“Superman” Actor Henry Cavill Practices BJJ! Visits Renzo Gracie Affiliate!
Even Superman himself supplements his powers with Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu!
“I had the pleasure and the honour of training at the Renzo Gracie Jiu-Jitsu academy in Florida. A huge thank you to professors @stanbeckbjj and @juanr200 for your hospitality, patience and of course your knowledge.” – Henry Cavill
The Art of Flopping Over: The Epidemic Of Losing Base And Balance Among BJJ Practitioners
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu clearly isn’t known for its takedowns. But is intentionally taking the bottom position always the best option in grappling?
We all started training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to learn how to control the ground game. Wrestling, Judo and a slew of other grappling sports focus entirely on getting the other opponent down. But Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is so focused on ground fighting, that often practitioners will sacrifice balance and base as a trade-off for getting in a bottom position. While there is nothing wrong with “the bottom” strategically, sacrificing balance and base (herein: flopping over) is always a mistake.
But what is base?
Base or (Base of Support) is the area (width x height) of the bottom part of any upright structure.
(Beating up people because of liking geometry and not the other way around.)
Since we presumably have mobile legs, we have to consider our legs position and ability to move from said positioning when calculating our approximate base.
Below are three classic examples of base that we often consider when doing takedowns and striking arts. Let’s see which scenario is ideal for base:
Clearly the middle foot positioning gives us both a wide enough step (but not too wide) and deep enough step (but not too deep).
And what exactly is balance?
Balance (in terms of fighting) is the ability to keep oneself upright, by a means of keeping your center of gravity within a central part of the base. This is no easy task while attempting to move yourself and another human being.
So now that we understand what staying upright means in theory, how does that apply to grappling as a whole?
OK, I get the science of staying upright, but I still end up falling down.
Not to worry. Just like a white belt who doesn’t know the first thing about guard passing or sweeping, your takedown game probably only consists of submission attempts and those generally don’t help us stay upright. So, instead, let’s focus on some thing BJJ guys forget when standing:
Engaging on your terms
Don’t sit idly by while you are pushed or pulled in the initial phase of takedowns. The key to any good takedown (as is true in lots of grappling) is the set-up. Try to remain balanced and in good base when you get pushed or pulled. And when you have your footing, push and pull back!
Crossface, crossface, crossface!
If you don’t crossface when somebody is attempting a single (or even double) on you, your opponent will take you down all day long.
If you’re already doing BJJ and you don’t know what a crossface is, ask your instructor or learn about it on Youtube. It’s kind of a big deal.
Anyone who knows me I love the turtle guard. However, when I want to stay on top, it’s not the best place to be. Instead, if you find yourself in the turtle (from a failed shot or from being snapped down) you should diversify your turtle guard to learn a series of shoulder sweeps to sweep your opponent and come on top.
If you do turtle, turtle like Eduardo Telles.
NOTE: The classic log roll from turtle is one of SEVERAL moves and is by far the most predictable/easy to counter. If you only attempt it and just get pancaked, your turtle guard isn’t diverse enough to be called a guard.s
But what about base for BJJ, where we aren’t on our feet?
Good question. However, all of the above still applies for the ground game. Keeping that in mind, let’s cover some things we typically don’t remember when the fight hits the ground.
Use your head!
It’s good for thinking but the human head is even better for crushing! When it comes to grappling (standing or ont the ground), one of the most underrated appendages on the human body is the head.
If we think of all the tools we have at our disposal, we generally think about our hands, feet, maybe knees, but often neglect our good head positioning. (GIF credit to BJJScout)
What did the head say to the face?
Don’t get overzealous with attacking
We’ve all been there. Your opponent is turtled or in the bottom of sprawl control and you get so excited to take his back or submit him and then you’re back where you started, on the bottom in some kind of guard. Some key points to remember in these moments:
– You don’t need to fall over when attacking the crucifix. It’s an even stronger position if you can lock it up with him still facing down, rather than having him lay on you.
– Underhooks prevent you from falling off the front when taking the back. We all love the seatbelt, but if you find yourself falling over the front of the guy’s turtle, you probably didn’t have a sufficient underhook. Switch to double underhooks if you feel this happening.
Don’t just attack the upper-body. The Truck is a great way to get your opponent worrying about his legs in a position where he’s mostly worried about his neck.
If we can stop from needlessly flopping over, we can use our guards to come on top and STAY there. Sweeping a guy 10 times in a match is cool, but wouldn’t you rather control him and submit him?
The All Powerful Hip Switch Half Guard Pass Tutorial
I titled this article “The All Powerful Hip Switch Half Guard Pass Tutorial” because this is currently my favorite way to pass the half guard. I fell in love with this pass because my coach used to absolutely crush me using it. He taught it to me, and now I crush people with it. Learn it and love it white belts!
Learn the 4 tricks that top Black Belts use and abuse to finish their armbar attacks. I see even experienced grapplers making mistakes that cripple their ability to submit opponents. These 4 techniques will have you taking arms home like its your job. This is part 1 of a whole series specifically on dismantling someones ingrained defenses that everyone does to shut down arm attacks.
After a year full of injuries and setbacks, two-time Olympic judoka and Washington native Travis Stevens is preparing to compete in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. (Bettina Hansen & Lauren Frohne / The Seattle Times)
When You Feel Sore, Tired And Defeated; Re-read This Article About Olympic Judoka Travis Stevens
Two-time Olympian Travis Stevens stands toward the back of the mat, hands folded across his chest, a scowl on his scruffy face.
“Yeah, that was not good,” he says to a group of top Northwest Judo competitors on a recent Sunday afternoon at the YMCA Ippon Judo Dojo club.
“That was not good at all,” he repeats, shaking his head. “Everyone get down and give me 50 push-ups.”
Stevens, who has qualified in judo for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, doesn’t mince words.
“He doesn’t joke a lot. Doesn’t talk a lot. But when he gets on those mats, he’s a different person. That’s where you get more than two words out of him. That’s where he feels most comfortable,” says Jason Harai, one of Stevens’ coaches growing up. “But you don’t mess around on the mats when he’s here. This is his livelihood, and he takes it serious.”
For Stevens, most mornings begin with a throbbing headache and little feeling in his left shoulder.
Then, maybe, coffee with sugar and cream and a doughnut before the first training session.
Judo goes from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Jiu jitsu is 1 to 2:30 p.m.
Then, lunch. Maybe a nap.
Stevens, who grew up in Tacoma but now trains mostly in Wakefield, Mass., goes back for Round 2 of judo from 6 to 8 p.m.
Then it’s back to jiu jitsu from 8 to 9:30 p.m.
“I consider myself a hard worker, but somehow he always finds a way to push me past my limit,” training partner Colton Brown says.
“He is an extremely competitive person and has a refuse-to-lose mentality. He shows up to training with that mentality each day and tries to do whatever it takes to win. There have been days where we have nearly gotten into fistfights on the mat, but afterwards go and have dinner with each other. I have a tremendous amount of respect for Travis and his work ethic while training.”
Even traveling doesn’t get in the way of workouts, and Stevens does a lot of flying.
On the way to Cuba to fight in the Pan American Championships in late March, Stevens, dressed in a black rubber sweatsuit, ran sprints at the Miami International Airport’s parking garage to keep loose and cut weight.
“He grew up in an era where there were no excuses,” Harai said. “He learned Judo back in the day when you didn’t get water breaks, there wasn’t air conditioning at the dojo, where it was all about discipline and this old-school Japanese mentality. If he didn’t break then, he’s not going to break now.”
Olympic judoka Travis Stevens, left, and Byron Redditt, instructor at Ippon Judo Dojo at the Lakewood Family YMCA, demonstrate for students Sunday June 5, 2016. Stevens is a two-time Olympian in Judo who is headed to the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio. (Bettina Hansen/The Seattle Times)
The road to Rio, to these Olympic Games, has been trying.
“The concussion was a big one where I had conversations with my coaches and USA Judo where we asked the question of, ‘Could I even get to that level again?’ ” Stevens said.
The stage was the Dusseldorf Grand Prix in Germany. It was March 2015. Stevens, competing against France’s Alain Schmitt, a world bronze medalist in 2013, went for a big judo throw — uchi mata — and nailed it, tossing Schmitt in the air and flat on his back.
“I believe I broke his clavicle and fractured his shoulder,” Stevens said.
But the 30-year-old Stevens also took a beating, hitting his head hard when he landed.
Watch the match on YouTube, and you can hear the smack of his head.
Stevens’ hand was raised, but he lost much more than what he gained in the months following the tournament.
He remembers little of what immediately happened afterward.
His team manager and doctor found him in the corner of a room on the floor, rocking back and forth, whistling to himself.
The doctor was in his face — “But I pushed him away,” Stevens said.
And he didn’t recognize his girlfriend of a year-and-a-half.
“I asked our team manager who she was, because she kept staring at me like I had just killed her dog,” he said.
The night in the hotel was fuzzy, and the following months were full of stress, headaches, vomiting and dizziness.
He finally got back to training after a 2½-month hiatus.
“I tried a couple of times before that, because as my days would go on I felt functionally OK,” Stevens said. “But then once I started going up and down or my heart would start to beat faster and faster I would just get dizzy, and you would see me start to walk and I was tilting to the left. I was able to still medal at Pan Ams (in April), and then I fought some higher-level tournaments after that, and I just lost in the first round every time. That’s when we decided to pull me from training. I couldn’t function.”
Things got worse before they got better.
In July, Stevens contracted Cellulitis, Staph and MRSA in his right knee after competing in the Grand Slam in Russia. With the world championships around the corner, there was no time for rest.
Then he got bursitis in his knee and was vomiting during every training session. But he pushed ahead.
His warm-up for the world tournament, held in Khazakstan in August, consisted of walking in a circle, then onto the mats.
Stevens won three matches before dropping out, but his knee was damaged further and swelled up at the tournament.
Back home, his doctor drained it and gave him some antibiotics.
Then he went on vacation.
“I spent most of the time on the couch or in bed,” Stevens said. “I remember waking up every day in puddles of sweat.”
He returned to his doctor, who told him to rush to the hospital.
There, the surgeon drained 380 CC’s of an orange-like fluid from his knee and warned him to take heed in the future.
“They told me they would have had to cut my leg off if I had come in two or three days later,” Stevens said.
“That’s how bad the bacterial infection was.”
A photo of Stevens from the 2012 Olympic Games has famously floated around the Internet. There’s blood in Steven’s mouth and tape wrapped around his head. It’s from his semifinal match in the 81-kg division, which he lost in a controversial judges decision to 2008 champ Ole Bischof.
“My grandfather died last year,” he said afterward. “And this pretty much feels the same way.”
Stevens does not take this sport lightly. He knows how talented he is. He knows how strong he is. And he knows that he has the opportunity of a lifetime to compete on this stage.
“It’s not just about me, it’s about my coaches, it’s about my training partners,” he says. “As much as I sacrifice, you should see the brutality and what we do to our training partners that don’t get the chance to step on the Olympic field. They don’t take the beatings for nothing.
“They’re just as much as part of the journey as I am. We set a goal, and it’s about getting there, one way or another.”
Xande Ribeiro BJJ Guard Seminar At IBJJF World Masters 2016
Below is the full guard seminar BJJ legend Xande Ribeiro taught at the IBJJF World Masters 2016.
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