Wrestling for Jiu Jitsu

On Saturday, we had the opportunity to learn from former D1 Wrestler and Head Coach, Joey Boardwine. Joey Boardwine, with Boardwine Grappling, is an instructor and professional head coach who has been grappling for 40 years.

He started training Jiu Jitsu in 2015 with Team Casarez and earned his blue belt with Professor Tony in 2017. He continued his journey with gyms throughout the United States as he traveled work, and eventually moved to California where he earned his purple belt with ATOS. He is a highly skilled wrestler and a great Jiu Jitsu athlete, having earned 3 IBJJF No-Gi World Championships.

Wrestling for Jiu Jitsu Immersion Day at Team Casarez

Hosting Coach Joey Boardwine for a Wrestling Seminar at the school was an honor. Approximately 40 students, and some students from other schools in the area, showed up ready to learn. We had a morning Gi session from 9am-11am and an afternoon No-Gi session from 12pm-2pm.

Coach Joey Boardwine began each session with an extensive warm up, emphasizing the importance of warm ups and how to integrate wrestling drills into warm ups. Following the warm ups, Coach Joey showed a series of wrestling techniques. Each technique taught students either how to take down an opponent, or how to defend a takedown, with multiple variations included. Between techniques, students had the opportunity to ask questions, and Coach Joey elaborated and clarified any areas of confusion. Even more importantly, Joey shared key concepts and tools that the students can apply to all areas of their stand up game.

 

The Importance of Wrestling in Jiu Jitsu

Wrestling for Jiu Jitsu is becoming more and more popular as Jiu Jitsu evolves. Coach John Danaher, one of the most recognized Jiu Jitsu coaches in the world, posted recently about the importance of integrating wrestling into Jiu Jitsu. As the sport evolves, it is important to become familiar with the knowledge and concepts of other grappling sports (in this case, wrestling especially) so as to make Jiu Jitsu the best and most effective grappling sport that it can be.

We will be including Coach Joey’s warm up drills and wrestling techniques into our training in future weeks so that we can build off of the progress made during the Wrestling Seminar.

You can also check out our Youtube Channel for  his techniques:

 

Connect with Coach Joey Boardwine

For any students interested in working directly with Coach Joey, you can read more about his academy at boardwinegrappling.com. Joey is not only a phenomenal coach, but also an outstanding individual at heart who truly enjoys helping students in their Wrestling and Jiu Jitsu journey. He will be more than happy to speak with you about working with him to improve your wrestling game.

You can also follow him on Instagram:

Thank you again to Joey Boardwine for the amazing seminar. Thank you also to all of the students who showed up ready to learn!

We hope to have Coach Joey Boardwine back again soon.


Here are some of the upcoming events at the gym:

Keep an eye out on the blog for gym updates or follow us:

Instagram: @tonycasarez | @lepribjjraleigh
Facebook: Tony Casarez | Lepri BJJ Raleigh
Youtube Channel: Tony Casarez

Taking Notes for Jiu Jitsu

I have always encouraged students to take notes during class. Why? Because I cover details that are directly linked to the belt exams that they are required to take (if they do not compete regularly) in order to get promoted.

I also want students to get the most out of each training session.

However, I realized that the problem with taking notes during class is that students will scribble details, and then never look at the notes again. This is not beneficial for memory retention.

In fact, research shows that recalling information after the fact is better for memory retention than passively writing details down as you hear them.

So, I have started to send out a weekly technique review to all of my students through email. It lists the drills and names of the techniques that we discussed, but it does not include any of the details of the technique.

My hope is that students will see the list in the weekly review, and then fill in the details themselves. This requires students to think back to the class and what was taught. They will need to ask themselves, “what do I remember about this technique?”

By practicing memory recall and writing down what they remember after the fact, they are more likely to retain the information and remember it for when they are rolling.

Example of How to Use the Weekly Technique Review

Here is an example of what a student’s notes might look like after this week’s review:

  • Pass: Walk Back to Headquarters to Back Step
    • Headquarters: squat position with one of opponent’s leg in between your legs. Pull on their outside right knee with your left hand to walk back to headquarters (from knee cut for example). Once in headquarters, grip opponent’s left outside knee with right hand, and use left hand to reach for opponent’s collar or cross face. Backstep to the right. Drop hip and head to stomach at the same time.
  • Pass: Drop Elbow to Knee Cut
    • From headquarters, drop elbow to the inside of opponent’s leg to block the knee shield and go for knee cut. Knee cut: elbow stays low to prevent knee shield, opp arm reaches for near side collar, outside leg stays far away to avoid getting underhooked by opponent, head and shoulder low, strong base.
  • Pass: Pin Top Knee Shield with Grip on Sleeve and Point Knee Towards Elbow to Back Step
    • From knee cut (to your left) when opponent has a knee shield, right hand grabs their sleeve and right elbow pins their knee down. Knee points to the other direction and backstep to the right. Keep walking back in backstep until you have passed.

As you can see, the notes are not perfect. They are just what comes to mind when you try to remember what we drilled in class.

Focus on What Makes Sense to You

I also want to emphasize that there will be some techniques that just did not click for you, and others that make sense.

Really focus on the ones that make sense, and do not stress too much about the ones that left you confused. I show a handful of variations because I know that some people will prefer one technique to another, and that it differs from student to student.

Focus and pay attention to the techniques that make sense and feel comfortable to you. These are the ones you will be more likely to use in a roll anyways.

Try recalling details for the techniques in the Weekly Review for at least a month, and see how it improves your jiu jitsu!

As a reminder, here are some of the upcoming events at the gym:

Keep an eye out on the blog for gym updates or follow us:

Instagram: @tonycasarez | @lepribjjraleigh
Facebook: Tony Casarez | Lepri BJJ Raleigh
Youtube Channel: Tony Casarez

 

3 Mistakes to Avoid When Writing Your Jiu Jitsu Goals for 2022

Welcome to 2022! It’s a new year, which means new  Jiu Jitsu goals for 2022!

Goals in Jiu Jitsu are so important. If you have not yet created a list of goals for yourself, go ahead and do that now. Goals will help you to measure progress, stay motivated, and continue improving.

I’m not here to tell you what goals to create for yourself. Everyone is going to be different when it comes to their goals in Jiu Jitsu. Some students want to win tournaments, others want to lose weight, some want to make friends and improve their mental health. This is where you need to take time to get to know yourself on the mat and what you want to achieve. If you are a white belt, here are some common themes to focus on to get you started with your goals. 

What I can provide you with is 3 of the most common mistakes that are made when creating goals for Jiu Jitsu and how to avoid them. This will help you create goals that are productive and effective in your Jiu Jitsu journey.

Mistakes to avoid in your Jiu Jitsu goals for 2022:

1. Goals that you can’t control

The most common mistake that students make when creating their Jiu Jitsu goals is creating goals that they cannot control. What does this mean?

Goals that you cannot control include goals that involve outside variables and factors. For example, if you commit to the goal “end every roll with a submission”, then you are bound to be disappointed.

Why? Because you cannot control the technique, intensity, or experience of your opponent. Your opponent is the external factor that you cannot control, and so if your opponent has great defense and you are unable to submit them, you will become disappointed, demotivated, and ultimately give up on your goal.

Reframe this goal to: “Begin every roll with a submission in mind”. This goal involves only factors that you can control – your mindset before a roll. You can control the conscious thoughts that you engage in before a roll, and no matter the external factor, you can always begin every roll with a submission in mind. This is a goal that will improve your Jiu Jitsu, without causing frustration and disappointment. Some other examples of goals that you can’t control and how to reframe them include:

  • Never get my guard passedNever accept a pass (meaning don’t get discouraged when you are about to get passed or if you get passed, and always be looking for a way to recover)
  • Roll 8 times every class (there may be days where the instructor does not alot time for 8 rolls)focus on my breathing during every roll
  • Don’t tap (inevitable…this is jiu jitsu, hopefully you tap! Otherwise you’ll get put to sleep, arm broken or leg snapped off)Take notes after I get tapped out, and focus on learning rather than getting discouraged

2. Goals that are outcome oriented

Not only do I hear this all of the time, but I myself have made this mistake. Outcome oriented goals are the infamous “I am going to win 5 tournaments this year”, “I am going to win the Worlds”, “My goal is to get my purple belt before December”.

Instead of writing goals that are outcome oriented, focus on writing goals that are process specific.

For example, instead of “I am going to win an IBJJF this year”, your goal should be “I am going to follow this training plan with no exceptions, read books on champion psychology, and lift at least 4 times a week”

These goals are process specific, so they set a clear path forward. By following this goal, you enter the competition feeling motivated, prepared, and confident. The next step is to simply trust the process that you created for yourself, and let the outcome speak for itself.

Ironically, goals that are process specific as opposed to goal oriented are more likely to help you reach your goals.

  • I am going to get my purple belt by DecemberI am going to train at least 3 times a week and study at least once a week

3. Goals with no foundation

The final most common mistake students make is creating goals because that’s what they were told to do and that’s what everyone else is doing, but they take no time to understand why they are creating the goals.

The truth about goals is that they take time, and time inevitably involves bad days, curve balls, contingencies, and other roadblocks we cannot predict.

Whatever goals you create, you want to expect and plan for the inner voice that will tell you, “you don’t really need to do this”, “do you really even want this?”, “no one cares if you make this goal or not”. You have to plan for the days when you are sick, when you are tired, when you receive bad news or are feeling unmotivated and overwhelmed.

What will carry you through these days is a foundation. A “why” for every goal you create. It will help to write these “why’s” down, because on the low days, it will be very hard for your mind to retrieve them. This will help keep your goals alive, and will avoid them falling to the wayside because “well they’re not that important anyway”.

If it’s something you want, then understand why you want it.

For example…

  • My goal is to train 3 times a weekwhy? Because this will help my mental health and I will be a better father, husband, and employee if my mental health is in check.
  • My goal is to follow my training plan to a tee and hopefully win this next tournament → why? Because I’ve wanted to for a long time and it will make me feel proud of myself. Because I want to set an example for my son and for my students. Because I want to prove to myself that I can.

Any and all of these are sufficient for your “why”. As long as you have your “why”, you are more likely to achieve your goals and overcome the days when you feel like giving up.


Take time now to reflect on the goals you have set for yourself this year, and maybe reframe some of them to avoid these most common mistakes. When you have goals that are intentional and well written, you will be more likely to achieve the goals and grow further in your jiu jitsu journey.

5 Rules for Cross-Training

The question is not necessarily whether cross-training in itself is good or bad, the question is moreso, how can I cross-train respectfully?

There is nothing inherently wrong with cross-training. It can be beneficial to you as a student if you want to get to know other jiu jitsu students in the community and diversify your training.

That being said, if you are going to cross train, you want to make sure that you are respectful to your home gym, your visiting gym, and to all of the members that you meet in the process.

Here are 5 Rules for Cross Training that will help ensure that it is a positive experience for all parties involved:

1. Let your home gym and the visiting gym know that you are cross-training

Inform the head instructors at both gyms that you are cross-training. This shows courtesy and respect to both gym owners, and makes the intention for cross-training very clear. When you make it clear that you are cross-training, the instructor at the visiting gym knows that you are not their student, meaning they are not going to promote you, and you are also not a potential member. By being open and honest about your cross-training, you avoid any confusion about your intention at each gym.

2. Always offer to pay a mat fee

More often than not, a mat fee will be required. However, some gyms will not require a mat fee when you visit them, but I always suggest to my students to at least offer to pay something. By paying a mat fee, you show that you value the training, the facility, and the instruction. You are also showing respect to the members of that gym who are paying monthly dues to train there. If they do not accept your offer, then buy merchandise, help to sweep the mats, or offer to pay for a meal after training. You can get creative, but the point is to always show that you value the school that you are visiting and the training that they offer.

3. Understand what techniques are allowed

If you are going to visit another gym, it is extremely important that you know what techniques are allowed, and for which belts.

At our gym, for example, we do not allow white belts to do heel hooks. This is to avoid unnecessary injury. We will train heel hooks amongst colored belts, but only as long as it is agreed between sparring partners. It is important that all students visiting our school are also aware of this rule.

Always ask the head professor or fellow students if there are any specific rules in regards to which techniques are allowed for which belts.

4. Learn the rules of the school

Different schools have different rules and requirements for training. Always be aware of these rules, including what gis are allowed, or if you are allowed to wear another school’s patch. If the school you are visiting requires a specific gi, and you do not have that gi, rent or buy the gi that they request. Always be respectful of the rules in place. If you do not agree with the rules, then don’t train at that gym.

5. Be aware of poachers, and don’t poach another school’s students

Poaching is unnecessary and disrespectful. The quality of jiu jitsu at a school should speak for itself. If a school owner is trying to get you to leave your school and join theirs, what does that say about their jiu jitsu?

Be aware of students and coaches trying to get you to join their school, and never encourage other students to leave their school and come join yours. The purpose behind cross-training is to enhance your training, never to poach.

When a student from another school visits, I make it very clear that I am not their instructor, they are not my student, and I will not promote them. Students have asked me before if they should train at another school or my school, and I make it clear that that is not my decision. I have also experienced other schools poaching my own students, so I know what that is like, and will never do that to another coach.


My last and final suggestion is to always open a dialogue with your professor if you do decide to leave the gym. Take the time to talk to them, and let them know why you are leaving. Even if it is because you have a problem with your current school, be honest about the issues that are driving you away. This will always be more appreciated than an excuse.

I hope that these rules are helpful to you as you consider cross-training. As always, I would be interested to hear your thoughts on cross-training. Let me know what you think in the comments section of our Youtube Video.

Instagram: @tonycasarez | @lepribjjraleigh
Facebook: Tony Casarez | Lepri BJJ Raleigh
Youtube Channel: Tony Casarez

Advice to My White Belt Self

 

It took me over 10 years to get my black belt in Jiu Jitsu. During that time, I learned a lot of lessons. In the hopes that it will help some of you on your journey, here is some advice I wish I had been given when I was a white belt:

Consistency is Key

Prioritize consistent training over hard training. I would rather see you roll 4-5 days a week consistently, than 1-2 hard days. The problem with rolling hard every class is that the next day, you are beat up and exhausted, with little to no motivation to go back and train. If you do go back and train, you get run down and your motivation starts to take a hit. Instead of this approach, train consistently, without the pressure of training hard every day. Some days you should just drill, other days roll only with lower belts, other days roll lightly as best you can. Whatever you need to do to continue showing up multiple times a week and stay consistent.

Get Involved and Stay Committed to Other Arts

Do not quit the other arts. I trained judo, wrestling, and striking briefly when I was a white belt. My advice to myself then would be to keep up with these arts and incorporate them into my training. Whether that means once a week, once a month, or once every couple of months, I know that it would have significantly improved my jiu jitsu journey. If anything, I would have also been a black belt in judo by this time. Whether that means wrestling clubs at schools or in the community, anything you can do to get involved. If a competition is available in these arts, even better! Do it.

Create Healthy Diet and Recovery Habits

Habits take a long time to build, and I wish I had started prioritizing a healthy diet and lifestyle when I was a white belt. When you are young, you can get away with eating any food you want or getting little sleep, and showing up the next day ready to train. As you make your way to black belt, the years inevitably tick away. Getting older means you need to be watching what you are eating and your lifestyle habits. My advice would be to create habits now that will benefit your older (black belt) self in the future.

Do Not Stop Lifting Weights

A stronger version of you is a better version of you. Lifting weights improves jiu jitsu and also prevents injury in jiu jitsu, which means you can be more consistent. I lifted weights during the early years of my jiu jitsu career, but stopped on and off throughout the decade. My advice would be to keep lifting, and consider it a part of your training. It will benefit you in the future.

Learn How to Study Jiu Jitsu

It’s boring, and no one wants to sit in front of a computer when they can actually roll with friends, but it has to be done. Studying jiu jitsu online is one of the best ways to improve quickly and develop a greater understanding of how and why jiu jitsu works. Like the healthy diet and lifestyle, my advice would be to start learning how to study jiu jitsu as a white belt. Push yourself to incorporate this into your routine. I would tell myself that it is helpful and worth the time.

Travel When Possible to Learn from Others

I traveled a lot to compete, but sometimes I wish I had used those resources to go to seminars of world class black belts and learn different styles. Of course you learn a lot from tournaments, but every now and then, choose a seminar over a tournament to get a taste of different styles and improve your game outside of your home gym’s instruction.

Jiu Jitsu Can Be Your Career

For almost the entire decade that I trained, I was told by family members and friends that jiu jitsu was just a hobby, a past-time. I was told that I needed to focus on my career. I am proud of myself for going to university and getting my undergraduate and masters, but I wish I had been told that jiu jitsu could be more than a hobby. I always believed it for myself, but it was hard to stay motivated with outside pressure pushing me to be “successful” in society’s eyes. For a while, I was in denial of following my path. I would tell myself as a white belt that it is okay to commit to jiu jitsu. Don’t hold yourself back because of what other people expect or want from you. If you know it’s your path, then follow it.


Most of all, enjoy the journey. I hope that this advice is helpful. I would love to hear what advice you would tell yourself as a white belt, or even just as your younger self. Let me know in the comments on Instagram and Facebook.

Facebook: Tony Casarez
Instagram: @tonycasarez

Stop Trying to Fix Your Cardio & Do This Instead

The biggest misconception in the Jiu Jitsu community is that you need to improve your cardio in order to keep up with your opponent.

The problem with this philosophy is:

Training cardio outside of Jiu Jitsu makes you more tired and less recovered for your cardio training during Jiu Jitsu.

Rolling in Jiu Jitsu is aerobic exercise in itself. In other words, by showing up to Jiu Jitsu and rolling, you are training and improving your cardiovascular system. There is no need to push yourself on a 5 mile run or spend an hour on an elliptical to improve your Jiu Jitsu. If anything, training aerobic exercise outside of Jiu jitsu will hinder your training because you will have already taxed your nervous system before you even step on the mat. The best way to train your cardio for Jiu Jitsu is to train Jiu Jitsu, so you do not need to be doing cardio exercises outside of Jiu Jitsu.

If you are tired of feeling tired, and training cardio is NOT helping, then keep reading to find out what you should do instead.

Learn when and how to breathe in Jiu Jitsu

At the seminar, Gui Mendes said:

“What separates lower belts from high belts is not cardio. It’s knowing when [and how] to breathe.”

While cardio is important, learning when and how to breathe in Jiu Jitsu is what will make the difference between you and an opponent who has similar, or possibly even better, cardio.

With a strong breath, you can learn to reduce fatigue and improve your focus, both of which are essential when rolling.

How to breathe in Jiu Jitsu

Inhale and Exhale through your nose for as long as you can during a roll. This type of breathing is known to allow more oxygen to get to active tissues, which is essential for muscle energy and endurance. If you want to learn more about nose breathing, I encourage you to listen to this podcast:

Eventually, you will find it very difficult to continue breathing through your nose in the roll. This is a sign to focus on your breathing once again. Focus on inhaling and exhaling through your nose. Relax your mind. Decide how you want to proceed.

If you are interested in this topic and would like to know more, I encourage you to listen to this podcast:

When to breathe in Jiu Jitsu

It’s tempting to work your way to closed guard, side control, mount, etc. and rest once you get there. Avoid this.

Why? Because you have just secured a dominant position and should capitalize on this position before you allow your opponent to recompose themselves and their breath.

The when to breathe in Jiu Jitsu is in the time after you have just tried a submission, sweep, or pass and it did not work, or right before you are about to pass, sweep, take the back, or go to mount.

Improve your endurance with strength training

If you are going to spend time at the gym outside of Jiu Jitsu, then you should be focusing on strength training. Lifting weights with long periods of rest in between sets.

You are already training your cardio by showing up to Jiu Jitsu. What you should focus on improving is your strength. When the muscles are stronger, they are more efficient in the energy that they use.

By giving yourself more time in between sets, you allow your muscles to recover for the next set so that you focus on strength over cardio.

If you want to improve your strength training routine, I encourage you to research kettlebell workouts and programs. I especially would recommend Strong as Hec Programming: Kettle Bell Workouts .

I will also be uploading a Youtube video that outlines my strength training routine. As always, if you have any questions about strength training, feel free to ask me at the gym.

How to Create a Routine for Rest and Recovery in Jiu Jitsu

The truth is, most of us already know that we need to eat well after a training session, or that we need to make sure we are getting sufficient sleep in order to recover properly.

And yet, we don’t always do it.

It is easy to get distracted by other priorities, to get lazy in our recovery routines, or just be inconsistent depending on our mood.

This is a reminder to prioritize your recovery routine just as much as you do your training sessions.

Here are some tips I have found that will make a consistent recovery routine more likely to happen:


Make your post-training recovery drink readily available

What does this mean?

After training, you are exhausted. If you do not have a go-to product or already made drink, the chances that you are going to stop at a store or make a smoothie as soon as you make it home are pretty unlikely. And if you are a student that likes to chat after class, the 30 minute window to recover has probably already closed.

My advice would be to purchase a recovery drink in bulk for the week, and bring one to every class so that it is ready to drink on the way home. If you prefer a powder recovery, then bring the powder to class and make the drink before you leave so that you can drink it on the way home.

The key here is to come up with a routine that will help you be more consistent in how you refuel your body after training.


Relax your nervous system before you leave the gym/before you sleep

Again, we all know we need more sleep. Sometimes that’s just not possible with families, work, and other responsibilities. I’m not here to tell you that you need to start getting 10 hours of sleep a night. For most people, that’s just not going to happen and frankly, not helpful, you already know you need more sleep.

What I will say is that training jiu jitsu is taxing on the nervous system. Your muscles are being activated, your cardio is being pushed, and your brain is under the impression that this is a fight or flight situation.

This can result in the release of the hormones norepinephrine, adrenaline and cortisol. These are helpful in the moment because they work to increase your heart rate and enhance focus.

However, if you do not properly relax your nervous system before you leave and especially before you sleep, you will carry these hormones into your nightly routine. This will disrupt the quality of your sleep.

The next time you end a training session, take a minimum of 2 minutes to close your eyes and take deep breaths. This will help ‘reset’ the body temperature, calm the central nervous system and bring your breathing rhythm back to normal. You can also think of this as a time to soak in all that you learned on the mats. You can do this in the gym just sitting against the wall, or while you are stretching. If you don’t feel comfortable doing this in the gym, you can do it in your car before you leave for home. At the very least, do it right before you go to sleep at night. This will help to prepare your body for a restful night’s sleep.

If you are looking for more of a guided meditation or breathing exercise, there are many online and hundreds of free ones to choose from on an app called Insight Timer.


Support Your Recovery with Magnesium & Zinc

If your recovery drink does not have Magnesium or Zinc, I highly suggest taking these supplements before you go to sleep. Magnesium supports the body’s metabolism, muscle recovery, and improves sleep by naturally helping to calm and regulate the nervous system. Zinc supports the muscles in recovery and protein synthesis. It also improves your body’s immune system response.

These supplements will be what help you to make it to the end of the week without feeling run down, congested, or sick. They will help you to show up better the next day for training.

EVL’s Sleep and Recovery Complex is a great place to start if looking to add these supplements to your nightly routine.

You can find more information about this supplement for men here. 


These are just some of the tips that I would suggest to students who are struggling to commit to a consistent recovery routine. By making recovery as convenient as possible, we are more likely to remember and commit to doing it, even on the days we are exhausted, burnt out, or unmotivated. Consistency is key, so come up with a routine that best compliments your lifestyle and personality, and stick to it. Notice how your body feels when you implement a consistent and healthy recovery routine.

Jiu Jitsu Concepts: Gui Mendes Seminar

As Lucas Lepri affiliates, all of our students were invited to attend the seminar hosted by the Lepri Headquarters on October 16. The seminar featured Gui Mendes, a 4X World Champion and current professor at Art of Jiu Jitsu Academy in Costa Mesa, California.

For the students who were not able to attend the seminar, I wanted to share some of the key takeaways that were discussed. I would also encourage you to watch some of Gui Mendes’ competition matches so that you can get an understanding of his style.

Concepts in Jiu Jitsu

Gui Mendes began the seminar by stressing the importance of concepts in jiu jitsu. In particular, he focused on concepts that involve passing the guard. His belief is that concepts are fundamental to learning jiu jitsu, and help students to tie techniques together.

The concept that he shared first was the idea of varying degrees of distances that are used when passing the guard. These distances were:

  1. Far distance
  2. Middle distance
  3. Near distance

Far distance includes any time when an opponent has control of the arms or collar, but your legs are kept far away so that the opponent cannot control them. Far distance, for example, would be when the opponent has spider guard.

Middle distance is when an opponent has control of one leg, and a sleeve or collar. This would be when an opponent has de la riva, for example. Finally, near distance is when there is little to no space between the opponent and yourself when passing the guard, and this would be headquarter position or half guard, for example. He showed examples of passes for all of these guards.

When passing far distance (spider guard), for example, he shared a three step process:

  1. Create distance
  2. Open the gap
  3. Attack

Creating the distance involves constant movement, or “a flow”, as he described. He encouraged students to always stay moving so as to keep the opponent active and adjusting. As an opponent is adjusting, this is when the gap is open. He described a 1-3 second window of opportunity for attack that involves the time when an opponent is adjusting to recompose their guard.

Techniques to Pass the Guard

The other techniques that he showed were guard passes from middle distance and near distance. The middle distance pass was a de la riva pass when the opponent also has the underhook on the leg. Because the leg is underhooked, you cannot remove the de la riva and slide your shin over. You have to also address the underhook. His approach was to move the de la riva leg up to the hip, and then grab their collar and pressure in. This traps their leg, so that you are then able to initiate passing. This technique is difficult to describe in a blog post, so if you are stuck on passing de la riva, come talk to me either in person or through DMs, and I will share it with you.

There were a lot of great concepts and techniques shared by Gui Mendes that it would be impossible to share all of them. Some of the concepts can be found on this video: How to Control the Distance to Pass ANY Guard In Jiu Jitsu by Guilherme Mendes.

How to Study these Jiu Jitsu Concepts

If you are interested, the entire seminar will also be posted on Lucas’ Online Training Program. I highly suggest purchasing the program if these concepts and techniques spark your interest. The Online Training Program also has hundreds of Lucas’ techniques and other videos such as training footage and guest instructors.

Finally, Gui Mendes also has BJJ Fanatics instructional collections on Understanding the Distance on Top.

We will also be reviewing these concepts in class over the next few weeks!

BJJ Safety With The Coronavirus

In light of the growing public-health concern about coronavirus (COVID-19), we want to share what we know about this illness so far, and what Team Casarez has been doing to prioritize your health and wellness. With that in mind, I specifically want to cover the following topics:

The most up-to-date information about coronavirus and its overall impact to date.

What you can do to help prevent illness and stay healthy.

What Casarez Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has been doing to help keep members safe.

1. What We Know About Coronavirus

The coronavirus is a novel respiratory disease that has been spreading globally since late 2019. It presents a threat due to its newness, its contagiousness, and the lack of a vaccine or a clear treatment plan. The World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Public Health Agency of Canada, and local health officials are the trusted sources for the most accurate information, as well as updates on the status of vaccines and treatments (which are in development).

The coronavirus’s health risk to date appears to be comparable to that of influenza, which many of us have experienced. The CDC provides the following data about the preliminary burden estimates of influenza for the 2019–2020 season in the United States (October 1, 2019–February 22, 2020), which are contrasted with current burden estimates of coronavirus globally:

Unfortunately, coronavirus may live on certain surfaces at room temperature for several days. This, along with its rate of contagiousness, makes it unlikely that the virus can be contained. And because its symptoms are similar to those of influenza, it initially may be hard to know if they are indicative of coronavirus or another illness.

2. What We All Can Do

Stay informed. It’s important to process the considerable information we’re all receiving in a balanced and thoughtful way. With that in mind, worrying or panicking in response to the overwhelming amount of information can create stress in the body, which is known to compromise immunity. The CDC provides a comprehensive overview of

“What You Should Know.”

Boost your immune system. Now more than ever, it’s essential to prioritize our health and well-being, and do all you can to boost your immune system so you’re as healthy as possible, in the event you encounter this virus. Research shows that sustaining healthy habits supports immunity and can help prepare our bodies to better fight and recover from illnesses, including coronavirus.

These include:

  • Stick to a nutrient-dense, toxin-free diet, including known immune-supportive foods like garlic and ginger. Avoid foods that tend to weaken the immune system, such as sugar, refined grains, industrial vegetable oils, and processed and refined foods, as much as you can.
  • Get plenty of sleep, ideally seven to eight hours a night. This is your body’s time to perform preventive maintenance, which bolsters the immune system. Research shows that repeatedly short-changing sleep by even an hour or two can negatively affect immunity.
  • Get plenty of sunshine and supplemental vitamin D + K2. High levels of vitamin D have long been linked to lower rates of illness.
  • Consider taking additional vitamins, micronutrients, and supplements to support immunity, such as a high-quality multivitamin, magnesium, omega-3 fish oils, vitamin C, elderberry, and digestive enzymes. Probiotics and powdered greens have also been shown to support immune and gut health.
  • Get at least 20 minutes of low- to moderate-intensity exercise a day to prime the immune system. This movement results in the production of more white blood cells, which combat bacteria and viruses, and promotes improved circulation.

Practice good hygiene

These habits include:

Wash your hands frequently, and for at least 20 seconds, with soap and water to protect yourself and others from germs.
Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.

Keep your hands away from your face, because germs routinely spread when a person touches something contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.

If you begin to develop cold- and flu-like symptoms or become ill, take care of yourself and minimize the spread to others by staying home. If you think you may have symptoms of coronavirus, call your healthcare provider immediately.

BJJ Specific:

Take a shower as soon as possible after training.

Be aware of how you are feeling prior to training not to stress your immune system.

Clean all your items after you train and wash your mouth guards out with hot soap and water post-training

Clean your gym bag if you have one after each training session with disinfectant.

Check out Tips To Stay On The Mats During Cold Season Blog Post

 

3. What Team Casarez Is Doing

While there is still more to learn about coronavirus, our intent in sharing this is to provide current and accurate information about the situation and to offer pragmatic steps we all can take to keep ourselves, our family and friends, and our communities healthy and safe, while minimizing panic.

We all have a responsibility to do our part to limit the spread of this virus and other illnesses, especially to those at a higher risk due to age, compromised immunity, or pre-existing conditions. Additionally, by doing as much as we can to stay healthy ourselves, we support the healthcare providers who will be caring for those in greater need when it becomes necessary.

We will be intensifying our cleaning routine and encouraging everyone to utilize the Sanitizer or Wash Station pre and post-practice.

 

Taping Your Fingers for BJJ

Taping Your Fingers for BJJ

Some Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioners almost never end up using tape and others live by it. I personally think it comes down to the type of BJJ style you like to play. For example, if you are doing NoGi, then needing to tape your fingers outside of an injury is most likely never going to happen, but if you are a big fan of spider guard, then tape on your fingers will probably be in your future. Here at Casarez BJJ in Cary, NC, we practice all the various types of guards in our adult BJJ and kids’ BJJ classes. When you start learning variations of the open guard, the tape is probably a smart practice.

What Type Of Tape To Use?

Some might say tape is tape: just use what you have and it will be fine. But others have a brand they live by.

Sport Tape

Normally found at any big store and sports stores especially. A good tool to have in your BJJ bag for both minor injuries and to tape fingers. “Tip: if you choose to go with this, take a piece and rip it in half. Then, use the smaller pieces to wrap your individual fingers.”

BJJ Specific Tape

This type of tape has a bit more adhesive that will help it stay on your fingers better and is already at a width ready to go. This type of tape can be best found on either a grappling network site or Amazon. The fun thing is that you can get “grappling tape” in various colors and from a number of different brands.

My Finger Tape Benefit Theory

Sometimes it is best to prevent injuries before they happen, well actually it’s always a good idea to do so. As we evolve in BJJ, there are styles that we will lean towards because they suit our body types and overall techniques better. Taping your fingers due to the fact that having sleeve and collar control helps you stabilize your position. Also, time wears on us in this sport, so why not give some aid to the fingers and prevent them from moving too much in one direction, getting squashed or damaged?

Finger Exercises and Conditioning Help Too!

Depending on just tape is not a great idea but instead starting a finger exercise regimen to go along with the tape will help keep your fingers and their joints in tip-top shape. Some ideas are below:

  • Getting a thick rubber band and spreading your fingers out repeatedly
  • Using a tennis ball or racquetball and squeezing it (more grip but still)
  • A hand soak in ice water after a hard session where grips were a primary use
  • Rope or rock climbing work (This will toughen up the fingers but may also stress them)

That was a sidetrack from the actual taping of this article, but I think it is still beneficial to keeping the fingers in good shape.

How To Tape The Fingers

or

Now, this may depend on your background or preference. There are a number of videos out there as well with great instruction to go step by step in completing this. I am going to give just general advice for accomplishing this to give a general overview.

The support method:

I like to think of this as similar support that you may have on a larger area of the body like the arm or knee. Starting with the base of the finger with a wrap then crossing over the bottom of the middle joint. From there wrapping the top of the finger to X the tape causing a limited motion / full support style of taping.

The wrap only method:

This is how I started taping my fingers at first but due to a recovering injury, I ended up going with the “full support method” to aid in the healing. I think that if you are in a hurry or just find that you do not have too much soreness, this will work. Simply tape in between each joint which will reduce the range of motion allowed to the fingers. This will provide a level of protection from overextension or in some cases, smaller jams that may occur.

To Tape Or Not To Tape

Now, this is totally up to you as the practitioner, but I wanted to write this up as many people that just start out end up asking someone, “why do you use tape?” As stated in the first part of the write-up, I think it depends on the type of game you play and how much wear and tear you have on your fingers. I hope this helps anyone out there who has been on the fence to wear tape or not. I will say that my grips have been keeping my opponents in my control better which means a fresh batch of tape just came in the mail.