Archive for the ‘Jiu Jitsu’ Category

This week in Jiu Jitsu, I read a candid confession of a black belt instructor that struggled with the Gracie way of eating. I totally understood. I too hadn’t fully adopted the methods either. Also, I had become worried about cancer. I was Interested in the Gracie Diet’s anti cancer benefits. I was motivated to try again. So, I started rereading the Gracie Diet book.


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This week in fundamentals, we learned the knee on belly pin.




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This week in fundamentals, we learned the forward roll, side mount to full mount, guillotine choke defense #1, and defense against being choke while pinned against a wall.

Reference the forward roll, it took time to learn and required practice. I was trying to explain to a white belt but then a brown belt took over.  I tried to break it into steps. 1) one leg steps forward. 2) the opposite arm, hand touches the mat parallel to the front stepping foot but body width apart. 3) once the arm and leg were lined up on the mat, the other arm shot under the arm pit 4) roll over the shoulder. This part of class ended before the white belt had mastered any of it.

The side mount to full mount.  Great move. I emphasized to the white belt in using body weight against an opponent. ” Cien kilos.

Reference the guillotine defense # 1, I didn’t understand this until the third time it was taught.  An important point to remember was that the guillotine choke defense #1 has to be executed immediately.  Once the attacker wrapped the arm around the neck and BEFORE the hips came forward, that was the window of opportunity. If the hips came forward, it was too late for that defense, then one would have to move on to guillotine choke defense #2.


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Lately, free time was anything but routine. This week in Jiu Jitsu, I was able to attend advanced grappling. The focus of the class was foot locks and heal hooks, which were techniques on breaking the foot and ankle. As I heard the words of the Professor, I knew the class was going to be hard on the feet and ankles. I paired up with a gentle purple belt and a white belt.  A late arrival, a purple belt, paired up with me.It didn’t go well. I tapped myself out more than I had ever done before.  The ankles and feet were sore for a few days after and I did retain a lot. I felt that I was being pushed to the limit on every technique. I didn’t do any exercise or stretching for a few day afterwards. On the positive side, I have a very good understanding of heel hooks and I will never forget this day.

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As we worked on a gun disarming technique where an attacker pressed a gun into the abdomen of the victim, I had a flash back. I remembered having a gun thrusted into my gut. It wasn’t a robbery but a case of mistaken identity. I didn’t know any Jiu Jitsu back then.

Back in 1998, I was living at Morton Towers on Miami Beach, Florida. I like 50% of everyone here was from somewhere else. I was escaping from bad winters. I made a friend at work that lived in the building. On the weekends and after business hours, he was working towards getting his private detective license. To get the hours he needed, he was given Private Investigation work of medical disability fraud. He said that the work was in Homestead, which was far from Miami Beach., in poor neighborhoods. He had to get video of the person doing work or play that their disability would not be able to do, like mowing the lawn or working out at a gym. He would have to sit in his car with tinted window with a video camera that could get video from a far distance. At his day job at lunch time, he said that it was a dangerous work.

After work as I drove to my parking spot at Morton Towers, I noticed his car was parked there. On occasion, I would drop by his apartment for a drink.  There were a few things I liked about his place. He lived on the 12th floor, a spectacular view of Bay, fully stocked bar, and cable television with every channel. I was barely surviving on my pay and it was a stressful job. I hadn’t know him very long. It was relaxing and fun to have a few drinks, watch tv, talk, and order a pizza. So, being bored at home, I headed to the elevators to drop in on my neighbor, unannounced.    

As I stood in front of the door to his apartment, I knocked on the door. I was absolutely clueless for what was about to happen. I waited a minute, then the door opened. I felt a cold metal object pressed deep into my stomach. It all happened in a second. I looked down. There was a gun barrel pushed into my gut. I looked up. I was shocked. It was my friend from work. He looked crazy. Unshaven. rapid breathing. His eyes were dilated, blinking fast. I thought he may have been on something.  It took a second to realize what was going on. I slowly raised my hands. I calmly spoke, ” It’s me. Your friend from work. Don’t shoot me. Your friend, I live on the fourth floor! ” Without removing the gun from my gut, he looked past me down the corridor. He then removed the gun and said to come in. He then said that his cover was blown. He was discovered while filming and that he was shot at. He looked nervous and scared. He thought that he was followed home. He was telling me this as we walked to the living room. He dropped the gun on the coffee table and that was when a bullet fell out of the chamber. At that point, I realized how close I was to being shot.

From the floor, I picked up the bullet and sat on the couch. Until five minutes earlier, I hadn’t ever seen a real hand gun.  I didn’t know anything about bullets but the bullet on floor didn’t look like a normal bullet. I asked him what kind of bullet was this?  He said it was a special bullet. He called the bullet a cop killer bullet. I thought that was an illegal bullet.  This bullet was meant for a body shot. Once it entered the body, it would bounce around inside the rib cage causing more damage. 

The way we were practicing the technique was different from reality. The gun was aggressively thrusted into my abdomen, almost pinned in place.  With distracting talk, it would give a chance to execute the technique. Could I slap the hand away before he pulled the trigger?   

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Flexibility can be developed despite the current state one maybe in.  With time and practice, working through the pain, hamstrings will become flexible. The belief is the more flexibility one has, the less likely to have an injury while studying jiu jitsu. There are three exercises, if done daily will give big results. See YouTube link.

 A lot of people, myself include, talk about the hamstrings without a clue as to how they function.  Medical text books show the hamstring muscles on paper but which muscles contract and which extends.  How do I know if I have weak hamstring muscles?  Where does the pain come from? 

What is the hamstrings anyways?   I used the term hamstrings a lot without much understanding.   ” That area in the back of the legs is commonly known as the “hamstring.”  The primary muscles of the “hamstring” group are semimembranosus, semitendinosus, and biceps femoris, located behind the leg, between the buttocks and the knee. Though each muscle can work independently, together they help bend the knee and bring the leg backwards. (And remember, our muscles work synergistically, never individually.)  One muscle of the hamstring group also connects to a ligament that provides stability to the sacroiliac joint, the meeting point of the base of the spine and the pelvic bone.  That same joint affects numerous important primary mover muscles in our backs. (Tight Hamstrings: Causes, Treatment, and Prevention by Andrew Duffy, NASM-CPT, PES July 27 2009)   The tightness may be caused by 1) muscle weakness, 2) Pelvic tilt.  When you have these two conditions, this may result in back pain because the back incorrectly compensates for the conditions.  

So what can Anyone do to gain more flexibility and eliminate pain?  F.Y.I, I still don’t have a clear picture of how the muscles work together.   Anyways, I did a you tube search and found a video that I liked.  

” 3 poses To Improve Hamstring Flexibility,” by Erkhartyoga.com


 1) Laying down, one leg at 90 degrees,   the other straight with toes pointing up. You will need a rope. Lift leg to 90 degrees, or as close as possible, and the other leg straight, 1 min both legs. ••• However, I recommend letting go of the belt after 15 seconds letting and maintain the posture for 45 seconds. I believe this will strengthen the muscles. This was something I discovered and was not part of the video.

2) Forward bend.   

3) Half splits.  

As always, I am not a doctor.   You should seek consul and instruction from the proper source.

This blog is for information only.



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Learning Jiu Jitsu has not been easy.  There have been weeks where I questioned my own sanity, what am I doing here? What life lessons have I learned? 

So why am i doing this? As a kid, I wanted a black belt in judo which never happened. For now, I have the opportunity to study at a school that I have a lot of respect and trust. Simplified, Judo is a part of Jiu Jitsu.  I still carry passion for judo and now for Jiu Jitsu. 

Enthusiasm: 1. intense and eager enjoyment, interest, or approval.


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dog and samuri

Many months had passed since the last time sparring. The biggest concern was getting an injury. I was rusty. Strategy, ” keep it playful”, talk to the sparring partner, be conscious of energy use. Go half power. I didn’t attack, defense. Be comfortable on back. Tap early. Reset. Keep going.

I sparred with a newbie blue belt, a friend, and first timer to sparring, 50 to 60 lbs weight difference over my body weight. The instructor told me to go easy on the guy. Actually, I was hoping to avoid a big weight mismatch all together, but no such luck. The new blue belt had that look of must win, ego. Three minutes in, he was in the mounted position and I was on my back, guard. As he grew tired, his technique became quite frantic. He looked exhausted. A little bit selfish of me, I should have tapped earlier, but I wanted to handle someone that would spass which he did. I made no attempt at an attack. I was comfortable on my back. I probably should have done an elbow escape. I was near a wall. I could have continued sparring but I tapped so as to reset.. No big deal. Perhaps that would boost his ego. After I tapped to reset, he didn’t want to keep going out of exhaustion. I was calm, uninjured, and had plenty of energy.

Later on in the locker room, he said that he was close to throwing up on the mat, or on me. I hope he keeps going. He took the sparring to serious, ” Keep it playful!”

Also, this was the first time wearing a mouth guard during sparring. The last time at the dentist, there were places on the top of the teeth that were missing enamel. I was grinding off teeth enamel by clinching the teeth at night and possibly at GJJ. This will lead to rapid tooth decay and expensive dental bills. So, I’m wearing a dental mouth guard at bed time and another type of mouth guard for protection during sparring/throwing class, to prevent losing a tooth from a strike, chipping a tooth, clinching the teeth, biting the tongue. The mouth guard forces breathing through nose, and protects the jaw bone. Before wearing the night guard, I had jaw pain but the mouth guard realigned the bones and the pain went away.

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Turning the back is a very bad defense in a street fight. Giving the back is a common practice in wrestling, sports Jiu Jitsu, and judo. The spine is completely exposed to strikes. If you drill in training to turn the back, turtle, then that may happen in an attack. You can’t easily decide not to turn the back in a situation where your reacting because the way you train will be how you defend yourself in an attack.


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A survival skill worth learning and is part of the Gracie Jiu Jitsu training of self defense is to not take things personally. Its a skill that takes practice and patience under stress.  To not take things personal means to not accept other peoples’s destructive comments, bad attitude, bad actions, bad judgement or horrible choices that affect how you feel about yourself or your life, even if they are a personal and straightforward attack. It is possible to not accept a direct and personal attack.

When another person speaks with anger, hate, and bitterness at you, don’t allow the attack to attach itself in your mind. You do not need to verbally defend yourself because the offensive speech is only an illusion, a lie.  Know one has a Right, legal justification, to harm someone because of bad speech or speech you disagree with. Since the hostile speech is for the purpose of causing harm and a lie, there is no need to defend. The atttacker’s goal is cause you to lose logical thinking and to act impulsively. 

When dealing with an angry person: 

Be professional, meaning don’t get emotional..

Focus on what you want or need.

Don’t respond back with an insult.

Don’t threaten violence back.

Never turn your back.

Try to remove yourself from the situation as soon as possible.

Make it a way of life, a life dedicated to solving conflict non violently. Bring the fight to the mat.


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