I’ve been spending some time watching videos on the Kama Jiu Jitsu YouTube channel. This channel is run and maintained by Professor Ryan Young. Young is a 2nd degree black belt under Dave Kama (who is one of the original “Dirty Dozen” black belts). He has also trained under Relson Gracie, Rickson Gracie, and many other prominent black belts. He was active in the competition scene for many years but now focuses on teaching.
The videos on the Kama Jiu Jitsu YouTube channel focus on old-school, self-defense based jiu jitsu. Many of the videos reference Rickson Gracie’s style of teaching and try to convey that to the viewer. Topics covered vary from technique, to fitness and diet, to self-defense philosophy.
I really enjoy this channel. Young seems to be a natural vlogger, and has lots of great insights to offer. Check out the video below on how to get better faster in jiu jitsu to see what I mean.
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.
A buddy of mine that I train with is a black belt in judo, and he was coaching me on some grip fighting fundamentals that he learned. He was showing me how it’s better to have a higher, inside grip on the lapels, and various ways of fighting to get two on one control. During rolling he got his grips and hit me with a cool sweep, the “Double Tap Foot Sweep” (found an instructional video by Jack Hatton posted below).
Through talking with him I realized that grip fighting is much more complex and cool than I was aware. It’s like a mini-chess game in the bigger game of grappling. Usually when I think of Judo techniques I’m thinking of the endgame, the throws, but now I see that there is an important game in fighting the grips.
Chris Haueter is one of my favorite guys to take a seminar with. I didn’t attend this seminar but a buddy of mine sent me this link. Great video, lots of good details. The over-arching theme here is “head control”. Control your opponent’s head and you can control their body more easily. He talks about this in the context of setting up chokes from the closed guard quite a bit in this video.
In this video John Danaher teaches how to do the perfect mount escape. Danaher is big on the concept of “wedges” for control, and getting inside these “wedges” for defense and escape. He makes use of a power shrimp initially (not to be confused with a sliding shrimp, as he explains) to get a knee between himself and one of Bernardo Faria’s wedges (his leg). Special attention is paid to how the lead knee is inverted towards the ground in order to gain clearance past Faria’s leg.
Nice details here not only on the mount escape, but on different ways of shrimping, and what their uses are.
In this video Roy Marsh talks about some of the fallacies surrounding who you should roll with and who you shouldn’t. He mentions that many white belts tell him that they don’t like to roll with upper belts because they feel that they would be wasting the upper belt’s time. But as stated in the video, it’s important for all belt levels to roll with all other belt levels, in addition to different weight ranges and genders. This is how you will develop the most well rounded game. As Joe Rogan says, in order to get good at jiu jitsu you “go and find people who are just learning, but they’re not as good as you, and you choke the f&*k out of them”. Funny quote, but it highlights a good point, higher belts get better at offense by working against lower belts, lower belts get better at defense by rolling with upper belts (in addition to the benefits gained from feeling the technique in live action applied by an upper belt).
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.
I’ve had some nagging issues with my bicep and forearm on my left arm, and recently messed up my knee from getting caught in a heel hook. None of these issues are healing as fast as I’d like. I went to see the doctor and his best advice was to rest and let it heal. I probably need to see a good sports doctor, someone who can give me some exercises to speed up the recovery, but for now I’ll rely on Doctor Google.
I have been trying some of the stuff I’ve seen online for recovering from tendon/muscle strain. These include stretches, and using foam rollers to really get into the tissue. I’ve had some success with that, but still the pain is lingering. It’s been months for the bicep/forearm issue, and about 5 weeks for the knee.
I was talking with a friend at the place I train jiu jitsu about this. He was previously a power lifter, and had some lingering issues in the past as well. He recommended trying Voodoo Floss. I’d never heard of Voodoo Floss before, so I thought I’d give it a try.
Voodoo Floss works by compression. You wrap it relatively tightly around any affected area, and do range of motion exercises for that area, for a period of around 2 minutes (you don’t want to overdue it, due to the vascular occlusion that occurs). When you are done with the exercises and you release the band the theory is that all the blood rushes back to the area, bringing more nutrients to the injury than before. There may be some additional benefits due to “fascial tearing”, which I guess is the layers of tissue sliding on each other while compressed. From everything I’ve read online their seems to not really be any good scientific research of what’s actually going on. The results are mostly based on anecdotal evidence, but I’m willing to give it a shot to see if it helps.
After one session of doing range of motion exercises with the Voodoo Floss there was an improvement in my bicep, it felt “released” and no pain at all after that. Success! I did the same with my forearm and knee, and did not get immediate results, but will continue to do work with those areas and see what works.
Here are a couple of videos I watched to get an idea of how to use the Voodoo Floss:
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.