Gear Review: Origin Mundial Technical Backpack

Tired of cramming your stinky ass, soaking wet kimono in the bottom of your 10 year olds worn out Spider Man backpack?  Frustrated with digging for your camera at the bottom of a single compartment gear bag seconds before a match is starting?  Well my mat amigo’s Origin BJJ has a perfect solution made specifically for those of us who train, compete, eat, sleep, and breathe Brazilian Jiu Jitsu; the Mundial Technical Backpack

Because your spider monkey self will be surfing the jet streams of the IBJJF in style making traveling to compete uber simple and convenient.  Thats why!
The MTB fits easily into carry-on bins on planes, but is sturdy enough to endure luggage handlers punting it onto your plane if you choose to pay them for such a service.  Basic in design (sorry Brock… no daggers through the ear holes of skulls here) the black 100% nylon bag pops with the neon green highlights which help define the nine various compartments (not including the bonus dirty laundry bag, which is a brilliant idea Pete!).

Padded shoulder straps accompany a “H” harness that makes carrying heavy loads actually quite comfortable.  Though anyone could use this (I would pause before using it on a HEAVY hiking trip) the design is most cleverly manufactured specifically for us grapplers.

imageRoom for i-phones, i-pads, water bottles, camcorders, rolled up kimono belts, along with compartments that will keep wet from dry clothes are what make this a well thought out design for grapplers, by grapplers.  Having separate compartments for phones, ID, and camcorder’s is not something most folk would think about.  But when you are scrambling to a mat at the worlds you need quick access, yet safe storage, of your ID, phones, and camera gear.

The website boasts up to three gis will fit in the MTB… and I suppose that is true…. if you wear an A-1.  I can comfortably fit two of my Origin A-4’s in along with room for rashie, underwear, towel and odds and ends for my stand up class.  Those looking for a deep bag to put their  boxing / kickboxing equipment in will not be disappointed, as there is plenty of room for gloves, shin pads, and assorted gear.

Loading the weight of double gold evenly across your shoulders will make sure you are using your posture after a long day of winning at the Worlds!  Much more comfortable then the standard gym bag style that we have to sling over one shoulder, endlessly [email protected]$%ing up our posture and aggravating injuries.

imageDesigned by Pete Roberts for grapplers in all reality this backpack is one of the most comfortable, sturdiest bags I have owned period.  I know in the first production run their were a few hiccups but Pete was quick to fix them and ensure his customers were 100% satisfied, and I just heard that a new shipment is due in to the warehouse any minute now!  Quality and design do have a price as the Origin Mundial Technical Backpack comes in at a cool $88 per bag, and can be ordered by clicking here!  Once again Origin BJJ has set new standards in both quality and innovation for grappling oriented individuals.

Jake B.


imageNo class for NWJJA & Three Harmonies students on July 4th & 7th.  I will be opening the dojo at 10am on Wed. the 4th for an open mat class where we will get our roll on and get some training prior to the Revolution on Saturday the 7th.  I cannot “MAKE” you show up, but I really do not see any reason you should not be on the mat at 10am rolling if you are competing on Saturday!

On the competition note… those of you procrastinating need to keep in mind the registration deadline is Monday, so lets get signed up ASAP!  Click here to jump to the site.

imageAlso look for some exciting news and reviews this weekend with an advanced look at Rafael Lovato Jr.’s latest release “Ultimate Pressure Passing System”  and Origin’s Technical Mundial Backpack!  As always check us out daily for the latest in greatest news, reviews, views, all slightly askew.



What an incredible weekend I had this past June 23 & 24th.  As stated previously the John Will seminar was incredible on Saturday, then Sunday I attended one of Jeff B’s refereeing clinics he hosts prior to every Revolution Tournament (click here to register if you haven’t already, it’s next Saturday!), and let me tell you I am still trying to wrap my head around what I learned in a few short hours!

imageFirstly lets discuss the poll from the past week where I asked the question “Should Black Belts be required to participate in referee clinics?”  Only nine readers chimed in (come on guys, I get over 250 unique hits a day, so I know a few more then nine over a week have seen the poll!) and the results were as follows:


  5 (55%)


  4 (44%)

Votes so far: 9

I voted “yes” black belts should be required and I felt strongly about that prior to Sunday’s clinic, but after attending and having a few days to bask in the info I was offered I now feel ANYONE, of ANY rank should be REQUIRED to attend at least a few ref clinics on their BJJ path.  In general I would (overly) confidently say I have a pretty firm grasp of the points, positions, and general rules.  Driving home from Kent (thanks Coach Foster for letting us use your place!) I felt like a complete NOOB and I have been in how many tournaments… at least 20!!

I do not have the time, space, nor knowledge to go into everything I took away from Sunday.  Jeff’s delivery is always spot on clear, humorous, and to the point.  I actually picked up a number of verbal cues and analogies from him that I shall be stealing and using when I coach!  Thanks Jeff!

But here are a few pointers I want to stress to my readers:

  • Quite simply if you do not KNOW the rules of the sport you are participating in, then you are not fully committed nor involved in said sport!
  • I can promise you no matter how well you think you understand the sport, you do not understand it as well as you could!
  • Jeff’s own admission: the hardest fighters to ref are the ones who are referee’s themselves.  They know how to use the rules in their favor!
  • I don’t see how someone can call themselves a coach and never had made at least one seminar / clinic / workshop on refereeing.
  • Familiarize yourself with the IBJJF Rules (this may take a moment to download, it is 42 pages long) as you will need to adhere to them at pretty much every event in 2013 (yes, that includes local events!).
  • Drill and practice scoring and tournament rounds at your dojo.  I know we do not do enough of it!

I am not clear as to how open these clinic’s are to the general populace, but definitely contact Jeff over at Liberty Events, or also the IBJJF as they hold referee clinics the day before just about every major event they host.  Knowledge is power and if you are going to invest all your time, money, energy and effort into a sport don’t you think it is worth it to know the rules inside and out??
Train Hard.  Train SMART!Jake imageStill recovering from the John Will hangover, I found a little gem on the world wide inter tube… a two part interview conducted by Dan Djurdjevic over at “The Way of Least Resistance.”  Amongst many a topic the history of John learning BJJ is discussed and subtly one can read between the lines and see just how much the Machado family influenced BJJ, though we rarely read nor hear about any of the brothers regarding modern BJJ.

Although I have heard John and Rigan regale many with this story, it never gets old:

JJ Machado defeats Fabio Santos 1996

DD: I believe you were one of the original “dirty dozen” – the first twelve westerners, or non-Brazilians, to achieve black belt status in BJJ.

JW: I think I was number 8. Something… I think I was number 8. Yeah, I started back… it was ’87 I think when I first kicked off on it. And that was five years before the UFC or something like that. Going to Brazil, over in America and then going to Brazil. I befriended Rigan Machado, who was great. I went to Rorion Gracie’s over in Los Angeles for my first lesson. He was charging US$100 for half an hour – that was in 1987! I only had $500 to my name, so that’s 5 lessons and my life savings was gone. So I rocked up and had lessons one, two, three and four with him in his garage at that time. He was only teaching out of his garage. The fifth lesson, he couldn’t do it because he was going to take his kids to Disneyland. He said: “I’ve got my cousin here – he’ll do it.” 

   So Rigan Machado was there. Couldn’t speak a word of English. And I had the fifth lesson with Rigan who was paying $2 an hour. So Rigan was working for peanuts, just barely making enough to feed himself. And at the end of the lesson – which was by far the best lesson I’d had – because I’d run out of money I took of my jacket, took off my jumper, anything with Australia on it, you know a kangaroo and a couple of hats or something, and gave him some Australian paraphernalia – a bag with a kangaroo on it – and just gave it to him. Then I went back home. 

   I saved up for six months with the intention of not doing that again, but going there for one lesson which I could pay for, getting the information where I could train in Brazil. Because I figured “Brazil, it’s got to be free – it’s a third world country”. It’s not true, but that was my perception. So went back over there, rocked up and said: “Here’s my one lesson, and by the way, I want to go down to Brazil so maybe you could give me an address – an address down there to train.” Rorion said: “Come on out, no problem.” I come out there, he said to me: “Sorry I can’t train today, I got to take my kids to Disneyland again,” or whatever. “But my cousin’s still here and he took a few lessons last time – remember? You want to do it with him?” I go: “Sure.” 

   I come to Rigan. By this time he’s learned the rudiments of the English language. He says “My friend! From Australia!” I went: “Wow, he remembers me!” He’s still wearing the cap I gave him. [Laughs] So, you know, be kind to world Brazilian jujitsu champions. He took me in there, taught me a great lesson, and I said: “I want to go to Brazil.” He leaned across the mat, he said: “Listen, don’t stay here, these people know nothing. Get with me, go to Brazil, that’s the place to learn.” I said: “I want to go.” He says”: “I’m going tomorrow – come with me.” So we went together.

   I didn’t know who he was. I just knew he was really good. We went to Brazil, started training down there, I walk into a place called “Barra Gracie”. At that time that was the capital of the Gracie thing. That was owned by three of the Machado brothers and Carlos Gracie junior – all partners. So I walk in there and I do a lesson. I did a week of training and Rigan was teaching classes and I thought “Geez, an academy whatever, he’s pretty good. 

   I’m sitting over the side one night and all these legends walk in – apparently they were Brazilian national champions. And Renzo Gracie was sitting next to me. And he could speak English – he was about the only guy who could. And he said: “Look at all these legends walking in; this guy’s this champion, he’s that champion.” And I go: “Why are they coming here – is there something special on?” And he goes: “They’ve come to train with him.” And Rigan’s sitting next to me. I looked past Rigan. “With who?” I’m looking down the hall. “With him – with Rigan!” says Renzo. I go: “With this goofy guy?” Rigan’s just my goofy mate. He says: “Don’t you know who he is?” And I go: “I dunno – his name’s Rigan.” He says: “John, he’s been undefeated in Brazil for twelve years, blah, blah, blah, he’s the best guy in the country.” I go: “This goofy guy?” [Laughs]

Here are the links to part’s one and two:
Click Here to Read Part One!

Click Here to Read Part Two!

And just in case you all needed a refresher of just who these Machado cats are, here is some competition footage from over the years.  Pay special attention to the hook game, and the “always attacking” nature that Jean Jacques plays here against Rogerinho at the Mundial’s in Brazil:

In this clip brothers John and Jean Jacques fight Franginha (Jeff Glover’s teacher) and James Boran, respectively, at Joe Moreira’s Nationals in 1997.  Notice again the ever attacking nature.  No one stalling out, no one counting points and holding out for the win by two advantages.  None of the silly shit we so often see now days, just basic principles of control and superior positioning coupled with an ever attacking game and look at the submissions that are collected!

Not sure if I have shared this one before, but here is the man himself Rigan fighting in a Judo tournament in 1993.  Once again note the aggressive game, but due diligence with position and control.  Listen carefully and you can here David Meyer coaching Rigan in the last match.

Their is a lot of history that is often glossed over by those more interested in promoting their own agenda and marketing ploys.  I hope this post has opened up your eyes to a rather unknown element in BJJ; the Machado influence.



A few hours out of 8,760 is just not enough time with our beloved coach John Will on his annual pilgrimage to the Emerald City.  Accompanied by his ever faithful sidekick, lawyer, personal physician, accountant David Meyer, Mr. Will warmed the class of over two dozen attendee’s up with a very simple, yet beautifully integrated shrimping drill that taught the student to shrimp in all four directions (right – left – forward – back).  Always challenging how one perceives jiu jitsu John got our right and left brains firing straight away.

John Will with Renzo Gracie back in the day!

Technically the topic was attaining and working from Spider Guard, and all in all we covered a lot of ground particularly on sweeps.  Utilizing the grips properly in spider guard leaves your opponent feeling like a marionette, with no or little base.  As always John encouraged us to break down each movement into an operations manual.  Literally logging each fundamental movement and key point.  At one point in the seminar he asked us to perform the movement and give him a number of key points we came up with.  It was interesting to note the white / blue belts typically had a number in the range of 7-9, where as the purple and brown belts saw easily 14-16!   This is a prime example of how we evolve  and how our perception and understanding grow each time we step onto the mat.

Evolution was a hot topic over the weekend, and John was quick to remind us that evolution does not always equate to something “better.” The word “better” is purely subjective.  Perhaps with technology things get better, but as Will stated “Evolution does not always mean better.  For example; food, cultural habits, nor sweeps.”  He reminded us that everything has a price, everything.  We must ask ourselves if we are willing to pay the price.

imageAs with any lesson under John the students get marinated with stories of the past 40 years John has spent studying the martial arts, and he shared several “old-old” sweeps that the majority of the attendee’s confessed to never seeing before.  Then Mr. Will begged the question, “Well then, is it new?  I learned what people are calling the Berimbolo sweep 25 years ago from Chris Heuter!  He was doing the same exact thing the Mendes brothers are doing today.”  Yet another lesson, not to get trapped into the “better-worse” mindset.  It is all just different.

The real treasures of John Will’s seminars are the true lessons peppered in between the techniques.  How we evolve and how the art evolves is really what I walked away with from this weekend.  Don’t get me wrong, the tiny little details he shared regarding the omoplata alone were worth the price of admission!  But John really got me thinking of statistics in regards of how often we see a certain movement or position, and how good we are at those positions as opposed to the ones we rarely see.  It reminded me as a student and partner that I need to play more games that are not necessarily mine in an effort to make my partners better.  It also reminded me as a coach/teacher that I need to keep my mind ever open to new and different perspectives so I can expose my students and minimize the surprise factor if they ever run into that certain position, game, submission, etc.

imageWe have to be careful of our fears and lack of knowledge.  Embrace our ignorance so we may empty our cup and let it be filled once more, but sometimes that pesky ego gets in the way.  John shared another story of which I had heard before, but never new the details.  Back in the day spider guard was literally banned from competition in Hawaii for a year or two after a certain Brazilian brown belt moved to Hawaii and started teaching his brand of BJJ which just so happened to be predominantly spider guard.  So naturally he taught his students spider guard and they went into the local tournament that was run by Relson Gracie at the time and they cleaned house.  Well this infuriated the tournament organizers SO much they literally wrote a bylaw in the rules that spider guard was not allowed in the tournament, and since one person was running all the tournaments in Hawaii, it pretty much equated to a complete ban in the state of Hawaii!  Much akin to the Judo federation ruling that single and double leg takedowns are now illegal because too many wrestlers were coming in and nailing them!  LOL!  Why evolve when you can simple change the way the game is played and never have to deal with that problem again!?!?

As I always do I feel like we just skimmed the surface of what John has to offer us in regards to evolving our game.  But I honestly feel that if we take his attitude and philosophy and apply it to our own understanding of grappling and jiu jitsu, then we will perceive our evolution in a more clear, distinct light.

I want to thank Coaches Will & Meyer for sharing their insight with us.  Thanks to my coach Brian for bringing in such great teachers and giving back to the community (something you do all the time, but rarely get credit for I feel).  And thanks to those in the community both in and outside of our academy that supported this seminar.  We cannot do it without you and we truly appreciate the continued support.  Lets get an even bigger turnout next time!

Train Hard.  Train Smart.

JakeimageDon’t forget the John Will & David Meyer seminar today at NWJJA and MKG.  If you are just now pulling your head out of the mud and reading this, give me a call to reserve a spot ASAP: 206-941-3232.

  • Also remember no class for both NWJJA & Three Harmonies students Saturday due to the seminar.
  • Please take a moment and vote on my poll to the right ——–>
  • Also keep in mind I will be heading to the BJJ referee clinic tomorrow, so if you have any questions, positions, or issues you wish to know an answer to, leave me the question in the comment area and I will try my best to get it answered for you!

No matter what you have going on this weekend train hard!


There are so many lessons one can learn from the video below from respect, to determination, from sensitivity to compassion and love.

Recall this video the next time you CAN’T push yourself harder.
Remind me after watching this video why you CAN’T compete.
Bookmark this post for the next time you are too tired to train.

People sometimes get offended when I use the word “fuck,” but I must admit that the most offensive, cowardly, self excusing of a term in the English pantheon is “can’t.”  I fucking hate the word “can’t” and this video of Patrick Santos and Alan de Oliveira is prime reason why, as the word does not seem to exist in Oliviera’s vocabulary:

imageI have been invited to a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu referee clinic this Sunday where I hope to garner a better understanding of the sport of BJJ, as well as get an opportunity to ask questions and peak at the BJJ world through the eyes of a ref.  We are all guilty of at one time or another being an “armchair” quarterback regailing the match with expletives that would make your sailor mom proud, proclaiming at the top of your voice that the missed call was one of the most basic things the ref should have learned at ref school!  But the reality of the matter is it is tough to be 100% focused and in the moment match, after match, after match, after match….

I wish to understand the game better, but by helping our resident black belt Denise get certified via the IBJJF I have discovered that if you wish to become a recognized / authorized black belt with the IBJJF not only do you need to sell your first born (about $400+), but you also need to be CPR certified and have participated in at least one referee clinic AS A BLACK BELT.  This got me a thinkin’….

Far fewer arguments after the IBJJF introduced
their new ref outfits!

I personally think it is a dead on balls accurate requirement both to be CPR certified (how many of your coaches are CPR / First Aid certified??), and to participate in a ref clinic.  I know, I know, I hear some of you already moaning “why should I have to if I never want to ref?”  Well the simple answer is the same I give for those who proclaim “why should I compete if I never have the desire to,” because someday when you adorn your hips with that coveted black belt you now have a responsibility, and an assumed level of knowledge, to prepare your students for whatever it is they may experience.  How can you prepare a student for their first tournament when you have never stepped onto the mat?

My mother has always said “knowledge is never wasted” and that is exactly how I approach this Sunday, open to learning more.  I have little to no interest in refereeing, but I see the value in learning how to ref and in general the better I understand the rules, the better I can play!

So if you would please take a moment a click ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on my latest poll to your right ———->
nd if you have any questions regarding tournament rules or regulations please write them in the comments section of this post before Sunday AM and I will do my best to get them answered by Jeff on Sunday.


imageWhen I went down to So Cal in March for the Pan Am’s and got on the mat with my coach Tim Cartmell over at Ace Jiu Jitsu who had recently received a gift in the form of Lucky Gi’s latest in top shelf kimono’s; the Lucky Bamboo Gi.  Asking simply if it was comfortable Tim went into a 10 minute diatribe on how much her loved not only the feel and lightness of the gi, but also how well it breathed and how the bamboo kills germs and bacteria.  I immediately got ahold of Scotty over at Lucky, and knowing the quality of past reviews I have done here, and here promptly sent me one of these gems.  I must admit I have fallen in love!

imageOTM has produced three version’s of their bamboo gi coming in with the Rafael Lovato Jr. Signature gi, white Fleur De Lis variation, and then you have the Rude Boy gi which was coincidentally the version sent here to The Ground Never Misses for review.  All three versions are the same production and design, just different “themes” with the Rude Boy obviously paying homage to the laid back surf / beach lifestyle that is often associated with the BJJ lifestyle stemming from Brazil and of course reaching to the shores of Jamaica.

“Rude Boy is more of an attitude or a lifestyle. Originally coined in Jamaica during the 1960’s, it was a common term for juvenile delinquents and criminals. It has since been used in a lighter context, describing a young, tough, style conscious individual with plenty of attitude. This attitude and lifestyle has spread worldwide and flows well with the Jiu Jitsu lifestyle that we all live. The Rude Boy Lucky Gi was designed on the world famous North Shore of Hawaii by local famed artist from the Da Hui crew, Scott le Roc. Thee colors represent a rise from nothing.”

imageI am not going to lie, the 100% bamboo material is not cheap and as I stated previously is a top shelf gi.  But put all that aside and get your hands on one and you will see what I speak of… a softness beyond description, a comfort and fit like no other, and the durability that OTM and Lucky Gi has become known for.  This is one of the most comfortable gi’s I have ever seen in over 20 years in the martial arts, and regardless of what you think of the various models the bamboo gi is not simply about comfort.

Bamboo is the next wave of alternative material being used largely because of its eco-friendly sustainability, and the fact that it is much stronger then hemp or cotton.  Bamboo fibers also expand when they warm (contracting when cold) that allows the skin to breathe.  So far this has not factored into washing and drying as the gi has shrunk minimally and I dry my kimono’s at least 60% of the way in the dryer.  But I can attest to the cool heat wicking capabilities especially up here in Seattle where humidity levels can climb quite high and everyone is sweating like a pig!

Close up of bamboo weave

Here is a note about the environmental sustainability of bamboo:

Bamboo is one of the world’s fastest growing plants, growing up to a meter in a day. Bamboo is a grass, so once cut it can regenerate quickly without the need for replanting. It grows very densely and so the yield per acre is high in comparison to cotton. Bamboo absorbs 35% more carbon dioxide than equivalent sized stands of trees.

imageDesign & Functionality:
The A-4 weighs in just a scootch over 4 pounds total and is what I would classify as a “lightweight” gi for sure that is perfect for competition!  I have owned two Lucky Gi’s in the past, and neither wore out and are both still going strong.  That same durability and strength is found in the latest bamboo model’s but at about a 1 – 1.5 pounds less.

A thick but comfortable collar that is made from UV True Temperature Foam is strong as shit as I have been working my gi chokes lately and the collar and lapel are perfect for chokes.  It takes about two tugs to get the lapel out of your belt to use for choking.  Triple and double stitching highlight the entire kimono reinforcing  the crotch, armpits, and side seams.

imageThe pants are made from solid cotton canvas that is approx. 10 ounces in weight, but thankfully with the new models Scotty updated the pants adding an inch to the bottom of them (the pants were guilty of hiking up a bit with previous versions).  The knees are still super reinforced with a thick pad for rolling on those rough as puzzle mats (sorry to those of you that still train on those barbaric tiles!), and the Lucky Gi’s drawstring waist.  The right bottom cuff is highlighted by a beautiful embroidered Lion of Judah which represents Emperor Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia (on the continent of Africa) in the Rastafarian religious movement.  This same Lion can be found on the left hip of the jacket, with an outline print of the Lion found on the lining of the jacket.

Triple and double stitched seams flow through the kimono like rivers flowing down from Ganja Mountain, reinforcing all grip points.  Stitching is top notch with only one or two loose threads found throughout the gi and after over two months of wear and tear no loose seems nor torn stitching have risen up.  Even on the embroidered “Lucky Gi” flashes on the shoulders and back the stitching is solid and sharp and holding up strongly, yet still enough room for you to rep your academy or sponsor with patches (such as Ron’s ‘I “heart” Sensi’).

Overall the top shelf Lucky Rude Boy Kimono retails for $289.99 and is hands down the most expensive, AND comfortable gi’s I have ever worn!  Now some of you may be tempted to jump onto the net and see if you can bargain hunt and find a Lucky Gi at a killer savings.  BE WARNED that Lucky Gi’s are the most ripped off design  on the market and yet again Scotty has addressed this issue with one silver (True Platinum Weave) thread sewn into every 18 inches of the fabric.

Worth is relative but I promise you will not be disappointed with this kimono and quite frankly Scotty and his crew at both Lucky Gi and On The Mat offer the BEST customer service in the BJJ/MMA retail world so put down the bong, turn up the Slightly Stoopid, get online by clicking here to order your gi today!  And please tell them you read the review here at the Ground Never Misses!

All Photography Courtesy of DKB Images
Train Hard.  Party Harder!
Jake B.
image   Last call on the seminar of the year!  Representing over 50 combined years on the mat, John Will and David Meyer are two of BJJ’s infamous “Dirty Dozen” (first 12 non-Brazilians to be promoted to black belt) and this is the only time they will be in Seattle together this year, so don’t miss out!

Register today to save $$ on the United Grappling Federations first tournament here in Seattle, WA.  There will be both gi and no gi divisions, as well as absolute divisions.  Click here to register today!
imageI must admit I am a bit disappointed, sadly not surprised, by the results of my latest poll question “What element factors most in whom you train under?”  With 21 folks voting over the past week here are the numbers breakdown:

Instructors Rank

  0 (0%)

Competition Record

  2 (9%)

Teaching Experience

  10 (47%)

Logistics (money/proximity)

  9 (42%)

What disappoints me so is the fact that so many (42%) people base their decision of where to entrust their martial future on how close the academy is to their home, or how much it costs to attend.  Don’t get me wrong, I of all people totally understand that the economy sucks and we are all pinching pennies.  But if you are going to walk a lifelong path of martial arts, if you are going to envelope yourself in a lifestyle…. wouldn’t you want the best?

Thankfully “teaching experience” won out the poll just barely squeaking by with 10 votes (47%), and frankly this should be the ultimate decider when it comes to your decision.  Rank’s can be rather political and non-representational of an individuals actual skill both as a fighter and teacher.

imageCompetition record really is misleading as well, for instance take the great BJJ grappler Felipe Costa, two time world black belt champion.  Competed in dozens, hundreds of tournaments throughout his life.  Never, NEVER, won a single tourney until he was a black belt!  Now I am sure if we actually broke down match by match throughout Felipe’s life his win column would be far overshadowed by his loss column.  Yet see what determination, focus, and the never say die attitude will get you?!?  Imagine if Felipe would have quit competing at purple belt!?  What would he have to teach you??

It is exactly this type of experience both on and off the mat that I look for in an instructor.  I need a coach to lead me through all the shit that is going to come up for me as a fighter, and if he has never experienced any of these things how can he lead me through them??

Thankfully I have found the best instructor in town and his academy is only 10 miles away.  But to be honest I would travel all the way across town to train under Brian Johnson.  Then again I am a bit of a dork about this stuff so perhaps I am not the “norm.”  I used to travel from New Mexico to both So Cal and Vancouver, BC to train with my teachers!  And that was when I was broke in college!!

Train Hard!  Train Smart!

imageOur good friend and colleague Dr. Scot Stilwell (ok, ok…he’s not a doctor….. but he will take a look at it!) has starting a morning training session at NW Jiu Jitsu Academy.  Running at 11am on Tuesday and Thursday each week, Scotty is drilling and teaching new positions and techniques.  This week he is going over positions he got stuck in and burned on in this past weekends Subleague tourney.  Oh… by the way did I mention Scotty cleaned house taking gold in his weight and bronze in absolute???

His skill on the mat is only overshadowed by his awesome matitude and outlook!  Check out class guys, a lot of you need to make more training!  Day classes five days a week now!  No excuses!  And vote on my poll NOW… you only have 2 more hours!——–>

Scot on the right, with two of BJJ’s most awesome



Don’t ask… I have no clue, but it is technically an omoplata!

Seriously… it is starting to look like I have a weird grapple-crush on the crew over at BishopBJJ, but they keep pumping out great video’s such as this Money Jiu Jitsu: Omoplata in action! It showcases one of my favorite fighters Nino Schembri fighting none other then our very own David Meyer starting at the 30 second mark:

The omoplata is one of my favorite attacks and can be quite effective for cats with long lanky legs such as I!  Here is Schembri’s highlight real on omoplata attacks:

And finally here is a clip of Demian Maia’s take on the omoplata.  I can personally attest to the detail oriented approach Maia takes, as I trained with him once while visiting home a few years ago, and the guy taught very simple stuff, but the details were money!!

Lastly a little reminder of the David Meyer and John Will bonanza that is coming to a dojo near you (one can only hope to glean some of the details of the omoplata from John Will!!):

imageimageIn terms of safety equipment I cannot think of a more important, yet most overlooked / under appreciated, piece of gear than a mouthguard!?  And before patting yourself on the back for using one lets get one thing straight, if it ain’t custom fitted you may as well slap a piece of gum in between those chompers as it will do you about as much good as gum!  Enter Damage Control Mouthguards and their custom fit three layer design specifically made for combat sports participants.

Whether you are a top tier competitor, or just average Joe hitting the dojo once or twice a week, it is essential that you have a custom fit mouth guard for any combat sport including BJJ / grappling.  Accidents happen (I just popped my good friend Eric in the jaw Thursday night on accident.  His comment…. “Maybe I should invest in a mouth guard.”) and regardless of our intentions with our training partners accidents can do a lot of damage.  Believe me when I tell you that dental surgery is NOT cheap, nor fun:

imageimage“Sports dentistry is essentially the prevention and treatment of oral and facial injuries. Dental injuries are the most common type of facial injuries for athletes and the majority of these injuries are actually preventable.image   Young athletes who have a tooth knocked out can anticipate upwards of $20,000 worth of lifetime dental costs associated with just that one tooth. In addition to these expenses, the person can suffer through lost work. The bottom line is that a tooth that is knocked out of the mouth and not reinserted in the first few minutes has virtually no chance of successfully being saved and the cumulative affect of multiple concussions can lead to lifelong medical problems. These two very scary topics make it imperative that athletes and their parents understand the importance of properly-fitted and fabricated athletic mouthguards to prevent injuries.  emotional and psychological scars and pain.”
Delano Romero and his wife Dr. Vesna Delic DDS. operate a small dentistry business in my old dwelling Albuquerque, NM.  And it was via Delano’s BJJ training that sparked the idea of making quality grade, yet stylish mouthguards for combat sports athletes.  image
First and foremost the customer service is second to none.  Delano was right back to me with questions and getting my impression out in a timely manner.  Shipped priority via USPS the impression kit arrived in just a couple of days, and with the pre-paid return envelope Delano received it within a few day as well.  All in all between ordering the guard, making the impression, returning it, and then receiving the final product was no more then 10-12 days weeks!  Amazing turn around time.   
imageAs far as designs go Delano can do anything as you can see here in the portfolio, and he was again super quick about emailing me a demo of what my guard would look like (which was good as I originally had too dark of a color).  I chose the BJJ line of mouthguard which includes your gym logo, rank, and name (I hate when I mix up mouthguards with my rolling homies!).  But their is no color, nor design they can’t do which makes the customization process all the more fun.
imageFunctionality has been second to none with Damage Control.  I have had a custom fit guard that has served me very well for the past five years or so, but in those few years the technology and design of guards has improved.  With the new Damage Control three tier layering protection is not compromised yet their is less mouthguard making breathing easier and virtually eliminating any kind of gag sensitivities one may have.  In the month I have been wearing it I have witnessed no visible wear and tear and the fit has been perfect from day one.
Amazing customer service, a very reasonable price starting at $119+ (keep in mind most dentist’s will charge you $400-500 for a custom fit mouthguard!), and a solid product makes for a 10/10 in my book for Damage Control.  The impression kit comes with easy to follow instructions and extra putty just in case you [email protected]#k up the first go around, so really this whole kit is fool proof.
For more info, or to order your own custom fit guard contact Delano at [email protected] / 505-804-8941 and tell him Jake sent you from The Ground Never Misses!
I got turned on to Bishop BJJ stumbling across the blogosphere as I do occasionally and every time I check in on them they have nothing but dank quality information in terms of stats, videos, and breakdowns.

Check out these two latest videos from Bishop BJJ, and then peruse their site a bit Bishop BJJ!

Our brother in arms under the Machado family tree, from the north country, the one called Canada, Nice Guy Edy has posted a great series of pic’s from the Machado brothers storied history in BJJ (a handful of the pic’s I have never seen anywhere before!).  His blog is called “Life vs Jiu Jitsu”:

Here are just two of the rarer pics of the collection, and click here to view the rest and check out Nice Guy Edy’s blog!

Jean Jacques, Rigan, and Carlos Machado


Rickson rolling with Jean Jacques

A great weekend already at 4:20pm on Saturday…
imageCoach Brian Johnson of NWJJA fame secured first place in lightweight, and 2nd at absolute at the Grapplers Quest Tournament in Boise.  He said their was a solid turnout and all of his competitors were VERY tough, with him winning 4 matches total via points (one fighter was 280#’s!!), and securing the gold at his weight with one of those pesky triangles!  Great job B!

Not to be out done Scotty and Spyder were rumored to be lurking down at Sub League where Scotty took first in his weight, and then 3rd in absolute in the gi division, and Spyder took 3rd at his weight as well!

Great job all of you guys!  Very proud to train along side you and I am sorry I could not make it on these fights.  Hoping I will be back in action soon.

Before you exit, take a moment and vote in my poll to the right—–> (perfect timing with the question and Brian winning).  Few people know how competitive (and successful) our coach Brian Johnson is, but he continues to amass titles in both gi and no gi events!


imageMarcus Vinicius Oliveira de Almeida, or as most of the world now knows him: “Buchecha” has quickly become the best in the world winning this years Pan Am’s, and now taking double gold at the 2012 World Championships in the super heavy and absolute divisions tearing through opponents such as Tussa Alencar, Rodolfo Vieira, and Bernardo Faria just to name a few.  In the 2012 Worlds Buchecha amassed 6 submissions, beating his remaining opponents with a combined 20-13 pretty much ensuring the next year will be his to bask in the glory as being the best in the sport of BJJ!

Student of Rodrigo Cavaca, (who gave Marcus his nickname Buchecha, which basically means “chubby cheeks,” referencing Marcus being a bit overweight), Buchecha is now in the US teaching exclusively at Ace Jiu Jitsu in Fountain Valley, CA. alongside head instructors Asa Fuller, Chris Thue, and Tim Cartmell.

imageI have yet to have the honor to train with the man, but from what I have heard he is an amazing instructor with solid English and is VERY much competition oriented focusing on unique drills and a sport oriented approach to the art.  He is teaching group classes at Ace as well as taking a limited number of private students.  For more information contact Ace JJ: 714-964-4488 or stop by at 18225 Brookhurst St. (right off the 405) Fountain Valley, CA. 92708

Speaking of competition and its role in your approach to BJJ, just what elements factor into your decision to train under a certain instructor?  Is his/her competition record a factor?  Rank?  Affiliation?  Before checking out Buchecha kicking ass below take a moment and vote on my poll to the right —————->


When Jean Jacques Machado speaks…. I tend to shut up and listen; closely!  JJ has been putting a lot of great material out for decades, but as of late their are a number of videos and interviews popping up all over the web.  His attitude is always positive and upbeat, yet his approach and focus on the mat are quite serious.  For example check out this sweep to crucifix position:

Also here is a two part interview JJ recently did with Jits TV

Here is a wonderfully made short film on JJ Machado’s preperation for the 2012 Pan Am’s:

Only bummer is Jean Jacques will be sadly absent from the Machado camp in October down in Dallas, TX.


Arguably two of the greatest heavyweights to grace the mat’s in BJJ have decided that the 2012 Worlds is where they will rest their belts forever.  Much in the same vain as wrestlers leaving their shoes on the mat signifying their retirement from competition, Marcio “Pe de Pano” Cruz and Rodrigo “Comprido” Medeiros left behind their black belts Sunday afternoon.

Pe de Pano made it to the semi-finals to lose 4-2 to the champion Buchecha, where Medeiros had a bit of a difficult time in the quarterfinals.

These two warriors combined have won more championships then most of us will even enter, and they have literally fought a “who’s – who” of the BJJ world throughout the years:


Marcio Cruz @ the World Championship’s Finals

Year Weight Belt Oponent Result
2003 Absolute Black Roger Gracie Win
2002 Absolute Black Saulo Ribeiro Win
2002 Pesadissimo Black Luiz Guilherme Win
2000 Absolute Brown Eduardo Machado Win
2000 Super Pesado Brown Marcelo Caresto Win
1999 Pesado Purple Carlos Nelson Win

Marcio Cruz @ the Pan Am’s Finals

Year Weight Belt Oponent Result
2005 Absolute Black Xande Ribeiro Win
2005 Pesadissimo Black Alexandre Dantas “Café” Win
2003 Absolute Black Fabricio Werdum Win
2003 Pesadissimo Black Alexandre Dantas “Café” Win
1999 Absolute Blue Wilson Borges Win
1999 Pesado Blue Leonardo Stancioli Win

Marcio Cruz @ the Brazilian National’s Finals

Year Weight Belt Oponent Result
2001 Absolute Black Terere Loss
2001 Pesadissimo Black Carlos Alberto dos Santos Win
2000 Absolute Black Leo Dalla Win
2000 Super Pesado Black Renato Ferro Win
1999 Absolute Brown Maxwell Carvalho Loss (team mate)
1998 Meio Pesado Blue Luis Duarte Win

imageRodrigo “Comprido” Medeiros

Main Achievements:

  • 3x World Champion (1998 – Brown Belt, 1999 & 2000 – Black Belt Absolute Division);
  • 3x Pan American Champion (1999, 2007, 2009 – Master Division);
  • 2x Brazilian National Champion (1999, 2000);
  • 2x World Cup Champion – CBJJO (2002, 2006);
  • European Champion (2011 – closed the bracket with team mate Igor Silva);
  • 2x World Silver Medallist (2001, 2004).

Weight Division: Over the years “Comprido” has bounced between Meio Pesado, Pesado, Super-Pesado and Pesadissimo.
We have a lot to learn from these guys!  I thank them for their years of service and battle.  Though I am sad to see them go, I hold nothing but mad respect for both!Thank you,