Bear BJJ
Bill “the Grill” Cooper hanging out at Gracie Barra the Loop yesterday.

Bill “the Grill” Cooper hanging out at Gracie Barra the Loop yesterday.

Received my purple belt this past Saturday. Seems extremely surreal. I would say that it comes at a good time and has relit a fire that hasn’t burned quite as bright in terms of competing. Time to focus! #purplebelt

Received my purple belt this past Saturday. Seems extremely surreal. I would say that it comes at a good time and has relit a fire that hasn’t burned quite as bright in terms of competing. Time to focus! #purplebelt

BerimboLOL - Haha I bet this is exactly how our black belts who teach feel.

BerimboLOL - Haha I bet this is exactly how our black belts who teach feel.

Michel Langhi vs. DJ Jackson - Great match up between newly minted black belt DJ Jackson and open guard specialist Michel Langhi. I’m not sure if they are the same weight class (don’t know if this is absolute?) but either way, you can see that DJ is much stockier than Michel. This is a great video on what a great open guard can do against a stockier, wrestler type opponent.

One of the things I like that Langhi does in this match is how he transitions his De La Riva hook to a hook on DJ’s leg pressing down and kicks it out to a smooth single leg (he does it twice but the one I like starts at 7:17). Have not ever thought to do that to be honest… Will definitely give that a go.

The finish at the end was smoooooooooooooooth.

50/50 Guard Pass - by Augusto ‘Tanquinho’ Mendes

This is the first time I’ve seen this pass, and I’m pretty excited to drill it. Maybe its my own inexperience with the 50/50 but usually when I end up in this guard, I either attack the straight ankle foot lock or the bell rings signalling the end of the round.

With the prevalence of people playing this guard, its good to see a top black belt explaining the nuances of maintaining your base, grip placement, weight distribution and the steps to break, then pass 50/50.

Greaaaaaat stuff. And before anyone wonders whether or not this pass would work, Augusto did this same pass to Gui Mendes. Yup. Legit.

Haha this is great!

Haha this is great!

Guard Player for Life
I’m a big fan of The Jiu Jitsu Laboratory blog. Recently they had put up an article regarding the 50/50 and its interesting to see how its evolved. Check it out here.
This year for me has been time spent learning the nuances of the half guard (all variations, such as deep half, z, underhook), AND revisiting and refining my open guard, specifically with a more dynamic game switching between DLR, RDLR, and spider and threatening sweeps from that position (especially the berimbolo). From these positions, I’ve been focusing on the transition to two guards that I feel I’ve only begun to understand and develop this year: 50/50 guard and sit up guard.
One of my favorite transitions is DLR to RDLR if the opponent squares up with you, going for an inverted back take (kiss of the dragon). From there the opponent turns towards you, where at this point you drop your hip, unwind your legs, and then thread your legs through for 50/50. 
Because of this, I’ve come to truly appreciate the 50/50 game and “butt scooting” as there’s an intricate game happening within the game that is hard to see.

Guard Player for Life

I’m a big fan of The Jiu Jitsu Laboratory blog. Recently they had put up an article regarding the 50/50 and its interesting to see how its evolved. Check it out here.

This year for me has been time spent learning the nuances of the half guard (all variations, such as deep half, z, underhook), AND revisiting and refining my open guard, specifically with a more dynamic game switching between DLR, RDLR, and spider and threatening sweeps from that position (especially the berimbolo). From these positions, I’ve been focusing on the transition to two guards that I feel I’ve only begun to understand and develop this year: 50/50 guard and sit up guard.

One of my favorite transitions is DLR to RDLR if the opponent squares up with you, going for an inverted back take (kiss of the dragon). From there the opponent turns towards you, where at this point you drop your hip, unwind your legs, and then thread your legs through for 50/50.

Because of this, I’ve come to truly appreciate the 50/50 game and “butt scooting” as there’s an intricate game happening within the game that is hard to see.

As a follow up to the single leg video by “Foca”, here is a neat little video from the guys at the VT-1 Gym in Sydney, Australia, with a combination I like to use when a person has amazing balance, or when the opportunity presents itself. The takedown after an initial single leg is thwarted and your option starts at 2:23.

Single/Double Leg Take Downs shown by Julio “Foca” Fernandez

The last few weeks at my school has taken on a different air. The IBJJF Chicago Summer Open is looming in August and competition training has begun. People have (if they haven’t done so already) started focusing on their “go to” moves, started eating cleaner, and the intensity of rolls have increased.

One of the drills that we do is to do 5 minutes of our favorite take down with our partner and then switching at the end (optional to finish, although if you would like to finish the takedown with your partner on the mat you could).

Probably my favorite take down that for some reason I’ve taken a liking to and have found easier to do than others is the single leg. I feel confident with this takedown and its definitely my “go to” take down.

This video is a great video showing both the single and double leg taught by 6th degree Carlson Gracie Black Belt Julio “Foca” Fernandez. Keep in mind, this guy is 55 years old!! Amazing. I have not really seen any of his matches but a quick cursory check in google yields this tidbit:

Julio was undefeated in over 10 years of competition in Brazil, winning many titles for the famous powerhouse Carlson Gracie Competition Team in the 80’s.

In 2011, Julio came out of retirement at the age of 54 and traveled back to Rio De Janeiro for the 2011 IBJJF International Masters and Seniors Championships to fight in his weight class and Absolute Division.

Julio made the 148 pound weight class, but no one was there to compete against in his weight category.

He then competed in the Absolute Division, competing against an opponent 3 weight classes higher than his.

One thing is for sure, I hope at 55 I can be as smooth as this guy!

Which leads me to ask of the people out there that train, what are some of your favorite take downs? Or would you rather pull guard?

njitsu:

Purple belt with what looks like cerebral palsy at Copa Mineirinho in Brazil. The whole thing is inspiring - the competitors guts to do the tournament and stick with jiu-jitsu, the poise of his opponent, and the reaction of the crowd. Jiu-jitsu is for everyone.

Can’t say enough about this guy who is an inspiration to me with sticking to BJJ even with something as debilitating as cerebral palsy. Can’t say enough about how awesome the BJJ community is as a whole. This is amazing.