Saturday, May 7, 2016

American Jiu-Jitsu Cup Day 2 - Team Results


What a day! Amazing performance by the adults! At the end of the day we brought back to Brentwood 7 gold, 3 silver and 5 bronze medals.

Tina Erickson (bottom right) was the first one to go on Sunday. What an inspiring human being! 42, mom of 2 with a full time job located 35 miles away and still manages to train 4, 5 times a week. Got into a bad car accident last Summer that left her shoulder injured, keeping her from training 100% since then. Still decided to compete and display tremendous heart and technique to beat her two opponents and win gold. 

Denise Gallegos hasn't had a smooth past year either with injures who kept her from committing to the training like she always had. But the passion for Jiu-Jitsu that she has, allowed her to persevere, sign up for the tournament, prepare, compete and win first place as well! 

James Aguilar is one of a kind. This 16 year old has competed in over 100 tournaments in the last 3 years! He's gone almost every weekend with his family, who are extremely supportive of him and Jiu-Jitsu. They travel all over the state. Just last weekend he won a Pancration title belt by submission. This weekend, he submitted his opponent under a minute but ended up choosing the wrong strategy in the finals against the same guy and lost the match. Competition is as much of a strategy game as it is technical. 

Isabela Angus (top right) is just a phenom. She was a student in our Youth Program for two years back in 2011, when she quit at 13. To our satisfaction, she walked into the Academy exactly 3 weeks ago wanting to sign back up. She realized we were preparing for a competition and asked to join the roster a couple days later. 

Before deciding, we evaluated her training that one night and allowed her to register. It was amazing to see that almost 5 years later, Jiu-Jitsu was still sharply embedded in her! We gave her the ok and she signed up for the stacked adult division (she's still 17). We worked on a game plan based on her strengths and since she's been actively working out, we trusted she could do well. 

But she surpassed our expectations! Dominated all of her three opponents (first round arm bar finish, 23 x 4 win in the second round and triangle choke finish in the finals). She had to be promoted to blue belt on the spot! And she did. :)

D'Marcus Cooper (top left) has got to be one of the best competitors of our Academy's history. Not just due to his consistent great results on the competition mats. But due to his calm, collected and umperturned demeanor before, during and after his matches. His ability to stay patient and relaxed throughout his fights, regardless if he's behind or ahead in the score table has got to mess with his opponents minds. He's now a 3-time American Cup gold medalist at his weight class and a 2-time gold medalist in the open weight class. 

Bernard Figueroa (bottom left) is another student who really loves Jiu-Jitsu. There are those who casually train, then there are those who like training and then there are those who love the culture, embraces the lifestyle and love Jiu-Jitsu. He moved 40 miles away over a year ago, has a full time job and still manages to come train and participate in tournaments. He won gold by finishing his opponent in two different rounds with a choke from the back.

Kurtis Ogasawara from Crosley Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Napa was expected to face tough competition in the always stacked adult white belt division. With only 6 months of training, Kurtis was scrappy and used his Wrestling background to out scramble and outscore his first two opponents before losing in the semis to the division champion. Great job!

Wade Woodward, 52, also from Crosley Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Napa, is another example of pure heart! In his only match of the day, Wade used all experience he acquired in little over a year of training to beat his opponent by advantage and win gold. 

Joe Vernazza has put so much time into training in the past 8 months. A lot of group and individual training. He planned to compete at the US Open 6 months ago and signed up, but found out the day of the event that he had no opponent.

He continued training almost daily, improved his skill tremendously, but unfortunately, didnt get to the highest spot in the podium today. At the end of the day, it comes down to how much progress has been made and you, my friend, have achieved great things so far.

Warren Weatherford is a Dad who joined training soon after his 6 year old son did, who also competed. Tremendous heart displayed by Warren in his semi-final match, where he dominated his opponent, but especially in the finals, where he showed the never-quit attitude that makes the impossible possible at times! He lost by points but his desire to win was inspiring. 

Troy Rowe went 1-1 for a third place finish. Another dad who competed alongside his 6 year old daughter. How awesome is this? Two generations not only training together but also competing in the same event. Memorable!

Edgar Barajas, Mj Eugenio and Philip Arsenaultstepped up and fought hard until the end but their opponents were the better competitors yesterday. 

Like Troy, Warren and Joe Vernazza, Maris Goldsborough entered his first competition, also fought hard but didn't get the win. 

We can't be more satisfied with what we saw. Everyone trained hard during training camp, sacrificed life's pleasures for a while and displayed the desire to win. Some did win and some didn't. But that doesn't mean anything. If you truly gave your all and, your mind, did all you could do to perform at your best, challenged your comfort zones, then you are all winners.

Crosley Gracie Jiu-Jitsu placed 6th in the overall team results, out of over 100 participating schools. Huge thank you to instructors Crosley Gracie Ac and Ryan Murphy for the hard, diligent work in preparing the competitors for the event.

Team photo album:
Official team and individual results here:

Congratulations, everyone! We'll see you in class!

Training tip: Grappling w/ Patience

Today in the Adult JJ, I had a discussion at the end of the class about a few live training tactics that, most of the time, goes unknown by beginners. The first one being PATIENCE. This was going to be shared within our closed group page as a follow up, but I felt that this could help a lot of people out there so here it is. 

This conversation got originated from the training method we utilized today, which was about resisting at only 50% of our physical capacity when it was our opponents turn to try the techniques. And along with that, all the benefits that it brings as opposed to always going to 100% full resistance mode.

First, we had the students drill with no resistance in order to get acquainted with the moves, which in today's class was about a reversal from closed guard that had as an alternative attack, a back take technique.

Once I felt they understood the sequence and were satisfactorily executing it, they headed into the 50% resistance mode. The rules were that only the opponent on top would go 50%. The person executing the move would try and hit it as if their opponent was also fully resisting. It was a 2-minute round for each role, which I estimated should have been accomplished 2 or 3 times in the allotted time. Which they did.

We did 3 rounds with different partners every time, for allowing them to feel each person's ability to control their strength usage and stay true to the 50% resistance "agreement" while on top, despite how much intensity their bottom opponents would give. This ability to stay calm and not allow their opponents intensity to affect how relaxed you stay at any given time in the match is actually the other topic we talked about, which I will post more about later. 

I will also talk about more of the incredible benefits of 50% live training in a later post.

About patience. There just isn't another possible way for an individual, half of the size of his opponent to come out victorious other than knowing when to attack and when to wait. You can't just implement an aggressive, uncalculated, do-what-I-want, when-I-want strategy against someone potentially bigger, more athletic and stronger than you. You need to know that there are times you will have to wait to attack. And that's an undetermined amount of time as it could be 10 seconds, minutes, etc.

Knowing how to maintain a defensive approach is crucial to improve your position within the match at times (and probably everytime if your opponent is physically more gifted than you). Often your patience will pay off in a way you won't believe, such as in a moment where your opponent will make a mistake, due to either lack of technical skill or even due to his own lack of patience in what to do next.

The right technique won't work if timing is off. If it did, it likely required a lot more strength to work. This repeated approach will eventually exert your energy, and hopefully you submitted your opponent/attacker before completely gassing out. 

If you did finish your opponent (in class), you still have  to complete the round stipulated by your instructor anyway and now what? Now you have a smaller, more patient and energy-conserving opponent smothering you with chokes and joint lock attempts until time is up. What's the point of all that? Another factor that exhausts people is the desire to finish their opponents too quickly. 

Defense allied with patience will always provide the tools to winning. What is the point of doing a 2-minute strength sprint against your opponent, submitting him/her and then asking to quit, when there's still time left in the clock. That's not fair. Another point of the training is to learn to recover within the match. Learn to survive until you can fight back. Otherwise, you might just turn into "the guy" that will have very limited training partners, rendering your progress. 

Not every roll has to be to the death and those who understand this will reach mastery more easily but more importantly, more safely, likely reaching black belt level.

The goal at the end of the day is to learn, to train, have fun but efficiently manage your energy and execute each move with minimal effort and maximum efficiency. This should be everyone's motto in life professionally and personally speaking, more efficiency, less effort in our actions.

So then, when the day that you are really exhausted arrives, you can still, first of all, survive against any attacker of any size, and/or train for long periods of time with your friends/ teammates without no strains on your body, contributing to a fun therapeutical session and, long- term, an extended lifespan on the mat.

Many practitioners will never be given the chance to know what to look for in training other than sweeps, submissions, etc. Jiu-Jitsu is so much beyond that. The mental spect of the training is the biggest benefit we can all get from it. That's where real confidence and peace of mind comes from.