Cryptid Jiu-Jitsu seminar 2/20/16

In February I went for a visit to my Affiliate group Cryptid Jiu-Jitsu  (CJJ) in Waseca; Minnesota, it is great to see that that they are growing, offering more class times and getting together even on off times just to train. The head coach is Rob Eggers; one of my blue belts, the force behind the scenes is Jason Lynch, he make sure everything else gets done.  Without these two it would be difficult to start a club and keep it going. They deserve a lot of credit!

As the popularity of BJJ as a sport grows; it’s important to me to address an element of self defense in all my seminars with these guys, especially as there are law enforcement and corrections officers that attend. I’ve come to think of these guys as my friends, I want to make sure they know the distinctions between, sport, sport fight and real fight/ survival.  With so much that can be work on at any point, we focused on defending the big ole Haymaker, how to make frames and options for take downs. Little by little we’ll add on.

The rest of the class was working guard passing; starting with some movement drills, a lot of these guys are kinda big, most being well north of 200 pounds;  I have some friends that refer to movement as “little guy S**T” and equating movement to speed and jumping around,  however, being big is not an excuse for improving movement and timing and being find the best way for you to move to the best of your ability and body type (I’ll stop there before I end up on another tangent).

Then worked passes some standing guard passes, and half guard passes, we worked some basic passes for each position and when there is a beginning group I like to do two things; one, when I explain that they are learning basics, it not that the technique is something simple that is used only by those just starting but that is just a starting point and there is a lot of detail and complexity that can always be added as they learn and can be developed to use to a high level. That what they are learning is laying a foundation for their game to build on.

The second thing I like to do is leave “Breadcrumbs” at toward the end and show how the same technique can be used in multiple positions with a little adjustment. It is much easier to know how to use one technique really well than having to learn a new one for every position.

It is great to see that they’ve become addicted to BJJ and are so hungry to learn.

CJJ Seminar
CJJ Seminar

Cryptid Jiu-Jitsu Seminar on 1/23/15

Cryptid Jiu Jitsu
Cryptid Jiu Jitsu

I’ll be going back to Waseca, Minnesota for another workshop with my affiliate group Cryptid Jiu-Jistu (formerly Brickhouse MMA). These are up and running, they have one of my blue belts down there to teach during the week and are hungry for more. I’m always excited to share Jiu-Jitsu and help people grow.

Please follow the link for details on the Facebook event page.

New Belt Promotions at the Minnesota Kali Group



On November 14th the Minnesota Kali Group hosted my friend and coach, Professor Chris McCune of McCune’s Martial Arts. We had a great seminar on working on setting up throws with a new concept behind it and some escapes from knee on belly. Always great to get new tech to add to our game.

We had a great turnout for the seminar and to help with the testing; Chris had a few of his guys, as well as folks from other gyms in the affiliation and also had my guys from Waseca Barbell MMA come and get a chance to meet people from our BJJ family.

Now for the best part, the promotions. My approach on testing varies from group to group. However; when we have someone or a few that are ready to get looked at we are sometimes 4 to 6 moths out before I think they are shiny enough to pass. Additional time is made to prepare, coming in at various off hours, encouraging to ask for partners to drill with on their own time, and pushing their conditioning.  I’m always impressed at the dedication and effort that they put in, not only is it for that they want to do well, but since the other students step up to help, that they want to do well for them too. And although when we encourage someone to test; it’s never a for sure thing, they need to see it through and not give up. They need to earn every inch of that belt.

Sometimes we include a set of techniques from our curriculum; and they spent months repeatedly drilling the techniques, series and flows. I never quite tell them what is in store for them; leaving a little air of suspense for them to look forward to. However; this time we did rounds, seven rounds of live rolls and two rounds of drills. I brought in guests from other gyms so they would have different people to roll with, different games to deal with, the unknown variables.

Probably the best thing for me as a coach is seeing people grow, rising above their own expectations and overcoming challenges. And with that I’m very proud to say that everyone one passed and the Minnesota Kali Group has 1 new blue belt, 2 purple belts and 2 brown belts  and McCune’s Martial Arts has added a new blue belt to their ranks.

Joe Swore and Topher Braddock for Brown.

Ryan Reynolds and Tom Riggle for Purple

Gregory Lassale and Julius Thomas for Blue.


Great job to everyone, always improving.

Proud of my friends Joe Swore and Topher Braddock achievement in earning their brown belts.


Gregory Lassale and a hard earned blue belt!

Luiz Palhares and Pedro Palhares weekend seminar 9/19/15

Luiz Palhares and Pedro Palhares weekend seminar



The Minnesota Kali Group recently had the pleasure of Hosting 7th degree Coral Belt Luiz Palhares and his son Pedro.  They came in Friday night and we went out to dinner at a local place; Pepitos, to get to know each other a bit and to go over what was the plan for the weekend.  Father and son are really laid back and approachable, not all that formal, right away just chatting as though had been friends for a while and after an introduction to Surly beer, we cam up with a game plan.

Saturday was a nice mix of guard pass drill from Pedro and primarily taught by Luiz, got a chance to detail out some old school tech for BJJ self defense and simple and effective concepts for passing spider guard. I think that when people attend seminars they are expecting what is the latest technology instead of taking the time to refine techniques that you thought you knew only to realize that you still had more details to draw out. The little things that make you say; “well crap, that’s how it’s supposed to work!”  Always look to refine your art, to be a little better than before! We finished off back with his Pedro that wanted to roll with us, and he took the time to play with all the students that wanted to. Which was some much Sweepy fun! More on the experience later.

Sunday was primarily taught his son Pedro Palhares (a black belt as well), we added onto the guard pass drills from the day before. Then it was 50/50 guard; honestly; the day before when they said that’s what we would be working on I was not too keen on the idea, no offense to the 50/50 players but I hate it as a position but it’s part of the game and in order to play. However, when he was started showing escapes from 50/50, then I got stoked. As I said, not my favorite, so my personal goal for things like that is to learn enough to crush it when I get stuck there and Pedro gave some nice options.

After 50/50; Luiz tagged back in and we worked lapel chokes from side control/ to north south baseball bat choke. Again, details! And a little bit of sneakiness. The side control choke was sneaky and I can’t wait to try it, especially if when the gas tank starts to run low but you want to keep rolling. You need to find your advantages where you can. I try not to give away the professors techniques when I write.Luiz Palhares and Pedro Palhares weekend seminar

Earlier I mentioned Sweepy goodness. the rolling we did was a ridiculous roller coaster of being up, then over you go down, no, wait, how’d he get back there!? Luiz tags out and Pedro is back in this time with De La Riva sweeps and shared with us the a lot of what he was doing to us the previous day. This was a combination of old school technology that got upgraded to 2.0. One of my guys is a scrappy old purple belt and wrestler, weighs 240 and has solid base (Pedro 180), so to see him getting consistently swept was so much fun. As he later admitted; he had considered De La Riva a little useless against him, but has since changed is mind.

Again after class Pedro rolled with everyone for 45 minutes straight. Pedro had told me he loves rolling at seminars, as he is an active competitor, it allows him to see a lot of different games.  Even though he dialed it down a bit and was very respectful, it was all business, or for him business light. We got to see loads of sweeps, combinations of set ups and loads of submissions. He didn’t play down to us to give us the tap, he made us work and pushed us. He has a really nice combination of constant attack as well as being very fluid. Constantly staying just ahead of you but not rushing anything. Everyone had a blast!

I highly recommend having these guys out for any seminars, you won’t regret it!




Waseca seminar 8/15/15 was a blast!

Waseca seminar 8/15/15 was a blast!

Had a great time going back down to teach at Barbell MMA and a group of hungry students!

Jason Lynch started Barbell so that he could bring something new to his community in Waseca, Minnesota. Its exciting to see something start completely new. With limited experience in martial arts and a want to learn; taking the chance on trying is inspiring.

I’ve been found down there about once a month and looks like things are starting to pick up as word gets out and more people come to the classes each time.

This time we worked some basic Muay Thai working a progression from kicking range to boxing rage to knees and a takedown then did a conditioning drill before moving into the ground.

We finished by working some old school knee on belly drills and spinning armbar from knee on belly.

Looking forward to going back, We’ll be working survival positions and escapes and sweeps from the guard positions.



August 1st, Roy Harris Workshop…..

Roy Harris WorkshopI happened to see a post on Facebook that Professor Roy Harris was going to be in Minnesota.  And that’s where giddy hope set in. I sent him a message wondering if he was doing any teaching in town and he replied that it was just a visit and no one had asked him to teach. Well….

For those of you who don’t know Professor Harris is a fifth degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, he is one of the “Dirty Dozen” the first twelve Americans to earn their Black Belts in BJJ. and an excellent instructor. He has a very thoughtful and insightful approach to jiu-jitsu and the level of detail he can get into is on a whole other level. So it’s a privilege any time getting an chance to learn from him.

When asked what we wanted to do, we came up with framing; keeping and managing structure in order to survive, create space and opportunities to recover position.

The level of detail on on the techniques and concepts was impressive, providing further insights into the things we already knew well and introducing new concepts with surviving and structure.

As part of this we got a glimpse into his BJJ over 40, how to train and a look at some of the concepts on dealing with younger athletes and some “Old Man’s Treachery”.

This was a great workshop especially as the group was blue, purple and brown belts and above to be able to work with concepts and finesse of the smaller details.

I won’t give anything away here; however, I would highly recommend it as well as any time with Professor Harris.

Professor Harris. Fabio

Carmel Working her Half Guard Pass

July 12th Seminar at Minnesota Kali Group International in Duluth

I had the pleasure of going to Duluth to teach a BJJ seminar at MKG International in Duluth, about two hours north of Minneapolis, so nice drive with some friends who accompanied me to take part.

good friends on a bjj trip with me
good friends on a bjj trip with me

So whenever I plan a seminar I day dream of all the cool, slick, fun moves that we are going to do; however a big part plays on the level of the students and what would best suit them. After a few pendulum and movement drills, we started with a look at basic guard passes; including posture, Bad Dog, how to open guard and using the same passes from different positions.  You don’t need to know every pass there is, but learn a few passes well and build off that. First, keep it simple.

We worked on some closed guard passes, and some half guard passes for about an hour and a half, then we moved onto the fun stuff, a little bit of candy for the day. I’m a big fan of the Omoplata, it’s one of my favorites and has a ton of options to play from, I jokingly call it an Omoplata guard there is so much to do there.

Carmel Working her Half Guard Pass
Carmel Working her Half Guard Pass

Though at first I thought working on the Ompoplata submission was going to be a little advanced; we started with basic movement, went back to the pendulum drill and built off of that, then needed an entry so basic armbar to Omoplata, added some helpful details on how to isolate the arm, adjust for a better position and then the finish for the tap. Then we were ready to really play. From basic combinations to how to start moving and retaining the arm and playing with submission combinations. I happened to get a little excited and accidentally added about an hour and a half to the day, but by the end of it, they were getting the hang of it conceptually enough to play a little with flowing from one thing to the next.

I got to spend the day teaching the art and being around good friends; it was a great way to spend a Sunday.

If you are ever in Duluth, go visit Drake Ritchie at Minnesota Kali Group International.


Antonio working on the Omoplata
Antonio working on the Omoplata

Group Pic Duluth Seminar

Group Pic Duluth Seminar



July is up.

This July we are looking forward to some great classes and seminars. We have:

Women’s only Introduction to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for Self Defense and Sport (two sessions)

  • Drop by this  July 11th at Wasceca Crossfit. From 10 am to 12 pm for a fun, supportive but thorough introduction to this great sport and martial art. Work out and learn how to defend yourself.Cost: $25
  • Our open Jiu-Jitsu Class is  on July 11th also at Wasceca Crossfit. From 1pm to 3pm
  • And come to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Seminar: At  Minnesota Kali Group International
    215 N Central Ave, Duluth, MN 55807
    Time 11 am to 1 pm.