Category 1

1 Nov 2020

 

Introduction

Estonian BJJ black belt Priit Mihkelson has packaged a highly effective set of defensive principles and positions. Priit's tutorials have a fast-growing fanbase of advocates thanks to his many videos on Youtube, BJJ Fanatics, his own Defensive BJJ website. His seminars are also very popular. I first heard about his techniques on Reddit and experienced how effective they are when rolling with my friend Can Sonmez during his 2019 Grapplethon. Since then I've been testing his concepts during rolling. In this write-up, I review the key main defence concepts that he teaches.

Instructional Review - Priit Mihkelson's Defence System (Panda, Hawking, Turtle, Running Man, Baby Bridge)

  Introduction Estonian BJJ black belt Priit Mihkelson has packaged a highly effective set of defensive principles and positions. Priit'...

1 Jul 2020


I've just released a new product for my Meerkatsu store - the Demon Mask Grappling Shorts. These are designed in accordance to IBJJF nogi tournament uniform rules.

You can buy them here.







Meerkatsu Brand: Demon Mask IBJJF grappling shorts

I've just released a new product for my Meerkatsu store - the Demon Mask Grappling Shorts. These are designed in accordance to IBJJF ...

27 Jun 2020



Summary
The reverse kimura grip from guard offers a very effective way to control, attack and reduce options for your opponent. While the grip concept in this half guard set is the same as Drew Weatherhead’s previous closed guard tutorial, using it from half guard offers a different set of opportunities – notably the ability to transition to better attacking positions such as back control.


Info:
Available at: www.reversekimura.com
Price: $79.99


INTRODUCTION
Following the success of his previous tutorial, BJJ black belt Drew Weatherhead turns his attention again to the Reverse Kimura – but this time working from the half guard.

From my personal experience using reverse kimura techniques (and indeed any techniques) from the half guard, this position has been a bit more successful compared to the same from closed guard. There is a better angle of attack from the half guard (albeit one-sided), and there is much more mobility and opportunity to transition to other positions from half. That’s not to suggest the closed guard version isn’t as good – it’s definitely a solid position to work techniques. It is just that I personally prefer to work attacking moves from the half guard than closed. If that’s also the case with your game, then this tutorial might suit you better.



CHAPTER LISTING

1. FUNDAMENTALS: dynamic tension and half guard basics
2. FUNDAMENTALS: what is and what isn’t half guard
3. FUNDAMENTALS: getting the grip
4. FUNDAMENTALS: Beating the punch pass
5. TRANSITIONAL OPTIONS
6. PROPER HALF: Peel over back take
7. PROPER HALF: arm-in guillotine
8. PROPER HALF: sit-up calf slicer
9. PROPER HALF: truck roll
10. PROPER HALF: modified John Wayne sweep
11. LOCKDOWN: Twister
12. LOCKDOWN: Stomp to half butterfly/elevate to saddle
13. KNEE SHIELD
14. HIP CLAMP: setting up
15. HIP CLAMP: roll-over armbar
16. HIP CLAMP: sit-up arm drag
17. EMPTY DOGFIGHT: to turtle/log-roll backtake
18. EMPTY DOGFIGHT: to leg staple/dope mount
19. EMPTY DOGFIGHT: to rolling rear triangle
20. EMPTY DOGFIGHT: to D’arce
21. EMPTY DOGFIGHT: to Peruvian necktie
22. EMPTY DOGFIGHT: to crucifix
23. LONG RANGE REVERSE KIMURA
24. CLOSING


PRODUCTION, VIDEO & USER NAVIGATION

Just as with Drew’s previous tutorial, this set offers a neat picture-in-picture viewpoint so you never miss an angle. Audio quality is excellent thanks to the lavalier mic that Drew uses. This title is only offered in digital form via the Reversekimura website, you cannot download individual chapters for later viewing. The website marks your viewing progress, making it easy to pick up where you last left off. Drew does a great job explaining the moves without over verbalising. Each chapter is around 3 to 4 minutes long – perfect for going back for quick reminder viewings.


TECHNIQUE DISCUSSION
This tutorial was released during COVID-19 lockdown. I haven’t been able to test any of these techniques out with a partner. My opinions here are based solely on my own experience using reverse kimura and my experience as a black belt in general…

The first question you may ask is – do I need to see the first Reverse Kimura (closed guard) tutorial before getting this half guard one? The short answer is no as Drew does cover the basics of reverse kimura in both sets. The longer answer is it depends on your experience level. If you are fairly new to BJJ (ie white and new blue) I’d suggest getting the closed guard set first. In that set Drew goes into more detail on how to set up and use the reverse kimura itself (regardless of the guard). Building up this skillset will serve you well when applying it in the half guard. That being said, it is probably ok for you to go straight to this half guard set but only if you already know half guard is a position that you are comfortable with.



Drew opens the teaching component of this set with a refresher on the actual reverse kimura grip. As I mentioned in my previous review, his open version of the grip was a real game changer for me. Previously I used to form a figure four grip to achieve the reverse kimura, which was rather limiting. Drew’s open grip version is much more versatile plus it relies less on strength and more on tracking your opponent's attempts to withdraw his arm. Drew also runs through the basics of the half guard itself – he cites 5 different forms (‘proper’ half guard, lockdown, half butterfly, knee shield and hip clamp). An alternative way to view these half guard variations is to see them as close-range, mid-range and long-range.

The key to making half guard an effective attacking position is to undertand that it allows the player  to move to other (arguably much better) attacking positions. In this set, Drew spends much time focusing on transitioning from half guard to back control. Using the reverse kimura grip gives you the advantage of taking your opponent off his centre line and offering openings to take the back. I feel it's very similar to how a cross sleeve grip or a sleeve drag might also perform the same task, except with the reverse kimura you get a bit more control over the opponent's arm.
The peel-over back take, empty dogfight, sit up arm drag, the truck…these moves are all very effective at taking the back and follow on nicely from the reverse kimura grip.



Drew also shows a variety of submissions from the half guard where the reverse kimura grip really helps set up the attack – the Peruvian necktie in particular is a favourite of several members of my club so this one will definitely pique their interest.

One area Drew only touches upon is the knee shield half guard. He states that he uses it only for setting up the reverse kimura grip, but then switches to one of the other half guards. Me personally I prefer sticking with the knee shield for as long as I can and try to work something from there. The problem with that however is that being relatively far from my opponent means I’m less effective at maintaining the reverse kimura. In such cases, I’ll switch grips to collar and sleeve control and variations thereof. When I am back to full training, I'll be able to play with this position some more.

Other useful techniques that Drew showcases where the reverse kimura grip adds to the success of the move include getting to the Lockdown, the Twister and the Saddle. These aren’t positions I’ve spent much time playing with in the past. Perhaps I’ll give them a go now that I’ve studied this set and seen how they’re a bit more achievable if I use the reverse kimura grip set ups.



CONCLUSION
The half guard position in general offers advantages as well as disadvantages. From here you have a great angle of attack as well as being much more mobile compared to the closed guard. The main problem however is that you don’t get to control your opponent as much and there’s the added problem of your opponent bearing down on you and trying all sorts of things. Adding the reverse kimura grip is a handy tool as it nullifies your opponent’s ability to use his nearside arm against you. This then grants you a bit of space and time in order to move onto another position (or attack from within half).


The Reverse Kimura: Half Guard set offers a well taught set of movements based off a very easy to use gripping concept. I recommend this set to anyone, but perhaps would be of more use to those already happy using the half guard itself.



Trailer video:








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REVIEW: HALF GUARD KIMURA by DREW WEATHERHEAD (Because Jitsu)

Summary The reverse kimura grip from guard offers a very effective way to control, attack and reduce options for your opponent. While ...

15 Apr 2020


The current lockdown situation has given me time to embark on several art projects that I have long been thinking about. I last tried painting on canvas shoes back in 2013 so I figure it was a good time to try it again with something more ambitious.


They were great fun to create. To read more about how I did this, head on over to my Meerkatsu Art Blog here.




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Meerkatsu art: Heavenly Vans

The current lockdown situation has given me time to embark on several art projects that I have long been thinking about. I last tried pai...

8 Apr 2020



Further to my previous post on colouring in artwork sheets (see here) I have released 11 more images that you can print out and colour in. It's a small but perhaps useful way to kill a little time while in lockdown.

Most of the drawings below came from my colouring in book 'Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Story Book' which you can still buy on Blurb here.

Don't forget to post your completed colourings online and tag me @meerkatsu or #meerkatsu.
Have fun and continue to stay safe.

Click on each image then press right click 'open image in new tab' and you will be able to access the higher resolution version.












BJJ Fairy Tales - images to print and colour at home

Further to my previous post on colouring in artwork sheets ( see here ) I have released 11 more images that you can print out and colour...

4 Apr 2020


The current COVID-19 coronavirus lockdown measures mean that I have a lot more time available to work on projects that I've previously thought about but have never had time to start. A painted BJJ gi was one of those ideas and I've managed to complete my homage fanart from the manga comic Akira, by Katsuhiro Otomo.

Here is a breakdown of how I painted onto the gi:

1. An old plain white gi (Scramble semi-custom)

2. Pebeo Setacolor opaque fabric paint

3. Used a soft pencil to sketch in the basic outline. The original manga art can be seen here.
4. I used some cheap old paintbrushes, the fabric paint dries quickly and is 'fixed' by ironing onto the back of the gi. The bumpy surface of the pearlweave fabric was a bit of a challenge at first, but rather than get upset over the lack of clean straight lines, I just accepted it was never going to be as clinical compared to painting onto paper or stretched canvas. I ended up quite liking the very rough and grungy textures.
5. To get clean lines on the text, I first traced the words onto tracing paper then cut it out. I then used Pritt Stick to glue the paper onto the gi fabric. It was easy to remove afterwards.
6. Used soft pencil to write the Japanese characters which roughly translate to the infamous Akira English language catchphrase: Good for Health, Bad for Education. I found the appropriate spelling thanks to this blog.
7. The only additional colour was the red katakana characters which spell AKIRA. The final stage is to heat FIX the paint by ironing onto the reverse side for a few minutes.
8. I haven't washed it yet, but I've used this fabric paint before and it's very durable so I'm confident it will stay.

I posted these photos on social media and Reddit and received a lot of great responses. It also seemed to have caught on with other BJJ artists as they too decided to paint their gis - see the photo below:


1.Vagabond artwork by @norih.art for her husband @rameezrk 2.Godzilla artwork by @supreme_leader_choke 3. Samurai artwork by @dominicwalsh76

Since the lockdown is going to last at least another month and more likely longer I have already begun preparing to paint on several other gis plus I have always wanted to create more painted canvas shoes. For me, staying busy with creative projects is a mentally healthy way to alleviate the tedium and frustration of not being able to train or go out much.














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Custom gi artwork

The current COVID-19 coronavirus lockdown measures mean that I have a lot more time available to work on projects that I've previousl...

26 Mar 2020


I was hired by Scramble to produce a set of six artworks to be used as a set of gi patches. These patches can be bought as a set here, or chosen as a free addition when purchasing the 2020 model of their semi-custom kimono here (note there are two other colour gi models as well).

Each of these animal drawings relates to a theme common in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Here are some more photos...











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Scramble Semi-Custom Gi 2020 model - Meerkatsu patch set

I was hired by Scramble to produce a set of six artworks to be used as a set of gi patches. These patches can be bought as a set here , o...

19 Mar 2020


Summary
Protective eyewear with stylish looks and malleable frames reasonably functional for use drilling BJJ techniques but not for sparring.


Introduction
If like me you are short-sighted and train in a grappling or combat sport then options to see clearly while working out are in short supply. Contact lenses would be an obvious choice but not everyone can wear them (I've tried but my dry eyes won't take to them) and even contacts fall out if the eye socket receives an impact. Sports protective spectacles offer an alternative to contacts and whilst not the perfect solution there are at least a number of models one can choose from.

I previously wore Progear spectacles - read about my write-up here. Over the past 8 years I've worn those glasses to every BJJ class. It's important to state, I do not spar with these glasses on and I won't spar with the new Morpheus 2 glasses. I use these spectacles to see my coach when he teaches, I use them when drilling techniques and I use them when I myself am teaching class. These protective glasses are designed to withstand impact so I can just take them off, throw them to the side, embark on some rolling, then put them on again without fear someone will step on them and break them.

My old ProGear specs broke!

Time has not been kind to my eight year old Progear specs. The rubber guards that line the earpieces have fallen off and the rubber corner pieces that are found on the outer edges of the frame are coming away. Much of the paintwork has rubbed off and most worryingly, the corner of the frame that encases the lens has broken. You can see the crack in the photo above. Finally, the prescription is 8 years out of date so I figure it was a good time to replace these with a newer model.


Rec Specs Morpheus 2
I chose this brand and this model of spectacles mainly because I was impressed with how bendable there are. In the video below the person demonstrates by warping and bending the frames with quite a lot of force.



I also liked that it was reasonably free from rubber impact strips which look tatty on my old pair.

I bought my pair from www.sportsprescriptionglasses.co.uk for £168 which includes prescription lenses and shipping. That's much cheaper than what I paid for my old Progear glasses (which were ordered through a high street optometrist). The website is easy to use and gave me options to input my prescription details, choose frame size and frame colour as well as add any other notes about my needs.



Prescription lens orders normally take up to two weeks warn the website but I was immensely impressed that my order was dealt with immediately and completed within two days!


Morpheus 2 in action:
The main things I wanted to test on these glasses were:
1. Comfort and fit
2. Fogging
3. Ability to withstand accidental impact



As stated above, I don't roll wearing goggles. The reason is that for me, wearing goggles just gets in the way during the close contact nature of grappling and they get fogged up quickly. That being said, I notice there are models of spectacles offered by the website above that is designed for judo players. If you do want spectacles for rolling in, then you'll need the models which do not have rigid arms but have an elastic strap instead. Such close fitting models tend to also have more rubber on the inside of the frame which can absorb impact better then just a rubber nose bridge which is what I have on my model. Me personally I think you'll always find these to be awkward to wear during grappling. If you can find a pair to try on before buying then that would be ideal.

The Morpheus 2 needs to be worn with the elastic strap, which attaches to the ends of the earpieces. Without the strap, the glasses are just too loose to fit on my securely. It's not a major hassle though, the strap is adjustable and once I put them on my head, they feel no different to wearing my regular pair of glasses.

But there is one annoying flaw with the strap...


Can you see how the strap touches the back of my gi collar? I only have to hunch my shoulders a little bit and the strap catches onto the collar and tugs the frame on my face, moving it off the bridge of my nose. It's really annoying and I find I have to consciously not hunch my shoulders - hard to do.

Apart from the strap problem, the spectacles overall do the job of helping me see things clearly while drilling and teaching techniques. Unfortunately they're just too annoying to use while sparring so I simply take them off and throw them to the side. Being made of very robust material I don't mind if someone accidentally steps on them (see the bending video above).



Conclusion
Contact lenses aren't for everyone, nor is laser surgery and the risk of damaging everyday glasses is too high in a busy BJJ gym so a pair of sports goggles is a good choice. From my experience wearing the ProGear for 8 years and the Rec Specs for about two months, I'd say they're both decent goggles. I would conclude however that the ProGear is more comfortable to wear although it is noticeably heavier than the Rec Specs.






Eyewear: Rec Specs Morpheus 2 by Liberty Sport

Summary Protective eyewear with stylish looks and malleable frames reasonably functional for use drilling BJJ techniques but not for spa...

 

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