The last five years in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has been phenomenal for Girls in Gis. A grass roots effort started in 2009 by Ashley Nguyen (Elite MMA, Houston TX) has expanded to Colorado, Oklahoma, Kansas, Nevada, and Oklahoma. The purpose behind Girls in Gis was for women to have the opportunity to train in a “non-competitive” setting. Ashley spent a considerable amount of time trying to get Girls and Gis off the ground with only 15 participants at the very first event. Thanks to her hard work and determination, events in Texas alone now have up to 90 participants per event. This year GIGs success was evident with the release of a limited edition rash guard designed by Meerkatsu and produced by Da Firma Kimono Company featuring the lethal plant Atropa Belladonna. Belladonna is the perfect descriptor when it comes to the various women of war represented by this beautiful yet deadly vine. Belladonna can be one of the most effective medicinal remedies for insomnia, hay fever, even as a pain killer. Also known as "Beautiful Lady", it is lethal. Poet Christina Murphy wrote, “atropa belladonna there is no place for me to hide,if I were to tuck myself insidethe marrow deep within your bones, you'd break each one to get to me and suck it dry, the whole supply you'd exhaust your every resource in my pursuit.”
Shama Ko of (Gracie Humaita, Austin TX) the Program Director and Lana Hunter of (Pinnacle MMA/GFT San Antonio TX) are probably some of the biggest supporters and ambassadors for GIGs. The mission according to Ko is to, “provide experiences that foster and encourage females to participate in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, thereby paving the way for equality and change. To Empower and unite females in their martial arts training, as well as in life, while simultaneously bringing recognition to the BJJ community for women and girls.” Hunter reflects upon her experiences. “I have definitely been inspired, touched, and identified with some of the stories. Women come together and share what an impact BJJ has had on their lives and the reasons they are motivated to train. I would never have learned any of this if I hadn’t been to a GIGs event. These events provide an environment conducive to this process and I think it is a truly special thing that happens!” Each event begins with an introduction that leaves many touched in the most profound ways. If you walk into the event with the mindset that it will be just like all the other seminars you have attended, you will leave knowing that that GIGs is on another level. You may walk in apprehensive and full of doubt but you will walk away feeling reassured that you are not alone in those doubts and with a new perspective on your journey in BJJ.
GIGs five year anniversary is rapidly approaching (21 Sep 14, Austin TX gym TBD) and it is easy to see why it continues to grow. The motto “Strength in Solidarity” seems to keep this bullet train gliding right along. The presence of the participants and the support of the BJJ community where GIGs is concerned speaks volumes about how far the sport has come and how much further it will continue to go. A thought was realized and has grown into a powerful movement five years later. If you are looking for an environment where you will receive hard core training along with some excellent words of encouragement a GIGs event is THE PLACE to be. You will train with some of the best of the best women in BJJ and take away much more than a highly effective technique. If you haven't heard yet how beautiful a journey one has in this martial art, at these events, YOU WILL. Christina Murphy describes the Night Shade adorned essence of these world-wide beauties precisely, “I have become your madman shackled,the prey your hungry eyes have tackled, you are a flower ever blooming...looming...growing towards me, wide-eyed on the chase,I am the most alluring poisonyou did ever taste. For me your stomach's achingand hands are coarsely shaking.The demons you are wakingare taking every toll on me.Til I am gone and you are weakyou'll seek my nectar ever sweetno matter what the price will be.”
In the words of Portuguese poet, Fernando Pessoa, "Everything is worth it if the soul is not small." The day she was born, no one could know what a major impact Professor Yvone Magalhaes Duarte, First Female Black Belt (1990), would have on the world of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. The more you grow in the sport, the more you want to know about the roots of your new found addiction. BJJ has grown substantially since Professor Magalhaes Duarte received her black belt. This trailblazer paved the way for today's women in the sport. Knowing how she did it and the strength it took during the time she did it (mid 70s-90s) should make us all want to leave a more profound legacy for BJJ generations to come.
Professor Magalhaes Duarte's start in BJJ began with her brother and mentor, now a coral belt, Master Pascoal Duarte. She came along during the "golden age of Jiu Jitsu when the best BJJ fighters showed up, the best time in all times, Royler Gracie, Cassio Cardoso, Rolls Gracie, Sergio da Penha, De Larriva, Jan Jack, Marcelo Behring, Rickson Gracie, Otavio Peixotinho, Fabricio Costa, Paulo Caruso...and many others! The best time of BJJ!" She rose through the ranks alongside Marina Alcantara, Laila Zalfa, Ana Maria D'Avila, Fernanda Bulhoes and Lucia Moraes. Unfortunately the other women never received their black belts.
Early on in her career Professor Magalhaes Duarte recognized developing her own unique approach to her matches was crucial to ascend in the sport. She trained as often as possible. She was a petite fighter and was explosive. Her ambition was as admirable as her drive noting "during different periods Jiu Jitsu was the major thing in my life. I have always wanted to fight! I want the honor to teach my grandchildren." She originated from the academy of the renowned 9th degree red belt, Master Osvaldo Alves. Diversity at this academy ran the gambit from professional fighters to philosophers.
Rio was a melting pot and anyone willing to take up the noble art of Jiu Jitsu was welcomed with open arms. Once Professor Magalhaes Duarte received her black belt in October of 1990, one part of her journey had come full circle. She had become THE FIRST...The first of many to come. After receiving her black belt she became an instructor at the Police Academy, her classes grew immediately. Fast forward to the present and Professor Magalhaes Duarte is still as dynamic as ever. She makes her presence known fighting for sociopolitical and economic deficits. "My fights today are for others. I am working and fighting for human rights. I fight for the demarcation of indigenous lands. I fight for a society without inviolable refuge!” These words for are explosive and indicative of why the professor has become such a major pioneer not just for women in Jiu Jitsu, but for the world of Jiu Jitsu. She displays passion for what she loves. She is a pioneer full of grace, poise, and knowledge that hopefully future fighters will aspire to.
Professor Magalhaes Duarte has nothing but fond memories as a competitor, no regrets indicating "my Jiu Jitsu victories are now good memories; I have given my contribution. The principles of this fight are still with me and I want to keep sharing with others." She currently resides in Rome and lucky for the BJJ world, there are no signs of her slowing down. If you want to find out how far a culture has come, you need only look to its foundation. In order to know where you are going, you must remember where you have been. Our history can do one of two things for us. It can provide us with building blocks for future success or condemn us to a perpetual state of arrested development. The path is ours to choose. This pioneer has blazed the way from the CBJJE to the IBJJF, who’s got next?
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.
By focusing on improving both on and off the mat, you can guarantee improvement in your grappling game. By having the proper training approach and understanding the benefits of specific workouts and how they benefit your game, the process at which you’ll grow will be astounding.
Exercising With A Focus On Your Grappling Game
As someone who has the pleasure of being able to travel the country to and experience various views on the game of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, I value various insights and takes on the overall game be it on the mat or the training grapplers put in so that they can become more rounded.
All too frequently I hear about grapplers who lift weights in order to bulk up and become a dominant grappler. While this isn’t the worst, it certainly isn’t the ideal approach you can take so that you can become a better grappler.
By having a workout plan that is catered towards what you do on the mat, you are not only becoming a better physical grappler, but you are also adding dimensions to your game by strengthening sport specific body parts, that translate directly to grappling!
You can bench press all you want—I don’t knock those who treat weightlifting seriously—but if you’re looking for workouts that will improve your grappling ability while becoming a better athlete, then how can you go wrong?
By simply searching the internet, you can find a goldmine of workout plans that will translate directly your craft, and thus killing two birds with one stone!
More Than Physical: The Other Benefits of Working Out
When you figure out a good workout schedule, you are doing more than just than what the physical benefits offer you. By committing to something that is meant to improve the big picture, you are developing something much deeper than how many pushups or squats you can do; you’re developing discipline.
It happens to every athlete out there; certain days will come and go where you want nothing to do with your planned workout, so you can either brush it off and rest or go after it! By choosing to grind through it, you’re showing yourself just how dedicated you really are to what you do and how serious you are about developing your craft.
Over time, this will become regular and you will develop an edge knowing that you are willing to do whatever it takes to get better. The payoff will be great, because it won’t take long till your focus shows on the mat, and all of those extra hours—which add up over time—shine through as you start to defeat opponents rather easily.
Years ago when I began training almost daily, my body ached and sleep was lost due to my body being ragged, but a friend of mine—who wrestled in High School—sent me a text that resonated with me and pushed me through each and every session. The text was simple and read “keep your head and down and put your nose to the grind stone.”
You’ll always have to do things you have no interest in doing—such is life—but if you’re willing to grind through it, the payoff is worth it. If you think you could even grind a little harder check out Funk's full training videos here.
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.
We all learned the basic kimura lock in our infant stages in the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu world. While basic, the move can be very effective and damaging when done properly.
However, they are plenty of cases in which you’ll be forced to adjust and adapt the hold!
No matter what position you’re in—for instance, the kimura trap—the one constant remains is that you’ll have to rely upon your grip strength to execute the move properly.
While it may look tough, it really isn’t.
Setting Up And Attempting The Kimura Lock
In this specific setup, we’re assuming that our opponent is in the top half guard. In this given position, the kimura lock is almost the most readily available move, which makes it very easy to defend against if you are on the receiving end of it.
The trick of going about this hold is how strong of a grip you’ll have on your opponent when goingn to lock on the hold. The kimura can be easily broken if your opponent is bigger by them simply ripping their arm free, or by hiding their hand underneath them.
Your opponent hiding their hand is the most likely of the two, which can be tricky to deal with. Rather than trying to free it by using brute force, there’s another way of going about attack the arm you have already isolated.
As they hide their hand, shoot your hips backwards. Upon doing so, you’ll be able to take your far side leg, and bring it over the top of their shoulder, trapping the isolated arm.
This is where your grip strength comes into play; you’ll be placing yourself in an awkward position that your body isn’t used to, causing your grip to loosen up a bit. Really focus on maintaining the hold, allowing you to continue with the submission attempt.
Staying Tight To The Body & Transitioning Into An Armbar
Once we have the foot over and the arm isolated, the next step is crucial. While we focus on maintaining the grip, we’ll also want to make sure that the arm is placed firmly to the chest. To do this, you’ll want to hug the arm by bringing whichever shoulder is on the mat to their elbow.
Now knowing that the hold is firmly in place and their arm isn’t going anywhere, it’s time to start posturing yourself to get the submission finish!
While keeping their arm tight, you’ll want to slowly extend backwards. Avoid leaning back as if you were doing a traditional armbar, but slowly arch backwards as the arm stays tight to your sternum.
If done properly, this will lead to an armbar finish. Even if they attempt to roll out—which they likely will—maintain this hold, as they would then just be rolling right into a traditional armbar setup.
Remember: grip is key! The second you feel the grip come undone, your opponent has the chance to escape. Even in a tough lockdown position such as the kimura trap, a weak grip can cost you the position and even the win. What I recommend anyone looking to improve their grip strength is the Finger Master Grip Strengthener. I wish I had a tool so helpful when I was beginning to improve my grip strength. Check it out for more details. The next best option is using incredibly heavy and inconvenient buckets or sand or beans like in this video.
Focus on keeping a firm grip and proper body position, and you’ll be well on your way to earning the submission victory and in impressive fashion!
Interview with 10th Planet black belt Geovanny "Freakahzoid" Martinez - his recent win over Jeff Glover, the scheduled sub only no time limit rematch in September and EBI.
BJJ Legends: Before starting BJJ you actively competed in breakdancing. Give us a little history of that.
Geovanny: Before BJJ I was known in the global dance Community as “Freakahhzoid”. I always loved entertaining. I traveled and battled all over the world with my crew “The Freak Show”. We started a new unique style that consisted of a lot of athletic flexibility and balance, but we also had a different look to us that always made us stand out. Some people hated and some people loved it, but either way we were always free.
BJJ Legends: What got you into bjj and when did you start?
Geovanny: I got into Jiu-Jitsu by luck. I was always interested in Jiu-Jitsu but I never could afford it. I got lucky that someone was looking for a dance instructor to teach dancing to his kid at his new Jiu Jitsu school. A mutual Bboy friend told him about me and I got to meet Ryan (10thPlanetVista). We clicked right away. In return for teaching his kid dancing, he allowed me to train for free and I’ve been training practically everyday since. It's been about four years of training NoGi Jitsu, I started in the end of 2010
BJJ Legends: When did you get your black belt?
Geovanny: I got my black belt on January 29 2014
BJJ Legends: You've reached a high level in a relatively short amount of time. Do you attribute your quick learning to your breakdancing background or?
Geovanny: I definitely feel that breakdancing has helped my Jiu-Jitsu game progress quicker than others. The patterns you have to memorize in dancing are very similar to the patterns you have to memorize in Jiu-Jitsu. Also, the conditioning needed for breakdancing transfers well over to bjj. It works your flexibility, strength. explosiveness and your overall body awareness -- it all benefits my game.
BJJ Legends: You recently competed at the first Eddie Bravo Invitational - a sub only competition game show trying to bring BJJ to a TV audience. What do you think about the tournaments format and your experience?
Geovanny: EBI was by far my favorite tournament yet. Not just because I won, but the excitement and the the energy of the tournament was amazing. I love what Eddie's doing with EBI. It’s set up to entertain the audience and also to make it fun and interesting for the competitors. Most tournaments you have to pay them money to compete. The top stars in our sport are still paying entry fees to the biggest tournaments. EBI is paying competitors for submissions and plans to continue to pump any money they can secure from sponsors back into the prize money for competitors. This incentive really pumps us competitors up and encourages the submission.
BJJ Legends: Did EBI make make it onto TV?
Geovanny: From what I know, the footage is still being edited and packaged as a pilot to be sold to a network that can’t be announced yet.
BJJ Legends: In the finals you beat Jeff Glover. What was that like? Were you confident going in? How were your nerves?
Geovanny: Going up against Jeff Glover was so exciting but I was definitely nervous. Jeff Glover has definitely been a big influence in my game. I love the way he entertains and always goes for it -- never holds back. So yeah I was nervous but I had to step it up. I’m used to the pressure though from my breakdancing days. I'm hungry right now at this moment, it doesn't matter who's in front of me I got to do me.
BJJ Legends: Rumor is there is a rematch between you two set for sometime in September. A submission only, no time limit super fight at the Gracie Nationals. Is that true?
Geovanny: At this moment nothing is officially set in stone, but we both said we were down to Rose Gracie so it's going to happen one way or another.
BJJ Legends: Who asked for it?
Geovanny: Lol I want the rematch for sure but I definitely didn't call him out.
BJJ Legends: What do you think about the no time limit sub only format?
Geovanny: I love submission only it challenges you physically and mentally and cancels out stalling. The only strategy that really works is attack or survive -- which is in my opinion the true essence of Jiu Jitsu.
BJJ Legends: Both you and Glover constantly look for the sub and put on a good show so I'm excited to see the rematch. Thanks for taking the time out for this interview, is there anything else you'd like to say?
Geovanny: Thank you for sharing my story all I got to say is keep your eyes on the freaks because we don't sleep. Always representing 10thPlanetjj Phalanx and of course the mighty Freak Show.
BJJ Legends: Is there somewhere online we can go to see videos of you or more info? (Fb page, insta, youtube channel)
New BJJ Diet that was designed by Grapplers for Grapplers. Get your Grip on the Right Foods and Stand on the Podium with us.
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A BJJ Diet that Works Grapplers Diet was created by Jim Fiore who is a purple belt under Carlson Gracie Jiu-Jitsu black belt Jean Dalua Cartagena. Prior to launching the program, Fiore wanted to make sure that it worked. Using himself as a test subject, he dropped 28 pounds in 2.5 months while improving his cardio, strength, speed, and quickness without losing lean muscle. The program is already operational and enrolling clients, and the website will be complete in August 2014. The team at Grapplers Diet understands the demands of being a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner and believes that getting your “Grip on the Right Foods” will increase performance, enhance your Jiu-Jitsu, and improve quality of life.
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Puerto Rico is a small US island (100 miles by 35 miles square) in the Caribbean island chain. It is recognized for its beautiful beaches, rivers and culture but that's not the only beauty of the land, now is getting recognized as the home of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt champions. Puerto Rican black belts include: JT Torres, Israel Reyes, Marcos Torregosa, Jean Dalua Cartagena, Vidiver Vazquez, David Selpa and Shimmy DiSoriano, They were all born on the small island and now they are making waves in the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu world.
Jean Dalua Cartagena, born and raised in Puerto Rico, has this to say about the beautiful island and the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu there, ”Puerto Rico is not only a beautiful island and home of good boxing, surfing, basketball, baseball but we also have judo, wrestling Olympic medalist and good athletes. And now we have good BJJ practitioners too. Marcos Torregosa is a black belt world champion and Pans champ. He is ranked # 1 in the black belt master division GI and No GI by IBJJF and I am black belt Pans champ and ranked # 3 in No GI and # 9 in GI in black belt master division by IBJJF. Puerto Rico also has browns belts, purple belts, blue belts all winning Worlds and Pan championships. The sport is growing very fast over there now we have a handful of schools like Carlson Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, Yemaso BJJ, Flavio Bering, and Tiburones Puerto Rico. Marcos Torregosa and I are planning on making a BJJ camp in Puerto Rico close to the beach with a lot of BJJ, beach, and trips around the island so the people who joint the seminar is not only going to enjoy the BJJ but also the beauty of our land.”