Thursday, 7 November 2013

Wednesday Gi Class

Worked on drop seio nage ( shoulder throw ) tonight. Then drilled basic submission sequence from the guard and hip bump sweep to mount escape.
Technical training was x-pass, smash pass and smash pass to mount.
Finished with rolling.
Good work tonight everyone worked really hard.

Monday, 4 November 2013

Monday night gi class

Good turnout tonight! Great to have so many guys on the mat.
After warming up and drilling hip throws, submission sequence from the guard and basic sweep to mount escape. We then worked on opening closed guard, defending grips and sweep attempts and how to approach open guard. Finished off with rolling.
Well done to Rich on his much deserved stripe.


Yesterday members of our team competed in Nottingham.
8 out of 9 who competed meddled!
Jimmy took silver in open weight brown belt,  Mike took bronze light weight blue and Nathan took gold.
Well done guys!

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Friday night gi class and stripes!

Finished off working on half guard (from the bottom) concepts and basic techniques last night.
Drilled hip throw and then hip throw to armbar.
Controlling distance and position, taking the back, rolling under sweep and grabbing the foot. Also worked on preventing the underhook and cross face.
Last night Dave, Mark, Seena and Andy all received much deserved stripes on their belts. Well done again guys!

Coming together as a team is the beginning
Staying together is progress
Working together = success.

Friday, 1 November 2013

Wednesday Gi Class

Worked on basic hip throw off basic gi grip.
Then kept working on half guard fundamentals: maintaining position, taking the back and then the rool under sweep.
Finished with rolling for 45 minutes. Good class tonight, everyone working hard.

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

What are fundamentals..?

I often talk about fundamentals in class and we even have a fundamentals class on a friday here at Phoenix (6-7pm with Siroos).
Ive had a few people however ask me what exactly a fundamental is.
A fundamental must meet at least 3 basic points:

1- It's something everyone who plays BJJ needs to know how to do.
2- It's something everyone who plays BJJ will do in essentially the same way.
3- It's something everyone who plays BJJ will need to do without conscious thought while rolling in order to play the game well.
Those of you that have trained with me know that my entire coaching philosophy is based on the importance of solid fundamentals.

So as an example, not everyone who doess BJJ at a high level plays berimbolo. 
So I would not consider the berimbolo a fundamental.
This does'nt mean that some black belts will not use it as a core part of their own game (ie: Mendes brothers), and it certainly doesn’t mean Jimmy or I wouldnt teach a berimbolo class. But it does mean that you can be a perfectly good black belt, without berimbolo. The same can be said for inverted sweeps, DLR guards, rubber guard, and a whole bunch of positions and techniques.
Compare the above example with an elbow escape. Every black belt on planet Earth has a solid elbow escape (or should).
The mechanics behind the basic motion won't change much; the physics of the movement remain the same regardless of age, weight, etc. And it's one of those things all good players start to do as a natural reaction, without having to stop and think about it.
The funny thing is that the more you veer away from just core fundamentals, the more I believe you actually stifle much of your growth process.
While the more you stick to just fundamentals, the more room for creativity, play, and unique games on the mat.

Monday night gi class

After warming up tonight we worked on ippon seio nage ( shoulder throw ) again both as uchikomi drills and then onto the crash mats and then straight to the mat.
Technique tonight focused on half-guard. We covered some basic concepts and then how to prevent the smash or underhook pass and then how to take the back.
Then rolled for 45 minutes.
Good work tonight from everyone!

Saturday, 26 October 2013

Friday night

After warm ups we worked on our entries for our seio nage (shoulder throw) by doing uchikomi drills (turning in) we then finished the throws with sets onto the crash mats.
We reviewed passing DLR guard - cutting across and attacking the ankle lock.
We finished with a couple of 8 minute matches.
Great finish to the week.
Thanks guys for the good training.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Wednesday Gi Class

Last night we worked on passing DLR guard by attacking the free foot with an ankle lock.
We also drilled the counter to the foot lock.
We finished by rolling for 45 minutes.
Good class and everyone worked really hard.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Monday night gi class

Tonight we worked on passing DLR guard.
After a warm up we went over the importance of trying to keep good base when in DLR and avoid being swept.
We did two basic passes against DLR-
cutting across to north/south position and getting a kimura and back step pass to reverse half guard and and pass.
We then did some positional sparring from DLR.
Finished with rolling for 45 minutes.

Sunday, 20 October 2013

De La Riva Guard concepts

De La Riva guard is a form of open guard. Popularised in Jiu-jitsu by Carlson Gracie black belt Ricardo De La Riva in the 1980's.

This can be a very offensive guard that can be used to set up sweeps and submissions. 

This is a very effective open guard and used a lot in high level competition. 

It's a very useful guard even against bigger opponents as you can keep their weight off you while working to upset their base and sweep passing attempts whether the passer is standing or on their knee's. 


DLR is known for it's outside hook BUT it's important to control your opponents heel to prevent him turning his front knee out and disengaging your hook.

Focus on controlling his lead leg with your grip and hook while forcing his other leg back like trying to make him do the splits. 

It's important NOT to let your opponent square up to you and remove your front leg hook. Always use your free foot to push his hip and frustrate his base. 

Use your grips to control his upper body. Either double sleeve,  sleeve and collar or sleeve and heel or collar and heel. 

Your grips will also help prevent foot lock attempts on your free foot.

Work on controlling your opponent from here,  preventing pass attempts and upsetting his base. Then pick 3 - 4 techniques and drill them without resistance before adding them to your positional sparring. 

Saturday, 19 October 2013

Friday night class

Friday night focused on reviewing the 3 basic DLR guard techniques we have been working on this week.
After warming up and take down practice we drilled the 3 techniques from DLR guard for 20 minutes before moving on to rolling.
I will put up a post about basic De La Riva concepts this weekend.
Next week passing DLR.

Thursday, 17 October 2013

Wednesday class

Continued working on De La Riva tonight.
After a warm up we worked on gripping from standing to pulling DLR guard, then drilled the 3 techniques from Monday- overhead sweep, single leg, back take.
We then did speed drill for 2 minutes basic armbar, solo hip heist 1 minute, 2 minutes triangle and 1 minute solo triangle.
Finished rolling for 45 minutes.
Good class and everyone worked hard!

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Monday night gi class

Tonight after warming up and drilling some takedowns we worked on De La Riva guard.
We did 3 basic techniques:
Tomo nage (overhead sweep)
Sit up to single leg
Basic back take.
Finished with 45 minutes of sparring.

Saturday, 12 October 2013

Hard work and perseverance

I read once that one of jiu-jitsu's greatest lessons is that it teaches that we can succeed without an ounce of natural talent.
All it takes, in almost any endeavour is hard work and perseverance.

I've been fortunate to have made some good friends through jiu - jitsu and see first hand this positive influence it can have.

A friend of mine is in this month's Train Hard Fight Easy. He kindly mentions me but in truth it takes a great deal of personal dedication and discipline to stick with training and diet changes.
Well done Toby, very proud of you.

Friday night class

Great class tonight, every one worked hard which is tough after a long week.
We worked on a double leg with the gi, then we drilled taking the back when our opponent turns in on us,  then when they turn away after passing the guard.
We drilled maintaining the back and then sparred.
To finsh we did positional sparring from the back position.
Good work tonight, have a great weekend and see you next week on the mat.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

Takedown Class

Thursday is takedown training. After a good warm up we practiced high single leg takedowns off of a collar tie by pulling on the opponents head to create a reaction by him posturing up and us snagging a high single.  We worked on two finishes,  first getting the leg high onto the hip and turning the knee out and then by dropping to a double.
We then did some solo drills: sprawling, penetration steps and wrestling sit outs.
Partner drills were basic double, elbow pop up double and then sprawling off the double to back take.
Finally couple of rounds of rolling.
Tomorrow night drilling and sparring session.
Thanks to all the guys for a good session tonight!  

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Wednesday Gi Class

Good class tonight, and we were joined by Phoenix's boxing coach Mark (in a gi!) and thai boxing coach Michael on the mat.
Warmed up with double leg takedown and sprawl to back attack.
Trained taking the back from side control, off arm bar defense and then drilled maintaining back position.
Then rolled.

Tuesday no gi

Worked on taking the back from the mount,  rear naked choke and then armbar from the back off choke defence.
Drilled maintaining back no gi and then rolled.

Monday, 7 October 2013

Monday gi class

Good class tonight, working on controlling turtle position and taking the back.
Did basic clock choke and three variations of taking back from opponent turtled:
Putting near hook in
Rolling back take
Rodeo back take.
Smaller class but everyone worked hard.

Rickson Gracie advises on how to train and roll.

Rickson Gracie advises on how to train and roll. He emphasizes the fact that Jiu-Jitsu practisioners should focus on the thecnical side first without using their physical assets. In the words of Rickson himself :

“Even when you spar during training, you should minimize your natural talents. By limiting yourself, you may find yourself in much worse situation, but you are forced to think your way out, using techniques you would not have otherwise used. When you start doing this, you begin to understand what is really wrong in a certain situation and you begin to understand what actually needs to be done in a technical way in order to improve the situation. You then begin to develop a real, deep progress, understanding the mechanics of any situation.”

“It is important to remember that in a serious fight or in a competition, the mechanics of the fight will be exactly the same as when you are training in a gentle manner. The only important difference will be your mental attitude. When you train, you should put more emphasis on learning than on competing with your partner.”

“You don’t learn when you are fighting, bringing in all sorts of tension and emotion. You learn when you are having fun, training in a smooth and gentle way. You need to work on improving your technique until you are comfortable in any situation. Eventually, you will develop a subconscious understanding of the techniques and they become reflexes. Only after you have done all this you are ready to take your natural abilities “off the shelf” and add them back into your game. Now the effectiveness of the technique will be at least ten times better.”

source: Rickson Gracie Association Newsletter

Thursday, 12 September 2013


Oss! This a common acknowledgement used in martial arts academies and studios. Recently we hosted Prof.Terere who often used the term and expected it as a response or acknowledgement whern giving instruction. As not everyone has had experience with traditional martial arts I came across a cool explanation of the term and it's use from Gracie Mag.
Hope this helps.

"The famous "OSS" has many origins. The first definition of "OSS" is an abbreviation for Onegai Shimasu, which translates into a request, a solicitation, an invitation like "please", "if you may" or "With your permission", much used when inviting a partner to train.

The second definition of "OSS", also known as "ossu" means Oshi Shinobu, which conveys the idea (the literal translation has nothing to do with the context) of "persevering when pushed" in other words, never give up, have determination, grit and withstand the most arduous of training. Carrying on without giving up, under all kinds of pressure- that's the idea of inner strength so common in Asian culture.

Therefore, at the start of a fight, the martial artist will shout, invoke, emanate the "OSS", as a way of letting this sentiment tout. In many sources, "OSS" is defined as a manifestation of ki energy, or in other words, a different kiai(strength) indicating one is ready to fight.

According to Miyamoto Musashi, in the book "五輪書 Go Rin No Sho", the samurai would use three types of shouts: One before combat, the second during combat, when attacking to muster great strength and the third after the fight, to celebrate victory.

"Oss", beyond demonstrating strong spirit and determination before a fight, is also used to suggest or confirm a piece of information. Thus whenever a Sensei asks or informs something, the response is "OSS!" it is the response that will confirm understanding."

Tuesday, 30 July 2013

Tips On Drilling

Drilling is something that all black belt world champions say that people do not do enough, yet so many people think they are. The 10-20 reps you do during class is not drilling!

“Repetition of the same thought or physical action develops into a habit which, repeated frequently enough, becomes an automatic reflex.”

Try break your move down into several different sections and begin to drill each and every section slowly until you get the flow.
Once you think you have it, maybe after 300-500 reps you can move on to drilling it at a faster pace, usually until you are exhausted.
Doing 2-5 minute rounds of back and forth drilling is a good option. If you can find someone who will be a dummy for an hour or two it's a big plus!
This repitition helps to build the one thing that we all hear about in jiu-jitsu, and that is muscle memory.
Without it, you will only hit your move on new guys and even then you will probably be surprised.

1. Playing music while drilling helps.
2. Bring a timer.
3. Find someone close to your size to drill with.
4. Don't worry about number of reps to start with, take your time.
5. Try to pick one position per session. It is ok to couple things that flow into each other.
6. Don't talk, do.
7. Always refer back to your instructor if you have issues.
8. Utilize white belts. They are usually eager.
9. Drilling takes time, but if you only have 15 minutes a day...its better than nothing!
10. Work on your cardio.
11. Important! Advanced moves will take you longer to become proficient at, spend your time drilling basics. Basics eventually become advanced.
12. Drilling is about effort and hard work. Don't sit around talking about the reverse berimbolo terrapin guard. Get in the gym and drill!!!

Monday, 24 June 2013

Technique and Aggression

Being technical doesn’t mean being lazy.
Being aggressive doesn’t mean trying to hurt your training partners and being an idiot in class.
But it will take a lot of training and mat time to balance the two

Tuesday, 28 May 2013

Defence and Escapes

Escaping submissions and bad positions isn’t easy. 

The best answer to a problem is usually “don’t let it happen in the first place.”
That’s always disappointing to hear but it’s unfortunately true.
Of course learn the escapes and counters but also become aware of what mistakes got you there in the first place.

Boxers don’t ask “How do I get unpunched?”

Friday, 24 May 2013

How to get good. The secret...

Get on the mats,
get good instruction
and do conditioning, drilling or sparring.

Gameplans, flow charts, notebooks, journals and instructionals are all helpfull BUT training is the "secret".  

Spar with everyone you can.
Force yourself to go with guys who intimidate you.
Experience is what counts, not mental tallies of who tapped who.
And always finish the round, no matter how tired you are.

Tuesday, 21 May 2013

New Era

We have been incredibly fortunate here at Phoenix BJJ/MMA to have hosted for seminars and got to train on a few occasions with the legendery competitor and BJJ coach Fernando "Tererê" Augusto.
We have enjoyed our time training with him and are proud to announce that as a result Phoenix will be affiliated with Prof. Terere now who will be making regular trips to the academy for training and teaching.
Phoenix will still exercise the same politics and ego free principle on our mats and are doors are as always open to all like minded practitioners of our awesome art.

Now go train!

Monday, 29 April 2013

The Warrior Code

The Warrior’s Basic Attitudes


1) Think honestly within yourself in your dealings with all men.


2) Constant training is the only way to learn strategy.


3) Become familiar with every art you come across.


4) Understand the way of other disciplines.


5) Know the difference between right and wrong in the matters of men.


6) Strive for inner judgment and an understanding of everything.


7) See that which cannot be seen.


8 ) Overlook nothing, regardless of its insignificance.


9) Do not waste time idling or thinking after you have set your goals.

These basic attitudes come from ‘The Book of Five Rings’ by Miyamoto Musashi.

 Musashi was a renowned Samurai and an Artist. He fought and defeated 60 opponents in individual combat by the time he turned 30. After that he turned his life to contemplation of the arts in general and his own martial art specifically.


He wrote The Book of Five Rings just before he died.
It is widely available and definately worth a read.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Work Ethic.

One of the biggest parts of the Warrior Code is never to act out or speak in such a manner that isn’t truly YOU (Integrity).
Treat others with respect and don’t dishonor others, because doing so dishonors yourself and family.

I’m a Husband, Father & Coach.
I’ll do my darndest to be the Absolute BEST I can at those three.
I simply try to Live MY Code and give my family all the effort and love I possibly can, which honestly, is never enough.
We as people are flawed. We are NOT perfect & should never pretend to be.
I f*ck up plenty of times. It hurts to make mistakes.
I’m beyond happy to give my all when it comes to being a Husband, Father & Coach.
It is when I am with my wife, my daughter & the athletes I train that I feel in my heart that I am in the right place.
I hope you can find your own “right place” without caring what others think.
All that matters is that you tell the truth and do what you feel in your heart is the right thing to do.

Monday, 4 March 2013

Get up 8...

There is a Japanese proverb that most us have heard, "Get knocked down 7 times, get up 8."
Thsi is one of those sayings that helps to define what a warrior is, no matter what life throws at you, believe in yourself, get up and do your best, no matter the outcome.
This doesnt always happen in one session, match or fight but can happen over several.
How we react to these set backs ultimately defines who we are, give up? Throw in the towel?
Get up.

Well done Ben, very proud of you bro!

Thursday, 14 February 2013

WELL DONE Jim. Nathan, Mike and Sam!!!

4 Of my teammates, Jimmy. Nathan, Sam and Mike competed recently at NAGA Atlanta on February 9, 2013 in the US. NAGA is one of the biggest grappling events in the world.
Nathan, Mike and Sam all took double gold (both gi and no gi) in their respective divisions. Jimmy took gold in no gi, gold in ultra heavyweight gi and silver in heavy weight gi!
I am very proud to train with such a great group of guys!

“I believe there’s an inner power that makes winners or losers. And the winners are the ones who really listen to the truth of their hearts.”

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Follow the traditional Jiu-jitsu of Grand Master Hélio Gracie, always be oriented to submissions, always aim to prove the technical efficiency.
This spirit cannot die.
There are lots of people that only care about winning and sometimes forget that the ultimate performance is to bring all your weaponry to the match and prove the efficiency of BJJ. In the end you are not the winner, jiu-jitsu is.
If you fight with the right spirit, even if you lose the match, but placed all your knowledge in the fight you are always a winner.