How to Afford A BJJ Holiday: Jiujitsu in LA - Travel report of my 2018 visit



How can you afford your BJJ trips?!” Is one of the most common questions I get asked, right after “did you train with any big names out there?” and “when and where are you going next?

The reason these questions stuck in my mind and why I am sharing this is because it used to be me asking the questions. Like many Jiujitsu practitioners I used to enviously listen to or read about Jiujitsu vagabonding stories and wonder how the person made it happen, often dismissing it as an anomaly or at least something that I thought was beyond my control: “they have more money / time / connections / luck than I do”.

And who knows. Maybe I was right. Maybe I needed the post Social Media era to finally realise my (fairly modest) travel plans and dreams. All I know is that when I ask my friends about their Jiujitsu travel dreams, they all sound so...achievable.

To start off, let me outline the major obstacles to just picking up your gi or rash guard & shorts and just hitting the proverbial road and then offer a few suggestions as to how you can work around them.
After that I’ll give you my modest advice for travelling for Jiujitsu and I’ll finish with a breakdown of my most recent trip to the Gracie Academy HQ in Torrance, LA (aka Gracie University or Jiujitsu Heaven.)

Budget:





You need an outline. You need to be good at planning and sticking to the plan. I can give you my numbers and figures, but ultimately you need to plan around your own time and budget and you (have I mentioned this before?) need to stick to your plan. Here are my figures for my experience for a week in a major jiujitsu mecca in California such as San Diego or LA:

BJJ / Grappling Tips: Avoiding injuries by training jiujitsu without an ego

Squad: Training triangle chokes against a striking opponent.
Myself, Professor Kone and my friend Mr Shukie Lok.
Shukie, myself and Shaun got our black belt together.


My jiujitsu teacher, Professor Eddie Kone, recently wrote a piece titled: "Separate your ego from your training. Train hard, but not like an a**hole."

Not only did I like the sentiment, I also liked the way he put his message across so I thought I'd share it here with you.


As most of you know a few weeks back I received an injury, The severity of the injury although not as bad as first thought was still a hindrance and rendered me unable to teach which the effect resulted in cancelling privates and having time away from the mat.

I just want to reiterate that injuries although are far and few between can happen, so how do we prevent or at least understand how they happen ?

I compiled some information for you to read at your own leisure, but one thing is for sure :-

BJJ / Grappling Tips: Half Guard Top Theme Part 3

In my previous 2 posts I explained the main concepts a Half Guard Player can dominate your trapped leg from the half guard by controlling your foot, your knee and / or your hip. I explained that I've found that the key to unraveling their control is to negate their control of the trapped foot using a "Lockdown" style control. Once I freed and hid my foot, I noticed most of my training partners tried to control my hip instead and yesterday I discussed what I have found to be the most important concept to prevent the opponent from controlling my hip (plus 3 auxiliary ones) and outlined my counters to their counters. Lastly, I promised I'd show two approaches I've been playing with to how I deal with the Butterfly Half Guard and today is the day.

The Butterfly hook in the half guard serves the purpose of creating space but also stickiness to the top player. If you are to negate that, you need to address both these consequences of the butterfly hook.

As promised, I give you two expressions of the same set of principles. First is Master Pedro Sauer's version and second is that of the legend that is Mr Roger Gracie. Notice that while they deal with the problem (having space created against them by the bottom guy) slightly differently, they achieve the same objective, albeit using different tools:

Master Pedro Sauer:




Professor Roger Gracie:



I hope you enjoyed this extended and detailed style of blog and that you spend the upcoming 5-6 weeks putting one or two tips out of it into your own practice. I welcome all feedback, just drop me a line through the link at the top of the blog.


Next topic: The side mount (AKA Side Control or even Cross Side).


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BJJ / Grappling Tips: Half Guard Top Theme Part 2

Half Guard Wizardry

In a previous post I explained the main concepts a Half Guard Player can dominate your trapped leg from the half guard by controlling your foot, your knee and / or your hip. I explained that I've found that the key to unraveling their control is to negate their control of the trapped foot using a "Lockdown" style control. Once I freed and hid my foot, I noticed most of my training partners tried to control my hip instead and I promised I'd discuss what I have found to be the most important concept to prevent the opponent from controlling my hip (plus 3 auxiliary ones) so here we go:

The most important concept(s) in preventing the HGP from controlling your hip in the half guard:



  1. Keeping the opponent flat, rather than on their side. This will force their top leg to point upwards rather than into you, like a good frame would.
  2. Using the outside of your elbow to peel off any part of their leg that tries to gain purchase against your hip.
  3. Contouring your hip, ribs and torso past their top leg and closer to their torso, so that your top arm hugs their hip close restricting their ability to shrimp away and your tightness restricts their ability to re-insert the top knee or shin against your hip or chest.
  4. As an extension of the point above, especially when the opponent frames hard against your upper chest / throat, considering turning to face the legs. Not only does this allow you to bypass their top leg entirely, it, consequently, allows you to land far more of your weight directly onto their torso and it gives you several tools to help free your leg and pass, if that's what you want to do.


It is important to note that not all these points are equally valued. Point 1 is king, because it directly facilitates points 2-4 and more, to be honest.

Back to our chain of command: foot - knee - hip(s)

BJJ / Grappling Tips: Half Guard Top Theme Part 1

In a previous post I explained that I will be focusing the blog articles on one theme for the duration of 6-week projects. This is to reflect my focus in training. The past 6 weeks I've focused as much as I could on the half guard top position. I've used this time to investigate the ins and outs of the position with regards to postures, pressures, submissions, strikes and guard passing (or any other positional change that I initiate from the top). Here's a summary of the variables I've been experimenting with.

Half guard top: foot - knee - hip


The Half Guard Player's goal is to dominate and manipulate all three of these joints if they are to truly dominate the leg and, by extension, your whole body, and sweep you. In order to weaken their control, we have to take control away from them and reclaim it back for ourselves.

To completely negate the half guard, we need to eliminate all aspects of control the HGP has on our foot, knee and / or hip, which in turn is the definition of passing and being in Side Mount. The sooner we dominate the control of the feet, knees and hips (starting with our own and progressing to our opponent's) the sooner we will dominate the half guard top vs bottom battle.

"In a fight, only one person can be comfortable. Your job is to transfer the comfort from the opponent to you" Rickson Gracie



BJJ gi review: NVM: Non Violent Movement - Order & Progress and Death of the ego

NVMJJ or Non Violent Movement Jiujitsu - A Gi review.


I met Nathan, the man behind NVM at a seminar by my friend and EGJJF co-founder Mr Michel Verhoeven down in Kent. He came across very genuine and passionate about Jiujitsu so when the opportunity presented itself to interview him and share his story plus review a couple of their products I welcomed it. As it is often the case with Jiujitsu, when a gi brand is founded by a practitioner of the art, you see models of that gi all around the founder's parent academy and so was the case down at Fluxo BJJ. I liked the general look and feel of the gis and was excited to get started.