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One of my 2014 resolutions has been notched up or at least added to, I wanted to compete as much as possible, while that didn’t start off well(I didn’t enter the No-Gi tournament in April) I entered my first tournament for 2014 on the weekend.
this is my third bjj tournament, going into this one I had a pretty specific goal, I wanted to perform a berimbolo, I get that a berimbolo is not street applicable and that I cant use it for self defense blah blah
but I really wanted to use this technique in a competition, why ? because this move to me is what I love about sport Jiu Jitsu, its the TKD jumping spinning kick off Jiu Jitsu, flashy yet if it lands it can be devastating!

Competing in Jiu Jitsu for me, is about testing your training and technique, perhaps the truest test of its applicability and I felt I came away from this tournament tested, in a few different ways.

My first roll, I got tapped out quickly, I pretty much didn’t even see it coming, I learnt that things can go from good to bad quickly! being able to recognize danger is something you need to have.

My second roll was when I got the berimbolo, I learnt that the berimbolo works for me, I can use it(which is what I wanted to find out), it has given me the motivation to focus on this and related techniques, but with the lesson from the first roll as a reminder that if I only focus on the berimbolo I may never get the chance to actually do one.

My third roll taught me that there are two people that can beat you, your opponent and yourself, not that I am implying I could have won that roll, not at all! but it helped me understand some things that my instructor and higher belts have said to me. expecting an outcome is a good way to ensure it.

The competition was really good, like the two other times I have been at a bjj4life tournament everyone is really friendly there is no intense rivalries going on, it is a great atmosphere to compete in, everyone did really well, some highlights for me where.
Tristan’s omaplata submission
the berimbolos I think I saw 2 others but lots of de la riva and open guard which was good, more exciting imho than closed guard.
some of the Judo throws were pretty spectacular!
DQ for knee reaping!
It also seemed to run pretty much on-time, with the variable of match length anyway.

Everyone rolled great and all done in a friendly atmosphere, I will definitely enter the next competition put on by bjj4life.

I didn’t get to take any photos at this one, because I figured it would be too much of a hassle to have my camera with me, luckily a lot of the rolls were filmed.

I didn’t see any major injuries which was good, although there was some tweaked legs and necks that I hope are not too sore.

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On the 16th of March I went to Craigie leisure centre, to spectate and to watch some of the 80/20bjj guys compete in what was being billed as the state No-Gi titles.

This competition was a points based tournament with 4 mats where the action was taking place.
I do not have much experience with Jiu Jitsu tournaments, this was only the third one I had attended and the previous two I competed.

It was nice to be able to just enjoy watching the matches and barrack for my team mates, it was also the perfect chance to get to know my new camera body as I had recently purchased a Canon 5D mark iii.
I have been out of shooting for a few years(since my 30D died) so I whipped out my trusty 100-400 lens, I knew the lens likes a lot of light and is usually more at home shooting outdoor sporting events(I originally bought it for surfing shots) but it would be perfect for reach with its versatile range, these shots are straight from the camera zero post production.

It was good to watch the rolls, I was hoping to see some De La Riva.

It was also good to see people who we roll with on a regular basis in a competition setting, this photo below, while under exposed, shows a very well known technique(at our club), that everyone at 80/20BJJ would have a lot of experience with!!

Being No-Gi there was some great scrambles

but we all like to see the submissions!


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So I just got a computer that will allow me to process my images from my camera, I have literally just set it up and had a bit of a play,
anyway, figured I would put up a teaser.

I heard the person next to me(who must have known the person) comment on this guy “has his game face on”

many more to come!!

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With our training we have done some highly concentrated lessons focusing on a single aspect of BJJ, my first one was Leg Locks, then we did Attacking the back, both of these have been incredibly helpful and influential on my learning BJJ, now we are doing Guard Passing.

Straight guard passing is my favorite drill so focusing on it like we are is really cool, so far we have established at base position(I steal the term HQ from Rafael Lovoto Jnr) from HQ we then initiate the pass depending upon the resistance that is provided by our opponent.

We are still in the early days of these classes, but already its benefiting me, during rolls I see HQ, I may not make use of it, but it helps me to be able to have some focus during the chaos that is guard passing.

It seems like we have gotten quite a few new people at 80/20bjj, which has been great! I get to roll with people of different body types and skills, we also recently went down to train at Synergy MMA.
I was a little nervous visiting a new club, but it turned out to a really good night of training, I had some really good rolls and I’m looking forward to more training with the guys at Synergy.

On the 16th of March I went to the WA State titles for BJJ it was a No-Gi event and I took my new camera to try to get some photos, so this site will get some photos very soon!
we had a few guys enter and everyone did well, it was the first tournament that I have just gone and watched and it was a good day, it was a points based tournament instead of the submission only format of the bjj4life tournaments.

I’m looking forward to getting some photos up, so that is my goal currently..that may include getting a new computer hmmm, but there are going to be images and videos coming!

and talking about guard passing! I saw this posted on facebook and just really like this guys guard.

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(NB:this was something I posted a few weeks ago to the “extra” section of this site, I decided to put it here )

I remember my first ever roll that I had, it was with my instructor Dion and I felt awkward, uncomfortable, lost, a little embarrassed and scared but it was exciting.
One thing I remember was that I was encouraged to perform the technique that we had drilled in that evenings lesson, I was not told to perform the move, it was silent and I was not motioned to perform it either, the technique was dangled in front of me, like a carrot on a stick to get the donkey moving forward, the path to the technique was opened and put in front of me.

It feels strange to write this down, but now I have tried to use this technique when I roll with people who are newer to BJJ than I am, we have some people who have just started Jiu Jitsu, it is very easy for me to relate to them as it doesn’t feel like a long time since I was that person who was awkwardly flopping around on the floor, in 15 months I have surpassed my expectations it is something I am constantly reminding myself and anyone who will listen, how much weight I have lost, how much my fitness has improved, how a granby roll freaked me out and I was sure I wouldn’t be able to do one! well now I can granby roll!! so I try to invert/roll whenever possibly!

So when I roll with someone who has not had much time rolling, I will try to layout a path for them to follow, let them pass to side control and leave my arm stretched out too much, turtle slowly and leave plenty of space for hooks, basic things that they can capitalize on.

I am passing on what was done to me, I try to challenge them, but also give them opportunities to work while also working my game.

A proud moment came a few weeks ago, when after rolling with Dion he stopped and told me that from then on, the paths he had opened for me, are now shut, that if I want to get a technique a sweep, I am going to have to do it for real.

From then on I did notice a change in the rolls with Dion, it was like turning up the difficulty level in a game, I was challenged before but now it was a whole new game!

A while ago I set a goal that I would roll at least 3 times a night, I believe I manage this on training nights, in fact I used to track EVERY roll I had, in my training journal I would write down the date, the lesson number(as of today I am at 249 lessons) and how many rolls I had.
I also did track my submissions, my aim was to see if there was certain submissions that I was favoring, I thought that information may be helpful, but after a while I stopped tracking specific submission and then it was just a number, which was vain and feeding my ego, so I stopped doing that.
I do like keeping track of my hours spent training, combined with a log of my training highlighting techniques shown, my thoughts on them, problems I am having with techniques, anything really. I do go over them quite often and it is very cool to read an entry that is even a few months old!(BJJ is supposed to be a slow race, not a sprint but man a few months training Jiu Jitsu can really change someone!!)

So my 3 rolls a night has been something I have put a lot of effort into lately, additionally to my 3 rolls I add goals like;

  • Work from bad positions
  • try to prevent people from passing my guard
  • stay off my back, be the guard passer
  • Finish! ie get a submission
  • Invert, play as much of an inverted guard as possible
  • Berimbolo!

lately i have been obsessed with inverted guard, I feel that if I can get comfortable inverting now it will benefit me in the future, I appreciate that when I was first shown the granby roll I honestly believed that it was too difficult for me and now I can do the roll, so if I keep practicing I am only going to get better and inverting is IMHO effective and looks really cool.

on the other hand…I was reading a thread on reddit the other day that criticized white belts that play inverted, de la riva guard or use berimbolos, they believe that focusing on this means you neglect the “fundamentals”….

I cant wait for Jiu Jitsu tonight, it is a gi class and I am going to focus on a few things, for the drilling I am going to focus on posture and performing the techniques smooth, so I will slow it down a little, for the rolls I will stick to my 3 rolls minimum and focus on;

  • Inverting
  • Berimbolo
  • Guard passing – getting my hips low

note to self: I need new gear, a new gym bag and rash guard.
thought of the day: man, it feels like yesterday that I was getting ready for my first lesson, it was not that long ago and I have really improved since I first started, it makes me excited to keep on turning up, because if i can improve myself this much in such a small time, I cant imagine the benefits once it has been a few years!

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