Posts Tagged ‘Minotauro’

“Day of Zen” – Part 2

August 14, 2010

First of all sorry for the delay in following up with a review of Mario Sperry’s No Gi/MMA seminar. Teaching, training, work, studying and my four-month old boy Hunter have kept me very busy lately! Now without any further talk from me, here is my review of Ze Mario’s seminar which took place at my good friend Liam Resnekov’s VT-1 Gym.

Ze Mario taught a great No Gi/MMA Seminar for a very lucky group of students and Ze Mario being one of the greatest BJJ/MMA coaches of all time sure didn’t disappoint! The “Zen Machine” started by emphasising the idea of controlling the fight and playing your game and best positions. Ze Mario started by teaching how to pass the closed guard and controlling your opponent explaining the differences between opening and passing the guard with the gi and without and more specifically for MMA. Ze Mario followed up with learning how to control and sweep your opponent from the open guard, which he considered vastly superior to the closed guard when fighting without the gi. Ze Mario emphasised developing an aggressive, attacking open guard and using your opponents movements and reactions against him to effect a sweep. He also explained that once you understand the basic mechanics of the techniques to start practising it against a live (resisting) opponent so that you develop functional sweeps and learn how to go around your opponent’s power.

Ze Mario sharing his knowledge!


Ze Mario was very open and giving with his knowledge, happily answering all questions and sharing his thoughts and experience with the group. Towards the end of the seminar the “Zen Machine” taught his ideas on how to control the turtle position, how he likes to take the back  and control the opponent by clamping down his hips instead of the usual “hooks in” position. Ze Mario explained how he felt that his method is a much better controlling position although in competition you should put your hooks in to secure your points then transition to th stronger hip clamp control from the back. From here Ze Mario also taught a variation of the rear naked choke that he prefers to use in no gi/mma and how he has found it to be vastly superior to the traditional Mata Leon(rear naked choke). The leverage he achieved using his method was tremendous and quickly had a our training partners taping vigorously!!!

Ze Mario concluded with talking about the importance of learning how to use technique and developing 3-4 positions to a really high level. He believed that if you truly master 3-4 positions that it could take you to the highest levels of competition!Ze Mario then got the guys to roll a little and I was honoured to roll(get steam rolled by:-) ) with the “Zen Machine” once again. Just prior to rolling Ze Mario humbly stated that if anyone gets his neck, arm leg or whatever that he would happily tap. Ze Mario is a man at peace with himself and got over the battle of egos a long time ago and now he just trains for fun and love of the art!

Ze Mario, myself and a couple of my students after the seminar!

Needless to say at 43 years of age, Ze Mario is still a physical specimen and flawless technician. I was completely dominated and submitted several times with what appeared to be relative ease on his part! A very humbling and huge learning opportunity for me. I feel my own Jiu jitsu game has improved tremendously already! Mario Sperry truly is a master of the art, although he would never let you call him that! Let’s hope a little “Zen” rubbed off on all those in attendance. I thank Ze Mario for sharing the gift of Jiu jitsu with us, Alex Prates for brining him to Australia and Liam Resnekov for hosting Ze Mario at his gym for the seminar. I am so lucky to call you all my good friends!

Group shot after Ze Mario seminar!

Good luck with your training and Happy rolling!

Felipe Grez

Jiu jitsu Kingdom


Cool Mario Sperry Highlight

July 23, 2010

I just saw this and had to share it, enjoy!

Good luck with your training and Happy rolling!

Felipe Grez

Jiu jitsu Kingdom

“Day of Zen” – Part 1

July 21, 2010

On Thursday 6th July, I had the great privilege of training with BJJ legend Mario “Zen Machine” Sperry who was out in Australia for a series of seminars. I was fortunate to re connect with Ze Mario( I had trained with him previously in Brazil) for both a private class and a No Gi/MMA seminar at VT-1 Gym(Thanks Liam for hosting him).

For anyone who is not acquainted with Ze Mario, he is a  former 3 time black belt world BJJ champion(including 1 absolute/open title), as well as a former 3 time ADCC world submission wrestling champion(including 1 absolute/open title) and a highly successful MMA fighter winning fights in Pride, Cage Rage, MARS, Extreme Fighting and others! Ze Mario is also one of the greatest BJJ/MMA trainers of all time!

After the meet and greet, we got straight to business in a private class with Liam Resnekov, Jon Faulkner-Shotter and myself. Ze Mario began by teaching BTT “trade secret”, the “10 Finger Guillotine” choke which he demonstrated with lethal efficiency! Ze Mario was quick to explain that proficiency comes from more than just knowing how to execute a technique but how to set it up and anticipate your opponent’s movements!

After our Private Class with Ze Mario

Next Ze Mario taught his patented “Relogio”(Clock choke) and how he like to set it up by “allowing” his opponent to think they are escaping, all the while falling deeper into his trap! Ze Mario’s use of weight and pressure from this position is something to you have to feel to believe! Kind of like being stuck under a truck while being hung from a noose!!! Ze Mario emphasized subtlety in the use of your grips/set up and not telegraphing your intentions. He also talked about drilling it with resistance and having your opponent really trying to escape while you focus on mastering balance point, your application of weight and finishing the submission!He then taught a variation that he likes to use when people are aware of his technique and good at countering!

Throughout the private class, Ze Mario talked about strategy, tactics and the theory of fighting. He explained the use of technique to preserve your gas(energy), make your opponent tired(gased) and how in the competitive arena(mats, ring, cage) Jiu jitsu is like a race… If you can make your opponent run out of gas, make mistakes or be late in his movements you will most likely win!

Ze Mario doing what he does best!

He also covered passing the De la riva guard and how to combine your passing techniques so that “No one’s guard is unpassable”! Ze Mario explained that in addition to being well versed in various guard passing techniques, it is important to fight the person not just the guard. Anticipate his movements in advance and shut them down before they become a threat, “never giving anything to your opponent”. Dont allow him to take his preferred grips or play his game. To pass the guard and win, you must anticipate the pace and direction of the match bringing your opponent into your stronger areas and burning his energy!

Ze Mario truly is a brilliant tactician and a phenomenal teacher. As great as he was as a fighter, I really believe his real gift is teaching. He has that innate ability to break down techniques, tweak them for maximum efficiency and put them back into your game. He also breaks down the mental aspects of combat such as strategy, tactics and aggression as well as the mindset to win!

Ze Mario demonstrating the fine points of combination passing!

Ze Mario demonstrating the fine points of combination passing!

Stay tuned for part 2!

Good luck with your training and Happy rolling!

Felipe Grez

Jiu jitsu Kingdom

Clock Choke by Mario Sperry

July 14, 2010

I had th great pleasure of doing a private class(with gi) and a No Gi/MMA seminar with Ze Mario last week! Let me tell you, I believe Ze Mario is one of the greatest BJJ/MMA coaches of all time and as great as he was as a fighter, I believe he’s real gift is as a teacher! I will be posting more about the seminar soon but for now I hope you enjoy a clip from the master of the Relogio(clock choke) from one of his instructional dvds available from

Ze Mario and I


Oh and on a side note, Ze Mario’s partner in the video is one of Ze Mario’s top students Fabiano Capoani(who graded me to brown belt in May 2008). Please check back for a lot more from the Zen Machine over the next week! Until then…

Good luck with your training and Happy rolling!

Felipe Grez

Jiu jitsu Kingdom

“Mario Sperry teaching the Half Guard”

May 18, 2010

Here is a clip of legendary Jiu jitsu fighter and teacher, Mario “Zen Machine” Sperry! I found this a while ago and have been meaning to post it for quite some time! Former Multiple time World BJJ/ADCC/PRIDE Champion Mario Sperry shares some of his half guard secrets that he has used at the highest levels of competition! Ze Mario truly is one of the greatest competitors of all time as well as a world-class Jiu jitsu/MMA coach and  has helped bring out the best in many of BTT’s modern-day superstars!!! For those of you who enjoy playing half guard and deep half guard, here is your chance to learn from one of its pioneers!

On a side note I thought this clip was particularly fitting as Ze Mario will be out here in Sydney for a series of seminars in July and I cant wait to train with the master again! I’m very excited and hope to get some exclusive footage of a few techniques for the blog so if there is anything that you would like to see please comment and let me know!

A quick photo at BTT after a gruelling session back in the day! 🙂

Good luck with your training and Happy rolling!

Felipe Grez

Jiu jitsu Kingdom

Seminar with Antonio Rodrigo “Minotauro” Nogueira and Allan Goes!

March 17, 2010

On Monday the 1st of March, I had the great honour and privilege of attending a seminar with Pride/UFC  vets and former Carlson Gracie team members Antonio Rodrigo “Minotauro” Nogueira and Allan Goes! And what a great seminar is was… We got the chance to learn Jiu jitsu as applied to mma by two of the best in the business and it was an opportunity not to be missed!!! 

Alex Prates, Allan Goes, Felipe Grez(me), Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Bernardo Trekko

To begin with Minotauro and Allan started by teaching a couple of defenses against the double leg. First by using the whizzer and pivoting to give your opponent a single leg instead. From here we worked the head down and took the opponent down into a top sprawl/turtle position. Second Minotauro showed how to throw your opponent with a combination knee bump and Thai style neck throw (as well as how to set up strikes) if you couldn’t work the opponent’s head down.

Minotauro then taught a bunch of techniques from the top sprawl/turtle position starting with the no gi clock choke from the back. I asked Allan to demonstrate on me to see how it felt an Allan replied “My pleasure” with a big grin on his face! To say that it was one of the tightest chokes I’ve ever felt was an understatement! From here Minotauro taught a series of chokes beginning with the anaconda choke(Minotauro special), and just like all things in Jiu jitsu it was the little details that made all the difference! Minotauro then showed how to transition into a D’arce choke by switching grips and going underneath your opponent. This was followed by another D’arce variation in which you maintained the top position and turned your opponent over to their side to set up the finish. The final choke was a modified guillotine using a mata leon grip and the Minotauro and Allan did a really cool thing… They taught an awesome flow drill to combine the techniques as your opponent progressively defends each technique and you flow into the next! While practising the techniques I asked Minotauro a question regarding defense and he showed me a really cool back take variation if the technique failed! Very cool!!! 🙂

Some of the Jiu jitsu Kingdom team with Minotauro and Allan Goes!


Allan Goes then took over and taught a series of techniques from the guard for mma beginning with how to tie up your opponent in the closed guard and how to safely transition into an aggressive open guard should the opponent begin standing to strike. We worked on setting up the Up kick as well then moved on to flowing into a tripod sweep and taking the top position. Some old school techniques here but still very relevant(though often neglected) and solid for mma. Allan then finished with setting up a helicopter style armbar from the tripod position and while this was maybe a little more advanced than most people could pull off, it was still nice to see the master in action! Allan Goes’s guard is beautiful to watch and lethally effective… A point that Minotauro hammered home several times throughout the seminar and Minotauro was very proud to call Allan his Jiu jitsu coach!

Throughout the seminar Minotauro and Allan interjected their ideas on strategy, technique and aggression for mma as well as always putting yourself in a safe position to attack/defend from. I was very fortunate to do a five-minute roll with the legend, Minotauro and his technique was very impressive as he shut down my game and dominated me on the mat finishing me with a nice knee bar and a D’arce choke from inside my half guard. I was very honoured to roll with him again and learnt a lot from the experience! Allan then talked a little about the history of the art, respect for the art and your teachers, loyalty, continually learning and working with a good team. Allan obviously had a lot of respect for the martial ways and culture of Japan and like Minotauro was a true martial Artist. I thoroughly enjoyed the seminar and would highly recommend that you take the opportunity to train with them if you ever get the chance! It was a fantastic learning experience, thanks to Alex Prates and Bernardo Trekko for hosting them at their TP Gym.

Good luck with your training and Happy rolling!

Felipe Grez

Jiu jitsu Kingdom

“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

“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

“The Importance of Mentors”

January 13, 2010

In business and sports, it is common practise to seek mentors as guides to help you find your way. So why not seek the same with your Jiu jitsu training? I believe it is important to always seek knowledge and look for ways to improve your game, technique and teaching methods. One of the best ways to do this is through the use of a mentor. Mentors are people who inspire you, who have travelled the path before you and have a deep understanding of the knowledge and skills that you seek to acquire.

While it is extremely important to listen to, learn from, practise and study what your instructor teaches you, it can also be of great benefit to seek additional knowledge and learn everything that you can about the art! Sometimes this may be through following and studying the techniques and careers of the great Jiu jitsu/MMA Coaches and competitors. Attending seminars, watching dvds/videos, studying books and magazines, reading and listening to interviews etc. Doing these things inspires you, allows you to understand the art better and see things from a different point of view. One of the things that you will realise when combining the knowledge and ideas that you learn from your mentors with that of your instructor is that there are many ways to learn, improve and achieve your goals. Everyone’s path is different and if you are open to it, you really can learn from anyone.

Hanging out in Rio with Mentor Mario Sperry and Coach Fabiano Capoanni.

Some examples of some of my mentors include legendary BJJ/MMA fighter and coach Mario Sperry, whom I believe is still one f the greatest BJJ/MMA coaches of the modern era. I have been fortunate to train with him on a number of occasions both in his original Academia(academy) Sul Jiu jitsu in Porto Alegre as well as Brazilian Top Team headquarters in Lagoa, Rio De Janeiro. His knowledge of Jiu jitsu is phenomenal and encompasses the entire spectrum of self defense, competition(both gi and no gi) as well as mma. Another mentor who inspires me to learn and master the art of Jiu jitsu is Marcelo Garcia. Marcel Garcia’s devastatingly effective technique has allowed him to dominate and submit some of the greatest grapplers on the planet in various competitions both gi and no gi and I greatly desire to study and learn more from him.

Myself with mentor, Marcelo Garcia after a very humbling private class!

Some others who I avidly follow and hope to one day learn from include the likes of:

-Renzo Gracie (Jiu jitsu/MMA legend and master coach)

-Fabio Gurgel (Jiu jitsu legend and master coach)

-Rickson Gracie (Jiu jitsu legend and technical master)

-Dave Camarillo (Jiu jitsu/Judo Innovator and MMA coach)

-Rorion Gracie (Jiu jitsu legend, master coach and master businessman)

-Greg Jackson (MMA master coach)

-Lloyd Irvin (Jiu jitsu master coach and businessman extraordinaire)

-Osvaldo Alves (Jiu jitsu master coach)

-Antonio Rodrigo “Minotauro” Nogueira (Jiu jitsu/MMA legend) – I have had the pleasure/pain of rolling with Mino before! 🙂

-Randy Couture (MMA legend)

I could probably go on and list another dozen names but I’m sure you get the idea! 🙂 Each of these mentors have different skill sets and as such I look up to them for different reasons. One thing’s for sure, these gentlemen combined have several lifetimes worth of knowledge and I hope to learn as much as I can so I can pass that on to my students! I hope you decide to seek a mentor or mentors to learn from and learn more about the beautiful art of Jiu jitsu.

God luck with your training and Happy rolling!

Felipe Grez

Jiu jitsu Kingdom