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Archive for the ‘BJJ Techniques’ Category

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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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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BJJ strategy frustrate and annoy

Frustrate and Annoy – The official BJJ strategy of The Jiu-Jitsu Vortex. With an obvious nod to Craig Stecyk and Thrasher skateboard magazine.

What did Helio Gracie and Vince Lombardi have in common? Brazilian jiu-jitsu strategy is a hot topic and recent events like the Gracie Worlds and the Metamoris Pro have added fire to the debate by pitting the traditional “submission is the only victory” BJJ against more competition-friendly strategies. All of the talk got me thinking about my own approach to rolling and what the strengths and weaknesses are.
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Brazilian jiu-jitsu notebooks

Jeff gets arty: Brazilian jiu-jitsu still life with gym bag, notebooks, and gi.

A technique notebook is one of the most powerful Brazilian jiu-jitsu training aids. I’ve been keeping one on and off since my first judo class and have found that my rate of progression is directly proportional to my diligence with updating my BJJ notebook. Jiu-jitsu isn’t something that’s easy to describe using words alone and a couple of people at my gym have asked to see my notes, so I figured I’d put together an article explaining why and how I do it.

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On November 4, 2012, my Brazilian jiu-jitsu coach, Adam Ryan, took gold in the senior 2 black belt category of the IBJJF 2012 World No-Gi Championships, submitting his opponent with a pretty brutal ankle lock. The Dynamic MMA team were all pretty excited to watch this, and in honour of Adam’s leglock finish, I figured I’d put together a quick compilation of leglock-related articles that I’ve written over the years. These articles were published in different places under different sets of publication guidelines, so there’s some repetition, but they give a good overview. The flow is: introduction, examples of leglocks in action, learning resources, and dealing with knee or ankle injuries.

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UFC 131 weigh ins

Demian Maia weighs in for UFC 131 in Vancouver. Photo courtesy of MartialArtsNomad.com

Demian Maia might be the best Brazilian jiu-jitsu technician in mixed martial arts. Of his 17 professional MMA wins, nine have come by submission and three by TKO. Maia’s MMA career has been interesting – from highlight-reel submissions to boring decision losses and back. Watching his recent quick victories over Dong Hyun Kim “The Korean Stun Gun” and Rick Story in UFC 148 and 153, respectively, inspired me to track down some videos and put together a brief Demian Maia MMA retrospective.

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Holy crap! A two-hour video breakdown of every judo nage-waza (throwing technique) in the gokyo no waza and shimmeisho no waza. 68 judo takedowns in all! And it was put together by the Kodokan Judo Institute, the International Judo Federation (IJF), and the All Japan Judo Federation so it’s the real thing. It was passed on to me by one of my longtime Dynamic MMA training partners, who Twitter types may know as JiuJitsuDude.

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RNC - a classic mixed martial arts finishing technique

An MMA fighter submits his opponent using a rear naked choke (aka hadakajime). Photo courtesy of Eric Langley.

Much to the chagrin of the “stand them up, ref!” sector of the MMA fanbase, the grappling arts like Brazilian jiu-jitsu, judo, catch wrestling, and sambo are as inseparable from mixed martial arts as ugly t-shirts, ring girls, and fights in the stands over spilled beer. Some of the most spectacular wins in MMA history have been by submission and this article looks at a few of my personal favourites.

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Can't do much Brazilian jiu-jitsu without these things

The heart and lungs, a BJJ fighter’s best friends. Image courtesy of Gray’s Anatomy. Public Domain.

Breathing in BJJ is often overlooked. There’s no shortage of information about the visually exciting side of Brazilian jiu-jitsu technique… escapes, submissions, sweeps, counters… the magazines and websites are overflowing with that stuff. But breathing? Boring. Right? Not exactly. When I’m rolling with someone, one of the main things I pay attention to is their breathing pattern.

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Catch-as-catch-can wrestler Neil Melanson performs a leglock

Catch wrestling specialist Neil Melanson demonstrates a kneebar – aka “the king of leglocks”. Photo courtesy of MartialArtsNomad.

Knee injuries are very common in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, especially since it seems like heel hooks, toeholds, and other leglocks are getting more popular. Is it the Toquinho effect? The rise of the 50-50 guard? Rubber guard disasters? Maybe leglock master “Judo” Gene LeBell is to blame. At any rate, the list of high-level BJJ (and MMA) fighters who have been slowed down by knee injuries goes on and on: Kron Gracie, Xande Ribeiro, David Avellan, Dustin Hazelett, Bas Rutten, Roger Gracie, Tito Ortiz, Romulo Barral, Marco Ruas, Georges Ste-Pierre, to name a few. How to these injuries happen? And how do you treat them?

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Rafael Lovato Jr. BJJ Seminar at Dynamic MMA in Vancouver

Dave and I run some techniques at Rafael Lovato Jr.’s BJJ seminar at Dynamic MMA. Notice the notepad, no details were missed! Photo courtesy of Shawn Aisrep.

I had the privilege of kicking off Easter weekend by playing uke for the Internet’s favourite Jiu-Jitsu scientist while he shot an in-depth leg drag pass instructional. For those of you who don’t know, David Levy-Booth is responsible for one of the most detailed Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu blogs out there. If you aren’t reading it you’re missing out. In fact your training partners probably are, and that’s why they’re kicking your ass.
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University of Toronto Judo Club. Hart House.

The Hart House Judo Club at U of T circa 2001 – an amazing place to learn judo footsweeps.

A perfect judo footsweep is beyond satisfying. With almost no effort on your part, your sparring partner finds themselves laid out wondering what the hell happened. Incorporating judo footsweeps into your Brazilian jiu-jitsu training is well worth the time spent. They aren’t necessarily hard to learn, they just take a lot of practice and a strong understanding of happo no kuzushi (breaking balance).

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The calf crush attacks the knee, fibula, and tibia. Photo courtesy of Perfect Zero.

Charles Oliveira’s calf crush (aka calf slicer or knee compression) victory over Eric Wisely during the UFC on Fox 2 prelims raised a few eyebrows in the MMA world. Those with a background in BJJ, submission grappling, catch wrestling, or (especially) sambo saw what was going on, but the “stand them up ref!” fight fans had questions – as evidenced by the ensuing Twitter storm. Why did Wisely tap just because his leg was being bent? And how did Oliveira get himself into that position? Read on.

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Judo action at the 2011 NCJA Judo National Championships. Photo courtesy of Mike Strasser, West Point Public Affairs.

Dave Camarillo’s Guerrilla Jiu-Jitsu: Revolutionizing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is an excellent book for BJJ players who want to incorporate judo throwing techniques into their game. The beginning may appear overly basic to experienced judo players, but the introductory section is followed by detailed explanations of how judo techniques can be adapted to be effective in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Whether your foundation is in judo or BJJ, this book will make you better.
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Wrestlers lock up and look for a takedown at the 2011 ASICS U.S. Open. Photo courtesy of familymwr via Flickr.

The basic wrestling sit out escape from turtle is one of the most important wrestling techniques, especially – as fighters like Minotauro Nogueira have shown us – for those planning to branch out into MMA. Mastering the wrestling sit out enables a wrestler to shoot for a takedown without worrying about being stuck under their opponent’s sprawl. It may be among the first wrestling techniques you learn, but the sit out escape is still effective in submission grappling, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and MMA at even the highest level of competition.

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