This week in fundamentals, we reviewed head lock defense with punch defense into a kimura. It was when an attacker grabbed the victim in a head lock. The other arm of the attacker would throw punches while the victim was in a standing head lock. The first step was to connect hip to hip with a strong posture. The next move was to block the attackers fist strike arm. There was a few more steps. The key detail was to hold the kimura grip tight and step out with the inside leg to finish the move.

I went to sparring. Back to back week.  It went well except for one match that chewed up my body. Fyi, next month, I will be turning 47.  Sometimes I felt a lot younger than I was and this guy thought full speed was okay.  It felt good but risky.  He had 15 to 20 pounds over me and athletic.  He didn’t have an easy time tapping me out. I didn’t tap him out but was able to pin him. My mind went blank. I could get the pin but wasn’t able to work a choke or an arm bar.

Later on at home was when I saw the price, just before showering,  bruises, scratches, pulled muscle,  neck, and the nagging.  I heard a guy, 22, ” I will be back in the evening for the evening sparring class. ” He could do that because of his youth and fitness level. I spent the weekend taking it easy, trying to heal up.




This was new.  Before we actually sparred, Professor Gui had a talk with us informally in a circle.  He explained that in his training in Brazil, sparring wasn’t as aggressive as we were doing it.  In Brazil, after sparring, fellow students weren’t leaving the mat to go to a business meeting with a busted up face or black eye.  He advised not to do knee on belly with full weight or incorrectly positioned. He advised not to crush people with the fore arm on the face, wrists, elbow into spine. Keep it clean. He didn’t want us to do an eye for eye.

Before we started sparring, I told privately to each sparring partner to keep it playful.  What did that mean?  Keep it safe.  Friendly.  Tap before you get injuried or even before. Try to work something or if they wanted to work on a move. I didn’t want to be responsible for anyone’s injury or be injured myself.  Don’t assume people you know or never seen before will behave correctly. Talk to your sparring partner.

This week in  jiu jitsu, I sparred against an American blue belt, re tired US Army, a Haitian, a new blue belt, he spassed a little bit, and a purple belt 2 striped Brazillian. The last time I sparred was in July.  Over all, I was pleased with the sparring because I passed the guard three times on two of the opponents.

The ex Army sparring partner had a strategy which tapped me out right away.  I couldn’t recall what he did. Next time I see him, I will ask.  I was setup and I didn’t counter when I should have countered.  It was obvious that he had been doing some thinking about sparring.  That move would work well in a street fight.  Good to know something like that.  Another time, he used a little bit of force to catch me in an Americana. He peeled my arm off my chest and put it on the floor. I couldn’t pull free.   Was that correct or incorrect?  I wasn’t clear.  Technique verses a little bit of power.

The Brazillan jiu jitsu player, purple 2 striped, made sparring much more relaxed. We sparred then talked about the technique. Gentle but also strong. Mindful. I felt that I was improving my jiu jitsu. This was what jiu jitsu should be like. I had let go of the ego. I wasn’t worried. Flow. The other players were all about tapping out. In this match, I wasn’t battling for survival.


This week in fundamental’s class on Monday, we reviewed the wall pin, knife defense to the heart area, Kimora from side mount. I realized mistakes made in timing such as in the wall pin and knife attack defense.

The wall pin. The attacker has the victim pinned on the wall by the shoulders. We were told to think of a Tug of war. When pinned, we were taught to push forward so that the aggressor would push back. When the aggressor pushes with a lot of force back, sliding on the wall was easier which helped execute the technique. Before, I wasn’t doing the setup very well.

Note to reader, never engage a person with a knife. If you could safely run away, run away. Any mistake could result in death or a bad injury.

Knife attack to heart defense. In being anxious, I had skipped a step from previous classes. After the knife hand was caught, the next part was securing the elbow. I wasn’t doing that. Being anxious, I wasn’t securing the elbow and going into a sloppy Kimora. A Kimora was a joint lock technique to dislocate or rupture an attacker’s shoulder. Without securing the elbow, the technique wasn’t very effective.

After reviewing the technique, step by step, I realized that once the knife hand was caught, I had a second to reach out to grab the elbow, I needed to slow down to make the grab, and execute the Kimora.

Kimora from side mount. Before the class, I didn’t have the background story. The aggressor was just thrown and your unable to get full mount, but end up in side mount. The professor demonstrated the technique starting from standing into a throw. The professor looked like he was smothering a fire with his body on the aggressor to secure the side mount pin. I thought that to be very effective and should be done like that after a throw. Pinned. Controlled. Patience. If the opponent used the arm to strike or push. If the arm was in the Kimora position. An L. Secure the arm in the Kimora lock. Scissor. Put leg over head. Lift. If not, don’t force any move.


Will I continue after blue belt ?

I bet some of you are wondering. Yes. I will continue. I had thought about it. The truth, I know myself that I would regret quitting. Judo and Jiu Jitsu is in my blood. I think a lot about Jiu Jitsu outside the dojo, while driving or work.

How far? It’s really the next class. One foot in front of the other. The Gracie Black Belt is like climbing Mount Everest. It’s no easy task. Many have tried and failed.

One disappoint, I blame myself, I have failed in finding a group to train with and hang out with. Unfortunately, I sometimes appear like alone wolf but that’s not how I really am.

I’m having a hectic year. I can’t really write about the situation. I’m not happy about my attendance, but I will keep coming. I will bounce back. I’m trying to get back on routine. I need to toughen up mentally and get ready for the next level.



How could we better live the Jiu Jitsu / Gracie lifestyle?

I was thinking of starting a monthly Jiu Jitsu Club in order to learn more about Jiu Jitsu lifestyle and to support each other by discussing books, for example, The Gracie Diet. We would not just be limited to books but also other venues, movies, example, ” Choked “, products, guest speakers, other related Jiu Jitsu issues, and inviting other students to join.  

We would met at Miami Juice on Sunny Isles or another place. TBA, to be announced.  Possibly between  12:00 til 1:30 pm, after the morning session.  I will try to recruit some people to help.  We would write a monthly summary of the meetings on a new blog.  I will post the time, place, and topics of discussions.  This would be my purple belt project when journeyjjbluebelt.com ends in December. I will give it a six month trial. Note, I haven’t yet committed to this project just throwing out the idea.




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.


October 1st was a good day. From now on, I believe that I will remember that October 1st is Helio Gracie’s birthday, without a reminder, and take time out of the day to give thanks and respect.

As usually, I made the morning fundamental class. It was clear that today was  a special day, Helio Gracie’s Birthday. The professor spent time talking about Helio on the mat and we all enjoyed the practice. There was an official celebration at the school in the evening.

To finish the day, I read a great post which revealed the person Helio was, as follows:

” Helio believed that street fights were created by cowards. ”
” Helio believed that Jiu Jitsu could be applied to all aspects of life.”
” Helio believed that perfect technique could over come size and strength.”
” Helio believed he was better than no one and could learn from everyone.”
” Helio believed that Jiu Jitsu made us more tolerant, compassionate, and humble.”
” Helio believed that we should be practitioners of Jiu Jitsu but of efficiency.”
” Helio believed he was not a fighter, but a teacher who fought for what he believed in.”.

Thank you!