Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Merry Christmas!

As we suffer once again under the Arctic conditions, here's my favourite photo to help warm you up, as we get ready to shiver through Christmas at the weekend! Can you spot the jiu jitsu??

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Tatami Fightwear's new commercial!

Here's the lastest commercial featuring some of Tatami's sponsored athletes; I was told the filming was shot in a freezing warehouse and everyone worked hard to keep warm in the cold!

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Jim Mc Sherry - faixa azul!

Massive congrats to my main man Jim Mc Sherry on being promoted to blue belt from Victor Estima at the weekend! Really pleased to see Jim getting to grips with the BJJ game and coming through the grades, in a weekend packed full of promotions throughout the UK, must be the festive spirit shining through!

Monday, 13 December 2010

Jeremy Arel - faix preta!!

A HUGE well done to my good friend, Jeremy Arel, aka the Gerbil on being promoted to black belt at the weekend by Gordo; in addition, Mad Jack Mc Gee was promoted to brown belt, so a huge well done to you both guys, onwards and upwards!

Saturday, 11 December 2010

New ring and cage!!

We now have a brand spanking new boxing ring and a spankingly shiny new 18 foot competition cage at the club!! MMA classes start back again on Monday and Wednesday after the BJJ classes and we start building up the MMA fight team as of now and hit the comps in 2011 with a bang!

Regular interclubs will be held at the club covering BJJ, MMA and No Gi, as well as seminars with leading BJJ and MMA fighters and coaches throughout the year.

To say I am excited is an understatement.

We can now hit the new year with a set up to rival that of any MMA gym in the UK and I will be dipping into my contacts book to bring the best people around to the gym. The facilities are there for all Combat Base members and all my friends from the BJJ and MMA community worldwide.

Let the fun begin!!

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

A weekend of refereeing!

Rounded off an action packed, adventure filled 2010, by way of reffing a brace of grappling comps at the weekend; Saturday saw me at the UMA's final end of year grapplefest, no gi style and as always, was very impressed by the standard of the competitors, who improve year after year. Congrats to Ste Littler from Ng Gar Tien Combat Base who bagged a silver medal and to Warringtom MMA warriors Phil Manyon and Steve Withnell who walked off with bronze medals.
Props to Graham Batin and Keith Dooley from http://www.empirefightshop.com/ for sponsoring the event.

Fight of the day on my mat was between Bebbington BJJ and RGA Bucks, an action packed fight that saw the RGA Bucks way up on points, dominating the fight, who found himself tapping out with one second on the clock! That's BJJ guys!!

Bebbington BJJ took the team trophy and will be returning next year to defend their silverware and let's hope Leicester SHoot return next year and make a challenge for the cup and bragging rights.

After the UMA event, I travelled down to Hereford and stayed overnight at Dave Coles's, in readiment for the Hereford Open V, which was a white belt only event; there was a healthy number of juniors competing and super talented they are, all fighting their hearts out.

Had a great day on the mats refereeing some great matches, these guys really gave it 100% and fought hard throughout the day; Greg 'Creely' Creel's brother made an impressive show of himself , winning his division and special mention goes to SBG South West duo of Gareth Millar and Paul Johnson, who travelled up from Plymouth and competed at the UMA event, with Gareth taking gold and Paul the bronze, before heading to Hereford and walking away with silver medals apiece. Now that's dedication!

And so an action packed 2010 comes to an end; with 2011 already bursting at the seams with gi and no gi comps, it looks like another busy year for the Fighting Photographer, both as a referee and a competitor!

Thursday, 2 December 2010

New Strength and Conditiong Class!

Four new pairs of kettle bells are now safely in the gym, so it's time to run a new S+C class at the club, starting next Thursday from 6pm til 7pm. Other equipment includes a climbing rope, sledge hammer, tractor tyre, swiss balls, medicine balls, kick pads, Thai shields, plus plenty of drills to make the sweat flow in rivers!

300 style training commences!

Monday, 15 November 2010

Igor wins in Rio!

I'm proud to announce the good news that my good friend Igor Vasilyew won his first MMA fight out in Rio at the weekend; I heard Igor gave a dominating performance and in true Igor style, tore his opponent apart for an impressive win. Igor is state Judo and Sambo champ in St Petersburg and has a tremenedous work ethic, as well as being one of the nicest and humble people you could meet. Igor is staying at Connection Rio and Jeremy Arel and Dennis Asche and crew are helping Igor to further improve his impressive fight record.

Here's a photo of Igor after the fight. The blood isn't his by the way.

For more about the fight, read Jeremy's brilliant Blog - www.greatgrappling.com/blog.cgi?id=87

Friday, 5 November 2010

Tatami Fightwear Sponsor Team 2011!

Introducing the 2011 Sponsor Team from Tatami Fightwear!

A real rogues gallery of individuals, who are looking forward to continued success in the 2011 competition calendar.......Can you believe it we are nearly at the end of 2010?! How quickly time flies!!

Technique of the week - Eddie Kone style!

My good friend Eddie Kone demonstrates a cool submission from side control :)

Chris Haueter seminar - Factory BJJ!

After the fun and games with Chris at Pontefract, the next gi seminar was at Factory BJJ in Reddish, Stockport and the session was packed to capacity. Chris took the class through a number of takedowns, specifically tailored for gi fighting and from these takedowns, Chris showed us how to develop an attacking guard, instead of 'a lie down and rape me guard', as quoted by Chris.

After the takedowns were covered, Chris took the class through an attacking half guard game, with some really cool entries, that really disrupt your opponent's base and once disrupted, sweeps and reversals naturally followed as surely as day follows night.

In a bid to get the best out of the seminar as possible, Chris rounded off the session with a number of drills, that would help bring on your overall game in leaps and bounds. Rather than showing technique after technique and overloading everyone's brains, everyone paired off and played the hooks game from a butterfly guard. That is, one guy had one hook in at the knee and had to elevate and sweep their opponent, whilst the other had to defend the attack. From this position, one was able to use the techniques Chris had shown earlier and was great way to finish the seminar and these drills will certainly be used back at the club next week.

The night was rounded off in fine style, as Ryan Hunter was put through a brutal Iron Man, facing blue belts, purple and brown belts and a smattering of white belts, which culminated in a very well deserved black belt and a mighty whack across the back from Chris.

As is always the case, the seminar was over and another tour of the Combat Bsse clubs in the bag for Chris; all that remained was a no gi session at Caged Steel the following day, but due to teaching commitments I was unable to attend what would have been an awesome session. One hopes that Chris will return in the very near future and not make it as long as last time, but in the meantime, I now have some really cool shit to drill with the lads and try out in competitions.

Group photo John Sherwood.

Others from yours truly.

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

New black belt @ Combat Base!!

After a gruelling iron man session at the end of a brilliant seminar from Chris Haueter, Ryan Hunter was promoted to black belt!!

Ryan is a very talented Judoka at 2nd Dan and was put through the mill this evening at Factory BJJ by Chris, having to go through all the blue belts, purple belts, one brown belt and a few white belts, in a well deserved promotion!

Congrats to Ryan on a well deserved promotion!

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Chris Haueter seminar - Pontefract!

Chief instructor of Combat Base, Chris Haueter, is over in the UK on a whistle stop tour, hosting a number of seminars at various Combat Base clubs; the Rigan Machado black belt and one twelfth of the infamous Dirty Dozen, gave a class at the Pontefract club last night, run by Helen and Darren Currie.

Rather than Chris take the class through techniques, he opened the session up to all the attendees to ask him questions on things that they were having problems with in their game. Darren kicked off the session with a question of his own and the session started with Chris's take on take downs and how to disguise the initial attack of a single or double leg takedown, which works well if you're facing a skilled Judoka in a competition.

On the ground, Chris showed a number of ways to pass the butterfly guard, as well as how to defend the pass and keep the hooks in, via a selection of cool drills, that can easily be integrated into any warm up. Tips on sweeping from the butterfly were also shown via drilling methods, with Chris emphasising the finer points in detail.

Keeping the drills coming thick and fast, Chris rounded off the last segment of the session with ways of dealing with an opponent when they turtle up and showed a really cool and super simple way of adding an extra eight inches to your game.......something so simple everyone, including myself where saying 'why the hell didn't I think of that?!'. It's little gems like this that make these sessions so memorable and worth every penny of the mat fees. Darren also showed me a tip Chris had shown him on gripping your opponent, yet another really simple concept and one which will come in handy in my night time job, looking forward to using it this weekend!

Chris finished the session off by rolling with the senior grades, namely my good self, Rob Lawlor and Ryan Hunter who are both brown belts; rolling with Chris is never a pleasent affair, as he plays the pressure game to such a high level that it's more like a slow torture than a roll. You just about manage to escape one bad position, when BAM! you're in an even shittier position and it goes on and on and on.......he could have submitted you umpteen times within the roll, but he likes to make you sweat and strain and run yourself into the ground until you're a spent force and then makes you work even harder.

The session ran over time, as they always do, but who's complaining when you've got such a world class jiu jitsu player on your mats?

Next seminar is tonight at Factory BJJ in Stockport and I'll be there, camera at the ready, as always.

More Interclub pix!

A few pix from the camera of Alex Cannon, from Ng Gar Tien club, Runcorn.

Monday, 1 November 2010

Combat Base Interclub!

Had a great day at the interclub yesterday at Caged Steel; referee'd, competed and cornered for eight of my students and was great to see Chris Haueter at the event, who's here for one week hosting a number of seminars.

The event was well attended and was a mix of gi and no gi matches and there was plenty of talent on display from all competitors; well done Will Aston and James Charlton from my club on bagging silver medals in their respective divisions and a great achievement for James, in his first ever comp and six weeks total in training!

Lewis Shaw hit the mats in the first match of the day against a yellow belt and showed off a great Judo throw and some good groundwork, but sadly got subbed before he could do any more damage! Team spirit was definitely strengthened after yesterday's comp, bringing all the lads together to support each other on the day and everyone that competed were winners, regardless of the outcome of their fights.

A huge well done to all the lads who competed and to everyone who helped at the club getting the lads into shape; days like this make it a pleasure and an honour to be an instructor, watching all the hard work take shape in the competition arena.

Check out more great pix from John Sherwood at http://www.flickr.com/photos/factorybjj/sets/72157625287405144/

Leoni Munslow interview @ Kombat Clinic dot com!

My latest interview on a very deserving female BJJ athlete :)


Thursday, 28 October 2010

New addition to the Combat Base family!

Last week I had the pleasure to return to Runcorn to teach jiu jitsu to my old friends Russ Gates and Mike Ng, at Ng Tien Wing Chun Club in Brookvale. We all recently hooked up again at the UMA gi competition earlier this year, a few days before I left for Brazil. After a brief chat, I'm back in business with the lads again, overseeing their jiu jitsu classes and the club has also joined the Combat Base UK network of academies.

Classes are every Thursday at Brookvale Community Centre, Brookvale, Runcorn 815-945pm.

Monday, 25 October 2010

MMA hits Jersey!

Had a brilliant weekend in one of my favourite places in the world, a sunny and warm St Helier, Jersey, as I was on refereeing duties for the Rumble on the Rock MMA event. Jersey holds a special place in my heart, as I received my blue belt from Mauricao Gomes way back in 2003 and over the years I have returned to cover BJJ seminars held by Mauricao and Braulio Estima, held at Gracie Barra Channel Islands in Jersey, run by my very good friend Rob Staples and in 2007, I was part of BJJ history, when Braulio held the first ever BJJ seminar in Guernsey, at Chris Goldsbrough's academy,who was recently awarded his brown belt from Braulio, well done Chris!

This was the first time for pro MMA fights on the island and old school MMA fighter Dave Mclaughlin topped the bill and won in fine style, pulling off a rolling heel hook, which was bravely defended against by his opponent Richard Taylor, but in the end fell foul of a figure four toe hold.

Rob and myslef shared the reffing duties and I really enjoyed a break from the norm of reffing BJJ and no gi comps and look forward to reffing more MMA events in the future; anyone interested in hiring my good self for reffing duties email me at thefightingphotographer@hotmail.co.uk

Pictures courtesy of Colin Cruickshank and more photos from the event can be found on his website http://www.colincruickshank.co.uk/

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Gerbil Jiu Jitsu hits the UK!

My very good friend Jeremy Arel gave me a cool leaving present, when I left Rio in the shape of what is now going to be a rare first edition gi patch :)

Jeremy has a new design ready in a few weeks, so keep your eyes peeled on here and be sure to check out his brilliant website http://www.greatgrappling.com/

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

Training Day 2 - new blue belts for the club!

With my body still on Rio time, I woke up on Sunday morning at 7am, but my body was on 3am time and boy was I tired; I was up and ready for a day of jiu jitsu instruction at Caged Steel as Combat Base UK held their regular Training Day session, which covered the A Game.

This consisted of four workshops, that covered takedowns, guard passing, side control and mount; Judo black belt and BJJ blue belt dane Mitchell started the coaching sessions off with a look at Judo for no gi competition and gave a masterclass on taking your man down to the ground, with some nice throws, all easily linked together.

From there, purple belt Casey Jones took the group through guard passing, starting with a pass known to all members, then broke the pass down into smaller sections, outlining points where most people make mistakes and tips on how to make the pass more successful.

My old mate and brown belt Spenna, gave an excellent section on side control, with tips on keeping your man pinned down, with a number of 'what if' scenarios and started to show entires into the mount position, which neatly made way for Danny Mitchell to end the day with a look at the mount position. Danny introduced the concept of 'guard is mount' and 'mount is guard' to the attendees and showed techniques from the guard can be utilised from the guard position and am sure many people will be playing around with this neat little concept for many months to come.

Over eighty people on the mats in total, these sessions are growing in popularity as more and more clubs are joining the Combat Base family; my old mate Russ Gates and his students from Runcorn have joined the fold, been a long time since we last met and am glad to be back on board with the guys, teaching jiu jitsu at their club in Runcorn.

At the end of the day, Helen handed out belt promotions, with a number of long over due promotions to the lads from Steve Muckle's club, big shout to Ste Paynter on his purple belt :) I'm very proud to announce two new blue belts at the club, as Shaun Killelea and Lee Whitehead got the nod from Helen, both guys have worked very hard with the rest of the lads and are well deserved promotions. An interclub is due on October 31st, so who knows there may be even more blue belts for the club, fingers crossed!

Photos - John Sherwood

Monday, 11 October 2010

Carlson Gracie Academy, Copacabana

After training at DLR, we managed a quick rejuvenating drink of juice and headed off round the block to train at the 7pm class at Carlson Gracie's, no rest for the wicked. This was one of the places I really wanted to check out here in Brazil, train in a place that has produced so many fearsome BJJ and MMA athletes over the years.

The building is quite small and very hard core, loads of trophies on the shelves, covered in dust, a matted area and nothing else, just a hardcore Spartan like place to train. Awesome!

Carlson Gracie's wife was on the reception desk as we made our introductions to the instructor Saporito, one of the coolest dudes on the planet, he made us all feel very welcome and showed us where to get changed. The class started with the usual warm up exercises and Saporito showed some really cool ways to attack the arm, when the opponent has a hold of their own belt.

After drilling the techniques it was time for free training; my first roll was with a very technical brown belt and knowing of the fierceness of competition that comes from Carlson Gracie clubs, I was rather nervous on how they would roll with me. After the first minute rolling all my doubts were cast aside as we had a great roll and wasn't smashed up and left for dead, a real cool guy and the start of another night's fun and games.

My second roll was with another brown belt and had more of the same with him and two more rolls ended the night's training with a tough blue belt and a really tough black belt, all in all forty minutes of serious training. I found myself thinking 'Am I really here in Brazil?' when I was rolling with the guys, it was quite bizzare to be honest, trying to concentrate on my opponent and all these crazy thoughts came crashing in. To be in the heart of BJJ, training in such legendary academies gave me the biggest buzz ever and really fired me up when I was rolling, giving me an extra boost of energy, that was needed to finish the second training session of the day.

And so another session closes and our gi's were soaked through and practically walked themselves to the changing rooms; we returned to the juice bar and had an amazing banana and protein milk shake that picked us all up and we managed to muster up enough energy to grab a cab back to the house.

The training fee was R$25, the welcome and hospitality from the instructors and students is second to none, we were made to feel most welcome and I felt priviliged to train at such an infamous location; a photo of Carlson hangs on the wall, where he keeps a watchful eye on the training, so I hope I gave a good account of myself when I was rolling.

Address - Rua Figueiredo de Magalhaes #414 3rd Floor, Copacabana
Phone - + 55 (21) 2549-1465

Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Rolling @ De La Riva, Copacabana

After being squashed up by a huge black belt called Peck, my second roll in the class was with black belt David Hudson; a super cool guy we had a lot of fun rolling and luckily, Sebastian managed to catch most of it on film, so now you can see the gulf between purple and black belt :)

Gift wrapped his first submission by the way, B4 you all tell me off ;)

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

De La Riva, Copacabana

Hit the road yesterday with three other BJJ addicts from the house, Igor, Mike and Sebastian, to take part in two training sessions at two seperate academies in Copacabana; we took the 557 bus into Copacabana and there's no better way to develop your balance and base than standing up on the buses out here, these guys drive at one speed, breackneck! Once we steadied our nerves and reduced our heart rates after the bus ride, we walked to the Equipe 1 Fitness Gym, where De La Riva academy is based and joined in the 4pm class. My good friend, black belt Nick Brooks told me to drop his name in at the door and we were welcomed like long lost friends from Kell and all the guys at the gym. It's always good to drop a name in when you're visiting a new academy for the first time. The class was packed with 30 students, eight black belts watching over us all as we drilled out some nice moves from side control and then it was on to the free training. My first roll was with a huge dude called Peck and for a big guy he was lightning fast and tapped me out time and time again, albeit with a smile on his face, great fun and a fine start to the training. Second on the list was an American black belt Dave Hudson and we had a really good roll as well, enjoying every second, with a sprinkling of tap outs for good measure from yours truly. Third roll of the class was with a young brown belt, carved from granite and I had a real fight on my hands with this guy. He rolled hard and fast and I was on my toes all through the fight so I didn't injured at such a late stage into my trip and survived the round intact. Final roll was with a purple belt a good few years older than me and was a strong as an ox and very very fast; he felt like a Judo player and had the ears to show for it and we went at it back and forth, all smiles and laughter from the two of us and that drew the training to an end.

I can recommend De La Riva 100%, they are the most friendliest and approachable guys you could ever wish to meet and it's a shame I have to leave in a few days, else I would have trained there again. If you are in the area, make sure you drop in, we didnt have to pay for the class either, which was a very nice gesture too.

After training we changed out of our drenched gis and headed for a juice bar for a quick refuel and it was onwards to the Carlson Gracie gym a few blocks away, for the 7pm class, more of which will follow.........

Address:- Equipe 1 Academia, 702 Avenida Nossa Senora, Copacabana

Thursday, 30 September 2010

The first roll of my forties..........

As one door closes on a chapter in one's life, another brand new, unadulterated, mistake free chapter opens and lies ahead; sitting here typing this today, I have sun shine on my back, awesome views all around and a house full of BJJ addicts like myself and it really feels like a new start in my life. All the troubles and calamaties that struck me back in 2008 are behind me and I have emerged a stronger person because of them and they will never be far from my mind, when other dark days come along to test me.

Gis are everywhere. On the washing lines. Poolside. On backs of chairs. Anywhere there is space there is a gi. Oh and rash guards as well. Gi's of all makes and designs are lying about getting dry in readiment for the next training session, all decked out in club and sponsor patches from all four corners of the globe, makes you feel that BJJ is truly global in its popularity and practice.

After a fun filled afternoon, with a trip to the beach and a surprise birthday cake singsong from everyone at the house, it was time to go to the evening class. My first class of BJJ as a forty year old. How would it differ from the day before as a sprightly 39 year old? They say age is just a number, a state of mind etc etc so I stepped onto the mats and enjoyed every single second of the session. For a true BJJ addict, what better place to be on the planet than in the heart of jiu jitsu, in Brazil for your fortieth birthday?

The class was packed with black belts and all colours in between and after the usual warm ups and techniques it was down to free training and onto my first roll in a new decade and who better to start with than the Gerbilmeister himself, Jeremy Arel, decked out in a eye catching canary yellow gi. The ten minutes passed way too fast as we had a good technical roll, with Jeremy sweeping me at will time and time again, this guy knows his sweeps!

Round 1 over and three more rounds followed with a number of black belts and I was toast for thrity minutes with these guys, but what a way to begin training at 40, with high level guys all night. Glad to say no injuries, just a sore hand from tapping out, but that's what it's all about, if you ain't tapping, you ain't learning.

The end of the class drew upon us and after the handshakes, all the guys wished me a happy birthday, so all that remains now, is to log off from here, have a shave and shower and hit the bars and restaurants to refuel and party with the rest of the guys from the house, so until next time folks, keep training hard and keep reading the Blog :)