The Internet is full of crap, but manure piles are great places to grow flowers. Case in point, London Real, an interesting podcast by Brian Rose and Nic Gabriel. The London Real team recently emailed The Jiu-Jitsu Vortex to ask if I’d help spread the word about their recent one-hour interview with the (almost) unstoppable Brazilian jiu-jitsu juggernaut, Roger Gracie. I like their show, and Roger’s the man, so I hereby wield my very limited influence over the BJJ community…

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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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One year of the Jiu-Jitsu Vortex

The Jiu-Jitsu Vortex turns one year old. Photo by Aih.

It’s been exactly one year since I started up The Jiu-Jitsu Vortex as a place for martial arts-related writing. Since then I’ve covered things like jiu-jitsu history, philosophy, techniques, local MMA events, etc. There were some surprises, developments, and funny bits. Here’s a snapshot of what went down.

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A writer, not a talker. Original photo courtesy of evanforester.

I tend to communicate best when empowered with the ability to backspace and retype when (not if) I say something foolish. But on Sunday I ventured out onto the trapeze without a net by joining Bin and Indy at the Rain City Podcast. We talked about a bunch of things including – but not limited to – Andre Galvao, MMA, the combined importance of the dartos reflex and cremaster muscles, life in smalltown Canada, the skateboarding / Brazilian jiu-jitsu connection, why Bin is a jerk,  the hits and misses of multiculturalism, and what constitutes “East Van cool”.

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Arthur Barkaukas pushes back Sean Kearney at Proving Grounds Muay Thai

Arthur Barkaukas lands a push kick on Sean Kearney at Proving Grounds Muay Thai at BCIT on June 2, 2012. Photo courtesy of MartialArtsNomad.

The Muay Thai Proving Grounds event at BCIT in Burnaby was killer. The day started with a modified Muay Thai tournament and four full boxing rings going simultaneously meant lots of action. When the smoke from the tournament had cleared, three of the rings were dismantled, seating was arranged, and the evening show started. Thanks to Joel Wasel from Dynamic MMA, Jason Fenton from Iron City Muay Thai, and Gerry Gionco for putting the event together; thanks to all the fighters who came out to bang – especially those who travelled from out of town; and thanks to Master John Chamkunthod for reffing the night.

Results below…

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