Sunday, July 31, 2011

Life takes over!

I haven't been updating lately because there's been a lack of BJJ in my life! I only went to class TWO TIMES in the past week, and if was only for an hour each time :(

My family has been getting on my case about never being home and always being at BJJ by the time they come home. I intern and apply for jobs during the day and train by night, so this is why my family rarely sees me these days. Additionally, we've got guests over this week and I'll be away the following week. This doesn't leave me with a lot of time for training. I plan on coming back full speed ahead when I'm back though. I will have ended my internship and all my efforts will be towards finding a job, studying for the GRE, and training- in that order!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

That Awkward Moment When...

...your spandex rips during nogi. Yes, tonight, during the second hour of nogi training, I was wearing my vale tudo shorts, and after the first roll, someone pokes me on the shoulder and says "uhh, your shorts ripped". Thank goodness I had some regular grappling shorts in my bag, which I threw on over my ripped VT shorts. When I came home, I inspected the damage and the shorts were almost ripped in half right over my butt! Hopefully no one else noticed my brightly colored underwear that night...

Other than that, I got some solid nogi training in. Right now I'm just focusing on getting better and not preparing for competition. Job hunting is more important right now than competing.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Gi Review: Manto 3.0 Gi (in black)

I received this gi from BJJHQ. In no way does this influence my opinion on this gi. is a website that does a "deal of the day" for BJJ gear, which ranges from gis, to rashguards to earguards and everything in between. It's always $5 flat rate shipping in the US, and as long as it's in stock, you can grab it! Check out every day for a new deal.

I was excited to get my hands on this gi because I had not seen a great deal of reviews done on it, and it looked like a quality gi for the price. I'm happy to say I was right! I've received a lot of compliments on how sharp this gi looks. However, sizing was an issue for me.

General Overview

This is a single weave gi, meaning it's one of the lightest kinds of gis you can get. There are two rectangular Manto patches on the shoulders as well as the emrbroidered Manto logo on the arms. There is also a Manto rectangular patch on the lapel. The pants have the Manto rectangular patch on the outside of the left and right thigh. There is the Manto logo embroidered on the upper back. The drawstring is a cord as opposed to a flat gi material tie.


The first time I put on this gi it was HUGE and I mean HUGE. I was swimming in the darn thing! I am 5'5" and 138lbs and ordered an A1. The sizing chart says the A1 is for up to 5'8". I washed the gi in hot water and dried it twice before I wore it to class. To put the shrinkage into perspective, I took some measurements. These measurements are based on Fushida's (Canadian gi company) sizing chart, which is quite detailed and can be found here

Pre Wash

A. 63.5"
B. 30.5"
C. 21.75"
D. 15"
E. 6.5"
F. 11"
G. 22"
H. 38.5"
I. 9.75"
J. 8.5"
K. 11.5"
L. 14.25"

Post Wash

A. 61.5"
B. 29"
C. 20.5"
D. 14.5"
E. 6.5"
F. 10.25"
G. 22"
H. 36.5"
I. 9"
J. 8"
K. 11"
L. 14.25"

Needless to say, it's still kind of big after the hot washes and dryer sessions. I've worn it to class at least 5 times now, and have hot washed it about 3-4 times and cold dried it the other times (remember I washed it a couple of times before I even wore it). I put it in the dryer every time on the highest setting.

This gi is very soft and dries pretty quickly. The collar is reasonably thick. It's not as stiff as my Keiko or Sirius, but it's certainly not flimsy. The sleeves are a little baggy- not as baggy as my Keiko, but not as slim as my women's Atama Mundial 9 or Sirius Ultra-Lite Gold Weave. When my arms are stretched out to my sides and parallel to the ground, the sleeve comes to my middle knuckles. The bottom of the gi top comes about 2-3 inches below my butt.

One gripe I have is the drawstring. The cord is made of a very smooth material that keeps coming undone. The pants are really baggy and before I tighten the drawstring it looks pretty comical! I do like that the pants are lightweight but are NOT ripstop. To me, ripstop becomes too see through when you're sweaty and my ripstop pants are the only ones that have ripped on me. Even though they're a little big, I think they are comfortable.


This is a good lightweight gi that is durable enough for everyday training. It's not as light as some of the competition gis on the market (Vulkan Ultra Light/Pro Light, Gameness Air, etc.), but certainly good enough to wear in the summer. The pricing on this is pretty reasonable- according to, it's only 149.95 for this in black, and the one in white is 139.95. There are cheaper gis out there, but I still think this is pretty good bang for the buck. If this gi was just a size smaller and had a different drawstring it would be PERFECT for me, as I love that it's lightweight and durable. I will continue to wear this gi to class and it will be in my regular rotation.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Brief BJJ Reunion

I spent the past few days in Atlanta. I've been back home for a couple of months now and wanted to visit some of my friends who had graduated and were still in Atlanta as well as visit my BJJ friends. I tried as best as I could to make it surprise, but when you need to keep snagging rides from people, it's pretty tough!

I flew in on Thursday, and the train broke down, so I left the station and briefly dropped in to Unit 2. I saw Traven and said hello, but didn't get to see him for the remainder of my time there, as he had a superfight in Ohio that weekend.

I managed to get some open mat time in with Victoria on Friday. She's a blue belt who won Pan Ams AND Worlds this year, so it's always a time when I get my butt handed to me. We did ten minute rounds for about an hour and then called it quits. I think I held my own a little better than I normally did, but it's tough to say. I used the time to try a couple techniques I'd been playing around with in class, but still need to work on hitting them at a higher percentage.

Saturday morning I rolled up to women's BJJ in the morning, and at least one of my teammates was surprised. I was glad to have such a warm reception and to roll with some of my friends again. There was one new student which was good to see- I'm convinced that Unit 2 has one of the most consistent women's programs around. One of Traven's purple belts taught the class and all the girls did about an hour of nogi rolling after that. They are getting ready for a big tournament so they've definitely increased the amount of nogi they do.

After having been back in Atlanta and trained for a little bit, I see the importance of switching up your training partners. When you roll with the same people all the time, you get used to their game and base what you do off of how your same few teammates roll. When I came back to NJ, I could definitely feel a difference in how my new teammates rolled. It also showed me some of my weak points and what I need to work on.

I wish I could have stayed in Atlanta a little longer, but there are cover letters to be written and resumes to be mailed out!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Conditioning is (almost) everything

Despite the title of this post, this isn't about a session where I gassed and realized the importance of conditioning.

One of my teammates recently moved to Camp Springs, Maryland as he received an offer to train full time with Lloyd Irvin's team. After a few days there, he had spoken to my instructor and commented on how he'd never been pushed that much in training. Not because our training/conditioning wasn't hard enough, but because he was training up to 3 times per day. He worked as a personal trainer at a local gym, and therefore could probably only come to class a maximum of 2-3 hours per day, while I bet he now has a solid 6 or more hours of training per day.

It then occurred to me, no matter how great your technique is, if you have bad conditioning, you're never going to do well. You need to not only be able to physically keep up with the other person, but to also be one step ahead of them in order to win. And that's where sometimes toughness can overcome technique. There are people that will just fight their way out of submissions, and the other person's arm/legs/body is so weak from gripping onto that submission, that he/she can no longer effectively attack.

I think one of my first advantages coming into BJJ was conditioning. While it has certainly improved since beginning jiu jitsu, the one thing I could do was wiggle my way out of certain chokes and locks without gassing and could keep pace with the other white belts. I had run cross country in the past, and continue to run at least 6 miles per week, which I've steadily increased. I've heard sprints and interval exercises are better for BJJ, but I often end up doing distance running because it's what I'm used to.

Needless to say, running and conditioning are things I will always maintain. It also helps that running is a stress reliever for me.

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Private Lesson and My Grappling Game Plan

Yesterday I had a private lesson with Jason Scully. We went over what my gameplan was, as I realized I had never evaluated my strengths and weaknesses in BJJ. I never took the time to think if I preferred playing guard, passing guard, being in mount and submitting, etc. Jason has a sheet called a "Grappling Game Plan". I believe you can find it if you subscribe to his newsletter, which you can do by going to

What the sheet does is it lists every position (being in guard, having someone in your guard, being on the bottom while the other person has mount, etc.) and your job is to list what moves you do the most in those positions. Not the moves that you know you can do from each of those positions, but the moves that you do most often. Once Jason and I figured out what my "go to" moves and what my most comfortable position was, we were able to figure out a sequence of moves that would be the most effective in competition. So for example:

Start standing-->single leg-->half guard on top-->bullfighter pass-->side control-->mount-->mounted triangle

That is an example of what one sequence would be. That isn't one of mine, but Jason and I went over what several scenarios would be for me. He also made the point that those sequences are thing I should pull off in competition, but should work on all aspects of my jiu jitsu during regular class. That's the difference between doing well in competition and being good at jiu jitsu; being good at a few moves is different than being able to do many with a reasonable level of competence.

I found Jason's lesson very helpful, and now I have a blueprint for my own grappling that's going to come in handy during competition. It also gives me some good things to work on. I don't have any plans to compete soon, because I really need to apply to some more jobs and focus on finding something full time for the next year or two. I'll train as much as I can, but I also need to work on becoming a "real person" :)