December 31, 2012

Meeting One of My Idols: Gary Larson

No better way to end a shitty 2012 then to meet one of your idols since childhood!  Today at work I rang up a cat in line who used his credit card which stated Gary Larson.  Not a rare name by any stretch and so I jokingly said "THE Gary Larson."  And plain as day he said "Yes actually. That was a long time ago." Not for all of us my friend!  I was blown away.

Growing up and through my 20's Gary Larson's comic strip "The Far Side" was a pinnacle in my life.  His dry wit and keen eye for the obvious coupled with a biology background made the Far Side one of the most underrated satire pieces out there.  Sadly when the time felt right Gary retired the strip.

Apparently he lives in the Seattle area, grew up in Tacoma.  I was so surprised that I did not even think to ask him for a pic, but he totally made my year!  Super nice and humble.  He is now pursuing his passions in life!  Thank you Mr Larson for many a laugh when few have been abound!


December 30, 2012

ATTN Three Harmonies & NWJJA Students: New Year Schedule of Classes

Wanted to send a quick note out reminding both my students and my fellow training partners that classes with both Brian and I are cancelled to celebrate the New Year on Monday and Tuesday. 

That said you guys know I get "twitchy" if I don't roll for a few days, so I am going to have an open mat on both Monday and Tuesday at 5pm.  Come in and get your roll on before you go out and get faded!  Then come in Tuesday and work it all off again!  5pm... free wristlocks for all (little known fact...the now extinct Wristalopapu people of Savu Island deep in the Pacific would consider a wristlock as good luck in the coming year! 

In all seriousness though there have been a number of people talking about getting serious about competition in 2013 as of late, and now is the time to hold your self accountable.  No more excuses of "I want to sleep in." "I have to spend time with my ________."  etc.  If you want it, make it happen.  Let Brian and/or myself know how we can help you reach your goals.  But on the base level you all should be making open mats when the dojo is closed over holidays! 

Take this note by the LSU athletic department:
Stay focused!

Here's to a better year for all of us in 2013! 
Be safe and have fun!

December 28, 2012

Brennan's Blades: The PNW Best Kept FMA Secret

Guro Scott Brennan is a 30+ year veteran of the Filipino Martial Arts (FMA), and is arguably the foremost authority in Lucaylucay Kali in the Pacific NW.  Being a Sheriff brings a whole new perspective to his teachings and training, as does being an amateur blade smith!  I was fortunate enough to host Scott last month for a introductory seminar on Lucaylucay blade work at Three Harmonies. 

First and foremost anyone interested in the FMA living up in the island counties of our great green state of Washington, look no further then Scott Brennan.  Sharp wit, laid back attitude, coupled with a knack for teaching and working with groups give Scott that needed bonus many look for in a teacher.  Though I only spent a few hours with him I have been around long enough to know if someone can teach or just preach.  Scott is without a doubt the former, offering insight not only into the techniques of Lucaylucay Kali, but more importantly the mindset and approach to training that Master Ted Lucaylucay imparted to Scott.  Peppered with stories throughout the workshop it was a pleasure to touch hands with Scott.

Now onto the meat of this review... Brennan's Blades, quality training blades.  Of course everyone says that, but what does it really mean in the end?  Typically you dish out good money for a trainer that hopefully is weighted right, has a solid fit handle wise, and holds up.  Rarely do you get the opportunity we did with being able to handle and work with all the blades Scott had for sale at the workshop.  I know I handled at least half a dozen different knife types and grips, and I was also lucky enough to take home a espsda y' daga set in the form of a Barong, as well as a Bolo shaped blade.

Bolo(L): $50 / Barong Espada y Daga Set: $75

Made out of quality aluminum with intricately cut handles made from actual iron wood (I believe) these trainers are simply the best weighted and highest quality in regards to grips!  Scott has spent decades collecting blades and blade patterns from all over the world and he has templates and designs to fit even the rarest of request.  That's right, got a blade you want a trainer for?  Send him the specs and he will make you a quality trainer for any style blade or cut you desire! 

I cannot comment too deeply on the durability of the trainers as I have not purposefully tried to thrash them, but even knocking them around with other metal trainers they seemed no worse the wear minus a few scratches.  High quality at an an affordable price, which of course varies depending on the piece(s) you are acquiring.

You can contact Scott Brennan at:
[email protected]

December 26, 2012

No Gi David Meyer Footage

Here is David Meyer fighting at the 2003 World Grappling Games no gi championships.  This first video is David's second match of the day.

Some great re-guarding at 4:00 minute mark, as well as awesome transitional work to submission from footage of the 3rd American International Grappling Championship:

December 23, 2012

Holiday Open Mat at NWJJA

I can't speak for the rest of you, but I cannot go 4-5 days without being choked, or attempting to choke / kimura someone!  Even though classes are cancelled at NWJJA this Monday and Tuesday come out and join your brethren for a holiday stress relief hour of training at (I just spoke with Eric, we will be on the mat by 9ish.  Come roll with a brown belt for X Mas!!) 10am. 

Competition season is right around the corner, time to start training!

Be safe and well,
wristlocks for all!

December 22, 2012

Heads Up!

Excellent execution from Combat Sambo.  Are you training for true self defense??  This may come in handy this weekend for those shopping, or conversely those of us working with those shopping!

December 21, 2012

Roy Harris: 5th Degree Black Belt in BJJ

Congrats to Prof. Roy Harris on receiving his 5th degree within the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu ranks.  Roy is one of BJJ's "Dirty Dozen" (first 12 non-Brazilian black belts) and has been a student of Joe Moreria's for years.  If you ever get the chance Roy Harris take the opportunity to, as I did a few years back and am looking forward to getting on the mat again with the grappling wizard! 

Well deserved sir! 
Jake B.

December 20, 2012

1914 Gi's For the New Year

Last minute stocking stuffer idea for that cauliflower eared loved one that is tough to shop for on your list?  Hands down the best Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Kimono on the market comes with the moniker "1914!"
I chose 1914 as my sponsor because of the quality of their gi, but more so for the passion they share for the art of BJJ I do!  It doesn't hurt that their "Classic" gi is the sturdiest, most comfortable gi on the market and the apparel they produce is awesome!  Show some support for an American start-up company based out of Oklahoma.Much gratitude to Blake Kerr and 1914 for their support.   Look forward to fighting for them more in 2013!

Check out for their full line of apparel and gi's!   


Happy Holidays,

December 19, 2012

David Meyer: First American Black Belt to Medal at the Mundials

Our friend David Meyer, BJJ member of the "Dirty Dozen" (first 12 non-Brazilian black belts) under the Machado brothers, celebrated author of "Training For Competition" (biased opinion... THE only book one needs for competition training), and philanthropist has recently digitized a number of competition films and videos of both him and the Machado brothers competing throughout the years!  All I can say is WOW WOW WOW!!!  What a treat and opportunity for students of grappling to study and have access to one of the winingest competitors in American grappling history, as well as great footage of all the Machado brothers fighting.

 I plan on posting all videos in various posts in the coming weeks, but lets start with some awesome footage of David fighting some rather well known opponents!  From David:

"Most of these are BJJ competition videos of mine.  Through my years of competition, I always did my best to acquire the video of any match I lost or won but not in a way I felt proud of.  It was my desire to dissect what happened and how I could improve.  Consequently, I have some matches, most of which I lost, that I have placed on the web because they might be interesting for others to see and learn from.  I think my record in BJJ competition at the black belt level is something like 25W 9L, and most of those losses are now on the internet!  if that gives a skewed view of my record, then so be it." 

Here is some historic footage of David Meyer becoming the first American black belt to medal (took bronze) at the Mundial's (World championships) IN Brazil 1998.  You may recongnize his opponent... the one and only Mario Sperry:

Here is footage of David fighting legendary Fabio Santos (yes, red black belt Fabio Santos)!

December 17, 2012

Pekiti Tirsia Kali Class Revision

Pekiti Tirsia Kali class at Three Harmonies Martial Arts will be taught on the following schedule:
Wednesday nights: 7:15pm
Saturday mornings: 9am

Effective immediately.
Thank you,

December 16, 2012

Rodolfo Vieira Competing as a Purple Belt

Here is a great clip of now black belt Rodolfo Vieira fighting Rafael Pimenta back in 2007.  Study this short clip... lots of details here, much of which Brian just went over last week.  Check out the hip pressure while passing, the dominant grip game, and the reliance on dominant positions BEFORE going for the sub:

Knee Bar Nailed From Inverted Iminari Shot

Thanks to our friend Reilly Bodycomb who shared this sick clip on his FB page.  2012 World Combat Sambo Championships... Knee bar hit from an inverted Iminari shot! 

December 14, 2012

Rigan Machado Seminar Seattle, WA. January 19th, 2013

NW Jiu Jitsu Academy Proudly Presents:

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Seminar
w/ 9th Degree Professor Rigan Machado
January 19th, 2013
NW Jiu Jitsu Academy
942 N. 95th St
Seattle, WA.

Gi Seminar: 12-2pm
No-Gi Seminar: 2:30-4:30pm

One Seminar: $55
Both Seminars: $100

All levels of experience and belts are welcome to join us for an afternoon of grappling training with one of the most sought after coaches; Rigan Machado.  A legendary competitor and a world class instructor, Rigan is one of the Machado Brothers (one of the pioneering families of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu here in North America), and has come to Seattle once again to share some new developments with different material in each seminar!

For more information or questions please contact:
Jake @ 206-941-3232 / [email protected]

Or Stop by the dojo to register for the seminar! Space is limited so register ASAP!

December 13, 2012

Christmas Time at NWJJA

Hey kids we are coming down to the wire and final days before Santa pays us a visit.  We have a NWJJA merchandise blowout to end the year just in time for you to add to your list.  The following prices are good until January 1, 2013!

Private Lessons with 2nd degree black belt Brian Johnson: $75/hour

Keep in mind any existing student that gets a friend to sign up will receive a free 1/2 private lesson!

NWJJA Backpacks: $40

Atama Kimonos (limited sizes available, these will be the last Atamas we carry): $125

RCJ Machado Shirts: $25

Large Back Patches - NWJJA: $12
                                   RCJ Machado: $20

Small Patches -          NWJJA & RCJ: $8ea

"B 12: Basic BJJ Curriculum Vol.I-III" DVD series by Brian Johnson: $40ea or $80 for all three volumes!!

"Secrets From the Masters" DVD: $40

"Force of the Spirit" Jean Jacques Machado documentary: $20

"Unstoppable: Secrets of the Hook Flip" DVD by Carlos Machado: $30

"Mastering Choke" DVD by John Will: $40

"Attacks and Escapes" book by John Will: $25

"BJJ Guard" book by John Will: $25

Stop in and talk to Brian or Jake and stock up on everything from stocking stuffer to pro gear for class!

Happy Holidays

December 12, 2012

RCJ Machado in the Media

Make sure you tune into BJ Penn Radio tonight at 8pm EST / 5pm PST as they host Evan Thompson who is trained under his dad Ray, alongside his brother Stephen "Wonderboy" Thompson, and they get there BJJ training under Professor Carlos Machado!

Evan is making his pro MMA debut at the Legacy Fighting Championships this Friday against Bobby Moore in Allen, Texas.  Should be a great interview.
Click here to link up on itunes.


Listen online by clicking here!

Also keep your eyes peeled for the next issue of Jiu Jitsu Style for an awesome interview with brothers Roger and Carlos Machado, where they talk about competition back in the day, training with Rolles Gracie, being involved in introducing North America to BJJ, and many other topics.  Don't have BJJ Style?  Time to get it downloaded on your iPhone or iPad, or go old school and get the snail mail version.  Regardless Jiu Jitsu Style is THE premier grappling magazine on the market!


December 11, 2012

Attn: Three Harmonies Students - Holiday Schedule

This Saturday, December 15th, Kali will be at 9am instead of the normal 12noon.

Also no classes on December 24-25th, nor December 31 and January 1st due to the holidays. 

Be safe and have a great holiday.


December 10, 2012

This Week at NWJJA...

As you all know Brian takes Sundays to work hard on the following week's curriculum for the NWJJA.  The theme this forth coming week: The Asian Dart!  Often times referred to as an "Oil Check" in the Midwest, this technique is rarely taught but often used in death matches throughout Eastern Asia. 

For those of you unaware of how the Asian Dart is employed during wrestling competition, simply Google search "Asian Dart" in images and you will get a firm grasp on the ancient hold. 

December 9, 2012

Yet Another World Champion Wristlock

Whats this you say, surely not another world champ showcasing what many consider a "cheeky" technique, the wristlock!?!?  Indeed!  Otavio Sousa never got Barral's back yesterday to try this out but in your next roll try it on for size:

December 7, 2012

Origin Gi's, BJJ Weekly & The Ground Never Misses

Avid followers of The Ground Never Misses are familiar with my reviews of Origin BJJ gear and kimonos, and my love of BJJ Weekly (THE source for all that is awesome in the BJJ world) .  Pete Roberts and his crew are finishing up building there new facility in the deep woods of Maine, and have lots of new and innovative projects planned for the upcoming new year.  I'm happy to announce that after speaking with Pete this morning it looks like you can expect to see more collaborations and projects working with Origin, BJJ Weekly, and The Ground Never Misses!

Can't release any of the details yet, but Pete has some AWESOME news to share early in 2013!  Bookmark TGNM and check back daily as I am trying to keep a post every other day.  In the meantime check out the past reviews I have offered of Origin's gi's and gear, as Pete is mailing stuff out quickly so it gets to you before the holidays for gifts:

Origin Genesis 550 Gi Review

Origin Competition 550 Gi Review

Origin Orangahang's Review

Origin Mundial Backpack Review

December 6, 2012


Rumor has it that at midnight last night Washington state quite possibly became one of the most progressive states in the union as we usher into law two important states rights issues; gay marriage and the legalization of marijuana!  Now before you tune me out, hear this... though this blog gives me the opportunity to step onto a preacher box and drop endless diatribes about my opinions based in no fact, today I attempt to turn a new leaf (totally intended:)...

Thankfully  the Michigan teacher originally suspended for playing Macklemore's "Same Love" (his album "The Heist" is a must have BTW) on homosexual acceptance has been reinstated with pay, but I would love you to look me in the eye and explain how this is quite possibly not the most powerful video on the subject you have ever seen:

Her voice makes me melt!  Amazing! 

I ask you to take a step back from your personal feelings of potheads, the lesbian driving the Subaru, the gay guy at the gym who dances more then he works out...regardless of whether or not you "get" why they are the way they are, lets remember back to one of the first lessons we learned in kindergarten...if I am not hurting you, let me be me. 

What you do in the privacy of your own home is none of my business and under no circumstances should it be the business of our government!  Washington (along with Colorado) will be spearheading a much greater issue then the legalization of pot, and that is the power the state has over the federal government.  Freedom to do as I wish as long I do not hurt others is paramount to our society progressing. 

Either way Washington, enjoy the freedom to do what you have been doing all these years, now without the fear and bullshit associated with being... you.

One love, and quit bogarting the spliff!

December 4, 2012

Rigan Machado Returns to Seattle: January 19, 2013

This is not Rigan
Provided the Mayans are wrong, you have 46 more days to register for the winters largest and most important seminar at the NW Jiu Jitsu Academy with Red-black belt Rigan Machado!  Join us for an exclusive opportunity to train with whom BJ Penn considers "At one time the greatest grappler alive" as Rigan makes his annual visit to the Emerald City offering both gi and no gi seminars.

For those living in a cave completely shut off from the grappling world, Rigan is one of five brothers whom are partially responsible for the introduction of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu here in North America; the Machados!

Rigan Machado Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Seminars
January 19th, 2013
NW Jiu Jitsu Academy
Seattle, WA.

GI: 12-2pm
NO GI: 2:30-4:30pm

One Seminar: $55
Both Seminars: $100 

Here is a short clip I stumbled across of Rigan teaching a world champion technique at a seminar last year:

A perfect gift for your loved one (especially if it falls on his birthday... Mrs. Kelland!!!!!!) you need to do one thing and one thing only to register... $$ bring your moola $$ down to the dojo at 942 N 95th St. and register with Brian.  If you have any questions or need more info please contact me at: 206-941-3232 / [email protected]
Skip the dojo hotline and call me directly, as I answer the voice mails at the dojo anyways. 

Rigan (L) awarding his brother Carlos the Coral Belt Oct. 28, 2012
If you are going to be in the Pacific Northwest around mid January you do not want to miss this amazing opportunity to train with one of the most sought after Brazilian Jiu Jitsu coaches in the world!

See you on the mat!

December 3, 2012

Two Legends: Shuggie Otis & Mos Def

I have recently been turned onto an AMAZING guitarist by the name of Shuggie Otis (who is coming to Seattle in April BTW), and I literally just stumbled upon this clip of him on stage with another legend the mighty Mos Def!!!!  Mos is one of the main reasons I got interested in hip hop to begin with.  The two together is awesome!!  Thanks to my boss Justin for letting me borrow some headphones to replace my Sennheisers that took a shit on me!!

DVD Review: "Martial Arts: Secrets of the Asian Masters

Welcome to our Filipino Martial Art (FMA) stocking stuffer edition of  the Ground Never Misses.  Today we check out local FMA teacher Myrlino Hufana, and Barclay Powers who have produced, written, directed, and presented "Martial Arts: Secrets of the Asian Masters." A full length documentary featuring various teachers representing various systems and traditions found throughout the islands of the Philippines, "Secrets of the Asian Masters" brings to light the beauty and practicality the FMA are renown for.

The 2011 "Best Sports Documentary" recipient at the New York International Film Fest, "Secrets..." offers footage of some of the least known masters of their respective styles (different teachers refer to their arts under one of three general terms; Arnis / Kali / Escrima), and insight into their thinking.  Each segment is different, where Hufana seemed to just let the teachers speak and offer everything from stories to teaching methods, to the future of FMA.  Admittingly a couple teachers boast a bit more bravado then needed, but overall the general theme is the preservation and concern for the future of what many believe is a integral cultural export from the Philippines.

Over a dozen teachers are featured including Rolando Hong / Jayson Vicente / Rodel Dagooc / Frank Sobrino / Jerry Dela Cruz / Nico Palma / Manolo Del Rosario / Rodrigo Maranga & his son / Romulo Romo / Peachie Baron Seguin / Antonio Diego / Jason & Jerson Tortal /  and the Hufana family.  Many of these teachers have NEVER been featured in any book, DVD, or even online in many cases!  Access to these teachers is not easy and the pre-production of this venture was not cheap nor easy.  But in the end I feel Hufana has reached his goal, and that is to make accessible the great teachers of the FMA!

I had the pleasure of meeting Myrlino Hufana Friday night at the screening of the "Bladed Hand," and I must say though our time was short, the sincerity and passion he has to share the FMA cannot be understated!  The way he looks at both himself and his film, as an extension of his persona, is as a conduit for the masses to garner access to some of the living legends that most of us would never have an opportunity to train with, see, or learn from.

That said, it is important for me to note that this is NOT an instructional DVD by any means.  Yes we get small glimpses of each instructor moving and demonstrating both solo and partner techniques.  But overall you are not sitting down "learning" anything in terms of movements or techniques.  What the viewer takes away from a documentary like "Secrets of the Asian Masters" is just how rich and important the martial tradition of any culture is, let alone the various ethnicity's found within the Philippine Islands!

Technically "Secrets" is shot very well with decent production work.  Some of the interviews and shots are a bit tight for my liking, but overall each scene and interview offers clear video and excellent audio production coupled with sharp editing, and one can see how this won the Best Sports Documentary category of the 2011 New York International Film Festival.  Whether you are a martial artist, a fan of Philippine culture, or just someone interested in great independent documentary work, you do not want to miss "Martial Arts: Secrets of the Asian Masters."  

To order "Martial Arts: Secrets of the Asian  Masters" click here to be redirected to the website (this used to be title "Voices of the Masters") where you can pay with Paypal!  

"Secrets" marks the first step we need to take towards exposing the world to the cultural tradition of the Philippines.  A great professional production and addition to your FMA library.


December 1, 2012

Bladed Hand PNW Screening

What a great night of Filipino Martial Arts (FMA) here in Seattle!  Jay Ignacio (producer, director, editor), and co-producer Sonny Sisson brought his 90 minute documentary on the impact of FMA on the Filipino culture worldwide to a packed house at Kane Hall at the University of Washington last night.

Filmed over several years on three different continents, "The Bladed Hand" is the first, dare I say only, film to address the question; "What is the Filipino cultural gift to the world?"  Answer... their martial traditions!  Unique.  Beautiful.  Rich in tradition, the FMA represent the heart and soul of a people rich in culture that for the most part is unknown outside of the PI!  And the filmmakers noted..."FMA is more popular and understood outside of the Philippines then with the people whom it originated."

Jay Ignacio was meticulous in his research and editing ensuring inter family politics and bullshit were left out of the film (for those unaware jealousy and secrecy are the Achilles heal with the FMA), leaving only a pure transmission of the heart of FMA.  Do not be mistaken, this is NOT an instructional film!  Though teachers demonstrate their techniques and movements, the film focuses on the larger picture and does not focus on teaching any specific moves or techniques. Interviews with such luminaries as Danny Inosanto, Leo Gaje Jr., Ron Balicki, Jeff Imada, etc. make this documentary all the more authoritive in its scope.   

It was great to see such support from the local FMA community, which is not really surprising since we have such a strong contingent of FMA practitioners here in the PAC NW!  I finally got to meet Mr. Hufana, as well as catch up with a few old friends.  Wish I had more time to stick around and make some new ones, but all in due time. 

If you missed out on the screening here in Seattle you will have to be patient and wait until after the first of the year, as Jay promises a release early next year with a DVD packed with extras and additional interviews.  However you get ahold of it make sure you see this film, I cannot stress how important the work that Jay has done for the FMA community worldwide. 
Click here for more info and to be directed to The Bladed Hand FB page.


November 29, 2012

Weapons Defense in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu with Carlos Machado and the Dog Brothers

Here is a vintage clip of Prof. Carlos Machado working with the Dog Brothers on a DVD that converged stick combat with ground work, a crucial topic in any martial art as it is not just common, but probable that at least one individual engaged in weapon based self defense will end up on the ground.  And trust me you do not want to be on the receiving end of ANY weapon (stick, knife, boot, trash can...) when you have fallen, slipped, got taken down, or knocked off balance!

I have tried to get the long out of print video, but have yet to see the entire thing.  This topic is so important in my honest opinion, and so very many schools on both the BJJ side AND the Kali side disregard and ignore weapon based self defense....  Dare I say self defense in general!  I have personally witnessed BJJ schools that teach very sport based jitsu, disregarding strikes, standing throws, and weapon situations.  On the flip side the level of understanding of stand up grappling in the Filipino martial arts is deplorable!  Not only are many practitioners so out of shape they couldn't grapple with my 1 year old nephew without gassing, they do not even understand the importance of pummeling. 

Thankfully my instructors Brian Johnson, Tim Cartmell, and Meynard Ancheta all have a fundamental understanding of these two worlds and teach from a very self defense minded perspective.  Meynard, my Pekiti Tirsia Kali teacher, especially works hard on the grappling aspects of weapon based combat.  A brown belt in BJJ under Tim and a rank of Guro in PTK ensure that Meynard comes at any and all scenario's with a pragmatic approach, with a heavy emphasis on tieing your opponent up with one of three controls when standing; over hook / under hook / two on one.

If you do not feel grappling is an integral part of training FMA check out this short clip from the 2012 Dog Brothers Tribal Gathering.  Granted this is one step down from "reality" but none the less this is probably the most honest representation of what would happen in an actual weapon attack.  Count how many times opponents enter into the standing clinch.  Then count the number of fights that end up with one or both parties on the ground.

For those interested in working on a more self defense minded approach to their martial arts training I am happy to assist with private or group lessons where I offer Combatives Class Mon-Thurs at 6pm, Saturday at 10am.  As well as Kali class on Wed. 7:15 and Saturday at noon.  Tuition is based on attendance (1-2 classes a week=$85 a month / 3+ classes = $105).

Whether you train with me or not this is some serious food for thought.  Be honest with your goals and objectives training for if you are training for self defense but are not grappling, nor dealing with weapon based self defense... well then your goals need to be re-evaluated.

Train Hard.  Train Smart.

November 28, 2012

Joyce M. Hubbard: Rest In Peace

The NWJJA Family lost a friend today, Joyce M. Hubbard moved on leaving this earth at 3pm.  Affectionately referred to as Mama Kamau, many of us never have met Ms. Hubbard in person but we all know her son Kamau.

I am not sure what to say bro... I have lost someone very special to me lately too, but the two do not even compare.  All I can offer is my blessings and condolences.  I am so grateful for your friendship and I thought this poem was perfect.

Joyce M. Hubbard
Dec. 12, 1945 -  Nov. 27, 2012
Rest in Peace

When I Die... by Sufi poet Rumi -

when my coffin
is being taken out
you must never think
I am missing this world

don't shed any tears
don't lament or feel sorry
I'm not falling
into a monster's abyss

when you see
my corpse is being carried
don't cry for my leaving
I'm not leaving
I'm arriving at eternal love

when you leave me
in the grave
don't say goodbye
remember a grave is
only a curtain
for the paradise behind

you'll only see me
descending into a grave
now watch me rise
how can there be an end
when the sun sets or
the moon goes down

it looks like the end
it seems like a sunset
but in reality it is a dawn
when the grave locks you up
that is when your soul is freed

Have you ever seen
a seed fallen to earth
not rise with a new life
why should you doubt the rise
of a seed named human

have you ever seen
a bucket lowered into a well
coming back empty
why lament for a soul
when it can come back
like Joseph from the well

when for the last time
you close your mouth
your words and soul
will belong to the world of
no place no time.


November 26, 2012

NAGA Comes to the Emerald City

Looks like NAGA will be the first major grappling organization to host an event here in Seattle, WA. next year!  There are essentially three major grappling organizations, IBJJF, Grapplers Quest, and NAGA.  GQ was rumored to be bringing an event to the area this past 2012 but nothing ever manifested (rumor was he was having a hard time finding a solid venue).  IBJJF has also mentioned they plan a BC open in 2013 which would be it's first event here in the Pacific NW. 

But it looks like NAGA will be visiting the Jet City in the middle of May 2013, so start prepping to show support. Here is the link to my review of the 2010 NAGA World Championships where I fought at blue belt.  Obviously the world championships will have a bigger draw, but as you can see I had a blast and had PLENTY of opportunities to fight.  Lets hope NAGA has tightened up there ship a bit before landing here, but overall I am stoked about the first major tournament here in Seattle, WA! 

November 23, 2012

Book Review: "Putting the Pieces Together" By Carlos Machado

It has almost become cliche hearing that us practitioners of the gentle arts should "apply the principles we learn on the mat, off of it" yet very rarely do we actually see it being applied.  Professor Carlos Machado, recently promoted to 9th degree, just released his first book "Putting the Pieces Together."   Parlaying over four decades of knowledge and skill acquired into a book of quotes, Carlos has written a book that people can read and apply the principles too in every facet of life.

Broken into six chapters over 145 pages we see short parables and quotes that come from different angles; Achievement / Encouragement / Brazilian Jiu Jitsu / Learning & Knowledge / Love / Wisdom.  I like the fact that you can literally take one quote per day and really use that short phrase or drop of knowledge shared as a meditation throughout the day.  No need to power through the complete text, and as a matter of fact I think you miss the point if you do so.

They say it is not the years, its the miles.  If that is the case then Carlos has racked up enough frequent flier miles to cover this planet called life ten times over.  Drawing on his experiences as a high level grappling competitor, father, instructor to thousands of students, husband, business owner, uncle... I mean the list goes on.  I can think of no other more qualified to bridge the gap between the mat and life.

Interjecting his trademark humor and humble attitude, Carlos Machado shines forth in his first attempt at print.  I have had the fortune to train under Prof Machado on several occasions and he always waxes some philosophy on the mat.  "Putting the Pieces Together" is simply an extension of the lessons we take away from the mat.
 From "Putting the Pieces Together:"
"Quotes are like pieces of experiences, the quotes summarize in a line or two a lesson learned for life. The hope is always to save others from our grief and share with them our joy. Quotes of the same subject almost resemble the layers in an onion. You have to shed them layer by layer until you reach the core. Eternal truths have been said all along yet there is always a way to revisit them. Tailored in our own words and experiences, we express our life through quotes. Quotes often come through inspiration or desperation depending upon which aspect of life we are dealing with. Either side of an experience, good or bad, always stays a part of what we treasure and also what we dread. It is up to us to choose what to remember, what to forget and what to pass on. Out of the randomness of life we pick the pieces up and put them together...Putting the Pieces Together"

"I am not here to teach martial arts, but to change lives"
Retailing at $17.99 you can purchase "Putting the Pieces Together" by Carlos Machado  by clicking here to be redirected to RCJ Shop,  Or if you prefer Amazon then by all means click here!   Either way this title makes a perfect stocking stuffer for the martial artist, philosopher, or just the avid reader looking for inspiration. 


Book Review: "Taiji, Xing Yi, and Baguaquan Throwing By Way of Our Modern Masters" by Mark Small

Mark Small has been training in the traditional Chinese martial arts for over four decades and has combined his understanding of the "internal" arts, with his training in Shuai Chiao (Chinese wrestling) in the writing of his first book, "Taiji, Xingyi, and Baguaquan Throwing By Way of Our Modern Masters."  Broken into seven chapters over 100 pages, Mark includes an extensive glossary and lineage charts in his self published text, that is furnished with photos of old masters as well as technique breakdown of various movements from Xing Yi, Bagua, and Taiji.

Mark makes a valid attempt to combine the metaphysical aspects of the Chinese martial arts with modern combative stand up grappling, and overall I think he gives an honest effort regarding a subject matter that is near impossible to convey in English.  Starting off with a short chapter explaining the basic foundation of internal energy, upper-middle-lower dan tien (he defines these as energy centers), and how the masters of old applied this theory.  My first observation is the reader is inundated with foreign, complex terms right from the get go, so the glossary comes in handy for sure. Subject matter such as silk reeling, rooting, "dragon body" posture, etc. are quite diverse and intricate topics and Mark tries hard to convey the metaphysical classical texts in a modern combative context.

Honestly these subjects and topics are intricate and detailed enough to warrant texts of their very own, and while Small offers an introduction to these principles, it is cursory at best and I fear the absolute beginner picking up this text would be lost within a nebulous maze of verbiage.  In one breath "bio mechanics" is mentioned, but then the reader is quickly whisked back into metaphysical talk.  Fort example from chapter three:

"Let the nei jia principles and tactics needed for throwing your opponent pertain in your bio-mechanical interpretation of his intrinsic energies at the moment you intercept his force, and spiral with it, neutralizing him along changing radii and curves.  Your silk reeling dragon body  will then allow you to press into your bowed arms from your body's core, as you squeeze yourself into your opponents space or body shape.  Turn your dragon body as he turns his body to avoid being neutralized or counterattacked by him."  

A lot of info in that little paragraph that is never really clarified throughout the text.  Mark goes into some partner exercises from there which offer sound fundamental drills.  This in my humble opinion is one of the better chapters albeit too short!  Partner drills are sadly overlooked in the Chinese martial arts and true and honest sensitivity exercises often turn into weird ego contests that eventually are ruled by strange dogma.  Here Mark offers a progressive series of four exercises as a primer for getting into the actual throws and take downs that dominate the remainder of the 35 pages.

Chapter seven on the 37 throwing applications from the internal arts is a great chapter showcasing applications from one of the least respected grappling arts.... Taijiquan!  Comprised of 80% grappling and counter grappling techniques, most people think of Taiji as being a goofy, crystal rubbing, tree hugging meditation, Mark shows that to be rather inaccurate of all practitioners.  Teaching a variety of throws and takedowns, Mark also corresponds the pic to the principles found within the book which is INCREDIBLY helpful!

The pic's are black and white but Mark is savvy enough to ensure his partner is in contrasting colors so that readers can easily discern whats going on (a common mistake by authors).  The photo's are cut out which gives a rather flat / one dimensional view of the movement, but overall I think the photo's are clear enough to convey the movements and technique.

Overall Mark Small gives an honest effort with his first book, which could have benefited from some honest, objective editing.  Kudo's to Mark for tackling a subject that most would not dare, and I feel this is a step in the right direction for Chinese martial artists in regards to dissemination of information.  Far too long have we kept principles and theories "secret" for no good reason.  Way too much info has died with past secrecy.  Part of dispelling this issue is writing and producing material to get to the mass public.

So on Black Friday why not actually support a small business for once, as this book would be a perfect stocking stuffer for the martial artist in your life!

"Taiji, Xing Yi, and Baguaquan Throwing by Way of Our Modern Masters" can be purchased for $30 by clicking this link. 

November 22, 2012

This is Why I Train BJJ: Renato Paquet & Leo Viera

Renato Paquet & Ricardo Viera
Words from me would be a disservice to this video.  These ten minutes I will be studying for the rest of my life.  SO many lessons to be learned from this!

I ain't going to lie... I shed a tear.  Absolutely beautiful!

Give thanks for BJJ saving my life and having my brothers on the mat!  Most importantly to my coach, my mentor, my friend... Brian.  I can never repay you! 

Here is some translation I found online mostly from The Jiu Jitsu Lab:

I couldn't understand what Paquet said as he was getting up after tapping Leo, but Leo jokingly says something like, “It’s not over yet,” and Paquet breathlessly replies, “For me, it’s over!”

Right before Paquet kisses him, Leo says it (rolling with him) was a pleasure.
Paquet is out of breath and says, “75 years old. Dinosaur. Old.”

Leo says something to the camera guy at that point like, “When he gets to the side he has the strength of a 20 year old.” He then shows his a fat lip and says, “thick as hell” (he says grosso, which could mean “thick” as in the fat lip is a big one, or it could mean “rude” as in the older guy was rough with him.) Actually, then the older guy shows that it happened when he tried the paper cutter choke and I think he was saying that Leo put his mouth in the way so thats why he was hurt. Leo acknowledges that that’s what happened…it’s very lighthearted.

Paquet, 9:05: "The day you get one of those [touches his Red Belt] I won't be here anymore; nevertheless, when you get it, you will feel my presence, you will feel that my spirit will be alongside of you. Nobody deserves this more than you do. Mind this, and remember me when time comes." 

November 21, 2012

BJJ Addict Interviews Carlos & Roger Machado

If you missed the live stream, or you want to listen to it again, here is BJJ Addict's awesome interview with Carlos & Roger Machado!  This interview alone represents over 80 years of grappling knowledge and mat wisdom.  So since you aren't doing shit at work today, sit down with your ear buds, throw up a fake "work" page, and snuggle up to an hour long interview with two brothers that helped lay the foundation of BJJ in North America!

Thanks again to BJJ Addict for the awesome interview, great questions and format! 

Video streaming by Ustream

November 20, 2012

Thanksgiving Schedule for NWJJA & Three Harmonies

Just a reminder to students about our holiday hours over Dead Turkey Day:

Three Harmonies Students: NO CLASS WEDNESDAY & THURSDAY!

NWJJA Students: NO CLASS THURSDAY.  But I will be at the dojo 10am for a formal, informal, official mini-seminar camp open mat covering... well.... wrist locks of course!!  So get your ass on the mat and work off the calories you are going to pack on this week!

Be safe and well,

November 19, 2012

RCJ Machado Interview on BJJ Addict Podcast

Hey BJJ fans make sure you tune into BJJ Addict Radio Tuesday November 20th, for a great interview with both Carlos and Roger Machado!  Grappling fans can tune in and listen live via
Fight Fans Radio  at 7pm est. (4pm on the west coast kids!).

BJJ Addict is a great podcast that brings engaging guests and topics each week.  Make sure to tune in and support RCJ Machado tomorrow evening!

Here is an interview they did with Jean Jacques Machado earlier this year:

November 17, 2012

Know Your Roots: Alberto Crane & NWJJA

Those in attendance at NWJJA this past week noticed a certain theme with coach Brian, the "S" mount.  Anyone whom has studied with Brian knows that he always offers props and gives credit where it is due, and he credits his instructor Alberto Crane for his success in tournaments attacking with the "S" mount.

This is the only footage I could find of the full fight between Alberto and Joe Camacho at the Professional Sub League back a few years. Ghetto style from Russia!

So I thought it was  perfect time to introduce Alberto to some of our students whom might not be knowledgeable of his influence both to the NWJJA and Brian, but also in a larger part to the world of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu!  Alberto is the same age as me and was born and raised in New Mexico where he started to travel south to Brazil training in BJJ in 1996.  In 2001 Al would become the first American to earn the coveted black belt, under Gracie Barra Vinicius "Draculino" Magalhaes, and would go on to be the second American ever (behind BJ Penn) to win the worlds in 2002!

Flash forward to 2012 and he is a 4th degree black belt teaching out of several schools in the Los Angeles area of California.  Alberto has had an up and down career in MMA amassing a lightweight record of 15-5 (14 coming as no surprise to anyone, via submission!) with several fights in the UFC, and his most notable accomplishment being at  KOTC 21 in March of 2003, where he won a split decision over Javier Vasquez to claim the lightweight title!
Here is Al versus tournament legend Cleber Luciano:

His connection with NWJJA is via Brian's frequent visits to New Mexico to visit family from approximately 1999-2003, where Brian would visit Alberto's Santa Fe academy to train and roll eventually earning Brian the promotion to brown belt via Alberto.  When I get access to it I will share a few clips from Alberto's two visits to Seattle over the past 5 years or so.  To this day much of Alberto's game can be seen as a major influence in our teacher and our style of rolling including the "S" mount, torture chamber, and switch base positions.  Oh... and did I mention Al LOVES wrist locks???

The first time I rolled with him as a puny white belt I swear he wrist locked me 20 times in a 5 minute round!  Amazing top pressure and a solid guard game.  Study these video's and learn from one of BJJ's foremost masters!

And if this does not look familiar then you have not rolled with Brian at all:

Train Hard.  Party Hard.