Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Granby

The Granby from wrestling is a widely neglected and miss-understood technique. When understood and performed correctly the Granby has awesome application to Wrestling, Jiu-Jitsu and Mixed Martial Arts.

Unfortunately most of the coaching on this technique and most of the clips you will find on the internet demonstrating the Granby are incorrect. Below I have collected some of my favorite clips.

I also highly recommend Keith Lawernce's Granby System. His DVD set is awesome he breaks the technique down better than anyone I've seen to date and has a very unique approach to this move. You can view his site here

Few people seem to also realize this technique can be applied while standing as well.

There is a very simple defense to the Granby how ever you have to know the Granby is coming and time your opponent correctly. Ask me about it sometime at our Studio and I'll go over it.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Learning Through Play

This is my living room.

There is one thing you should notice right away from taking a look at it.

It's all about my kids.

I decided a long time ago that my home would be all about them.

This means my house is not going to be furnished with antiques and expensive decor. I will not be going with any interior design themes such as "French Country Side," or "Spanish Colonel." I will not be trying to hide my kids toys away in a fancy steamer trunk or custom made cabinetry.

What this does mean is that I want my kids to have their toys out an accessible! My furniture should be cheap and easily replaceable. It means if my son wants a skateboard ramp going from his bed room to the garage I'm all for it. If I need to convert my dining room into a play house for my daughter, the play house wins. And there's good reason for this.

I have always believed my home should be two things fun and functional. Having to worry if this or that is going to wreck the sofa is not fun. Having a hard edged, rare, antique coffee table that could practically scalp you if you were to fall on it wrong, that you can't even put your feet on, let alone a soft drink without damaging it is not functional.

The more access my kids have to playing, climbing and working with their toys, the more they're able to learn about the world around them.

The more they can play the more they are able to develop and utilize their imaginations, their motor skills and their creativity. The key reason why my living room looks like it does is for my kids to have the best possible environment I can give them to develop and foster their inherent somatic intelligence.

Unfortunately as we grow older and become adults we stop playing, we no longer get on the ground and roll around. We don't try to climb up anything, jump off anything, crawl over anything, or just make up stuff.

If fact we seem to go the opposite direction. We put on suites, ties, designer and restrictive clothing that doesn't allow us to move freely or naturally. We decorate our homes with fancy expensive furniture that cannot be played on and we spend most of our day working not just at work but everywhere.

As a result we loose touch with our bodies, we are no longer developing our somatic intelligence. Our proprioceptive, kinesthetic awareness gets lost. The athletic abilities we had in our youth diminish much faster than we actually age.

It is therefore fundamentally important to engage yourself in playful, physical activities throughout the rest of your life.

This is also why Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and the Crazy Monkey Defense Program are so awesome.

They are both playful, fun, physical, activities that can continuously challenge ones proprioceptive, and kinesthetic ability on an on going basis.

Similar to my kids playing in the living room.

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Best Approach to Exercise, Fitness and Health

What makes my approach to exercise, fitness and health unique?

It is athletic. It is my stance that the athletic approach to exercise, fitness and health is the most superior. It is the most functional and the most fun.

Learning to train like a world class athlete is important for several reasons. First there are very few other populations in the world that put more care, precision, planning and research into their exercise programs than the elite level athlete. Second an athlete doesn’t just exercise for the sake of exercise. The athlete is trying to improve their performance outside of the gym in another environment. The athlete’s mentality is to improve performance in their sport through the training done inside the gym.

This is the mentality you want to have when training yourself regardless of whether you play sports or not. The goal is to improve your performance, your energy level and your ability to function on a day in and day out basis outside of the gym through the training done in the gym. When you can take the things you do in your training and immediately get positive results in other environments; out on the field, the basketball court, at the golf course, at work and at home exercise becomes more fun and more rewarding and a lot easier to do. This is when you are no longer just “working out” but you are now TRAINING!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Most Often Referenced Movies

The following lists comprises of our most often referenced to movies while training in marital arts. Note: these are not recommended as the best movies or anything of that nature they are just the most often quoted and referenced too while we train. If you don't have them all I suggest you get them.

1. Star Wars; The references to this movie never stop, the Force, Yoda, Padawan learners, the Dark Side, Sith Lords and Jedi Knights seem to always come up.

The Last Dragon; The Last Dragon is a hit with both it's theme song and the glow. "To reach that higher level your body mind and your soul have got to be one its a sacrifice its a way of liffffffffffffffffffffffffffffffeeeeeeeeeee."

Karate Kid; classic lines such as "sweep the leg! do you have a problem with the Mr. Lawrence?" can never be forgotten.

4. Pumping Iron. A cult classic this movie does get quoted from time t
o time although not nearly as much as the others. Arnold does have some of the most memorable lines in this film.

5. Enter the Dragon; If you are going to watch one Bruce Lee movie then this is it. Enter the Dragon has everything. The number of times I've mimicked from this Bruce Lee while training is many. Whoooaaaaaaa!

6. Dumb and Dumber; A timeless classic that is only mentioned with the utmost reverence.

Other movies we've talked about but are not on the all-stars list although they may be one day are;

That's it for now. If you can think of other movies that should be on either one of these lists post them up in the comments and I'll add them.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

The Small Private Exclusive Group Class

The easiest way to truly master Jiu-Jitsu is through small, private, exclusive group classes. A small private group class is a martial arts class consisting of only 4-6 members that meets at a regularly scheduled time each week. It is exclusive because no one else is allowed to train in the class other than the limited members of that group. This is unlike the large classes found in the big martial arts academies where there almost seems to be a revolving door letting new students in as the old ones leave.

A small, private, exclusive group class functions very similar to a private lesson. The difference being that the cost of the private lesson is distributed among the members of the group making it more affordable. The small, private, exclusive group class will behave similar to a private lesson in that the content of each class is determined by the needs and desires of the members of the group. Similar to a private lesson there is a lot of hands on coaching, personal attention and focus given from the instructor to each person.

Here are some of the many benefits of training in the martial arts this way;

  • In a smaller, private, group setting there is far less competitive pressure enabling you to become free to make mistakes, learn and develop your game.

  • Fewer people in the exclusive group classes allows for more focus and attention on you. In the overly crowded classes of 15 - 20 people you can not get the attention from your coach that you need.

  • In a small private setting it is easier to pick-up the nuances that make the art of Jiu-Jitsu work. In a large class by the time everyone gets the general technique down there is very little room left to dive into the finer points of each movement.

  • Small group classes of 4-6 dedicated members enable everyone to keep the best interest of the entire group at heart. As your other class members focus on improving your game as much as their own everyone gets better.

  • No longer do you have to deal with the random people who show up from time to time. These people always tend to have only their own self interests in mind. The majority of them are really only concerned with finding out who in the class they can or can't beat.

  • Most Jiu-Jitsu programs I have observed running large classes in big gyms seem to always produce a few super athletes that win a lot of competitions. I have never found this to be very impressive. However I have been impressed with the many smaller size Jiu-Jitsu programs I have observed where in the entire group of people training together are improving and getting better on a consistent, on going basis, year after year.

  • It is is much easier to consistently raise the skill level of the entire group when that group is comprised of a limited number of highly dedicated members. In the large group classes commonly it is only the most athletically gifted that seem to do well while everyone else flounders aimlessly.

  • In the large hyper-competitive class setting you will only grow and develop as far as your natural athletic ability will allow you too. Once you hit that ceiling progression either stops completely or slows dramatically. In the small, private, group one can truly learn the art and easily continue to progress and develop far beyond ones natural athleticism.

  • The small group class allows each and every class to be tailor made to the specific needs and demands of the few exclusive members of that group. Versus the large group class where everything is either tailored for the few super athletes who are actively competing or the instruction follows a standardized curriculum designed for a large population without each individual taken into consideration.

  • Fewer injuries are prevalent in the small group class. Because the small, private, group class is exclusive those people who often train too hard, hurt others and are always trying to win at the expense of their training partners health are excluded. This alone dramatically decreases the chance of injury.
There is some Mythology concerning large group classes. Primarily that you need to train in a large Jiu-Jitsu program with lots of members so that you will be exposed to many different opponents who can challenge your game. This philosophy while it may seem logical is completely false.

First it is just as easy to challenge your game in a small private group as it is in a large class. If anything your game is better challenged in the small private group as you get more time on the mat, less waiting and less sitting around. If anything the larger classes seem to slow everyone down more than speed them up.

Second quantity does not equal quality. Most of the time majority of the members of the large classes suck while there is a hand full of members in the same large class that are really good. The few really good classes members always seem to have formed almost what I would call an elite inner circle. Everyone who sucks is training hard trying to be included with that elite inner group of guys that are really good.

Although you may be training in a class with 20 + people realistically only a handful of them will be any good for you to train with anyway. The vast majority of them will be a waste of your time. It is more beneficial to train consistently with four or five really good training partners who have been carefully selected than with 10 agro white belts and bunch of blue belts who are trying to break in to the elite circle of purple and brown belts found in the class.

Finally there are many ways you can still challenge your self against lots of different opponents should you feel the need to in a small, private, exclusive group class. You can get together with members of another group and train from time to time. You can go and visit another school for an open mat session or you can simply enter a competition and compete.

I began training in a small private group class with my Jiu-Jitsu coach Chris Haueter several years ago. Since I began training this way my skill level and also my overall enjoyment of Jiu-Jitsu as increased exponentially. It is so fun to be able to train with the 3-4 members of our group each and every week and help each other get better class after class.

Another huge advocate for small, private group classes is Rigan Machado BJJ Black Belt and Founder of the Crazy Monkey Defense Program Rodney King. In fact all of Rodney's gyms in South Africa only offer small, private, exclusive group classes.

Currently at our Martial Arts Life Studio in Carlsbad all of our classes are small, private, exclusive classes. If you are interested in learning martial arts this way and live in the San Diego area you can learn more about our program at