Thursday, 28 October 2010

New addition to the Combat Base family!

Last week I had the pleasure to return to Runcorn to teach jiu jitsu to my old friends Russ Gates and Mike Ng, at Ng Tien Wing Chun Club in Brookvale. We all recently hooked up again at the UMA gi competition earlier this year, a few days before I left for Brazil. After a brief chat, I'm back in business with the lads again, overseeing their jiu jitsu classes and the club has also joined the Combat Base UK network of academies.

Classes are every Thursday at Brookvale Community Centre, Brookvale, Runcorn 815-945pm.

Monday, 25 October 2010

MMA hits Jersey!

Had a brilliant weekend in one of my favourite places in the world, a sunny and warm St Helier, Jersey, as I was on refereeing duties for the Rumble on the Rock MMA event. Jersey holds a special place in my heart, as I received my blue belt from Mauricao Gomes way back in 2003 and over the years I have returned to cover BJJ seminars held by Mauricao and Braulio Estima, held at Gracie Barra Channel Islands in Jersey, run by my very good friend Rob Staples and in 2007, I was part of BJJ history, when Braulio held the first ever BJJ seminar in Guernsey, at Chris Goldsbrough's academy,who was recently awarded his brown belt from Braulio, well done Chris!

This was the first time for pro MMA fights on the island and old school MMA fighter Dave Mclaughlin topped the bill and won in fine style, pulling off a rolling heel hook, which was bravely defended against by his opponent Richard Taylor, but in the end fell foul of a figure four toe hold.

Rob and myslef shared the reffing duties and I really enjoyed a break from the norm of reffing BJJ and no gi comps and look forward to reffing more MMA events in the future; anyone interested in hiring my good self for reffing duties email me at

Pictures courtesy of Colin Cruickshank and more photos from the event can be found on his website

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Gerbil Jiu Jitsu hits the UK!

My very good friend Jeremy Arel gave me a cool leaving present, when I left Rio in the shape of what is now going to be a rare first edition gi patch :)

Jeremy has a new design ready in a few weeks, so keep your eyes peeled on here and be sure to check out his brilliant website

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Training Day 2 - new blue belts for the club!

With my body still on Rio time, I woke up on Sunday morning at 7am, but my body was on 3am time and boy was I tired; I was up and ready for a day of jiu jitsu instruction at Caged Steel as Combat Base UK held their regular Training Day session, which covered the A Game.

This consisted of four workshops, that covered takedowns, guard passing, side control and mount; Judo black belt and BJJ blue belt dane Mitchell started the coaching sessions off with a look at Judo for no gi competition and gave a masterclass on taking your man down to the ground, with some nice throws, all easily linked together.

From there, purple belt Casey Jones took the group through guard passing, starting with a pass known to all members, then broke the pass down into smaller sections, outlining points where most people make mistakes and tips on how to make the pass more successful.

My old mate and brown belt Spenna, gave an excellent section on side control, with tips on keeping your man pinned down, with a number of 'what if' scenarios and started to show entires into the mount position, which neatly made way for Danny Mitchell to end the day with a look at the mount position. Danny introduced the concept of 'guard is mount' and 'mount is guard' to the attendees and showed techniques from the guard can be utilised from the guard position and am sure many people will be playing around with this neat little concept for many months to come.

Over eighty people on the mats in total, these sessions are growing in popularity as more and more clubs are joining the Combat Base family; my old mate Russ Gates and his students from Runcorn have joined the fold, been a long time since we last met and am glad to be back on board with the guys, teaching jiu jitsu at their club in Runcorn.

At the end of the day, Helen handed out belt promotions, with a number of long over due promotions to the lads from Steve Muckle's club, big shout to Ste Paynter on his purple belt :) I'm very proud to announce two new blue belts at the club, as Shaun Killelea and Lee Whitehead got the nod from Helen, both guys have worked very hard with the rest of the lads and are well deserved promotions. An interclub is due on October 31st, so who knows there may be even more blue belts for the club, fingers crossed!

Photos - John Sherwood

Monday, 11 October 2010

Carlson Gracie Academy, Copacabana

After training at DLR, we managed a quick rejuvenating drink of juice and headed off round the block to train at the 7pm class at Carlson Gracie's, no rest for the wicked. This was one of the places I really wanted to check out here in Brazil, train in a place that has produced so many fearsome BJJ and MMA athletes over the years.

The building is quite small and very hard core, loads of trophies on the shelves, covered in dust, a matted area and nothing else, just a hardcore Spartan like place to train. Awesome!

Carlson Gracie's wife was on the reception desk as we made our introductions to the instructor Saporito, one of the coolest dudes on the planet, he made us all feel very welcome and showed us where to get changed. The class started with the usual warm up exercises and Saporito showed some really cool ways to attack the arm, when the opponent has a hold of their own belt.

After drilling the techniques it was time for free training; my first roll was with a very technical brown belt and knowing of the fierceness of competition that comes from Carlson Gracie clubs, I was rather nervous on how they would roll with me. After the first minute rolling all my doubts were cast aside as we had a great roll and wasn't smashed up and left for dead, a real cool guy and the start of another night's fun and games.

My second roll was with another brown belt and had more of the same with him and two more rolls ended the night's training with a tough blue belt and a really tough black belt, all in all forty minutes of serious training. I found myself thinking 'Am I really here in Brazil?' when I was rolling with the guys, it was quite bizzare to be honest, trying to concentrate on my opponent and all these crazy thoughts came crashing in. To be in the heart of BJJ, training in such legendary academies gave me the biggest buzz ever and really fired me up when I was rolling, giving me an extra boost of energy, that was needed to finish the second training session of the day.

And so another session closes and our gi's were soaked through and practically walked themselves to the changing rooms; we returned to the juice bar and had an amazing banana and protein milk shake that picked us all up and we managed to muster up enough energy to grab a cab back to the house.

The training fee was R$25, the welcome and hospitality from the instructors and students is second to none, we were made to feel most welcome and I felt priviliged to train at such an infamous location; a photo of Carlson hangs on the wall, where he keeps a watchful eye on the training, so I hope I gave a good account of myself when I was rolling.

Address - Rua Figueiredo de Magalhaes #414 3rd Floor, Copacabana
Phone - + 55 (21) 2549-1465

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Rolling @ De La Riva, Copacabana

After being squashed up by a huge black belt called Peck, my second roll in the class was with black belt David Hudson; a super cool guy we had a lot of fun rolling and luckily, Sebastian managed to catch most of it on film, so now you can see the gulf between purple and black belt :)

Gift wrapped his first submission by the way, B4 you all tell me off ;)

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

De La Riva, Copacabana

Hit the road yesterday with three other BJJ addicts from the house, Igor, Mike and Sebastian, to take part in two training sessions at two seperate academies in Copacabana; we took the 557 bus into Copacabana and there's no better way to develop your balance and base than standing up on the buses out here, these guys drive at one speed, breackneck! Once we steadied our nerves and reduced our heart rates after the bus ride, we walked to the Equipe 1 Fitness Gym, where De La Riva academy is based and joined in the 4pm class. My good friend, black belt Nick Brooks told me to drop his name in at the door and we were welcomed like long lost friends from Kell and all the guys at the gym. It's always good to drop a name in when you're visiting a new academy for the first time. The class was packed with 30 students, eight black belts watching over us all as we drilled out some nice moves from side control and then it was on to the free training. My first roll was with a huge dude called Peck and for a big guy he was lightning fast and tapped me out time and time again, albeit with a smile on his face, great fun and a fine start to the training. Second on the list was an American black belt Dave Hudson and we had a really good roll as well, enjoying every second, with a sprinkling of tap outs for good measure from yours truly. Third roll of the class was with a young brown belt, carved from granite and I had a real fight on my hands with this guy. He rolled hard and fast and I was on my toes all through the fight so I didn't injured at such a late stage into my trip and survived the round intact. Final roll was with a purple belt a good few years older than me and was a strong as an ox and very very fast; he felt like a Judo player and had the ears to show for it and we went at it back and forth, all smiles and laughter from the two of us and that drew the training to an end.

I can recommend De La Riva 100%, they are the most friendliest and approachable guys you could ever wish to meet and it's a shame I have to leave in a few days, else I would have trained there again. If you are in the area, make sure you drop in, we didnt have to pay for the class either, which was a very nice gesture too.

After training we changed out of our drenched gis and headed for a juice bar for a quick refuel and it was onwards to the Carlson Gracie gym a few blocks away, for the 7pm class, more of which will follow.........

Address:- Equipe 1 Academia, 702 Avenida Nossa Senora, Copacabana