Congrats to Ace JJ

imageAce BJJ did well at the 7th North American BJJ Tournament.  4 of the 9 kids took first place, along with two gold’s in the women divisions.  Blue Belt Eric took 2nd after winning three matches.   And Edmund Kim got a notch on the brand new purple belt with a 2nd place finish where he proved he is fighting at the level he should be!

Congrats to Ace!

imageBack to school time for the kiddo’s and what better way to prep them for the new school year then enrolling them in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Classes at the NW Jiu Jitsu Academy??  Excellent method of self defense, great fun, a terrific way to get in shape, and an top notch coach in Mike Leary!  What more could a parent ask for??

Stop by the academy on Tues or Thurs 5-5:45pm to speak with coach Mike Leary.

Contact myself ([email protected]) or the NWJJA @ 206-440-8856 for more information.

Train Hard.  Train Smart.  Train With the Best!

“Hitman” Choke with the belt at a NAGA tourney is sheer brilliance and great situational awareness on this kid’s part.  I am not real clear on the legality of such a move especially since he totally removed the belt, but in a self defense situation this kid was on the ball!

Cheers mate!

imageCongrats to my friend Edmund Kim from Ace Jiu Jitsu on his recent promotion to Purple Belt.  To say it is well deserved is an understatement!    Best of luck this weekend at your debut brother!  From our teacher Tim Cartmell:“The Purple belt separates the casual practitioner from the serious student/competitor, and marks the beginning of becoming an advanced grappler.”
I wish you luck on your journey!  Hope to see you soon!
Come train with one of BJJ’s “Dirty Dozen” (first 12 non-Brazilians to earn their black belt) where David Meyer will share time tested strategies, techniques, and tactics for both self defense and competition grappling.   Open to any and all levels of students from all academies!imageNWJJA had a small, but solid crew showing up to fight Saturday to Bonney Lake HS for the August 2011 edition of the Revolution Grappling Tournament held by Jeff Bougious (sorry shorty, probably slaughtering that last name of yours;).   With 400+ competitors I saw teams from all over the Pacific NW, and I must say their are some solid fighters out there.  My review and analysis will focus solely on the gi portion of the tournament, as I had to leave prior to the no gi getting started.

I have not competed at the Revolution for about 1 1/2 years or so, simply because in the past it was not run as smoothly as I liked and I hate the hurry up and wait game!   Well let me be the first to stand corrected as Jeff and his crew have really tightened up the ship.  Six rings for the adults running all the time with no significant lulls or delays.  All of the reffing I saw was solid and fair (I must be missing something in the rule book as to how a take down is scored, because I saw a lot of lame point calls in that regard and by deductive reasoning I must be the one missing something in the rules!).  And almost every division started at the time they stated it would!  Even new medals then the past 5 years!!!

NWJJA had a fresh crop of newbies hit the mat as Brett, Ian, and James have never competed before.  Scotty has done some no gi, but I want to say this was his first gi event as well.  Every single one of you stepped up to the challenge and did excellent!  What spectators and “hobbyists” don’t get is that simply to step onto the mat and put everything on the line in a fight takes balls bigger then most will ever see.  So in all respects of the word you have won already before the ref yells “fight.”  The preparation, the training, the discipline, the sweat, the sacrifice…. this is the battle you have fought and won already.  The outcome on the mat is minor comparatively.

For James and Ian fighting large brackets they had some tough competitors and a handful of fights each. Ian snuck into the 2nd place spot, and James lost a close one fighting for third.  I think both of you did really, really well and you now have some things to bring back to the dojo to work on.

Perry the Canuck came down from our affiliate school in Maple Ridge, BC. to fight with the kids in the lighter purple division (all divisions were combined) and held his own breaking even on his two matches of the day.  He got a wicked kimura on one kid!  Perry is stepping onto the mat with kids a third his age and kicking ass.  What an inspiration to us all!  Next time stay for a bit P!

Scotty fought well all day and really showed some great heart, unfortunately no checks in the W column, but he really took away some solid lessons from the hard fights of the day.  Let me know when Scotty and I am more than happy to help work on some things.

Hands down the star of the day was Brett Smith.  He channeled the power of his little fluffy Pomeranian named Peaches, and brought the fight to the tournament!  Some great guard work and a most beautiful arm bar in no gi, cross choke in the dudes guard, overall Brett showed a lot of promise in his first tournament giving 110% in every fight he had!  Barely losing the third place battle in white belt gi, I overheard his opponent afterwards say:
“I want to fight you again bro!  That was the toughest roll I had all day, I hope to see you again in a tournament!”

Rocking the Origin 550 Gi

‘Nuff said when your opponent ends the day with that comment!  And trust me, it was sincere.  Keep up the hard work Brett!  When you get a little older we will get you a man’s dog;)  (For those of you on Facefarce, look up Brett Smith and he has a vid on there.  Sorry, no way to imbed it here.)

As for yours truly this was my second BJJ tournament at purple belt since getting it a month ago.  Already I feel I have semi adjusted to the pace a little better.  I was concerned about this tournament as the day before (Fri) I suffered the most debilitating migraines I have had since childhood.  I used to get terrible ones that would lay me out for 24 hours plus!  Laying in a dark room, eyes closed but can’t sleep because you are puking every hour from the pain.  Not fun.  Well something, not sure what, triggered the first in the past 23 years Thursday night, and Friday I was out of commission!  I was worried I would have no energy to fight Saturday, but said “Fuck it!” as I had already paid and have nothing better to do, see how I do when not 100%.

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I had only four total guys in the purple division with me, so my first match was against Coby from Foster BJJ.  I am pretty sure we have fought before at white and/or blue level locally.  If I remember correctly he clock choked the shit out of me in the past!  Brian gave me a great pep talk and told me I have a “wicked guard” which would come in handy later!

We touched hands and he immediately got a lapel with his right hand.  I was able to fend off the other hand which forced him to try a shoulder throw which I countered and he twisted and we feel down into my open 1/2 guard.  Again, I am befuddled how he got the points for the take down but we ended in my open guard which I am totally okay with!

Some positional and grip changes I started to isolate his right arm, working my omo plata game.  I cannot remember exactly what position my right foot was in, but essentially I used rubber guard to keep his posture down, got the arm (which he tried to defend) and since I was not sure of the control I had to finish the omo, I secured his elbow and compressed his wrist for the tap.  Being smaller I did not want to risk him rolling out of the omo plata and scrambling back out.  Fear the wrist lock!!

Final match was against Christopher from Straight Blast Gym in Portland.  He immediately pulled guard and got ahold of my base foot to get a simple back sweep.  Really smooth.  He passed my guard and came into side control with solid pressure on top and held me down really well, isolating and pinning my shoulders to the mat.  I worked a few things okay, but I have some real improvement to make.  Though he stalled quite a bit on top (afterward he apologized for stalling saying he was afraid of my guard), I should have some answers for that.  I attempted and succeeded in the Ballard Bridge sweep, but he pulled me back into guard.  I need to work my control immediately following the sweep.

In the end, as you see, I cannot gain the upper hand.  Down by 12 points with a minute left I have to escape and submit, and I make the mistake of giving up my back in desperation.  He sinks in the choke!  Nicely done!

In the end I bring home 2nd for NWJJA.  Next time some gold!

A lot to work on.  More observations later!

Thanks to all who made this happen!

I have taken full advantage of summer laziness around the Pac NW, as day classes at the academy have been sparse lately, which is awesome because it means more personal time with Brian!  Yesterday was no exception with Chickenwing, Scotty, Karliss, and me & my big head showing up to train and we basically got a 45 minute mini seminar from Brian on S-Mount into Hurdlers Mount, into the arm bar.

Don’t get me wrong, the lesson was awesome B!  But that was not the highlight (for me) of the day… rolling with three of the best training partners in the academy was!  I took away so much from the rolls I had with you three yesterday.

imageFirst of all Scotty and Karliss both are getting much, MUCH, better overall.  Karliss is getting a real sense of his game which includes standing passes, which is awesome for me as I love to play open guard and few pass me standing so it makes me work my guard in new ways.

Scotty joined us late last year and has been a stellar addition to the academy.  Already a blue belt he has fit in perfectly and adds a very aggressive, yet controlled and gentle, game and is starting to get into competing (which we need more of!).  Scotty too is getting a sense of his own style and game and really brings it with me, always a challenging roll and we often exchange sub’s back and forth.  In no time he will be purple!

Chickenwing is hands down the most well rounded grappler at the academy.  A three stripe purple, his game is solid throughout!  There is no one position you fear with the Wingster, you fear any of them because he has taken the time to really get to understand and know every position.  I take so much away from rolling with him in regards to positional dominance, and yesterday he taught me a VERY valuable lesson that my mother has been trying to impart on me for damn near 35 years… PATIENCE!

He later complimented me on my pressure saying he had to wait it out until I made a move, but in the end he is being too nice… Wingy was in control of the matches tempo from the get go and was well aware of the time and what was needed.  I was so fucking happy just to be on top and “controlling” him that I got stupid(er) and made a mistake.  He capitalized and swept!   We rolled a couple more times and frankly they were probably some of the smoothest rolls I have ever been a part of.  Very fluid, smooth, positional, yet hard as hell as Chickenwing always pushes me.

And may I say well done Chickenwing on raising Little Wing to respect the mats properly and behave well!  She is lucky to have a dad as caring and loving as you.

Sorry for the Zen rant (some good stuff in the air lately;), but I just wanted to share an awesome moment I had on the mat and say thanks to three of the best partners I can ask for.  I have been doing this shit for 20 years and I know what to look for in a solid coach, and top notch partners.  Yesterday was the perfect culmination of both!

Hands folded in respect.

Cheers brothers!

imageAugust 20th for Three Harmonies Students nor NWJJA students.  Classes are back to regular schedule on Monday the 22nd.Anyone who spends more than a few minutes with me will quickly realize that I am not a fan of human beings as a species and that the illegal poaching and murdering of endangered and protected species is a “hot” topic with me!  So I wanted to pass along this short message from 007…
Iceland, if you do not cease the illegal hunting of whales Bond is going to smack you up side your head, mix a dry martini (shaken, not stirred) and then sleep with your ol’ lady!

So knock your shit off!

The third (of three) volume of Brian Johnson’s “Basic 12 Curriculum” has finally dropped and is available for purchase.  Wrapping up the final four lessons on Guard Attacks / Top Attacks / Takedowns / Open Guard Brian and producer Mark Mestel have created what is arguably (and quite biased coming from me) the essential DVD series for the fundamentals of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu!

You see most instructional’s focus on showing a bevy of techniques, or high flying – low percentage submissions, sweeps etc.   Few, if any, actually lay out a teaching curriculum and lesson plan.  Enter the protege of John Will (known in most circles as “The coaches, coach.”), Brian Johnson and his curriculum that has been refined at the NW Jiu Jitsu Academy over the past 10 years.  Taught on a constantly rotating basis the Basic 12 Curriculum gives the beginner a complete overview of the various positions, strategies, and tactics of BJJ.  These lessons are not meant to be cache’s of techniques, but rather to allow the beginner to absorb a handful of variable situations he or she will find themselves in during sparring.

Ideal DVD’s for those who are new to teaching BJJ, or new to BJJ as a practitioner the Basic 12 series demonstrates each lesson from multiple angles, then also shows how Brian operates his basic classes showing drills, drill formats, and live sparring.  Specific techniques are also highlighted from actual competition footage of Brian’s multiple wins and titles including 09 No Gi World Champ / 2010 US Open Absolute Champ / 09 NAGA No Gi Champ / 3x Grapplers Quest Black Belt Champion / 09 ADCC Regional Champ in Lightweight & Open classes!  I love when instructors include footage of a certain technique or sweep being actually applied in live situations!

These DVD’s are invaluable references for all students of NWJJA!

Production wise you could not ask for more… easy to navigate menu’s.  You can shoot right to a certain lesson and work it with a partner in your dojo or living room.  The sound quality is crystal clear as is the instruction and picture quality.

Individual DVD’s can be purchased for $40, or the entire set for $110.

Click here for odering information.  Or email me at [email protected]

Look for future titles coming soon!

Train Hard.  Train Smart!

Just in case you did not get the memo, hell has officially frozen over… Jake, rather Three Harmonies, has finally caved into peer pressure and signed up on Facebook!!   I have held out for years, but everyone keeps telling me it is a foolish business decision to not be on THE social media outlet of the 21st century.

Here it is folks, our brand new Facebook page. Like away please!

To be quite honest this is how I really feel about Facebook:

imageimageWhat an amazing story (much thanks to Bonzai for turning me onto this)… Jigoro Kano’s (the founder of Judo) only living student Sensei Keiko Fukuda was promoted to 10th dan (degree) black belt recently.  98 years young Fukuda still teaches in San Francisco, CA. each week!

Kano has stated that the women he taught understood the true essence of Judo, that they encapsulated the principles and ideas of Judo better then any.  I would have to believe he was speaking of Fukuda!

I wanted to offer my congrats and respect to Sensei Fukuda who is a living legend in the beautiful art of Judo.  I hope to still be training and teaching at 98!!

To read the entire article click here!


As I reported a few weeks back Ricardo De La Riva is retiring with a bang, a super match held in Brazil November 12-13th 2011, entitled the Grand Slam of Jiu Jitsu.  And what an amazing opponent they lined up for De La Riva… none other then recently promoted red-black belt Jean Jacques Machado!

I am stoked as these are two of THE most technical grapplers alive today, and to see them fight will be truly once in a lifetime opportunity.  I look forward to November!

imageRead the whole article here!As with many out there I am really, REALLY, tired of the bullshit squabbling our politicians are doing.  I say time to throw them all to the lion’s and start afresh!  But since most of “civilized” society does not see things my way….

Living in the biggest / most powerful nation harbor’s all sorts of great benefits, but one of the worst side effects of the drug known as USA is our inability to see beyond our greedy noses planted on our face.

While we argue about how many trillions we put ourselves into debt with, this is what the people of Somalia are dealing with…

Click here to read all of Georgette’s post which includes link to aid and photographs that will break your heart.

It is easy to get whisked away with all the petty bullshit Fox and CNN feed us everyday, but in reality they are not “reporting” jack shit about anything that is REALLY important.  Aid workers in Somalia are saying this is the worst famine in decades, and the warlords are in more control then back in 92.  Children are dying at such a rate that they are simply covering them in unmarked graves to ensure disease does not spread faster!

Remember the above image (their are much more intense ones that I could not copy over hear) the next time you are bitching about what you don’t have!  I admit it is a pain in the ass paying almost $4 a gallon for gas for me to jump into my car and drive to the store to buy the overpriced steak, the ridiculously priced asparagus, and my $10 12 pack of beer.  Imagine how much of a pain it would be to walk miles and miles in hopes of getting just a gallon of water, only to have your dreams crushed by a warlord controlling the water for the farmers he controls!

Wake up America and knock off your arrogant bullshit ways!

Gracie Mag dot com shared this great post from Bernardo Rezende, one of the worlds foremost coaches in volleyball.  Great coaches transcend the sport they are teaching and offer solid advice that can be applied in all area’s of life.  To read the full article click here! 

 Here are the highlights from a recent interview with Rezende:image
Mistakes:“Making mistakes is key. But when you make that big mistake all you think is, ‘Shoot, this is really bad.’ You can’t see the bright side of it, and it tortures you so much until you go off in pursuit of another route. When you make a mistake, you question yourself, and the questioning breeds change, change breeds growth, and growth breeds satisfaction. The only ones who don’t make mistakes are the ones who don’t try. There’s a ton of people out there who don’t make mistakes because they don’t do. All they do is talk about what the other people do. At first, when we make a mistake, we end up in a miserable funk, overwhelmed with frustration. Only afterward do we manage to get out of it.Getting over the hump:To get out of it you have to assume responsibility. In Brazil, culturally, people aren’t big on assuming responsibility. “It was the government that didn’t do it,” “The opponent was better.” It’s always someone else’s fault. If you don’t assume responsibility, you’ll never understand why you messed up or how to fix it.Comfort zone:Discomfort is a perpetual part of life. If I feel comfortable, that in itself is a discomfort to me. But it’s discomfort that makes me forge ahead. I can’t sit back and relax. I try keeping the players on a tight leash. Anyone who can’t handle pressure can’t be on the team. I’m almost never in an absolute comfort zone. When things are going too well I get worried; something’s wrong. I’m not that good, it can’t be that easy. Feeling relaxed is unwelcome.Fame:Public recognition and the fans’ affection instill two feelings in me. The first is almost pride. I see it and I think, ‘Cool, we did something great.’ But then I get home and think, ‘I can’t allow myself to disappoint these people.’image“Winners celebrate.  Losers contemplate.”  – Obviously written by someone who just lost!

Contemplating a lot of shit right now two days after the Grappling X tournament held at the Cascade Christian College in Portland, OR.   My brother-from-another-mother, Shadow, joined me at 6am for our pilgrimage south to the Rose City.  The drive was uneventful and smooth with no one in their right mind being up on Saturday that frickin’ early!

The college was easy to find via the bitch-in-a-box (AKA a GPS), and a quick trip around the parking lot showed no more than 15 parking spots, so we decided to park on the other side of the ball field attached to the college (this will be important a bit later).

Arriving we weighed in immediately (I was 197 in the skivvies) and got checked in.  Ask the promoter Cory how many people are signed up, “Just over 250!”  Cool beans I think!

Then I walk into the gymnasium and to my horror I am greeted by three mats!  I turn and look at Shadow, and say “This is going to be a LONG day!”  And from their on out I was reminded every 10 minutes as to why I do not do local tournaments any longer.  Your ass goes numb, then your mind goes number as the hours pass and you watch your “scheduled” time (1pm for me) go slipping by until fighting 5 hours later!

In defense of Grappling X they had a referee ditch on them last minute.   Which begs other questions like why didn’t we have more ref’s then that regardless?!?   But overall the tournament was received well by most I overheard talking.  Many were very frustrated with the delays, but unfortunately it seems to be the bane of existence with the smaller ventures tournament wise.

The tournament was a double elimination, but many BJJ tournaments seem to run double elimination with conciliation matches which does not make sense.  I am totally confused by how the brackets were determined, but regardless I had two gi matches and would have had two no gi matches but had to leave a bit early after my first loss.

Overall Grappling X Tournament –

  • New organization to the local scene
  • Multiple matches for competitors
  • Solid competition showed up for all levels and divisions.  I am amazed at the talent in the young kids out there.  BJJ is going to be so much fun to watch grow over the next decades!
  • Friendly staff and ref’s
  • Nice, clean dressing rooms and restrooms with showers!


  • No EMT on hand.  I have been seeing this over and over again… NOT acceptable guys!  Pay the money.
  • Poor mat management
  • Weigh in’s need to be just prior to the matches.  This eliminates unhealthy weight cutting, and it also helps those coming from out of town.   Weigh in’s officially stopped at 7:30am…. which means we would have had to leave Seattle by 4am to make weigh ins!  Thankfully I contact Cory prior and he was accommodating, but if we just cut off registration a few days prior (and stick to this!!) the brackets are done by Sat. then we weigh in just before we fight and if we do not make weight we are DQed!  Simple.  Copy the IBJJF’s model.
  • I want to give a special shout out to the douche-waffle groundskeeper at Cascade Christian College who blew all his grass clippings all over the car’s of those of us parked on the side of the road because their was not ample parking at the college!  Really thoughtful and Christian like of you!  Left me wondering WWBJJJD (WhatWouldBrazilianJiuJitsuJesusDo)?   No worries though, my atheist ass forgives you!  Dick!

Both Brian and Tim (my coaches) forewarned me that competing at purple belt would be a world of difference.  To say they were right is redundant!  I am trying to stay positive as all three of my opponents (2 gi matches, 1 no gi advanced pro match) had a lot of experience, and I have had a purple belt for two weeks, so overall my expectations were not that high, I just wanted to get some good rolls.  I have yet to review the tapes but overall my experience is highlighted as such:
The two purple belts I fought were both from Seaside BJJ under Zach and Nate, who are students of Rafael Lovato Jr.  These guys have done a phenomenal job in developing great fighters!  Both of my opponents were solid, strong as shit, and had no gaps.
My first opponent was a bit bigger then I was and much stronger.  I spent most of the match trying to pass his open guard, but he ended up scissor sweeping me, mounting, then in a scramble I somehow turned and he got my back, then back into mount with my arm caught across my neck.  He squeezed and I tapped.  Was ugly.  Nothing I did mattered it seemed.
My second opponent was a bit more my size, and he shot in to get the take down but landed on my hooks with me controlling his right arm, so I worked my hook sweep, and got it, but what happened next I will always remember.   Unlike anyone I have ever competed against he accepted the sweep and immediately went into defensive mode.  Before I could settle into mount he had already built his shield and prevented me from top control.  THIS is what really stood out in this tournament to me!  The level of purple belt fighters is much higher then I anticipated, and this is just some small ass local tourney!  I can’t wait to feel the level of fighters at the bigger tournaments!  What a great challenge!
My third match was no gi and nothing to get excited about.  I have a lot to work on in general, but I was happy that conditioning wise I was great!  I am finally at a level physically where I think I can compete with anyone.  Skill wise is my area of focus as I continue to get stronger.  But at this weight, fighting cat’s more my size, it seems I am holding my own.
I am really going to need to tighten up my game and work harder on my weaknesses!  I look forward to the challenge and the work.  I was hoping to amass a few more wins at blue belt to help bolster my confidence, but alas finances crippled my travel budget this year.  Perhaps I will have more opportunities for sponsorship at purple belt then before.  Either way I embrace the work and sacrifice, as I love to roll! I never thought I would enjoy competing so much, but damn I love this shit!  I am all shades of banged up today, but I went to Brian’s first Monday morning class and basically got a private lesson with my bud Karliss!  Can’t wait to get back at competing!
I want to thank my wife for cooking great food for us, and putting up with this silly shit.  Thanks to my coach Brian, I hope to do better by your name and school in the future!  Thanks to my brother Shadow for you always being there!  Big Walker, Scotty S., Amauri, David L., Mike A., Chickenwing, Karliss, Noelle, Denise, Matt W. thank you all for helping me prepare!   Your lessons are never wasted on me and I appreciate the love and respect!  imageStarting today (August 1st, 2011) Brian will be offering an advanced BJJ class at 11am on Mondays!  So day classes are now Mon & Wed 11am!

See you on the mat!