Wednesday, November 19, 2014


This news may come as a shock to many, similar to walking by the magazine section at your local book store. Braulio Estima is a legend in the sport of BJJ, at 34 years of age he has an ridiculous list of wins and accomplishments. He is currently 1-0 in MMA, and he has won ADCC, The World Championships, World Cup, Europeans, and both the Gi and NoGi Pan Ams several times each. Despite being one of the elite grapplers in the World, he is prone to mistakes like any other person, athlete or not. In this particular case, it may just end his career.

This past June Braulio closed out his bracket in the IBJJF 2014 World Championships to win gold along side fellow teammate Romulo Barral. IBJJF competitors are subject to drug testing by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA), and Braulio tested positive for DMAA or methylhexanamine. This banned substance is most well known as a stimulant and it is often found within drinks and dietary supplements as an energy booster or pre-workout supplement. Braulio's punishment consists of having his title stripped as well as a two year ban from the sport. Now, was this punishment excessive? Probably. Does he deserve to be punished - absolutely! It's no secret that when money is at stake athletes and competitors will follow their natural inclination to gain any advantage necessary. As sport grappling increases in popularity, sponsorships and monetary opportunities follow close behind. For several years now, competitors such as Felipe Costa have challenged the IBJJF to start drug testing and it was put in place in Black Belt divisions in 2013. Now some of you may think drug testing is silly or maybe even too strict, but it is what it is. As an athlete you are responsible for everything that you put into your body as well as the actions or lack of actions you take leading up to a fight or event. In most cases (including most courts of law) ignorance is not an excuse for breaking the rules or the law. Do we feel bad for Braulio, sure - two years very well could end his IBJJF career, but the fact is he took a banned substance and the fact that he unknowingly drank from a bunch of different bottles doesn't matter. USADA makes their testing and list of banned substances very clear, and again it's up to the competitors and coaches to know the rules. Could the ban have been less severe, probably, and in most cases I would imagine someone with a more severe and clear case of cheating (say with steroids) would probably wind up getting the same or less of a ban. Yes, they are both illegal, but a tiered punishment system could be implemented - at least in this case. Now we are sure this isn't the last of Braulio, it may just give him a chance to compete in different venues (ADCC, Metamoris, MMA) but all we can only sit back and wait.

In the meantime, take a look at JJM's exclusive interview with Braulio discussing his ban and the events that lead up to it .

Monday, November 10, 2014


Today we have Luta Livre Spirit Part Three, brought to us LL Black Belt Nicolas Renier & If you have missed the previous episodes you can find them here: Part 1 and Part 2. This ongoing series has given us a behind the scenes look at the Brazilian Catch Wrestling style known as Luta Livre. The series has followed legends of the art and in MMA as well. It has also given us history about the art, its influences rivalries and resurgence.

Check out Part Three featuring Master Joao Ricardo.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014


Think of this as a nice counter balance to all the time you spend trying to pass the guard like Leandro Lo.  Sure, you're athletic.  At least that's what your mom always told you.  She also said you were handsome.

Some might look at Judo-based guard passing as passé, given the dynamic and specialized guard passing we see today, particularly among the elite competitors.  But, these are the basics and they are tried and true.  Even if you claim to be a brilliant passer, you can learn something from these core techniques shown here.

Besides, who are you kidding?  You're not that fast.

Monday, October 27, 2014


In case you missed it, grapplers, this went down this past weekend.  Say what you like about worm guards and lapel guards and the state of competitive BJJ today (e.g., Rickson Gracie's very public opinion on this subject), these two are at the very pinnacle of the BJJ game.  That's irrefutable. 

I look at a match like this as a true display of everything our sport has to offer in this modern day.  The complexity of Keenan's guard; the adaptability, nuance and sheer athleticism of Leandro's passing skills.  Yes. These kinds of matches are close (often down to the advantage), but that's only because both athletes are so extremely tuned for competition.  When you look at it that way, it's like watching Formula 1 racing or thoroughbred horse racing.  Every movement and movement within a movement matters.

Friday, October 24, 2014


In my time, I've watched and "acquired" a significant amount of movies and music. Of course just for my pleasure only. But nothing tops bad bootlegs, especially if they are martial arts related. For those of you pretending as if you don't know what I am talking about, here is an example. Getting that new release and then realizing the movie that is supposedly in English is dubbed in Russian, but has Chinese subtitles. My second favorite is the shaky and out of focus copy, and the third being the guy that sat right next to a crying baby during an R-rated film.

Well grapplers, today we have a little surprise for you. Not only is it some stunning Judo Newaza (or groundwork, and yes that's a real thing) but it's in what we like to call third person. The third person being the guy that may or may not be a little winded after rolling so hard...

So watch, enjoy and hit mute after the first minute or so unless you enjoy that type of thing.

*In the writing of this post no illegal reproductions were made and we do not condone any type of behavior. Please pay for all your goods!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014


Just what we said, grappler.  Our mysterious secret weapon photo-sniper, Bronin, was on hand to snap these super trick pics of the Superfight action from this past weekend's World Jiu Jitsu Expo.  These aren't your kid sister's pics.  These are the real deal, in-your-face photos of the moments of truth in each of these matches.  You can almost feel the omoplatas and collar chokes ... and the rock hard abs (if that's your thing).  Now, check'em out.

Monday, October 20, 2014


Throughout the year we around a handful of product reviews. For the most part we like doing them, sometimes they wind up disappointing and other times they are incredible products. Today's review comes straight from Matt at MappingMyBJJJourney. For those of you out of the loop, Matt has become rather well known for his mapping of techniques that coincide with books, videos and BJJ curriculum. Recently, he took a long hard look at the Digitsu Tanquinho DVD, and gave it a review accompanied with his usual mapping prowess. So without further ado...

The Digitsu Tanquinho DVD Review:

If you’re not familiar with the name Augusto “Tanquinho” Mendes you’ve been living under a BJJ free rock for the last few years. To bring you up to speed here are a few fun facts about Tanquinho. He earned his black belt from GM Francisco Mansur. He has wins over a veritable Who’s Who of BJJ legends, check out some of his wins HERE, and at the 2013 Worlds had what most would consider his finest tournament showing ever. At Worlds he defeated Eduardo Ramos, Cobrinha and finally Rafa Mendes in route to a gold medal. Immediately after winning the world title Tanquinho turn his focus to MMA, where he is currently 2-0 with both wins coming by submission. His girlfriend is pretty good at BJJ too.

If you’re already a customer of Digitsu you have a pretty good idea of what to expect as far as format and video quality. Digitsu’s audio and video are of high quality and do a good job of presenting the material. There are 2 DVDs, with a total running length of roughly 2 hours. Tanquinho’s English is very good and never an issue. He explains each technique well. He and Mackenzie have different color gis on to more easily see the intricacies of the technique. The only gripe I have about the presentation is that Tanquinho is almost always talking to Mackenzie when he’s demonstrating techniques. Don’t get me wrong, everything is clear and I had no problem at all understanding him or following the technique but it would be nice if he looked in the camera a little more often.

In each chapter Tanquinho demonstrates the technique from start to finish twice in full detail. The camera is stationary and if needed he moves to show a different angle. There a few instances where a picture-in-picture pop-up is used to show an additional angle. After the technique is taught it is demonstrated several times from different angles while heavy metal-esque music plays. Normally I fast-forward through this portion of the instructional but Digitsu has added something that I’ve never seen before: subtitles during the replay. These provide additional reinforcement to what is being demonstrated. As someone who takes notes while watching DVD’s I really liked this new feature. If you don’t normally take notes from a DVD reading along typically enhances retention.

The 1st DVD is the longest and has twenty-five chapters that are focused on passing your opponents guard. Multiple variations are demonstrated based on your position and/or how your opponent reacts. A few submissions are also demonstrated off the passes. A few of the techniques that stood out to me on this DVD were: Long Step Pass, Half-Guard pass to far side arm lock, Half-Guard pass kimura counter, X-Guard step over pass, 50/50 to knee slide pass and 50/50 step over pass. In particular the Long Step Pass has worked very well for me and something that I’d never seen before.

Disc 1 Table of Contents

• Posture and Mobility Drills

• Long Step Pass

• Knee Slide To The Opposite Side

• Knee Slide Pass to Rolling Back Take

• Calf Slicer vs. RLDR

• Berimbolo Defense

• Deep Half Guard Pass

• Deep Half Guard Pass 2

• Deep Half Guard Pass to Mounted


• Deep Half Guard Waiter Sweep Pass

• Passing Traditional Half

• Half Guard Pass With Shoulder Pressure

• Half Guard Pass To Far Side Arm Triangle

The 2nd DVD, approximately 45 minutes long, has 18 chapters and is focused on attacking your opponent from a superior position. This DVD has some interesting options for attacking that I haven’t seen before. Namely the mounted collar choke (it’s not what you’re thinking), the mounted arm lock defense counter (effective and very easy to integrate into your game) and the side control collar choke. The collar choke may not be high percentage but will probably get your opponent moving which will open up other options. The arm lock counter is interesting and will be something that I’m looking forward to playing around with. And finally the side control collar choke chains nicely from the kimura, which is a position I’m in a lot. Rounding out the DVD is a nice chain against an opponent that is in the bottom turtle position. These techniques aren’t earth shattering but are ones that logically flow from one to the next and present a couple options to attack a turtled opponent.

Disc 2 Table of Contents

• Tomoe Nage Fake To Ankle Pick

• Flying Tomoe Nage

• Mounted Collar Choke

• Mounted Arm Lock

• Arm Lock Defense Counter

• Arm Lock to Bicep Slicer

• Side Control - Bicep Slicer

• Side Control - Collar Choke

• Side Control – Step Over Collar Choke

• Side Control – North/South Lapel Choke

Wrapping It Up:

The Complete Champion is available HERE for $69.95 and contains 2 hours of instruction spread out over two discs. The table of contents and mind map of disc 1 should give you a good idea of the material so that you’ll know if it’s something that you’d like to own. The audio and video are solid and I really like the additional subtitles during the replays. The techniques are best suited for someone with a firm grasp of the fundamentals because there are times when Tanquinho assumes you know how finish a certain technique. I’ve been training for 4 years regularly and had no problem following along but I don’t think that this would be a good fit for beginning white belts. That said the posture position and techniques from it are very good once you’ve got some of the basics and posture down. I found about a dozen techniques that I’m excited to drill and I’m sure several will make it into my regular game.

To keep up with Digitsu check out their website, Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. You may also want to check out my reviews of their other DVDs: Gianni Grippo DLR, Lucas Lepri NoGi Master Series & Lucas Lepri Championship Guard Passing.

Thursday, October 16, 2014


Do we really need to say anything. Grab your popcorn and get entertained.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014


Yes, we promised you videos. They'll be here soon, in the meantime, satisfy your hunger with some great photos by Bronin!