Posts in Category: Motivational

Top 5 Mistakes of amateur MMA fighters 

most common mistakes that will de-rail your UFC dream

This is an article wrote by Garcia

Every single day hundreds of Men and women walk into the local MMA gym with the same goal in mind: Becoming the next big thing. everyone wants to be the next GSP, Anderson Silva, Jon Jones- but all too often MMA fighters in the early stages of their careers; the amateur stage of their careers in particular, forget all the in-between of making it to the big stage. here is a detailed description of the most common mistakes that will de-rail your dreams of UFC gold:

 MMA hot girl


Trusting promoters too much

 In todays day and age it is all too easy to get a fight. one can simply call a phone number, reply to a facebook post and boom next thing you know you’re standing across the cage from a guy you know nothing about competing in a sport you know even less about. the very root of amateur MMA is that promoter’s make money. Amateur MMA fighters don’t make any money, so aside from cage rental, venue rental, alcohol vender etc. Every ticket sold goes right into the promoters pocket. They just want bodies in the cage to beat the crap out of each other and sell tickets. More often than not a promoter will tell you how much the other guys sucks, how easily you could beat him etc. Meanwhile he’s in the other guys ear telling him the exact same thing about you. Also one must be careful not to fight for a promoter who has ties to an MMA gym himself. because 99% of the time fighting for these individuals results in you being the “fish” or, the less experienced fighter who gets purposely matched with a much more talented fighter from the promoter’s gym in order to get a win. Before you say yes to a fight its best to ask your coach/coaches to analyze the match up and give their input. after all that’s what you pay them for, to teach you what they know, to give insight they’ve gained from experience.


Not training enough

Now this goes back to the “All too easy to get a fight” concept. It’s not the promoters responsibility or desire to make sure you’ve trained properly and know what you’re doing. once you say yes the fight is on, and its up to you to be prepared. Training in your basement or garage and watching you tube videos of 10th planet and master Ken does NOT count as training. Doing lots of roadwork and lifting weights everyday is very beneficial to an MMA fighter but ultimately is not going to adequately prepare you for a fight. Before you even think about stepping in the cage make sure you are training with a solid MMA gym with a good trainer. Do your research and try to train with a competition team that has had success with a coach who is or was an MMA fighter himself. success breeds success so the best way to ensure victory in the cage is to surround yourself with other active MMA fighters regularly. don’t just walk into the “MMA fitness” class at your local Karate McDojo.

Training too much

Now there are plenty of amateur MMA fighters in the world who are smart and dedicated and do it for the right reasons. They are disciplined and dedicated to their dreams of being in the UFC and follow a strict regimen of diet, exercise and training. there is only one problem with these individuals: they are in too much of a hurry. Sure, Georges St. Pierre eats everything out of a measuring cup, has a rigorous strength training regimen and trains 3-4 times a day every single day, but you are not Georges St. Pierre. For the amateur MMA fighter in the first year or so of his career, the essentials of success are very basic. Be in shape, and train regularly. You dont need to train 3 times a day 7 days a week to get ready for your debut fight. I don’t care if you were a college wrestler, football player, biathlete. MMA is not like any thing you have ever done, training too much too soon will result in injury and will sometimes deter an otherwise wealth of potential. a good way to tell if you’re overtraining is to take your resting heart rate in the middle of the day during your downtime. take your resting heart rate at the same time everyday. an increase of 10Bpm or more in your resting heart rate suggests you are over training and may need to dial it back a bit. Rest is essential for growth both physically and mentally.


Doing it for the wrong reasons

Lets face it, MMA is freaking cool right now. Everyone wants a picture wearing MMA gloves. everyone wants an athlete page with 500 likes. everyone wants a custom “walkout tee” (since you are going to be walking out in front of a whopping 300 people at the VFW hall) Everyone wants to whip out the national mma ID and say those magic three words that make women’s panties disappear (or so you think) “I’m a cage fighter”. But sooner or later you WILL come across someone who is doing it for the right reasons. And when you come across that real dedicated athlete you can only hope you don’t follow the horrifying recent trend of dying in the cage. Because while you were on Facebook asking friends to help you decide on a walkout song- he was training. While you were writing letters to monster and DC and Tapout telling them how worthy of sponsorship your 0-0 record is- he was training. while you were shopping online for the hottest fight shorts and mouth guard and warm up suit-he was training. See the pattern here? the beautiful thing about MMA is you cannot lie in the cage. It’s impossible to tell a lie in there. What kind of person you are, what kind of fighter you are, how prepared you are, how tough you are, its gonna come out once you get in there. and no amount of hype will save you from a real mentally and physically prepared fighter. so before you even think about stepping in that hexagon (the UFC is the only promotion legally allowed to use an octagonal cage, its copyrighted) you better make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons to avoid being exposed in front of all the drunks at the county fair.


Trying to be someone else

I will never forget the night i saw John Smith fight. (His name has been changed to protect his identity). John was a 2 stripe brown belt in brazilian jiu jitsu under one of the top coaches in the country. John had won almost every major BJJ competition in the country and his ground game translated very well to MMA. there was only one problem with John the night he made his mma debut: He thought he was a striker. John had been watching too much Anderson Silva and Thiago alves, he walked to the cage with a pair of Muay thai trunks and ankle wraps on, and when the ref said fight he came out of his corner with a stance and movement pattern that can only be described as robotic and flamboyant. needless to say John did not attempt one single takedown and was knocked out cold in the first round after a failed spinning backfist attempt. The guy who beat him moved from 0-5 to 1-5 and had his first victory- over one of the nation’s top grapplers. Moral of the story, if you are a grappler, be a grappler. Set up the takedown with strikes and do what you know. If you spent your entire adolescent life boxing then learn to sprawl and brawl. Use defensive wrestling and use your strikes to earn the KO or TKO. Most grapplers lack what is called strikers cardio and will eventually drop their hands and expose their chin. if you don’t have a background, then learn all the basics and see whats best for you. The time to be well-rounded and good at everything will come in a few years, but not now! be patient, allow yourself to grow.

This is an article wrote by Garcia


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Jul 01, 2014 Categories: MMA Motivational

JIU JITSU PURGATORY : Life after the blue belt 

you got your belt…now what?

This is an article wrote by Garcia

So you finally did it , after all the months of having to go second in drilling , standing at the very end of the line , competing dead last at tournaments – you did it. You climbed Mount Everest , opened pandora’s box , found the last digit of Pi and got yourself that coveted blue belt. But not long after the starch wears off of your belt you come face to face with the same question that so many blue belts before you have faced…now what? You’ve become like a kid at Christmas time with a new toy, by the time New Years rolls around he’s already lost interest or broken it. That’s right, you’ve entered Jiu Jitsu purgatory. The blue belt blues is in full swing. The pain staking journey you’ve endured on your way to getting your blue belt has resulted in one big adrenaline dump. And it’s not a journey you’re excited to embark on in order to get your purple. Statistics show that almost half of all Brazilian jiu-Jitsu practitioners are just like you , they’re blue belts. Because they finally achieve some rank and feel accomplished and then quit. They quit competing ,they quit coming to class ,and they become content with just not being a white belt. So how can you make it out of jiu Jitsu purgatory? Below is the detailed list of how to beat the blue belt blues-


1. Take a step up in competition

So by now we all know that you’re more than capable of winning gold at the local high school 3-person-division-20$ registration fee- backwoods tournament. But now that you’re a blue belt; you can try your hand at a national level tournament like the Pan ams or the IBJJF worlds or even the closest IBJJF tournament to you. You never know if your getting your money’s worth for Jiu Jitsu lessons unless you test yourself against equally skilled opponents. Not to mention placing or even winning at a tournament like this is going to draw positive attention to your coach and your academy ,which is going to result in exponential growth for everyone involved. Now that you’ve acquired some rank you have nothing to prove to anyone , it’s time to prove to yourself just how good you can be. Go in with the mindset that you can beat anyone in the world at your weight and skill level, and the worst thing that’s going to happen is you will lose and come back having learned something about yourself. Nobody makes fun of the guy who tries his hand atworld class competition and comes up short. Regardless of if you win or lose you will learn something about yourself and about your jiu Jitsu game by competing at the national level. Competing at a large scale tournament is an experience like no other. The huge mats , the lights, getting to see world class black belts go at it, you will not regret giving it a shot.


2. Become a referee

Now that you’re a blue belt, you also have the opportunity to take an IBJJF rules course (usually held the day before IBJJF tournaments) and become a certified referee. If you officiate at enough competitions and become good enough at it ; some tournaments will even pay your air fair and let you compete for free all over the world in exchange for reffing matches. Becoming a ref also helps you gain a deeper understanding of the points system and jiu Jitsu strategy. It’s like a free front row seat to watch the best grapplers in the world lock horns. Good referee’s are highly sought after and highly respected in the jiu Jitsu community , as they are few and far between. Good referees mean that the tournament runs smoothly , on time, and most important we don’t have any coaches or parents foaming at the mouth screaming about a bad call.


 Felipe Costa Victory during IBJJF tournament


3. Help teach

At academies in smaller cities , once you reach the two or three stripe stage you start to become sort of an extension of your professor, helping new people learn the basics and walking around assisting people drilling technique. If you are one of the higher ranking students in your school; offer to teach a class once or twice a week or even start a beginners class. Remember that your coach promoted you because he has faith in you! and anything that alleviates some pressure and responsibility from him will surely be a welcomed gesture. Believe it or not your coach actually wants nothing more than for everyone in the academy to eventually become a black belt and have their own school. Do not be afraid to exercise the leadership skills your coach has handed down to you. Offer to start a class specifically for drilling or even offer to host open mats on weekends if your professor will give you a key. It’s not just about the color of the belt, gaining rank also means gaining leadership skills.

 teaching class


4. Cross train

By now you’ve been at your academy close to two years or more, why not go to an open training session at another academy, or take up judo or wrestling to compliment your BJJ? Maybe you will learn some new techniques and strategies that you can bring home to share with your professor and team mates, remember the name of the game is “growth”. By not trying new things and not rolling with new people you will become stagnant , step out of your comfort zone. See if your coach wants to get a few people together and go to another academy for an open mat day. Exchange ideas and techniques with other athletes. Attend a seminar hosted by another association. Jiu Jitsu academies aren’t like high school football teams where they cringe at the sight of the others uniform, a lot of schools have an open door policy when it comes to cross training and welcome people from other schools to come train.

judo takedown drill


5. Have the mind of a white belt.

This is the big one. When you’re a white belt, all wide eyed and new to grappling, you ask 100 questions a day and want to know everything about everything that entails jiu Jitsu. So why then; once people get their blue belts do they stop asking questions? You probably have the mind set of ” I’m a blue belt now , I’m supposed to know everything , I’d look stupid if I asked tons of questions” right? Wrong. Jiu Jitsu is a lot like music. It’s an art. And by the time you’ve reached the blue belt you’ve probably adopted a small arsenal of favorite techniques or “songs”. But listening to the same song over and over and over you will eventually grow bored and tired of it. Problem with jiu Jitsu as an art form as opposed to music, people get tired of what was once their favorite technique , grow bored, and QUIT. But you wouldn’t just stop listening to music just because you got tired of a couple songs would you? Of course not! So keep learning , keep trying new things. If you’ve got a great de la riva guard , and you think you’ve learned just about all there is to know , try out spider guard! Develop your top game ! Get good at takedowns! Never ever stop learning. Always ask questions like a white belt and be eager to learn and I promise you will not find yourself in jiu Jitsu purgatory !

comprido teaching bjj

This is an article wrote by Garcia


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Jun 30, 2014 Categories: BJJ Jiu Jitsu Motivational

10 Reasons you’re still a white belt 

and what you should do to change that

This is an article wrote by Garcia

Noob.  newbie.  rookie.  the new guy.

These are just a couple of moniker’s associated with being a white belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.And the road to blue belt is one of the longest feeling journeys you will ever set out upon in your entire life. You see, Jiu jitsu has no definite system for when someone is in line to be promoted, it is simply your professors discretion. It can take anywhere from 6 months to two years or more depending on a lot of things. So if you have been training BJJ for what seems like forever yet haven’t received your blue belt, perhaps you should read the top 10 reasons why your professor may be holding you back.


1. Not enough mat time

We all know that guy. For school, kids, family, him leaving the stove on, for whatever reason he never seems to stick around for live rolling. Or he’s always got some nagging injury that persuades him to respectfully decline your invitation to go live after class. It’s not enough for your coach to see that you come to class on a consistent basis. Your coach wants to see that you clearly understand the concepts he has taught and that you can demonstrate them effectively in a live situation. Reaching a the first milestone of jiu jitsu-the blue belt requires one thing above all else, demonstration. If you have not demonstrated your ability to execute the techniques in the class curriculum effectively in the presence of your coach, don’t expect your belt to change colors anytime soon. because that’s exactly what a “belt test” or “promotion exam” consists of, demonstrating techniques.


2. Not enough class time.


Now, on the opposite side of that coin, some people tend to show up to class late for whatever reasons and only make it in time to roll. Sure these people might have a nice armbar or straight ankle lock, but that’s 1% of jiu jitsu. Constantly being late to class and only showing up for rolling is like missing all week of school and only showing up for the test. sure there might be some freaks of nature who can do all this and succeed anyway; but if you’re an average Joe like me you’re going to fail. It is very likely that you’re professor has put in a decade or more of training to be where he is today and the only way you are going to be able to follow those foot steps is if you give him the opportunity to pass his knowledge down to you! which means showing up to class on time and taking full advantage of the curriculum. even if it’s a technique you already know, pay attention! maybe you missed a detail or a concept last time that could make you better, maybe your professor has made an adjustment or discovery that has improved the technique, you will never know unless you show up and pay attention.


3. You don’t compete enough.

Now this one is sure to ruffle some feathers, but the truth hurts. Jiu jitsu is more than a martial art, it’s a sport. and more importantly it’s a sport with no off-season. Tournament season is virtually year round and a lot of coaches take pride in seeing their students at all belt levels test their skills against other academies from all over the country. win or lose your coach wants to see you support your academy and show your appreciation by testing your skills in a tournament. wearing the patch and not competing is like having a sword and shield and not following your brothers and sisters into battle. At the heart of jiu jitsu is hand to hand primal combat. the ability to subdue an unknown and unwilling opponent using leverage and technique. after rolling with the guys and girls from your academy for a long time you begin to get used to what they do, and vice versa. your coach wants to see you wear the patch into battle and be an ambassador of your team while demonstrating your understanding of jiu jitsu.


4. You don’t support your association.


Jiu jitsu academies, in my opinion, are unlike any martial arts associations in the entire world, in the sense that they are truly a family. Jiu jitsu academies often have a clear lineage and close associations to other academies across the country and across the world who are under the same banner. Your coach wants to see you support the association. This means that when Mr. Gracie, Mr. Ribeiro, Mr. Medeiros, i.e. the head of your association comes to give a seminar at your school- you be there. If that means skipping a night of drinking to save money for the seminar than do it. If that means staying home Friday night so you can wake up early Saturday and go to the seminar, then do it. Also a lot of associated academies like to do cross-training in order to prepare for tournaments and get students rolling with people with different tools and weapons. It’s important that you show up to things like this to support your academy and your coach, and most importantly your association.


5. You care too much about the belt.

“Hey coach, whats on the blue belt test?”, “Is this going to be on the blue belt test?”, “When am I eligible to test for my blue belt?”  , sure, its okay to ask these questions a few times, and im sure your coach does want you to know. But once it becomes clear to your coach that your main prerogative is getting promoted- that will raise a HUGE red flag. A wise man once said “The belt will change colors on its own.” and this is completely true. it’s actually quite ironic how the more you care about the belt, the slower it seems to come, and the less you care about the belt, the faster it seems to come. Slow down, enjoy the experience. The white belt is like the freshmen year of high school, sure it sucks, but one day you will miss it because it only comes once, and for most people the black belt is the LAST belt you’re ever gonna have and not to mention the toughest competition you’re ever gonna face, so why be in such a hurry? take you’re time and enjoy the journey, I promise you wont regret it.


6. You use too much strength.

The whole concept behind Brazilian jiu jitsu is that a larger stronger opponents have no advantage over smaller weaker ones due to use of technique and leverage. look up Brazilian jiu jitsu on any search engine right now and surely something along those lines will come up as a definition. So if you’re constantly doing well (or not so well) in your academy by using brute strength and muscle to overcome your training partners, this is a clear sign you are not ready to start receiving rank. jiu jitu is not about strength in any sense of the word, sure strength will come into play at some point in time but I promise you that bench pressing and arm wrestling will NOT be part of your blue belt exam or any other belt exam in your bjj career. so slow down, catch your breath, wipe the sweat off your head and focus on technique rather than strength. Play your guard against bigger opponents, force yourself to work outside of your comfort zone. use leverage and technique and you will start to see an improvement in your submission game and your belt color.


7. You can’t pick a patch.

Well I would be a blue belt by now if I would have stayed at Joe schmoes academy.” We all know that guy that for whatever reason cannot seem to plant down at one academy long enough to grow some roots. A strong piece of advice for any white belts walking into a new academy, the professor does not care who you trained with before or how long you trained with them. a lot of black belts pride themselves on having homegrown champions and homegrown curriculum for each belt level. It doesn’t matter if you were black belt level for Joe Schmoe because you’re still gonna have to reach blue belt level for John Doe. You don’t study plumbing for an electronics exam, so don’t expect to get your blue from Relson with the jiu jitsu you learned from Royce. it’s just business. Your coach doesn’t want to just know your Jiu jitsu, they want to know YOU. Try to stay at ONE academy if you can. If you cant seem to find what you’re looking for at 2 or 3 or more academies than maybe the problem isn’t the instructors, maybe BJJ just isn’t your thing. and there’s nothing wrong with that. But I can tell you this, if you don’t stick around at one academy for at LEAST a year I wouldn’t plan on getting your blue belt.


8. Youre too predictable

Now, im not saying it’s not good to have a go-to technique. I’m sure everyone has one, but the important thing is to have more than just a few moves in your arsenal. If you’re coach has shown you 1000 techniques and you can still only execute 1 when rolling then maybe you’re not ready for your blue. What is ultimately at the heart of BJJ is self-defense, being able to handle yourself and defend your self in a wide array of situations. When a mugger runs up on you at the ATM I can assure you he’s not gonna fist bump you and ask “How do you wanna start?” Show your coach that you’re paying attention to what he’s teaching and that you understand, and if you don’t, ask questions. If he or she showed spider guard that day, play spider guard after class.  It’s not only important to advancing your rank but your coach really wants you to absorb the information for your own personal gain. In Brazilian jiu jitsu knowledge really is power, and the knowledge of a blue belt has to be a notch above the knowledge of a white belt. Not just one or two techniques.


9. You don’t correct your mistakes.

The first time your coach tells you to stop wrapping the head from half guard, its okay. The second time, that’s okay too. Hell the third and fourth time don’t bother your coach one bit, it takes time. But the 9th 10th and 11th time I can assure you, no matter how supportive he sounds, he wants to take the black belt off his waist and hang you with it. Listen to your coach, sometimes what your coach tells you to do may be uncomfortable and feel unnatural. Maybe you feel like if you did what he says you would be exposing yourself to a submission or a bad position. Maybe your coach just doesn’t know the way you like to roll and your style, go with your gut right? -wrong. Who’s the coach here? If what your coach keeps telling you to do feels unnatural it’s because you’ve created a bad habit that he’s desperately trying to get you to break. going from white to blue belt isn’t just about learning new techniques but breaking bad habits. stop giving up your back. stop resting in bad positions. stop holding onto the guillotine with you don’t have your guard. stop shooting in with your head down. You might think your coach has 100 students to keep track of and he surely doesn’t realize the subtle mistakes you continue to make, but I promise you he or she sees everything. and if you don’t get it together you just might wind up being a 10 year white belt.


10. you’re a no-gi guy.

If I had a nickel for every one of these guys that I know, id have enough to cover the rest of my belt tests in my life all the way up to solid red. You have 20 MMA fights? you’re a 5x NAGA expert champion? you trained with Chuck Liddell and Steven seagal? wow. good for you! youre an expert naga, celebrity trained, cage fighting- white belt. You see, the belt. (you know the thing you so desperately want in a different color) is used to hold up your Gi or kimono. Brazilian jiu jitsu (not to be confused with MMA, no-gi grappling, sambo, submission grappling, glima, judo, capoeira or any other type of grappling) is practiced in a gi. The takedowns,armlocks,joint locks, chokes, hold downs, and guards/ guard passes all utilize the gi. So no amount of combat sports experience outside of training Brazilian jiu jitsu in the gi is going to give you any type of advantage what so ever in regards to your belt promotion. Sure you might mount the blue belt and choke him with an arm triangle, but what about the paper-cutter that was wide open from side control? or the x choke he basically was GIVING you when you were in the mount? Do you know chain and flow attacks for when one submission or sweep attempt doesn’t work? If you ever wanna see a belt other than white than its best to leave your ego at the door and learn to use the gi.


Bonus reason


The bonus reason and probably the MOST IMPORTANT reason of them all is that YOU ARE NOT THE COACH. Brazilian jiu jitsu black belts dedicate large amounts of their lives, sometimes decades, to learning BJJ and achieving that rank. One does not simply wake up in the morning and decide to be a black belt and an instructor. it takes years and years of vigorous training competing and learning, so don’t ever think for a second that anyone knows if you’re ready for a promotion more than you coach does. Like I said before, slow downenjoy the journey! make mistakes!  consistency and time are the only two things that can guarantee your promotion and you cannot rush either one. Put in the mat time, put in the class time, compete often, support your association, use technique, learn from your mistakes, maintain the attitude of a student and always continue to learn and grow and voila! The belt will change colors on its own!

Article wrote by GARCIA 

Deon Thampson and Joe Garcia

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Jun 29, 2014 Categories: Academia BJJ Jiu Jitsu Motivational self defense