Happy Veterans Day (observed). Today we had the pleasure of running our first open mat in support of veterans affairs, specifically suicide prevention, depression, and homelessness. About halfway through the event I found myself thinking about one of the beautiful things about this country, our support to our war fighters. We are free to disagree (and often do) about anything we want, health care, immigration, tax codes, Gi, No-Gi, ignoring 50% of the human body, but interestingly, we all agree on our support and commitment to our active duty service members and to our veterans.

In this keyboard warrior era where people feel like pressing “like” on a FB post equates to a meaningful contribution, today proved that there are still causes that motivate people to back up their words with deeds. Today’s effort collected a considerable amount of items, toiletries, coats and jackets that will go to MCVETS in Baltimore and help our veterans get back on their feet. For that I am thankful and truly appreciative of the Jiu Jitsu community. I also want to thank the people who do not train or could not attend but still sent in a donation. Your support will make a difference and it did not go unnoticed.

If stats are your thing, there was anywhere from 35-40 people on the mats, white belt to black belt with representation from at least 5 different academies from the D.C., Maryland, and Virginia area. A special thank you goes out to Ground Control, Columbia for donating the gym space, and to Wegmans for providing the snacks and beverages. We also appreciate the attendance by two of Trapp BJJ’s Black Belts who came out to train and roll with the group.

My only regret from the event is that I did not have the opportunity to roll with everyone. I guess thats a good problem to have as opposed to only having a few people show up and repeatedly rolling with them mutiple times. I set a priority and made an extra effort to  roll with those who visited from out of state / other academies and I’m already catching heat for “ducking”certain people. If we didn’t get to roll today I’ll see you next time on the mats.

Thanks again for the support and until next time, Keep Grinding

Only 3 days after Halloween and the commercial industry is already cramming Thanksgiving and Christmas down our throats. Decorations, coffee flavors, movies, and music all glorifying “the most wonderful time of the year.”

Whether or not this cold, grey season is the best is debatable but I do think there is no argument that it is the most charitable time and I CAN get down with the that. Whether through guilt or the threat of being on Santa’s naughty list people seem to be more willing to donate during this 2 month window.

I say all of that to remind everyone that this weekend is Veterans Day, November 11, and there is still time to plan to attend one of the multiple events lined up to support and honor our Veterans. These events are perfectly lined up for you to have time to go out and take advantage of the freebie veteran deals while taking a moment of your time to remember those suffering from homelessness, mental illness, depression, suicide.

Ruck and Roll 22 will be held at Mongrel Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in Chesterfield, Va. From 2:00 pm on Nov 10 to 12:00 noon on Sunday Nov 11. Whatever your pleasure, they have options. Pick your poison from 22 hours of open mat time, a 22 mile ruck from Northside to Midlothian, or CrossFit style WODs dedicated to fallen first responders and service men and women who died in the line of duty. Shoot, if you’re squirrelly and feeling extra motivated you can hit a WOD, take a short break, and then still hit the mats. This event is free and open to everybody, of course donations are welcome but not required. All donations will go to VAU – Veterans and Athletes United – dedicated to honoring the service and sacrifice of Veterans of the War on Terrorism. The event will close out with a cookout. If you can’t make it the event you can also donate via the Ruck and Roll 22 Facebook page and help them reach their monetary goal.

Monday, 12 November there will be a Veterans Day Open Mat at Ground Control in Columbia, Md from 11:00 – 1:00. This event is also open to all regardless of academy or affiliation. Veterans and active duty are admitted “for free” while non-military / non-veterans are asked to bring a donation of toiletries or clothing/ coats. Of course all donations are welcome. There will be drinks and snacks and lots of rolling. This is not a competition atmosphere, we will definitely “keep it playful.” All donations from this event will go to The Maryland Center for Veterans Education and Training and their effort to treat veterans with homelessness and substance abuse.

If you cannot make either one of these events, please, at a minimum spread the word. For those in need “the most wonderful time of the year” is often the most difficult time to deal with depression and suicidal thoughts.

Hope to see you on the mats.

Veterans Day 2018-3

We’re happy to announce our first open mat event in honor of our nation’s veterans and active duty personnel. The event is free and open to all veterans and active duty personnel, regardless of affiliation or skill level. Non-military / Non-veterans are asked to bring a donation of toiletries, new/used coats, or to bring a veteran along to hang out with fellow veterans, shoot the shit, and tell war stories (more than likely greatly exaggerated).

All donations will go to Maryland Center for Veterans Education and Training (MCVETS) of Baltimore MCVET.Org.  Through education and training MCVET provides homeless veterans and other veterans in need comprehensive services that enable them to rejoin their communities as productive citizens. As their motto states, “It takes an entire community to help a veteran heal.”

Mark your calendar and spread the word.

Monday, 12 November (Veterans Day observed) from 11:00 – 1:00 @ Ground Control Columbia, 9130 Red Branch Road Suite S, Columbia Md 21045.

Free beverages and snacks to be donated by Wegmans.

If nothing else (besides donating your time to a great cause) what better way to work up an appetite before eating all of those free Veterans Day meals?

 

This week I had the pleasure of sitting down with GFT black belt Gutemberg Pereira prior to his two seminars in Maryland. Gutemberg has quickly made a name for himself in the black belt super pesado division after capturing IBJJF World Titles at both purple and brown belt. We discussed his recent addition to the Trapp BJJ instructor camp and the pros and cons of utilizing online training videos to develop ones BJJ skills. I also pressed him on some additional interesting topics that you’ll just have to listen to the podcast to hear.

Saturday and Sunday Gutemberg and Trapp hosted seminars in Glen Burnie (Noel Smith BJJ) and Ground Control (Columbia) Maryland. I managed to attend the second session at Ground Control where we covered some of Gutemberg’s passing principles and techniques. I can honestly say that the term pressure passing is not just being thrown around lightly, the pressure is real, real painful. Some really good tips that I plan to drill and implement in order to bring my pressure passing up a notch.

The audio version of the podcast is below and is also available on SoundCloud, Podbean, Stitcher, and iTunes. The video version can be found on our YouTube page.

Hope you enjoy the interview. Until next time. Keep Grinding.

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I know I’m a day late but gotta get my mat crush Monday post out to the public. Nope, this is not a male – female post or reference to any physical attraction. This post goes out to all of those grapplers who feel their heart start to race when their favorite training partner walks through the door. That guy or gal that consistently pushes you, challenges you, or gives you that roll that makes you go straight to YouTube to figure out how to beat that f*cker. We all have one, some of us are more polygamous but either way it’s pretty much a blah training session if that special someone or few people doesn’t show up to train.

While my mat crush is more along the lines of a “nemesis,” that doesn’t necessarily have to be the case for everyone. I enjoy being pushed and I prefer to leave the gym trying to figure out what’s not working and what to focus on next but that’s just me. Some people approach their training as a bit of a social event so their “relationship” is more casual. They drill with their crush, probably own one or two of the same gi’s, spats, or rashguards as their crush, and you’re definitely not rolling with their crush before they do. Just think back on if you’ve ever noticed giggling or laughter during live sparring and thought, “What the hell are they doing?” Or maybe you actually saw it happen and someone was just swepted or submitted with a technique they probably saw coming from a mile away or have been hit with millions of times. That’s the tell tale sign of a mat crush or a budding mat crush. No ego, no animosity about it, just “you got me again man, damn, good shit ha ha” and back to rolling. They just chill out and have the most fun rolls possible, technique may slip at times but who cares. You may witness a bunch of cartwheel passes, berimbolos, or flying submissions those are definitely telltale signs of two people in a “relationship”.

No matter what and all judgment aside, we all need this type of teammate. They push you when required, provide assistance when we hit plateaus, and add humor to something we all take pretty seriously. If you know what I’m talking about then the next time you train thank your mat crush. No, I don’t mean verbally, I mean a solid fist bump before sparring, choke the sh*t out of them, laugh, and then get back to rolling.

That’s what they’d want you to do anyway. Anything more than that or different would just be awkward.

*This is not my man crush btw. I happen to like the pic. Justin is a cool dude tho. LOL

#keepgrinding

One of the most highly debated items in the Jiu Jitsu community relates to its purpose or why people commit to training. The argument has divided most people into the self defense or competition/sport camp. Of course there are people who enjoy both aspects, but in the end even they prefer one over the other. Today, it dawned on me that most people are overlooking one aspect which I would argue could be the most important, community. The recent success of events such as Cosmic Rolling, the Martial Arts Sparring Club of Md, and now Grapple in The Park 1 and 2 are a clear sign that people are interested in more than paying for comps or drilling self defense scenarios. They enjoy the sense of community and the people who come together to train Jiu Jitsu.

Some quick atmospherics from Grapple in the Park 2 to support this theory – At least 60 attendees and that’s a swag because people arrived and left as needed. Over 11 academies represented from D.C., Maryland, and Virginia, some from over an hour away, again a swag based only on people I personally rolled with. Representation from every belt level actively participating, instructing and rolling not just “gracing folks with their presence”. Men, women, teens, and below. No incidences of “ego overload” on the mats and no injuries. Add in free drinks and free wings and what more could you ask for?

After a few unsuccessful attempts I finally grabbed Zach Davis and asked him a few questions about Grapple in The Park. Zach has been extremely busy running the event and answering questions from the local news reporters all in between rolling and answering technique questions from attendees. I wanted to know where he came up with the idea for Grapple in The Park and where he saw it going in the future.

First, why a park and why not a gym? The key here is the independent nature of a public park. The park is a community space designed for recreation in nature. By utilizing a non affiliated space it opens the event up to everyone and does not indicate any bias or affiliation with a particular gym. This turns out to be a great idea considering the unfortunate partiality that still exists in the Jiu Jitsu competition based community.

The “Why” of Grapple in The Park is pretty straightforward. To create a place for people who may never compete / have no desire to compete to roll, meet, and learn from different people in a fun, safe environment. Of course, there are active competitors there as well, but they are also just trying to relax and have a good time.

As most people know, Jiu Jitsu can be pretty insular, especially at the strict competition schools, and it’s interesting to note the number of people who have only trained at their home academy or one of it affiliates. I personally think this is quite unfortunate. I understand a professional basketball player wouldn’t just go play pick up at the city park so I get it for the elite grapplers or the people who only train with focus on their next event. I just don’t understand why someone would not want to experience everything Jiu Jitsu has to offer on and off the mats. Some of these people are more comfortable being big fishes in small ponds or are simply attempting to hide their lack of skill behind their schools name / reputation, because every IG post shows “the best class with straight killers”. Either way they are missing out on a great opportunity to make new friends and enjoy a great time.

So what does it all mean? I guess I have no idea. All I know is that events such as these are great for building the Jiu Jitsu community and building relationships. I know I will fully support them as often as I can and I recommend you check them out. I think Zach may have mentioned the next event will be around January and held indoors. Don’t worry about being cold and don’t worry about snow they have those covered. Pack your gear and come on out. You’ll have a great time and meet some great people.

Until next time, Keep Grinding.

Expedition series #2 took me to 2nd Gear Jiu-Jitsu in Laurel Maryland for Ken Brown’s Sunday open mat. Some people may look at the schedule and notice that it states “advanced practice” and not open mat BUT the very thing that makes it look weird on the schedule is exactly what makes this open mat so special. I know, I know, this really isn’t an “expedition” for me because I go here kind of often but seeing as its not my everyday academy and it is a weekend “open mat”, I wanted to show the love during the expedition series.

So back to the open mat thing, so while it’s not an “open mat” in name it is an “open mat” in the sense that its free and that there are people from multiple academies. What makes it different is that the practice is directed / guided to include drills and scenarios that honestly, most people don’t spend enough time doing. The actual techniques applied are left up to the individual but the drills are provided, maybe something like take down for take down or sweep for sweep, for example. So its kind of a directed open mat for people who need a little direction or who don’t want to feel awkward asking a stranger to drill for 5 minutes when most people at an open mat just want to conduct sparring rounds. Of course there is rolling at the end as well but thats really the sort of cherry of top.

I love this setup, in fact its one of my favorite practices to attend. This practice provides a great opportunity to rep out the new techniques you may have learned that week or to really get quality reps on things you like. I’ve been to open mats where maybe you only know one or two folks, you roll once or twice then get stuck sitting on the wall trying to get someone to roll with you.I have witnessed this being the case with the white belt nobody wants to risk being by or the advance purple / brown belt that people are afraid to roll with. Its strange that everyone wants to roll with blue belts and of course black belts??????

So yeah, week #2 down,  2nd Gear Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Laurel Md, Sundays 10:00-12:00. Its two hours of legit work with good people.

Next stop is Grapple in the Park #2 Frederick, Maryland. Heard they have free wings, so I’m there! Hope you see you there too. If not, more wings for me suckas.

Side note- If you know of any academies in the Virginia area close to Fort Belvoir please hit me up. I’m trying to scout some locales for the military men and women who train at the Fight House during the week. I’m open to travel Friday, Saturday, Sunday. I’d love to swing through, train, and spread the word about your academy. No matter what it’s free advertising for your academy. How could you lose there?