The Ground Never Misses

Sweet smile, A facade?

I thought Saturday nights performance by women’s champ Ronda Rousey was nothing short of outstanding!  An absolutely beautiful display of Judo by an ex-Olympian that enabled her to retain the title, all the while showcasing no fewer than half a dozen different throws.  But keen eyed observers noted a slight of sportsmanship that I was going to address, but then my friend Georgette Oden turned me onto MAMA: Martial Arts Mommy Archives and her EXCELLENT article, "Dear Ronda Rousey."  We all enjoy a good fight and I am totally down with rivalry and a bit of shit talk, but at the end of the day we are all one.  We are all martial artists…or at least we are supposed to be.  Check out Jenn’s great letter to Ronda:


"I get it, you don’t like the girl. She said some pretty insulting things about your training staff, people whom you consider family. I am not asking you to buy her a beer after the fight. But couldn’t you have at least shown some professionalism during that one moment? You just won, after all. And no matter how justified you are to hate her, not shaking Miesha Tate’s hand just looks, well bitchy."

To read the entire article click here and you will be redirected.  

imageLook what I got for Little Baby Jesus Day!!!  Overall I did not get jack squat for the holiday, but I did receive a preview clip of the forth coming DVD by Brian Johnson: "Entangled Arm."  The much anticipated follow up to his stellar three disk DVD series on "The Basic 12 Curriculum", this DVD will present a much more specific "game" that has been HUGELY successful with Brian and his students in both gi and no gi competition at all levels.  Requested by seminar recipients throughout North America as well as the Machado brothers, this DVD will enhance your guard attack repertoire and add some sound principles to your grappling toolbox.

Stay tuned to The Ground Never Misses for the release of "Entangled Arm" in the near future, until then make sure your fundamentals are sound with the B12 DVD Series and check out this preview of things to come:

imageFushnickens… you have waited until the very last minute to get the grappler on your list a gift.  RCJ Machado will help you skip lines, avoid parking squabble, and still hit a home run with an awesome gift as red-black belt Carlos Machado and Vimeo are here to save your day with his latest instructional, "Domination – Control the Wrist, Control the Game."  

Carlos (and all the brothers for that matter) is way ahead of his time when it comes to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and the dissemination of knowledge.  "Domination" is a prime example of that brilliant approach to our art in both content and delivery.  A 55 minute instructional detailing a very specific game via principle oriented drills, this instructional will serve the intermediate – advanced student quite well, simultaneously laying out a lesson plan for the seasoned instructor.

Shot with his black belts and nephew Jean Machado, Carlos runs through a number of situation where wrist control is imperative to maintaining control of the pace and tempo of the fight.  In true Machado style a number of trouble shooting options are investigated throughout the instructional.  What I love about all of RCJ Machado’s productions is that the teachings are a glimpse at a complete game.  It is not an exhaustive study of one specific position, but rather a principle based approach to attaining and maintaining wrist control in an effort to re-guard, attack, and/or pass depending on the situation.

Carlos is a great instructor.  Clear, concise, and precise he guides students through techniques and makes teaching look truly effortless.   Peppered with reviews, "Domination" is like sitting in on a class or seminar and then reviewing and intertwining the previous lesson with the current.  Not only is the martial content top notch but the delivery system via Vimeo is the next level of instructionals.  Free and easy to get an account on Vimeo, this enables you, the practitioner, to access this video anywhere you have internet access.  Phones, laptops, tablets… you can literally take this series of lessons directly onto the mat with you and drill with a partner while accessing the video more conveniently then ever.  

Clean production and video quality have become standard with RCJ, save a handful of shaky camera moments.  I like the video effects and notations accompanying the video, but some of the editing could be tightened up and cleaner.  The audio was crisp and clear over the entire video with the feed on Vimeo being smooth and clean as well.  My transaction ($19.99) went through quickly and easily and my subscription lasts for an entire year.  After that I am not sure of what happens, but I assume you had downloaded the video elsewhere. 

"Domination" is another great instructional coming from the RCJ Machado production crew, and is a perfect gift for any hard to shop for martial artists in your family. 

imageToday is your last chance to stop by NW Jiu Jitsu Academy pro shop to pick up grappling gifts for the cauliflowered crew in your dojo.  We have a bevy of the "B12" three disk DVD sets available, as well as a handful of Gameness kimono’s, a few of David Meyer and John Will’s "Mastering Chokes" DVDs left.  A backpack or two along with a full line of RCJ Machado patches as well as a few of John Will’s books too.  Also don’t forget that you can purchase private lessons with Brian or one of our senior students for a loved one as well. 

We have something for every budget $20 – $200 and will be at the dojo until about 8:30 tonight. 

Stop by 942 N. 95th St. and I guarantee you no lines nor holiday BS! 

imageAttention Three Harmonies Martial Arts students… no class December 24, 25, 28, 31, and Jan 1. 

Enjoy your holiday and please be safe and laugh a lot! 



imageBrazilian Jiu Jitsu multi time champion Augusto ‘Tanquinho’ Mendes (Soulfighters) made his amateur MMA debut last night in Mesa Arizona, at "Duel For Domination 6."  Keeping true to his nickname, Tanquinho bobbed under Jaime Carskaden’s right hook and double legged him like a "Little Tank."  Capitalizing on the takedown Mendes climbed his opponent and locked in the kata gatame (Head and Arm choke) to secure the tap just :36 seconds into the first round.

Check out MMA Fighting for the video. 

Congrats Tanquinho!  

imageArmbar Soap Co. has kept me cootie free in 2013, and they make a perfect stocking stuffer for the grappler, martial artist, or any competitive athlete for that matter in your life.  Hit Chad up and support a California company that includes all natural ingredients in his entire product line that is perfect for killing any and every THING possibly contracted on the mat!  He is now carrying three varietals: Cocao / Hawaiian / Peppermint with new incarnations coming soon.

The perfect gift that keeps on giving, click here to be redirected to Armbar Soap Co.

imageHere is BJJ Scouts second part of Michelle Nicolini’s unique guard game.  Once again Scout has THE BEST video’s online with comprehensive breakdowns of the games of some of the best. 

Click here to read the entire post:

imageLast minute stocking stuffer ideas needed for the martial artist in your family?  Here is one more idea…

Check out Titin’s weighted compression training shirt as it adds up to 8 pounds of flexible weight to challenge your workouts without having to alter any of your martial movement.  When you check out make sure you use the code "Jake" to save on shipping. imageHere is a great highlight reel of our good friend James "300" Foster tearing through the competition in 2013.  It is great to see the competitive spirit alive and well with seasoned black belts here in the Pacific NW.  Check out 300 doing his work:


And if you are in the Broken Arrow, OK. area in February make sure to check out his seminar – >

imageI wanted to extend this offer out to my regular readers and let you know of some Gracie magazine back issues I am getting rid of.  Some of these are the early issues which feature both Portuguese and English and give some great insight into our sport and art.  Below is a list of the issues in two different sets I have.  These make the perfect gift for the collector and/or practitioner of BJJ!

These prices DO NOT include any shipping and handing charges for anyone out of town, throw me an email if interested: [email protected] 

Set #1                                                              Set #2($90)  ($25)Issue # 110                                                      Issue # 124111                                                             125112                                                            126113   127115117120122123124125126127128157158162imageThankfully most practitioners of Pekiti Tirsia Kali (PTK) are moral upstanding folk, so we do not have much in the way of "real" PTK be used in self defense on Youtube.  So the next best thing is full contact stick fighting, and we cannot speak of such competitions without mentioning one of PTK most talented and skilled fighters… Tom Bisio. 

One of Leo Gaje’s earliest US students, Tom Bisio has since moved on to make quite the name for himself in Chinese martial and healing arts circles, but his slick style lives on in video.  Aggressive.  Strong.  Accurate.  Tom maintains a reputation well over two decades after his training in PTK!  Know your roots, and train. Here is why:

imageCongrats to my hermano y mano (I am semi-sure that is "brother in arms" in Russian;), Ivan Moran who took bronze at the NABJJF Worlds yesterday!  I wish I could post the video but it is only on Facebook, but Ivan fought a hard fight (against a Machado affiliate himself) and ended up taking bronze in the blue belt heavy division. 

Congrats bro!  See you on the mat next week.


imageJust got back from 45 minutes of circuit training followed by an hour of free rolling at the NW Jiu Jitsu Academy.  Coach Brian Johnson is hands down one of the most progressive mentors for you and your family when it comes to both martial arts as well as fitness.  So if you are thinking of an actual gift this holiday season for a loved one, then give the gift of self defense & health; lessons at NWJJA! imageBrazilian Jiu Jitsu classes run Monday through Saturday with competition class, submission wrestling class, and circuit training three days a week.  Click on for a complete schedule or stop by 942 N. 95th St. and see what you have been missing. 

Train hard.  Train safe.  Train with the best.


imageBest of luck to NWJJA’s very own Ivan Moran who is in Long Beach, CA. fighting at the NABJJF Worlds Tourney!  Represent NWJJA and RCJ with pride bro, we are all behind you!  Touch base with me so I can keep us all updated.

Impose your game brother.  Make them work at your pace!


imageNCAA just announced the host cities for Div I-III Wrestling for the years 2015-2018. The lucky winners… St. Louis, New York City, and Cleveland Ohio! 

imageOldie but goodie here… It is a rare opportunity to glimpse the training of a Sumo wrestler.  This is a short clip of two of the best ever to fight the game, Harumafuji and Asashoryu (my personal favorite) prior to his premature retirement.  A few things to notice in this clip:

  • How small the dojo is!
  • How absolutely ripped and strong these cats are!
  • How intensely they train
  • Basic.  Nothing fancy or contrived here.  Just simple hardwork, technique, and discipline!

imageThe results of my latest poll are back ("Do you carry a weapon for self defense?") and it is one of the largest responses I have ever had!  Over 26 of you chimed in and gave me some great feedback on your view of personal protection, which for the most part the majority of you prefer to carry some sort of weapon for self defense. 

No, I’m a pacifist
  3 (11%)

No, My Hands Are Lethal
  5 (19%)

CCW / Gun
  9 (34%)

  0 (0%)
Sap / Knuckleduster
  3 (11%)

Blade – Fixed
  9 (34%)

Blade – Folder
  14 (53%)

  2 (7%)

Baton / Stick
  5 (19%)

Cane / Staff
  2 (7%)


Votes so far: 26

It is interesting to note that Pekiti Tirsia Kali is a modern evolving martial art that includes handgun, shotgun, and rifle training along with bladed combat and empty hands.  Below is a great clip my coach Meynard Ancheta shared Ron Avery’s clip on the draw stroke, which is arguably the most important (and common) movement you can do in self defense, empty handed or otherwise.  Study on this and stop by Three Harmonies Martial Arts to train Pekiti Tirsia Kali on Wednesday nights at 6 and Saturday morning at 9:

imageOur friends over at Just the Gi Top had the lucky fortune to interview none other than Prof. John Machado over the weekend!  Any chance we get to sit and listen to the wisdom gained from such an influential martial artist should not be missed, and neither should this hour long interview.  John has some GREAT insight and thoughts into competition, training, teaching, and living the Jiu Jitsu lifestyle … "Think as a martial artist and you will never be bored again!" – John Machado

 Sit down with some hot cocoa and enjoy the show:

imageI wanted to take a moment and say congrats to my friend, coach, and mentor Tim Cartmell on his recent promotion to 3rd degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu under Cleber Luciano.  Tim is one of the head instructors at Ace Jiu Jitsu with Asa Fuller, Chris Thue, along with Marcus Buchecha.  Tim is a consummate martial artist who has dedicated his life to training and teaching the martial arts.  Congrats on a huge achievement

my friend! imageIncredibly difficult to hear the audio, but I think it is important to showcase this report on wrestling in Sudan, which has been plagued with civil war and strife.  In the south they are using traditional wrestling to unite and unify various tribes and opposing factions.  What a novel idea!?  What if we choose our leaders and dealt with our problems with grappling!?  How would the US do folks??  LOL! 

With a heavy heart… I wish I could have met you sir, I think I could have learned a lot from our time together!

Rest in Peace



image Jake Rossen’s expose of "Team" Lloyd Irvin and the rape culture he has bred at his Virginia, Maryland, and Washington DC area martial arts academies.  I cannot stress enough how important it is that we inundate social media and the world wide interweb with articles such as this one that give a sickening synopsis of the kind of cult mentality that Irvin is brewing!  This man, and individuals such as DJ Jackson (bench warrant in Iowa for gross sexual misconduct!!), has direct access to women, teenagers, and children! 

Spread the word, expose the "Team" for what they really are… sick sociopaths!  A short snippet of Jake Rossen’s excellent article


They’ll tell you they weren’t scared. They were just sick of the stories, sick of the escalating pressure, sick of the dark cloud that hung over the school and seemed to be growing by the day.

But calm and collected people don’t abruptly pack their belongings and hitch rides to airports in the middle of the night. Some say they feared violence. Others thought Master Lloyd would talk them out of leaving as easily as he talked them into other things.

… the driver passed the phone to the back seat, Keenan (Cornelius) told his mother a truth that would be inadmissible in the militant atmosphere of Lloyd Irvin’s school — a place, former members claim, where fear, isolation, and reprisal hung over their heads like guillotines.

"Mom," Kathleen heard him say, "I’ve never been so scared in my life."

Click here to be redirected and read the entire six page expose!

imageHere is a great compilation of kimarite, "winning techniques," from the Nagoya Basho (July) of this past year.  Some great grappling here!  Know your roots:

imageLong before it was called MMA, back in the day before it was called a "lockdown," there was a man that could be argued the forefather of mixed martial arts LONG before most of the Gracie family was even born… "Judo" Gene LeBell!  A man of integrity and spirit, Gene was always game to fight as he demonstrated in his NHB fight versus pro boxer Milo Savage. 

Check out this great mini-documentary from Roots of Fight!

Roots of Fight – Gene LeBell vs Savage featuring Ronda Rousey from Roots of Fight on Vimeo


imageGeorge Bell created Enzo Kimono Co. with one goal in mind… quality!  Quality customer service coupled with quality products at affordable prices.  After spending the past two months in his Nippon Classic I am hard pressed to argue with the results!  Durable, comfortable, and affordable are all qualities I look for in a uniform, and overall I am pleased with Enzo’s kimono.

I must confess I am not a huge fan of "built in" rash guards to my kimono’s, such as the Nippon Classic.  Though I do grappling with a rashie, I prefer the ones stuck to my body not my gi.  So when I got the gi in the mail I was a bit skeptical as to whether or not it would be comfortable to me.  A 550 gram pearl weave cotton kimono along with ripstop pants make this a rather soft yet strong fit.  I have worn the gi both with and without a rashie on, and in general I would say it does a decent job wicking sweat, but without the direct contact to the skin you do not reap the benefits of keeping the muscles warm.  Often times if the gi is opened and then re tucked it is uber cold because of the sweat.  But this is not a malfunction of the gi, just the nature of rash guards sewn into kimonos.


Quite honestly the pants are one of the best cuts I have ever worn and I am quite finicky about the way gi pants fit! Without hugging my skin too much, along with being heavy enough not to ride up my leg the minute I play open guard, Enzo has designed one hell of a gi pant.  Reinforced knees along with triple stitched seams ensure these pants can take tons of abuse.  A unique three loop drawcord secures the pants and minimizes the need to retie in mid-roll. 

imageThe kimono itself is all triple stitched and strongly reinforced.  I wanted to wear this gi for a solid 3 months (the entire 90 day guarantee) and see if on day 91 it just all fell apart.  100+ days and it is still going strong.  Normal wear and tear with the embroidery fraying a bit from friction and washing.  No holes, rips, tears, or other fabric issues.  Weight wise this will fall a bit heavy as it lined with the rashie, but the weave is very smooth and comfortable.  Likewise the ribbon lining the inside of the cuff is non-abrasive and smooth.  I would like to see some other options in the future for those needing lighter kimonos or those who do not prefer rash guards sewn in.

One of the best parts in doing business with Enzo is that you actually are dealing with the owner when you contact them.  A lot of companies have a customer service department, but with George you actually get… George.  Now I cannot speak for how long this will last, as my prediction is Enzo will blow up in the coming year, but as of right now George Bell, owner and operator honor’s the industry’s ONLY 90 day guarantee on his product!  

imageThe one great aspect of rash guard lined gi’s is the canvas waiting to be painted upon, in this case a nice rendering of a traditional Japanese temple/dwelling with bamboo in the foreground.  Overall the white Nippon Classic is clean with minimal bling.  The elegant Enzo logo emblazons each arm with "Live the Warrior Way" stitched across the bottom skirt, and the kanji "Nippon" which translates to ‘Japan’ across the shoulders on the back.   Burnt orange on white makes the gi really snap without being obnoxious.  And thankfully zero references to anything snarling, drooling, or killing!  A very zen design if you will. 

The Nippon Classic is the first in a series of kimono’s that will reflect the diaspora of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (began in Japan as Judo, then to Brazil….) and George plans on continuing the beautiful design work.  But beyond that he is constantly getting feedback from his customers, so look for the each batch design to be better and improved upon!

imageIn a sea of kimono companies offering all sorts of skilled and artistically unique designs, Enzo has made a statement as top shark in the ocean with the forth coming collaboration with the Wu Tang Clan and Wu Wear!   That’s right kiddo’s… taking "Protect yo’ Neck" to a whole different level, Enzo introduces the Killer Bee rashguard and forthcoming Killer Bee gi!  Cyber-Monday, TODAY, you can save $10 off the rashie PLUS 10% on the pre-order of the Killa Bee Gi!  PLUS SAVE 30% on the entire inventory TODAY ONLY!!!

Simply click here to be re-directed to Enzo’s site, and let George know you heard about Enzo here at The Ground Never Misses!  


imageAs you all hunker down on Cyber Monday reaping deals at the stroke of a key, take a moment and fill out my new poll to your right regarding weapon carry and use please.  As always I am scouring the net looking for quality martial arts material to share and I must admit a severe lacking of it from the FMA community as a whole.  Below is a rough draft of my teachers (Meynard Ancheta of PTK SoCal) Foundational Strategy of Pekiti Tirsia Kali.

Here at Three Harmonies we train PTK twice a week; Wednesday nights at 6pm and Saturday mornings at 9am.  All are welcome to join us regardless of experience!  Kali is a great way to get in shape AND learn how to defend you and your family!  For more info email Jake: [email protected]




It is simply this: The foundation of strategy in Pekiti Trisia Kali is to CLOSE IN ON THE THIRDS. Whereby, the practitioner may accomplish the following:

1. Attack from a superior position.

2. Increase options while reducing the opponent’s options.

3. Isolate and dominate the opponent’s capacity for action. 

By virtue of your superior position you limit the opponent’s and increase your own options thereby you can effectively isolate him (or his limbs) and dominate the combative event. The foundation of strategy of Pekiti Tirsia Kali is EXPLICITLY stated in the name of the art: PEKITI (to close or to close in), TIRSIA (thirds).
Combat Bladefighting tactics are executed according to this strategy.

Tactics and training must provide skills for protection, evasion against opponent’s strikes, and the ability never to be hit because our strategy leads us to seek for the Superior Position. The superior position makes everything else possible. The live blade provides instant realization of this principle. Protection from strikes and attacks are accomplished by footwork mobility and maneuver, that is obtaining the superior position.

The ability to strike the opponent first, deliver a variety offense and counter offensive attacks is another effect of Superior Position. The second element of the foundation strategy means that we have more options to strike the opponent first and counter any strike he may deliver. Opponent weapons are destroyed by direct strikes to the weapon hand or incapacitation by striking vital areas off-time of opponent’s strikes. This is the virtue of having more options than your opponent.

Superior position and the variety of our attack options allow us to Isolate and dominate the opponent or combative event. The ability to quarter, control, and neutralize the threat regardless of terrain, environment, or multiple adversaries is a direct result of the first two elements of the strategic foundation. The three elements of the strategic foundation work in unison and Pekiti Tirsia Kali has the methodology to teach this strategic approach to combat.

imageAs we all nurse our Dead Turkey Day hangover and hunker down to watch the greatest sports rivalry ever, here are a couple clips I found perusing the interweb this morning! 



imageTry as you must to pry yourself away from the talky box and "Grey Thursday" (WTFE that is!?!?!?) to stop for a second and say "Thank you" to someone that has helped you out. We all too often glance over such trivial courtesies, but with the world heading the way it is I find these little offerings more and more important each pass by the sun. 

My past year has not been a very positive one and their are a few people whom have really helped me through some tough times.  I give thanks to each and every one of you!  Especially my family who love unconditionally.  A big thanks to my coach Brian J. Johnson.  I have lucked out in that not only is he the best coach in the Pacific NW, but he also happens to be a loyal and caring friend.  Your kindness I can never repay, just know I am forever grateful! 

Be safe and have fun this holiday,


imageBrian J. Johnson’s groundbreaking DVD series, "B12: Basic Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Curriculum" is going on sale for one day only at the NWJJA (942 N. 95th St. Seattle, WA)!  Stop by this Friday afternoon after you are all shopped out and purchase the entire curriculum for only $90!  That is three volumes for under $100 and a savings of $30 (typically $40 each)! 

Check out the Red (Georgette Oden) Menaces review by clicking here!

Here is what DSTRYsg had to say about the three volume set!

Again, this deal does NOT extend onto Amazon nor Budovideos, so stop by on Friday and grab your set before we are sold out!  

imageRed Black Belt Carlos Machado has just released a brand new instructional called "Domination," and it is all about controlling your opponents wrist/grips.  We all know the grip game is essential to BJJ and at the highest levels the first to dominate the grip is usually the first to win!

From Prof. Carlos:

"Want a better sweep game against a more seasoned opponent?  Want to escapeeasier against anyone, even if you are still a beginner?  How can a whitebelt last a bit longer against a black belt?  That, and many more answerscan be found at this easy to follow, broken down video of my"Domination" concept, where the simple knowledge of how to control thewrist can become a game changer for students of all ages and levels.

 Remember, the one who controls the grip first will determine how the match

So for those gentlemen bored on Black Friday while the ladies are out shopping, sit back and spend an hour with a legend improving your game while battling the tryptophan hang over.  It is only $19.99 and runs 50 minutes!   I am currently viewing it for a future review on The Ground Never Misses, but for those who can’t wait click here to be redirected! 

imageThough this debate is over a week old, I must take opportunity to use my blog and put Gui Mendes on blast for his "performance" last week at the 2013 Rickson Cup in Japan.  Fighting my friend and local (to the Pac NW) instructor Nate Adamson of Seaside BJJ, Gui Mendes decided to play the role of douche-waffle by running up the score before submitting him in what I can only construe as an attempt to stroke his ego and embarrass Nathan. This was Nate’s first competition at black belt.

I have seen the Mendes boys, gym name is Art of Jiu Jitsu, throw fits at referee’s for opponents with poor sportsmanship many a time, yet when the table is turned they seem rather comfortable filling the roll of bully.  What?  Too strong of a word?  Help me discern the difference with this video?  I know Nathan personally and I know that he is the first to admit when he is out skilled and he is one of the most humble fighters on the mat, so he has been kind in his approach to all this.  But the reality is Gui had plenty of opportunities to submit Nate, and all he did was watch the scorecard (literally watch him look at the score every 30 seconds!) and deliberately run up the numbers on his opponent, skipping over opportunities to submit him, and even purposefully allowing Nathan to re-guard just so Gui could pass and get the points again!  These are the actions of a bully! 

For parents researching Art of Jiu Jitsu (AOJ) for their children I hope you take a look at this video below and ask yourself if this is the individual you want teaching your kids BJJ?  Is this the level / lack of sportsmanship & class you wish to pay to be ingrained in your children? 

For Gui… grow up and act like the black belt tied around your waist means something other then the right to bully fellow competitors regardless of skill level!  

Shame on you Gui Mendes!  Shame on you! 


imageDead Turkey day is literally right around the corner and I cannot think of a more appropriate martial art to discuss then the Filipino Martial Arts (FMA) of Eskrima / Arnis / Kali!?  And what better topic then Mark Wiley’s latest book; "Mastering Eskrima Disarms?"  A long overdue text on common defensive measures found in all styles and subsystems of the FMA (and really in all martial arts), addressing disarms would seem simple, but when looking at the broader scope of the subject we find it to be much more difficult to organize and pedagogically formulate.  I am grateful that a seasoned researcher such as Mark Wiley tackled this subject, as I consider him the Tom Clancy of FMA writing. 

Mark Wiley is a special kind of duck.  Not only are his research skills top notch, but he has a kind attitude and honest love for the arts that grant him unprecedented access to teachers in all sub-styles of the FMA; something unheard of within a traditionally closed off and paranoid culture.  Without this kind of relationship within the community taking on a book of this scope would be incomplete at best.  Indeed Wiley dedicates the ninth and final chapter of the text to a photo collage of various teachers from a multitude of styles showcasing a number of different disarms.  Just shy of 100 pages these photos collected over years of travel and training throughout the USA and Philippines, are meant to showcase the similarities of each system based on the foundation of principle found across all systems of FMA.  It is brilliant to see old friends such as Dan Medina and GM Remy Presas included, as well as some great shots of the legends! 

imageDiscussing disarms is tricky as many feel they are impossible to pull off in real combat, and Wiley acknowledges this straight away by organizing "Mastering Eskrima Disarms" into two parts and eight chapters.  Discussing assumptions that are dangerous, how to progress in your training, and then guiding the reader through ranges, gates, and positional footwork.  ALL key aspects often overlooked by zealous students who want to train the "cool" disarm!  Another fundamental mistake is the difference between training for edged combat versus bladed combat.  Whereas with one it is completely safe to grab the weapon, but with the other it could be a decisive mistake!  Again Wiley addresses all these issues by laying out foundational principles that are universal. 

Part one of the text is broken into three chapters:

  1. Principles of Effective Disarms 
  2. Supporting Structures (includes joint control concepts as well as modes of engagement)
  3. Grip Release Concepts (arguably the best chapter, encompassing a wide variety of techniques into five fundamental concepts)

I like Marks approach to categorizing as he avoids using style specific terms regarding footwork and the like.  As any practitioner of the FMA knows terms are relative and often confusing.  Within one system one can find five different names for the same technique or footwork pattern, but Mark avoids such pitfalls by employing the KISS principle (Keep It Simple Stupid)!  This is so important when writing a general text that covers techniques found in all martial arts. 

Covering all aspects of weapon engagement as well, Wiley hits the note addressing stick vs. blade, double vs. single, as well as weapon vs. empty hand.  Any student with more then 2 years under their blade will be able to learn these principles and apply their own styles disarms and variations without any trouble.  Wiley has showcased the principles but has avoided trying to become a repository of every single disarm from every single angle!  That would be redundant and distracting. 

imageOne area of discussion missing from this book is that of the clinch and ground grappling.  I confess

this may be a separate subject in the authors mind and thus the exclusion.  But it has been this reviewers limited experience in my 20+ years in the FMA that when dealing with the real threat of a weapon, the bull rush into a clinch of some sorts is VERY common!  This also often leads to the ground.  I would love to hear how  Prof. Wiley would deal with such threats and disarming from the perspective of being nearly smothered.  Again this is less of a criticism and more of question, as Mark may look at this subject in a totally different light (hinting at a book idea Mr. Wiley ;). 

"Mastering Eskrima Disarms" includes over 950 photographs and really these are the only criticisms I have of the otherwise excellent book!  The instructional sequences are pretty clear but can be a bit dark at times, shot in black and white I confess I am never a fan of both parties (demonstrater and demonstratee) being dressed in the same color.  White and black lay better contrast and allow for some depth in photo’s such as these.  Though not cost effective, color photo’s and/or multiple angles have become the norm in martial art texts and when discussing weapon based arts are almost essential. 

Retailing at $29 (Amazon has it listed under $25), "Mastering Eskrima Disarms" is a must have for any practitioner of the FMA, and really anyone interested in a great text on joint manipulation and weapon engagement.  Wiley addresses the subject honestly and with real world wisdom that is often washed out in the world of weapon work.  This also makes a great gift for the martial artist on your holiday list, so before grabbing the Golok and carving that Turkey take a moment and order this fundamental text! 

You can order "Mastering Eskrima Disarms" by Mark Wiley by clicking here and you will be redirected to Amazon! 

imageFor the fourth time this calendar year I was blessed to train with Prof. Jean Jacques Machado down in the southern Ohio city of Cincinnati at the Reed Academy Martial Arts.  This would be his 15th year visiting Charles Reed and his students and boy would November 23, 2013 be a remarkable visit!

As with all my previous posts on seminar reviews with Jean Jacques, the devil was once more in the details here in cold-ass Ohio.  Over 70 students from the Reed academy and local affiliates, along with a large contingent down from Ron Dupuis’ Windsor BJJ Academy, flooded the  mat early Saturday morning eager to train under one of the greatest grapplers alive.  Being such a long time student of Jean Jacques, Charles Reed has a large bevy of belts from white to brown under him and so we started with some basic warm ups and then progressed into a number of techniques, each flowing with the previous.


imageOnce again JJM dropped some serious Zen wisdom at the seminar and it has had me thinking for the past 24 hours.  Referring to slowing down and doing one technique right a thousand times, Professor reminded us "The more you know, the less you do."  Catching students off guard waxing some of the philosophy of the Daoist Sage Chuangzi, Jean Jacques was certainly not referring to laziness, more so efficiency.  The more steps we take and details we understand with each and every movement we make on the mats, the more efficient, and ultimately more effective of a grappler we will become.  Therefor by investing in gaining MORE knowledge of said movement at the initial stage, we gain MORE wisdom as to how to use said movement(s), and as we spar we have to exert LESS because we have the foresight of what comes next.  By investing in less we gain more but expend less.  That’s heavy!!

But it reminded me that in order to progress I do not need to learn more techniques, I simply need to understand the techniques I know BETTER!  Especially on the cusp of brown belt!  And that is the crux of what I took away from this meeting with Jean Jacques and Jay Zeballos, work out the details and deepen my understanding.  I did not try to remember every single thing he showed us over three hours, but rather took away a handful of key points and tips that I am going to immediately implement into my game when I get back. 

imageAs if this was not epic enough at the conclusion of the seminar and free rolling Prof had a list of folks he needed to promote.  At the risk of screwing up every ones name and/or forgetting any, I am not going to list them (except for my brother from another mother "Stu Jitsu," Amanda B., and Iron Man!  Congrats guys!).  Over 15 blue, purple, and brown belt promotions were handed out and then Prof called all senior ranking students to the front.  In one fair swoop 6 member of the Reed Academy including Charles Reed himself were promoted to black belt under Jean Jacques Machado!  I was left speechless as were most recipient’s and witnesses.  I mean… to have one or two black belts under one roof is remarkable, but six!?!?!?  That is insane!

Red black belt in both BJJ & Daytona USA!

To be witness to events such as this and Carlos Machado’s promotion to Red – Black belt are exactly the reason I am part of this art and family.  The Machado family embodies the principles and attitudes that I find most valuable; honor, loyalty, kindness.  And those attributes are echoed by Charles Reed and his students in southern Ohio.  I can’t thank them all enough for allowing me to be a fly on the wall on such a wonderful day and event.  I also would like to thank the Dodd’s for letting me crash at the villa!  Last but not least thank you Ron Dupuis for awesome rolling! 


For anyone still reading, if you would please take a moment and fill out the survey to your right.  thanks!