November 30, 2010


Shiko is the sumo exercise most common to the layperson.  Essentially it is an exercise to increase balance, strength, and dexterity in the lower body (essential to Sumo and ANY combat sport).  Squats in general are often overlooked but essential to every body's fitness.  Combined with lifting your leg, balancing, and setting down with control... shiko is actually quite challenging.

Readers of the Ground Never Misses will remember the excellent Sumo Documentary post a few days back with Hakuho taking about the fundamental importance of basic exercises such as shiko.  He attributed this "old school" style of training to his success (arguably one of the best ever in professional Sumo).

Here is another great video of the science behind shiko:

"Standing Grappling" DVD Review

Our friend Dojo Rat posted a review of Tim Cartmell's excellent DVD on Standing Grappling.

Also click here to purchase any of Tim's great DVDs or books!

  Click here to read the whole review!


November 29, 2010

Gluten Issues

Here is a great article from Jonathan that I thought was important enough to link here.  It is rather lengthy but has some great information and follow up comments with it.  Gluten causes a lot of problems with people and it is one of the most overlooked culprits in intestinal disease and issues.

Click here to check out the article on gluten!


Great Resource for MMA Shorts

Jonathan has a great little site where you can get MMA shorts for decent deals.  Perfect for the grappler / fighter in your family this holiday season!

MMA Shorts.


November 28, 2010

Great Vids from Armando Basulto

I have never met the man, but I really like his approach, attitude, and techniques in the following videos.  Armando Basulto runs an academy out of North Carolina:


November 25, 2010

The Gift of Teachers

I have been blessed so far in my few decades here on Earth.  I had an amazing upbringing.  I have never gone without the essentials of life.  I have been surrounded all my life with amazing teachers.  Some of my first memories of being taught anything is when my grandfather took me out into the fields of Ohio and taught me basic gun safety and  marksmanship.  My other grandfather was teaching me the finer points of chess at this same juncture in my life.   Two harbingers of the warrior way I seek in life.

  And though I did not always view it in such a manner, my parents have been the most influential teachers in my life.  As I grow older I realize that most people are not as fortunate as I am to come from a home that has never been broken, with two adults that care for their family more than anything else.  My parents have taught me how to live simply been living themselves and allowing me to learn.

   For the past 10 years I have had to travel to train with my teachers.  My first Chinese martial arts instructor Dug Corpolongo I trained with 4-6 times weekly.  When I met my first Mantis and Baji teacher Keith Weiner I continued to train with both teachers as much as possible while living in Albuquerque, NM.  After about a year of training with Keith he moved to NYC for work.  This was the first time I was faced with the dilemma of whom to train with.  No one in New Mexico did the styles I trained.  So I chose to continue training with Keith and thus began my traveling to train visiting New York City and beyond!

   Though I am closer to Hu Xi Lin now, I still travel to train with Tim Cartmell down in LA.  Fortunately I have an amazing BJJ coach here in town with Brian who I see 3-5 times a week on the mat!  But for the most part I have had to travel to see my teachers, coupled with hosting them for seminars these are the only ways I have been able to train.  In short, intense spurts where I am left on my own accord to train diligently and work on the material taught each visit.

   Though this relationship can be trying since one does not get as much mat time with his teacher, it is also rewarding in many other facets such as the quality of time spent together.  Just a couple weeks ago Tim came up from sunny So Cal and spent about 10 days in the Pacific NW.   The day to day interaction of living with your teacher, helping him teach classes by being a demo dummy, seeing how he himself sets an example is invaluable in and of itself!  It is these times were I learn not just how to kick butt, and the next coolest kimura variation Tim worked out.  But it is having a mentor to inspire and invoke that primal fire inside to push, to claw, to fight, to live!

  I remember training sessions at 2am in the morning in the living room with Mike Martello.  Of course we were drunk, watching some footage of Shuai Chiao... Mike would get an idea in his head and want to test it out.  2 hours later we would be getting yelled at by the wife because it was too late to be fucking around!!

   Lessons come at the strangest of times, in the weirdest of places.  Mantis Conference 2005, my student Alex and I come in from New Mexico to present and help out Hu Laoshi teach as well.  Middle of April and Ohio gets DUMPED on with a snow storm coming out of Canada!  A few beers later we are all in the hotel parking lot weaving in and out of rooms doing takedowns, sparring, showing applications from forms!

   The point of this hazy ball of nebulous hyperbole is that I want to express my gratitude to all the teachers in my life past and present.  And I hope I inspire you to look for those hidden teachers in your life, for without instruction could you imagine trying to navigate this maze of life!?  I have been blessed, and it has always been my desire to share those blessings with anyone open to learning.  For those few of you who had the opportunity to train with Mike you know exactly what I speak of.  We miss you Mike.  More than ever the Chinese martial arts need you!  None the less I thank you Mike for the time I had.

Give Thanks, and Stay Warm!
Happy Dead Turkey Day,


November 22, 2010

Sumo Documentary

I have yet to see anything as comprehensive and exact as this NHK production on the art of Sumo wrestling.  A wonderful 5 part series that should be watched by anyone who is a casual fan, or involved in any martial art.  Hakuho's insight into the mental aspect of Sumo-tori is great, and the bio mechanics of his posture when issuing and receiving force is amazing!  Hakuho credits solid basics in his climb to the highest rank in Sumo (yokozuna).


Excellent Judo!

My Excellent Shuai Chiao clip is followed by this highlight reel of Isao Okano, who won the All Japan Championships 3 times!!  Beautiful work!


November 19, 2010

Excellent Shuai Chiao!

Here is video of the 2005 Shuai Chiao King competition.  Beijing's Gao Yu vs. Shanxi native Yun Linchun.  Both are "kings" of there weightclass.  Excellent demonstration (read: schooling) of Shuai Chiao competition.

November 17, 2010

John Wayne Parr Training

John Wayne Parr is one of the most talented and prominent kickboxers of our generation.  Fighting out of Australia he is in the twilight of his career, yet still puts on a great show.  I stumbled across some of his training footage with Saenchai while he was visiting Thailand.  Saenchai is a living legend in the art of Muay Thai, and in this clip he and JWP do some friendly sparring.  Notice how relaxed and gentle they are with each other.  Many people have misconceptions on how one should train, but in my opinion the Thai's have it nailed.  You hit the bag and pads HARD, and you focus on technique and timing with your partners.  Fighters cannot afford to be injured, literally!  This is an excellent example of proper sparring:

Compared to his last day of pad work before fighting Yodsanklai:

Train Hard.  Train Smart.

The Giant Slayer

An amateur film maker filmed the 15th US Open BJJ Tournament and edited a highlight reel that includes our very own Brian "Mr. BJJ" Johnson destroying the giants in the open weight black belt category.  Brian gave up nearly 90 pounds fighting the big boys... and won!  You can see in the video how easily his opponent throws him around, but in the spirit of BJJ Brian rolled smoothly with the flow and... well... check it out to see the result:

November 9, 2010

CD Review: Roy Deans "Arc & Shadow"

Okay... is there any free time in Roy Deans life?  This man obviously has many talents, and with the release of his first set of CD's he is solidify himself as one of the most versatile BJJ practitioners out there!  A collection of four CD's of electronic music written and composed by Dean, "Arc & Shadow" may not be for everyone, but its ambient, tribal vibe meshes well with grappling schools that do not subscribe to the death metal headache often associated with our art.

I personally am into ambient / electronic music in general which can often be rather dark and nebulous, but Dean does an excellent job combining deep melodies with upbeat tempo and rhythm that would fit in a free rolling environment such as a Judo, Aikido, or BJJ academy.

Check out some samples of the songs here.


PAC NW Tim Cartmell Tour a Success!

I wanted to take a moment to thank my teacher Tim Cartmell for spending the past 10 days up here in the Pacific NW teaching his students Michael and me, as well as our students both in Seattle, as well as Portland.  The turnouts at both locations were a bit low, so we would like to see that improved in the future but overall the material covered was excellent and all attendee's got tons of personal attention from Tim.

Overall Tim was very impressed with everyones progress and ability to pick up material so quickly.  We covered LOTS of techniques and strategies, but as always Tim wove one thing into another making a seamless transition throughout the week with his teachings doing both standup and ground work.

 Much thanks to those of you who showed up and trained hard both weekends.  Without your support we couldn't bring exceptional teachers like Tim to the area.  Big thanks to my brother Michael for the hospitality and organizational support down in Portland.   The spirit of Shen Wu lives on!

Train Hard, Train Smart.

Training with a legend: Fabio Santos Seminar

Every now and then one has the great fortune to train with a living legend.  This past weekend I had just such an experience training in Woodlake, WA. with Prof. Fabio Santos.  An 8 time Pan American champ, Fabio started his Jiu Jitsu journey with the legendary Rolls Gracie.  After Rolls' untimely death Fabio studied under Rickson Gracie who would eventually award Fabio the rank of black belt.  Over 30 years later Fabio is one of the few red-black belts living and teaching in the United States at his academy in San Diego, CA. 

Over the three hour seminar Fabio taught a number of sequences including maintaining mount, escaping mount, escaping side control, and a handful of submissions as well.  It has been my experience that the Gracie family often has a cookie cutter approach to what they teach in seminars and this was not much different.  Good solid basics, but there did not seem to be a unifying theme if you will.

We finished with some rolling and I must say the kids down in Woodlake, WA. are solid grapplers!  I was very impressed with the level even the white belts were rolling at.

Fabio is a SUPER nice guy who does not have a single hair of ego or arrogance about him.  It was refreshing to see a great attitude and smile on his face the whole seminar.  If you get the chance to train with Fabio I cannot suggest it enough.  After all how many opportunities do you get to roll with a red-black belt?

Train Hard.  Train Smart.

November 8, 2010

Brian Johnson at the 2010 No Gi Worlds

Huge congrats to the NWJJA very own Brian "Mr. BJJ" Johnson who took silver in the featherweight division, and bronze in the absolute division at the 2010 No Gi Worlds yesterday!  I have yet to hear any of the details, but stay tuned and I will update the blog as soon as I find out.

Once again Brian proves he is amongst the elite in world taking second and third at the no gi worlds, and just a few weeks ago winning the absolute and taking third in his weight at the US Open!  We are fortunate to have such an experienced and talented coach here in Seattle, WA.  It would be great to see more follow in his footsteps in terms of competing!

More to come...

November 5, 2010

Rafael Lovato Jr. Coming to Seaside, OR.

One of America's most talented BJJ competitors will be visiting the Pacific NW Nov 14th in Seaside, OR.  Rafael Lovato Jr. will be teaching a one day seminar, click here for more information and flier.

I went down to Seaside OR. with my instructor Brian earlier this year (see the review here), and it was a great experience all around!  Rafael is VERY technical (not a surprise being a student of Saulo Ribeiro) and his techniques are proven on the mat being the most decorated American ever in BJJ!

Check him out if you get the chance, it is well worth it!

November 1, 2010

Cartmell Seminars a Success!

I will put pics up later, but I just wanted to take a moment to thank all who came out and supported Tim Cartmell and his seminars over the weekend.  We had folks come in from all over to train with Tim; Montana, Oregon, California, Alberta, British Columbia, Washington, and even an Aussie!!  We had a good group on both days, and Tim was very happy with every ones progress (my girls really impressed Tim with not only their power, but also their knowledge base!  Good job girls!).

The BJJ seminar on Gi Chokes was great, and a welcome addition for me personally as I suck at gi chokes.  Tim made it look damn easy, but as always guided us through step by step making sure we had every subtle detail.  I would have like to have seen more support from the NWJJA crew, as only one of Brian's students showed up (thanks Mike).  It is a shame to waste opportunities like having a 2nd degree black belt,  7 x Copa champ visit your school to teach BJJ.  But to each their own.

The MMA and Bagua seminars were excellent and I got lots of positive feedback from all participants.  As usual Tim continues to excel at finding the subtle nuances that either make a technique happen, or not!  We focused on striking entries (both offensive and defensive) into a clinch position and then following up with various throws, ankle picks, and takedowns.  Great stuff even for those who do not practice Bagua.  I have been trying to gain interest from those who are not familiar with the Chinese arts, but something in my marketing is not working.

I have had lots of requests for Tim to teach Bagua related material, yet the last couple of times I have had him in for it those same people do not come to the seminar.  I do not quite understand it, but then again... I do not understand people.

All in all a great weekend, and my week is just starting hosting Tim here in Seattle until Fri. when we take off to Portland, OR. for another weekend of seminars.  If you are interested in checking out what you missed and want to join us in Portland, send me an email and I can get the details to you ASAP.  All are welcome.

Thanks for the support guys!