Archive for September, 2010

29 Sep 2010

  • Posted by Steve Spencer
  • East West MMA Closed

    I have had several people contact me recently to ask if I know why East West MMA is closed.

    If anyone who attended needs a recommendation for a new school, please feel free to contact me.  Depending on where you live and what classes you were taking I am sure I can recommend a few spots for you.

    24 Sep 2010

  • Posted by Steve Spencer
  • Wrestling as a Martial Art

    My Son Ty has been doing Judo and Jiu Jitsu for a couple of years now.  For the last few weeks he has also been in wrestling.  As I have watched these kids wrestle, I find several aspects of it very striking, even as someone that has been doing Judo and Jiu Jitsu so a few years, and wrestled myself as well.

    It really is amazing to watch.  The level of athleticism of wrestlers is absolutely unmatched.  I remember being in wrestling in high school, and chuckling when one of the football players would inevitably figure they would do a second sport, because it could possibly be as hard as football practices.  They were painfully mistaken.

    I wrote an article late last year about a concept in Jiu Jitsu and Judo that I referred to as “Bursting.” The concept of bursting is that you conserve your energy until the right moment, and then hit it hard.

    Well, that not at all how wrestling works.  Watching a good wrestling on the mat is more like watching a car that is running at what you really would assume is full speed the whole time, only to then see it open up the nitrous tanks, and blast through someone.  It’s less about capitalizing on the energy your opponent creates, and most about blasting through them and dominating them with your own overwhelming force.

    In looking at the overlaps, differences and conflicts between wrestling and other grappling arts though, a few really jumped out at me:

    Overlaps:

    - Balance.  Learning to feel balance, and holes in it almost instinctively is something that wrestlers get very good at.  In Judo this is referred to as Kazushi.  I think anyone learning any of the grappling arts has a huge advantage when beginning another due to this.

    - Solid base. This is an element of balance, but worth note.  A good wrestler tends to have an amazing base.  Far more so than most other grappling arts.

    Differences:

    - Athleticism.  Feel free to disagree, but I think that wrestlers on the whole push their bodies farther.  I think that supplementing your game with wrestling can help you gain this into your other skills.

    - Height of center.  Wrestlers tend to get much lower with the center of balance than most Judo or Jiu Jitsu guys.  It seems that most wrestlers use this to target the legs for attacks.  This makes wrestlers good at leg attacks (but can make them myopically so if they’re not careful.)  I think that this low center could translate very well to many Sambo and Judo throws however (Ipon SeoInageOgoshi, and many others.)

    - Ignoring of upper body.  I know that there are upper body attacks and throws in wrestling (Duck under, head-and-arm (Koshi Garuma), Throw-by, etc.)  But by and large most wrestlers aren’t nearly as good at upper body throws as they could be.  I think that learning Judo in addition to wrestling could add a huge and unexpected element to a wrestler’s game.  In one match alone this week Ty was able to hit Uki goshi three times.

    Conflicts:

    Perhaps the main area of conflict between Wrestling and other Grappling arts is rather or not you want your back on the floor.  A wrestler is trained to keep their back off of the floor, which results in them giving up their back to their opponent and being an easy target for a choke.   This is shockingly hard to unlearn.  I haven’t wrestled in 20 years, and my instinct is still to find a way to my hands and knees when someone has me down.  I have to consciously think about rolling over and pulling guard.

    Conversely, in Ty’s first two matches this year his trained behavior was to pull guard, which didn’t work very well in a wrestling match.  :)

    22 Sep 2010

  • Posted by Utah Martial Arts Feeds
  • Advancing Foot Sweep, Pandas and Lyoto Machida

    This Article comes from SLC MMA
    To see the full original article click here


    It’s late, I’m feeding my newborn baby and I could swear I just saw a panda throw De Ashi Harai – the advancing foot sweep.

    Of course, we know this is an Egyptian ad for some cheese but I believe the voice over at the end translates directly to “Eat this cheese or a panda will judo-sweep your shopping cart like a rag doll.” To verify the Panda’s skills, I find the following:

    Yep, that panda totally did throw the advancing foot sweep. Kung Fu Panda did not lie: animals know their Judo/Kung Fu.

    Lest we think this move is strictly for members of the endangered species list and old men, I refer you to Lyoto Machida, who has pulled this move off a number of times in MMA. Below, he gives a few pointers on the foot sweeps he likes to throw.

    Just thought you should know.


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    21 Sep 2010

  • Posted by Steve Spencer
  • Sylvio Behring Brazilian Jiu Jitsu: Progressive Guard

    (This article was written after a seminar that I attended in Colorado with Master Sylvio Behring.  I have not previously posted this however.  I hope you enjoy it.)

    I was honored to be able to spend the last weekend studying under a true legend of Jiu Jitsu: Sylvio Behring.  Sylvio is a 7th Degree Black Belt in Jiu Jitsu, a Judo Black belt, son of Grand Master Flavio Behring (who studied under Heilio Gracie), student of Alvaro Barreto (another of Heilio’s students), Vice President of the Federation of Jiu Jitsu De Sportive in Rio De Janeiro,  President of the Franco Behring Jiu Jitsu alliance of Canada, and President of the World Black Belt Council.

    One of the key concepts that we worked on during this weekend seminar was the concept of the Progressive Guard.  Now I know, many of you might feel that you know what the “guard” is.  But as I was to learn over the weekend, the Behring progressive guard is so much more than just a position on the ground.  It is a series of positions to protect yourself, and counter attack from the ground not only when you are grappling with an opponent, but potentially long before then.

    As Master Sylvio stated, the progressive guard (and thus the Jiu Jitsu that it is part of) is intended to compliment Karate, and other martial arts, and to work with them in a real-world situation.  It allows you to manage the distance, and manage your defense, wherever your opponent goes.

    The first position within the progressive guard is one of a sitting position.  This position is normally taken when an opponent is too far away to effectively kick, but too close for you to comfortably stand up.

    You will note from this position that Master Sylvio has one foot and one hand plated firmly on the floor.  This gives him the ability to apply his weight to the hand and foot in order to quickly lift his hips from the ground to be able to stand if the attacker backs off, or to lift his hips and shoot the left leg forward for a kick should the attacker advance.  In this position, the leg planted on the floor is the same leg as the attacker is advancing with.  Thus, if the attacker has their right leg forward, your right foot will be on the ground, and your left foot prepared to kick.   Should the attacker switch stance, a defender can easily roll to the other hip to shift position to the other side.

    Note, that in this position the lead arm is held up to ward off any kicks by a fast attacker.


    A sweep can also be done from this position if the attacker stands to close.  It’s a bit more challenging, but can be hard to resist when done correctly.  The lead leg of the attacker is hooked, then swept by placing one foot behind the ankle as shown here, and pressing the other foot on the knee.

    Should an attacker continue to advance (unless he was sufficiently dissuaded with a few kicks), the head is then brought back in order to protect Master Sylvio from possible head kicks himself.  The feet are both brought up in order to not only control distance from the attacker, but to either kick him to keep him at distance, or to “grip” the hips if he moves in close, in order to help restrict his movement and gain more control over him.

    This position allows you to keep the attacker at a range where they are unable to land punches and do additional damage.  Should the attacker choose to lean in for a strike from this position, they become vulnerable to have their own arm trapped, which leads to quick trip over your head.  The ability to hold, flip, and roll over on top of a much larger opponent from this position is surprisingly easy.  During the seminar, Master Sylvio had a six-year-old girl perform this move with him.  She very easily held him in the air with her legs.

    These are only a few of the positions within the progressive guard.  There are many more that handle situations such as when an attacker throws the legs to the side, or splits the legs to advance.   What these examples do begin to lay out however, is the applicability of the guard position to not just grappling, but striking martial arts as well, not to mention their obviously application in a self defense situation.

    17 Sep 2010

  • Posted by Utah Martial Arts Feeds
  • Awesome YouTube resource for BJJ…

    This Article comes from Arcanum Brazilian Jiu-jitsu Blog
    To see the full original article click here


    Ever marveled at Roger Gracie’s ability to consistently tap seasoned black belts with a cross-collar choke from mount? Want to learn how he does it? You need to check out TrumpetDanBJJ on YouTube. This is good stuff, folks.

    I was pointed to this by one of Georgette’s posts a while back, and I decided to pass it along for the Utah crowd that may be reading UtahMartialArt.com.

    I can’t say enough about the insight and analysis TrumpetDan offers. One of the best free resources out there.

    Check out this analysis of Roger’s half-mount offense:

    Visit and subscribe – the more subscribers he gets to his channel, the more videos he’ll post!


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    17 Sep 2010

  • Posted by Utah Martial Arts Feeds
  • Two more stripes, and my list of side control escapes

    This Article comes from Arcanum Brazilian Jiu-jitsu Blog
    To see the full original article click here


    Dave approached me last night and added two stripes to my belt. He then informed me that the thing standing between me and my blue belt is relaxing even more while training and having a higher focus on technique over muscle.

    Yep. The same old monkey on my back :) .

    I can say in all honesty that I have made huge strides in this area. It’s been the central focus of my training since the Pans and I’ve felt a marked improvement.

    Not much I could do with a strained back last night, which ironically helped me have a very relaxed, technique-focused sparring session with Jerry, a blue belt. After working the techniques, I asked Jerry if he’d be willing to help me sort through all the side control escapes I know. This is all part of my plan to become a side control escape artist. He was nice enough to oblige, and actually helped me remember a couple of escapes I had forgotten.

    Here’s the list we came up with (I suck at names so give me a break):

    Regular side control

    1. Bridge into opponent
    2. Shrimp to create space
    3. Inside underhook to spinner
    4. Outside underhook to bump & run
    5. Double underhooks to bump & run
    6. Bridge into opponent, grab belt and reverse
    7. Leg pick to half-guard
    8. Leg pick to crowbar
    9. Knee-in to armbar or sweep
    10. Jailbreak to butterfly guard

    Scarf Hold

    1. Chin hook sweep
    2. Gi variation of chin hook sweep (using lapel)
    3. Wrestler’s clinch, bridge & roll
    4. Leg pick to crowbar
    5. Shrimp around and sit up
    6. Shrimp and sit up with head hook
    7. Hook the leg & arch for half broken-porpoise sweep from the bottom (gi & chin variations)
    8. Take the back (hook leg, push their hips up and knee in to set hooks)
    9. North-south, bridge & roll
    10. Knee flare with opposite lapel control

    Dave’s mantra is to think of moves in pairs. A failed attempt at one moves opens the window for another. I’ll be analyzing which combinations work together for me in an upcoming post.

    We finished out the night with a low-key spar in which I focused on taking the back and going to mount. I had a lot of success with both. Wearing wresting shoes while having the back makes it a lot harder to protect the feet from footlocks – Jerry got me twice because I couldn’t keep my feet out of danger; they kept sticking to his gi.


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    16 Sep 2010

  • Posted by Utah Martial Arts Feeds
  • Upcoming Grappling Competitions

    This Article comes from SLC MMA
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    Wanted to give you all a heads up:

    September 25 is Grapplers Quest down in Vegas.  A couple of guys I know are going – it should be a blast.

    November 13 is the next Champion Submission Challenge.  The location hasn’t been pinned down yet, but they are usually pretty close for us Salt Lake guys.

    Both tournaments have divisions for all levels.


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    16 Sep 2010

  • Posted by Utah Martial Arts Feeds
  • Armbar to nosebleed combo

    This Article comes from Arcanum Brazilian Jiu-jitsu Blog
    To see the full original article click here


    Remember in the last Fightworks Podcast when Dave Camarillo said that training should suck sometimes?

    This morning sucked.

    I went to the early morning conditioning class at East West, led by Bryce. The conditioning was great. The sucky part happened after Bryce wanted to roll. Of course, I was down with a little open mat this morning, especially since I have never rolled with Bryce and I wanted to see what he was made of. Turns out, he’s got a good level of wrestling and BJJ experience and he guillotined me twice.

    I hate guillotines. My giraffe neck is freaking guillotine bait, and 80 percent of guillotines end with pulled neck and back muscles for me. There was a guy back at UCTC who used to guillotine me all the time. I eventually figured out how to defend them, but apparently that learning has gone out the window, because here I sit now with an ice pack between my shoulder blades.

    The highlight of the morning, though, was when Bryce tried to throw a straight armbar on me from side control. I felt it coming on and was preparing to yank out my arm when his heel came crashing down on the bridge of my nose. I guess that’s one way to prevent the escape.

    It’s been a while since I’ve had a nosebleed, so it was probably good for me. Helped clear up my sinuses. I can handle a bloody nose – stuff like that is part of the territory. But on top of being guillotined twice and pulling a back muscle, it basically put the official stamp of suckiness on the morning practice.

    All said and done, I’m glad I got the chance to spar a little with Bryce. He reminded me that I need to defend my head more, that my game in general needs to be more offensive, and that there is always someone better than you. Probably in the same room.

    Time to take my pills:

    Beace oud.


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    15 Sep 2010

  • Posted by Utah Martial Arts Feeds
  • Stupid junk food.

    This Article comes from Arcanum Brazilian Jiu-jitsu Blog
    To see the full original article click here


    This morning I finally picked up my sorry butt and carried it into the gym for a workout.

    Things were so busy at work over the last month that I literally had to sneak out of the office at 8 p.m. to go to class and come back in when class was over. I think my kids forgot what I looked like for a while there.

    The crazy work schedule threw a wrench into my workouts and eating habits, too. Although I’m skinny on the outside, I’m a fat guy at heart. A stressful schedule is all it takes for me to completely disregard my health and exercise. It doesn’t show on the outside so much, but it really affects my endurance on the mat.

    It’s shameful, really…

    But I’m back in business, folks. It’s either workout or BJJ every day from here on out.

    Plus, I want to be able to do this:

    Bridging doesn’t serve the same purpose in BJJ as it does in wrestling, but I believe it can be extremely useful. (…)
    Finish reading Stupid junk food..


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    14 Sep 2010

  • Posted by Utah Martial Arts Feeds
  • If my ankles weren’t flexible before…

    This Article comes from Arcanum Brazilian Jiu-jitsu Blog
    To see the full original article click here


    …they are now.

    Dave subbed for Gerald and took requests for what to learn. We spent the class reviewing straight foot locks, toe holds and heel hooks as a result.

    Class started with a very interesting flashback as Dave recalled the old-school attitude towards leg attacks in BJJ.

    Apparently in the days before SkinnyD stepped onto the mats, there was an era when leg locks were almost taboo. In Dave’s early BJJ days, leg locks were considered a lesser form of submission, especially among Brazilians. They were just above karate chops to the groin on the list of desperate, last-ditch, dirty moves. (Of course, this meant that Dave wanted to learn them, so off he went to study the art of leg mangling with the Sambo crowd.)

    While we BJJ noobs might scoff at the idea that leg locks were once taboo, it does make for some interesting discussion. For one thing, the overall acceptance of leg locks today shows us just how open-minded and alive our art is. It also makes me wonder if there are any moves today that draw similar sentiments. I rather feel that way about neck cranks, for instance. And small joint manipulation. Will we see the day when pinky toes are a common attack point during guard passing at competition?

    All kidding aside, I think as BJJ practitioners we ought to be open to anything that works. And yes, that includes small joint manipulation. Obviously we’ll probably never see this legalized in tournaments, and with good reason. It’s cheap and dirty and completely obnoxious. But does that mean we shouldn’t learn the dirty little tricks if we have the opportunity? Definitely not. If someone intent on truly hurting me is trying to choke me out with an RNC, you’d better believe I’ll be tearing their index finger off while I try to escape. And I will probably throw in a karate chop to the groin for good measure.

    Enough with the rant. I’m going to do a quick technique summary without much elaboration in the interest of time.

    Principle: Secure the hold before you drop into the straight foot lock from within the guard.

    So many leg attacks end in a scramble to see who can apply the lock first. We’ve all been there, it’s OK.

    The way to avoid that is by having such a quick, tight figure four frame on the foot lock hold that when you are dropping back into the submission, they are tapping before they even have a chance to grab for your feet.

    Principle: One failed submission attempt often leads to another successful submission.

    The straight foot lock, if they manage to create an angle that prevents the lock, can lead to the heel hook, which can lead to a toe hold if they roll out of it.

    Principle: The heel hook and foot lock rely on good angles. To eliminate those angles is to neutralize the submission.

    Defend the straight foot lock by following your opponent up into it and “putting on the boot” (grabbing their arm and forcing your leg through the hole into mount) or firmly planting your foot on the mat. This eliminates any angle they have on your ankle and neutralizes their ability to apply torque. Or in other words, it eliminates their fulcrum (a shout out the BJJ and levers analogy).

    Defend the heel hook by turning with the submission and sitting back into it so you end up basically riding on your opponent. This eliminates the angle they have on your leg and actually allows you to go for a toe hold of your own.


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