Priit Mihkelson is a black belt from Estonia who trained under SBG found Matt Thornton, and a member of the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Globetrotters. I just found out about him last week when a friend that I train with sent me one of his videos. Since then I’ve traveled down the rabbit hole with Mihkelson’s material. His approach to jiu jitsu is very scientific, and from the videos I’ve seen he challenges some of the conventions that we’ve come to know in jiu jitsu.
The video below is a perfect example of challenging conventions. The guard break that he shows is essentially a stack pass. He says that we should sit in guard with “active toes” rather than flat feet (I think he’s calling flat feet “seal feet” in the video). His contention is that we should be on our toes, and pressuring down towards our partner so that we can react to things better. He’s not against posturing back, or standing up, but says we should also explore posturing into our opponent when we’re stuck in closed guard.
I’ve tried this pass a couple of times at class this week, I was able to put some pressure on my partners that they weren’t expecting, but I couldn’t quite get the legs to open to pass the closed guard. I’ve since re-watched this video and noticed that I didn’t have the correct angle. I took better notes, and will give this a try in the next class.
He’s also got a few videos for sale at BJJ Fanatics, which I’m looking forward to getting as some point. This one in particular I’m interested in:
Bernardo Faria just released this video with Xande Ribeiro on guard retention. Ribeiro hasn’t had his guard passed in competition since 2005. That’s 14 years of matches without a single guard pass from his opponents. Amazing.
He talks a little about how he uses his frames to get into a “geometrical position” that allows him to extend pressure into his opponent. He calls this the “Diamond Concept”. I have to study this more, but it seems that there are two factors at play. One is always connecting your elbows and your knees to create frames. The second is to extend yourself away from your opponent using those frames so you can recompose guard.
I’ve been playing with the rubber guard lately. I like how it frees your hands up when you’re using a closed guard. Seems to make it easier to get submissions going that way. And having one of your legs in the high guard makes slipping into triangles and omoplatas really smooth if you can get them.
This video has some great details. Eddie Bravo walks through a few of the control points of the rubber guard like the “double bag”.
We worked on this throw a few weeks ago. I was having trouble getting the angle right for the end of the throw. After watching this video a few times I think I see what I was doing wrong. I was trying to throw backwards, but Osiander emphasizes laying to your side at the end of the throw. Will have to continue to work on this one.
I’ve been on a Gordon Ryan kick lately. Specifically his guard passing. I’m trying to get my guard passing sharpened up (sometimes it feels non-existent), so I’ve been studying a lot of guard passing on YouTube. I found this great list of videos analyzing Gordon Ryan’s guard passing.
What’s particularly interesting to me is that to pass in the style of Gordon Ryan, you put your hands on the mat, distributing your weight to your hands while your legs and hips float freely, allowing you to pummel your legs around your opponents.
I’ve always that you should stay heavy on your opponents legs when passing, but this style of passing is opposite of that. I guess in practice the style of passing will change depending on how you want to pass, and what your opponent throws at you. It’s nice to have options.
This video showed up on my YouTube timeline today, it’s Bernardo Faria talking about pressure passing. Some good stuff in this video. He demonstrates how to angle your body so that more of your weight is on your opponents body. For example, using your shoulder to pin your opponent to the ground when passing can be more effective if you angle your body in such a way that more of the weight is going into that shoulder.
This can be generalized to say that when attempting a pressure pass, if you can focus your weight into a small point on your body and apply that point to your opponent then you will generate more pressure. Pedro Vianna talks about applying pressure in this manner to large muscles. He says that if you can focus pressure in the middle of a large muscle then that becomes like a pressure point, making things very uncomfortable for your opponent.
Check out the video to hear Fari discuss pressure passing. It’s a short video, but has some great info.
Hard 2 Hurt is Icy Mike’s YouTube channel. But just who is Icy Mike, and what is his channel about?
Icy Mike is an ex-police officer turned martial arts instructor/enthusiast/fighter. He has been in several fights in episodes of StreetBeefs and his YouTube channel is focused on exploring the effectiveness of martial arts training in self-defense scenarios (aka: “THE STREETZ”).
This post is a bit of a departure from the regular jiu jitsu topics that I write about, but I think it’s valuable to keep in mind real-world self-defense scenarios during training so that you have an awareness of what works and what doesn’t.
In the video below, Professor Ryan goes into some detail regarding how the Pareto Principle can be used to improve your jiu jitsu game. As he states in the video, if you know one hundred moves, maybe ten of those moves would account for 50% of your success on the mat.
To take this further, the 80/20 principle finds that it’s actually 80% of your effort that will lead to 20% of your success.
So what does this mean? Essentially that you should identify the moves that lead to your greatest successes, and concentrate your training on those moves. Not the exclusion of others of course. You’ll still want to learn new stuff, refine moves that maybe aren’t coming as naturally, etc. But the core of your training should be focused on improving those moves which are already winners for you. At least according to the Pareto Principle.
Professor Ryan gives one caveat in this video: if your best moves are complex moves such De La Riva, at the expense of fundamentals, then you should really focus on sharpening up your fundamentals. You may be a wizard at flying armbars, but those kinds of moves will never be as high-percentage in success as a good old-fashioned Mata Leão.
This is my take on making a homemade grappling dummy. My goal was to create something durable, flexible, and strong, and to try to do it as cheaply as possible. I tried to do this under 50 dollars, but I ended up spending about 80 dollars. This design took a lot of duct tape, which was about half the cost. If you can get *good* duct tape cheaper than I did (about 10 dollars a roll), then you might be able to get the cost down. Regardless, I still saved a ton over buying one outright.
I started the design based on this link on various tutorials I’ve seen online. I combined a couple of ideas and built what I have listed below. I wanted to put together a detailed tutorial on how to build one, because I didn’t see a really well spelled out tutorial online already.
I’ve had some time to practice with this dummy. So far it seems pretty sturdy. I will update this page if there end up being any issues with it. Since this design uses the service cable, the flexibility allows you to position this dummy in a variety of ways, and the strength of the service cable allows the dummy to hold it’s position on it’s own. It can sit in upright in your guard, or wrap you in guard, etc.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED
9 Feet of Service Entrance Cable, Aluminum, 4/0-4/0-2/0 200 Amp “AA8176 style U-type AWG 2” – Can be found at Lowes for about $1.89 a foot as of the time of this article. It comes bundled with 3 cables, the bundle of 3 at 9 feet will cost around 18 dollars total.
I deteremined the measurement of 9 feet for my frame by making the following calculations:
Measure the length of your foot x2 (if you have a 10 inch foot, then double that and make it 20)
Measure the length of your leg x2 (same for the leg, if you have 36 inch leg, then double it and make it 72)
Measure the width of your waist (if it’s 15 inches across don’t double this length, just keep it 15)
Add all the above measurements together 20 + 72 + 17 = 109 inches = approximately 9feet
As you’ll see later in the instructions, the piece of cable that makes up the feet/legs/waist would be the longest length you would need.
3 to 4 rolls of Duct Tape. I used a little over 3 rolls, you might be able to do it with a little less. (30 – 40 dollars)
2 Tennis Balls – 2 dollars at Target.
2 – 2″ x 15″ x 17″ sheets of High Density Foam. Can be found at Jo-Ann Fabrics for around 10 dollars a sheet.
Some filler material – I used 2 bed sheets and an old thick sweatshirt, all bought from good will for about 5 dollars total.
3 Pool noodles – Target, about 4 dollars a piece
1 pair of socks.
A mop, the kind with a hollow steel handle, and the stringy mop head that attaches directly to the handle, not to an piece of plastic between the handle and the head. The “Quickie – Clean Results Wet Mop” is what I used. About 7 dollars at Lowes.