Why submissions?

Why submissions? Most people who follow the adventures of the squad in Jiu Jitsu competition know that we put a huge emphasis on submissions both in training and competition. A natural question to ask is - why is this the case? Why not just take the safer route of points/advantage victory? A big part of it is our philosophy of jiu jitsu. We define it as control leading to submission. We see control merely as a means to an end - submission - but the end is everything . Most jiu jitsu practitioners see jiu jitsu as “position before submission.” As such, the majority of their training time is spent on positional control with submissions seen as a “icing on the cake” - something desirable but not essential. This is a good and sensible approach, since the point structure makes positional dominance the most likely way to win a match, and in addition, in a real fight, good position allows for strikes on the ground that can open an opponent up and even end a fight. One of the main reasons for our unusually heavy emphasis on submissions is that we see them as the GRAPPLING EQUIVALENT OF A KNOCKOUT PUNCH. Just as there is something frightening about an opponent throwing very hard punches with skill and bad intentions at you, so too, it is intimidating to come across a grappler who is not just looking to get a position on you - but to BREAK you. It is the submissions of Jiu Jitsu that more than anything else, make it a MARTIAL art. Without them it would just be another form of grappling among many. These are some of the reasons we strive so hard to increase our submission skills in addition to the other skills of the sport and why we have a strong interest in sport formats that encourage athletes to exhibit their submission skills. There are many skills within Jiu Jitsu, all are necessary for success, but none catches our attention like a finely applied submission hold!

Rules of engagement

Rules of engagement: Any time there is a sport competition it is absolutely crucial that everyone involved have a crystal clear understanding of what the rules of the competition will be. It always surprises me how often, even at elite level, athletes and coaches are unclear about the rules of the event they are participating in. A sound practice before big events is a rules meeting where any underlying confusion can be rectified. Here, Eddie Bravo and Victor Davila, head referees of EBI tournaments, go over rules with the athletes prior to the big show. Here we discuss the exact interpretation of back escapes in overtime scenarios. At this event, we did not need any overtimes as Garry Tonon won all his matches in regulation time, however, in the past, knowledge of the rules combined with technique has been an important factor in the success or failure of athletes in these match winning/losing tie breakers. Remember, all forms of losing are a bitter pill to swallow for a hard working and passionate athlete, but none is so bitter as having everything you needed to win, and losing nonetheless because of a simple failure to research properly the rules of the event. How strange that there are so many athletes who are fully prepared to put hundreds of hours of exhausting work into physical preparation for a tournament, but who are not willing to put fifteen minutes of easy work into understanding the rules that will play a huge role in who wins and who loses.

Outstanding talent - Rayron Gracie

Outstanding talent - Rayron Gracie: One of the most talented youngsters at RGA in NYC is fifteen year old, Rayron Gracie, son of the late Ryan Gracie. This young athlete is very big and powerful for such a young man, but more importantly, he is a very keen student of technique. He came to NYC to train with my dear sensei, his uncle, Renzo Gracie. In his time here we have seen an incredible rise in his effectiveness that shows tremendous promise for the future. This past weekend the young world champion got another chance to show the world his progress at the Kasai grappling event in NYC - he won gold in both his weight division and absolute - IN THE ADULT DIVISION!! This was no surprise to us here in the gym - we see him doing extremely well against black belt adults every day, but it was certainly a shock to those watching who do not know this young man. Mr Gracie is doubtless one of the top prospects to carry the torch into the future for the first family of grappling. It’s a pleasure to see his progress under my sensei and his cousins, Igor, Rolles and Gregor Gracie and also our great mutual friend, Bernardo Faria. Look for more great performances from this young man - this is just the beginning!

Exciting news

Exciting news: Just released today is the news that a new grappling organization @kasaigrappling will be running a premium event in Brooklyn NYC December 9th with the headline event being Gordon Ryan against the great Yuri Simoes. Both Men won gold in their weight divisions in the ADCC world championships this year. Mr Simoes also won gold in the previous world championships and now has the great distinction of being a double gold medalist in two different weight categories. He is one ADCC weight class heavier than Mr Ryan. The two have met before, at EBI 6 Openweight, with Mr Ryan winning via strangle in overtime. However, Mr Simoes was not familiar with the rule set and had fought an exhausting battle with Garry Tonon in the previous match. This time he is working in a much more familiar rule set - ten minutes submission only, then if no result, six minutes overtime with all submissions legal, but IBJJF type points scored (though no advantages- there must be a positive score). It’s a tremendous match up between two great athletes in their top form. Mr Ryan will be juggling training in Gi, EBI open weight training, MMA training and this event as well! Should be an interesting holiday season! Very happy to hear about the emergence of a new high level grappling show in NYC- it is run by Rolles Gracie - a man who truly understands the game and the athletes- this first show sounds like a firecracker! There will also be a superstar eight man tournament on the same night that I will talk about soon!

It’s a family affair

It’s a family affair: Proud moment for Garry Tonon as he wins EBI 13 in perfect fashion - every match via submission in regulation time to take the maximum prize money - and for the first time in front of his family as Mom and sister came all the way to California to watch his thrilling performance. Here we are backstage after the big show as a very youthful looking Mr Tonon (shaving the beard and dropping a little weight makes him look like a junior high schooler ) tells his family about his adventures and his sister reminds him he still sucks and mom tells him to wash the dishes after dinner. It was a joy to see the pride on his family’s faces after such a stellar performance and the happiness that that gave Mr Tonon. Back in NYC now - heading to RGA and then on to the Bronx to see how the bombers are doing with their submission grappling training.

Flawless victory

Flawless victory: Garry Tonon won an unprecedented fifth EBI title here in LA tonight - every match by submission - three heel hooks and a sankaku (triangle) variation to win the maximum possible prize - Twenty thousand shekels. It was one of the most impressive performances in the history of the event. Mr Tonon defeated the man he narrowly lost to via points at ADCC - Wagner Rocha - but tonight he turned it around with a brutal heel hook variation to win a decisive victory. The tightness and power of his locks was matched only by the relaxed fluidity of his positional movements into attack positions. We are all so proud of his tremendous achievement. Congratulations also to some other incredible performances tonight. 10th planet athletes, PJ Barch and Nathan Orchard went through some absolute wars to make their way up the tournament brackets. Old rival Wagner Rocha had some incredibly tough matches and prevailed all the way through to the final. It made for a very exciting event overall that was a pleasure@to be a small part of. Hope you all enjoyed the show. Now it’s back to NYC to prepare for Georges St-Pierre back in the UFC and then Garry Tonon in a combat jiu jitsu event back here in LA! Thanks again to Eddie Bravo and Victor Davila for putting on another amazing show and helping take this great sport to a new level.

Garry Tonon makes weight for EBI 13 and answers UFC fightpass/Television commentary questions in his own...unique...style...

Teaching in California

Teaching in California: The squad had a great day of teaching in LA today. I had the pleasure of teaching at the dojo of my great friend Shawn Williams @5starmartialarts It was great to see the Californians are really improving in the leg lock game! Mr Williams students along with some talented visitors went through some of our counter attack game and did a very fine job assimilating difficult material and made it work well. There is no doubt in my mind that the overall level of submission grappling is improving around the nation as I observe it in my teaching and traveling. Mr Williams and I talked at length afterwards about emerging trends in contemporary jiu jitsu, he has some fascinating views on this topic which I am sure he will talk about when he commentates for big jiu jitsu events in the future. Afterwards Mr Tonon went through his final workout for EBI 13 tomorrow night at the Orpheum in Downtown LA. He is looking very sharp and lean for this 155 pound event. Now it’s back to the hotel room to map out the remainder of Georges St-Pierre’s grappling training for the UFC show on November 4. Wishing you all the best from LA!

Danaher airport curse continues

Danaher airport curse continues: My propensity to run full speed into disaster at airports continues. Despite being early for the first time in my life to JFK, a major slowdown of the security boarding system combined with massive Friday night crowd created the longest lines I have seen in my twenty fives years in NYC. Then a long walk, a bus ride to a separate gate area followed by another long walk to furtherest extremity of terminal, a last sprint on crippled leg to gate and I was last person boarding with barely a minute to spare! Somewhere in a past life I must have DEEPLY offended the gods of flight. A strange thing about the worlds greatest city - it is serviced by the worst three airports I have ever encountered. Perhaps they could go all the way and add burning hoops and scorpion trapdoors to make getting to ones plane an even greater challenge. #whydontothercitieshavethisproblem. Now it’s on to LA to meet up with Messrs Tonon and Ryan to get ready for another big challenge in EBI 13 at our old home of the Orpheum theater. I shall teach a seminar tomorrow at my good friend and team mate, Shawn Williams at @5starmartialarts It will be a pleasure to see our West Coast friends and fans again See you all soon!

Photo @supersaiyanmagicalgirl