Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Carlson Gracie Jr.

Today I was fortunate enough to have a seminar at our school with BJJ's prince, Carlson Gracie Sr. We had about 30 students show up, and Jr. along with a couple of talented brown belts he brought, didn't disappoint.

Jr. stressed the basics, and showed our team simple, but effective movements in a couple different positions. We started out with mount escapes. Carlson Jr. showed a basic elbow escape re-guard which we drilled for a bit. He then showed an escape when you are being mounted and your opponent has a deep collar grip, obviously looking to set up a choke on you. We ended with a few "games" using different levels of resistance. They were very much in line with one of my coaches (Cthululu) teaching strategy.

We then moved to the half gwuard position. Jr. demonstrated how to make space when you are caught flat on your back getting crushed. He then showed a re-guard from the position.

We finished up with some guard passing. Carlson Jr. talked about how difficult passing the guard is, and said to get it down early, especially for BJJ players who compete. He notices beginners at tournaments get stuck in closed guards and just sit there having no idea what to do. He went on to show a knee in the butt guard break, with a "Gracie gift" pass (you use your free arm to reach back and break the guys legs open). Carlson Jr. went on to say that if you do the pass correctly, with your weight shifted back and good posture, that you cannot get triangled. We practiced this for a bit and then worked on a double under leg variation after that. We finished up with some guard passing "games", with different rules (subs allowed, no subs allowed, varying resistance).

It was a blistering hot 95+ degree day in Michigan, but it is one I won't soon forget. The techniques we learned weren't the latest and greatest crazy moves you can find on the internet. It was good old fashioned basic jiu jitsu, taught by a master. Carlson Gracie Jr. is a wonderful teacher and a gracious, respectful man. A few of us went out for a sandwich after the seminar, and it was fun watching the master play with one of our teammates kids (named Grace). He joked that his name was Gracie also.

I want to thank both the brown belts that came as well. One was Israel, and I unfortunately didn't catch the other gentlemens name. They were very skilled, and extremely helpful. They were walking around throughout the seminar, and both tweaked little things I could do better while viewing us doing the various drills. All of the people from Carlson Jr.'s organization are top notch, great guys.

I'm excited in working the techniques I learned, and hope that we can touch base with Carlson Jr. again soon!

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Gear Review

I recently got a pair of black Sprawl V-Flex XT Competition sports from my friends at Karate Depot (they do more then just Karate). I had a chance to try them out for a couple of no-gi practices, and wanted to share my review.


These are extremely comfortable shorts. They are made of a stretchy material that has feels nice and moves with you. It has split seams on the sides for your kicking pleasure. They have a velcro fly with a drawstring to be able to fine tune your fit. I got a pair of 36" shorts (I know i'm fat), and they fit well when velcroed tight and tied tight. I probably could have gotten away with a 34.

These shorts would work equally well for no-gi jiu jitsu as for MMA, kickboxing, boxing, or other combat training. They stay on securely with the velcro/drawstring combo, so you don't have to worry about any indecent accidents. They are very baggy, which allows full leg movement while you are working from the guard or kicking your opponent in the head. The only downside to the baggyness, is that they can bunch up when your legs are in the air from working guard. This looks funny, but doesn't effect your movement.


I've only had these a week or so now, but from asking around at the gym it seems Sprawl makes some of the most durable shorts out there. Several guys have 2+ year old pairs that are still kickin' it. My only question would be how the velcro would hold up over time after multiple washings (I always wash my gear in hot water). Time will tell, but these scream of quality and I would expect them to last for a couple years.

At around $50, these are an average deal for shorts. The fight short market has exploded in recent years, with everyone trying to cash in on the MMA craze. Most shorts run $50-$75, so it's important to pick a pair you will love and that will last. Sprawl is one of the original OG's in the business, and I like the fact that they are battle tested. Watch any big MMA show and you will see ton's of Sprawls.

Final thoughts:

I would highly recommend all MMA practioners or no-gi grapplers to check out these shorts. They are a fair price, high quality construction, look great, and are highly functional. I would give them a 4.6 out of 5 stars. If they didn't bunch up, they would be the perfect grappling shorts.

Get these Sprawl V-Flex shorts HERE at

Awesome Mundials Recap

Budovideos teamed up with Caleb from the fightworks podcast to present this awesome Mundials recap.

Friday, June 19, 2009

This applies to a lot of MMA/BJJ fans

"It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by the dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best, knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who, at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly; so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat."

Theodore Roosevelt

Thanks to Ozyabbas for finding this awesome quote.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Class was hardC

I was very excited to get back into the swing of things after a weekend off due to family gigs. Class was fast and intense tonight. We started off with a light warm up and then paired up for live slow spot rolling. We were told to gradually pick up the pace until we were up to full speed.

We then jumped into technique. We drilled two moves from what we call the JG (Jorge Gurgel) guard, which is a spider guard with your foot laced under the shoulder instead of on the bicep. We worked an armbar and a sweep which I haven't seen before. I was a little squirrely with the sweep, and definitely need to drill it more, but it was very easy and effective.

We then did a ton of live rolling with different partners. I rolled with a couple blue belts and a couple white belts who are very close to blue belts. It was a good time, and I tried to work the many things I need help with (check out the last post).

For the last 25 minutes of class we did hard cardio. Sprints, bear crawls, pushups, more sprints, and more. This is a change as we usually do the hard cardio before class. It seems much harder this way.

I am sad as there will be no class this weekend. NCAA champion and runner up wrestler Brent Metcalf of the University of Iowa will be at our school doing a wrestling seminar. What is cool though is that Jorge Gurgel is fighting Friday night.

Check out this link for an interview of JG on his upcoming fight.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009


Last saturday we didn't have class as we had our SWEET MMA event. Last Sunday I missed BJJ on account of I was barely functional from my massive hangover. Today (Wednesday) I missed BJJ as I had to work late. Tomorrow I have to drive to Detroit 2.5 hours away and then teach an all day training class and then come back, which will likely make me miss BJJ class. Friday should be good!!!!! Saturday my wife wants me to go to her hometown in Bay City (2.5 hours away) to go to her neices graduation party. If I get made to go, I will miss yet another class.

I want to quote one of my favorite singers:

"This loneliness, is killin' me; and I must admit, I still believe. When I'm not with you I lose my mind, hit me baby one more time"

Hopefully I can squeeze at least one extra class in somewhere that I expected to miss.

Things I need to fix:

-Better posture during standing guard pass
-Better position on knee on belly (foot all the way stuck on the body)
-Get my hips lower on full/half guard passes
-improve my butterfly guard
-work on some half guard/buttefly guard transitions to x-guard
-improve/expand my x-guard sweeps
-Better posture/control from top half guard
-improve/expand gi chokes from side control or knee on belly

I purchase way too much BJJ gear, and I'm going to start reviewing stuff. Coming soon will be reviews of Shoyroll's new gi's, Sprawl V-Flex fight shorts, and a bunch of OTM gear that I am going to get, as I am getting a OTM store basically in my gym =) Stay signed up to the Dutch Assassin blog for all the fun.

I have also decided to take a small break from tournaments to work on my game, rather then just prepare for tournaments. The next tournament I plan on attending is a Jorge Gurgel association in house tournament in Cincinnati in August.

That is all for now. Pray/meditate/chant/whatever you like to do that I am able to attend some classes this week so I don't have a nervous breakdown.



Got an hour to spare? Want to hear one of the coolest stories in BJJ aside from the Dutch Assassin's rise to glory?

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Fightworks Review

Check out my Naga Midwest review on the fightworks podcast, as part of their Tournament Review Tuesdays.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Naga Milwaukee Tuesday Morning Quarterback

The venue was a huge sports complex in Franklin, WI; which is just 10 minutes south of Milwaukee. It was county run (I think), which was AWESOME. This meant that it was staffed, and they actually took out the trashes, and refreshed the bathrooms throughout the event. The main "fieldhouse" we were in was huge, and easily accommodated the 14 mat setup that Naga brought. This is in contrast to 10 mats they run at the Arnold Classic, and really made things run a lot faster. I talked to Kip Kollar later in the day who said each extra mat they have subtracts about 1 hour of time from the competition. They had small bleacher sections in a few places, but these weren't very effective, as everyone just crowded around the mats anyways.

Naga does no-gi first, so I was one of the first divisions up, being old and all. I did masters intermediate, and there was only one other guy in my division. I think the next time I'm going to have to do adult, as I would like to get some more work in for the $100 entry fee. I don't know what school the guy was from, but he was very nice, and we joked around before the match about buying drinks before we fight (they served beer at the venue). The guy tried to pull guard but I immediately jumped to his half guard, as it was one of my key mental points for the tournament not to get caught in full guard. He never closed his half guard, so I just jumped around to side control right away. He started spazzing pretty heavily, and I just gave him a little "shoulder of pain" control to try to settle him down. At 1:00 my coach was telling me to mount, which was wide open. I didn't hear him (or wasn't listening good enough), as my head was clouded trying to set up a far side armbar. I trapped his arm, and he pretty much gave me the armericana, so I just finished that. I heard his elbow pop and asked if he was alright, and he didn't seem to notice at all, so that was good.

My teammates were kicking ASS all around me, and the day started out very good. With 7 GRBJJ members competing, we won 4 1st place swords in no-gi! I am so proud of all my teammates, and going to tournaments just reaffirms that I train with the best group of people around.

I got to rest for a couple hours before the my gi division started. I ate a gross hamburger from the concession stand, and took about 3x the recommended dosage of this B vitamin energy spray that I got. I wandered around watching my team, and tried to keep my energy up listening to my mp3 player.

Eventually they called my division (masters blue belt) and it turned out to only have 2 other people in it. I wish I would have done adult, but I watched the adult blue belt for my weight, and that only had a couple people in it too. The guys didn't seem nearly as good in adult either for some reason. In my group, I recognized my first opponent. He is a 3 stripe blue from New Breed in Chicago, and I saw him do really well at the Arnolds a few months ago. The other guy was a white belt who bumped up to blue belt.

My first match, I fought the New Breed guy. This is probably the worst jiu jitsu match of my life. Taking nothing away from a quality opponent, I felt like I was in slow motion. He pulled guard, and I immediately looked to lift him up to do a standing pass. I had HORRIBLE posture and was all bent over. This is agonizing for me to watch, and even worse for me to post for strangers to see. He sweeps me over to mount, starting up 6-0. I was PISSED at this point. He had a good very high mount, and I just stayed in defensive position, as I could feel he was trying to set up and armbar/choke/s-mount type combo. I waited for the right time and shrimped. He went to try and take my back, but I was waiting for him and turned into him, taking the top position. He then immediately swept me as I was just sitting there doing nothing. I took half guard for the last minute or so. I pulled deep half guard which is one of my better positions. I grabbed under his foot, and felt I probably could have swept him. Knowing I was way down on points, I went out the back door and grabbed him, trying to take his back. He postured down pretty well and just layed on me for the last few seconds of the fight. Hats off to a good competitor, but I feel like I let myself, my coaches, and my team down. This is not because I lost, but because I didn't use the good technique I was taught.

Because their were only 3 guys in the division, I had another match against the white belt. I'm not sure what school he was from. I took a shot and ended up taking him down pretty easy. I tried the lazy single that I have been working on a little with one of my coaches (C), but pretty much missed. I just kept driving through and ended up with the takedown. I needed to get a lot deeper. I need to keep practicing this. I ended up in his half guard, and he immediately went to the lockdown half guard. I decided to Brandon Klein him (push the top of my head into the bottom of his chin with all my body weight) which he didn't like very much at all. The ref then stops the match at this point to ask me if I was green or red (he told me I was green before the match). This ref is one of the worst refs Naga has. He screwed up one of my matches at the Arnolds, and later in the day gave one of Luis's opponents 7 points that they didn't earn. I thought my coach was going to go ballistic on this guy at one point, as he really does suck. Eventually we reset, and I with my coaches instruction, I pull out the guys lapel on the far side, and feed it under his neck. This is one of the best control points in half guard in the gi. I try to work a baseball bat choke (one that Hermes Franca practiced with us a couple months ago), but I was having trouble getting a good grip with my right hand. The choke did bother him enough to let me pass his guard. I then jump up to knee on stomach, and take his back. I was up 11-0 at this point. He had his near arm straight up trying to defend me, so I took it a fairly ugly looking armbar from it. Props to the guy for jumping up and fighting at blue belt. This is something I did a lot as a white belt, and even in losses, it only makes you better.

We ended up all being done around 6:30pm, which is by far the earliest I've ever been out of a Naga. There were still some groups going, but I can't imagine that anyone was rolling after 7:30pm. We went back to the hotel and showered up, then headed to Buffalo Wild Wings in Milwaukee. After a fun night we went back to the hotel.

I had a great time with my team, and can't wait to hit the gym Tuesday to start fixing all my mistakes. Despite a 1st place and a 2nd place, I am embarrassed by the performance in my loss, and am going to work even harder to make sure that never happens again. I would like to offer a big thanks and congratulations to all my teammates who competed, as I am proud of all of them. We fought hard and showed good jiu jitsu. I also want to thank my team that didn't make it out. Without all of us, we simply wouldn't be the CRAB NATION!

-The Dutch Assassin

Monday, June 1, 2009

Naga Milwaukee Monday Morning Quarterback

This past weekend, me and a group of about 8 people went to the Naga tournament in Milwaukee. These are their stories (insert law and order DUM DUM here).

A bunch of people met at my house at 2pm and we headed on down to the tournament. MVT was taking a couple other people and was going to meet us there. They had a weigh in at the New Breed Academy, which is in Skokie, IL just northwest of Chicago. This was from 5pm-8pm Chicago time. We had a pretty uneventful ride to Skokie, although some of us were pretty dehydrated from trying to cut weight. We got to the New Breed Academy, which was in a old strip mall looking place and was quite small and narrow. We weighed in, and I made weight at 189.3 so it was all good. Two others in my group (King Luis and "Fear da" Abby) were over a little bit, so with a bunch of time to spare they decided to do some running and get a sweat going. They both made weight the second time around and enjoyed some of Nancy's home baking as a reward (+1 on the banana bread).

By this time, car #2 had arrived and the guys weighed in on target. I guess it was cool to have the option to weigh in Chicago, since so many guys were coming from there, but Big Dawg said right away that there were going to be problems. Well, as usual; the Crabfather was right. The next morning, they failed to send over "Crazy Eyes" Jeff's weight to the venue. They made him weigh in again, which was pretty ridiculous. He went from 4 pounds under the night before to just over weight, but they just gave it to him after a "I'm going to kill you with my crazy eyes" look. After the weigh in, we headed to Chili's in Skokie, IL for some professional eating. We had a really good waitress, and she got a $31 tip.

After gorging ourselves, we got lost in the parking lot; then regained our direction and made the 1+ hour hike up to Milwaukee. We arrived at the Clarion hotel and checked in. The place was pretty nice and very clean. We got to our rooms and settled in. A few of us went out to look for a convenience store for some snacks, and we found this hole in the wall place with two meth-heads working there. This was quite entertaining, and we learned that in Milwaukee you can't purchase alcohol after like 9pm. No big deal, but pretty weird nonetheless; especially when they were trying to sneak bottles of rum out of the building to sell to us. We got back and managed to get a little sleep. Jeff tried to spoon with me, and insisted on being the "little spoon".

We woke up, and Abby and Nancy were already pacing from the other room to our room, worried that they would miss their division. It was like 9am, and the adults weren't supposed to start until like noon, so we decided to be asses and tell them that Big Dawg talked to Kip (Naga president), and found out that they indeed did miss the division. They didn't find this NEARLY as funny as we did, and Abby inflicted bodily harm on several innocent bystanders. We ended up getting ourselves together, and ended up arriving at the venue around 11am.