Sunday, February 28, 2010

Interview With Royler Gracie

Just a short blog post to make you aware, if you are not already, that this week’s FightWorks Podcast feature interview is with none other than the world renown Royler Gracie. Click Here to download the entire 200th episode of this great resource and listen to the interview. No matter what my team affiliation may be, Royler will always be THE MAN! His commitment to “keeping it real” by personifying what Gracie Jiu Jitsu is makes him a true example for all of us to attempt to emulate his habits, techniques, and fighting spirit. Thanks, Royler, for all that you represent!

With Much Respect

Larry, the LTrain

Saturday, February 27, 2010

Recap of This Week

Weight: 201.02 lbs (6 pounds heavier than I need to be—blame it on the awesome fish fry followed by the piece of carrot cake last night!)

It’s a mildly sad morning for “The Train” this morning, for due to inclement weather, RPBJJ staff did the responsible thing and cancelled class. The upside is that I got to sleep in and eat a less than healthy breakfast, but the downside is that my body feels really good, and I have all of this pent up energy! May have to settle for a good hard lift later this afternoon, but it’s not the same.

So, since I’m not training, I might as well be true to my new found blogging convictions and recap this past week of training. It all started last Sunday where my good friend Ulric and I had a private training session on some mat space that I have access to. Ulric’s a little smaller than me, but has amazing grips while going from the feet due to his background in Judo. So he gave me some pointers of achieving and maintaining dominant grips on the feet, and I showed him some defensive to, and passes for the Spider Guard that Ricardo had covered the prior week. The training session was Gi specific, and Ulric and I (as usual) had a very spirited “roll” to wrap up the training.

All this week, Ricardo focused on two throws from the feet and three positions for the guy in the top position of half-guard.

One thing that I love about the RPBjJ curriculum is that every class has a portion focused on throws from the feet, with the fundamentals class also focusing on self-defense. Yes, it’s true--Gracie Barra also believes in the importance of BJJ self-defense! He and Professor Ze (José Dias) spend about 15-20 minutes after our warm-ups working positions from the feet. Ze is especially proficient at teaching these positions due to his training in Judo. We worked both the “uchimata” and “osotogari”. I know I’m butchering the spelling of both throws, but both are set up from similar grip positions and I’m learning that the effectiveness of these throws are dependent upon:
1. One’s dominant grips
2. Breaking your opponents balance
3. Creating a “triangle” between your lead foot and your opponent’s other two feet
4. The actual footwork between stepping either between the opponent’s legs or toward the outside leg on which all of the opponent’s weight is placed.
5. Controlling the opponent when he hits the mat—Ricardo has a brutally vicious knee on belly which I can vouch for being his “dummy” as he teaches the rest of the class.

I’m feeling better with both throws, but I still need to really drill the footwork.

As for the top half-guard, he showed three submissions. One was a lapel choke when the guy playing half-guard tries to take your back. The other was an arm-in “DARS” choke using the Gi. A very cool detail that he showed was how to not just use the lapel, but reach over the guy’s head and use his Gi, or his belt for secondary leverage on the choke.

The third submission was a counter to the guy taking the Kimura from bottom half-guard. I already knew to trap the hip, and had been taught to stand up and turn this into an arm-bar. I learned a much simpler, quicker alternative than trying to stand up. Ricardo showed how to step your leg up closest to the guy’s face and use that leg to brace against the guy’s shoulder. You then trap his hip and the top arm going for the Kimura, break the grip, make sure your hands are locked, and rotate your shoulders towards the guy’s head. The end result is a very quick shoulder lock for the guy on bottom. Let me tell you that when done properly, it’s a quick tap.

I felt pretty good rolling, but need a few tougher rolls next week with some upper belts. I had a few of them, and I know that Ricardo mixes up the match-ups to give some of the new guys time with those of us who have trained a little longer, and I don’t mind this. But my knee, which has been bothering me for a few weeks, is feeling really good, and I really and up for charging hard in technical training this coming week.

Respectfully Submitted By:

Larry, The LTrain

Monday, February 22, 2010


Greetings! Greetings! And Thrice, greetings! Some of you have been inquiring of me privately as to “what’s up with the blog, or the lack thereof?” After a six month hiatus, the LTrain is back, totally reinvigorated and throwing himself full force into his Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training. So where have I been over the past six months. Well, a great deal has happened, not all of it good, but I’ve come out of the last six months a better man, and so much happier and more focused in my training, and in life in general. To cut to the chase, due to a variety of circumstances, I no longer am a part of team Evolution. I owe my introduction and foundation of my Jiu Jitsu training to the instruction I received from Team Evolution, as well as Professors David Adiv and Royler Gracie. No matter what has happened, Professors David Adiv and Royler Gracie Jiu Jitsu has left an indelible mark upon my life, and I will always have a high degree of appreciation for what Team Evolution and Team RGDA has done for me.

Having said all of that, “all’s well” does not always “end well”. Last May, I was asked to assist with actually running the Team Evolution Business, and in theory, I was a 20% owner of the school; I’ll spare the details as to how this came about so as not to bore the reader. Suffice to say, in early October I knew in my heart that I wouldn’t be able to continue to assist with running Team Evolution business, for I had become extremely uncomfortable with most of the Team Evolution business practices that were driving the overall welfare of the school. On January 3, 2010 I submitted my long overdue resignation and forfeited my 20% ownership of Team Evolution. I tried to continue to train at Team Evolution, but irreconcilable personality differences between me and my coach which were born out of a business relationship came to a head on January 31, which was, and will forever be, my last day training on a Team Evolution mat. I have no regrets over the past 3.5 years, except that I didn’t man up” and cut all ties back in October, for that would have been the right thing to do for me. But I put the needs of my business partners and my teammates before my own needs, and let’s just say that my own training began to suffer simply because I didn’t make a hard, yet wise decision back in October.

But as I have said, I am training hard once again, and have a new home. Allow me to introduce you to Ricardo Pires Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. I began to train with Professor Pires about once or twice a week back in September. Why did I do this? Because I guess I wanted to “hedge my bets”, and ensure that I always had a place where I can train and call my BJJ home. As it turns out, it was a smart move, for I’m training with him full time and loving it! While I’m still in the “feeling out process” with many of my training partners, RPBJJ has amassed a number of blue, purple, brown, and black belts that I’m beginning to click with , and Professors Pires and Jose Dias, are taking my BJJ foundation and beginning to not only shore up the many holes in my game, but actually are interacting with me on developing a BJJ style conducive to my strengths while addressing my glaring weaknesses. At RPBjJ, I have access to:
1. A clean, state-of-the-art facility to train.
2. A lead Professor who is a black belt multi-time world champion who has trained longer than my previous coach has been alive.
3. Access to two, and sometimes 3 top level black belts on the mat to roll with me and give me different, equally helpful perspectives on my BJJ game.
4. Exposure to both self-defense as well as sport aspects of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
5. A willingness by RPBJJ to allow me to cross promote my own business with his clientele and visa-versa. I’ll do all I can to promote RPBJJ as well.

The level of professionalism coupled with my desire to learn under the guidance of Professors Pires and Dias has made this an awesome move for me. While I do miss some of my former training partners, I gladly take three public busses each way to train with RPBJJ and will do everything in my power to be the best training partner for the RPBjJ Team who is a proud member of Gracie Barra. Some will criticize my decision to train at RPBJJ. Let me tell you that I exhausted all efforts to continue with Team Evolution, but I couldn’t do it for reasons which I don’t need to put in writing. A few may accuse me of training at RPBJJ because i'm "chasing a belt". I had a private discussion with Professor Pires about this, and he knows that I'm not looking for any hand-outs or fast promotions, and he now knows that I know that "slow and steady wins the black belt race".

The end result is that I now have a coach who I enjoy learning from, and who has taken an interest in me learning a Martial Art that he has practiced for over three decades. I look forward to sharing with those of you who care to follow this blog my continual journey studying “the gentle art” under Professor Pires.

I’ve also been traveling a fair amount, so look for posts about my adventures and learning in other BJJ Academies around the country.

Again, it feels great to be blogging again, and for those of you interested, check out the link To RPBJJ which I provided above, and come by and join us and decide for yourself if RPBJJ is for you.

With Much Respect,

Larry, The LTrain