Metamoris 5 Analysis - Saulo v Comprido

The recent Metamoris Pro event - submission only super-fights - saw the meeting of one of my jiujitsu and grappling idols, Saulo Ribeiro, and a man who's done enough to earn a permanent place in jiujitsu history - Brasa's own Rodrigo Comprido Mederios in what was, ironically, the night's only gi match. The match is still available from Metamoris Pro's website but here is my own breakdown of the event. 

In the above photos, you see that Saulo opened up the match with aggressive belt gripping which Comprido countered with double leg attacks. Saulo's impeccable timing of the sprawl defence saved him every time.

Beyond that, the following segments / grappling exchanges where the most fruitful with tons of jiujitsu knowledge to be extracted and drilled.


BJJ / Grappling tips: guard attacks - armbar - triangle - omoplata - sweep


An important principle when playing guard in jiujitsu is to keep it alive! The guard was never meant to be a defensive, stalemate position and the beautiful thing is if you play it that way, it will soon get passed.

When playing guard (open, closed, half…etc.) you should be constantly threatening with your guard attacks. The opponent sitting in your guard should never feel comfortable or confident enough to start imposing his or her game. You should immediately:

1. Break down their posture
2. Deny them their grips
3. Establish your own grips
4. Set up your attacks (sweeps, submissions or transitions)

You must remember that when you are attacking, the opponent is constantly defending and while you are both getting tired, he/she is getting far more frustrated and pressured than you.

So, keep attacking!

Here's a great attacking drill (armbar, triangle, omoplata) from Jiujitsu Brotherhood founder, Roger Gracie black belt Nic Gregoriades:

and another on sweeps:



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BJJ / Grappling Tips: Creating Your Own A-game

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The above is my own jiujitsu / grappling A-Game.

1 A5 page. That's it. Obviously, I do other techniques but this is my core jiujitsu / grappling game*.

If you don't have an A-game, then you are going from grappling position to grappling position, rolling at least 2 gears too slow. I'm not referring to speed of movement, but reaction time.

You don't get to point B after leaving point A on your pre-chosen path. You simply find yourself at point B.

Here you see Gracie Barra black belt Brandon Mullins discuss gameplans with Stephan Kesting:

Creating an A-Game is not hard. It's not time consuming. It shouldn't be, at least.

On a small piece of paper, A5 or smaller, write the following areas:


BJJ Tips: How to get a blue belt in BJJ

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In order to get a blue belt in Brazilian Jiujitsu, you need to show your instructor that you have embraced the fight ideology of jiujitsu (close the distance, take down / pull guard, climb the positional hierarchy, finish the fight) and demonstrate that ideology by leaving your strength and speed at the door and embodying the fundamentals and basics of jiujitsu.

Fundamentals of Jiujitsu:

The fundamentals are, in my opinion, not jiujitsu techniques per se but rather the solo movements that build jiujitsu and, consequently, all healthy movement. These movements are performed in a very similar fashion by all jiujitsu practitioners and other grapplers irrespective of belt and level.

Bridging (3 variations)
Shrimping (3 variations)
Getting to your knees from lying flat on your back (2 variations)
Rolling over your shoulder (3 variations)
Pivoting over your knee
Hip switching / Box drill
Standing up from lying flat on your back (Technical Stand-up)
Generating momentum on your feet (6 directions)
Generating momentum on the ground (2 variations)

While two jiujitsu black belts may show you two slightly different methods to perform an arm lock from guard or  how to set up the triangle choke from side control top, 99% of grapplers and jiujitsu practitioners will perform the above fundamentals the same way. This, to me, is the true heart of jiujitsu. Not the medals, not the self defence, but learning how to move correctly.

Basics of Jiujitsu:

The basics are what we recognize more as jiujitsu and or grappling techniques.

Since jiujitsu can be seen to include 1000s of techniques, how do we decide what makes the cut for this list of basics? I use the following principles:


BJJ / Grappling Tips: How to escape the side control position and not fearing the learning curve

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Something happened yesterday that reminded me of a BJJ session on side control escape I once had as an early blue belt. We were talking about how incorporating a new technique or concept correctly into one's A-game in jiujitsu takes about 6 months of progressive drilling and sparring.
The fundamentals of side control escapes are:

  1. Recover forearm posture
  2. Get on one side
  3. Strong back foot
  4. Shrimp to create space
  5. Pull guard / Underhook to the knees / Back-and-forth

My partner for the side control drills that day was a strong blue belt with a solid judo background. The only problem was: he didn't want to go side control and just played from scarf hold which, naturally, has different escapes.

After a few goes, I told him that his scarf hold was very solid indeed but we should probably focus on the Side Control drill like everyone else. He gladly obliged.

I was applying all the techniques taught and escaping very regularly. Soon he was getting pretty frustrated and at one point said laughingly: "Liam you're showing me up."

No I'm not, I thought to myself. I'm showing that the techniques work.

When I got on top he couldn't escape. Not even once, even though I was going no more than 20%. Not because My side control is inescapable! But rather because of two things:


Invisible jiujitsu: Rickson and Helio Gracie student Pedro Sauer shares secrets of Invisible jiujitsu

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With the creation of the new Jiu-jitsu Global Federation under Master Rickson Gracie, everyone is talking about Gracie Jiujitsu. One of the elements at the heart of jiujitsu instruction is the "feel" of the move and the "weight distribution".

I recently had a 2 hour telephone conversation with my instructor Eddie Kone, Gracie Jiujitsu black belt under Royler Gracie, about when he was training at Gracie Humaita and Grandmaster Helio would walk in and part with his wisdom on how best to increase the leverage in techniques and how the difference was never some large, visible move but always a practically invisible detail that you had to feel and experience to appreciate.

"People look, but they don't see. They listen but don't hear!" Eddie Kone

Here's a brilliant example. 8th degree coral belt in Gracie Jiujitsu Pedro Sauer shows what invisible jiujitsu is all about from a couple of positions:


BJ Penn: Jiujitsu and MMA phenom

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Photo borrowed from RVCA

BJ Penn. I say it again. BJ Penn.

A legend in MMA and BJJ retired recently from the UFC octagon. The first time I saw a live UFC event was a few years back up in Newcastle where BJ Penn destroyed Joe Stevenson with superior body positioning and strikes. 

BJ Penn's emotional retirement speech:


Helio Gracie Guillotine Choke Details

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I love reading on flights and train journeys and Gracie jiujitsu literature is my favourite choice. Recently, I've been indulging in my friend Martyn's copy of "Gracie Jiujitsu" by the founder grand master Helio Gracie himself. I've come to love the simplicity of Helio's vision of what Gracie jiujitsu should be: multiple problems - few useful solutions executed with attention to detail and perfect timing. You can read my article about large padlocks and small keys here.

On a recent journey, I happened upon this picture of Helio guillotine choking his eldest son grand master Rorion Gracie. The technique is executed as a defence against a rush attack aimed to tackle the jiujitsu expert. Much like anything you will learn from Helio, Rorion or indeed Rener or Ryron, the nature of the technique itself is very fundamental and basic: Sprawl. Wrap the neck. Squeeze. Job done. No fancy sweeps and hardly any grips or grip-changes necessary.

What you do get, however, is exact details of how and when to sprawl, wrap the neck and squeeze. In fact, "how" and "when" are huge understatements. Look at the picture and read the caption below it:

Do you see anything different to the usual instruction to the guillotine choke?


How a small key can open a large padlock: Jiujitsu solutions are often smaller than you think!

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I was unlocking the gym where I teach NoGi grappling last Tuesday and noticed this: this huge, hefty padlock that was blocking me from entering the room didn't necessarily need the biggest key to open it and allow me in. I'll say that again: the size of the obstacle did not necessarily reflect the size of the solution or even the effort needed to solve it.

 For those who know jiujitsu, the above is the definition of leverage. I once told John B Will that levers are multipliers of effect and he loved it so much he put it in one of his fantastic articles on his blog. A very proud moment for yours truly.

 I strongly believe in that. The right solution at the right time at the right angle can unravel the biggest and, seemingly, most insurmountable challenge. This is why I fell in live with Judo and Gracie Jiujitsu.


Local Karateka gets a taste of the skill of a Royce Gracie Jiujitsu Blue Belt

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I've visited Royce Gracie Lancashire, aka Força Combat Academy a couple of times, taught there and trained with their head instructor my good friend Ross a bunch of times. Over this time, I've come to know and really like the team there so when Ross told there had been a "situation" with one of the Jiujitsu students, John, I had to do a piece! The altercation was of a friendlier nature than good ol' Gracie challenges, but there was still some foul play and dirty tricks. Read below to see for yourself how Royce Gracie Jiujitsu did. 

Does Brazilian Jiu Jitsu work in real life self defence?

Hi John. How long have you practiced jiu jitsu?

I've trained Royce Gracie Jiu Jitsu for two years at Força Combat Academy. I received my blue belt from Royce Gracie a few weeks back.  

Cool. I believe you've recently been involved in an incident. Tell us in your own words what happened.

I went for a workout at the gym (ed. note: this is a separate leisure centre and not Força) and on the way out noticed a small number of guys getting changed into Gis, one was a purple belt and one was a two stripe brown belt along with a couple of guys with them who must have been starting. Interested to see what martial art they were doing I decided to watch them for a while with my brother, who also trains Gracie Jiujitsu. I asked the Brown belt what martial art it was and he told me it was Shotokan Karate, he then explained that they would do some body conditioning (which turned out to be him battering the other students with different strikes), some techniques (calling them everything when they got it wrong, such an inspirational instructor...) and then some "ground fighting". To which I said "can I watch?". I watched for a while all of their different techniques and then came the ground-fighting.