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September 19, 2004

Tools of the Trade
Produced by: Greenwhale Productions

Review by: Karlinhos

This is a fun, first venture DVD from Green Whale. It features interviews as well as techniques from notables such as Bao Quach (Team Oyama), Marco Nascimento (Pitbull Team), Mauricio "Tinguinha" Mariano and Gustavo "Guga" Machado (Gracie Barra Team), Joe Camacho (Aloisio Silva Dojo), and the ever lovely Ulysses "Useless" Gomez (Cobra Kai Jiu-Jitsu).

The video magazine DVD is hosted by Roslynn K of Third Floor Radio.

Right now Tools of the Trade is being sold for a mere $17, which by itself is a GREAT deal, ut now, for a short time, shipping is FREE! Take advantage, because who knows how long this deal will last!

September 17, 2004

Grapplebook, Vol. I
Produced by: Grapplechaun

Reviewed by: Karlinhos

I've been looking to sampling this DVD for quite sometime now, and when I finally got the opportunity I wasn't dissapointed. This DVD was produced and released by "Grapplechaun", a regular to many, many tournaments and the sibling of an individual that probably frequent's even MORE tournaments.

The DVD is very entertaining throughout, from watching Eddie Bravo get "dissed" to watching him succeed, numerous times... at applying the "Twister" to many unsuspecting victims.

There's also plenty of other comedic footage that's a nice mix with the all the fight footage.

Only one minor gripe... steady on the camera work Grapplechaun! Find a spot. Plant it... and shoot.

Playing Outside the Guard, Vol I & II
Review by: Karlinhos

I recently got a hold of Randy’s newest tape series, and decided to offer my thoughts... so here we go.

Playing Outside the Guard, Vol. I - approx. 35 mins.

The tape starts off with some solo warm up moves such as reviewing the different variations of the “snake move” and its fundamentals. Most of the moves on this tape are based on the “snake move”.

Randy then moves on to warming up with a partner. He reviews grip and rolling techniques and then moves onto spider guard warm-up suggestions.

The following techniques are covered on this tape set:

5 different sweeps from the “feet in” guard. (more grip tech review)

4 sweep variations/counters from half guard

9 sweep/sub variations/counters from open guard

Playing Outside the Guard, Vol. II – approx. 30 mins.

The positions covered on Vol. II are attacks/counters from open guard, with one foot half up (on hip) and standing (sweeps and attacks)

Randy quickly reviews the details of the spider guard and exercises to prepare one’s self for this technique.

Randy then reviews 2 basic sweeps from open guard to set up the instruction and lay a foundation for the rest of video.

The following techniques are covered on this tape set:

4 “sneaky” chokes from open/spider guard, against a resisting/posturing opponent.

5 sweeps from open/spider guard.

1 quick sub from spider guard.

1 “fancy” sweep to sub (armbar). When I say “fancy”, don’t think it’s one of those techniques that won’t work. I saw this exact technique recently work in a brown belt match!

7 sweeps/subs against a standing/posturing opponent.

1 sweep to kneebar against a standing opponent.

1 sweep to Achilles attack against a standing opponent.

3 countering/passing spider guard techniques being used against you, while you’re standing.

If you find you’re looking for some new sweep/attack ideas from the various guard positions, this tape is a great resource that just may fill those gaps in your game.

Randy is good at communicating the how’s and why’s of the techniques so that you fully understand and comprehend what he’s teaching you.

The people that will benefit most from this tape set are advanced white belts and higher. A basic understanding and foundation of the fundamentals of BJJ are necessary to get the most out of this tape set. This is not a beginner series.

Side note: As a bonus for all you 80’s music lovers, the music on this instructional series is written and performed by Duran-Duran guitarist, John Taylor.

Another side note: Seeing Randy’s various hair styles throughout this tape series is worth the price of admission alone.

December 11, 2003

Koral Hooded Jacket
Review by: Karlinhos

I recently got a hold of one of the new Koral gi-material, hooded jackets. I, for one, really dig the idea of making things out of gi material... duffle bags, backpacks, shorts… and now hooded jackets!

This jacket is made of gi material and canvas. The hood and certain sections of the body are canvas, but the majority is gi material.

The jacket is pretty warm, considering it’s not lined, but yet it’s not too hot in moderate temperature settings. It also has drawstrings on the sleeves, the waistline and the hood. That way, you can cinch it tight to keep the warmth in or the cold out at any specific location on the jacket.

The only design flaw I feel are the pockets. The openings are placed a little too far back. The opening is right next to the side vertical stitching. You get the urge to wanna keep pulling your hands towards the front of you.

While Koral could have produced something simple and basic, they opted to make an effort and do a nice job with this jacket. It’s very well made, with a lot of attention to detail. This jacket is durable, andI think will last a long time.

Keep in mind, if you order one, they run a little large. Unlike a lot of the clothes from Brazil that I’ve experienced, this jacket runs bigger, rather than smaller. I’m about 5’10, 190lbs., and usually wear an XL t-shirt and a Large in jackets. I picked up a Medium Koral jacket and it fits perfect, with a little room to spare in the sleeve length (I have long arms).

At the time of this review, they weren't yet up on the JiuJitsuProGear.com site, but they are available and I'm sure Gilberto will gladly take your order and send one out to you. You can also visit him at his store front at 4646 Manhattan Beach Blvd, Lawndale, CA 90260 or e-mail him at staff@jiujitsuprogear.com.

October 21, 2003

The Marc Laimon Seminar

By Todd “AZChokester” Gerrish

On Saturday, October 18, 2003, world class Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt, Marc Laimon, conducted a seminar at the Laurita Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Academy in Phoenix, Arizona. I anxiously anticipated this seminar because I have seen Marc compete against some of the best, and he looked very impressive. Also, Marc’s students always seem to be well prepared and ready to compete at all tournaments.

Marc began the seminar by getting right down to business. He began
by teaching some interesting open guard techniques. I was amazed at Marc’s innate ability to communicate the small details of the different positions, which make the difference between success and failure. Marc then covered various sweeps, and the nuances of each, which allow you to complete the technique successfully on bigger, stronger opponents.

Next, Marc moved onto submissions. He showed different variations of the triangle. What amazed me the most was his complete understanding of the techniques. He explained that the ability to time an attack is crucial in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Marc then demonstrated the set ups for the clock choke from various transitions/positions.

Marc was very attentive and responsive throughout the seminar, answering all questions posed to him. Along with verbally answering the questions, he would also demonstrate what he was explaining.

As the seminar wound down, Marc opened it up to questions and continued to go over the various positions that the students requested.

All in attendance were thoroughly impressed with the level of Marc’s Jiu-Jitsu. I have attended some great seminars in the past, and some not so great. Marc’s seminar was one of the best I’ve been to. All of the techniques were taught in a sequential manner, or in a progression that would likely occur during a match. Marc shared his philosophy of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, which is to ATTACK! Marc possesses the mental attitude of a hungry shark when he does his Jiu-Jitsu.

If you have the opportunity to attend a Marc Laimon seminar, GO! If your school can sponsor Marc for a seminar, I would strongly recommend it.

Marc Laimon is truly one of the most technically gifted grapplers in the world today.

October 19, 2003

RANDY BLOOM’S Basic to Intermediate Escapes, Vol. I & II
Review by: Karlinhos

First off, these DVD’s are of superb and exceptional production clarity and quality… excellent lighting, sound, etc. Now, on to the summary/review.

Volume I

Basic Choke Escapes/Blocks

First Randy goes over the proper posture and positioning to avoid chokes from within someone’s guard. He then reviews some techniques to release your opponent’s grips when he’s trying to apply a lapel choke.

Randy then transitions to showing three (3) different blocks for collar chokes while in your opponent’s guard and one (1) technique blocking the cross choke after it’s locked in.

Armbar Escapes

Randy shows a bridge/roll escape, and the basic pushing the leg over your head and crawling up technique.

Randy then demo’s how to drill these two (2) escape techniques, showing how to gradually increase the pace and intensity with every series.

He then goes over an escape with the basic, straight armbar already caught, with the climb, stack and pull arm out technique. He then reviews that same variation, again, with the straight armbar being caught, climbing, stacking and then choking your opponent, and then pulling your arm out.

Triangle Escapes/Defenses

During this series, Randy reviews one basic, but effective way to block the triangle attempt and the proper positioning to avoid a triangle.

Randy then goes over how to escape a triangle that’s already been locked in, while transitioning to side control.

Guillotine Escape

Randy reviews one escape from a caught guillotine on the ground, in the closed guard. He demonstrates the push arm down over head and posture up technique. Again, a simple, but effective technique if your timing and execution is right.

Oma Plata Escapes and Defenses

The basic rolling escape is demonstrated first, then Randy shows how to block your opponent from moving forward, applying the pressure and cranking your shoulder.

Randy then proceeds to demonstrate a technique that follows the oma plata block, into a sweep out of the submission.


Volume II

Back Escape – From a Sitting Position

Randy reviews being caught from behind by opponents with long legs and short legs.

Long legged opponent – Defense from an attack from behind with hooks. Remove one hook, snake to side and turn to side control.

Short legged opponent – Here, Randy shows two (2) techniques. The first is a leg-pinning technique, the second is a toe-grabbing technique. Randy then demonstrates a submission technique after the escape (bonus).

Randy then gets into the submission mood and quickly demonstrates a couple of quick choke/armbar combo submissions. (more bonus stuff)

After collecting himself, he then goes back to teaching escapes. He demonstrates a technique where you control the arm, roll to side, remove both hooks (one at a time), then climb up controlled arm to side control.

Turtle/All Fours

Randy covers a variety of positions your opponent may have on you.

Opponent has NO hooks – Roll the opponent (before he gets a hook in). Controlling your opponent’s arm, and rolling by oompa’ing the person off of your back, then controlling the position.

Opponent has ONE hook in – Arm control, rolling escape.

Opponent has TWO hooks in - remove one hook, oompa/roll into a control position.

Side Control

From the standard chest to chest side control position, Randy shows how to set up the oompa and snake move to guard replacing technique.

From there Randy shows how to neutralize an opponent who wants to go from side control to mount. Randy shows how to time the move and snake to the side, trap the base leg, push the opponent over, towards his own momentum. Continue to sweep and take the back.


Randy shows a few basic escapes from this position. First he demonstrates the roll backwards and over technique. Making sure to tuck your knee in and taking the back.

The next option Randy shows is controlling your opponent, legs straight up, swing them to one side, then the other, rolling your opponent over.

The next position is when your opponent is mounted high up on you. The bridge and push off technique is taught for escaping this position.


Randy uses a slightly different approach to this series. He shows the techniques, on his partner, then reviews them again using his two students while being in the instructor position. With this approach, you get to see them being taught/shown from a slightly different perspective than normal. This approach offers yet another way to learn the techniques, and for some it may be better.

Most of the techniques shown in this series are admittedly (by Randy) white and blue belt level techniques, inching up on purple belt level. Don’t be discouraged by that disclaimer. There just may be a few techniques you’ve never seen before or maybe completely forgot. The techniques are simple and basic, but effective.

To sum up, if you’re looking to brush up on your basics or learn some good, solid, foundation-building escape techniques, this latest series from Randy is a great supplement. They are shown in an easy to understand approach.

Good luck and good training!

The Chris Brennan Seminar
The Chris Brennan Seminar

I was fortunate enough to be able to observe Chris’s seminar recently, held the weekend before this past Christmas. The reason I say fortunate is, it helped to reinforce the notion that we cannot rely on BJJ alone, out in the streets. Sure, I’ve sparred with some guys on the mat where we added some punches as we tried to emulate what we’ve seen in the UFC or Pride. We’ve even used the techniques that we’ve seen on the Mario Sperry, Marco Ruas or other instructional tape series’. The problem is, there are many other aspects of the NHB game, that unless you’re an NHB competitor, you’re totally unaware of.

 Before I started BJJ, I thought there were maybe thirty moves that you mastered to be competitive and that was it. Well, surprise Esco, there are over thirty moves for setting up an armbar in BJJ alone. Continually more and more techniques are being developed for BJJ. Today’s NHB game is no different. No longer are the Royce’s of the world just pulling their opponents to the ground and submitting them. Many strikers are becoming anti-takedown artist and of course, are studying the grappling game themselves. Conversely, grapplers are learning how to strike while on the ground and on their feet. Chris’s style of BJJ is an ever-changing self-evolving art. Did I say BJJ? Well, whatever it is. There are a minimal amount of schools out there that teach NHB, but the numbers seem to be growing. Currently, they don’t come close to matching the number of BJJ schools out there, yet I feel this will soon change because of the ever-increasing demand for self defense type instruction.

The martial art most looked upon for self defense purposes is arguably BJJ, which may be losing some ground to NHB-type training in the near future. I would suggest that maybe BJJ schools incorporate some type of NHB training in their curriculum, since a number of people train in BJJ primarily for self defense purposes. At “Next Generation Brazilian Jiu Jitsu”, Chris Brennan’s school, the students learn from Chris, Jeremy Williams (a Brennan prodigy), each other and by watching fights. Warning, if you’re going to be getting in street fights and you don’t know any defense from strikes on the ground, you’d better stop by Chris’ academy and pick up a few pointers. Here’s my take on Chris’ seminar.

Seminar cost: $60
Hours: 12:00 to 4:00

Chris begins the seminar with a little chat with his participants, telling them what he’s going to show them during the seminar. He then passes out the seminar agenda. The agenda, I think, is a useful tool, especially if you’re not taking notes. It will help you to remember what you learned during the seminar and it even helps to prompt you to take notes. Since I personally can’t remember more than 4 moves at a time, this agenda would be very helpful to myself. The biggest and most important tool is the option of video taping the seminar, which Chris allows you to do. This will be a big help with remembering what you learned and with precise detail. It can act as a personal instructional video from Chris.

Chris now begins with the instruction. The first group of techniques deals with the stand-up game of NHB and/or grappling:

Cutting off the ring – how to keep your opponent within range, not allowing him to get by you so that you can close the distance for the clinch.

 Circling away from your opponent’s power – how to stay within range for attacks while still staying away from his strong hand.

Closing the distance – (self explanatory)

Setting up the shot while you are striking – preparing to go for a takedown while after throwing or faking a strike.

Clinch takedowns – whizzer, whizzer counters & body lock-trip.

Now we hit the mat.

Passing the guard while striking – hand on biceps, knee in the middle; punch till legs open, pass both arms under, head up, good posture; can opener, sit, reach back, stack, pass; striking within the guard; getting your arms free when your opponent is holding on.

Half guard striking techniques – Knee on the bicep when they defend, elbows;
shoulder to face.

Escapes from the mount when someone is striking - Hold the body until you feel it is safe and then bump to elbow escape; escape out the back to the leg lock; escape with knee in the middle to heel hook.

Defense to striking while on your back in guard - Knees in and controlling the wrists and arms; controlling the head and keeping them tied up.

Escapes and sweeps from the bottom – ½ guard escape with hand inside to sweep; ½ guard keeping your head safe at all times; sit up, sweep out the back, to the back; arm drag to the back; scissors sweep to avoid heel hook.

Submissions from the bottom – Arm lock from the switch; 3 triangle set ups; guillotine when opponent tries to pass with both under; shoulder lock when they have both arms under.

Chris Brennan

After watching Chris display his moves, it became apparent that Chris’ experience in NHB fights has taught him how to become both an effective striker as well as a submission expert. Of course his lessons with Marco Ruas, the Gracies and others, has definitely paid off too. Chris is both very knowledgeable with takedowns and is a magician, who makes it appear as though he has an extensive wrestling background. His takedowns are very fluid, as if he were a wrestler. However, he’s never formally studied wrestling.

Chris’ guard passing techniques are a reflection of his MMA foundation…BJJ. But his techniques not only apply to NHB, but gi and no-gi fighting alike. I would have to say that at least 50 percent of the techniques shown, could be applied to both the gi and no-gi game.

Chris was attentive and well versed. He answered all the questions with clear and descriptive explanations. His sidekick, Jeremy Williams, assisted him during the techniques and also corrected and answered questions while the participants would drill the techniques. Jeremy also seemed to know the grappling game as well as his chief instructor. From what I understand, he is “Mini-Chris”.

Chris ended the seminar by thanking everyone for participating, answering questions and letting the participants roll. A couple of people ended up rolling with Jeremy Williams, who with a freshly administered tattoo, didn’t back down from a good roll.

Well that’s my take on the Chris Brennan seminar. Well worth the price of admission and lasted well past the scheduled four hours. I suggest all BJJ guys take an NHB seminar to supplement their self defense game, even if it’s not with Chris. With that being said, next time Chris gives a seminar and you’re in SoCal, be there or face the consequences in the streets.


Leka vs. Gazzy video clip

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