Epi 349 We Talk About Blue Belts with Bjj Campaign

This week we have a combined podcast with Bjj Campaign. We have a great discussion about BJJ blue belts and our personal stories.

We talk about:

  • What it was like for us a white belts
  • What it was like for us a blue belts
  • Getting our blue belts
  • Advice for competing
  • Advice for blue belts


Quote of the week: “Experience is that marvelous thing that enables you to recognize a mistake when you make it again.” Franklin P. Jones

Catch us next week for another episode of The BjjBrick Podcast

The BjjBrick Podcast is in iTunesStitcher radio, and Google Play Music for Andriod

Epi 266 BJJ Blue Belts :)

This week we talk about blue belts. Getting a blue belt is an important step in your jiu-jitsu life. You will not forget the day you got the blue belt. It is often the first major mile stone in BJJ. This episode we talk about the ups and downs plus share a few stories from being BJJ blue belts.

Blue belt topics inculde:

  • Getting beat by white belts
  • Blue belt blues
  • Learning from teammates
  • Being an older blue belt
  • Dealing with the feeling of having a target on your back
  • Our games as blue belts
  • Helping white belts

We defy information about a seminar in Wichita Kansas.

Quote of the week: “Living in fear is not living; it is tantamount to being a prisoner of our own weaknesses, constantly awaiting the next injustice.” Gus Lee

Article of the week: The Brotherhood Extends Beyond the Mats













Catch us next week for another episode of The BjjBrick Podcast

The BjjBrick Podcast is in iTunesStitcher radio, and Google Play Music for Andriod

Epi 261 BJJ White Belts :)

This week we are giving advice to white belts. It is a great conversation to help anyone enjoy the white belt journey.

We talk about:

  • Getting a white belt can be difficult
  • Gaining confidence with BJJ
  • Focusing on fundamentals
  • Going to open mat at a different school
  • The desire to get your blue belt
  • Staying healthy
  • Training as an older white belt
  • Embracing the challenge of BJJ
  • The best thing about jiu-jitsu
  • Mistakes in learning BJJ
  • Having the right attitude

Quote of the week: “Life is like riding a bicycle. In order to maintain balance, you must keep moving.” Albert Einstein

Article of the week: Never Miss an Opportunity to Learn













Catch us next week for another episode of The BjjBrick Podcast

The BjjBrick Podcast is in iTunesStitcher radio, and Google Play Music for Andriod

Epi 172 Six Amazing Black Belts Answer Questions About Blue Belts

This week we have a HUGE episode. We take six well known and respected black belts and ask them all the same five questions about blue belts. There are some similarities and differences within these interviews but the amount of jiu-jitsu wisdom about blue belts in this episode is amazing.

The five questions we asked to the six black belt guests

  1. Do you have requirements for a blue belt? What are they?
  2. How important is it for students to be able to “defend” their belt?
  3. How many intangibles (good teammate, good effort, helps others) come into play when promoting someone to blue belt?
  4. Do you ever regret giving someone a blue belt?
  5. What advice to you have for the new blue belt?


Tim Sledd 24m 25s

  1. Tim explains some of the techniques he requires for a student to know before receiving a blue belt.
  2. Tim talks about why some students get tapped by lower belts and if it is a big deal.
  3. Why he looks at character of a student not just technique, and how this can hold someone back.
  4. Why he has no regrets of any belts he has given out.
  5. Advice for the new blue belt.

Matt Thornton 58m 30s

  1. How he evaluates blue belts based on performance, and not looking at particular techniques.
  2. Why it is important for your first blue belts to be very good at a school.
  3. The importance of having good people on the mat.
  4. Why he is confident in all his blue belt students.
  5. Why it is important to relax and work on open guard as a blue belt.

Bernardo Faria 1h 17m 30s

  1. Bernardo talks about Fabio Gurgel’s system to get a blue belt a student must attend 120 classes.
  2. The idea of not tapping to a lower belt is an old mentality.
  3. Having a bad attitude will hold students back.
  4. Not having an actual belt test, and not regretting giving someone a blue belt.
  5. Keep your ego low, and work on learning jiu-jitsu.

Daniel Covel 1h 25m 05s

  1. His minimum requirements of techniques for a blue belt. The responsibilities of the instructor to the students.
  2. The importance of learning from your mistakes, and making adjustments.
  3. Why it is important to have good people and teammates on the mat.
  4. He has no regrets about any of his past blue belts.
  5. It is important to recognise the hard work on the mats.

Henry Akins 1h 42m 50s

  1. Understanding the basic positions and a handful of basic submissions.
  2. Why some upper belts get caught by lower belts.
  3. Why it is important for a blue belt to be a good training partner.
  4. Why getting tapped out is part of the learning process
  5. Why blue belts should work hard to develop a strong base.

John Will 1h 59m 30s

  1. Why he likes having requirements for blue belts but not so many for other belts.
  2. It is rare for a colored belt to get tapped by a lower belt, but it is no big deal.
  3. Why the culture of the gym is so important. The concept of a ox neck and rat’s head.
  4. It is often normal to feel like you don’t deserve a new belt
  5. Ask five simple questions for every technique you learn to learn more details.

Mat Tales 14 Mouse in the House

Quote of the week: “Do the difficult things while they are easy and do the great things while they are small. A journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step.” Lao Tzu

Article of the week: Production Now and Production Long Term















Catch us next week for another episode of The BjjBrick Podcast

The BjjBrick Podcast is in iTunesStitcher radio, and Google Play Music for Andriod

Epi 164 A Study of 4 White Belt World Champions 2016

This week we interview four people who won IBJJF worlds as a white belt in 2016. The interviews are comprised of the same four questions that we hope give you some insite into why they are winning. This is a great way to find out how some people are finding competition success early on in their BJJ career.


Janine Mutton (20m 40s)- Middle From Action & Reaction Mixed Martial Arts Toronto. Janine started BJJ with no background in martial arts. She quickly found a passion for being on the mat and training hard.


Janine Mutton

Janine talks about:

  • Starting BJJ
  • Setting the goal of winning worlds
  • Competitions before the worlds
  • Making an eight week plan
  • Training 3 or 4 times a week to avoid over training
  • Positive self talk
  • Pressure passing with her body type
  • The take down game
  • Her favorite submissions
  • Her training schedule
  • Her background in body building and soccer
  • Doing squats and deadlifts
  • Advice for white belts

Maui Lacaze (39m 56s)- Light Feather From GF Team. You will find Maui training at MilleniumMaui was able to submit all his opponents at worlds.

Maui Lacaze

Maui Lacaze

Maui talks about:

  • Winning every match at worlds by submission
  • What BJJ is like in French Polynesia
  • Starting BJJ with his cousin
  • His game plan
  • His training schedule
  • Surfing
  • His plans for competing in the future
  • Getting his blue belt


Gabriela Lembcke (45m 40s)- Rooster From Alliance. You can find Gaby training at Snow MMA. She credits some of her early success to wrestling and having a great BJJ team. You can watch a video of Gaby’s match in the finals here.

Gabriela Lembcke

Gabriela Lembcke

  • What got her started in BJJ
  • Training at Snow MMA with Samuel Snow
  • Having confidence in her BJJ
  • Her favorite submissions
  • Her off the mat training
  • Her diet and having a nutritionist
  • Her background in wrestling in highschool
  • Advice for white belts that want to compete


George Mandujano (57m 15s)- Ultra Heavy From Ribeiro Jiu-Jitsu. George trains at Ralph’s House Fight Gym


George Mandujano

  • What got him started in BJJ
  • Staying calm
  • Not working too hard for a submission
  • How he starts his matches
  • Playing a top game
  • His wrestling background
  • How playing football helped make him tough
  • His strategy while on the mat
  • His plans for the future
  • A recent match that resulted in a knee injury
  • His training schedule
  • Training with other gyms
  • Training with smaller teammates
  • Not being affraid to ask questions


Quote of the week: “Always do sober what you said you’d do drunk. This will teach you to keep your mouth shut.” -Ernest Hemingway

Article of the week: Why Everyone Should Lift Heavy


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Mat Tales 11 “Not a Hero”

Catch us next week for another episode of The BjjBrick Podcast

The BjjBrick Podcast is in iTunesStitcher radio, and Google Play Music for Andriod

Epi 12 The Different types of white belts

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Join Gary and Byron on the BjjBrick Podcast

Join Gary and Byron on the BjjBrick Podcast

Today we are going to be talking about the different types of white belts in BJJ.  You might be a white belt or you might be coaching one, this episode should be a benefit to anyone who trains Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.


Types of White belts


Totally new:  You may appear to be a blank slate, but you are going to bring something different to the table.  Good for you for getting in there and trying it out.  In the long run this grappler should be a smooth rolling partner.
Coaching tip- Make it fun.


Wrestler:  We welcome this talented grappler to the BJJ mat.  Your years of hard work on the mat will pay off.  Find ways to adapt your game to dealing with the different positions and submissions.  Your mat strength and ability to scramble well are priceless.  We recommend Justin Rader’s new DVD for any wrestler looking to transition into BJJ (we put a link at the Bottom of the page).  We talk about the big cultural difference between BJJ and wrestling.  Wrestlers get a big advantage in getting to compete a lot in a short amount of time.  This helps get rid of the nerves that may hit many people who do BJJ.
Coaching tip- Help them transition there skills to fit BJJ, and make sure they learn both sides of the game not just the top position.


Experienced with other martial arts:  No matter what art you have dedicated yourself to learning there will be benefits from what you know.  Judo is a great martial art back ground for BJJ.  The striking arts are a lot different but you learn a lot of discipline and the ability to deal with pain and discomfort.  Do remember, that you are doing a new martial art and you need to leave your colored belt at home.  You will be starting as a white belt, if you walk in wearing a colored belt some students will probably go a little too hard on you thinking that you are ready for it.
Coaching tip- Help them stay positive, and acknowledge their accomplishments in the other arts.


Strong:  Congratulations you have put the time in the gym and became very strong.  At first your strength will seem like it is failing you, as smaller players teach you that strength is not everything.  In the short term learn the techniques.  In the long run your strength will be there for you and make your moves even better.
Coaching tip- Pair them up with people who will roll safely.  Try to get them to focus on the technique.


Skinny: This person will often have a difficult road as a white belt, but if they hang in there they can become a technical beast.  Most schools have a lot of smaller people, they will be happy to share there skills with you.
Coaching tip- Acknowledge that it is a difficult road but it will soon get better.  Protect them from catching too many hard rolls.  These grapplers will make a coach proud.


Overweight: If loosing some weight is a goal BJJ can help.  Try to find ways to enjoy exercise and if you have fun with BJJ you are on the road to success.  Don’t push your self too hard, keep it fun.  During openmat you can take a round or two off to take a break.  Your weight can be an advantage, try to avoid using your weight in ways that if you lost your weight your BJJ would suffer (no big guy moves).  If you are not on the mat yet, just give it a try.
Coaching tip- Push them but not too hard, and stay positive about progress.


Old:  You are older and wiser (hopefully).  Listen to your body.  Don’t ignore your ongoing pains.  BJJ can be hard on your body so go at your own speed.  Roll with people who are not likely to injure you, it is okay to avoid some people.  Try to give your body time to heal in between days you train.  Even though you may lack with experience on the mat you might find yourself in a leadership role with the team.
Coaching tip- Understand that they may not be able to train as much as the younger grapplers.  Find out what there goals are and help them reach those goals.


Young:  First off we must say that you are NOT invincible.  If you have the opportunity to wrestle in school we both (Gary and Byron) recommend it, even if it means you take some time off of BJJ.  We list many advantages to doing some wrestling, even if you are not great at it.
Coaching tip- It might be hard to let one of your students leave for wrestling season but they will grow a lot in that time.  Just be sure you call them and make sure they get back in the gym after the season, they might bring a friend or two back with them.  Make sure the young grappler understands that it is okay if they don’t win as long as they learn from it.


Athletic:  If you are good at other sports try to find some unique aspects that you bring to the table.  Athletic people just seem to pick up things quicker, focus on a few moves and get really good at them.
Coaching tip- Find ways that they like to get coached.  They are use to getting coached and should take it better than most.


Competitor:  Remember that you are a white belt, competing against other white belts.  This is just the first step in your competition journey, good or bad learn from it and look to move up in the ranks.  Develop a game plan with your coach and try to force your game on your opponent.  Stick to the game plan.
Coaching tip- Help them avoid burnout, expectantly after a loss.


Busy: You have a job, a spouse, a family, or what ever is taking your time.  We recommend that you try to find time to grapple at least once a week.
Coaching tip- Having a wide range of times people can train will open up opportunity for busy people to roll.
Bonus (you):  Everyone is different, I am guessing that you can relate to more than one of these categories.  Find what works for you.  People grow at different rates, you might get promoted quickly or slowly.  Just keep training.


Quote of the week: “Don’t listen to what people say, watch what they do” Unknown.  Watch someone teach a technique, but then also watch them do it as they roll.  There might be some small details they forgot to tell you.
Article of the week: Returnofkings.com – Five Things I Learned About Life From Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.  Swing by and check out the article it is an interesting read.  If you would like to send us an article email it to BjjBrick@gmail.com
Justin Rader’s Hybrid success formula:  We have both trained with Justin and are very excited to get into this DVD, and learn from this world class grappler and coach.


A tip for people new to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

For students new to BJJ, I recommend learning two moves from each position.  This will accelerate your learning curve.  Focus on two submissions from each dominant position, and two escapes from bad positions.  This will guarantee that you will have something to work on no matter what position you are in.  Don’t fall into the trap of learning too many moves from one position and being weak in others.  It is better to just have a couple moves that you are really good at.

What moves should you focus on?  You should be focusing on basic moves. You’ve got to learn to walk before you can run, if you try to run before you are ready you might find it hard to breathe.  If you get your basics down solid from the beginning you will always be working from a strong foundation.  It will be helpful if you pick two moves that work well together.  Ask the more experienced grapplers what two moves would work best for you (If you are having difficulty picking two moves email me and I will be happy to help BjjBrick@gmail.com put “two moves from each position” in the subject line).

Why does this help me learn?  Once you pick your techniques you will have something to work on with focus in each position.  You will do much better if you have specific moves to try, rather than just doing what ever pops into your head.  Focusing your training will give you clear results.

An example- You start from standing and you are looking for an opportunity for either your double leg or your arm drag. After getting the double leg, you start working your two passes.  You switch back and forth a few times from the two passes but eventually you pass to side control.  From side control, you start to work on his shoulder but your opponent is defending it so you try the armbar.  He escapes and ends up in your guard.  You try to do a hip bump sweep but he defends it and you lockup a tight guillotine.

BJJ has a ton of positions!  That is true, BJJ has a lot of positions.  You are not going to learn two positions from each of the many different guards, or each different type of side control quite yet.  Just focus on the basic positions.

This is what I recommend what you focus on- Feel free to print this PDF and write down what you are working on.  Focus on learning two moves from each-  Takedowns, Guard passes, Techniques from guard, Subs from side control, Subs from mount, Subs from back, Escapes from side control, Escapes from mount, Escapes from back.

Once you end up in one of the positions take a moment to remember what you need to be working on and then get to work.  You will be effectively drilling while rolling.

Other articles you might like:

One Handed Drill to Improve Your Open Guard

Starting from your knees- The good, the bad, and the worn out gi pants

19 general rules to go by for training Brazilian Jiu-jitsu

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