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and his new Body X-Guard

Whole Foods Vs Supplements?

Black Belt To The Stars

Master Reverse Omoplata With The King – Nino Schembri

Avoid A Broken Heart

The Grappler’s Guide to Heart Health April 2015 Issue 31

Rigan Machado

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ON THE COVER: Yuri Simoes gets ready to show us what he’s been working on the last 12 months. Photo: Jason Boulanger

CONTENTS April 2015 // Issue 31

47 The Life

Life 8 Editorial Time to go monthly!

10 News New stuff, gossip, old stuff and some strange stuff.

24 Promotions Belts and Stripes

Part Two of Does Size Matter?

48 Spotlight Rigan Machado looks to change the world.

92 Gear Lab

56 Cover Feature Yuri Simoes’ Body X-Guard

74 Mastering the Reverse Omoplata With Nino Schembri

• Sumbmission FC Bamboo Frenzy Gi


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Matthew CORLEY

is an award winning chef out of Boothbay, Maine. He is the author of GrapplerGourmet. com, a comprehensive guide to cooking for the BJJ lifestyle. On the mats he is a blue belt out of PSABJJ in Brooklyn, NY, and a personal chef off the mats. Follow MacKenzie at facebook. com/grapplergourmet.

is a blue belt, and Registered Pharmasist and Clinical Phramacy Manager who trains under Ezra Lenon. The best way to keep up with his articles and reviews is at MappingMyBjjJourney

Corey BEASLEY has been a strength coach for 16 years and works with a variety of combat athletes in Southern California. He owns Innovative Results gym in Costa Mesa, CA and founded a site called, that provides strength and conditioning advice for MMA fighters, jiu-jitsu players and other combat athletes.

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Looks like somebody’s been partying.





96 Mind Games

40 Warm Up

Drilling Ugly

Pull-Up Power

114 Success

106 Gains

Natasha Steffen

Battle Rope Training for Grapplers




102 Medic Heart Health

28 Grub


The Power of Purple

34 Supplements Whole Foods Vs Supplements

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began his love for grappling and fitness more than ten years ago here in Southern California and has turned that passion into a career helping Mike steward this fine publication. He has been training jiu-jitsu since 2009 under John Munoz at C-quence JJ/MMA in Norco, CA.

known around the world as one of the premier jiu-jitsu journalists. She’s an accomplished author who has traveled the world to get the story and is the most connected reporter in all of jiu-jitsu.

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NORMALLY, I USE THIS PAGE TO MAKE MY BEST ATTEMPT AT SOME PROFOUND THOUGHT IN AN ATTEMPT TO SOUND LIKE SOME INTELLECTUAL TYPE. I’m pretty sure I miss the mark every time, but hey, it’s fun trying. This month that task will be much, much easier. Here’s the big news: Jiu-Jitsu Magazine is now a monthly publication! Yup, this isn’t an April Fool’s joke, even though it is the April issue. You might have noticed that it’s only the middle of March, and the mailman (or woman) left a surprise in your mailbox. When I started the magazine back in April of 2011 as a bi-monthly publication, I thought it would be nice for it to be monthly someday; well four years later that day is today.

So here’s a little FAQ for everyone on the switch:

Each issue will come out about a week or two before the issue month. For instance, this is the April issue, but its on sale date is mid March. The May issue will be out in mid April and so on. Existing print subscribers have already been credited the appropriate issues so that their subscription lasts the complete calendar term they signed up for. So, let’s say that last June (2014) you signed up for a two-year subscription. In this case, we’ve added three issues to your subscription so that your original subscription lasts until June 2016. Same goes for 6-month and 1-year subscriptions. Bottom line, if you signed up for a year, you’re getting a year. Subscribers of the JJM App, we’ve adjusted your subscriptions as well.

Making the leap to a monthly publication has taken a lot of work from the very talented staff we have here at JJM and most importantly, to you readers who have continued to support us along the journey. Without you, we’d have no way of paying our academy dues, or being able to grab an Acai bowl at tournaments. So for that, and for many more reasons, we say, “Thanks!” We all look forward to continuing to bring you the best magazine possible, month-after-month, for many years to come. Speaking of more of a good thing, something that everyone should do is to roll more often. It might seem simple, but do your best to carve out just a couple more hours each week to hit the mats. The more you roll the more you learn. In time those hours will add up and you’ll be better than you were without them. I hope you enjoy this issue, I’ll talk to you next “month.”

Keep Rolling!

MIKE VELEZ Editor/Publisher


Editor & Publisher Mike Velez Associate Editor Deb Blyth Assistant Editor Travis Guesnon Contributing Authors Gerry Costa, Jeremy Reid, Matthew Corley, Dr. Ethan Kreiswirth, Hywel Teague, Edwin Najmi, Marshal Carper


Art Director Dave Palacios Contributing Photographers Jason Boulanger, John Cooper Kenny Jewel, Mike Lee, Mike Calimbas, Kristen Mendes

PRODUCTION & ADVERTISING Production Director Paula Fountain Advertising Sales Mike Velez Circulation Manager Tom Ferruggia

ADDRESS CHANGE & SUBS Phone: 1.877.834.3552 ext. 227 Web:

ADVERTISING & SALES INFO Available upon request, Contact: Jiu-Jitsu Magazine PO Box 2405 Chino Hills, CA 91709 ph: 1.877.834.3552 ext. 221 fax: 909.591.1251


Jiu-Jitsu Magazine (ISSN 2157-6173) is a publication of Recon Media Inc., PO Box 2405 Chino Hills, CA 91709; Phone: 877.834.3552; Fax: 909.517.1601 email: info@ Subscription rates are $39.99 for 12 issues (1 year), $59.99 per year Canada, and $89.99 per year for foreign airmail. All rights reserved, The entire contents are copyright 2015 Recon Media Inc, and may not be reproduced in any manner in whole or in part without written permission from the publisher. The views and the opinions of the writers and advertisers are their own and do not necessarily reflect those of Recon Media Inc., the Publisher, or the editorial staff. The Publisher assumes no responsibilities for advertising claims, errors, and omissions. Some of the techniques described in this magazine can be dangerous. Always practice safe procedures and use common sense. Recon Media Inc., and the Publisher can not be held responsible from any injuries or damage caused by these techniques. Perform at your own risk. Jiu-Jitsu magazine is published 10 times per year. Application to mail at Periodicals Postage rate is pending at Chino, CA and at additional mailing offices. Postmaster: Send address changes to Jiu-Jitsu Magazine PO Box 2405, Chino HIlls, CA 91709.

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TRAIN FOR LIFE Caio Terra 9 Time World Champion @GamenessFightCo Caio Gameness.indd 1

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THE FIRST OF HOPEFULLY MANY IN ITS INAUGURAL EVENT, RIGAN MACHADO’S JIU-JITSU WORLD LEAGUE SAW SOME OUTSTANDING COMPETITION TAKE PLACE THROUGHOUT THE DAY AND SET THE TONE FOR A VERY COMPETITIVE 2015. The big winners of the professional black belt division not only took home the titles, but pocketed some change as well. They included Karen Deisy ($1K), Vitor Oliveira ($5K), and this month’s cover athlete, Yuri Simoes ($5K). The next event is scheduled for May 9th in Las Vegas, NV.

photos: Kenny Jewel


It’s not too late to get your piece of the $50K pie that BJJ tour is offering in 2015. Yes, you read that right. BJJ Tour will be offering $50,000 worth of prize money at 2015 events! Upon the conclusion of each tournament, both the winning kids and adult teams will earn $500 each. Right now, you’re probably saying to yourself, “But that’s only teams, right?” Nope! Each male black belt winner of every weight division will also earn

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themselves a cool $500. The stakes are even higher in the absolute division, as the winner will take home $1,000! It doesn’t stop there, either. Once the 2015 BJJ Tour concludes, the top ranked male black belts in each weight division will receive $1,000 and the top ranked male black belt in the absolute division can make it rain with an unbelievable $5,000 worth of winnings, as well as a certification!

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That could be you who Andre’s getting ready to pass!


How would you like the opportunity to train for 2 months with the Atos Team in San Diego prior to the 2015 IBJJF World Championships? Well, your opportunity has arrived to get instruction directly from, and share the mat with, Andre Galvao, as well as, Angelica Galvao, Leo D’Avila, Keenan Cornelius, JT Torres, Michael Liera Jr., Andris Brunovskis, Mike Carbullido, Rolando Sampson, and more!


Sorry! Our mistake! In a previous edition, we covered a news story about the Movember Rollathon, a really cool fundraiser for Prostate Cancer. In that article we posted a couple of really fabulous pictures that we neglected to attach photo credit to. Those photos were taken by the talented Tiz Beretta. We apologize for the oversight!

RELAX, REST, RECOVER, RESURRECT… ...then destroy your training! While we may not be trying to become bodybuilders, Resurrect-P.M. from Ronnie Coleman’s Signature Series supplements may be on to something. If you train in the evenings you’re probably all too familiar with not being able to crash because your late training has woken your body/mind up or maybe it’s even your current post workout supplement. ResurrectP.M. is a recovery supplement that supports lean muscle growth while promoting deep and restful sleep.

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Check out the black belt division at any major tournament these days and you’ll notice a pretty good percentage of the athletes with taped up fingers. What do these guys know that the rest of us don’t? Turns out, taping fingers serves a few different purposes: it helps prevent injury, aids in subduing an existing injury and can assist in improving your grip. All sound like compelling reasons to tape your fingers. The new tape brand of jiu-jitsu specific tape is Tape And Roll. They’re launching with the two most popular widths, ¼” and ½” and not at a bad price either. You can pick up four 15-yard rolls of the 1/4” or two 15-yard rolls of the ½” for just $10 plus $3 shipping (US) at their website. We’ve tried it and it’s good stuff. Easy to rip, hypoallergenic and durable. Give it a tear!

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Super Performances

At Gracie Nationals Recently at the Fit Expo in Los Angeles Garry “The Lion Killer” Tonon took a very decorated, Javier Vasquez up on his challenge in a no-time-limit, submission only contest, slaying another lion and extending his streak of no-gi finishes. In sub only matches and tournaments against men at 180lbs or lighter, Tonon has wreaked havoc on anyone in his way since last year. He’ll be competing in the next EBI (Eddie Bravo Invitational) and has made a strong case to be invited to the 2015 ADCC.

Garry Tonon


Classic rematch with Kron Gracie, anyone? Not to be outdone, there was also another superfight scheduled afterward between Eddie Bravo’s first black belt, Denny Prokopos and Garry’s teammate, Eddie “The Wolverine” Cummings. Eddie was fresh off of literally receiving his black belt not too long prior to the event, but surely showed that he is more than deserving of it. In the end, Eddie was able to lock up a nasty looking heel hook to secure the victory.

Javier Vasquez

Exercise Your Demons

Painted Demons is the creation spawned by the imagination of Rodrigo Tovar and the brand’s mascot Pyro. You’ve probably already seen Rodrigo’s work, as he’s been involved with TapOut, the UFC, The Ultimate Fighter, JACO, and the Gracie Academy. When you go to the website you’ll find all types of cool stuff from a comic strip line that follows Pyro on his adventures, to the various displays of art produced by Rodrigo, and a great shop that includes gi patches, apparel, rash guards, posters, and decals. Be sure to have a look at

photos: Lance Emery


Denny Prokopos

Eddie Cummings

photos: Lance Emery

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Human Chess

There’s a new federation in town, and it’s unlike any federation you’ve ever seen! It’s called the Hip-Hop Chess Federation (HHCF) and it’s the world’s first nonprofit to fuse “music, chess and martial arts to promote unity, strategy and nonviolence.” HHCF positively impacts communities in need by hosting “lectures, panels, and celebrity chess events to help at-risk, gang-impacted and gang-intentional youth make better decisions in life.” Its Founder,

Adisa Banjoko is releasing a new book called Chess is Jiu-Jitsu for the Mind. The book describes the relationship between Hip-Hop, chess and martial arts and takes a look at how chess and military strategy can be applied to art and business. Chess is Jiu-Jitsu for the Mind includes worksheets that allow people to incorporate methodologies from the chessboard into their daily lives. Chess is Jiu-Jitsu for the Mind drops in April 2015 on IBL Publishing.

WE MIGHT BE HERE AWHILE Submission only tournaments are getting more and more popular, but when you look closer you’ll find that most of these competitions have a time limit. Yes, a time limit is a practical way of making sure things get done at a reasonable hour, but it isn’t quite the true arena of combat that the founding fathers of jiu-jitsu had in mind. Enter Christopher Story, jiu-jitsu black belt out of Dallas Texas and his BJJ Classic tournament. The

BJJ Classic is a submission only tournament with no time limits in any match. We know of other sub-only tournaments that have no time limits in the finals, but this one has no limits in any match. In fact, at the 2013 BJJ Classic Texas State Championship, one match in the orange belt division between Brenna Tromble and Keegan Swindell went a record long hour and 20 minutes! Ultimately, Brenna got the best of Keegan with an armbar-

triangle submission. With the possibility of that happening on every mat it could make for a long day, however according to Christopher, most matches end in just a few minutes. So, if you’re in the DFW area this is one tournament you should definitely check out. Their next event, BJJ Classic Pan Am Championships, is both gi and no-gi and takes place March 28th and 29th in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. photos: Mike Calimbas

Dia De Los Grappler Check out these new rash guards and spats from Da Firma Kimono Company. The new gear is called “Bad to the Bones,” but it definitely has a Dia de los Muertos (day of the dead in Spanish) inspired look. All the new clothes are fully sublimated and available in multiple sizes. The women’s rashguard and spats both feature a woman’s cut for the right fit. Checkout their website for more details and other gear from DaFirma.

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No More Suitcase Space, No Problem Thanks to the crew at Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Globetrotters, you can now be like the man himself, the original Globetrotter, Christian Graugart, with some help from the Super Light Travel Gi. Compared to every gi we’ve ever come across, this gi takes up very little space, lightweight (as its title implies) and is a perfect on-thego option for the traveling man or woman who wants to train wherever they may be. How is it so lightweight and small you ask? Well, the entire gi is made 100% out of ripstop material! That’s right, not just the pants, but the jacket as well. This allows the gi to dry extremely quickly and it’s extremely sturdy, but don’t plan to use this for competition, as it’s not IBJJF legal. One bonus upon purchasing the gi is that you’ll receive a free eBook copy of “The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Globetrotter.” The Travel Gi runs from sizes A0 up to A4 and retails for $149. You can order yours at

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Want to look good the next time you step on the mats? Of course you do. Check out this near gear coming out of the UK from Tatami Fightwear. The Flash rash guard will have you looking like a super hero. If you want to make people think your game is akin to a chess prodigy, then there’s the Chess Gorilla. To keep the bottom half covered are the new Infinity Fight Shorts. They’re made of super soft nd flexible 100% polyester and are designed specifically for the rigors of grappling with rubberized grip, elasticized rear and drawstring closure. To get all these threads to and from class, the new Meiyo Large Gear Bag is perfect. It’s large enough to hold a few gi’s and/or MMA gear, if you’re so inclined. It’s made of high-quality ballistic nylon, and has separate compartments and durable zippers. All of this new gear can be found at Tatami’s website and other fine retailers, including and

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We hope to see Ciao snacking on Skittles and Kit Kats at a big tournament real soon!

He’s Back, But For How Long?

After a tumultuous 2014 that saw him fall extremely ill and not compete, Caio Terra once again stepped on the mats at the IBJJF European Championships earlier this year. Though he was able to bring home the gold, it was clear that he is still not at 100%. He let it be known that he even considered dropping out once he reached the semifinals due to dizziness and headaches. For this reason, he is still speculating whether or not he will compete anytime again soon. Whatever the future may be for Caio, we at JJM hope he gets well as soon as possible.


This year’s IBJJF European Championships set a record in athletes who registered to compete at the 5-day event with approximately 3,400 participant sign ups. You can find results of the event at

Photo courtesy IBJJF via Facebook

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While there are plenty of amazing champions that some of us hope to emulate, the majority of us don’t train fulltime and have many other happenings in our lives. This can make the average practitioner feel a bit neglected compared to those standing on the podium. However, photographer Mik Milman (bottom right) is working on a project to put things in perspective, show us that Average Joes aren’t the minority, but the majority, and remind us about the true reasons we train. In his own words: “The People Who Train project is an ongoing series focusing on the everyday Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioner; those that manage to juggle other responsibilities, interests and manage to achieve balance in their life. It explores the notion that while jiu-jitsu is so integral to our identities, we all have equally powerful aspects of our lives that form our identity.” Mik welcomes anyone in the jiu-jitsu community to participate. His first goal is to bring the project to as many cities and continents as possible, so he can display representation of everyone who trains. Once completed, he intends to create a book and have a gallery showing to display the final project. If you’d like to be involved in the project, as either a representative or to donate to the cause, you can contact Mik from one of the following sites:

The Answer To PTSD? In our last issue we covered the story of former U.S. Army Sergeant, Michael Bergman in our Success column. Bergman found that jiu-jitsu helped him recover both physically and mentally. In similar fashion, former Marine, Robert Consulmagno not only believes jiu-jitsu has turned his life around, but is on his newest mission, sharing his experiences as much as possible with other war vets and looking to take that message all the way to Washington. News outlets have been helping with spreading the word and so can you. Search “Robert Consulmagno” on

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Submission Series 902

Recently, Cat Clark put together Submission Series 902, Canada’s first and only BJJ submission-only International event in New Glasgow, Nova Scotia. The tournament, which showcased multiple 15 minute grappling matches, sold out in record time and turned out to be a huge success. Submission of the Night honors went to Marcelo Garcia black belt Jonathan Satava, who nailed a knee bar on Kyle Sandford with one second left in the match, shocking the crowd and making Satava a hero (or a villain?) for submitting one of Canada’s best. Submission Series 902 was so successful, Cat is organizing his next Submission Series event called “The Takeover,” which will take place in Halifax, Nova Scotia this June. The Takeover will pit Jiu-Jitsu athletes from ATOS in San Diego, Vancouver, Toronto and all over the Maritime provinces against the top Canadian fighters!

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photos: Martin Blais - Aggro Photography

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Get on the mat now!

What Are You Waiting For? BJJ TOUR ( 4/11-4/12: American Cup, San Jose, CA NEWBREED ULTIMATE CHALLENGE ( 4/4: Kentucky State Open, Louisville, KY 4/11: TBA, Atlanta, GA 4/18: TBA, Port St. Lucie, FL 5/9: TBA, Charlotte, NC NABJJF ( 4/11: Grand Canyon State Open, Phoenix, AZ IBJJF ( 4/11-4/12: New York Open, New York, NY 4/18: Boston Open, Boston, MA 4/25: Boca Raton Open, Boca Raton, FL 5/27-5/31: World Championships, Long Beach, CA

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If you haven’t participated in a tournament yet, here’s your chance to make that big mid-season stride in 2015:

SUNDAY ROLL OUT ( All events located in San Diego, CA 4/5, 4/12, 4/19, 4/26, 5/3, 5/10, 5/17, 5/24, 5/31 JIU-JITSU WORLD LEAGUE ( 5/9: Las Vegas, NV NAGA ( 4/11: Nashville Grappling Championship, Franklin, TN 4/25: World Grappling Championship, Morristown, NJ 5/2: Chicago Championship, Villa Park, IL 5/9: East Coast Championship, Providence, RI SUBLEAGUE ( 4/11: Subleague 1 Qualifier Hillsboro, OR 5/16: Subleague 2 Qualifier Hillsboro, OR

US GRAPPLING ( 4/21: US Grappling Raleigh, Morrisville, NC AMERICAN GRAPPLING CHALLENGE ( 5/2: TBA, Akron, OH SOUTH USA GRAPPLING ASSOCIATION ( 4/18: Alabama State Championships, Orange Beach, AL COPA PACIFICA ( 4/25-4/26: Copa Pacifica, Huntington Beach, CA

AMERICAN GRAPPLING FEDERATION ( 4/11: Blue/Purple Belt Qualifier, Colleyville, TX 4/18: Blue/Purple Belt Qualifier, Little Rock, AR 4/25: Blue/Purple Belt Qualifier, Houston, TX 5/16: Blue/Purple Belt Invitational, Dallas, TX GRAPPLEFEST ( 4/11: Grapplefest 21, Rio Rancho, NM


REVGEAR LEAGUE ( 4/18: Revgear World Open, Kansas City, MO

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When Pretending Meets Reality

Kit Dale has been one of jiu-jitsu’s hottest rising stars the past few years, especially with his comedic skits posted on both his and the Dale Bros TV YouTube page. In almost an ironic twist to his past comedic take on retiring from jiu-jitsu competition completely (, Kit is pursuing a career in acting. The doors have opened up for him greatly, as he’s trained with actor and black belt, Sean Patrick Flanery and the team at Hollywood BJJ, CA from time to time. He still hasn’t fully committed to not competing, so we’ll have to see what the future holds. We, at JJM, wish Kit the best of luck with his acting aspirations and, while we hope he reaches his goal of performing on the big screen, we also hope he continues to do so on the mats.

On The Move Headed To Abu Dhabi

The UAEJJF’s (United Arab Emirates Jiu-Jitsu Federation) popularity continues to increase, as it looks to make the sport more professional by running excellent tournaments, awarding medals and titles, paying its winners, and offering the unique opportunity to travel the world and compete in the Abu Dhabi World Pro. The first U.S. national qualifier took place in Santa Barbara, CA and there were plenty of great athletes who seized the opportunity. Congratulations to the following athletes for doing so, as well as those who made it onto the podium. For all the results check out:

Mens: Blue Belts Baldwin Chu - Ralph Gracie Team Joshua Valles - Gracie Barra

The talented Abraham Marte is now intent on being a full-time athlete. He’s left the smaller Basico BJJ gym he’s always trained at and is now training with Rodolfo Vieira and the GFTeam. Previously, Abraham trained only 4 times per week (while still working), didn’t have any black belts, nor anyone close to his size to train with, so he developed more of a flowing, smooth, technique-oriented game that you typically see within the smaller divisions, not the ultra-heavyweight class. His results were astounding; especially considering he was already past the age of 30. With this in mind, and now that he’ll be training with some of the best heavyweights in the world, it only makes us wonder just how good and how much scarier he will become.

Mens: Purple Belts Rolando Samson - Atos John Combs - Easton Training Center

Mens: Brown Belts Edwin Najmi - Gracie Barra Nisar Amin Loynab - Atos

Mens: Black Belts Clark Gracie - Clark Gracie Academy Eliot Kelly - Yemaso BJJ

Womens: Blue/Purple Belts Melissa Davis - Lotus Club Danielle Martinez - Undisputed/ Baret Submissions

Womens: Brown/Black Belts Mackenzie Dern - Gracie Humaita

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photos: Kenny Jewel

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Yuri Simoes Preparing For Victory


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THE FIRST OF MANY FIRST BJJ CENTER (IN SALT LAKE CITY, UT) INSTRUCTORS CARLÃO SANTOS AND SUYAN QUEIROZ AND THE STUDENTS IN THE KID’S CLASSES HAVE PLENTY TO SMILE ABOUT. This is the place to be as Rafael Olivera dos Santos, the Birdsley brothers and a slew of other young talented kids received promotions early in their jiu-jitsu journey.

It’s A Family Affair

After just over a year of training, Jason Beck proved to his sons (Judah, Jonah and Jacob) that hard work pays off, when he earned his blue belt. Beck’s coach, black belt David Camarillo, and former WEC/UFC fighter Brock Larsen of Performance Compound in St. Cloud, MN presented it to him very proudly. At the young age of 44, Jason also proved that it’s never too late to start. Nice job!

Halfway There

Giroux Brothers Martial Arts (Gracie Sports Macarra BJJ) of Newton, MA is happy to have promoted its most avid competitor, Chris Marcoux, to the rank of purple belt. After many years of rolling and assisting the white belts, Chris was awarded his belt by instructor Jeff Giroux and Brad Wolfson. Congrats, Chris, well earned!

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Don’t be left out, send us your promotion photos!

Do You Accept This, Rose?

Judo black belt Gary Rose did just that in a very honorable fashion when he was awarded his blue belt by Jason Vigil of Island JiuJitsu in Muskegon, Michigan. Here, Gary (right) is standing proudly with friend and training partner, Nick Jones. Way to go, Gary!

Street Certified

Congratulations to Marco Cruzatt for his entrance onto the long list of black belts from the Street Sports Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu team of Santa Monica, CA and earning this prestigious rank from instructors, Renato Magno and Kenny Bond. OSS!!!

Just Keeps Getting Better

Renzo Gracie black belt Tim Mannon from Team Mannon BJJ in Blacksburg, VA has official promoted Andrew Culhane to the rank of black belt and Josh Bishop to brown belt. Well done, Fellas! OSS!!!


While it may not be Skynet, Roberto ‘Cyborg’ Abreu, along with the staff of the Florida-based Fight Sports team just keep producing terminators on the mats. Recently, Mario Prats III earned his brown belt from instructors Cyborg and Denis ‘Denhino’ Pinto of Fight Sports Miami. Not to be outdone, Ryan Johnson was also awarded his brown belt by Cyborg and his instructor, Justin Brunet of Fight Sports Florida Keys. To add to this excitement, Ryan and his wife are expecting an addition to the family this year. David Iturrino of Fight Sports Daytona brought home the award of awards though, as he earned and received his black belt from Todd Cutler. He and his wife, Annie, own and operate Mount Dora / Eustis BJJ Academy in Lake County, FL. Congratulations on all your success and blessings gentlemen! OSS!!!

Email SEND US YOUR PROMOTION PHOTOS along with your name, school, instructor, and a little back story. Email us with the subject line, “Pro Motions” to and keep an eye out for your Pro Motions in a future issue. School owners, please hold off on sending “group” promotions, and please keep it to specific individual students.

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I DO NOT WANT TO SOUND LIKE YOUR MOTHER, BUT I WILL TELL YOU THIS MANY TIMES, “EAT YOUR VEGETABLES!” Most of us are not like the average person, we are eating a more balanced diet than them, but is your diet boring and lacking in some diversity? One might ask, “Is your diet an open mat full of green and white belts?” More than likely it is. Meaning, you’re only eating primarily

green vegetables and basic starches. This is fine, but it could be better. Add in purple to your “open mat” and you are now stepping up to a whole new level. Purple fruits and vegetables are abundantly available, but on average, the least consumed on a daily basis. It has come to that time in your journey to get promoted, to go to purple.


Purple foods are packed full of nutrients that are not found within other fruits and vegetables. It just so happens that these nutrients are powerhouses that push almost all purple foods into the realm of “superfood.” The chemical found in purple foods that makes them stand out among the crowd, color and nutrient-wise, is anthocyanins. Anthocyanins are beneficial towards heart and eye health, cancer prevention and increasing your antioxidant intake. Think for a second, any time you see “antioxidant” drinks in your local health food stores, what color are they primarily? A shade of purple, hmm, that’s an interesting connection. I also use the term “purple” loosely. All foods that are shades of blue, black and darker reds fall within the realm of “purple.”

Purple Herbs: Don’t let this title fool you. I am not saying to eat that, but by adding in purple basil or lavender into your daily diet you will be boosting your vitamin A, vitamin C and calcium intake. They also say herbs are good for the eyes.

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Purple carrots were the real reason Bugs was always one step ahead.

BENEFITS OF PURPLE Anthocyanins are not the only benefit from purple foods. Depending on which you go with, they all bring their own compounds to the table. For instance; a purple carrot is packed with Provitamin A carotenoids, which is a powerful antioxidant, but only gives you 6% of your daily value of Vitamin C, whereas one cup of red cabbage offers you up 66% of your daily value of Vitamin C. Overall, purple foods help fight cancer, ulcers, urinary tract infections, lowers cholesterol, they do it all. But which purple foods should you be eating, just purple vegetables? Sure, purple vegetables are great, but then again, purple fruits and berries pack the same benefits, but on steroids.


Common Purple Fruits & Berries

Antioxidants: You hear this word a lot in the health food world. Why is that? The tissues and cells in our bodies “rust” over time, especially with poor diets and exercise. Yes, you read that correctly, exercise can harm your body if you are not preparing and repairing your body via a solid diet. The oxidation is one of the leading contributors to disease. Luckily for us, Mother Nature came up with a defense to that submission, the Antioxidants Defense. Blue, black and purple berries are packed full of anthocyanins, the antioxidant mentioned numerous times above. These antioxidants essentially go into our system and hunt down and destroy the free-radicals that build up there. Antioxidants are the Navy Seals of nutrients.

Heart Health: You may have seen the slogan, “You cannot teach heart” written within a gi. This is true, but what you can do is help protect and improve yours with berries. The anthocyanins help fight the oxidation of the bad cholesterol, which is the leading factor in heart disease. By reducing LDL

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cholesterol, you are easing your heart’s function. A better beating heart means better cardio and cardio is a major factor on the mats.

Stress and Vision: I am combining these two because if you are like me, they are a major part of your life. I have worn glasses my entire life and the last thing I want to do is lose my vision, but the reality is as we age, our vision will be effected, and not in the positive way. You’ve never seen a 90-year-old man with night vision, but maybe we could, if he ate purple berries his whole life. Anythocyanins aid in the regeneration of rhodopsin, which is the substance in our eyes that helps adjust to darkness. Has the thought of losing your vision stressed you out?

Or is your body stressed out because you just stepped off the mats? Well, luckily we have a double whammy with purple berries. Certain berries, predominantly elderberries, help reduce and regulate glucose, magnesium and other stress-induced chemicals within the body from intense exercise. I am sure there is a joke to be made about losing vision as we age and “elder” berries being the cure.

Acai, blackberry, blueberry, cherry, cranberry, elderberry, fig, and plum.

Common Purple Vegetables Asparagus, beets, cabbage, carrots, eggplant, endive, kale, and potatoes (purple skinned or purple fleshed)

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PURPLE PRODUCTS Q5 Warrior Purple: You might not always find the time, day in and day out to get your purple fix, but there are ways to remedy this. No, not carrying a soggy zip-lock bag of berries around with you, but by Staying Alpha by carrying a baggie of Q5 Sports Nutrition’s Warrior Purple supplement. Bill, over at Q5, has taken the time to develop an all natural powder using blueberry, blackberry, black cherries, black raspberries, black currants, plums, elderberries, bilberries, figs, eggplant, purple cabbage, acai, camu camu, mangosteen, and goji. This powder is the real deal and packs a very naturally delicious flavor-stacked high kick to the face via Mother Nature. Purps: A relatively new company created by multiple time World-Champion Pro Surfer and jiu-jitsu enthusiast, Kelly Slater. Kelly set out with a few friends, Dr. Chris Shaumburg, the food scientist and Pat Tenore, the brand guru, to create a revolutionary purple super food based product line. Their focus is to use a unique blend of 6 purple foods (mangosteen, maqui berry, acai berry, grape, blueberry, blackberry,) three exotic and three domestic products. The ingredients are then used to created 4 different blends to fit within the mainstream of multi-vitamin shot, multi-vitamin powder for travel, energy supplement and hydration drink. Dr. Chris suggests that the 12 oz. energy supplement is the most popular entry product for the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu community. Once you get hooked you will start to see that it might be easier to stock up on the multi-vitamin shot, too, which is designed for daily use to help turn you into a beast nutritionally. The Mendes brothers have been known to enjoy Purps, so don’t be surprised if you start seeing more and more of their products.

Common Purple Fruits & Berries Acai, blackberry, blueberry, cherry, cranberry, elderberry, fig, and plum.

Common Purple Vegetables Asparagus, beets, cabbage, carrots, eggplant, endive, kale, and potatoes (purple skinned or purple fleshed)

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RECIPE Braised Purple (Belt) Cabbage Purple belt in color, black belt in taste.

Ingredients 1 head Purple Cabbage, core removed, thinly sliced 8 Bacon Slices, cut into strips 1 Red Onion, thinly sliced 1 cup Vegetable or Chicken stock

1 Tbsp Brown Sugar (Optional) 1/4 cup Raisins or Currants, chopped (Optional) 1 Apple, peeled, chopped (Optional) 1/4 tsp Salt

1 cup Red Wine

1/8 tsp Black pepper

2 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar or Balsamic

1 dash Nutmeg, ground



Prepare all of your ingredients and have them ready to rock. Search for “Red Cabbage” on for selecting and preparation tips.


Heat a medium sized pot over medium heat and pop the bacon in. Cook until it is crispy, remove the bacon but leave the fat in the pan.

3. 4. 5.

Add in onions and cook for 2 minutes. Remember to season them lightly with salt. Add the bacon back in along with the cabbage and stir to mix. Cook for 10 minutes.

Add in wine, vinegar, stock (or water if you do not have any stock), and salt, and pepper. Cover and cook at a simmer for 30 minutes.

6. 7.

Remove the lid and stir in sugar, currants and apple if you are using them.

Cook for another 10 minutes uncovered until most of the liquid is absorbed and the cabbage is tender. How thin you cut the cabbage will determine the length of cooking time.


Adjust seasoning and enjoy with some pork chops! This is easily cooled and is enough for many helpings throughout the week. Less cooking during the week means more time to train!


There is no reason you should be skimping on shooting for purple, even if you are a black belt. The benefits of purple foods are clearly high caliber and perfect for the jiu-jitsu lifestyle. There are so many different shapes, shades and sizes of purple foods available. There is no reason to not have a few of them in your fridge from now on. If you have a hard time forking over your paycheck for tons of fresh produce, if you do not live in an area that is not as bountiful as Southern California, or are a minimalist and would rather have all of the work done for you, check out Purps and Q5. Supplements are exactly that, supplements for when you cannot get enough of a nutrient or food category. Always opt for fresh fruit, but hey, it’s the effort that counts. Go out there, grab the first purple you see and start rolling. Eat well, train hard. Oss!

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YOU EAT A REASONABLY GOOD DIET, GET IN SOME GREEN VEGGIES EVERY DAY AND TRY TO LIMIT THE JUNK FOOD, RIGHT? Why then do you need to use nutritional supplements at all? You don’t. Unless you want to achieve optimum levels of performance.

world-class athletes who train on fast food diets, but they aren’t as good as they could be. There is a dirty little secret the whole food zealots and gurus don’t want you to know. Here it is: even if you are eating 100% clean and healthy, your body is missing critical nutrients, vitamins and minerals, and you are not achieving your optimum performance! In this article we’ll explain why.

The body is a remarkable machine. It will take just about any food you feed it and turn it into power in order to train. There are a few

NUTRIENT DENSITY The food you eat today is less nutrient dense than food from the past. For example, the broccoli that you purchase in the grocery store is most likely from a hybrid strain known as Marathon. Researchers at the US Department of Agriculture found that Marathon broccoli is about one third lower in calcium and magnesium than other hybrids. Those other hybrids were already

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50% lower in calcium and magnesium than the broccoli tested for the 1998 USDA nutrient database. Agriculture is big business and farmers know what sells in supermarkets. That influences what strains they choose to grow. The first thing a farmer must consider is pest resistance and

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They both have some guns!

speed of growth. If a crop gets eaten by bugs, or can’t go from seed to harvest quickly enough, that farmer is out of business. You probably won’t be surprised to learn the fast growing pest resistant crops are not always the most nutritious.

on the shelf? If it doesn’t look almost perfect, no one is going to pick it up and buy it. (How many times have you picked up an apple that looked great only to find out it tasted bland and mealy?) Finally, we come to taste and what sells best in fruits and veggies? A sweet taste. That means that strains that produce a lot of natural sugars are going to be selected over other strains that may be healthier. The level of nutrients in the food is never actually considered in mainstream agriculture when deciding what to plant and sell, but that’s not the only problem.

The farmer’s next concern is durability. If the produce can’t get to the store in one piece, nothing else matters. So, farmers select strains that contain a lot of water and pith (a fibrous support structure) that helps durability, but not nutrition. The third thing a farmer looks for is appearance. Will the produce look good sitting

SOIL DEPLETION Conventional agricultural practices have depleted the soil of many important vitamins, minerals and nutrients. Today’s fast growing strains of crops have less time to absorb what is left. This leads to produce with vastly reduced mineral content. We understand the major minerals and how important they are to good health, but we’ve only recently begun to understand the role of phytochemicals, trace minerals, flavonoids, and antioxidants in our food. Unfortunately, the news here isn’t any better.

Soil Depletion and Nutrient Declines




Chicken Change





































































































































Even meat and dairy are impacted by soil mineral depletion. | Source: UK Ministries of Agriculture Fisheries and Food | Average Mineral Decline 27 Studied Vegetables 1936-1987

Summary of Results

Historical essential mineral depletion - changes in 5 catagories of food products. 1940 to 1991 Vegetables (n = 28)

1940 to 1991 Fruit (n = 17)

1940 to 2002 Meat (n = 14)

1940 to 2002 Cheeses (n = 9)

1940 to 2002 Dairy (n = 4)

Weighted Average (n = 72)


















































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ARTIFICIAL RIPENING Many plants are harvested ‘green’ and then ripened artificially with the plant hormone ethylene. This is true even for organic fruits and vegetables. The use of ethylene for post-harvest ripening of fruits is sanctioned in the United States National Organic Standards Board guidelines. Artificially ripening means plants never get a chance to develop a multitude of nutrients like anthocyanins, which require sunlight during the ripening process to develop. Anthocyanins and other flavonoids can provide protection against DNA damage, brain cell deterioration, cancer, and a host of other health problems, but we aren’t getting nearly the amount that nature intended through our food. These valuable compounds are simply missing from modern fruits and vegetables.

that when growers picked the cherries at stage 8, which was typical, they only contained about half as much Vitamin C versus being picked when fully ripe. Researchers at Oregon State University found similar results when they studied blackberries. The naturally ripened berries contained almost 4x as many anthocyanins as the unripe berries.


Researchers in Spain studied the process of ripening cherries and listed 14 different stages in the natural process. They found

DIGESTION WOES Back in 1957, Professor E.V. McCollum, who was considered America’s top nutritionist at the time, published a book called, “A History of Nutrition.” This book largely refuted all the previous studies that had shown how damaging excess sugar was to health for humans and other animals. The book became wildly popular and in a short time sugar was being dumped into every food you can imagine, from hot dogs to pasta to yogurt to bread. Sugar consumption started to go through the roof.

and about 40 other food manufactures that stood to benefit from selling more sugar-laden, refined foods. All this extra sugar plays havoc with your digestive system, including crowding out the ‘good’ bacteria in your digestive tract and allowing the ‘bad’ bacteria to thrive. This leads to poor digestion and absorption of the nutrients extracted from the food that you eat (which we’ve already seen is compromised in

the first place). So, the food is missing all those vitamins, minerals, and flavonoids and you can’t absorb the few that you do eat because your gut flora and fauna is compromised. Poor digestion contributes to many chronic diseases in the US. This problem gets worse the older you are due to a decline in the production of digestive enzymes.

The USDA publishes an updated set of dietary guidelines for Americans every 5 years. The most current publication is the 2010 edition.1 These guidelines are intended as a bare minimum recommendation for everyone over 2 years old, which includes your mom. Even by the low standards in the USDA guidelines, Americans are still undernourished. The chart below shows the percentage of the US Population meeting standards for some key nutrients, even after food enrichment and supplementation! As an athlete in a demanding sport you are going to have vastly different nutritional requirements than your mom, so it’s extremely unlikely you are getting all the nutrients you need through diet alone.

By the way, the book was published and marketed by a company named “The Nutrition Foundation, Incorporated,” which was an organization funded by the American Sugar Refining Company, CocaCola, Pepsi-Cola, General Foods, General Mills,

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There are some very beneficial nutrients that can be difficult or impossible to obtain through just eating whole foods.

Vitamin A is critical to vision, bone, skin, gene transport and overall immune function. To get your mom’s minimum daily dose, just eat 1 cup cantaloupe, 2 cups of raw spinach, and 1 medium carrot every day. (cantaloupe, spinach and carrot) To get your daily dose of calcium you’ll need 3 8oz glasses of milk or yogurt. (glass of milk x3)

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Oh great - so, which one do you think came first?

Potassium is important for bones, muscles, nerve function, hydration, and energy production. You should be getting at least 4,700 milligrams per day. That’s just 10 cups of cooked broccoli (try to get the good kind) or about 7 sweet potatoes. Of course you could just do 5 cups of broccoli and 3 ½ sweet potatoes on some days. (broccoli x 10) As an athlete you should be getting 1.7 grams/kilogram of protein per day. For a 185lb fighter that equals about 140g/day of quality protein. So you’ll just need 7 eggs or 6 chicken breasts or 19 glasses of milk. Of course feel free to mix and match. (egg x 7)

There are many more basic or essential nutrients that turn out to be difficul to get every day through your diet alone. There are also some beneficial nutrients that are much easier to supplement than obtain through diet. One example is blueberry extract. Blueberry extract has been shown to protect brain function and cognition, reduce inflammation, slow aging, reduce obesity, and help with metabolic syndrome. While it would be almost impossible to eat enough blueberries to achieve these effects, supplementing with standardized extracts is simple and cost effective.


While it is possible to live a happy and healthy life just eating whole foods, it’s difficul to impossible to give your body everything it needs for optimum performance on the mats and health through diet alone. You can use dietary supplements as part of a well-developed strategy for peak performance to make up the gap where whole foods fall short.

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Travis Guesnon

IF FOR ANY REASON YOU’VE MISSED THE THEME OF OUR PAST TWO ISSUES, WE’RE ON A BIG CALISTHENICS KICK RIGHT NOW. We’ve shown you how to push-up your game and improve your core performance through planks, but now it’s time to raise yourself up and go above the bar (both literally and figuratively) with pull-ups.


While the push-up may be old faithful, pull-ups and chin-ups are where it’s at if you want some real “HE-MAN” upper body power from a calisthenic exercise; with the exception of a planche push-up. For starters, our backs have much more muscle tissue than our chests do and since you’re continually raising and lowering your entire body weight, as compared to your feet being used like an anchor with a push-up, the movement is more taxing, but also yields greater results overall.

Muscles Involved Pull-ups and chin-ups are compound exercises that require use of a variety of muscles, including the bicep brachii, brachialis, brachioradialis, latissimus dorsi (lats), teres major, posterior deltoid muscles, lower trapezius, pectoralis major and minor, triceps brachii, levator scapulae, rhomboid, and pretty much all of your core/trunk muscles, to be performed. As you can imagine, that’s a lot of internal movement going on underneath the skin, but the more recruitment of muscle fibers the better.

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Thanks to our friend Nray at DNJ Fitness.

How Does That Transfer To Jiu-Jitsu?

How many times have you heard, “Posture up!” from your coach or seen a guy get smashed by a sprawl even though he had a grip on the legs? Performing pull-ups/chinups consistently will help you gain strength in your back to better deal with those situations. Another example is when you arm or leg drag an opponent. You are pulling them using the same mechanics as these exercises. They also inadvertently force your grip to improve because you must be able to hold

up and move your body weight. I’m sure we all know how a strong grip can help or hinder us, dependent upon who’s applying it.

No Excuses

You don’t have a gym pass? So what! Pull-up/chinup stands are available for your home. Still too expensive? Look into a doorway bar; there are removable models or ones that you can anchor to the frame. These will, however, limit you to perform more advanced movements because of factors, such as height and surroundings, but they still work great.

Now if those are still too expensive or you don’t like them, I recommend taking a page out of the creator of Movnat, Erwan Le Corre’s playbook and find something to do it on. The side of the monkey bars at a local playground or even a large, steady tree branch will suffice. Movnat is a workout program that relies on use of our environment and bodyweight training. In order to do these types of exercises, you must perform them on an immovable object (or at the very least stationary) that will not break due to your bodyweight being suspended from it.

The Broken Record Incase I haven’t drilled it in your head enough over the last two issues, here’s why calisthenics are so great again! Challenging exercise Little or no equipment needed Can be done almost anywhere Increases in strength and flexibility Improves balance, coordination, agility, muscular and cardiovascular fitness


Maybe you despise pull-ups/chin-ups because you can’t lift your weight up; on the other hand, maybe you can power out an endless amount of them with no problem, so they don’t seem to be much of a challenge. Regardless of your circumstance, being negative about it can actually be positive. Negative (eccentric) training is the lowering part of any exercise and in contrast to the positive (concentric) portion we are all stronger during it. You may not be able to pull yourself up, but you can lower yourself. If you’re the heavy rep guy you can add a lot of weight using a variety of tools. Using negative training yields a ton of strength gains if used properly; however, it can’t be done too often because it’s so taxing on the body, so you want to focus on lower rep counts of higher quality.


Place a stationary object (bench, stool, chair, etc.) that can support your weight, near the bar. Step onto it and grip the bar getting into the top position with your arms flexed and chin above it.


Begin SLOWLY by lowering yourself down in a very controlled manner, until your arms are fully extended. The SLOWER the better.

What Pretty Curls Underhand grip movements (like chin-ups) align your arms so that your biceps take more of the load like that of a curling movement, thus working them harder.


Get back to the starting position and repeat the process.

PRESCRIPTION: As a warm-up: 1-3 reps of 8-15 seconds, as a workout: 10 reps of 8-15 seconds.

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Like the traditional push-up, there’s the standard pull-up/chin-up. Both follow the same movement of pulling one’s weight up and down; however, the primary difference is the grip taken, with pull-ups being overhand and chin-ups being under-hand. Pull-ups tend to be the more difficult f the two so most assume it’s better, but that’s not necessarily true. That has more to do with body mechanics. For every argument you can find on why the pull-up is better, you’ll find just as many favoring the chin-up. The grips can either be placed at mid-range (the most common), close, or wide.


Choose your grip beforehand, grasp the bar above you, dead hang your body so your elbows are straight, bend your legs, and cross your feet.


Look upward at the bar, begin pulling yourself up leading with your chest, shoulders back, drive your elbows to the floor, until they are bent as far as possible and your chin passes above the bar.



Close Grip

Wide Grip

Lower yourself down to the starting position and repeat the steps.

Hang Out 2011 NCAA Division 1 National Wrestling Champion, Anthony Robles would hang for 30 minutes straight after he completed his workout. While it may not be working his back to the same extent as a pullup/chin-up, it gave his arms (especially his forearms) extraordinary muscular endurance and a ridiculous grip!

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This will definitely help with your clinch!


Body weight rows (AKA inverted rows) are another useful exercise to build up your strength. You’ll need a lower bar or something that is roughly arm’s length from the ground. Your same muscles will be worked; however, you’ll be performing the movement at a different angle. Think of it as a reverse push-up, but instead of pushing, you pull. It will teach you how to use your core area as well.


Lie flat on your back underneath the bar (or object) that is set just above where you can reach from the ground. Grasp the object with either an over or underhand grip. Contract your abdominal muscles so that your body will remain straight like a board.


Pull yourself up until your chest touches the object you are grasping and squeeze your shoulder blades together.



Begin to pull yourself up to the bar while still contracting your abs. Don’t round your lower back or sag your hips.

Lower yourself back down to the ground, keeping everything tight, so the length of your body remains straight, and then repeat the steps.

TIP: Want to make this more difficult? Simp elevate your feet on an object as illustrated.

PRESCRIPTION: As a warm-up: 8-10 reps, as a workout: 3 sets of 8-15 reps.

No Lower Bar, No Problem I’ve done this on the open back of a staircase and have seen someone use the underside of a dining room table.

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Tough Guy?

Easy my friends, it’s not that kind of party. Along with the earlier mentioned muscles being used, this unique pull-up variation hits the chest as well, while putting less stress on the shoulders.


Turn your body sideways so you’re able to look down the length of the bar. Grip the bar with your palms facing each other in a staggered position where they are next to each other.


As you pull yourself up, move your head to one side to avoid hitting the bar and continue to pull until your chin reaches the bar. Alternate sides with each rep.


Once you complete a set, alternate your hands on each set to avoid muscle imbalances.

If you ever get to the point that you don’t find any pull-up/chin-up variation tough enough then simply add to it for more of a challenge. Throwing your gi over the bar and performing a variety of hand grips will certainly challenge the strength of your hands and fingers. Scramble’s Grip Trainer, Origin’s OrangaHang and JitsGrips are all great alternatives to the gi that eliminate the excess material getting in your way and allow for more variety of grips. Using towels, two tennis balls (for Grappler Pull-ups), suspended Olympic rings (instead of a bar), ankle weights, weighted vests, and dip belts with additional weight will also step up the level difficul .

PRESCRIPTION: As a warm-up: 8-10 reps, as a workout: 2 sets of 8-15 reps

Not There Just Yet? If you have issues doing a pull-up/chin-up, another option would be to perform the movement with assistance through the use of a chair, plyometric box, exercise band, or having a partner help you.

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IN LAST MONTH’S COLUMN I ADDRESSED THE AGE OLD STATEMENT THAT “SIZE DOESN’T MATTER IN JIUJITSU!” I went on to talk about my early developments and how over time and with painstakingly, long term effort and dedication I began to see the light that this statement might be true. I went on to talk about a great lesson by Master Rickson Gracie: It wasn’t until some time, (I believe I was a blue belt, when after a difficu sparring session with a bigger opponent, Master Rickson pulled me to the side and lectured me. He said: “Kid, you fight very hard, with a lot of aggression and with a lot of heart and determination and that is great; but you are one of the smallest guys in the class, you are not particularly stronger, agile or flexible so you are the one that usually ends up tiring first. You try to fight like a lion but you are built like a mouse!” So if you were to ask me today, does size matter in Gracie Jiu-Jitsu? My answer will be that size doesn’t matter if there is a great discrepancy or great difference in technical level between the two fighters/opponents. If you go against an unskilled opponent and you have good or great skills you should be able to survive or come out the victor in most situations; however, that still didn’t fully satisfy me or my attempt to answer the question. It wasn’t until I saw a video by Ryron and Rener Gracie addressing the subject that I got a good answer. In the video, Ryron and Rener address and quantify the “size question”. They go on to say that, in their view and in their experience, every 10 pounds of weight difference equals to one belt and every 10 years of age difference equals to one belt as well. In other words, if you are a black belt and weigh 150 pounds and you

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go against a blue belt that weights 180 (30 pounds = 3 belts) it is the equivalent of going against a black belt of your weight. The same goes for age difference, if you are a 50 year old black belt going against a 20 year old blue, that younger blue will give you as hard a time and will feel like a black belt of your same age. After watching the entire video I had to agree with their ideas. In my case I believe that, since I am small and used to going against people that are significantly bigger than I, every 15 pounds equals one belt. But their idea is right on the number, that “size doesn’t matter” depends on your ultimate goal and how you qualify the statement. If you want to say that size doesn’t matter and you can fight and defeat anyone no matter what, you will fall short and have to admit that size does matter, however if you want to be able to survive and equalize and at times defeat a bigger opponent, you need the skill level and the ability to overcome the “size” difference. Now go train Jiu-Jitsu

Kid Peligro PS You can watch the video here

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Kenny Jewel

BIG Plans Ahead

Eighth degree red and black belt, Master Rigan Machado has some big plans for the Brazilian jiu-jitsu community and when I say, “Big,” I mean BIG! If you’ve ever met Rigan or have had the opportunity to spend some time with him, you know he only thinks in grand terms if there is anyone that the ability to pull momentous feats off, it’s him.

Carlos Gracie, Sr. Between the ages of 14 and 21, Rigan won the Brazilian National Championships (the equivalent of the World Championships) every year, in every belt. On top of that, he set a record for

competing in 19 jiu-jitsu matches in one day, finishing all of them by submission. Overall, he racked up an astounding record of 365 wins and 2 losses during his competitive career.

Rigan’s Roots

Rigan’s been around jiu-jitsu his entire life. Nephew of legendary Grandmaster Carlos Gracie, Sr. and brother to Carlos, Jean Jacques, Roger and John Machado, Rigan couldn’t help, but be extraordinary in the gentle art. Growing up, he was lucky enough to train under the tutelage of Rolls Gracie and Master Carlos Gracie, Jr. He trained with his four brothers and his Gracie cousins, Rickson, Rorian, and Rillion (to name a few), and his uncle,

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Some photos courtesy of Rigan Machado Facebook.

Academy of Beverly Hills / Celebrity Connections Currently, Rigan owns and operates the Academy of Beverly Hills where he has made a name for himself training various Hollywood celebrities in jiu-jitsu for their parts in movies and TV roles. Ashton Kutcher, Vin Diesel, Keanu Reeves, Charlie Hunnam, and Ziggy Marley are just a few of the big names he instructs on the mats. He was recently nominated for and won an award in Beverly Hills for his martial arts contribution in the film industry and he informed me that he’s currently set to play the lead in a martial arts film…and of course, he’s playing the bad guy!

World Jiu-Jitsu League

Rigan has big plans to bring jiu-jitsu to the world to a much lager stage – television - but in the meantime, while that idea is percolating and negotiations are underway, he and Mathew Tinley, recently kicked off their first World Jiu-Jitsu League tournament at the Bren Center at UC Irvine. The turnout was on the smaller scale, which was a good thing because it allowed him to fix any issues that arose right at that moment and make a mental note to ensure they don’t happen again at their next tournament in Las Vegas, in May. Overall, Rigan said he was very happy with the results. The event had some really unique characteristics that set it apart from the rest. The World Jiu-Jitsu League showcased new aggressive rules that you can see here: s3IcJhEETvU, Tournament 360 ran their scoring very professionally, the red and black World Jiu-Jitsu League logoed mats were beautiful, the sound system played upbeat music all day long and a few celebrities, like Ashton Kutcher, Michael Dudikoff, karate legend Robert Wall, and Jean-Claude Van Damme’s daughter, Bianca Bree Van Damme showed up to help usher in Rigan’s debut event (as an aside, Bianca told me that Rigan is like an uncle to her. She said that he was always at her house growing up, hanging out with her dad, the legendary JeanClaude Van Damme). The World Jiu-Jitsu League also paid out cash to black belt winners, which is a departure from what

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the athletes are used to receiving… which typically is nothing. World champion black belts have long been complaining that the sport of jiu-jitsu is professional, and should be treated as such. They train like professionals, dedicating their lives to the art, but they don’t get paid for their efforts like most professional athletes do. Rigan is seeking to change all that. One such athlete who is no longer complying with the lack of professional status at tournaments is black belt world champion Marcus “Buchecha” Almeida who has dug his heels in on this issue and says he’ll only compete for money (except for the Worlds – he told me he will always be at that one big IBJJF event). Rigan capitalized on this and has made Buchecha the poster

boy for the World Jiu-Jitsu League. He will pay him like a professional to promote his venture and compete in it as well. At the tournament in January, Rigan paid out $11,000 in cash prizes to those black belts who won their open divisions. Yuri Simoes and Vitor Oliveira each collected $5,000 for their respective categories, while Karen Deisy picked up $1,000 for hers.

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Recently, I got to spend some time with Rigan. I asked him a few questions about his upbringing, his jiu-jitsu, his academy in Beverly Hills, his celebrity connections, and his future plans. This is what he had to say: What was your relationship like with Grandmaster Carlos Gracie, Sr.? He was my Uncle; my aunt was married to him. I started training at 5. I was dyslexic and Uncle Carlos got me training and helped me with my nutrition. He helped me overcome the problems I had. I graduated from school; I became a great student and competitor. I was very close to Carlos, Sr. I lived in the Gracie house. I had the opportunity to follow him for 9 years. He made me feel like he was my stepfather. I looked up to him like a father. His kids are like my brothers.

Who were your coaches on the mats growing up?

the Barra Academy. I was his first champion and his best champion for 8 years.

My coaches were Rolls and Carlos Gracie, Jr. I was 16 when Rolls died. I love his family. I grew up with Rickson, Renzo, Royler, Rillion…that was my generation; that was who I hung out with.

Tell me about your relationship with your brothers.

When did you get your black belt? At 17. I won the Brazilian Nationals (the Worlds) 3 years in a row in the open and in my weight at blue, purple and brown. I was 185lbs at blue and 195lbs at purple to black belt. I moved to America and went all the way up to 235lbs – super heavy weight. I was a vegetarian and then became a meat eater! Carlos Gracie, Jr. was my main coach. I was his first black belt at

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The one thing I created with my brothers is that we protect each other. I created the philosophy to leave the ego outside the family. I’m not better than anybody. There is no greed between the brothers. We support each other. When you create these ideas, you follow them and pass it on to your students. My brothers and I have a love relationship with each other.

When there is too much fame, power or money… if you don’t have a leader to guide you or some philosophy to hold you together, your ego is going to get the better of you. This is why I tried to create this union between all of us Machado brothers. By myself I’m just Rigan, but with my brothers, I’m one of the Machado Brothers. I’m one teacher of five teachers; one champion of five champions. It sounds stronger and better with them. I’m nobody without my brothers. I’m number three… in the middle. I have very good communication skills and I try to get us all to create loving relationships with each other.

When did you open the Academy of Beverly Hills? The Academy of Beverly Hills opened 1-½ years ago. I always wanted to do VIP training. I met an investor named Cash from Dallas. He introduced me to Martin Wheeler from England who specializes in Systema (an ancient Russian martial art adapted for use in

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modern warfare by the Russian Special Operations and the Soviet spy network). I joked with him that I would only open an academy in Beverly Hills. He found a place. He wanted a 5 star academy – 1st class, private training, valet parking, celebrities welcome. My first student was Ashton Kutcher. Word got around and now I have over 100 people at the academy. I’m very selective about who joins my academy. They are all good people, no bad apples.

training. They learn jiu-jitsu and technically train, but it’s all safe. I created a type of jiu-jitsu for the Beverly Hills clientele. Competition, sparring… these guys can’t do that. I can’t even take a 1% chance of them getting hurt. I have 18 celebrities doing this program. Some guys have to sign disclosure agreements; others like Ashton Kutcher and Mickey Rourke come in regularly, while Usher comes in once in a while and Vin Diesel when he’s in town…I train Ziggy Marley.

You seem to have built good relationships with a variety of celebrities.

Can you describe this injury-free jiujitsu for me?

Yes. I’ve built good relationships with Vin Diesel, Ashton Kutcher, and Michael Jai White. I created a new jiujitsu system for people who can’t get hurt. It’s technical

I created Flow Jiu-Jitsu. It took me 9 years to put it together. I have over 700 techniques and drills for people to train without injury. It takes 6 to 7 years to master. I will do this

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No sparing?

cozy… it’s such a stress-free place. Before Beverly Hills, I was training some of the top athletes in the world with my brothers. I wanted to reach a different clientele. Now I’m hooked!

in LA and NY only – for those who can’t get injured because they’re in the entertainment field. It’s a thinking philosophy and methodology. There is so much work and study involved in it. It was so hard to figure out all the details, but I’m happy I did it because it’s been very successful.

Tell me about your entertainment career.

Do you have plans to open more schools in the future? Yes. I’m thinking about opening a couple other schools in LA, New York and in Europe. Very high-end academies. I have the best designer and my partner is from Spain for this one. I’m thinking of opening the first in New York, then Zurich and then London. These won’t be just jiu-jitsu. There will be a specialized yoga program, nutrition

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services, medical treatments, and jiu-jitsu. I want to help people become better through meditation…body, mind and spirit. These are going to be exclusive clubs for high-class clientele. I’m looking for the

right locations. In New York we’ve been looking at a place on the East side in uptown Manhattan. It’s 6-7,000 square feet. It’s a dream opportunity for me. The Beverly Hills environment is so friendly and

I’m meeting with three CAA (Creative Artists Agnecy) agents to talk to them about a TV show – a reality TV show about me and all my brothers and family. I’m also involved in martial arts through the film industry in other ways. I recently produced my first movie - Paranormal Activity Security Squad. I play a hunchback monster. It’s a horror/comedy. I put it together from beginning to end. It’s coming out soon. I love the fun of movies.

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You just pulled off your first World Jiu-Jitsu League tournament. I know you were happy with the results. How did this event come about and what are your plans for it? The World Jiu-Jitsu League is a new organization that took me 9 years to put together. I helped Master Carlos with the IBJJF in the beginning and I always thought I would like to create my own. I kept thinking about how it would be different and what the goal Jean Jacques Machado with a student.

for this organization would be. I wanted something very organized, for kids, adults, seniors, and women. I wanted to put the same philosophy, thinking and passion I have for my academy behind this organization. So, I got a dream team together and we created The World Jiu-Jitsu League. The ultimate strategy is to push the sport to a higher level: TV. I will support Rickson in his new organization with anything he does. I love what he’s doing. I’m not doing a federation. I’m doing a private federation. The rules are a 180 change. There’s a higher point system, penalties for stalling,

and you can’t hold a fight. There’s no counting; you have to let go or lose points. There’s no stalling. We need a lot of action for TV. We’re starting with an amateur version to see/learn/test the rules and the organization and to create a rank system. The black belts will earn money. And then we will have a professional league that will be showcased around the world. The athletes will accumulate points as they travel from tournament to tournament. This is my dream come true. I have money behind it – sponsors, waiting and watching us grow. We’re taking baby steps to get to the highest level, to ensure we’re doing everything right. We already have the relationships with the TV contacts. We want to be ready when the time comes to take the plunge to the big screen.

Anything else you want to add? Yes, I love what I do. I will feel like a student for the rest of my life. I love jiu-jitsu. I don’t ever want to think of myself as a black belt. I’m a white belt

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at heart. I love to learn. My passion in life is to see others happy through jiu-jitsu; my brothers and my cousins – our relationship – what jiu-jitsu did for me… it made me a better person. I try to duplicate that in different ways for different people. Jiu-jitsu changes lives. That’s my mission. I’m an instructor. I teach techniques, but when I help someone be a better person, that’s where I feel success. Spending the day with Rigan, I can assure you – this guy is a mover and a shaker. I met him up in Hollywood and the entire time I was with him, he was schmoozing, negotiating, networking, and making things happen. He is constantly on his phone, making deals, creating opportunities and pushing jiujitsu forward. He is on a mission to take jiu-jitsu to the next level! Based on his energy level, his passion for the art and his abundance of investor, celebrity and other powerful connections, I don’t doubt for a minute that he will be able to accomplish all that he seeks to achieve. Good luck, Rigan and let us know how it all turns out!

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What? No insect names?



Jason Boulanger

IF YOU’RE A REGULAR READER OF JIU-JITSU MAGAZINE, THEN YURI SIMOES IS NO STRANGER TO YOU. We’ve done two technique articles over the years with Yuri and he never disappoints. Recently, we made the trip to his new home in San Jose, California where he trains with Team Caio Terra. Yuri’s change of scenery has had a very positive impact on his life and especially his jiu-jitsu. Yuri recently won his weight and the absolute at the 2014 IBJJF No-Gi Worlds. Originally we had talked about doing an article on guard passes, but when we arrived at the academy ready to shoot, Yuri let us in on a new guard he’s been working on for about a year. Yuri calls it the “Body X-Guard.” As I’m sitting here trying to think of what it compares to, the De la Riva comes to mind as to how you control the leg, kind of like a spider guard in how you control the arm, but the best way to describe is to just show it, as you’ll see here. As I mentioned, Yuri’s been working on this for about a year now and he hopes to use it in competition this season. In its current state, Yuri has about 20 different techniques and possibilities from the position. He agreed to share with us a couple setups from spider guard, along with four techniques from the position that he’s very comfortable with and believes are developed. I’m sure that over the course of time you’ll see more positions from the Body X-Guard, but for now, Yuri and I both think you’ll find these very useful. Developing a new position isn’t easy; it takes hours and hours of time on the mats, along with teammates willing to assist in its development. The beauty of jiu-jitsu is that it’s a totally open source. It will be interesting to see how the guard develops now that it will be out in the grappling cosmos. After seeing the Body X-Guard in practice, I was impressed with the options it gives those of us who aren’t necessarily that flexible. The use of both legs allows you to really control the distance between you and your opponent, while avoiding the smash fairly easily. Take a look for yourself and see what you think!

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Yuri’s working on a few different ways to get to the Body X-Guard but the one he’s most happy with so far is from a spider guard position.


Yuri controls the left sleeve with his right hand and reaches down to grab the right leg with his left hand. Both grips are with four fingers inside the cuffs.


With the grips in place, Yuri brings his right leg across his opponent’s body with the top of his foot contacting his opponent.


Quickly, Yuri brings his left foot across, over his right leg, and hooks the bottom of his opponent’s left armpit with the top of his left foot.

04 As soon his feet are in position, Yuri manages the distance by pushing away with his feet and keeping his hooks tight against the body, while at the same time keeping his grips tight. Yuri can stay here for a little while, but he really wants his opponent down on the mats.

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Simple sweep, I think I could do that.

05 A common reaction is for his opponent to posture up, maybe in an attempt to break the grips and get away to pass. If he does this he lifts Yuri up with him. Yuri pulls his right foot away from his opponent’s side and hooks behind his opponent’s left knee.


As soon as Yuri’s foot is behind the knee he pushes down and back with his left foot and pulls his grip of the leg towards himself to bring his opponent down to the mats.

Key Points



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Before his opponent is able to sit up and get close, Yuri brings his right foot out from behind his opponent’s knee and replaces it across his body with the top of his foot against his opponent.

Grips are very important, so hold tight and have them both in place before you begin to show your hand on what’s coming next.

Finally, Yuri brings his left elbow down to the mat so that his opponent’s foot is off the mat and over Yuri’s arm. As he does this he also squares up so that he’s directly in front of his opponent. Yuri is now in the Body X-Guard.

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GETTING TO BODY X-GUARD FROM SPIDER ON KNEES Here’s a look at the setup with the opponent on his knees. This is an easier way to get to the position because there’s no need to remove the foot to drop the opponent to the mat. Once you get your legs crossed you won’t need to remove them.


Yuri’s opponent is on his knees. Yuri has his feet on his opponent’s hips and control of his left sleeve.


Keeping his feet on his hips, Yuri hips out to his right to open up space so that he can reach in and grab his opponent’s right pant leg near the ankle with his left hand.

Secure grip


With the grip of the pants and the sleeve, Yuri pulls his right leg up and in to go across his opponent’s body then immediately brings his left leg over and above, hooking the body with the top of both feet.

Hook the hip

Hook the armpit


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The hard part is the setup. Once the hooks are in you’ll have a lot of control.



Yuri uses his entire body, but mostly his right leg, to kick his opponent over to his opponent’s left side. At the same time he pulls the arm to keep his opponent from posting to defend, and pulls the leg to help the sweep.

If his opponent doesn’t try to regain his posture, Yuri would scramble to get to his knees and complete the sweep.


However, the more likely scenario has his opponent quickly sitting back up, in which case all Yuri has to do is pull his opponent’s leg up and over his left arm and square up his body to get into the Body X-Guard position.

Key Points It’s important during step 2 that Yuri keeps his left foot on his opponent’s hip. If he doesn’t his opponent can just smash and eventually pass. So, Yuri keeps the foot on the hip while he’s reaching for the pants to keep his opponent away if he tries to do this.

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With firm control of an arm, the first finish Yuri would attempt from the Body X-Guard position is the head and arm triangle. In this situation, Yuri relies a bit on his opponent to utilize his arm that’s not under control.

01 02


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Yuri’s opponent grabs Yuri’s left leg in order to push it away. Yuri doesn’t let him remove it right away, instead he gives some resistance so that his opponent tries a little harder.

Left foot

With his opponent tugging on that leg, Yuri quickly pulls it out then shoots it up and over his opponent’s right shoulder. At the same time, Yuri is pulling hard on that left arm.

Yuri pulls his right leg out from across his opponent’s body and up and over his own left ankle to lock the triangle. At the same time he’s pulling his opponent’s right arm across both of their bodies.



As soon as Yuri’s leg is over the shoulder he bites down with it and pulls his opponent towards him.

After the arm is across, Yuri can let go because he’s pulling his opponent into him now with his entire body. Once his hand is free he can pull on his own shin if he needs to tighten his triangle or pull on the back of his opponent’s head to finish.

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OMOPLATA The triangle and omoplata are like sisters, wherever one is you can usually find the other. Thanks to the firm control of the arm, the omoplata presents itself with the initial setup of the Body X-Guard. Just as the triangle sets up nicely when your opponent goes to remove the leg, the omoplata sets up nicely when your opponent bases out with this free hand in a attempt to stand.


Yuri’s opponent bases out with his right hand and begins to lift his hip off the mat in attempt to stand on that right foot.


When he does this, his opponent’s body is pulling away and exposing his left arm even more. This allows Yuri to pull his right leg out from across the body and loop it over the arm, at the same time pushing his opponent’s arm down back towards his opponent.

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Check out Nino’s article for some Omoplata madness!


Yuri keeps his grips tight and pressures down with his right leg over the arm. Next, he quickly pulls his left leg out and over his right ankle to create a figure-four.


Now he hips out to his left to collapse his opponent to the mat, maintaining control of the arm.

Still gripping ankle cuff



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As Yuri’s hipping out, he must let go of the leg. When he does this he passes control of the arm from his right hand to his left. With his right hand now free he reaches around his opponent to keep him from rolling out of the omoplata. Grips trapped arm

Yuri is now sitting up. He swipes his legs across the mats to his left side and moves up on his opponent to tell him a secret, finishing the omoplata on that trapped left arm and shoulder.

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This is a sweep that Yuri uses from the position that ends in an armbar, but on the way to the final armbar there’s another one that might possibly show up.



Starting from the Body X-Guard, everything’s tight, the grips, the feet on the ribs and armpit and Yuri’s ready to go.

Yuri brings his right foot from against his opponent’s ribs to stepping on his opponent’s inside right thigh, near the hip.


If your opponent’s arm is in the right position you may be able to catch him off guard with an armbar by pressuring your left knee across while anchoring his arm with your grip. If you get this, then great! If not, move to the next step.

Controls thigh

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Be sure to look in the direction you want to twist.




With the pressure being applied by Yuri’s knee, the natural reaction will be for his opponent to turn away to relieve the pressure on the elbow. Yuri uses this to extend his legs, raising his hips up and bridging to his left side, keeping control of the leg and arm.

As Yuri bridges, he forces his opponent to roll with him. If he chooses not to then it’s a shoulder lock. So, as they both turn, Yuri completes the roll so that they’re both on their backs.

With the spin complete, Yuri brings his right leg over his opponent’s head, squeezes his knees, extends his hips, and pulls back on the arm to finish the armbar. Yuri maintains the grip of the leg through the tap and would have used the arm to pull both of them together if there was distance between them.

Key Points In step 3, if you really want to fight for that armbar, then change your grip from the sleeve to the wrist prior so that you have more control of the arm to find that sweet spot for it and push away with the grip of the arm more forcefully. However, keep in mind if you work too hard for this finish your opponent may fight like hell to get his arm free and then you’re losing the position. At step 6, after your opponent gets to his back, you have the option of scrambling to the top and forgoing the armbar if you’re looking for points and aren’t comfortable with the setup on the armbar.

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Yuri saved what I think was the best for last. I’m a fan of “sneaky” and this one’s sneaky. Yuri’s going to go for a very simple sweep from the Body X-Guard and along the way an armbar is going to show up for the taking. Even if you don’t get the armbar, letting your opponent know it’s there will make him more likely to move to your advantage allowing you to get where you really want to go, which is on top in side control.

01 02

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Starting from the basic Body X-Guard position, Yuri lets go of his grip on the right leg. He then reaches across and grabs behind his opponent’s left leg.

Yuri raises the leg, bringing it over his own right knee. As he’s performing this motion he grabs a hold of the pants near the cuff.


Yuri pulls the leg down so that it’s tightly between his opponent’s left arm and Yuri’s right leg near the knee.

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Now, Yuri pushes himself away with both legs and hips out a bit. As he’s doing this, he’s pushing his opponent’s left leg away with his grip, sort of like when a leg drag is initiated.

Key Points In step 2, Yuri begins to lift his opponent’s leg using the back of his hand. As he brings the leg over and across, this allows his hand to be in a better position to eventually grab the pants.


When Yuri’s feet are away from his opponent’s body, he pulls both feet out, drops his left knee to the mat and right steps with his right foot on the mat.



The armbar isn’t really the goal here, but it’s distracting for his opponent. Yuri continues his journey up to side control and eventually establishes the position.

Yuri keeps pressure on his opponent and steps towards him. At this same time, Yuri is using his right forearm to push down on the outside of his opponent’s left thigh, while also pulling on his grip of the sleeve. With enough pressure this is the opportunity to get the armbar.

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Elvis Is In The Building! IN THE WORLD OF JIU-JITSU ONE OF THE GREATEST DEBATES THAT RAGES ON TODAY IS THAT OF THE EFFECTIVENESS OF TRADITIONAL SELF-DEFENSE JIU-JITSU VS MODERN SPORT JIU-JITSU. Flashier techniques are constantly being updated or created, but are said to not transfer over from one medium to the other and vice versa. While I’m not going to feed into that debate, if we look back in time we should come to realize that both can coexist within a single practitioner. These persons are pioneers that helped bridge the gap between the two eras, utilizing both types of jiu-jitsu to not only be victorious in whatever their endeavors, but set themselves apart from the rest of the pack. One of those unique individuals that come to mind is Antonio ‘Nino’ Schembri.

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We’re shocked.

Humble Beginnings

Though he was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, his family emphasized traditional Italian values, as his father was born in Italy. Extremely close to his father, Nino found many a day next to the man he loved and looked up to, working side by side at the street market selling bed comforters. During these times and at home, Nino’s father’s love for the music and antics of the late Elvis Presley passed on to his son; so much so, that later in life Nino would imitate the King of Rock n’ Roll’s dance moves when celebrating victories. Eventually this led to Nino being known as the Elvis of jiu-jitsu and while he may not have been the King of Rock n’ Roll, he became a king in his own right.

A Rockstar Ahead Of His Time

As a black belt under Carlos Gracie Jr., Nino has been and still is one of the most exciting grapplers to both step onto the mat and into the cage. Nino rose quickly up the ranks during the mid to late ‘90s as he was recognized as being “The King of the Omoplata” and even had the long, thick sideburns to go with that title. This may not sound like a big deal; after all, the omoplata is a wellknown technique that isn’t extremely flashy and probably considered basic. However, with his great flexibility and an amazing offensive guard game, it was in the manner that Nino executed set-ups, finishes (such as the reverse omoplata featured in this issue), sweeps, and other submission options that he transitioned to through the use of the omoplata that set him apart. Not only did it set Nino apart, but it spawned other innovations as he is one of the first grapplers known for using the lasso and rubber guards before they became known as such, as well as the creation of the gogoplata. These combined factors pushed his stock through the roof in jiu-jitsu, as he rose to become a Brazilian National Champion in 1996, then an IBJJF World Champion in 1997 and again in 1998, in the middleweight division.

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In 2001, Nino entered MMA in blazing fashion, defeating his first three opponents at the professional level including Kazushi “The Gracie Hunter” Sakuraba, when he was at his best, by stoppage. At that time Sakuraba (Saku as he is known) had already defeated four Gracies including Royler, Royce, Renzo, and Ryan, prior to the match. The sky appeared to be the limit as Nino demonstrated an extreme amount of promise with his great jiu-jitsu game and striking ability that he improved upon while with the Chute Boxe Academy. However, after his first loss and in a similarly unfortunate fashion as the life of that of fellow Brazilian countryman, Vitor Belfort, Nino lost his father unexpectedly, shifting his minds t off of focusing on training. While the world may not have witnessed his full potential, it goes to say that beyond a shadow of a doubt that greatness lies within Nino and his father is looking down on his son proudly.

First-Hand Experience

Raw Data Powered by BJJ Full Name: António Schembri Nickname: Nino is short for Antonio in Portuguese (Schembri’s first name), as for Elvis, it comes from Schembri’s love for Elvis Presley, the King of Rock n’ Roll, and the fact that he used to mimic some of the King’s dance moves in celebrating his victories.

Date of Birth: June 1st, 1974 (age 40) Lineage: Mitsuyo Maeda Carlos Gracie Sr. Carlos Gracie Junior

Nino Schembri

Main Achievements: World Champion (1997 and 1998)* Brazilian National Champion (1996 absolute) * Closed final with team mate

Favorite Technique: Open Guard, Omoplata. Weight Division: Peso Medio 82kg-181lbs. Association/Team: Nino Schembri BJJ Formerly with Gracie Barra

On the majority of our shoots we employ a format that’s worked for us pretty well so far; however, upon getting into it with Nino, he literally went through all of the techniques you’ll find in the next few pages and then some in just minutes. It was both baffling nd amazing! If you’re ever in the South Bay area of Los Angeles near or in the city of Lawndale, CA, we highly recommend you check out Nino’s school. For more information on Nino and his academy check out

This Might Come As A Shock

Unbeknownst to Nino, this hand gesture seen on his old logo, that is common and has a different meaning in Brazil, raised some eyebrows here in the U.S. One day his wife was approached by a gentleman who suggested that wearing the shirt she had on at the time may send the wrong message. A shocked Nino quickly changed his logo, but in good spirits, laughs when he tells the story today.

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When an opponent turtles and his defense is sound, it can be frustrating for the attacker if he can’t get any offense going or if his knowledge is solely limited to collar chokes. This is just the first of a few simple submissions that Nino employs to subdue (pun intended) his opponents. Nino hugs over his opponent’s body, pressuring his weight down, with an underhook that allows his left hand to secure his opponent’s wrist. His left knee is inside the space between his opponent’s right knee and elbow. He attempts to reach for the collar to apply a clock choke, but his opponent defends; however, by doing so he turns his elbow outward. Capitalizing on this, Nino brings his right leg over his opponent’s near arm and rotates his hip back, forcing the arm to extend. Now that the arm is extended and trapped against the back of the Nino’s ankle, he lifts his rig t leg up and pushes his hips down, forcing his opponent to either tap or have his arm snapped in two.

01 Your partner is turtled.


Step your foot inside and pull the arm away.


Extend leg and drop hips.

Arm trapped

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Travis was feeling it after this photo shoot.

AMERICANA FROM SIDE OF TURTLE Following up from the previous move after step 2, if Nino’s opponent is able to escape his wrist from the back of his ankle, he may instinctively (to a fault) reach around with either one or both hands to secure the leg. This makes things go from bad to worse for his opponent. Nino brings his leg back down to the ground, places his left knee against the outside of his opponent’s right arm at the elbow and then begins rotating his hip out to his right. With his arm trapped against Nino’s left leg, his opponent can’t pull it away and the pressure of the external rotation of the shoulder makes him tap.

01 02

Partner grips the leg.

Turn your hips to finish.

Knee remains behind elbow

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The two previous techniques are tiny appetizers compared to this more effective move; however, Nino advises that if you initially go for the reverse omoplata to begin with, you have a greater chance of losing it. Nino sets up the movement by passing his opponent’s trapped arm from his right to his left leg. With his left knee on the ground, he lifts his foot up to secure the arm, while posting on his right leg. Once secured, he releases the underhook and grip of his opponent’s wrist, squares up his right leg with his left nd shoulder rolls “away” from his opponent. In hopes of escaping, his opponent rolls with him; however, it won’t work out for him. The two land on their backs with Nino still having the arm trapped. This provides him leverage over his opponent, as he scoots his hips back and is able to sit up. This forces his opponent down. His left leg emains bent inward, tightly over the arm and then he folds his right leg back. Next, Nino hugs over his opponent’s chest and keeps his head from popping up, while posting his left h nd to the side. From here, Nino needs to keep his opponent’s body flat the entire time and does so by dropping the weight of his torso over his opponent, while bringing his hips back, to execute the excruciating submission.


Pass the trapped arm to the opposite leg.



Post your far leg and shoulder roll away from your partner.

Always, always, always shoulder “roll away” from your opponent! If you roll toward him you run the chance of his arm getting free, him escaping and then possibly ending up on top.



Partner rolls with you.

Controls arm

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Don’t you hate those stubborn opponents?


Scoot hips back, sit up and bring arm across partner.

Stubborn Opponent If, for some reason, Nino’s opponent decides not to roll with him, he only makes it worse on himself as the sheer torque of the movement will either pop his shoulder or arm or both!



Drop your weight and bring your hips back.



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Instead of performing a shoulder roll away from his opponent, Nino may use this setup to get to the reverse omoplata instead. Going from the point in which he has the arm secured and is posting on his right leg, Nino grips his opponent’s left sleeve at the cuff with his right hand, pulls it to him, releases his grip on the opposite wrist and the underhook, and then switches his grips so that he is now holding the sleeve with his left arm. He unextends his posted leg, bringing it toward his body and pushes off of it, so he falls to the side, over his opponent. Once again, Nino and his opponent are both on their backs. Nino then releases his arm and follows the same steps of the previous move to finish the submission.



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Switch your grips and push off of posts to go over partner.

Bring leg to you and push off

Release sleeve grip.

Keep partner down by bringing arm across and lowering weight then slide hips back to finish.

Secure grip


Immediately scoot hips back and sit up.


On all of the reverse omoplatas, Nino advises not to lift or raise your hips up, as it is incorrect and takes pressure off of the shoulder and elbow. Instead, stay tight to your opponent and slide your hips back.

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EVERY TIME! The Jiu Jitsu Lab Series#2 DVD “30 WAYS TO ATTACK THE BACK” Matt Baker, One of Jean Jacques Machado’s most decorated Black Belts shows some of the most effe tive tricks to take your opponent’s back. Back control is the most dominant positon to finish our opponent, and in this series you will effe tively learn how to take your opponent’s back from various positions without the need of Strength or athleticism. Take Your Opponents Back from: + Closed Guard + Half Guard + Open Guard + Spider Guard + Quarter Guard + Deep Half + Sitting Guard + All Top Positions!


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2 DVDs, over 50 Techniques with alternate angle viewing! Matt Baker DVDs.indd 1

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As if two setups weren’t enough, Nino provided a third option that also includes a collar choke or armbar from the crucifix position. With this set up, Nino keeps the arm trapped with his right leg, holds onto the far underhook on the inside bend of the elbow, grips the opposite collar with his right hand, falls backward, and places his opponent into a crucifix position. With the arm he uses as an underhook, Nino palms the left, backside of his neck to keep his opponent’s left arm trapped. Pulling across and down with his right hand, Nino can finish the collar choke. If the grip isn’t deep enough and he is unable to finish the choke, Nino can bring his right leg down and hips up for an armbar. If somehow his opponent doesn’t succumb to either of these holds, Nino switches the right arm of his opponent from his right to his left leg, pushes his opponent’s face away with his right hand, brings his left arm around to replace the right, scoots his hips back, sits up, and once again, is in great position to finish with the reverse omoplata.


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Pull collar downward for choke.


Trap the arm and fall backward to land in a crucifix position.

Keep the underhook

Underhook Place hand on back of neck


Trap arm with legs


Lower leg toward mat and hip upward for armbar.

Nino can also roll forward instead of falling backward for the crucifix.

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Reading this article and seeing those pictures is great pay back for the time Travis said “let’s go light” then slapped on a knee bar.




You want to make sure that when you’re holding the crucifix position you’re directly underneath your opponent. If not, your opponent has an opportunity to escape by dragging himself down, then rolling over you like a reverse roll to end up on top.

Transition arm over to opposite leg.

Push partner’s face away with choking hand and swim opposite elbow past his head.


Scoot hips back and sit up.



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Bring arm across and drop weight over partner.


Slide hips back and finish.

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Your partner sits up and back to counter

This is a trick that Nino advises you to use when your opponent attempts to sit up and back to take pressure off of his shoulder and escape from the omoplata. Rrather than giving up on the submission, Nino crosses the sole of his right foot over his left shin near the ankle. He places his left hand around his opponent’s far hip, his right elbow against the mat and then pushes up and forward so he can post on his right hand. As he continues to push through, he reaches his left arm around to either hug the hip or grab the collar. With his left leg folded inward, he bends his right leg back, so his right knee is near his left foot. From here, Nino leans to the side, toward his opponent for the tap.



Again, do not lean forward to finish the omoplata. If your opponent is flexible this will give him the opportunity to escape his arm or roll out. Instead, lean to the side, toward your opponent to finish the submission.

Push upward, transitioning from elbow to hand.

Post on elbow

Cross your feet


Bend legs inward, folding them back.


Bring your body toward your partner’s opposite ear.

Post on hand

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Contrary to what we first imagined, the actual weak side of the omoplata is the free arm. This is a unique and cool variation that can really catch someone off guard. Nino has the omoplata locked with his left leg bent around the arm and right leg extended outward, while hugging the hip or holding the far collar. From here he releases his grip, and with his left hand grabs at the cuff of the sleeve on his opponent’s free arm. Removing his right posted arm, Nino reaches over and gets a two-on-one grip on his opponent’s free arm. He then pulls it up and toward his body causing the shoulders to go past their limited range of motion, for the finish.




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What If They’re Strong? If your opponent is like the Hulk and keeps that arm planted, not allowing you to elevate it, then there’s really no problem. Maintain the nearside grip, release the far hand grip, post your free hand on the mat, bend your far leg behind you, push off with your free hand, and lean toward your opponent to finish him.

Starting position.

Grip sleeve cuff.

Transition to two-on-one grip and lift arm for the tap.

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Now, if someone who is recognized as the “King of the Omoplata” shows you the most effective variation, you probably want to pay attention. This technique is actually a bit riskier because it requires Nino to move as quickly as possible from being aligned with his opponent to facing him from the side of the trapped arm. Nino begins by triangling his legs around the arm. He then releases the far side hip/collar, posts his hands on the mat, and scoots his body away quickly until he is able to look directly at his opponent. Immediately, Nino places his right shin either against his opponent’s neck or armpit and elevates his foot, lifting the chosen area. Nino then scoots his butt even more to the right, further stretching his opponent out. Next, he grips the sleeve of the trapped arm at the cuff with his left h nd. Finally, he extends his leg, applies pressure downward on the arm by leaning toward his left nd his opponent has no further options, but to concede defeat.


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Bring your foot either to the side of the neck or in the armpit.

Release your grips and scoot to the side.

Figure four your legs


Getting your foot past the inside of the armpit is a much deeper bite than that of the shin solely against the neck. It will allow for more control, as well as a faster submission of your opponent.

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Well what if they’re weak?


Secure the sleeve cuff and then shift your hips toward the trapped arm to finish.


Nino’s not a big fan of triangling his legs around the arm at any time during an omoplata because it provides escape opportunities for your opponent; however, this move requires it for a brief moment in time.


Nino initially goes for the omoplata; however, his opponent postures up and turns toward him. In doing so, he leaves a perfect opportunity for Nino to apply his favorite move. Nino slides his right leg in, toward his own body, while he is posted on his elbow. He’ll then use his right foot to push against his opponent’s arm if necessary. As his opponent turns into him, Nino places his left shin underneath his opponent’s neck and uses the top of his foot as a hook against it. With his left hand, Nino reaches around the back of his opponent’s neck and grabs the side of his own foot and big toe, thus trapping the head. From here, he drops his left elbow inward against his own shin and cups the heel of his left foot with his right hand. To finish his opponent off he then straightens both arms for the choke.


Partner attempts to sit up from omoplata and face you.

02 Arm reaches over neck

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Place shin across neck.

Foot is a hook

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Grab side of foot and big toe.

Cup heel with hand and straighten arms.

Sliding your leg in is extremely important, otherwise your opponent can pin it and either square up to free his arm or worse, pass your guard.

Foot pushes arm away

Gogoplata Variation #2

Everything is performed exactly the same, but instead of cupping his left heel, he pushes up with his right foot.

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Gogoplata Variation #3

From the first variation, Nino brings his right leg over his left ankle, placing it in the bend of the knee (like a triangle choke). He reaches up with both hands to the back of his opponent’s head and pulls it down.

Gogoplata Variation #4

With this variation, Nino passes his leg over to the opposite side of his opponent’s head, placing it over his shin and his opponent’s shoulder. He then curls the leg down at an angle, creating great pressure on the shoulder and instantly choking his opponent.

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Armbar From Gogoplata #1

You can also slap an armbar on your opponent from the position. Instead of just pulling his leg into himself, Nino uses his right foot as a hook to drag his opponent’s left arm to him, from underneath the armpit. With his right hand he reaches and grabs the sleeve of his opponent’s arm. Next, Nino releases his left foot from his opponent’s neck and slides it underneath his left armpit. While adducting his right leg inward, he pushes at the forearm in the opposite direction, so his opponent’s tricep goes against the inside of his leg, and hyper-extends the elbow.

Armbar From Gogoplata #2

Continuing from the exact steps of the previous move, Nino keeps the top of his foot against his opponent’s neck, throws his right leg over his opponent’s shoulder, pinches his leg inward, raises his hips slightly, and pushes the forearm for the tap.

For The Tough Guy Now, if for some crazy reason your opponent doesn’t tap or go to sleep from variation #4 and continues to put up a fight, attack the trapped arm. By cupping the elbow with your far arm you can either A) wrist lock with your free hand or B) apply a deep shoulder lock by simply pulling the elbow across your body.

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Submission Fight Co.


Mike Velez


EVERYBODY WANTS A BETTER MOUSETRAP. It’s been a want/ need of human beings since the dawn of mice. When it comes to our jiu-jitsu the mousetrap analogy could apply to our gi’s. Everyone wants that better gi, of course a gi isn’t going to submit your opponent for you, but if you’re more comfortable in it maybe, just maybe you’ll increase your odds of submission (I am not saying that a gi will make your jiu-jitsu better, well I did. But that’s not what I mean; it’s about being in a comfortable gi where the gi is not a distraction.). Companies adjust the cut of their gi’s, add features here and there, but something that can be altered that has a huge impact on the comfort level is the fabric. Generally gi’s are made of cotton. Other materials on the market are hemp and bamboo. However these types of gi’s can set you back a lot of coin. Submission Fight Co’s latest offering is the Bamboo Frenzy. It’s a gi made of fabric derived from bamboo that’s relatively affordable. Let’s take if for a spin and see what we thought of this new frenzy.


First let’s talk about the material, which is the biggest selling feature on the Bamboo Frenzy. I must point out that Submission FC got caught up in an issue a few years back with a supplier making claims about their hemp material that got Submission FC in some hot water. They did a good job on the damage control and managed to maintain a strong reputation. With the Bamboo Frenzy, Submission FC has had the material independently lab tested. The blend is 62.6% cotton, 29.6% Rayon and 7.8% Polyester. So where’s the bamboo, you’re asking? Well the Rayon is made from bamboo. Bamboo is the fastest growing woody plant in the world and requires very little water compared to cotton. It’s very eco friendly. A chemical process called Viscose Rayon Process is used to dissolve the bamboo into a viscous solution that’s then spun into fiber and Rayon textile fabric is produced. Many of the biological properties of 100% bamboo material are lost in this process, but the result is still a relatively eco-friendly material that’s extremely soft nd durable while being more economical than 100% bamboo. Submission FC does not claim that the Bamboo Frenzy is made from 100% bamboo, but instead calls it a “Cotton/Polyester/Rayon from Bamboo blend” which in fact it is, according to lab tests.

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It appears Mike has completely lost his head. (Crickets)

Fit and Feel

frills, however it’s pretty damn comfortable. Feels like you’re wearing your most cozy PJ’s. From my past experience with super soft gi’s they tend to stretch a lot. This can be a real problem when someone’s yanking on your sleeves. We’ll see how this one fairs as soon as we hit the mats. When it comes to branding and design there is a “Bamboo Frenzy” logo embroidered along the front left p nel. The same logo is featured below the neck between the shoulders and two “Submission” logos run along the shoulders. Sounds like a lot but it’s still a pretty clean looking gi.

Putting the gi on for the first time I immediately recognized that it was super soft nd also very roomy. I tested an A2 and my first impression was that I hope it shrinks. Guess what, it does, a lot. Check the measurements. After a few washes and hang dries the fit felt great. There was still enough room where I needed it and the sleeve length was good. The collars felt a little long, but not bad. Shrink in both the pants and the jacket were about the same. This gi is not pre-shrunk. A 70” B 33.25” C 24.75” D 6.5” E 23.25” F 36” G 9.375”

After 3 washes at 40º C

The first time you pick up the Bamboo Frenzy jacket you’ll notice two things, the weight (2.2lbs) and the softness. It s both soft nd light as advertised. The jacket is a single piece cut with triple stitching in all the seams and reinforcement in the stress points such as skirt slits, armpits and shoulders. The collar is also soft, both in the material that covers it and the foam inside. Like the pants, the jacket cuffs are doubled up with about an inch of material turned over and stitched. Speaking of stitching, it’s brown, like the pants. The jacket of the Bamboo Frenzy is relatively no

Brand New

The Jacket

A 67.625” B 33” C 24.375” D 6.5” E 22.75” F 34.75” G 9.25”





The Pants

The pants are made from lightweight 10oz twill material. They have a soft nd pliable feel to them. On the scale they’re very light, not quite rip-stop light, but very close (1.1lbs). Like the jacket the pants are white with brown contrast stitching. There is reinforcement padding in the knee area that runs about

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a foot in length, which is about right. Some gi’s run down to mid shin, which if your pants are ever bunched up where this would be a factor you’d have more fabric under your knee anyway, and when you consider weight every extra stitch counts. All of the seams are triple-stitched with some reinforcement patches in the gusset. A nylon drawstring helps keep these drawers up. It’s a small detail but worth noting that the tips of the drawstring are already melted to keep them from fraying. Many gi’s don’t come this way. A total of five belt loops keep the drawstring in place. There’s no special tape at the cuffs, just the twill material doubled over and stitched. A large “Bamboo Frenzy” logo is embroidered into the left front thigh and right lower shin.





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Rolling With It

I love it when I’m rolling and my gi is not on my mind (other than some sick collar choke I’m thinking about). When it fits well, doesn’t impede on your game, and doesn’t give your opponent any advantages then it’s doing its job. The stretch that was a concern earlier didn’t appear to be in practice. The collar is on the softer side so protect your neck, as you always should. Many believe a softer collar gives your opponent an easier option to grab onto. As for durability, I’ve rolled in the Bamboo Frenzy about a dozen times with cold washes in between and there are no signs of any premature wear. It’s held up nicely.


Submission FC did a good job with this one. It’s a basic cut that fit me comfortably, it doesn’t have many bells and whistles, but it covers the bases with all the features you’d expect. The fabric isn’t quite a game changer, but it’s solid. From the fist roll to now it’s probably the softest gi I own. I’ll have to whip out the scale, but it just may be the lightest as well. The price is not cheap, but it’s not outrageous either. It’s available on their website for $169.95 in sizes A1 through A5. There’s a size chart there to figure out which cut will be best for you. It’s also available through and

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Verdict If you want light and comfy check this one out!


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WHEN TREVOR RAGAN, MOTOR LEARNING ADVOCATE AND FOUNDER OF CHAMPIONSHIP BASKETBALL SCHOOL, TALKS TO COACHES OR ATHLETES ABOUT HOW THEY TRAIN AND ABOUT HOW THEY LEARN, HE OFTEN STARTS WITH A STORY ABOUT TWO TIGERS. One tiger is a zoo tiger. This tiger grew up in an enclosure, fenced off from the outside world. Every day, his food is brought to him. If it rains, he can walk into the warmth of a pre-built shelter. If it’s hot, he can bathe in the meticulously cared for pool. Life is easy because he is taken care of. The other tiger is a jungle tiger. This tiger grew up in the wilderness, hunting and tracking

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for each meal, walking long distances to find food and shelter. Each day brings something new and he must always be on guard lest he fall into a trap or become the prey of a hunter himself. After Ragan finishes this story, he poses a question: Which tiger is best equipped for survival? The answer is consistent—from high school basketball coaches to second-graders—the jungle tiger. In fact, if the zoo tiger was released into the jungle, he would probably die.

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Eeny, meeny, miny, moe...

PICK YOUR TIGER: The Basics of Motor Learning According to Ragan, how we approach learning determines what kind of tiger we become. If you want to become a jungle tiger, you need motor learning, which studies how people acquire skills and in that study has exposed a number of shortcomings in “traditional” approaches to skill development. In motor learning, you need random, gamelike drills, not block drills.

obsession with understanding how players learn and what can be done to maximize their performance has taken him through a winding and twisting journey. Currently, Ragan runs camps across the U.S. through his company Championship Basketball School. In his off-time, he shares his latest insights into coaching and learning via

To help you understand our terms, an example of block drilling would be a golfer practicing a putt from the same spot 30 times in a row. In a random drill, the balls would be scattered around the hole, forcing the golfer to take a putt from a different point on the green for each of the 30 repetitions. Ragan is not a jiu-jiteiro. His sport of choice is basketball, but his

Even though Ragan’s focus is on basketball, his lessons are aimed at all coaches and athletes. In fact, he first learned about motor learning from John Kessel, the Director of Player Development for USA Volleyball. As Ragan describes it, Kessel’s job is to find the best way to prepare athletes for elite-level performance. USA Volleyball, with its

extensive resources and access to top talent both on and off the court, ultimately chose motor learning as its coaching methodology because it produces higher rates of improvement and retention than other approaches. Ragan met Kessel through his mother, who coached volleyball for some time. Kessel came in to run a camp for her team and Ragan was soon fascinated by the approach that Kessel took to training volleyball players. From the outside, it looked chaotic. The drills seemed random and players seemed to struggle to perform. At the end of the week, though, Ragan and his mother both saw visible improvements in how the players performed in scrimmages.

THE VALUE OF GAME-LIKE REPS When Ragan talked with Kessel about his approach, the coaching process suddenly made sense and it gave him clarity on a challenge he faced in his own sports career. As a high school basketball player, Ragan was a master of the gun, which is a ball-return device that helps players practice 3-point shots. The ball goes in the net; the gun shoots it back out. “I spent three years on the gun,” Ragan says. “On the gun, I could make 80 to 90 percent of my shots, but in a game, I could only make 40 percent of my shots. What was I missing?”

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You might already be answering Ragan’s question. With the gun, Ragan shot from the same spot over and over. In a game, Ragan might be at a different place on the court. A defender might be in his face. He may have to decide between passing or shooting. He might be tired and sweaty. His girlfriend might be in the stands looking on with great expectations the way that teenage girls in sports movies do. The gun did not give Ragan practice with any of these things, so the gains that he saw in practice did not carryover to practice. “One of the most important things that motor learning science has come up with isn’t about how you look in practice but how you perform later,” Kessel says in one of Ragan’s video essays. “Performance, which is always after practice by a day or a week or whatever,

is best because you do things that have higher levels of retention.” The gun did not promote retention because it addressed only one facet of performance when in reality athletes need to be proficient in three areas. Those areas,

according to Ragan and his interpretations of motor learning research, are:

Reading – The athlete critically assesses the situation and picks the right response for that scenario.

Planning – The athlete plots out the steps necessary for executing the response, taking into account factors like timing and power.

Doing – The athlete executes the chosen technique with proper form and with the intended timing. The gun taught Ragan to do a 3-point shot but gave him no practice with reading the opportunity for a 3-pointer or planning a shot in the tumult of a live game.

FROM THE COURT TO THE MAT At this point, I hope that you can see how the work of a basketball coach might apply to jiu-jitsu. When we do a traditional armbar drill from guard, we limit ourselves to the doing end of the equation. Having technical proficiency is essential to our success to be sure, but if we fail to get repetitions with reading and planning, our armbars are likely to miss their mark in live rolling or in competition.

Just as Ragan was unlikely to end up in the exact spot of the gun-return with no coverage in a game, you are unlikely to end up with your opponent’s arm in the exact position, with no resistance, as when you drilled. This is what makes you a zoo tiger. Your armbar looks smooth and fluid behind the curated walls of a block drill, but when things get ugly, when you are in the wilderness of a

live match, you fail to retain the gains that you saw in training. “When nothing changes from rep to rep, you only get to read and plan on the first rep. Everything after that is autopilot,” Ragan says. “The technique is important, but you have to read and plan for it to work in a game.” After sifting through the science and working with dozens of athletes, Ragan’s recommendation to coaches and players is simple: Have a growth mindset and get as many game-like reps as possible. These two recommendations are intertwined. A growth mindset—which Ragan pulls from the research of Carol Dweck, a Stanford professor—is the understanding and acceptance that real learning and true growth occur at the edge of our comfort zones. If we are not challenged or are unwilling to face challenges, we are unlikely to improve. This mindset is critical in motor learning because accumulating game-like reps means failing, a lot. If you are not making mistakes, you are not challenging yourself enough to experience measurable improvements in your performance as an athlete. Block drills limit the likelihood of failure. Random drills force you to face and learn from failure, so you need the right mindset to reap the benefits.

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INCORPORATING MOTOR LEARNING INTO YOUR TRAINING According to Ragan’s reasoning (an interpretation from a humble purple belt instructor) having jiu-jitsu students do a block drill of 40 armbars in a row will have relatively low retention. To make it more game-like, we would need to randomize the practice. We might have students:

Gloss UKE – A Japanese martial arts term for the person who “receives” the technique or in Judo for instance is being thrown.

Vary the position of the target arm so that it is never in the same place twice. Ask the uke* (or partner) to alternate right and left rms at random. Randomize the pressure and posture angles that the uke gives. Periodically swap partners to give students exposures to different body-types. Incorporate the armbar training into a larger trigger drill where the student must choose between attacking an armbar, a triangle, or a Kimura based on specific variations in position.

According to the principles of motor learning, we should reconsider a few trademark jiu-jitsu drills in an effort to incorporate more reading and planning into classes.

Isolate the guard position during live rolling and encourage students to focus on setting up an armbar. It’s important to note that Ragan advocates simplified block drilling for introducing new techniques, especially in the case of less experienced athletes, but he advocates spending 20 repetitions or less in block mode before introducing randomization. The random variables do not need to be extreme, especially at the beginning of skill acquisition, but they do need to give the athlete practice with reading and planning as well as doing. Even though motor learning research has been growing for decades, relatively few coaches employ it in practice. Motor learning looks messy, so it takes some faith in the research to believe that athletes will come out the other end better for the challenge. Motor learning also requires more creativity on the part of coaches. Block drills are easy to set up and manage. Random drills that isolate the right skills are more difficul to design. “It’s really easy to coach the way you were coached,” Ragan warns. “Just because a team or athlete won a championship with traditional methods does not mean that better ways to learn and train do not exist.”


To learn more about motor learning, Ragan’s work, and becoming a jungle tiger, visit As more sports adopt this approach to coaching and training, we are likely to see a new evolution in the jiu-jitsu community as well.

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Solo-shrimping up and down the mat is a great way to introduce the basic skill of shrimping, but in the long-term it is not very game-like. Guard passing drills where the winner stays and the loser returns to wait in line gives the best grapplers more reps against less challenging competition and forces the least experienced students—who arguable need to improve the most—more practice waiting in line than actually training. Large batches of block drills like swinging armbar drills and side-to-side Kimura drills might be great for fitness but most often send grapplers into “auto-pilot” mentally, requiring little to no reading or planning. Classes composed primarily of students alternating drilling the same technique back and forth at the same tempo and on the same unresisting partners.

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THE CDC TELLS US THAT HEART DISEASE, AKA CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE (CVD), IS THE LEADING CAUSE OF DEATH FOR MEN (24.9%) AND WOMEN (23.5%) IN THE US. Heart disease is a catch-all term that encompasses several cardiovascular diseases, including stroke, high blood pressure, angina (chest pain), heart attacks, and rheumatic heart disease. If you’re under the age of 30, you probably think that these conditions only affect the white

hairs. Not so fast, whipper snapper. Here are some sobering stats: at the age of 35 you have a 1 in 4 chance of having high blood pressure. At 45 your chances of having a heart attack are nearly 1 in 5. By the time you retire, the average person needs a multicompartment pill organizer to keep their medications in order. Simply put, heart disease affects us all, either directly or indirectly through our friends and family.

The Risk Factors?

Over 90% of the risk factors for CVD can be positively affected by lifestyle changes and/or the intervention of a physician. Four of the top seven risk factors are under your direct control: smoking, obesity, physical inactivity and diet. Tobacco use promotes thickening of artery walls and increases your body’s production of clotting factors. These changes are often unnoticed until it’s too late and the patient has a heart attack or stroke. Obesity has been shown to increase your risk of numerous diseases, not just heart disease. In the case of heart disease the increased risk is attributed to high levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol and triglycerides.

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Physical inactivity is closely related to obesity and conditions, such as high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol. Diet is the final controllable risk factor to consider. There is a lot of discussion on what is the ideal diet. Is it Paleo? Atkins? Zone? Mediterranean? Weight Watchers? Or something else? If we keep it simple and look at common themes between most diets you see that they agree on the following: eat unprocessed food, minimize grains and eliminate refined sugar.

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Somebody’s got some old man hands over there.


To illustrate how grappling can make you healthier, we’re going to look at few examples from our very own magazine. In each issue we highlight a grappler in our JJM Success series. These men and women tell us how jiu-jitsu has positively affected their lives.

Douglas Fulwilder, a 39-yearold police officer, shares his story: “In the Summer of 2012…my weight had reached 230 pounds and my doctor gave me 3 years before he believed I would be dead from a heart attack.” Fast forward to September 2014 and Douglas has lost nearly 60 pounds, competes regularly and knows that he’s going to be there for his kids for a long time to come.

Louis Dulien, 36, “(since) I’ve started training at AOJ, I’ve been in the best shape both mentally and physically, than any other time in my life. I just turned 36 and I’m in WAY better shape than when I was 18.”

Mike Terpstra, 38, says, “I can do a lot more with my family now that I’m healthier. My diet has changed dramatically. I would eat fast food at least 3 times a day. Now I take food with me and see it as fuel for my body, rather than an indulgence.” The result? Last time we checked in, Mike had lost 97 pounds!

Dan Hirsch, 31, “I was a smoker, I partied hard (really hard), and I could barely get up from the mat without assistance. (In) jiujitsu you are around health conscious people so there’s plenty of healthy living information at your disposal.” Through the influence of jiu-jitsu, Dan lost 247 pounds!


Next time you look at the roster of the Masters division in a tournament take a moment to realize that chances are very good that at least one person in each bracket has high blood pressure, aka hypertension. Hypertension may go undiagnosed and/or untreated because generally speaking there are no overt symptoms. This leads many patients to underestimate its role in heart health and consequently ignore treatment recommendations. Hypertension is the common denominator which affects all other forms of heart disease and if uncontrolled your chances of more serious conditions such as strokes and heart attacks increases substantially. Hypertension is also a condition that responds strongly and positively to lifestyle changes such as regular exercise, losing weight and smoking cessation.

An individual’s blood pressure is defined by two measurements: Systolic pressure is the pressure in the arteries produced when your heart contracts and pushes blood out. This is the number on top of your reading and is a higher number. Diastolic pressure is the pressure in the arteries during relaxation of the heart. This is the number on bottom of your reading and is the lower number. If you’re only going to look at one number this is the most important one to watch. Goal blood pressure is a systolic pressure of less than 120 and a diastolic pressure of less than 80. On a blood pressure machine the reading will look like this: 120/80. Hypertension is defined as a blood pressure reading of at least 140/90. Patients with a reading between goal and hypertension are diagnosed with prehypertension. Blood Pressure Category Normal

Systollic mm Hg (Upper #)

Diastolic mm Hg (Lower #)

Less than 120


Less than 80





High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) Stage 1




High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) Stage 2

160 or higher


100 or higher

Higher than 180


Higher than 110

Hypertensive Crisis (Emergency care needed)

What Else Can/Should I Do?

I’d recommend that everyone get regular checkups and physicals from their physicians. If you’re prescribed a medication, you need to take it. With a little time on the mat and focusing on a healthy lifestyle, you may even be able to stop taking medications down the road.

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Before reading too much further, I want to be very clear. We are not encouraging anyone to start drinking alcohol. The discussion is also specifically about a glass, maybe two a day. Beyond that and you’re actually increasing your risk of heart disease. There are two components of red wine that may decrease your risk of heart disease: resveratrol (it’s in the skin of the grape) and alcohol. The possible benefit of resveratrol can be had by ingesting any of the following: grapes, grape juice (red and purple), blueberries, cranberries, peanuts and supplements. Alcohol can be ingested in any number of ways. As you can see you don’t have to drink red wine, but if you do the rule of thumb is no more than one serving daily.

Lucky Foods That May Help Lower Your BP


Resveratrol is a natural plant product found in peanuts and the skins of many berries. To the delight of red wine drinkers everywhere, there is a healthy concentration of it in the skin of red grapes. The resveratrol in red wine has been hypothesized to be one of the reasons that the French population has lower than average rates of heart disease, despite a high-incidence of smoking and poor diet. It is an antioxidant with the potential to neutralize free radicals, a possible contributor to aging and many chronic diseases. Studies in animals have suggested possible benefits, including decreased incidence of strokes, heart attacks and the prevention of some types of cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.



Grapes Watermelon


Leafy Lettuce



The connection jiu-jitsu has with physical activity and obesity is straightforward. It is a physical sport and burns an enormous amount of calories. What about tobacco use, diet or partying too much? The answer’s easy. In jiu-jitsu we test ourselves physically and mentally every time we step on the mat. The effects of a bad diet, excessive drinking or smoking can be ignored while you sit at your job, but a few minutes on the mat and you’ll know exactly what the consequences of those vices are. The happy side effect is that the same activities used to improve performance on the mat also promote a long and healthy life.

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HEAVY ROPES TRAINING HAS BEEN A PRETTY HOT TOPIC IN THE FITNESS WORLD FOR THE LAST FEW YEARS. A once unique tool that caught people’s eye, now everywhere from commercials to UFC highlight films. My goal in this article to explain the basics and show you some of the advanced techniques that we have been using at our gym over the last few years.

Mike Velez

incredible, versatile and powerful. The ropes can be manipulated for various training goals to accommodate a wide variety of people. Over the past few years I have seen physical therapists use them with patients, coaches use them with elite athletes and everyone else in between. The cool part about the ropes is that there is almost zero risk for injury, very little learning curve and it is a stimulus that is unlike anything else.

Developed by John Brookfield, the Battle Ropes system is

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Ropes training is great because you can make it as difficult as you can handle.

3 Keys To Rope Training Relax – learning to relax under stress is vital. So many people grip the ropes hard and tense up their body which leads to quick exhaustion. Grip the rope lightly, relax your arms, shoulders, torso, and even your face. You will be able to move faster and maintain intensity for longer periods of time.

Too Tight

Just Right

Breath – This goes hand and hand with being able to relax. Rope exercises are 100% output, meaning there is no rest. Typical exercises have a rest point, that allow relaxation and consistent breathing patterns. Novices to rope training hold their breath and hurt their performance. Try and match your movement with your breathing pattern. As speed and intensity increases, your breathing should match. Use your whole body – While most rope exercises are thought to be upper body movements,

the entire body should be utilized to increase power and efficie y. The legs and hips play a very important role in generating power into and through the arms. This is important for all movements, especially sports and athletics. When doing the waves, be conscious of your feet, legs, hips, and shoulders. Make sure not to stand to stiff and make sure that all areas of your body are active.

Benefits of Rope Training Learning to maintain intensity over time helps increase lactic acid threshold in your upper body. This is very unique, since the majority of conditioning these days focuses on locomotion, running, climbing, and other drills propelled by the legs. This has helped us all with our other lifts nd activities outside the gym. It has also become one of our secret weapons when training MMA fighters. I expect each one of them to be able to maintain intensity on a variety of rope drills for at least 5 minutes.

They are fun. The majority of people that I talk to hate the gym and its not because they are lazy. Most people are seriously bored at the typical big box gym. There is no emotion and very little has changed

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over the last 30 years. Using tools like the ropes is a breath of fresh air for most people, it creates excitement, is unique, and gets people “playing” again.

Developing mental toughness. I think that developing mental toughness and learning to overcome obstacles is one of the most important things we can help people do. When people start using the ropes, the idea of maintaining intesntiy over 1 minute seems like a pipe dream, but consistent training will help them breakthrough mental barriers and come out with a new outlook and confidence.

Unilateral dominance/imbalance – The waves tell a story. If you watch carefully on the movements, you will notice that your left side or right) may move differently than the right. It may have a smaller wave or be uncoordinated or a variety of other things, but the cool part is that, over time, these differences go away. Slowly, you will notice right and left tart to balance out.

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The Wave Series is typically what you see on Youtube, commercials and advertisements. The most challenging aspect of the wave series is that, if done correctly, the exercises have zero is 100% work! These exercises can be used in circuits, intervals or distance. A 50’ rope, wrapped around an anchor, makes 2 – 25 foot lengths. You can use this information to design distance workouts (1/4 mile, 1 mile, etc). Time, distance, reps, etc can all be manipulated to a variety of workouts and goals. The possibilities are only limited by your imagination. Use the following variables to increase or decrease each exercise to fit your clients ability levels and goals.


5 ways to adjust intensity when using the wave series (exercise variables for the ropes)


The Handle – Fold the rope over and it doubles the size of the rope you have to hold, making it more challenging on the grip.


Distance from the Anchor – Ideally you start with a little slack on the ropes. By moving closer to the anchor point, it makes it more challenging to get the waves to the end. So you’ll have to generate more power through the rope to get it all the way down.




Here are 6 wave exercises, each stressing the body in different ways, using different muscles.

Body Position – Standing, kneeling, sitting, plank and moving while doing various waves adds a whole new list of ideas. As you go from standing to kneeling, less of the body is able to work and it becomes more difficul to get the waves to the end. Adding a variety of movement (squatting, lunging, jumping, lateral movement and more) can make a basic movement very challenging.





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Manila fiber ropes are the old school looking ones. They’re heavy and provide a great workout but make a mess.


Size of the Rope – Typically we use a 50’ rope that is 1.5” thick for the wave series. There is also 2” rope available, but because of its added girth and weight, it is much more difficult


#1 100’ (1.5” rope) tsunami wave.

Part one of this challenge is being able to generate enough power to get a wave down the rope to the anchor point. If you can do that, then see how long you can maintain waves to the anchor.

#2 50’ (1.5”) alternating waves. A simple start is to keep the waves going to the anchor for 5 minutes. You don’t need to worry about speed or intensity…just keep the waves going to the end for 5 minutes.

#3 Rope Taz - Start by


Wave Size/Velocity/Pace – The size and speed of the waves can also be counted. This is really no different than pacing yourself for kettlebell lifting or running. The faster you go, the harder and more intense it becomes. Try to maintain 120-150 alternate waves per minute and see how you fair.

When trying the waves for the first time, 20 seconds will feel like an eternity. Over time, people quickly adapt and can maintain consistent pace and intensity for 5 minutes – 45 minutes plus. Slowly adding volume over time will build your work capacity, allowing you to push at a faster pace, for longer periods of time.

unhooking the rope from the anchor point. You should have a good amount of open space for this drill. Simply take both hands and slam the rope quickly up and down. This is similar to the stagecoach or double handed waves, but you will have to move laterally to avoid the rope. Try and keep the entire length of the rope moving. How long can you keep the entire rope moving? **Depending upon the goal or the sport, specific challenges can be designed and used for ongoing testing.


I rarely see anyone talk about these drills, but they are one of our favorites for jiu-jitsu practitioners. They are simple, effective and truly humbling. These drills will tax your grip, arms, shoulders, back, and core like no other. Here are three pulling exercises to use with your rope. FACING POST

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5 Ways to Add Variety to Your Pulls


#1 How many lengths can you pull in 10

Body Position: Standing, kneeling, seated, plank; these positions don’t work for every pull mentioned, but do for most. As you attempt the various pulls, you will know right away which one works or not.

minutes? Compete with your teammates, push your limits and continually raise the bar. Get good at this challenge and your arms will never falter during a match.


Size of Rope – The size of the ropes is a huge component of these drills. The increased girth, makes gripping the rope more difficult. or some of the testing we do, men use the 2” ropes, while women use the 1.5”. A larger rope also weighs down on itself when piled up, so you will feel some natural resistance during the pull.


Length of Rope – Ideally you will use a 100’ rope for all the pulling exercises. Not only do you have to change less often, but the increased length also piles on itself as mentioned before. This type of resistance is inconsistent and forces you to overcome little bumps along the way. Enjoy!


# of Wraps – Varying the resistance is as simple, as wrapping the rope around the pole more or less. One wrap is a good start, but you can add wraps as you see fit.

#2 How many wraps can you pull. Adding 2 wraps can drastically increase the difficul . Work to add more wraps and see what you can handle, but be careful. Ropes are much different than handles, so for an untrained hand, these can be tough. Start slow, maintain good posture and increase intensity over time.

#3 The Buffett – Choose 4 different pulls and do each for a quarter mile, back to back. It will total one mile (53 lengths with 100’ rope). Try and complete the drill under one hour.


Time or Distance – We use the pulls in a variety of ways, including timed intervals, distances and more. Just like the waves, you are able to determine distance very easily. Want to pull a mile? 53 lengths of a 100’ rope is about a mile.

The pull series offers another way to challenge your entire body. It is definitely one of my favorite drills and I use some variation of this at least once per week for myself and my clients. It is perfect for grapplers, but also very effective for anyone looking to develop more upper body strength.


As you can see battle ropes offer a wide variety of drills that can yield huge benefits for combat athletes. The wave drills increase work capacity, improve cardio, strength, and your endurance. The pulling drills help build strength in your grip, arms, shoulders, back and core. Used correctly, these drills will help take your strength and conditioning to new heights.

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NATASHA STEFFEN Hometown: Pinehurst TX
 Age: 34
 Height: 5’ 11” Starting Weight: 210 Current weight: 
150 (142 lowest) THE ONE THING YOU’VE GOT TO LOVE ABOUT CHILDREN IS THAT THEY’RE BRUTALLY HONEST. While the majority of times this behavior usually springs up laughs from family and friends, there are those times that it can be a slap to the face. With cancer and diabetes being a staple in her family, Natasha Steffen found herself going from one non-working diet to the next. She was overweight, depressed and had given up out of frustration, until she was confronted by her children. Natasha got an extreme wake-up call when her sons dropped this on her, “Mom, you are really fat and we don’t want you to die.” Ouch! It doesn’t get more honest than that. She may have been depressed beforehand, but the feeling she got when she saw the fear and hurt in their faces made her heart sink. It was then and there she decided that she had to make a change. Most people avoid stepping on their bathroom scales for fear of what dreaded number will appear. Natasha avoided this by never actually owning one. Eventually, that day came and when “210” registered in big, bold characters, it shocked her to the core. Now, it was there right in front of her and there was no way to deny it. Though it wasn’t easy, she began counting calories and

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back a little since reaching 142, however she says that it’s the right kind of weight, muscle. While these are all great achievements, there’s also been another great reward from the entire process. Natasha’s involvement in jiujitsu has brought her family closer together as her two sons participate in the kids class and her husband trains by her side in the adults class. The family also got much larger as she considers all the trainers, staff and her teammates at Magnolia Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to be her extended family. Now healthy, happy and confident, Natasha says that she’s intent on doing everything in her power to stay that way and that she owes all her success to jiu-jitsu!

eating right, but once again, she realized that diet alone was never going to get her to her goal. Ultimately realizing she needed to exercise wasn’t very motivating; especially since Natasha wasn’t a big fan of traditional workouts that felt she would quit out of boredom. She needed something fun that she would stick with, and she found it in cardio kickboxing at Magnolia Brazilian JiuJitsu with Carina Caldwell as her instructor. While the weight started coming off slowly, after six months she decided to try jiu-jitsu and mixed martial arts with Scott Caldwell and trainer Derek Bain. Her weight loss not only sped up rapidly, but she was gaining muscle, relieving stress, and most importantly, she found new confidence within herself. So much so, that after threes years of training, Natasha decided to try her hand at fighting in MMA and having fitness model pictures done this year. Not bad for someone who went from 210 lbs, wearing size 16 pants to 142 lbs (and counting) and is now a size 4. She’s gained

Her best advice to someone looking to make a similar change - “Find an exercise that is not boring and that challenges your body and mind. Jiu-jitsu is one of them. There is always something to learn and you are getting fit while you are having fun. Surround yourself with great people who have the same goals as you. Believe in yourself and stay strong. It’s your life, so start living it.” The best part of Natasha’s life change: seeing her boys proud of their mom for the things she’s accomplished and helping others meet their goals in life.


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31 April 2015  

IT'S TIME! Jiu-Jitsu Magazine has officially been bumped up from 10 issues per year to monthly! Subscribe immediately to get the current rat...

31 April 2015  

IT'S TIME! Jiu-Jitsu Magazine has officially been bumped up from 10 issues per year to monthly! Subscribe immediately to get the current rat...