Great Day at Spar Wars for ADMA St. Albert!!!

This weekend was Arashi-Do Martial Arts’ in-house tournament ‘Spar Wars’. In-house tournaments are usually humble affairs, but not when your organization spans 17 dojos in 11 cities! There were a ton of kids, all the divisions were packed with talent and very competitive, and while St. Albert is the newest member of the Arashi-Do family we could not be prouder of both our competitor turnout and their efforts. We brought a team of six mini monkeys and three juniors, and took home nine medals including six golds! Honorable mention as well to Pablo, who divides his time between St. Albert and the south location and took home some nice hardware himself. Even the students who didn’t come out with the results they were hoping for demonstrated great technique and fought their hearts out right to the bell. No one stays undefeated in Jiu-Jitsu and at the end of the day it is these qualities that determine long term success, not any one particular medal or tournament. Check out some of the pictures from the tournament here, and look for more to come on the Arashi-Do St. Albert Facebook page. In-house events like these are a great place to gain experience for those looking to compete in major tournaments like Mind Body Soul, and also provide opportunities to connect with our amazing community within the Arashi-Do network. We can’t wait to come back next time with an even bigger team!

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Arashi-Do Behring Symposium Oct 2017

Our school represented well at a whirlwind of a grading this weekend with the head of our organization, 8th degree black belt Mestre Sylvio Behring! It began with the instructor symposium, where Professor Tyson was awarded the first degree on his black belt, which represents four years of dedication and hard work on the mats since he first received his black belt in 2013.

Then came the Juniors grading, where nine of our Junior BJJ students showed their skills for Mestre Behring and earned their Gray/White belts.

Finally, Mike and Stephanie did a fantastic job in the adult grading, earning their first stripes and taking the first big step toward blue belt!

In and amongst the gradings were also several packed seminars in which Mestre Behring’s immense knowledge was on full display for us, as it is every April and October. It truly can’t be overstated how special these events are and we can’t wait for the next one when we’ll be bringing an even bigger group. OSS!

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Why BJJ for Women is So Important

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“Woman must not depend upon the protection of man, but must be taught to protect herself.” – Susan B. Anthony

I started training in martial arts about fifteen years ago, and right from the beginning self-defense has been a priority for me. Not only is it comforting to know that I can defend myself and my family if necessary, the training is also fun and interesting to me. That said, I know that odds are on my side that I’m not going to have to use it. According to Statistics Canada, in all reported cases of violent crime against men, 84% of attackers were acquaintances of the victim and nearly all were involved in some form of criminal relationship or activity. There are still many benefits for men to train their self-defense, and it’s not that random attacks are completely unheard of. The world can absolutely be a dangerous place but the average law-abiding man, it would seem, doesn’t have as much to worry about if they don’t go looking for trouble.

The statistics of violence against women tell a different, darker story. In the majority of cases of violence against women the attackers were not strangers or acquaintances known from criminal activity, but family members or intimate partners – current and former. One study found that half of Canadian women had experienced physical or sexual violence since the age of 16, and 67% of Canadians said they personally knew at least one woman who had been a victim of violence. These statistics cover extreme examples, but they don’t even touch on the countless everyday encounters that aren’t ‘attacks’ per-say but violate personal space or comfort in public. Faced with these truths, self-defense training becomes much less hypothetical.

Not only am I a strong believer in self-defense training for women in general, but particularly in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, a martial art that not only provides tools for dealing with a larger, stronger attacker but also provides options for control, de-escalation and scaling. Very few martial arts have been tested in as many real-life situations across all walks of life, and keep things simple to maximize training time. At Arashi-Do Martial Arts, we follow the teachings of Mestre Sylvio Behring, an 8th degree black belt and one of the world’s foremost experts on self-defense. While we also love the sport of Jiu-Jitsu, self-defense is and will always continue to be a mainstay in our classes. Try 30 days of classes free with no obligation, and see for yourself what kind of impact Jiu-Jitsu can have on your life.

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The Benefit of Womens Classes in BJJ

I’ve gotten a lot of questions about this recently so I thought I’d write a quick article about the difference between a standard mixed class and the womens class from my perspective.

There’s a myth out there that the reason for womens’ classes are that different techniques are taught to men and women. This is a pretty widespread one and I think it has a lot to do with the idea of using strength and speed in BJJ versus technique. It may seem obvious to some but the fact is that even if you are fast and strong, it’s still important to be as efficient as possible. There’s always someone faster and stronger out there. Different techniques may be more or less useful depending on whether you are tall, short, light, heavy, flexible etc. but those differences exist in men just as they do in women. If as an instructor I feel that a certain technique is the best answer for a certain situation, I’ll teach it to everyone. If for some biomechanical reason it doesn’t work as well for someone, male or female, I’ll adapt the technique or teach them a different one.

Now in my experience, the big difference in womens classes is the natural direction that the class takes. Once you’ve been teaching for a while you start to realize that if you plan an hour of material for an hour of class time you’re not going to get through it all. Depending on what questions are asked, what difficulties people have or perhaps what they pick up faster than you thought, the class tends to unfold in a different way every time. That’s why more experienced instructors will tend to have a general concept for the class with a few techniques they want to cover for sure and then see where the flow of the class goes.

For self defense especially, women do tend to face different dangers and challenges than men do so even if the techniques are the same, the context of a different situation changes how I teach them. These questions about different cases may not get asked in a mixed setting or if they do there may not be as much time spent on them as in the womens’ classes. For example, I teach the same grip breaks to everyone but in one womens class we discussed the topic in detail of being pulled somewhere and having to make a decision of whether to stay connected and buy time or to break the grip right away if a quick escape to a crowded area in the other direction is possible.

Both classes cover both self defense and sport, but many women, experienced or not have found benefits in coming to both mixed and womens only classes to round out their knowledge.

 

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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

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.

 

Gi

 

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.

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A Brief History of MMA – From Judo to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Gracie Kimura Poster jpegStarting in the early twentieth century, mixed martial arts events were held in Brazil, referred to as vale tudo competitions. These events permitted all standing and ground techniques just like the ancient pancratium did. This competitive environment attracted the attention of some Brazilian Judo schools, which began to adapt Judo to this kind of “anything goes” event. Judo began in Japan in the late nineteenth century as a form of full-contact grappling wearing garments that represent street wear, called judogis, in order to replicate real-world fighting conditions, which typically involved clothed individuals.

 

Judo combined the fighting specialties of several very old fighting traditions into one all-inclusive grappling sport. Much like other forms of wrestling, and for the same combative reasons, judo aims to throw to the back, pin, or submit an opponent. The separate origins of the two major parts of Judo are still visible today, as throwing and ground grappling are normally practiced distinctly from one another and are kept as two exclusive forms of sparring, known as standing randori and newaza randori, or more commonly simply as randori and newaza, respectively. In addition, the weapon self-defense and striking techniques are kept quite apart from these two major parts.

The Brazilian stylists began to develop a fighting doctrine based on the vale tudo rules, where knocking the opponent out or making the opponent submit in a one-on-one fight is paramount. Thus, the throws and pins, which are dominant but not final actions in and of themselves in a full-out fight, were reduced in value from match-enders to point-scorers. The real challenge became achieving the submission, while winning on points from the throws and pins was a secondary objective.

The rules of Judo were also altered to promote a strategy centered on gaining the submission by progressing through several positions toward maximum control of the opponent. Thus, the ideal progression is to take down the adversary with a throw; pass the guard; establish a side control such as a side mount, scarf hold, or knee on belly pin; and from there achieve full mount. From this pin the opponent can be punched at will, mercilessly, with both hands and submitted with a vast array of locks and chokes. If the adversary turns over to his belly to escape the blows and submission attempts, one is then able to take his back by wrapping the heels tightly into the inner thigh area by the groin and snaking the arms around the neck for a choke hold. Taking the back in this way became a point-scoring move in these new rules. It is then possible to stretch the opponent’s body out by pressing in with the hips and pulling back with the arms and legs, making the opponent totally helpless to strangulation.

This Brazilian form of Judo has become known as Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) and is a unique example of a grappling art whose rules were designed expressly for the mixed martial arts arena. There are two subdivisions of the sport, one that continues to use the judogi, also called a kimono, as an approximation of street clothing better adapted for self-defense training purposes, and another more specific to mixed martial arts that is done without the judogi, often called submission grappling, no gi grappling, or just grappling. Since the gi has been proven a liability rather than a help in MMA combat, training without it more directly prepares one for the kind of grappling situation to be expected in the mixed martial arts ring.

Judo as a sporting form of self-defense training has evolved somewhat in the opposite direction in favor of dominating in the clinch position through throws. For MMA, judo throws are adapted to no gi wrestling grips. Freestyle and Greco-Roman wrestling have always been seen as the no gi counterparts to Judo, so the creation of a specifically no gi variant of judo was not necessary.

While it is an oversimplification, it can be helpful when thinking of mixed martial arts to think of its techniques as encompassing all those found in boxing, kickboxing, Muay Thai, wrestling, and grappling. By no means are these the only sources for MMA competitors developing skills and tactics for the arena, but these are the most time-tested full-contact combat sports, including of course their many modern derivatives as legitimate subdivisions. Combining all these seemingly distinct sets of skills into one art is what makes mixed martial arts such a challenging field of endeavor, but also so interesting.

 

30 day button red squareCome down to Arashi Do Edmonton North 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!  What are you waiting for?  Call or text us at 780-220-5425 or email us at myackulic@ArashiDo.com