Academy Review: Eddie Kone Academy of Jiujitsu HQ

Looking through the archives of my blog I soon realised I'd visited and reviewed many academies both here in the U.K. and abroad, but never really written much about my professor's HQ academy here in north London. I guess it's natural as this is my home-base and the other places are ones I visit,  albeit some more regularly than others, so I assumed they'd be interesting for, well, other academy visitors too.

In retrospect, EKBJJ HQ has over the past few years had its own throng of visitors, ranging from white belts passing through town to 7th degree coral belt master delivering seminars. Either way, a review of the Academy of Jiujitsu was overdue.

The Academy's located on:

First floor, Unit DA4 Sutherland House
43 Sutherland Road  Walthamstow, London
E17 6BU


Have you ever been in love with Jiujitsu?

Anybody who has been in love with jiujitsu will testify to this:

If you haven't seriously contemplated quitting then you haven't really been in love with jiujitsu. 

If you have never put your gi in the bin at least once (before taking it out again, of course!) then you haven't really been in love with jiujitsu. 

If you haven't thought about all the time, money and energy that would be freed up from quitting jiujitsu and all the activities you could do with it then you haven't been in love with jujitsu. 

And unless the only thing stopping you from quitting jiujitsu was having a conversation with someone who doesn't train jiujitsu and picturing your life like them, then you, my friend, have never really been in love with Jiujitsu.

See you all in the new year.


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BJJ / Grappling tips: Passing the half guard: Dealing with the Underhook

The half guard used to be viewed as a position of weakness, especially if strikes are available as a weapon. Partly, the top player is almost past the guard players defenses and partly it allows the top player to lock the bottom player's hips in place and deliver damage.

Naturally, the half guard player has many attacks at their disposal and by becoming a subject matter expert within that narrow field, they can learn to manipulate the top fighter's weight and sweep, submit or take their back. To stop them, we need to first neutralize their most valuable asset: The underhook.

Picture courtesy of grapplearts.com 

The best option to defend the underhook is to have the underhook first. The half guard will not suddenly materialize out of thin air so anticipate your opponent's intentions to steal it and get there first.

If, however, they get there before you, here's a strategy that my professor, Mr Eddie Kone, learnt from his teacher Master Royler Gracie that has given me much success over the years.

and you can see the same technique explained by legendary jiujitsu fighter Sensei Saulo Ribeiro:

Lineage in the Martial Arts is something I am very passionate about, for this simple reason. No man is an island and we are all connected. Use this technique to re-gain the underhook from the half guard top.



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10 Gift Ideas for Gracie / Brazilian jiujitsu Practitioners

Are you looking for jiujitsu gift ideas? 


I’ve put together a list of 10 jiujitsu holiday gift ideas for you.


BJJ / Grappling Tips: How to pull guard in competition

While most fights go to the ground (self defence, MMA and / sportive grappling with or without the gi), they all start standing. Pulling guard at jiujitsu competitions is the subject of many jokes of meme. Some are even funny:

Fact of the matter remains that you will spend the majority of your grappling career (BJJ, nogi submission wrestling, MMA and to some extent even Judo and Sambo) either using the guard position and all its variations (Open, Close, De La Riva, Half, Spider, Galaxy, Ping Pong...etc.) to attack your opponent or trying to deal with and pass your opponents' guard.

The guard is NOT an artificial position created by one or two fighters to gain the element of surprise but rather a naturally occurring  geometry of two bodies:


BJJ Gi review: Flow Kimonos Pro Series

Flow Kimonos is an innovative Jiujitsu gi manufacturer based out of Chicago, USA. Their slick, clean and well marketed products caught my eye on https://www.instagram.com/flowkimonos/. The management behind the company is very friendly and their product is of a high quality with some nice and unique ideas. They sent me the Pro Model to road test.


Why is Gracie Jiujitsu appropriate as a Self Defence Art?

Please watch this short demonstration of the Gracie Jiujitsu self defence curriculum and competition sparring by masters Rickson & Royler Gracie. 

I recently found myself on the train to my professor Eddie Kone's HQ academy to teach the Wednesday introduction and advanced classes. As always, the focus and centre of all the sessions at EKBJJ is Gracie Jiujitsu as a complete art of self defence and my reading companion for the train journey today is: Brazilian Jiujitsu Self Defence Techniques by Royce Gracie, Charles Gracie and Kid Peligro. 

If you're not familiar with the book, I highly recommend it as a 103 position / technique encyclopaedic overview of how the Gracie Family approach self-defence but before you get to these positions, there's a 17page introduction that is already worth the price of the book. The technical portion of the book deals with the how (and to a certain extent, the when) but that intro delves nicely into the why and why not. We're given a brief historical overview of Jiujitsu in Brazil but also two articles that, unfortunately, many academies I've visited around the world ignore. I'll share here a couple of bits out of each that I feel sum them well:

What is it about Brazilian jiu-jitsu that makes it so effective as a self defence system? 

We can break the answer into four main points:

1) it is designed to work even when you are surprised and in a poor position 
2) it is designed by small people to defeat larger ones 
3) it allows you to develop instantaneous reactions by practicing in extremely lifelike exercises and 
4) it provides you with a range of severity in dealing with your attacker

Now I invite you to rewatch this clip and ask yourself:

1) could those techniques have worked even when you are surprised and in a poor position?
2) would those techniques have allowed a small person to defeat a larger aggressor?
3) would it be possible to create extremely lifelike exercises and drills for these scenarios that'd facilitate instantaneous reactions? 
4) did you witness a range of severity in dealing with your attacker?

Training Guidelines:

Class structure: this is something I have quizzes every son or grandson of Grandmaster Helio's that I've met: If someone is on a tight schedule and can only make a one hour session 2-3 times a week, how should the professor structure their session?

Every single one agreed on one thing: Technique drilling and repetition and positional training / sparring is far more important, and therefore should hold the lion-share of a lesson, than free sparring. Check this excellent study by Gracie Jiujitsu black belt Mr Josh Vogel of positional sparring.

Study the art. Don't just train aimlessly and hope for the best.



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BJJ / Grappling Tips: How to leglock like Garry Tonon

Leg locks of all variety are gaining a huge momentum in both Brazilian jiujitsu, MMA and of course Submission Grappling. There are many different ways to attacks the joints of the leg such as straight foot locks, heel hooks, figure - 4 footlocks, knee bars...etc. But how can we learn to leglock like a champion of Garry Tonon? Well you need to know how to set up the leg lock from a variety of positions. In this video we see the standard basic entry to the straight foot lock from the open guard by Professor Ryron Gracie, head instructor at the Gracie Academy in Torrance, California:

What is often missed when entering the foot lock (and the guillotine, as Garry explains below) is the invisible details during the transitions. These are the details that will win or lose the leg lock battle:


BJJ / Grappling Tips: Escape Side Control

Thursday sessions at Eddie Kone Academy of jiujitsu focus on NoGi training and Striking For MMA. It is not unlikely to walk onto the mat and see the main class to be run by an experienced coach while Eddie is on the side taking a student through their paces on the pads or through grappling drills. I remember recently walking in and seeing the grappling coach taking a class thru side control escapes / guard recovery and he was doing a great job emphasizing the importance of creating space by constantly establishing frames and moving away from them. As I turned to my left I saw Eddie and one of his higher blue belts drilling and discussing the finer details of leg locks, laying a clear focus on staying tight on the opponent thru-out the series of movements.

It was a beautiful moment. The contrast couldn’t have been clearer between the two sides of the same coin and I’m positive neither party was aware of what the other was doing. Fantastic BJJ / Grappling Coach Roy Harris once said that when you are attacking, space is your enemy. You want to be on your opponent like a wet towel on a basketball. When you are escaping, however, space is your best buddy.

I’d like to add that when in transitions (whether between positions, attacks, postures, escapes…etc.) then space becomes a more complex question! Tightness alone just isn't enough and too much space is definitely not the answer. What you need is a state of negotiation.

Think about it. There is a moment when you are passing the guard when you definitely need to create space and that is usually followed by one where you need to eliminate all possible space to secure the new, more superior position you have negotiated for yourself.

Also, there is a moment after you have broken someone’s posture down in your guard and eliminated space where you need to actually give them a little bit of space to correctly affect the palm-up palm-down choke or spinning armbar. That’s where sensitivity can overcome strength. That’s where the magic happens in BJJ.

How do I get there? Through relaxation and thousands of repetitions against a variety of levels of resistance. You need to dare eliminate the space but also dare negotiate some back to be able to move in the most optimal way.



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BJJ / Grappling tips: Master Rickson Gracie's advice on training part time vs full time

I once explained to master Rickson Gracie what this website / movement is and what being a part time grappler is all about and sought his view on the matter and what he said really calmed me:

Me: I'm talking about the professionals like the doctors, teachers etc who only train 2-3 times per week for 1-2 hours each session. They can't compete with the full timers. What advice do you have for them?

Rickson: Balance. These guys can join the navy, but they will never become navy seals! My son (Kron) lives jiujitsu and I constantly advise him to balance his energy. Energy for training, energy to live and energy to love. 

It's so important to remember why we started to train and to plan our lives and set our attitudes accordingly.

The speedboat of top level competitors skims across the ocean of Jiujitsu. Those who fool themselves into thinking they can hang with them while training 3 hours per week inevitably fall off it into the surges after an exhausting year or two of hard and injurious sparring. 

We, The Part Time Grapplers, are the smart ones. We are the ones riding wakeboards behind the boat, using their bobbing heads for 720 tricks. 

We'll never make it to the top, but we'll always be having a great time.



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BJJ Seminar & Summer Grading: New School BJJ with Helio "Soneca" Moreira

The day started with 7 black belts
I recently had the pleasure & honour to attend Professor Helio Soneca's Summer Grading and seminar at Ernest Bevin College in Tooting, South London. The seminar was open to all and was immediately followed by New School BJJ's Summer Grading.

The Instructor

Helio Pires Moreira, aka Soneca, is a big deal. The man is a bit of a legend to be fair. He's one of the first black belt produced by the powerhouse Gracie Barra back in the old days. The NAGA, Brazilian Nationals- & Mundial champion has a lot to teach so when I heard he was coming over to London for the third time to teach and grade at his affiliate New School BJJ, I jumped at the opportunity. I mean, how many black belt do you know who started jiujitsu at the age of 8? Exactly!


BJJ Gi Review: Globetrotters Competition Gi - New Release!

Short BJJ Gi Review

BJJ Globetrotters is a world spanning, yet accidental, Brazilian jiujitsu team. I say accidental because the founder Christian Graugart describes it like that and while indeed you can register for IBJJF and UAEJJF competitions through the BJJ Globetrotters, they represent far more than just another BJJ team. They’re a movement:

I reviewed the BJJ Globetrotter’s travel gi not too long ago and it’s still one of my favourite gis to train in. Understandably, the super light, ripstop gi is not competition legal so when I heard that they’d released a competition legal one, I jumped at the opportunity to review it. 

They real seem to have done their homework as the gi is both beautiful, aesthetically designed and tailored to the tooth. It's light enough to train in regularly and do local, national and international comps in.

Simple and aesthetically pleasing reminders of the general ethos of the BJJ Globetrotters are strewn throughout this project.

Disclosure and cost:

Christian sent me this gi to review. BJJ Globetrotters normally sell the BJJ Globetrotters Competition gi for $199 which works out to around £150 (€180) but they're currently offering it for $175 (£132 / €158). Did I mention free shipping worldwide?!