Sunday, October 7, 2012

Another Blue Belt for PJ Jits!

Long time member of PJ Jiujitsu Club Mr William Ong was promoted to blue belt on 6/10/2012.

Despite moving to Kuantan to work, William still kept up his training, doing Judo in Kuantan, and training with the PJ Jiujitsu Club on Saturdays. His dedication finally paid off with his belt promotion. Well done, bro!

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Class Training and Blue Belt Promotion

Congratulations to long time PJ Jiujitsu Club member Leonard who was promoted on 6/9/12  to blue belt after 2+ years of diligent training.

Keep up the hard work!

Leonard with Coach Mandeng

Coaches Mandeng and Janson together with team members

Some photos of the class in session below:

Let's keep on rolling!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

How to Improve the Most Efficiently in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Something I came to realize was that being a good instructor is something that a lot of people who own schools are not doing. Regardless of how skilled they are, or their accomplishments, teaching is a whole different ballgame.

Teaching random techniques daily, and then telling the students to wing it is NOT good instruction. The people who succeed under this type of instruction have done so in spite of the instruction. They may or may not understand how to continually improve efficiently by themselves.

The most important thing to understand in my opinion, is having context to the material being taught. Simply put, there is a curriculum that I've come to understand that provides the most efficient learning for students. I didn't arbitrarily pick the order btw, it is strictly from analyzing my own progress and struggles from day one, as well as comparing the students who advanced quicker to those who didn't, side by side.

It starts with the worst case scenario (which is also 90%+ of the reason why new people lose) to progressively learning the next logical part of the game.

1) Escapes (from every single damn position). 

The goal here is to cover how to get to the half guard from every position. Why half guard? Because in terms of worst case scenario, half guard is the next best thing, one notch above being in the positions where your guard is passed. The vast majority of white belts lose their matches NOT because they don't know the latest submission or rubber guard, but because they absolutely suck at escaping. Preventing guard passes also falls under this category. I feel that every single white belt who just starts out should focus a tremendous amount (an absolute metric shit ton) of time simply on escapes and not getting your half guard passed.
2) Sweeps
Once the escapes are mastered, typically the next thing is to learn to get on top of the opponent. Sweeps starting from half guard, then open guard/butterfly/different variants and finally full guard should be learned. It is at this stage that most people receive their blue belts. Because escaping is no longer a big problem, the focus should shift to the sweeps. There should be no bullshit about working on the latest submission, or practicing the newest guard pass quite yet. Yes it is good to learn something from every position, however 90% of the focus in training should be devoted to becoming a THREAT from different forms of guard.
3) Guard passing/Takedowns
Once the sweeping is solid, against most people of the same rank, getting on top should not be a problem anymore. The sweeps should be so good, that you are threatening nearly everyone you roll with to some degree. At this point, technical guard passing should be developed. It is very likely that in a tournament (assuming the person has reached this point), the most likely cause of a loss is not being able to score a takedown, or not being able to pass the guard. And yes, good guard passing implies that you also are working on NOT getting swept. Having the right pressure from the top is a fine art, and developing this along with takedowns will increase the amount of matches won far more than learning anything else at this point.
4) Maintaining the good position/transitions
This is also a point that is sort of neglected in training. The highest level competitors have the best/quickest transitions between one good position to another. So to succeed in a tournament, you want to try to emulate that. i.e. taking the person's back quicker than they can turtle as they defend a guard pass. Typically as the opponents get better and better in tournaments, quick transitions and solid ability to maintain good positions will make or break the matches.
5) Submissions
Finally, submissions.  Not that the person shouldn't invest ANY time until now on submissions, but the focus should be somewhat basic until here. Submissions from EVERY position should be practiced. Assuming all of the above have been mastered, having excellent subs from everywhere will complete the game plan, and I am pretty sure from my experience that once this is achieved, the black belt level has also been achieved. The ability to finish matches and really punish the opponent for making a mistake, or not being able to impose his own game really separates the elite black belt competitor from the not as skilled competitors.
So, this isn't the end-all be all way obviously, but at least from my point of view this has been more or less the most accurate picture of the fastest way to improve in bjj.
Finally, one more point I would like to mention is
Big guy game vs little guy game
Being a somewhat little guy myself, there have been plenty of times where I lost to someone bigger who had far less mat time than me. Yes it was frustrating, but over the last 6+ years, I learned a REALLY valuable lesson, which is that: there are two different types of game plans that everyone should learn.
Yes. One for the people who are bigger than you, and one for the people who are the same size or smaller.
The absolute PERFECT example of someone who plays the way he should against a bigger opponent is Marcelo Garcia.
The main point in this game plan for bigger people, is that when you are on bottom, you strictly limit the moves you do to the ones that do not let the bigger guy put any weight directly on top of you. This means, no normal half guard, no deep underhook, no flat on the back. There MUST be something framing the top guy (your forearm on his neck, your foot on his hip, your butterfly hook, ANYTHING) but the weight must be off. The attacks have to come very aggressively via arm drag, single leg, head lock/snap down, taking the back, leg lock, or standing back up.  
Big guys who are equally as skilled as you, will most likely beat you. So the point is to be so skilled at this game, that being matched in skill is not possible.
Now against people your own weight, the above game plan plus all of the rest of the moves can be used with no consequence. The worst thing is when I see someone trying to use the same game plan against everybody, and it includes the big guy putting weight right on top of the little guy. This indicates a severe lack of experience.
If you want to read more thoughts/insight regarding Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, check out

Thursday, April 19, 2012

How to be a great mediocre BJJ student

Can you progress in Brazilian Jiu-JItsu if you cannot train that often? This is a nice article written by SBGi BJJ black belt Cane Prevost, specially for the part time or recreational BJJ player, which answers the question quite well. 

Some of the important points he emphasized in the article are:

1. Be consistent. Training 2 times a week every week is going to pay off more than training very intensely for short periods followed by stretches of time off. Of course I have no scientific data to back this up but I’ve seen it play out over and over again at the gym. Enough to confidently make this claim.

2. Focus on fundamentals. At it’s core fundamentals can be broken down into Posture, Pressure, and Possibilities. Building a library of techniques is not a great or efficient way to get good. You only have so much room on your bookshelf. At a certain point the shelf will be filled and you’ll have to throw some out to make room for new ones. In my personal experience I’ve rarely seen anyone who is good at more than about 5 submissions at one time. They may know way more than that but their A game is mostly limited to the top 5. Adding 50 more moves won’t help your game much.

3. Focus on Posture most of all.I tell students that the posture should do about 80% of the work for you. You should always be asking yourself “Am I in posture?” If the answer is no then you know what you have to do. If posture does 80% of the work then you should be spending most of your time either working to get posture, improving the posture you have, or fighting to keep it. If you are doing this then BJJ will be way easier.Focusing on posture means getting the best possible posture you can get WHILE putting the other person in the worst possible posture you can. If you create this posture imbalance then you don’t have to be good at BJJ in order to beat the other guy. Remember, the posture does 80% of the work.

4. Don’t roll above 70%. I you go all out all the time then you will be building a game that requires that you go all out all the time. That’s hard to do if you aren’t young and in super shape. Instead try building a posture based game that REQUIRES that you move slower and concentrate on simply building good posture along the way. A good goal is to build efficient postures that use leverage and structure instead of muscle strength. To use efficient motion that requires less intensity of movement. And to use fewer movements in your overall game. My goal is to win by moving less and less until eventually you won’t even notice that I’m moving at all.  

5. Focus on breathing. If you can’t devote lots of extra time to conditioning exercises you need to be very mindful of your breathing. Stop and check during a roll. Are you breathing heavier than the other guy? If the answer is yes then you need to slow down and focus on posture. Catch your breath before you exert too much energy. Breathing heavy is a sure sign that you are not attending to posture effectively.

6. Simplify the game. Can I use the same posture in mount bottom that I use in cross sides bottom? How many ways can I use this triangle submission? Finding multiple uses for things that you already do well is a great way to improve your game without having to put a tremendous amount of extra time in. As you learn new things try to relate them to things you already know and look for commonalities wherever you can.

7. Don’t keep score. The worst thing you can do for your game is to keep track of who you tapped and who tapped you. It’s counter productive and probably the worst way to measure progress. If you focus on the tap you miss most of the joy of BJJ. You won’t notice the beautiful guard pass, the gorgeous butterfly sweep, the perfectly timed escape… All the things that happen in a roll that show mastery of the game. A gym where nobody keeps score is a healthy gym. If you are in a gym where there are a lot of side conversations about who tapped who you’ll find the atmosphere unhealthy. A tap should only be treated as an event that happens in grappling that tells you when to stop. Nothing more. There are many better ways to measure progress.

8. Enjoy the journey. In only every case those who enjoy it more are better at it. Train in a way that is healthy, smart, and most of all fun. Will power will get you a year of training at best. If you aren’t having a blast on the mat you won’t stick around or train in a way that will allow you to make much progress. This is perhaps the most important rule. It’s certainly not about “dedication” or “work ethic” as some will describe. Look around you. What looks like dedication is actually someone following their bliss. They are doing it because it’s the most enjoyable and rewarding thing they can think of to do. This is only always the case.

Read the rest of the article below:


Monday, March 12, 2012

World Pro Jiu Jitsu Championship Trials 2012, Malaysia

The past weekend marked the first time a major BJJ competition was held in Malaysia. The World Pro Jiu Jitsu Championship Trials 2012 was held at the Publika Shopping Gallery in Mont Kiara on 10th March 2012.

Players from many different countries including Thailand, Singapore, Brunei, Philippines, UK, USA, and many more from ranks of white to purple belt came to compete.

PJ Jiujitsu Club were represented by two of our guys, Aizat and Yawei. This was the first time they have competed in a BJJ competition. Both guys had tough matches, but fought hard and valiantly.

With Aizat and Yawei
Yawei, who has trained with us at PJ Jiujitsu Club for less than 8 months, competed at the white belt under 92 division, did well to submit his first round opponent (from Checkmat) with an ezekial choke in under 3 minutes. He then faced another competitor (Checkmat Penang) in the quarterfinals and lost narrowly by points 7-4 in the final minute of the match (note: due to a glaring error by the ref, Yawei was not awarded 3 points for a guard pass early on. Otherwise the match would have been tied at 7-7).

Yawei on his way to a submission win
Aizat competed in the under 65kg blue belt division, which saw many skilful and experienced players in the bracket. Aizat faced a guy from Evolve Singapore in the first round, and the match was about even in the first few minutes. However as the match wore on, the much more physically conditioned player from Singapore won by points.

Aizat surviving a furious onslaught 
Overall we are quite proud of the performances from both our members. With more training and now having the experience of competing here, they will certainly fare better in the next competition.

Conclusion from observing the matches and also coaching our club members: To do well in these kind of competitions, one has to have a sound grasp of fundamental techniques, and physical conditioning has to be top notch. These, I believe, are the keys to success.

With team member Roy and ATT Black Belt and competition referee (and ONE FC fighter) Adam  Kayoom
With BJJ Malaysia's purple belt Rizan and black belt coach Sam Wee

Blue belt under 83kg finals

Purple belts in action

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Why Train Jiu-Jitsu?

These days we all know how a healthy diet and exercise are beneficial to our overall health. That’s why you see more and more gyms and fitness clubs popping up all over Malaysia. 

This is all well and good – you go to the gym, pump some iron, ride a bike, jog/walk on the treadmill etc. The problem is – these types of workouts get boring pretty fast. And if you find it boring, chances are high that you will not continue with it.

So what’s the solution? You need a workout program that will provide you all the benefits but without the boredom.

This is where a combat sport like Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) comes in. Training BJJ will surely give you a host of physical benefits, and some mental benefits too.

 Below are some very good reasons BJJ should be part of your workout program:

1: BJJ is an art of self-defense:

The art of BJJ teaches one to use leverage to defeat or subdue an opponent. This means a much smaller guy can turn the tables on a bigger/stronger person by using technique, rather than pure muscle.

The ability to protect yourself from physical harm is a great benefit to everyone, and BJJ will definitely help to get you there.

Royce Gracie using BJJ against a much bigger Akebono

 2: It’s an easy sport to learn

It’s very easy to learn the basic movements in BJJ. All you need is consistency and dedication. Here at our club in Petaling Jaya, students range from those who are young (aged 17) to older ones (students who start learning at age 60 are not uncommon). So you don’t have to be endowed with athletic prowess to do well in in BJJ.

3 :  BJJ will raise your self-esteem:

Those who train BJJ will no doubt get fitter and stronger. You will also lose weight.

After training a while, you will be walking around feeling more confident and great, and look good at the same time. Whether you have suffered from some bad incident in the past or are simply looking for something that will help lift your spirits, BJJ can greatly strengthen you not only physically, but mentally.

A fit looking Andre Galvao, BJJ champion
  4: Training BJJ will improve your athletic ability

Fitness, cardio, strength, reflexes, endurance, flexibility are all by-products of BJJ training. Can you get all these from jogging? Duh…

5: BJJ is a fun activity:

There is nothing more fun than learning all the moves in BJJ and then applying them in a rolling session (sparring).

Unlike boxing, muay thai and other striking combat arts, you won’t get kicked or punched in BJJ sparring. So there is an additional safety factor there. So since the environment is relatively safe (for a combat art), students can pretty much roll without much risk of injury.

Having a fun workout like BJJ is important because nobody wants to continue a dull, dreary, and monotonous form of exercise.

A typical rolling session

6: BJJ Relieves Stress:

Combat sports like BJJ is a great way to release the stress of daily life, you get so absorbed in the training that all the problems seem a million miles away.  What better way to choke or armbar your boss, partner, in-laws etc (in your mind) and get fit yourself! 

So what’s the verdict?

If you want to be fitter, build some lean functional muscle tone, lose fat, learn how to defend yourself, become faster, stronger, and more flexible, and just all around feeling better about yourself doing something that is a super- fun, then come join us here at PJ Jiujitsu Club for some great BJJ training!

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