to the overuse of strength, which in turn will lead to exhaustion.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Professor Bruce Shepherd, Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Seminar Highlight Clip


We'd like to once again thank Professor Bruce Shepherd for an excellent submission-escape seminar he conducted at Spencer County Martial Arts last month. Below is a highlight reel of a few of the techniques shown. We plan to have Mr. Shepherd back again soon, for a third official seminar at our Academy.

If you haven't been to one of his seminars, definitely make it a point to attend the next one. He's an incredible technician and an excellent instructor. We've also posted a clip from his first seminar back in the summer of 2008.

See you all on the mat -- tonight!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Blue Belt Examination


Below is a highlight clip of our very own Craig Conard and Scott Sale demonstrating several of the techniques required to reach blue belt in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. Of course, the test is much longer than this reel would indicate! We also edited out as much as possible the deep breaths and expressions of pain... :)

We'd like to say congrats again to Craig and Scott. As you'll see, they came prepared and earned the ranks they now wear around their waists.

See you all on the mats -- tomorrow night!

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Welcome Spencer County's Newest Blue Belts


Instructor Scott and I would like to congratulate Spencer County's newest Gracie Jiu-Jitsu blue belts for a job well done yesterday. Scott Sale and Craig Conard displayed tremendous technique and heart throughout what was a difficult and strenuous test. 

This is a huge accomplishment. We're proud of them, and honored to have them at our Academy. 

Shake their hands the next time you see them! 

See you all on the mat, tomorrow night!  

Friday, February 6, 2009

A big yellow for a fine fellow...


We'd like to take a moment to congratulate one of our students, Nathan, for achieving his yellow belt in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. He's a leader in the Spider Monkey's class and dukes it out with the big guys in the Adult class. Always up to the challenge, Nathan is a fine young man who we're proud to have at our Academy.

His accomplishment didn't occur overnight; it took plenty of mat time and practice to earn this new rank. We're proud of you, Nathan. Keep up the hard work and positive outlook; the rewards will come on their own. It's not only true in martial arts, but in life, with any venture.

See you all on the mat!

Give it up for Craig and Scott...


It's a great honor for us to announce that tomorrow we have two students who are testing for their blue belts. Craig Conard and Scott Sale have been training for a long time now and have been diligent in their efforts to perfect the blue belt curriculum.

Both arrived at this point on different paths but are on the same journey. Craig, a long-time friend and neighbor of instructor Scott Smith, was one of the first students at our Academy. Scott was one of my original students. Both are shining examples of what you can accomplish with hard work, dedication, enthusiasm, and consummate skill. This is only the beginning.

To say we're proud of them would understate the feelings we have going into tomorrow. It's their time to shine and we're looking forward to seeing what we know they're capable of producing.

So, let's cheer them on. It's the philosophy our Academy represents and the type of environment in which we want to thrive as martial artists and as people.

We'll see you all on the mat tomorrow. 

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Update: Link to More Information on the Rickson Gracie Seminar

Note: Just received some fresh information from Allan Manganello concerning the registration forms for paid participants of the Rickson Gracie seminar. See below:

Registration forms are now at Louisville Martial Arts Academy. If you have already pre-registered (paid), please see Rob McDowell to fill out a registration form AS SOON AS POSSIBLE! If you go to the adademy to fill out the form, give it to Rob when you are finished and I will send them all in together. If you cannot make it in to the academy by Saturday, go to www.zanshindojonashville.com and fill out a form, send it to Eric Silver and advise him that you are on the list from Allan Manganello's.


Regstration forms will soon be online for those of you who have sent advanced payment to Allan Manganello at Louisville Martial Arts Academy. Click here to visit the website where the registration form will be available -- check back often on this site, as the form should be posted in the next 48 hours.

You'll need to download the form, complete it, and deliver to Allan Manganello to finalize everything. I'll post again once I have confirmation that the forms are available for download.

We're now only 37 days away from the experience! I can't wait. Christmas has done come early.

See you all on the mat -- tonight!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Training Tip: Selective Tension


Here's a nice training tip from our friends at www.jiujitsubrotherhood.com:

I will see you all on the mat this Thursday!!!

Kron Gracie: Back in Action

Here's one of Kron Gracie's recent matches at the 2009 European Championships. He ended up taking his division and earning his first title as a black belt.