Thursday, 6 April 2017

Show them the big picture first

Speaking to one of my students a while ago after I had taught something to him again, he commented that he must have missed the details the first time around.

He may have if I taught them to him at that point but I explained about a simple concept I got from reading about how Steve Jobs gives a presentation way back in the day "show them the big picture first"

Maybe I just taught the bigger picture to start with, too many details too soon can be a hindrance. If you try to deal with too much information you might miss the actual point.

Consider me giving you a step by step list of 20 details you need to make a triangle work but you were never shown what a triangle was!

To keep things simple, teach the big move first then when they have the gross motor skills you can introduce the fine motor skills.

Jiu Jitsu often feels like you are doing a jigsaw puzzle but you don't know what the finished picture will look like because you don't have the lid off the box, don't make things more complicated than they need to be.

I have taken many other concepts from Steve Jobs to apply into my Jiu Jitsu, if you coach try looking outside your specialist area to see how other people handle things, you'll be surprised how much is transferable.

Stay tuned for the "Power Of 3"


Friday, 31 March 2017


Date: 9th April 2017

Venue: Team Fulinkazan

Address: 114 Sunbridge Road, Bradford, BD1 2NE

*Watch out for the speed cameras in and around Bradford!!

Start time: 12:00 noon

Finish time: 4:00pm

Cost: Minimum £10 donation, all funds raised to go to local charity tbd

Combat Base members and extended family only, open to all grades and levels

Proposed Workshops

Yoga For BJJ - Lloyd Cooper

Half Guard - Nam Hoang

Side Control - Josh Dilcock

I have purposely only gone for 3 workshops this time so there is more time to drill and roll. It is not often that there are so many black belts and brown belts at any one time so a perfect opportunity for anyone that doesn't regularly roll with higher grades to get schooled.

Lots in store on the day, going to be EPIC!


Jiu Jitsu And Chess

I often hear that chess and jiu jitsu are similar.

In one respect they are not; in chess you get a move each in turn, not simultaneously, in chess you get time to consider your next move whereas in jiu jitsu if you stop to consider a move, you get killed!

There are similarities in each game that are worthy of study. Of course, both are games of strategy, of in game tactics and ultimately submitting the opponent.

Chess, as jiu jitsu, I see as being a game of 3 distinct sections. In both, you need a strong opening, a middle game and the end game.

You need a well drilled opening then a middle game that causes chaos for your opponent then you are in for the kill in the end game.

The middle and the end are full of tactics and in-fight decision making but, for me, the opening is key to getting you ahead. You don't want the early part of the match to be playing catch up.

If you walk up to a game of chess knowing that your opening is a classic pawn to king 4, you have a well drilled considered opening but I see in a lot of cases where people enter jiu jitsu matches with no clear opening strategy and are just going to "see what happens" or "go with the flow".

I don't this this is the best strategy, immediately you are reactive rather than proactive.

If your game plan is to start strong, get your preferred grips and then either throw, take down or pull guard, you are getting to where you want to be to get the rest of your game going. If you just wait and see, then who knows!

Sometimes things don't go your way and your opponent has a stronger opening than you, that's just one of those things, we all experience that at some point.

So, in conclusion, if you are one of those people that doesn't have a pre-determined game or just want to wait and see what you are given, I would strongly advise having an opening gambit, however small it may be, maybe just get your grips then I believe you are putting yourself in the strongest position possible to help you chase victory.

Coming next, the chaotic middle game and the critical path.


Friday, 29 May 2015

No Gi class 28th May 2015

Just a reminder of the class as promised, see notes below to accompany video. Please note this is not meant to be instructional just a reminder of techniques covered.

Thursday no gi class 28th May 2015

Take down techniques worked from typical pummel position


Hip toss / koshi guruma – details
·         Good control of the head, drop centre of gravity
·         Pull the arm across your body
·         Push the hips through
·         Load them onto you before completing the throw

Finishing options – Americana with legs, diaphragm compression, arm triangle
·         When you catch the Americana with your legs, pull your hips down before lifting for the finish. To intensify, put on a little neck crank too.
·         To make effective pressure with the diaphragm compression, loosen the grip and ‘stir’ to tighten up before putting on the pressure.
·         Also need to ‘stir’ to get good pressure on the arm triangle. Pay attention to the trapped arm, this needs to be into the neck not face.

Hip toss / koshi guruma against leg drag position
·         Catch the nearest wrist
·         Elbow their hand off you ribs if required
·         Control the head, break the posture
·         As you pull your elbow under you it brings their arm around and loads them so you can complete the roll

Introduction of techniques

Single leg from clinch - details
·         change the angle against the under hook
·         change your head position and use your head to prevent partner following you
·         level change by dropping laterally
·         block the other leg to avoid them stepping around the single

Finish the single into BJ Penn pass position

Hook sweep against BJ Penn pass position – details
·         over hook
·         pull the hook in towards you before lifting for the sweep
·         use your free hand if you need to

Knee bar from hook sweep – details
·         use the scissoring of the legs to isolate partners bottom leg
·         move yourself to the knee bar position
·         head on top of the foot and control the heel
·         curl your heels up against your partners butt to emphasise the hip pressure

Saturday, 16 May 2015

Team Training Day July 2015 update

Date: 5th July 2015

Venue: Team Fulinkazan

Address: 114 Sunbridge Road, Bradford, BD1 2NE
IMPORTANT - watch out for the speed cameras in and around Bradford!!

Start time: 12:00 noon

Cost: Minimum £10 donation, all funds raised to go to local charity tbd

Invited: Combat Base members only, open to all grades and levels

Proposed Schedule

12:00 - A brief warm up session of Yoga For BJJ taken by the Yorkshire Gripper himself, Lloyd Cooper. Lloyd has been studying Yoga for a while now and has taught for me at HQ, this can really help your Jiu Jitsu. Lloyd has used this in his training to help him achieve excellent competition results starting as a purple belt and now at brown belt. Anyone who wants any longevity in Jiu Jitsu should supplement with Yoga.

12:20 - Wrestling For Gi taken by Kam Atakuru.A lot of you know Kam already but for the ones that don't Kam has worked extensively with the Combat Base group helping people prepare for gi and no gi competition plus MMA matches right from local shows to UFC level. Kam is head coach at ASW plus a BJJ brown belt, pro MMA fighter and excellent competitor.

12:50 - Drill, roll, relax

1:00 - Passing the open guard with James Nardone. Another excellent brown belt competitor will take you through his passing game, one that has allowed him to win numerous matches and medal at tournaments at brown belt level. James is a great coach and will break down in detail his hard earned knowledge to pass on to you.

1:30 - Drill, roll, relax

2:00 - Leg locks with Adam Simpson, yet another excellent brown belt competitor, Judo black belt and NAGA no gi elite champion. Adam will share the set ups, strategies and details for finishing your leg locks in the most painful but efficient way.

2:30 - Drill, roll, relax

3:00 - Taking a break from the physical aspects of training, performance specialist Rich Cadden will give a talk on mental preparation. As well as being a Jiu Jitsu competitor and twice Muay Thai World Champion, Rich is in demand for his work through Star Performance Mind Coaching. He has helped people with performance anxiety, confidence, self esteem, goal setting, fears and phobias, fitness programmes & even diet plans. Rich also worked with the British Olympic Squad prior to the last games.

3:30 – Drill, roll, relax, pictures etc

Thursday, 9 October 2014

WWID - what would I do

I recently watched a world renowned black belt teach a double underpass that was supposed to have amazing details but I thought he missed out quite a bit of important information.

Then I watched another world renowned black belt teaching a scissor sweep and again I didn’t think it was that great, some critical details missing.

I wondered if I had developed some kind of arrogance where I know better than world renowned black belts but maybe it’s not arrogance, maybe I do know better.

If so, then why and how?

I think it is down to not having a resident teacher which was a curse and a blessing back in the day. I saw Chris Haueter once or twice a year and did a few seminars but ultimately playing trial and error with my training partners was the way I learned.

If I was totally baffled, I would wait until Haueter came over, he would give me one of the light bulb moments and I was back on track.

Although we always need direction and a healthy training environment from people that are more experienced, I wondered if you learn better when you are taught or when you figure something out for yourself.

When you find things for yourself instead of being told, you instantly have the how, when and why feedback so you retain the information better.

I now realise that Haueter taught me so much by not teaching me so much.

I know some people see it as a waste of time and think they are re-discovering the wheel as they could have just asked their instructor but we are still developing new stuff even now thanks to this idea.

Which do you think will give the best results?

Years later when we trained with SBGi, Matt Thornton always pushed the ‘Inquiry method’ which is basically what we were doing and probably why I liked his approach. Not surprising Matt thought this way as Chris was instrumental in helping Matt form SBGi.

We developed so much Jiu Jitsu training this way. There would just be a few of us exchanging ideas “if I do this, what would you do” put in 10 reps while we got the basic idea then tried it against a little resistance building up until you can do it against full resistance.

While Lloyd Irvin and his medal chasers were micro-drilling 1000s of reps of a real small part of the puzzle, Cobrinha was on the other side doing what we had been doing. He told me that he would do 10 reps of a technique then straight into drilling against resistance building up to restricted sparring, this suited me personally because I always hated specific drilling and always loved situation sparring.

I'm not saying one way is better than the other across the board, you have to find what works for you personally. Some people explore and others have to be told. Pick the one that suits you.

Ironic that when I tell people they should question things, they never ask why :0)


P.S. The Socratic Method is relatively similar to this approach and fits quite well with this concept.

Socratic method (also known as method of elenchus, elenctic method, or Socratic debate), named after the classical GreekphilosopherSocrates, is a form of inquiry and discussion between individuals, based on asking and answering questions to stimulate critical thinking and to illuminate ideas. It is a dialectical method, often involving a discussion in which the defense of one point of view is questioned; one participant may lead another to contradict himself in some way, thus strengthening the inquirer's own point.

Check out the Wiki definition

Monday, 6 October 2014

The Times, They Are A Changing

Take a look through the television guides these days and you will see MMA on mainstream TV, not just the flagship events but local shows too, something many of us thought we would never see especially with the attitude of the media back in the day but as Bob Dylan prophesised “the times, they are a changing”

Our story begins not too many years ago in the ancient borough of Pontefract when a wise young man with a full head of hair decided to organise an MMA show to try to highlight a fledgling new sport but was not really available outside of the big smoke and certainly nothing like it around us. Our hero and his partner had indeed frequented these things in the borough of London and were such fun, a really good test of your all round martial artistry.
We had introduced this style of fighting as an after Taekwondo class activity and the guys seemed to really like it. We had no mats and didn’t know what we were doing but it was fun and double legging someone onto a hardwood floor just seemed so right.

Our hero approached various fighters that were prepared to compete in this new and exciting format and was met with a lot of enthusiasm, it all looked very promising.
The local rugby club was to be hired to showcase this event, talks had gone well and an agreement reached, the ring had been measured and all extra seating was sorted so a date was set. Was all set to be the first MMA show in God’s own county of Yorkshire then everyone’s favourite 2 things got involved; the media and the church. The countdown to destruction had begun.

First of all, a TV show named Calendar interviewed our hero at his place of work and were thoroughly excited about the new venture, the TV employees asked if they could have tickets to the show for a little publicity so was agreed.
The very same evening the interview with the hero of the piece was actually on Calendar but had been edited so it sounded a LOT different to what had actually been said. Add to this that the TV show had researchers up in the old town of Pontefract showing UFC 1 to old ladies who were out shopping because it was pension day; the old ladies verily agreed that this type of fighting was indeed barbaric and would not be going to the rugby club to partake in the fight night.

Calendar invited noted pacifist Brendan Ingle to comment, he was outraged that guys were actually trying to hit each other. This was around the time that Paul Ingle was put into a coma from a beating received in a boxing match. He received severe brain and head injuries in a 12 round title defence. “You do know what irony is, don’t you Baldrick?” “Yes, it’s like tinny or coppery but iron instead”
To quote a scientific formula of the time, one heavily edited interview + one disgruntled boxing coach + countless outraged old ladies = not looking good for yours truly.

All the offended people immediately flocked to church for a good cleansing and upon hearing that such sorcery and brutality was due to take place in his parish, the priest started proceedings to have our hero removed from his parish (I swear that the local church wanted to get me thrown out of the parish, they actually thought they had the power to get me to move house!) At one point I swear I could see the dim glow of torches as the flock went for their pitchforks.
The might of the church came down upon the rugby club who then had a change of heart; they sent a letter to our hero explaining that they would have to retract their offer as “they didn’t want rugby being associated with a violent sport”. Seriously!

Everywhere our hero went the common people did ask of the show and were disappointed to find out that it wouldn’t be happening just yet. Even the wonderful serving girls of Greggs, where our hero would procure provisions, were looking forward to a night out at the rugby club. The bad publicity had actually attracted more people than it had detracted, I guess they didn’t realise the mentality of the population of the mighty borough of Pontefract. This is a town that Shakespeare wrote of in Richard III because unfortunately King Richard II had met his fate in Pontefract; some say in the castle, some say on a night out but never the less we celebrate regicide. Bloody Pomfret as Shakey called it.
Alas there was nowhere else to go. The Council wouldn’t allow sporting contests in its facilities so couldn’t get an entertainment licence, even though I had seen Giant Haystacks wrestling at the Town Hall previously.

And so, faithful readers, that was the end of the first attempt to organise a legal MMA show in Pontefract. We would have to take our new found sport underground for a while so watch out for more devilishly entertaining tales coming to these pages.

Friday, 4 July 2014

Omaplata roll to CB signature arm bar

Quick reminder of one of the signature arm bars we have been working in class.

Get to omaplata position (we covered a few, pick one) I prefer the one in the video.

Either force the roll or wait for them to roll to attempt to escape.

You MUST control their elbow. This is key.

Roll with them and end up sat directly on their shoulder. Be aware of the foot position and your posture.

Switch their arm from your left side to your right side.

Post your left hand and quickly turn clockwise to the signature arm bar position.

DO NOT move your legs over their body, just finalise the arm bar from where you are.

Why? That's for the next blog post.


Thursday, 3 April 2014

Bravo Vs Gracie 2

With all the reviews and follow on from Metamoris 3 one of our guys, Andy Whitelam, asked me to do a ‘Currie Breakdown’ of the Bravo v Gracie match. This is not an depth review, there's guys who can do than better than me so it won't be too technical but it's the key points as I remember it.

Most of my observations are focussed on Eddie for 2 reasons; I must admit to being a bit of a fan of Eddie and having trained with him a bunch of times I understand his game a little. Secondly I don’t really think Royler did that much to review apart from hold on and not get submitted.
Side note; may just be me but I think a few of the Gracies on the Metamoris shows have tried to just not lose rather than win. Royler, Clark against Rafa, Roger against Buchecha and maybe even Ryron against Galvao….maybe.

I read a conspiracy theory that the Gracie Brothers are feeding their “sport” relations to world class competitors to show that the “sport” is not as effective as the “art” saying that the purpose of sport is to win but the purpose of the art is to survive. Ryron surviving against a bigger, stronger opponent shows how “effective” their system is. And their student Schuass drew with Cyborg. The Gracie infomercial of getting beasted while viewing as success rolls on.
Back to Metamoris 3 and the much awaited re-match starts as Eddie shoots a vicious double leg……….

Ok, time for real review;
This is quite possibly the most important match that these 2 will ever compete in; Royler to prove that Eddie’s previous win was a fluke and Eddie to prove that his system is legit. What followed was almost like a 10th Planet instructional.

Eddie pulls quarter guard right off the bat and immediately kills Royler’s angle for the knee cut pass that is probably his most formidable weapon. The quarter guard is a non-loadbearing guard, you are not carrying your opponent’s weight so you can keep it for a long time if you require, that allows you a lot of movement and gives you the option to bail quickly if you need to and is one of my favourite guards. Eddie has a ridiculous ‘squeeze’ in his legs so knew Royler would have a tough time passing. [I’ve been in his half guard and it is tight]
Eddie works very patiently while Royler tries to pour on the pressure; Royler can’t seem to progress the position as Eddie is being very patient, a trait he has shown in all his matches, he’s not going to move unless he has his grips absolutely locked in.

The first 6 minutes or so are just jockeying for position, trying to establish grips, trying to get a slight advantage over the other before launching their attack. I’m kind of surprised that Royler is trying the same thing whilst getting nowhere; I thought he might have switched his pass by now unless maybe he can’t or thought it was working. It’s different when you are in the moment rather than detached and watching.
So, the most crucial point of the match occurs at around 13:40 on the clock, Eddie gets the grips he requires and switches to lockdown so you know he is now set to hit his sweep.

At roughly 13:05 a big mistake from Royler as he pulls out his overhook allowing Eddie to rotate his legs that is key to the Electric Chair (a mistake made sometimes with Electric Chair is people try to use the arms to pull the leg into position but it’s all in the legs) Once this sweep is set it is pretty unstoppable, best you can hope for is a re-roll but that wasn’t happening this time.
Eddie tests Royler’s flexibility until 12:30ish but what looks like Royler rolling him back, to me is Eddie rolling back to better secure position before going fully to top. [I remember Eddie saying on more than one occasion to test their flexibility]

By keeping the lockdown even whilst on top it becomes a very strong position, it’s kind of like having a half mount with grapevines. It is also a very strong position to pass from as one of your legs has passed already and makes a barrier for the other one to pass which is achieved at 11:50ish.
Royler for some reason is making hand gestures, don’t know if he is trying a little ‘sportsmanship’ or is frustrated.

Eddie using the wrestlers cradle and cross face really well so when he starts to switch to north/south Royler recognises the escape route and fall into yet another trap.
[This was something Eddie taught us, to create a ton of pressure then release it in one place thus providing the only means of escape so you have to go that way and of course they have let you do this so you have usually escaped into something worse. My coach, Chris Haueter, is a master of this]

As Royler takes the bait, Eddie rolls for the back but his hook is just a little too shallow. He still attacks the neck crank really well but his position seems a little off otherwise I believe he would have had the submission right there. The hook being too shallow is then evidenced at 10:20 as Royler managed to escape the attempted back take during the transition.
Royler gets back on top in Eddie’s half guard and attempts to do something that had not worked for him previously in the match, he doesn’t seem to know how to escape this position and is kind of lost.

Eddie now knows his way to win and immediately looks to utilise lockdown again.
8:00 to go and Eddie hits the Electric Chair again and holds position for a while, Royler looks to roll Eddie and get back on top, Eddie doesn’t seem to fight this too hard, maybe saving his energy for his final attack, maybe a little fatigued or setting up something else..
5:55 another Electric Chair from same set up but not quite settled, again Royler rolls to top but Eddie resets and Electric Chair’s to top again. 5:30 to 5:15ish you see Eddie start to look to Royler’s feet, giving a glimpse of him looking to finish now.

Referee stops the match to reset in the middle, there’s some Gracie drama (isn’t there always) but after protests and a picture is provided the referee resets them in the correct position. This is probably the last bit of motivation that Eddie needs, he knows Royler has no idea of how to beat him and trying to ‘improve’ your position in the reset seems a little weak. [Apparently one of the other Gracies shouted at the referee from the side-lines to “stand them back up” for the restart}
Referee is having none of it, stays strong and restarts from the correct position [I guess he’s out of Metamoris 4]

Eddie had the Electric Chair position but got rid of the leg so he has some kind of lockdown/rewind the hips/leg drag/stoner control position. I’ve seen him hit arm triangles and twisters from here so looks to be a good strong finishing position but you saw his intentions just before the restart.
As Eddie continues to work the lockdown, I swear I saw Royler tap, Glover said he saw it too but thought he must be tripping, think I’m tripping too.

Royler starts pushing Eddie’s face away or looks like Eddie is being pushed away but at 3:58 he uses that momentum to reach down for the foot and roll.
Eddie looking to finalise his ‘Vaporiser’ which is not just a calf crank but a calf crank with a twisting foot lock too. At 2:26 you can just about see Eddie’s right hand pushing down Royler’s foot creating a calf cranking, toe holding, foot locking bag of pain [I know, he showed me then Helen did it to me too and it hurts like hell] Royler must be tough as hell to not tap because it looks on or maybe he has the mentality that he doesn’t care if it busts something as long as he doesn’t lose.

From 1:15, looks like Eddie is going for a modified heel hook, same again at 0:40 and time “runs out” or should it?
0:00 Metamoris guys stop the match even though it said in the rules that if one guy has a near submission they will let time continue until the submission is finalised or the opponent escapes.

Guess it wasn't close enough.

11 years in the making and within 20 minutes it’s all over.

My Conclusion
Eddie performed better on the night, he had a plan and stuck to it, taking his opportunities at the right time.

Royler was never in the game, he seemed totally unprepared for Eddie’s ½ guard game which is the foundation of 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu. In fact it seemed as though he had never seen Eddie Bravo grapple before. Maybe the Gracie camp didn’t expect ½ guard and there isn’t much about Eddie on the internet either…….
Eddie told us something along the lines of “don’t even think about rubber guard until you ½ guard game is down”

Hindsight is a wonderful thing but if I personally was involved in Royler’s camp, I would have specifically looked at a couple of things.
*Watch the roll Eddie had with Marcelo, see how Marcelo handles distance and angles

*Read any of Eddie’s books or watch any of his speeches, he pretty much gives away the basis of his system
*Look at this picture on Eddie’s FB page. There is Eddie, a guy who says his entire system is built on a good ½ guard, training with ½ guard master JJ Machado and ½ guard pioneer Gordo.

But now the dust has settled, life is back to normal and nothing has changed. Maybe Eddie gets a more students, keeps his legacy intact and cements his undeniable place in history. The Gracies already have their legacy and place in history. Both will continue to have the nut-huggers and the haters.
Someone on the net called it the greatest match in the history of Jiu Jitsu, give me a break, it wasn’t even the best match that night, performance of the night for me was Gui Mendes, he absolutely killed it.

If you think this Metamoris was hyped, wait until they tempt Marcelo out of retirement!