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Archive for the ‘Judo Techniques’ Category

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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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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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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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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One of the most famous black belts in BJJ - Royce Gracie. Photo by superwebdeveloper.

Belt promotions are a hot topic in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Hang around the mats and changerooms of any BJJ academy and you’ll hear lots of talk about who does and doesn’t deserve a promotion. Stories abound of instructors who intentionally delay promotions with the intention of giving their students the edge in competitions. But what does a belt really mean? And where did the colours come from?

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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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Children take a break during a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu class. Photo by kundl.

For many parents, the idea of their children taking part in a martial art or combat sport seems wrong. Who in their right mind would willingly let their children learn to fight? A good example of anti-combat sport sentiment was the recent outcry over the video of two kids in a grappling match at the Reps Retribution event in England.

As it turns out, martial arts training doesn’t generally lead to aggressive and violent behaviour, in fact it tends to do the opposite. Children who practice martial arts like judo, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, wrestling, kung fu, or karate generally have strong social skills, fight less often, and perform well in school. And this effect is particularly pronounced in at-risk children or those with special needs. (more…)

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The “which is better, Brazilian jiu-jitsu or judo?” discussion has been going on for some time and by now, most people who train in either see it as a silly question. If you ignore one or the other, there’s a massive hole in your game. Period. BJJ and judo came from the same roots and are so closely related that they’re almost the same thing (but not quite). In fact, aside from a subtle difference, judo and jiu-jitsu have the same name.

The short story is that Brazilian jiu-jitsu came from judo, which came from traditional Japanese jujutsu. For the long story, most aspects of the history of judo can be found at the Judo Information Site. The Gracie Academy does a nice job of outlining their family’s side of Brazilian jiu-jitsu history. Renzo Gracie and John Danaher’s book Mastering Jujitsu has one of the most extensively researched sections on the history of grappling (from ancient Japan to 21st-century MMA) that I’ve ever seen. Also interesting is T.P. Grant’s Bloody Elbow article “History of Jiu Jitsu: Oswaldo Fadda, Nova Uniao and Non-Gracie Jiu-Jitsu“. The Jiu-Jitsu Vortex is giving a middle-of-the-road, quick-skim version.

Samurai using bujutsu on the battlefield

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