Back in the blue basement

Back in the blue basement: Great to see outstanding Australian grappling sensation Craig Jones @craigjonesbjj back training with the squad in preparation for his upcoming super fight in the upcoming @kasaigrappling show in NYC against leg locking powerhouse Rousimar Palhares. Senior squad member Garry Tonon had an epic match against the Brazilian juggernaut that showcased the leg lock game probably better than any other match. Mr Tonon did it weighing only 168 pounds that night in England. What better place for Mr Jones to prepare for the same challenge than the basement of hope and despair at RGA? This should be a fascinating match up. Mr Jones has a much bigger and longer body than Mr Tonon so there will be both differences and similarities in the preparation- should be extremely interesting. Today he mixed it up with the squad juniors in some great training. Here, he and Oliver Taza get into a great sparring session and exchange attacks. Next few months has a slew of tournaments with various rule sets to make for very interesting training sessions

Techniques differ - Principles don’t

Techniques differ - Principles don’t: At the @onechampionship event this past weekend it was my pleasure to work the warm up locker room next to an athlete I often make my students watch as an example and role model for their striking development - the great Giorgio Petrosyan. Mr Petrosyan was at the event to corner his brother. It was fascinating watching them workout and prepare and to note the similarities in the combat principles he embodies to those found in jiu jitsu. Jiu jitsu’s fighting methodology is based always upon the core concept of attaining positions that allow you to strike whilst restricting your opponent’s ability to do the same back to you. In jiu jitsu this is done via takedown to dominant positions. Mr Petrosyan is a master of doing the same - but given the nature of kickboxing- he does it entirely in standing striking exchanges. He excels in the art of striking with effect, whilst denying his opponent’s the ability to do the same - he uses an dizzying array of subtle footwork patterns, distance control, angle, level, clinching and other means. The result is he hits with tremendous power and effect while offering very few opportunities for an opponent to do the same back to him. He dazzled the room as he went to work and showed the depth of his knowledge in his art. It was a real treat to see the same principles we espouse being applied in a totally different context and with such skill.

From one mat to another

From one mat to another: Teaching yesterday in the Philippines- then twenty seven hour flight home - now teaching back on the mats of the blue basement in NYC From mat to mat the game is the same - keep learning and keep improving- no matter how small the progress, have faith that it will accrue over time to become something substantial. No matter where you are or who shares the mat with you; there is something you can learn and practice so that the next time you step on the mat, wherever it might be, you are better than the previous time. Looking forward to upcoming projects with the squad and all my students at RGA starting tomorrow!

Teaching time

Teaching time: What better way to cap off a wonderful weekend watching my student and teacher decisively win their respective MMA fights in the best tradition of jiu jitsu, than to partake in the pleasure of teaching local jiu jitsu students our systems based approach to the sport. I was very impressed to see the high interest level in our leg lock game and the enthusiasm and dedication of local students. It’s always a wonderful experience coming out to Asia and being in the home of the great martial arts traditions that gave so much to the West - it’s an honor to give a little back. The Philippines has a unique distinguished history of martial arts development and the great show put on by @onechampionship gave local fighters and fans an opportunity to show that. Heading to the airport now for the long twenty five hour journey home. Tired but happy. Thank you to our Filipino hosts, thanks to all the local students who came out in force to learn our game and thank you to you my loyal readers for your interest and support for what we do. Best wishes from the Philippines and see you soon to my students back in the basement in NYC

What a night! Sensei Renzo had an amazing comeback tonight! He finished Yuki Kondo here in Manila tonight in the second round with a beautifully applied strangle from the back. He controlled the action from standing to ground and showed his immense knowledge by switching grips to break through against strong resistance. We are all so proud to see him prevail so convincingly against such a tough opponent. Also great to to see two generations of Renzo Gracie Academy athletes showcase their winning ways I am always very proud to be a student of this great man - but tonight was something special to behold. Thanks so much for all your support. Can’t wait to see all our dedicated students back at RGA in NYC and tell the full story of sensei’s amazing night! See you all soon!

Victory in Manila! Garry Tonon won his second MMA fight here in the Philippines tonight. He took on a very tough and big Rahul Raju and won via rear strangle in the third round. It was an interesting bout, Mr Raju had a big reach advantage and staked his chances on a powerful counter rear hand. Mr Tonon attacked the legs hard in submission exchanges looking to cause enough damage to prevent him sitting on his heavy punches. As the damage to the legs accrued the takedowns came easier and then Mr Tonon switched to back attack system to get the break through. This ends only the seventh month of his MMA training - I am happy he got more time in the cage in this fight and got to feel some of the adversity of a longer fight - all important steps in an athlete’s development. Congratulations to Mr Tonon on a very nice win and deeper progress into the game. Thanks so much to all the sparring partners who helped the preparation - and thanks to all of you for taking an interest in our approach to the game and your support of what we do - hope you all enjoyed the show! Wishing you all the best from the Philippines!

Garry Tonon gets in his last workout prior to @onechampionship in two days here in Manila. Tomorrow he will focus on the small weight cut. He is very small for 170 pound division - in the United States he would fight at 145, but the rules of One Championship forbid big dehydrating weight cuts. Now it’s back to hotel for light meal and discussion. Wishing you all the best from Manila!

Press conference

Press conference: The rise of OneCampionship show: You can always tell a lot about the interest level for a given show by prior media attention. The media presence is a strong indicator of initial public attention and then they amplify that through their channels to compound it. In the main press conference yesterday, @onechampionship CEO, Chatri Sityodtong presided over a veritable horde of media correspondents here in Manila. There is a sense of real growth in Asian MMA. Mr Sityodtong expounded his long term vision for growth of the sport in Asia and beyond. His main goal is to reconcile the modern sport of MMA with traditional martial arts values to create greater social acceptance and support in a way that can create massive growth over time and make MMA a true mainstream sport. The vision for the athletes is one of killers in the cage, but gentleman outside; and where the athletes are the draw both as fighters and as people. It is very interesting to observe the differences from American MMA culture where a much more confrontational attitude outside the cage is seen as essential to selling a show. Here in the Philippines this approach seems to be working very well, as a sold out show projected to a huge television audience across Asia and covered by a media swarm bigger than I ever saw in North America takes shape. I have always believed that to get to the top you have to stand out and represent something different from the others. Mimicry can get you only so high - at some point you have to do things your own way if you want to reach your full potential. OneChampionship looks to be doing exactly that. Excited to see them setting up the big show!!

I am very excited to announce the release of my new instructional video BACK ATTACKS

I am very excited to announce the release of my new instructional video BACK ATTACKS: ENTER THE SYSTEM today from BJJFanatics - the second video in the ENTER THE SYSTEM series. There is a link in my instagram bio that you can follow if you wish to order it. Most of you know that I greatly favor the back as the ultimate attacking/safety position in grappling and fighting. Whenever my students take on bigger and stronger opponents I always counsel them to make their primary focus attacks upon the back and the legs - everything else is secondary. I present here the complete system. As always, I teach the “why” of everything so as to give a clear conceptual understanding in addition to the “how” via explicit techniques. The video is around nine and half hours long. It covers all the main aspects of working from the back with a particular emphasis on finishing skills. My intention is to give you all a complete systems based training resource you can keep coming back to for years rather a “flavor of the month” collection of moves that will amuse you for a while and then be forgotten. As always, this work is dedicated to all my teachers and mentors along with my outstanding students who have always done an incredible job of displaying the techniques and concepts in this video. Without their hard work, dedication and individual brilliance I would just be a fool tinkering away in my sensei’s basement. I was always very proud that in the numerous EBI competitions that my students competed in, they had by a landslide the highest rate of wins and submissions in the tricky overtime rules - on every occasion they chose the back - now you will see why.

First workout in Manila

First workout in Manila: Garry Tonon goes through his drills in preparation for his bout Friday night. It’s always a good thing getting that first workout behind you after a long flight, different climate and unfamiliar environment. There are two mild typhoons close by, so there is constant heavy rain making a wet and humid atmosphere that makes warm ups easy. Thanks to local BJJ gym metacore for hospitality and venue. It’s a great place to train while here In Manila. Now it’s back to the hotel to recharge and get ready for tomorrow Excited to see the big show @onechampionship arriving in force tomorrow- there is always a special feeling of anticipation and purpose when all the athletes and coaches and officials fly in. Wishing you all the best from the Philippines!