Have you ever trained using a grappling dummy? If not, then why?
When you really sit back and look at these wonderful training tools, it’s easy to see why so many people find the benefits in them and how they can improve your MMA game rapidly!
Between putting an emphasis on your skills and fighting game, there are also other benefits that come with training with grappling dummies.
How MMA Fighters Can Benefits From These Tools
Training for any sport can be what makes you great that should come as no surprise. However, in a sport such as Mixed Martial Arts, which is an ever evolving sport with each passing day, how do you find the edge that other fighters don’t have?
By bringing a grappling dummy into your training mix, you’re adding something that provides you the opportunity to continue training for specific techniques, but also allows you to slow it down and really master the skill you are targeting.
For instance, grappling dummies can be excellent for practicing your throws. Sometimes in live training, it can feel awkward training with another human, because throwing someone doesn’t always feel normal, but with a dummy, you are able to work yourself out of that awkward stage, and into a more comfortable feel than you otherwise would.
Also, it allows you to be able to literally stop right in the middle of specific reps and see what you may be doing right or wrong. By having this luxury, you can start to find the holes in your game, and you can now start working towards those issues in order to become a better grappler than you would have been without the dummy.
Not only are you able to work on your overall grappling game—in this scenario as we already discussed, we’d be focusing on your throws—you are getting much more than just the added skills to your arsenal.
Most of the grappling dummies out there on the market are pretty life like, both in terms of limbs and weight! If you’ve ever seen one of these bad boys laying around your gym but never used it, go ahead and give it a lift next time you see it…you may be surprised as to how heavy they can be!
You can imagine that after throwing these guys around a few times, that weight really starts to add up! The first few sessions you use it, you may have some problems with it after a few reps—and will likely be a little sore the next morning—but you’ll soon realize that all of a sudden it isn’t so bad anymore, and you’re rag dolling that sucker all over the gym!
Having a grappling dummy is something that provides two benefits in just one tool. I’m an advocate for strength training with a purpose, and using a grappling dummy is something that delivers that purpose!
You’ll develop some great strength and conditioning, but you’re also pinpointing specific skill driven needs that will help you evolve inside of the cage. At the end of the day, by adding muscle to your frame and improving upon your skills, the evolution is truly something you need.
Detales Gear Review: Buy Now! DETALES is a brand new athletic apparel company that makes clothing for female athletes who train and compete in the art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
Sports bra: Medium (I am about a 34C-32D). I love this sports bra. It is super light-weight, but delivers heavy duty support. This combo of attributes is unusual and great for weigh ins when every ounce is a half a granola bar I can eat before competing! I was really impressed with how light and comfortable it felt, while still restricting motion affectively. It wicks moisture and resists getting stinky in the dirty clothes while waiting to be washed compared to my other sports bras as well. (Yes I did a dirty clothes smell test on laundry day and compared it to another very new, sweat-ified sports bra. Detales won!)
Rash Guard: Medium (I am 5'6", 135lbs, with an extra-long waist). This is my new favorite rash guard. The material is different than any other work out shirt I own, it feels very soft, but hugs like a rashguard is supposed to. It seemed on the short end for my long waist at first and I was worried it would ride up and expose my stomach while I trained, but I was wrong. It stayed put better than any of my extra-long rashies and training tops. The material is ridiculously comfortable and somehow manages not to move around while I do. The cut is also nice and the fit is flattering.
Grappling tights: Medium (I am 5'6", 135lbs, with short legs and a biggish booty and quads). I tried the black and the grey. I absolutely loved the fit. They are low rise which I find much more flattering and comfortable. The material is thin, but not see-through. I wouldn't recommend sweating heavily in the grey ones if you are wearing them by themselves (not under a gi or with shorts over), but the crotch-sweat-butterfly pattern is something basically any lighter colored work out pant has to offer, so no minus points there. The grey ones are great for under gi or with little shorts over. The black ones are my go to pants for lifting now. I really like the way they look on and despite the low rise, they don't threaten to expose any booty crack and distract me from deep squats. Feeling safe in your pants is also critical for no gi grappling, so these will be getting added to that wardrobe pile for me as well. They seem to have some pressure at points along the waist, leg openings and knees due to the stitching and I think that is what holds them in place so well. I would definitely purchase these babies. I am usually a medium or a small in work out tights and the medium was great for me, so if you are between sizes, go with the larger.
Compression shorts: Medium (I am 5'6", 135lbs, with short legs and a biggish booty and quads). These pinched in at the thighs just a bit, but since I only used them for under gi and no one could see the little fat squeeze, they were perfect. If I were going to wear them alone I would have gone a size larger for a sleeker look. As it was, unlike ALL other compression shorts, they did not ride up into a diaper g-string under my gi as I rolled. They stayed right where they were supposed to be. I especially love these for under my lighter white gis that can get a little see through after serious sweating. Most ladies have been there – smash passing with your sweaty gi butt in the air, knowing full well the sweat has made it semi-transparent and your granny panties have made their way into a less conservative arrangement... with these shorts everyone trying to sneak-a-peak can move along. Nothing to see here but some cute compression shorts that have stayed in place. These are also super light-weight and very comfortable with nice lines and details.
Military Veteran Overcoming PTSD Through Brazilian Jiu-jitsu Training
Death, Assaults, and War are amongst the abnormal experiences that causes damage to an individual physically and emotionally. The aftermath triggers a high level anxiety effect known as Post-traumatic Stress. Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a condition developed after a person has experienced a terrifying event which physical harm occurred or was threatened. Its strangling power sneaks into every facet of your life which symptoms include disturbing flashbacks, depression, mood changes, and negative thinking.
Luckily there is a way to combat this problem. Martial Arts have served as an outlet to coping with this mental illness which has not only proved therapeutic but also a vehicle to positively rebuilding a participant's life. Robert Consulmagno has experienced more than one can ever imagine. Undergoing a series of traumatic events he is a living testament of strength, courage, and discipline as his participation in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu has helped him to harness his PTSD and achieve great feats as an athlete.
Post Traumatic originates from many stressors. For Consulmango the source arose from his childhood in witnessing unspeakable acts of violence within his family altering his life forever.
“I lost my biological father to suicide, seen my mother brutally beaten, held a gun in my hand at ten years old which my step father used to shoot my second step-father and then take his own life, and thrown down a flight of stairs by the same horrible step father causing me to be placed in a full body cast. I will never forget my mom waking me and my siblings to sneak into the back of a van to hide out because my step father was in his car with a gun ready to come into the apartment to hurt us.”
Looking to be part of something and escape the horrors of family life Consulmango joined the U.S Marines. Serving his country from 1991 to 1996 he was part of Operation Desert Storm stationed in Okinawa Japan and the United States. Sadly in the military his PTSD condition worsened as a result of numerous problems which was a replica of the life he left back home.
“While I was in the Marine Corps I was hazed a lot and everyday was a battle, “he recalled. Little did they know they made me worse.”
Those ordeals in fact made Consulmagno worse as PTSD placed his entire life in a stranglehold. Constantly living in paranoia, distrust with people, and having a negative outlook there had to be something that could introduce him to the positive features life had to offer. Previously competing in boxing like his great grandfather Mickey Taylor Consulmagno’s entry into Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. Introduced to this grappling style of fighting he instantly became attached as his engagement was a mirror reflection of his tough past life only this time with different effect. The similarities were identical which covered the challenges life throws at its recipient. In that moment he knew he had uncovered something special that could help him.
“My first impression was wow; Jiu Jitsu is tuff as nails!” I knew from taking my first class that my striking skills were out the window and now I was a fish surrounded by sharks, but in a good way! I knew this would help me with my PTSD! “Jiu-Jitsu teaches you how to get out of bad situations. It mimics my life”.
Three years deep that curiosity of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu couldn't have been a better decision to pursue for the now 41 year old BJJ Purple belt. Living, breathing, and training on the mats has offered Consulmagno some peace from his inner turmoil. His skills as an athlete can't be ignored either as his dominance in BJJ competitions has racked him multiple local, national, and international titles making him amongst the top ranked competitors in the country. Robert's competing initiative has also gained personal fulfillment by going through that indescribable feeling doing something that is making him better.
“Honestly I really crave the rush from the fights!! Competing makes me feel alive again. I feel so free win or lose.”
There comes a low period in every person's life where some self-evaluation has to be made. You have be honest with yourself as to why you feel a certain way, what is holding you back, and most importantly what are you willing to do to make yourself better to restore peace in your heart ? Many people are bound by the constraining chains of failure, worry, and past experiences which create Fear. Yes it is an oppressive controller but it is more than anything an illusionist because once the problem is recognized it can easily be eliminated.
Even Post Traumatic Stress Disorder has its weakness which has been exposed by Robert Consulmango. To think there was no hope for him but the life he is living today says otherwise through training in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. Now at a peaceful place Consulmango is far from complete as he has new goals not only for himself but also the care of others.
“My goals are to attain my Black Belt, The Worlds, and someday teach people from all walks of life, “Consulmango revealed. I will continue to push the bar and inspire everyone!
Consulmango's story serves as a reminder who struggle with issues in their life of what happens when one attacks their fears and dare to believe they deserve better thus conquering the battle against themselves.
Robert Consulmagno BJJ Achievements
IBJJF Pan Ams No Gi -Gold Medalist 2013
4x time IBJJF New York Open Gi- Gold Medalist 2013-2014
IBJJF Boston Open Gi -Gold Medalist 2013
IBJJF Miami Open Gi -Gold Medalist 2011
Florida State Federation -Gold Medalist 2011
2x NAGA- Gold Medalist Gi
Philadelphia Good Fight- Gi Gold Medalist
Gracie Barra -Gold Medalist Adult Division
US Grappling Submission Only Gi -Gold Medalist
US Grappling Submission Only Gi -Silver Medalist Adult division
US Grappling Submission Only GI -Silver Medalist Absolute division
NAGA- Silver Medalist No Gi
Long Island Pride -Silver Gi Medalist Adult Division
Snappy interview with Patches O’Toole owner Aengus Ryan, we have a chat about the brand, what the thinking was behind it and what are the plans for the future.
Those of you with an ear to the ground for the latest BJJ gear offerings may have heard of a new name popping up lately, that of Patches O’Toole. Patches O’Toole dropped onto the BJJ gear scene at the start of 2014 with a range of gi patches, quite unlike anything on the market. Some were reminiscent of old style tattoos, some focused on hand drawn lettering, whatever the style, they were pretty awesome.
Other than the cool designs, the one thing that stands out with these patches is the quality. All of the patches are embroidered, to the highest standard. The great thing about this is that they will last for years. Many of the printed patches I’ve had during my time doing Jiu-Jitsu have worn with the constant friction from the mats. This should not be a factor with these one’s as there is no print to rub off. Patches O’Toole are so confident with the quality that they have a 3 year warranty on all of their patches, which is saying something. The shipping is also free on all patches which is cool, as no one enjoys getting hit with shipping costs as they reach checkout.
Hey Aengus, so can you tell us a bit about where Patches O’Toole came from and what’s with the weird name?
Lol, sure. I’ve been playing BJJ for a good few years now and like most of your readers, would consider it my passion. I’ve always wanted to help to promote the sport somehow but was never quite sure how I could contribute. I’m a graphic designer by trade, so one day I thought of the notion of combining the two things I spend most of my time doing. It was a kind of marriage made in heaven type affair, getting to produce things that people enjoy while doing what I love, so I’m pretty pleased with how things are going.
The name is an odd one, I agree. Bit of a mixed story as to where it came from. Myself and my wife used to have a goldfish called Patches O’Toole that had a few white patches on him. Why we added the O’Toole bit – who knows, I think it was just to add an Irish twist to it. Some people think it’s from the dodgeball character, but that dude was Patches O'Houlihan, lol.
In terms of BJJ players out there, who would be some of your favorites?
I’m not really a fan of a lot of the more recent BJJ styles, the 50/50 or the sitting on your butt double guard pulling shenanigans. It’s not exciting and while it’s clearly very technical, it’s boring to watch. Guys like Galvao and Braulio Estima are cool, really exciting Jiu-Jitsu, which is great from a spectator point of view. I used to love Roger Gracie’s total top domination and how Jacare would incorporate Judo. An epic throw is infinitely more exciting to watch than two dudes scissor banging each other.
Would you like to end up sponsoring any of those guys?
For sure, that would be awesome. We only got going in January so I think that’s a way off, but certainly something to work towards. I’m a big believer in building from grass roots, so looking after local tournaments is something I will be looking to in the future, build things up slowly and help contribute to the local scene. We can’t all go all in straight to the top, there are valuable lessons to be learned by building a business up one step at a time.
So have you found the BJJ community responsive to the Patches O’Toole designs?
Yes indeed, those who like what we do have been great and I’m extremely grateful to them. Ours is a very niche sport in the grand scheme of things and the BJJ community is always great at getting behind our own and helping out. Of course the designs aren’t to everyone’s liking, but hey, they are artistic and styles of art please one person more than the other, it’s would be boring if everyone liked just one brand or listened to one type of music. Our personal tastes and individuality are great.
So what can we look forward to from you guys in the future?
I have a few ideas for some patches I would like to bring out, along with one for kids which quite a few people have been requesting. Some stuff for the ladies only would be good and I have also started kicking around some ideas for a rash guard. The rashie would need to be pretty epic, so that’s something I want to sit on for a while to make sure it’s just right before I release it.
Is there anyone in particular you would love to train with?
I’ve always wanted to go train with Saulo Ribeiro, I think his Jiu-Jitsu is so solid and his teaching style so easy to learn that I couldn’t help but pick up lots. Fabio Gurgel and Caio Terra are others that stand out too. Any of Caio’s instructionals I’ve watched have been very easy to learn from and I’ve always thought being excellent at conveying how to do things displays a deep understanding of the art.
Thanks for the chat Aengus & we’re looking forward to seeing what’s next from Patches O’Toole.
In San Bernardino CA, the Kids Worlds International Championships for kids and teens just wrapped up their 6th year. This year’s gi team trophies winners were: First place ATOS Jiu-Jitsu, second place United BJJ, third place Gracie Barra. In the no-gi category first place again went to ATOS Jiu-Jitsu, second place to United BJJ and third place to Ferny Jiu-Jitsu. Congratulations to these teams and all the competitors who made it onto the podium.
Kids Worlds is the work of a team led by Rommel Dunbar. Rommel is a four stripe black belt under Pedro Carvalho and a seven time world champion. He runs United Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu with two locations in Moreno Valley and Riverside California.
At this year’s Kids Worlds there were over 1000 competitors with 239 gi divisions and 150 no-gi divisions. The youngest division was 2009 or kids that are 4-5 years old. The lightest weight class was 39.5 pounds. The array of weight classes / age groups was dizzying.
On Saturday, 9th degree coral belt, Francisco Mansor was at the Kids Worlds. He met and talked with kids and parents. Lucky kids got to take their picture on the podium with the famous coral belt.
All told there were 250 academies at the tournament and some six countries including Australia New Zealand, Dubai , Canada, Mexico, Brazil. The Kids Worlds tournaments follow IBJJF rules and regulations.
How does one make an Impact? What makes a goal meaningful? What is one willing to do to achieve it thus turning dreams into reality? Many athletes’ especially BJJ fighters embody this concept in their sole commitment to making things happen. After all it’s what makes the person who they are from the many challenges they must overcome to obtain that desired goal. However don't mistake them for being self-centered and solely out for themselves because they have a way of applying what they learned in the dojo and competition arena to making a positive contribution to the world aiding their fellow man.
Take Tinguinhna BJJ Brown Belt Bret Russell for instance. Eight years participation in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has taught him countless life lessons. Through competing at the world class grappling level, grueling training sessions, and rising in the belt ranks you would think he has experienced it all which has made him into the man he is today. However little did he know his journey would take him into another direction after an eye-opening trip to Costa Rica meeting the kids of the Pura Vida Foundation.
Find out the impact one is striving to make in this little community in Jaco, Costa Rica as Bret Russell reveals to us here at BJJ Legends.
Every individual that participates in Martial Arts has their own set of experiences. Taking your journey into a traveler’s direction with your visit to Costa Rica, what was the purpose of your visit?
Bret Russell: The purpose of the visit was to take my girlfriend on a surprise vacation to Costa Rica for her birthday. Obviously, with the trip it presented a new environment to train Jiu-Jitsu. On our zip-lining excursion I was informed about Leo Ruaro who was a local that trained Jiu-Jitsu. That night we met up to train for the first time in a small shack with tons of little kids. It was that night that I learned about the amazing program Leo has running in Jaco, Costa Rica. Leo not only provides Jiu-Jitsu lessons for these kids, he provides them with school supplies, transportation to and from Jiu-Jitsu, and offers these kids a chance to steer clear from the rough path of street life and drugs.
Paint a picture for us about the living conditions and what life is like for a typical individual growing up there?
Bret Russell: Costa Rica is a beautiful country and a tropical paradise. It’s a combination of a Caribbean and jungle-like environment. The food is incredible and the land is inviting to many different types of species of wildlife. The living conditions, like any place, are very poor in some areas and wealthier in others. There was poverty in the area of the country we were staying. A typical living condition would include a small home, modern facilities, low cost of living, and readily accessible medical/pharmacy clinics. For the general population, Costa Rica has a high standard of living. A typical individual growing up in Costa Rica would involve being exposed to all the land has to offer: the beaches, the national park, surfing, Jiu-Jitsu, fishing, and a very close-knit community.
Can you share with us some information about the Pura Vida Non-Profit Organization?
Bret Russell: Pura Vida Non-profit organization is more than just an organization. Pura Vida is translated as pure life and is the saying to which most individuals in Costa Rica live their life by. This organization goes above and beyond for every child that is involved in the program. The organization encompasses Pura Vida through every child. The organization makes sure they have what they need as a child such as school supplies, transportation, taking the children for dental check-ups and medical care, clothing, and most importantly providing each and every one of these children with a positive environment. Most of these children come from broken homes and this organization creates hope, stability, and consistency for many of these young children. After interacting and getting to know these kids my plan is to contribute to this wonderful organization as much as I can.
Tell us about your experience working with the group?
Bret Russell: My experience with this organization and the kids has changed a part of me forever. These kids are the most appreciative, willing to learn, and most TOUGH group of kids I have ever come across. They have since changed locations but the location I was brought to was literally a shack in the middle of the jungle and the vibe was amazing. The place has "soul" and that comes from the man who made this all possible. There is a hand full of rules that you would expect from any Jiu-Jitsu academy but the rule that stuck out most was the rule that you must bring two friends to class as time goes on. Keep in mind Leo does this out of the kindness of his heart and does not charge the kids. Everything they have is from donations and hand made from the Jiu-Jitsu family that Leo has created. Leo allowed me to teach a couple classes while I was in Jaco and to this day it was the most life changing teaching experience I have ever had.
Can you share with us a particular child that made an impression on you?
Bret Russell: There was a particular child who particularly captured our hearts. He has a rough home life with a mother and father not always around. This Jiu-Jitsu program has given him the chance to interact with positive role models that will guide him down a more promising path. This child is full of life and loves being active. He also had a passion for playing iphone games and knowing more about your phone than you do. You cannot help but smile and laugh when you’re around him.
How has it all affected you?
Bret Russell: When it came to our last days in Costa Rica you couldn’t help but feel like you needed to contribute to this amazing contribution. Leo is running not only a Jiu-Jitsu class but has offered himself to be all of these children’s life coach. Leo works very hard to maintain this program for the kids and make sure each and every one is taken care of on multiple levels. Leo also does not accept money, instead he will ask you to use that money and purchase something they need such as Gi’s, mats, etc. I immediately started thinking of ways of how I could help this program out. There was no way I could leave all the kids and everyone involved without being touched. These kids will always be dear to my heart and anything I can do to help I will do without hesitation.
Aspiring to make a difference how do you look to contribute?
Bret Russell: I will be host a Charity Grapplethon event.I have done the basic ground work as far as receiving the “ok” for this event at a few locations... I have an open door policy with countless jiu jitsu academy's. My preferred location would be somewhere in San Diego County.
When will the Grapplethon take place?
Bret Russell: I don’t have a set date just yet but be on the lookout for more information!
Until that time is there any way people can contribute?
Brett Russell: People can contribute anything from used gi’s, new gi’s, no-gi gear, clothing, school supplies, and money. Anything will help these kids!
Any final thoughts before we close this interview?
Bret Russell: I can’t wait to put on this event for such a wonderful organization that has really touched me and countless others!
Matheus Magalhaes, Brazilian, 20, and IBJJF 2014 Adult Male Blue Belt Champion (Rooster Division).
If home is where the heart is, this young man was clearly made for the mat. Matheus Magalhães began his humble ascent to IBJJF World Champion back in 2009. One chance meeting with Master Julio Cesar Pereira helped to mold a very gifted athlete. Once Magalhães moved to Rio de Janeiro to train under Master Pereira his life would never be the same. He began training with GFT an elite squad of competitors and one could say the rest is history. So many competitors look for the opportunity afforded to Magalhães and as he said “I did not imagine fighting in America this year; I was surprised, blessed by God.” 2014s IBJJF World Championship marked the first time Magalhães would be competing on such a grand stage. He had the full support of his mentors Professor Alberto Guedes and Master Pereira.
In order to become a champion, it takes more than desire and hope; you must work diligently towards your goal. Magalhães had to break away from all he knew to achieve a status that some will work their entire lives for and never obtain. He left his family and hometown of Canindé, Ceara, Brazil. He trained day in and day out for the last five years. He was almost there; all he had to do was get to America and compete. He received even more assistance from Master Pereira and another GFT alumnus Professor Bruno Alves. Pinnacle MMA/GFT owners Daniel and Rebekah Duron helped facilitate Magalhães coming to the United States and getting even closer to his lifelong dream. Once May 30th arrived it was time to reflect upon five long years of preparation, anticipation, and do exactly what he came to do…WIN!
This 20 year old began his BJJ career in 2009 and everything he worked for came down to his skill and determination vs. that of four other blue belts. One match after the other Magalhães picked his competitors off like a sniper. The last fight was his most challenging by far but his years of sacrifice were not in vain. Magalhães emerged victorious and became the IBJJF 2014 Adult Male Blue Belt Champion (Rooster Division). What an accomplishment. What a competitor. He calls it “arguably” his best moment to date and has every intention of returning in 2015 to dominate at Worlds and Pans as a recently promoted Purple Belt.
Looking back on what Magalhães has done to get here, if anyone takes anything away from this Champions ascent, don’t only take away the fact that he is THE CHAMPION. Stop for just a moment and respect the climb. It was arduous, yet he endured, he accepted the challenge and stayed the daunting course. Five years ago this was a 14 year old that made some very tough choices in order to achieve what he has today. That is truly what his journey is all about, THE CLIMB.
Patrick Lencioni notes, “great teams do not hold back with one another. They are unafraid to air their dirty laundry. They admit their mistakes, their weaknesses, and their concerns without fear of reprisal.” I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Professor Danny Alvarez and his daughter Danielle of Alvarez BJJ. Their team epitomizes the type of synergy Lencioni references above. You could be a newcomer to BJJ in Texas and you would find out soon enough about the dynamic duo and the rest of the Team Alvarez Superfriends.
A unique combination of humbleness and tenacity is what makes Professor Alvarez’s transcendent style of leadership so effective. A team’s cohesiveness depends on the attitude and guidance of its leader. This 15 year BJJ veteran has wrestled and done Judo but this sport is his calling. “No other sport or martial art has given me the fulfillment that Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has. It has really taught me about respect and giving back to others. Its all about how you treat and help others grow as you do.” A sentiment I personally share with Professor Alvarez.
Team Alvarez is driven by an unyielding force at the helm. After 11 years at General Motors, Professor Alvarez decided his heart and soul belonged to BJJ. He left behind the security and stability of a well paying job to prove he was ready to push his team to new heights and that in itself is an admirable trait in a leader. He recognizes what an asset he is to his team as their guide and wanted to give them his undivided attention. Under his expert tutelage some have already surpassed him as competitors at their belt levels.
Up to this point Professor Alvarez has no regrets. A large part of his success is his ability to consistently impose his game upon his opponents. Win or lose according to the Professor “making mistakes is how we improve and get better.” The moment he is the proudest of to date is his triumph to become the IBJJF Masters Worlds 2012 Champion. He defeated World Champions Rodrigo Pagani (Saulo Riberio JJ) and Bernardo Pitel (Nova Uniao). In just six years Team Alvarez has become a force in Texas and the BJJ world and they are hungry for more. Professor Alvarez was sure the moment he started BJJ that it was his destiny, Danielle’s journey to The Promised Land was a bit rockier.
Her first brush with BJJ was around 7 or 8 years old and she rebuffed the sport. She went on to take up other athletics. At 14 she was reintroduced as a method of self defense and again she was not thrilled. Each time there was a practice to be had; Danielle was in attendance full on pout. Once her skill set grew and some confidence along with it, a slight transformation came about. She began to like BJJ a little more and she began to attend more classes sans the pout. At her first competition, NAGA May 2009, Danielle took silver in NOGI and gold in GI. One would think this was the turning point for her and she finally found her way in the BJJ world. I have news for you, after that competition in Dallas; she vowed never to compete again. It took another year before Danielle set foot back on the mat competitively and she has been a hurricane in the BJJ world ever since.
When she sets foot on the mat her level of composure is uncanny. “Whether Danielle is in a good position or a bad one, I never stop talking to her. It’s like playing a video game, she listens so well. I have the controller and Danielle is the character on the screen doing what I am asking her to do,” states Professor Alvarez. I don’t know if it was luck or what but I can say I was fortunate enough to be a part of Danielle’s greatest moment to date at the 2014 Women’s Regional Championship in Denton, Texas. She fought her way through some tough competition to end up in the Super Fight Finals with the Premiere Black Belt in Texas, Professor Fabiana Borges of Gracie Barra BJJ. To this day it is the best match I have seen. Clearly Danielle was the underdog as the Purple Belt going against a Third Degree Black Belt. Both competitors were matched sweep for sweep during this 10 minute match. The auditorium was full of thunderous screams, stomps, and applause the entire time. The match ended in an 8-8 tie. Danielle won by advantages. The look on her face as well as Professor Alvarez’s face was absolutely priceless.
Alvarez BJJ is a powerhouse in Texas. It is undeniable that the success of this team is due to the leadership provided by 2nd Degree Black Belt Professor Danny Alvarez. He has a clear vision for his team and in its six short years of existence this team is hitting its marks. He has a goal to be the best competitor in his division, with the level of unwavering commitment he displays, not a problem. Danielle may have had reservations initially but she has resolved all those issues and her path is clear and her future is bright. She currently represents Texas very well and at the rate she is going her goal to be the best female competitor is not too far off. Alvarez BJJ has raised the bar for us all and Professor Alvarez has no intention on stopping until his team is the best not just in Texas but one of the best in America. This may seem like an overwhelming task but when you are hungry like a wolf, you will make the earth around you quake while in relentless pursuit of your dreams and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that.