New open mat radio podcast: Ryan Hall

Open mat radio has recently done a number of excellent podcasts with the likes of Mike Fowler, Shaolin, Caio Terra and BJ Penn. The latest one is an interview with Ryan Hall.

Link to podcast


DVD Review: Tony Pacenski Sao Paulo Approach and Smash Pass Fusion

Tony Pacenski, a black belt from BJJ revolution team has a fairly recent dvd series called "Faixa Preta Series" which includes 4 DVDs in total. Tony has been studying bjj for a long time, and apparently used to go to the original gracie academy in Torrance. Therefore, it was surprising for me me that the DVDs focus on quite modern techniques such as the 50/50 guard and Sao Paulo (similar to leg drag) passing. This is a review of the DVD Sao Paulo Passing and Smash Pass Fusion:

Here is one of Tony's old challenge matches at Gracie Academy:

Here is preview of the DVD:

Tony starts the DVD out with a drill to learn how to redirect the hips and prevent the opponent from turning back into you. So it basicly shows you what the Sao Paulo approach (or redirecting hips to leg drag control) is and allows you to drill it in an easy manner. The drill starts from side mount and the goal is to use the hip redirect to prevent your opponents from establishing half guard by turning into you and connecting his knee to his elbow. I really like that an instructional contains some easy drills like this.

Here is quick video of the basic leg drag control in a match between Rafa Mendes and Robson Moura at around three and a half minutes.

The rest of the DVD is about combining the hip redirect or leg drag control with other common and less common scenarios. The list of scenarios includes:

- Under pass with leg on shoulder (to both sides)
- De La Riva passing recap from Sao Paulo approach 1 and a lot of passing from there
- Toreanda passing recap
- Reverse De La Riva passing recap +
- Double bicep spider passing
- Leg lasso/Spider lasso passing
- Half guard passing
- Butterfly guard passing from many diffirent control & drills on how to react against opponent's movements

The DVD includes some additional stuff too such as alternative leg drag control like getting your knee under both your opponent's legs, details on how to work the passing situation etc. I was particularily pleased that Tony showed a reverse De La Riva pass that seemed to be quite easily applied as I have never seen any reverse DLR passes before.

Overall, the production quality is not the best, because it is just shot with one camera inside his gym I believe. However,  in my opinion, it is only a small setback.

The best thing for me is that the DVD for me is that it actually shows the way most top lightweights seem to pass guard nowadays so the techniques are very relevant. Competitors like the Mendes brothers, Tanquinho etc. seem to be using similar techniques than on the DVD but they have not released any material on the subject. This seems to be a trend among lightweights and passing..

There also seems to a bunch of dvds focusing on different types of guards but a very few that show ways to deal effectively with these modern guards (Andre Galvao's passing guard being one of them). It also shows a fairly complete system of guard passing.

One complaint is that, I would also like him to show the techniques once at full speed. This is a problem I have with Saulo's DVDs because sometimes I just would like to watch a certain technique without any explanation.


- Good modern techniques that should work great on black belt level regardless of weight class (+)
- Interesting idea of showing a complete game against different types of open guard (+)
- Native English and good teaching (+)
- Poor video quality (-)
- Doesn't have techniques shown individually without narration so you can just look at the technique itself (-)

Overall grade: 8 1/2/10


Moco Loco for dinner after a workout

Went running and to the gym today, and decided to have something really big for dinner. I remembered yesterday how good Loco Moco (a Hawaian fast food) tasted after training so I decided to make one roughly after this recipe..

Recipe @ Big Island Grinds

It ended up looking like this:

However my favourite local food in HI looking like this:


Acai for breakfast

A good thing about travelling on the American continent is that you usually get to have acai for breakfast (or whenever you want). I had this breakfast 3 times at a local Brick & Bell Cafe at La Jolla.

According to the owner of the Cafe, they have to ship it frozen because it spoils quickly after picking and they must buy at least 1 container at a time. He goes to Brazil 4 times a year, so he must have good contacts. The acai breakfast was roughly 7 USD so it is not cheap even closer to Brazil.

The cafe:

Apparently acai is heathy for a variety of reason. It contains a lot of amino acids, fiber, good fats & antioxidants.

Found Mike Fowler this time

This summer I was at North Shore and tried to locate Mike Fowler's gym. A surfer told me that they had fliers at the local supermarket. However, when I went to see, I couldn't find any.
If you are in Hawaii and want to train, you can contact him at: northshorebjj@gmail.com

Last week I came across Mike in San Diego and got to train with him this time. According to Mike, the supermarket takes down the fliers every couple of weeks so it was no surprise I couldn't find him. The gym is also a non-profit so there isn't a lot of advertising going on.

I can't believe how small he was as he used to compete at middle weight (I did too), but apparently he is a light weight now.

Didn't stop him from beating me with ease. I recognized this sweep which he did on me in sparring...felt totally helpless

There is also a good recent interview on Mike on OpenMatRadio:

Link to interview

Holiday training at Andre Galvao jiu jitsu

I spent the past week in California and of course wanted to do some training as well, so I ended up going to Andre Galvao's academy in North San Diego. They happened to have the Pan-Am preparations on their way, which meant they had a lot of black belts present including the world champion Mendes brothers.

In addition to me getting schooled in sparring I got to do:

- De La Riva passing away from the hook by breaking my hips
- De La Riva passing to the side of the hook
- Reverse De La Riva sweeps from all potential scenarios (knee up, knee on the ground, opponents sits on his hip during the sweep, opponent tries to go forward while taking the back etc.). We did not do the tomoe nage or tripod sweeps, which are on Rafa's DVD I believe, but instead spun under to take the back or sweep with reverse x-guard position.
- Leg drag passing, which I've basically never done before.

I had a little notebook with me and for once I diligently wrote down every detail so I can train the techniques better on my own. This is something I should do in every seminar (right after the training, not at home) because something might not click with you instantly but if it clicks later you have the notes...Gui and Fowler actually commented that taking notes is very important

I was very happy with the training, especially with the efficient use of training time. There was not a lot of squats, push ups and sit ups in the beginning, but instead we got exhausted doing a lot of drilling of the techniques. Using a stopwatch for drillling was a great idea (5 minutes each side etc. to get enough repetitions).

The passing style was very fast with a lot of movement and "ankle play" & windshield wipers going on. I noticed that my body felt very uncoordinated, which means I have to work this type of passing way more.

It was also very nice training during the day instead of in the evenings. It felt easier to concentrate when you don't have the spend the day at the office first.

A good article about a Mendes seminar which had similar stuff:

Link to article