Mar 16

Watch out, a sleeping tiger is awakening within Senegal

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Over the past thirty years, Jiu-jitsu has spread across the globe, reaching places far and wide. The growth of the art has been extraordinary.

But has it reached its full potential?

No. Not even close. There are still so much of the world that has no idea that Jiu-jitsu exists. They have no idea of the benefit the art holds. And that is through no fault of their own. We have more work to do spread the art.

The Lionheart Initiative

Throughout the decades, the spread of Jiu-jitsu has followed a general pattern.

An upper belt moves to an area. A new school is opened. And over time, students are produced. That process works. But it is not easy, and more challenges arise when the area is remote or language barriers exist.

The Lionheart Initiative grew from the desire to overcome those barriers and plant the seed of Jiu-jitsu within the country of Senegal.

The country has a strong grappling traditions. Laamb Wrestling is the most popular sport there, and the level of intensity and passion that exists for that art will shock you.

It’s inspiring. And it will make you wonder what Jiu-jitsu could become if it experienced Senegal’s influence.

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The Seed Has Sprouted

Years ago, LHI planted a seed by sharing Jiu-jitsu with as many people as they could within Senegal. The first year from everything that I heard was a grind. 10 days of teaching and media events. And now the results of those efforts are revealing themselves.

I only had the opportunity to contribute on the third trip, but what I saw was extraordinary. Even without a black belt to consistently guide their training, it is clear that the future of Senegalese Jiu-jitsu is bright.

I saw passion. I saw skill. But most of all, I saw potential.

And I got excited for the future.

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Mar 06

Three key questions you must ask yourself‏

Our purpose is IMPROVEMENT. Every day. 1%.

Right now, at this moment, it’s the third month of the year. By this time, most people have given up on the new year resolutions they set two months ago.

Those who succeed though, do something miraculous. They transform intention into action. One step turns another and then another and another after that. They incrementally work towards their goal. And in time, even goals that seem unimaginable get CRUSHED.

That’s what I want for US.

And the three key questions I’m about to share with you will help you maintain your focus and keep you moving forward.

What are my goals in Jiu-jitsu this month?

This is the first question you must ask yourself. It will give you something to focus during the month. That is going to help you. It’s going to be easier to achieve best results possible from EVERY training sessions. It doesn’t matter if you succeed or fail to achieve the goal.

What matters is that you want it and GO AFTER IT.

If you asked yourself this question every month (and took it seriously), it would be amazing what you could achieve.

What project will I give myself this month?

At first glance, this question may seem like the first, but it’s different.

Projects are learning focuses. For example, one month you may choose Butterfly Guard. That means that you’re going to absorb knowledge about the position and those who are good at it. The purpose is simply to learn as much as possible about your focus.

The first question is more open-ended.

Are there any other students that I can build a relationship with?

Man, this is important. Most of my best training has come from building relationships with other students. Finding those teammates who come early and stay after. The ones who ask questions that inspire creative thought. They are special.

And if they have a BURNING DESIRE to achieve what you want to achieve and the FAITH to believe that it can done. It’s going to inspire you to push harder and further than you ever imagined.

Many minds focused on the same goal have an incredible power. And the benefits extend beyond Jiu-jitsu.

Ask Yourself These Questions Every Month

If it wasn’t clear before, these questions should be asked often. The answers will change all the time. That’s expected. The process, though, is going to lead to greater focus and that will give you greater results.

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Feb 17

A tornado is raging and no mercy will be shown

One of things that many people have said to me over the years is that I shouldn’t be able to move the way I do.

The way I move is unexpected because of my size. And it all started with a desire to learn a cool technique when I was a white belt. I wanted to learn a specific series of techniques. I saw it, and I liked it. I wanted to do it, but I kept failing over and over again when I tried. It wasn’t easy.

And I realized that I had to learn a movement first.

I had to learn how to invert, and that series is what inspired me to learn. Today, I’m going to share it with you.

Tornado Attacks

One of the things that I really like about this series is that it clearly demonstrates how close the omoplata, triangle and armbar are to each other. In any situation where you can hit one, the other two aren’t far away. You just have to see the connection, and in an instance, you will increase your finish options.

Some Drills You Can Do

 When I taught myself how to do the granby roll, I didn’t just go zero to a hundred. I started where I could start and then progressed upward from there. To master anything difficult and truly extraordinary you have to do that.

Start where you can and progress from there.

The drills you see in the video above are the ones that I used to learn how to granby roll. And once I learned the movement, it became easier for me to learn how to do all those tornado attacks. So if you’re struggling with any technique, figure out what movements are hindering you first, and then focus on conquering that movement.

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Feb 01

Whoa, I’m not staying here

I remember being stuck under mount when I was a white belt. It was HORRIBLE.

That was especially true when it happened with certain people at Evolve, who will be left unnamed (to protect the guilty). They would utterly crush me there. And escape seemed so impossible at the time.

Against anyone good being stuck under mount is a place you don’t want to be, and that’s why it’s important to not only know how to escape but also to master those skills.

For that reason, I’m going to give you some of the basic mount escape variations I use. Add them to your arsenal and improve your escape success rate.

Escaping Mount

Breaking the Mount Escape Variations Down

Upa Escape

  • For this escape, trapping the arm securely is absolutely required. And I’ve found that using just one arm makes it easy for your opponent untangle, so I’m a fan of using both arms to trap.
  • Trapping the leg on the side where you want to move will make it harder for your opponent to use that leg to base out and stop the escape.
  • Looking in the direction that you want to move will increase your range of motion and make it easier to complete the escape.

Elbow Escape

  • The hip frame is something new that I added to my escape recently. I’ve had a lot of success with it because it makes it easier for you to move around your opponent. Of course your neck can become vulnerable. That’s why you frame and go as soon as possible.
  • The basic movements used in this mount escape are the bridge, shrimp and hip switch. Pure basics.
  • In one of the demonstrations, I fell back to the variation I’ve used the most over the year. Find that example. It’s when I stepped over and pull the ankle across before hip switching. That is GOLD. I lost count of how many times I successfully used that to escape a LONG time ago.

Hip Bump Escape

  • This mount escape eluded me for a long time. I couldn’t use it in my division, and I didn’t even try. But since then, I’ve had a revelation about the mechanics. The goal is not to push upward, it is to bump them forward and pull them towards and over your head. That will give you the space necessary to move under.
  • There are two main variations. One is when you bring both knees in and push out to butterfly guard, and the other is the one in the video when you bring one knee and push away to single leg x. I prefer the second.

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Jan 24

Sticking to the back like a monkey

Getting on someone’s back in Jiu-jitsu is such a magical moment. Right then, you know you have control. They’re in YOUR world. They have to respond to what you do.

But there are few things worse than getting there only to lose it before you can capitalize on your advantage.

I want to help you address that problem. First though, I’ll share some back control concepts with you.

The Essential Elements of Back Control

We tend to focus too much on the hooks on the back. That’s not the foundation of your control.

In fact, your ability to dominate the position depends on something else. It’s not just one thing though. There are three essential elements of back control:

  • Grip (under an arm and over a shoulder – Backpack/Seatbelt)
  • Angle (angling their body towards your choking hand, the overhook)
  • Connection (connecting your chest to their back)

There’s nothing revolutionary about this concept. It’s quite simple actually, but keep it in mind. It will be helpful when you look at the transition I’m going to show you.

Staying on the Back

All escapes from the back require that you lose at least one element of control.

Your grip must be broken in some fashion. Your opponent must angle away from your choking hand. Or there must be some separation created between your chest and their back. If there is an exception to that rule, I have not found it yet. I sat here and raked my brain. I visualized every escape I know, and in every case the rule held true.

And the most common escape focuses on both angling away and disconnection.

What I’m going to share with you is a simple transition you can use to cripple that escape. You’ll be able to frustrate anyone who tries it and maintain your control. It can also be used to set up submission options.

I learned that transition when I was a blue belt. And I’ve used it so much since then. It’s simple and effective.

Add it to your arsenal.

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