Gi vs NoGi: Karo Parisyan's Armenian Necktie submission

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Karo Parisyan's Armenian Necktie submission is currently making the rounds on social media and with good reason. It's a great surprise of a submission. 

I'd like to take this as an opportunity to champion training in the gi, even if you're strictly a submission grappler or MMA enthusiast. 


What do the degrees on the black belt mean in jiujitsu?

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What do the degrees on the black belt mean in jiujitsu? grandmaster Helio Gracie shares his thoughts:

Do you agree with the concept? 


Check for more resources on Amazon.com:


BJJ: How to pass the closed guard - Old School Style!

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Passing the closed guard is huge and very important part of Jiujitsu. In fact, there are many competitors who specialise in the guard pass: old school names like Rickson Gracie, Royler Gracie, Saulo Ribeiro and practically everyone on the Carlson Gracie Sr team plus new school names like Rodolfo Vieira and Leandro Lo. Even the rules of Jiujitsu competition recognise the importance of getting past the opponent's guard: 3 points. That's right. You don't get any points for the side control itself. You get three points for passing the opponent's guard, second only to the mount and back mount. 

I've always enjoyed both sides of the coin: playing guard and passing guard and while I appreciate the array of new techniques for both that are constantly cropping up everywhere I've always stuck to my mantra:

I don't have time to training variations. I therefore need to spend my limited mat time on:

1. Perfecting a small number of techniques from 1-2 positions
2. Perfecting ways to guide the game / match to these 1-2 positions

This is why my eyes perk up when I hear Jiujitsu teacher Eddie Kone say:

"We're going to spend the next month on the guard pass"

Not guard passes (multiple ways to pass). Not pass of guards (how to pass a variety of guard such as butterfly, closed, delariva...etc.). 

The guard pass.

We start in the opponent's closed guard. We neutralise their attacks. We open the guard while staying safe. We control and slowly but surely inch our way past the guard. The tightness is ridiculous. The pressure is generated before during and after is ridiculous. 

I'm talking about the kind of guard pass that makes the opponent TAP. 


BJJ / Grappling tips: avoiding injury in jiujitsu

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What is your objective in jiujitsu?

I'm currently reading Nic Gregoriades' excellent volume "The Black Belt Blueprint" and while I can't rave about it enough (full review to come. If you can't wait, check this thorough review by Slideyfoot.), I noticed something that I totally agree with but also want to add to.

For those of you who don't know who Nic is, shame on you. Besides being Roger Gracie first black belt, he's an accomplished writer, teacher and competitor.

The book starts with a thorough introduction to all the major positions of jiujitsu and grappling. In each, e.g. The mount, Nic advises on the most important pieces of the puzzle then he suggests what you should be doing if you were on the offence and defence side respectively. So in the case of the above mentioned mount he suggests the following:

While I totally agree that the best thing to ask yourself at any one point during grappling is: "what should I be doing / focusing on right now?" And that the answer to that question should never revolve around more than 1-2 things for each position / transition, and I cannot fault any of the technical advice Nic provides for each position and from each perspective, I'd like to add a new point of view.


BJJ / Grappling School Review: New School BJJ, London

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If you're looking to train BJJ in London you will be truly spoiled for choice. Meerkatsu wrote a beautiful article on training BJJ in London for "Jiujitsu Style Magazine " not too long ago. One such academy that has built a fantastic reputation over the years is New School BJJ in the Battersea area and, as Battersea is only a cycle ride away from where I now live in Clapham, I paid them a visit to train at the lunch time session.


Bjj / grappling/ MMA Tips: recover faster between sessions with these 4 tips

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I recently read an online article on recovery between sessions and I thought it did an OK job of telling you what's important but still left much to the imagination with regards to immediate steps to take so here goes my version:

The best ways to recover faster between jiujitsu sessions:

1 – Stretch your muscles and decompress your spine 

Have a post-session routine and stick to it. This doesn't need to be complicated nor take a long time. A good start is to do the following three stretches religiously after every session:

a. Downward dog: this will work your back chain (calves, hamstrings, spine...etc) for 1-2 minutes 


BJJ / Grappling tips: How to always win in jiujitsu & Peter Aerts' take on speed

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I recently heard Bas Rutten relay the words of one of the best Dutch kickboxers ever, Peter Aerts, regarding his speed of delivery of punches, kicks and other strikes:

"Fast? No actually I'm slow and lumbering. I am however very perceptive. I have worked a lot on my sensitivity. They may start first but I arrive first. My advice is for you to cultivate sensitivity and deep understanding and you won't need speed. They will need to catch up to you instead of the other way round."

I personally believe this is a great strategy for jiujitsu as well, with one slight modification. I believe that a if you're faster than me, but I force you to go a longer, more treacherous way, I will win the race every time.


BJJ Interview: Progress Kimono Founder James Tighe

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Hello. Why don’t we start by you telling us a little about yourself? 
I'm James Tighe, 32, From Salford, just outside Manchester.

Are you currently training / teaching Martial Arts? Is that Full time / Part time?
 Yes.  I currently train at Stealth BJJ in Manchester.  I started training in September 2009.  I train part time, in the evenings and weekends after work.  I have Not yet started teaching as I am still a blue belt but would love to one day, maybe only once a week though, people say it helps improve your own game.

Which arts do you study / teach and under whom?
I train Brazilian Jiu Jitsu under Steve Campbell, black belt under head of Gracie Barra Carlinos Gracie.  I think Steve is one of the most knowledgeable and intelligent Jiu Jitsu black belts in the UK.  I'm lucky he is in Manchester!

I also train at an MMA gym - 'ASW Manchester' once a week with Kam Atakuru, who is an incredible grappler, and pro MMA fighter.

How long have you done that?
5 years, 3 months :)

Please check out their range at Progress Jiujitsu.


BJJ / Judo Interview: Jimmy Pedro - World Champion and 4-time Olympian

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"World Champion Jimmy Pedro is one of the most decorated judo players in American history. Jimmy is world renowned for his judo expertise, coaching ability, and training methods. A newaza (ground techniques) specialist, Jimmy currently owns and operates Pedro’s Judo Center in Wakefield, MA and teaches clinics and seminars throughout the country."

So starts Jimmy Pedro's bio on his blog, but there is so much more to the man. Jimmy is my contact with the prestigious martial arts company Fuji Sports and he was kind enough to take the time to answer my questions. Read and learn.

Hello Jimmy. How is life treating you?
Very well thank you. Can't complain.

Are you currently training / teaching Martial Arts? Is that Full time / Part time?
I am currently the Head National Coach for USA Judo.
I was 2012 US Olympic Judo Team Coach and will be 2016 US Olympic Team Coach as well.
I also run Pedro’s Judo Center in Wakefield, MA which is a USA Judo National Training Center

Which arts do you study / teach and under whom?
I love all martial arts, but my art is Judo. Under my dad. Jim Pedro. I also studied Wrestling. I wrestled Division 1 at Brown University and was captain of the university team (1993 and 1994).

How long have you done that?
Since I was 5 years old.

How do you manage to fit your own training around work and family time?
I am now retired from competition; but, I still work out a few times a week in judo. I teach Monday – Thursday nights at my dojo. I also run or lift 2 – 3 times per week.


BJJ / MMA / Grappling Interview: Marcos "Parrumpa" da Matta

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This jiujitsu interview with 4th degree Carlson Gracie black belt famous MMA coach Mr Marcos ‘Parrumpa’ da Matta during his recent visit to his affiliate Union BJJ in Manchester.

Parrumpa, first of all, thank you for today's seminar and for this interview. Let's first start with your opinion on the Gi vs nogi debate. You have had huge success both as an athlete and a coach in BJJ, nogi grappling and MMA. Where do you stand on the gi vs nogi debate?

The pleasure is mine. Firstly, I want to clarify something. It has now been proven that if you have to chose one singular martial art in a art vs art fight, there is only one winner and that is Brazilian jiujitsu. This is now been proven! And to really understand what is going on when you are grappling, especially on the ground, you need to learn with the gi. 

Yes you can learn good grappling with out the gi, but that is not BJJ. You need to learn with the gi. You could be preparing for a tournament or for a fight (MMA) and my answer is the same: to learn proper technique and all the essential details you need to learn with the gi.

Now, the percentage split of gi vs nogi will depend. At my gym, West Palm Beach ATT, we train gi every session, except for one nogi session per week. 

As for Pro fighters like Cole miller, while I appreciate that they need to work without the gi, they still do three gi sessions per week all the way throughout fight camp until the last three weeks then only nogi.I really believe that this makes him more technical in his jiujitsu.

Thanks for that. What is your opinion on the recent attention given to points tournaments (e.g. IBJJF) vs sub only tournaments (e.g. Metamoris)

The way I was taught jiujitsu and the way I teach it, everyone needs to fight to submit. To finish. But running a large sub-only style tournament isn't reality. When you are renting a sports hall there are time constraints so it's not doable. 

Like the old UFC with no time limits, we can't have that nowadays so we need rules and rounds. This made MMA more dynamic for spectator. This is the same for jiujitsu. If you run a large sub-only no time limits tournament, no TV will pick it up. 

I like the IBJJF rules, including advantages. If fight is 2-2 or 90-90 you need a winner at the end, but I don't like stallers. No one does, but you need the rules, points and advantages. I don't like double pull or fifty fifty guard because I feel they lead more to stalling and they lead us away from finishing in jiujitsu.

You travel a lot. What advice would you like to share about diet and recovery?

It's a real shame that we get old but we do (laughs). 10 years ago I used to get hurt and a week later I'm fine. Now a month at least! 

I tell you what, I've never ever had alcohol. Initially, I just didn't want to and then jiujitsu came and I knew it wouldn't be helpful to my training. The same with drugs. I never did any so that helps a lot too. 

I try to eat clean but this is now my 12th day in and out of airports and hotels so it's harder to maintain but here are some recommendations:

  • You have to eat every three hours regardless of whether you are trying to manage your weight up or down. You need the calories. 
  • Eat as clean as possible, preferably organic food stuffs. 
  • When I travel, airport / airplane food can be a nightmare. I stick to a chicken salad and ask for any sauce / dressing on the side if possible.
  • Avoid white bread and stick to wholewheat.
  • Avoid drinking soda and stick to water instead. Stay away from sugary treats like ice-cream.

Do you want to know the real secret? Support! Support from my family: my wife is a jiujitsu black belt. My children train. I can't see myself being with someone who doesn't support jiujitsu. It's my whole life. I work 30-35 hours per week and on weekends I'm on the road for various projects. Without my family's support, there's no way I could do what I do.

What is your opinion on the breakdown between time spent sparring and drilling in a session?

That depends on the length and type of the lesson:

The fundamentals class is a 1 hour lesson: We spend 10 minutes on the warm-up, 40 minutes on drilling fundamentals and 10 minutes rolling (2 x 5 min rounds)

Before a competition we change things up a little.

As for the Advanced class, it's 90 minute class: We spend 10 minutes on the warm-up, 50 minutes on drilling and 30 minutes rolling (6 x 5 min rounds). If preparing for a tournament we stick in an additional 30 minute of rolling at the end.

You are a 4th degree black belt under the late grandmaster Carlson Gracie. What is one of your favourite memories from Carlson?

One? You want me to choose one? I can't just choose one! (laughs) OK, I will try.

I was once chose to do a super fight against someone who for me is one of the best jiujitsu fighters ever: Leo Vieira. We fought for 20 minutes which I won, but that's not the interesting part. 

On the way to the mat from locker room, Carlson stopped me and said "Don't lose it. Now go!"

This made me really nervous! Why did he say that? I knew I stepped in as the underdog but did he doubt me? Did he believe in me?

Just before I was ready to step I see him Carlson answered those worries for me. Looking to Jacare, ounder of Alliance and coach of Leo Vieira at the time, Carlson said: "Jacare you wanna make a bet? I give you 5 points - 0 and Parrumpa will still win!"

This really warmed my heart. He really believed in me and, to be fair, in all his students. I won 10-0. Carlson kissed me and said "I never thought you'd disappoint me.".

Wow what a fantastic story to end on. Many thanks for your time Parrumpa and I hope to learn from you again very soon.

Thank you and I'd like to extend the invitation to all your readers: If you are in Florida, please come and pay us a visit at West Palm Beach ATT.