Keelan Berg recently had a stellar performance at the Baddest Blue tournament which found Berg showcasing his great talents against some of the top blue belts in Southern California. He is a blue belt under D.Davis and trains out of Primal Jiu-Jitsu in San Diego. To Keep his competitive spirit going he trains a lot, teaches the kids class and competes every chance he gets.
Care to share with readers about yourself and your BJJ background? Keelan Berg: I started wrestling in high school because I was tired of getting beaten up by my two brothers. My younger brother is a big guy so I needed a head start. At the same time, my older brother started BJJ and he soon was able to take us both. I found D. Davis at Primal Jiu Jitsu and my skills developed quick, at least between my family rivals. I’m not the kind of student that wants to jump around to a bunch of different schools and I have never trained anywhere but Primal. BJJ has developed into a lifestyle for me and I have learned much more about myself.
How has being a participant in BJJ impacted your life? Keelan Berg: It really revs up your mind and imagination. Like the other day I was standing in line for lunch and realized I could choke and armbar everyone in the line if I wanted to. But on the serious side, it really has made me focus more at school- my grades have gone up and I am way more confident taking on the challenges of starting a life for myself. I also have learned to not sweat the small stuff and as long as I work hard and make decisions based on my heart that everything will eventually fall into its proper place. The greatest thing I’ve learned is that it takes time to become an expert at something. So many people today think that everything should come them quick, but BJJ has taught me to slow down and enjoy the experience of learning step-by-step.
Being a participant everyone wants to make the best of their experience. Making the step to competing what were your reasons for wanting to become a competitor? Keelan Berg: I kind of treat every roll like a competition, so I feel it was a natural progression for me. I constantly want to test my skills and always enjoy a tough match. There’s only so much you can learn in the classroom bubble, and I feel it’s important to put your heart on the line. The only downfall of competing is if you have regret that you didn’t put enough on the line, and if you do that, then there really is nothing to lose.
How would you define yourself as a competitor? Keelan Berg: I definitely try to be aggressive and continuously search for an armbar. I don’t like to defend a submission until the very last minute. I like to use offense and constant movement as my defense. I don’t know if it’s the best strategy, but I just love the feeling of getting a submission.
What are some of the benefits you gained through competing? Keelan Berg: Girls, money, and fame. Yeah right, at least not yet. Primarily, I think it’s the best tool to see if my game is progressing or regressing. If I’m not seeing progressively better results in competition then I have to go back through my basics and see where I can improve. One of the most beneficial aspects has been the mental toughness that is gained through competition. It really is scary stepping out there to fight someone I don’t know, but when it’s over I realize that it’s not that big of a deal. I’m starting to learn that this mental toughness can be used in all aspects of my life, not just on the mats.
Now just recently you competed in a grueling tough tournament known as the Dream Jiujitu's Baddest Blue tournament. How the overall experience was and how does a competitor such as yourself deal with the shortcoming of a lost? Keelan Berg: The 40-minute semi-final match showed me that I can overcome adversity one minute at a time, and it was the toughest match I’ve had. I think the emotion of that match really took it out of me, and next time I’ll need to be prepared for the mental stress that a long match can put on you. As for the loss, I am focusing and preparing on arm barring the Baddest Blue winner at a future tournament. It’s tough because I had beaten him a few months ago in a point tournament, but I’m sure we will be seeing each other for many years to come.
Looking onward what do you see for yourself in future in this sport? Keelan Berg: I’m a fairly new blue belt, so right now I’m focusing on winning the major IBJFF tournaments at blue. Also, I teach the kids class and hope that my knowledge gained through competing can be passed on to the little guys and girls. I try not to focus on things too far in the future because it is a little daunting. I just want to make a solid foundation for myself so I don’t develop any bad habits that will hamper me at the higher levels.
Any closing remarks before we close this interview? Keelan Berg: Thank you Monta Wiley and bjjlegends.com for the chance to tell others about Primal Jiu Jitsu and myself. We are a fairly new school and it’s always great to see how BJJ is expanding.
Special thanks: To Professor D. Davis, Coach Craig, and my teammates for all the motivation, instruction and friendship. Also, to my two brothers for constantly trying to prove that they were tougher than me.
Five year old donates his too small gi and receives an new one thanks to the Give a Gift of a Gi Program.
Nicholas father died when he was just 18 months old. Nicholas’ mother Satu Immermann was widowed three years ago when her husband had a heart attack while in the backyard playing with the kids. This left Satu to raise three small children on her own.
Jammin' BJJ is a branch of the non-profit organization The Carly Stowell Foundation (CSF). The CSF provides enhanced education in sports and music to young people who demonstrate passion for learning and a commitment to excel. The Give the Gift of a Gi program is part of the organization that takes donated gis and repurposes them. Most gis are given to children who wouldn’t otherwise be able to afford one. Some of the badly tattered gis are sewn into gi bags and a few, the worst of the worst, are sold in bulk as raw cotton to help cover the cost of shipping.
Elena Stowell is the founder of the Jammin BJJ Foundation. She was moved to create the foundation after the sudden death of her 15-year-old daughter, the subsequent depression and finding Jiu-Jitsu to help cope with the loss. “Passion”, states Elena. Elena has written book ‘FLOWING WITH THE GO: A Jiu-Jitsu Journey Of The Soul’ about her journey to her blue belt and her path to acceptance of the loss of her daughter.
Nicholas, the 18-month-old, is now 5 and in kindergarten. He has been training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for two years through a neighborhood program. The class is taught by Professor Kris Shaw who is black belt under Tinguinha and a mother of four young girls. The class is held at Carlson Gracie OC even though Kris has no affiliation there. Troy Acker, the academy owner and black belt under Franco De Camargo, rents the space at a reduced rate so the class can take place.
In the months before Satu’s husband died, she was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer. When her husband passed, it left the family financially struggling. Despite a long, drawn out foreclosure and eventual short sale, Satu and the children are doing ok.
Nicholas quickly out grew his M0000. It was a hand-me-down and never quite fit him anyway. The Jammin BJJ Foundation heard about his family and his willingness to learn, listen and train and found him a new M00 with lots of growing room. Best part is that he traded in his M0000 and now another deserving (little) kid gets to train.
Nicholas’ new gi was donated by Marcelo Alonso’s team and has a Marcelo Alonso patch on it. It’s an interesting turn of events because Marcelo, Troy, and Franco are all part of the Carlson Gracie Team and classes are held at a Carlson Gracie academy. (Carlson Gracie OC)
If you would like to donate an old gi or organize a kid’s seminar please contact Elena Stowell at the Carly Stowell / Jammin' BJJ Foundation 16915 272nd St SE Suite 100 Box 101 Covington, WA 98042
At the Open Alliance took Gold for the men's adult. CheckMat and Brasa Caio Terra took silver and bronze respectively. In the female division again Alliance took gold. This time CheckMat and the Roger Gracie Academy took silver and bronze.
European Open Results
Mens's Adult 1. Alliance 2. CheckMat 3. Brasa Caio Terra
Women's Adult 1. Alliance 2. CheckMat 3. Roger Gracie Academy
All right, we are here at the Hip-Hop Chess Federation Invitational. Would you please tell us how you found out about the Hip Hop Chess Federation?
Ralek Gracie: Adisa [Banjoko] has been a friend of mine for some time. He's been into Jiu-Jitsu, he's been into chess and the whole culture and how the cultures connect. He reached out to me a few years ago to see if I would do the first Hip Hop Chess Invitational/tournament/event and it was awesome to see the connections, the event, to see RZA. I'm a huge hip-hop fan. I'm a practitioner an artist myself. I'm really into the whole culture of hip-hop and chess and the connect. Years ago I was at the first event and I competed at the same chess tournament and lost pretty quick but now I feel like I've gotten my game up very slowly but more than I was last time.
How long have you been playing chess? Ralek Gracie: I've been playing chess my whole life. I feel like a long time but not seriously, just on and off, anytime I could get a game. It always seemed like there was never enough people to get a game. As much as I could, I would. Really, I don't think I'm more than a blue belt with a couple of stripes, if that.
Shout out to our Metamoris fans? Ralek Gracie: If you've got your tickets to Metamoris, we will see you there. It's going to be an amazing show. If not catch it on line www.metamoris.com, it's going to be awesome.
Through the gofundme site the BJJ community raised roughly $10k from 134 donors in a week and another $10k + from the other 4 fundraisers. Thank you to everyone who helped organize, who participated, who rolled, who donated and who helped spread the word.
Joe Camacho will be laid to rest Friday Dec 27th, 2013. Forrest Lawn Memorial Parks & Mortuary Covina Hills 21300 Via Verde Dr. Covina Ca. 91724
Viewing is from 9:30 am to 12:00 noon. Followed by the service 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm. They anticipate a lot of people and there is limited seating so please plan accordingly.
For those who cannot attend, you can view the service online. http://webcast.funeralrecording.com/events/viewer/5092 Memorial ID: 5092 Password: (Leave Blank)
The reception will be held at Stevens Steakhouse following the funeral from 3:00pm to 6:00pm. Steven's Steakhouse 5332 Stevens Place Commerce Ca. 323-723-9856
Any questions or support, please contact Forest Lawn at 801-528-3488
Challenged to find space in my backpack and limited to just one bag by the airlines, my friend suggested we vacuum seal my gis. I didn't think an A2 was going to fix in the 11" wide roll-style bags but it did. We removed the air and when we were done my gi had shrunk down to roughly the size of a five subject notebook.
Its not the perfect choice for all trips. You'd need to re-vacuum seal and without the machine your stuff would never fit going back. But for the right situation, say taking a bunch of gis on a one way trip it'd be a great space saver.
Sprained a finger? Use a ponytail holder for extra support.
One of the guys at my academy showed me this little trick.
You've sprained your finger. You've iced, medicated and elevated. Now you want to train. Start by taping the finger to provide a compression. Don't tape too tightly. Next use a hair tie to support the injured finger. Sandwich the hurt finger to the neighbor finger using a hairband instead of tape. Its quick and when it falls off, as the tape inevitably does, just retie the hair tie.
Remember to tie the fingers two-by-two so that there isn't a finger left with out a supporting finger. For example tape the ring finger to the pinky and the index finger to the pointer. If you tape the ring finger to the index finger that leave the pinky finger vulnerable.
This letter send from Afghanistan touched me and I want to share it. The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu community is a community that is tighter than most. What I find surprising is the reach of the community. Also if you have friends who train and are currently serving or about to be deployed let them know that training is available.
Hello from Afghanistan....
I just read your words in BJJ Legends about the New Year’s Eve rape. From here in Afghanistan, I hadn't heard about it at all, and to be honest, I'm not very plugged into the BJJ community yet anyway. But I have to say.... I'm crushed. I guess I'm not so naïve that I think there are no douchebags in BJJ. But it still sucks soo bad what happened. And esp by people in the BJJ family. I read that it's similar to getting caught in a choke. I have no real fear of it when I get caught up and choked, because I totally trust my opponent to release me when I tap. I trust my BJJ family.
Over here, we're nothing special. All of us at the very beginning of our journey. But trusting each other in a choke or armbar etc, has brought us closer as a small family here.
The trust feeds the family feeling, and the family feeling feeds the trust. And because of that I think maybe we grow in our BJJ better. Let alone the violence & mental anguish of the act, I can't imagine the absolute betrayal this poor woman must have felt (still feels) from her BJJ family. the confusion, the shock, the betrayal. It just turns my stomach to think about it.... It's all just sad & disgusting.
Patrick Whelan Born & raised in St Louis, MO 1 of 4 kids, rowdied around a lot. Played lots of diff sports growing up. Joined the Coast Guard at 17, while still in high school. Joined the Air Force active after high school and worked in Electronic Warfare. Retired from the Air Force reserves after 23 years as Master Sergeant. Did Volunteer Fire & Rescue for 10 years. When stateside, white belt under Prof Marcelo Alonso at a center in Fife, WA. Now working as civilian advisor to the Afghan army on tech issues. Been deployed to Afghanistan for over past 3 years. Open FaceBook group Jiu-Jitsu Afghanistan.