Happy New Year!! Wishing all of you the best in 2019! May you have the imagination and courage to set goals worthy of your potential, the wisdom to formulate a solid plan to actualize them, the discipline to follow those plans through and the time required to let it all happen!! I hope you all get closer to your cherished goals both inside and outside Jiu Jitsu! Thank you all for your interest in what we do, our approach to the game and to self development through Jiu Jitsu. Wishing you all a great night and an even better year!

Getting work done

Getting work done: Just finished fifth and final day of filming for BJJ Fanatics where we completed the ENTER THE SYSTEM series (Triangle system to be released very soon and then subsequently the Arm Bar system to complete the series) and began work on the upcoming BJJ Fundamentals series where I go over classical BJJ in a new light designed to deepen your insight into the sport and shorten your learning time in skill development. Today we worked on the Gi Strangle system that I teach. It’s a blast going over the fundamentals in a new way - this is the heart and soul of Jiu Jitsu and I love it! This was the material that hooked me twenty five years ago and I never lost my passion for it! Now it’s back to the bus station (trains all sold out ) and back to NYC - Looking forward to getting back to the blue basement for a day of teaching tomorrow!

Jacket required

Jacket required: Working our way through the first sessions filming the upcoming fundamentals of Jiu Jitsu series that will be released after the completion of the ENTER THE SYSTEM series. The intention is give athletes a deep conceptual and technical understanding of the foundational elements of the sport in the traditional gi. The emphasis will be on strong positional skills and strangulation using the jacket. Loving the content so far and having a blast! The fundamentals are the heart and soul of Jiu Jitsu and my favorite thing to teach and train. We go back into action tomorrow! Wishing you all the best from Boston!!

Finished!! After two big days of filming we just completed the final installment of the biggest selling Jiu Jitsu video instructionals of all time - the ENTER THE SYSTEM series. Today we completed the Arm Bar (juji gatame) installment. This is the sixth and last in the series. These six submissions systems, Legs, back, kimura, front headlock/guillotine, triangle and now arm bar are the main submission systems that I teach in no gi grappling and which my students did such an incredible job of applying in top level competition. The triangle system will be released next (early January) and editing of the arm bar footage will now begin. Thanks so much to BJJ Fanatics for their work in filming over the last two days. My students excel in the use of arm bar attacks - I hope that soon you will too!!

The remarkable properties of the triangle

The remarkable properties of the triangle: The triangle is among the most impressive moves in all of Jiu Jitsu. It has many manifestations and variations. One of the best and most unique features is that it is capable of being used as both a strangle and a joint lock at the same time. Usually we are given a choice when we go for a submission - it’s either a strangle or a joint lock - sankaku lets us have our cake and eat it too! Not only does it give us a choice - WE CAN USE THE THREAT OF ONE TO SET UP THE OTHER. For example in a front triangle shown here, the general rule is that the closer my opponents head to my head, the easier the strangle. The further his head moves away - the easier the armlock. Triangles allow us to use several different types of joint locks without releasing the stranglehold, creating real danger for the opponent. Learn to use this unusual dual submission threat of the various triangle variations to get your submission percentages rising!

Into the vortex

Into the vortex: There are two modes of Jiu Jitsu that must be mastered as you go deeper into your Jiu Jitsu journey. The first concerns the ability to SHUT DOWN YOUR OPPONENTS MOVEMENT. This is perhaps the most common approach to Jiu Jitsu. Most of your time on the mat will be devoted to taking an opponent to the floor, gaining top position and getting past his legs into pins and immobilizing him until you can strangle him or joint lock him. There is however, another modality - the opposite of the first - TO CREATE MOVEMENT THAT WE CONTROL BETTER THAN OUR OPPONENT DOES. This is the method of creating scrambles where at the outcome of the scramble we have advantage. Learning to enter into a scramble and emerge with advantage is one of the most fascinating studies in Jiu Jitsu. It looks like chaos - but if you enter with a plan and a skill set you can reliably emerge with profit. Here, Garry Tonon, the best scrambler I ever saw, creates a whirlwind of movement to throw off the great world Champion Gilbert Burns in an effort to turn an inferior position into a dominant one. Later in the same match he would go further and use a similar action to enter into a spectacular match winning leg lock, showing once again his expertise in this thrilling aspect of the sport.

Can an older athlete, working a busy professional career and many other demands from marriage and family etc train to be competitive with the best Jiu jitsu athletes in the world who are much younger and more athletic and who train full time? This is a question i am often asked. Most Jiu Jitsu practitioners are enthusiastic amateurs who try to train as much as they can around their commitments to spouse, family and career while factoring their age and physical condition into the equation. It’s natural to ask - how good can I really get under those circumstances in comparison to the best athletes in the world? My answer is this - how far you go will always be determined by your effort - but if you train hard and intelligently for long enough YOU WILL BE ABSOLUTELY SHOCKED HOW GOOD YOU CAN GET AS AN OLDER PART TIME ATHLETE FULL TIME PARENT, CAREER PROFESSIONAL. Here is a truly great example. This is my student Jason Lees, forty three years old, married and a highly ranked lawyer in a prestigious New York City law firm. He took on the outstanding BJJ world champion Muhamed Aly, one of the most athletic and physically gifted Jiu Jitsu players in the world at a Grapplers Quest US Nationals event in NJ a couple of years ago. After a brief spell of hand fighting and a single leg attack, Mr Lees performed a very nice ashi garami entry from standing and won in around forty seconds via heel hook from ashi garami - an incredible result for an older athlete who trains part time and juggles marriage and a very busy legal career as his primary interest. How many people can show up to work on Monday morning and tell their co-workers they beat a dominant professional world champion in their chosen sport? What an amazing example of a part time older athlete getting full time younger man results!! Don’t sell yourself short on what can be achieved if your training program is a good one and there is passion in your heart backed by discipline in your mind and patience in your soul. I hope this incredible achievement by Mr Lees inspire you as much as it does me. I have so many outstanding older students who I am sure can inspire you all to greater success in your own journey

1000 Instagram Posts! I wanted to thank all of you for taking an interest in my work in Jiu Jitsu - this week I passed the milestone of 1000 Instagram posts. For a decade I avoided social media but finally relented when I took on a trio of extraordinary students who were interested in the rapidly growing sport of submission grappling. Previously I was teaching Jiu Jitsu but mostly known as an MMA coach through Georges St-Pierre and Chris Weidman and the Ultimate Fighter TV show. When Mr St-Pierre retired and Mr Weidman opened his own school further away from Manhattan I switched attention to submission grappling and the notion of changing the way people thought about training to a systems based approach instead classical methods. In time interest in the squad grew and now I am hoping to expand and add to peoples training methods as we all seek improvement in the sport we love and to link methods of improvement in Jiu Jitsu to our life in general. I am very grateful to you all for your interest and support in my work. Special thanks as always to my incredible students. All of them are truly remarkable people who exude industriousness and innovation - without their courage, hard work and skill in exhibiting these ideas on the big stage I would be nothing. Thank you to all of my dear readers who put up with my random, long winded, paragraph-less (not sure if that’s a real word ) and disorganized ramblings - but if they help even a little in getting you a little closer to your goals and dreams in Jiu Jitsu and life - then it’s all worth it. Thank you so much.

Learning from videos

Learning from videos: People often ask me if you can learn martial arts techniques from video. I truly believe that insights from video instruction PROVIDED THEY ARE REINFORCED AND DEVELOPED BY REGULAR TRAINING ON THE MAT CAN ABSOLUTELY ADD SIGNIFICANTLY TO YOUR SKILL SET. You may recognize this man - this is Placido Carl Santos - he is the demonstration partner in many of my videos and trains in Boston. One day we were filming some material for IBJJF legal leg locks and I showed him several variations of Achilles locks that I use, subtly different from the standard grips and body placement. Mr Santos took the lesson in the same way any viewer would and we moved on quickly to the next techniques. Then a few weeks later at a local tournament he got the chance to make use of the lesson. Here he is getting a quick submission victory via the Achilles lock he learned in the video shoot

The two ways

The two ways: Whenever you go out to battle an opponent there are two main approaches you can take with the application of whatever technique and skills you bring to the match. The first is a PROACTIVE approach where you look to initiate the moves and deliberately push the action towards what you want to do. The second is a REACTIVE approach where you let your opponent initiate and you take advantage of any opening created by your opponent’s attack to counter and get the breakthrough. Each method will always have its advocates. As a general rule proactive methods tend to do better in encounters with a short time limit whilst reactive methods tend to do better in longer encounters. However, it will greatly benefit your development to work hard developing your skills in BOTH approaches. This immediately DOUBLES the number of attacks you make in a given time frame and makes you much less predictable in your attack patterns. Here you can see Nicky Ryan approach an opponent. His focused look clearly shows he has an initial proactive goal which he will work hard to enforce upon his foe, but he will also have the creativity to read his opponent’s attacks as he gets close and be ready to go into his reactive counters as well. As much as it’s a good thing to focus on what you want to achieve, remember always that there are TWO people in a bout and it pays to be able to attack off the actions of BOTH people rather than just one.