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What made all the difference ...

John Will's Personal Blog - Sun, 2016-05-08 22:17
On the mat: Realising the importance of ‘process’ and ‘paying attention to detail’. To realise any goal, we need to work a ‘process’ and each step in any process is vital to achieving the next. Keeping our attention focussed on the end-game or goal is a sure-fire way to miss the step-by-step detail of the process we need to follow, to get there. The steps of a process are like pixels in a photo - the more steps, the higher the resolution.The dark arts (money stuff): Understanding the importance of delaying gratification.The main difference between rich and poor is the ability to delay gratification in anticipation of greater rewards down the road. As the old saying goes - “Don’t eat your seed-corn”. And if you insist on having it all right now - remember this - Debt is just delayed poverty. it’s not about how much you earn - it’s about how you utilise what you earn in a smart way.Relationships: Without doubt the single most important decision you can make in life is in deciding/choosing who to spend it with. The right person should be a ‘partner’ - in that they bring things to the table that you cannot - and vice versa. The right person should be your best friend. You should feel that when you are with the right person you are a better version of yourself than you otherwise would be.Perspective: We have one life to live. it is amazing that we are even here. Consider this: every single one of your ancestors (running back to the beginning of life on this planet) succeeded in staying alive, long enough to procreate. Wow! And so, he we stand; the result of a mathematical miracle ... and time continues to pass; the sand runs through the hourglass as I write this, and as you read it. What we exchange those precious grains of sand for, is a very, very important decision. You cannot get even one grain of sand back, once it has fallen. Spent each and every one wisely.Who we hang with: In deciding who we spend time with, we shape our lives and the way they are likely to unfold. Be discerning; choose wisely. - JBW

Register for Mastering the Gi Crucifix Seminar in Chicago on Fri, June 10

Aesopian - Sun, 2016-05-08 07:48
Chicago-Gi-Seminar-Flyer Mastering the Gi Crucifix Seminar
at Chicago Martial Arts Friday, June 10th, 2016
6:30 to 9:30pm

In this 3-hour Mastering the Gi Crucifix Seminar you will learn:

  • How to incorporate the crucifix position into your back attack gameplan
  • Crucifix setups and submissions that are unique to gi grappling
  • The timing and awareness to achieve the crucifix against a skilled grappler
  • Positional recovery skills to make troubleshooting easier as you learn the new positions
  • Core grappling concepts you can apply across the rest of your game

Pre-register: $40 – Click here to sign up for Mastering the Gi Crucifix (via PayPal)
At the door: $50

Location and Directions: 

Chicago Martial Arts
151 South Pfingsten Road, Suite E and F, Deerfield, IL 60015
Directions on Google Maps

Don’t forget the following day I’ll be teaching a NO-GI Mastering the Crucifix seminar at 10th Planet Chicago. You can save $10 by registering for both seminars: Click here to register for GI and NO-GI.

The post Register for Mastering the Gi Crucifix Seminar in Chicago on Fri, June 10 appeared first on Aesopian BJJ.

Borehamwood BJJ - First class

Meerkatsu - Sat, 2016-05-07 14:59

Today I had a great time teaching the very first session at my new club, Borehamwood Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I taught a kids class for the first half hour and then an adults beginner's class for the next hour.

For me, it was an excellent opportunity to showcase Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to fresh eyes and open minds. For the kids session my focus was directed mainly at movement drills so much of the class was based around animal walking drills. I then introduced the kids to the most important animal in all of jiu jitsu...the shrimp! (to much confusion and laughter). We then of course covered the idea of shrimping. Following that, I got the kids to pair up and play with a couple of the games from the Gracie games Bullyproof program. We finished off with a vigorous and fun bout of Bulldog!

For the adult class, I covered technical stand-up, shrimping, bridging and escapes from the mount. I also made sure to emphasise the connection that BJJ has as a sport/martial art and as a means of self defence. This topic alone is worthy of a lengthy write-up some day, but suffice to say, with the seminar I conducted today, I hope I was able to communicate the basic concept of BJJ as an intelligent fighting art. I concluded the session with a brief demonstration roll with my team mate and fellow black belt, Chris Hearn - video below:

Thanks to all the newcomers who took that first step onto the mat and huge thanks to my BJJ friends who came along to support! I look forward to seeing how the new club will grow and develop.


BJJ / Grappling tips: How to improve your guard, half guard and every other jiujitsu position by focusing on pit stops

The Part Time Grappler - Tue, 2016-05-03 09:03

Something I've always enjoyed exploring in grappling / jiujitsu is the use of pit stops. In this context, pit stops to me are points along the path of a roll / grapple / match where you can stop, secure & re-evaluate before you close the deal (submission, new position or even escape).

Over the past few years I have come to really appreciate the value of pit stops. In my opinion they are even more important than submissions. Not only do they slow the game down and allow you to be more cerebral, but the very nature of a BJJ / Grappling pit stop means that they often present you with a few directional choices (e.g. the chance to change submission or switch to a sweep / positional transition)

A few of my favourite ones are:

Penelope, aptly named, after Penelope Pitstop, during a no-gi session on tightening triangles

Spider-web a la Eddie Bravo

Armwrap / Twisted Arm Control from mount, made famous/popular by legendary Rickson Gracie.

The beauty of pit stops is their superior mechanical advantage. We all know how hard it can be to finish a strong, clued-up athlete with, say, a triangle choke even from relatively far into the technique.

Enter Penelope!

It takes more energy to break out of a pit stop, if done correctly than it takes to maintain it. It’s an excellent place to wait and refuel while your opponent burns out, making the triangle that much easier to finish. And the best thing is? There are hundreds of pit stops out there to be explored. We just have to look for them.



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Seminar - David Onuma, The Mount

Meerkatsu - Mon, 2016-05-02 12:44

David Onuma is a second degree black belt under Ricardo de la Riva and head of his own team known as CFS (Combined Fighting Systems). His mantra is: 'Intelligent Combat' which promotes a more cerebral approach to learning martial art techniques. I have attended many of David's past seminars and I find his approach very good at looking at familiar things in a new light. Today's session on the mount position was no different.

Learning to escape the mount or learning to maintain the mount becomes one of the fundamental lessons a student learns from early on. But it's easy to make the assumption that once mount is achieved, the finish will follow. David opened up the session by explaining how the mount is often taught in isolation without any reference to how the person got there in the first place. He then demonstrated why this was an important consideration when it concerns the mount.

The first portion of the seminar was dedicated to top mount. David showed us how to progress from a basic low mount position to a very high mount. Once here, it was possible to execute all manner of high percentage submissions. The key to remember here was to concentrate on the space between the opponent's elbow and the side of his torso. A concept also covered in Ryan Hall's The Open Elbow DVD (see my review).

Following the first half of the seminar looking at the top position, David then switched attention to the bottom person - specifically how to escape the mount. He suggested we throw away our habitual assumptions about certain textbook style shrimping and bridging movements. Instead, David explained why he felt that the regular way everyone drilled their shrimping and bridging exercises were not applicable when used in a live situation. He referred to a seminar he attended with Rickson Gracie. During the seminar, Rickson taught his method of bridging out of a mount. At first impressions, just viewing the movement, it doesn't look any different to the regular way of bridging, but after explaining the subtle nuances we realised we needed to change the way we executed the bridge. David also introduced to us his favoured defensive arm position when under mount, something he referred to as one-up-one-down elbow. This alone was a huge nugget of wisdom.

The final portion of the seminar looked at the chess game of two combatants each using their fine tuned knowledge of the top and the bottom position to outsmart each other...intelligent combat style! It was here that all the bits and pieces from the previous two hours fell into place. We looked at one example where black belt Martyn executed his high percentage flower sweep from closed guard. Normally Martyn would land the sweep and instantly, almost without really needing to think about it, end  up in high top mount and ready to target an armbar. His technique utilised the early parts of the seminar where we examined the space between the opponent's elbow and his torso. Now under normal circumstances, Martyn's sweep would be pretty high percentage against most folks, but here, David showed how the bottom person could anticipate the end position (ie bottom of mount) and be ready to place his elbow and knee to escape the top mount.

David Onuma seminars are heavy on theory, concept and principles as well as of course actual techniques. When combined together, he provides lots of food for thought and a refreshingly new way to look at familiar techniques and positions. In my opinion. seminars like these are often better than just trying to learn techniques by rote. I'm certainly looking forward to more of David's #intelligentcombat and #gamechangingshit !


Borehamwood BJJ

Meerkatsu - Fri, 2016-04-29 13:12

I'm opening up my own class to teach BJJ in my home town of Borehamwood, Herts, UK. I will teach each Saturday at the Venue Leisure Centre in the upstairs dance studio. Kids will be from 12:45 until 1:30 then adults from 1:30 until 3pm.

Full details of my class can be seen on the Borehamwood BJJ website.

If my Saturday classes do well and there is demand, I hope to add a mid-week evening class to the schedule.

To kick things off, I have a complete beginner's seminar for the first session, details on the poster below:-


Acta non Verba ..

John Will's Personal Blog - Sat, 2016-04-23 20:47
Changing the opinion and belief of others via the use of reason and evidence (or violence for that matter) is a surprisingly ineffective strategy. One would think that reason and evidence were an obvious way to get our point across … after all, w;re all open (even hopeful) of having our minds changed, right? Wrong!People will fight tooth and nail for their beliefs and ideologies. Reason and evidence are like jabs and fakes; they set the scene but are rarely responsible for the coup de grace.I think we change opinion through actions - not words. And I don’t think this is any way a new idea … consider the old latin saying ‘Acta non Verba’ - actions not words.We set example though our behaviours; by how we live. Are we congruent in the way we live; do our actions match our words?This is one of life’s worthy goals - to bring our actions and the way we live into complete harmony with the words that come out of or mouths (keyboards).If we are spouting words like integrity and honour, while we are undermining others - we are living a lie. If we are talking about generosity and respect, while we are tight-fisted and bad-mouthing others - we are living a lie. If we talk about excellence, whilst we are sloppy and unmindful in our day-to-day living - we are living a lie.The goal is simple … more congruence equals better living. Work toward a life where words and actions are in full accord.- JBW

Health: Physical Therapy

Julia Johansen - Thu, 2016-04-21 18:52

I went and saw a physical therapist this week. Once on Tuesday, and once today. My hips suck, according to professional opinion.

I have problems with my hips, specifically related to moving things outward. Here is a picture of me with my legs stretched as far as they go. This was even me laying on the ground, relaxing them and letting gravity help.

A photo posted by Jiu Jiu (@jiujiubjj) on Sep 26, 2014 at 6:29am PDT

This also affects my internal rotation of the hip. For example, a healthy hip can generally go out around 40 degrees outward. Mine only goes to 19 degrees on one leg, and 20 degrees on the other. There’s another test. The Physical Therapist rotated it out, pressed it toward center, and I was supposed to try to resist it. No joke, I couldn’t resist a toddler.

Normal hip range

Normal hip range

Another aspect of this is the trajectory of my knee. You know how you can lay down and pull your knee straight up into your chest and hold it? I can’t do that without injuring my hip flexors. My leg scoops out and the knee heads toward my armpit.

It also means that in jiu jitsu, if I’m sitting open guard, feet together and knees apart, if you push a knee of mine to the ground and I DON’T adjust my hips, I’ll injure myself. Sitting in full mount is incredibly painful for me, and even closed guard can be painful. My hips adversely affect my jiu jitsu.

Those hip muscles also attach to the lower spine, which means that my back has been aching like crazy, ready to seize up at any moment. My hip flexors also feel ready to be injured – sincerely, just rotating my legs a little too far, and I get VERY sharp pains. It sucks!

The physical therapist believes the ball of my leg’s ball and socket joint is off track. It doesn’t sit in the right place due to unknown reasons. She first pushes her finger deep into the side of my belly and presses on the hip flexor near my spine. She does this to help relax it. Then she has been pressing strongly on my femur downward, then pulling the leg out, trying to help it sit where it’s supposed to.

Then begin the exercises. So far I have had to do the following:

  • Foam rolling my back
  • “Open Books” – lay on the side with the knees bent and arms extended out together. You then open your arms like a book. Your knees and hips stay facing the wall, but your arms open like a T and your shoulders/back are ideally laying flat.
  • Lumbar Rotation – my back is on the floor, my feet are on the floor with my knees bent. I then rock my knees from side to side.
  • Hip Flexor stretch – kneeling in a deep lunge with the back knee on the ground.
  • Calf stretches – standing on a wedge, hugging the wall.
  • Bird Dog with rotation – on all 4s, I am on opposite hand/knee. One hand is on my neck, and I touch that elbow to my opposite knee, then bring that leg out straight, and twist my torso so that my elbow is facing the ceiling and my chest is facing the wall.
  • Bridging – my knees are parted, with a resistance band on them. I have to hold them apart, and I bridge slowly.

So far, just in the past 3 days, the physical therapy has helped, although my back has been so terrible. Terrible enough that I have just rested or done easy movement this week, with no jiu jitsu. I’ll work on getting some photos of my range of motion – both for my personal documentation and for the blog.

Jiu-Jiu’s Question: Have any of you had success with increasing hip flexibility or flexibility in general? Have you gone to physical therapy and had success? Any words of encouragement? I’m feeling bummed and frustrated and in pain over here.

Change Can Suck ...

John Will's Personal Blog - Thu, 2016-04-21 15:50
I have found that creating change in other people can be difficult. Reasoned argument rarely works when discussing politics, religion or even philosophy. People are mostly, very wedded to their ideologies and will becoming very creative or even violent, in defence of those ideologies. This should come as no real surprise however, when we stop to think how difficult it is to create change for our very selves. Most of us are loathe to change.
I am theorising that change is difficult because for most of our ancestors, trying new things would have come at a significant cost. Eating that new food was risky, meeting that new tribe was risky, moving to that new environment was risky. So we have a little voice inside us, that for a very, very long time has been whispering - stay where you are, don’t try anything new - stick with what worked for you yesterday. 
In short, there is often a heavy price-tag for taking risks. 
On the mat, this can also be true. Try a new technique; have it fail, get smashed in return. Go back to what we were doing before (old routines)
But let’s stop for a moment and consider this question … what is the ‘actual’ price-tag of trying something new? Well, nowadays, you can pretty much bet that if you try a new food you buy in the supermarket - you will not die a horrible death as a consequence. So the price tag is small. 
On the mat, you try a new move, it goes badly and your opponent taps you out .. hey, not heavy bad price-tag; cheap in fact. A little ego bruising is all - if that; if you care enough. So next time, you think about creating a new direction, trying something new … consider the price tag - consider how small it might actually be. And go for it! - JBW

In … over our head

John Will's Personal Blog - Tue, 2016-04-19 23:01
When I was in my 7th year of school - I underwent a very extensive IQ testing program, the end result of which, saw me installed in a special class. My dad was all excited about this - and so was I - for a bit. We were exposed to Astronomy, High level math, English, French, Italian and Latin … all compulsory languages we needed to learn; etc. 

Most of it I found easy - except for the math. I struggled badly at math - I would have to say, I sucked. I just didn’t ‘get it’. I resorted to ‘memory tricks’ to fumble my way through - but I was ‘miserable’! I began to think they had stuffed up the IQ test - and I shouldn’t have been in that class at all. 
But here’s the main point - if we don’t like the subject matter, or have no interest in it, then a high IQ may not help much at all. In fact, it could be argued that a higher IQ gives us a greater potential for regretting under-achievement; or for being able to rationalise why that particular subject is of no use to us … that was at least, my own experience. I still struggle with math - partly because I don’t seem to have any gift for it and also because I find no ‘joy’ in it. I run from math problems. On a side note - I cannot ‘draw’ to save my life either … completely useless. But I do run toward certain other challenges. 
Let’s look at a corollary the mat; one that plays out in so many BJJ academy’s …
Someone with little to no skill, is thrown in the deep-end on the day of their first class. If they have a natural kinaesthetic bent, great spatial awareness, co-ordination, ect … they will probably thrive. On the other hand, if these are not abilities they posses, they may struggle - they may even be ‘miserable’ … and ultimately quit.
Many schools do not offer a ‘start-up’ , Introductory or Novice class - and this may be due to logistical constraints. If they do cater for beginners though, then it’s a wonderful situation for the students, they can all dip their toes in the water, without fear of drowning, and slowly build the foundation needed to experience success in the more challenging environments/classes. 
We are all different - we are all unique - each of us will ultimately walk their own individual path. Some are 'naturals' at this thing, but struggle at that other thing. In recognising this ... perhaps we can move away from being so hard on ourselves - so self-critical, that we start buying into the idea that we cannot achieve. Walk easily ... the road is long ... and full of possibility. - JBW

Entitlement ... nope.

John Will's Personal Blog - Mon, 2016-04-18 18:39
I rail against those who live with a sense of entitlement. We are entitled to very little - if anything. Living in hope that the state or the government will look after us, is the way of the mindless lemming. We need to create our own lives, think for ourselves, come to our own conclusions visa the use of reason and evidence.We each have the opportunity to carve our own niche in the world. 'Just keep plowing that filed and giving us your money and God will look after you' said the medieval priest - and the largest part of the population bought right into it. And now - it's the government - 'Just keep plowing that field, and give us your money, and we'll look after you' the state says - and people are buying right into it again.Fat priests, fat politicians ... same old same old. We all have potential and opportunity; and when coupled with a will to do something, we can live extraordinary lives - better lives than have been ever possible in human history. We cannot afford to sit back with our hands out waiting to be given stuff we think we deserve. We need to move, think, create and strive ... that's how good living is done. - JBW"Deserve's got nothin to do with it" - Clint Eastwood in Unforgiven"The only thing you deserve, is what you earn" - JBW

Women’s Grappling Tights Review: Ranger Up USA Leggings

MegJitsu - Fri, 2016-04-15 11:30

Women’s grappling tights review of the Ranger Up Women’s USA Leggings. The Women’s USA Leggings are part of Ranger Up’s new premium Bombshell range for women. They are made in the USA and retail for $59.99USD. This limited edition legging sold out in 2 hours in its first run and is now on pre-order. So, if you want to get your Wonder Woman on while grappling, lifting, running, or chasing down preschoolers – stay frosty!

Women’s Grappling Tights Review: USA Leggings Styling

 Ranger Up USA Leggings Full
The USA Leggings offer a grunge-style stars and stripes design. The palette is nicely muted. There is very subtle red and blue-black on a black background with white stripes. The colours are blended with a paint-splatter effect. For me, this softens-up and dirties-up the look in a really appealing way. This is literally the first American flag piece of clothing I’ve ever worn. What swayed me? Full disclosure, Suzy Palmisciano, the absolute machine behind Bombshell and the USA Leggings, is a personal friend of mine. Only she could get me to put on patriotic wear, but I gotta tell you – I love the look of these things! The grunge styling gives them a tough edge. The very subtle use of colour means a design that could be naff or cheesy, ends up looking sassy not saccharine. There is also a super-heroine quality to these leggings. More Jessica Jones and less Super Girl, more badass misunderstood vigilante and less by-the-book Girl Scout. I really dig this reimagining of an American flag theme and look forward to future Bombshell designs.

Women’s Grappling Tights Review: Fit and Performance

 Ranger Up USA Leggings Close Up
These are my best-fitting leggings. By best-fitting, I mean the smoothest lines at the waist and the least hiking up. The stay-put fit applies to grappling, lifting and hitting the grocery on the way home from strength & conditioning for BJJ. The USA Leggings don’t use the much-touted wide waistband. On me, I find that these lay much smoother than the leggings I’ve worn with the big band, ie Sweaty Betty, Nike, Under Armour and Athleta. The USA Leggings waistband sits firmly just above the hip bone and anchors there. It feels secure and moves only very little, even during grappling practice. Yet, it isn’t so tight that it is uncomfortable or that it pinches and bunches any softness in that area.

The great fit of the USA Leggings is in part due to the secure waistband just atop the hips. I think it is also due to the great fabric. The leggings use a very thick – and silky – polyester / spandex blend. The fabric has a good level of stretch and is totally opaque. While the leggings fit like a second-skin, they are not extra tight as with compression gear. As mentioned the fabric has a lovely silky feel. The thickness of the fabric gives the leggings a premium feel and really helps with a good fit that doesn’t shift around as you do your work.

The sizing runs Small, Medium, Large, Extra Large. I typically wear the size one-up from the smallest and the Medium fits me perfectly. For comparison, I wear a Small in Under Armour and Athleta leggings. I am 166CM / 5’5″ and the length of the Mediums is great for me.

ConclusionsWomen's Grappling Tights Review Armbar

Pinching my knees but – tree trunks!

I’ve tried to be objective and fair in this review. I honestly feel great in these leggings and love their fit. Nevertheless, it is only fair to concede my personal affection for Sooze. With that in mind I can confirm that these wash and wear very well when the care instructions are followed (cold hand wash cycle). I’ve also been impressed by how well they’ve withstood grappling training. My UA Coldgear pilled at the knees pretty much from the start, and my USA Leggings aren’t showing any signs of no-gi training abuse. I’ve also slayed in class when I’ve worn them and managed a legit armbar on Toby Reh, the Gracie Jiu Jitsu Victor blue belt, pictured above in a recreation of my glory. So, yes, I love these leggings and I’ve already pre-ordered the Valkyrie Leggings. Clearly, it is more that my friendship with Sooze that has me re-uping so fast! These leggings are a quality item, designed to turn heads and get you in the zone.

The post Women’s Grappling Tights Review: Ranger Up USA Leggings appeared first on MegJitsu.

BJJ Interview: Valor Kimono Founder Kevin Adshead

The Part Time Grappler - Fri, 2016-04-15 01:28

I recently ordered a beautiful gi-material brown belt from Valor Fightwear after a very positive review from my friend Seymour at Meerkatsu. I was so impressed with the quality and aesthetics of the belt I contacted the company for an interview and got through to Mr Kevin Adshead, the founder. He was very generous with his time. I hope you enjoy it.

Hello. Why don’t we start by you telling us a little about yourself?

My name is Kevin, I am 34 years old and I am originally from London and now live in Essex. I am the owner of Valor Fightwear and I also own/run a couple of gi stores as well.

Are you currently training Martial Arts? 

I train BJJ and I am a purple belt under Braulio Estima black belt Lee Catling at Gracie Barra Essex. Ive been training for 6.5 years.

How do you manage to fit your own training around work and family time?

This is one I am still trying to work out! As most people will know it's hard trying to get a decent life/work balance especially those who run their own businesses.

Do you compete in your sport? 

I don't currently but I have in the past at white and blue belt. I've competed at most of the main comps in the UK including the English, British, South East, Brighton, Bournemouth and Hereford opens. I haven't medalled but I've come close on a few occasions which has been very annoying!

What is the greatest thrill you have gotten out of practicing your sport?

It has to be when getting promoted. There's no greater feeling than knowing that all your hard work has been recognised and paid off. Submitting someone at a tournament would come a very close second though.

Give us your top 5 tips for time-management (to fit exercise around life)

The best thing for any time management has to be preparation. Having a clear plan of action and getting things ready beforehand makes a huge difference when trying to fit exercise around life or managing your time in general.

With regards to my own exercise I try to do this in the morning as I am more motivated at the start of the day.

Now let’s balance that with what you consider the top 5 time-thieves.

1. Work, 2. Family/friends, 3. Procrastination, 4. The internet, 5. PS4

Do you have any regrets?

I try not to have them. What has happened in the past is behind us and cannot be changed so there is no point dwelling on or regretting anything.

Why do you train? What drives you?

I started training for the main benefit being self defence but now I would say the main reasons would be for stress relief and self defence. It doesn't matter how bad your day has been there's no greater stress relief than being choked or getting smashed by your team.

What is your involvement with Valor. How long have you done that for?

I'm the owner and creator. I started the brand in late 2010 as at the time there wasn't many decent affordable gis available. The average price for a gi was around £80 so we launched the Bravura to fill a gap in the market and everything took off from there. We now stock a full range of gis and no gi gear.

What has been the highlight of this company's history?

I cant think of 1 particular highlight but something that continues to be a highlight for me is seeing people in our gear either at a tournament, online or in print.

Do you currently sponsor any athletes?

We currently sponsor some of the top guys from the UK and Europe from yellow to black belt. With some of them being World, Pan, European, Abu Dhabi and English/British open champions.

We are also very proud to sponsor the British Army and RAF BJJ teams.

What do you look for in a brand ambassador?

It varies between applicants really but the main thing I always ask and what people who are looking to be sponsored should ask is; what can you do for the brand?

You would be surprised at how many people just email and ask to be sponsored without mentioning what they can do to help promote or grow the brand.

The best bit of advice I would give to anyone looking to get sponsored or become a brand ambassador would be to work out the best way you can help the brand grow and then put some effort in to a decent email and contact them.

If someone is in two minds about purchasing a Valor Gi, what would you advise them?

Just do it! You won't be disappointed. A lot of time, effort and experience has gone in to designing each and everyone of our products. I have lived and breathed BJJ and gis in particular for the last 6 years. In this time I have sold and trained in every major brand and some of the smaller gi brands through my other gi stores so I know what makes a decent gi. All of this experience has gone in to making our products.

Summarize the brand in 5 words.

Quality, affordable Brazilian Jiujitsu gear.

I would like to thank Valor Fightwear and Kevin in particular for the great work they're doing and for taking the time to answer my questions.


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Planning ...

John Will's Personal Blog - Mon, 2016-04-11 20:37
The deferral of gratification is one of the hallmarks of intelligence. Probably stemming from an evolutionary imperative experienced by early migrations of humans into colder climes ... they had to 'save' some of their food for winter, plan, work co-operatively for future outcomes, etc.
So I wince when I look around and realise i am surrounded by the 'I want it now' ethos (as beautifully illustrated by the obnoxious Veruca Salt - in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory).
Planning - whether for a time that lies only a few seconds in to the future (as on the mat) - for a time that may lie a year or two into the future (saving for something we want) - or a time twenty years into the future (retirement strategies) ... is very important. It is one of the things that separates us from the 'less intelligent'.- JBW


The Tao of Dan Jitsu - Mon, 2016-04-11 14:07

Well its been a while….too long in fact. Ive got lots of stuff I have been working on and so much to share with the MMA and BJJ community so thought I best start blogging again! Keep your eye on this page for updates, I will try my best to get one blog out a week but im a busy man at the minute so I apologise in advance for my absence!

Behind the curtain ...

John Will's Personal Blog - Sat, 2016-04-09 20:53
We choose. We decide. We look around us, at others, we select those that are successful and we might well make the decision to emulate them. We pick 'role models'.Great care should be taken however - in who we select as 'role models'. On the surface, some people people may look like the type we might wish to emulate - but when we look deeper - when we lift the curtain - we find ourselves disappointed.Consider how we worship 'celebrities' - we lap up their lives, in an effort to feed our souls and dream that we may be like them - yet when we look more closely and apply critical thinking ... we see that more often than not, it's a nightmare we are leaning toward, rather than a dream.Aspire to 'lifting the curtain', I say ... look beyond the glitter, the salesmanship, the 'production' ... become more discerning about who we want to 'model'. - JBW

Mastering the No-Gi Crucifix Seminar – Sat, Jun 11 at 10th Planet Chicago – Register Now

Aesopian - Fri, 2016-04-08 14:17
Chicago-Seminar-Flyer Mastering the No-Gi Crucifix Seminar
at 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu Chicago Saturday, June 11th, 2016
Noon to 3pm

Open to all styles, schools and affiliations!

Matt “Aesopian” Kirtley has built a reputation as a BJJ black belt for his highly-detailed technical instruction and simple explanations of even seemingly complex concepts. Matt has spent years developing his knowledge of the crucifix position, going as far as to release Mastering the Crucifix, the most comprehensive instructional available on the topic.

This 3-hour Mastering the No-Gi Crucifix Seminar will focus on:

  • Crucifix entries, setups and transitions from the top or bottom.
  • Key concepts to control and maintain the various crucifix positions.
  • The essential no-gi crucifix submissions, including the one-handed rear naked choke.
  • Demystifying the rolling reverse omoplata (AKA Yadviga) so anyone can do it.
  • Drills and games to quickly develop skills in all the crucifix positions and submissions.

This seminar is appropriate for beginners or advanced grapplers. All students will get one-on-one attention from Matt and a chance to ask anything during a Q&A.

Pre-register: $40 – Click here to sign up (via PayPal)
At the door: $50


10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu Chicago
6154 W Higgins Ave, Chicago, IL 60630

The post Mastering the No-Gi Crucifix Seminar – Sat, Jun 11 at 10th Planet Chicago – Register Now appeared first on Aesopian BJJ.

BJJ / Grappling interview: Grapple Nation Promoter Jake Cross

The Part Time Grappler - Fri, 2016-04-08 09:05

As some may know, I recently did a 20-min submission only jiujitsu super fight at Grapple Nation 7, a well run grappling promotion up in Manchester, in the North West of England (more on my match in a future post). I thought it'd be a good opportunity to interview the event promoter, my friend Jake Cross.

Hello. Why don’t we start by you telling us a little about yourself? 
Hi Liam, my name is Jake Cross and I am 25 years old from Manchester, England. I am an events promoter that has brought such event as Sub-North, Grapple Nation and now Empire Grappling Events Ltd.

Are you currently training Martial Arts? Is that Full time / Part time?
Unfortunately, I am doing neither. Through working full time in my 9-5 job and running the events, I don't have the spare time to train at this moment but I do sneak the odd session in around different gyms in Manchester when I can but this is a rarity. I am very lucky that I am welcomed to so many gyms that understand my circumstances.

Which arts do you study and under whom?
I originally started training MMA and BJJ under SBG in Manchester in 2009 but moved on when they temporarily closed and moved to Fighting Fit Manchester under Martyn Cahill. I haven't trained hardly since mid-2013 though.

How long have you trained?
I trained full time for around 4 years in BJJ, No-Gi, MMA, Wrestling and Strength & Conditions under so many awesome coaches. I became a Blue Belt in June 2011 and got my 1st stripe a year later under David Onuma (CFS BJJ) which are affiliated to Fighting Fit.

How do you manage to fit your own training around work and family time?
I really don't at the moment and that is one of my current biggest regrets that I am aiming to rectify as soon as possible. I must admit, I enjoy running my events so much and giving back to the sports that I love that it does help fill the gap of not training as I stay in touch with all training partners and gyms etc probably even more so than when I was just training.

I am very luck that I have such a loving and understanding girlfriend that helps me where possible.

Previously, I would just go straight from work and train for 2-3 hours per night 4-5 days per week then head home and do it all again. Those were the days.

Do you compete in your sport(s)? Have you won any competitions?
I have had 7 MMA bouts. Six were amateur A and 1 was amateur B rule sets. I won 2, lost 2 and drew 3. I have also compete in numerous BJJ and No-Gi events and medalled a few times.

What is the greatest thrill you have gotten out of practicing your sport?
I would probably say watching my friends and team mates compete and do great things has been the best thrill for me.

Give us your top 5 tips for time-management (to fit exercise around life)
This really is not the best question for me to answer at this moment. My own training suffers so that I can build my events to be the best that they can be. I always look to try and see where I can sneak an hour at a normal run-of-the-mill gym which is possible as it is a 1 minute walk from my home which is nice.

Now let’s balance that with what you consider the top 5 time-thieves.
I personally spend a lot of time reviewing everything I have done before to see if I can make it better, even if just by 1%. I like to keep in touch with all of my competitors, spectators, gyms, sponsors etc as much as possible to gauge what I should work on.

Do you have any regrets?
Not competing more in the Gi is probably the biggest one as my very 1st event in September 2009 was in the Gi and I never competed in it again as it wasn't a very nice experience. I also do prefer No-Gi (that will cause a bit of a stir I know. To Gi or not to Gi?). I think this is what planted the seed to make events a better experience for a novice competitor.

Why do you train? What drives you?
I trained for myself, I wanted to lose weight and was never a fan of just going to the gym. I loved the sport of MMA/BJJ and felt doing something as a hobby would make it easier and it sure did. I have come across this story with so many other people to and I think this is what brings the BJJ and MMA community so closely together, we are like an extended family in some respects.

You also arrange one of the North of England's largest grappling competitions: Grapple Nation. When and how did that all start?
I was always good at organising and ran Pool teams at my grandmother's pub when I was 15. I knew I would want to run a BJJ/MMA event down the line and was invited to an Interclub in February 2012 (which I won) and I just had the idea that I could do this too.

My first event was Sub-North 1 in April 2012 and had 35 entrants held at Fighting Fit Manchester's Gym. This event was just open to novice competitors (under 2 years experience) and following the success opened it up to all experiences. After 8 events, I moved on and created Grapple Nation and have now run 7 very successful events with the most recent event having over 450 competitors.

What has been the highlight of this competition?
The highlight for me was my most recent events Grapple Nation 7 and seeing how successful it had become. I have by far exceeded my expectations and it has just made me more hungry to continue to make the events I put on the best they can be and set bigger and better goals.

If someone is in two minds about competing at Grapple Nation, what would you advise them?
Contact me anytime with any questions. I am open and always contactable. I attempt to respond as soon as possible to everything. The events I put on are 'By a Competitor and for a Competitor' and always will be.

The event does have some very handsome referees!
Where can we find out more about the event?
Our new website is
Also on social media on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Finally, why do you arrange these events? What drives you?
I am driven to put on the best events there can be for the competitors and will continue to do this.

I'd like to thank Jake for taking the time to answer my questions and for the opportunity to do the super fight, I really enjoyed it.



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BJJ: This Pain is WRONG

Julia Johansen - Thu, 2016-04-07 13:19

After heading back to jiu jitsu three times in the span of a week, I got broken. My hips were absolutely killing me. Husband has this AM/PM beginner yoga dvd and literally me just sitting cross legged was TOO PAINFUL. I eased into it, then experienced GREAT PAIN just changing which leg was on top/bottom. I normally experience hip pain, but it’s just a “whoa I’m sore.” This was much more excruciating. Husband suggested I call a doctor.

Me, but much less whiny

Me, but much less whiny

I waited an hour for the doctor, and when he came in and saw me, I described the pain as FRAKKING AWFUL, like BONES GRINDING ON BONES. Doctor said, “Well, it’s a trade off – people who sit around on a couch don’t generally develop arthritis, but they get horrible heart disease, and vice versa. So, do you want to be the old person hobbling around with a walker, or the person in the wheelchair with an awful heart.” I voted for arthritis.

He thought I might need an x-ray, and he tapped on the bones – no pain. Then he tried to rotate my legs. “Wow – you are REALLY inflexible” he noted. It’s not arthritis, but rather the soft tissue connecting legs to hips. Tomorrow I will call to schedule my appointment with a physical therapist. For now, I’m popping (no, autocorrect, I’m not pooping) horse pills of ibuprofin before class, as well as gently doing that beginner yoga dvd.

Jiu Jiu’s Question: What pain has your sport exacerbated? What has it helped with? How do you manage your pain?

BJJ: The Lies Our Instructor Tells Us

Julia Johansen - Wed, 2016-04-06 06:20

“Tomorrow will be an easy class.” “We’re only doing 1 more round.” “You can work on an easier thing tomorrow.” Lies! Lies! Lies! (I say with mock accusation).

This was the "Easy" day

This was the “easy” day. Thank you Diego!

The whole day was HIIT training – pick a position. Go hard for 30 seconds. Rest for 30 seconds, then switch (top to bottom). Go hard for 30 seconds. Change partners and rest for 30 seconds. Rinse and repeat. “Tomorrow will be the easy day!”

“Tomorrow” was even harder. 30 seconds go hard, 20 seconds rest, repeat. We all died.

I KNEW he was lying, but I WANTED to believe him. I let myself believe the wonderful lies. I hung to them. It was honestly very funny and got me back in the gym two days in a row. “See, it was so easy!” he said at the end of the day. I fake glared at him and made plans to come back.

Jiu Jiu’s Question: How does your instructor inspire/motivate you? What kind of banter does s/he use? What works for you?

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