Wednesday, December 21, 2011

2012 Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Goals and Quick Tips on How to Keep Them

With the New Year just around the corner, it is time to make those New Year resolutions. Most people are going to continue making the same resolutions about weight loss, financial stability, to quit smoking or drinking, to find love or maybe even learn a new language. These are some of the usual New Year resolutions, but I wanted to see if there have been many Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu resolutions set and what some of the examples were. is a site where people can document things they would like to achieve as goals. I did a couple of quick searches for BJJ and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and this is the result of the inquiry: 

 64% of people want to start training or learn BJJ

25% of people want to earn the next belt ranking

6% want to Compete or win their division in tournament

"When setting a long-term goal, find the pace necessary to achieve it." Rickson Gracie

 Based on statistics and previous data I have found 78% of people never complete their resolution. That means, three out of those four people that wanted to learn/start Brazilian Jiu Jitsu will never do it. That is an eye-opening statistic!

I think people make these goals just like any other goal, just with broad vision and specifics. Many people rather deal in generalities than in specifics. Zig Ziglar says, “If you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time.”

It is okay if you want to earn your next belt, which is an admirable goal to have. How would you go about achieving getting your next belt level? What are some steps to take to start training and learn Brazilian Jiu Jitsu?

Here are some quick tips to achieving your goals:
1)      Make them SMART Goals (Specific, Manageable, Attainable, Realistic, Trackable)
2)      Write them down-
         Studies show that you are 80% more likely to achieve your goals if you write
         them down
3)      Tell a friend-
    Who else to hold you accountable and keep you on track other than a friend?
4)      Post them up somewhere-
           This is just a reminder to keep you focused
5)      Set small goals to achieve the big ones
            Once you achieve some small goals you start to feel a sense of completion and
            Getting some momentum going your way
6)      Reward yourself
     When you achieve success, reward yourself with a magazine, CD, or whatever      you want.

Some of my goals this year:
1) Post at least one article and try my best to keep the blog updated
   I am hoping to do some interviews and product reviews for 2012

2) Achieve 200 hours of mat time ( that is at two times per week)
This is something that I think is achievable with my current schedule. It will give me the mat time that I so need.

3) Drill techniques 50 times each side
I am hoping to accomplish this on Sundays to improve my fundamentals

4) Compete in at least two tournaments
Uncertain how unstable the beginning of the year will be with my family, but
 I will definitely do some towards the end of the year. I was only able to compete in one tournament this year.

5) Visit at least a couple of schools in some different areas either for Seminars or just to train
This is something I have wanted to do for a couple months now,
Now that the baby is getting old enough to travel, am hoping I can hit up some during vacation

            6) Improve my note taking
          Get in the habit of taking notes and jotting down techniques. I do it but not all the time. 

7)  Try to get my Crossfit back on track
           That is one area of training I think that has helped my cardio and Jiu jitsu skills

8)  CLEAN my diet up!
           When I eat like crap, I roll like crap and have no energy. Before I fell off the wagon and went into a diet coma, I had a ton of energy and could roll several rounds and not worry about a break

9)  Take some private lessons
I think this will point out some errors I have been making
What are some of your goals for 2012? How do you plan on achieving them?

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

North-South Side Effects

Last night Mike B and I were rolling, and he said he wanted to work on his top game.
We worked guard and he passed my half guard and got me into side control. He then transitioned into scarf hold and got some nice grips.  I thought well, this is one position I need to improve. As I tried to work my escape of bridging up, driving his head away with my forearm and hipping out to escape, Mike made his move to North-South.

Now, North-South. is not my favorite position, but last night was different. Mike’s pressure was excellent and I could not work my escape.

What I should have done...
I tried for several seconds to finesse my way out and then panic set in for some reason and I tried to muscle my way out. After several failed attempts to "Hulk” my way out, I started to get short of breath, freak out, and started to feel very claustrophobic. I quickly told him to get off me, and I was a little light headed, so I decided to sit out and watch.

                                                       What I actually did.....

After sitting out for 20 minutes or so, there was another white belt wandering around the mats looking for rolling partner. I was feeling better why not roll with him. I got on the mats and felt good rolling at a medium pace. We rolled for around 10 minutes and after I felt better.

Jiu-Jitsu is a sport for someone who is not afraid of tight spaces. In the pyramid of disadvantageous positions to be in while rolling, most people would say, turtle or mount. After my experience last night I choose North-South, apparently the side effect of being in the position may cause panic attacks.

Monday, December 19, 2011

To Compete Or Not To Compete, That Is The Question.

Yesterday, I decided to get some advice from one of my friends, Mike B, a blue belt from the school. I bounced the idea of competing in some upcoming tournaments in January and February.

The discussion about competing lead to a couple of topics:
1)      My home life is still unpredictable with the new born and parenting. This would impact my training and preparation for the tournament
2)      I am currently not in “Competing shape” I have managed to lose a step or two and gain a pound or 10 during my hiatus while doing my fatherly duties at home.

If I compete on January 28th, the tournament weight class is 200-215lbs, I am currently 228lbs. That means at least 13 lbs in 5 weeks, which is doable.

As far as the training aspect goes, I believe a good 3-4 rolling and drilling sessions per week would get make me for more comfortable for the tournament. The only issue with training is I will miss spending time with my daughter and would be putting extra burden on my already stressed out wife.

The upcoming NAGA in Atlanta is February 18th, and seems to be a little more feasible as far as me competing. The only issue with this is that there will be a lot more fairly skilled opponents than me, and right now, I just do not think my technique or cardio will be on point to handle the 5-minute rounds.

The academy is closed starting 12/22 and will re-open at the beginning of the New Year.
That is 10 days not rolling, but I can do some drills at the house or something.  I am having a conflict part of me want to compete, and the other half of there is a that little bit of doubt and fear in my current capabilities.

I have set a deadline to try to have answer for myself by January 18th   for  the tournament coming up on January 28th.  I think this will be enough time to try and evaluate my rolling and conditioning. And as for the NAGA in Atlanta, I am going to play that one by ear and try to train enough to make sure I can compete.

Any suggestions as to what to do?

Sunday, December 18, 2011

If you had 3 BJJ wishes....

If you found a magic lamp and a Genie popped out wearing a gi, and told you that you could have 3 wishes, but they would be BJJ specific. What would you wish for?

As for my wishes, they would go like this:

1)   I wish I could have started training at a younger age. The benefits of me training earlier would benefit me physically and mentally. I would be less sore, more flexible, and be able to compete earlier.
2)    I wish I could compete on a world’s level and be competitive. I would love to roll with the likes of Galvoa, Abreu, Papovitch, Garcia, and others and be able to hold my own.
3)   As for my final wish, I love to hear and read the stories from the greats about their up and comings in the sport and art. I would wish to be able to draw on their inspiration and stories at any time to be able to continue to make me better. 

So what would your wishes consist of?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

10 Tips To Survive Your First Year In BJJ

It has been a year since I started training, so I wanted to take a minute and highlight some areas that will help some beginners make it through their first couple of months or years in training. If you have never trained in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu before, as I had, it can be a shock to your body and mind. You will be frustrated, wanting to quit, and sore and tired from training.

1) Check your ego at the door-
“Egotism is the glue with which you get stuck in yourself”-Dan Post

An ego can be one thing that make or breaks a person when they walk through those academy doors. If someone walks in with the expectations of tapping out everyone on the mat, you are going to be disappointed rather quickly. This is a new experience for you, go into with an open mind and be humble. You will learn more than you could ever imagine about yourself and the art.

2) Make some friends- 
When you get frustrated with BJJ and the thought of quitting and burning your gi runs through your mind every day after class. It is extremely useful to chill out after class and discuss your frustrations with a friend. Just wait and see how fast a complete stranger will help you through the issues and quickly become a close friend and training partner. Some of my best friends I have met on the mats.

3) Be a reliable training partner- 
If you have people that want to roll on different days, at odd times, or they are training for a competition and you can do it and help them prepare, step up and make it. Make sure, when you commit, you show up and train. If you keep being a reliable training partner, you will always have someone to help you in the end when you need a training partner or you are struggling with something.

4) Tapping is a technique- 
This is probably the biggest issue with just starting out and having an issue with ego getting in the way. Tapping is not a defeat; it is an opportunity to learn from your mistake. My rules when I started were, tap early and tap often. I did not know how to escape an arm bar, and I would quickly tap to avoid injury, and then I would ask, “How do I get out of that?” Then next time I would try to understand the escape. I found this to be the best learning experience.

5) Mat time- 
Outside of Jiu Jitsu everyone has a life and it is difficult to find time to get on the mats. Once you get through the initial shock of starting, then work out a schedule to insure that you get the most mat time possible. This helps you improve your muscle memory and will put you in situations where you realize you need help. When I started, I would feel frustrated when someone would play open guard, now I love the game of trying to work a pass and passing someone’s open guard.

6) Drill, baby, drill- 
Drilling is a key to succeeding in Jiu Jitsu. It helps you commit moves to muscle memory. Once someone starts to move towards mount position, your body will instinctively react to the movement. The next thing you know you are pulling off a beautiful knee to elbow escape. I will admit I do not drill as much as I should have, but there are times that I wish I would have drilled more when I started, but it is never to late to start drilling techniques.

  7) Warm-ups and stretching
I cannot stress this one enough! These are critical to remaining injury free and being able to train more often. Stretch before and after class, this will help reduce muscle soreness the next morning. I went through around 10 boxes of Epson salt, walked around smelling like icy hot, and slept with heat patches on my back and knees for weeks when I started. Warm-ups are fun! You can start by doing some basic shrimp drills, running or sprinting around the mats, jumping jacks, push ups, or burpees.

8) Write it down 
Buy you a one-subject notebook and head to class. Write down your first experience in Jiu Jitsu, jot down techniques, write down where you struggled at during open mat, and write down what you would like to improve on for next class. This is a magnificent way to reflect on your growth. Being able to put pen to paper will help you remember techniques. This is something I wish I had started when I first started training. This will benefit you tremendously and will give you a complete record of your progress.

9) Progress will come 
Slowly but surely over a course of weeks and months, you will begin to see progress. You will go from being in someone's guard, to being able to pass right into side control, flow into the mount and set up a submission attempt. One day you will have that “Ah, Ha” moment and you will begin to see some results. Do not worry how long it will take to get a stripe or blue belt. Most people get distracted on when they are going to get a promotion. It will come, but for now just enjoy learning and all the rest will fall into place.

10) Set small goals to succeed 
Everyone steps into Jiu Jitsu with the goal of becoming a black belt, getting in shape, or losing weight, but what about setting small, realistic goals. I went into each class for the first 6 months and got caught in triangles. I immediately set a goal to avoid getting caught in triangles while rolling. To do this, I stopped putting myself into dangerous positions, I watched my posture when in someone’s guard, I started to become aware of my hand and arm placement during rolling. Now after practicing and learning, triangles are something that I have become skilled at avoiding. If you are struggling with arm bars, go into each class and do nothing but arm bar set ups and attempts. The small successes will help give you the motivation to continue.

I am sure there are 100 other ways, but these 10 I think will help set the initial groundwork and give you some motivation to train hard and leave it all on the mats. When I started I was not doing any of these things, and as the year progressed I started doing them and I am still developing some of these tools as I am still new to Jiu Jitsu. But as they say, "Starting is always the hardest part of anything" or "tomorrow is always a good day to do any job."  Do not fall into that trap, find a routine and enjoy your first year.

What has helped you survive the first year, fifth year, or tenth year? Please feel free to leave comments or follow this blog on Facebook.

Monday, December 12, 2011

East Coast BJJ Seminars Fan Page Interview

A lot of BJJ practitioners use seminars to expand their game and take a little nugget of knowledge from an expert and add to their arsenal of techniques.

Have you ever wanted to take a seminar from UFC champion Royce Gracie? Have you ever wanted to know how Ciao Terra performs a Gi choke? Now you have a chance to access some of the best seminars on the East Coast by just liking a Facebook page.

East Coast BJJ Seminars page happened to be created by two guys that met at a seminar. They wanted a way to communicate seminars to the BJJ community and social media was the answer

After I had attended two seminars that I found listed on their page, I knew wanted to find out more about the page and tell others know about this awesome page. I conducted an email interview with, Saad, half of the dynamic duo that created this page.

Q:How long have you been training BJJ?

A:I have been training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for a little over 4 years. In addition, I have a 1st degree Black Belt in Hapkido and was heavily into boxing for many years.

Q:What was the motivation behind East Coast BJJ Seminars page?
A:I am in the military and transferred to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina last year. I wanted to train with some top level guys and I was always hearing about seminars after the event had passed. I went to a Renzo Gracie seminar in Danville, VA and met a guy named Brandon who suggested the idea for Eastcoastbjjseminars and I just sort of took it and ran with it.
I chose to only focus on the seminars on the East Coast for two reasons: 

    1. I live on the East Coast and am only going to attend seminars on the East Coast, so I am tracking these seminars for myself and just publishing it for everyone else.
    2. If I tried to track all the seminars across the United States the page would consume a lot of time  and really would not be very user friendly. As it is I get feedback from people who view my page asking me to break the seminars into a smaller geographic areas. For instance, people in Florida are not going to seminars in New York.

Q:I personally have taken two seminars thanks to the page, have you heard any other really interesting stories by using your page?

A:The best feedback I have received is a white belt that went to a Royce Gracie seminar and Royce awarded him his blue belt after the seminar. The seminar lasted over 3 hours and approximately an hour of the seminar was dedicated to competitive rolling that Royce monitored. Royce was so impressed with the young man’s skills that he awarded him a blue belt afterwards. To receive a belt promotion from Royce Gracie is an incredible honor and for this young man an incredible surprise, because he was not expecting it at all.
I have had a few school owners tell me that the page has increased their attendance at some of their seminars, which I am really happy about. The better these seminars are attended the greater the chance for more seminars in the future.

Q:How many seminars do you average posting per month?

A:I would estimate that there are roughly 7-8 seminars a month that I find out about and post on the page. I think the most seminars I have advertised at one time were about 25. December is somewhat of a slow seminar month, because I think we only posted 3-4 seminars for December. I also advertise local jiu jitsu tournaments if the event organizer sends the info to me.

Q:How can a user submit a seminar to be displayed on your page?

A:You can either invite me to the seminar and I will post it on my page or you can post it directly to my page. I delete all events after they occur, so everything on the page is an upcoming event and nothing is expired.
If a person would like they can send me the info on a seminar they are sponsoring and I will create a Facebook Event for them and send it to all the people on my friends list as well as post it on my page.
I delete all MMA event postings and company advertisements, because I am just sticking with seminars and tournaments.

Q:There is obviously a huge following of your site with just under 1,700 followers. Are there any plans to expand this to a nationwide site or database for seminars?

A:Had a couple people ask me to start a page for West Coast BJJ seminars and I just said, “As soon as the military transfers me to the West Coast, then you will see me create the page.” I am not willing to dedicate anymore of my time running multiple geographic pages.
In the future, we may create a separate web page in addition to Facebook’s page, so the seminars can be tracked a little better. Facebook is an incredible tool with a lot of traffic, but it has serious limitations in regards to creating and organizing the seminars in a more user friendly format.

Q:Any other information you would like to share?

A:East Coast BJJ Seminars page is jointly run by Brandon and Saad (me) as a team, which is neat, because I have only actually met Brandon one time, which was at the Renzo Gracie seminar. We do all our communications via e-mail or text. Basically we are just two jiu jitsu geeks who decided to track seminars.
So whenever the military transfers me (Saad) to the West Coast or overseas then the page will become 100% Brandons and I will create something new wherever I go unless someone else has created something for that geographic area.
So all the questions you gave were just answered by half the team (Saad). LOL!

I do want to thank Saad, for answering my question and developing this awesome way to communicate seminars to the community!Share the link love and become a fan:
East Coast BJJ Seminars

Thursday, December 8, 2011


I don't have no alibi, my techniques are ugly. Yeh, yeh, they ugly!

Last night we did pass and defend for about 30-40 minutes straight. We rotated every 4 minutes from one partner to the next. I found myself struggling to break someone's guard and would get stuck in half guard when I passed.
I laid awake and thought about my mistakes, when I was going to pass I wasn't performing the techniques correctly. I wasn't controlling my opponent's hips, I wasn't pushing down on the knee when breaking guard, and I wasn't trapping the leg passing into side control.

The root cause of my problems last night was not that my opponent's guard couldn't be broken. It was just that I was not doing what I was taught to do. I am learning that little mistakes in a technique can be the difference in finishing or allowing your opponent to get the best of me. The only thing left to do is to .....Drill Techniques!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Advice from Cobrinha

Here is some Q & A from Rubens "Cobrinha" Charles on the "Ask the Nail" advice column. If you caught his match against Jeff Glover, he explains some of his thought process about going into the match and his theory on game plans going into the tournament.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Rolling with Spiderman!

Spiderman, Spiderman,
Does whatever a spider can
Spins a web, any size,
Catches thieves just like flies
Look Out!
Here comes the Spiderman.

Is he strong?
Listen bud,
He's got radioactive blood.
Can he swing from a thread
Take a look overhead
Hey, there
There goes the Spiderman.

In the chill of night
At the scene of a crime
Like a streak of light
He arrives just in time.

Spiderman, Spiderman
Friendly neighborhood Spiderman
Wealth and fame
He's ingnored
Action is his reward.

To him, life is a great big bang up
Whenever there's a hang up
You'll find the Spider man.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Best class of 2011!

Tonight was kind of awesome! Tim has had some nagging injuries over the last week so we have been doing some light drilling. I walked in tonight with the expectations to drill Monday's techniques. Instead we all warmed up and Tim told the class that he wanted a higher belt and white belt to pair up and for the white belt to learn from the blue. Ingenious!!!

I paired up with a blue belt and there was some awkward silence to begin with, but then we started talking about tournament strategies and game plans. I have never came up with a game plan, but he went over his with me a little bit. It was cool to get to see his thought process and how he worked his moves from different positions from higher percentage moves to moves where he would lose his advantageous position and his counters. He showed me a really cool arm triangle from half guard that I had never thought of. It works well if you have really long arms like he and I do.

We went back and forth talking techniques for awhile then we had open mat. I started rolling with one of the newer guys who has only been there about 3 months. We started rolling and I ended up in his guard.  He went for a flower sweep, but he made the same mistake I did in my tournament. He grabbed the wrong side arm and I was able to post out. I stopped and showed him how to grip the correct arm. Then I had the idea to just roll and end in positions, in his guard, to see what techniques he could remember. I was surprised, he remembered a couple of sweeps from guard and a couple of submission attempts.

Overall, I give tonight's class 4 stars!! I made it to class 2 times this week(thanks to my wonderful wife), I felt better tonight than I have felt in months, it was cool to see some of the newer guys progression, and I know a couple of new techniques. So yeh, 4 stars!!

Friday, November 25, 2011

Do I have Trypanophobia or do they just like to cause me pain?

I had to visit the doctor this past Tuesday to review some lab work I had done. He likes to keep an eye on my kidney function and why not since he is a nephrologist (Kidney specialist) and I do have a kidney disease.

I sat there has he went over my labs with me and he decided to drop the bomb on me. He wanted me to start IV Chemotherapy Treatment!

Apparently before there were so many drugs for kidney disorders, they used to use low level chemotherapy treatment and the main drug used in IV therapy is Cyotxan.

After hearing the news, I broke out in a sweat, mainly because the thought of Chemotherapy and the fact is that I am getting ready to get stuck with some huge needles. I showed up at the outpatient center to begin my therapy Wednesday morning and kicked off a long 7 hour stay at the hospital for the treatment.

The nurse came in and read me the laundry list of side effects of the drug and I almost went screaming out of the room. One of the side effects was a lower immune system which would make me susceptible to infections and other things. It was suggested I stayed away from rough sports, where I could get bruised, cut, or be easily exposed to bacteria.  All I was thinking was thank goodness I don't play football or rugby.I am glad Jiu Jitsu is known as "The Gentle Art." I guess I am going to have to be more careful and buy tons of anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, and Lysol everything.

Back to the topic at hand. So while starting the IV process the nurse, who I think really enjoyed causing me pain, was trying to find a vein in my forearm. She must have thought by digging the needle around in my arm like I was some sort of needle point project would help her find the vein. I broke out in a sweat, got light headed, and almost passed out. I have always had a fear of needles, but over the last couple of years I have had to over come that fear. But guess what!? The evil nurse with the needle brought the fear back!
Luckily I do not have another treatment until January, so that will give me another 2 months to get over my fear of needles once again. I do not however ever see me getting over the thought of me doing chemotherapy. I wonder how this treatment is going to affect my BJJ life and experience on the mats. The treatment can cause some hair loss. But, I do not have to worry about that; I am already ahead of game in that aspect.

Monday, November 21, 2011

All I want for Christmas is BJJ Gear!

With Christmas fast approaching, I decided to put my Christmas list out there for Santa,my wife and everyone else to see. I doubt I will get any of this,but who knows. I have been pretty nice this year!
So here is my BJJ Christmas list! Enjoy!!

1)Cyborg No-Gi DVD

This just came out a couple of weeks ago, and being that I took a seminar from him and had a chance to learn from him and see how he interacts with people. He has become one of my favorite BJJ practitioners. This is definite for the BJJ Christmas list!!!

2)Numero Dos!
The Shoyaroll batch #11. I know it will not be here until March/April of 2012, but to be honest I can wait. This item goes on sale at and is pre-order at 12am (PST) Friday morning after Thanksgiving, or 3 am here on the east coast.

3) My 2nd choice for a gi! Is the Break Point Reversible gi. 

4) Any of the T-shirts from MMA Warehouse.

5) Finishing off the top five on my wish list!!

Okay so I haven't really figured out item #5, but that one is on my to do list and has not been transferred over to the Christmas list.

Those are some of the items that hope to find under my tree! I am sure this list will change 100 times before Christmas.  What is on your BJJ Christmas list?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Exciting things and return to the mats!!

Roxie Addison Bair
It has been well over a month since my last blog entry, mainly because back on October 7 at 11:54am I became a father to a beautiful 6lb 15oz baby girl named Roxie Addison Bair.

I was one proud daddy, little did I know how much my life would change over the next couple of days, weeks, and forever. My priorities went from Crossfit and Jiu Jitsu to trying to change her diaper with out waking her up.

Like I said, no working out for a month and no Jiu Jitsu!!! A Month!!! I took two weeks off of work and found myself staying up all night with the baby,  eating cheetos, drinking soda, and watching TV. Once I went back to work my eating habits followed, and I am slowly slipping back into the clutches of honey buns and cinnamon rolls.

After sitting around and finally getting little Roxie and gaining about 10 lbs, I finally had a chance to go do some no gi one Sunday afternoon. There was a big turnout, which is unusual for a Sunday No gi session, and I was a little nervous to get back to the mats. We decided to do 10 rounds with a 5 minute time limit and 30 second rest.

Everyone grabbed a partner, and I obviously was still in some sort of hot pocket induced haze. I realized that the only person that was left to roll with at the beginning was Brian, an awesome practitioner, with a lot of credentials. I immediately charged in thinking I had the same conditioning that I had a month prior, but needless to say I was wrong. That was the longest five minutes of my life and I held back wanting to throw up several times.

Needless to say, the next 9 rounds I paced myself as I ran the gauntlet and tried to fumble my way through the rest of my skilled friends. I ended up taking a water break every time between rounds, and the only other time I did that was when I first started. I almost went through a gallon of water, and felt like I sweated out 4 gallons.

I was not surprised to see how big of a hit my conditioning took in a months time. After my Sunday baptismal  by fire return to the mats, I started to wonder will I ever get my wind back, or be able to develop a routine that I can enjoy Crossfit and Jiu Jitsu again.

It may not be right away, but I am sure I will be back in shape or maybe even better once things get settled down around here. As for right now, I am just going to enjoy life, and enjoy spending time with my new baby girl.
First Bottle!!

Monday, August 15, 2011

This is my strong hand...

Have you ever been drilling a technique and realized that it works better from one side or the other?  The thought of my left side being so inefficient and my right side techniques flow a lot smoother has been bothering me for several weeks now. I am to the point, where I need to focus on improving my weak side to improve my techniques from any position and help me work more escapes and others.

Since my loss in focus and concentration a couple of weeks ago, I stumbled across a gem of a book called, Body-Mind-Mastery: Training for Sport and Life by Dan Millman. This book discusses how to use natural laws in nature and life influences your training and performance in whatever sport you are currently involved.If it outlines some really deep ideals on training and performance in sports and how it interacts with your life.

Now, I was reading the other day in the book about symmetry between your body and muscles. If you were capable to perform any movement with either your weak or strong side you could reduce injuries, by not limiting yourself to one side, you could train longer, by switching side to side, and you would be come more versatile in your sport.

 Naturally, you are going to favor your dominant side and move somewhat effortlessly in your movements. If you could train your weak side to be as strong as or stronger than your dominant side, would you take the time? I am sure a majority of you would say, “Yes!” Who would not jump at the chance to improve their game?  The list of pros definitely outweighs the cons in my book.  The only con I could come up with is the sheer awkwardness of trying techniques from the other side. I am sure there are others, but the pro for me would be less fatique on my dominant side, more escapes, more submissions, and the ability to increase my skill level by utilizing 100% of my body.

I am going to start trying to do things with my left side and see if I can activate the opposite side of my brain and increase my efficiency on my left side. Some things I have already started doing, I moved my mouse over to my left side and I have started trying to do things with my opposite hand. I managed to write the alphabet 10 times with my left hand, it looks like chicken scratch, but I felt like I was concentrating and focusing a lot more than I would have done if I were just writing with my dominant hand. This is going to be a fun experiment and I will try to keep you posted on my progress. How do you train your opposite side or have you ever tried to use your non-dominant side during your daily activities?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

First Tournament Results

Well,  last weekend I competed in my First tournament and I had an absolute blast despite being really nervous.I was so nervous, I thought I was going to throw up on the way to Myrtle Beach and while I was weighing in at the tournament.

I made it through the weigh ins at 213lbs, which is where I wanted to be and started looking at the competition that had signed up, only 3 people in my division. One of which was, Billy, another white belt from my school. He and I would square off against each other in the 200-225lb division and have several matches to boot.

Billy lost his first match by points, and that set me up to go against my first opponent.We squared off and slapped hands and the crowd went silent. My heart beat was echoing in my ears and my breathing was erratic. I kept trying to get the take down, and pulled a very sloppy guard. There was a back and forth exchange of positions and we ended up back on our feet. I managed to grab a leg and get the single leg take down. I tried several kimuras from the top and got swept. He left his arm in and ended up getting him in a triangle. After watching the video and getting some feedback from everyone at my school, I missed several opportunities earlier in the match to go for a triangle.

I was on an high as I rolled into gi and submitted the same guy with a triangle I had submitted in no-gi. Then Billy and I faced off, there were several reversals back and forth. He got me in an Omaplata and rolled out and got side control. Eventually I caught my friend in a key lock and won the match by submission to take 1st in Gi. Do not worry Billy got his revenge on me in the Absolute white belt

  Going into white belt absolute, I was more nervous for this division. I ended up going against a guy that was about 175lbs and who seemed to me to be the Flash, disguised as a white belt. He was all over me and I could not shake him. He had my back and racked nice cushion of lead of 9-0. I ended up trying to escape and forgot to block his leg and ended up in a triangle. Ironic, huh?

Then Billy came back, and took third place in absolute, by defeating with an arm bar submission. By this point my cardio was shot and I was tired and hungry.

I ended up with 2 first place finishes and a not so bad showing in absolute for my first time. Overall, I am proud to have finished like I did. I never would have thought that I would have ever got enough nerve and would have ever been this physically ready to do something like this. I have exceeded a goal and met my biggest fear by doing this tournament. Now, unfortunately, I have the bug and I want to compete again! Congratulations to Billy, for a great showing in his first tournament!

Things to work on before my tournament:
1) Cardio- Back to Crossfit and Rolling more
2) Game plan- Get one and use it
3) BREATH!!!!
4) Drill my escapes over and over
5)Do the best I can, and learn from what I did wrong

Any and all feedback is welcome and let me know your thoughts on my performance or any tips that you would give me to work on for my next tournament. 

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Upcoming Tournament, This weekend!

I was out of town all last week in Virginia and did not get a chance to train at all. Now I am back in good ole South Carolina, and back to hitting the mats and the weights in preparation for this tournament this weekend at Myrtle Beach, SC.

This is my first tournament and I definitely felt the butterflies earlier in the week. After talking with all the guys they reassured me I would do fine and I probably would have some adrenaline rush and gas out early. It actually felt like I was already competing; I was sweating and my heart rate was through the roof since from listening to them describe my first tournament.

I then turned to internet for guidance and searched through several blogs I follow, and read everything I could about tournaments and competing in all of them. It was nice to see all the people that have competed for the first time and survived to compete again, and kept us newbies informed so that we can learn from their experiences.

Preparation for this tournament is nil, but I am going in with no expectations and will definitely learn from this weekend. My mind has been racing all week with antici......................pation (using my Dr. Frankenfurter voice).

After 8 months of training, here I am face to face with something I thought I would never do. This is a milestone for me in my life. Win, lose or draw, I am going to have fun and meet some fellow practitioners and do I what I love to do, Jiu Jitsu. Wish me Luck!

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Roberto "Cyborg" Abreu Seminar Report

I drove down to Savannah, GA to Team Roberto Traven's affiliated school Serg BJJ for an awesome opportunity to take the Roberto "Cyborg" Abreu's seminar. I was pretty stoked about it and really did not know what to expect.

Since I have been studying Jiu Jitsu this guy has rocketed to the top of my favorites list, not just because he is a world champion, because he is a motivator, innovative, and a big guy that moves with the speed and agility of a small guy.

Speaking of innovation,have you ever seen the movie "Beautiful Mind," which chronicles the life of John Nash, who has a unique gift of solving mathematical and statical data that have stumped even the brightest minds? Cyborg's mind seems to cross that of Nash's and he sees the puzzle and reacts to solve the enigma of Jiu Jitsu.

I have never encountered someone that thinks and reacts to Jiu Jitsu like he does. Maybe because he is a self taught, hungry competitor that is consistently improving himself and studying for his next opportunity to show his skill and knowledge of Jiu Jitsu. He believes that for every technique you drill you should come up with at least three variations in case your opponent counters and you have to adjust your game plan. His theory on variations was shown on the techniques that the group of us eighteen guys drilled.

We started with a simple half guard transition to deep half guard. Now this where I got to see his mind at work. He showed us the counters to deep half from top and how to control the opponent. Then he showed us the counters to the counters from the bottom. This is where he spoke of the reaction to the position. You cannot drill the technique and understand it if your partner just follows; they need to react so that you can get a real simulation of the movement and drill correctly.

We probably drilled 10 techniques by my count from deep half with a lot of variations. We worked a lot of sweeps and passes from deep half also. I always wanted to learn some deep half techniques and now I know several.

His instruction on the movements and drilling were something I would not have pictured. He would sit and watch each of us drill what he had just shown,not like an observer, but you could actually see him breaking down our movements in his head. Once he spotted us doing something abnormal with the movement, he would come over and coach us through it.

It was something of a honor to sit and listen to his philosophy of Jiu Jitsu and how he opened his first school as a purple belt with all new white belts, how he encourages his students to develop their own games and variations on Jiu Jitsu, and how the art has changed his life.

The art is full of guys that have the same game and learn and train the same techniques, it was refreshing to learn from someone who has developed their own moves, style, and philosophy on the art of Jiu Jitsu.

I do want to thank Michael Sergi and Cyborg himself for this opportunity. It was definitely an experience I will never forget. If you get a chance to experience one of Cyborg's seminars, I would encourage you to spend the money. The rewards out weigh the risk, and you will be glad you did.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Out of Focus

"The successful warrior is the average man, with laser-like focus." Bruce Lee

Recently, I have lacked focus during rolling and even during drilling. Random thoughts pop into my head, or I take my mind off of what I am doing. Has that ever happened to anyone?

I just seem to zone out and make stupid mistakes. I do not know if the arrival of my first child has me nervous, the due date is a mere 11 weeks away! Yikes!! I think about it quite often, will I be prepared, what will I do if.., or will she like jiu jitsu?

It is just randomness and worries that pop in my head. I have never been able to keep my thoughts to myself. Like tonight, I mentioned during drilling that I would like to go to Checkers (a fast food burger place). Why did that pop in my head? I was hungry no doubt, but did I have to say it out loud. Yes, my buddies laughed, but that should have not been said during technique drilling.

I need to figure out how to recapture my focus before I lose it, and I need to stop the random thoughts and focus on the mat and time. I used to think about rolling, getting out of bad spots, and working techniques. Instead now, I am worried I am worried about all sort of craziness!

This weekend I am visiting some friends in Savannah,GA and going to check out Serg BJJ and catch Roberto "Cyborg" Abreu there for a seminar. Then Monday I am leaving for Virginia, and I am hoping I can hone my focus by attending another school and meet some new people. Yep, that should focus me back up.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Professor Luis "Limao" Heredia Seminar

I had the chance today to travel to Bluffton, SC with two of my buddies from Swampfox BJJ, Mark and Mike, and attend a seminar at Cross Rhodes BJJ  from the very much accomplished and well renown mind of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Professor Luis Heredia. First of all this is was my first seminar and it was truly a life and game enhancing experience.

A little background about the Professor: He was the first purple belt to step foot in the United States. With friends and training partners, Rorian and Rickson Gracie, he helped to start the spread of Jiu Jitsu throughout the US. He has trained with the Gracie Family and associated with the founders of the gentle art since he was around 14 years old. He is a 5 time Pan Am champion and world class instructor and professor at Maui Jiu Jitsu Academy. You can visit the site and find out more about this pillar of the Jiu Jitsu community.

Now, this was my first seminar ever, and with such a honored member of the Jiu Jitsu family. So let's get the awkwardness out of the way. That's right, I showed up in a Black Kimono. Yes, I now know that I am to wear a white one. I felt kind of bad and embarrassed about the whole ordeal.

After Professor Heredia gave some background on himself. We started with some techniques from questions that everyone was asking. It was kind of overwhelming to see his mind work at the puzzle of Jiu Jitsu. The first question was about your opponent being off balance while in knee-on-belly mount and they have bad posture for setting up the choke, what do you do on bottom? You could see the 30 plus years of experience in the art at work immediately. He started instructing us on some sweeps from bottom while in knee-on-belly mount.

His technical skills and ability to teach techniques was amazing. He flawlessly flowed from one question to the next and the next. Answering each one and demonstrating each technique to the counter and the attack. All of us listened to his detailed explanation of each move.
 How to control the head and the hips were the keys to all of the techniques; if you allow an opponent to have movement of their head or their hips, they can escape or counter.

He explained his progression through Jiu Jitsu and how he became to wonder about being a small frame guy and learning to keep mount position after he had been playing bottom and guard for a majority of years. He started to learn about weight distribution and started working full mount and submissions from mount. His coaching for mount positions and submissions is something, I think, I will never forget.

With this, he started his tutelage on mount position and submissions from mount. We worked the choke and went over the orientation of the wrists and how crucial it is to the choke submissions. While drilling these moves, I learned a lot about the cross choke, hip placement and weight distribution.

He shared stories with us about some of the tournaments, and his thoughts and beliefs on Jiu Jitsu. He told us that Jiu Jitsu is the only sport that he can feel present in and focused on, and not think about anything else.
This being my first seminar, Professor Heredia and Cross Rhodes BJJ have set the bar and exceeded my expectations. I look forward to utilizing and adding some of these moves to my game. If you get a chance to attend a seminar from Professor Heredia, I suggest you take it. It will be the best investment and experience you will make to your life and Jiu Jitsu.

Thanks Professor Heredia, Ben Rhodes, Cross Rhodes BJJ guys/gals, and my training partner during the seminar, Andrew.

Please feel free to post your comments or your feedback.

And now some videos of Professor Heredia: