Getting to the root of the problem seems to be the headline crusade which touches on the year in review for our martial arts community in 2013. Negativity has without question surfaced rapidly in the BJJ and MMA community and has brought everyone to a standstill, pondering the burning question “Where Did We Go Wrong?”
Promoting its campaign against the ongoing corruption “Mixed Martial World" demonstrates the marksmanship in raising awareness of the many moral values that the core of martial arts stem from.
In this exclusive interview BJJ Legends sits down with co-founders Bret Perchaluk and Jessica Leigh as they share with us their mission with the organization in Bringing Mixed Martial Arts back to its roots.
First off, let's start with how you both got into Jiu-Jitsu and your training backgrounds?
Bret: I got into BJJ when I was wrestling in HS. I found a gym near my house and I went to check it out thinking they were teaching wrestling, but in reality they were grappling and I fell in love with it and haven’t stopped training. Since then I have trained with, trained, and competed against some of the best fighters in the world. I’ve done tons of other martial arts as well; I’m a Judo Black Belt, Japanese Ju Jitsu Black Belt and a Brown Belt in BJJ under Master Roberto Traven, I’ve studied JKD, Krav Maga, and did Kung Fu when I was a kid. I also boxed and Wrestled through College where I was on the Rider University Division I nationally ranked wrestling team. I am also a Senior Defensive Tactics Instructor for the government and work with and teach special operations personnel.
Jessica: First I will start by saying I’ve been in love with martial arts for a long time. I started out working as a ring girl at local promotions in the NJ/NYC/PA area and fell in love with the art that I was watching. The truth is, I was always fascinated when fights went to the ground and couldn't understand why people would boo. All I saw was the beautifully executed techniques in the art of BJJ. I got more involved in the sport by working for top MMA apparel companies, helping handle some of their marketing and learning more of the sport from that angle, but I still didn't have the guts to actually try it for myself. That all changed when I met Bret. I would go to all of Bret's competitions and practices and just watch in awe. Bret saw my love for martial arts, as well as the reality that this isn't a safe world anymore and the need to know self-defense is extremely important and so he encouraged me to start training. I love practicing BJJ and getting to try and surprise Bret with sweeps around the house.
Known as The People's Champion in his grappling residence of Northern California Manny Diaz has been living out a lifelong dream that this ever growing Brazilian Jiu-jitsu practice has given him. Currently training under BJJ World Champion Caio Terra his new venture as a brown belt has presented a new set of challenges that came with his newly acquired rank. Nevertheless with challenges also presents opportunity which has allowed Diaz to keep moving with each BEAT to smashing all obstacles that stand in the way of reaching his ultimate goal. Manny Diaz recently spoke with us at BJJ Legends as he opens about his training philosophy, current brown belt venture, and his future goals in giving back to the community that has given so much to him.
What does becoming a brown belt in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu signifying for Manny Diaz? Manny Diaz: At my age I’ve been living a dream. I never thought that I would be competing at such a high level. Brown to me is just as important as black, It’s the stage of refinement before the highest level. Can’t cut any corners, you have to put in the time and work hard if you truly want to be at the top.
How do you currently feel at this belt level? Manny Diaz: At first I was scared but I really feel my game changing at brown. It has all to do with the possibilities of submissions with leg locks and the other things it opens up because of it. I’m eager to learn and even more eager to compete.
What are some of the new challenges and goals you have set out for yourself as a brown belt? Manny Diaz: Ultimately being the brown belt world champion, there are many tournaments that are great and I would love to win but none to me are greater than the world championships. I don’t think I can set a higher goal other than winning the open class title along with it. I’m not greedy and would gladly take the win at weight, besides I need to let the other guys have a chance to win too right… LOL
Since its inception in 2005, the North American Brazilian Jiu-jitsu Federation has laid down a staple of premiere grappling tournaments in Southern California. SJJIF offers the best competition experience for all its participants. Its successful run over the years has spawned the creation of a fleet of NABJJF events beyond the California’s border to Arizona and Texas. This popularity has many grapplers wanting to get a clinching grip on the tournament action.
Continuing its partnership with the SJJIF, NABJJ brings to you its own version of elite tournament experience to gather the best grappling talents from around the world to compete on one stage.
The Sports Jiu-Jitsu International Federation in conjunction with the NABJJF proudly presents The SJJIF Worlds tournament on December 14 & 15 at the Walter Pyramid at CSU Long Beach in Long Beach, California. They are inviting competitors of all ages to participate in both Gi and/or No-Gi divisions. Their website contains information on hotel accommodations for out-of-town competitors. The event is an opportunity for all grapplers to get the best experience at an affordable price.
In addition, as an added bonus, all black belts compete for FREE when they register for their free SJJIF membership. (Register must be made by November 12 for this offer)
For More information on how to register and take your step at being a part of greatness visit
Becoming a model of excellence in one’s line of work is an aspiring goal for any evolving Brazilian Jiu-jitsu practitioner. Since its launch in 1998 Paragon Brazilian Jiu-jitsu has exhibited this concept with the production of many grappling talents such as Jeff Glover and Bill Cooper. Expanding its club’s movement to the southern region of the United States, Paragon Austin continues this endless trail in becoming one of the best BJJ schools in the Lone Star State.
Starting in 2011 by Robert Dembeck and Darrin Lillian these two founders quickly organized a plan to mold itself into its own brand of excellence. With its later assemblage of elite black belt instructors to assist with the enchantment of the program top quality training and instruction was not hard to come by for any student training at Paragon Austin.
The dedication each instructor puts into their work is above and beyond the standards of your typical BJJ instructor which creates a unique diversity of knowledge gained from the participant walking out of each class.
Starting his instructor position early this year David Ginsberg black belt Mike Harmon brings over a decade of experience that any students will benefit from. Not only has his assistance proven to be a great aid for the students at Paragon Austin but also for himself which has allowed Harmon to achieve major success as a competitor which includes becoming a brown belt no-gi world champion in late 2012 .
The Brazilian Jiu-jitsu community has had its share of exciting moments, striking possibilities, and trends that have revolutionized the sport into what we see it as today. Continuing with the ever growing cycle, over a month ago tournament creator and BJJ Black Belt Michael Proctor issued an open invite calling out all finishers to compete in the Pacific Northwest's first Premiere Submission Only tournament known as the "Chess on the mat Championship".
Bring a new flare to the grappling scene in Washington the tournament's unique submission only rule system along with its prestigious prizes for the winners set up the platform for an experience all participants will remember and benefit from.
The buzz of Proctor's submission games extended throughout the region which got the attention of grappling competitors in Oregon, Idaho, California, and even across the border lines inside Canada all eager in putting their skills to the test on the competition mat.
An event shaping itself into another monumental moment for Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, the overwhelming response of over 500 foreseen competitors could not be firmly contained at a High School venue on October 5th. Due to this minor dilemma the "Chess on the Mat Championships" has been rescheduled to January 18th in 2014 at the famous Tacoma Dome in Tacoma, Washington.
In an exclusive Press Release Statement Michael Proctor issued this announcement to all competitors, teams and coaches involved in the tournament.
Grapplethon 2: SoCal Jiu-Jitsu Community Unite in Support for Frank Edge
Giving and receiving are frequent sensations a practitioner will experience being involved in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Employing the technique of giving August 24th marked a monumental day for the Jiu-Jitsu community in Southern California. Unifying together for a charitable rally Grapplethon 2 unveiled the true power of the strong support system that exists in our community through the event’s efforts in aiding cancer battling contender Frank Edge.
Hosted at Dan Lukehart’s Brea Jiu-Jitsu academy the event brought together over 67 grapplers from various schools such as Atos JJ, Ribeiro Jiu-Jitsu, Gracie Barra, amongst other we'll established Jiu-Jitsu teams.
With gathered proceeds aimed toward assisting Edge Grapplethon 2 featured a three hour fun-filled extravaganza which included nonstop training, raffle prizes, an insane 180 minute charity challenge, and most importantly exposing the unique camaraderie that exist in the Southern California BJJ community.
“It was truly a pleasure to host Grapplethon 2.” said event host Dan Lukehart. “The Grapplethon concept fits well with our gym’s philosophy and we want to support any attempt to bring the Jiu-Jitsu community together - particularly for such a great cause. Seeing so many people rally for somebody, most had never met, really shows how tightly knit our community is.”
The Pacific Northwest's Premier Submission Only Grappling Tournament
It’s quite common for an idea to spring up that brings forth a new surge of excitement inside the Brazilian Jiu-jitsu community. These ever-growing possibilities produce many avenues for individuals in chasing their grappling dreams which in hand contributes to the evolution of our sport itself for future generations.
Setting in motion a new trend in his region of Washington with the establishment known as the ”Chess On The Mat" BJJ Submission Championships creator Michael Proctor hopes to give practitioners a new experience in competing that all those training in the Northwest will certainly benefit from.
BJJ Legends got the opportunity to speak with Proctor as he touches on his journey as a grappler into creating the event and exclusive details on what makes this tournament one of its kind.
Tell us a little bit about yourself and your BJJ background?
Michael Proctor: I’m a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt under Marcello C. Monteiro. I started training in 2001 and I’ve been training full-time since 2005. As a Blue Belt I basically started waking up and going to sleep on the mats. BJJ is all I do. I received my Black Belt November of 2012. I’m currently the Head Instructor at Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu of Tacoma.
From the inauguration stage to their present status, everyone has their own tale on the effect Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has made on their lives. The rewards one acquires are quite beneficial which can carry ones march atop of the medal podium to positive modifications in their personal development.
Grateful for his current state life wasn’t always this accommodating for 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu blue belt Kevin Reed. The rocky journey he endured is a prime illustration of the impact Jiu-Jitsu can bestow upon an individual.
Down in the dumps everyday was a constant battle for Reed. The frequent bullying Reed suffered throughout high school would be the trigger to years of low self-esteem haunting his life. These past events continued to follow Reed after graduation. Over-weight, financially unstable, and mentally broken became the daily norm, as there seemed to be no solution for solving his problems.
“I got bullied a lot in high school. From grades 7-10 people would throw stuff at me on the bus, push me in school, and spit on me. It was terrible. It all ended eventually after high school but I was still super low. I hated life.”
Although stuck in a horrible predicament life always has a way of taking its course and fortunately, for the troubled Reed, help was just around the corner. A longtime fan of Mixed Martial Arts submission sector of fighting, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu was one pastime Reed was always intrigued by. Eagar to learn from his self-teaching strategies with his brother to his fundamental beginnings at Zealous Nation MMA these small elements would set in motion a new path toward a more positive outlook for the New Jersey native.
“I had been a common fan of MMA for at least eight years. It started in middle school in 2004 with guys like Chuck Liddell, Randy Couture, and Tito Ortiz that soon turned into a serious part of my life around 2007. Finally my love for the sport just naturally progressed from watching it to actually doing it.”