A technique notebook is one of the most powerful Brazilian jiu-jitsu training aids. I’ve been keeping one on and off since my first judo class and have found that my rate of progression is directly proportional to my diligence with updating my BJJ notebook. Jiu-jitsu isn’t something that’s easy to describe using words alone and a couple of people at my gym have asked to see my notes, so I figured I’d put together an article explaining why and how I do it.
Brazilian jiu-jitsu is a complex martial art. For every technique – takedowns, sweeps, guard passes, submissions, escapes… – there are multiple counters. And multiple recounters for every counter. Need a visual on that? Check out some BJJ flow charts. How is a person supposed to remember all of this? Keeping a jiu-jitsu notebook helps.
Intro: “In my opinion there was no BJJ brand that represented the beauty and elegance we all experience when participating in the gentle art. I was looking to create a brand that had meaning, that word that came to me was ORIGIN.” Pete Roberts
Origin BJJ has been getting a lot of press lately because of their move to have all of their gi manufacturing at their Maine headquarters. Origin is the product of Pete Roberts and his desire to get out of the corporate word and to pursue his passion for BJJ as a career (for a little more on Pete check here). Their products are designed from his experience as a student, competitor and teacher. To that end Origin’s products include gis, nogi apparel and training accessories. With a reputation for service and quality I was very excited to use Origin spats for my initiation into the world of spats.
In this part of our series exploring and charting Caio Terra’s Modern Jiu Jitsu series we will be focusing on his instruction regarding the Butterfly guard, standing passes and takedowns. These sections are available as Apps (Butterfly guard and Guard Pass/Takedowns) directly from ITunes for all your Apple devices. This information is also contained in the 3rd DVD in the Modern Jiu Jitsu set. If you haven’t already seen them please take a few minutes to check out our breakdowns for the Closed Guard, the Mount and Turtle/Back series.
I won’t go into too much detail on the quality of instruction (excellent), the audience (white/blue belts) or production value (excellent) because those aspects of the set have been covered in our previous reviews. So, straight to the meat of it…
Intro: Apollo FG is the product of Mark Finlay and his desire to make a gi that will actually fit thinner/leaner athletes. As anyone that’s read my reviews knows I’m a tall and lean guy myself and the reason I started to really get interested in gis is because it was so hard to find out that actually fit me. The Omega series is a heavy-duty 550g gold weave jacket with 9.5 oz ripstop fabric. The Omega is available in white, black and blue. The gi has regular and slim sizes and most important of all you can have it for $120 (which includes shipping).
Intro: Flow Kimonos is a Boston based gear manufacturer that was created last year by Jonathan Leung. I stumbled across Flow Kimonos while searching thru Facebook for new gear manufacturers and after seeing some of their pictures and sizing chart (they have slim/tall cuts) I contacted them about a review. Fast forward 3 months. I’ve been training in their prototype unbleached hemp gi since mid-December and in that time it has become one of my favorite gis and a staple of my training. Flow Kimono’s hemp gi is manufactured in China and they are transitioning their other gis, the Pro Series White & Black, to China as well. The Navy Blue Hemp gi (production version of my prototype) is available for pre-order and should be available in late-April or early May.
Intro: Roots Kimonos came onto the gi manufacturer’s scene a few months ago with their Tide kimono. Mike is starting 2013 with a new batch of gis and the first to be released is the Carnivale. The Carnivale is a white gi, available in tall sizes and available for $144.99. The Carnivale will be shipping out to customers in early February. I was lucky enough to get a prototype in December and am glad to see that the Roots has made another high-quality gi at a reasonable price. Something that I was particularly excited to see is the inclusion of tall sizes (A1L and A3L) for us lanky guys. If you're familiar with Roots' other gis the design will be familiar with some aesthetic changes (color palette mosty) and some cuts to the cut as well.
Gracie Barra has updated their Fundamentals Curriculum to the new version 2.0. This 16 week program was designed by GB black belts, Ricardo Almeida and Marcio Feitosa and the philosophy of Master Carlos Gracie Jr. The lessons are broken down into 16 weeks of training that is repeated through out the year. The techniques are a combination of self defense, sport jiu-jitsu and MMA. This program is intended to provide a solid foundation for the beginner as he moves towards obtaining his blue belt. Their release video can be found here for those interested.
In this series of articles we’ll be breaking down the full curriculum of Gracie Barra Fundamentals 2.0. The content is available from iTunes and on-demand for all mobile devices, tablets and PCs. The Fundamentals set consists of 4 apps, each covering 4 weeks of their fundamentals curriculum for a total of 16 weeks of lessons. The apps range in price from $9.99 to $14.99. If you’re using the on-demand feature the instruction is broken down by the week and is available for $2.99 each with unlimited viewing for the year. Don't forget to download the maps in PDFs for reference, link is at the bottom of the review.
Intro: X-Guard Brand gis came to my attention about a year ago. I was looked for a new gi and during my research I kept seeing references to X-Guard and their kimonos. No one had a bad word to say about their service or their gis. The only thing that stopped me from buying one of their gis that day was that they were out of stock. Clearly, I wasn’t the only one that wanted to give these guys a closer look. In December I finally got my hands on an X-Guard gi, the XG5 Element Series Sandstorm. The Element series gis are also available in black and blue to round out the color choices. The Sandstorm is value priced gi (it’s $134.00 which includes shipping) and consists of a pearl weave jacket and 12oz canvas pants.
“At X-Guard Brand Fight Wear, we believe that fashion, quality, and performance go hand-in-hand. Our premium jiu jitsu kimonos, IBJJF approved rash guards, and fight shorts have been mat tested and are cage approved. We listen to our customers, read reviews, and participate in the sport which helps us continually push our Jiu-Jitsu / MMA fight wear to the next level.”
Every fighter that has ever graced the mat carries with them a primary philosophy that guides them along their endless journey. With only two years of participation in the sport of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu Clark Gracie Blue belt Harryson Franz has already developed a set of principles which has benefited not only his athletic pursuits but also his life outside the gym.
With eight years of prior Kickboxing experience to his cred Franz’s transition to the art of grappling offered the young prospect a new exploration of growth in his quest to becoming a better fighter.
“After 7-8 years of training I became increasingly interested in competing in the sport of Mixed Martial Arts," Harryson told BJJ Legends. “My coaches at the time, while fully supportive and confident in me if the fight stayed standing, knew that I'd need to have some kind of ground game to be truly ready to compete. So I left kick-boxing when I was 19 to focus specifically on Jiu-Jitsu and ended up falling in love with the sport.”
It wouldn’t be long before this passion for his new found hobby would supply Franz with the essential components necessary for improving many areas of his life. Through the various scenarios he has come across each event has given Harryson a clearer perception of what this sport’s original intention was for its participants.
“You have to understand that Jiu-Jitsu is more than just a sport or a self-defense system. There's a lot more to it than just learning different techniques on the mat and winning medals in competition. What Jiu-Jitsu really is at the end of the day, is a vehicle to better your life in every single aspect.”
If you’ve ever watched an MMA event you’ve probably seen at least half a dozen different Venum shorts and walk out shirts. Just off the top of my head I can name close to 30 different UFC fighters that are sponsored by Venum. Guys like Jose Aldo, Carlos Condit, Wanderlei Silva and Jim Miller all use Venum gear in their fights.
Venum also has a line BJJ gis that include single weave and gold weave models. The good folks over at MAS sent Venum’s Competitor gi to me for a review. The Competitor is a single weave gi is comes in white, blue and black. It is available in the traditional sizes as well as A1.5 and A2.5 and is modeled by none other than Rodolfo Vieira himself.