Archive for December, 2009

“A great clip training video of Andre Galvao!”

December 29, 2009

Here’s fantastic clip of Andre Galvao (courtesy of Gracie mag), drilling some technique and doing some light rolling in the gym! Very entertaining video from one of the  greats of the sport! I hope you like it. Andre’s movement skills are awesome!!!

I can’t wait until Andre’s  book (“Drill like a Champion”) comes out!!! It looks awesome and just like everything else put out by Victorybelt publishing I cant wait to buy it! 🙂 Have a safe and great New year’s and I hope all your dreams come true in 2010!!!

Good luck with your training and Happy rolling!


Jiu jitsu Kingdom


What are your BJJ plans/goals for 2010?

December 22, 2009

As we approach the end of 2009, I can help but think just how fast the year has gone! It also makes you sit up and take notice…    

What have I achieved this year? Well starting my own Jiu jitsu gym has been a big achievement, source of joy/fun/pride for me as well as a life long dream! I am living the good life and doing what I love! No more long hours (60+) working in the security industry dealing with people who just don’t see eye to eye (to put it mildly). I have a great group of students who are passionate about the art and are really starting to show some promising skills! 

How much have I improved? Well honestly, although it’s a subjective statement I feel that I am at least 50% better than I was when I started the year! I guess that’s what happens when you double/triple your training/teaching load! I feel extremely confident with my guillotine as it is something that I have been working on since September 2008! My ability to see and use angles in training has taken me to a whole other level and I feel that this is just the tip of the iceberg!!! My pummeling/clinch is tighter than ever but still has a long way to go!

What am I proud of? I am proud of my Gym, Jiu jitsu Kingdom. It’s a small gym with a solid core of students who I believe will go along way in the art! It may not be Extreme Couture or Brazilian Top Team but its a start and I expect big things from the guys over the coming year!

What could I have done better? (MOST IMPORTANTLY) Its been great starting my gym, but I could definitely take lessons in business. 2010 is going to be a great year and I plan on growing the gym and building a better business. I would like to add a women’s self-defense class because I feel that it is vital for women to have at least a basic knowledge and awareness of self-protection and preservation! I would like to add value, offer more classes to my students and bring in guest instructors to share their knowledge! Personally I would like to focus more on developing a complete game when training by fixing a few weaknesses, improving a few key techniques and integrating it all into my game rather than just work on one position and one concept as I have this year (I don’t regret it one bit, I just feel I could do better)!!!

Ryan Daniel, Royler Gracie and me after Ryan's first BJJ competition in the "1st GSA Royler Gracie Cup".


Please realise I don’t write this to brag but rather to encourage you to think about what you would like to achieve in 2010? It is designed to get your creative juices flowing and think, what do I really want to achieve in 2010? What steps can I take to get me started in the right direction? Who can I seek for guidance? For example if you feel that your half guard is weak and needs a little work you may set a goal of drilling two or three key sweeps from this position for at least 1 hour a week in addition to your regular training. You may also aim to take one private class a month with your coach and ask him to help you improve this position! Imagine how much better you would be 12 months from now in that position!!! Perhaps you need to choose a takedown to drill and master and set a goal of “x” number of reps for the year (please be realistic)! Maybe it is just to compete and win a particular competition, if so what does this take? What sort of technical training, strength and conditioning training, competitive experience is necessary etc? Your goals are “your” goals, just be realistic and above all set goals that inspire you to work hard and achieve!!!

Here is just a sample of some of mine:

1. To grow the gym to 50+ active members and a bigger, better training facility!

2. Earn BJJ black belt (I’m brown at present)

3. Train Judo at least twice a week (Sadly I only train judo occasionally)

4. 10 000 reps of double leg to each side

5. 10 000 reps of pendulum/flower sweep to each side

I hope you take the next week and a half to think about what inspires you and where you would like to see yourself this time in 2010! I wish you a Merry Christmas and a safe and happy holiday season!

Good luck with your training and Happy rolling!


Jiu jitsu Kingdom

“Training Off the Mat” by special guest Jason Gulati

December 16, 2009

In this article, we will investigate individual specificity and explore the necessity of supplementary training. In layman’s terms, we will determine whether you need to train off the mat, and if so, what you should be doing. .

Due to the complex nature of BJJ, I will use the squat as an example. When you first learn to squat, it will probably be hard. The more you practice the more efficient the movement will become. This is a result of your brain learning to move the right joints, and activate the right muscle groups at the right time. When your technique looks good, you will begin to overload the exercise and eventually hit a plateau. At this point, you will probably seek other means to improve your squat.

Exercise specificity was the cause of squatting technique to improve. Eventually the exercise began to plateau (law of diminishing returns/principle of accommodation), and then new exercises were introduced (principle of variety). When a foreign stimulus is introduced it takes some time for proficiency, and usually the best way to become better at the task at hand, is by performing the task. 

Now let’s apply these sports science principles to BJJ. In modern times, movements performed in BJJ are quite foreign when compared to activities of daily living. This probably means the average Joe is very raw at performing BJJ techniques. Getting tired is normal. It doesn’t mean the individual doesn’t have a good level of fitness. It means his fitness cannot be translated into the language of BJJ. When specificity is employed (in the beginner this means practicing the sport) fitness will improve. Only when BJJ stops improving the individual’s fitness should they seek to employ a supplementary training program to enhance performance. BJJ training is the best way to increase your BJJ fitness.

Assuming you are at a level where supplementary training will cause your game to sky-rocket, what should you do? It is important to realize that a training program should be individualized. This means your program needs to be designed according to your needs, and not printed off the workouts page of your favourite fighter’s website.

Professional athletes are highly refined in their respective sports. They have exhausted the potential of basic exercises and now seek more advanced means to evoke an adaptation response (simple stuff won’t work anymore). Copying the programs of the athletes you admire will not lead to similar results. In fact, many top athletes are at the top despite their training methods, not because of them! Remember, correlation doesn’t necessarily mean causation. Evolve your training routine around yourself, and not around the latest training schedules out there.

Jason Gulati


Athletics, not aesthetics!

NOTE FROM FELIPE: “Special thanks to Jason Gulati of “Real Training” for sharing his knowledge! Check out his website: , or to find out more go to . Thanks again Jason!”

Good luck with your training and Happy rolling!

Felipe Grez

Jiu jitsu Kingdom

A great weekend for Jiu jitsu in the mma arena!

December 15, 2009

Wow! What a great week-end for Jiu jitsu in the MMA arena! Lots of great submissions by some of the top BJJ fighters around the world. It seems in recent times there as been a bit of a return towards the striking elements to please the crowds and referees are standing the fighters up quicker than ever! But like anything in life if you are not evolving, growing and moving forwards then you are dieing and the modern Jiu jitsu gladiators have evolved!

Firstly in UFC 107, Brazilian Top Team (BTT) sensation Rousimar “Toquinho” Palhares put on a clinic of powerful wrestling and slick submission skills against Alliance black belt Lucio Linhares. “Toquinho” as he is commonly known is an absolute beast on the mat, powerful, compact and explosive with lethal submissions. Lucio was coming in off a five fight winning streak, none of which have gone the distance! This was a fantastic match up of two slick Jiu jitsu black belts with Lucio sweeping Toquinho (in the first round) with a beautiful half guard sweep but being reversed again instantly by Toquinho. Toquinho mixed up his attack nicely by landing a right hand on his feet, transitioning into a single leg then rolling back and underneath for a leg attack! Toquinho looking for a couple more leg attacks near the end of the round and coming close! Toquinho started the second round with a flying knee which Lucio caught and took him down with showing good balance and control from the top until Toquinho managed to sweep only to land in a tight triangle from Lucio. Palhares escaped with Lucio on top showing solid position and passing into mount! Toquinho escaped and reversed to top position before passing himself! After being restarted Toquinho looked for a takedown with Lucio going for a flying omoplata!!! Toquinho escaped and countered with a heel hook to finish Lucio! Great fight!!!

Rousimar "Toquinho" Palhares vs Lucio Linhares courtesy of

In other great matches from UFC 107 Kenny “Kenflo” Florian used strikes and takedowns effectively to confuse and off-balance the ever tough Clay “Carpenter” Guida before dropping him with a stiff right hand in the second round. Kenny then took Clay’s back and locked in the rear naked choke for the finish making this his 8th submission victory in professional mma fights! Former UFC Heavyweight Champion Frank Mir impressed all with a dominating performance over rising star Cheick Kongo. Frank floored Kongo with a vicious left hook before locking in the guillotine putting Kongo to sleep just over a minute into the fight! Awesome! 

Meanwhile over in Brazil, former Pride superstar Paulo Filho put on a dominating performance against Tatsuhiko Nishizaka in Bitteti Combat 5. Enjoy the fight below and feel free to comment on the fight or post in general!

Good luck with your training and Happy rolling!


Jiu jitsu Kingdom

Interview with Jiu jitsu Sensation “Cobrinha”

December 6, 2009

Rubens “Cobrinha” Charles Interview

JJK: Hello and welcome to the Jiu jitsu Kingdom Blog Rubens. Can you please start by telling us a little bit about yourself, how you got started in Jiu jitsu, some of the titles you’ve won, and how you got the nickname “Cobrinha”?

RC: Hi Felipe.  The Jiu Jitsu Kingdom blog is very nice and has some great articles.  I really liked your article on attacking the legs!  

I was born in Londrina, Brazil but raised in Sao Carlos, Brazil which is in the middle of the state of Sao Paulo.  I moved to the city of Sao Paulo in 2004 and then to Atlanta, Georgia, USA in 2007.  I got started in jiu jitsu in 2000 when a friend of mine who owned a martial arts school decided to start a jiu jitsu program because of its growing popularity.  He invited me to come check it out, and I have been hooked ever since.  I earned my black belt in 2005 and won my 1st major title at black belt that year when I won the 2005 CBJJO World Cup which I also won the following year.  I’ve won 4 consecutive IBJJF World Championships … from 2006 – 2009.  I also won the 2007 & 2008 IBJJF No gi World Championships.

Prior to jiu jitsu, I taught Capoeira and was also a baker, even owning my own bakery for a while in Sao Carlos.  I still love Capoeira and I still love to bake bread, cakes, & pies!

JJK: How much of an influence did Fernando “Terere” Augusto have on you and your style of Jiu jitsu?

RC: “Terere “ had a big influence on my jiu jitsu even before I ever trained with him.  He had a style, both as a competitor and a person, that made him a role model for me as well as many other people.  When he invited me to train with him, it completely opened new opportunities for me.  I tried to absorb everything I could while training at his school, and he had a profound effect on my guard passing style and skills.  

JJK: You are one of the most exciting competitors to watch in the competition circuit with a spectacular guard and the ability to seemingly sweep anyone! How have you seen Jiu jitsu evolve over recent years both in gi and no gi competition and what are your thoughts on the evolution of the guard both in gi and no gi competition?

RC: Thank you.  The guard is a great position because it opens up so many options with both sweeps and submissions.  Jiu jitsu is always evolving.  I see the quality of competitors rise each year and along with this improvement in overall quality, we have more innovation.  Of course this year there has been much discussion and development in the 50/50 guard game; although I have yet to see it used effectively to finish fights, so I think it still has some developing to go.  I also think the jiu jitsu community has led big improvements in the no gi game, and there seems to be more attention on it now, so I expect to see it continue to progress.

JJK: What are your thoughts regarding the 50/50 guard? How can it be developed and improved? Is it possible to play against an opponent who stalls and how dangerous is it to play against a good leg lock player? 

RC: There has been a lot of controversy about the 50/50 guard in the past year.  I, for one, do not think the position itself is controversial; in fact, I like it and have used it for several years.  There are many great sweeps from the position and in no gi, as you point out, the leg lock options make it potentially dangerous for submissions.  The problem with the position is when it is used for stalling.  This is really only an issue when used in the gi because the ability to grip the pants makes is easy to just hold your opponent in place and slow down the match.  This is no different than if someone uses the half guard just to stall, so it really isn’t about the position but about how the position is used.

JJK: Regarding the CBJJ rules, how referees interpret the rules, playing 50/50 guard for offense, defense, and stalling as well as the so called “reaping the leg” resulting in a disqualification. What do you think could be done to improve this? Is there any rule/s that you’d like to see change or be implemented and why?

RC: Just like any other position that is used to stall, I believe the referees should stop the position and a give penalty or restart the fight.  If the competitor re-establishes the same position and simply uses it to stall again, he should be disqualified.

Rubens "Cobrinha" Charles


JJK: When training your guard for competition, what do you feel is the most important aspect to work? Do you focus on developing strong sweeps, guard retention and replacement, or aggressive submissions?

RC: I believe you have to train for all of these situations.  In my fights, I am always going for a submission.  That is what jiu jitsu is all about, and I believe whether you are working your guard or passing someone’s guard, you are always looking for a submission.  Of course, sometimes you cannot always get the submission.  Having good sweeps allows you to land in a position that opens up more submissions.  I have even allowed myself to be swept in competition, just so that I could sweep back into a more advantageous position and open up submissions.  Finally, the ability to recompose is critical to having an effective guard game because it gives you the confidence you need to go for things.  You must know that if your submission or sweep fails that you can recompose your guard or else most are paralyzed to move.  

JJK: You have had a lot of success in the absolute division even though you are fight at a lighter weight. What do you feel are the key to successfully competing against bigger stronger competitors?

RC: It is really important to have a good guard if you are competing against bigger, stronger competitors.  Also lightweight people are usually quicker and more flexible, and you want to take advantage of that.

JJK: How important is strategy in Jiu jitsu? Do you have a general strategy in all your matches or are they more opponent specific? If so how do you develop a strategy for various opponents?

RC: I know that some fighters talk and think a lot about strategy.  For the times when I know my opponent’s style or game, I go into the fight with some ideas to anticipate their actions and try to find ways to impose my own game; however, I wouldn’t say that I build a specific strategy for each match or for specific opponents.  I like to keep my options open and adjust my game as the fight unfolds.  Being too rigid in defining a specific fight plan can be bad if it doesn’t go your way.

JJK: What matches have been really significant in your BJJ career as either major sense of accomplishment or particularly memorable experience for you? And what have they meant to you?

RC: All of my world championship finals have been significant to my jiu jitsu career.  The most memorable is my 1st IBJJF title in 2006 when I beat Marcio Feitosa in the finals.  Marcio was and still is an amazing athlete and jiu jitsu practitioner.  To beat him in order to win my 1st World Championship was a huge honor and great accomplishment.

JJK: A lot of people may not know this but you obviously have a gift for teaching having taught both Michael Langhi and Sergio Moraes both of whom have won the world championships as black belts! What do you attribute this tremendous success as a coach to? And how can other coaches learn from this and better guide their students to success?

RC: I teach the same way I learned – that jiu jitsu is a science as well as an art and it takes a great deal of dedication and practice in order to internalize it and make it part of who you are.  When I teach, I try to teach my student everything I know – every insight and every detail.  I teach the technique, explain how and why they are used, common errors that I see, and then I get them to drill the position over and over to make it automatic.


JJK: When training and teaching Jiu jitsu, how important is it to spend time drilling the techniques learnt? And roughly what percentage of time do you spend drilling techniques verses live rolling with team mates?

RC: I cannot stress enough how important it is to drill technique over and over.  I think this is one of the most common errors individuals make in training.  Everyone wants to learn a whole bunch of moves but no one wants to spend the time drilling and practicing each one in order for it to become automatic for them.  It is no wonder I see blue belts who are aware of many, many moves but unable to execute more than a handful in sparring or competition.  They are just aware of the move – they often really don’t understand the details of the position, and they definitely do not drill it enough to be able to execute it without thinking.  If they would spend 1.5 hours drilling just 2 or 3 positions … that would really help their game.  In terms of overall percentages, I’d say that you should drill about 45% of your training time, spar 55%.  If you are just a leisure participant in the sport or do it purely for fun or fitness, you can drill a higher percentage of the time.  

JJK: In this day and age, strength and conditioning has become very important at the highest levels of competition. How do you prepare yourself physically for the rigours of competition and how much time do you dedicate to your strength and conditioning training?

RC: As part of my normal training routine, I spend 30 – 60 minutes every day doing Crossfit or circuit training.  Prior to a major competition, I expand that routine or switch to an explosiveness regimen with my professional conditioning coach, Josh Brown.  You can get a peek inside some of my training with Josh on my YouTube video here:

JJK: Can you offer us your thoughts on the best to learn and improve quickly in our Jiu jitsu training? What do you feel are the keys to success?

RC: I don’t know of any shortcuts to learning jiu jitsu.  I do think that there are more efficient and less efficient ways to practice and learn jiu jitsu, which will affect your rate of improvement.  I already talked about the importance of drilling positions.  I don’t think most people put in the drilling time they need or they don’t really pay attention – either in class or while they are drilling a position.  Some people get bored easily and their mind seems to wander — maybe they are thinking about the next move they are going to learn, a counter to the one they are working on, or a whole bunch of “if” questions about the position.  “What if he blocks my hand here?” or “What if he does that?” and on and on and on.  Maybe they are just thinking about a deadline at work or what they will have for dinner.  The point is their mind is not in the process & they lose sight of the position they are supposed to be learning or drilling.  It’s like reading a paragraph in a book but not knowing what you just read because your mind was somewhere else.  It happens to me all the time (when reading, that is).  If people better focus and commit the time, even if it is boring, to drilling positions until they are automatic, they will develop much more quickly.

JJK: What are your thoughts regarding gi versus no gi training? And how much time do you spend doing each?

RC: I think training both is important – they both help each other. Training in a gi will help your no-gi game and training no-gi will help your gi game. I train more often in the gi. On normal weeks, only 1 day is dedicated to no-gi training. However, when preparing for a no-gi event, I will train about 50% no-gi.

JJK: Finally, do you have any aspirations to fight mma like to many other top Jiu jitsu players as of late?

RC: I like MMA, and it would certainly offer a new set of challenges for me, but I am still not done with jiu jitsu competition.  For now, I will continue to focus on jiu jitsu, as I still have more to learn and more to do in the sport.  I don’t have any specific plans to compete in MMA, but I’m not closing the door to it as a possibility in the future! 

JJK: Thanks for your time Rubens and I look forward to seeing you compete in the future as well as attending your seminars here in Australia next year! To find out more about “Cobrinha” visit his website at or better yet check out his amazing instructional DVD set… You wont be disappointed!

RC: Thank you, Felipe.  It has been a pleasure.  I hope your readers enjoy and get something useful out of the interview.  Good luck to you and your blog, and I also hope to see you at a seminar in Australia.

In Jiu jitsu “You learn something new everyday”!

December 2, 2009

Wow do I feel tired, sore and beat down today! 🙂 After teaching my regular Jiu jitsu class today I attended a closed-door training session at Gracie Sydney Headquarters in Coogee. My coach Bruno Panno (head of Gracie Sydney), asked me to come along and is now holding these sessions every Wednesday afternoon from 2-4pm and what a great idea they are! No ego or fanfare , just a bunch of guys coming together to train and get better! I believe the only proviso is, that it is only open to Gracie Sydney Association (GSA) members from purple belt through to black belt!


After a great training session with a healthy mix of purple, brown and black belts I am reminded of one thing… I need to do some more gi training! As of late I have placed more of a focus on no gi training as the weather is getting warmer and one of my main training partners/coaches is overseas. But today as I worked hard to pass some of these purple and brown belt’s guards, it became painfully clear that training with the gi really does give you more options and obstacles to pass! I mean some of these purple and brown belt’s guard games were sweet, transitioning smoothly from closed guard to seated guard to spider guard to various styles of open guard. The possibilities and options with the gi are almost endless and I walked away thinking I need to work on a few things:

1. Passing that damn spider guard 🙂

2. It’s amazing how far a good solid game grounded in the basics takes you. Even when facing unfamiliar techniques and positions, if your basics are solid and you know how to use your weight and apply leverage you can wreak havoc on your training partner’s “new positions”! 🙂

3. Man those little guys are fast and dangerous!!! I need to work on using the gi to slow them down, control and contain their movements so that I can best put my skill set to good use and make them play my game!

4. I’m so disappointed that I missed Guilherme Mendes’s seminar on Monday night at VT1 Gym! Some of the stuff that Owen Gee Kee showed me today was mind-boggling… Particularly the way that they apply their same passing game from all different types of guards and positions!!!

Now that I think about it I really am amazed at how far  Jiu jitsu has come in Australia. I mean the standards of everyone training today was really high and a lot of that is due to the work done by Bruno Panno over the last 8 years! He really has created a great learning environment and I look forward to more of these sessions over the coming weeks, months and new year! There’s just so much more to learn that I am reminded of an old adage, “the more I learn, the more I realise that i dont know”. Anyway that’s it for today and if you’re ever in Sydney, Australia please feel free to drop in and train at Gracie Sydney!

Good luck with your training and Happy rolling!


Jiu jitsu Kingdom