My introduction to Marcos Torregrosa was early this year at the IBJJF Chicago Open. As I was watching random matches one of his matches caught my eye. Thankfully, it was pretty early in the match because for that tournament he absolutely tore thru the other lightweights in route to a gold before collecting a silver in the Absolute. Marcos ended the year as the top-ranked Masters black belt at both lightweight and absolute. This review is going to cover his BJJ Escapes App, available for $9.99 from iTunes. The app consists of 20 chapters covering the following positions: mount, side mount, back control, 50/50 and the following submission defenses: triangle, armbar and ankle lock. Don't forget to download the PDF of the map at the bottom of the article for your reference.
The Battlepack Core is a 32L 100% hemp canvas backpack loaded with practical features and backed by Datsusara’s famous customer service. A spacious main compartment with full-length zipper, large variety of external/internal pockets, front and side PALS webbing, and comfortable straps means that Datsusara’s middle-size backpack satisfies the needs of Brazilian jiu-jitsu / MMA / judo / muay Thai types, as well as hikers, cyclists, and world travelers.
There are many reasons to like Datsusara—clean designs, practical features, environmentally friendly materials, stellar customer service—but their most unique characteristic is in the name, which is derived from the Japanese phrase “to leave the corporate worker’s life.” Owner Christopher Odell’s distaste for frivolous consumerism is clear. Datsusara doesn’t advertise. Their products have a minimum of logos. While our senses are under constant siege by deceitful and obnoxious advertising by companies whose sole aim is to sell future landfill, Datsusara’s only marketing strategy relies on product quality, customer service, and word of mouth. They even shut down online retail sales during the Black Friday consumer orgy.
“This workout DVD incorporates both kettlebell and bodyweight exercises to help you enhance your conditioning levels, improve your mobility and agility, and get you sweating.”
Fitness is Function: 4 Week Kettlebell Workout Plan is a 2 DVD set from My Mad Methods. In this set Mark de Grasse takes you thru 18 workouts intended to done over a 4 week period. While I’ve owned kettlebells for quite a while, I’ll admit I rarely use them. In my case I’ve used them for swings and that’s about it. Up until a few weeks ago I couldn’t even do a clean without banging the crap out of my wrists. So when I saw “Perfect for Novice Kettelbell Users” I decided to give it a shot. The DVD set was delivered promptly to my home and the following day I decided to take it for a spin.
This article provided by our guest writer Tyy Withrow. Tyy runs his own blog called BJJ Paperweight. We look forward to working with Tyy more, be sure to keep your eyes out for some more articles by him! Welcome aboard Tyy!!!
It’s been a couple of crazy weeks for me and I’m finally able to sit down and talk about a seminar I was able to help out with. The “Give the Gift of a Gi – BJJ Seminars for Kids” kick-off seminar was a huge success. It was held on October 26th at Foster Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in Kent, Washington. Quite a few Black Belts shared their expertise; Kris Shaw, Cindy Hales, Michelle Wagner, James Foster, and Jean Freitas. There were three different seminars for three different age groups. With this grouping model each seminar ended up being the perfect size. In total there were about 55-60 kids, which is a great turn out. Of those kids, I would guess about 10 had never tried Jiu-Jitsu including my two little nephews. The seminar they attended was their first day of Jiu-Jitsu. I credit the quality of the seminar with the fact that they both enrolled to train the next week. Yes, I’m a proud uncle.
In the last week or so I’ve gotten at least a dozen catalogs in the mail. All of which are doing their best to convince me, my wife and my two girls to spend our money. What I did not get in the mail was a single piece of propaganda telling me what new gis, apps, videos, rashguards, t-shirts, or gear I need. It’s completely unfair. I got 3 American Girl catalogs and not a single flyer from BudoVideos, what the heck?
As a PSA for the grappling community this article will contain links to the retailers that I’ve personally used and/or have seen consistently good feedback on. I’d also highly recommend that you check out the Father’s Day Gift Guide from earlier this year for more gift ideas.
Foundation: Redefine Your Core, Conquer Back Pain, and Move with Confidence by Dr Eric Goodman and Peter Park
As a teacher of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, I'm on the mat at least 3 hours per day. Several years ago, I injured my back training with a college wrestler. For 5 or so years after that, I spent 3 weeks per year unable to walk, and the rest of the year in fear of my back giving out, often in pain.
After doing the basic exercises in the book Foundation, recommended to me by a student, my pain disappeared! That was 2 years ago, and I continue to do the exercises and be pain free.
I have told several students about this book, and one of my students was in the hospital due to his back pain. Soon after practicing the exercises, he went on to win the Pan Ams in one of the senior divisions and said that he had never felt so good!
If you are in pain, this book could change your life.
What do Rodrigo Cavaca,Marcus “Buchecha” Almeida, and Roberto Cyborg Abreu have in common? Other than the World titles, ADCC wins and Pan Ams medals? They all trained foot locks with the same person: Roli Delgado. Roli is a 2nd degree BB (Denilson Pimenta), student of Billy Robinson, and level 5 instructor of Hayastan (Max Bishop). Legal Leg Locks for BJJ is about 90 minutes long and focuses primarily on straight ankle locks and toe holds.
Roli’s approach to teaching is very similar to Ryan Hall. The app begins with a focus on applying the submission correctly with sound fundamentals. Roli then delves into the concepts that you’ll need to make the most of these attacks. The final few sections are details on how to adjust when the sub doesn’t work, how to escape when you’re the one in trouble and finally how to counter attack. As always there is a PDF of the study guide available for download at the end of the article. There's also a video at the end of Roli teaching some attacks from the 50/50.
Ronin Brand contacted me in July to do a review of their John Small’s designed 5 Borough Gi (blue A3L). Since then I’ve worn it at least 20 times, washing and drying it each time. In short, I’ve beaten it up as much as possible over the last 90 days. The gi is available in white, blue and black. Ronin also has sizing for long/slim folks. This limited run gi is simply designed with an illustration by John Smalls printed on the inside of the 5 Boroughs of New York, hence the name. [Editor’s Note: All pictures were taken after the gi was used for 90 days].
Johns Smalls, if you’re not familiar with him, is an avid BJJ practitioner and professional artist who lives in NYC. John’s artwork can be found on/in gis, rashguards, shorts, prints, canvas, etc… In our little corner of the world John has worked with Ronin, Shoyoroll, NoGi and Modern Flow to name a few. To Ronin’s credit they recognized the skills and value of bringing a professional artist into the design process (their Samurai gi was in collaboration with Meerkatsu) and continue to offer well designed gis (check out the Legacy gi). Now to the review.
So what is the first thing you think of when you hear Scramble? Rainbow Spats? Or maybe Star Spangled Spats? How about the cool Rashguards? Even better, the newer Athlete Gi? Well if you thought of all that then you are well aware of the great gear line-up offered up by Scramble, and if you haven’t then you may need to re-evaluate your life. or at least visit their site right now. Seriously, I’ll wait.
Well this go round Scramble has put together a hoody for us to ogle, with a nice clean look and feel without being over the top and the fit and comfort you would expect from a company who has been around the block a time or two.
Founded in 2011, Cardiff-based Strike Fightwear are part of the UK wave of Brazilian jiu-jitsu gear companies. Strike’s kimonos, shorts, and rashguards all feature high-quality construction and their designs register around the Emerica mark on the BJJ industry scale of Jigoro Kano to NASCAR. This is a review of their recently released GRPPLR gi, size A2.
In the words of Strike Fightwear: “This gi has been in development for over a year and features a new cut & fit as well as high-quality embroidery and styling.”
“We designed this gi to be perfect for both everyday training and competitions. It seems foolhardy to train in a certain gi leading up to a competition, only to wear a different, lighter gi on the day. The GRPPLR is both lightweight and durable, ensuring you can wear it every day without it hindering your Jiu Jitsu.”
Hemp Ecstasy Gi Review by Jocelyn Chang, Brazilian Jiujitsu Black Belt of Let’s Roll Jiujitsu Academy, Torrance, CA
I find it appropriate to review the Hemp Ecstasy gi by Submission Fight Company during October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I am not only a Brazilian Jiujitsu Black belt; I am also a cancer survivor. During my bout with cancer, I learned the great benefits of Cannabis as an effective treatment to counter the side effects of chemotherapy. While researching more about Cannabis, I began to learn about Hemp and what a fantastic fiber it is. Hemp is strong, durable, breathable, and, anti-microbial. When you read about Hemp, you learn that not only is it much better than cotton as a fiber, but, it is also much more environmentally friendly too. So naturally, I was very excited to be asked to review the Hemp Ecstasy gi.
Out of the bag I noticed that the build quality is very good. Unlike many gi’s, when you look closely at the stitching, it is nice and even. No loose stitching, or, tag ends anywhere. Also, unlike some other Hemp gi’s I’ve seen, the weave is nice and tight like true gi material. It’s nice to see someone is paying close attention to details that make a truly good gi. After all, it’s equipment, not fashion.
93 Brand has spent the last year making its presence known in the jiu jitsu world. Their initial offering, the Grey Goose, was a very well received grey gi (reviewed here and here). The Gentle Chief rashguard is the love child of their collaboration with BJJ artist Gawakoto. The rashguard features artwork by Gawakoto, is made in the USA and looks pretty spiffy. I want to thank BJJHQ for sending this rashguard to me and letting me beat it up for a few months while working on this review.
"Talking about Lucas is always a pleasure for me. I have never seen an athlete with so many skills like him. He is one of the most complete athletes that I have had the opportunity to train.” Rubens “Cobrinha” Charles
Lucas Lepri has followed up with his guard passing DVD with another 2 volume set. This set is a nogi (but the techniques are easily adapted to gi BJJ) and focused mainly on the reverse De la Riva, De la Riva, Butterfly and Side Control. Lucas also covers some material on the half-guard, back control and turtle. Most of the techniques are sweeps and attacks making it a solid complement to his passing DVD.
Lucas Lepri’s DVD set consists of 2 DVDs and covers ~3 hours of instruction in total. In this article you’ll find mindmaps for both DVDs and some commonalities that I noticed as I broke down the instruction.
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 .
Martial arts apparel and gear company Datsusara was founded in 2007 by Christopher Odell, a man with a clear goal: "Datsusara gear is manufactured to be as strong and versatile as military gear, while incorporating the most functional textiles nature has to offer." His life philosophy is also represented by the company name, which is a translation of the Japanese phrase "to leave the salaried/corporate worker's life." Those are some big green checkmarks, but the ultimate test is how the equipment performs in the world and on the mat.
The Datsusara catalogue features a Brazilian jiu-jitsu gi, fight shorts, and an array of backpacks, bags, and accessories. Everything is made of natural, environmentally friendly fibers like hemp and bamboo. Datsusara gear has been gaining lots of attention recently, as evidenced by many of the items being sold out at the time of publishing. This review covers Datsusara’s hemp fight shorts.
After his new book “BJJ Techniques to Defeat Bigger, Stronger Opponents” hit #1 under the entire category of “Martial Arts” at Amazon.com, BJJ Legends writer Daniel Faggella sat down with us to talk about the book’s success, and his personal journey of putting the book together. Dan is a No Gi Pan Am Champion, expert division champion many times over, and one of the most prolific writers and interviewers in the BJJ world, having conducted dozens of interviews with world champions, and producing three books on combat sports skill development.
BJJ Legends: Dan, you’ve done a LOT of writing about beating bigger opponents in BJJ over the last number of years, why did you decide this year to finally put together the book?
Dan Faggella: Believe it or not, I like to say that this book has taken me four years to write. It was four years ago that I conducted some of my early interviews with Justin Rader, Ben Askren, Draculino, and many of my heroes in the world of grappling, and I’ve kept up the interview habit ever since. Over the past year, after teaching a ton of seminars and writing a lot of articles on this similar topic, I decided that I finally had a clean way to explain the core message.
BJJL: What was that core message for you, Dan?
DF: The message of this book is pretty simple. Statistically speaking, the game of beating bigger, stronger opponents is different from the “normal” game of winning at your own weight class. The sweeps, submissions, and positioning strategies that the best little-guys use to beat the best bigger grapplers are unique, and it’s a skill and strategy that’s teachable.
Roughly six months ago I decided to go to Los Angeles over Labor Day weekend for the sole purpose of meeting up with some of my jiu jitsu e-friends and to take advantage of the world class instruction that the city has to offer. This trip was about immersing myself completely jiu jitsu and training full time. Over the next four days I met and trained with dozens of amazing people including some legends of our sport. Traveling back to St Louis on Monday I was re-energized and excited about my training in a way that I hadn’t been previously.
“A black belt only covers two inches of your butt. You have to cover the rest.” Royce Gracie
I became a bit obsessed with finding a belt made out of gi material a few months ago. You’d think they’d be everywhere, right? Unfortunately that’s not the case. During my overly involved research I found the Ligustica belt by Killer Bee. This belt is made from the same gi material as their Mark II kimono and available for $19.00. I was familiar with Killer Bee from their recent focus on custom gis and also because several of my training partners wear their gis. Everyone I know had good things to say about Jesse and Killer Bee so I decided to take a closer look at their belts.
Tom Barlow, Braulio Estima blackbelt, decided to work with a strength and conditioning coach to prepare for the 2012 British Open. Enter Will Badenoch of Plymouth Performance Gym. Will designed a strength and conditioning program specifically for Tom that took into account that Tom had other responsibilities outside of BJJ, didn’t want to sacrifice mat time and was coming off a long layoff due to injury. Tom went on to win his division in the British Open and said, “I can honestly say that I’ve never felt in such good shape during a competition.” Will decided to use his work with Tom to create an e-book outlining a 12 week strength and conditioning program for other grapplers. The manual, The Complete Strength and Conditioning Blueprint for Grappling Sports, is a succinct treatise on how to incorporate Will’s program into your training.
Becoming a Supple Leopard: The Ultimate Guide to Resolving Pain, Preventing Injury, and Optimizing Athletic Performance by Kelly Starrett and Glen Cordoza is a lifesaver. This book explains how to avoid injuries through correct body mechanics, and is a blueprint to treating injuries that do arise. After my experience I consider it essential reading for anyone, especially those involved in body-brutalizing sports like Brazilian jiu-jitsu and judo.
This spring, the past 25 years of abuse from judo, jiu-jitsu, skateboarding, and sitting at a desk came to a head and my hip / upper glute / lower back went on strike. I was pointed in Kelly Starrett’s direction by Andrew from Dig Deep BJJ and after watching some of the MobilityWOD videos, decided that I needed a copy of his book. The last month of putting these exercises to work has led me to believe that over the course of a lifetime, Supple Leopard will prove to be worth its weight in physiotherapy, chiropractic, massage, and acupuncture receipts.
Train to push yourself both mentally and physically; Compete to improve yourself, as well as those around you; and Live to be healthy in mind, body and soul. Hylete
You may remember Hylete from our review last year of their Compete 1.0 shorts. Since then I’ve become a regular customer buying their shorts, compression gear and even a shirt for my oldest. In July they added a gear bag to their product list. The bag is a voluminous backpack that can be converted to shoulder strapped equipment bag for extra storage. The bag has: a shoe locker, wet storage area, tablet sleeve, side-pocket cooler, metal buckles and comes with a 2 year warrantee. As a bonus to our readers please use the code: LEGENDS25 to get 25% off this or any Hylete product.
Platinum Jiu Jitsu has a small but deeply loyal following of jiu jiteiros that appreciate the flash of their designs and the quality of their craftsmanship. Each gi is produced in a very small batch, just 25 total gis divided among the 4 sizes, and features a fully sublimated rashguard liner. The rasghuards are based on artwork by Hawaiian artist Katch1. The exterior patching, embroidery and color schemes are all intended to compliment the interior artwork. Sean sent me the Grenada, #5 of 25, in A3 a few months ago and I’ve been putting it thru its paces ever since.