Damien Maia – Science of Jiu Jitsu

I watched some of Damien Maia’s Science of Jiu Jitsu, which you can buy here.

It was pretty good. His explanations were sometimes a little hesitant but I think that’s because he is speaking English rather than his native language. And more power to him, very impressive. I am sure later instructionals when his English has improved will be even better.

There were a few pointers he gave about the triangle that I liked.

– He pointed out something we all know but was good to get a solid reminder. When the opponent’s elbow is close to the body (“closed” as he called it) they have power. When the elbow is brought out, like a chicken wing, it loses a lot of power (“open”.)

– A recurring theme, then, was rather than fight an opponent’s grip on your pants by grabbing at his gi on the wrist and yanking, you should instead open his elbow so that he has less power, and then kick your legs. Much easier.

– Countering the half guard pass, somewhere I find myself a lot: You are on your right side, opponent is passing to your right. You have the half guard on his right leg, he has right underhook. As he puts his weight on your body and grips your inside right pant leg to pin your leg to the floor and pass, you grip his wrist with your right hand and straightarm him. Using the straight arm gives you more stability than a bent arm. It is structurally stronger (but only in certain situations.) Maintain this grip and straight arm, then kick your right leg out and over his head. The triangle is there for you already. You can only do this when his weight is up and on you, as he is passing. If he is sitting low to the floor you don’t really have room to manouvre.

– Another triangle setup: after a failed hip bump, he moves his hand back to counterbalance, you slap on the triangle. More detail: I hip bump to my right. My right arm on the floor, hips pushing into his left side. He puts his left arm back to post out on the floor. I continue the turn until my chest is facing the floor. Then, I have space to bring my right leg out from under his arm, then spin back around and onto my back, pulling him down into the triangle.

Goal is to try these out next training session. My triangle is coming along well, so the more I can add to it, the better it will be.


Started Judo.

Wednesday nights, at a local junior high school.

A couple of peeps from jiu jitsu are judo black belts and are teaching there for free. Also there is an old sensei-type dude who surprised the shit out of me by talking to me with an African-English accent! Turns out he was chief of police somewhere in Zambia for 10 years, armbarring stray elephants or something.

Judo is:
Old fashioned
Different to jiu jitsu
Going to help my overall strength, fitness, and hopefully, standup skills

Judo is not:
Too difficult to grasp
For the faint-hearted
That different to jiu jitsu

Got an article published.

I wrote an article on the demise of Pride, and what a darn shame it was. It was accepted for publication by Fighters Only Magazine, and appears in the December issue, out in the UK now.

Whoopedy doo!


Don’t Look Back in Anger

Pride Never Die. Except, of course, when the current American owners telephone the head office in Tokyo and fire everybody, as they did in October. That would pretty much do it. With that sombre thought in mind, I felt it was time to reminisce about some of my most enjoyable experiences with the greatest of all times.
First, my real introduction to Pride: Pride 10. I had heard only rumours about this far off promotion in Japan, having been raised on bootlegged copies of UFC 1 and 2 at college. I decided to seek out a DVD, and after much virtual-rummaging on the internet, ordered a second-hand copy of Pride 10. I’d psyched myself up to watch it, and when it finally arrived, I think I remember tearing the plastic wrapper off with my teeth while it was still in the postman’s hand. The event didn’t disappoint. I sat open-mouthed, heart beating, and after seeing Wanderlei Silva savage Guy Mezger, Gilbert Yvel K.O. Gary Goodridge with the first strike of the fight, and Enson Inoue get turned into human hamburger patty by the relentless Igor Vovchanchyn, I was hooked. Sakuraba bending Renzo Gracie’s arm completely the wrong direction was just the icing on the cake.

More great MMA photography

Flickr: Photos from Hywel Teague

Click on the link to see some great photos from a Mr. Hywel Teague, who also happens to be the editor of Fighters Only, one of the best MMA magazines out there (whose November edition also includes an article I wrote!)

Great article at Graciemag


A must read for all BJJers.

Particularly like the advice to go and do a year of Judo. Love that about BJJ-very secure in itself.

Next on “When Hell Freezes Over”: A Wing Chun master recommends his students to do a year of boxing to sharpen up his handwork!

Real Strength!!

When I used to do wing chun, one thing I heard all the time was the sheer naughtiness of BRUTE STRENGTH.

THOU SHALT NOT BRUTE STRENGTH! Don’t bloot stlength! As the Japanese would say.

At the time, I thought it was pretty good advice, and I still do. It’s one of the lessons I am definitely glad I learned from wing chun.

Brute strength was considered taboo, which was great news for a skinny nerd like me. It meant I could use all my fancy kung fu-ery on musclebound Eastern Europeans, and the forbidden honour code of honourable kung fu students honour meant that he couldn’t resort to just ripping my arms off and beating me with them, which is what he would have done had I tried that stuff “In teh streeeyt”.

What would inevitably happen is that an instructor would first attemp the technique with “brute strength”, and then with super-mysteron kung fu power. Naturally, the brute strength method would fail miserably, and the mind-meld death force version would triumph. We all ooohed and aaahed at it.

Actually, it’s not far off the mark. It’s simply teaching proper technique over lazy, ineffective use of muscular strength. But the thing that I realised the other day, is that the people demonstrating brute force, didn’t actually have brute force. I mean real brute force, the kind that they show in movies where bad guys rip up trees and then beat people about the legs with them, or headbutt rocks until they explode, or elbow buildings until they fall over. It’s kind of like when they say “now this is how a boxer throws a punch” PAUSE! Wait a minute! No, that’s nothing like how a boxer throws a punch, but none of us know the difference or even care so please CONTINUE!

Long story short, I encountered that kind of BOLO brute force the other day, and let me tell you, it’s nothing to scoff at. I did some standup sparring with a judo blackbelt. The guy is a bit shorter than me, with arms roughly the size of an elephants leg, and thighs the size of, um, fourteen baseball bats sellotaped together. His head disappears directly into his chest, his feet are splayed almost flat from so many years of mat work, his hands are like knobbly little hunks of flesh-coloured iron that open and close with a gonad-terrifying snapping motion.

I put my hands on him and we started off slowly. Just taking a grip on his gi was like grabbing hold of some kind of large, pulsating tree trunk. I could feel the raw, hard power. Within about two seconds, my face could feel the raw, hard power of the mat as I headbutted it pretty hard thanks to some fancy trip thing by him. I had no idea what happened but I ate the mat about ten times in a row. I felt like a six year old trying to outwrestle his Dad. This guy’s strength was just unbelievable. It completely overwhelmed me.

“Wow”, I thought. “Now that is some wicked brute strength!” My instructor wasn’t very happy about it as it is pretty much forbidden to get thrown about by judo people in your own jiu jitsu dojo. He recommended me to just sit down on the floor during sparring instead of actually trying to trade throws with him, or just quit and train judo. Butthead.

Anyway, real, hardcore, external brute strength is, um, really strong.