Tuesday, May 27, 2014

James Clingerman and The Von Flue Choke

I want to endorse a new video I saw from a young black belt named James Clingerman.  It’s entitled "Mastering The Von Flue Choke."   

In the series James is able to get the Von Flue Choke from so many positions that it’s hard for me to fathom.  I was blown away from all the sheer awesomeness that this video series had to offer!  I think this is such an important position (especially for self-defense) that I thought I must highlight it on my blog. 

I’m afraid that a video of this significance will merely disappear in the heap of all the other countless videos have gone away because of non exposure.  I think it’s changed my game and added a bunch of new options especially when someone tries to wrap my neck (hint hint) for any reason.  

 I don’t endorse anything that isn’t awesome.  I am not making any money off of this video.  Check it out if you want to get better

 This is not the video but an intro.  It gets so much deeper.

The Von Flue Choke with James Clingerman

You can download "Mastering the Von Flue Choke"  at 
The Fight Hub 

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Sunday, May 4, 2014

How I treat my Blue Belts.

Being a blue belt is a rough time, both in learning grappling fundamentals and putting up with loss and disappointment.  Injury is prevalent and good technique is scarce. This is the time where many students quit because it’s difficult and because it takes so freakin long to get to purple belt, in many cases up to five years.  I would also like to add that I’m  an advocate for adding another belt in their somewhere but that is a blog for another time. 

I love my blue belts dearly.  They represent all the potential that the school has to offer.  This is the belt that I’m the toughest on concerning defense and choosing when and how you use strength as well as getting the fundamental building blocks of correct technique laid out so they use more angles.  

I let my blue belt students know that the goal is purple belt.  It’s the longest belt to get to.  It’s the hardest belt to get and I judge them severely on how they grapple in order to achieve it.  

Getting through blue belt can mean the difference between getting a black belt and not getting a black belt.  The reason you ask?  Once you get the coveted purple belt then it’s all downhill from there. It’s only a matter of time.  It’s polish, polish, polish instead of prove, prove, prove. 

Remember this (as a blue belt) is where you PROVE yourself to your instructor.  If you feel you deserve it just because you show up and are friendly, you would be wrong.  In my school it’s proving that you understand the fundamentals of all positions and you are a very difficult opponent to grapple with on an intermediate level.  You are also an amazingly tough person on the inside and the outside. 

Is this you?

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Saturday, March 29, 2014

Royler vs. Eddie: The Crazy Breakdown!

Metamoris 3 was outstanding this time!  Man,  I was on the edge of my chair throughout the event.  I remember saying to myself several times, “ The Gracie/Bravo fight is actually happening!”  If I were an older man I just might have peed myself. =)

As many of you know I have said on several different occasions that 10th Planet moves are NO JOKE.  I have spent numerous hours studying it and working at it.  I have BEEN PUT in many 10th planet techniques and most of the time now I am fortunate to see them coming including the Electric chair.  A guy tried to put me in a twister the other day…tried.  They are VERY EFFECTIVE though.  I always advocate to my students to look into it, because one day it’s going to come their way in a match. 

I feel sometimes like I’m the only Gracie black belt that openly talks about it.   I used to get flak from my gi comrades about it like I’m wrong.  Really?  They work great for the gi too!  But my only goal in Jiu-Jitsu is to get awesome moves and pass them on to my students and I don’t really care where they come from.   I hope that watching this match shows you that maybe you might want to investigate it a bit.

The one thing I don’t understand is that I thought the fight was to go on if there was a threat of a submission.  I’m no expert or nothin but it looked to me like there was a credible threat of a submission on Eddie’s part?  Just sayin.

Having said all of the above, getting a great foundation in the basics is important for beginning students and Gracie jiu-Jitsu is a great style.  Most students are not even going to come close to pulling off a lot of the moves we saw tonight…ever.  These are trained elite professionals who work countless hours perfecting these moves.    

It is by working on basics that later we build the confidence to move on to the more sophisticated moves like the berimbolo and especially 10th planet.  It is by understanding through small hand placements, foot, knee and elbow positioning, weight distribution, timing, angles and basic attacks that we get that coveted foundation. If you don’t have that you are just going to generally suck at Jiu-Jitsu.

I want to point out that the thing that makes Royler Gracie so amazing other than his technique is his will power.  He won’t tap to any kind of arm or leg attack.  He would rather break a knee then submit.  His family reputation is on the line. This is the way of the street fight in the minds of the Gracies. To get Royler you are going to have to choke him out.   That’s just all there is to it.

I want to also add that I don’t think 20 minutes is enough time.  I think it should be 30 minute time limits.  That really pushes the exhaustion factor.  I for one would hang around for it, even if the cost was more expensive. 
Overall, it was a draw.  People on all sides will claim some sort of victory especially the point advocates.  That’s not the rules… we have been through this before.  Jiu-Jitsu is about submitting people otherwise it would be called wrestling.  That’s not an offense to the great sport of wrestling. It’s just a fact.

I want to end by congratulating Ralek Gracie on a wonderful program.  You have outdone yourself sir!

I leave you with this quote from the Roman General Maximus Decimus Meridius in the movie Gladiator….


Thanks to the help of guys like Rickson Gracie Black Belt Kevin Casey who stepped in at the last minute I thoroughly was.  You my friend are a warrior!

P.S. I hope Vinny Magalhaes gets better too! MRSA SUCKS!

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Saturday, February 22, 2014

What You Sleep On Is Important!

Sleep is a big factor in how you heal properly from a good day of training.  I was told a number of years ago by a sports doctor friend of mine that if you have two nights in a row of non -beneficial (tossing and turning) sleep that many times includes an elevated temperature that you are susceptible to getting injured in training.  

I trust my doctor friend so I took that advice to heart I simply do not roll on the day after I experience this.  I have found that I don’t get injured very much (knock on wood) following this guideline.  It works for me.   Some of you may read this and call bull.  That’s cool.  But I think we can all agree that getting a good nights’ rest is important to staying healthy and being able to train productively. 

I am not going to give you a detailed and long explanation of the effects of REM sleep on your body.  If you want to learn more about REM then simply look it up on Wikipedia.  It’s very fascinating.  REM sleep, in a nutshell, is the productive sleep that one gets that starts to repair the mind and the body of the Jiu-Jitsu Practioner.  It only happens a few hours a night and is basically the deepest and most restful part of your sleep.

Having a great mattress is of vital importance for your comfort and getting good REM sleep.  Think about it.  We spend so many hours of our lives actually sleeping.  Isn’t it worth it to get the best mattress we can afford?  My wife and I always try to buy an expensive mattress and we are always happy with the results.  Sleep is awesome!  

I highly urge you to not skimp on your mattress.  You will be glad.

P.S. 7 to 8 Hours of Sleep is also a big help to REM.

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Sunday, January 26, 2014

I Am Wrong About Tapping.

I consider myself a Jiu-Jitsu scientist, psychologist, practitioner AND “theorist.”  I like to investigate the mental as well as physical aspects that make Jiu-Jitsu functional for MOST human beings.  

My idea being that if we investigate how the mind works (because the mind controls the body) in conjunction with proper body movement AND couple it with the emotional tendencies and habits of everyday men and women- how they are  AND how they should be, we can produce a higher level of Jiu-Jitsu thinking. This includes the areas of decision making, reaction time, angles, leverage, subconscious thought, willpower, strategy, tactics,  body type, learning style, self-esteem,culture, politics, prejudice and attitude.

An example of  Jiu-Jitsu “attitude” could be toward “tapping.”  Many people obsess over being tapped out.  They might have anxiety over going against better people because of it.  Some instructors almost make tapping out to be a personal character flaw or weakness if it is done by a student. 

Tapping causes mental and emotional pain in many practioners and in some cases the thought of "failing" stops them from progressing smoothly.  They fixate on what they “Don’t want.”  They feel that somehow if they tap they will be thought less of and have less respect from their peers. They think "I don’t want to tap" so they will do the same old tired moves they know will work and not try new things because the fear of tapping is too great. This is simply HOW IT IS in the mental thought process in many Jiu-Jitsu schools and it unfortunately slows development.

As a Theorist I try to investigate new ways to create a personal “Paradigm Shift”  (a new way of thought from an earlier belief system) for myself and my students.  In the case of tapping I hold the theory that tapping is a necessary part of training and should in no way be feared or judged by others but should be reveled in as a necessary effect of training.  In this case, I’m out to change MY emotional thoughts and feelings on tapping. 

As a black belt my training should require that many times I PUT MYSELF  in bad positions like the triangle or the arm bar so that I can continuously improve my escapes.  If I feared the tap then in no way would I want to subject myself to such craziness.  The result is that many times starting out, one is tapped by lower belts but over time escapes become instant and effective and one becomes a better practioner for it.   I want to WIN for sure but only thorough proper practice, technique and accepting that sometimes I will not get my desired outcome. In this way I truly become better and get what I desire…the win!

The name of this article is “I am Wrong about Tapping.”  The reason I named it that is because as a theorist I always assume I am wrong about everything. 

This affords me the luxury of not getting my ego involved in trying to justify and protect my position on subjects and allows me to accept new theories that are potentially better.  I look at many new ideas without prejudice and examine them logically to see if they are better than the way I’m doing it now.   

My three measuring parameters are:  Is it safe, is it simple (number of moves involved using proper technique) and can MOST people do it regardless of body type?   If the technique or idea doesn’t fit into MY measuring points I typically abandon them BUT many times I simply shelve them until I'm at a more mature point in my training and then re-evaluate. Because I'm wrong a lot.

I also split parameters up into genre.  Self-Defense, tournament, Gi, No-Gi and MMA when looking at techniques and ideas.  Not everyone focuses on Gi self-defense like I do but I want to know EVERYTHING about Jiu-Jitsu so I categorize my ideas to the genre that I believe they are most effective in.   

I often find too that the established ways are STILL THE BEST WAYS but little tweaks of technique make them more efficient…In effect creating significant progress.  I will also always give you a reason as to WHY this should be done a certain way as well.  Believe it or not I actually use my brain and think about it before teaching it. 

Innovation is highly prized in my school.  I encourage my students to test, try, theorize and investigate at higher levels but they must first have a basis from which to start from.  This is why basics are so important for beginning practioners. You can’t innovate without proper foundation!

The last thing I would like to emphasize is that we all stand on the shoulders of giants.  We MUST learn from others research and then add our own contributions if possible.  We can't know everything.  This why I try to give credit where credit is due.  Great minds help other great minds and people should know they have affected my thinking with their contribution. You weren't born knowing Jiu-Jitsu, you learned it from someone else.

There is still so much more of Jiu-Jitsu to be discovered.  Are you an innovator or will you simply be doomed to mindlessly repeat the same material for the next 40 years without truly looking for a more efficient and better way to express your Jiu-Jitsu? 

It’s up to you.

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