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.

 

IBJJF Charleston Open 2022

On the weekend of March 26 and 27, IBJJF hosted the Charleston Open in South Carolina. We took a total of 4 competitors to this tournament, Professor Tony, Ferny, Riya, and Troy. There were also three students from the school who chose to travel to Charleston just to watch and support their teammates, Henry, Devin, and Anna. This was a 5 hour drive, so we especially appreciate their support!

Also, as a part of Alliance, our association was awarded 1st place of all the teams at the tournament!

Competition Results

Riya competed in the Juvenile Blue Belt Gi division, and after winning her weight class, she decided to also compete in the open class. She won the open class as well, ultimately bringing home 2 gold medals. She got two submissions, a kimura and an armbar. Riya trains almost everyday in the evening classes, she helps out with the kids classes, and she studies Jiu Jitsu outside of training. She now has her eyes on Pan Ams 2022, where she will compete next week!

Ferny competed in the Adult Purple belt division against some of the toughest purple belts in the world. This is his 3rd IBJJF as a purple belt, and he competed in both the Gi and No Gi divisions for his weight class. In the Gi division, he was calm and used his pressure to get in good positions. When he was utilizing his guard, he was able to trap his opponents shoulder and secure a triangle and then lock up an arm bar.In the semi finals, he lost to the champion (an Alliance teammate and great friend of the academy) by armbar, but fought hard throughout.In the no-Gi division, he won by 31 points. He didn’t get the submission, but he was hunting for the submission the entire time. He didn’t get scored on at all. In the finals, he was up 2-0 from a sweep he set up. He then got caught by a triangle from the closed guard. Ultimately, Ferny fought his way to 3rd in the Gi Division and 2nd in the No Gi Division.

Troy competed in the Blue Belt Adult Division for the first time, and put on some great performances! In the Gi, he had a tough match against the champion (a member of Alliance and great friend of the academy). In the match, he showed heart and technique, with a very strong passing game in the beginning, but got caught by a bow and arrow in the end. In the no-Gi, his only opponent didn’t make weight. So he automatically won the division. With the hunger for battle, he went into the open class and fought an opponent over 30 pounds heavier. He was able to sweep and score points, but then lost by armbar to his opponent who medaled at the open class division. Troy has a bright and exciting future ahead of him in competition, since he is always positive, hardworking, and composed!

Professor Tony competed in both Gi and No Gi. With eyes on Pan Ams, he wanted to test his cardio in the most fast paced and technical division in the tournament – Adult Black Belt. Although the matches did not go his way, his performances were strong and he showcased techniques he teaches everyday at the school. His cardio was tested, and he took notes on what he wants to improve for the upcoming competitions! There will also be a breakdown of his No Gi matches on the YouTube Channel soon.

[Coming Soon]

Day In The Life

To see an inside look at the tournament, check out this vlog created by one of our students that shows a Day In The Life of competition Jiu Jitsu!

Upcoming Events:

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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.

3 Takeaways from the Tap Cancer Out Tournament 2021

On September 11, we took 21 students to the Tap Cancer Out tournament. The event was full of exciting matches and team camaraderie. From the tournament, there are 3 clear takeaways that I want to discuss.

1. Fundamentals are Key!

The first takeaway is that I noticed that our students had a different particular style compared to the other competitors. Because we are under Lucas Lepri and Alliance, our students tended to play a more controlled game with a good, steady pace. For example, there were a lot of fundamentals, such as knee cut passing to side control to basic finishes. Our students played both open and closed guard. They also demonstrated knowledge of basic takedowns from our curriculum which focuses on basic judo and wrestling influenced techniques that are part of our style.

Out of the 21 students who competed from our school, 17 medaled. Out of those 17, 8 got gold. And out of the total competitors, only 1 was a full time competitor who happened to snag a gold. This means that the 16 students who competed and medaled are all hobbyists who train only a few times a week. They have families, full-time school or jobs, or businesses of their own. Their success further proved the system we practice is effective. This was a local tournament but it was still interesting to see this dynamic played out through statistical data.

I learned that our students who practice consistently even just a few times a week can still build the fundamental framework needed to do well in a jiu jitsu tournament. Afterall, fundamentals are key.

2. We Are Family

The second takeaway I noticed at the tournament was that our team relied on each other as family. Since many students were competing at one time, it was hard to coach every single one of them.

Students stepped up, and were able to help each other: from coaching to helping with warm ups to taking videos and pictures of the matches. Our school culture is very important to us as it displays lots of brotherhood and sisterhood that is supportive and encouraging, regardless of results.

Our head of our association, Lucas Lepri, always preaches “we never walk alone,” and this past Saturday was a great example of this. Win or lose, we fight together. And the incredible support from the family and friends radiated and showed us that we are not only a team; we are family.

3. Winning Isn’t Everything

Finally, the 3rd takeaway from the tournament is that this was a great learning experience for everyone. A lot of our students learned from their mistakes. Being humbled is undoubtedly one of the best things that can happen to a person. Everyone wants to win, but winning isn’t everything. As cliche as it sounds, you learn so much from losing. Our team was able to pick the pieces up and rebuild from any losses they experienced. Those who were defeated at the tournament were back on the mats the Monday following.

Where they go from here is really up to them. I am proud of them for all they did not only at the tournament but also the preparation that was involved. As I mentioned before, the majority of these students have full-time lives outside of jiu jitsu. Yet, they made time to prepare mentally and physically. Now, they all know what it feels like to compete. And they know what to change or continue as they move forward.

I’m also really grateful for even the students who didn’t compete because they were there helping out. If they weren’t, they were there in spirit with support. They also helped to prepare these competitors with training at the gym beforehand. In jiu-jitsu, the beautiful thing is you can’t get better by yourself. You lose as a team; you win as a team; you fight as a team.

 

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Technique Of The Week #7

De La Riva Pass to Far Side Armbar

This week in our seventh installment for the technique of the week, coach Tony Casarez is one of the ways pass the De La Riva guard and move securely into a far-side armbar. This technique starts by removing the pressure from the outside leg by removing the de la riva hook and stepping back. At this point Tony steps over the outside leg and secures the grip on the collar with his right hand while forcing the outside knee behind the opponent’s hamstring, hence trapping his opponent’s hips. This allows him to collapse down and secure the underhook. With shoulder pressure, his body moves forward until he is free from the opponent’s leg and then utilizes his knee to pivot to the opposite side. While still having somewhat of a underhook on right arm he moves from a tight side control immediately transitioning into a far side armbar by pulling the opponent’s arm up and moving around the head. The final point is that prior to finishing the armbar, the opponent’s leg is secured preventing an escape.

Pass to Submission Breakdown:

  1. Push de la riva hook leg down and step back with the far leg
  2. Step over the far leg and secure the collar grip with the right hand
  3. Drive knee behind hamstring, trapping opponent’s hips
  4. Lower your body and collapse the opponents open half guard
  5. Secure underhook
  6. Move your body up and free of the legs
  7. Utilize the right knee to pivot around to the opposite side of the body
  8. Using the underhook on the right arm pull the opponent up and transition around the head
  9. Secure the leg and arm pinch the knees and submit

At Team Casarez BJJ here in Cary, NC — a Lucas Lepri affiliate — Coach Tony Casarez and his team strive to teach the most practical moves that will help in both competition and self-defense. We have both Adult BJJ and Kid BJJ programs which drill moves just like this on a regular basis. We invite all to come train with us creating a welcoming team friendly environment. We have students from Raleigh, Durham, Cary and more, so do not hesitate and come try a free week today. Contact us today for more information on our BJJ classes available.

Technique Of The Week #6

GI Single Leg Takedown – Pass – Side Control – Armbar

This sixth installment for the technique of the week by coach Tony Casarez while he demonstrates how to complete a single leg takedown using the gi, and from there he passes the guard into side control by trapping the leg with his legs. This starts with controlling the grips on both the collar and sleeve. From there while keeping the collar grip, dropping levels, and securing the leg, he then knee cuts across the stomach to pass. After this, he proceeds to move to the opposite side of the body with a fully secure side control position. Through the transition to the final side, he is able to secure the opposite arm for a finishing armbar.

Breakdown:

  1. Control the collar and sleeve grips
  2. Let go of the sleeve and drop levels to secure the leg for the takedown
  3. Control the opponent to the ground
  4. Utilize a de la riva pass to get to one side
  5. Let go of the pant grip and get the underhooks
  6. Transition to the opposite side and secure side control
  7. Use the far underhook to transition into the finishing armbar


Though this move may seem like a lot of steps, it is the essence of the BJJ flow: All control and not brute force. This is exactly what Coach Tony Casarez and his team are always teaching here in Cary, NC. This is a beautiful combination of moves that both the Adult BJJ and Kids BJJ classes go through in the fundamental classes, to then perfect in the advanced classes. We are a proud Lucas Lepri affiliate and strive to help our students on and off the mat. BJJ has changed the lives of many and we invite potential students interested in Raleigh, Durham, and Cary to come try out a free week. Check out our class schedules and let us know when you are stopping by to learn from the best in the Triangle area. Contact us today for more information on our BJJ programs.

Technique Of The Week #4

This fourth installment for the technique of the week breaks down what to do when an opponent is attempting place a rear choke from the standing position. For this to properly work it comes down to reaction time from the first moment the choke is attempted. You notice that the right when Tony recognizes he is being attacked the threatening arm is controlled, and at the same time the momentum is used to throw the opponent. From there with the arm still being controlled the other hand is used to control the leg of the downed person at which time the armbar is transitioned into.

The breakdown of The Move:

    • React to the rear choke attempt by controlling the attacking arm
    • Use the momentum to throw the opponent
    • Keep control of the attacking arm during the throw
    • Secure the leg with a grip to prevent an escape
    • Transition into an armbar

This is a scenario that happens a lot and when one is not expecting it, so knowing how to react is key to it working properly. At Casarez BJJ here in Cary NC a Lucas Lepri affiliate Coach Tony Casarez and his team want to ensure that all the students here at Casarez BJJ are prepared for any situation.
Our Adult BJJ and Kids BJJ programs drill moves just like this to make sure all students know the fundamentals that keep you safe and ready. BJJ has changed the lives of many and we invite potential students interested in Raleigh, Durham, and Cary to come try out a free week. Contact us today for more information on our BJJ programs.

Technique Of The Week #2

This technique of the week is showing how to stop an aggressive strike, with then moving to a hip toss controlling the opponent down to the ground. From there you see coach Casarez subdue the opponent with a strike allowing him to transition into an armbar. A key concept here is that prior to fully applying the armbar he secures the hip or pants of the downed opponent to prevent any reversal after the armbar is applied.

A move like this could be used in competition or the street and something everyone should know for self defense. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fundamentals like this and much more can be learned right here in Cary, NC at Team Casarez Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu a Lucas Lepri Affiliate. We offer both Adult BJJ, and Kids BJJ classes that are build around these exact fundamentals displayed in this video. Contact us today and come check out a free week of training.