Posts Tagged ‘self defence’

Gracie Jiu Jitsu Masterclass with Royler Gracie

August 17, 2012

So yesterday I was lucky enough to do a special 2 hour Masterclass on Gracie Jiu Jitsu Self Defense Techniques with Master Royler Gracie and the Gracie Humaita/Sydney coaches. Talk about a fantastic opportunity and a great learning experience! The thing you realise when learning from Royler is just how amazing  and technical he is as a coach and he doesn’t miss a thing. Personally I have had to use some of the Gracie Jiu Jitsu Self Defense techniques during security work over the last decade and they have served me well and saved my neck more than a few times! But even knowing the techniques and using them isn’t the same as doing them under the direct supervision of the Master! Royler made plenty of incremental adjustments to our techniques which dramatically improved the leverage and efficiency of the techniques. I learnt so much and am looking forward to passing on these new details and adjustments to my students

I must say I am excited for Royler Gracie’s seminar today at Gracie Humaita/Sydney HQ and look forward to learning more from the master as it is not often you get the opportunity to train with a legend! See you on the mat!


Good Luck with Your Training and Happy Rolling!

Felipe Grez

Jiu Jitsu Kingdom


“Helio Gracie demonstrating his method of self defense!”

October 4, 2010

Here is an old clip of Helio Gracie demonstrating his self-defense techniques. Some very rare footage! Rest in Peace Grandmaster Helio and thank you for the gift of Jiu jitsu!

Good luck with your training and Happy rolling!

Felipe Grez

Jiu jitsu Kingdom

“More on what I have in mind question wise for Rickson Gracie”

August 28, 2010

Well I thought I’d take a few minutes to clarify what I have in mind question wise for Rickson when he comes out to Sydney in November. Please bear in mind that Rickson is considered to be “The Unquestioned Authority” on Jiu jitsu law and an example of the finest technique in the world!

So for me, I am not interested in the latest new sweep used in the Mundials, the 50 50 guard or the best strength and conditioning routine for BJJ students(although I believe they all have value!). I would like to learn more about the most basic of positions like:

– THE MOUNT – How does he like to control his opponent from there? Does he like to change frequently between the various mounted positions(hooks in, ankles crossed underneath/Sky diving position, S mount, regular knees pinched sitting up mount etc)? How does he connect with his opponent and lock down his opponents hips so they feel stuck under crushing weight unable to move? How does he maintain strong and stable base while setting up the basic cross choke? How does he isolate and control the opponent’s arms to set up the armbar? Tips on getting the opponent to turn over exposing his back. Setting up and mounting your opponent from various positions. Applying crushing weight and improving my base from there. And just general all round critiquing of my technique and movement from this position. How does he like to escape the mount? Tips on connecting with his opponent, disrupting his base, stifling his offense and setting up the escape. Rickson’s technical details on basics such as upa and hips escape from underneath the mount.

– THE BACK – What is Rickson’s preferred methods of taking the back? Details on setting up the mata leon while transitioning towards the back. Use of angles to block the opponent’s escapes. What is Rickson’s preferred method of controlling(over under, double unders etc) and finishing from the back? Does his controlling position from the back change much between gi and no gi? How does he like to create confusion in the opponents from here to set up the submission? What are his preferred methods of escaping the back from various positions? Does he teach going to his knees(turtle) to prevent the guard pass or does he feel it is too risky? Escaping and reversing from the turtle position. Replacing the guard(rolling, spinning, going to half guard, escaping and turning to seated etc).

– CORE SELF DEFENSE MOVEMENTS – What does he feel are the absolute must know basic self-defense positions(bear hug, headlock, collar grab, rear choke etc) for everyone? Tips on achieving greater leverage while escaping from all of these positions. Which movements does he feel are better suited towards security and law enforcement personnel? How he likes to close the distance against opponents in self-defense and mma situations(similarities and differences between the two)? When does he employ strikes to set up submissions or takedowns? Developing a strong base and disrupting the opponents base. What does he feel are the most important throws/takedowns to develop as a Jiu jitsu practitioner(hip throws, trips, seoinage, sacrifice throws etc)? 

These are just a few of the questions that I would like to hear the master’s thoughts on. There are plenty more, as a matter of fact I could spend a lifetime asking him questions and learning from him. I would also love to learn more about developing the finest technique applying his ideas on Invisible Jiu jitsu and becoming a better teacher! Anyway that’s all from me for now as I have to get ready for work! Have a great week-end and please feel free to share your thoughts!

Good luck with your training and Happy rolling!

Felipe Grez

Jiu jitsu Kingdom

“Exponential Function” by special guest Geoff Thompson

June 27, 2010

Exponential Function People have been talking a lot lately about this being the age of information. We even have the information highway on the World Wide Web. The word information is used with some reverence, and rightly so, of course information is important, you might say that information is currency; certainly people do use it as a lucrative means of commerce. But I don’t think that we are residing any longer in the information age, not from my observation, in business and in the business of life. Undoubtedly there was an information age, but we are now through it, certainly we are on the exiting periphery, and entering into a new era, a fresh orbit, a brand new reality called the age of experience.

People have heard about experience, of course, they have read about experience definitely, and every day we all have experiences of one kind or another, but not often the magnificent experiences, the big experiences that we would really like to have – people (it has been noticed) are ready to expand, they are ready to break free from the mundane in order to encounter the extraordinary – they want to immerse themselves into great experiences, because they know that great knowledge without great action is impotent. What is the use of knowing stuff if you can’t apply it?

I know many people for instance that have a great academic knowledge of martial ways but they do not know how to apply it, if you want to see these people in herd go onto any of the MA forums and look out for the folk being negative and spiteful and tabloid. You cannot be a great martial artist, not even a good martial artist whilst indulging in this kind of white belt behaviour, the two are mutually exclusive.

Similarly most people understand palate, they know what food is good for them and what food is bad, and yet they still carry too much body weight and ingest substances that poison them. They have the knowledge but they do not have the power to apply the knowledge.

Why do we do what we do when we know what we know?

Because there is no power in knowing alone, we have to develop the will to put our knowing to work. Knowledge without experience is impotent.

We had the fist session of my masterclass (2010) last week and it was a great session. Not just because the students had invested in world class instruction, rather it was because they had travelled from far and wide – from as far as Poland – to have the experience, and in doing so they placed a greater demand on their will, and their will responded by growing stronger. Getting to the masterclass is challenging for people, time is against many of them, financially some of them are stretched and for many more it is geographically taxing. Most of them said that they experienced a lot of fear when making the commitment, in fact some of them said that it took more will power than they knew they had just to get to the centre, and on their journey down they had the urge to turn back and go home. They felt that the experience was beyond their capacity. We had one person that actually did go home. He paid his fees and was unable to make it to Coventry. But the rest of them, against all these worthy obstacles, made it. And even in that one session you could see people growing, because they had all loaded a demand on their will that placed them ever so slightly out of their depth. So the added demand triggered new growth.

Isn’t that inspiring? How fucking exciting is that? Their will expanded not despite the fear, it expanded not in spite of the geography, it ‘manned-up’ not regardless of the time and the cost implications, it expanded exponentially because of them. All of these elements placed a demand on their will that it had not experienced before, so it was forced to grow.

You will not grow courage without placing yourself before fear.

You will not grow physical strength without placing demand on your muscles.

You will not grow money without creating a fiscal demand.

This is one of the reasons I make my courses difficult for people to attend, I make it a course of high demand, because without it no growth will occur.

And the higher the demand, the greater the development.

People know this innately, that is why my courses fill quickly.

What people experience here is Exponential Function. Look it up in the Concise Oxford Dictionary. It is a mathematical exponent in which a function is increased (more and more rapidly) as a quantity raised to a power and this is determined by the variable on which the function depends.

In other words, if you increase the variable (the demand – on your courage, on your finances, on your physique) the quantity will respond.

In even simper terms; increase the weight on your barbell and your muscles will grow proportionately bigger and stronger. Keep the weight the same and no new growth will occur. Why would it? It is not necessary. Growth is determined by demand, so if you want growth that is more and more rapid then keep increasing the demand and watch how your ability will go through the ceiling.

Let me give you a good example.

I wanted to be a strong judo player. I intended to get my black belt in a system that I think is the best kept secret in the martial arts. I didn’t want to be an average player, that does not suit my mind set. I wanted to be really good. So I placed myself under the instruction of Neil Adams, one of the best judo players in history. He had a full time class that contained about twelve international players, most of them in the Olympic squad. I brought five judo suits and I joined his class. I trained two to three times a day in this magnificent art (with Neil, with his amazing students, privately with British champion Wayne Lakin, with my own students and on my own) and the demand I placed on myself forced rapid growth, fuck it demanded rapid growth. This was one of the hardest things I have ever undertaken but within an eighteen month period I could hold my own with internationals in the art of judo.

I am not saying that everyone should jump in the deep end like this, my method works for me, you can increase the demand one small disc at a time, as long as you increase it.

Exponential Function.

If you want better health, create the demand for better health.

If you want to run faster, run with faster runners, it will demand speed.

If you want more money, create the demand for more money and more money will grow.

If you want better martial arts skills, place yourself under amazing instruction; invest the time and the money and the effort (and the more you speculate the more you will accumulate) and you with grow exponentially.

When people tell me that they do not have the time, the money or the energy I know that they do not want it enough yet. Because when you want it enough you will slide more discs along the bar and force yourself to grow.

And I know this because I have made the same excuses myself before.

The universe does not deal in excuses. It deals in concrete laws. You want growth, place yourself in challenging experiences and you will be given growth. No questions asked. And do not bitch and moan when the demands are too expensive too heavy or too geographically challenging, put your bones into the arena – like the Mexican Shamans who collect their power from difficulty – and make growth your business.

But do not ask for growth without demand because the Big Man is not listening.

And neither am I.

Be well Geoff Thompson

NOTE FROM FELIPE: “Special thanks to Geoff Thompson for allowing me to reproduce this article from his website. Please check it out  at or . Thanks again Geoff, much appreciated and you have been a mentor/role model of mine for quite some time now!

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