Archive for February, 2010

“Seminars-A different perspective!”

February 25, 2010

What a great time it has been for Jiu jitsu/MMA here in Australia! Just last friday I had the privilege of meeting and training with UFC legend, Randy “The Natural” Couture, as he was out in Australia doing some promotional work for the UFC  and decided to do some last minute seminars in Sydney… An opportunity I could not pass up! 🙂 Randy is a great communicator, amazing coach and all round good guy…No wonder he has been such a great ambassador for the sport of MMA.

The seminar that I attended by Randy was great, and offered another perspective on the skills used in mma. Randy taught how to blend wrestling with Jiu jitsu to create a devastatingly effective method of fighting in the cage! Randy taught us some techniques and concepts that have worked well for him in his career as a mixed martial artist and how he likes to use his wrestling background to safely enter, control the clinch, take down and dominate his opponents. Now what was interesting is that a lot of people say that wrestling is very attribute based and not so technical. With Randy this couldn’t be further from the truth as he continually emphasized technique and leverage to control, takedown and submit your opponent! Randy talked about protecting yourself at all times and escaping bad positions as well as setting up your opponent! Now for a Jiu jitsu coach like myself this was great and I learned a lot that I will add to my curriculum. My somewhat limited wrestling knowledge had led me to believe that a lot of the skills and drills didn’t really have much of a place in learning to defend yourself or fight in the cage… How wrong I was! 🙂 Randy has definitely inspired me to really learn more about wrestling and decide for myself what is suitable for my students other than just the basic pummeling, double leg, single leg, sprawl etc! 

A Seminar with Randy "The Natural" Couture!

With UFC 110 on Sunday, there were a lot of great coaches out here teaching seminars including Guerrilla Jiu jitsu phenom and AKA Head Jiu jitsu coach Dave Camarillo. Now unfortunately I was unable to attend Dave’s seminar but luckily one of my students did and from what I hear it was great! Dave’s emphasis on the basics of Jiu jitsu especially for no gi and mma was fantastic and I was disappointed not have learnt it from him first hand! Dave’s thoughts and philosophies were well received and I hope to get the chance to learn from him in the future!

Not to worry though as I still have on more seminar to attend on monday night and that is by none other than former Pride/UFC Champion/legend Antonio Rodrigo “Minotauro” Nogueira! And let me say I’m pumped! Minotauro has been one of my favourite Jiu jitsu/mma fighters for many years and I eagerly look forward to seeing what he has to share with us!

Minotauro and I three days before his fight at UFC 110!

And for those of you that didn’t get a chance to watch UFC 110, please go back and do so! The fight between George Sotiropoulos and Joe “Daddy” Stevenson was a barn burner and possibly one of the greatest displays of Jiu jitsu in MMA that I have seen in quite a while!!! Great, great fight and yes George did us Aussies proud, as did Jamie Tehuna in an earlier untelevised bout! the atmosphere was electric and I’m still on a huge high from the UFC!!! But in actuality it was the seminars that I learn the most from and got to experience a different perspective!

Good luck with your training and Happy rolling!

Felipe Grez

Jiu jitsu Kingdom


“Cross Training for Self defence” by special guest Clive Girdham

February 15, 2010

Why do most people commence martial arts training? Perhaps it’s because deep down inside there is an anxiety that one day they may need to protect themselves or others in a violent confrontation.

Conventional thinking is that the scout hall martial arts class will provide all the answers for little Tommy, so with all the best intentions in mind, his parents send him off to learn selfdefence under the guidance of that guy wearing the revered black belt.

Tommy trains diligently twice a week and in 3 years shoots up the ranks and gets awarded his black belt in Scout-Hall-Do. His parents breathe a sigh of relief as Tommy is now fully equipped to take on any violent situation and come out unscathed.

Unfortunately riding home on the bus one evening after training, little Tommy is confronted by 3 older youths all carrying knives. Fortunately for Tommy he is frozen to the spot by an adrenaline dump and his only reaction is to fully comply and handover his valuables.

Ok this isn’t a true story but it easily could be.

My journey in martial arts started with Judo at age 14 and progressed through many other arts including Muay Thai, boxing and now at 44 I find BJJ is the most friendly to my body. Along the way I also became heavily involved in the Reality Based Self Defence or RBSD scene. This way of training became very popular from early 2000 onwards but was actually pioneered by a fearsome Martial Artist named Geoff Thompson much earlier than that

In 1994 I became a member of his organisation because I had come to realise that my one dimensional way of training, then in Judo, did not prepare me for the realities of London’s streets. I was a Judo black belt training hard 5 times a week with Olympic team members however that did not help me in a confrontation one day on the train when two guys began to verbally assault me and my girlfriend. I was lucky enough to not escalate the situation however at the time I didn’t realise how lucky I was. Only two days later, my work colleague who I sat next to each day was stabbed through heart on the bus. These realities caused me to question my own training and preparedness and Geoff Thompson provided the answers.

Clive Girdham doing a live knife drill with Richard Dimitri!


Geoff’s philosophy is simple, if you need to go physical then you must hit first and hit hard. Geoff’s background was in Karate however in all his time on the nightclub door as a bouncer, his Karate as traditionally taught, did not help him. He started to train his karate punches to be pre-emptive and from non traditional stances, hey presto it started to work. However his experiences told him that even though most fights start standing, they quickly deteriorate into messy close range grappling, almost always finishing on the ground. Geoff became an advocate of using various martial arts as “support systems”

For punching and kicking, he chose Western Boxing & Muay Thai
For vertical and ground grappling he chose Judo, Greco Roman & Freestyle wrestling.
He would then pressure test his skills in the gym in what he called Animal Days. These were full contact, no holds barred fights which were won by knockout or submission. This was in the late 1980’s before UFC.

This all deals with the physical side, what most people are not prepared for is the emotional attack on the self. Geoff introduced aggressive verbal attacks & multiple opponents to add realism. It was during these sessions that it became clear to any “one dimensional” martial artist that everything turns scrappy, traditional techniques fail.

I remain a firm believer in the effectiveness for self defence cross training in different ranges (or support systems) and MMA classes are fantastic for this. However I moved far away from the RBSD scene as I truly believe you bring into your life what you focus on and I don’t believe over training in RBSD is healthy for the mind.

Non compliant sports like Boxing, MMA, BJJ, Judo etc where you practice against real energy in sparring bring you enormous physical benefits and sense of well being. I believe other people can see that strength within you and this in turn makes it less likely that you are selected as a victim. The humility learnt in sparring transfers over to the street. You’ve already done the hard yards, know your limitations or capability and do not feel the need to prove yourself.

However I do believe all martial artists can positively benefit from a wake up call of scenario training which can involve multiple attackers, weapons, environmental factors etc

I’ve recently held seminars with Deane Lawler who like myself knows that all of the arts have something positive to offer, the problem is that most Traditional Martial Arts are not taught in a realistic environment. To quote Deane Lawler, RBSD is all about those initial few seconds, where you have to mentally recover from the verbal or physical onslaught allowing you then to use the techniques from whatever system you come from.

Bridging the gap between your martial art or sport and reality is easily practiced and can be as simple as adding a concealed wooden knife to a BJJ roll or adding two attackers to your MMA session. You continue to add layers of variables. Try turning out the lights, add loud music, put your arm in a sling the possibilities are endless, but the important realisation is to find your weaknesses and then acknowledge them. That way you won’t be like Tommy sitting on the bus wearing his black belt as a shield from reality.

Clive Girdham

NOTE FROM FELIPE: “Special thanks to Clive Girdham for sharing his knowledge and experience as a (former) Reality Based Self Protection Instructor and if you’re ever in need of a photographer please check out Clive’s website at . Thanks again Clive, you rock mate!

Good luck with your training and Happy rolling!

Felipe Grez

Jiu jitsu Kingdom

“Good Basics win fights!!!”

February 9, 2010

It doesn’t matter whether you are talking about Jiu jitsu competition, no gi competition, mma, boxing or any other combat sport… “Good Basics win fights”!!! Look at  Roger Gracie, arguably the best Jiu jitsu fighter in the world today winning all his fights with the most basic of positions. Good solid basics that everyone knows executed with perfect timing are almost unstoppable! A great example was in Roger’s dominating performance at the 2009 World Jiu jitsu Championships in which Roger choked out all of his opponents from the mount using techniques commonly taught to absolute beginners! Think about that next time you are attempting that gogoplata from mount… Can you sweep, pass, mount and submit all or at least most of your training partners with your basic techniques? Ok the, how about just the guys around your level or even ALL of the guys who are at a lower level than you??? I doubt it! 🙂 The reason the basics are so important is because they work all the time. Unlike some of the more advanced techniques which usually require a certain set of circumstances to apply, the basics can be set up and made to work by things as simple as breaking your opponent’s grips and posture or correctly applying your weight to create solid base! Observe some footage of Roger Gracie in Action below.

In mma, the same concept of” Good Basics win fights”. Take a look at Jiu jitsu and mma legend Antonio Rodrigo “Minotauro” Nogueira. Minotauro has been winning fights at the highest level using solid boxing basics and good efficient Jiu jitsu techniques. Again, Minotauro executes his techniques with impeccable timing. All of the Jiu jitsu techniques and positions that you see Minotauro apply in his mma fights would be familiar to most blue belts, however the difference is great timing and perfect execution of his techniques which makes him stand out from the crowd and submit countless champions and legends of mma! Take a look at a great tribute of Minotauro below!

Oh and here’s an old photo I dug up  from a training trip to Rio way back in the day, enjoy! 🙂

An old photo of Minotauro, me and Ze Mario at BTT headquarters!

So next time you hit the mats to train the latest new technique that you learnt from the internet or by watching the latest ADCC or Mundials, take a moment to think about how you may get better use of your time on the mat… Lets get back to basics and remember, “Perfect practise makes perfect” and let’s try and make our basics unstoppable!!!

Good luck with your training and Happy rolling!

Felipe Grez

Jiu jitsu Kingdom