The Ground Never Misses

imageMy friend Aaron Fields (Head instructor at Seatown Sambo) is one of America’s foremost experts in the Russian art of Sambo (Cambo) and his “specialty,” if I may, is not even found in his technique, but rather his pedagogy… how he organizes, teaches and conveys material.  This seminar is EXACTLY what the martial arts world needs.  A must attend event for anyone in a coaching position regardless of style and background.

Do not miss this unique event right here in the Pac NW.

imageLeslie Buck runs the Tactical Arts Academy in Austin, Texas whom also runs Kali Gear dot com a great equipment and training source for the Filipino Martial enthusiast.  Buck has been a senior student of Leo Gaje’s for decades now and brings a lot to the table when it comes to combatives in general and Pekiti Tirsia Kali specifically. Kali Gear offers protective equipment as well as some of the best blades out there by master blade-smith Jeff Crowner.  Here are a couple of video clips that offer the viewer a glimpse of Buck’s approach to the arts and teaching.

I am going to make 2014 the year of the blade here on The Ground Never Misses with some exciting new things coming such as blade reviews, PTK DVD reviews, seminars and training opportunities, and a couple of writing projects as well.  In general I hope to offer quality information in regards to weapon based self defense from any angle that is logical (a powerfully needed filter in a world rife with fantasy).  So by all means please send me info and links to anything FMA related, does not have to specifically any one system.

Also if you are interested in training in the most scientifically technical approach to the blade, then join us Wednesday night and Saturday morning for Pekiti Tirsia Kali here in Seattle, WA. Give me a call or email for more details.

imageHakuho is one of my favorite Sumo wrestlers of all time, and this recent January 2014 basho illustrates exactly why I love to watch him and Sumo in general.

First and foremost check out this AMAZING inside knee prop (Uchimuso) he nails on Kotoshogiku.  This is an incredibly rare throw all set up off of Kotoshogiku over committing his weight into Hakuho:

So that was day 14, where day 15 has yokozuna Hakuho (14-0) taking on Kakuryu (13-1).  IF Hakuho wins it will be his 28th Emperors Cup.

SPOILER ALERT…. So when you have a tied record on day 15 of a basho, it forces the two wrestlers into a sudden death playoff.  What better timing then a winner takes all end to the January basho just before the American superbowl!?  If Kakuryu wins it will be his first Emperors Cup:

I am a huge fan of grappling and I cannot think of a more beautiful thing then indigenous peoples expressing their culture via wrestling.  Our friends over at Wrestling Roots have run into a bit of a road block and are making a call for help.  Check them out on the web as well as on FB:image“Seeking some internet detectives. This is a picture that I found when trying to find examples of traditional Native American wrestling. For those of you who follow our website or social media, you can see that there is quite a bit of information regarding indigenous wrestling forms across the globe. However, I have not been able to find much information on the web, museums, or books regarding indigenous wrestling forms here in the USA.
This picture is entitled “Navajo wrestling.” Does anyone have any more information on this photo? Are there rules/history written somewhere that I have not found yet regarding any Native American wrestling forms?

Please keep this photo moving. I am hoping that one of our readers has a family member, friend, neighbor, etc… that has some primary information regarding traditional indigenous wrestling within the USA.

I would like to use the Wrestling Roots website as a collection point for any stories, photographs, or bibliographies that we can uncover. If you have any information that can help, or can point us in the right direction, feel free to email me at [email protected]

imageBJJ Scout returns after a hefty holiday with a stellar breakdown of the upcoming Ronda Rousey and Sara McMann bout February 22, 2014.  Scout lays out some interesting observations in this initial breakdown focusing on grappling.

Check out the entire article with the video by clicking here. 

imageVice Magazine has launched a new online magazine geared towards the booming combat sports popularity which has surged in the past 10 years.  “Fightland” has some great stories and info on it such as this piece on Thai Boxing in the prison systems where inmates can work off sentences for fighting in the ring, and disagreements between fellow prisoners are dealt with maturely and fairly (novel idea).

Vice is one of my favorite news magazines because they bring stories we would never, ever hear about otherwise.  HBO is worth the money alone for Vice News:

imageI wanted to take the opportunity to let potential students of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) know that you have several choices in Seattle, WA.  There are many excellent instructors of grappling that offer a bevy of classes throughout the Seattle metropolitan area, and it has come to my attention that a certain school is advertising proclamations such as being “…Seattle’s only school that teaches Brazilian Jiu Jitsu exclusively.”   An assertion that quite simply is not true, and when informed about the typo the individual decided to leave the statement be.

So buyer beware when shopping for BJJ in the Seattle area, make sure you check out a bevy of schools including Fosters BJJ, SIMA in W. Seattle, and the best in the northwest: NW Jiu Jitsu Academy in North Seattle!  And if it applies make sure to inquire why certain instructors are making false or misleading claims in their advertising campaigns for no real good reason.

imageAs I take my first steps as a brown belt on my BJJ journey it is time to revisit the more advanced leg attacks such as heel hooks and toe holds.  These are techniques that will be legal in various tournament formats, plus now that I have some experience under my belt I can confidently apply locks safely regardless of how much of a spazz I am rolling with.

Bas Rutten is unquestionably one of the most ferocious leg attack specialists ever to fight in MMA and thanks to Jiu Jitsu Style for finding this little gem… over an hour of heel hooks and leg locks from the maestro himself:

imageMetamoris III has been announced and it sounds like an exciting lineup that will hopefully deliver a bit more action then the last “submission-only-except-in-the-event-of-a-tie-which-is-boring” event.  The main fight will feature the rematch between Royler Gracie and Eddie Bravo (a bit of old school Gracie vs. Machado).
March 29th is the fight date, and they are running a special of 50% off the stream price ($19.99) if you pre-order prior to the end of January.  Not only are Kenny Florian and Jeff Glover commentating this go around, but check out this lineup:

  • Royler Gracie vs. Eddie Bravo
  • Rafa Mendes vs. Clark Gracie
  • Vinny Magalhaes vs. Keenan Cornelius
  • Dean Lister vs. Renato “Babalu” Sobral
  • Samir Chantre vs. Gui Mendes
  • Sean Roberts vs. Zak Maxwell
  • Click here to check out the live stream!

imageSeth Daniels and Brett Boyce run a great tournament and are innovators in their own right.  This past Saturday the WGC hosted a tournament in Houston, TX. where accused rapist Nick Shultz (surely you all have not forgotten that TLI debacle!?) showed up to compete.  Fellow RCJ black belt, and all around good guy Alvis Solis confronted Nick and politely told him to leave:Here, in Alvis’ words:”  So, I was coaching one of my guys and thought I saw Nick out of the corner of my eye across the mats. I finished with my guy and looked in that direction..didn’t see I walked in that direction, and saw that he was trying to hide behind this guy.    So as I was walking towards him, he was talking to (…), so I walked right up to Nick and asked what the f— he was doing here? I told him you don’t belong here and that no one wanted him here..he said I didn’t do anything, I said both you and I know that’s a lie..and (…) pulled him away.    I then ran into Seth, he talked to Brett and they got this huge guy to escort Nick out..Nick argued the whole time that he didn’t do anything..Afterwards, talking to Seth, I found out that Nick had asked Seth if he could compete, Seth said no, and that he shouldn’t show up either..Nick didn’t respect that…oh, and I have gotten a lot of favorable responses from people, but also some that feel I should leave Nick be.”    That’s Alvis’ report, and according to a friend who was table ref at a mat nearby, Nick was in attendance “coaching” for Paul Thomas aka Judo Paul, who I’ve written about here previously.  In fact, last time I worked this tournament in November, Paul swore up and down he’d never let Nick back in his academy.”
Rumor has it Shultz is training with Draculino (PLEASE say that is not so Draculino!!!!) and that Shultz is planning on competing in the IBJJF’s Houston Open this weekend.  Lets make sure we let IBJJF and Shultz both know that he is not welcome to any of our events!  Please check out Georgette’s blog which is the central hub of information in regards to scum bag rapists in our sport/art!  Click here to read her entire post and please do bookmark her site to visit daily.
imageWell if you are in the Pac NW then you are most likely nursing a hangover and have already called in for the day.  So since you have all day lounging around ranting and raving on your Seahawk glory, sit down, light a fattie and listen to Eddie Bravo have a sit down chat with his coach Jean Jacques Machado.

Thanks to mi hermano Ivan for turning me onto yet another great Jean Jacques Machado interview from just last week with his student (and grappling genius himself) Eddie Bravo on his weekly videocast “Eddie Bravo Radio.”   Lots of great info about the history of BJJ and the Machado family.

imageWhen Jean Jacques Machado speaks we should all listen, as he embodies over four decades of martial knowledge.  Some would argue he is the most technical grappler teaching today (and yes, he teaches all of his classes at his Tarzana, CA. academy!  I have had the pleasure of training with Prof. Jean Jacques Machado four times this year alone and I cannot tell you the lessons I have taken away both on and off the mat.  Here is a GREAT interview with the Professor himself:

imageA huge night for Brian Johnson and his NW Jiu Jitsu Academy in north Seattle, WA. as we promoted no less than 10 martial artists.  I will write up more on my own personal journey through purple belt soon, but I wanted to take the moment to recognize the hard work and dedication of our grapplers at the premier BJJ gym in the Pacific Northwest.

imageBig Ben was the sole soul awarded blue belt last night.  But we had a bevy of new purples including Brett Smith, Coach Bo, David C., Ivan Moran, and Joseph Montagne.  Mike, Justin Guyer, Nick, and myself were awarded our brown belts on January 16, 2014.

Congrats to all on the well deserved promotions.  Welcome back to the bottom of the totem poll, now get your ass back on the mat and train!

Photo by: Mike Baltierra Photography

I wanted to take a moment and thank my loyal readers and followers over the past five years of blogging, as I am constantly surprised at the support I receive. With some help from my homie Dutchess I can proudly say The Ground Never Misses will continue to be your premier go to source for all things martial.  2013 was my most prolific year in terms of posts, reviews, and dissemination of information, and we are trying to ensure 2014 is even better!

It is my goal with this blog to offer opinions, news, reviews, acting as a central meeting place for martial arts and grappling systems from all cultures worldwide.  A martial arts blog for martial artists with senses of humor and a dose of common sense.

imageIf you are so inclined to help out and spread word, it would be greatly appreciated.  What takes you a second really makes a difference to us.  Here are a few things that would help:

  •  Take a moment and bookmark and visit the blog daily if possible.
  •   If you order from Amazon, please go to their site via my link to the bottom left.
  •  If you are on Facebook please take a moment and “Like” our new FB Ground Never Misses Page.     I would appreciate sharing my blog with anyone you know on FB and other social media sites.
  • If you are interested in training either privately or in a group hit me up for some lessons: [email protected]

Every view helps me in numerous ways.

I am proud to say I have one of the longest running blogs online: 5 years this February!  Help me make it another five years and we will walk the martial path together.   The martial “secret” is in perseverance.

imageimageWrestling in one form or another is universally shared across all political and geographic borders.  Cultures have developed specific styles and rule sets, but ultimately grappling is grappling.  With much thanks to Wrestling Roots here is a short photo essay on the Kazakh wrestling horseman called audaryspak.  Some researchers believe that the nomadic ancestors of what is now Kazakhstan were the first to domesticate horses, so it seems only natural that they developed a whole style of grappling on horseback.  Born of war and combative experience I can honestly say I have never seen such a thing.

Click here to read the entire article.

And here we have a couple videos of traditional Lutte from Niger.  A rough wrestling art rooted in hundreds of years of practice.  Africa has some of the toughest, most skilled grapplers I have ever seen.  And yes, that is a fattie he is toking before the fights.  A common practice in Africa is to smoke marijuana to ease anxiety, and numb pain.

And Rousey has nothing on this dude:

imageIt is time once again to own up to your resolutions by whipping yourself into shape, and Michael Skogg is here to help with an online training program called Virtual Skogg.  The kettle bell craze has simmered down a bit in the fitness industry and what that means to us the consumer is we get to experience the true leaders in the kettle bell industry who have stuck around, Michael Skogg being one of them.  Michael Skogg has over two decades of skill and training to offer on his virtual online training system, and after the past couple of months reviewing his program I must say this is your New Years resolution solution.

The kettle bell is one of the most versatile training utensils available on the market today.  Compact.  Easy to use, and the fact you do not need a ton of space to train it makes the bell a perfect addition to any martial arts studio or gym.  Kettle bell training offers a bevy of attributes to the grappler and striker alike where aerobic, anaerobic, and strength training are as simple as grabbing a bell and hitting the start button on your mobile device to instantly load up over 70 unique fifty minute training session with Skogg directly.

With over 70 different classes archived in the library right now, Skogg is constantly updating the menu and offering more workouts.  The workouts have theme’s in general and offer progressively more difficult variations for the more experienced, with each session starting out with Skogg (who teaches all the classes) explaining any different or new movements as well as offering variations on certain movements for emphasis on different minor muscle groups.  The lessons are extremely easy to follow along and the beauty of online streaming is you can pause and rewind at your leisure.

imageTechnically I had no issues at all. With a solid internet connection you are solid meaning you can take this workout with you ANYWHERE!  Outside.  In the living room.  At the dojo.  Traveling in the hotel.  Literally anywhere you have internet access you have a workout.  I had a couple of issues when first logging in that were totally my fault, and Sue Skogg (COO of Skogg) got back to me in eerily quick time.

Required equipment is minimal with this program.  A single kettle bell appropriate for your conditioning level, is all you need to get started.  As you progress you will want another bell.  Multiple bells are not necessary at first, but obviously it would allow you to do progressive weight training etc.  One of the best aspects about Skogg is he offers variations for different body types and levels of fitness.   As you make it through the various workouts it is not until about session 60 when you need cross core (essentially a suspension system much akin to TRX).  These are more advanced workouts and will be months into your training.

And talk about timing, here is a free class Skogg uploaded to Youtube so you can get a taste of what he has to offer:

All of this from Portland’s most progressive personal trainer who specializes in combat sports conditioning (Skogg trains at the brand new Renzo Gracie Portland Academy) for everything from MMA to BJJ.  A monthly subscription is more affordable then any local gym at $19.99, but if you use coupon code: SK14 when you click on this link to Virtual Skogg you will save 50% at $9.99!  This is a limited offer so make sure to sign up ASAP and sign up today.

imageMulti time world champ, and whom many consider the best in the world right now, Marcus “Buchecha” Almeida is an instructor at Ace Jiu Jitsu in Fountain Valley, CA. and has offered some of his trade secrets to being a dominant submission specialist in a Hayabusa video series.

Check out Matt Wang getting choked by Buchecha’s Bow & Arrow:

imageQuite simply one of the best ever.  Period.  Study his use of the teep (front kick) and his relentless forward intention.


imageMy friend and training partner Brett Smith just launched his new website and blog titled The Ground Technician.    He will be offering information on wrestling, BJJ, MMA, and all competitive grappling events both local and worldwide.  Brett is on the cusp of attaining his purple belt and has a drive and passion for the competitive side of our art like no other.  This will be a stellar site to reference for all grapplers and competitors.

Support our fellow brother in arms by bookmarking the Ground Technician and “Like” him on Facefuck and Twitter.

imageHere is the latest ranking based on NCAA strength not dual meet strength.

  1. Penn St.
  2. Iowa
  3. Oklahoma St.
  4. Minnesota
  5. Oklahoma
  6. Cornell
  7. THE Ohio State
  8. Nebraska
  9. Edinbor
  10. N. Iowa

imageThe Rhakine and their wrestling culture are new to me, as my knowledge of Myanmar is limited at best.  Renowned for their fighting vigor and prowess, the Rhakine grapplers are reviving their native style:

“This is a kind of game you hardly ever see in Yangon. I became so proud of this event as a Rakhine person when I saw that this tournament can be held in Yangon unitedly and with so many spectators,” said a member of the crowd.
“I always feel heartened when I hear the sound of the royal drum while I’m in the ring. I couldn’t stay cool while I heard that sound,” said Ko Kyaw Swe, a 25-year old Rakhine wrestler of tall and powerful build. He lives in Rakhine State and works as a high school teacher. Today he laughed heartily as he waited for his next rival in the ring.”

To read the entire article click here to be redirected. 

image2013 was not the best year for me personally.  Arguably the worst.  If I had to summarize it in one word, that word would be “gravity.”  Gravity is true and honest regardless of circumstance.  Paratroopers say “gravity’s a bitch.”  My coach Tim Cartmell would say “Gravity doesn’t lie, and the ground never misses.”  I would concur with both sentiments.  The last couple rotations around the sun have proved to be quite brutally honest for me, and I have done my best to turn it positive via my training and this blog.

imageThough it did not translate to my tournament game, the past year has been stellar for me training wise.  I truly feel I have made some serious leaps and bounds in understanding Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Pekiti Tirsia Kali.  And the progress I have seen in my students reassures me that my coaching skills have not diminished in the chaos of life.  But this very blog  is the success story of 2013 as I approach 5 years of consistent information and opinions on The Ground Never Misses.  With over 300 posts for the calendar year I have collected the top blog posts per number of unique views.  Check it out:

  • image
  • Rener Gracie’s epic seminar was one of my most popular blog posts, and quite frankly was one of the highlights of 2013 BJJ wise!
  •  2013 unfortunately shook the BJJ world with the “Team” Lloyd Irvin rape scandal where “team mates” raped a fellow female member in a parking garage and left her for dead.  In some insane sense these scum bags did not even get a slap on the wrist.  It is imperative that we spread this post (and others) around the net to ensure future potential students in the DC metro area know the truth about Lloyd Irvin and his rape culture.
  • A wonderful story of POW MMA club that helps veterans deal with PTSD and other related issues via training MMA.  A most positive story for our vets for a change. 
  • image
  • Scotty Nelson and his campaign to end the senselessness that is 50-50 guard remains one of my most popular posts period.  Support the cause and end “scissor banging!”
  •  Rare training footage of Rolls Gracie rolling with his brother Rickson is a sure fire hit every time.  The Machado’s hold Rolls in such high regard… his early death makes me wonder what amazing things the afterlife held for him.  
  • image
  •  James Rhodes’ excellent essay on life entitled “Find What You Love and Let it Kill You” is advice worth applying to ones life.
  •  My first coach, and longtime friend Mike Sherman’s post was a popular one as well.  A true inspiration and mentor! 
  • image
  •  I FINALLY met Pete and Dedeco of Origin BJJ fame this year.  As per usual Origin is blowing up and always on the forefront of innovation for the grapplers of 2014. 


  •  Interview of the year with John Machado was a big hit as well.  Great stuff in this hour long interview on Just The Gi Top.

Here is to a positive 2014 filled with hard training and great advancement! imageCraftsmen as talented and skilled as any of the warriors that adorned their ware are the feature at Portland Art Museums “Samurai!” exhibit running through January 12th.  Truly an amazing representation of the culmination of skill in fabricating the various armor, tacks, quivers, helmets, and other various accouterments that joined Samurai on the field of battle.  From an artistically functional standpoint this is most likely the best exhibit I have ever seen, and viewing it with a martial artists eyes showcased a rare view of the armor (not the arms) of the samurai.

imagePortland’s museum is easily accessible in the southwest part of downtown, within walking distance of most major hotels.  A $20 entry fee grants you unlimited access to Ann and Gabriel Barbier-Mueller’s unique collection of human and equine armor, a collection normally housed in Texas.  I loved the exhibits and design as they allowed you to view 360 degrees around many of the pieces, housed in cases that were tight enough to allow extremely close viewing.   The detail involved with many of the designs was nothing short of amazing, absolutely stunning.

imageimageimageNot only were these various pieces eye catching, but they were functional as well with adaptations derived directly from combat.  For instance doe skin tabs on the chest of archers ensured that the bow string would not catch on the armor.  That kind of shit absolutely fascinates me.  Born of experience, these inventions meant the difference between life and death… literally!!  In the 21st century we can cling onto the idea of being true “warriors” but the fact is there is no such equivalent to the samurai in the modern world.  No one specializes in the warfare of blades and arrows as in the past.  This exhibit offers a peek into a world that no longer exists, and offers us a most beautiful portrayal of a level of functional craftsmanship that is all but forgotten in modern society.

imageI understand this review comes merely a week prior to the end of the exhibit, but trust me when I tell you that you will not regret dropping your silly plans for next week and making this a destination for you and your family.imageimage
imageClick here to be re-directed to a most amazing exhibit on the Samurai! imageInterested in training with some of the best grapplers in the Pacific NW?  Unlike some others claims of teaching “exclusively Brazilian Jiu Jitsu,” here at NW Jiu Jitsu Academy we have two black belts offering advanced and begging BJJ, as well as one no gi BJJ class on Monday nights.  Our curriculum is based upon over 30 years of grappling experience under Brian Johnson, a 2nd degree black belt in the tradition of the Machado family BJJ.

Right now Brian is offering a New Years Special of $1100 for the entire year of 2014, along with a free private lesson.  A savings of over $300 on your BJJ education!  Hurry in to take advantage of this great deal and be set for the entire year.

Brian is also offering private lessons and eval’s in an effort to improve your own personal game.  Students eval’s are $30 and can be scheduled with Brian directly.  If you would like to get a private lesson (or series of them) with Brian they are $75/hour and can be scheduled with him directly.

Three (multi time) world champions reside at NWJJA! 

Another amazing resource to take advantage of is Brian’s first black belt, Denise Holcomb.  Denise has been a loyal and dedicated student of Brian’s for over 12 years and has trained with all the Machado brothers, as well as being a silver medalist at the 2013 Masters & Seniors Black Belt Division!  Denise often sees details even our coach misses, and brings a truly unique perspective to the art.  I will tell you right now no one, NO ONE, knows the basic curriculum better then Denise!  If you are serious about stepping up your game spend $50 and an hour and she will help you reach the next level.

Amazing resources coupled with a the cleanest, nicest gym in Seattle.  Stop by 942 N. 95th and check out what you have been missing.

imageMerry New Year!  How did you spend the passing of 2013 into the birth of 2014?  Well if you were in Japan you could tune into Giant Killing 3, a super-star packed arm wrestling tournament that is so uniquely Japanese!  Reminiscent of the New Years super shows that Pride FC used to put on before the evil conglomerate of Fertitta and White bought them out, Giant Killing is over the top crazy production where a trucker hat turned backwards is the only thing missing.