Review of Moko Rashguard from Fuji Sports

I have had this rashguard for over 2 months and have been pretty happy with it.  It’s comfortable and fits me well (I am 5’11” 170lbs and ordered a medium).  It shows no sign of wear or any defects.  The Moko is a high quality rashguard.

My experience with it- I have worn it as much as I can this month to put it to the test.  It works great as a no-gi rashguard.  It’s comfortable and does not distract me as I train.  I also have been wearing the Moko under my Gi.  I do not usually wear anything under my gi but I have enjoyed it and will probably continue to do so.

Recommendation- If you like the looks of the Moko you will be happy with the performance and durability. At a price of $64, it is a stylish premium rashguard.  If you are just looking for a basic rashguard Fuji has more basic options with the same great quality. This rash guard was provided by Fuji Sports to BjjBrick for the this review.

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Book review- The Talent Code by Daniel Coyle

BJJ coaches should read this

Anyone in a leadership role in the gym should consider reading this book. The cover of the book sums up what the topic very well: “Greatness isn’t born. It’s grown. Here’s how.” I hear people talk about Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers regularly in the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu community. People like to talk about the 10,000 hours of practice is what it takes to truly master something. This book definitely challenges the 10,000 hours of practice that is discussed in Outliers. Consider the athlete that quickly rises to top in a short amount of time (BJ Penn, got his black belt in a little over 3 years). The Talent Code has nothing to say about BJJ, but the topics discussed will transfer over to BJJ coaches easily.

This book focuses on “talent hotbeds”, places that produce a disproportional amount of talent. An example of a talent hotbed in the book is a rundown tennis club in Russia. This particular club is in a freezing climate and only has one indoor tennis court. This tennis club has produced more top 20 women players than the entire United States. How can this happen? What is going on there? Daniel Coyle travels to this small tennis club and shares what he finds. He travels to many talent hotbeds, and discovers what they have in common.

Talent Code Video- It does a great job explaining what is in the book

Drilling is a big concept in BJJ. Coyle discusses how it actually changes our brains to function differently (faster and with less effort). You need to be drilling with different levels of resistance. During drilling you should occasionally stop and think about what is happening when you fail, then try again. Any time you are rolling and you get tapped out, take a few seconds to think about what happened leading up to the submission.

This book also gives a lot of advice to coaches about how to explain things. It will help you communicate more effectively and give your students a better way to remember the techniques.

There are many different aspects of this book that translate into any sport. It will get a second read from me, and I am sure that I will learn even more the second time around. I recommend this book to any coach of any sport.

Check out the Talent Code Blog

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Andre “Tim” Monteiro- BJJ Seminar Review

Group picture from Fox Fitness

    I was fortunate enough to attend two Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu seminars by Andre Monteiro.  December 7, 2012 at Castillo Jiu-Jitsu, and December 9, 2012 at Fox Fitness BJJ.  Both of the seminars were in the gi, but he often explained how the techniques would work well for no-gi.
Andre is a fierce competitor and a great instructor. I have been to many of his seminars and he always lives up to his reputation of doing an outstanding job.  Andre’s vast understanding of Brazillian Jiu-Jitsu always amazes me.
Day 1
Andre showed some excellent techniques and details to attacking a turtled opponent.  He also introduced us to the side control that he has been using a lot.  I was particularly eager to learn about his side control.  It was about a year ago that he showed me a few things from this position and it greatly improved my pressure and ability to set up submissions.  I was certainly not disappointed in his side control, it was remarkable. The details he shared help put more pressure on the opponent.  I had a few questions about it and he was pleased to answer all of them.
Andre also showed several attacks from Kesa Gatame and the back.  These techniques went well with what he showed us about the turtle and side control.  He had us learning several gi chokes, some of the students were having difficulty getting them properly.  He stopped the room from training and said something that really made a lot of sense “Don’t fight for the choke, fight to get your hand in the right place”.  After that comment, everyone in the room seemed to be finishing the choke easily.
Day 2
The second day was similar to the first, a day full of new techniques and important details to moves I thought that I knew.  Before the seminar Andre asked me if there was anything in particular that I wanted to see.  This is a great example of the type of seminar that he gives.  He genuinely cares about everyone on the mat and wants to do his best to help people reach their full potential.  I told him that I would be interested in learning more about his side control; he introduced it to the people that did not attend the first class and help fine tune it for the students that had seen it in the previous seminar.
He also covered many techniques and ideas about grip fighting.  He showed some excellent takedowns that I think will really help my game.  Andre’s half guard is amazing.  He was happy to teach us some of his favorite sweeps and passes from the half guard.  It was great to learn half guard from someone who is so proficient with it.
I have attended several seminars by Andre Monteiro and they were all excellent.  I highly recommend training with him if you get the chance.  One of the things I really like about Andre’s teaching style is that he is great at teaching to the students in the room.  By this I mean he will show something that people want to see and make sure everyone understands it, then in a one on one situation add smaller details to the more advanced students that are able to understand.  Andre is excellent at looking at the room full of students doing a technique and then he corrects the common mistakes people are making.  Andre is on the road a lot doing seminars all over the world, if he is teaching near you don’t miss out on a great opportunity.


Check out Andre’s free online training!
Connect with Andre “Tim” Monteiro on his facebook page
Castillo Jiu-Jitsu website
Fox Fitness BJJ website
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Jon “Macarrao” Thomas Seminar Review

Jon “Macarrao” Thomas is a feather weight brown belt from Alliance.  He was 2007 Pan Am blue belt champion, 2009 Pan and Worlds purple belt champion, and 2011 Pan and World brown belt champion.  He closed out the divisions with his teammate Michel Langhi in 2009 and 2011. He gave a BJJ seminar at Fox Fitness November 10, 2012.

Jon came to the open mat before the seminar started.  This was a great opportunity for anyone to roll with him; he is very down to earth and glad to roll with whoever asked.  I was happy to take the opportunity to roll with him and have my game systematically taken apart.

He started the seminar with a short introduction.  After that he told us some of his core BJJ philosophies, and then explained what the seminar was going to be about.

The first half of the seminar he covered re-positioning and how it is a big part of his BJJ.  He stressed getting out of bad spots quickly before the referee even awards points to your opponent.  He had a lot of awesome details on escaping side control and getting your guard back.  The small details he demonstrated have already improved my escapes.

The second half of the seminar Jon focused on spider guard.  Again he showed his favorite techniques, and explained his thoughts on using the spider guard in tournaments.  I really enjoyed his thoughts and details on the omoplata.  I was in the belief that the omoplata was more of a sweep, if done on a competitive opponent.  That is not the case for me any more, I am confident that I will be using the omoplata as a finishing move a lot more often.

Jon finished the seminar with some great advice.  He had some really good thoughts about training hard vs. training smart.  He also talked about isolating positions and positional sparing.  He was happy to share his tips for competing at your best level, and fixing your weaknesses.  Jon also gave us an opportunity to ask him anything.  I really feel that he did not hold back anything and he showed us what has made him successful.

Jon Thomas gives a great seminar!  I am a brown belt and my main training partner for the seminar was a white belt.  We both learned a lot from the seminar.  He not only showed many game changing techniques, but he also explained it in a way that everyone could understand.  His thoughts on re-positioning, and his advice on training smart are the things that really stood out to me the most.  If you get a chance to train with him or go to one of his seminars, I highly recommend it.  I am looking forward to training with him again.

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DVD Review: Bill “The Grill” Cooper Escapes!

Bill Cooper is one of the top American BJJ black belts; he is under Ricardo “Franjinha” Miller training with Team Paragon BJJ.

This DVD is primarily about escapes; the escapes that Bill teaches are shown with a transition to a dominant position or a submission of your own.  He starts off stuck in a submission and proceeds to make his opponent pay for it.  He explains every escape in full, twice.  Each explanation would stand alone with enough detail for you to understand the move.  At first this threw me off, I kept thinking he was going to show a different technique.  After I caught on to this, it was nice because I would listen for little differences and pick up smaller details.  After the double explanation, each move is shown with a few different angles.

This DVD is a nice break from most of the BJJ DVDs that I have because it focuses on defense.  It seems like there are a lot of DVDs that show you submissions and sweeps, but the defense aspect is often lacking.  For that reason alone I like having this DVD in my BJJ library.

What is on the DVD?  Like the name says, Bill shows escapes and not the basic ones everyone has already seen.  He is not showing the common mistakes that may have gotten you in this submission or bad position.  He is not showing you how to play it safe and not make mistakes.  He shows the techniques that he likes to use when he is in a bad spot.  Most of the escapes end in a submission of your own, if not you will at least end up dominant.

He shows escapes for:  Armbar X4, Triangle X3, Rear naked choke X2, Omo plata X1, Back X4, Crucifix X3, Body triangle X2, Leglock X5, Guillotine X1, Shaolin (Darce) X4.  The DVD is 86 Min, with a little bonus footage of him on “Rolled up”.

The most common submission he shows after his escape is the Darce choke.  If you like the Darce choke I am sure you will pick up a few new tips.

What I got out of it.  I learned a lot of cool escapes that I have never seen before.  I am still at the place where I am happy to break free from the submission.  I would happily transition to an attack but that seems easier said than done.  Also I did pick up some good details on finishing some submissions.  The two techniques that I really liked the most are the “bigfoot” triangle escape and the “sewer escape” for the guillotine.

I would recommend this DVD.  I would say this DVD is great for anyone blue belt and above.  The escapes shown are not your basic and standard escapes.  I think white belts are better off learning the basic escapes and adding these techniques later.  There are also a few submissions that he assumes that you understand, again blue belt and above will be fine.  The DVD is all no-gi, but most of the techniques will work for BJJ.  If you get this DVD I recommend starting from some of these bad spots while rolling, that way you can be sure to work the new techniques into your game.


Bill Cooper Highlight

I go my DVD at

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Seminar Review: Justin Rader 8-26-2012


Justin Rader is one of the top light-weight BJJ/no-gi grapplers in the United States.  He has won multiple world championships, and beaten some of the top athletes on the mat today.  I remember seeing Rader competing as a blue belt at a tournament in Oklahoma City.  He fought in Gi, No-gi and Absolute in both, it seemed like he was on the mat all day.  He never seemed to tire as the much larger opponents were taken apart by this fierce light weight competitor.  I was excited to get to attend this no-gi seminar at the Wichita Jiu-Jitsu Club and Professor Rader did not disappoint.

Professor Rader started by introducing himself and his teammate Chris Watson.  He then gave a short history about his life and his fighting career.  Then he moved to talking about his style of no-gi grappling.  “I am going to change the way you fundamentally think about no-gi grappling” the excitement level shot up and you could see his passion for the sport.  Justin Rader could travel the country as a motivational speaker, or teaching grappling seminars.  Even if I did not learn any thing, the motivational energy alone would have been worth the seminar.

We started with a short jog, and then continued the warm up with some drills.  Each drill was demonstrated and then broken down to further explain the smaller details.  After the warm up Professor Rader gave a short explanation about why his style of grappling has worked so well, and how he was able to take advantage of the mistakes most people make.

The technique portion of the seminar was amazing.  He held nothing back showing his style of no-gi; this was great because his passion continued into this portion of the seminar.  He truly opened up and shared his favorite battle tested techniques.  Each of the techniques was scientifically broken down, and explained with great incite and strategy.  Some of the techniques shown were: no-gi stance, double leg, single leg, sprawl, front headlock, guillotine, guard passes, darce, and the calf slicer.  All of the techniques tied together and you could really get a good look at why his game is so successful.

This was an amazing seminar, and I am looking forward to his next one.  Professor Rader also spent time talking about training philosophies, tournament tips, the mental aspects, the differences between gi and no-gi, strong fundamentals, defense, and offense.  Everyone at the seminar seemed to have a great time and learn a lot.  If you get the chance, I highly recommend having Professor Rader come out to your school to hold a seminar.

Special thanks to Master Rafael Lovato Jr. and Lovato’s School of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.


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Wichita Jiu-Jitsu Club

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