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:


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.


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:-


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.

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

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.

An excellent selection of effective, high percentage leg attack submissions, escapes and counters from two experienced experts in the field. Although the IBJJF rule set disallows knee reaping and heel hooks, many other tournaments do allow them as do most MMA events so a knowledge of all leg attack options is a must for the committed student of grappling. Ideally, this set is best viewed only after watching the Legal Leg Lock instructional (especially if you are reasonably new to grappling) since Roli spends more time explaining key positions and set-ups on the Legal set. That being said, there are many techniques on the Illegal set that can easily be adjusted to suit IBJJF rules.

Details: Available from Digitsu On Demand or via Apple iOS store.
Price: $24.99 ($19.99 current promotion) each part (comes in two parts) or $49.98 for both ($37.98 current promotion)
Chapters: 34

** UPDATE **
In a spectacular last dash bidding spree, my Ebay auction closed at the staggering total amount of £460!!! After seller fee deductions and printing costs, I estimate that means I can donate roughly £400 to charity.

Here is the original post:-

Each year in Bristol, BJJ blogger Can Sonmez organises a fundraising Grapplethon where participants spar in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu over a 24 hour period. This year, the event is being held on the 26th-27th March over at MyGym in Bristol. Money raised will be donated to One25 a Bristol-based charity, specialising in enabling women to break free from street sex-work, addiction and other life-controlling issues and build new, independent lives. Full details on how to take part and/or donate by clicking this link here.

My new rashguard - the War Lion - is available now from my Meerkatsu store.

It features my hand drawn lion head design, printed onto five colour options: white, blue, purple, brown and black, each to represent the major belt colours of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. [There are more belt colours, but I picked the most common ones].

We used a different supplier to the previous Graceful Kimura, Immaculate Toehold and Heavenly Wristlock rashguards. These War Lion rashguards are a slightly tiny but looser cut. But by and large they still follow the same fit guidelines as follows:
Approximate chest size guideline: Small - 34/36" Medium - 38/40" Large - 42/44" X-Large - 46/48"

At the moment, we're only doing them as short sleeved rashguards and from Small to XXL size. If these do well, we'll consider expanding the range of size and sleeve options.


Last night I was on photography duty capturing the action at the TUFF Invitational event in Purfleet, Essex. This was the third of their regular events and it proved to be an action packed line-up featuring an excellent and diverse array of the UK's grappling talent. The format is simple - a submission only tournament (15 or 20 minutes). If no submission occurs, then it will go to EBI overtime rules (read more here).

Black belt competitor Gianni Grippo runs through the main entry methods and sweeps available from the single leg x-guard - a position that is among the many specialist guards taught by Gianni's instructor Marcelo Garcia. This instructional is aimed at those who are comfortable with their open guard. The techniques only show entries and sweeps from the single leg x-guard, they do not show the passes that follow. A couple of regular X-guard sweeps are thrown in at the end for good measure. Overall, an excellent short instructional from Gianni and Digitsu, ideal for intermediate to advanced players but beginners may want a more general introduction to the regular X-guard and a grounding in guard passing before tackling the single leg X.

Available from Digitsu as On Demand content, DVD disc or iTunes app.
Cost: on demand $24.99, DVD disc $39.99
Running length: 90 minutes
Chapters: 20

Raven Fightwear are a relatively new fightwear brand originating from Australia. They recently hired me to design a rashguard - The Raven - which you can see in the photo above (and can buy here).

I took the opportunity to speak with Raven owner Adam Smith about the business and where he sees it going in the next few years:

From the people that brought you the Fabulous Gi, now comes the Fabulous rashguard. I've been wearing this in nogi class for a couple of weeks and it feels great.

I'm not sure when or where this will be available to buy as I can't seem to find it on either the Fabulous gi website or the Rios Fightwear website.

Although released back in 2009, this DVD set is still the most in depth, authoritative instructional on the 50/50 guard on the market today. Although most of the techniques assume that the heel hook as the submission of choice, there is still plenty of important content for those who wish to gain a deeper understanding of the 50/50 regardless of the finish.

Available as a 3-disc DVD box set from Groundfighter.com website.
Price: $124.99
Chapters: 60
Total time span: 4 hours 3 mins
Published in 2009

OC Industries are a newly formed company based in Belfast, Northern Ireland. They offer to print patches, logos and other designs onto your gi jacket using vinyl. I tested out their service using my recently reviewed Tatami Fightwear Estilo 5 black & black jacket.

2015 has been a particularly busy year for me. The above highlight showcases 100 drawings I created over the year, part of maybe 200 - 230 individual pieces I completed, not including rough sketches and work in progress.

Thank you to everyone who has supported my work. Here's to another exciting and fruitful jiu jitsu year ahead!


Here is my Xmas card for this year. You can read more about the drawing over on my art blog, here.

This print is available over on my Redbubble store for the Xmas edition and click here for the non-text version.


I recently designed two BJJ gis for two different brands:

The Dragonfly Kimono - Tatami Fightwear - available here
Chinese Zodiac Kimono - 93 Brand - available here.

Here are some more photos and information for both models:

Here are a bunch of cool gift ideas that would appeal to your BJJ-loving friends/partners/relatives. This list comprises various things I've seen on the internet that I personally think are very cool and would love to receive myself (hint hint!)

In no particular order:

I have a new gi design - Orchid Dragon - which will be released on Thursday 10th December 2015 at 12noon through my store www.meerkatsu.com

The first 50 customers will receive a free gift from me - a pack of art cards for colouring in. These are strictly limited edition and printed on very thick deluxe quality card stock.

A pack of limited edition art cards - free for the first 50 customers

Here is more information about the kimono:

6 Dec 2015

Faixa Preta

I was extremely honoured to receive my black belt promotion by Nick Brooks and Mauricio Gomes at the Mill Hill BJJ end of year graduation seminar and event.

I'm offering a 20% discount off all items at my www.meerkatsu.com store from Friday 27th November through until Monday 30th November.

The deal includes all full price and sale products. It does not apply to gift certificates or shipping. Use the code at checkout once you have completed filling your cart.

Happy shopping!


Each year I draw something for Halloween. This year, I drew an homage to the old Japanese style of printmaking called ukiyo-e, but instead of samurai fighting, I mashed it up with two witches, a little bit influenced by the poster for Wicked the Musical. It is available as a poster, print and even a coffee mug here on my Redbubble store: