Becoming a Supple Leopard: The Ultimate Guide to Resolving Pain, Preventing Injury, and Optimizing Athletic Performance by Kelly Starrett and Glen Cordoza is a lifesaver. This book explains how to: a) avoid injuries through correct body mechanics, and b) restore mobility to injured areas. After my experience I consider it essential reading for anyone, especially those involved in body-brutalizing sports like Brazilian jiu-jitsu and judo.
[This is an expanded version of the review I wrote for BJJ Legends]
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BJJ music, brazilian metal

An unscientific analysis of listening patterns of my Music for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu article. In April I posted a mishmash of songs from my collection that could be considered to be related to our favourite martial art. Four months later, I did some stats hunting to gauge the response. And since I managed to omit Brazilian music of any kind, I’ve also tracked down four classic Brazilian metal albums that sound great on the mats.
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Jiu-Jitsu Strategy: Frustrate and Annoy

The Brendan Schaub vs Ricardo “Cyborg” Abreu debacle at Metamoris 2 on June 9, 2013 was an embarrassment to Brazilian jiu-jitsu. After Ryron Gracie vs Andre Galvao at Metamoris Pro I wrote about my personal default Brazilian jiu-jitsu strategy – “Frustrate and Annoy” – likening it to Ryron’s KeepItPlayful.com. However, I have to clarify that while Schaub’s performance was indeed frustrating and very annoying, it wasn’t the Frustrate & Annoy strategy endorsed by The Jiu-Jitsu Vortex.

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Henry Akins. Rickson Gracie's third American black belt

Henry Akins. Rickson Gracie’s third American black belt

A collection of Brazilian jiu-jitsu technique videos by Henry Akins, the third American to receive a BJJ black belt from Rickson Gracie. Jiu-jitsu has a wide appeal because it’s adaptable to different aptitudes and body types. Early on I was enamoured by Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza because of his ADCC 2005 performance, but quickly realized that my physical attributes (ie. slowness) weren’t in line. Ditto for Royler Gracie, Genki Sudo, Carlos Newton, Dave Camarillo, Buchecha, Ryan Hall, the Mendes brothers, etc. I’ve ended up with a slower, methodical BJJ game. It’s built around judo ashi-waza and top control, or closed and half guard from the bottom, and influenced by watching jiu-jitsu in MMA more often than sport BJJ. Henry Akins is right up my alley.

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Brazilian jiu-jitsu, judo, physics, biology, and astronomy

Science and BJJ collide on the bookshelf at Jiu-Jitsu Vortex HQ

Dan Faggella is a little guy from Rhode Island who likes winning Brazilian jiu-jitsu and submission grappling competitions with leglocks. He also has an analytical approach and shares his knowledge by teaching at his academy – Black Diamond MMA – and through his blogs, magazine and online articles, and prolific email campaigns. A while back Dan contacted me to talk about his three favourite Jiu-Jitsu Vortex articles and what draws scientists to Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

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BJJ music

A slice of the vinyl collection at Jiu-Jitsu Vortex HQ

On my second run through Metamoris Pro I thought it’d be funny to take a mezcal shot every time Rener said “interesting”. I woke up at the hospital. Next try, I hit the mute button and played Miles Davis’s Bitches Brew album. This is a brilliant piece of music. Proto-fusion jazz isn’t what most would associate with BJJ, but the way the layers of sound overlap and interact is a perfect complement to the improvisational ebb and flow of an exciting Brazilian jiu-jitsu match.

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Jacare, the alligator of Brazilian jiu-jitsu

An alligator, the namesake of Jacare Souza, on the prowl. Photo courtesy of Steven Beger Photography (Beger.com)

An overview of the MMA career of Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza dos Santos, one of the best Brazilian jiu-jitsu fighters in mixed martial arts. Hailing from the jungles of Manaus, Brazil (also the home of BJJ legend Wallid Ismael), Jacare is a jiu-jitsu black belt, judo black belt, and multiple-time World BJJ and ADCC champion. He’s also one of the few to defeat Roger Gracie in Brazilian jiu-jitsu competition (Jacare vs. Roger Gracie match from the 2004 Mundial). At the time of writing (March 10, 2013), Jacare’s MMA record is 17 wins (13 submissions, one KO), three losses (two by KO), and one no-contest.

I’m a big fan of picking an MMA fighter and watching their evolution by tracking down all of their fights and watching them in sequence. A few months back The Jiu-Jitsu Vortex published an overview of Demian Maia’s MMA career up to his brutal “twin blood jets” neck crank victory over Rick Story on October 13, 2012. This time Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza gets the treatment.

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