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.


Rickson & Royler Gracie showcase what jiujitsu is

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Royler is coming to London next weekend (Sunday 15th March for a seminar at his black belt Eddie Kone's academy, 1-4 pm) email  info@ekbjj.com  For details.
"What do you do at the gym?" 
"Gracie jiujitsu"
"What's that? Is that like karate?"

As jiujitsu practitioners, we have this conversation countless times. My friend Don and I have discussed the best strategy to answer this question, several times. The best we've come up with is to show them this particular video of masters Rickson and Royler Gracie demonstrating the full repertoire of Gracie jiujitsu in Japan. 

I believe the main strength of this video is that, as the presenters say, Rickson and Royler are so incredibly smooth in their performance and that the techniques can indeed be mastered by any one. 

A video on berimbolos or the rubber guard, impressive as these are, wouldn't have the same visceral effect on the average Joe. 

What's your go to video to showcase jiujitsu?



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BJJ / Grappling Tips: How to open / pass the closed guard

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Guard-top work is a major topic within jiujitsu (Base and posture, Guard Opening…etc.). One of my favourite closed guard opening techniques is a standing one, where you use inwards knee pressure on the hips to lock them in position and, if you need it, reach the opposite arm back to open the much-weakened guard.

If you're not sure what I mean, here's an excellent instructional clip by Dean Lister:


BJJ / Grappling Soap review: The Athlete Bar

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Disclosure: I know the people behind The Athlete Bar. I have no business connections with the brand.

I have used this soap on and off for several weeks. The Athlete Bar is a SLS free soap bar whose benefits are primarily derived from all natural ingredients, all of which are detailed on the practical, see-though packaging. Being a SLS free product, it won't quite lather up as much as most commercial soap, nor should it. In commercial soap the lather is added and doesn't enhance skin cleaning. In fact, it will dry your skin so if possible, do avoid. The Athlete Bar, on the other hand, carries a range of essential oils that cleanse and moisturise naturally and you will feel that post shower.


BJJ / Grappling Academy Visit: Lucio Sergio Lifestyle BJJ in Manchester City Centre


As a high-school teacher, half term is a great opportunity to go around to new BJJ academies and sampling the fantastic instruction on offer. One such local school is the brand new Manchester City Centre branch of Lucio Sergio Dos Santos BJJ Lifestyle.

Lucio is a well established and decorated Gracie Barra professor and, aside from heading the Manchester branch of Gracie Barra, he spreads the art through his own brand Lucio Sergio BJJ Lifestyle.


BJJ gi review: Globetrotters Travel Gi

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BJJ Globetrotters Travel Gi gets reviewed. Wow!

So exactly how thin is a completely ripstop travel gi from the BJJ Globetrotters, spearheaded by captain Blond-fro Christian Graugart, well thin enough to comfortably wear under my work suit.