Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Crosley Gracie helping Brazilian jiu-jitsu take root in Napa

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

(Live) Training Tips For Beginners

If you just became eligible to begin rolling, keep in mind that if you don't take some precautions to protect your most valuable asset, your body, it will be a matter of (short) time until you begin experiencing injuries, especially when rolling with another inexperienced practitioner. These are in no specific order of importance. 
1. Clean your diet - stay hydrated. Look to consume high Ph waters. The more alkaline your body is, the less inflammation and the stronger your cells will be against the strain of athletics. Cut processed sugar and salt. Use raw sugar and Himalayan salt, instead. The Gracie Diet consists of mixing the proper foods to oxygenate and raise the Ph levels of the blood. We have Gracie Diet recipe books for sale in Brentwood and Napa. 
2. Enhance your intake of Vitamin C, but be careful with the synthetic kind. Take joint supplements such as MSN and Glucosamine. Look them up. 
3. Listen to your body - when you are too sore, skip live training. Drill instead, or even take a day off.
4. Stretch (preferably after a short warm up session, which is when your joints and muscles are warm).
5. The more repetitions you do, the cleaner and more precise your techniques will be when rolling. You will maximize the efficiency of the move and minimize the effort, also minimizing the risk of injury.
6. Train your brain to avoid panicking when rolling. Don't get too emotionally involved. Learn to think methodically and apply what you were taught in detail. Intense drilling will help provide that. 
7. Back to #3. If you are already injured, DO NOT ROLL. Unless you are a Black Belt or are rolling with a Black Belt, it's very likely you will make your injury worse. 
8. No, you will not go 50% when injured. Neither will your partner. Again, unless you are a Black Belt or are rolling with a Black Belt, you won't develop and carry on that kind of control when rolling.
9. Always listen to your instructor. 
10. Learn to attend practice injured (depending on the injury, of course). One of the greatest things Jiu-Jitsu has to offer it's the multitude of things you can still drill to improve, with most injuries. There are dozens of variations for each move that is taught. Let your instructor know what you are unable to do and he or she will find something for you to drill and continue your progress. 
11. Supplement your training with weight lifting - this is to strengthen your joints, not to hurt them. So no crazy Olympic weightlifting on unexperienced Crossfit gyms where everyone thinks you are a world class 25 year old power lifter. Lift light weights with high number of reps, super sets is ideal (one set of 15 to 20 reps per exercise, three different exercises back to back). 
12. Supplement your training with a 45- minute minimum of cardio- vascular activity. This can be alternated with weight lifting. Two, three days a week of Jiu-Jitsu, one day a week of weightlifting and one day of cardio. 
13. Tone down a bit, When rolling with someone that is not as athletic or technically gifted as you. Get your work out, work on sharpening your attacks and escapes but allow them to work on a thing or two as well. 
14. We say this all the time: train differently with different people. Not everyone has the exact same body type, age, weight and etc... Some techniques will work on some easier than others. Some techniques will only work on a small percentage of people and vice versa. It's your job to find out which ones they are and apply (or avoid) the right ones on the right body types. 
15. MAT TIME. Be it stretching, drilling, assisting with a private lessons, studying moves, helping with a group class, etc... Whatever time you spend on the mat adds up to your skill set somehow. Think longer term. At the end of the day, it's always about helping you relax during the live sessions and act less spastic, subsequently helping you avoid injuries.
16. When caught on a bad position, don't force your way out 100% of the time. Think creating a reaction from your opponent to then attempt an escape. Remember every action required a reaction. Use this when you notice you can't accomplish the next step of your move. Distract your opponent by making them react to something else, when they do, you move on to your original goal.
17. If you do get injured (sprains, torsions, bruises) - 20 minutes sessions of ice (not a frozen corn bag), an actual icebag. Available at any Walgreens or CVS (look up Body Glove ice pack with a wrap online). Then off for 50 min before another icing session. 
18. Don't get frustrated when you are injured. Accept reality and focus on your recovery. Keep a positive attitude and take one day at a time. Talk to your instructor about your injuries and ask for advice what you can do and what you cannot do.
Follow these as closely as possible and be sure to keep away from silly injuries and maximize your fun!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Carlson Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Legacy

Having represented and competed with this patch on my back throughout my youth was a blessing, a privilege and an honor that I will forever cherish. My combat sports skills, overall work ethic and character, could not have had better foundation while growing up training in Copacabana, Rio-Brazil.
Being one of the greatest factory of martial arts champions of all time was just one of the reasons that makes this patch so special. Many of my lifetime friendships were built on those mats in the 90s. The bonds developed through years of training, the daily grinds, the emotions shared on the mat, the disappointments and the achievements alongside my teammates could never be replicated in any other activity. 
Only those who persevere through the ups and downs of the initial years of training, will experience what nothing else in the world can provide. Family and academics can only teach us so much. The rest is self-discovery. Jiu-Jitsu was the most complete form of education I have received. To everyone who spent years training by my side out there, my eternal respect, gratitude and friendship. Distance and time away are not enough factors to change this. Nothing is.
If all children of the world could have the opportunity to be exposed to proper Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training, the world would be a much better place! 

Monday, October 26, 2015

Post 2015 Jiu-Jitsu U.S Open Words

We want to congratulate everyone who stepped up to compete at the US Open this weekend, in special the ones who won their divisions in Santa Cruz, Elijah Tabasa, Marlon Reyes, Montana Rushing, Ed Juarez, Travis Newton, Joe Vernazza and Rylah Lenford. Elijah, Rylah and Ed also won gold at last year's edition. Regardless of the end result, if you gave your all and based your preparation on a "never quit attitude" throughout the entire training camp until the day you stepped on the mat be proud of what you have done. 
The competition is won in the months, weeks, in the countless hours of sacrifice and sweat on the mats leading up to the day of the event. Nothing else will give you more confidence than knowing how much you committed and sacrificed. The atmosphere this past weekend at the Kaiser Permanente Arena doesn't get more intense than that. It was hot, loud, crowded... If you can function efficiently in an environment like that, you can perform well in any other walk of life. And that's just one of the many reasons why we do this, to do and be better at living life.
For some competitors, it was a lot to handle, for others was just another day at the office. What it matters is that everyone learned more about themselves this weekend. To those who didn't succeed at gold, time to assess what was missing. Mat time? Proper diet? Supplemental training such as weight lifting, cardio, etc? As we always say, to win a tournament this level, which is equivalent to a state championship at least, it is going to take more than training a few hours a week. From kids to adults and masters division, U.S. Open gold medalists don't train seasonally. In the age of health & fitness, and the UFC craze, everyone takes competition training serious. As a team, we will also take a look at our own work and see where we can improve as the journey seeking perfection in all we do in our Academy will never end. 
Competition isn't required to excel and benefit from martial arts training, but it is important to understand that should you choose to test your skills out there, it won't be easy, we won't let you slack and you better set your mind for the training you will need to go through to succeed. But at the end of it all, It will be worth it. You will have become technically better, mentally stronger and more confident on your capacities. 
Our records show that out of 42 competitors, we brought back seven gold, 12 silver and nine bronze medals. We are very excited with the results from our Napa affiliate. Out of the three competitors that stepped up, we won one gold (Travis), one silver (Lance) and one bronze (Jaret). Jaret was dominating the division, won his first two matches, but got injured in the semis after taking his opponent down. He was forced to pull out and earned 3rd place. Travis also dominated the division, submitting two of his three opponents. We couldn't be happier, with only eight months of training, the 707 crew did great!

Check out Travis beautiful double leg takedown to a guillotine choke in the finals:

Thank you to:
- Crosley Gracie Jiu-Jitsu staff for working so hard to ensure the team was ready;
- All teammates who made themselves available on the mats daily, having crucial role in helping everyone get ready;
- Competitor's parents for all the support and trust in our work. 
Check out the weekend in photos: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/…

We'll see you back on the mats!


Friday, October 23, 2015

Students or Consumers?

When what you do for a living is teaching other human beings everything that encompasses living a winning life, you don't care for recognition. You care for the growth and success of the individual. That is the reward. A reward that what you are doing works and it truly changes peoples lives for the better. However, when you truly give your all in order to ensure the person whom you are teaching succeeds, and what you get in return is a feedback of entitlement, disrespect and negativity, that is, surely, the lowest point of any teaching job. 

People mistaken their position as being consumers, not students. Our best students don't view themselves as customers and they aren't treated as such. They understand they are a product in development who come to us in seek of information. The handful of "consumers" who have made part of our institution (and that is mostly parents) have, at some point, allowed their sense of entitlement take over, causing them to ultimately leave our Academy. The world these days is full of ungrateful individuals who feel that because you provide them a service they are doing you a favor, since they hired you for that service. For some unexplained reason, people rarely take the extra time to commend someone for their doings, their efforts and their achievements. It seem to come more naturally to us human beings to take the extra step mostly to bash, to complain and to denigrate. This is a sad fact in today's society.

Every once in a great while we come across these individuals in our line of work. Parents or other relatives who have no idea what it takes to do what we do and how hard we work in order to help the children function efficiently in any social setting by instilling in them values of respect, discipline, selflessness, perseverance, responsibility, humility and accountability. Values that, if they train long enough, they can carry on for the rest of their lives. Just last week our paths got crossed with someone like that. A grandparent, who didn't agree on how we addressed her grandson's lack of compliance with the disciplinary rules we have in place, thought it was appropriate to confront the Instructor in the waiting area and disrespect the Academy by calling us names in front of everyone else who was present. It is one thing to disagree and civilly talk about why each step of the disciplinary action was taken in order to find out what really happened, but it is another thing to act out disrespectfully in front of dozens of children ranging from 4-12 based of speculative conclusions (and even if facts were known, keeping your class and self-respect should be paramount).

Crosley Gracie Jiu-Jitsu is an institution of self-improvement and has proven over and over to our community and the thousands of students served over the past ten years the value of our product and how we pass it on to our members. We are here to help individuals from all walks of life, including individuals with special needs and learning disabilities, implement the key elements for an improved and healthier lifestyle to maintain an excellent quality of life. We are in no way responsible to discipline the students who refuse to obey the disciplinary rules. By complying with such rules they should understand that will be better prepared to achieve their goals in life. Conveying that to them is just one of the inumerous things we do. However, this is only possible for children who want to learn what is taught, practiced and developed here. At Crosley Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, we provide them a fertile ground for development and application of these teachings as well as the technical preparation of self-defense. The responsibility to fix behavioral issues of any child is not ours, but solely of their dear parents.

Despite this unfortunate incident, our Black Belt teachers continue to use their combined expertise of over 40 years in this field to give our youth students the tools necessary to help them become convinced of their physical security against possible tyranny of other children, growing up without fear at school or wherever they go. And subsequently morally preparing themselves to face the adversities of life to efficiently serve our nation. 

We are grateful to have such a large student body that has given themselves the chance to fairly evaluate our teaching methods over the years, and come to the conclusion that at the end of the day we legitimately care for their well-being and are here to empower them to reach their full potential. We are thankful for the appreciation we receive for the level of dedication we put into our activities daily. Our success is not only the result of our combat sports and athletics expertise. It's not just the result of the high level of respect we have for each and every member who steps on our mats. Not just the the passion we have for what we do. It is ultimately the result of our commitment to excellence.

"Do more for the world than the world does for you."

Monday, October 12, 2015


In regards to training, you don't have to be a professional or a champion to think like one. I've learned a lot from Wrestling from the first 5 years I studied when I first arrived in America. And the actual techniques were the least valuable thing I got from it. I've identified myself a lot with its culture of intense and diligent work ethic. Culture which I have since implemented in my teaching and own training style. You must pay attention to detail in every single step of every single rep you do. That's excellence. Every immediate rep should come out better than the last. If it doesn't, you are failing. 
I'm teaching a No Gi class tonight filled with reps from various positions to help everyone put things together. Great come back class to those who have been out. Hope to see a full class! 
I want to take the opportunity to repost this article. I came across this over 10 years ago and it has ever since helped me use it as an example to anyone what drilling is and how it should be done. You don't have to be a high level college/professional athlete to have the same mindset as one. The body may not follow or recover from training as it used to as we get older, but that has nothing to do with your mind. Enjoy the read and I'll see you on the mat tonight! 
by Ken Chertow
"If you wish to perfect your techniques so that they work at the highest levels of competition, you must stay focused when you are drilling. Too many wrestlers go through the motions when they drill just putting in time. If you do this, you will not reach your fullest potential. Intense drilling is essential if you are going to develop your skills to their fullest.
It is essential that you understand the importance of drilling and use all the drill time your coach gives you efficiently. Never stand around. Make the most of every second. Find a reliable drill partner who is willing to work with you intensely throughout the course of practice. If your coach tells you to drill a move five times each and you do it twice as fast as your teammates, make sure you keep drilling until your coach tells you to drill a different move. Never do a certain number and then stop and wait for everyone else to finish. Then you will only be as good as them. Execute as many quality repetitions as you can in the allotted time.
There was a huge bulletin board in my high school wrestling room that said "Through repetition you can learn a move so well that no one can stop it. If you want it bad enough, it is only a matter of time." Read this quotation again and think about it. It truly sums up what it takes to learn and perfect a technique, so that you have the confidence to hit it instinctively in the heat of battle. I took this quote to heart throughout my competitive career and make the youngsters I coach today drill endlessly. If you are going to truly believe that no one can stop you, you must have drilled your techniques quickly and crisply thousands of times. Repetition Drilling is essential if you wish to make your techniques instinctive. I will now share some stories with you to illustrate how much value I place on drilling and how essential drilling was to the development of my skills.
When I was in high school, many of my teammates did not drill with the intensity necessary to excel. I did not waste my time with the kids who were just going through the motions. I had a few favorite drill partners that I spent most of my time working with. One teammate in particular, Bobby Taylor, was able to drill with the same intensity that I did. We spent at least 80% of our drill time working together during high school practices. We became very comfortable drilling together and were able to help each other excel. Not only would we drill intensely during practice but also prior to matches. Our drills prior to big matches were short(10 minutes) and crisp, but our drills before dual meets and between rounds of tournaments were quite extensive. We figured that if we sat around between sessions we would be wasting valuable training time.
During tournaments we would drill for 20-30 minutes between every session and then warm up together again immediately before our matches. By our senior year there would often be crowds of kids just sitting around the mats between sessions of tournaments watching us drill. Our peers thought we were crazy but we were simply focused on achieving our highest goals. We did not do it for show. We figured that in the long run the more repetitions we did the better we would get. We were right. Bobby and I both won State Championships our Junior and Senior year. Bobby earned a scholarship to and graduated from Clemson.He is now coaching in Chapin, South Carolina where his team has won three State Championships. Coach Taylor has undoubtedly taught his students the importance of intense drilling.
My Olympian Summer Camp students and parents often complain to me about their lack of good coaching or off season workout partners and facilities. My feeling is that if there is a will (to create a good training situation), there is a way. When I was a kid growing up in West Virginia, there were no spring freestyle clubs. Once the regular season ended, it was hard to get mat time and a workout partner let alone find a club. Few wrestlers or coaches even thought about wrestling once the season ended. Even my best friend and training partner, Bobby Taylor, had other interests in the spring. Fortunately, I was able to get Tony Dickens, a wrestler from a school 30 miles away, to workout with me regularly. He proved to an intense and reliable drill partner. I learned freestyle and Greco-Roman by watching videotapes and attending camps, and we did all the drilling on our own with no coaching. Our school principals would not let us on the mats without supervision and the State Athletic Association would not let our coaches work with us in the off season. We had to beg the custodians to let us into our high schools at night or meet at my house where I had a 12x12 in my basement. My home mat was great for drilling but the furniture, pillars and concrete floor made intense live wrestling a dangerous war. Thus, 80% of our workout in my basement consisted of hard drilling. Despite our far from ideal training situation, I was able to win Junior Nationals in both Greco and freestyle. Tony was All-State three times and wrestled for the Naval Academy. Upon graduation he joined the Navy and became an All American in Greco Roman. We both credit much of our success to the many, many hours we spent drilling together.
While in college at Penn State, my training situation obviously improved. I had many partners for live wrestling, but there were three special people who I spent most my time drilling with, Jim Martin, Tim Flynn and Coach John Fritz. They understood the importance of intense drilling and these were the men who I drilled with most frequently. Jim Martin became a 4x All American while Tim Flynn and I earned All American Honors 3 times. Our many years of hard work and intense drilling paid off.
Coach Fritz gave me endless hours of his time and energy training me and drilling with me throughout my collegiate career. He was the most influential coach on my wrestling career. I lost 14 matches during my freshman year of college, more than I had lost throughout my high school career. It was a huge step from West Virginia high school wrestling to big time collegiate wrestling. Fortunately, John Fritz was there every step of the way. He taught me a lot of great techniques and pushed me through many hard times. I was very fortunate that he took me under his wing and helped me reach my fullest potential. He would meet me regularly between classes to watch me drill, polish my technique and more often than not, drill intensely right along with me. I know that the extra time we spent in the wrestling room drilling is what allowed me to excel during college and make the Olympic Team.
I owe much of my success as an athlete to my training partners who I have mentioned throughout this article. Thank You! You do not need many workout partners to be successful, but you must have at least one who understands the importance of intense repetition drilling. If you do not have one, find one or develop one today. There are few exceptions to the phrase "Champions come in pairs"
In a future issue of A.W.N. I will outline a variety of different ways to drill, so that your time is used most effectively and that your training does not get monotonous. Remember, drilling is only effective if you are focused and concentrating on the task at hand. Do not be guilty of "going through the motions" if you wish to excel and reach you highest goals."


CONSISTENT TRAINING is, without a doubt, the most important aspect of athletic success and forward progress. Even a poorly designed or random training program will produce results if followed consistently and training occurs regularly. 

A four-day-per-week plan followed with energy and precision is better than a 5-day-per-week plan that leaves you tired, unmotivated and adversely affects other areas of your life. Consistency doesn't just apply to frequency of workouts, but how consistently you adhere to the workout format. 

It's no surprise that those who follow their plan precisely are the ones that see the greatest improvements in performance. SCHEDULE time for your workouts as you would any other appointment. Don't try to fit them in haphazardly; put workouts on your calendar or have a set time each day. 

A good Instructor will help you make the most efficient use of your training time and can customize a plan to fit your needs and lifestyle. Each workout will have a purpose, consistently moving you forward. Train HARD, train SMART and train CONSISTENTLY.

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Teaching to learn

Knowing how to learn Jiu-Jitsu is fundamental in order to prepare the average mind to endure the training ahead. Throwing a bunch of techniques to a beginner student with no theory behind it, only benefits the talented ones. 

Like I always say, you need to love Jiu-Jitsu to be good at it. But you need to be given and to give yourself the chance to develop that love. By being consistent, communicative and by leaving your ego at the door. But none of that will allow you to learn at your fastest rate if you don't know how to learn it. 

A great Instructor, will maximize your chances of succeeding on the mat by teaching you how to learn. Always attentively listen to what your Instructor has to say. It could be the game changing tip or comment you needed to hear to put things together and instantly enhance your skill set!

Should I demote myself if I haven't trained in a while?

Many practitioners over the years, for one reason or another, but specially after a long lay off, feel like they don't deserve that rank anymore. While this is a very humble character display, it's something that should never be considered! 

At one point in your training, you worked hard and put the time to earn it, so that's forever yours! Be proud of it, and if anything, hustle hard to get back to your previous physical and technical form. There's no embarrassment for performing poorly against lower ranks when you return to training. Expect and embrace that fact as it is part of the path back to your old self. 

Your attitude will dictate your future!