Monday, 3 December 2012

It's not about winning!

Jason, Dave, Kev and Seb ("do I have to train in a gi") all represented Phoenix this weekend at the Hereford Open.
All performed really well and came away with plenty of ideas on areas of their games that need developing.
Jason took Gold, Seb had several tough matches and took Bronze. Neither Kev or Dave placed but learnt valuable lessons from the experience.

One of the guys told me he was dissapointed in the fact he did not "win".

Winning for me is a problematic concept in Jiu-jitsu now days. There are so many factors that enter into the equation here. Who was having a better day on the day due to fatigue, injury, mental state etc.
Also I was taught by my coach that Jiu-jitsu really shows with true dominance of an opponent in a match, (think vintage Roger Gracie here), passing the guard or sweeping, side to mount, solid unquestionable positional control centered around securing the finish.
Not about edging out an advantage and waiting for time to run out to "win" a match.

The goal should be seeking to dominate your opponent and work for the submission.
All you can do on a given day for a competition is attempt to ensure you are physically prepared, menatlly ready to try and impose your (hopefully submission centered) game on your opponent and then go and leave it all on the mat.
There is not a lot else you can do.

Once it's over look at yourself, what worked and what did'nt, chat to your coaches and teamamtes and come Monday night get back on the mat and work on it.

Tuesday, 27 November 2012

I've seen the future and it will be ...

Andy, Fred, Ollie and Nathan all competed this past weekend at the British No Gi Open.

All did extremely well, Ollie and Fred both lost tough first matches on points but learnt valuable lessons on areas to work on in their games.

Andy took Gold in the White Belt Division.

Nathan was outstanding winning all 3 of his matches by submission and taking Gold.
Nathan is one of the hardest working members of our team and it's a pleasure and an honour to train with such a game and dedicated young athlete.
Well done!


Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important than what we fear.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Competition Rules

IBJJF Rules can sometimes be tough to get your head around when getting ready for a competition.
They are important to understand however, I came across these rules outlines which present them in a simple and easy to understand format.

Hope they help.

Thursday, 21 June 2012

Promotions Last Night at Phoenix MMA

Last night it was my honour and pleasure to promote my friend and training partner Jimmy Johnstone to Brown Belt.
In the 15 years I have been training Jiu-jitsu, Jimmy is one of the hardest training people I have met.
He is on the mat every day, always available and ready to train, drill and offer advice to his class mates and friends.
He is always working to promote Jiu-jitsu through competitions, seminars and introducing Jiu-jitsu to schools.
His enthusiasm for training and our sport is an inspiaration and I am very proud to be have been able to acknowledge his progression.

Oli Jones was also promoted to a much deserved Blue Belt and several guys received stripes on their belts.
Well done to everyone last night.
I am blessed and honored to train with such an amazing group of guys.

Friday, 15 June 2012

Andre Galvao Seminar
This will be Andre’s only UK seminar this year and we are fortunate enough to be holding this event at Phoenix MMA Bournemouth.

It will be on Thursday June 28th – 7pm until 930pm then 30 mins for photos and to meet Andre personally.

The cost of the seminar will be just £45 and spaces are very limited and are already filling up so please secure your place by contacting Jimmy Johnstone on 07545568778 or via the gym.

I hope to see you there!

Monday, 28 May 2012

Another great MMA event at Phoenix MMA Gym this weekend, firstly thanks to Jimmy for all the hard work (especially in light of how well he felt Friday) and getting everything organised and ensuring the show ran so smoothly.
Well done to all our team-mates, who win or lose, stepped up.
Congratulations Seb, Matt, Ben, Fred, Damo, Ollie and Alex.

"It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done better.
The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again, because there is no effort without error or shortcoming, but who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, who spends himself for a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who, at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who knew neither victory nor defeat."

Thursday, 24 May 2012

Safe is the enemy of greatness.
It is the pillow average and mediocre people cry themselves to sleep on every night.
Be bold.
Step to the dge of the cliff you fear most.
Dont just jump, DIVE.
Believe deeply!
Your destiny will catch you on the way down.
Always believe.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Well done bro!

One of my oldest training partners and friends, someone who was with me from even before my BJJ journey began recently won a tough decision in SA.
I havent been fortunate enough to train or share a wave with him for some time but was really stoked to see him win his fight.

Well done bro, Im proud of you and to have trained with you and call you my friend.

 "Only one who devotes himself to a cause with his whole body and soul can be a true master. For this reason, mastery demands all of a person."

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

"The Greatest help is self-help; there is no other help but self-help - doing one's best, dedicating oneself wholeheartedly to a given task, which happens to have no end but is an ongoing process." -Bruce Lee

Monday, 23 April 2012

“If you worry about the time and speed of your promotions, you lose yourself. Remember, before you are a blue, purple, or brown belt, you want to feel like one. You must feel that your skills are there. You cannot fool yourself. Attaining a belt is just proof that your teacher is connected with you. You will know when you deserve it. My role as a instructor is to be there and say “Its time.” But you should already realize this on your own. Jiu Jitsu Is not math, and promotion is not based on attendance or calendar dates. A regimented promotion schedule based on dates or attendance is the worst way to gauge development. Jiu Jitsu is more complex than this. There is no sense in chasing a belt and getting it as fast as possible. Often, people do not see that black belt will be their longest belt. Remember, it doesn’t matter if you get it in four years or fifteen. Either way, you will have the rest of your life with a black belt around your waist. Building the belt is what matters. “

Thursday, 19 April 2012


This past Sunday was Phoenix MMA/BJJ's first No Gi Grappling Competition which saw over 130 competitors take part.
It was a really great day and went off incredibly smoothly from an organisational point of view and also with great sportsmanship displayed on the mats.

I was reffing a lot of fights so unfortunately couldnt corner the guys I train with but the matches that I did see (or reffed) just reinforced how proud I am to train with my current team and of all the guys who took part.
Ive often spoken about what I feel Competitions role in Jiu-jitsu is but found a few years ago a great quote from Saulo Ribeiro, one of the greatest BJJ competitors of all time, that puts it really well.
Ive posted this before but recon it's worth reposting.

Saulo Ribeiro gives a lesson on what competion is.

“It is not necessary for every student of jiu-jitsu to enter into competitions. Some may do jiu-jitsu simply because they enjoy gaining the knowledge. Others perhaps dislike the limelight or just don’t want to compete in this particular sport. I love to do other sports, but I don’t have the desire to compete in those sports. Some people don’t like to compete because they don’t know how to deal with loss. If you win, you’re happy, and if you lose, your world gets turned upside down.

That is a problem. This fear of losing scares some people from competition. Then there are those who live and die by competition, but fail to realize it is just a game. It is a game where you mix knowledge, strategy, timing, health, and attitude. Like any game, the best jiu-jitsu practitioner doesn’t always win. Take the World Championship for example. 30 guys sweat blood in their training, and there is only one winner. What about the 29 who worked so hard? Is the champion really better than all of them? It depends. Sometimes, the person with the best technique gets eliminated in the first round.

If you decide to compete, realize that competition is the art of dealing with pressure. Some people face pressure early in life and others not until much later, but in every case, where there is pressure there is competition. The student who doesn’t compete at the tournament is still competing if the pressure is there. Perhaps he even feels more pressure than the one who does go to tournaments because he fights against himself…competes against his feelings and choices. This is the toughest opponent you can have — yourself.

Ultimately, the opponent you will face in the ring is you, because you cannot compete successfully if you do not address internal issues that will affect your performance. When competing, you will not even be able to think about overcoming your opponent if you are too worried about yourself. However, if you are comfortable with your preparation, you will have the confidence to perform. Becoming the champion is not about your opponent. It’s about you.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Monday, 26 March 2012

On Rolling...

It's often discussed how intensely you should be rolling in class to get the most out of training.

I believe there is a time and place for very hard, competition style training but ama firm believer that at least 70% of training should be with lots of control and very little ego.

The idea is to be in as many situations as possible in training to gain as much experience both defending every conceivable situation but also attempting your posisitions and techniques without the fear of failure or injury.

The reason for training is to get better, not prove to ourselves or whoever that we are better than our training partners and friends.

I came across a great clip of Ryron Gracie (Helio Gracie's grandson) training with a student and explaining his mindset while training with a student. It's a longish clip, around 8-9minutes or so but worth sitting through, and getting a glimpse into the thought processes of a higher belt practitioner while training.

Monday, 19 March 2012

Tuesday, 13 March 2012

Well Done Bro

"Don’t wait until you die to learn the warrior’s way. Do it now, each night, just before you drift off to sleep. As you review your day, consider these two questions of courage and love. Learn from each day, so that each day you can show a little more courage and a little more love. Then, as incidents occur, you may rise to the occasion and look back at the end of your life and feel good about the way you lived.” - Dan Millman

Monday, 5 March 2012

Science vs. Faith

I came across this very interesting article that attempts to raise questions in the reader about the scientific nature of God in our lives.

This is a topic I have spent some time trying to figure out in my own life.
I have studied many types of religions and cultures that possess significant spiritual faith.
My personal experiences have taken me through an incredible amount of personal discovery. For most of my life my faith wasn't a true faith. After several events across a span of time I believe Im now fairly "religious" and faithful that God exists.

When I read or hear about scientific discovery from doctors, psychologist, and neuroscientist I get a strong sense that they are presenting scientific data to us as fact, but yet are still very uncertain about many things in our universe and themselves.
When I hear stories from religious, spiritual, or faithful people I get a sense they are trying to do the same thing except have less of a need to define everything.

The question I always ask myself is whether or not the information being offered to me is going to enhance my ability to persevere and succeed in life or is it going to diminish my faith in God and myself which ultimately leads to increased fear and inhibiting doubt.

What I know to be true in my life, is that finding a source of positive emotional and cognitive energy will help you endure and eventually combat the massive amounts of negativity fueling the imbalance of our civilization.

Factual explanations in an every changing world seem to be fleeting. Coming and going like the whether.

Stay faithful to the things that forge your physical, mental and spiritual strength because the storm of doubt is always looming in the heavens.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Jiu-jitsu Mindset

A hand shake and a hug, this is how you’ll end your class (at least the handshake, sometimes the hug).

This is the way we end, face to face with a grip and a smile, by acknowledging everyone in class, by recognizing them and appreciating them. This is the way we build brotherhood.

You have just spent the last hour or two trying to conquer your partner, trying to learn and sometimes we bruise our partner’s ego.
But in the end, we are friends, we are family.
This is jiu-jitsu, a simple connection between two people.

The handshake and hug are gestures of our art, they are symbols of our relevance, of our unity.

by Mark Johnson

Friday, 24 February 2012

BJJ Workouts!

I often get asked for advice with regards to conditioning for BJJ.
It can be a really difficult task balancing everything, work, family, training, recreation time, studying...and then still find the time and energy for conditioning outside of Jiu-jitsu.

A lot of routines dont work for the average guy who has a life outside of Jiu-jitsu but still wants to be in as good a condition as possible for Jiu-jitsu (allowing us to get the most out of training, stay injury free and be in shape to compete). Routines often demand too much of our time, time we often just dont have, and also cut heavily into our recovery ability.
While others arent specific to the demands of our sport (for Jiu-jitsu should read - way of life).

Ive been training Jiu-jitsu for going on 14 years now and have always had an interest in physical training, especially for sport and especially Jiu-jitsu.
Ive read, watched, studied, worked with and spoken to a lot of peaople about conditioning and even lecture on an Exercise Science Degree.
But Im a big believer in the concept of Mentorship in self-developement.
Having someone we can turn to for advice and guidance in certain areas of our life.
There are a lot of good strength and conditioning coaches out there now, but only a VERY small handfull with not only the know how but also the experience of designing conditioning routines for, not only Jiu-jitsu athletes but Jiu-jitsu players with "real lives", those who dont have the luxury of training twice a day every day.
But one of the best Ive come across and have been fortunate enough to call "Coach" is Jason C. Brown.

I first came across Coach Jason several years ago when I got a dvd on Kettlebells For Combat Grapplers, which he had done with Zac Evan Esch (another great strength coach!).
I emailed Coach Jason for some training advice and was blown away with the results I achieved, since then he's been my go to Coach for strength and conditioning advice.
Jason has years of experience not only working with both high level Jiu-jitsu athletes and the rest of us, but also training and is a Purple Belt in Jiu-jitsu himself.
Jason is an expert in the field of fitness and conditioning training and a really good person.
I cant recomend Coach Jason C. Brown highly enough, (thats why I turn to him for advice :-) ).
His sight BJJWORKOUTS.COM which has a link here on my site is a great source for training information and advice, he also offers a couple of awesome products such as his new online programs KETTLEBELL TRAINING FOR BJJ 2.0, Expert Program Critique coaching by email and his new product with Brown Belt Josh Vogel LEVERAGE: FIRST BLOOD.

Leverage:First Blood is awesome! Although aimed at people fairly early on in their BJJ careers, I believe it's focus on the FUNDAMENTALS of Jiu-jitsu AND conditioning make it a great product for everyone.
Fundamentals are the core concepts, the basics behind everything we do in Jiu-jitsu and are the things that the high level guys have mastered and allow them to do the amazing things they do on the mat.
They are our foundation!

Ive spent a lot of money over the years on both Jiu-jitsu and conditioning tuition and instructional material and this is, in my opinion, a definate must.
There is a link to both Coach Jasons BJJ Workouts site and the Leverage program on my blog page where you will be able to get lots more info about him and the programs.

Check them out, train hard and train smart.
Have a good weekend

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Self Confidence...

One of the Jiu-jitsu players I admire most, and was tanks to my mate Jimmy, fortunate enough to meet and train with briefly is Fernando "TererĂª" Augusto da Silva.

I recently re-watched his 2003 JIU-JITSU WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP match against Marcelo Garcia who was rapidly establishing himself as one of the new pound-for-pound best Jiu-jitsu players in the world.
A lot of people expected him to beat Terere' but Terere' went onto dominate Marcelo, pass his guard and submit him with a triangle.
In this match you can see he’s really confident; afterwards you can see him go off celebrating and saying, ‘I told you! I told you I’d get him.’

This match for me always serves to remind me of the importance of believing in yourself. Having confidence in yourself makes a big difference.

Monday, 20 February 2012

A Secret To Success in Jiu-Jitsu

“The key to success is to keep turning up.” Brian Houstan (Hillsong church).

Wednesday, 4 January 2012


It's an old saying but at the start of a new year it's time to evaluate your training and decide what aspects of your game need work. Have you got a gameplan drawn up yet that you are working on? Are you happy with your flexibility, your conditioning, your passing, top game, bottom game, escapes?
What do you plan to do about it?
Are you going to commit to getting on the mat as often as possible? I know this is tough sometimes, working a full time job, kids, relationships... but you have to ask what it means to you, commit to a training routine you can maintain yet still make progress and stick with it.

Happy New Year
Train Hard