Back to Back Tournaments

This past weekend was a busy one! The team competed at two local back to back tournaments, one on Saturday and the other on Sunday. In total, 12 students competed this weekend.

Newbreed Charlotte

On Saturday, six students represented Team Casarez at the Newbreed Charlotte tournament in Concord, North Carolina. Newbreed comes to the area approximately 2-4 times a year, and it is a great tournament for students looking to compete for the first time! It is a well organized event, which always makes the day more manageable.

Of the six students competing, it was the first time for three of the students. In total, the team brought home 7 medals – 5 gold and 2 silver.

Trinity, Ellie, Jenn, Megan, Turner, and David all did a great job!

Ellie earned 2nd in the No Gi and Gold in the Gi. In the Gi, she won her match by armbar. She recently placed gold at the Good Fight Tournament, also submitting both of her opponents by armbars.

Jenn competed in No Gi and decisively won her first match, ending the fight in an Americana. She advanced to the finals round, where she lost to a Kimura. This was her first time competing as a blue belt, and she earned 2nd in the division!

Megan competed in the No Gi division as well, and this was her first competition ever. She started off strong, initially winning her first match, but lost in the end due to points. Although she didn’t place, we are proud of her for going out and competing. Jiu Jitsu is a whole family sport for Megan, her husband, and their son, Theo!

Turner also competed for the first time this past weekend. He showcased a lot of the techniques and concepts that we have been working on in the fundamentals class. He swept his opponent, reversed multiple times, and almost got the back. However, he fell short on points in the end and was eliminated from his division.

David wrapped up the day with his matches, which he won by points after landing some strong takedowns. He earned double gold in his division!

FUJI Raleigh

The next day, another round of students competed at the FUJI Raleigh Spring Championship. There were 3 kids, Rowen, Silas, Arthur, and 3 adults, Kevin, Austin, and Mike.

Rowen, Silas, and Arthur began the day early with the kids division. Rowen and Silas had some tough matches, but kept a very strong attitude. This is impressive to see in such young competitors! Arthur won 2 of his matches, and earned

Kevin competed and had some great matches that earned him gold in the Gi. In No Gi, he got third place.

Austin competed in his weight class and lost the first match. He decided to compete in the weight class above him, and ended up winning all of his matches to get gold in the Gi.

Mike competed in the Gi division for his weight class and won gold. He executed a game plan that the team has been studying for the past couple weeks in class. He got an armbar submission in one of his matches as well.


All twelve of the students who competed this weekend did a great job, and we are very proud of them.

Looking ahead, the next event will be Toro Cup 20 on April 30. We have two competitors that will be fighting. This event will also be livestreamed by FloGrappling.

 

Toro Cup 19 and FUJI Raleigh

 

 

This weekend was a busy one for Jiu Jitsu in Raleigh!

Between the Toro Cup 19 on Saturday and the FUJI Raleigh Winter Championship on Sunday, our students and coaches spent the whole weekend on or around the mats.

We had four students compete in superfights for the Toro Cup 19. These superfights are highly competitive and exciting. They require intense physical and mental preparation.

For this Toro Cup specifically, our students were encouraged to focus on their mental game. The four competitors were asked to read the book, “With Winning In Mind”. It covers techniques and strategies to master the mental game before a match. The mental game is often overlooked, but 90% of performance is dependent on the mental game.

Troy and Ferny made their Toro Cup debut, competing for the first time in the superfight event.

Troy submitted his opponent only a few short minutes into the match via Triangle Choke.

Ferny executed his game plan perfectly, initiating the fight with multiple takedowns and avoiding leg locks from his opponent by long stepping and passing guard. He won by points in the end.

Mike and Kevin had both competed in the Toro Cup previously, both coming off of wins in the last event. Mike had a great performance this go around, but had a tactical error in the end that cost him to lose by points. Kevin also lost his match to his opponent.

As we say at Team Casarez, “we win together, we lose together”. We learn from these losses and will go back to the lab as a team to make adjustments and improvements for future matches.

The Toro Cup 19 was very exciting and entertaining, featuring fights from seasoned competitors such as Gabriel Sousa and Deandre Corbe. At the end of the event, Professor Tony Casarez had the opportunity to interview Gabriel Sousa on his preparation, performance, and plans for the future.

The next morning, some of our other students were on the mats as they competed in the FUJI Raleigh Winter Championship. We had 8 competitors total at this event, 3 of which were in the kids divisions.

Gabriel, from our kids program, had a very successful day. He won many of his matches by submission, and brought home 2 gold medals.

We are proud of all of the students who competed this weekend, and are thankful to all of the students who came out to support and help coach.

Professor Tony Casarez reviewed the main takeaways and concepts that we need to work on after watching the matches this past weekend with the 50 students who showed up to the Monday night class. We will continue to review and practice these concepts throughout this week.

Looking ahead, 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

Newbreed Charlotte 2022

Congratulations to the students who not only braved the snow and ice this past weekend, but also showed up and dominated at the Newbreed Charlotte tournament on January 22. We had a total of nine students representing Team Casarez on the mats. As a gym, we earned 5 gold medals, 6 silver medals, and 4 bronze medals.

For three of the students, this was their first tournament. Two of the students, Sarah and Trinity, joined the gym together approximately 6 months ago. After training consistently and putting in a lot of hard work, they entered the tournament and both were very successful. Sarah won gold and silver, and Trinity won gold and bronze!

Joe is another student who competed for the first time. He won his matches, and brought home a gold and bronze medal.

This was Riya’s first tournament as a blue belt, and she competed in the No-Gi division for her age group. She won all of her matches by submission, and brought home her first gold medal as a blue belt.

Three of the other students were from our kids’ program, and each of them showcased incredible technique and discipline for such young ages! Between the three of them (all siblings), they earned 6 silver medals.

Mike C., brown belt, competed and won gold in the Gi, submitting his opponent by choke, and bronze in the No-Gi.

 

We are very proud of the students who competed in the tournament. Many students and other competitors were not able to make it to the tournament because of weather conditions. Despite the unpredictable weekend, our nine students not only showed up, but really took to heart the techniques and concepts we have been discussing in class and applied them to live matches. We are excited to continue watching each of these students’ Jiu Jitsu journeys unfold.


Our next event will be the Toro Cup tournament on February 5, 2022. We have 5 students competing in Super Fights at this event.

The FUJI Tournament in Raleigh will take place on February 6, 2022 and we have a handful of students competing in this tournament as well.

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

Students Learn from 9X Adult World Champion Lucas Lepri at Annual Seminar

Lucas Lepri and his three students, Dante, Kleber, and Marcelo, visited Team Casarez on May 8, 2021 for the annual Lucas Lepri seminar. Each year, the school invites Lucas to share his latest modern techniques, meet with the students, and lead the celebration for the annual belt ceremony.

Lucas Lepri is a 9X Adult Black Belt World Champion and a world class instructor. He is also the Head of the Lepri Association and the Head Professor of our coach, Tony Casarez. Lucas’ technique and attention to detail have propelled him to the highest levels of the sport. Our students had the opportunity to spend the Saturday afternoon learning these details and asking him questions. 

 

Lepri Techniques

The seminar began with 31 of our students lined up in order of rank. Lucas introduced himself to the school and then jumped right into technique. The next 2 hours were spent covering a series of guard passes that can be used when the opponent has the lasso and de la riva guard. 

When passing this type of guard, Lucas stressed the importance of passing the knee across the opponent’s shin, rather than their thigh. This breaks the opponent’s grip on the pants, and allows you to begin passing. When passing, the grip should be on the opponent’s lapel, in line with their collar bone so as to control the shoulder. Lucas also noted that students should aim for their shoulders to be behind their opponents shoulders when passing and their lifted and away. This prevents the opponent from being able to frame. Once the hand that is lasso’d is able to pummel to the outside of the opponent’s leg, then you can come up and begin to establish side control. This is just a brief summary of one of the techniques that Lucas showed, but there were many variations and options that he offered that all of our students practiced. 

 

 

Student Promotions

Following the techniques, a belt ceremony took place and 10 students were individually recognized for their hard work and consistency. During this ceremony, Thryn, Brien, David, Mike, Christian and Catherine received their blue belts. Sach, Milo, and Fernie were promoted to purple belt, and Luiz received his First Degree on his black belt. All of these students have been working hard over the past several years to receive their promotions, and we are proud of their dedication to the sport. We are excited to watch their journeys unfold as they begin to practice and compete at these new levels. 

 

 

Following the Seminar 

Once the belt ceremony was over, students were free to roll, socialize, and enjoy the rest of the Saturday afternoon. Students who were recently promoted took the time to get a couple of rolls in under their new belts. Other students chose to stay just to watch Ted roll with one of Lucas’ brown belts, Marcelo. Lucas and Tony took the time to chat with students, and also to record a technique for the YouTube Channel. Be sure to keep an eye out for this technique which will be released shortly!

The seminar was a great success, and we are very honored and grateful to have had Lucas visit the school and share his knowledge with us. Thank you to all of the students who attended the seminar and helped to make the day special. 

We look forward to another great seminar next year!

 

A Note From Professor Casarez Regarding COVID-19

Dear Students,

I hope you and your families are all doing well during this time. Thank you for your understanding and patience throughout this process and for supporting the school.

I want to send you all on update on the status of the gym, details regarding payment and reimbursements for when the gym reopens, and plans for virtual instruction in the meantime.

Because the regulations for social distancing have been extend to April 30, the gym will not be open during this month. If regulations are lifted during this time, I will let you all know. Towards the end of April, I will update you about the month of May.

For those of you who have continued your accounts, I will be offering free months when we reopen to make up for the lost month of in-the-gym training. As well as that, I will be offering free seminars with Lucas Lepri and other black belts.

In the meantime, I encourage you all to continue training during this time. I have a series of videos that I will be uploading to YouTube that covers techniques we would go over in class. They are available for you to study and practice at your convenience. You can access the Youtube Channel here: Team Casarez Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Youtube.

As well as that, I am also working on ways in which we can all continue to train collectively. I will be hosting live videos 3 times a week, either through Zoom or Facebook Live. In these videos, we will review warm ups, solo drills, and some partner drills that give you ideas on how to continue practicing techniques and training during quarantine. Details on these events will be posted on our Facebook page: Team Casarez BJJ Lepri Raleigh Facebook Page and the website casarezbjj.com.

Thank you all again for your patience during this time. If you have any questions regarding any of this information, please do not hesitate to reach out.

Best regards,

Professor Tony Casarez

 

COVID-19 UPDATE

To all our Team Casarez BJJ Students, we have been monitoring the situation with the spread of Covid-19 and have taken the difficult decision to temporarily close the gym for two weeks, beginning Sunday, 3/15.

The fastest way to make training safe again is to do our part to combat the spread of this virus, which means social distancing. Due to the close-contact nature of our sport, there is no way to train while maintaining social distancing practices.

Despite the extraordinary financial strain this decision will put on our business, we believe that closing our doors is the best thing we can do for our community. While there have been no cases of COVID-19 at our academy, we have chosen to take these preventative measures rather than risk exposure at our academy.

During our temporary closure, all Team Casarez students will have free access to our YouTube channel training program. More details on the online instruction will be posted soon.

This is new territory for all of us, and we appreciate the support we have received from our students. We will post updates as the situation develops.

Professor Tony Casarez

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.

 

Holiday BJJ Gift Guide

Holiday BJJ Gift Guide

With the holidays coming up, we wanted to share a Holiday BJJ Gift Guide that could be shared with family members or used to purchase some great gifts for your fellow Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioners. At Casarez BJJ in Cary NC, we have all types of students but one common factor is they all do BJJ. Go figure. These recommended gifts are not only for adult BJJ practitioners but also for kids BJJ as well. Below you will find some great gift ideas and also reasons why any grappler would enjoy them.

Finger Tape:

Not all people need or even want finger tape, but jamming a finger or just having some when another student needs it can make or break a training session. There are many different types of finger tape out there. You can get between both width and thickness. As we do not have a direct sponsor, here is a link for BJJ finger tape so you can check out some.

Mouthguard:

This is more of a personal preference and if you are purchasing one for someone it may be odd to ask what the mouth size or color to get the right fit. But this is a great gift idea to also send to a family member that keeps asking you what you want. A mouthguard that I personally like with no affiliation is SISU (Easy to talk, drink, and breath with)   click here .

Water Bottle:

There are many different types of water bottles you can get someone, but when it comes to BJJ, having water is crucial to a good training session. I normally go with a glass water bottle with a protective wrap to prevent breaking, but when training I want to make sure that no way glass is breaking, so I go with a Nalgene or a steel one.

Rash Guards:

I always first recommend checking with your academy to make sure they do not mind you wearing any type of rashguard, and if not, then picking a site like https://www.bjjhq.com/ , Amazon , and of course your academy’s website as you always want to be representing your team on the mats.

After Training Soap:

There is a solid fact when you are training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, you must wash and wash well after training. Choosing a quality soap is important, and this company literally put it on the branding (no affiliation) Armbar Soap . I personally use Castile Bar Soap but either way this as a gift for a grappler is not a bad idea.

Quick Dry Sport Towel:

These are always in my gym bag, and although many people may not even use one or want to use one, the gesture for a gift is perfect. When you train BJJ, you sweat and having this as a go-to after class or in between rolls makes training better in my opinion. You can check out some here.

Personal First Aid Kit:

Now all gyms have a first aid area, but it is nice to have some essentials on hand if you encounter a small cut or injury that can be fixed quickly. I wrote a blog a while back about hygiene on the mats and had the perfect section for this exact kit here . But instead of building out an entire personal first aid kit for someone, a basic pre-built one from the store would be a great gift.

BJJ Shirts:

As we want to always be ready on the mats, it’s also nice to be just as prepared off the mats. BJJ themed shirts are fun to wear after training and just out and about. Some companies I have really enjoyed getting shirts from are OSSPOP and TORO BJJ. This makes a great gift to your fellow grapplers because we all know that BJJ puns make everyone smile.

GI maybe:

First, the maybe comes into play in terms of both your academy and also personal preference. I will say though that if you have been eyeing a new GI that just came out at your academy what better time to ask for it than the holidays. Also buying GI’s is a process that you want to make sure if you are a person wearing it, you are involved in the purchase process for size, material, etc. So do not hesitate to send a link with the exact fit you are looking for to someone that insists on buying you “something” and you could be hitting the mats in the new year with a fresh GI.

I hoped you liked my personal Holiday BJJ Gift Guide. This time of the year always excites me because within a month you normally see people sporting some fresh gear and new toys that in the end allow us all to Train MORE! On the last note, I always like to mention that supporting our BJJ community is huge too so if there is a local company that has products that you like, be sure to put those on your list.

Casarez BJJ IBJJF Results

Wanted to take some time and give a shout out to all the competitors who went down to Charlotte and competed in the IBJJF Charlotte International Open. We had a total of 6 competitors compete with the following breakdown.

Results:

  • Jed 1st ?
  • Josh 2nd ?
  • Ross 3rd ?
  • Fernie 3rd ?
  • Graham 3rd ?

Matt had a tough fight and lost ref’s decision in the opener round but went up a weight class since there was no one in his weight class. He did great in his match fighting a much bigger opponent.

Also proud to be part of Team Alliance representing Lucas Lepri HQ in Charlotte. As a team, we won our third IBJJF Charlotte Open Championship. Huge win for us and Head Professor Lucas Lepri.

When a competitor steps out on the mat, they are bringing all the students with them, and it is an  honor to always have any of the Casarez BJJ students out there testing their skill set. We always want to send an offer to come try out a free week if you want to experience the art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu here at Team Casarez BJJ located in Cary NC. We have both kids bjj and adults bjj classes along with beginner to advance instruction by some of the best in the triangle area.

Recap Of the Latest Events in September

We have had a lot going on this month for Team Casarez BJJ in Cary, NC. This month was filled with some wonderful competitions that our team fought hard in and trained hard for. Before we break down all the events this month, we want to thank the students, competitors, and community that is ever growing here in the Triangle area for Jiu-Jitsu. To train BJJ, it takes dedication and tenacity that can be applied in our everyday life, and to see people all around our community strive to be the best on and off the mats is what makes training this beautiful martial art even more amazing.

Tap Cancer Out

The Tap Cancer Out tournament came to the wonderful city of Raleigh, NC this month to help fundraise for our fight against cancer. Our school raised more than$3500 dollars and helped contribute to our fight against cancer. We also sent 10 students and came back with 9 gold ?, 3 silver?, and 1 bronze ?. We’re proud of our students and parents for always supporting the team. What makes us more proud of them is the great human beings they are on and off the mat. The medals are just a reflection of their hard work and dedication.

IBJJF Pan American no-gi championships in New York

A quote from Professor Tony Casarez who competed:

“No-gi Pan American Silver Medalist! ?I wanted the gold today, but I’m just grateful to be doing what I love. Had 3 tough matches. Lost in the finals 2-0 to a tough opponent. Thank you to all my supporters from family, friends, students, sponsors, mentors. I’m here because of you all. Thank you a million times. And thanks to God for giving me this blessing. “

Toro Cup 11

Another tournament for a great cause which raised money to help bring BJJ and MMA to Africa to help improve the lives of those who do not have the chance to experience this wonderful martial art. We had two competitors Jed and Kevin in the invite-only tournament. Jed secured the win with an Ezekiel choke early in the match, and then Kevin had a very hard-fought match that ended in points. Both competitors showed amazing talent and skill on the mats giving their opponents a very tough match. We cannot thank them enough for going out there and representing Team Casarez in the best way while at the same time raising money for such a great cause.