Break them down to a hip

Break them down to a hip: One of the distinguishing characteristics of the revolution in leg locking that the squad brought in was the heavy emphasis on leg locking from bottom position. In the old days the vast majority of leg lock entries were from top position. Indeed, leg locking was largely seen as an alternative to guard passing. This created a lot of naive criticisms of leg leg locking that seem almost quaint nowadays. Students were told that leg locks were a bad idea because if it didn’t work you would lose top position. Well - what if we entered from bottom position? Then there was no danger of positional loss - so that’s where I put my emphasis. There are MANY great entries from bottom position into an opponents legs - but be sure to realize that though your ENTRIES into the legs will be on a standing or kneeling opponent in your guard - be sure to knock your opponents down to their hips/buttocks (or at the very least one knee) before you start working for your FINISHES. It is quite difficult and risky to try finishing as a skilled opponent stands over you. Much safer to off balance him down to a hip first and THEN start working for the finish. Remember always that the magic of ashi garami is that it has a dual nature - IT IS JUST AS GOOD FOR OFF BALANCING/SWEEPING AS IT IS FOR BREAKING PURPOSES. Use BOTH aspects of ashi garami from bottom position and your success rate from under tough opponents will start climbing in the directions you want!


Let the other guy feel the stress

Let the other guy feel the stress: A common problem i observe is that of athletes doing a good job getting to a dominant position and then trying too hard too quickly to get a submission and losing control of the position they worked so hard to attain. Unless there is limited time left on the clock, relax, the other fellow should be the one in panic mode - not you. Use the superior position to recompose yourself, recharge your lungs if necessary and formulate a plan to finish. If at any point you feel the danger of escape - PROTECT THE POSITION FIRST AND WORRY ABOUT THE SUBMISSION SECOND - you can always come back to that later. Here, Garry Tonon anchors himself in place on the back at the ADCC World Champions after a long period in standing position fighting for a takedown. Now it’s time for him to take a little time and use the body triangle to both hold position and put his opponent under duress while he is relatively relaxed. Using this simple pattern of exertion to gain a position followed by active rest and recomposing in that position to gather resources into a final push for submission allowed him to secure the stranglehold soon after this photo was taken.


Happy Thanksgiving to all of you! Wishing you all the best from NYC!

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you! Wishing you all the best from NYC!


That look

That look when you get to the Thanksgiving dinner table after Gordon Ryan and find the discarded bones of two turkeys, a cow, several chickens and something that could be anything from a fur seal to a small dolphin...all that’s left is an apple and some crumbs of stuffing...


A master of position must perfect chest to chest and chest to back pins, but a master of SUBMISSION must go behind this and actively seek LIMB ISOLATION as the basis of his craft

A master of position must perfect chest to chest and chest to back pins, but a master of SUBMISSION must go behind this and actively seek LIMB ISOLATION as the basis of his craft: The basis of offense in traditional Jiu Jitsu is position. Typically this is understood in terms of getting past your opponents legs and pinning him down either chest to chest or chest to back. However, the ability to submit an opponent requires you to go further and isolate a limb - to draw a limb away from the torso and away from the other limb. Only then can you break an opponent. Ultimately this will require you to develop subtle methods of wedging around a limb and trapping it in place long enough to apply the various submission holds of Jiu Jitsu - but your first step is MINDSET. Don’t be satisfied with simply getting the chest to chest or chest to back positions. Train yourself to always think of going the extra step of LIMB ISOLATION after you get to a pin. Initially you will have some frustration here, as the act of isolating a limb often requires movement that can lessen control momentarily and result in an opponent escaping when performed poorly. However, only by persisting and developing this crucial skill will you make the jump from being a pinner to a finisher - the highest ideal of the sport. Look how Gordon Ryan uses an underhook to wedge an opponents arm in place and move his elbow away from form his torso to isolate and weaken the arm. He has moved beyond the safety of chest to chest into the world of isolating wedges that lead to the possibility of submission - this is why his finishing percentages are so high. With patience and practice - so too can yours.


Danaher, next match coming up soon

“Danaher, next match coming up soon - should I start my warm up now?” “No...no...not yet...I’m just just going to stand here and look extremely sinister for a few more minutes first...”


Gaining skills is only the first battle

It natural to think that justice would decree that the skills you worked so hard to develop in the dojo would stay unblemished with you for a lifetime once you gained them - given that ownership came at such a steep price in sweat and effort. This is an illusion. Of all the things you own - your skills are the most perishable. Against an opponent of similar skill and experience - you are only as good as the last one hundred and fifty days of your training. Gaining skills is only the first battle - keeping them is a much longer and lonelier one.


Heading back to NYC!

Heading back to NYC! I’m sad to leave beautiful Hawaii - this small Island group has a very strong Jiu Jitsu community and is an absolute pleasure to visit. It reminds me a lot of the land of my upbringing - New Zealand - both housed deep in the heart of the mighty Pacific Ocean - with Ocean breeze, sun sets and maritime air that I never see in NYC. Now it’s time to return across the ocean to the big Apple. Some great upcoming projects with Gordon Ryan so it’s back to the basement where the body and mind are tested and the spirit challenged and work fulfills dreams. Wishing you all the best from Hawaii. To my long suffering students - let’s get ready for action! See you soon!


Victory in Hawaii!!

Victory in Hawaii!! Garry Tonon took on the great Davi Ramos, ADCC champion here in Honolulu tonight in an epic fifteen minute battle between two masters of submission. Both men came out firing their big guns - leg attacks, arm attacks and strangles - all in combinations. The match went from floor to standing and back again at a furious pace. Around the ten minute mark it was becoming clear that the pace was straining the bigger man and Gary Tonon began to take over. As time narrowed, Mr Tonon hit a beautiful go behind to take the back and locked in a full strangle hold just as time expired! It was an amazing match that showcased how pace, movement and tactical threat can exhaust bigger and stronger opponents - even those of the highest quality. Now it’s back to NYC to get Gordon Ryan ready to face the great Bo Nickals in a hybrid jiu jitsu/wrestling match that should be another spectacle!! Hope you all enjoyed the show!!


Superb win for Craig Jones!

Superb win for Craig Jones! International student extraordinaire Craig Jones won a beautiful submission victory over the very talented Polish grappling super star Adam Wardzinski with a flawless Kimura into side triangle (yoko sankaku) combination attack in Liverpool England. Mr Wardzinski has a very strong butterfly guard game, but Mr Jones bypassed that with a rolling kimura attack and capitalized upon his opponents defensive turn to seize a side triangle and take a good situation into a great situation. A second defensive turn created an inverted variation of the same side triangle that only served to make it tighter and the win was complete. Great work again by Mr Jones as he shows his ever increasing submission repertoire against some of the best Jiu Jitsu players in the world!