Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Happy birthday to me!

Another year older and still hanging in there; in addition to celebrating my birthday, which also happens to be on the night I teach over at Wimbledon, I'm celebrating twenty five years in the martial arts.

What better way to celebrate this milestone achievement than on the mats tonight with my students.  Really looking forward to training tonight and to the next twenty five years on the mats. 

Monday, 28 September 2015

Checkmat compete!

Just like to say a huge well done to all the LFF guys that competed this weekend in Las Vegas and Liverpool and to everyone else from the Checkmat family. Oosss!

Saturday, 26 September 2015

BJJ and the local press

My very good friend, the legendary Meerkatsu, aka Seymour Yang, has written a very interesting article on the benefits of using the local press in promoting BJJ clubs; I submitted my two pennerth for the article and Seymour kindly added it to his finished piece.

Thanks Seymour! 

Friday, 25 September 2015

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

Pain - Trevor Roberts style!

Dusted off a handful of old discs the other day and found some real old skool pix from my BJJ and Trad MA days, which I'll be sharing on here with little vignettes behind the photos.

This photo was taken way back in 2000, we were doing a photo shoot for MAI magazine on arm and wrist locks, together with Trevor and Dave Barry and I of course, was the uke for all the techniques.

Lots of fun for Trevor and Dave, lots of grimacing and pain for my good self.

As always with Trevor, no liberties were taken when this photo was taken.

Viva Las Vegas!

All the very best of British to Luiz Ribeiro, Enrique VillaseƱor, Omid Alimohammadi, Luis Gil and #sheriff as they compete in Vegas at the weekend :) 

To everyone else on the Checkmat team who is out there this weekend, go out there and kick ass!
From myself and everyone at Checkmat Wimbledon - Ooosss!

Tuesday, 22 September 2015

All the gear - no idea!

Club rash guards and shorts arrived a few days ago and we finally got our hands on them in class last night; the shorts are awesome, really comfortable to train in, as are the rash guards.

All the students are happy with their goodies and we'll be hard to miss on the competition circuit with our eye catching designs.

If you want any of these items, then you'll have to be a part of the team and start training here in Wimbledon, so what are you waiting for?!

Thanks again to Gareth Baxendale (Gartista) and Paul from

Join the ladies at Checkmat Wimbledon!

Another great session at the club last night and I'm pleased to announce that the club now has two regular female students, Emily and Juliette.

Both women train twice a week at the club and are really enjoying the classes, mixing up their training with the guys at the club (and keeping them in line along the way) and with a bit more regular training, they will dip their toes in the competition circuit here in the UK.

BJJ is for everyone, not just us sweaty guys and I hope this post inspires more women to come and train at the club, where you'll be made most welcome and you can share in all the fun that happens at the gym, as well as getting into the best shape of your lives. In addition to enjoying all the health benefits that are associated with Jiu Jitsu and a healthy lifestyle.

So what are you waiting for ladies? Come down to the gym, have a look at a class and speak to the instructor and to the women and hear what they have to say about the classes, you won't be disappointed.

Monday, 21 September 2015

Kill that Ego!

Cool article all about killing off that pesky enemy, your Ego!  Hosted on brown belt and prolific and seasoned competitor Trevor Birmingham, whom I met yesterday the Southend Open. 

Sunday, 20 September 2015

On Competition

Check out this great article by my good friend Jesse J Saxon, from across the pond, all about competitions and why they are good for you. 

Back from Battle!

Awesome day today at the Southend Open; sadly no medals to bring back today but both guys had four hard fights and won two and lost two each, in two of the largest divisions. Nayden Naydenov won one match 23-0 and Dylan Fowler beat a four stripe white belt in the Adult division, not bad for a 17 year old.

I'm a very proud coach today and want to thank all my students who have helped them train for this event. 

Huge thanks to the organiser Stephen King, for running such a well organised and friendly event; my students really enjoyed their fights and we will definitely be back to future events with more students ready to go into battle.
With Stephen King

Preparation for the next comp starts tomorrow night! 

Saturday, 19 September 2015

Goodies have arrived!

Club rash guards and shorts have arrived and will be available from Monday; now we are really starting to look the part and no one will miss us at competitions with these eye catching designs.

Thanks to Gareth Baxendale, aka Gartista for the Womble logo and Paul Lukowski at for producing such awesome gear.


Southend Open tomorrow

All the hard work has finished on the mats and two students are ready for combat tomorrow at the Southend Open.  Best of British to Dylan and Nayden who are competing in the white belt divisions, go out there and leave it on the mats!
Dylan (second left) and Nayden (right)


Friday, 18 September 2015

MMARAP - members of the UKBJJA!

MMARAP are now proud members of the the UKBJJA.

There's been a lot of hard work over the last twelve menths, mostly done behind the scenes with local schools and Councils, securing training sessions for young children of all abilities. I'm proud to be on board and am now in my second year teaching after school Jiu Jitsu in Central London.

In addition to the after schools classes, there are other classes run around London for the deaf, disabled and people with dyslexia, with more classes looking for all levels and abilities in the near future.

After the test run last year, the after school session is running for the whole school year and we now have pupils from Years 7,8 and 9 joining in the fun, a number of which are showing real aptitude and potential talent for the future.

Some of the pupils from last year
A huge pat on the back to the founder of MMARAP, Jonny Buffong, whose passion and vision fpor youth work is now starting to pay off.

Reasons People Quit BJJ

Here's a very interesting article written by second degree black belt and Atlanta resident Sam Joseph.  

As the saying goes, 'winners never quit, quitters never win.'

If you're having any problems, whether it's to do with your training, or an issue outside the gym, speak to your instructor about it.  The last thing they want to see is a student leave the academy, every student is important to them. Instructors invest a lot of time and effort into helping students realise their full potential and are more than happy to lend a sympathetic ear. 

Thursday, 17 September 2015

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Tips on finishing the Americana

Great little video from black belt Mike 'Spider Ninja' Bidwell, showing his take on a high percentage submission from side control.


Tuesday, 15 September 2015

Last night's class

Another great session last night, as we finish our preparations for the Southend Open this weekend; the club welcomes its latest member Jas to the family, as the numbers continue to increase.

Single leg takedown into guard pass was the name of the game last night and of course plenty of rounds of sparring to end the session.

Next class tomorrow evening.

Expect more of the same.

Sunday, 13 September 2015

Polaris 2 results

Luca Anacoretta defeats Pedro Bessa - triangle
Gianni Grippo defeats Tom Barlow - heel hook
Robson Moura vs Baret Yoshida  - draw
Vitor ‘Shaolin’ Ribeiro defeats Daisuke Nakamura - collar choke
Eddie Cummings defeats Reilly Bodycomb - heel hook
Daniel Strauss v AJ Agazarm - draw
Gezary Matuda defeats Michelle Nicolini - jumping armbar
Garry Tonon defeats Imanari - inverted heel hook

Saturday, 12 September 2015

10 Top Tips on Competition Success by Top Competitors

Here is a top ten list from world class competitors, offering nuggets of advice and words of wisdom to help may you a better competitor and person. 

Women in BJJ

A great article giving an insight to BJJ from a female perspective by MMA fighter Bryony Tyrell. 

Hit the Omoplata!

Check out this video from black belt Clark Gracie on securing and finishing the omoplata; it's packed with tips and pointers on making this a high percentage finish, so watch, absorb and drill, drill, drill!


Friday, 11 September 2015

Polaris 2 - Daniel Strauss and Tom Barlow

Gotta promote the home grown UK talent that's competing at the weekend, soo here are the trailers for Tom Barlow and Daniel Strauss.  

Best of British guys, we're all behind you!


Polaris 2 - Baret Yoshida

Unless you've been living in a cave or or currently in a coma, Polaris 2 hits Cardiff this weekend, with a stellar line up below to whet all grappling fan's appetites:-

Garry “The Lion Killer” Tonon vs Masakazu Imanari
Vitor Shaolin Ribeiro vs Nakamura Daisuke
Eddie “Wolverine” Cummings vs Reilly Bodycomb
Michelle Nicolini BJJ vs Gezary Matuda
AJ Agazarm vs Dan Strauss
Robson Moura vs Baret Yoshida
Tom Barlow vs Gianni Grippo
Pedro Bessa vs Anacoreta Luca

There are fighter profiles online for this event, but I have added Yoshida's as I met him when I was reporting at the ADCC 2001 event and watched him training with the rest of the competitors.  A man with phenomenal talent and real easy to get along with, I had a great interview with him out there, very humble and with a great sense of humour and outlook on life.  In addition, Baret was at London Fight Factory yesterday visiting Luiz and putting everyone through their paces in the Gi classes.

This event really cements the UK as one of THE places to be to host world class grappling events.

Guard passing tips

Here's a great article, addressing a number of common mistakes people make when passing the guard, so give this a read and really take in everything in the article and start applying this to your guard passing.  

You'll probably get smashed before you get better, but that's Jiu Jitsu, hang in there and keep on doing round and after round of guard passing and in time things will improve and you will get better.

I remember getting my blue belt and was looking at improving my standing guard passes and for a good few months, I was being swept by all belts at the time, it's something we all go through and I had to perservere and not give up.  As soon as I got to my feet I was unstable for a split second and I was swept, very frustrating indeed.  You have to carry on and get back into that position, only here do you start to improve your balance when getting up onto two feet and when on your feet.  You can squat and deadlift, these all help but nothing substitutes standing up in your opponent's guard.

Then one session I nailed it. I got up onto my feet and into a strong position and started to pass the guard and it felt awesome.  Hard work pays dividends, it's up to you how bad you want to improve and this applies to all apsects of your Jiu Jitsu.

So, read, abosrb and practice.

Butterfly guard sweep in slo mo

Here's another video recorded in the slo mo mode, showing a nice sweep from the butterfly guard.

After watching this there are a few pointers to note to help make this sweep a success; firstly notice how deep I slide down the mat to get underneath my opponent, as well as pulling the arm towards and extending out, which helps me get into position.

Next, I take my partner over with a full extension of my left leg, much like the Suma Gaeshi throw in Judo, as well as extending my right arm.

As my partner lands, I look in his direction and start a backward roll over my left shoulder and turn slightly towards him, avoiding his legs, where he can put me into half guard. This is achieved by holding onto the pants and sleeve.

It's a cool sweep and really catches your opponent off guard and more importantly off balance, the key to all effective sweeps.

Give it a try in class and see what you think.


Thursday, 10 September 2015

After School Jiu Jitsu

Back teaching after school Jiu Jitsu in Central London, same school as last term; thanks to Jonathan Buffong​ for securing a full school year's worth of teaching at Central Foundation for Boys School.  

Today we had Years 8 and 9 down and much fun was had with the crash mats, O Soto Gari, double leg takedowns and the Americana.  Met the Headmaster who was very keen and at the end of the class, the PE teacher came and asked if four Year 7 students could attend future classes, as they were really keen to join in.  

Onwards and upwards, bringing Jiu Jitsu to a wider audience, they loved the session today and we now three seperate Years training, compared to one test sample last term. Gotta love Jiu Jitsu :) 

The new students have to sign parental forms allowing us to use photos etc, soon as we have them sorted I'll post up pictures of these young warriors :)


Slo Mo sweep #1

Had some fun in class last night with the slo-mo mode on the iPhone 6, quickly recording a couple of my favourite sweeps.  I think this mode is an awesome coaching tool both for the coach and the students, there's so much detail in the videos, you can see things in very fine detail, some of which may not be taken in when teaching the moves in real time.

The options are endless for these videos, you can record takedowns, passes, sweeps, reversal and submissions and I'll be recording some Trad JJ moves too, I'll be looking forward to seeing how they all come out.

Meanwhile, enjoy Part 1, which is known as the harpoon sweep; there's another harpoon sweep video out there with Pedro Sauer, which is a side control reversal. Just so you know.



New club member

Checkmat Wimbledon is pleased to welcome its latest new member and second female student, Juliette, to the club; it's been a hard slog trying to attract women to the Arte Suave here at the club, but the women that do start training change their lives for the better, which can only be a good thing.

With two women now training at the club, I hope this motivates more women to join the club, women who were thinking of coming to train but were put off by the lack of females to train with.  Now there is no excuse to come down and join in the fun!

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Jiu Jitsu Theory of Relativity

An excellent article, as always from the website, they always seem to post the right articles every day; I really wish a resource like this was around when I was starting out in BJJ, but it was all in black and white back then.

A lot of what's in the article I try to get across to my students in order to help them with their own progress and more importantly, so they don't stop training, when they hit a plateau.

Get on the mats and train for your own personal development and just enjoy the fact you've managed to get to training and enjoying the class with your team mates and you will get lots more from your Jiu Jitsu and will end up a far better person for it.


Stay calm when rolling!

Easier said than done, I hear you all say, especially the lower belts; I remember training back as a white belt, trapped under a heavier guy and the coaches were telling me to stay calm and relax.  How the hell could I do that, I was thinking in my head.

Here's a great article from black belt Mike 'Spider Ninja' Bidwell, who succintly addresses the issues of remaining calm when sparring.

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Gi Luta Livre

An interesting article over at the website, all about the latest grappling art, Gi Luta Livre, with words from Marcleo Brigadeiro. 

Friday, 4 September 2015

Ricardo Vieira

Check out this awesome page all about Ricardo Vieira, packed full of stats, matches and technique videos, perfect for your lunch break. 

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Turkish Get Up

One of the best kettlebell exercises for all you BJJ athletes out there........ 

IBJJF card!

This arrived yesterday, ready to  battle it out with the old timers at the London Open in October :)