How To Get From White To Blue Belt With Erik Paulson

 

Erik Paulson is a legend in the game of Jiu-Jitsu and leglocking in particular. In this video he discusses what is required for his students to be promoted to blue belt from white.

 

 

 

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“The Four Pillars of a BJJ White Belt” by Mike Bidwell

 

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(Photo Credit: Richard Mossotti)

 

“The Four Pillars of a BJJ White Belt”

by Mike Bidwell

 

Everyone starts at white belt but quickly forgets exactly how that feels.  It’s an amazing time where every class brings new information and what seems like a constant stream of “ah ha” moments.  Along with all the excitement comes endless frustration and confusion.  Why is BJJ so challenging at the beginning levels?  Part of it is that Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is just a tough martial art: physically and mentally.  It’s not like other martial arts where you can sort of trick yourself into thinking you are better than you really are.  Here’s a good example:  If two adults take a striking class they will hit pads, throw kicks and punches in the air and maybe even spar with a partner.  (In most cases, people don’t spar 100%.)  Why because of injuries, safety concerns, etc.  But in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu you can actually “spar” or grapple at 100%.  Why?  Because the “tap” gives you the “out” when you need it.  In other words, you can grapple your partner at 100% effort and resistance and when you get into “trouble” you can tap and exit the match safely.  If you were doing standup sparring at 100% the only real measurement of absolute success is an actual knock out.  Now of course you can spar 100% and see what happens…but that probably isn’t the safest way to train!  So my point here is that BJJ gives you instant, 100% feedback.  You grapple someone and they catch you in a submission and you tap out.  Immediately you know that you lost.  There’s no question or debate or “what if” scenarios…you lost period!

 

When you are a white belt you will more than likely tap out way more than you will ever tap out others.  For the most part this is as it should be.  If you’ve never wrestled or grappled before your expectation shouldn’t be that you would be good right away.  Nobody is ever good at anything at first.  Have you ever tried snowboarding?  You will spend more time on your ass than a Miyao brother (I actually like them a lot that’s a compliment really).  Snowboarding like BJJ, it is very difficult at first.  Like most things in life, you have to suck at it before you can be pretty good and you have to be pretty good before you are good… and so on it goes.  In order to progress on your journey in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu you will need to build a solid base early on in your training if you are to survive.   In this blog I will cover what I believe are four pillars that are vital to a beginner BJJ student.

 

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(Photo Credit: Richard Mossotti)

 

Pillar I:  Tell your narrative and stay committed to it.

Why are you starting Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and what do you expect to get out of it?  These are very important questions that will act as your guide and beacon throughout your first year of training.  Your narrative is your story.  What do you want your story to look like?  Sit down with a notebook and write (in the present tense) what you expect to gain from your first year of training.  Start it like this…”Now that I’ve been training BJJ for one year I have lost thirty pounds, got two stripes on my white belt, competed in my first tournament…” This will help you clarify your goals and objectives regarding your training.  Take your time and be as specific and detailed as possible.   Why one year?  You can’t start BJJ thinking that you might quit.  Make a commitment with yourself that no matter what you will stick with it for one year!  This gives you time to create real momentum.  Remember, unless you’re seriously sick or injured, you have to stay committed to your original goal to train for a minimum of one year.

 

Pillar #2:  Have an accountability partner

Not knowing anyone in your BJJ class can be very intimidating and for some people a path to quitting.  Your accountability partner can be anyone who you train with that helps you adhere to your goals… and you do the same for them.  How do you find an accountability partner?  It can be something as simple as recruiting a friend or family member to attend class with or maybe you befriend someone from class. Having someone to share your BJJ excitement with is very important.  It gives you someone to train with outside of class, someone to share rides with and most importantly someone to help you stay committed to your goals.  If you can get your significant other to train with you then kudos!  That alone will prevent future arguments over your “insane addiction” to BJJ!

 

Pillar #3:  Take copious notes

Go and buy a notebook for your BJJ notes.  Bring your notebook to class with you and take notes during class.  By taking notes you will extend your attention span, recall information more effectively later, and allows you to be a more active learner.  If you were taking a college course taught by an important speaker you would take notes right?  BJJ isn’t cheap and you are learning one of the most complicated martial arts on the planet from someone who is an expert…why wouldn’t you take notes?  In addition to taking notes in class it is also important to take notes after randori (live sparring).  Ask yourself two important questions:  What did I do right? And what did I do wrong?  This will help you set goals and benchmarks.  In addition, take specific notes on specific partners.  Your grappling partners are your truest benchmarks.  Write down how you think you did?  What is working and what’s not working?  This will help you mark your progress and record your first year of training.  Which will also be valuable later on in your training when you look back and reflect on your time as a beginner.

 

Pillar #4:  Ask for help!

Remember, your instructors are there to be your guide.  You have to always trust that they have your best interests in mind.  Don’t be afraid to ask questions.  Also don’t be afraid to trust their judgment! You never ask; “when am I getting my next stripe?” Let your instructor be your instructor.  Other than that, your instructors are more than happy to answer your questions.  Of course don’t take advantage of their time. If you have a lot of questions or just need some help with your training, schedule a private lesson.  Private lessons are a great way to get some extra guidance from your teacher.  If you cannot afford private lessons, ask some of the upper belts in your school.  Most decent blue belts can answer most “white belt” questions.  Blue belts are also great because they just spent a great deal of time not too long ago as a white belt.  Take advantage of this excellent resource.

 

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(Photo Credit: Richard Mossotti)

 

Additional Tips:

  • The more you train, the more you’ll get out of it! You can either “dip your toes” or “jump in headfirst”.  BJJ is a very complicated martial art.  You will never “get it” by training once a week.  Make a commitment to train a minimum of 2-3 times per week.  Like the saying goes, the more you put in the more you get out of it!  How deep down the rabbit hole do you want to go?

 

  • If you’re over 40 or coming off an injury etc. Be smart with your training partners.  Don’t grapple with the crazy 20-year old that tries to rip everyone’s head off!  If you’re attending an open mat then pick safe, trusted partners you feel comfortable with.   You’ll quickly figure out who the crazy ones are and who are the safest students.  Don’t be afraid to ask the upper belts to grapple with you (especially brown and black belts).

 

  • Attend Open Mat. Don’t be afraid to attend open mats.  Some of your most valuable lessons will take place in live training.  Plus this is where you will develop and hone your grappling skills, improve your cardio and really experience the most exciting part of BJJ training!

 

Check out this crazy technique video from Mike!

 

Mike Bidwell is a BJJ Black belt by day and aspiring Ninja by night.  Mike is a Black Belt under Ken Kronenberg (Team Tai-Kai / Balance).  Mike competes regularly in the masters divisions and also runs the popular www.BJJAfter40.com website.  In addition, Mike’s 8-year old daughter Valencia runs the www.TheGiProject.com website where she collects and sends new and used gi’s to “at risk” and underprivileged kids throughout the world so they can participate in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

 

WBBJJ Private Lessons #6 – Michael Hillebrand

 

PRIVATELESSONS

 

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In the past you have seen our “Private Sessions” interviews, where we get to know various BJJ players. Now we will also be doing “Private Lessons” (you see what we did there?) videos featuring some of our favorite Jiu Jitsu personalities.

 

For this sixth installment of Private Lessons we are featuring Michael Hillebrand of 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu. In this video Michael (with Denny Prokopos) teaches us the Von Flue Choke! This choke is named after Jason Von Flue, who used this technique to counter Alex Karalexis’ Guillotine Choke, in 2006 at UFC Ultimate Fight Night 3.

 

 

Thank you Michael Hillebrand for the technique!

 

Connect with Michael on your favorite social media sites:

Facebook = http://www.facebook.com/michael.hillebrand.77

Instagram = @Michael_Hillebrand

Twitter = @mikenunja

 

If you would like to film a Private Lessons video for us, or know someone you would like to see do a Private Lessons video. Please contact us!

 

(Gi Review) Veni Vidi Vici “The Guardian” Kimono

 

Veni Vidi Vici “The Guardian” Kimono Review

by Tony Peranio WBBJJ.com

 

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INTRODUCTION

 

I like to enjoy the finer things in life. Fine food, fine wine and fine clothing make life worth living. If you practice Brazilian Jiu Jitsu your aesthetic “swagger” is determined by the Kimono that you wear. Many people wear the same cookie-cutter gi. We all know the one. I will not mention any company names but if you type “BJJ Gi” into Amazon or Ebay it will be among the first returned in the query.

 

“Veni Vidi Vici” is latin for, “I came, I saw, I conquered.”

 

These kimonos are fine for beginners just entering the sport. (I am sure there are those of you who will tell me that you have worn the same gi that you bought on Ebay, from white belt to black belt. Then with that same gi you went on to win IBJJF Worlds. I get it.) However, some of us like to embrace our individuality on the mats. We like to perform to our maximum ability, while looking great doing it. Some of us like to have different gis for different occasions. If you find yourself in the gi more often than not, why would you not invest in the best? And if you have the expendable money, why would you not indulge in a nice repertoire of kimonos to suit your different fancies?

 

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SUMMARY

 

Veni Vidi Vici’s “The Guardian” kimono is their flagship product. You can tell they took a significant amount of time in both design and manufacturing. The Jacket’s material is light and flexible. There is a built-in rashguard which has a cooling effect and also keeps your skin safe by preventing friction. The embroidery is gorgeous and inspirational. The pants are durable and have two handy easter eggs. One is a mouthguard pocket hidden inside of the pants and the crotch is a special elastic material which guarantees that there will be no ripping.

 

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FIT

 

“The Guardian” kimono fit me like a glove. I have the A3. I am 5’8 and 200 lbs. The gi fit perfectly although I will have the pants hemmed. This is no fault of the design though, merely my build.  I am very flexible and was able to lay up some nasty head level karate kicks that were uninhibited by the pants (smiles). “The Guardian” definitely felt similar to a tailor-fitted suit.

 

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DESIGN

 

The design category is where “The Guardian” really rockets ahead of the competition. This kimono is designed to make you standout. I wore the gi for two weeks before writing this review. Everyone who saw me in it commented on how slick the gi looked. Everyone wanted to touch it and get a closer look at the embroidery to evaluate the lofty messages of inspiration contained therein.

 

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JACKET

 

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The jacket is a lightweight 450gsm soft Golden Jacquard Weave Fabric. It is one-piece constructed and has no back seam. The stitching is white and remarkably straight! The seams are heavily reinforced. There is no way someone is going to rip this jacket. It has an EVA foam collar and a tailored fit. The rashguard woven inside makes the kimono feel as smooth as silk to the skin.

 

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PANTS

 

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The pants are made from 12oz drill cotton. There is a 4 way stretch crotch gusset which guarantees that the crotch will not tear on us flexible folks. There is a stretch rope drawstring and 2 LOGO ONE PIECE loop systems. There is also reinforced double layer knee padding. The pants are tailored fit with white stitching and heavily reinforced seams. Finally, there is a convenient mouthguard pocket stitched into the waist of the pants (pictured below).

 

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PERFORMANCE IN ACTION

 

I have 9 kimonos currently. One of them is still sealed. I assumed that when I pulled this gi out of it’s sealed plastic, that I would have to wash it a few times to get it to soften up and be comfortable to roll in. I was floored at how soft the gi was coming out of the plastic.

 

I have lightweight, gold weave and pearl weave gi’s. This particular jacket material made me feel like Hugh Hefner in one of his infamous playboy mansion robes.

 

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After washing and drying the gi I wore it to BJJ class. It felt wonderful to roll in. It was light to wear and breathed incredibly well. To me those are the two most important factors of a gi. Also, something about the gi made it impossible to choke, or armbar me! Juuust kidding. But seriously though, I was able to move uninhibited and never felt weighted down or sluggish.

 

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I didn’t wear a rashguard to test the effect on my skin, to see if I felt that “sunburn” effect. There was nothing. My skin felt great.

 

CONCLUSION

 

If I would have been handed this gi, without having access to the pricing information, I would have guessed this gi to cost at least $220.00. I have another major brand gi that I spent $220.00 on and do not like nearly as much as this gi for $160.00 shipped! Other companies will sell you something and then jack up the shipping cost so they make extra money. Such is not the case with VVV Fight Co.

 

This is a great bargain for a great kimono that will last a LONG time. When I first started Jiu Jitsu I bought a cheap gi for $90.00. After 3 uses a hole appeared on the butt cheek of the pants. It is worth the extra money to get a durable gi that you can resell later if you find that Jiu Jitsu isn’t for you. If you love Jiu Jitsu, you will love the look and feel of this gi.

 

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Be sure to follow VVV fight Co. on Facebook and Twitter! Check out their entire line of products at www.vvvfightco.com

 

I hope you all enjoyed the review!

 

meTony Peranio WBBJJ

 

WBBJJ Private Sessions #12: Tammi Musumeci

 

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Our guest for the twelfth installment of White Belt Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Private Sessions is none other than Black Belt BJJ competitor: Tammi Musumeci! It brings us great pleasure to sit down with her and we hope you enjoy her story!

 

WBBJJ: What brought you to BJJ?

Tammi: I started training at Fatjo’s martial arts in Marlboro, New Jersey. I loved it instantly! Through the years, I tried many different sports and activities, all while still training BJJ, but my true love remained jiujitsu and still remains jiujitsu today!

 

WBBJJ: In your experience what should lower belts do more of/less of?

Tammi: I believe beginners should start with learning more self defense jiujitsu! This helps with getting comfortable with the different positions in jiujitsu. Then, they showed start learning basic closed guard and submissions such as scissor sweep and kimura! Very basic and effective! They should perfect those moves until moving on to spider guard an delariva. I feel experience and time is everything in the jiujitsu process and this process is unique to every person. Everyone learns at different speeds and this should be considered when learning jiujitsu.

 

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WBBJJ: If you could go back in time and give the White Belt YOU guidance, what advice would you give?

Tammi: I am really happy with my white belt experience because I only focused on the basics! It Is way harder today to avoid the temptation of learning berimbolo and other advanced techniques, so I am grateful I started when those temptations were non-existent!

 

WBBJJ: For you what’s been the hardest part of the journey?

Tammi: For me the mental journey has been the hardest part as well! It is sometimes hard to give yourself credit or feel confident and I have found a lot of people also share these same feelings!

 

WBBJJ: In tough times what has helped you get through and allowed you to persevere?

Tammi: When going through a rough time it’s good to do things that give you confidence and make you feel good about yourself! I also love to workout an go to the beach and I feel both are relaxing and help a great deal! It’s good to do something that promotes happiness or relaxation so I always look for that thing!

 

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WBBJJ: If you weren’t doing BJJ what would you be doing?

Tammi: I have been doing jiujitsu since I was 6 years old and in kindergarten so I really can’t picture life without it!!! I can’t remember before it!

 

WBBJJ: What do you tell someone who says they want to do BJJ, and then gives the standard excuses; time, money, etc?

Tammi: I would tell them to prioritize! If they really want to train, but the gym doesn’t offer a class that fits their schedule, I would tell them to find another gym to fit their schedule or find someone or even a group of people who share a similar schedule to get some training in! You don’t realize how many people share the same problems and situations as you do until you start looking!

 

WBBJJ: What is your favorite activity besides BJJ?

Tammi: I have trained Muay Thai since I am 4 years old so, it also has played a huge part in my life and at times, I enjoyed it more than jiujitsu! I love weightlifting too much to the point where it is dangerous! I have to constantly make sure I don’t gain weight!  But, I find so much joy in lifting heavy weights!

 

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WBBJJ: What’s on your iPod?

Tammi: I love the intense music that gets me pumped to workout and train! I need music that matches my intensity!

 

WBBJJ: What was the last movie that you watched?

Tammi: I love comedies, but zoolander is just too funny an had so many quotable lines haha!! I watch a lot of entourage and Saturday night live as well!

 

WBBJJ: If you could train with someone living or dead, who would that be?

Tammi: My brother Mikey. He knows how to push me and all of my weaknesses so it is always such a great train every time I get to train with him! I am also honored to get to train with the mendes bros! They are so amazing and inspirational and I learn so much from them.

 

Todd

 Interview by Todd Shaffer WBBJJ.com

 

 

 

 

WBBJJ Private Lessons #3 – Nathan Mendelsohn

 

PRIVATELESSONS

 

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In the past you have seen our “Private Sessions” interviews, where we get to know various BJJ players. Now we will also be doing “Private Lessons” (you see what we did there?) videos featuring some of our favorite Jiu Jitsu personalities.

 

For our third installment of Private Lessons we are featuring Nathan Mendelsohn! Nathan is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Black Belt competitor and instructor under the Master Claudio Franca Coalition 95 Team. He was our seventh Private Sessions interviewee. In this video Nathan teaches us how to break open the Spider Guard and pass to Side Control using the Leg Drag.

 

 

Thank you Nathan Mendelsohn for the technique!

 

Connect with Nathan Mendelsohn on your favorite social media sites:

Facebook = https://www.facebook.com/nathan.mendelsohn.10

Instagram = @nathanmendelsohnbjj

 

If you would like to film a Private Lessons video for us, or know someone you would like to see do a Private Lessons video, please contact us!

 

WBBJJ Private Lessons #2 – Keith Owen

 

PRIVATELESSONS

 

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In the past you have seen our “Private Sessions” interviews, where we get to know various BJJ players. Now we will also be doing “Private Lessons” (you see what we did there?) videos featuring some of our favorite Jiu Jitsu personalities.

 

For our second installment of Private Lessons we are featuring Professor Keith Owen! Keith is a well known black belt under 8th Degree Coral Belt, Master Pedro Sauer. His videos on YouTube have always been among our favorites. He explains techniques with tremendous detail and is always sure to invoke a philosophical twist. He was our tenth Private Sessions interviewee. In this video Professor Owen teaches us the intricacies of the “UPA”, or the “Bridge from the Mount”!

 

 

Thank you Professor Owen for the technique!

 

Connect with Keith Owen on your favorite social media sites:

Facebook  = www.facebook.com/keithrowen

Instagram = @keithrowen

Twitter = @keithowen

Watch his Technique and BJJ philosophy videos here.

Check out his web page here.

 

If you would like to film a Private Lessons video for us, or know someone you would like to see do a Private Lessons video, please contact us!

 

WBBJJ Private Lessons #1 – James “300” Foster

 

PRIVATELESSONS

 

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In the past you have seen our “Private Sessions” interviews, where we get to know various BJJ players. Now we will also be doing “Private Lessons” (you see what we did there?) videos featuring some of our favorite Jiu Jitsu personalities.

 

For this first installment of Private Lessons we are featuring Professor James “300” Foster. Coach Foster has been a friend to us since the very beginning. He was our first Private Sessions interviewee. In this video Coach Foster teaches us some of his Guard Passing concepts!

 

 

Thank you Coach Foster for the technique!

 

Connect with Professor Foster on your favorite social media sites:

Facebook athlete page = www.facebook.com/coach300foster

Instagram = @shoyorollplayboy

Twitter = @fosterjiujitsu

 

If you would like to film a Private Lessons video for us, or know someone you would like to see do a Private Lessons video. Please contact us!

 

Female BJJ Bloggers Directory

 

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is more and more becoming a sport that women are participating in. It is no longer a sport just for the guys. BJJ is a system of self defense that allows women to feel confident and safe. It is also a tremendously fun and competitive sport that appeals to women and men alike.

I recall an interview with Claudia Gadelha (womens MMA and BJJ Fighter) where she stated that when she was growing up, girls were not allowed to train BJJ where she lived in Brazil. These days women are coming to the sport in droves!

Below is a list of Female BJJ practitioners who blog about their journeys in Jiu Jitsu. I am a man but I still enjoy reading the female perspective of BJJ. Hopefully this list will lead you to some sources of inspiration that you were previously unaware of!

BJJ Grrl

Georgette Oden

Skirt on the Mat

Julia Johansen

Lauren LaCourse

Meg Smitely

Shark Girl BJJ

Shakia Harris

Megan

Grappling Girl

Crawl Atop Me And Meet Your Doom

The Last Ronin

Jodie Bear’s Journey

A Grappler’s Heart

Liv Jiu Jitsu

 

If there is a female BJJ blogger that you want to have added to this list please contact us!