The Top 3 Reasons to Sign Your Kids Up for BJJ

The Top 3 Reasons to Sign Your Kids Up for BJJ

Tyson LaRone, SAKC, RMT, YSAS, BJJ Black Belt

Displaying tyson and mini monkeys-5039.jpg

1. BJJ is for all shapes, sizes and abilities.

Before getting into the martial arts at age 15, I was a swimmer. I started when I was 5 years old and for ten years, swimming was my life. I was successful because I worked very hard, had great coaching and had the support of my parents, but also undoubtedly because I had the right body for it – already nearly 6 feet tall by the time I was 13 years old. I can’t deny the fact that there were many other swimmers that worked just as hard as I did but didn’t necessarily enjoy the same success I did because they didn’t have the optimal ‘swimmer’s frame’. Many other sports are like this as well, but not BJJ.

BJJ is pretty much infinite. You could have a hundred world champions with a hundred completely different body types and different games, so there is no prototypical “jiu-jitsu body” and no “best way”. If a student is willing to work hard, be coachable and build solid fundamentals then they can be successful. It isn’t about what you’ve got, it’s about how you make it work for you. I think that’s a pretty amazing life lesson for a child, and it’s a lesson that BJJ will teach them.

2. Real-Life Self-Defense

When we talk about BJJ and why it’s great for self-defense, many people think it’s because of BJJ’s reputation for allowing a smaller, weaker, slower person to defend themselves against a bigger, stronger, faster one. That’s absolutely true, and a big part of why we love it but when it comes to kids, there’s another reason and it may even be more important.

When I talk about real-life self-defense, I’m not just talking about the fight. I’m also talking about a martial art that works in a world where there are rules and laws. There are teachers, police officers, parents and a whole society that we’re all part of. In that world, you can’t seriously hurt another kid just because they pushed you just like when you’re older you can’t put someone in the hospital just because they threw a punch in a bar. In BJJ, kids are taught first to avoid a fight at all costs. At Arashi-Do Martial Arts, we even practice talking our way out of it. If a fight can’t be avoided, BJJ gives that child the tools to keep themselves from harm without having to hurt anyone if it isn’t necessary, which will keep them out of other kinds of trouble.

3. A Culture to Grow Up In

There’s something very special that happens when you spend time on the mats with someone – sharing in the struggle to make one another better. Even though BJJ is technically an individual sport, everyone that does it knows the truth – that it isn’t an individual sport, or even a team sport. It’s a family sport. People that do BJJ come from all corners and are all equal when it’s time to train, and I know when I look at the kids training that they’re making connections that will last a lifetime.

Fb 30 day trial profileCome down to Arashi Do Edmonton and try out one of our great Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu programs like Fundamental BJJ, Women’s Only BJJ or Children’s BJJ for ages 4-7 and 8-14.

All those and you get a 30 DAY FREE TRIAL!  



Join the Arashi-Do Family on Father’s Day for Some Fun in the Sun!

This year – which we hope will be the first of many – Arashi-Do will be participating in the Father’s Day Soap Box Derby in St. Albert. Come on out and get a workout on the Thai pads or help with a BJJ demo between 1-4 PM on Sunday, June 19th. We’ll even be entering a car, which you have to see to believe!!! Follow the link below for more information on the event and how to get there. We’d love to see a huge group out and make this an event to remember.

Soap Box Derby T-Shirt 2016

Gi, No-Gi or Both?

Gi, No-Gi or Both?

Tyson LaRone, SAKC, RMT, YSAS, BJJ Black Belt

BJJ is one of the few martial arts where there isn’t a clear answer on what is worn for training in it. Some schools strictly practice only in the gi, some treat it more as wrestling and train only in shorts, t-shirts or compression gear. Some train both and may slide more often toward one side or the other, and it really boils down to the instructor and the focus of the school. If it’s an MMA gym and BJJ is being taught as only a part of the overall program then it’s more likely to be no-gi. If it’s a pure BJJ school with self-defense as part of the curriculum then the gi is more likely to be the norm. I believe that no-gi and gi are both essential as training tools no matter what your focus, and here’s why:


No-gi is great for developing your attacks and control from top positions, especially when both competitors start to get sweaty because there’s no friction to help you keep your grips and your weight on someone. If you don’t set everything up just right, it’s much easier for someone to explode out of something and escape. If someone is strong, fast or flexible it will be more of an advantage in no-gi, and since it’s easier to escape you’re also likely to spend more time scrambling which means you’ll get in great shape! Even if you like to compete in the gi, it’s good to train no-gi because all gis are different and you don’t want to base your whole game around certain grips that may or may not be easy to get depending on the fit and material of the opponent’s gi. This also makes no-gi training great for self-defense since you never know what kind of clothing an attacker might be wearing.




The gi is an excellent tool for developing the fundamentals of BJJ, especially the guard and escapes. The added friction and grips of a gi make physical attributes less effective so you must be technical to escape submissions and top positions. This also means that matches will be more even between people of different genders, weight divisions and athletic abilities. Positions are easier to maintain and the game tends to be slower-paced than no-gi which usually results in a more cerebral match where no-gi can be more instinctual. Having more time to think during a roll means you’ll be more likely be able to look back and pinpoint how and why certain things happened so you can make adjustments. Finally, since all no-gi techniques can be used while wearing a gi (though some not as well) but gi techniques can’t be used in no-gi, the total number of possible techniques and strategies is much larger when using the gi.

In closing, both gi and no-gi have their pros and cons but totally neglecting either one could lead to some pretty big holes in the game. That is why even many of the greatest MMA world champions of all time like Georges St. Pierre and Anderson Silva trained extensively in the gi even though they would never wear it to compete. You don’t necessarily have to split it 50/50 and every instructor will have their preference but I believe it’s essential to at least mix it up every once in a while to make sure your skills are well balanced.

Fb 30 day trial profileCome down to Arashi Do Edmonton and try out one of our great Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu programs like Fundamental BJJ, Women’s Only BJJ or Children’s BJJ for ages 4-7 and 8-14.

All those and you get a 30 DAY FREE TRIAL!  

3 Exercises for Hip Mobility and Health

Training in BJJ week in, week out can take a toll on the body in general, but the hips often get the worst of it since they’re at the center of almost every technique we practice. There’s a good reason for that, but we still need to take extra steps to make sure they stay mobile and healthy:

Keep Rollin’… 

Primarily your hip flexibility is determined by how lose a group of muscles known as the IT Band are. The IT Band is notoriously tight, and that can make your hip movements restricted. After each work out or training session, you can use a foam roller (fairly cheap on sites such as amazon) to stretch out and loosen the IT Band. Simply lie on the foam roller, and move down the roller on the outer side of your leg from knee to hip. You should feel the strain and to begin with the first few rolling sessions will be painful. After time the rolling will get easier, and your hips will begin to loosen and you’ll start to feel and notice the benefits.

Just Keep Swinging

Leg swings are also a great way to promote hip flexibility as well as improving control, accuracy and range of your kicking. The exercise is also just as simple and easy to perform as it sounds. Simply swing your legs. Swing to begin with but as you start to feel comfortable instead of swinging, begin to lift, to gain more control over the movement. Swings can be made both to the front and the side. It’s the movement towards the sides that really makes the difference in your hip flexors, so concentrate on this for optimum results.

The Amazing Spiderman

Lastly we’ve got spider-mans. No not that kind of spider-man. This exercise not only helps mobility in the hips, but also works the abs, so is a welcome addition to the normal strength and conditioning circuit. To do the spider-man, take a press up position. From here move your knee to your elbow, mimicking the movement of spider-man climbing a wall. You should move the knee wide of the elbow to make the most out of this exercise. When you feel more confident, try moving your knee to the opposite elbow to work in a twist to the movement. This will work the inside of the hip muscle group as well as the lower two abs, making it a truly awesome conditioning move. Not only will your hip flexibility be improved, but you’ll have a head start if you’re ever bitten by a radioactive spider.

Conditioning of the hips should be done on a regular basis, if you don’t stretch regularly or get slack on the circuits; you’ll find that the hip seizes up incredibly quickly. Work this exercises twice a week and you’ll find you all round game improves dramatically.

Fb 30 day trial profileCome down to Arashi Do Edmonton and try out one of our great Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu programs like Fundamental BJJ, Women’s Only BJJ or Children’s BJJ for ages 4-7 and 8-14.

All those and you get a 30 DAY FREE TRIAL!  

Pain or Numbness in the Shoulders and Arms? You Should Read This…

Thoracic Outlet Syndrome – What It Is, and What to Do about It

Prof. Tyson LaRone, BJJ Black Belt and Registered Massage Therapist

For most of you, this will be the first you’ve heard of Thoracic Outlet Syndrome. However, if you’re an athlete then there is a very good chance that this happy little guy has either affected you or one of your training partners at some point. When I was working full time as an RMT, so many of my clients presented symptoms of Thoracic Outlet Syndrome that testing for it became part of my standard new-client assessment, especially with athletes and anybody with a desk job.
What is Thoracic Outlet Syndrome?

Basically it refers to anything that causes pain, numbness and immobility in the chest, shoulders, back and arms by putting pressure on the brachial plexus – a cluster of nerves between the clavicle and first rib. In most cases it’s caused by a muscular imbalance. When the shoulders are constantly rolled forward, the upper back and rear delts can become stretched out and weak while the pecs and front delts become tight and swollen. Poor posture and unbalanced exercise routines are the two most common culprits.

If you experience pain or numbness in your chest, shoulders or arms – especially if the pain seems to start up close to the neck and refer down the arm, you are likely suffering from some form of TOS. The good news is that in the majority of cases, TOS is pretty simple to treat. Not necessarily easy, but simple. The main priority is to deal with the muscular imbalance.

What Do I Do?

If time and money allow, regular trips to some form of manual therapist will be your first and best move. A good RMT or ART will be able to palpate and identify which muscles are presenting the worst of the symptoms, then address them directly. Find one you trust, book 4-6 appointments and make them a priority. Get in the habit of staying properly hydrated, especially on days when you’re going to have treatments as this will have a significant effect on the inflammation and the effectiveness of the work.

When it comes to exercises, there’re plenty that could be helpful but the undisputed heavyweight champion of rear delt and upper back prehab/rehab is the band pull-apart. I would go so far as to say that no matter who you are, what kind of training you do or what kind of life you lead in general, it would be better if you did band pull-aparts regularly. You don’t need a very strong band, and bands can be bought cheaply just about anywhere. Here’s how you do them:


1. Hold a band in front of you with your hands about shoulder-width apart.
2. Keeping your forearms parallel with one another, move your elbows apart to stretch the band.
3. Pause when the band touches your chest, and then bring your hands back out in front until your elbows are just barely not locked out.

That’s about it. This isn’t something you’re going to do with heavy resistance. It works best when you choose a band tension that you can handle for 3-4 sets of 12-15 repetitions. If you look up this exercise on the internet, you’ll find many examples of people continuing to stretch the band until their arms are straight out to the sides. This involves the triceps more than I would prefer, at least for our purposes but either one will do the job. Seriously though, do them. Even if you’re perfectly balanced and healthy they make a great addition to any routine.

Fb 30 day trial profileCome down to Arashi Do Edmonton and try out one of our great Brazilian programs like Fundamental BJJ, Women’s Only BJJ or Children’s BJJ for ages 4-7 and 8-14.

All those and you get a 30 DAY FREE TRIAL!  

History of BJJ – The Helio Lineage – Part 3

We continue with the 3rd part of the history of BJJ, the Helio lineage and how they incorporated Brazilian Jiu-jitsu into the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) events.

Relson-Gracie-Fuji-Gi-frontRelson Gracie

Relson is the second oldest son of Helio Gracie and a retired professional Brazilian Jiu-jitsu fighter. He along with his father and uncle, Carlos Gracie are known to be the ones who evolved the Kodokan Judo into what we today call Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, sometimes also known as ‘Gracie’ Jiu-jitsu.

He was only two years old when he started training and was competing by the time he turned ten. Relson was 18 when he earned his black belt and was the undefeated champion of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu National Championship for the next 22 years.

He is known to emphasize on techniques that are effective for street fights as he realized that people need to know how to defend themselves in situations outside of the dojo. As there are no rules when fighting on the streets, Relson evolved BJJ in his own way to teach survival when faced with unfavorable odds. Knowing how to defend in such situations is one of the essentials of Relson’s BJJ training.

When the Ultimate Fighting Championship organized its first ever event, Relson was the one who helped train Royce Gracie for the fights. The UFC rules at that time allowed Relson to train his younger brother in a way that would give him the advantage in such type of fighting. Royce was able to win three of the first four Ultimate Fighting Championships. With the new Unified Rules of MMA however, Relson’s techniques were no longer effective as the focus was changed towards grappling.

Relson has been awarded the rank of Grandmaster (Red Belt), the highest possible belt awarded to any BJJ practitioner. He has also trained the members of the local law enforcement agencies across North America.

ufc 1The Gracies, Brazilian Jiu-jitsu and the UFC

The Gracie family had earned much fame due to the famous Open Challenge matches that pinned their BJJ art against other martial artists. This encouraged them to showcase their talents and their family’s art on a larger stage, the world.

It was in 1993 when the world first got to witness the Gracie family art in the first ever Ultimate Fighting Championship. It was a way for them to portray the effectiveness of their family’s art. This is why they chose the gentle submissive looking Royce Gracie to be the first BJJ fighter to represent the family on world stage of the UFC. Even though Royce’s opponent outweighed him by a massive 80 pounds, he was able to defeat him, winning the first ever UFC.

This marked the success of BJJ and got many martial artists around the world to learn its ways. The techniques of how a smaller and weaker person can defeat a larger stronger opponent is something desired by many. Even though the BJJ fighter lost their edge in the Mixed Martial Arts world due to fighters incorporating other martial arts, coming up with hybrid styles to fight in the UFC.

Brazilian Jiu-jitsu remains, and will continue to do so, a key component for any fighter who wants to excel at mixed martial arts. In fact, most of the ground submissions and positions MMA fighters learn originated from BJJ.

From the great Helio Gracie to his sons and BJJ practitioners worldwide, Brazilian Jiu-jitsu remains one of the best ways for people to learn self-defense. It does not matter whether you are a man or a woman, old or weak, the Gracie family, through their hard work and practice, has showed the way how every single person can learn to defend themselves and find physical and spiritual peace in the ways of this great martial art. Visit us at Arashi Do Martial Arts in Edmonton and learn the ways of Helio Gracie’s amazing martial art, Brazilian Jiu-jitsu.

Fb 30 day trial profileCome down to Arashi Do Edmonton and try out one of our great Brazilian programs like Fundamental BJJ, Women’s Only BJJ or Children’s BJJ for ages 4-7 and 8-14.

All those and you get a 30 DAY FREE TRIAL!  As well as our 30 minute Fast Fitness program for FREE!

Grip Strength and BJJ

LegalGrip2BJJ begins with a grapple, with aim of sweeping the opponent to the floor, pinning and making them submit. There a many aspects of a grapple that can make or break it, you have to move your opponent, disrupt the balance, manipulate their upper body. You can’t do any of these without a solid grip. 


Grip training seems to get overlooked, not getting the training time it deserves. If you’ve got a weak grip, you’re going to struggle to be effective when it comes to your rolls. They are the first point of contact with your opponent, and you’re going to need to make a good impressions. You’ll be surprised at the win percentage the person with the better grips has over the average joe. In this article we’ll have a look at different types of grips and grip training exercises that will leave you effortlessly crushing soda cans with one hand. 


So we have four main grips to tackle. First up is the pistol grip, not to be confused with a pistol whip. Here, you grip the fabric of the sleeve in the same way you’d grab your bike handle bars on the outside of their sleeve. Second come the lapel and sleeve grip, which is fairly self explanatory, with one hand grabbing the sleeve while the other grips the lapel. Next is the two-on-one which is a cuff grip using the excess material agh the elbow on your training buddy’s arm. Finally, there is the hook grip where you grip the cuff of your partners sleeve from the outside by grabbing the excess material and ticking into their cuff using four fingers. Now each person has their own favourite grip, experiment with all variations and go with the one that feels the most comfortable but also gives you the greatest leverage on your opponent. 


Now we have the grips, how do you train grip strength? Well to be painfully obvious, you gotta grip stuff. No I dont mean just going around and holding on to stuff, I mean really grip it, use strength and weight and practice holding your body weight in your hands, don’t just hold your coffee extra tight. 


There are a number of strength and conditioning exercises you can incorporate your grip strength to. First of all, it’s time to do some pull ups. Either grasp the bar in a fashion similar to the pistol grip, and pull your chin up to the bar, or hook your fingers over the top of the bar for an extra challenge. If you can’t pull up yet don’t worry, just hang there and grip like you’re hanging over a chasm, see if you can spend a minute suspended in the air, rinse then repeat. If you can pull up, don’t max out with reps, remember you are training your grip strength not your biceps. 


Climbing is also a phenomenally good way of rapidly improving grip strength, but get ready for blisters. You have two options here, rock climbing for the outdoorsy type, or rope climbing. Personally, I’d go for the rope climbing as due to the rough material and size, it’s more like grabbing the opponents gi than smooth rock. 


Finally, you’ve got holding weight. For this, you’ll need a couple of dumbbells and a stopwatch. Lift the dumbbells and hold them static at your sides, until you simply cant hold them anymore. This will train your grip strength as well as your shoulders which will greatly improve you standing BJJ work. 


With a weak grip, you’ll be a weak fighter. Give the grip training the chance it deserves and watch yourself reap the rewards. 


Fb 30 day trial profileCome down to Arashi Do Edmonton and try out one of our great Brazilian programs like Fundamental BJJ, Women’s Only BJJ or Children’s BJJ for ages 4-7 and 8-14.

All those and you get a 30 DAY FREE TRIAL!  As well as our 30 minute Fast Fitness program for FREE!