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:

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Top 30 Signs you are addicted to Jiu Jitsu:

Here is a list that was posted on

The list was posted in 2008, but I decided to bring it out and dust it off, due to the discussion over at


You know you're addicted to Jiu-Jitsu when...

1. On your way home after Jiu-Jitsu class you always stop to go shopping so you can show off your kimono and belt.

2. All of your enemies, "gotta big mouth!"

3. You begin pronouncing the word Jiu-Jitsu (jew-jit-su) as "zhuzhitsu."

4. You're constantly thinking up a new setup or move that no one has discovered just so you can “put your name on it."

5. While in bed with your wife or girlfriend you're doing Jiu-Jitsu reversals to maneuver her into the position you want.

6. While talking with friends, bosses, or relatives you eye them up and down to see which would be easier to get on them: the armbar or the choke.

7. You're constantly staring at other people's ears while at bars and clubs to see who is a grappler.

8. Only when you're explaining a move to a friend do you develop a slight Brazilian accent.

9. Waiters, waitresses, and the cable guy are all now "my friend, my friend."

10. You turn over in bed at night by posting your foot and sliding your hips to turn instead of just rolling over.

11. You spend hours on end looking at BJJ sites trying to think of things you can say.

12. You try to get grandma to do a footlock on you.

13. Your family members begin to lose feeling in their joints.

14. Last night you dreamt that Royce Gracie put you in an armbar, and when you woke up your arm was caught between your desk and the edge of your bed.

15. Asked how BJJ deals with multiple attackers you say, "I don’t know, I've never found more than one person dumb enough to try."

16. You find it fun putting house pets (e.g. dogs and cats) into locks, chokes, and holds.

17. You start wanting to test your BJJ skills against big guys at bars and clubs.

18. It becomes increasingly difficult to say, "So you’re a black belt in Taekwondo, that's very impressive," with a straight face.

19. You catch yourself attempting to pass your girlfriend’s guard.

20. You talk in broken English, even though you're a college graduate.

21. You practice chokes on anyone that turns his back to you.

22. Someone tries to give you a hug you immediately drop into base and execute a hip throw.

23. Your girlfriend comes over and you greet her with an open guard instead of a hug.

24. You find yourself twisting and mangling your ears trying to get the cauliflower to look cool.

25. You start teaching your 10-month-old baby the mount, the side mount, and the guard.

26. Breaking joints becomes an everyday thing.

27. While nobody is around, you start doing submissions to your pillow.

28. Your Gi has more patches on it than a whole company of Girl Scout uniforms.

29. During the winter you wear your Gi top around the house instead of a sweater or turning on the heat.

30. You’re trying to get your friends to the BJJ dojo just to show them what a great Lion-Killer you have.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

What has Jiu Jitsu done for you?

I have been receiving some excellent feedback from some of my coworkers on my blog. Just the other day, one stopped me and asked me about Jiu Jitsu and he asked me a very thought provoking question, "What has Jiu Jitsu done for me?" Wow! I was honestly floored by that question. I covered some information in a earlier post: Story behind the belt and the blog, but I wanted to revisit and add some more detail, and share a little more into my journey of becoming a healthier person.

There is so much that I am thankful in life. At one time, I was in a pretty dark place in my life. I was severely depressed, my health was failing, I was disconnected from friends and family and on top of everything my marriage was suffering.
Me at my heaviest
I fell into playing on-line games to escape reality and it wasn't unusual to eat a large pizza and drink 3-4 Redbulls during my 8 hours a day game playing. That's right 8 hrs! I was addicted to World of Warcraft. People laugh when I say I was addicted to a game, but it can happen and does all the time. 

Me just before starting Jui Jitsu
My Cholesterol was through the roof; my triglycerides were in the 800s. I was at high risk for heart disease, heart attack, and hyper tension due to my kidneys. On top of that, because my kidneys were not functioning properly, I had 2 blood clots work their way through my heart into my lung, causing necrosis of some of my lung tissue. Sounds Fun, huh?

Hospital Blood Clot
  Well, I was not a social butterfly either. I really did not like social gatherings and hated going out trying to recapture my youth over drinks with friends. I cut myself off from all my friends, and really, my family also. Like I said earlier, dark times.

My therapist suggested to go for it when someone suggests a social gathering or an event to hang out with people. I should stop cutting off all outside world contact, and just go and try and have fun. I started to do events and going out; I started to have fun again. I met all kinds of interesting people in the world of MMA which I loved. I met Eric Lee, owner of  a local MMA gym and he was a lot of inspiration. He talked me out of my comfort zone and  I started a local MMA blog, went to local events, and met some of the local fighters.

Then came time to get in shape. I cancelled my Warcraft account and changed my diet. I didn't do the gym at the time, but started doing other things like walking and running.  

2011 No-gi
Fast forward to October 2010: I made a goal to start jiu jitsu by the end of 2010. I started and immediately fell in love with the sport., I love MMA, but I do not like getting hit the face :P
2011 Wife captured the moment
I met all kinds of people and made some friends, at Swamp Fox BJJ. From 2006-present I have lost 55lbs total, my cholesterol and Triglycerides are almost normal range, my marriage is the best it has  ever been, and we are expecting out first child.
Push Up Challenge( I did 69 in 90 seconds)

Jiu Jitsu has given me a second chance at my life. It has given me confidence in myself. I have done things that I thought I would never do: like a push up challenge, a 5k, and a 4 mile obstacle course, starting CrossFit, and starting this blog and sharing my life with total strangers

What has jiu jitsu done for me? It should be what hasn't it done me? I started with the goal to get in shape and lose weight and little did I know how my life would change, by just putting on gi.

What has jiu jitsu done for everyone else? It is mind blowing how much of an impact it can have on your life. Please feel free to share your story, comment, or feedback.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

No-gi Sunday!

Today was Sunday, and just like any other Sunday a couple of us got together for some No gi rolling. Now if you remember from my post I don't know what to do with my hands... , I was struggling a little bit with grips and hand placement. So today I took my camera back to the gym to get some footage of how my rolls went.

My hand placement and death grip was little better today. I also gripped behind the head and triceps a lot more. I was really shocked that I got so many arm drags, when I just added that to my drilling a couple weeks ago. I was so stunned, I almost let them regain their balance as I stood in awe at my arm drag.

I was able to get the Kimura a couple of times and I also nailed a couple of arm drags and was able to get a submission by rear naked choke. I have also been using what I call a modified De La Riva sweep, and it is pretty high percentage sweep, but I have not perfected the transition to top or side mount yet.

I also noticed I was playing the half guard a lot, I guess that is my old faithful when I get in trouble. I feel like I am getting lazy in half guard and not trying to get out of trouble.I need to try and improve my half guard sweeps to better my position and get out of trouble.

I did however get caught in a couple triangles back to back. This was because I was sleeping and was not paying attention to my arms, because I was trying to work a pass or something. I ended up in his guard and swam one arm under his leg and he immediately broke my posture and boom! Triangle City!

We ended up doing 10 rounds of sparring, 4:00 minute rounds(No one knew how to work the gym boss to reset the timer-lol). I have a lot of video to watch and I am hoping to do a breakdown of it and see where a lot of my holes are.

I enjoy doing no gi it totally changes the aspects of the game. It does make me think a lot more, and makes me try new things. How does everyone else feel about no gi? Please leave comments and feedback below, all are greatly appreciated.

Blog it up! List of all the BJJ blogs!

Here is a list Bjjgrrl posted on  her blog:

To see Slideyfoot's entire list: Slideyfoot's BJJ Speadsheet

Over 100+ blogs about training, techniques, and life in general. If you have a question about
tournaments, techniques, nutrition, or anything else. This is your resource!

Thanks Slideyfoot and Bjjgrrl for posting all that information!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Illinois House Passes bill 1490! You are not going to believe this!

Just read this over at Jiu Jitsu Forums! Unbelievable!

Illinois House Passes Bill 1490;

Apparently, you can hold events ,but they have to be sanctioned through the athletic commission and amateur competitors must be registered with the commission as well and get clearance medical clearance from a doctor before an event. 

Also this Bill increased live gate tax from 3% to 7%, which is going to cost promoters and fans in the end.

This is going to kill tournaments and grappling in Illinois. I know I would not want to get medical clearance every time I want to compete in a tournament.

So far Naga has moved their summer event and IBJJF has cancelled their open. There is no telling the total impact of this bill. Please let me know your thoughts on this, drop a comment below.

Wrong turn!

You know the movie where a bunch of teenagers makes a wrong turn or tries to find a shorter route and they end up in the woods and the next thing you know they are running from some homicidal maniac Three Finger and crew with bows and arrows and trying to survive and get out of the woods alive.

Wrong turns always spell disaster in movies and in life it causes quite a bit of frustration. Let someone say to you while you are driving, that you have just made a wrong turn or you try to take a short cut and end up miles from where you intended. All of a sudden, you kind of get a little anxiety and sometimes small panic attacks set in and you start trying to figure out how far the next off ramp is located or the next turn around so you can make the correct turn and get back on the intended route and make up the time you lost.

I said all that to get to this, I found myself the last couple of days rolling and  making the wrong turns. I always ended up with my back against my opponent, while they would have side control and quickly "S-mount." Immediately I wouldn't realize what happened, until I hear my inner voice say "Arm bar! You made the wrong turn again!" or I see an opening from half guard and end up pulling my leg through or swimming my arm the wrong way, or just try something crazy. Next thing you know, my opponent has taken my back, sunk in their hooks and started working submissions.

There is no denying, once you make that decision and commit and try to escape and you end up in a bad position.You have to figure a way out, you have to figure out how to escape from the homicidal maniacs. At least 1 out 5 stranded teenagers out smarts a murderer in the movies, and I suspect if someone can survive and evade several attempts on their life. If that is possible, I can understand out how to get out of making a wrong turn and avoid trouble all together. 

Please let me know your thoughts, feedback, and comments. I have been getting really great feedback and I would like to encourage all to keep it up!

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Inch by Inch

We only had class 2 days this week and we worked on one sweep and 3 variations of the leg rope pass.

I was pretty stoked about drilling these passes, because I usually get stuck when someone is playing open guard. It frustrates me to no end,when I can not pass someone's open guard. Unfortunately, I could not find a video of this pass to post,but it is in the Brown Belt section of Jiu Jitsu University page 227.  The other variations we drilled were  Leg Rope back, and Leg Rope side switch and smash pass.

I struggled on the switch and smash. I was not getting my angles correct and my opponent could move his legs, which is not what I wanted to happen. I am going to have to work on that during open mat and guard passing and defend, but the other 2 passes I drilled and tried them during pass and defend time at the end of class.Tim kept reminding us that guard passing is methodical and it is an inch by inch process. we have to take our time and feel out the pass and how the opponent reacts to our pass.

Open mat was pretty good, me and another white belt unleashed the fury. We rolled 2 or 3 consecutive times, each of us working some submissions and sweeps. He got me in a straight arm bar and I landed a kimura.

Then I rolled with the school's only purple belt and I after I successfully defended his infamous collar choke, Tim stepped in and got us to switch so he could defend and I could attack. His reasoning, was that the higher belts need to stop trying to submit me (the newest white belt) and allow me to work some offense and the higher belts to work their defense and I was all for that :P

I am the last person to sign up and stay for more than a week. That still makes me the new guy :P
Hopefully we will get some new people in the future, until then I will just keep on grinding it out, inch by inch.

Please feel free to leave comments and feedback. Email me any questions, or concerns:

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Dear Diary

I know I should have started several months ago, but like anything else in life I procrastinate until I feel guilty about it.

I need to start a training journal to keep techniques and other information in, but I have been struggling on how to lay out the notes and other aspects of the training. I have read several blogs and posts on training journals, but I have not had much success it determining a good method. I am positive everyone takes notes different, and each person has their individual styles that work for them.

The biggest area that I am struggling with most is listing the detail of the techniques covered in class. I did make some attempts at it, but I struggle with the detail of description. I listed them in a 1, 2, 3 fashion. For Example:
1) Grab Gi sleeve with opposite hand
2)While in guard use your legs and pull opponent down breaking posture and trapping arm
3)With arm trapped, reach around with free arm and grasp opposite shoulder of gi and pull down to secure arm

So the gauntlet  has been thrown, the fat lady has sang, and I am going to draw a line in the sand and by the end of this week, I will have all the notes and techniques listed in a notebook from class this week. It may not be the most descriptive, but I have to start somewhere.

I would envision it to be like the Grail Diary from Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade. I want to be able to look back at it 5 years from now and be able to understand the techniques and be able to share that level of detail with someone interested in the martial art and drop some Sean Connery on them,"See here, Junior."

How do you guys and gals track your progress and techniques? Did anyone else struggle with starting a journal and how do you currently track your techniques and progression?  Please drop a comment below or email me at:

Facebook page...

I created a Facebook page and the blog will automatically upload there. Please "Like" the page and share with friends. Jiu Jitsu-360 Facebook page. Please let me know if you have any feedback or comments.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

I don't know what to do with my hands...

Yesterday the gym was closed, but a couple of us got together and did some no gi. I am not familiar with no gi, I kind of feel like a fish out of water.

We have been doing no gi on Sundays for the past couple of months and I feel like I am improving.Over the past couple of weeks my movement is not as awkward as it was in the beginning doing no gi, but I still feel like I am just leaving to many holes. I have been trying to work my guard and submissions from the guard, but I just do not feel fluent enough to catch someone sleeping and slap an arm bar on them. I will save this for a later post, but back to topic at HAND.

This is a really stupid thing and I am sure some other experienced no gi practitioners can help me, but I just don't know what to do with my hands. I try not to grab the rash guard or clothes, but it is kind of hard. I just end up leaving my arms and hands flailing about, and I usually get caught in an key lock or arm bar.   

On a high note, I am having good success with a kimura from half guard, but I over commit and try to force the kimura and continue to hold the grip.While holding on for dear life, I end up loosing position to turtle or mount. By the end of the day, if I could not get the kimura, I just let the grip go, to not give up position to my opponent.

My hands are just all over the place either I can't figure out what to do with them or I slap a death grip on someone and it sticks and I end up getting submitted.

I am going to pay more attention this week during rolling to see if I do the same thing while doing gi. I will try to work and tuck my elbows and arms more and see how that works out.

Please feel free to leave comments and feedback. Email me at: if you have any questions.

Monday, July 4, 2011

More than the mat....

A.D. McClish, from Allie the Clear Belt, posted a story about Josh Hagan, a guy she trains with, who stopped a car jacking and put the suspect in a rear naked choke. The move is known at his gym as "The Lion Killer." I was searching for BJJ news and stumbled across this story, Lakeland Man witnesses carjacking, nabs suspect, about Hagan one day after I had read Allie's blog on the subject.

Most people do not know that BJJ is a self defense martial art focused on ground fighting, though it has turned into a sport over the years.Hagan, a carpenter, stepped in and applied BJJ at its core. He is no sheriff, he is an average joe, that took matters into his own hands. There are several other recent stories of Jiu Jitsu practitioners stepping in and making a difference.

Just back in April of this year Pedro Arrigoni, a jiu jitsu instructor in San Francisco stopped an assault on a police officer by putting the suspect in a rear naked choke. It just shows if you prepare for a situation by training, you may be able to prevent something terrible or save your life or the life of someone else. Hagan and Arrigoni showed with training and a level head anyone can step in and help a fellow man.

I wonder if I were ever in that situation, what would I do?

It is kind of funny, several months ago. I would not have even cared about how these suspects were subdued nor would I be reading about them. Since studying BJJ, I have searched out stories like this for motivation and inspiration. It allows me to think that if I ever get backed into a corner or someone needs my help I will be able step in and assist them. Thanks for sharing that story Allie, and everyone make sure you train hard, you may never know when you need to apply your skill set off the mats. Please post any comments below or send feedback to

Sunday, July 3, 2011

No Open Mat on Saturday= Walmart Fun!

So I am off of work for one week, so I am hopefully going to get to the gym everyday this week. We didn't have open mat on Saturday, so the wife and I went to Walmart where my inner child got the best of me. This what happens when there is no BJJ! I am planning on trying out for the Avengers.