Friday, April 07, 2056

Seminar note links

Image by Bluefluke

John Will

11 Nov 2017 - Pirate Grip, Russian Tie
15 Oct 2017 - Half Guard, the Seed
5 Mar 2017 - Ashi Garami 2.0, Honey Hole and Heel Hook
9 Oct 2016 - Ashi Garami, straight footlock
John Will Seminar 16 April 2016- Legbars
21 Feb 2016 - collar grip guard, single leg X guard
30 Aug 2015 - post clinch takedown strategy, Z guard, kneeride
22 Feb 2015 - Snatch Single, Vale Tudo Guard, Darce/Anaconda
24 August 2014 - a Spider Guard Plan
23 Feb 2014 - Advanced Spider Guard
29th September 2013 - Crucifix Control
24 March 2013 - X Guard
21 Oct 2012 - ankle picks, Z guard
21 April 2012 - Z guard
25 Mar 2012 - Guard Passing
2 Oct 2011 - takedown strategy, 2 on 1
20 Aug 2011 - D'arce choke, Deep Half Guard
3 July 2011 Side control escapes and counters
John Will Seminar 16 Apr 2011 - attacking from the turtle
20 Mar 2011 - Hooks and hooking sweeps
24 Oct 2010 - Anaconda, D'arce, Peruvian Necktie, Shackle
15 Aug 2010 - Back Control
14 Mar 2010 - Kata Gatame
18 Oct 2009 - Getting the back, back attacks
1 August 2009 breaking out of the clinch, roundhouse kicks and takedowns
4th April 2009 - hooking sweeps, S Mount armbar
1 Nov 2008 - open guard, side control escapes
5 April 2008 - Shell, Omoplata
20 Oct 2007 - X guard
Jul 28, 2007 - MMA defence from bottom, darce
31 MAR 2007 Shell in depth and takedowns
29 October 2006 - Triangles,knees in guard. passing half guard, visor
29 July 2006 - handstand sweep, side back escapes
8 Apr 2006 - turtle escapes, pillow escape
9 Jul 2005 - half guard bottom
9 Apr 2005 - better choke and armbar from mount
23 Oct 2004 - hooks-in and side back techs
10 Jul 2004 armdrag from guard, crossface
6 Mar 2004 - sweeps, legbar against open guard, passing
18 Oct 2003 - basic takedowns, legbars

Interested in going to a seminar with John Will? Check his seminar schedule and sign up.

Steve Maxwell

Steve Maxwell's Jiu Jitsu for a Lifetime Seminar 4 Feb 2017
Steve Maxwell's Integrated Breathing Seminar 11th February 2017
Steve Maxwell - Gracie Jiu Jitsu Core Concepts - 11 Feb 2017
Steve Maxwell's Jiu Jitsu for a lifetime /Mobility Conditioning for Jiu Jitsu and MMA seminar 6th February 2016
Steve Maxwell's Jiu Jitsu for Life seminar - 14 March 2015

Carlos Machado

Carlos Machado Seminar - 7th May 2015
Carlos Machado seminar - 8th May 2014
Carlos Machado seminar 16 May 2013
Carlos Machado seminar 10 May 2012

Rigan Machado

The Gathering 2017
Rigan Machado 17 Sep 2016
Rigan Machado Seminar 15 Sep 2007
Rigan Machado Seminar 21 Aug 2004

Jean Jacques Machado

Jean Jacques Machado seminar 28 July 2012

Richard Norton

Richard Norton seminar 21 November 2015

Gui Mendes

"Secret Session" at Langes MMA with Gui Mendes

Dave Camarillo

Dave Camarillo 16 Sep 2017 - offside grip, King's chair, SAP
Dave Camarillo seminar 3 Sep 2016 - Kimura grip, armbar

Pedro Sauer

Pedro Sauer 24 Oct 2016

Stanley Tam

Stanley Tam Qigong Seminar 25 Feb 2017

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Living the Dream

Freshwater Beach, November 2017

Wednesdays and Fridays I take a lunchtime Jiu Jitsu class at Lange's MMA, at North Manly. Wednesday is no gi, Friday gi.

Jiu Jitsu always resets my mood. If it's a warm day, or sometimes even when it isn't, the beach is a short drive away, and that makes the day even better.

Most times I go to North Curl Curl or Freshwater, and most often with Luca Altea. Other occasions Sean Quilter, Big Stu "Gut Rupture"Morton, or Sonny Brown have joined us. If I'm on my own, I might go to North Curl Curl and do some sandhill sprints before I swim.

That's what I'm talking about

Sonny, Luca and I swam at North Curl Curl on the 2017 winter solstice, the shortest day of the year. Probably not the coldest. Definitely not the warmest.

Winter Solstice, 21 June 2017, after lunchtime no gi class and a swim at North Curl Curl. L to R: Myself, Luca Altea, Sonny Brown

Entering the water is an electrifying but pleasant assault on the senses. Bright sunshine, waves crashing on the shore, the shock of the cool water in your skin, the salt spray in the air, and on your tongue and in your nostrils.

A natural ice bath, aiding recovery, washing away the sweat, maybe a few bodysurfing waves too.

Out of the ocean, now a cold shower with fresh water - usually colder than the ocean.

Fresh, we dry off, change, and chat for a while.

Luca says to me one day, "When we do this, Jiu Jitsu and a swim, I feel like I'm living the dream!"

It's true. For those few hours I'm doing exactly what I want to do, nothing more, but nothing less.

I realize I am even more fortunate to be more or less financially independent with a comfortable home and a wonderful wife. Even if we're getting older day by day. Life rocks.

Those countless Facebook ads trying to sell you the lifestyle with oodles of first class travel, huge boats, Lamborghinis, non-stop parties on tropical island beaches, and the rest, set the bar too high.

Pleasant days or even minutes doing exactly what you want are the fulfillment of dreams. Aim high, but don't discount the temporary paradise that appears right before you, however fleetingly.

North Curl Curl, Winter 2016

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Creativity and Martial Arts Training IV

Tribuna of the Uffizi, Johann Zoffany (1772-78), showing many famous works of European art

This is part IV, the last of a four part article.

Part I Part II Part III

Limitations and Constraints

Unlimited freedom paralyses creativity. You need somewhere to go. You need a problem to solve.

I was rebuked as a black belt by a highly ranked instructor for not being able to immediately think of a problem I was having with my game when he asked me. He was right - my game has no shortage of holes, same as just about everyone.

Freedom of Choice - not always a good thing

Ricardo de la Riva developed his famous and eponymous guard being one of the smaller guys on the Carlson Gracie Team, in a gym full of tough competitors on whom he could not impose a top game, and who were some of the best guard passers in the world. He developed his outside hook guard as a way to keep his opponents off balance; his training partners called it the "guarda pudim", Pudding Guard (a nice metaphor), because of the way it made their base unstable and "wobbly". Accounts vary, but he fought Royler Gracie, then undefeated as a black belt, around 1986, and depending on the account, beat him, or lost a tied match due to a referee's decision.

Half guard was seen as the last line of defense before your guard was passed, prior to Gordo Correa being forced to work from it pretty much exclusively due to a knee injury, which limited the positions form which he could roll. He pretty much turned it form the last line of defense into a position from which many attacks can now be launched, and in which many competitors now specialize.

Many people have seen their guard game improve dramatically after a hand or arm injury which forced them to train one handed. They were forced to make greater use of their legs, and use them in ways that they may not have learned to unless forced to by the injury. I believe Dave Meyer was some such person.

You do not need to wait for injury to strike to take such steps. Put yourself in the positions you hate, deliberately, so you are forced to problem solve. Try wrestling with one or both arms tucked in your belt, or without using one or both legs. Ban yourself from your favorite passes or passing on your favorite side. Ban yourself from certain guards or positions. Come up with your own limitations and see what new pathways emerge.

Positional rolling is a form of limitation which can deliver good outcomes.

In the video below, Jack White of the White Stripes discusses the benefits of limitations and time limits on his own considerable creative output.

Jack White on limitations as seeds for creativity. From the documentary "It Might Get Loud"

I like Seven Nation Army, but I like this even better

Away from the Gym and off the Mat

We've all seen the videos of guys training the berimbolo with chairs and wheelbarrows. If your time in the gym is limited, find other ways to train.

This guy trains Jiu Jitsu in water.

Personally, I came up with quite a few ways to drill techniques with a small heavy bag. What you can do from top positions is pretty obvious, but with a little imagination I worked out how to drill the Hip Bump Sweep, Wing Sweep / Reverse Basic Sweep, Catapult Sweep, and Shaolin Sweep, among others, along with some takedowns. 

I found a foam roller makes a pretty good prop for drilling the lockdown and some butterfly and X guard transitions. I've heard of guys using pieces of wood to drill Ezekiel chokes and become very effective with them in the gym as a result - you can use the foam roller for that too. 

I made a grappling dummy from a coathanger wire skeleton, and a hoodie inside an old full length wetsuit stuffed with rags, and a head made from about a thousand plastic bags. It could benefit from a neck made from pool noodles, as it has an annoying habit of headbutting me if I try to work triangles. It's not great for guardwork but is pretty good for drilling top techniques and leglock transitions.

My silent (training) partner

Nothing beats a partner to drill with, but the right inanimate objects can be useful, because they never get sore throats from getting choked too much, or sore knees, elbows or wrists. Plus they never get tired or make other arrangements when you want to train.

The best training tool ... IMAGINATION.

The Creative Environment

"Environment triumphs will" - Chris Haueter

To really be an innovator and creator in martial arts, your environment need to support you. You need:
  • Time to experiment and think
  • Support from your training partners
  • The ability to take risks and maybe fail without getting injured
  • Freedom to come up with weird and nonsensical ideas without judgement
  • Dynamism and energy
  • Humor and a sense of play to keep things light and interesting
  • Challenge, resistance and debate, but at a level that extends and doesn't crush the participants. argument, not conflict
  • Trust in your training buds
  • Openness to ideas, whatever the source
Do your best to work in and develop such environments, especially when you are the teacher. 

"If you want to improve incrementally, compete, if you want to improve exponentially, co-operate!" - Phil Grapsas

Go for it!

There's a new sweep out there, just waiting for you to create it. Name it after yourself and become a Jiu Jitsu immortal! Develop the Covfefe choke! Get crazy, get creative! Do it now!

Part I of this article
Part II of this article
Part III of this article

Happy trails, Universal Traveler

Sunday, November 12, 2017

John Will Seminar 11 Nov 2017 - Pirate Grip, Russian Tie

Seminar group, I was the photographer

The seminar was held at Universal Combat Arts, Castle Hill. Thanks to Kirk Sicard and Simon Farnsworth for their hospitality.

Russian Tie (2 on 1)

Stand facing your partner, feet parallel, so your four feet form a square.

Your partner gets a neck tie on you with his R hand.

Grab his R wrist with your R hand.

Step around to your R with your L foot and then your R, at the same time lifting your R shoulder and then driving it down and across to your R to dislodge the collar tie. You should now be at his R side. Grab his R upper arm from underneath with your L hand. Get your shoulder on top of his and put all your weight in his shoulder. Try to hover. Also drive your forehead into his R ear to stop him turning back toward you. Drive down hard, stick his R foot to the floor. Your L leg should be behind his R.

Thumbless grips are generally best - though there are exceptions, detailed later.

As you drill the technique more and more, you should develop the habit of grabbing the Russian Tie a quarter second before he gets the neck tie.

This pirate did not tap to heel hooks. Don't let this happen to you!

Russian Tie to Single Leg

If he stays there, drive down so your face is close to his knee. "So you can spit on his knee"- John Will. Drive into him, bumping him so his R leg becomes like and you can scoop it up for a high single leg takedown.

Russian tie to "Muchi Mata", to Ankle Pick

If he tries to square up and gets his R foot behind your L, do a  mini Uchi Mata ("Muchi Mata"), hooking his R leg upward with a backward hooking lift of your L leg. Mainly to disrupt his balance and clear his R leg. Hook your L foot behind and outside his L foot, toes up. Retaining the grip with your L hand, drop down and pick his L ankle with your R hand, lift it and take him down.

Russian tie to Double Leg

He squares up to you and tries to pull his R arm out. Lift his R arm up with your R to around head high, thus crossing it under his L arm and removing that defense. You are in perfect position to change levels and shoot a double leg.

Changing your R hand grip from thumbless to using the thumb will give you better control with which to lift his R arm, for this particular technique.

Russian Tie to Back Take

To get the back from the Russian tie, do NOT turn to your L and try to run forward to his back. You are unlikely to make it. Instead, run backwards to take the back.

John also demonstrated how you can get an arm drag to the Russian tie, then arm drag again from there to get the back.

Russian Tie to Gooseneck Come Along

The gooseneck hold is a control or "come along" technique used often by security or law enforcement.

Get the Russian tie. You need him to bend his elbow, which he will often want to do if you let him. The video below shows another way Slide your hand down to his palm and bend his wrist forward as you bring his hand toward his shoulder. Trap his elbow against your body. Grab over his knuckles with your L hand, then put your R hand on top. The R hand on top is best, if the L hand were on top hie could attack your fingers with his other hand. Apply pressure and lift him up on his toes.


Pirate Grip

You have the Russian Tie on his R arm. Now move your L hand to get a fingers-in grip on his L gi collar. Cinch it in. This should feel very strong. This is the Pirate Grip. John say it used to be called the Double crossed grip or similar, but John took to calling it the Pirate Grip, due to the skull and crossbones, or something.

Pirate Grip to Drop Throw

You get the Russian tie, then the Pirate Grip. He is squaring up and pushing your face away, trying to free his arm. Turn to your L so your L foot is about a foot outside his. Step your R leg between his R leg and your L and drop to your butt and then to your back, effectively pulling him on top of you into a kneeride position, but keep rolling to your L. He will not be able to keep the top position and will be pulled over the top of you. Keep your grips and use the momentum to end up on top on side control on his R side.

Seminar group - I was not the photographer

Pirate Grip from Closed Guard - Two Entries

He is inside your closed guard. Get a cross grip on his R sleeve with your R hand, pull your R elbow to your side. You do not need to pull his sleeve all the way across. Slide your L hand under his R arm and get a deep grip fingers inside his L collar. Flare your L elbow out so the crook of your elbow prevents him pulling his R elbow back and freeing his R hand. This is the Pirate Grip from guard.


Get a deep grip, fingers inside his L collar with your L hand. Pull him down hard with your L hand. Your L arm may even have temporarily trapped his R. Bring your R hand to the centreline and wait. When he brings his R hand over the top to try and get some posture back, grip his R sleeve with your R hand. Flare your L elbow out as above to trap his R elbow. You have the Pirate Grip. This entry is more complicated but higher percentage.

Realise that if he does try really hard to free his R hand, the Cross Collar Choke is always an option.

Hooking Sweep

Get the Pirate Grip. Open your legs, turn on your R side and get your L foot on his hip, Push back and get the L foot on his other hip in an open guard. Move your feet one at a time to a butterfly guard and sit up. You are perfectly positioned for a very strong hooking sweep to your L. Retain the grips and use the momentum to come up on top in side control.

To sweep effectively from butterfly, you need a strong connection to your opponent. Grabbing the belt is the strongest connection, but this is pretty much impossible from closed guard. The Pirate Grip allows a very strong connection without the need to grab the belt. It is fairly easy to get this grip from closed, open or half guard, and then move to butterfly. Very versatile in that way.

Locked Russian Tie

A no gi analog of the Pirate Grip is called the Locked Russian. Get the Russian Tie from standing. Bend his R elbow and push his R hand towards his stomach. Release your L grip and grab your own R wrist. Your L arm should loop behind his elbow and upper arm. A bit like a figure 4. You can use this grip in closed guard as well. It may work better if your R grip is overhand rather than underhand, especially in the guard.

Kick Out to Side Back Control

Get the Pirate Grip and move to butterfly guard as above.  Elevate him with your hooks, then lift with your R leg and extend your L leg so he falls to your R, face down. As he falls, come up on your R elbow and then to your knees  on his R, Grips are still in place, your chest is on his back is a side back control position. Transfer your grips to a seatbelt control with your L arm under his L armpit.

Spin the Pig

Get the Pirate Grip and move to butterfly guard as before. Elevate him as before. This time extend your R leg and lift with your L, so he spins to his L in the air, moving him slightly toward your feet. You should be able to spin him far enough to take his back with a good seatbelt control, then get your hooks in. Is easier than it looks or sounds.

"Spin the pig" refers to the spinning action, not unlike rotating a pig on a rotisserie to cook it.

"Side Kick" and Roll Underneath

You get the Pirate grip and start moving to open guard. Your opponent tries to back away. Get on your R side and put your L foot on his R hip, but with the this of the foot pointing to your R, so it is like a Sidekick. Keep your grips, bring your head down towards his knees, rolling beneath him and pulling him over the top of you. End up in the usual position in side control on his R.

Kick Out to Russian Tie, to Head to Head, to Arm in Guillotine

Get the Pirate grip, move out to butterfly guard. Elevate him and kick out and go to your knee and side back control as earlier. Get a Russian tie on his R arm and drive into him, forcing him to post with his L hand. This will give you the opportunity to move around to head to head, catching his R arm between yours as if setting up an Anaconda choke. Grip the blade of your L arm and wrist with your R hand. This way round will be the most secure. Pull his arm to his head - best done by moving your legs to your R rather than dragging his arm with yours.

Come up on your toes and drive his butt to his heels. Come to your feet, running around in a semicircle to your L, trapping his R arm and head next to your R hip with good posture. Change your grip to the opposite side so your L hand is grabbing the blade of your R hand and wrist. Sit down and pull him into your closed guard and finish the choke. 

The first hand position is better for securing the arm, the second better for choking.

Kick Out to Russian Tie, Crucifix

Get Pirate grip, butterfly guard, kick out to side back with Russian tie, head to head with his R arm inside both of yours as before. This time you are less concerned with getting his arm and head together, by accident or design. Come to your knees, drive forward and stand up as before. This time his R arm is between your legs. He will be tempted to grab your R leg with his R arm. Pinch your legs together to trap his arm and move around to his R side. Get a seat belt control on his back with your L arm under his L armpit. Fall down to your L rear, pulling him into the crucifix.

Pirates from Lange's MMA - Anthony Lange's 50th birthday

Other subjects

Books John has been reading:

God is not Great, Christopher Hitchens

Antifragile, Nassim Nicholas Taleb

John's autobiography. Three volumes. Ripping yarns and great advice.

John Will's seminar schedule. Get on board with one of the best Jiu Jitsu coaches on the planet.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Product Review: Joe Rogan Utility Belt by Datsusara

The Joe Rogan Utility Belt is the Crown Prince of bum bags (what we call them in Australia) or fanny packs (the term used by our American friends).

Fashionable? Maybe not. However notable fanny pack antifashionistas are legion. I include only wrestling and MMA celebrities here. The wider circle includes Kardashians and Jenners ...  you'll thank me later for sparing you.

Joe Rogan

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson

Chuck Norris

UFC Champion Georges St Pierre with his coach - and fanny pack proponent - John Danaher

Hulk Hogan

Matt Serra giving props to John Danaher's fanny pack at 4:40 (Viewer advice: very frequent coarse language)

The JRUB is made from hemp - "the ultimate natural fibre, 4X stronger than cotton". It is very strong and Datsusara advertise it as having antibacterial properties. The stitching on the bag is precise and strong. Zippers are plastic, "self healing" (check the Tech Specs on the purchase page link below), and precisely stitched in. It looks and feels strong and well put together.

It has a flap in front with a zip pocket which can be used for small flat items like train passes, credit cards, tickets, etc. A large zip pocket on one side just a bit too small for your wallet that you can access without popping the top flap. You're wallet will fit inside the main pocket of the bag just fine, with room for your phone, eyeglasses and case, passport and plane ticket, and more. There are a couple of additional smaller pockets (one zipped, one with velcro tabs that can be used for coins, notes, etc. 

Front zip pocket for passes and tickets and quick access

Fully loaded with room for more

Datsusara corporate product video

It has loops on the outside that you could attach other things to, keys, etc. Though the thing will get so big it starts to weight you down. I found that wearing it slightly off center allows me to balance it on my hip bone so it doesn't feel like it's pulling my stomach and spine forward.

This is a quality piece of equipment. The bag itself is not expensive, but shipping from the USA is pretty steep. Maybe consider bundling it with one of their other, larger travel bags, or try to pick one up on a visit to the US, if that is a concern.

Rockin' the JRUB, ready for anything