The purpose of writing a jiujitsu blog: My 6-week project

My friend Casanova and I.
This is the first picture I remember posting on this blog

Recently I've been thinking about the direction I want to take the blog. I find myself drawn to longer and more detailed content and while I've religiously kept the blog to no fewer than 12 well thought out articles per year (averaging one per month), I think I want more.

I've also been thinking about how my own training has been changing and, to reflect that, how the format of the blog (and podcast) should change. After all,  it is my blog and it should express my views on training in the martial arts. With that in mind, I've decided that both the blog and the podcast should more closely cover my training cycle.

My current training cycle is focus on one position or transition within Jiujitsu for 6 whole weeks (longer, if I see fit). What this means is, for example, if I'm looking at side control top (positional maintenance, attacks and transitions to better positions...etc) then I'd be studying videos on this subject,  drilling all aspects of it with my training partners (with various levels of resistance) before and/or after class, making it the sole focus of any privates I take with my teachers and, most importantly to be honest, always starting sparring rounds from that position and seeking to go back to it over and over again, if my training partners are happy to do that. This could, but doesn't have to, mean regressing from being on my opponent's back, on them with my knee on their belly or mounted on them back to the side control within the same round, just so that I get more practice time within the geography*. Obviously, if my training partner doesn't want to start the round with me on top of them on side control, I'd respect that but ask that I start on the bottom on side control and monitor and neutralise all their actions, until they get the better off me, and take note of what really works vs what works occasionally.

For the blog and the podcast to reflect this, every 6 weeks or so, I will release a through breakdown of my experiences and findings. Naturally a study as in-depth as this cannot be adequately summarised in the usual 5-800 word format.

I must say I'm excited about this project. I think the new format will facilitate a lot more depth and enrich the content of both media and while I am a little curious (apprehensive) as to how such technique-driven content will lend itself to the podcast format, I am very motivated to give it a go and see what I learn from it.

So, without further a do, here goes Project 6 Weeks - part 1: half guard top.

*for as long as the roll allows, of course. People aren't just going to lay. Ask and let me do what I want. 



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Support British Jiujitsu: Valor Fightwear

BJJ Interview: NVM Jiujitsu Founder Nathan Spain

I recently had the chance to have a conversation with Mr Nathan Spain, founder of one of the youngest and most exciting brands on the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu gi market: NVM Jiujitsu. I met Nathan a few times at my friend Michel Verhoeven's seminars down in Kent and I could really sense his dedication to the art, the community and was so impressed by his uncompromising attitude towards quality, I thought it'd be cool to have a chat about his background and how the Non-Violent-Movement Brand came about (how cool is that name?!)

Nathan was kind enough to answer my interview questions and I'm currently in the process of reviewing two of his lines: "Death of the Ego" & "Order & Progress" so keep your eyes peeled for upcoming reviews. In the meantime, Mr Nathan Spain.

Hello. Why don’t we start by you telling us a little about yourself?

BJJ / Grappling tips: How to take the back when the opponent turtles

The best position in grappling by the best grappler

For me, the most important position in jiujitsu, nogi submission grappling, mixed martial arts and even self defense* is the back position. It is the ultimate hierarchical position where you can cause damage (as little or as much as you want) and the opponent can't necessarily harm you. By extension, I feel that transitions that put you on someone's back are the most important transitions. I am always looking to get the back position: From the standing phase, closed guard, open guard, half guard, mount, side and, relevant to today's post, when the opponent turtles up.

BJJ / Judo Tips: Olympic Grip Fighting With Travis Stevens and Jimmy Pedro.

Which judo throws are best suited for a BJJ player? I see this question asked over and over and while the rules of engagement of the two arts and sports dictate certain limitations, I strongly believe that the best return-on-investment comes not necessarily from training throws, but rather grips. A superior grip artist will have a huge advantage in both jiujitsu and judo over a superior thrower, if that makes sense. This is not something I stand by alone. In a recent interview on the Grappling Central Podcast, Judo and Jiujitsu black belt, Multiple Olympian and Olympic silver medalist Mr Travis Stevens highlighted the importance of having a well-rounded judo game, centered around superior gripping and standing-to-ground transitions.

Luckily, there are some goos resources out there to help you improve your gripping strategie such as "Grip Like a World Champion" by Mr Steven's judo coach, a legend in competitive judo himself, Mr Jimmy Pedro.

Grip Like a World Champion

At it's simplest, grips fighting should enable you to stay safe from the opponent's throws while facilitating your own balance breaks and entries for throws. Here, I've included three videos which link together into a beautiful sequence that takes you from initial contact to dominance to throw. The first is by Travis Stevens himself:

Further, Travis' coach Jimmy Pedro talks to a personal hero of mine, Mr Saulo Ribeiro at the University of Jiujitsu about the Ko uchi gari:

Now that you have an understanding of how to bridge the gap, investigate how to use that advantage to dominate your opponent. Here's one such example, but the onus is on you to flesh out your own gripping game.



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Efficient Judo Interview: Neno Avelov & Peter Yeo

I was introduced to the gentle way of Judo back when I lived in Manchester by a fantastic coach. Her name is Sophie Cox. Sophie is a great and very pedagogic teacher with a ton of patience and an iron will. I feel very privileged that I got my start with her (all the way to my 2nd Kyu (Blue Belt)) but more importantly that I can call her a friend.

Since moving to London, the little time I still have for judo has been spent mainly at The Tokei Martial Arts Centre (with a session here or there down at the Budokwai). The reason I ended up at Tokei is, without a shadow of a doubt, the people and the vibe. Two of the coaches and players there that really exemplify this vibe are Mr Neno Avelov and Mr Peter Yeo so when I discovered they're working on an online judo project, I thought I'd put together a quick interview to shed some light on what it is they're hoping to achieve with it.

Interview with Mr Neno Avelov & Mr Peter Yeo:

BJJ / Grappling Tips: More from the Knee On Belly Position

Learn the secrets of the Knee on Belly position from a true master of the position:
Master Mauricio Gomes on GALLERR

I recently wrote an article about the Knee on Belly position where I talked about some drills to stay on top and launch your attacks. I've had a ton of messages from that particular article that I decided to add a few more attacks to the repertoire. In particular, I'd like to offer a couple of suggestions to help deal with resistance to our attacks.

To start off, I will share this really nice way to remove the arm the opponent may use to block our choke, by Mr Robson Moura