The fifth installment of the popular submission only contest, TUFF, was held on Saturday 19th November. The Circus Tavern in Purfleet appears to be its permanent home, and it's a decent sized venue, large enough to accomodate the big stage and the audience around it but not so large that it becomes cavernous.

TUFF 5 was bigger and even better than the previous TUFF contests (TUFF 3 report, TUFF 4 report), with over 18 fights. There was added prestige too as the event was streamed live over on Flograppling.com. It was also nice of the organisers to invite my brand, Meerkatsu, among the list of official sponsors.

Here are some action photos taken by me:

18 Nov 2016

Raspberry Ape Podcast


Daniel Strauss is a busy man. Teaching nogi classes four or five times a week, competing at international events (he recently was on EBI) and recording episodes for his Raspberry Ape podcast.

A couple weeks back I was invited onto the show and we spent an enjoyable couple hours talking about a lot of BJJ related stuff. In amongst the banter and small talk, I cover my story on how I began BJJ, how I began my brand and on many issues in general.

You can grab is here on soundcloud or here on iTunes.

Enjoy!


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4th Degree black belt Vicente Junior was in town today and I jumped at the chance to learn some of his specialist moves from the de la Riva guard.



Introduction
Paul Schreiner is an American BJJ black belt under Claudio Franca and currently one of the main instructors at Marcelo Garcia Academy in New York. Schreiner is one of those names you come across often by way of his reputation as an amazing instructor. He's often cited on forums for example and Ryan Hall mentions him often across his many BJJ instructionals. Based on his reputation, I was keen to find out for myself how well he would translate across through the medium of video instruction.


30 Oct 2016

Polaris Pro 4


I spent an exciting evening photographing the fights at Polaris Pro 4. To read the results - see the BJJ Heroes website. Here are some of my photographic highlights...


Summary
Excellent value underwear designed with grapplers (and other sports) in mind. The mesh fabric offers a good breathable surface that allows sweat to wick away while the structure of the panels and waist band ensures a snug fit.


Summary
Yoga for BJJ is an online yoga instructional website taught by BJJ brown belt Sebastian Brosche. I decided to try the course out having never had any yoga experience before. This is my day by day diary of the first few weeks.



I have a lovely new gi out, it comes pretty plain, or plainly pretty, depending on how you wish to use the included four patches. We also found a way to sell it at a wallet friendlier price: £64.99 GBP.

You can buy it here: http://meerkatsu.com/Tranquility-Kimono_p_81.html

Here is a nice video showing both my new gi models:





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I have a new gi released under my own brand Meerkatsu. It is the black version of my blue orchid dragon kimono. We've tweaked a few bits on this version, mainly the cuff tape and the inner hem, so it's a more comfortable material.

You can purchase this gi here: http://meerkatsu.com/Black-Orchid-Dragon_p_82.html

Some photos:-





Summary
Mike Bidwell offers his vision of a flowing, transition based jiu-jitsu gameplan which all stems from an initial hip bump kimura sweep. It is a set that will most benefit intermediate level players who are looking to move beyond a singular focus when sparring and competing.

Details
Available as a digital download from Jiu Jitsu Brotherhood website.
Price $49.95 / £38GBP
Length 1 hour

I viewed a digital download version. I'm not sure if a physical DVD is available.



It seems in the world of jiu jitsu, MMA and grappling, we do love our artisan soaps. Whisky Wolf is a UK based company. They sent me their Okami Kit Tin Can package, which contains their red label soap bar, soap tag, skin balm and stickers.

Above: First appearance of our hero, Matt


Mat Life is a comic strip I created for publication in Jiu Jitsu Style Magazine. The character, Matt, is a complete novice and each episode followed his progression as an early beginner who makes all the mistakes that everyone else makes. The strip was also an excuse for me to attempt sequential art, something I had previously never tried before.

The first appearance wasn't an official episode 1, it was merely a two panel sequence to illustrate a written article. The next issue of the magazine expanded the format to a four panel story. Editor Callum then wanted the strip to fill the whole page, hence a six panel format appeared. I discovered that a six panel set was much more of a challenge. Telling the story without too much 'filler' material or repetition is a real art. I admire comic artists who can deftly add story, action, humour, drama and dialogue, all within the space of one page. 

It was a great exercise for me. Sadly, I have decided to end the strip, the final episode appears in Issue 33 of Jiu Jitsu Style Magazine. 



Summary
Oli Geddes is a prolific competitor amassing over 600 tournament matches. Many of his submissions have come via straight ankle lock. Here in this one hour instructional, Oli presents a game plan based around the straight ankle lock. It is an easy to follow system where the straight ankle is not only a submission finish, but a starting point with which to transition to numerous other techniques and positions. This video set is based strictly on IBJJF legal techniques from white belt and above. For beginners, it's a very good, detailed look at an often neglected submission technique. More advanced players will enjoy the positions Oli shows - including the 50/50, outside hook ankle lock and the overhook x-guard.

Available from:
https://footlock-mastery.myshopify.com
Price £24.99



Following the success of the TUFF 3 Invitational submission only tournament earlier in the year, I was happy to cover photography for the next installment of this event. The fights did not disappoint, with the best of UK talent on display, fighters from teams all over the UK displayed plenty of skill, heart and spirit.


Summary
North South Jiu Jitsu Underwear sent me a couple of pairs of their mens pants to try out. They offer a number of helpful additional improvements over regular underwear.

Information
North South Underwear website
Facebook page
Cost: $35



I have a few new T-shirt designs over on the Meerkatsu store. Check them out!




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Summary
Lucas Lepri explains his knee on belly techniques. It is a position, he states, that he arrives at often after passing his opponent's guard. From knee on belly, Lepri showcases the large array of attacking options available, especially once you have succeeded in making the opponent extremely uncomfortable with your position.

Available: Digitsu website and app store.

19 May 2016

Review: BJJ Rings


BJJ Rings sent me a sample pack of their silicone training rings. These items are intended to be used for people who can’t wear their wedding (or other decorative metal) ring on their fingers while training in a sports activity yet still wish to wear a ring.

Available to purchase:  http://bjjrings.com
Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/bjjrings/



Today I had a great time teaching the very first session at my new club, Borehamwood Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I taught a kids class for the first half hour and then an adults beginner's class for the next hour.

For me, it was an excellent opportunity to showcase Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to fresh eyes and open minds. For the kids session my focus was directed mainly at movement drills so much of the class was based around animal walking drills. I then introduced the kids to the most important animal in all of jiu jitsu...the shrimp! (to much confusion and laughter). We then of course covered the idea of shrimping. Following that, I got the kids to pair up and play with a couple of the games from the Gracie games Bullyproof program. We finished off with a vigorous and fun bout of Bulldog!

For the adult class, I covered technical stand-up, shrimping, bridging and escapes from the mount. I also made sure to emphasise the connection that BJJ has as a sport/martial art and as a means of self defence. This topic alone is worthy of a lengthy write-up some day, but suffice to say, with the seminar I conducted today, I hope I was able to communicate the basic concept of BJJ as an intelligent fighting art. I concluded the session with a brief demonstration roll with my team mate and fellow black belt, Chris Hearn - video below:

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Thanks to all the newcomers who took that first step onto the mat and huge thanks to my BJJ friends who came along to support! I look forward to seeing how the new club will grow and develop.


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David Onuma is a second degree black belt under Ricardo de la Riva and head of his own team known as CFS (Combined Fighting Systems). His mantra is: 'Intelligent Combat' which promotes a more cerebral approach to learning martial art techniques. I have attended many of David's past seminars and I find his approach very good at looking at familiar things in a new light. Today's session on the mount position was no different.

29 Apr 2016

Borehamwood BJJ


I'm opening up my own class to teach BJJ in my home town of Borehamwood, Herts, UK. I will teach each Saturday at the Venue Leisure Centre in the upstairs dance studio. Kids will be from 12:45 until 1:30 then adults from 1:30 until 3pm.

Full details of my class can be seen on the Borehamwood BJJ website.

If my Saturday classes do well and there is demand, I hope to add a mid-week evening class to the schedule.

To kick things off, I have a complete beginner's seminar for the first session, details on the poster below:-



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The third instalment of the submission-only professional grappling tournament known as Polaris Pro took place last night at the Poole Lighthouse in the UK. On display were 5 main card matches and 8 preliminary matches. Heading the bill was the mouth watering prospect of a fight between two leg locking experts in Garry Tonon and Rousimar Palhares. Yours truly here managed to bag a press pass and took some photos.


This weekend I took part in a 24 hour Brazilian Jiu Jitsu 'grapplethon' to help raise money for the charity One25.


Summary
I review five BJJ belts, all quite different from one another. There's the flashy one, the cheap one, the hemp one, the gi material one and the cool one. Which one did I like the best? Find out here!


Quick glance information


CompanyPriceWebsite
Peel Gi - Shinobi19 Euros (£15)+12pppeelgi.com
Keiko Raca £9.99keikoraca.co.uk
Valor - elite belt£15valorfightwear.com
The Green Gi$45 plus $25pp (approx £48)thegreengi.com
Scramble (v2)£17.50scramblestuff.com

Disclosures - all views in this review represent my own opinions. I have no personal or business history with Peel Gi, Keiko Raca, Green Gi or Valor. I have worked for Scramble in the past on freelance design assignments.