Our beloved sport is on the rise around the world! Check out this brand new documentary about some West Africans’ plight to become Jiu Jitsu world champions.
Michelle Nicolini is one of the elite fighters in women’s Jiu Jitsu. She is an IBJJF Hall of Famer, an 8x Jiu Jitsu World Champion, ADCC champion and the World Pro Cup champion. She is a black belt under Robert Drysdale and is one of the main stars in the Checkmat BJJ Team.
We wanted to catch up with Michelle and see how everything has been going since her latest win against Angelica Galvao at the first Polaris Pro event held on January 10th, 2015.
WBBJJ.com: Hello Michelle Nicolini! Thanks for taking the time to talk with me and the followers of White Belt BJJ about your Jiu Jitsu Journey, and your recent bout against Angelica Galvao at Polaris Pro.
Michelle Nicolini: Thank you! It has been a pleasure to have the space here to talk bit more about my BJJ journey. Fight with Angelica was nice. I was training for that fight, sub only for some time, and I could get my goal.
WBBJJ.com: How is everything going with you since your recent win against Angelica Galvao at Polaris Pro?
Michelle Nicolini: Everything is great. Nothing to complain! After Polaris I went back to London and I keeped training at London Fight Factory, my team Checkmat and I was getting ready for Europeans. I fought last weekend and I got another gold medal. Now I’m back in Brazil for the Abu Dhabi pro trials in Natal. I will be fighting on Sunday.
WBBJJ.com: What was your game plan going into the match and what concerned you the most leading up to it?
Michelle Nicolini: My game was the goal of the show: SUBMIT my opponent.
WBBJJ.com: You are known for your footlocks and you won the match with one. What is it that draws you personally to the lure of foot attacks? Is it because they are effective against larger opponents? Or is it more because you feel safe, defensively speaking, when attacking legs and feet? I ask because I am beginning to find my way with them and would like to know your perspective.
Michelle Nicolini: Footlocks are easy for me. I saw it in many different places. But I think the combination of my game make it happens more. I get sweep for example, I end up on top, or I gonna pass or if you start to resist to much I will try to attack your foot.
WBBJJ.com: You have said that you are tired of fighting for medals and that it is time for you to continue with MMA. Are you taking the time to do that now that Polaris is over? or are you training for an upcoming BJJ event?
Michelle Nicolini: I did the Euros cause I was already in Europe. So always nice to fight where BJJ is still growing if we compare with America. But this year, we had so many competitors that maybe this event gonna be bigger than others in US. Polaris was awesome. I’m sure they will have big success in the second edition. And they paid good! I’ve some other things before, but I’m already thinking about Abu Dhabi Pro in April. As I lost last year, I’m super motivated to win this year. MMA probably in June.
WBBJJ.com: Did you watch this season of the Ultimate Fighter seeing as it featured all ladies from your MMA weight class? How do you think you would have done if you were on the show? Who was your favorite straw-weight fighter of the season and why?
Michelle Nicolini: I didn’t watch all the show, but I was following some. I’m super excited to meet one of the finalist girls one day in the cage. They are all good. I think if I had been there I would had learn a lot from the coaches and I could do good too. But when they asked me if I wanted to go in the house, it was too late, I had other plans and I preferred to not cancel. I will be there one day!
WBBJJ.com: You said about Ronda Rousey that “Talk is cheap if you never show up” (referring to Worlds). A fight between the two of you in MMA wouldn’t happen because of the weight difference, that being said, do you think you can beat her in the gi? What would you do to nullify her takedowns and extra 20 – 30 lbs?
Michelle Nicolini: I believe on my Jiu Jitsu. I fought big girls before. I won sometimes, I lose others. Its hard to say the result of a fight before it happen. But I would for sure pull guard and I’m sure she wouldn’t pass! You need have lot of ability to pass a guard without expose yourself.
WBBJJ.com: We have a large following of BJJ ladies and a large amount of white belt followers (obviously haha)? What advice do you have for white belts starting out in BJJ? And then what advice do you have specifically for the ladies who are starting out in BJJ? This is your time to share your knowledge with a lot of new BJJ players!
Michelle Nicolini: White belts, don’t miss the classes. Go as much you can so you will learn the sequence of the techniques and it will be easier to memorize. For the ladies, I know sometimes it’s hard to train with the guys, but I trained most of my time with them. And as much we learn easier and better it will be. Remember to not try exchange power with them, be technical and faster!
WBBJJ.com: Without giving away all of your secrets, when you are rolling with the guys, what adjustments (if any) do you make to your game that perhaps other ladies could use?
Michelle Nicolini: One of my coaches I had, Drysdale, he always used to say for me to not exchange power with a guy, so I learned it so good. Of course BJJ is little bit about power but I’m 100% convinced if you move yourself first then you try to move your opponent you will have a large advantage. So it’s not a secret, I move more than my opponents. I use a lot my legs, cause they are stronger than my arms. And all works good!! I think so heheheh.
WBBJJ.com: Thank you very much for your time Michelle. Is there anyone you would like to acknowledge? Any sponsors you would like to mention?
Michelle Nicolini: Thank you to Tatami fight wear, first year together and it has been so good for me. They gave me a great support. Thank you to my team Checkmat, The House Fight Co., London Fight Factory, all the people who always send me messages and to everyone reading this article. So glad you guys want to know about me, my BJJ career. Thank you!!
WBBJJ.com: Thanks again and best wishes to you and yours!
Michelle Nicolini: Thank you!!
Check out some videos of Michelle Nicolini in action below. In the first video Michelle breaks Tammi Musumeci’s arm or comes very close to doing so. The second one is a fantastic highlight video.
Coach Joel Bombeiro Muzenza surprises his 16 year old BJJ student with a blue belt in the middle of a roll.
Tonight one of the most exciting fights of the year is taking place at UFC 183: Silva vs Diaz.
Everyone is familiar with these two legends in regard to their MMA careers. Not everyone knows that both of these men are Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Black Belts.
(Anderson Silva and the Nogueira Brothers)
Their complete lineages are as follows:
Anderson Silva < Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira < Ricardo De la Riva < Carlson Gracie < Carlos Gracie < Mitsuyo Maeda
Nick Diaz < Cesar Gracie < Robson Gracie < Carlos Gracie Sr. < Mitsuyo Maeda
Hopefully this means that we will get to see some high level grappling action in tonight’s five-rounder. Thoughts?
This is one of those rare treasures that you find and wonder why you have never heard about it before. MMA not exciting enough for you? How about tag team MMA? This isn’t just any old backyard production (okay many of the fights take place in the sand, but that’s not the point). This fighting federation from Russia recently has gone international staging their first event in Brazil in 2014.
You simply have got to watch this. I have watched at least 10 videos from their YouTube channel and have been enjoying them. They remind me of early Brazilian Jiu Jitsu fights that would happen right there on the beach. The level of fighting is pretty good at times. They wear MMA gloves and have referees.
Check out the match below where you get a knock out and an armbar in a single tag team match! Incredible!
For more information check out their webpage!
The second Jiu Jitsu World League has been announced! This one is taking place in Las Vegas on May 9th, 2015. There is not much more information available as of now. The Jiu Jitsu World League this week created a Facebook event page to post announcements!
The first event seemed to be a big success. The athletes in attendance claimed to have a great time on Social Media. The videos that I saw had plenty of people in attendance and even some big stars like Ashton Kutcher came out. There was cool loud music to roll to and winning athletes got paid! BJJ Girl enjoyed participating in the event! Check out her write up which is featured at jjworldleague.com. It’s a great read!
The gentleman that run the league ask if we’d share this video with you all. It is a High-Def Cinema Edition Gi Championship Highlight from the first event. Enjoy!
This video from a Black Belt ceremony captures the feeling of a Jiu Jitsu teacher who truly cares about his students. An emotional Felipe Guedes of Gracie Barra San Clemente shared his thoughts on why so many people quit our sport and how precious it is to make it to the Black Belt level. He also shared these quotes:
“If you are lucky enough to find a way of life you love, you have to find the courage to live it.” – John Irving
“The difference between the impossible and the possible lies in a man’s determination.” Tommy Lasorda
I am Michael Garlington. I am 13 years old and am from Annapolis, Maryland, near the United States Naval Academy. I have grown up here my whole life. I have been training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for the past two and a half years. Currently I am a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Yellow Belt in the middle of training for the IBJJF Pan Kids tournament being held on February 15th, 2015 in California. My goal is to be someday become a BJJ world champion.
I used to play several different sports throughout the year like most kids. I played soccer, baseball, basketball, football, and Kung Fu. Even though I enjoyed playing those sports with all of my friends from school, my heart wasn’t all the way into any of them. One day my father and I accidently turned on the UFC channel and saw the one and only Rhonda Rousey break another girls arm. I turned to my dad and said, “I want to do that as a sport”. So he went out and found my academy.
After the first couple months of training I fell in love with the art of BJJ. Ever since, there is nothing I would rather be doing then training at the academy. Currently I train 6 days per week. From Monday through Saturday I am at the gym or at a competition. Two to three days per week I train with adults for more advanced technique and hardcore live rolling. Then the other two to three days per week I’m training with other kids which involves a lot more drilling and helping out other children.
(Michael winning gold at NAGA)
Four months into training BJJ and I wanted to join our competition team. After watching all the advanced kids competing and bringing home the gold I wanted to try it out. My first tournament I didn’t do so well but that just drove me to work harder and come back next time with the gold.
Currently I am the top kid in Maryland for my weight class. After 6 months of training I went out to my first Pan kids and got third. The year after that I got promoted to a higher belt rank which caused me to fight up at the next competition level for kids, and I lost in a nail biting match in the semifinals to achieve third once again.
To travel across the country to compete with kids all around the world can be very intimidating, but with the right amount of confidence and skill there is nothing that can stop me. Kids that I used to think were unstoppable, I am now beating! I have hit a win streak in my NAGA competition career which has given me a new found confidence! My confidence is helping me to compete and win. With this attitude I just know I can come back from Pan Kids this year with the gold medal!
(Michael cleaning up the mats)
Next year I will be trying to get into Dematha high school because it is a school with a great wrestling program which will help me also with my Jiu Jitsu career.
This Jiu Jitsu career of mine was not accomplished by myself. I owe my success to my instructors, my parents, and my training partners. I could not have had these successes without Mr. and Mrs. Ives, the owners of Ivey League Mixed Martial Arts. I didn’t think it was possible to have such great instructors and mentors. In addition to great instruction I also have amazing training partners. You can’t get better at something if there is no one to push you and make you better, and at my academy that’s what all of my training partners do. Finally I have to thank my parents. They have spent so much time driving me to tournaments and practices, and their support is what gives me my biggest confidence boost.
If you want to help this future champion get to the tournament and win the gold please click here.
[UPDATE: 2/15/2015 – He won! Thank you everyone who gave their support!]
There are lots of things in the world worth trying, but trying to heckle Joe Rogan is not one of them. Check out below what happens when you try to heckle him while he is on stage. [Graphic Language Warning]
Below Joe Rogan jumps onstage and annhilates comedian Carlos Mencia for being a comedic thief.