The Benefits of Competition for Kids

Competition has been an integral part of Jiu-Jitsu since the beginning, and whether you compete in Gi, No-Gi, MMA or any other form it is the foundation on which the scientific process of Jiu-Jitsu is built. When it comes to kids’ classes, I’ve always thought of it also as a way for them to prepare emotionally and psychologically for self-defense and other aspects of their lives. You can train hard in the dojo day in, day out, learn the techniques and become a better athlete, but in the place you know surrounded by your friends, teammates and family you’re always going to be somewhat comfortable. At a tournament, competing against other people you may not know in an unfamiliar environment can be overwhelming. You’re more tense and less efficient than normal because of the adrenaline, you’re nervous because of the unknown opponents and their capabilities, and you don’t want to lose. You may even be afraid, and feel as though you don’t remember anything. Despite all of that, you step on the mats and fight nonetheless. This is exactly the kind of cocktail of emotional and physical symptoms that occur in a real-world self-defense situation, and tournaments offer a safe (and fun!) way to practice your ability to perform better in that state.

Inevitably, tournaments will also provide opportunities to deal with the concept of winning and losing. All sports do this to some extent, of course, but there’s something a bit more primal, and more visceral about winning or losing in martial arts. The thing is, jiu-jitsu is so infinitely variable that it’s pretty much impossible to go undefeated for long. Not only do I not personally know any undefeated jiu-jitsu fighters, I don’t even know OF any. The first few tournaments a kid does can be an emotional struggle one way or the other, but over time they begin to be able to approach their wins and losses more objectively, extracting lessons from them about what needs to be worked on to push to the next level. This is an essential skill for long-term success not only in jiu-jitsu but life in general. In relationships, business, financial and family matters, being able to view successes and failures as potential lessons and opportunities to grow is a great lesson for a child, and jiu-jitsu makes an excellent teacher.

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Fight Classics: Marcelo Garcia vs Kron Gracie (ADCC 2009)

In classes at the St. Albert Dojo, Professor Tyson can often be heard speaking about “splitting the focus”. This is a common concept in martial arts, but is especially important in Jiu-Jitsu. In any roll or tournament match, you must consistently try to improve your position, submit or otherwise threaten their opponent from every position. The reason is that if you and your opponent are easily matched and they are trying to pass your guard, they will likely be successful if they can dedicate 100% of their energy and focus to that task. If you threaten with a sweep or submission, they will be forced to split their focus between passing your guard and defending themselves, doing neither to the best of their ability. The idea be applied to any situation, offensive or defensive. At the elite level, this match between Marcelo Garcia and Kron Gracie is perhaps one of the best examples of this concept in action. Even though Marcelo spends the majority of the fight in the bottom position, Kron never gets a chance to fully apply himself to a pass or submission attempt because Marcelo doesn’t give him an inch of breathing room. There is never a time in the course of the 14-minute match where he isn’t working a sweep, takedown, pass or submission. Kron displays excellent base, posture and threatens with attacks of his own, and ultimately the match ends in a spectacular submission. Watch and see for yourself, and see you in class tomorrow!

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Give us a call at 780-217-0059 or send us an e-mail at tlarone@arashido.com for more information on joining our team and see the life-changing benefits of training in jiu-jitsu for yourself!

Great Read for All BJJ Students – 3 Tips for Smoother Sailing on Your Way to Black Belt

A black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a long, difficult journey. It can be incredibly joyous and rewarding as well as infuriating at times, and progress is rarely a straight line. In this article Professor Tyson wrote for http://www.agatsuapparel.com, he outlines 3 things you can do to make things a little easier on yourself. Check it out!

3 Tips for Smoother Sailing on Your Way to Black Belt

http://agatsuapparel.com/blogs/news/3-tips-for-smoother-sailing-on-your-way-to-black-belt

 

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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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.

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History of BJJ – The Helio Lineage – Part 2

Brazilian Jiu-jitsu (BJJ) has been around for almost 80 years and continues to grow in popularity. In this 2nd part of the History of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu and the lineage of Helio Gracie, we will talk about the notable sons of Grandmaster Helio who through the mastery of BJJ, accomplished amazing victories and became champions in the Ultimate Fighting Championships (UFC).

Royce Gracie UFC 1Royce Gracie – The First Ever UFC Champion

Royce Gracie was born in 1966 and like his father, is a practitioner of BJJ and a professional mixed martial artist. He is most notably known as being the first UFC champion at the UFC 1. He dominated the UFC with 11 consecutive victories through opponent submission. He carried on the tradition of his father by defeating opponents who were much larger and stronger than him.

It was because of him that Brazilian Jiu-jitsu gained popularity and started to gather fame throughout the world. His incorporation of grappling and cross-training in mixed martial arts revolutionized the sport as his techniques took the UFC to whole new level. Fighters had to rely on more than just one martial art, especially incorporating other fighting styles with BJJ to even stand a chance against him and fighters that followed him. If there is anyone who brought Brazilian Jiu-jitsu into the limelight, it would be Royce Gracie!

Other Notable BJJ Children of Helio Gracie

Other than Royce, Helio Gracie had other sons who are also BJJ practitioners and UFC champions, Rorion Gracie, Relson Gracie, Rickson Gracie, Rolker Gracie, Royler Gracie, Royce Gracie and Robin Gracie. 

ricksonRickson Gracie

All of Helio Gracie’s sons are BJJ practitioners and mixed martial artists. Of these Rickson Gracie is well-known for defeating the mighty Brazilian brawler Rei Zulu. By defeating the 230-pound heavyweight fighter, Rickson gained national fame as one of the best freestyle fighters. Rei Zulu requested a rematch and was yet again defeated by Rickson, who carried on the Gracie legacy of defeating foes much larger than them. Rickson continues to give Jiu-jitsu training and continue what his father set out to do, to give confidence and the ability to defend themselves to the children, women and the physically weak.

Rorion Gracie

Rorion is the most prominent member of the Gracie family. He is one of the founders of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and Helio Gracie’s oldest son. He is among the few BJJ practitioners in the world to have received a 9th degree red belt in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu.

Royler Gracie

Royler holds a 7th degree black belt in the style that has been developed by his family, Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. Royler has been competing regularly in the black belt ranks for more than 20 years and has been the World Jiu-jitsu Champion four times. He also competed in MMA fights where he has a record of 5 wins, 5 losses and one draw.

There is much to learn when it comes to Brazilian Jiu-jitsu’s history in relation to the lineage of Helio Gracie. We shall discuss it further in part 3.

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History of BJJ – The Helio Lineage – Part 1

Brazilian Jiu-jitsu’s (BJJ) history goes back many years through the Gracie family to Mitsuyo Maeda, the original teacher. He was a Judo practitioner but evolved and bettered it to form Jiu-jitsu. Maeda finally settled in Brazil and opened a Jiu-jitsu academy where one of his students was Carlos Gracie, the elder brother of Helio Gracie. In 1925 Carlos and Helio Gracie opened their own Jiu-jitsu academy.

Helio Gracie and The Birth of Brazilian Jiu-jitsuhelio drawing

Helio Gracie was only 14 when his older brother was training students at a house in Rio de Janeiro. Due to the doctor’s recommendation, Helio was not allowed to train with the other students and had to sit and watch while others learned. This did not deter him however as he learned and memorized the moves and techniques.

It was not until he was 16 years old that Helio finally got the chance to put what he had learned to the test. Helio, even with his small size and frail body, was able to accomplish the techniques successfully but also realized that these were difficult for him to execute. He was eager to make these techniques work for him and started making changes in order to adapt them to his weak body. Instead of relying on strength and speed, Helio emphasized on the perfection of timing and leverage. He was able to modify almost all of the techniques and through much practice, trial and error, was able to create what we today call Brazilian Jiu-jitsu.

helio

The Rise of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu

Helio gave open challenges to all the top martial artists in Brazil in order to prove himself and the effectiveness of his new martial arts system. Out of the 18 matches that he fought, one was against the world wrestling champion Wladek Zbyszko and also against the number 2 Judoka in the world at that time called Kato. Helio was able to choke Kato unconscious well under 6 minutes into the fight.

Being able to defeat the world’s number 2 Judoka in such an effective way paved way for Helio to fight the Judoka world champion, Masahiko Kimura. Helio was outweighed by almost 80 pounds when he met Kimura in the ring. Even though Kimura won, Helio’s techniques had impressed him greatly. He requested Helio Gracie to come to Japan and teach as none of those techniques existed in Japan. This recognition by the world’s best gave Helio the morale boost to dedicate himself to refining the art of BJJ.

Helio Gracie and his former student Waldemar Santana are the only ones to have fought a no-holds-barred fight for a whopping 3 hours and 40 minutes! This is the world’s longest uninterrupted fight in history. Helio Gracie is regarded in Brazil as the first sports hero of the country.

This is the story of the man who started it all, Helio Gracie! He is the father of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu and his legacy continues with his sons and other family members. If you want to learn the ways of BJJ the way it were taught by the man himself then join us at Arashi Do Martial Arts in Edmonton.

We will continue about the history of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu and the Helio lineage in Part-2 of this article.

 

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All those and you get a 30 DAY FREE TRIAL