Back home in Puerto Rico!

Back home in Puerto Rico! It was great to back in the gym today training the juniors for upcoming competitions. As much as I love travel there is a true pleasure in getting back to home ground and into a routine that builds the skills you need to excel. Thank you all so much for the interest you show in the squads development and growth. It was so impressive to see Craig Jones and Gordon Ryan show the skills we work every day on the mat so perfectly in competition. No technique, strategy or set of tactics is a completed project however - so as always it’s back to the mat to refine and improve what you have and discover what you don’t! Here Nicky Ryan and Nick Ortiz work on their back skills in preparation for upcoming matches.

Victory in Texas!!

Victory in Texas!! Craig Jones and Gordon Ryan both won brilliant submission victories against very tough opponents tonight here in Austin Texas. Gordon Ryan took on the very talented Roberto Jiménez. He expressed a desire in training to avoid using leg locks and focus on arm bar from mount as the means to victory. He released an early leg lock and focused on passing to mount and juji gatame arm-bars. His first attempt was close but Mr Jiménez escapes brilliantly under pressure. The second attempt however was devastating and secured the win. Craig Jones took on the brilliant ATOS emerging star Ronaldo Jr. Both men went immediately to their strengths, Craig Jones with his extremely dangerous open guard and Ronaldo Jr with his speedy passing skills. After some strong exchanges Mr Jones latched on to an ashi garami and converted to a 50/50 variation. After a brief fight for hand control and heel exposure Mr Jones got into a powerful breaking position and won another great victory. Both athletes showed their incredible mastery of the squad ideal of control that leads to submission. Now it’s time to return to Puerto Rico and get everyone ready for new challenges! Hope you all enjoyed the show!

Showdown in Texas tomorrow night

Showdown in Texas tomorrow night: Tomorrow night night In Austin Texas. Squad seniors Gordon Ryan and Craig Jones will take on two extremely talented opponents. In the co main event Gordon Ryan will take on Jiu jitsu dynamo Roberto Jiménez - one of the most talented of the new generation Jiu jitsu players. They have battled each other in the gym before and it was a war! The stage always adds something to the equation so this should be a fascinating match where they both know what they have to do to beat each other based on past experience and the one who finds their path onstage will take it. In the main event Australian grappling superstar Craig Jones takes on a surging star among the new generation Jiu jitsu athletes - Ronaldo Jr - who has been tearing up the competition scene recently. He is one of the fastest men in Jiu jitsu, very difficult to control. He is a star member of team ATOS, so you know he will be very well prepared and in tremendous shape. They always do a good job of sending their athletes out in peak condition and with a well worked out strategy. Both are fascinating match ups. I have always said that there are two main ways to excel in Jiu jitsu. You can either make yourself a master of movement and make movement your weapon; or you can make yourself a master of preventing movement and make control your weapon. Mr Ryan and Mr Jones are both true masters of CONTROLLING movement - but both of their opponents are masters of CREATING movement - so this will be a fascinating clash of styles! Weigh in is tonight here in Austin and then tomorrow night @flograppling will broadcast the action - i hope you enjoy the show!!

Taking yourself to a new level

Taking yourself to a new level - front headlocks and the example of Craig Jones: At any given time our game is certain level. This can change a little week by week depending upon training conditions and the state of our body, but there is a rough level that can be roughly measured by your skill set/knowledge and how you stack up against other athletes in sparring/competition. Once you can to a level that you find satisfactory it’s natural to take stock of yourself and see yourself as having a certain type of game. Both you and Your classmates have a good idea of what your strengths and weaknesses are. You see yourself as being good at moves A,B and C but not very interested in E and F. You take that skill set of yours and refine it a little and that’s you. You can do pretty well with this approach - but you will never reach your potential. You have to periodically set projects to add whole new aspects to your game. This is the only way to avoid stagnation over time. Take the example of Craig Jones. Early in his career he was known primarily for his triangle attacks. When he came to America to compete in EBI events he realized he had to excel in the leg lock game. He took that project on with such gusto that he became known as one of the best in the world. Not satisfied, he went on to develop a very powerful back attack in response to opponents who ran from the pressure of his leg game. Watching his development a few years ago i talked with him about the need to develop a powerful front headlock/Guillotine game as a counter to opponents who did not want to engage his dangerous submissions game or who were faster than him in a scramble. Immediately he took the project on. Within a short time he was developing lethal variations of Guillotines, anacondas and Darce strangles. Then tying these back to his already formidable back game and leg game. Now he has one of the best front headlock games I’ve ever seen! THIS is how you keep developing. NEVER SEE YOURSELF AS A COMPLETED PROJECT. Rather than cover up and hide your weaknesses - train them to become your new strengths and ally them to your old strengths.

Big congratulations to Garry Tonon and Gordon

Big congratulations to Garry Tonon and Gordon for winning the Flograppling fan vote competition for most exciting match of the year (Garry Tonon) and submission of the year (Gordon Ryan). I’ve always believed that good Jiu jitsu is directed at control that leads to submission and that this style is always an exciting style to watch and learn. These two athletes do an amazing job of representing that philosophy. This is the third year in a row that Mr Tonon has won this award - an incredible achievement and testimony to his attacking style. Both athletes continuously hunt for submissions - just as you should. They have different means of getting there - one is movement based and the other is control based but the goal is the same. Congratulations Garry and Gordon!

The example of Georges St Pierre

The example of Georges St Pierre: I have had the honor of coaching many truly outstanding athletes of more than two decades. None surpassed the incredible achievements of Mr St Pierre. Everyone knows his achievements - far fewer know what it was like to train with him in the gym - yet a brief discussion of this could be very beneficial to your own progress. The first thing to note was that Mr St Pierre was fully capable of beating the crap out of any of us any time he felt like it, but he came in to the gym only to play our game of grappling rather than fighting. He knew that grappling expertise was an important part of fighting expertise and would not try to use any of his great advantages in standing grappling and striking (or even mention them) but instead play our submission game. He would almost always pull guard and start of positions of disadvantage to remove his advantages and work on his weaknesses. His only goal was improvement in the area we were best suited to help it. If he wanted to he could have simply disengaged and stalled to avoid our strengths. He never did. He went directly into our strengths and tried to improve his performance in those areas. He did the same thing in every boxing, Muay Thai and wrestling workout i ever saw him do. Every workout must have seemed a nightmare as it was him playing against the best people in the world in their strongest area, on their terms. If someone followed him around for a year and watched his workouts they might see him struggling the whole time - until it was fight night. Then they would see the result of all that work against specialists in their domain. Now it was time to put it all together in HIS domain - the cage - under MMA rules - and you all know how that went! DON’T FOCUS IN WINNING IN THE GYM - FOCUS ON IMPROVEMENT AND SKILL ACQUISITION - worry about WINNING when it counts - when you learn to divide those two concerns your progress will be astounding

Victory in Singapore!!

Victory in Singapore!! Garry Tonon took a unanimous decision victory over a very game and dangerous title contender Koyomi Matsushima in Singapore. It has been more than a year since Mr Tonon fought due to circumstances and COVID-19. He was able to his extensive half guard bottom training done in this camp to advantage and take his opponents back to threaten strangles and take first round. Round 2 he showed his growing skill in integrating striking with takedowns to take the wrestler down and hold him down to again take the back. In the third round he landed a nice rear hand followed by knee to rock his opponent to take the bout very comfortably and get his MMA path back on track after the long layoff. Hope you all enjoyed the show!! Now Mr Tonon will join us in Puerto Rico and get back into training for the next challenge!!

Garry Tonon ready for action!

Garry Tonon ready for action! Garry Tonon is set to resume his MMA journey in OneChampionship MMA tomorrow as he takes on the very formidable title contender from Japan Koyomi Mitsushima, an extremely accomplished fighter specializing in blending his wrestling, judo and karate skills into a very impressive package. It has been more than a year since Mr Tonon was in the cage, but he has shown his usual professionalism and training dedication despite all the difficulties of 2020 and is anxious to show his growing MMA skill set! Hope you all enjoy the show!

Garry Tonon getting ready

Garry Tonon getting ready: Garry Tonon is counting down the days to his next MMA fight in Singapore for @onechampionship where he takes on the very talented Japanese title contender Koyomi Matsushima, who brings a very dangerous mix of Karate and Wrestling into the fight mixed with great experience in high level organizations at championship level. Mr Tonon has trained very thoroughly despite all the inherent problems due to covid restrictions and is ready for action. Sadly i will not be able to go with him this time due to covid restrictions in Singapore that only allow one person to accompany him so we agreed to send a sparring partner for preparation as he has to arrive very early for quarantine purposes and will need to train over there. Mr Tonon continues to expand his MMA repertoire but still we out a heavy emphasis on our style of Jiu jitsu as the core of his preparation. He goes onstage December 4th - hope you all enjoy the show!

Reflections on a truly great athlete and career

Reflections on a truly great athlete and career: The great Khabib Nurmagomedov fought another brilliant fight last night to take another dominant victory over the very dangerous Justin Gaethje. As he has so many many times, Mr Nurmagomedov was able to neutralize his opponent with superb takedowns and ground control. As with all great athletes, opponents know what to expect but are simply unable to stop it. Many people describe Mr Nurmagomedov as just a wrestler but he showed last night that he has a truly superb MMA skill set. Mr Gaethje is himself a fine wrestler, but as Georges St Pierre showed so many times, wrestling/takedowns in an MMA fight is a very different skill than wrestling/takedowns in a pure wrestling match. He integrated his striking into takedowns superbly and was able to make the takedowns look easy against an excellent wrestler. Not only that, he showed he has excellent submissions skills and the control skills to set them up with beautiful mount control leading into a superb mounted triangle (when was the last time you saw a mounted triangle used to finish an MMA fight? Forget about a UFC title fight!) The application was flawless and resulted in a quick strangle to unconsciousness (I have no idea what the referee was doing as Mr Gaethje clearly tapped twice and Mr Nurmagomedov did what he is supposed to do - hold on until the referee stops the action). Even more impressive is the fact that Mr Nurmagomedov essentially won the fight twice that night - he had total control from the mount at the end of round one and only the bell saved his opponent. Then he went out in round two and repeated the action and got back into mount and finished in spectacular style. To do this twice - once per round against such a dangerous opponent is truly admirable. Through his career this remarkable man has always conducted himself with honor and a straight forward no-nonsense attitude . He stood up for his team mates and what he believed was right and never let himself be swayed by what others wanted or demanded. What a privilege to watch such an athlete in action and see him finish an unbeaten career and forge the path he wanted on his terms.