Great BJJ Documentary with Felipe Costa

I watched this a very long time ago and I really liked it. Most people see the guys at black belt and see the champions and assume they were the champions at blue, purple, brown and then black…this is a great little video doc to show that you can become a champion at any time…it takes the work and focus. If the person has the right mind set and attitude becoming a champion and great at BJJ is easy, you just add the BJJ.

How to tape your fingers for BJJ

Hey guys,

Sorry I am the worst blogger on the planet, I promise to start making frequent posts here with quality content for everyone to take and learn from. I have a lot of stuff w have been taping and I have a few viral “call outs” I am going to do soon…straight old school. Anyway, I had a close friend that is training in Brazil ask me how he should tape his fingers. Here is a quick 6 minute tutorial on how to tape your hands and fingers for BJJ. I think taping your fingers helps a great deal and also helps prevent injury.

Cliff Note Nutrition

acai with granola

acai in Brazil

So I have been working on a lot of peoples food journals lately, way more than usual. (If you don’t know what I am talking about, if you are looking to change your diet, get fit, lose weight, increase cardio or all of the above, at the academy we will review your diet. Keep a food journal for seven days, write it down along with what you drink and approximate serving sizes. We will review the journal and can make recommendations on what changes can be made to get you closer to your goals FASTER and EASIER.)

I wanted to make a quick post while I am working on another entry because like I said there has been a lot of questions lately, above average about food, diet and what not. I want to explain first, I am not a nutritional expert; however, I do have years and years of experience working with many and there was a long period where I was extremely strict with my diet. I had a nutritionist from the age of fifteen to twenty, my meals where pre-planned, my food was weighed out daily and I was on a very serious, strict and calculated exercise and lifting program. So it is something I have lived and had a lot of hands on experience with even though I have not been ‘formally’ trained in it. So moving on, first let me clear up and define the word ‘diet’ first (as I see and understand it anyway). To the everyday person a ‘diet’ refers to the way you will eat for a short period of time to bring about results which will usually also be for a short period of time. When I speak and use the word diet, I am referring to your food intake, whether it be good or bad. Your diet is what you are consuming and it should be a way of eating that promotes healthy living.

Like the title says ‘cliff not nutrition’ I am going to touch quickly on some of the basic things that helped me over the years in being better educated in what I was doing. First thing you have to look at your body in a simpler form. I think there are some benefits to CrossFit, I like the concept of what they do but feel there are issues with the actually reality of the sport/activity and I think a lot of the people are strange as hell but one thing they do that is great and has been around and something I have had in my life for way before I had ever heard of CF is the Paleo Diet. Basically the paleo diet is eating primitively so to speak but it is clean and basic and how the body is designed to eat. Eat clean and lean portions of meat and protein, raw nuts and veggies and don’t eat processed foods. Now there is more to it than that obviously but think about it like this, there is no such think as a Doritos tree or Twinkie plant. They are artificial. Your body is not designed to break this stuff down and process it. Obviously many still eat that stuff but just because you can do it doesn’t make it right. I watched a Chris Rock stand-up the other day and he said (On the topic of girls saying ‘I don’t need no man/daddy to raise my child) “Yeah you can raise a child alone if you want, it can be done…you can drive a car with your feet if you want to, but that doesn’t make it a good F##### idea!” I found it comical but it fits here, just because your body can break things down and find something to do with it doesn’t mean its ok for your body.

The five quick tips to eating better and making a better you:

  • When you shop at the grocery store, ONLY shop on the perimeter of the store. Think about the layout of any grocery store…the perimeter has everything you need and nothing you don’t; meats, fish, fruits & veggies, nuts, eggs, etc…besides water you should’t have to walk into the middle. The middle is the processed foods. Stay away.
  • What do I eat? If at one point it didn’t run, swim or fly and it isn’t green, DON’T eat it.
  • Portion Sizes: You should ideally weigh and measure your food but if you don’t have time (which is an excuse) protein serving sizes are about the size of a closed hand. 4-6oz usually depending on what you are eating if you are weighing your food (pre-cooked).
  • Calories in, calories out: it is simple math, if you are serious about getting in shape, two of the BEST investments you can make to get you to your goals faster are a food scale (here is an example from Target) and a Polar Heart Rate Monitor. Like I said if you do not want to weigh the food fine, its better because you will have a more accurate idea of what you are taking in for calories but the watch is in my opinion a must have. It functions as a regular watch and when you wear the chest strap it can accurately calculate how many calories you are burning during exercise. Why is that important and how can you use that to help you cause? A pound of fat is 3500 calories. Broken down that is 500 calories/ day. At the conclusion of a week if you have burned 3500 more calories than you have consumed you will lose a pound, if you consume 3500 more calories than you have burned you will gain a pound.Find you RMR -Resting Metabolic Rate (What your body is burning daily to just live [50 calories/ten pounds of lean body mass-100 calories. Get your body fat checked to get an accurate idea of lean body mass]) Example: If a 200lb man has 50lbs of fat, that leaves 150lbs of lean tissue left. 150/10= 15, 15×50=750, 750-100=650. That means just for being alive pretty much and your body working to do the stuff it does daily you will burn around 650/day. Use this to calculate into tracking your calories.
  • Graze do not gorge. Eating more meals smaller in size is better than fewer smaller meals larger in size. Now there have been studies showing little differences in eating 2500 calories through out the day and at a few sittings but it is about optimal performance and efficiency. If you eat 50 grams of protein at a sitting you body cannot process and use that much at once. Think of it like this. If your car has a ten gallon tank and at half full you try and put ten gallons in it you are going to spill some. The same goes with your body. Your body is only going to use what it needs to fill the tanks (this is a play on words it does NOT mean eat until you are full/stuffed). If it only needs 20 grams of that protein for example thats all its going to use, some of it will be broken down and used, some broken down and passed and some broken down and stored as fat.

So I hope this is an easy read and I hope it helps answer some questions some of your might have on the topic of a clean diet and eating better as it pertains to healthy living and losing weight. Subscribe to the blog and/or add your name to the right so you can get emails with similar topics and techniques.

 

NAGA New England Championships…A Coaches Experience

I wanna say a few things and I can’t promise that this will be in any order, make sense, flow or not shoot off on some crazy tangent or something but I will do my best :) That being said I wanted to share the experience I had this weekend at NAGA New England as a Coach, competitor and give some thoughts and my opinion on competition and the roll it can play on a individuals game and how it can help them progress faster.

team_Logo

Over the last few months I have seen a lot of changes in many aspects of what I consider my life. Some changes have been personal and decisions I feel needed to be made for myself, whether it be to make me a better person, coach, instructor, competitor, mentor or role model,  I feel like the decisions and changes have been happening rapidly for me and I make them daily doing the things I feel need to be done, maintained, or augmented in order to continue on a path Ive set for myself and ensuring I don’t lose focus on the end goals and the destination.

I have seen changes on many levels of the team as well. Some are changes I have made, some are changes I have seen with in the students themselves; I have seen a change in the faces that are on the mats in the past year, some good and some bad, it is funny, I used to always joke when people left as a way to make a hard situation easier to think about and say laughing  “the people we want to stay leave…and the people we wish would go stay…” in the recent months that has proven to be the exact opposite and the trimming the fat so to speak off the lean meat that is the core of the academy has been one of the best changes to date. We have sen old faces that were hard to see go come back and glad to see others so far from sight they aren’t on the radar anymore, there are still people missing we wish to see back and I think in time we will (Saari, Hammel, Mike K, Berman, Kelvin, Walter, Jay Pope, to name just a few of MANY… {Don’t kill me if your name isn’t here I threw out examples, if you left here on a good note we miss you :) ]) bring them back, well at least hopefully some of them, but even with some core people writing parts of their lives in other parts of a map and focusing on priorities in their own world, I don’t remember a time when things seemed to be running so well with the people coming into the school and how hard and focused people seem to be when they are here on the mats. Yes, there are always areas for improvement, thats true for anything and anyone, but I see the effort being put in; I see more passion in the training, especially from the people I expect to see it from, my higher belts, the ones that say they want more and lately for the most part those words have been followed by actions not just more words. I think that is a direct correlation with also seeing the lower belts performing so well in a very short period of time. The higher belts are putting their time in, they are working harder and getting more attention and time they have EARNED and DESERVE not necessarily time they are entitled to, which I have always said no one is entitled to anything you get back what you put in, PERIOD. That extra time improves them on all levels and it trickles down to all the other belts and ranks on the mats and is something I have seen first hand and have been trying to really instill and embed in everyone on the TEAM, the better everyone gets the better you will get, no question.

I have personally made a point to make changes to the class formats and the way classes are run; the content our team is covering, writing out the daily classes on the board so everyone can see what we are covering for example, that has seemed to be something everyone really likes…also the amount of time that I am putting into the people making a effort to soak up whatever information they can get their hands on as far as the sport and BJJ lifestyle they have adopted and embraced.

Team Collage NAGA New England

Team Collage NAGA New England

These changes have been made because I see opportunity in certain areas to really push growth and provide value, other changes have been made because of constant feedback and input from a handful of core students, without that feedback some of the changes would NEVER have been made and as a result the growth of each student and the success of each team member would unknowingly be suffering, including my own. Feedback and input is crucial to the growth and development of not only the team as a whole but as individuals as well. (Keep the feedback coming, make suggestions, don’t ever be afraid to come talk to me and share your thoughts and options regardless of topic or content.)

I am writing this note which I was certain would and already has started to change from a ‘note’ to a mini novel because I had a very memorable weekend this weekend at the NAGA New England Championships. I wanted to share my experience with the team both how I felt after competing and how I felt after getting to coach a small army and experience it with all of you and what it meant to me and for this team (in my eyes anyway…) Like almost all other tournaments we started off with a who’s who list of names on the board where you write your name if you are making the commitment to the TEAM and stepping up to fight…like many other events, I go off a 50% figure to guestimate how many people will actually show, when the day came we were missing a lot of what I would consider ‘key’ team members. Let me stop here and explain this to everyone how they SHOULD view this…It is my goal to make every member of this team selfless NOT selfish. It isn’t and shouldn’t be what can I do and get for me, that mindset will undoubtably stop you in your tracks and keep you from growing and progressing, the thought process should be ‘What can I do to better the TEAM?” I say this because it is easy to think of numero uno especially come tournament time and not the team but you need to think bigger and about the whole sometimes. If you didn’t get the ideal training in you wanted to log before an event or love blossoms and a ‘wedding’ pops up (AKA: BJJ Bitchassness) take a step back and think bigger, if you are a player and all of you are you might not always be able to win but many of you are capable of almost always placing. Going and competing for the team and not yourselves is selfless. If you really can’t compete or don’t feel up to it, come and support the team, cheer, coach, SUPPORT!!! Again, I know tournaments aren’t for everyone, I get that. But you can learn a lot from them. You can learn a lot by being there too. You don’t necessarily have to be in the area putting it on the line so to speak to be able to walk out better than you walked in.

Tournaments are important for growth I feel, you don’t have to be a competitor to compete. As a instructor it helps me see where you are against your peers, how you are progressing, how you handle real situations in a safe environment, what strengths you have but more importantly what weaknesses you have and what I need to do as your coach to improve on them. If you have a teammate that is amazing at one skill, say take downs, you will avoid that area with that person. Maybe avoiding that hurts you because we never know you need work on take down defenses. At a tournament you wouldn’t know the persons ‘game’ their ‘style’ and it can give me and your coaches a very honest and un-bias look into what we need to help you with to get you to the next stage/level in your game.  ‘One tournament is the equivalent of THREE months of training.” Matt Serra told me that when I was a blue belt and I never looked back. Competing often and frequently helped me grow and build as a competitor and as a person and as a COACH. I tapped my first black belt in competition when I was a blue belt, how? Because I was a stud blue belt? No, because I had more competition experience than he did. Knowledge wise I was a infant I am sure in comparison but I was focused and did what I was good at and hid what I wasn’t and came out on top that day. I could never have done that if I had a closed mind in training, wasn’t asking questions like crazy, wasn’t challenging myself on and off the mats and taking pride in what I was spending my time doing. Remember when you are in class, on the mats and working “IT IS THE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN THE WORLD TO YOU AT THAT MOMENT!!!!!!!!!” How do I know that? Because you are there, I have said that to the adult class a hundred times probably, if there was something more important to you at that time you’d be doing it. So you have made the time to be there, why not get 100% from the time that you are investing, why not maximize that time by staying dialed in, remaining focused, asking a ton of questions and implementing the answers…it is time you will NEVER get back, it will be gone no matter how hard or how lazy you train, so why not get the absolute best from it?!?

Never the less, the people who came Saturday and Sunday came to compete push and fight…I personally don’t like losing, I know no one does, (I am particularly un-accepting of it especially for myself) but I ready a quote just this past Thursday that said “Sometimes your opponent can outscore you and you can win and somedays you can outscore your opponent and lose…” While I know what the quote is suggesting I brushed it off as a good one to post someday for the team page. When I walked off the mat after my second no-gi fight it was the first thing that passed through my head. (There is a picture on my FB page…) My hand is raised but my head is down, disappointed, frustrated and to be honest a little embarrassed at the performance even in victory I didn’t feel myself and many were kind enough to also point it out to me, thank you btw :-D ) My first match I lost 2-0 to a kid I have been wanting to get a match against for a long time, I am happy to notify everyone lightening doesn’t strike the same place twice and that was a gift wrapped in a pretty little bow for him and will be different in our next meeting when ever that shall be especially if it is with a gi, he is a good competitor, but so am I,  but on that day he was the better guy because my head was in my butt, it was a hard way to start the day, rarely do I lose at NAGA and I lost match one because I wasn’t able to focus and shut out my surroundings. I had one of the heaviest adrenaline dumps Ive ever experienced and I had no good reason for it, but never the less it hit me hard and I wasn’t prepared for it, usually I don’t have a issue with it but did this time because I had a number of people watching, peers, friends and teammates that usually aren’t there. These aren’t excuses, these are the things I have marked as areas to focus on and points of focus for improvement in my own personal game, I wasn’t mentally prepared stepping on the mat, I wasn’t focused and that was a mistake. After that match I fought another teammate in the no-gi finals. My opponent was Travis Steven’s, Travis and I train at Pedro’s Judo Center and he is ranked 5th in the World in Judo losing a close match in the Olympics to the soon after gold medalist. After a scoreless match we went to OT and I lost via guillotine choke because my cardio was not there nor has it been for me in ages but technical ability usually closes the gap easily on most occasions. Again, a local even helped nail home a huge hole in my game that yes I knew about, but it is easy to ignore when it doesn’t affect much inside the walls of Abusado BJJ, having it embarrass me in public in front of my peers and teammates and people that look up to me was good because I won’t relive that situation again and have taken corrective steps already to improve my mistakes from yesterday. Have anyone else? If you showed up to open mat today and lost yesterday I say you have. It is easy to take the day off after a tournament especially after you lose because you are ‘resting’ and will hit it hard when? ‘Monday’ Another great quote (I have been google quote hunting like a boss lately) “Yesterday you said tomorrow…” I have always looked at it like this, if you perform badly why should you get a reward? You go to training alwayas. After my match with Travis I had a feeling in my stomach I hadn’t felt in so long I wasn’t sure what it was, ironically the last time I felt it was at a judo tournament years ago so I found humor in that because it took a hard judo event to show me I was out of shape and push me to kill myself with cardio and it took a match with a judo teammate to show me I need to dial in on that same thing again. At the time, I didn’t know if I was extremely hungry, nauseous from being exhausted or if maybe I injured myself trying to retain guard or something. Either way it felt horrible and I again bowed off the mats with my head down and disappointed in my performance. Most the time my disappointment goes unnoticed as often win and am unhappy with the perform, I am my own worst critic however, never do I lose and pout and wine, I make a effort and have for as long as I remember to take every loss and down as a opportunity to better myself, yes, sometimes I have needed two kicks in the ass to start myself going on some occasions lol but I make a point to learn from every situation I am a part of to better myself and become stronger in one area or another. After the matches I had time to relax, sit and rest, reflect a little, collect my thoughts and the butterflies past, I coached some more and about thirty minutes later it was all gone and I felt that usual feeling when I have all the pieces lined up, I felt like me again and normal like I do every time I fight and feel good and/or how I feel after a loss when the anxiety passes and the fight and what you should have done is clear as day and you say to yourself ‘i wish I could get a rematch right now against that kid…’ I knew gi would be different and it was, two matches, two subs. Still thinking about earlier I realized that my poor performance was a lost mentally rather than physically and while I only had two matches in gi I had two wins over good players and it was enough to set my head straight. What made me happy about the day wasn’t my gi matches, it wasn’t realizing what cost me my matches in no-gi, I got satisfactions from the performances of the people that did show up and stepped up to compete. Not everyone won, probably less than we are used to actually, I think it was still enough to place us top three as a team though, maybe even a title, we shall see…I remember the day starting off slow, I said at one point after I had lost and so did another student we usually see medaling and I looked at them and said “Bad day for the good guys…” with a blank look on my face. The day got better and we had some good wins, some close matches and tough losses, but NO ONE GAVE UP! Regardless of the outcome, win, lost, decision…no one stopped pushing, a few of the matches we won were because the person didn’t stop pushing and it made the difference in the match. When I was in sales right out of college, they used to tell us to push and keep trucking away, they would compare the sales week to team sports, sometimes the month, usually the month… “How many times in sports do you see different types of games? Sometimes the team comes out and kills it and blows it out of the water (iconic sales term, almost as bad as ‘feel, felt, found…’ lol), other times you see the team come out like new at half time and turn it around, others you see the guys fighting and pull off the buzzer beater and come from behind…” they meant obviously sales and quota but as cheesy as it was I used to think about that a lot and use it in sports and BJJ, it has helped mold my game and my still developing ‘attack, attack, attack…” game I am trying to have at black belt. I think if you all keep that mind set and use it to think about your matches it may help you fight and push on….”Don’t give up…ever under any circumstances, never surrender.” That’s the mental attitude you need for everything, BJJ life, all sports, anything worth having doesn’t come easy, it doesn’t come with out sacrifice and it doesn’t come with out loss on some level or in some shape or form.  No matter how hard you train, there are certain things you can’t prepare for, that is why people are obsessed and so passionate about BJJ, the grey space when you make decisions, right or sometimes wrong in the moment that change the match. It is intense and addictive and there is a rush at times and it feels amazing to come out on top when you fight, whether on any stage whether it is in class or in front of a crowd BJJ is great because you are ultimately fighting against yourself and bettering YOU and improving YOU. That is why I love it, it is challenging to me on so many levels and continues to change me on a daily basis in so many aspects of my life and the more I give it the more it gives back to me. It is something most of you have been affected by and for a lot it has changed your lives and you never expected it to have the impact, if it hasn’t yet, don’t worry, it will and think it all started for most of you because “I hate the gym and I just wanna try something different…” Mentally, physically and emotionally. You are all getting stronger as a result  whether in class or fighting and clawing your way to each buzzer,in class it takes a different angle usually, so you have to look at it differently, usually people compare how they are doing based on their matches with certain people, this can be good but can be frustrating and counter productive because as a team, you are all not only growing together, but learning together, you tent to pull away together which can mask moments of growth with with false thoughts of stalemating and plateaus, but in a tournament, whether you are competing for you, to help the team, or ‘just to see how you do…’ there is no loss if you put it all on the table and leave it on the mat. Just leave it on the mats…

If you do the advance class we do ’90 Second” drills, the mentality is there is 90 seconds left, you are losing, go for broke you are losing anyway might as well lose fighting to the end, not sitting there and accepting it. When you hear me or anyone say “NINETY SECONDS!!!” Your body should erupt. BJJ is unlike most sports when it can come down the last second. If you play football and your losing 40-0 and there is 10 seconds left you lost, better luck next time, in our sport you have ten seconds to win. I have seen it first hand and I have been there myself. I was a brown belt at an AGC tournament getting the SH%T kicked out of me by a multiple time world champion black belt, I was getting beat so bad I stopped defending the sweep attacks because I literally had no clue what he was doing and I figured ‘Screw it maybe I can learn something…” I remember looking down as he kept sweeping me each time trying to figure out what the heck he was doing…thats how bad I was getting beat and I subbed him with 30 seconds left in the match. I was dry heaving and hanging over the trash because I was fighting for my life it felt for 8 minutes but I won because I didn’t give up, a opportunity popped up, I saw it and went for it with every ounce of energy I had and I got it. Luck? Maybe, who knows but what I do know is HE quit and I DIDN’T, he got sloppy because he decided the match was over before it was because he was beating me so bad. You need to have heart and stay focused and push! Pushing to the end and giving it all you can and coming up short gets my respect and it isn’t a loss in my book because you gave it everything you had at the time. When you quit that is a real loss, when you fight the hole time that means the other guy just had more points or a better position and you have stuff to work on and you know what that stuff is and you walk off that mat with tools and the pieces you need to become better and more well rounded. When you give up you really lose, because quitting is a habit and it is something you learn to do, just like lying or making excuses or giving in. Will power, trust, loyalty etc are BUILT and instilled in people they aren’t born with those traits. Some come easier to some than others but anytime you fight and don’t quit no matter how hard it was to not quit I promise next time it will be easier. I read a quote before I started typing this and it said “Things NEVER get easier, you just get stronger…” Don’t make excuses. EVER, find the answers to the reasons you lost and what you can fix and fix them. EXCUSES ARE FOR LOSERS! I have lived by that quote since HS. It will be plastered across the wall 20’ long at our next academy I promise you. I gained a lot of respect for many Saturday.  After the first day of the competition there were a lot of ups and some downs but all in all a good day and like I said before I left with a lot of respect for many and a reason to hold my head up high even though I lost my own matches earlier on in the day I walked out a proud instructor/coach. I never knew that feeling would only grow ten fold Sunday.

Collin takes gold beating two blue belts!

Collin takes gold beating two blue belts!

 

Sunday I woke up and drove back to RI anxious but nervous for the kids and teens day. (As I sit here typing this I question being capable of having children and being able to go through that as a parent. (Half because of today dealing with it all just as a coach I couldn’t imagine it as a parent and the other half because I think the puppy has given me a clear insight of what it would be like and I think I am all set :) kidding…at least 50% anyway. :) ))

Andrew takes home the gold in Gi!

Andrew takes home the gold in Gi!

If I had to deliver this now as a speech rather than a what has now become and essay it would have been a lot shorter as I have no voice what so ever from screaming and coaching all day. This weekend and today especially I will not soon forget. IDK if it was because it really felt like a team, going out for food after on Saturday with some of the crew or if it was because we had a lot of new students do well, because I saw veteran students over come a lot and come out on top, a combination of the lot or what but it was amazing for me as a coach. I hope I am not wrong in saying this but I am almost positive for kids and teens on Sunday, every single student that fought won at least one division. Jon Silva looked like he robbed the NAGA award shed and was gonna make a run for it. Collin beat two blue belts on his way to his championship medal, Conner is a beast! I can’t and Coach Earl and Coach Charlie as well as the majority of the team can’t believe he is 14. The Girls kicked BUTT too… Libby showed amazing poise and composure listening to ever little detail and following ever direction to a ‘T’ we the coaches gave her. I believe she came out with at least two golds, they kept putting the kids in all these extra divisions so I am not 100% positive, it could have been three. Savanna went bananas :) and took a gold and had a awesome match with another tough opponent of higher skill that came down to the last second. Ali came and showed a focus that seems to be the standard now for our rookie students and came out with a first place and an all over amazing performance. The kids as a whole LISTENED so well today, I was really impressed. They all were staying focused and staying relaxed, in good situations as well as bad. It was a direct reflection of how passionate they have all become and more so the passion our coaching staff especially Coach Charlie has put into this kids program. My personal best and two favorite moments of the kids/teens day came from two very hard working champs…Andrew and Hugo. Hugo had a tough first no gi match but in gi, right before his match I had a little talk about what we were gonna do in the next match and he listened and followed the plans perfectly putting on a champion showing winning on points, ( a lot of points) against a older, bigger (Much bigger, 35lbs) opponent.

Awesome win by Hugo against a bigger opponent!

Awesome win by Hugo against a bigger opponent!

The look on his face coming off the mat and when he got his first place award was priceless. Not because he won, but because I know that look and its a look I have seen with many but not Hugo. He is now a different person. His confidence and his entire persona was literally changed by one 4 minute match today. Its things like that why I think BJJ should be part of everyones life but it is something that can be a life changer for anyone but especially a child. My main man Andrew and Koka’s Godfather :)   “The Dogfather” showed me a side of him that I knew was there and I have been waiting to see. He stayed so dialed in his focus didn’t break once. Andrew has had a few losses to some tough competitors in other local events but Coach Charlie had these kids ready today. Andrew showed so much heart and that ‘never quit’ attitude I was talking about and it earned him not one but TWO first place finishes. I love all the kids in our program, we really don’t have any bad kids but Andrew is always smiling and extra polite and he was sporting the same look on his face as Hugo and that really made the day for me. In just one day he is a different kid. These two divisions showed him, as did the others kids in the program they can do it, they will all push harder, they will train more and get more out of the next class than they have in any other class they have ever attended because they are all going to be extra thirsty. I hope the enthusiasm from the kids that fought today rolls over and excites the rest of our killer kids team for the next event. We really have a team of mini-murderers :) The experience for them was amazing and it showed on their faces. The experience for ME personally was one I haven’t had in a long time and I am so happy to have been able to be part of it today with the other coaches.

Ali takes home the gold at her first event!

Ali takes home the gold at her first event!

So I am sorry for the novel, I am also sorry if I left anyone out, if I did It was not my intention, even after about a hour of typing I am still so fired up and pumped up about today and this weekend in general. Thank you for all of you who are on this team, part of this family and for believing in the team, me and the people who have help get us to where it is today. I promise 2013 is going to be a BIG and AMAZING year for the whole team on every level. This will be a year to look back on and remember. Thank you to everyone who showed up and pushed. Win or lose everyone worked hard and impressed me with either how they performed or how they carried themselves after and open mat today I was told was packed and many who competed showed up today to start working on their games and making changes. I really enjoyed hearing that today. I would like to again thank you to everyone who came to support the team, congrats to all the people who won and placed, for many it was their first showing and special thanks goes out to our kids Coaching Staff especially to Coach Charlie, he really puts a lot into the program and I know today was a special day for him as well. Thank you!

Track me, follow me, CHANGE YOUR LIFE!

Whats up guys, its been a long time, a LONG TIME, but this blog is going to get a new life. I am going to put some serious time into this thing, I invite you , all of you to track me for a year. I am going to be all over the place, talking about BJJ, what it did for me, my experiences and what I have got from them, and what I want is to show you what it can do for you. Later this week you will see the main site trackMe365.com up and running. TM365 is going to be about me, my year in BJJ and nothing else, it will showcase me, my training, my travels, the ups and the downs and allow you to follow me a long the journey of 2013 as a BJJ black belt. This is going to be a lot of fun, I have a lot planned for this coming year; tracking it and documenting it will be a way to show you what BJJ can do for a person, my hope is that sooner than later you will see a few profiles on the TM365 site to follow around. Through this site and TM365 you will learn about my life, training, bjj & judo, competition, strategy, my philosophy on training and certain aspect of theory. Nothing is in stone but I can guarantee you this, if you subscribe to this site and TM365 at the end of the year you will have taken something that will change your game and life forever. It might be BJJ, competition, physical, mental…what will change? Who is to say, but there will be a great deal of insight on many different facets of the BJJ Lifestyle. I will be posting brief summary updates here on the blog and on TM365 site, so if you want all the detail, if you want the videos, the tips, and everything else I can dish out along the way, put your name and info in the box to the right and Ill send you all the information weekly. OSS…

Long time!

I haven’t had a chance to make any posts here recently as we are going through some HUGE and great changes here at Worcester Mixed Martial Arts (Worcester MMA) and Worcester Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (Worcester BJJ). Look for some amazing news son to come about the academy, the training, new staff and instructors. How can you make the best place for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training better? Stay tuned in to find out…

Back from Brazil!

Whats up everyone, so I just got off from the plane back from our Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) training trip in Brazil about a hour ago. Sorry for not posting to the site while I was away. I planned on it but trying to fit in 3-4 training sessions each day combined with sites and the regular daily grind proved to be too much. Ill give everyone the cliff note run through to the best of my ability, we did a lot…

We left last week and landed in Rio after a not so bad flight that was about 9 hours from our connecting airport in Atlanta. With only <6 days to actually do what we needed to do it really turned out not to be enough time; having had been to Brazil a bunch of times before, having eight total people on the trip and a list of stuff to do a mile long, I had a feeling it would prove to be too much but we hit the ground running none the less and had a daily itinerary to work off of put together by ConnectionRio.com. If you aren’t familiar with CR, they run a hostel in Barra Brazil that is friendly with many of the top schools in BR. They can set up everything from daily travel and sights to training. Ill get back to CR later…

We started off our trip getting picked up by our van at the airport and shooting to CR. Upon arrival we were met by Dennis from CR, he is the owner and manager. When we got to CR we checked in and we all went for food and the best thing about Rio beside the views and training…acai.

acai with granola

acai in Brazil

Acai is a berry from Brazil rich in antioxidants and iron and a staple food to BJJ players and Brazil in general. If I had to guess I spent about $150 in acai during my 7 day stay and all worth it. I am obsessed.

On this trip I had a huge personal list of things to get done, I set a goal of 2-3 times training per day and I wanted this to be a sort of historical training trip as I wanted to meet as many BJJ red belts as I could. I have taken a big interest in the history of BJJ since I earned my black belt and it was something I was really looking forward to . I was unfortunately only able to meet one this trip but it was amazing and probably made the trip for me. Our first night in Rio we shot off to Copacabana and trained with Ricardo De la Riva.

Master Ricardo ‘De la Riva’ and Abusado Team Black Belt Dan Simmler

I thought this would be a great experience for everyone since my style involves a lot of De la Riva guard and reverse DLR guard so as a result so do the games of many of my students, what would be cooler than meeting the man himself. Master Ricardo is a BJJ 7th degree Coral (Red and Black Belt) Belt. The training here was great but we would only have the chance to train here one other night during the week. I got to learn a great new wrist lock from one of the heavy weight black belts. I genuinely enjoyed the atmosphere and training here. I got a good laugh because immediately after hitting hands with one of the black belts during a live roll he went right after my legs attacking a toe hold to knee bar and back and forth he went, never being threatened Master DLR said in portuguese to Dennis from CR ‘a guy who goes right after the legs is like the guy who goes to a party and just goes after the first girl he sees…’ I thought that was pretty funny.

Connection Rio has a great location to a lot, one place is Gordo BJJ. It’s literally like fifty feet from the front door step of CR.  Gordo and his brother are given credit for ‘inventing’ half guard, while they didn’t actually invent it they were the first to start to use it as a actually offensive position instead of a half way point back to full guard. I personally was the only one who trained there, Gordinho is a good friend and I haven’t seen him in about five years. It was a good feeling to walk in and have his head pop up and and say ‘Dan?! Brother what are you doing here…’ I felt right at home. I had the chance to roll with a few black and brown belts. That was the biggest thing for me, every class at every gym we went to had minimum 5+ black belts on the mat as well as a bunch of browns and a host of other colored belts as well.

I felt at home here and was able to really open up my game and was complimented many times on my guard game which has changed a great deal over the last twelve months which I am quite proud of so it was nice to hear. I got to roll with

Painting on the wall at the beach in Rio from '82

Robson Gracie [24 year old brown belt not the 77 year old Red Belt :) ] I hit a nice smooth D-Angle triangle set up which he pulled me to the side after and asked to see telling me he had never seen that set up before, that made my day as its my move start to finish.

We got great training all week, night sessions seemed to be the hardest, I couldn’t say if it was because of numbers, deeper talent pool, being the third or fourth session of the day or a combo of the four but most evening sessions ended at Nova Unao (New Union). NU is and probable will always be a competition power house and it was good to get to roll with different styles which vary greatly from gym to gym. I personally got great work outs at all gyms because being a black belt walking into gyms and academies in the home of the sport is like carrying around a target on your back.

View from the Heli pad at Corcovado Mountain

This is how it goes…you are paired up with a few blue belts to roll, then the purple belts, then the brown belts come at you like pit bulls because they assume because you are American your black belt means sh%*t but it still looks good if they can get the better of you so they go at you hard all while the black belts sit there watching, taping up their hands and breaking your game apart lol.

Then when you are dead and ready to walk off the mat once of the them says ‘My friend…you want to train?’ and its on. I was sore as hell all week but much to the surprise of many of the different black belts and to be honest myself more than held my own and I was excited about that. Of course during the many training sessions and stops to BiBi Soucos for acai bowls we had a chance to hit up the beach and see the sites too. The weather wasn’t the most cooperative I have ever seen but we were in Brazil and made the best of it.

Ipanema Beach after a great session at Checkmat BJJ

 

Grand Master Rosado putting Anthony in a RNC!

The highlight of my week was meeting Rosado. Rosado is the first black belt ever promoted by Carlson Gracie. I got to train a few weeks back in Vermont with 6th degree black belt Julio Fernandez and I told him I was going to try and train with Rosado and he said when he started training in 1975 Rosado was already a black belt. After talking to him I found out he was awarded his red belt in 1989. It is just crazy to me to this we didn’t even hear about Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) til 1990 and this guy had 48 years already under his belt in the sport, its nuts. Not to mention Grand Master Rosado looks like he is in his early fifties not 70!

 

There is a lot more I want to write on the trip, I will add more to this post later…

Ben ‘Peter Park’ BJJ Seminar Canceled

Guys, just heard from Ben and he has been in and out of the hospital all week and has to cancel his Sunday seminar here at Abusado BJJ/Worcester MMA. We will reschedule this for the near future and we wish Ben a fast and healthy recovery. The doctors aren’t quite sure as to what it is but it is serious. Get better soon! Anyone who paid for the seminar will be refunded. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Off to Brazil Tuesday!

So I am preparing for my ‘minimalist’ trip to Brazil. Ill be traveling with six other teammates from Worcester MMA and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. We will be traveling to Rio and staying in Leblon for seven days.

“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I — I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.”

– Robert Frost

The trip is going to be a great one I hope and what I hope to be a relaxing but fun filled trip and a much needed vacation. I am trying to travel as light as possible with just the bare necessities. We will be on a tight itinerary and looking to go sight seeing, rock climbing, compete, meet three 9th degree Red Belts, train 2x/ day and somewhere in that craziness fit in hang gliding, a helicopter tour, trip to Rochina, and beach it up in between sessions on the mat. I have my good friend Itimar there waiting as well from Israel, he has been there  for a little over a month now. I can’t wait. Ill add more to this before we leave Tuesday evening.