Archive for July, 2011

Five Tips To Help You Adapt To No Gi Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Training

July 31, 2011

The large majority of people who practise Brazilian Jiu Jitsu train predominantly in the Gi (also known as a Kimono) and can often find it a little difficult to transition smoothly into faster style of No Gi training. The Gi or Kimono for those of you new to the art is just the name of the uniform worn during regular Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training. In this article I hope to offer five tips to help your No Gi Brazilian Jiu Jitsu game firing on all cylinders!

 1. Learn Where to Grip and How to Handfight: What this means is that most grips taken in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training involve some type of Gi grip. Here is a brief and simple breakdown of where certain grips translate to:

 – Collar (Gi) = Cupping the Neck/ Chin or Posting on the Shoulder (No Gi)

– Elbow Seem (Gi) = Cupping the Elbow (No Gi)

– Cuff of Sleeve (Gi) = Gripping/Palming the Wrists (No Gi)

– Pinning/Posting on the Body (Gi) = Underhooks & Overhooks for Control (No Gi)

– Pants Grip at Knees (Gi) = Underhooking the Knees or Palming the Knees (No Gi)

– Pant Grip at Cuff (Gi) = Gripping/Palming the Ankles (No Gi)

Handfighting is the art of fighting and pummeling for the grips that are most favourable for you and disadvantageous for your opponent. Handfighting is the launching platform for your No Gi game, whoever is able to control the tie ups and get the better grips will usually be at a distinct advantage in the High Speed Game of No Gi Brazilian Jiu Jitsu!

2.  Focus on Gross body Movements not Moves. When training No Gi, try to think more in terms of Gross Body Movements as opposed to smaller “More Technical” moves. I use the phrase “More Technical” moves loosely as often people think so much about perfect technique and getting everything right in a particular technique. Now while it is important to use technique in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training, in the high speed pace of No Gi training it is often better to at least be moving in the general direction that you want to go even if all the “technical” pieces of the move aren’t yet in place. No Gi training revolves around movement and reaction, without the Gi it is harder to slow down and control an opponent so often you are forced to improvise with a slightly less technical “movement” instead of hitting the “move” perfectly!

3. Develop the Ability to Scramble. Being able to hustle and scramble when neither of you are in ideal position will allow you to dominate and control more opponents. For example don’t willingly go to your back. Fight, scramble, recover your balance and try and take the top position against very sweep or takedown that your opponent attempts. This will make him work harder, get tired quicker and will be demoralising for your opponent. Another example is every time your opponent attempts a submission that you are able to defend, you must immediately scramble and attack. Turn the tables and put pressure on your opponent and he will think twice about attacking again or taking risks.

4. Control The Pace (Attack). In No Gi Brazilian Jiu Jitsu it is important to impose your will on your opponent. With the lack of a Gi, it is much harder for your opponent to slow you down, stifle your movements and shut out your game so always aim to attack as much as possible and keep the pressure on your opponent! When your opponent is focused on defending against your attack, it takes their mind off imposing their will and drawing you into their game.

 5. Become a Better Athlete! Now while it is true that Brazilian Jiu Jitsu revolves around the use of technique and leverage to survive against, control and submit bigger, stronger and more aggressive opponents, it can only benefit you to be in the best physical condition possible. Is it absolutely necessary, No. But is it extremely beneficial, HELL YES! The more flexible you are, the better your aerobic and anaerobic conditioning is, the stronger, faster and more explosive you are, the harder you are going to be to control, wear down and ultimately defeat! Do yourself a favour in more ways than one and get into the best physical shape you possibly can! Your health will improve, your risk of injury diminishes, you can spend more time training and less time off the mat recovering and that means more learning and faster progress!

Marcelo Garcia is a Master of the Five Tips mentioned in this article!

 Now finally for the controversial part… Train Gi as well as No Gi! Gi training will help your No Gi training as No Gi training will help your Gi training! The very best in the world train both so you should to and don’t get caught up in the petty arguments of which is better. Do whatever makes you happy, have fun, train consistently and you will get better!

Good Luck With Your training And Happy Rolling!

Felipe Grez

Jiu Jitsu Kingdom


News and Events

July 29, 2011

So it seems I have been receiving a great deal of positive feedback about my last post “Desire and Commitment” especially from my team at Jiu Jitsu Kingdom, and have even had a few people ask me to write more on the subject and how it applies to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and MMA training! Looks like I will be doing so in the near future but for now I thought I’d take a quick minute to share some news and upcoming events.

The EventsBJJ  NSW Gi Championships is on Sunday Week (Sunday 7th August)here in Sydney, Australia. For those of you who want to put your Brazilian Jiu Jitsu skills to the test be sure to sign up online ASAP! Click on this link to signup. Also there are a few more competitions coming up over the next couple of months so keep training hard!

The Mendes Brothers seminar at VT1 Gym is coming up very shortly in November, I am very excited about that! Check out the poster for details below and contact Liam if you wish to attend!


Finally I’d like to offer a huge congratulations to Liban Akil for earning his brazilian Jiu Jitsu Blue Belt from none other than Brazilian Jiu Jitsu phenom Marcelo Garcia! Awesome achievement, you earned it the hard way! Hearing that Liban got his Blue Belt from Marcelo made my week! 🙂

Liban gets his Blue Belt from Marcelo Garcia!

 Good Luck With Your Training and Happy Rolling!

Felipe Grez

“Desire and Commitment”

July 24, 2011

The words “Desire” and “Commitment” are powerful and emotive words and at first may seem a little out-of-place in the context of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) and Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). But let me assure you that they are two of the greatest keys towards the path of mastery in both Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and the MMA arena!

The definition of the word Desire is: “A strong feeling of wanting to have something or wishing for something to happen”. Now can you start to see the application of the word Desire to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and MMA training? A strong feeling of wanting to….

–  earn your black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

– master your closed guard triangles

– improve your base and guard passing skills

– win a National BJJ or World BJJ Championship

– be stronger, more flexible or have better cardio

– develop KO power in your punches

– develop a lightning fast double leg

– become a UFC Champion

and so on. Desire is the fuel that drives us, our motivation so to speak. The stronger the desire the hungrier we are to work hard and make the necessary sacrifices to achieve our goals! Think about the legends in our sport… or any sport… What they all have in common is a “Burning Desire” to work hard and achieve their dreams!

Take Marcelo Garcia for example, he has been on the mat for several hours a day for over a decade to develop the devastating skill he displays on the mats! He moved out of his house as a teenager to pursue his dream of becoming “Great” in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu! As a kid he would take 2-3 hour-long bus rides (sometimes by himself) and skip lunch just so he could train Brazilian Jiu Jitsu with better quality coaches and training partners. His “Burning Desire” led him to seek out the very best coaches and training partners he could find as well as study and learn all he could with the resources available to him.

Georges St-Pierre is one of the greatest UFC Champions because of his “Burning Desire” to improve and be the greatest MMA fighter of all time! He seeks out the very best in each individual Martial Arts Discipline and spends hours working out with them learning from them and adding what he can to his MMA game. GSP trains wrestling with the Canadian Olympic Wrestling team, works his MMA Strategy and Gameplan with Master MMA Coach Greg Jackson, has been working on his Boxing with Boxing legend Freddie Roach and trains with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Legends Renzo Gracie and John Danaher. All of these guys are masters of their crafts and possess a higher level of knowledge and skills in their areas of expertise yet GSP remains humble enough to seek out the best and continue to evolve as a fighter and athlete!

Now for the second word, commitment. Commitment is defined as: “the act of committing, the state of being committed, a pledge or promise; obligation”. Again self-explanatory! It is kind of hard to really have one without the other. If you really have a “Burning Desire” to achieve a goal, it is imperative that you make a commitment to yourself and to the realisation of that goal or dream! I personally like the words “pledge or promise; obligation” to define commitment. You make a pledge or promise that you will do whatever it takes to achieve your goal, you will make sacrifices, you will work hard, you will succeed, you will make mistakes along the way but you will learn from them and get better.

So how many of you have really made a commitment to your Brazilian Jiu Jitsu or MMA training? What sort of commitment have you made to your Coaches, your Training Partners and most importantly Yourself? Are you holding yourself accountable and what sort of commitment have you made to really living your dreams? How many of you have the Desireto achieve greater things in your life be it a BJJ Black Belt, a Devastating North South Choke, Becoming a UFC Champion or even just becoming a well-rounded Mixed Martial Artist?

If you combine a “Burning Desire” with unwavering Commitment there is nothing that can stand in your way. Anything is possible, we all have virtually limitless potential and are powerful beyond measure. So why not take it to the next level. Make a commitment now to yourself on what you “WILL” achieve over the next 6-12 months. Start small, gain some momentum and keep picking up steam. Before you know it you will have lit the fire of a “Burning Desire” and will things to happen in your Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and MMA journeys!

Good Luck With your Training And Happy Rolling!

Felipe Grez

P.S. For those of you that noticed I kept using the phrase “Burning Desire” and are wondering where it came from or just want to learn more about the power of Desire please check out Napoleon Hill’s  world famous best selling book “Think & Grow Rich”. This book really has the ability to change your life! I highly rcommend you read it! 🙂

“Crossing Over” – Applying Your Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in MMA!

July 16, 2011

I often get asked if I think Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is still as effective in modern-day MMA as it was in the early days. My answer to this is always “Without a doubt”! I mean Brazilian Jiu Jitsu gives you the tools to deal with a wild and aggressive opponent hell-bent on knocking you out in an MMA fight. It gives you options like:

 – the ability to unsettle your opponent

– draw him out of his game (i.e. Not press the attack for fear of being taken down)

– or fight more cautiously in an attempt to avoid the Submission

 If trained correctly, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu teaches you how to tie up with your opponent to minimise the risk of taking serious damage both on the way in and after establishing the clinch. It gives you the tools to take your opponent down to the ground, establish a dominant position and control him. And while not as many fights appear to end in submissions as they may have used to, that doesn’t take anything away from Brazilian Jiu Jitsu’s extreme effectiveness in MMA competition!

 Brazilian Jiu Jitsu teaches more than just a random series of Armlocks and Chokes from dominant positions. It teaches you patience, control (both of yourself and your opponent), it teaches you about strategy and the correct application of tactics on how to overcome any opponent! It gives you a framework of reference to keep you moving towards victory in a fight, hopefully submission or KO! The basic offensive strategy in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for MMA is:

 To Enter the Clinch Safely (Without absorbing Major Damage)

  1. To Control The Clinch and Nullify your Opponent’s Offense
  2. To Take Your Opponent Down to the Mat, Limit his options both offensively and defensively and keep him down.
  3. To Establish Control of Your Opponent and Achieve a Dominant Position
  4. To Improve Your Position (Expending Minimum Energy while your Opponent Struggles helplessly and tires) and land some strikes if the opportunity becomes safely available.
  5. To Guide Your Opponent Towards Checkmate or an Indefensible Position (i.e. a position in which you have sealed off your opponent’s escapes and his only options expose him to further danger be it a submission or devastating Ground & Pound)
  6. All this while making sure to put your self in a good, safe position relative to your opponent so that he is unable to do any serious damage to you with strikes or submissions.

 This is just one example of a basic Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Strategy applied for an MMA fight. Now please realise, all Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is not equal! What do I mean by that? Well to put it simply, if your school spend most of their time training how to jump/pull guard, flow straight into Spider Guard or Reverse De La Riva Guard  and look for the sweep and score some points then you are going to have some problems in MMA. Now that’s not to say there is anything wrong with the previous techniques or strategies just that they have a time and a place. Pulling guard, playing Spider Guard or Reverse De La Riva Guard are valid Brazilian Jiu Jitsu techniques, they just fit better in the realm of Sports Jiu Jitsu competition. On a side note training these skill does help build coordination, agility and mobility all of which are beneficial to a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioner’s development!


 Your choice of tools must be suitable for the job and generally speaking you don’t want to be on bottom in an MMA fight or have too much separation between you and your opponent when playing Guard due to the inherent risk of strikes! Again given the choice most Brazilian Jiu Jitsu fighters would much prefer to achieve the top position, make their opponent carry their weight, strike a little and set up their submissions in an MMA fight. The Guard in MMA is usually reserved for when your opponent takes you down, reverses you and puts you on the bottom or you are unable to take your opponent down and choose to tactically shoot and pull Guard when your opponent sprawls just to bring him into your game!

 Now while I will not attempt to tell you the “correct” techniques/ positions to use in MMA, as frankly there is no such thing as a perfect technique/position that will work every time. What I will tell you is that the best way to help your Brazilian Jiu Jitsu skills cross over to MMA is seek the advice of experienced Mixed Martial Arts Trainers/Fighters and ask them what they feel is important for survival in the cage/ring. MMA is different to pure Brazilian Jiu Jitsu so do your best to find out what the core basic skills are for an MMA fight and develop your Brazilian Jiu Jitsu game around them.


5 Keys To Success For Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Practitioners in MMA:

 Don’t try and reinvent the wheel. Seek guidance of those who have gone before you and become successful in MMA!

  1. Don’t try and reinvent the wheel. Seek guidance of those who have gone before you and become successful in MMA!
  2. Train with an open mind! You can learn something of value from everyone regardless of their style, affiliation etc Train with as wide a variety of training partners as possible!
  3. Become a Student of The Game! Learn about MMA, understand the game and what it takes to be successful
  4. Get in Great Physical Condition! If you tire in the cage it is your fault, strength and conditioning can be worked on even when you don’t have training partners and loads of equipment! Develop the ability to explode and recover as well as push the pace in scrambles!
  5. You must Train and Spar in Multiple Disciplines/Ranges, preferably two at a time to minimise the risk of injury while building MMA timing! When training your Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for MMA, make sure your partners add in Strikes so that you develop a realistic idea of which Brazilian Jiu Jitsu techniques and positions work for you under the MMA conditions! Spar Boxing with Freestyle Wrestling takedowns and shots so that you develop the ability to strike effectively while avoiding the takedown or how to takedown a striking opponent! Spar Muay Thai and mix in Greco-Roman style Clinch takedowns and Dirty Boxing. This will help you develop skills and timing throughout the ranges while minimising the risk of injury and not overloading your senses too much at first!

Good Luck With Your Training And Happy Rolling!

Felipe Grez

Jiu Jitsu Kingdom

Paul Schreiner: Crucifix From The Back

July 9, 2011

Here at Jiu Jitsu Kingdom, we aim to bring you the very best and help you on your journey towards mastery of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. The following video is some footage filmed during a private class I took with Paul Schreiner at Marcelo Garcia’s Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Academy in New York.

In this video Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Black Belt, Paul Schreiner demonstrates how to acquire the Crucifix from the Back and then finish the Choke from here. Paul is a fantastic instructor who pays incredible attention to detail and has the ability to really break down techniques and help you understand them on a much deeper level. If you ever get the chance to take a private class with Paul, I highly recommend it!

If you are interested in learning  more about this technique or Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in general then please feel free to leave a comment or contact me on my website . Or if you are based in Sydney or ever find yourself visiting Sydney, Australia then please feel free to stop by Jiu Jitsu Kingdom and take a class! I look forward to hearing from you or meeting you on the mats. Have a great day!

Good Luck With Your Training And Happy Rolling!

Felipe Grez

Jiu Jitsu Kingdom

Train Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in Sydney!

July 8, 2011

So another great week of training at Jiu Jitsu Kingdom has come to an end! The Jiu Jitsu Kingdom team is really making some solid progress and we have had some really great Brazilian Jiu Jitsu classes this week! I would have to say the Thursday night Brazilian Jiu Jitsu class was one of the most competitive classes in a while with some pretty slick back takes and some awesome rolls! The Jiu Jitsu Kingdom team continue to impress me and I am thankful for the opportunity to share my knowledge and experience in the art with them.

One of the great things about training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is the continuous learning and experimentation in the art. Just when you think you are starting to get a handle on a technique, someone comes along and throws a wrench in your plans. For me this week it was one of my students Tim! I have been working on my North South Choke pretty diligently since January when I was lucky enough to train with Marcelo Garcia in New York! I had been having a large degree of success with it for several months and was feeling pretty good about my development. That is until Wednesday afternoon when we were training and I sunk the North South Choke. As I was beginning to squeeze and wait for the tap, BOOM! Tim gets out and reverses me! What the? 🙂 We keep training meanwhile my mind is thinking, how the heck did he escape my North South Choke? I mean, it was locked in deep and I thought he was done! Several minutes later Tim mentions that he thinks he may be able to do it again so I put him in the North South Choke and BOOM he escapes! I try it again this time on my better side and he escapes again! Then Tim shows me how he did it and I have a crack at the escape and it worked. Wow, I’m impressed! Thanks Timmy, now I have to go back and rework my North South Choke so I can counter his escape and finish the Choke. I also need to pressure test the escape and see if I can add it to my game. Welcome to the exciting and sometimes frustrating world of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu!


Marcelo Garcia applying a flawless North South Choke!


I feel some serious study of MGinaction (please feel free to use the promo code “Jiu Jitsu Kingdom” for a free one week trial of MGinaction) coming on over the weekend! 🙂 And I am looking forward to getting back on the mats to work on my North South Choke and North South Choke counter. A big thanks to my students at Jiu Jitsu Kingdom for helping me grow and develop both as a coach and student on my journey towards mastery of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu!

So if you live in Sydney, work in Sydney or are just visiting, I encourage you to stop by and join a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu class at Jiu Jitsu Kingdom. Everyone is welcome regardless of age, gender, experience or affiliation. As long as you come in with a good attitude and are willing and eager to learn, we welcome you with open arms! I look forward to meeting you on the mat!

Good Luck With Your Training And Happy Rolling!

Felipe Grez

Jiu Jitsu Kingdom

Another Jiu Jitsu Kingdom Blue Belt!

July 2, 2011

I thought I’d write a quick post after finishing another great week of training at Jiu Jitsu Kingdom here in Sydney, Australia! Everyone has been training really hard and some of the team are starting to look pretty sharp with their hook sweeps and seated/butterfly guard games!

We have been lucky to have a few visiting coloured belts from various countries like New Zealand and Ireland this week which has been really cool! And speaking about coloured belts I’d like to take a minute to congratulate Cameron Smith on achieving his Brazilian jiu Jitsu Blue Belt on friday. Great job mate, well deserved!

I cant wait to get back on the mat to teach and train next week! I have big plans in store for Jiu Jitsu Kingdom over the coming months so stay tuned and train hard and let’s start knocking off some goals for the year!

Good Luck With You Training And Happy Rolling!

Felipe Grez

Jiu Jitsu Kingdom