28 Sep 2009

Just quick post to congratulate Braulio Estima for his double gold winning performance at this year's Abu Dhabi Combat Club (ADCC) submission wrestling tournament.
The ADCC is the very pinnacle of the grappling world. Only the very best and toughest fighters duke it out here. So to win this richly funded event (and by submissions too) proves that Braulio, along with his good friend Roger Gracie, are two of the greatest grapplers of the current era. And hey! they're both based in the UK. How lucky are we????

Braulio Estima - 2009 ADCC Champion

Just quick post to congratulate Braulio Estima for his double gold winning performance at this year's Abu Dhabi Combat Club (ADCC) subm...

23 Sep 2009


CBeebies is a children's TV station run by the BBC that my little kids are addicted to. CBeebies also sounds confusingly (to me anyway) like the various acronyms used by the governing bodies that control international BJJ competitions.

Cbeebie what?So let me see...there is the CBJJ (Confederacao Brazileira de Jiu-Jitsu) which must not be confused with the CBJJE (ConfederaĆ§Ć£o Brasileira de Jiu-Jitsu Esportivo) for they are deadly rivals. And they both should not be confused with the CBJJF (Canadian Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation), which let's face it, are just joining the CBeebies bandwagon for handy acronyms that boost their google rankings. Maybe that's why the CBJJ now prefer to call themselves the IBJJF (International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation) which, despite diverging from the CBeebies theme, is far snappier sounding I think. Are you keeping up?

So why are are the IBJJF and the CBJJE deadly rivals? I don't know. But the latter is run by many ex members of the former and I can only assume money is what drove them apart. You see the big contention among the fighting elite is the IBJJF tournaments do not pay prize money and those that run the CBJJE say they do pay prize money. But the IBJJF is vastly more powerful and the kudos of winning their events is hugely more influential than the other. Even today some teams will only send competitors to one event and ignore the other. Politics is a tricky business.

So why do I mention these bodies?
Well, for a start, the CBJJE are growing fast. They have just held their first European Championships in Switzerland and quite a few of my pals won gold medals, including Oli Geddes, Pippa Granger and Isaac Perez. By all accounts it was a well run event. Isaac, who I met at my very first BJJ comp in Brighton, says it's the best run comp he's ever been to. Sadly, the much trumpeted cash prize was not available to him but he did get a t-shirt!

But the allure of winning a IBJJF event is what brings out the really big guns, the famous black belts you see in all the youtube videos. The next one is the IBJJF European Championships in January. Something I am seriously considering competing in.

Why not call a federation the World BJJ Association or something?Yes, why not? Well because it's been done already. The WBJJA, or World Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Association is a newish group who promote BJJ through print and video instructional material and through yearly visits by one of their black belts. It's a touchy subject for many who practice BJJ in the UK. Some feel they are offering easy belts to practitioners who prefer not or cannot train with standard BJJ groups. The bringing back of the 'midnight blue' belt rank rankles many. This colour belt was first devised in the 1960's by Helio Gracie, but he dropped it soon after in favour of the current system (white,blue,purple,brown,black,red). The WBJJA brought it back as a rank for novice BJJ instructors under their program. To qualify, the member has to have a number of years of experience in another martial art. Cynics suggest that a dark midnight blue could easily look like a black belt to unsuspecting newbies. Whatever the controversy, the WBJJA are growing and look set to become part of the UK's BJJ establishment, whether the rest like it or not.

Phew! The Meerkatsu is busily inventing his own federation. Only small people can join and only those that write blogs and draw and photograph a little. Oh, that's just me then. I win gold!
BTW. I shelled out a few bob to buy the url www.meerkatsu.com It was either that, or CBJJMRKTSU, which is a bit less snappy sounding, don't you think?

CeeBeebies

CBeebies is a children's TV station run by the BBC that my little kids are addicted to. CBeebies also sounds confusingly (to me anyway...

19 Sep 2009

After-session photo at BJJ School, Battersea, London. I'm on the bottom row far left, Felipe Souza, head instructor is fourth from the left on bottom.


I was invited down to visit the Battersea branch of BJJ School, the academy run by BJJ black belt Felipe Alves De Souza. BJJ School have classes all over London and Essex but the Saturday classes are held at the Battersea Youth Centre. Those with long memories and who have been doing BJJ for over 5 years will remember that this venue was the scene of the first London Open tournament in 2003.

I actually arrived early to see how the kids classes, something for which Felipe is renowned for, were run and I was very impressed by the way he taught them. All the kids, from 4 years old up to teenagers, seemed to display a huge passion for the sport and all left the dojo with beaming smiles and a hunger for more. Felipe himself is a natural with the kids. I chatted to parents who were watching their little ones during the class and all enthused at what wonders BJJ had done for their child's fitness, concentration and attitudes.

Felipe somehow makes the class look like a hell of a lot of fun but the kids are actually learning fundamental BJJ moves at the same time. He doesn't allow them to scrimp on good old fashioned dojo etiquette and behaviour either. All the kids had to line up in grade order and bow before leaving the class. The children were obviously proud of their training accomplishments, many were seasoned competitors and boasted many trophies and medals. The copious stripes on their belts showed they had been training for quite a while. It's no exaggeration to say that I was witnessing a good proportion of the future of BJJ right here in that dojo.

Soon it was the adults class and I lined up with the others. Some people recognised me, like brown belt instructor Jackson Fortunato, who I had the good pleasure of training with many years ago at Eddie's gym. I recognised a lot of others from various competitions, like demon brown belt (and fellow small guy) Eamonn Madden. And there were a lot of bodies on the mat. I was very impressed at the class turnout. 30-35 was the average session apparently - that's just adults. Felipe said his kids classes had more sometimes.

After a vigorous warmup, including rolling breakfalls, Felipe ran through a series of half shoulder throw variations from stand-up. I found these to be very useful and reasonably easy to execute. I asked one chap beside me if stand-up was taught each session and he said yes, judo throws generally began each session.

For the ground techniques portion of the session, Felipe taught quick counters to a person standing up in your closed guard. The easy one I liked was to grip their elbows and, as soon as the person placed his second foot on the ground, you tug on his elbows hard and throw your knees over your own shoulder, thereby wheeling your uke over your body with you ending up in full mount. This was great fun, but timing was critical.

After drilling this, we worked on variations where your uke did not go over your body easily, but defended. Felipe showed a few sweet variations where you ended up countering his counter and submitting with a triangle, or armbar - remember this is from when you had cocked up the overhead sweep. An excellent example in BJJ where losing out of your option A technique simply means you execute option B or C.
I'm still in the figuring out how to do option A category!!

After technical lessons, it was time for sparring.

One of the reasons I love visiting other academies, apart from meeting new people and learning new techniques, is to break the over-familiarity of always sparring with the same people in my home dojo. Don't get me wrong, I love my training and sparring at Mill Hill, but I think visiting new places is a good way to overcome any nerves you get in training for competition. In my view, the most nervous aspect of competition is having to tussle with an unfamiliar face. No-one at BJJ school knew my fave moves and I did not know theirs so i'ts interesting to see how well or badly I would do.

As to the actual rolling, I sparred with young Daniel Agard St John, who was slippery as an eel and easily countered my attempted delariva guards and X-guards. He then finished me by taking the back and, to add salt into the wound, whispered he was about to do a technique that my own instructor, Nick Brooks, had taught him. Lovely! But Daniel is a cool guy and a star for the future, I really enjoyed sparring with him.

Next up, Felipe beckoned me to the centre and I spent the rest of the session rolling with him. Like many brown and black belts, rolling with them is incredibly deceptive. They are skilled enough to give you just enough room to do your stuff, only for you to fall into some trap and you end up scrabbling for dear life!

Time and time again Felipe worked to take my back. But crucially, he told what I shouldbe doing to escape and he made me do it time and time again until I understood it. BJJ schooling right in the heat of battle, I loved it!

After my lesson, Felipe and I chatted for over an hour for an interview I writing - about him, his very interesting charity work for Future Champions, his time at RGA and his painful split, as well as his current success with BJJ School. I'm going to get the interview published in full at some point so watch this space.

In the meantime, I want to thanks Felipe and everyone at BJJ School for making me so welcome at their academy. Thanks also to Ed Brown too for inviting me in the first place.
There's something very special happening with this academy and there's no doubt their success will continue to grow and grow.

I hope to pop back when Felipe's instructor, Master Jose Henrique 'Leao' Teixeira, comes to the UK to teach a seminar on October 10th. Master Leao is one of the big chiefs of Gracie Barra and IBJJF. Felipe had only amazing things to say about his long time mentor and teacher.

Finally, one thing I asked Felipe about was his vegetarianism. I know this is quite random but it interested me because of his passion and forthright views on the subject of diet. He was so convincing that this evening, when I got home from my session, I made a beansprout and nut stir fry. Yes I know, my normally junk food eating, meat-loving Meerkatsu self decided to eat a vegetable only dish. Goodness, what has become of me!!!


Academy tour: BJJ School, Battersea

After-session photo at BJJ School, Battersea, London. I'm on the bottom row far left, Felipe Souza, head instructor is fourth from the ...

16 Sep 2009

Awful Analogies #1, BJJ is a bit like...science

Mention science to non-scientific types and they go all glaze-eyed and quickly find a way to make their exit. Science is not all lofty academia, but is just a way of looking at things devoid of emotion, hype or spin. By this token BJJ, perhaps more than many other martial arts, is very scientific. There is the simple formula: BJJ technique = observe+theorise+experiment+apply.


Science makes no judgement call on what is good or bad, right or wrong. It simply states, if an idea can be proven to work or can show overwhelming evidence that it can work, then it is most probably the right way.

BJJ is constantly evolving. From the countless trials and tribulations of hundreds of thousands of dedicated practitioners comes the techniques we know today. A new position is developed and within weeks, a defence to it is devised, and so on. Competitions enhance the idea of constant struggle, the survival of the best and the fittest.

But, like evolution, BJJ development is not linear. Man did not descend from chimpanzees, as so wrongly lampooned by Victorian cartoonists intent on mocking Darwin, but the idea of common descent is shared by all the various schools of BJJ.

However, like the natural world, the planet is full of niche groups, all happily co-existing in their little enclaves. One school might be full of half guard specialists. They can wreck havoc on the mats using just this. Or another school is the business at spider guard submissions. Every now again, they meet to snap heels at each other then go away, ruminating new ideas.

Scientific principles of the laws of motion and the physics of leverage fill every aspect of BJJ. Unscientific, or unprovable concepts such as invisible energy fields and mind tricks do not apply.

Yes my friends, BJJ is so scientific, it's practically an art form. Now there's a twist.

Awful Analogies #1: Science

Awful Analogies #1, BJJ is a bit like...science Mention science to non-scientific types and they go all glaze-eyed and quickly find a way t...

13 Sep 2009




I took my wife along to try out a kettlebell and conditioning class at the Mill Hill gym and afterwards got Andrew, the instructor to say a few words about himself:


ANDREW MARSHALL, STRENGTH & CONDITIONING COACH
Andrew Marshall is a full time professional fitness coach who, together with BJJ instructor Nick Brooks, recently opened up the Mill Hill Combat and Conditioning Academy in London. Seymour Yang spoke to Andrew about his background:


Q: Hi Andrew, tell me how you got into the fitness industry?

A: I started in the fitness industry in 1999 after years of underground strength training. I quickly outgrew commercial gyms and set up Renegade Fitness in 2004 as an outdoor fitness training company based in St Albans. I also started working with Optimal Life Fitness teaching fitness professionals how to use and teach the kettlebell.

Q: What types of training do you cover in classes?

A: At the Academy I am teaching my own style of functional strength and conditioning using many tools. My foundation are the kettlebells as they are so versatile, but we also use Olympic weight-lifting, plyometrics, gymnastics, tyres, ropes, kegs, sand bags, hammers, stones...you get the idea, if its big, awkward, heavy or hard we use it!!

Q:What is your martial arts background?

A: I have tried a few arts, including judo, traditional ju-jitsu and aikido. But BJJ is the only one I've stuck with for any length of time as I really enjoy the complexity of it. I'm hoping to start competing next year. And I think I have built up a few nice tricks that Daniel and Nick have taught me that I can use in competitions!!

Q: You've won like a few titles in the sport of kettlebell lifting, tell me about those?

A: Kettlebell sport is still a very small sport in the UK. I have done quite a few unofficial comps, but the first real event was held earlier this year, which i won [Ed: Andrew won the overall male division at the 2009 London Kettlebell Open Tournament.]

Like Olympic weightlifting, kettlebell sport consists of two disciplines: jerk and the snatch. But unlike the Olympics, kettlebell contestents have to perform both the two-bell jerk and the single bell snatch for 10 minutes continuously.

Q: Who have you trained?

A: I have trained all sorts of people of all abilities, from professional rugby players, athletes, celebrities, personal trainers, martial artists, fitness fanatics and people who are just interested in getting fit and losing some weight.


Q: Thanks Andrew, good luck with the set-up here at Mill Hill CCA.


A: Thanks Seymour.

Meerkatsu Interviews: Andrew Marshall, Strength & Conditioning Coach

I took my wife along to try out a kettlebell and conditioning class at the Mill Hill gym and afterwards got Andrew, the instructor to say...

9 Sep 2009


Gosh, what a whirlwind past few weeks my BJJ and MA life has been. First up, I wanted to say again what a great day we all had at the official opening of the Mill Hill club. For me, it was a great chance to meet up with BJJ friends I have not seen in a while, or indeed, met only online.
I also got to get quite a few rolls in - well in four hours of BJJ even I can't be that lazy and avoid rolling.

Training update
Sparring with Carmen Jahnke (female brown belt from Germany) was a great experience. Fluent, technical and pretty strong, Carmen made mince-meat of me. She is the perfect example of someone who uses jiu-jitsu smartly to get into great positions and submit without overpowering.
Carmen hopes to get back into competitive action early next year and I am really keen to follow her progress.

I had a great roll with Matt Benyon of Martial Farts fame. He documents our hilariously half-serious-trying-to-kill-each-other grappling session here. And photo above to prove I am a drama queen, as well as a poor BJJer.

But rolling with unknowns is my nemesis. One chap, Rich, came to the opening day without his kimono so I could only roll no-gi with him. Now I might be able to play ok using the gi, but nogi, I am a child stuck in quicksand. And he made mincemeat of me too.

Finally, I should mention my old training partner Ozy. He has recently come back from Brazil where he trained in a number of world class gyms and I was worried he would completely and utterly destroy me. But there lies the crazy paradox that is BJJ - one day you can suck and tap at the merest sight of a gust of wind, and the next, you are holding your own against top level competitors. Ozy's trademark moves are his De lariva and x-guard tricks, which I kinda knew, but perchance, during our roll, I slipped into high half guard (my knee across uke's torso) and he was rather stumped for a while. I managed to hold him and almost sweep him and, to his credit, he did not use his superior strength against me. It was a good technical roll and I must say, he's really improved a heck of a lot since we last rolled about 2 years ago. And yes, he did eventually make mince meat of me too.

But mincemeat or not. I always thank my partners for the experience of rolling with them. Every minute on the mat is a learning experience and I try not to forget that. By now, I am long over the 'God I had to tap out again' mindset that bedevilled me in the early years. For a start, I am improving enough to be able to ply a few tricks of my own. But most importantly I realise it is the journey, not the destination that is most important. To that end, I thank each and every one of my training partners for helping me improve.

Ninjutsu news
My interview with Simon Yeo for On The Mat drew a lot of positive comments so I decided to put my money where my mouth was and ask him to provide a ninjutsu seminar to me and my old trad JJ colleagues. My sensei, Grant, was kind enough to provide his premises so it's game on, here are the details:

Bujinkan Ninjutsu Seminar with Simon Yeo, 12th Dan under Masaaki Hatsumi
Thursday 19th November 2009
CSSC Sports Centre, Chadwick Street, London
19:00 - 21:00
Price: £22.50
Booking by prior appointment only,
please contact: grant.wakeman388@mod.uk
This seminar will introduce ninjutsu
concepts and techniques to students of other martial arts.


Writing news
I wrote a press release for newspapers and magazines about the opening of Mill Hill. The lay-person friendly version was published in a local Mill Hill news website here.
I'm hoping to get a more detailed BJJ-friendly version published in Martial Arts Illustrated soon, so fingers crossed.

Minced Meerkatsu for breakfast, lunch and dinner

Gosh, what a whirlwind past few weeks my BJJ and MA life has been. First up, I wanted to say again what a great day we all had at the offic...

7 Sep 2009

Just spent a hugely enjoyable session down at the BJJ club. Although the new place at Bunns Lane has been open a while now, today was our official opening event. Some more photos...





There must have been 50-60 bodies on the mat including Roger Gracie, Nic Gregoriades,
Luciano Cristovan and loads others from RGA and other BJJ clubs.
Roger awarded a long awaited purple belt to Daniel Strauss, blues to Toby, Dan, Gareth and David, and a host of stripes to others in our club.
It was great for me hooking up with a load of old friends and making new friends too.
Here's to the future success of MHCCA.
Finally, a big Meerkatsu props to Dan and Clint who, together with Nick, personally oversaw the entire refurbishment of the academy.An awesome achievenment guys!





Mill Hill Open Day

Just spent a hugely enjoyable session down at the BJJ club . Although the new place at Bunns Lane has been open a while now, today was our ...

2 Sep 2009

My instructor Nick Brooks is interviewed in a new online BJJ-Judo magazine here:

http://www.kombatclinic.com/interviews_Nick_Brooks.htm

Meerkatsu wishes the Kombat Clinic digi-mag the best of luck for the future.

Nick Brooks interview by Kombat Clinic

My instructor Nick Brooks is interviewed in a new online BJJ-Judo magazine here: http://www.kombatclinic.com/interviews_Nick_Brooks.htm M...

 

© 2015 - Distributed By Free Blogger Templates | Lyrics | Songs.pk | Download Ringtones | HD Wallpapers For Mobile