Archive for September, 2009

ADCC Continued…

September 28, 2009

Wow!!! I cant believe that Rafael Mendes, a twenty year old kid, who’s only had his black belt for about a year won the most highly coveted title in Submission Wrestling, the ADCC 2009 Lightweight word title!!! Along the way he submited three out of his four opponents including former champion and one of the favourites Leo Viera… Crazy!!! The only guy who he didn’t submit was Rubens “Cobrinha” Charles, although Rafael took Cobrinha’s back in overtime and worked relentlessly for the submission the whole fight! Rafael Mendes has stamped his name as one of the greatest lighweights in the world and will only get better with age… A scary thought really! 🙂

Let me start by saying I cant believe Marcelo Garcia got beat by Pablo Popovitch to become middleweight champion! I am in shock but this is great for Jiu jitsu and great for Pablo . Pablo had come up short the in the finals against Marcelo for the last two ADCC tournaments but it seems three times was a charm for him as he was able to defeat Marcelo 3-2 with a guard pass in the final 30 seconds of the match! Pablo’s Jiu jitsu has obviously improved greatly! Not that it wasn’t sensational before, just that Marcelo beat him rather easily the last two times they fought. But Pablo trained hard, came in shape and fought with a vengeance! It’s great to see the evolution of each fighter’s game. Marcelo looked unstoppable early with submission wins over Rodney Ellis, Kron Gracie and K-Taro Nakamura but I guess it just wasn’t meant to be this time round.

Braulio Estima was in top form and looked devastating on the mat! He took the lightheavyweight division in style submitting three out of his four opponents including a nasty inverted triangle on Andre Galvao in the final! In addition to this Braulio brought home gold in the absolute division making him the 2009 ADCC Grand Champion! He started impressively with a 45 second submission win over Janne Pekka followed by a dominant match and rear naked choke victory over Marcelo Garcia. Braulio then outscored Vinny Magalhaes 7-0 and gave Xande Ribeiro the fight of his life before Xande had to retire due to an injury. Looking forward to seeing him fight Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza in the superfight next time round!

In the heavyweight division Xande Ribeiro grinded out a tough points win (2-0) over one of the revelations of the tournament Geral Rinaldi. Xande had another strong showing with his world class technique and strategy, he was just too much for the division. Extremely hard to score on, damn near impossible to submit, alway improving his position and never taking a backward step just like his brother Saulo, Xande is a methodical fighter who makes almost no mistakes. Extremely technical and flawless basics executed to perfection!

In the superheavyweight division former champion Fabricio Werdum started his run to the title by submitting Rogent Lorent then outscored Thomas Janisxewski 3-0 bfore grinding out a tough judges decision in overtime over  the legendary Saulo Ribeiro before convincingly outscoring Roberto “Cyborg” Abreu 9-0 to take yet another ADCC World title! On side note Vinnicius Magalhaes pulled off the submission of the tournament with a flying armbar victory over former champion Marcio “Pe de Pano” Cruz in about 10 seconds! Impressive!!! 🙂

In a somewhat disappointing and boring superfight, Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza defeated Robert Drysdale by takedown. Not much excitement on the ground in this match just a battle for control, takedown and top position. And Jacare just proved too explosive and was able to take Robert down for the win.

Good luck with your training and Happy rolling!

Felipe

Jiu jitsu Kingdom

ADCC 2009

September 26, 2009

Well ADCC is well and truly underway again this year! I love watching ADCC!!! 🙂 I thought I’d have a little fun and take a shot at picking the winners for each division of ADCC this year! For anyone who doesn’t know what ADCC is, its the World Submission Wrestling (No Gi) Championship and it rolls around every two years. And generally speaking each time ADCC rolls around the world is introduced to another rising BJJ no gi superstar! I wonder who will it be this year…

Could it be Rubens “Cobrinha” Charles, the four time world Jiu jitsu champion who is making his first appearance in ADCC, or the highly talented and contraversial 50/50 guard player Rafael Mendes also making his first ADCC debut? Can either of these two Jiu jitsu wizzards weave their magic in the fast paced no gi competition know as ADCC or will one of the former champions like Leo Viera or Rani Yahya reclaim glory? Even though I am a bigger guy, the lightweight (Under 66kg) division is always one of my favourite to watch and this year I believe its the hardest one to predict a winner. I’m going with crafty veteran and former champion Leo Viera for the win.

In the middleweight (Under 77kg) division, we have defending champion and three time ADCC champion Marcelo Garcia leading the charge as the hotly contested favourite! So far he has submitted my friend Rodney Ellis in the first round and Kron Gracie (the legendary Rickson Gracie’s son) by guillotine from mount in the second round. And although there is a lot of talent in the division, I think Marcelo will just be too much for everyone again. I think he is destined to become the first and only four time ADCC champion… And hopefully absolute champion as well! Vai Marcelinho!!!

The light heavyweight (Under 88kg) division is another hotly contested division! Tough one to call… A lot of people are probably thinking that Andre Galvao is the favourite and with good reason as he’s an extremely talented Jiu jitsu fighter but he is fighting in a heavier weight class than he’s used to. Braulio Estima would definately have to be another hot pick to win the division with his super slick Jiu jitsu and crazy good aggressive guard! So far David Avellan has turned a few heads with two submission wins including an upset Rear Naked Choke over the highly talented Tarsis Humphreys… Could he be the dark horse of the division? And you can never count out American jiu jitsu phenom Rafael Lovato Jr. I think I’m leaning towards Braulio to take the title.

I think the heavyweight (Under 99kg) division will be taken by Xande Ribeiro. Xande is the returning ADCC champion and a former multiple time world and absolute Jiu jitsu champion. He is always dangerous, a brilliant technician and a master strategist, Xande will be tough to beat. Although I am sure Vinicius “Pezao” Magalhaes has other thoughts and has started extremely strong with two submission wins including a crazy flying armbar victory over former ADCC champion Marcio “Pe e Pano” Cruz. I still think Xande will take it!

And finally in the suprheavyweight (Over 99kg) division, Jiu jitsu legend Saulo Ribeiro will have his work cut out for him as he takes a shot at the big boys. He has a tough run ahead of him having to take on the likes of former ADCC champion and multiple time runner up, Jeff Monson. Jeff is one of the most accomplished grapplers in the division! Fabricio Werdum is another former ADCC champion and multiple time medalist who’s always a force to be reckoned with. I’m going with Saulo because I am biased and I’m a huge fan of the master! 🙂

The superfight between Robert Drysdale and late replacement Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza is really tough to pick but I have to go with Jacare. He always looks a step ahead of his opponents and has so many dangerous submissions and positions that its just hard to bet against him! And now I admit my ignorance. Unfortunately I am in no place to make any calls about the female divisions because to be honest I haven’t followed them in the past so I am unfamiliar with who’s who of the division. All I know is that Kyra Gracie is out so I cant bet on her! Until next time, have a great day!

Good luck with your training and Happy rolling!

Felipe

jiu jitsu Kingdom

Jiu jitsu Lifestyle Part 1 – “The People”

September 25, 2009

In your journey through this fascinating art,  you will come to find as I have, that you will meet some of the nicest and most humble people you could ever hope to meet! There is so much more to gain from the path you have chosen (learning Jiu jitsu) than acquiring new techniques/skills, self defense, fighting ability(competition/cage etc) or even fitness. On the mat, we are all equal! We all start out as white belts and we all tap to people with more experience and better technique! Jiu jitsu training transcends race, religion, social or economic background and any other barriers that normally exist between people. From the royal sheiks of the United Arab Emirates to the poor kids in the favelas of Brazil, when you step onto the mat you are equal. 

An old photo of me and Royce Gracie!

We are all here to learn and train Jiu jitsu, to improve our skills and challenge ourselves. We will all suffer through a grueling training session, we will help each other learn, grow and build our games together! And on the mat, you will form a close bond with your training partners. You will develop respect for your training partners. And not some shallow, forced respect that you give for no reason… You will sweat, suffer and learn together. You will respect the hard work, commitment and dedication that it takes to learn Jiu jitsu. You will respect your opponent’s ability to escape and defend your techniques. You will respect their technical prowess regardless of their level. You will develop a healthy respect for both your partner’s and your safety. And you will help them to challenge their limits as they will help you challenge yours! And most of the time you will develop great respect for the art, the history and philosophy of the art, your teachers, the people who have gone before you and those that will follow.

I got to meet Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza at the 2003 Brasilero!

Jiu jitsu is an art that requires you to leave your ego at the door. 🙂 There really is no room for ego in the gym. There’s no two ways about it. Train Jiu jitsu and you will get submitted, swept, have your guard passed, get mounted, have opponents take your back and take you down! And you will learn to appreciate superior technique.  Being controlled and submitted by partners who are smaller, weaker, older, younger and of different gender is  quite a humbling experience. And this is common practise on the mats, it happens every day in gyms all around the world! In order to get good, you really do need to leave your ego at the door, come in with a good attitude and accept that the gym is a learning environment for both you and your partner. And that’s what’s great about the art, you are challenged every time you train. It’s a healthy and positive environment where you learn to think, problem solve, develop perseverance and an indomitable spirit!

Me and Ricardo Arona at after training at BTT in Lagoa, 2003!

And I believe these things are what makes Jiu jitsu students, teachers and fighters such great people. We all have a special bond that we share. And that bond runs deeper than a casual work acquaintance or sporting club membership. That bond is there in all of us who step onto the mat to learn Jiu jitsu. I personally have had the great fortune of meeting and training with many highly respected teachers and world class fighters like Marcelo Garcia, Royce Gracie, Royler Gracie, Ryron Gracie, Mario Sperry, Walter Mattos, Murilo Bustamante, Ricardo Arona, Antonio Rodrigo “Minotauro” Nogueira, Antonio Rogerio “Minotouro” Nogueira, Allan Goes, Carlos Barreto, Fabiano Capoani, Roan “Jucao” Carneiro, Fernando Paradeda, Luis Brito, Bento Ribeiro, Olavo Abreu, Bruno Fernandes, Jon Olav Einemo, Jorge Pereira, Xande Ribeiro as well as my coaches Bruno Panno, Marcos Nevel and Luke Picklum. And you know what??? They were all great people, eager to share their knowledge and experiences with me!

Mario Sperry, Felipe Grez, Fabiano Capoani chilling at Pepe beach in Rio!

Marcelo Garcia is one of the nicest and humblest guys you could ever hope to meet. He’s not just a technical wizard on the mat but a caring and passionate instructor who takes great pride in seeing his students learn and their technique improve! Mario Sperry is also a very kind and friendly person who, at the time I was last there (2003), was teaching and running the toughest mma and no gi team in the world, Brazilian Top Team! Yet he was still always smiling, offering advice, helping people find their way around (myself included), coaching and making sure everyone was having a good time and enjoying their training! I could go on and on about how many great people I have met through Jiu jitsu and how many friendships I have formed but I think you get the idea!

You will meet great people, form strong bonds and develop friendships for life! That’s just one of many of the hidden benefits of learning Jiu jitsu that you will experience!  Anyway that’s all for now, more to follow in the next couple of days. Have a great weekend!

Good luck with your training and Happy rolling!

Felipe

Jiu jitsu Kingdom

A couple more clips worth watching!

September 21, 2009

The following youtube clip is by the multi talented Dave Camarillo. Dave Camarillo is a world class BJJ and Judo Black belt who has successfully blended what he believes to be the best of both arts into his highly effective Guerrilla Jiu jitsu system! Dave Camarillo and his Guerrilla Jiu jitsu is known for its aggresive, attacking, submission oriented style and has transferred extremely well into the MMA arena. These days, Dave is perhaps best known for being the head Jiu jitsu coach at American Kickboxing Academy (AKA), which is one of the most highly successful mma gyms in the country with multiple top fighters in the UFC. He has taught, coached or trained with mma fighters: Josh Koscheck, Forrest Griffin, Mike Swick, Mike Van Arsdale, Bob Cook, Cole Escovedo, Paul Buentello, Josh Thompson, Jon Fitch and even BJ Penn!!! Need I say more…

In international Judo and BJJ cirles he was known for his devastating flying arm locks, his seemless transitions between standing and ground techniques and his aggresiveness in hunting for submissions, particularly the arm lock! Aside from being a phenomenal fighter, he is a great coach who is humble, open and genuinely wants to share his knowledge with his students and see them succeed. Here are his thoughts on training as a white belt.

Another great instructor that I have learnt from through videos, dvds, magazine articles, websites and youtube is Stephan Kesting. Stephan Kesting is a BJJ black belt under Master Marcus Soares(7th Degree Black belt under Carlson Gracie). In addition to this, Stephan is also a certified Combat Submission Wrestling under famed mma coach and former mma fighter Erik Paulson. 

Stephan has been spreading the word about Jiu jitsu and the grappling arts for many years now through his website, dozens of training/technique articles in martial arts magazines and several high quality instructional dvds. He is a clear and concise communicator who teaches with passion and great detail. If your having a problem with a particular area of your game and Stephan has a product about it, you’d be wise to get it! Here is a nice clip of him teaching the guard adapted for the street or an mma competition. Enjoy!

If you like what you saw from either Dave Camarillo or Stephan Kesting or both, you can find out more about them or order their products from their websites. Dave Camarillo’s website is www.davecamarillo.com , he also has a nice blog on there which I think is worth checking out. Stephan Kesting’s main website is www.grapplearts.com  , although he has a couple of others that you can find through his main site. Stephan also has a couple of free ebooks that I highly recommend you download from his website like: “BJJ Roadmap”, “BJJ Secrets for MMA” which also features legendary mma coach Ricardo Liborio, “A glossary of guards” and “No gi Closed Guard Strategic Outline”. I hope you enjoyed and learnt from the clips and look forward to sharing more with you soon.

Good luck with your training and Happy rolling!

Felipe

Jiu jitsu Kingdom

Some great clips about BJJ training philosophy!

September 21, 2009

Here’s a couple of youtube clips by highly respected BJJ black belt Keith Owen. Keith does a really great job at explaining the learning process and how to train correctly with your partners. It’s very similar to what I talked about a little in my previous post. Seriously people, I cant stress enough how important it is to develop this type of training mentality. It will greatly reduce your risk of injury, greatly improve your training longevity and add to the overall quality and fun of your Jiu jitsu training! Jiu jitsu’s greatest strength lies in the use of its technique and applied leverage. So  start using more technique and looking for ways to apply more leverage in your techniques instead of applying strength/power when your moves arent working smoothly.

That reminds me of a great quote by the legendary Saulo Ribeiro, who when talking about feeling and reacting to your opponents movements in Jiu jitsu. He says:

“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!”

This is a very simple yet brilliant way of learning about your ability to move, feel your opponents moves and apply your techniques without thinking, whenever your opponent makes a mistake or is late in his reaction/timing. And probably one of the key secrets that has allowed Saulo to amass 6 BJJ World Titles and become a legend in the art! On that note I must say that I highly recommend Saulo Ribeiro’s fantastic book “Jiu-jitsu University”. It should be required reading for EVERYONE who trains in the art of Jiu jitsu! I will probably devote entire post to this in the near future! 🙂

If anyone wishes to find out more about either Keith Owen or Saulo Ribeiro, you can order their products and learn more from their websites. Keith Owen’s website is www.bjjmoves.com and Saulo Ribeiro’s website is www.unijj.com , hope you enjoyed this post and have a great day!

Good luck with your training and Happy rolling!

Felipe

Jiu jitsu Kingdom

Learning Jiu jitsu, having fun and getting good quickly!

September 17, 2009

One of the first things that you will notice when you step onto the mat, is that your body seems to fight every movement that you are trying to learn. And that everything that you want to do and try to do is wrong!!! Don’t worry, this is totally normal, happens to us all and is still common when learning new techniques. Sometimes even at a higher level when learning new techniques the movement required of your body seems counter intuitive and dare I say it goes against common Brazilian Jiu jitsu law! For example, you may be taught to slightly turn your back when recovering your guard or on top, you are taught to give your opponent space to set him up for a submission when ordinarily you are trying to remove all the space and stay tight to your opponent smothering his every move, controlling and stifling his defense. Another thing you’ll notice is it that even though many people who take up the study of Brazilian Jiu jitsu have played other sports and may be in good physical shape  is that:

A.) They still feel really uncoordinated learning even the most basic of movements like the hips escape. This is because in Jiu jitsu training you are generally moving your body in planes of movement that even most athletes and sports people are unaccustomed to and you are working against an opponent who is also seemingly trying to make every movement that you learn more difficult.

B.) They still get really tired really quickly! Regardless of your background, the grappling arts require a level of conditioning that is just different to the way that 95% of people train! I have had good athletes like football players, weight lifters, boxers, kickboxers, Martial Artists, swimmers, sprinters, personal trainers and many other good athletes and sports people come in and take a class, only to find themselves so physically exhausted, drenched in sweat and almost unable to stand up due to such extreme fatigue… And these are the ones who are generally speaking in great physical shape and quite athletic! Jiu jitsu uses muscles that just dont get used in everyday life or sports, and it uses these muscles groups both aerobically and anaerobically. In addition to this you are usually working with a partner who mysteriously seems to get heavier and heavier as you get more and more tired and exhausted! 🙂 

One of the most important lessons that I cant stress enough is to make sure that your training is fun and that you enjoy stepping onto the mat to learn Jiu jitsu, play and have fun. I know it sounds kind of strange to say play Jiu jitsu, when Brazilian Jiu jitsu is considered one of the most devastating and effective martial arts used today in Mixed Martial Arts competition. But it’s true! When you start out learning the movements and trying to make them work against opponents, well this will be hard enough already. The last thing you want is to be worrying about having to train with a monster who’s going to try and destroy you every time you step onto the mats! You should find a school that has a relaxed and positive environment where training is fun, its great to train hard but make sure training is still safe and fun. The most important thing to focus on when rolling (grappling) with your partner is to relax and use your technique! Technique first, technique second, technique third! That’s whats important! Relax, breathe, think about how you can apply your techniques with minimal effort! When training you should be trying to use what I jokingly refer to as lazy man’s Jiu jitsu… Try and find the most efficient technique and movement that you possibly can and always try to take the path of least resistance. Look for ways to go around your opponent’s strength and power, dont fight against it and try to overpower them. Redirect their energy and look for the holes in their game to squeeze through, capitalise on your opponent’s mistakes, protect yourself, set traps and try to out think them! That’s true Jiu jitsu!!!

Have fun, enjoy your training and dont treat every grappling session like you’re training for an MMA fight, the Mundials (World Championship) or ADCC (World Submission Wrestling Championship). You should enjoy the feeling of rolling with your partner, appreciate his technique when you are swept, passed or submitted effortlessly and try to emulate that in your Jiu jitsu. There’s no room for ego when learning Jiu jitsu, leave it at the door. The gym is a place of learning, cooperation, experimentation with your techniques. Realise  when you roll with someone, that you are training partners, not competitors. Help each other learn and get better, improve together. If you train hard and recklessly all the time, the only thing that is going to happen is that you are going to get injured or you are going to injure someone! Dont do it, leave your ego at the door. Help people of lesser skill get better, challenge your skills against more experienced and skilled partners. Jiu jitsu training requires you to look after your training partners and if you dont soon enough you wont have any left or no one will want to train with you. Getting good at Jiu jitsu REQUIRES you to work with a partner, learn technique, drill and roll together. No amount of discipline or motivation will help you if you dont have anyone to work with. And  NO ONE wants to train with someone who they feel just wants to smash them into the ground and submit them as many times as they possibly can each round. Think… Even from a selfish point of view, the only way to get good quickly is to train regularly and practise your technique with good training partners so help them get better and they will in turn help you get better quickly! Your training partners will appreciate the help and not feel so intimidated to train with you if you are bigger, stronger or better than them if they feel you are working and learning together!  Anyway I’ve really got to run… Got  class to teach! 🙂

Good luck with your training and Happy rolling!

Felipe

Jiu jitsu Kingdom

Hello world and welcome to my Jiu jitsu Kingdom blog!

September 15, 2009

Hi people my name is Felipe Grez and I have been practising Brazilian/Gracie Jiu jitsu for over 10 years. At present I am brown belt in Brazilian Jiu jitsu and I have recently started my own school which is called Jiu jitsu Kingdom. My school is based in Sydney, Australia. I would like to use this blog to share my thoughts and experiences in this fascinating art and hopefully be of some use or help to you.

Training in Brazilian Jiu jitsu (for me at least) is a life long journey and just like any long journey, you’re sure to come across a few bumps and pot holes in the road. Sometimes you’ll even be forced to take alternate routes or directions. Hopefully I can offer some advice that will help you navigate your way around these problem areas and make your journey a little smoother and easier. With any luck you will learn from the benefit of my mistakes and those who have taught me so that you dont have to suffer through them as I have! 🙂

One important thing that I have learnt is to be open minded in your approach to training. For example, as a coach I see my job as giving my students a solid foundation in the basics of Jiu jitsu yet allowing them to grow in the art, express themselves and find their own way. And for me at least, I am happy for my students to train with whoever they please whenever they please. Now please dont misunderstand this as encouraging people to switch gyms recklessly in their pursuit of knowledge or not being loyal to their instructors or gyms. On the contrary, to attain any degree of proficiency I highly recommend that students find a gym that suits their needs, style of learning and that provides a good positive atmosphere of learning and fun. And when they have found a gym that meets their needs, to train hard and train regularly! Again with a focus on learning and applying technique, meeting like minded people and having fun. If a student is able to do this and puts in the necessary time and work, he or she will get good! No doubt about it!

Now back to the part about being open minded, as a coach I am quite happy for students to train with and learn from other instructors. As a matter of fact I actively encourage students to read books, magazines, watch dvds/competitions/you tube, attend seminars, take private classes, compete etc. As long as they are constantly working on and developing their foundation with good solid basics, I think any supplementary training is great and healthy. And yes that includes training with other instructors!!! I personally believe that I would have to be pretty insecure with my teaching and techniques if I didn’t allow my students to train elsewhere… What, am I afraid to lose them to the competition? Is someone else perhaps in a better position to teach and guide them in their journey? If so I would be doing them  a great disservice as a coach by holding them back and taking that opportunity away from them! I put my heart and soul into coaching and without meaning to sound egotistical, I believe I am very good at it! Even still, I encourage my students to be open minded and learn from whoever they can, as I dont want my students to be limited to only my weapons (the techniques and movements that I use).

Jiu jitsu is such a beautiful at in the way that it is able to molds itself to all types of people and how each person’s expression of the art is ultimately unique to them. I have my way or style(for lack of a better word) of doing the techniques and movements and although they are unique to me, my instructor’s fingerprints and influences are clearly visible to the trained eye. And once you have attained a certain degree of proficiency, the techniques will mold to your body type  and become unique to you too. I am not talking about different styles of Jiu jitsu, I am talking about making the techniques and movements your own. It is obvious to anyone watching that you are practising Jiu jitsu. Whether you are watching Marcelo Garcia or Roger Gracie, their application and execution of the techniques may vary but it is still the same art being practised! Jiu jitsu, in my opinion is a perfect art. When it is done correctly with good technique and timing, it is damn near impossible to beat! But like I said, we have chosen a long journey to take in learning Jiu jitsu, one that I feel will never be truly mastered. All we can do is our very best to ensure that we train hard, learn, grow, reach our full potential in the art and hopefully give back and share some of what we have learnt along the way!

Good luck with your training and Happy rolling!

Felipe

Jiu jitsu Kingdom