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I had the fortune to attend the Gracie Nationals on Saturday, Gi Day. Thanks Rose Gracie for hooking BJJ Legends Magazine up with press passes to the event. Rose smart, woman that she is, ran the matches in belt order so the black belts were in and done first thing in the morning and the white belts were the last to go later that evening.
The longest match in Gracie Nationals history went to Adult Men 146-155 pound purple belts Adrian Montemayor and Michael Ledesma who rolled for 80 minutes. Ledesma victorious. Montemayors wife also had a long match, read here.
Gracie National 2013 sponsors included One Coconut water (http://www.onedrinks.com/) and Undergi (http://undergi.com/). Through generous contributions, Gracie Nationals was able to donate $300 to Child Hope International (http://childhope.org/). Child Hope International is an organization to help orphaned children in Haiti.
Congratulations to Melissa Davis on her women’s blue belt win after a long 30 minute match against Stephany Pulido. Although, it would be her last competition as blue belt, she was promoted to purple last Saturday.
Novel and well thought out was the kids “mats.” This area was two cordoned off mats where the kids could either run around (area 1) or do crafts (area 2).
Fame, fortune and celebrity in attendance included January 12 Strikeforce winner Josh Barnett, world champion Ranato Laranja, and Pat "Hawk" Hardy.
Now on to the LA FitExpo. If you don’t know already the Gracie Nationals takes place inside of the Los Angeles Fitness Expo at the LA Convention Center downtown. The FitExpo is attended by tens of thousands of people into all of types of fitness. Walking around never fails to entertain.
January 19th 2013 at the Gracie Nationals, Adrian Montemayor placed second in an epic 80-minute match. Adrian is a purple belt under Dartanian. Also that Saturday Stephany Pulido placed second in the women’s blue belt division after a 30-minute match. Stephany also trains under Dartanian.
And… They’re married! Adrian Montemayor and Stephany Pulido are a husband and wife Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu team. Curious because Saturday, gi day, the longest men’s match, and in fact the longest match in Gracie Nationals history and the longest woman’s match of the day went to a husband and wife team.
After a little Q&A I found out that not only do the couple train Jiu-Jitsu with Dartanian but they are also avid Crossfiters. Coaching Crossfit, not so coincidentally, is Dartanian’s second job at Crossfit Waza in North Hollywood.
Adrian and Stephany I am humbled by your great accomplishment.
The 97% vs. 3% (The Reverse Truth)
The past 3 weeks has been a rocky moment for the BJJ community. From rape allegations to ethic/moral beliefs it clear that this is a sad and intriguing moment for everyone involved in BJJ. Emotions have definitely erupted over the past weeks causing a serious separation in two classes almost like a religious war –lol- which pits the proud 97%ers against the almighty 3%ers.
For those that don’t know what these #’s mean let me give you a brief synopsis. (don’t worry I will be unbiased)
3%er- is one that strives to reach his highest potential at all cost. In our world it is those competitors who aspire to be world champions with no other obligations but toward himself and his ascension in the ranks.
97%er- a person who isn’t concerned with glory or gold medals but more centered toward personal growth. They carry a strong since of “martial art values” which upholds the standards of those who love the martial arts, and train to build strong Character, for Sport and to develop skill and awareness for Self-defense.
Roots Kimonos came onto the gi manufacturer’s scene a few months ago with their Tide kimono. Mike is starting 2013 with a new batch of gis and the first to be released is the Carnivale. The Carnivale is a white gi, available in tall sizes and available for $144.99. The Carnivale will be shipping out to customers in early February. I was lucky enough to get a prototype in December and am glad to see that the Roots has made another high-quality gi at a reasonable price. Something that I was particularly excited to see is the inclusion of tall sizes (A1L and A3L) for us lanky guys. If you're familiar with Roots' other gis the design will be familiar with some aesthetic changes (color palette mosty) and some cuts to the cut as well.
In Dec.2012 I invited several other black belts to start the Midwest BJJ Alliance. I started the group with 5 other Machado black belts: Jamel McCurry, Raymond Trammell, Eric Smith, Montise Peterson, and Kevin Kellems.
The organization has several purposes:
1) Students have the benefit of not only training with the same people they train with at their academy, but all of their Jiu-Jitsu "cousins": the students at all the other Machado affiliated academies in Michigan and surrounding areas.
2) Group trainings will help each other prepare for upcoming tournaments.
3) Members get to know all of the different black belts and other higher ranked instructors, who can help coach during tournaments. When one instructor is busy helping another student, others will be available to help.
4) By getting all of the Machado affiliated school's students info, we can get a lot more support for bringing in the Machado brothers or other instructors. We can also have our own events, such as a seminar we are going to run with 6-10 black belts teaching.
January 10th 2012 Matthew Maldonado, 26, and Nicholas Schultz, 21, were charged with sexually assaulting a woman New Year’s Eve in a church parking garage. The event was recorded on surveillance video. Both the men and the victim are students of Lloyd Irvin. Those involved are people first and that they are BJJ practitioners is irrelevant. That the woman was a victim of her teammates is truly sickening. As when a person taps from a choke, they trust the other person to let go, she trusted her teammates to get her home safely.
All of the talk of blood lust, retribution and punishment is disheartening. We are not vigilantes. Instead, we should talk and educate. Talk to anyone who will listen. Most importantly support the victim and support creating an environment of trust and equality. The accused will be handled by the courts of law and their instructor has, quite frankly, exploited this situation to the point were I don’t want to type his name anymore. If you’ve felt bullied or shunned, talk about you’re school. Talk to everybody especially people outside of BJJ. Silence is deadly.
This is a hobby for almost all of us. You are paying to learn Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Treat your dojo the same you would your health club. If something doesn’t jive, move. It’s your money. The term ‘creonte’ is someone who cheats on their team. It is an out of date concept and often is taken out of concept of the original situation to which it was first applied. BJJ is a long journey and it is worth the extra time to find a good fit, a family. It is our responsibility to find out who is teaching us. As you get higher in rank you have a responsibility for those new to the school.
Sprawl has been around forever. They’re one of the oldest names in fight shorts that I can remember and introduced their first pair over 10 years ago. Since then Sprawl’s line has expanded to include rashguards, clothing and most recently gi pants. Sprawls original Gi-Flex pants were released about 2 years ago and just last month the Gi-Flex 2 pants were released.
If you’ve ever wondered what would happen if your fight shorts were 2 feet longer, look no further than the Gi-Flex 2 pants. The waist and upper portion of the pants are almost identical to a pair of high-end fight shorts and instead of ending at your knees the ripstop material extends down to your ankles.
Gracie Barra has updated their Fundamentals Curriculum to the new version 2.0. This 16 week program was designed by GB black belts, Ricardo Almeida and Marcio Feitosa and the philosophy of Master Carlos Gracie Jr. The lessons are broken down into 16 weeks of training that is repeated through out the year. The techniques are a combination of self defense, sport jiu-jitsu and MMA. This program is intended to provide a solid foundation for the beginner as he moves towards obtaining his blue belt. Their release video can be found here for those interested.
In this series of articles we’ll be breaking down the full curriculum of Gracie Barra Fundamentals 2.0. The content is available from iTunes and on-demand for all mobile devices, tablets and PCs. The Fundamentals set consists of 4 apps, each covering 4 weeks of their fundamentals curriculum for a total of 16 weeks of lessons. The apps range in price from $9.99 to $14.99. If you’re using the on-demand feature the instruction is broken down by the week and is available for $2.99 each with unlimited viewing for the year. Don't forget to download the maps in PDFs for reference, link is at the bottom of the review.
It is that time of year where some of you will either have broken your New Year’s resolution or your pushing forward with your goal. Either way what better way to start the year than getting yourself some new gear. We all know that great looking gear makes your game at least 1% better. At the end of the day there is only two options; you either win, or you learn so why not do it in style.
NOGI Industries is a brand that has been making quality grappling gear since 2003. They pride themselves in making quality gear for people that train, by people that train. In this review we will first be discussing the NOGI Industries Volt 2.0 Gray Trunks and NOGI Industries Long Sleeve Jet Rash Guard.
The NOGI Industries Volt 2.0 gray shorts are made of 100% polyester and come with a four way stretch crotch that makes them super tough (In the pictures above you can see the crotch section from thigh to thigh is black and is stretch fabric), color accented piping, embroidered logos throughout and a pretty sick PVC logo on the waist strap. The material is light and airy and made with 100% polyester for increased durability. They are available in waist sizes 28 all the way thru 42. The logos on the front and back are embroidered and give the shorts a sense of style without being over done.
X-Guard Brand gis came to my attention about a year ago. I was looked for a new gi and during my research I kept seeing references to X-Guard and their kimonos. No one had a bad word to say about their service or their gis. The only thing that stopped me from buying one of their gis that day was that they were out of stock. Clearly, I wasn’t the only one that wanted to give these guys a closer look. In December I finally got my hands on an X-Guard gi, the XG5 Element Series Sandstorm. The Element series gis are also available in black and blue to round out the color choices. The Sandstorm is value priced gi (it’s $134.00 which includes shipping) and consists of a pearl weave jacket and 12oz canvas pants.
“At X-Guard Brand Fight Wear, we believe that fashion, quality, and performance go hand-in-hand. Our premium jiu jitsu kimonos, IBJJF approved rash guards, and fight shorts have been mat tested and are cage approved. We listen to our customers, read reviews, and participate in the sport which helps us continually push our Jiu-Jitsu / MMA fight wear to the next level.”