BJJ / Grappling tips: escape the triangle choke from guard

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How to escape the triangle choke from guard:

Moving upstream is a marketing term. It can easily be explained with the analogy of a river. If you walk past a river and spot a problem (pollution, stagnant water...etc.) you can either address the immediate problem or simply walk upstream trying to understand the origins of the situation at hand.

What does all this have to do with BJJ/grappling? Everything! Prevention is the best solution in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and by moving upstream we solve problems we didn’t even know we had.

Are you getting caught in triangles in the closed guard? Want to learn how to avoid that in the first place? Let’s move upstream step by step:

Don’t let your opponent close their guard around you, and earlier than that…
Don’t leave your arms one in and one out, and earlier than that…
Don’t let your opponent control your head and posture, and earlier than that…
Don’t let your opponent place their foot (feet) on your hip(s) in open guard, and earlier than that…
Don’t let your opponent control your sleeves

The way I see it, the deeper you get into the rabbit hole, the harder it will be to get out and the more likely that you will get caught. Your chances of you getting caught in a triangle are higher if you let them place their foot on your hip than if you use your knees and elbows to control their thighs (even if they manage to control your wrists) and they are higher still if they control your posture (from your head or collar).

The beauty of moving upstream is that if you don’t let them control your sleeves your will avoid triangles, omoplatas, armbars and most sweeps.

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BJJ / Grappling: Why I train jiujitsu?

Some say they train because jiujitsu is great for their body. Some cite the art's self defense value while some others have a "jiujitsu lifestyle" addiction that only gis and rolling around can address.

I have always known why I train. I've not, however, always been able to express it in words perfectly.


BJJ Seminar: Carlson Gracie Black Belt Marcos ‘Parrumpa’ da Matta

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I recently had the pleasure to attend a seminar with Marcos ‘Parrumpa’ da Matta. Parrumpa is a 4th degree black belt in jiujitsu from the Carlson Gracie Sr lineage and an important figure in the modern history of jiujitsu and MMA household name: American Top Team.

The seminar was held at Parrumpa's affiliate, Union BJJ, in central Manchester. John Dang, Parrumpa's student and representative is an old friend of mine who is also the man behind the IdeePure soapbar company I reviewed recently.


BJJ competition gi review: Fuji vs Tatami - Suparaito vs Sub Zero

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In this review, I will be looking at two popular white, IBJJF legal gis by one American and one British brand: Fuji and Tatami Fightwear respectively. The gi models I reviewed were the Suparaito by Fuji and Sub-Zero Ultralight by Tatami Fightwear. I asked both companies to send me white A2 models to review and that the gis would be IBJJF legal as I wanted to road test them at the 2015 European Open in Lisbon, Portugal. First, let's look at the Fuji Suparaito gi:


BJJ: Who are you competing against?

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The gym I belong to has a small swimming pool, not too dissimilar to the one in the picture above. I love swimming and luckily, it doesn't get too busy in their.

Recently, I was swimming lengths along with two others. I didn't know them so there was no real reason for us to all to be swimming in the same direction but every now and again would.


BJJ / Grappling tips: Kron Gracie's guard

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Master Rickson Gracie, Grandmaster Helio Gracie
and professor Kron Gracie
Kron Gracie has an amazing all-round jiujitsu game. He is fantastic from every position and attacks with submissions with seemingly reckless abandon, but having spent a few hours learning from both Master Rickson and some of Kron's and Rickson's black belt representatives in Amsterdam*, not to mention the fantastic work by my own teacher Eddie Kone who's learnt from several of Grandmaster Helio's sons, I'm really starting to believe that none of it reckless and Kron's jiujitsu game, very much like that of his father Master Rickson Gracie, builds on a deep understanding of the levers of jiujitsu.

First of all, have a look at this match between Kron and the formidable Leandro Lo from the IBJJF Worlds 2011. In particular, start watching from 3:13 after Leandro sweeps Kron and you will see how Kron connects his spine, thru his hands and legs, to Leandro, frustrating his pass attempts.


BJJ Self Defence: Mestre Sylvio Behring

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Some jiujitsu academies teach only sport jiujitsu while others teach the self defence curriculum alongside the sport techniques, barely paying lip-service to the raison d'être of jiujitsu. Very few academies, however, manage to keep both alive.

The video below of Master Sylvio Behring  you see exactly that. The stand up phase is addressed using the traditional techniques of self defence against an opponent trying to grab, pull, push, rush and even strike you. By manipulating the distance, you can stay safe and apply your jiujitsu. Master Behring's video really made me happy.


BJJ / Grappling Dojo visit: Factory BJJ in Stockport / Greater Manchester

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Factory BJJ: "Industry conquers all"

As a newly qualified teacher, I don't normally have time during the school terms to visit local academies run by friends I've known for years and Factory BJJ, run by Combat Base black belt Adam Adshead, is one such local jiujitsu academy. I had visited Factory twice before, but only to attend seminars by John B Will so I had never attended a regular class by Adam. Therefore, when my Easter break started, I promised myself I'd visit at least 2-3 of these academies and visiting Factory was on the top of my list.

"Adam is the definition of an ambitious and
professional martial arts instructor" John B Will

I contacted Adam yesterday and asked if I could drop into his day time class and he was happy to oblige. Factory BJJ have recently moved premises to bigger, nicer ones, albeit just a walk down the road from the old location. In fact, the day time class attended was the first proper full day at the new location.


The Fundamentals of Brazilian Jiujitsu

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What are the fundamentals of jiujitsu?

Helio vs Kato

"What constitutes the fundamentals of jiujitsu?" is a question that has been thrown around quite a lot recently. In fact, this is not the first time I myself attempt to wrestle this particular beast. I have, in the past, on at least one occasion, tried to list the techniques and concepts which I felt belong under the banner of “fundamentals of jiujitsu”. Today’s article, however, approaches the subject from a different point of view.

What is a fundamental? Well a fundament, to begin with, is word closely linked to the French word “fundare” or “to found”. It is also linked to the foundation of base of a building. In other words, a fundament or a fundamental component of jiujitsu is something that we learn early not because we want to, but because we cannot afford not to. You cannot build the second floor of a building before the ground (or in some cases the basement). Without a solid foundation, it is just a matter of time before your whole structure is doomed to collapse.

The majority of people will agree with the above. However, saying this we are no closer to knowing what a fundamental technique or concept of jiujitsu actually is. We’ve just established some parameters, that’s all.

My approach for today’s article is to list, rather than the techniques themselves which I feel can fall under the umbrella of fundamentals of jiujitsu, the various reasons that justify a technique being called a fundamental jiujitsu technique.


Jiujitsu seminar for charity

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Sunday the 8th of March 2015 marked a fantastic first for me. This was the first time I got to do something though jiujitsu. I have always loved and enjoyed jiujitsu and being around those who share the same passion but today, I taught a small seminar at a friend's academy and all the seminar proceeds went to charity. Two charities, to be specific.

For quite sometime I have wanted to do something that involved jiujitsu, my friends and good will but not really known how to or even where to start. I kept hearing about seminars in the US being held for charity but they were always by big names. Famous black belts with accolades and such.

One day I expressed my desire to a few friends who own academies and they immediately showed their support to the idea. Rob Dixon, a man with great vision, who is the instructor at the Gracie Academy affiliate in Stockport, UK was the keenest on the idea. We talked about this towards the end of last year but life got in the way so we agreed a March date, which at the time seemed so far away but as I got in the car this morning I was full with excitement and joy: I was doing something fun, enjoyable and completely selfless.