1914 Kimono’s – BJJ Gi Review

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The market is flooded with new Brazilian Jiu Jitsu gi manufacturers as of late.  For the consumer this is very positive in that there are many designs and styles to choose from.  Buyer beware though as not all gi’s are made the same!  In my limited experience their are two roads gi manufacturer’s walk down… top tier material, quality craftsmanship, and excellent customer service.  Or, flashy design work paired with insane marketing and promotional strategies.  1914 Kimono’s certainly rest in the former not the latter.

Spearheaded by co-owner Blake Kerr, 1914 is named in honor of Matsuyo Maeda’s maiden voyage from Japan to Brazil November 14, 1914.  A fitting monicker for the launch of a brand new era in gi manufacturing from a company combing functionality along with style!
imageSo what is so “new” and special about 1914 you may ask?!  Well perhaps I am getting too hyped, but what I can tell you is these are some of the nicest fitting, most comfortable BJJ gi’s I have worn!  Lets first discuss the design of the gi.  If I had to choose a single word it would be, “clean.”  An embroidered 1914 logo adorns the thigh and upper arm’s but in simple contrasting colors to the gi, and really rather small size wise.  Just below the collar on the back is again the logo, but other then that the gi is clean and left untouched.  I prefer this style as I really do not feel that skull’s with daggers, snarling pitbulls, nor outlines of brass knuckles really express my style of BJJ.  Leaving plenty of room to stitch on school patches or sponsor info, the pearl weave 1914’s are quite stylish with the color gi’s not fading a bit.

A few stylistic designs make 1914 stick out… such as the tapered ankles on the rip stop pants.  Contouring to your legs a bit better the tapering helps prevent bagginess and bunching.   I am glad Blake and his designers choose to go with the cord to tie.  I know this is a personal choice, but the more I use cords to tie, the more I like them!   All pants are made of rip stop material which has proven to be one of the toughest ones I have used.  Not only is rip stop durable, it is lightweight.  The A-4 gi I was sent weighs in a a perfect 4.0#’s.  So the ripstop material (only on the pants) is key to this being a great gi for competition.   Keep in mind the knee’s are doubled out material wise with reinforced stitching ensuring no knee’s getting worn through.

The kimono itself is made of 100% pearl weave Chinese cotton, manufactured in Taiwan.  Soft yet durable and very breathable.  I have not tried out the gold weave (yet), the main difference being the gold weave is a bit softer to the touch but not as tightly woven as the pearl.  But the pearl weave… honestly my friends, this is the most comfortable gi in my storied collection!  Breathes clear, is very tough and durable, has a contouring fit yet is not tight nor hard to pull out lapels to use for choking.

imageimageSpeaking of collars the foam collar with 1914 seems to fit into ones hand perfectly and is soft enough to be able to work and use immediately (I hate the gi’s I have to spend a month or two “working” the collar so it was no longer stiff as a board).  You will find triple stitching through this kimono and I could not find one loose seem nor errant end thread!  The craftsmanship on the 1914 is second to none, and to be honest the best I have seen manufactured in Asia.  On each sleeve their is perhaps one inch where a stitch was missed.  It has yet to affect anything after 3 months of constant use.  To round out the durability all stress points are reinforced.

I have used this gi daily in training and will be going into my third tournament this weekend with it, so I can attest to the durability and toughness keeping in mind that this gi is only 4 pounds!  A key factor for those of us competing in IBJJF events where one has to weigh in with the gi on.

imageAll said and done 1914 has made an amazingly affordable gi that is really top notch.  Falling into the deeper end of mid range gi’s ($125-175) the white 1914 Kimono retails for $150, with colored gi’s hitting the market at $170.  Extremely reasonable considering you do not have to invest $300 while waiting on a list to be “exclusive.”  I have some of those high end gi’s we all read about and to be quite honest 1914 has produced a Bentley with the sticker of a Buick.

A caveat: I must admit that when I first got this gi I fell in love with it so hard that I contacted Blake and pitched him for sponsorship.  I had never done this before but in discussing his company, product and experiencing his positive attitude about giving back to the art that has given us all so much, I decided to just hit him up.  To my surprise he was elated to take me on board with the likes of Rafael Lovato Jr., Justin Rader, and the Adamson bro’s in Seaside!  Wow!  I am honored and humbled to be in such company.

imageWhile I wrote 90% of this about a month ago, I must admit a bit o’ bias in this review!  Either way my opinion stands…. 1914 is THE premier brand to look out for on the horizon!  I will be wandering around the Pan Am’s this weekend and will be fighting in my 1914 Gi on Saturday.  If you see me stop and say “Hi” and let me know what you think of the blog, and check out 1914’s kimono.



imageWanted to wish any and all who are competing in the 2012 Pan Am’s this week the best of luck!  The IBJJF is claiming it to be the largest Pan Am’s yet.  Weather will be nice and sunny in So Cal, the training will be top notch and the competition will be epic.  Below is the schedule for fight times.  Remember to stop by the 1914 Kimono’s booth and check out there awesome gi’s!  And if you see a tall, bald, bearded goofy white dude wandering around stop and say “Hi” as I would love to meet any of you from cyber space.  Let me know if you like, or hate, the blog!

I personally am stoked as it is not every day you get to fight a life and death battle with another warrior where regardless of the outcome you survive to live another day!  What an opportunity to test oneself on the mat of truth (distant cousin to the tree of Woe;)

Fight hard and have fun,

Pan Jiu-Jitsu ChampionshipThursday – 29/Mar/2012

9:00 AM Blue Adult Male – Rooster to Feather
11:15 AM Blue Adult Male – Light and Middle
1:30 PM Blue Adult Male – Medium Heavy to Ultra Heavy
3:00 PM White Adult Male – Rooster and Light Feather
White Adult Female
4:00 PM White Adult Male – Feather and Light
5:00 PM White Adult Male – Middle to Ultra Heavy
White Master – Rooster to Light
6:10 PM White Master – Middle to Ultra Heavy
White Senior – Rooster to Heavy
6:40 PM White Senior – Super Heavy and Ultra Heavy
Blue Adult Male – Open Class

Blue belt adult athletes who are eligible to compete in Open Class must register before 5PM.
Friday – 30/Mar/2012

9:00 AM Purple Adult Male – Rooster to Feather
Purple Adult Female
10:30 AM Purple Adult Male – Light and Middle
12:00 PM Purple Adult Male – Medium Heavy to Ultra Heavy
Blue Adult Female – Light Feather to Light
1:45 PM Blue Adult Female – Middle to Heavy
Blue Master Male – Rooster to Middle
2:45 PM Blue Master Male – Medium Heavy to Ultra Heavy
Blue Master Female – Light Feather to Light
3:40 PM Blue Master Female – Middle to Heavy
Blue Senior 1 – Rooster to Medium Heavy
4:30 PM Blue Senior 1 – Heavy to Ultra Heavy
Blue Senior 2
Blue Senior 3 – Rooster to Middle
5:20 PM Blue Senior 3 – Medium Heavy to Ultra Heavy
Blue Senior 4 and 5
Purple Adult Male – Open Class
Purple Adult Female – Open Class
Blue Adult Female – Open Class
6:30 PM Blue Master Male Open Class
Blue Master Female – Open Class
Blue Senior 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 – Open Class

The following divisions must register to Open Class before 4PM:
Purple Adult Male
Purple Adult Female
Blue Adult FemaleThe following divisions must register to Open Class before 5PM:
Blue Master Male
Blue Master FemaleThe following divisions must register to Open Class before 6PM:
Blue Senior 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5Saturday – 31/Mar/2012

9:00 AM Purple Master Male – Rooster to Middle
Purple Master Female
10:20 AM Purple Master Male – Medium Heavy to Ultra Heavy
Purple Senior 1 – Rooster to Middle
11:20 AM Purple Senior 1 – Medium Heavy to Ultra Heavy
Purple Senior 2
Purple Senior 3 – Rooster to Middle
12:10 PM Purple Senior 3 – Medium Heavy to Ultra Heavy
Purple Senior 4 and 5
Brown Master – Rooster to Light
12:45 PM Brown Master – Middle to Ultra Heavy
Brown Senior 1
Black Adult Male – Open Class Registration
Black Adult Female – Open Class Registration
1:25 PM Brown Senior 2
Brown Senior 3
1:45 PM Black Adult Male – End of Open Class Registration
Black Adult Female – End of Open Class Registration
2:00 PM Brown Senior 4 and 5
Blue Juvenile 1 Male
Blue Juvenile 2 Male
2:40 PM Black Adult Male – Open Class
Black Adult Female – Open Class
Blue Juvenile 1 Female
Blue Juvenile 2 Female
White Juvenile 1 Male
White Juvenile 2 Male
White Juvenile 1 Female
White Juvenile 2 Female
Purple Juvenile
3:10 PM Black Master Male
Black Master Female
4:10 PM Black Senior 1
Black Senior 2 – Rooster to Light
5:00 PM Black Senior 2 – Middle to Ultra Heavy
Black Senior 3, 4 and 5
5:45 PM Purple Master Male – Open Class
Purple Senior 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 – Open Class
Purple Master Female – Open Class
Brown Master – Open Class
Brown Senior 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 – Open Class
7:00 PM Black Master Male – Open Class
Black Master Female – Open Class
Black Senior 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 – Open Class
Blue Juvenile 1 and 2 Male – Open Class
Blue Juvenile 1 and 2 Female – Open Class
Purple Juvenile – Open Class

The following divisions must register to Open Class before 4PM:
Purple Master Male
Purple Senior 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5
Purple Master Female
Brown Master
Brown Senior 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5
The following divisions must register to Open Class before 6PM:
Black Master Male
Black Master Female
Black Senior 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5
Blue Juvenile 1 and 2 Male
Blue Juvenile 1 and 2 Female
Purple Juvenile
Sunday – 01/Abr/2012

9:00 AM Brown Adult Male – Rooster to Feather
Black Adult Male – Rooster to Feather
10:35 AM Brown Adult Male – Light
Brown Adult Female
Black Adult Male – Light and Middle
12:35 PM Brown Adult Male – Middle
Black Adult Male – Medium Heavy to Super Heavy
2:00 PM Brown Adult Male Medium Heavy to Ultra Heavy
Black Adult Male – Ultra Heavy
Black Adult Female
3:45 PM Brown Adult Female – Open Class
Black Belt Finals
Brown Adult Male – Open Class

All Brown belt adult athletes who are eligible to compete in Open Class must register before 3:30PM.imageDemolisher over at DSTRYRsg has written the first “outside” review of Brian Johnson’s “Basic 12 BJJ: DVD series, and I must say it is AWESOME!!!

I will post a snippet of the review below, but click here to read the entire review!

“Most DVD’s consist of learning someone’s system or learning a particular grapplers style (almost always offensive.) As far as I have seen the only DVD comparable to this is the Roy Dean White to Blue curriculum. Roy’s DVD has been out for years and as far as I know it was the first of it’s kind. I think the Basic 12 DVD is just as good and in someways better than the Dean DVD. Which in my opinion says a lot.” 

Thanks for the amazing review guys!

imageWanted to give a quick shout out to the Washington Stealth Pro Lacrosse team who put on a great schalacking to the Minnesota Swarm 20-13 last night in Everett, WA!  Many folks are unaware that we have a pro lacrosse team, but they are the 2011 champs and I must admit it was a blast.

Not a bad seed in the house fans of all ages will enjoy the fast paced game.  As you can see there is no lull in scoring, nor with hitting (keep in mind… it is LEGAL to smack opponents with your stick)!  This is box lacrosse which is a bit different then the standard field lacrosse you commonly see in collegiate and high school lacrosse.  Played with five players and a goalie, box lacrosse is much akin to hockey and is just as exciting and hard hitting.

Rooted in the native american tradition of playing over miles and miles of land the results of the match would often settle disputes and disagreements in lieu of war (imagine if our leaders could have the same attitude!?!?!?!).  Check out this video of Dog Brother Marc Denny working with a lacrosse stick:

Go check them out with the family for a fun, affordable (get the nose bleed seats, not a bad seat in the arena!), and you will supporting some local pro athletes!


An absolutely brilliant documentary by Stuart Cooper awaits your viewing pleasure.  “Jiu Jitsu Has No End” is a beautifully shot short documentary on Robson Moura, one of the most accomplished and experienced BJJ practitioners walking the planet!  His philosophy on BJJ and life is inspirational.  I WILL train with this man someday!


imageA huge congrats to all the well deserved promotions last night at the NWJJA.  This is the biggest (in terms of number of people) single promotion I have witnessed since joining the gym over 5 years ago.  It was also the biggest in terms of Brian’s promotion of Denise Holcomb to black belt.  Denise is Brian’s longest running student and one of his most dedicated and loyal without a doubt.  She embodies the true warrior spirit and is well deserving of her promotion!

Congrats to our newest brown belt as well Mike Leary who is running NWJJA kids program.

Big props to the new purples:

Denise Holcomb: NWJJA’s first in house black belt!
  • Tom Clowers
  • Ray Luigi
  • Brian Edge
  • Mark Mestel
  • Nick (not sure what your last name is)
  • Bob Heineman
  • Scotty Stillwell
  • Kim “Short Round” Anderson

New blue belts include:

  • Chris Whitmore
  • Connor Foust
  • Brett Smith
  • Rick Munce
  • “Coach” Bo

I’d be crying if I was not laughing!  Day in and day out I am completely baffled not only at the rhetoric that is exhaled from Pat Robertson’s mouth, but to the masses who listen and look to this man for guidance and wisdom (neither of which he seems to possess).

This is a clip of Robertson answering a viewers letter regarding whether or not this individual should pursue a career in teaching martial arts.  Robertson’s response is rife with ignorant statements which clearly illustrate Robertson’s complete lack of experience in martial arts, “ghetto kids,” Chuck Norris, or inhaling anything other then his own foul stench emanating from a diaper fertilized with psychotic Christian propaganda:

imageSorry for being behind on posting these vid’s… no excuses, been busy training my but off.  Here are the vid’s from the Arnold Grappling Championship March 3, 2012.  I fought the young guns in the heavyweight purple belt division.  Great competitors one and all.  Before we get started I wanted to thank my sponsor 1914 Kimono’s for helping me get to the Arnolds!  Great gi’s, great guys, great jits!  Look for the website launch in the next week!
This first fight is against Gerardo Gallegos fighting with a Jorge Gurgel affiliate out of Lexington, KY.  G has a 4-3 pro mma record, and do not let the white belt fool you… homeboy is a legit purple belt, but all of his clothing and i-pad were stolen out of his car downtown (shame on you Columbus) the previous night so he had to borrow a buddies gi and white belt!

Gerardo is INSANELY strong and it is painfully evident I need to work my takedown game.  At the very least I need to pull guard better.  I have been working kimura’s a bit in all positions, not just the submission but also the control that accompanies the grip.  In the dojo I have had quite a bit of success with it and one of my goals in this tournament was to work that game aggressively, and you see me do that while he was working to pass my half guard.  One counter to the kimura is to grab your own hand and counter-kimura me as I am attempting to kimura you (kinda’ like a Dr. Suess book eh!?).  Thanks to awesome training partners like the Baconator I am aware of this and anticipate it.  What I did not anticipate was the roll right into his very own kimura out of my limb arm escape.  Even G said:
“You went all limp biscuit on me, so I rolled it just like we do with gloves on in MMA.”

I fight it a bit, but in the end he has tight and had the position.  Solid submission and a really nice cat!  Gerardo went on to take silver.

My second match is the kicker!  WOW did I learn a ton here.  First of all props to Robert Curtis who I caught up with after we fought.  Just got promoted about 4 weeks prior.  His first big tournament, and the dude fought his ass off!  We got complimented by several people saying we had the most exciting back and forth match of the day.  This was for bronze at the Arnold’s 2012.

Where do I start with what I learned here….

  • Again I need a decisive, aggressive take down / guard pull plan
  • Overall I am pretty happy with my guard game, though I need to control better
  • Patience.  Patience.  Patience.  Something I feel I will most likely work on for the rest of my life!
  • I need to improve my half guard sweep game
  • The Ballard Bridge Sweep’s first tournament appearance
  • I need better control after gaining dominant positions (demonstrated this past weekend as well)
  • My wife has a potty mouth when she is anxious LOL!

I cringe to think what Brian (my coach) says when he sees this, but I have no regrets trying to pass his half guard with under a minute left.  I want to stay active, not be a staller.  Staying active and trying to pass his guard did not fail me… me not controlling him as I worked my pass failed me.  All in all I should not have ever been ahead as I did not maintain the mount long enough to get points in my opinion.  That said, I had a blast fighting you guys and truly cherish the learning opportunity.  Great character and competitiveness by all fighters!

Sporting the brand new 1914 pearl weave.
One of the most comfortable gi’s I own!


Careful who you let in to these events!

Just over four years ago I entered my first BJJ tournament, The Revolution, ran by Jeff Bourgeois and his crew of merry pranksters.  A lot has changed in those precious few years.  Jeff is running one hell of a smooth show from top to bottom.  Just like any major event it has it’s hiccups and issues, but overall The Revolution is a great tournament for grapplers of all ages.

Weaving through the snow flurries on our way out to Bonney Lake, most of the NWJJA fight team were at the high school already so I quickly changed and got on the mat to warm up.  It is nice being at the weight you want to be so you do not have to worry about what you are eating too much the night before.  I am trying more and more to stay relaxed and as “normal” as I ever get prior to competing.  The last two tournaments I have been able to eat a normal meal and stay hydrated the night before fighting.  Weighing in wearing my 4# 1914 Gi, with 1/2 pound to spare told me I was balancing perfectly.

Thanks to 1914 Gi’s for their sponsorship!

They got the black, brown and purple belt matches going fairly quickly so a short warm up roll with Taho and I was feeling loose and ready.  I was using the Revolution to illuminate any holes that need immediate tightening up for the Pan Am’s, and some of those problems certainly shone forth such as: establishing pressure on top; following through more thoroughly; work my stand up!

I will analyze my match with Kasey (I think he is from Impact, but don’t quote me on that) in another post with video.  But overall Kasey is a tough dude who had the balls to wrestle up a weight category.  I basically played guard the whole match going into the 6th minute tied 0-0.  I was working him in my 1/2 guard, but I felt him stretching me out and I knew I would not be able to hold it until the end of the match, so I started to set up my Ballard Bridge sweep.  (nice try… not going to share HOW I set it up!)

imageMy thinking, dare I call it a strategy, was that when he passed my guard and came into side control I would sweep him immediately, nailing the the sweep points with literally seconds left (7 minute long matches).  Well my strategy damn near worked…. but he maintained his balance and I was not able to sweep him.  He settled tight into side control gaining his passing points and won!  Kudos to Kasey he played a very patient, tight game shutting down my guard game.

We had 10 fighters representing NWJJA at the Revolution making it one of the largest teams we have ever assembled.  EVERYONE fought hard and gained some invaluable experience on the mat.  For Ryan, Omar, and Kamau this was their first BJJ tournament.  Ryan got a north-south choke and fought real hard, but got caught in a choke himself in his second fight.  Omar gave a solid showing but got fucked by absolutely terrible reffing losing by one point.  Otherwise Omar did solid in his first tourney.  Kamau is a beast!  Ending his first grappling match in 53 seconds with a kimura (kid will be doing wristlocks next!).  Kamau has been a real positive addition to our gym and trust me when I tell say that you will be hearing much more about him in the future!

Connor stepped up to his second tournament experience.  A little nervous at first he settled down and fought a great first fight scrambling back and forth, but finally submitted with a choke.  The Kool Aid Kid did great in his second showing.  Connor too is going to be a force to reckon with!

Spider was on the receiving end of one of a handful of terrible reffing.  I am not sure who the ref was, but he was not counting any hold time for positional changes and the score was quickly run up on Chris by his tough opponent.  Literally the guy would put a knee on belly and immediately the ref would signal points regardless of control.  This was one of a handful of terrible jobs I saw with ref’s this Revolution.

Two of the best training partners one can ask for!

I am going to call it as I see it… but it seems to me that with a handful of Brazilian ref’s, they seem indifferent as to what they are supposed to be doing.  I saw on numerous occasions ref’s chatting with others while a match was happening, often looking away from the fight.  On a few occasions I caught ref’s literally starring into space, and one was checking his pocket (looking at something in his pocket which I assume was a phone, but could not see so do not want to speculate).  I don’t understand… if you do not want to ref, then why sign up to do it?  If you are going to do it, do it right and with 100% attention to the fighters.
In the end we should never leave it to the judges, but lets have the best reffing we can for the times we do need the point system.

This tournament was markedly different then the Arnolds I competed in a couple weeks ago in that there was such a lack of machismo and bravado at the Arnolds back in Ohio.

I saw a lot of this machismo and ego being passed on from teacher to student.  It saddens me, but my lesson here is that I can do nothing about it, only try to better myself and be a better role model myself.

Mike fought the young guns, entering the same division as me we also got weights combined.  Mike fought a solid fight as this was his first time stepping up to compete at purple belt.  He held his own with the younger, bigger kids.

Eric Montenegro had two hard battles with 1914 Sponsored fighter Nate Adamson of Seaside JJ.  Nate is SUPER strong and plays a wicked good open guard game which lends itself nicely to fighting Eric who is much the same.  A back and forth battle, Nate took the gold in the end with a gi choke (I believe).

imageRandy Bacon was the star of NWJJA Saturday taking silver in the purple lightweight division.  Talk about some killer battles back and forth, Randy managed a killer bow and arrow choke on one opponent, winning on points with another before succumbing to a tight purple belt from SBG Montana.

All in all I think the tournament was a great experience.  As with any fight we have to analyze our matches and go back to the drawing board to clean up our game.  I felt the academy did great as a whole.  No one got blown out.  We lost by just a few points in our losses, and nothing from nothing… the quality of fighters at these local events has skyrocketed in the past 2 years!

Coach Foster presenting Jeff with his plaque.

With that said it was nice of all the local coaches to present Jeff with an outstanding achievement award on Saturday as well.  Jeff has put his blood, sweat and tears into the Revolution over the past 10 years and it has become pretty much the one and only quality grappling tournament locally.  Cheers Jeff for the great times!  Keep up the hard work and we will keep supporting your efforts.

Check out Leapllc.com for upcoming tournaments here in the Seattle, WA. area.

I want to thank my sponsor 1914 Gi’s (website is launching in a week) whose help is really appreciated, and no BS… these gi’s are some of the lightest, nicest products on the market!  Check them out!
Also wanted to thank my coach for his guidance.  I cherish our time on the mat and look forward to working out the kinks in my game.
Thanks to all the training partners who show up day in, day out, and help me prepare to fight.  The last two tournaments I have done I have not felt gassed at all, and I owe a debt of gratitude to those of you pushing every night on the mat!  It is appreciated!

The first known pic of the Ballard Bridge sweep being

JakeA record 18,919 people sat perched on the edge of their seats this past week for one of the most exciting NCAA Division I wrestling tournaments ever!  Packing the Scott Trade Center in St. Louis, Mo. spectators were treated to outstanding matches in every single weight category.  A field comprised mostly of freshman and sophomore’s, these guys fought a tough struggle all weekend long with Penn State clinching the team title for the second consecutive year.

Team Standings:

  1. image
  2. Penn St.
  3. Minnesota
  4. Iowa
  5. Cornell
  6. Ohio State
  7. Oklahoma St.
  8. Illinois
  9. Lehigh
  10. Northwestern
  11. Oregon St.

Thanks to Intermatwrestle.com for providing the brackets which can be viewed by clicking here!
Once again we see the dominance of Midwest wrestling with the Big Ten showing 12 finalists this year, as well as dominating the team standings as well.  34 wrestlers earned All American Honors from the Big Ten.
Champions at weights broke down like this:
125# Matt Mcdonough (Iowa)
133# Logan Stieber (Ohio State) – Logan’s first championship
141# Kellen Russell (Michigan)
149# Frank Molinaro (Penn St.)
157# Kyle Dake (Cornell) – Kyle is the first wrestler to win at three different weight classes!
165# David Taylor (Penn St.) – Most dominant wrestler (513 points – season long).  Named outstanding wrestler of the year, as well as winning the Gorriaran Award with four pins in 8:46.

Ed Ruth dominating the season!

174# Ed Ruth (Penn St.) – Went 31-0 this year!
184# Steve Bosak (Cornell)
197# Cam Simaz (Cornell)
HWT# Tony Nelson (Minnesota)
Shout out to Binghampton’s Donnie Vinson who was the fourth seed and lost his first match of the tournament.  Went on to win seven straight  to place third at 149$ and earning All American honors!  THAT is what the struggle, the pain, the hours, the sweat is all for!  Nicely done Donnie!
imageReaders of my blog should be following Dan Faggella and his site The Science of Skill for some time now as I have listed him on my blog roll because he brings a very unique perspective to BJJ.  So you can imagine my surprise when about 10 days ago I find an email in my inbox from Dan asking me if I would accept the honor of being named one of the top blog’s for BJJ nerds!?

“Hell’s yizzy!” replied I!

“Out of curiosity I found Jake’s site and was glad to learn that there are other BJJ nerds out there hammering away on the keyboard…” (To read the entire post click here!)

I like Dan’s approach and writing style and I am completely honored and humbled he chose The Ground Never Misses as one of the top BJJ nerd sites!  Please support this blog and Dan’s efforts by checking out “The Science of Skill”  on your daily travels through the blogosphere.


imageThe NWJJA has the largest fight team we have ever had attending this Saturdays Revolution Tournament!  Representing the academy will be: Eric Montenegro / Chickenwing Leary / Randy Bacon / Myself  / Chris “Spider” Webb / Ryan / Omar / Connor “Kool Aid Kid” / “Tiny” AKA Kamau / “Big Walker” Taho Kakutani.  Sorry if I am leaving anyone out.

For those of you not fighting, please come out in your NWJJA gear to support the troops!  It is St. Paddy’s day so I know you will be doing nothing but sitting around drinking beer anyways!  Come watch the NWJJA kick some ass and then you can buy the first round;)

Fight Hard, but most of all have fun guys!

What!?!?!  No inverted triangle!?!?!?  Just kidding Ryan, just kidding.

Here is unquestionable proof that Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is one of the safest martial arts to use in a self defense scenario.  This is video of Ryan Hall, grappling phenom, BJJ black belt, and all around decent dude (I have met him twice, and he was very nice both times).  Chilling with his girl Jen and his homies after some hard ass training they are approached by an inebriated, quite probably mentally ill, young man.

Notice how calm Ryan stays throughout the video and how the situation was controlled without anyone getting injured or hurt.  Bravo to Mr. Hall, and yet another example of why I feel BJJ is THE martial art for ANYONE of ANY SIZE/AGE/WEIGHT/ETHNICITY should train it!

The first rule of any warriors creed is self preservation.  And while many martial artists glamorize and fantasize about defending our loved ones against a gang of pillagers, the simple fact remains that our first line of self preservation is our health (sadly the first thing to often get overlooked and ignored by us as well).  Regular care and eating right are probably the two most important aspects of our self care.

Mucho thanks to Ross Training for this amazing clip of Dr. Terry Wahls, clinical professor at Iowa Carver College of Medicine.  That is a fancy way of saying she teaches internal medicine to residents, as well as conducts research, gets published, etc. etc.  Basically she is really, really smart and we should perhaps take 15 or so minutes to listen to her.

I will not spoil the movie so to speak, but in 2003 she was diagnosed with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis and was soon in a recline wheelchair.

In the video she talks about how she overcame such a terrible disease by simply changing her diet.  Words of wisdom below.  Remember the difference between wisdom and intelligence (which Dr. Wahls has plenty of both)… wisdom comes with experience:

On a similarly different note, if you are looking for a solid physician in town I would highly encourage you checking in with Dr. Amy Fasig, a naturopathic doctor in the Queen Anne neighborhood.  A very knowledgeable, caring physician who brings the best of both eastern and western medicine while taking a look at the patient as a complete entity physically, psychologically, and emotionally.

Doc Amy also takes a number of insurance companies so check her out today at Queen Anne Natural Medicine.


imageNo class this Saturday (March 17th) due to the support of the Revolution Tournament down in Bonney Lake.  I encourage you to come out and support your NWJJA brothers and sisters.

Also I will be out of town March 28 – April 2nd).  Classes resume April 3rd.

Thank you,

imageSorry for the shameless play on the March madness theme, but I am serious that the ONLY brackets you need to be concerned with, are the NCAA Div. I Wrestling brackets.  Starting tomorrow (Thursday) morning in St. Louis, MO. the NCAA championships will feature the top collegiate grapplers in the country.  Check your local listings for coverage on ESPN and ESPN 2 throughout the weekend (Fri & Sat I believe), also check with your local college sports networks who will be covering the finals throughout the weekend as well.

Click here to view the brackets for the tournament, which can also be printed out BTW (10 pages long).

It was an exciting season with some close victories and losses, but here is how the NWCA / USA Today Coaches poll laid out the top 10 teams (as of Feb. 28th):

  1. Minnesota (14-3)
  2. Penn State (13-1)
  3. Oklahoma St. (17-1)
  4. Iowa (14-4)
  5. Illinois (16-4)
  6. Cornell (11-1)
  7. Ohio State (13-4)
  8. Nebraska (15-4)
  9. Pittsburgh (14-2)
  10. Missouri (13-4)

imageMidwest once again represents as one of the premier wrestling regions in the world!
Also check out this article on the upcoming tournament. A great primer.
“Ten Things to watch for in St Louis” by Roger Moore (no… not 007)!
Make sure to tune in and support your local teams. This is one of the oldest and most prestigious titles in Div. I sports!
Train Hard.  Train Smart.Jake

Thanks to my sponsor 1914 Gi’s!

Visiting back home a couple weeks ago, I was originally was going to compete at the Chicago Open held by the IBJJF, but decided that would be a bit too much time away from my fam who were the sole reason for visiting Ohio in the first place.  Then the Arnold’s popped up on the radar where they would be offering a BJJ tournament on Saturday, and then the first regional qualifier for the ADCC on Sunday.  I saw this as divine intervention as the Arnold’s are held yearly in Columbus, OH. which is exactly where I would be visiting!   Coupled with my first sponsor 1914 Kimono’s who covered my entry fee, this was a great opportunity to compete with some of the best in the Midwest.

imageFor those of you unaware… the Arnold Sports Expo is the largest gathering of its kind.  Boasting over 18,000 athletes competing in 45 various events from fencing, to power lifting, to boxing, to gymnastics.  Eleven different events were qualifiers for Olympic events.  Walking through the vendor (should read: “unnecessary waste of money supplement section”), I can honestly say I have never seen so many disproportional men, and fake breasted women!  Oh… and Carmen Electra is REALLY, REALLY tiny!

This review will be focused on the Arnold Sports Expo as I experienced it.  I will discuss my individual matches and fights in another post, but I wanted to shine the light on a few others that made this all happen.  Firstly Brett Boyce who organized and ran this years grappling events.  Rumor on the mats as the day was starting on Saturday was the previous years events had been run terribly and their was some apprehension from participants at first, but as the day got going Brett proved that he knows how to run a smooth event.  I had never been to the Arnold’s before, but I participated in the regional qualifiers for ADCC in 2009 which was run by Brett and he did a great job up here as well!

As with any tournament there is wait time, but with only 4 mats available Brett kept them moving and overall the reffing was decent.  I know for a fact in one of my matches I did not maintain mount for 3 seconds but still got points, where some other matches saw the complete opposite.  Overall I felt the calls and reffing were good.  Could be better, but clean and fair across the board.

Going back to the Midwest is needed for me to be reminded of good, honest, down to earth people.  And I must say that is EXACTLY what I experienced at this tournament from every angle!  Join me if you will on some random stories from last weekend:

Robert… my brother from another mother!
  • image
  • Robert Webb was the first cat I walked up to and introduced my self to on Saturday, and we instantly hit it off.  Robert was competing in the super heavy division at purple, but because of so few people they combined him with brown belts as well.  Despite his hesitations Robert took gold in gi!  All of Robert’s opponents were heavier then him, and I believe younger.  But he fought his ass off and came away with the win.  Not sure how he did on Sunday in No gi.  Robert has a great attitude because he wanted to come out and push himself.  If you are ever in Lexington, KY. look him up at 2350 Woodhill Center, “Grand Champion School of Submissions.”  And also be on the lookout for a revamping of the grunge scene;)
  • A shout out to Travis Conley who won the purple belt division.  Though I did not get the opportunity to fight him Travis and I spoke at length on Saturday about the grappling scene in the Midwest, and past Arnold’s.  Travis is cleaning house from the sounds of it with 15 tournament victories last year, racking up a couple more over the weekend with a 28-0 ass kicking and a gi choke in the finals!  Travis is another example of a humble cat who can kick some serious ass.  Wish him luck as I hope to see him at the Pan Am’s in a few weeks.  If you are ever in Kansas City check his school out; Kansas City BJJ.
  • I cannot for the life of me remember his name, but I slipped behind the bleachers after a tough day on Saturday to change real quick, and another guy already had the same idea.  We started talking and I asked how  long he had been training, as I saw him win earlier in the black belt division.  He immediately confessed… “I have to be honest, I am only a blue belt in BJJ.  But I have wrestled all my life including at the collegiate level and I do not feel it is fair to my opponents to fight at the blue belt level.”  WOW!  What class!  Sadly my foggy memory cannot recollect his name but his story is needed.  And he is one of many I met like this at the Arnold’s.  Guys out to train and compete, and test their mettle on the mat.  Mad respect!
  • Speaking of amazing attitudes… lightweight ADCC Pro Winner James Gray has one hell of a story.  First of all the cat has no instructor.  He does not say this in a egotistical manner, just simply matter of factly.  Never has in his 7 years of grappling.  He claims he just watches the best compete (not instruct per se, but competition footage!).  He enters the expert/pro division’s… and WINS!

Duane “Bang” Ludwig
    • To make things even a bit more unbelievable James told me this was his first tournament in over a year where he has been rehabbing a NASTY arm break.  Took a 250# student down with a double leg and somehow twisted wrong with the student going through his arm Meisha Tate style and breaking it completely the opposite direction!  A sick scar is all that remains, but James said he was favoring it a bit and asked if I could tell!?  Jeez…  I look at stories like this as to why we are all on the mat fighting and persevering day in and day out.  To overcome our fears, doubts and limitations.  Using Jiu Jitsu, grappling as a vehicle to express this primitive energy is so important to humankind!  If you are ever up in the Howell, MI. area check out James and his crew.  He is a humble instructor with classy fighters under his tutelage: Team SFS (Scorpion Fighting Systems).
    • Another stand out both skill wise and class wise is Kijafa Spiller  of Dayton, OH.  Kijafa has SLICK transitions and attacks from all positions.   Watching him move, I can tell you that this is someone to keep an eye out for.  In only his mid-20’s Kijafa will be a name you hear both in grappling and MMA as he is climbing the ladder in professional MMA too.  Great meeting him and his girlfriend.
  • All of my opponents seemed to be professional fighters and every one of them were as nice and humble as anyone I have met in the martial arts.  I have trained with a number of so called “masters” in various genre’s, and few, if any, can match the humility and down to earth attitude of just about every MMA fighter I have met.  Eric Schafer was kind enough to take a picture with me after our fight.  I was chatting with Gerardo Gallegos after our fight on how he caught me with the Americana.  Robert Curtis and I spoke throughout the weekend after we fought.  Just all around good times and awesome camaraderie!  There was not one ounce of machismo at this tourney (coincidentally there were no Brazilian’s competing either).
Kijafa (2nd from left), James Gray (4th from L),
Eric Schafer (2nd from R)

If you ever have to the chance you should really check out the Arnold’s as the event itself is something else to behold.  I hope Brett Boyce continues to run the Arnold’s so that a smooth grappling event can be promised.  Overall the whole expo was pretty amazing and a lot of fun.  The level of competition was VERY high and the level of attitude and poor sportsmanship was at an all time low.
I want to thank my sponsor 1914 Kimono’s for their support, as well as my wife and family.  I hope next time to bring you home some precious medal!    Win lose or draw all of your support means the world to me.  Thank you.
Train Hard.  Train Smart.Jake

Peace, love and chokes at the 2012 Aarnold’s!

imageIf you have ever seen any early (pre-pop fame 2000) UFC, Shooto, or Vale Tudo then you need no introduction to Bad Boy Fight apparel, as they were one of the pioneer fight gear companies in MMA and submission grappling.  The San Diego based company has been a staple in both the fight scene as well as the surfing scene for a reason… simple quality.

When Aaron over at MMA Opinion  sent me the latest Bad Boy fight shorts, the Capo II, I was stoked to check them out as this would be my first taste of Bad Boy’s fight gear.  I told Aaron I wear a 38 and in all honesty I should have said 36 and they would have fit a bit better I think, but no worries as I prefer my shorts baggy and open.  Just keep this in mind with the pics!

image   Featuring a two way stretch 100% polyester fabric with triple stitched seams, the Capo II is extremely light weight (a factor when you have to weigh in wearing your uniform) and breathable.  I have worn these both in no gi grappling as well as practicing kickboxing and stand up.  When kicking they never get caught up nor bunch.  Some grapplers do not like having thigh slits in their fight shorts as they feel appendages too often get caught.  This has not been my experience, but I can see the concern.  I prefer less hindrance when playing an open guard, or closed for that matter, so these shorts are perfect in that regard.  The split seams are triangle reinforced and seem strong after my initial abuse.

They advertise “near-zero weight” on Bad Boy’s site, and it is true… tipping the kitchen scale at 255 grams!  Super light and yet the waist band is very comfortable.  Available in black, tan, or white the Capo II design is clean with the classic Bad Boy “eyes” accompanied with ‘Bad Boy’ brand along the waist and down the left leg along with “Pro Series.”  Made in Taiwan, the Capo II is retailing at MMA Opinion for $56.99 order yours today by clicking here!  (Wholesalers please contact Zengu for more information)

NWJJA Represent!

Overall I like the comfortable fit along with the toughness of the product.  Bad Boy keeps it simple and clean and I appreciate that.  In a world full of MMA apparel with snarling pit bulls, skulls, and daggers it is nice to see a simple approach to a warriors art.  Bad Boy has combined all the positives that are needed in a fight short and has let their end product speak for itself.  I think if Bad Boy considered lowering their MSRP these shorts would fly off the shelf.  Overall a great short for training MMA, kickboxing, grappling, boxing, or even cross fit.

Train Hard.  Train Smart.

imageTune in tonight to watch Bellator 60 kick off their next series of weekly fights on MTV 2 (5pm PST start). 1914 Kimono’s very own Jeremy Spoon will be fighting on the card so please send some love his way!
Kick ass Jeremy, the Pac NW is behind you!


After a busy weekend fighting, and a day or two of recovery, I am now looking forward to this Thursday as I will be travelling down to Vancouver, WA. to train with grappling superstar Mike Fowler.  Fowler is smack dab in the middle of a week long training camp at Fisticuff’s gym and I have been fortunate enough to be granted an interview with the Lloyd Irvin protege.

“What does this have to do with me?”  you may ask.  Well my loyal “The Ground Never Misses” readers, I want to give you the opportunity to ask Mike Fowler a question of your own!  It is simple, here’s how:

  1. You must join this blog.  It is simple, just scroll to the bottom of my blog page and you will see a “followers” section where you can join.  It is simple and free!
  2. Once you join you can go to the bottom of this specific post to the comment section.  Click on “comment.”
  3. Leave the question you would ask Mike Fowler in the comment section.
  4. The best questions will “win” and I will include them in the interview.

Easy, easy right!?  So here is your opportunity to ask one of the most accomplished grapplers whatever question you want.  Hurry with this as I am leaving Thursday morning to travel down and get the interview and train.  For those who have the opportunity you should get down to Fisticuff’s gym to take advantage of this AWESOME training opportunity.  Tonight through Thursday night seminars are running, and there are also a limited number of private lessons available.  Click on the link above to my previous post to get more info and contact number for Jeff Starks.


Wanted to take a moment and say congrats to Chris “Spider” Webb, Justin, and Scotty for kicking ass this weekend down in Oregon at the Subleague Qualifer.  In no gi grappling everyone took home a bronze medal, and Spider brought home the double bronze competing in gi as well.

I can’t express how proud I am of all of you.  Your hard work both conditioning and in making it to class day in, day out has paid off in dividends!  I also want to say thanks to each one of you for helping me prepare for my fights this past weekend (more on that later).  You guys are part of my core jits players I look to for a constantly challenging roll and to help me in area’s I am weak.  Simply put… without you guys… nothing I accomplish is possible!

This marks yet another notch that I feel is integral to NW Jiu Jitsu Academy and that is the birth of a fight team.  For the first time in years (day I say ever) we have a growing number of folks who want to compete.  I am SO excited about this as a competition team is exactly what I, and others who compete, need.   I look forward to fighting along side you all in the future.

Sorry for the low res.

I am going to eat some killer Lebanese food, drink some Founders Breakfast Stout (got some bad news Pac NW… you ain’t the king of micro-brews any longer!  Midwest whooping ass in that department!), and hang with my new little nephew.  I will be updating the blog with a review of the Arnolds, a Bad Boy fight shorts review, and other interesting tidbits.  Stay tuned!


Wanted to send a shout out to my broski’s Scotty and Justin for showing up yesterday to kick my ass for an hour before I caught my flight!  I really appreciate the great rolling and time guys.  Much respect!

Also wanted to offer my heartfelt good luck to Scotty, Justin, Chris, and Josh who are all competing at the Subleague event this weekend down in Portland, OR.  Kick ass and take some names guys!


That’s a neck cracking
face if I have ever seen one!

A big thanks goes out to Dr. Ray and Steph Gaspar over at University Chiropractic for getting me all fixed up before I take off this evening for Ohio.  I have had a lot of bodywork done in my day, and I have been blessed to find some AMAZING healers from various backgrounds.  No bullshit I put Steph up there in the top two spots of bodyworkers I have ever met!

If you guys are in the Seattle area and are banged up, injured, or have been in an accident you will not get better treatment from anyone in the area.  Dr. Ray and Steph not only make you feel better, but they actually facilitate you HEALING better!

Check them out:
8221 5th Ave Ste 1
Seattle, WA.


imagePlease join the 1914 Kimono Krew and Seaside JJ in welcoming World Pro Cup Champ Augusto “Tanquinho” Mendes April 6, 2012 to Seaside, OR.  One of the slickest lightweights competing today, this is an amazing opportunity to train with an up and comer in the world of competitive grappling.

Tanquinho is a second degree black belt under legend Francisco Mansur and one of the most respected referee’s in the sport.

Augusto Tanquinho’s Run at the BJJ Worlds 2011

Pena Augusto Mendes Ryan Hall Points (3×0) 3rd
Pena Augusto Mendes Bruno Frazatto Points (0x-1) 1/4 Finals
Pena Augusto Mendes Rubens Charles Points (4×2) Semi Finals
Pena Rafael Mendes Augusto Mendes Points (4×4) Adv (3×1) Final


SICK choke here: