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Jen >> Starting from scratch.....


1/22/09 1:45 PM
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Bolo
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My system of BJJ has constantly been evolving over the years. Last year, my system made the biggest evolutionary change as I began to understand to how apply the principles from my MBF posture therapy to BJJ. This understand not only led to changes and improvements in technique, but also to my entire perspective on grappling. These principles were the golden key I had been looking for in my BJJ career. The more I figured out how to apply of this golden key, what I discovered was astounding. As a second degree black belt, I began to get a feeling that I had not felt in a very very long time. It was that same feeling of awe I felt when I was a beginner when my instructor would show me things I never knew existed.

Throughout last year, I began to change my system in areas which I felt needed the most improvement. With the beginning of the new year, I decided to start from scratch and re-look at everything I was doing and figure out if it could be improved through the eyes of my new MBF science based perspective. Nothing was sacred. It didn't matter if something had worked extremely well in the past. I would not hold onto anything just because it been done that way for a long time or some other great instructor or fighter taught it to me that way.

As a began to look at everything with a clean slate, it was amazing to see how much could be changed and improved. The amount of physical attributes need became less and less and it was replace by mental attributes such as feel.
What was also very cool was that the use of those principles, now allowed me to figure out in minutes what once took me hours, weeks, or months. What I once considered mysteries, were no longer mysteries.

Being able to apply these principles gave me an incredible sense of self-empowerment as I knew that, if I put my mind to it and given enough time, I could figure out anything. In the past, there have been techniques that were signature moves of certain fighters that I felt I would never be able to learn or do unless I took a lesson from those people. If those fighters were not in my area, then I was out of luck. Now by using these scientific principles, I have been able to figure out how to do those signature moves (for example, in the past, I had never been able to figure out or do Alexandre Pequeno Nogueira's arm-in guillotine, but I now figured it out in a couple days).

Principles of the MBF posture therapy system that was designed to heal the body, so this gave me a unique perspective on how to destroy the body. As I began to reverse those principles for BJJ, I began to not allow students to practice many techniques on me. This has also force me to re-evaluate my willingness to teach one-on-one private lessons.

As an instructor, I have a great excitement to teach people these principles. To me, the ability to figure out how to apply these principles is far more exciting than individual techniques.
1/22/09 3:10 PM
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Grappler2010
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Wow. How are you going to market this?

g2010
1/22/09 4:09 PM
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Bolo
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Edited: 01/22/09 5:52 PM
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I'm mainly going to doing it through my seminars. I don't have an interest in putting it on video besides the fact that, in my opinion, understanding the principles on an intellectual level is one thing, but teaching people the correct "feel" is something I need to do in person.

More I understand how to apply these principles, the more it confirms my belief that have an aggressive game does not require high athleticism and/or youth. For me, personally, the use of these principles makes me feel little need to do additional strength training (though I do believe in the need for building endurance) besides my program to restore and strengthen postural alignment. For example, I figured out how to do the basic cross hands collar choke from either the mount or guard without the need for any pulling action from my arms. So the idea of doing pull ups on a gi is kind of pointless for me.
1/22/09 9:20 PM
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le0nidis
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It is pretty exciting to see Michael applying MBF principles to BJJ techniques. Being on the receiving end of these techniques is pure hell. It SUCKS to be on top of side control when someone knows how to apply these principles. This is going to be an awesome year of jiu jitsu.
1/22/09 9:25 PM
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dany_my
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I think you are going to end up with the start off a new revolution in bjj.

:)
1/23/09 3:15 AM
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Bolo
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Edited: 01/23/09 3:17 AM
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I'm hoping that more people become receptive to this information. I want to teach this unique way of looking at BJJ for a couple reasons. First, I believe these principles can really speed up an individual's personal development in BJJ because it is based on structural alignment, physics, and biomechanics rather than principles based on personal preferences. Since it is not based on personal preferences, it can apply to all situations and anyone's game or style.

Second, I hate the idol worshipping that I see in BJJ. It is fine to respect someone, but I feel that too many students put instructors or fighters on a pedestal because they feel those individuals have information and knowledge which the student does not have and could not obtain without that person. Having that mentality is also what often allows students to accept mistreatment from instructors. Once I began to understand how to apply these principles, I realized there were no "secrets" that I couldn't figure out relatively quickly if I decided to put my mind to it. I am no longer at the mercy of where or not some instructor or fighter is willing or available to teach me something I want to learn. I want students to have that same self confidence and self reliance. Some people view black belt instructors like gods. Well, in my opinion, spreading this information is like the Greek myth of Prometheus who took fire from Zeus and gave it to the people for their use. :)
1/24/09 8:22 AM
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The Gimp
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Bolo - 

More I understand how to apply these principles, the more it confirms my belief that have an aggressive game does not require high athleticism and/or youth.



IMO having an aggressive game isn't about your physicality. It's all about you state of mind.
1/24/09 10:26 AM
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groundfighter2000
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ttt
1/24/09 8:12 PM
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Bolo
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Here's a funny thing about not holding anything sacred....

Today I was giving a lesson to two of my students. I had them doing reps of a certain technique and I was occasionally demonstrating on them to show them what I wanted to do. As I was demonstrating, I got a feeling as if something wasn't quite right or perfect. At the end of the lesson, I had one of my students get into position on me and I started to play around with some ideas. Within a minute or two, I figured out the new and better answer. Now it felt right. So basically I had to tell them to forget about certain part of their lesson and now do this improved method instead.
1/24/09 9:05 PM
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le0nidis
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I thought I was just weak sauce or was not understanding what you were telling me. I couldn't understand why I could not get to my side. However, when doing it the newly discovered way, I could not believe what little strength and effort was needed. I wasn't sure I was doing it right because it seemed so effortless. I saw the technique evolve right before my eyes. Truly awesome!
1/29/09 6:02 PM
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Dougyboy
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This is exciting!

Is there a "safe" way to perform the techniques, or is it all or none.

Is there potential for serious damage?
1/29/09 7:56 PM
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Bolo
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This is exciting as even I feel like a beginner again as I now need to get in reps on a lot of basic things.

Personally, from from what I feel when these techniques are applied on me and what I have seen when I repeated apply it on my students, I believe that without some sort of therapy to reverse the effect of the deviations that the techniques create, chronic problems will eventually occur at a much faster rate. I feel that it is best to just practice doing reps for short amounts of time each session to minimize the negative effect. I also feel that it is best if my students practice doing reps of techniques after rolling, not before. Doing these techniques beforehand will put their their bodies in a situation that is more vulnerable to injury when rolling.
1/30/09 3:43 PM
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Dougyboy
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Maybe a good opportunity to use a grappling dummy then. If that would work.
1/30/09 11:31 PM
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Bolo
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Edited: 01/31/09 3:42 AM
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Dougboy,

I've never tried it practicing on a grappling dummy. Part of practicing on a human being is getting the feel on how to apply force on and through another human being. I don't know if you can develop that same feel from doing reps on a grappling dummy.

----------

JiujitsuForeva,

I find comments/questions like that quite insulting. Why? Because it implies the following:

1. As a second degree black belt, I need lower level students to remind me that my techniques need to be able to work on higher level skilled opponents.

2. As a jiu-jitsu practitioners of 18 years, I don't have the intelligence and common sense to test out techniques and figure out what works and does not work and that I would actually waste my time doing something that would only work on low level practitioners.

3. As a jiu-jitsu instructor, that I am willing to teach students students things that may not work.
1/31/09 3:42 PM
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Bolo
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Edited: 01/31/09 4:11 PM
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Let's look at this statement of yours:

"Don't you think it should be tested at a higher level against tricky competition to be really effective? It might work against the average student, but will it work against skilled opponents?"

This statement contains two assumptions-

1. That I believe something is really effective, however, I have not tested it on people of a higher level of skill.

2. You given the benefit of the doubt that it may work on average student, but based on the first assumption, you believe it may not work on those of higher skill.

So the question is, "Where do these assumptions come from?" Without these assumptions, you wouldn't feel the need to ask those questions.

Think of the latest BJJ seminar you went to. I'm sure the instructor showed you a wide variety of techniques. Did you ask those exact same questions for each individual technique that you were taught? Did you ask the instructor which techniques he just tested out on his lower level students and which he tested on on high level skilled opponents? I've attended many seminars in the past and I've never heard anyone ask those questions. Don't you think it would sound kind of insulting if someone spoke like that at a seminar?

Maybe you did not intend to be insulting and I do understand your question, however, don't you think that your questions set off an abrasive tone when you include questions that assumption a black belt instructor has not done what is the common sense thing to do with any technique? We don't really need to go back and forth and debate this, but I just want you to think about it from my perspective.
1/31/09 4:57 PM
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Edited: 01/31/09 5:28 PM
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.....Now to answer question......

In my system of BJJ, I do not categorize techniques into beginner, intermediate, and advanced. I simply teach my students what I do against other black belts. In my opinion, if it works on other black belts, it will work on people of lower skill level.

So, for example, I don't have beginner guard passes, I just have the guard pass system I use all the time against everyone. I pass the guard the same way on everyone regardless of their skill level. On the example of guard passing, some of my students would begin by grabbing the pants and running around the guard to pass the guard on someone who doesn't have a great open guard because it is the easiest thing to do. I do not allow them to continue to do that. I tell that it feels easiest because the opponent's open guard sucks. They will not be able to pass constantly against higher level guys who have a good guard if they keep with that method. So I make them use my system, even though it may seem harder and require more work to be successful at first, because I know it will serve them better in the long run against more skilled opponents.

My system is designed to serve a vast majority of body types. So it doesn't matter if you are tall or short, skinny or flat, flexible or inflexible. I want everyone to do able to do the same thing. So techniques that one serve certain body types are not at the core of my system. I did not base the system on my attributes alone. I recently taught a brown belt from another instructor who thought he could not play an offensive game because he had lost a considerable amount of strength and dexterity on one side of his upper body due to a brain tumor. I showed him some stuff from my system in which I felt he could implement. He had no problem doing what I taught him. I now joke around and say that if that guy could implement things from my system, you need to practically be crippled do not be able to do it. It doesn't mean that I have never made any adaptations for students because of their body types, but those situations are few and far between.

Since I designed the system to suit a vast majority of body types, I make sure that it can always work against people are significantly larger. For example, when I first began to change my mount escape system, I modeled it after the way Joe Moreira does his mount escapes in action. The way Joe did it worked great against most people, however, when I tried to do it on someone who was over 120 lbs. more than me, I couldn't get it to work. So the system began to evolve and Ichanged it so it turned into something that was very different from what I learned from Joe. When I changed my mount escape system, several of my students questioned why they need to change what they did because Joe's way worked perfect for them. I told them that it was great they it had worked well, however, they had not encountered someone who was 120 lbs. more than them and knew how to use his weight like I had. I wanted to prepare them for the worst. I told them that the changes I had made it possible to escape someone that much heavier and if it work on someone that big, it absolutely will work work on someone smaller.

My system is constantly evolving. It's evolution is not a result of fads or technique popularity but from necessity. I do not add or change techniques because some champion is doing it or a particular technique is in vogue. It evolves because we hit a problem and we need a way to solve that problem. It evolves because my students and I test it all the time both with each other and with outsiders to find weaknesses. I have always taught my students to use their brains and one thing that I am grateful for is that when I figure things out they can often find the holes and weakness in it, if any, fairly quickly. And the more advanced some students become the faster they are able to expose the weaknesses. Once I find a better way of doing things, the old way is gone. I do not hold onto anything because of tradition or because some fighter does it that way. This also means that there are certain traditional techniques that my my students may never see or be aware of. Some may disagree with this, but that's just the way that I do it. For example, I have a mount escape system that is very different from traditional umpa and elbow knee escape. Most likely, my sons will never see or learn umpa from me.

Though I find what what I do and teach to be effective, I will never say that it is "the best". Saying "the best" has the implication of being absolute. Since I am constantly improving and changing, it is obvious that what I do is not the best since I am eventually able to figure out something better.

One thing that I try to teach my students is to be able to analyze techniques objectively to understand how they work and when they can work. I find that too many students base their opinions not only analysis of the technique, but rather who the technique has been executed on. Here's a great story I like to tell to illustrate the how basing opinions on who the technique has been executed on can be very misleading....

We all have seen Marcelo Garcia use the arm drag, take people's back, and get the choke. From watching Marcelo, many people will say, "I have got to do the armdrag. Marcelo has proven that it works on high level competition."

A while ago, Marcelo was training with a black belt I know. This black belt was familiar with Marcelo's game, so when Marcelo went for the armdrag, this black belt used that technique to pass Marcelo's guard. This black belt actually did this twice on Marcelo and then Marcelo stopped trying to armdrag him. As a bystander, if you had never heard of Marcelo, never seen any of this matches, and this training session was the first you had ever seen Marcelo roll, you may think, "Well, the armdrag doesn't really work on high level black belts". But in reality, would that be a very accurate and well informed statement?
1/31/09 6:00 PM
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Bolo
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Edited: 02/01/09 12:17 PM
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I do not using bridging in the sense that I will try to lift my hips as high as I can and then try to roll someone over....Actually, after thinking about it, the only time I can remember that I bridge is one of the escapes for the scarf hold/headlock.
2/5/09 3:29 PM
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The Gimp
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It's interesting that experienced black belts can have such strongly held but different opinions about different parts of jiu-jitsu.

For example, Saulo Ribiero believes so strongly in bridging as a fundamental part of pin escapes that he has a "bump" tattoo on his ankle.

But from what you have written (and correct me if I'm wrong), it sounds like bridging isn't really part of your pin escape system in its current form.
2/5/09 4:11 PM
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Bolo
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No bridging is not part of my system and I doubt it will ever be in the future.
2/10/09 9:33 PM
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Bolo
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Ultimately everyone learns best from personal experience. If you feel some method works best for you, then that's great. The only validation you really need is what you personally experience on the mat and the results YOU personally achieve. However, some people feel the need to seek validation from what other people do. If that is the way they want to pursue their own training, that's fine. That's just not the path I choose to take.

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