November 30, 2009

Flo Jitsu

Some great videos I found on the web called Flo Jitsu. These are affiliated cats with Straight Blast Gym down in Portland, OR. I am making it a New Years Resolution to get down to one of there seminars or camps and train with these guys. I have heard nothing but positive things from them. I must admit I like this approach to grappling. Fluid, soft, flowing one technique into another. Smooth.


video video video

November 29, 2009

"Fighting Fit" Brit mag hits US market

"Fighting Fit" is in it's fourth issue which can be found at your local bookstore. Originated in the UK, this mag is a step above what we have seen in a lot of the latest rags to jump on the MMA bandwagon. Encompassing martial arts, MMA, BJJ, boxing, and any other combat sport the variety of interviews, articles, and tips was refreshing. Most of the articles talked about various approaches to training and diet, which is a refreshing break from the typical "I am going to kick his ass until..." testosterone BS found in most of the MMA rags.

I always find it fascinating to see inside of fight camps and their approach to training, diet, focus, mental game etc. This magazine fits that niche for sure. The only down side is the price... 4+pounds UK, equals about $11 US!! I am not sure it is worth the price in that respect. Grab a latte and sit and read this one at the local bookstore.


"Throwing Techniques in the Internal Martial Arts" article by Tim Cartmell

Tim's latest article "Throwing Techniques in the Internal Martial Arts: An Elucidation of the Guiding Principle of "Sticking and Following" appears in the latest issue (vol. 18 #4) of the Journal of Asian Martial Arts. The issue is on newsstands now!

The article addresses some of the strategy and technique behind throwing methodology found within Xing Yi / Bagua / Taiji.

This article is required reading for all of my students regardless of what you train under me!!


Abu Dhabi World Pro Trials Jan. 24 2010

The Abu Dhabi World Pro Trials US qualifier is coming to Santa Cruz, CA. Jan 24th, 2010. Winners receive full accommodations and airfare to World Pro Jiu Jitsu Cup where one can potentially win prizes upwards of $10's of thousands of dollars!!

For more info on the US qualifier click here!

Here is more info on the World Cup!

Train Hard, Train Smart!

Hakuho Wins Kyushu Basho & 12th Emperors Cup

Hakuho won his third title of the year by stealing the victory with a perfect 15-0 record in the Kyushu Basho! Hakuho ends the year with a never before seen record of 86-4! Best ever for a single year. The Mongolian Yokuzuna finished the tournament with a great throw vs. his rival, fellow Mongolian himself Asashouryu.
The actual bout begins at the 6 minute mark. Great fight!

Here are the highlights from the last day:

Here is the Japan Times breakdown.

To the right is a picture of Hakuho in his traditional Mongolian Wrestling uniform, and his current Sumo Mawashi. Don't forget about the Aaron Fields Mongolian Wrestling Seminar coming up in a couple of weeks!

November 27, 2009

Jake's teachers...

Some folks have been asking me about my teachers, and the great influences martially for me. Of course all of you (if you have been paying attention) know Brian J. Johnson (yes, those really are his initials! Fortuitous eh!?) who is my BJJ / Vale Tudo coach. And of course Tim Cartmell has been the biggest influence on my martial arts game period! Learning both stand up and BJJ from Tim has been nothing short of pivotal in my martial career.

But it occurred to me that perhaps many of you have not seen video of my teachers, and their teachers. Lineage is a fascinating subject matter in the martial arts, some take it more serious than others. But regardless of its importance to you, the knowledge passed on from one generation to another is crucial to the survival of the art, and really kind of amazing when you sit down and REALLY think about it!

So here are some videos I have been able to scrounge up on the web of my various teachers and some of their teachers as well!


Here is a clip from when Tim was a Purple Belt:

Here Tim is training with Xie Pei Qi (Yin Fu Bagua):

Great Bagua throw:

Here is the beautiful Sun Jian Yun, Sun Lu Tang's daughter, doing Sun Taiji. Tim studied Sun Taiji, and Bagua under Sun and her family while living in China:

Here is Mao Ming Chun one of Tim's teachers doing some Xing Yi. Tim studied Li Gui Changs Xing Yi under Mao:

Luo De Xiu, one of Tim's Bagua teachers from Taiwan:

Hu Xi Lin, my Mantis teacher in BC has been another guiding light in my martial journey. I met him and Tim around the same time and have trained with both nonstop since! Here are some clips from various seminars and training sessions we had throughout the years. Everyone always asks if I am "giving" him something, going with it, not resisting.... the simple answer He takes whatever he wants, and hopefully you tap quick enough!

Here is one of the only clips I am aware of showcasing Ma Han Qin, Hu Laoshi's teacher in Plum Blossom and Six Harmonies Mantis Boxing. This was part of a documentary project my uncle Ilya Profatilov was working on, but it never came to fruition to the best of my knowledge. Ilya is the one just off camera smoking. This is a shame since Ilya collected TONS of articles, photos, and video of Ma Laoshi before he passed. I hope it does not die with Ilya!

And I could never forget one of the biggest influences on me, as well as one of the most broken hearts I have ever had, Mike Martello. Here is a link to a playlist, as Mike put up too many videos to cut and paste here. Search Mike Martello on Youtube and you will find tons of shots.
Miss you Mike!

If you are more interested in my lineage, some of the teachers I have trained with that are not shown here, or any of the teachers above feel free to visit Three Harmonies and puruse the specific style pages for lineage charts, articles section for information on various teachers, and if you have any questions feel free to email me.


November 23, 2009

Roy Dean Interview

GREAT new interview by Roy Dean. Roy is a class act and has lots of insight to offer BJJ. Check this short interview out! Neat site as well, check out BJJ Interviews for other great interviews.

November 18, 2009


Diet is probably one of the most confusing, frustrating, inconsistent aspects of a combat athlete. Everyone has a personal opinion based on any number of factors, and it is very, VERY, difficult to sift through the bullshit out there to find the "truth" if such a thing actually exists. Any given day we are inundated with a plethora of information about what foods cause what diseases, and what foods are good for you. These lists seem to change and shift any given week (think of how many times the authorities have flip-flopped on the quality of eggs, or alcohol), and if you are like me, you really have to question ANYTHING the government has their grubby little fingers dipped into!

I recently viewed the film "Food Inc." which is one of the better documentaries I have seen in the past years. Regardless of your thoughts on diet, meat, and the effect our consumption on mother earth, this film is required viewing. Not only shedding some light on how mass production has created such a health epidemic in our country, but it also showcases the sad lack of respect we have for the marrow of our fine country, the local farmer. Here is a clip:

I recently competed at the 2009 No Gi World Championships, and decided to cut weight so I did not have to fight big mofo's on the mat. I wanted to fight in the 215# and under division (I believe it was 203-215#). I overshot my goal and fought at 205 the day of! I was not weak nor tired, but note to time an extra 8#'s would be good!
So some people have been asking me how I lost the weight, and more importantly, how I lost the weight while not making myself weak.

First of all I stepped up my BJJ as well as my boxing and started training my ass off. But diet certainly was a factor. I have been more aware of my diet since I have been about 24-25. I started to get more in touch with my body and how it reacts to certain foods, and basically did not follow a certain diet per se, but listened to my body and did what I thought was common-sensical.

Tim, one of my teachers, has been researching diet and the human body since he was 11 years old. He is one of the more intelligent, well read, people that I have ever met and again Tim has a very common sense approach as well. Tim is a huge advocate of the Paleo Diet (two websites that offer overviews of such a diet are and I offer these sites simply as a general reference for those who are unfamiliar with such a diet), which very basically says to consume meat and veggies, and pretty much nothing else.

I am not strict about the Paleo diet, but as time has progressed (IE. I have grown older) I have been more and more diligent in this approach, and overall I feel better. And really that is my goal; feel better, live cleaner, and get better performance from my body. I do not concern myself with how I look, or how fat I am. I train daily, some days 2-3 times a day, so I get plenty of exercise and can "work off" anything I put on. I understand many of you do not have that luxury, so I hope some of this information can help you with maintaining the image you want, losing fat, and living a better life. I should note that I am NOT a doctor nor anyone you should take advice from on any level, so I present this simply for informational purposes only. Consult your doctor before trying anything, if you believe in doctors. I do not have the luxury of having health insurance, so I listen to my body and try my best without the knowledge of western medicine.

Though it is thick, and rather academic, "Good Calories - Bad Calories" by Gary Taube is one of the best resources out there, and lays to rest the low carb vs. low fat controversy. This book has over 100 pages of citations, where Taubes has read and referenced every medical report and paper published on the subject since the late 1700's! I have heard there is an "easier to read" version coming out soon. I have not read the whole thing, but read excerpts while staying with Tim in LA last week. Certainly something I need to add to my bookshelf.

Another great resource is Paleonu. Kurt Harris is highly educated and offers some great information for those curious about changing their diet, and his site has lots of invaluable information on it. I offer one of the basic lists to start off with when changing your diet below:

PaNu - A modified paleolithic diet that can improve your health by duplicating the evolutionary metabolic milieu.

How do you do it?

Here is a 12- step list of what to do. Go as far down the list as you can in whatever time frame you can manage. The further along the list you stop, the healthier you will be. There is no counting, measuring, or weighing. You are not required to purchase anything specific from me or anyone else. There are no special supplements, drugs or testing required.*

1 Eliminate sugar (including fruit juices and sports drinks) and all flour

2 Start eating proper fats - Use healthy animal fats to substitute fat calories for carb calories. Drink whole cream or half and half instead of milk.

3 Eliminate grains

4 Eliminate grain and seed derived oils (cooking oils) Cook with butter, animal fats, or coconut oil.

5 Get daily midday sun or take 4-8000 iu vit D daily

6 Intermittent fasting and infrequent meals (2 meals a day is best)

7 Fruit is just a candy bar from a tree. Stick with berries and avoid watermelon which is pure fructose. Eat in moderation.

8 Eliminate legumes

9 Adjust your 6s and 3s. Pastured (grass fed) dairy and grass fed beef or bison avoids excess O-6 fatty acids and are better than supplementing with 0-3 supplements.

10 Proper exercise - emphasizing resistance and interval training over long aerobic sessions

11 Eliminate milk (if you are sensitive to it, move this up the list

12 Eliminate other dairy including cheese- (now you are "orthodox paleolithic")

If you can do step 1, that is about 50% of the benefit and alone a huge improvement on the standard American diet (SAD) By about step 6 you are at about 75% , by step 9 about 80% and at 10 you are at 99% for most people.

Here is the skeleton of the theory:

Insulin is a phylogenetically old hormone. It is a biological messenger that in excess, is metabolically saying the following to your tissue and organs: "Go ahead and store energy, and go ahead and mature, reproduce and die." Excess insulin in humans is linked to diabetes, Alzheimer dementia, metabolic syndrome, obesity, coronary disease and cancer.

We did not evolve under conditions of insulin excess. Food was intermittently available and not superabundant like today. Scarcity and famine were frequent everywhere until recently in evolutionary time. Preferred foods were available year round and dense in calories and nutrients. Animal products, including organs and bone marrow of mammals, fish, and invertebrates (insects) were the preferred foods, supplemented by edible plants (not grains) until the dawn of agriculture. Fruit was seasonal and not yet bred for maximum sweetness. Food was eaten less frequently, had lower carbs than the typical American diet which is about 60%, and was supplemented by often involuntary periods of intermittent fasting and lower calories overall.

We are not adapted to chronic hyperinsulinemia.

We are also not adapted to eating grass seeds, to which we have been significantly exposed for only about 10,000 years. They contain molecules that are specifically designed to discourage consumption, as well as other problematic chemicals.

The diet is not about eating exactly what "cavemen" ate, or killing your own food. It is solely about duplicating what I believe are the key elements of the internal hormonal metabolic milieu that we evolved under from especially less than 1 million years ago to about 10,000 years ago. This is likely to be achieved not by eating specific things, but more by not eating specific things.

Calorie restriction is a severe, uncomfortable way to have low insulin levels and if calorie restricted (starving) your insulin levels can be reasonable even if your carb percentage is high. However, with calorie restriciton you can get muscle wasting, fatigue and weakened immune function. In animal models, calorie restriction increases longevity substantially. Remember the metaphorical message of insulin? It says, "Mature, Reproduce and then Die". This message is attenuated by having low insulin levels.

Is there another way to live in a world of abundant food without being hungry all the time, yet avoiding the risk of immune dysfunction associated with eating grass seeds that cannot even be eaten without mechanical processing and cooking ?

Yes, you can work your way down this list.

Check the website occasionally for more details - I will elaborate as time allows - or you can post questions in the comment section of the blog.

* This is not medical advice. I am confident this is the healthiest way to eat based on currently available science. However, if you have any serious medical condition that requires treatment and in particular if you take medication for diabetes, thyroid disorders or autoimmune diseases, make dietary changes only in consultation with your physician. Your medications may need to be adjusted, as you may well need less of them!

Again I do not buy into all he has to say. I like fruits, but have been trying to limit them since they are full of sugar. I have switched over to Coconut Oil for cooking, but have done so recently so I cannot offer any insight into its effects yet. For instance though I am not an advocate of fasting. I train too much, too often to fast.

Keep in mind that moderation of moderation is key. Do not cut out everything, and allow yourself to "cheat" once a week. Eat whatever you like, do not fret about it on that day or two. Ease into changes such as these. You will be surprised how addicted to sugar or grains you are, and eventually after cutting such things out your body will no longer crave them, and if you do eat them your body will let you know what it thinks about the fuel you are giving it.

I have met, befriended, and pissed off many vegans and vegetarians over the years. I live in veggie heaven (Seattle), and came from New Mexico where it is quite popular too. Back home in Ohio we slaughter and eat vegetarians as we are mostly "meat & potato" folk;)
Again, many things factor into such personal choices and I am not "anti" anything though I do not prescribe to such a diet.

I have linked a great read on the myths of being a veggie here by Stephen Byrnes who is a ND and RNCP. Though lengthy, I like Byrnes because he is common-sensical and does not "dis" being a veggie. He simply lays out the facts.

The one argument for veggie type diets that I can see is the treatment of animals. It does disgust me how we slaughter and process meat on all levels! If it were up to me these aspects would be changed immediately. But not all things are that simple. As a society we have moved away from the hunter - gatherer lifestyle, and are now dependent on buying processed, easy to get/cook meat at supermarket's. How many of you have ever slaughtered an animal from start to finish? I feel for such deplorable conditions, but in the end I am at the top of the food chain and I am hungry! Hopefully the cow/chicken/pig will have better kharma in its next life.

We have strayed away from this approach to our diet, and are now dependent on others doing such things for us. We have grown, population wise, to the point of saturation! Too many people on too small of a planet, consuming more than we are producing. We are no longer in touch with our local farmers / community, and are now dependant on getting food shipped in from long distances which requires certain preservatives and chemicals that are just not part of our natural diet.

I think these resources are valuable starting points and I encourage you to check them out and see if you cannot try even the first 2-3 levels above. I think you will be surprised at the outcome.

Also build a healthy environment around you. If your friends / associates are lazy, overweight, and in general enjoy a shitty diet...guess what... you will not progress out of this lifestyle. It is hard, requires discipline and work! Do not stock munchie foods that are unhealthy for you. If you smoke weed try to have healthy snacks around the house to munch on. Eating an apple is MUCH healthier than a Snickers bar! When I get the munchies I will not seek out shit food, but if it is in the house I will eat it (damn Reese's PB cups!).

In the end you must enjoy life, so do not take any diet too seriously. Allow yourself to cheat and have fun while maintaining a healthy body, mind, and spirit. I like beer. Sure I cut out the frequency I drink when training hard, or trying to cut weight. But I still have it. I love food of all kinds so I am constantly trying new things and enjoy eating and cooking. I use healthy alternatives if I have the choice, and do not fret about meals to the point of stress. Also remember just because it is on your plate, does not mean you have to eat it all! Moderation in moderation.


November 16, 2009

Nino Schembri highlight

Antonio "Nino" Schembri was ranked as the 2nd best grappler of the 90's, created the go go plata as well as the rubber guard! Here is an amazing highlight reel where David Meyer even makes the cut at 1:47 2:25 4:08 4:38!

Here is David had to say about Nino: "The fight lasted about 5 minutes before he tapped me. It was pretty much bad for me the whole time!"

Here is a great article on Nino and some of his techniques. I use (or try to use) the Police Bar all the time!

Gogo Plata Lesson:

Nice short interview here.

Nino's academy in Manhattan Beach, CA.

Entangled Arm Seminar Review

Brian "Mr. BJJ" Johnson of NW Jiu Jitsu Academy was a special guest at the Shen Wu Academy of Mixed Martial Arts in Garden Grove, CA. on November 9, 2009 for a 3 hour seminar on the Entangled Arm (overhook) from closed guard. This will most likely be the last seminar at the Wu, since head instructor Tim Cartmell is merging his school with Ace Jiu Jitsu.

The entangled arm is a HUGE part of Brian's game where he will work submissions, transitions, and sweeps from the closed guard. I have made it a huge part of my game as well with great success (check out both of our No Gi World videos below to see us working the entangled arm). Brian offered the basics of the position and then built on from there making a logical progression from position, posture breaking, maintaining position, to sweep attempt, to counter attack, to submission. Showcasing a couple of his patented triangle setups, as well as a sick arm bar or two!

This was a great seminar attended by about 13 students of various levels from throughout the Southern Cali region. For those interested Brian offers seminar's and workshops worldwide, or for those local to the Seattle, WA. are he is available for private instruction as well as group lessons! Throw me an email for more information on either: [email protected]


09 No Gi World Video's - David / Brian / Jake

Here we go kids, video from the 2009 No Gi Worlds of Brian Johnson, David Meyer, and yours truly!

Here is Brian's lightweight final:

Here is Brian's open weight fight with Stephen Hall:

David's final match in the open weight division:

David's semi- final match in the open weight division:

Here is the Blue Belt master final (I did not tape my earlier fights because we thought we were not allowed to). This is my first tournament win, and first submission. Respect the wristlock bitches!!!!

My first fight in the Blue Belt open weight division:

Second fight in the open division. Hands down the strongest and toughest opponent I had all day. This is my best match IMO, as I played my game to the "T" and nailed the kimura!

Here is my finals match in the open weight division. It was my turn to be the nail! All in all a good day!

November 15, 2009

Perry Rolling At Revolution 11/09

Here is our brother Perry Bateson competing at the Revolution Tourney last weekend. Good fight Perry, you are improving every time I see you roll!


Article in Journal of Asian Martial Arts

I am happy to announce that both Tim Cartmell, and myself have articles in the latest edition of the Journal of Asian Martial Arts. Tim has an excellent piece on "Throwing Techniques in the Internal Martial Arts: An elucidation of the guiding principle of 'Sticking and Following,' and I was asked to write a review of the latest edition of Liang Shou Yu and Yang Jwing Ming's "Bagua: Theory and Application."
It is an honor to be featured in the same magazine with my teacher Tim, as well as being demo dummy for the photo's! I hope you readers will enjoy it.

For my students I think I will make this mandatory reading!

It is due to hit bookstores this month, or you can order it directly from the website above.

November 13, 2009

The Worlds Are Not Enough

The 2009 No Gi World Championships were held November 8th, 2009 in Irvine, CA. Hundreds of grapplers filed into the Pyramid to fight on one of 12 mats the IBJJF had running for an intense day of competition from the best in the world. The following is my experience at the Worlds.

First of all I must say thanks to my coach, and friend, Brian Johnson. Brian has taught me just about everything I know and has been instrumental in my grappling development. Without you none of this was possible. Thank you brother.
Secondly I want to thank Dana and my family for the unwavering support over the past 18 years of martial arts training. Your love and support has been a light in my darkest moments, a man could not ask for a better family!
Last, but surely not least, I want to give thanks to all my training partners and Jiu Jitsu family. Literally without you I would not have won shit! These medals are all of our medals. Your constant work and experimentation on the mat is not only an inspiration, but also the key aspect of my development. And for that I am indebted.

This all started when I told Brian we needed another BJJ road trip. No girls, no distractions, just good old fashioned hard ass training. He mentioned LA would be ideal, and of course I was down to visit Tim, the Machado's, and Bob Bass! Brian said, "Lets butt this up to the No Gi Worlds since I am going anyways." I was totally on board, but was not sure if I was at a level to compete at such a prestigious tournament, as I have not even won a local or regional tourney. "Are you kidding me!?!? Win, lose, or draw this will be an awesome experience for you!" was all it took for Brian to convince me to jump into the deep end and see if the swimming lessons have paid off. Next thing I know I am registering for the BJJ World championships.

I had been training hard since the middle of August in preparation for the Abu Dhabi Regionals
that were back in September. I had to cut weight down to 217 for that tourney which ws no problem. For the worlds, unless I wanted to compete with everyone 216#'s and up (yes, it just keeps going up), I needed to cut down to 215# with my gi and rash guard on. Plus at the Worlds you HAVE to weigh in just before you step on the mat to compete! This changes strategy and method when cutting weight. You want to make sure you have some food before competing, but obviously cannot go over your weight or you get DQed immediately!

Basically all I did was step up my training both at the dojo, and with my boxing coach Wes (who has been working me anaerobically), and start to really clean up my diet (more on this soon, as I learned some great things about the Paleo diet this past week). Cutting all sugar, except the occasional beer on the weekends, and flour was the first thing. Eating more chicken and turkey and veggies every chance I can get. I must say I have found that using Garlic Expressions vinaigrette dressing on broccoli makes it edible. I know it is good for you, but couldn't mother nature make it taste better!? Anyways, I digress....
Making weight was not too bad of a problem starting so far out. Discipline is key, and your mind fucks with you. I normally have no craving for sweets, but when they are forbidden your mind just thinks CONSTANTLY about whatever that forbidden fruit is! Strange.

For the most part I just trained how I always do. One thing I would not allow is for me to leave the mat with energy. Every class, every free roll, every open mat I exhausted myself! I do not understand people who roll and leave when their heart rate just gets to 160! To each their own, but really how do some expect to improve without pushing themselves??

About two weeks out I had a talk with Brian, and he said to just play my game from here on out. No learning new shit, no getting fancy. My game, competition time. Focus! (This is where I apologize to my training partners for those two weeks of crushing, twisting, cooking, and general misery I tried to dish out. I try to pride myself on being a great partner and a smooth technical roller. When training for a comp one must become selfish and roll hard, as surely his opponents are doing the same at their schools!) Basically I only took two days off any given week, on top of my teaching, personal training, and boxing instruction with Wes twice a week.
I felt good going into these last two tourneys. My adrenaline dumped about 3/4 of the way through my first fight, but after that it was smooth sailing. I was very happy with my level of conditioning. By the week of the fight I was walking around at 212-215#'s, and with any given roll I can lose 6#'s, so I was pretty good as long as I could maintain. Basically I have lost 15-20#'s over the last few months. It has made me smoother, faster, and my endurance and stamina are much improved. Most of the weight was fat. Damn beer!
Day Before the Worlds
Brian and I wanted to get into LA early and settle down to relax the Saturday before the tourney. We both had long fights ahead of us and wanted to be as rested as possible, plus allow any time needed for last minute weight cuts.

So we arose at the ass crack of dawn (actually pre-dawn) and jumped a plane straight to Long Beach. After spending almost an hour in the car rental line, and ending up getting a Prius (laugh all you want, we spent $15 in gas over the whole trip!!), we went straight to the hotel and checked in, and promptly checked our weight. I was 210#, and Brian was pretty spot on. We decided later we would jump rope and hit the hot tub. It worked! I ended up weighing in at 205# at the tourney!!!!!!!

We basically chilled the whole day, ate frickin' carrots and sliced turkey, and watched the fights Saturday night. Jake Shields put on a clinic in grappling vs. Jason Miller. Of course the redneck hillbilly ass WWE tools booed the fight, but it was pretty damn amazing from a grappling perspective. Then Fedor knocked what little sense Rogers had out of his head. All in all a chill night. Nerves were not really a factor, and we both got a great nights rest.

2009 World No Gi Championships
I was scheduled to fight at 11:4o am, and Brian a couple hours later. The blue belt divisions were so big they ran about 1/2 hour behind, but all the other divisions were just about spot on. This was hands down the best run tournament I have ever been a part of in any martial art. 12 mats running simultaneously. Blue belt and above. Organized chaos is the best way to describe it.

Basically you are put in a bullpen where you can warm up, chill-lax, or chat with other fighters and your coaches and what not. They call your name over the loud speaker and you take your id to the next little bullpen where the ring coordinator checks your name, takes your ID (you get it back when you lose, or win the division), and tells you which ring you will be at. Next is your physical inspection; clean cut nails, correct uniforms (must wear black shorts, and a rash guard with at least 10% of the color being that of your rank), no cup (an awesome frickin' rule!!! I get so tired of getting cups smashed into parts of my body!), then it is on to the weigher (yes I did just make up a word). Weight is electronically checked and verified. From there you are taken to your ring.

I did not have an opportunity to watch some of the previous fights as I had a bye in the first round, so as soon as I hit my mat I basically had about 5 minutes before I was going! Lesson here... always be prepared!
Jake Burroughs
My first opponent was Alexsander Medrala from Poland's Lutadores Opol. Alexsander was VERY strong and gave good pressure. To be honest I do not recall a lot of the details of the match, and unfortunately I did not tape it (I thought it was prohibited, but then I saw others doing it, so I taped the rest of the matches from their on out). I know he shot a single, kinda picked my leg but did not throw me. I dropped to guard, which I immediately found out counts as a take down for him since he was holding my leg. So I was down off the bat. I never intended to play so much guard in this tourney, it was my goal to work my top game (I know, I know, that is EVERONES goal!). But I ended up playing tons of closed guard, and it really built confidence in my guard when three different fighters told me I had a tough guard! Major compliment coming from men you just beat! I was humbled.

Anyways I got into half guard and started working a sweep. I tucked my head into his hip and started to load him up, so I could pop out the back door. It worked and I believe he turtled up but his arms were loose and I immediately threw my hooks in and got a loose lame grip (area needing improvement), but rode for 3 seconds and got the 4 points for back mount! He then shrugged me off and I squirmed around to pull full guard where we battled a bit for the next 30-40 seconds. I had several advantage points where I had attempted to sweep him from my guard earlier, but I ended up winning 4-2.

Alexsander's English was practically non-existent, but his smile said it all! Two warriors giving it there all and he got beat fair and square. Super nice guy who wished me all the luck in the finals. He was just stoked to be there! He asked with an inquisitive look on his face if I was going to be in the absolute, and I said "Yes!" He got a big smile on his face and said "Good, good!"
I had watched Damian Giatti, of Huntington Beach Ultimate fight earlier and he seemed to be a wrestler with little BJJ experience. Strong, and a solid base I knew he would be hard to take down. I watched him beat Jason Hughes on points. Shortly after Jason talked to me about how to beat Damian. Pull guard and work submissions on him, he is tired and getting gassed... basically was the advice. We scrambled and I pulled guard and started instantly working sweeps, and kimura's. I got cross body and attempted a kimura but Damian kept rolling, and started to slide to my back. I thought, "Fuck he is strong, and is now taking my back, I need to submit him!" Earlier in in my guard I felt that Damian's wrist's were loose and vulnerable, but I did not want to clue off that I am "that wrist guy." As soon as someone knows you are savvy with wrist locks, they tighten up immediately. So as he was trying to take my back, I still had the kimura grip on his right arm. I tucked his elbow between me and the mat and compressed his wrist. He screamed and tapped and immediately argued that wrist locks were illegal.

Silly Damian did not realize that of course I had researched and made sure that wrist locks are legal, and what leg attacks I can do! Even the referee did not know, so he had to look it up real quick. I shook Damian's hand and said he put on a hell of a fight. Then the ref came over, Damian asked if it was illegal, the ref said no and raised my hand!

I cannot describe the feeling. Better than any drug I have ever taken, I am still high from it all. Just writing about it and watching my fight footage is getting me amped! Brian was screaming how proud he was of me and short of my father, his opinion and pride in me means the most of anyone. I was so happy and in surreal shock all I could do was smile and hug Brian thanking him for all his efforts and never giving up on me! I was the 2009 No Gi World Champion in the Super heavyweight Master blue belt division!

My absolute division was not until 5:30 pm, so we got something to eat, and then rested a bit, then came back and decided to fight. I had 23 people in my division! Two separate sheets for the brackets (this will be important later). It was frickin' packed!

My first opponent I will call Johnny, because he introduced himself as Johnny. I have no last name, nor an MO. He was bald, goatee that was died, and weighed about 180#'s. Again Johnny was strong and I ended up playing guard, again. He got two points for a takedown (something needing improvement) and then got two more for a sweep I believe. I ended up getting mount for long enough to count and evened up the score. But Johnny squirmed out. We went back and forth with me getting some advantage points for sweep attempts and submission attempts, but powered through and persevered. The score was 4-4, but I had more advantage points and took the win!

My semi final opponent was Jamie, and he was by far the strongest and most technical fighter I had one against all day. His game was tight, and every attempt I made at anything he had an answer for. To be honest I learned a lot from him in those few minutes of competition. He took me down with a single right away (seems like a common theme lately), but I managed to pull guard and the fight was on! Eventually he moved to side control where I nailed him with one of my bridge sweeps right into side control myself. From there I settled my hips and started to play my switch base game. I threatened his near side arm with a straight arm bar, and like anyone who does not roll at the NWJJA he turned into me to protect it fatefully forgetting about his left arm which I quickly started to set up the Kimura. He realized too late and started to roll into me so I put it on tight, and when he did not tap I cranked on it and he screamed out in pain! Again, I should not have let go until the ref said stop but he screamed so loud it kind of startled me. He said his other arm was trapped and he couldn't tap (lesson to everyone... practice tapping with your feet, snapping your fingers, or even saying "Tap-tap!"). I fucked up his arm and apologized, but he said no worries. He also commented on my guard game which was nice of him.

I was feeling strong and confident now and I had watched my opponent Carlos Rosario from Westside MMA roll a couple times. He was strong and moved okay, but nothing I did not think I could not handle. We were very hesitant to engage each other on the ground and stood fighting for grips for the fist several minutes. Both of us got penalized for "stalling" though I felt I was a bit more aggressive. He finally shots on me, I kind of get out of the way and ride him to the ground where he rolls under me and again I end up in guard. He passes my guard and starts to work around my body where he gets north south. We work back and forth for a few, but then he gets ahold of my arm and quickly dishes out a nice Kimura. I tapped. Today I was the hammer, and then finally the nail! Good fight!

Apparently since there were so many people they handed out two third places, so technically I did not get silver, but bronze and Carlos went on to fight in the final-final to get beat and take second.
Brian Johnson
Brian fought Rudy Fischman from Wander Braga's academy. Rudy pulls X Guard to which Brian has a sweet pass he does and comes into side control. Immediately Brian starts to work his game and tries to separate Rudy's arm from his body by stepping over his head and working those arms (much like my Kimura). While Brian is working for the far side arm he instinctively has Rudy in a inverted triangle. Rudy does a great job protecting his arms, and it seems like Brian all the sudden has an epiphany, looks back, tightens up his legs, and chokes Rudy out with the inverted triangle!

The first match in the Absolute final Brian draws Stephen Hall, a world class competitor from Team Alliance. Stephen is probably two inches taller than me (I am 6'4") and weighs in at 245#!!!! It was comical to see these two on the same mat. Brian played his game well and did an amazing job, but Stephen got a guard pass about 1/2 way through the match and those 2 points he rode out. Brian tried a couple of submisson attempts, but knee bars on someone who weighs 100 more pounds than you are usually not much of an option! Stephen was just too big and strong! Brian did not get submitted, and lost simply by 2 points. All in all not too bad considering the level of competition!

David Meyer
No one manned up and came to fight David in his weight category, so he won! Then we patiently waited for his absolute division which David owned. He fought two tough fights, one against a cat who came from Scotland! David won his first match on points. I have to go back and review the tape as I cannot remember how he nailed the points, but he held out for the win. In his second match David slapped on a triangle but his opponent would not tap! David rode out the match for the win, but his legs were so exhausted at the end he could barely walk!

Final Thoughts
Jesus this has gone on enough, so I better wrap it all up! I cannot tell you how positive of an experience this was for me. Now that the dust has settled, the muscles are almost healed I am reviewing the footage and find I have lots to work on. As well as I fought, and as much as I imposed my will I see a lot of gaps both in technique, and timing that I need to work on in the coming months with Brian and my family at NW Jiu Jitsu. I think I am going to try and make one major tournament a year if I can afford it. The experience was invaluable, and we had a blast for the week after the tourney! This tourney boost my confidence and showed me that hard work, dedication, and discipline will make up for lack of skill quite often, as I know I am not the most skillful person to come into BJJ. It certainly has not come "naturally" to me by any means.
Again I thank all of my training partners and coaches! None of this is doable without you. I love you guys. I also want to dedicate this tournament and my fights to my fallen friend Mike Martello. I would like to believe he was looking down and rooting for me. I can just hear his New York accent telling me to "Kick some fuckin' ass Jake!" I hope I made him proud. I miss you Mike....

Train Hard. Train Smart!

November 12, 2009

2009 World No Gi Championships Replay

The 2009 No GI World Championships will be replayed tomorrow starting at 11am. Go to No Gi dot com to log in and download the feed.
You can check out Brian's matches, as well as the likes of Tussa Alancare, Rafeal Lovato Jr., Nate Diaz, Josh Barnett, the list goes on.
Unfortunately they did not have time to include the Master class Blue Belt division, but fret not I will be posting fight footage over the next week or so.

November 10, 2009

NWJJA at the Revolution

Big congrats goes out to our brothers who fought in the Revolution Tourney over the weekend!
BIG Matt took third in his first gi tourney! Good job bro!

Chris "The Spider" Webb took second in the no gi division, after having several gi fights! Chris keeps improving his game every time he steps on the mat! Keep it up brother, remember... a black belt is a white belt who never gave up!

Ryan "The Muscle Canuck" took third in his gi division as well.

Congrats to Eugene, Jose, Perry, Dan, Jesse, and Kevin for putting it all on the line and stepping up to the challenge! Brian and I are proud of you guys.


November 8, 2009

No Gi Worlds Update

As some of you know, and many of you could care less;), Brian and I came to LA this weekend to do some training and compete in the 2009 No Gi World Championships. I took tons of pictures, video etc. that will be posted later. But I wanted to check in with you all on the results.

David "Putting the Jew Back in Jiu Jitsu" Meyer (Brian's coach, and one of the Dirty Dozen): Senior 3 absolute champion

Brian "Mr. BJJ" Johnson: Won the Black Belt lightweight division

Jake "Cash Cab / Bull" Burroughs: Master Blue Belt division..... wait for it.... champion! Master Blue belt division absolute bronze medal!!!

Thats all I am saying now, as it is midnight and I am beat!!!

Almost last thing....

Respect the wristlock BITCHES!!!!!!!!!!!!
Off to Jiu Jitsu slumber land!

November 6, 2009

Fedor vs. Roger Fight Camp 360

If Rogers brings half as much as he thinks he will this may be an interesting bout tomorrow night. I do not think Rogers will bring down the emperor though. This marks Fedor's first broadcast TV appearance in prime time! Should be a good fight either way.


November 5, 2009

Mongolian Wrestling Sources

I wrote a book review of "The Last Wrestlers" a while back which is one of the only books, in English, that mentions Mongolian Wrestling and gives a nice first person account of grappling in Inner Asia. Since that time I have found more sources on line for this rarely seen martial art. With Aaron's seminar coming up I thought I would gather some good links and offer some sources for those interested.

Here is a Mongolian Cultural blog that offers some old photo's and basic info on wrestling.

Another blog on Mongolia in general offers this page on the various aspects of wrestling.

This is hands down one of my favorite videos off of Youtube. Not only does it showcase some great takedowns and throws from awesome wrestlers, but it also gives a sneak preview of some of the cultural aspects such as the Eagle Dance, and the great respect and sportsmanship these grapplers of the steppe have for each other.

The music is nothing short of amazing! Mongolia is known for its throat singing which is very rare, unique, and from what I understand, difficult to do. The song is "Erge-Sholee Biste Turda" which can be found on the album "If I'd Been Born an Eagle" by the band Huun-Huur-Tu. (Yes I did buy the CD for that song, and yes it was a pain in the ass to find!) A great documentary to check out is called "Genghis Blues" which follows a blind blues musician to Tuva in an attempt to learn throat singing. A great story regardless of your interest in the topic!

Mongolian Wolf on Youtube has a bunch of videos of wrestling.

Here is a great video showcasing various competitions from 1948-1958. Also it gives the viewer an idea of what the language sounds like in Mongolia. I have not knowingly ever heard Mongolian which is based on the Turkish language if I am not mistaken, not Chinese like many believe. Their script is beautiful!

The current Sumo champions (yokozuna) Asashoryu, and Hakuho both are from Mongolia and have come from traditional Mongolian wrestling backgrounds. Their domination of the competition has been nothing short of amazing!


"Fury of the Mongols" an intro to Mongolian Wrestling by Aaron Fields

This is an article written by Aaron Fields that serves as an excellent introduction to the art of Mongolian Wrestling (bayrildax). The article is under copyright and is used with the authors permission. The images are borrowed from all over the net.


On the Mongolian steppe horseracing, archery and wrestling are the three traditional sports. The Naadam festival held during the second week of every July is the pinnacle of the year in the three traditional sports. In this article I will explain the rules and traditions of Mongolian folk wrestling (bayrildax). In addition, I will explain the rule and custom variations between the Inner Mongolian (Chinese occupied) and Mongolian versions of this indigenous wrestling style.

I would be negligent as a Central Asian historian (and to my friends and coaches in Mongolia) if I didn't give a cultural backdrop for the most misunderstood region in the world: Central Asia.

Understanding that Mongolia is a Central Asian country and quite different culturally and linguistically from its East Asia neighbors is crucial. The Mongolian language is not of Chinese descent. In fact, it is in the Turkish language family. The culture is built around a pastoral nomadic tradition, rather than an agricultural one. Despite Chinese political/cultural propaganda, Mongolia is not culturally tied to the Chinese by anything other than animosity. Many things popularly identified as "Chinese" are in fact imports from the nomadic conquerors from the north (most recently Yuan and Ching dynasties).

Mongolian wrestling most often takes place outdoors, though sometimes, during the winter, tournaments are held indoors. The ring is decided by natural boundaries. There are no weight classes or time limits in a match. The objective of the match is to get your opponent to touch his back, knee or elbow to the ground. In the Inner Mongolian version, any body part other than the feet touching the ground signals defeat. Each wrestler must wrestle once per round, the winners moving on to the next round.

The technical rules between the Mongolian version and what is found in Inner Mongolia have some divergence. In both versions a variety of throws, trips and lifts are employed to topple the opponent. The Inner Mongolians may not touch their opponent's legs with their hands, whereas, in Mongolia, grabbing your opponent's legs is completely legal. In addition, striking, strangling or locking is illegal in both varieties.

In the case of a sacrifice throw, the first wrestler to touch the ground, regardless of who threw whom, is the loser.

The area of most divergence between the two varieties is that of the dress. In the wrestlers' wear, the traditional Mongolian boots, a cap, a brief, and a top. The briefs and top are made out of silk, cloth, or most recently rip-stop nylon. The top is long sleeved with the chest cut away. It extends more than halfway down the back. Ropes or cords are attached to the back of the top and tied around the stomach. The referees during the wrestling match hold the caps of the wrestlers.

According to legend, the briefs and the exposed chest are to ensure that each participant is male. Supposedly, hundreds of years ago, a woman entered the competition under the guise of being male and became the dominant wrestler.

The garb of the Inner Mongolians is quite different from that of their northern neighbors. Inner Mongolians wear a metal studded short-sleeved leather top, which exposes substantially less of the wrestler's chest than the Mongolian version. They wear a less ornate boot and long baggy whit pants. For wrestlers of rank the Inner Mongolians have a necklace called a jangga. The Inner Mongolians do not wear a cap.

Two arbitrarily appointed referees/cornermen supervise each match. Their job is to encourage the wrestler they were appointed to, to declare the winner, and to steer the wrestlers away from the natural boundaries and other pairs of wrestlers. If there is a dispute over a fall, a panel of judges who do not participate in the matches serves as the final word in the dispute.

The pairing of wrestlers is determined by the senior-ranked wrestlers, who choose their opponents each round. Rank can only be attained during the Nadaam festival. The number of rounds won by each wrestler determines rank. The rounds for ranks do not accumulate and must be achieved in on Naadam. In ascending order, the ranks are: unranked, bird, elephant, lion and titan. After winning the Nadaam festival ten times a wrestler becomes a state recognized national hero.

Inner Mongolian tournaments often employ a time limit to matches. If the time limit is exceeded they will use a ring in overtime periods. In this case, stepping outside the ring for any reason signifies a loss.

The cultural significance of wrestling is demonstrated most vividly before and after a match. Each Mongolian wrestler at the beginning of a match will exhibit a dance that is an imitation of a great bird in flight. There are two schools of thought on exactly which bird is being imitated. Some say it is a great falcon, while others say it is the Garuda bird found in Buddhist mythology. The dance is slow and exaggerated, which serves to show the wrestler's prowess and to loosen up the required muscles for the upcoming match. The sequence of the parts of the dance is specific with a series of thigh slaps, semi-squats and clockwise pivots. If the wrestler wins the match he again partakes in the dance. He circles clockwise around a platform decorated with horsetail banners. While dancing the wrestler is supposed to focus on Tengri or sky and heavens for skill and blessings, and gazar or earth for stability and strength.

After the conclusion of a match and prior to beginning the ending dance, win or lose, the lower ranked wrestler passes underneath the right arm of the senior wrestler in a show of respect. While passing underneath the senior's arm both wrestlers pat each other's back in a sign of mutual respect.

The Inner Mongolian version has less cultural symbolism involved in the matches and tournaments. This is explained by the fact that the Han Chinese, who have tended to view minority culture within China as undesirable, occupies the territory.

Nevertheless, the Inner Mongolians have a pre and post match dance that is an imitation of a preflight running eagle. Similar means are served by this dance as to that of the Mongolians, yet, the religious elements are notably downplayed.

In either case, exhibiting a dance of quality is the ideal. I have heard many times , "Your dance must be good so that you will worry your opponent. If you lose, people will remember and admire your dance, if it is good."

Another shared feature is the emphasis put on participation. This is not to say that winning is not important. As I noted earlier, winning the Nadaam festival in Mongolia ten times makes the wrestler a national hero. But, participation is considered an act of bravery. This feature of emphasis on participation can be found in both archery and horse racing as well.

In Mongolia the top finishers are given a variety of gifts, which usually come in the form of livestock. The five animals of importance in Mongolia are horses, camels, sheep, oxen and goats. In Inner Mongolia every wrestler gets a prize. The wrestlers who were thrown in the early rounds often receive bars of soap and towels (to wash off the dirt from being thrown). Whereas, similar to Mongolia, the top finishers will receive livestock.

Historically, native Central Asian armies were entirely composed of cavalry units. From this historical feature there is an absence of groundwork in Mongolian folk wrestling. An unhorsed man was dead quickly, as he was soon to be trampled by horses or killed by an opponent's weapon. In Mongolia, as in all societies, wrestling (hand-to-hand combat) served as a secondary means of military engagement. In fact, the other two "heavenly sports" of archery and horse racing are more closely rooted to the battlefields of Central Asia than is wrestling.

The historical, technical and cultural connection between Mongolian wrestling and other types of grappling found in the surrounding regions can sometimes be traced. There are obvious connections between many of the Central Asian varieties due to cultural, linguistic and stylistic features. In the case of Russian sambo, we can find actual written records which, when coupled with the political connection between Mongolia and the Soviet Union, are unquestionably accurate. As a side note, sambo, judo, freestyle wrestling and sumo are also popular in Mongolia.

In the case of Korean Sseirum and to a greater extent Japanese sumo, there is an inclination to connect the two to Bayirldax for historical, linguistic and practical reasons. Yet, we must resist the urge as the forms are too distant culturally and historically to support anything more academic than a hunch.

The connection between China's Shuai-chiao and Mongolian Bayrildax is one that is often drawn. Other than casual connections based off Mongolia's geographic proximity to China, this connection tends to be one of political and cultural propaganda on the part of the Chinese. Keeping in mind that many Chinese claim that Mongolian wrestling comes from Shuai-chiao, we must remember that many "Chinese" traits were imported at different times from the conquering tribes of China's northern periphery. In addition, historically, we must note once again, that when speaking of the relationship between Mongolia and China, animosity underlies their cultural interactions. So one must be careful in accepting the rhetoric.

In addition, any wrestler who has studied more than one variety of wrestling will tell you that just because two versions share similar techniques does not prove a connection. As any physiologist will point out, the human body is not infinite and there are only so many ways to make a movement efficiently. Therefore, despite semantic differences, technical properties found in grappling systems around the world are more similar than different. This is of course taking into account the slight variations that arise based off ethnic or individual physiology and differences in clothing or rules. Due to this feature of finite movement, it becomes questionable to base connections between styles of wrestling solely off technical similarities. Without additional evidence (such as geographical, political, linguistic, ethics, etc.) such claims are weak at best.

In closing, Mongolian Bayirldax is a sport, which even in today's world has not lost the cultural significance of its origins. The tournaments themselves are majestic events showing skill, grace, power and patience. The wrestlers themselves are the athletic heroes of the country. I cannot find the words for watching a battle of balance and grips proceed ever so slowly for hours upon hours, only to finish in a split second and another successful throw by Baterdene, as he wins yet another Naadam.

November 4, 2009

Mongolian Wrestling Seminar

Few have broken the cultural divide of Mongolia and it's long, rich wrestling tradition. Local firefighter / martial artist Aaron Fields of Seattle Ju Jutsu / Sea Town Sambo is one of those lucky few to have traveled to Mongolia, trained with the nations top wrestlers, and be invited to compete in their annual wrestling competition (to the best of my limited knowledge he is one of the ONLY westerners to be extended this invite)! I will post more about this fascinating art later, but this is an extremely RARE opportunity to train in Mongolian style wrestling, and to learn about the rich grappling legacy of inner Asia.

SAMBO Roots clinic on Mongolian Folk Wrestling
Sea-Town Sambo and the Seattle Jujutsu Club

An American Sambo Association Seminar Series clinic

Saturday December 12th , 11 am – 3 pm (or so)

20 dollars for the day

Aaron Fields will be showing Mongolian folk wrestling technique as well as talking about the cultural background of the sport

This is as close as you are going to get without living in Mongolia!

All experience levels welcome

Clinic location:
Sea-Town Sambo/Seattle Jujutsu Club
1314 NE 56th St

Please reserve space ahead of time and feel free to contact Aaron directly with questions.

Please bring a ju jitsu/judo dogi top, kurtka, belt, shorts
The club has a limited number of loaners