UFC Fighter Tarec Saffedine’s Painful Black Belt Promotion
There are many Brazilian Jiu Jitsu academies. Some promote their students via “the gauntlet” and others do not. The BJJ promotion gauntlet consists of fellow students whipping the newly promoted with their cloth belts.
In the video below UFC welterweight Tarec Saffedine receives the gauntlet treatment by his fellow teammates as he is promoted to Jiu Jitsu black belt!
What do you think? Is the BJJ gauntlet abusive? Or does it serve as a symbol of the pain involved in achieving a new belt rank?.
BJJ is a mass of concepts, techniques, strategies and positions, but there are some key techniques that are pretty tough to get a hold of (and keep hold of when rolling) when you first start.
1. Don’t roll over.
The first time I rolled after having been doing BJJ for 45 minutes total, I found myself trying to barrel roll to escape a side control or a mount. Almost every time I did, it ended up with me gifting the guy my back. I got rear naked choked time and time again. It took a blue belt I was sparring with to tell me to stop trying to roll out, be more patient, and not to panic. My instinct was to roll away, but after a few classes I’ve stopped myself from doing it and am working on sweeps and escapes instead.
2. Protecting my arms when in someone’s guard.
Another recurring problem I faced (and am still facing), was when I was in someone’s guard I wanted to grab hold of their gi or arms, but my posture was not correct. I was too close to them, so when I grabbed their lapel, I found myself in triangles and armbars often. My instructor saw me doing this and showed me how easy it was to put on a triangle when the person sticks their arm out thoughtlessly when in your guard. I’m now working on keeping better posture while in my opponent’s guard, and being more careful with where I put my arms to try avoid some of those easy triangles and armbars.
3. Going on offense way too early.
You practice a new choke or lock, and want to get to it as soon as you have a barely semi-dominant position. I was going for lapel chokes and armbars when I had barely got halfway through a pass, and couldn’t land them obviously. Even worse, I ended up compromising my defense completely by not thinking about where my weight and limbs were. I’m not there yet, but have been trying to ensure that I worry more about position and control, rather than going full out for a lock or choke and ending up getting tapped needlessly.
4. Push and pulling.
A guy has me in side-control, and to get him off me, I’m pushing him this way and pulling him the other. Two minutes later he still has me in side-control and I’m f-ing exhausted and my grips are half numb. I wasn’t getting anywhere by simply applying force with zero leverage or understanding, but at the time I didn’t know what else to do. I still don’t have a good idea how to get someone off me easily, but I’m learning to wait and think and move, not just push and pull until I can’t breathe.
5. Thinking a tap means I’m good.
The first session, I managed to get someone slightly more experienced to tap with a forced guillotine. It wasn’t clean a clean choke at all. It was not technical and it barely worked. But I took it as a sign that I could push through and force submissions. It worked occasionally, but almost every time I roll, it’s an endless rhythm of me tapping that damn mat. I make sure now (4 classes in) that I remember that pretty much everyone there, weaker or less athletic, can play with me with impunity. It keeps me grounded in a way I think is very important for being accepted to the group.
The Chattanooga shooter, Mohammad Youssuf Abdulazeez, was described by his coach as a devoted and disciplined mixed martial artist (Source: CNN).
“His favorite training partner to grapple with — not striking, but actually submission grapple with, when you’re actually on the ground in close proximity contact with — was a Russian Jew, hardly what you would see as someone who would be a radical Islamist,” his coach said.
In the photo above you can see Abdulazeez wearing a medal from a Naga Jiu Jitsu tournament.
As a side note, Boston Marathon bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was also a grappler/wrestler (pictured below).
Prayers go out to the slain marines family and friends.
First He Brought You Worms, Now Keenan Reveals Mantis Guard!
Keenan Cornelius is widely considered to be one of the most innovative BJJ players on the mat today. First Keenan brought us the worm guard, now he is unleashing “the mantis guard”!
It is a variation of reverse De la Riva guard with mantis hand positioning that ends in a kiss-of-the-dragon back take. Sounds like high level Dungeons & Dragons wizardry to me! I can’t wait to try it out on the mats.
Enjoy the technique below and be sure to stay tuned to keenanonline.com for more of Keenan’s innovations.
(Photo courtesy of William Burkhardt of BJJpix.com)
How to Pass a Complicated Guard
by Julius Park
Modern Jiu-Jitsu has been increasing in complexity, especially in the guard work. The latest innovations are focused primarily around lapel grips, which have (temporarily) confounded the BJJ community.
Like anything complicated, we have to “chunk” the material down into smaller, more manageable pieces.
Guard Passing is actually three stages:
Unwinding / Grip Breaking
Clearing the Legs
Securing the Dominant Position
Unwinding / Grip Breaking
Jiu-Jitsu students frequently ask:
How do I pass the ________ Guard?
(a) De La Riva
(b) Reverse De La Riva
(c) Spider Guard
(d) Lasso Guard
(e) Deep Half Guard
(f) Worm Guard
This is a somewhat inaccurate question. What students are actually asking is “How do I break the grips that are on me?“
By grips, I mean feet & legs as well as hands & arms.
Each guard is defined by a particular set of grips and grip sequences. The process of removing your opponent’s grips and getting your grips is what I refer to as unwinding.
The first unwind you ever learned was probably from the top of guard . Your instructor probably told you to remove your opponent’s hand from your collar before starting to open the guard. If you don’t remove the collar grip, you give your opponent more opportunities to attack as well as defend the later stages of guard passing. This same cause and effect relates to other “more advanced” guard positions.
Clearing the Legs
The actual clearing of the legs are the techniques most commonly referred to as guard passing.
Knee Cut Under-Over Double-Under / Stacking Leg Drag Long Step, etc.
But as everyone knows – its probably easier to hold a pissed off cat than an upper belt whose legs you’ve just cleared.
Which brings us to part 3.
Example of Clearing the Legs & Securing Dominant Position
As a Blue Belt, I distinctly remember how hard I thought it was to hold a person down after the pass. They would ALWAYS turtle. I could clear the legs but it was so difficult and energy consuming to hold the person down or to actually get the back.
These are fundamental movements that are used after you’ve cleared the legs, but the individual is still resisting the pass. For the competitors, this is the step when done wrong, you end up with an advantage but not any points.
To do this well, you must train back takes as well as dominant top position transitions such as side-mount, mount, knee-on-belly, etc. Don’t limit yourself by only choosing to take the back or only trying to secure side-mount. You often will not get a choice as to how your opponent reacts once you clear his legs – some will turn in, some will turn out, some will lead with legs, some will lead with arms.
Successful Leg Clearing with Failed Securing Dominant Position
Notice that Guard Passer has to Remove the Collar Grip Before Initiating The Leg Clear
A Video about Securing Dominant Positions via Side Switch
Additional Tips on Guard Passing
Certain guards are responses to particular guard-passing systems. For example, worm guard is primarily a response to a knee-cut or bull-fight passer. You’ll be able to avoid a lot of that guard’s strengths by passing a different way i.e. passing from the knees.
Be able to pass to both sides
Don’t be reactionary unless you are forced to be. You should have the jump on your opponent as the top man since they have to pull into a guard. They should be forced into the 2nd stage of guard pass (defending your leg clearing) rather than you being pulled into stage 1 (unwinding their grips).
Thank you very much for reading! I hope that this article helps you in your Jiu-Jitsu journey!
About Julius Park: I am a Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt. I’ve produced BJJ World Champions from Blue Belt up to Brown Belt. My next goal is to get a student to the Black Belt World Champion level and into the UFC. I have an English Bulldog, Ghostface, who has so far resisted all training methods. I teach out of Crazy 88 Mixed Martial Arts gyms in the Baltimore area.
UFC 189 Full Embedded Series + McGregor & Mendes Open Workouts
UFC 189 is just around the corner! For those who haven’t seen the highly entertaining embedded series which encapsulated the build up to this mega-fight, we have it here for you! It is well worth a watch!
I could be happy with a Mendes or a McGregor win, for different reasons. One thing I noticed though in Conor McGregor’s open workout video below, is that he was seemingly being beat up by his mit holder and grappling partner. It was a little weird to see. I’m wondering if anyone else saw this as well, or if it was just me.
Ok enough rambling. Enjoy the videos!
And if you simply can’t get enough, below is the UFC 189 press conference call.
This Saturday, July 11th it all goes down! See you there!
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