Archive for January, 2010


January 31, 2010


Well, it’s been two weeks and my foot is not a hundred percent I’m hitting the mats on Saturday.  The only reason I’m not going during the week is because I have a ton of work functions this week so even if I were training on a normal basis I would have missed this week anyway. 

At least I have something to look forward to next weekend versus just sitting around being depressed about not training.  I can’t wait!  A week is too long let alone two. 

Altough I did not like the break it did afford me the time to think about the many holes in my game.  I have to work on escaping an armbar and escaping the mount.  For escaping the armbar it’s a matter of timing and properly stacking my opponent.  Lots of times my opponent is able to get out from under my stack or power through to complete the armbar. 

For the mount escape it’s a matter of timing and follow through.  A lot of times I get stuck and literally stop when I shoudl keep moving.  That’s a big no no and my instructor is constantly on my case about that.  He’s right.  If I kept moving eventually I would escape instead I let myself get stuck and just stay there.  That’s not a habit I want to prepetuate. 

I’ll be really happy if I fix these by the summer.  We’ll see. 

Chau e bom dia!



January 24, 2010


I’ve hit the bump every Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner hits in their journey: I got hurt.  While not as bad as the torn ligaments I’ve read about in other blogs, but it’s frustrating nonetheless.  I hate not being on the mats and I noticed that I’m gaining weight already and it’s only been two weeks.

I don’t know how it happened.  I just know that I feel a sharp pain in the big toe on my left foot.  It only happens when I stretch my toes or when I touch the metatarsal that eventually turns into that same big toe.  My doctor checked it out and thinks I strained a ligament.  However, after two weeks the injury is still there, which has me thinking that I broke something.

Now, it doesn’t sound like a big deal, but it makes guard work and mount positions very uncomfortable.  Instead of focusing on proper technique I end up focusing on making my foot comfortable.  It doesn’t make for productive practice or sparring.  At one point during open mat, my partner got me into an ankle lock and I screamed like a little girl.

I hope to see the doctor next week and get a referral for a podiatrist.  Hopefully, the original diagnosis will hold up and I just need more time.  Until then I’ll just be depressed.

The depression was especially acute today because I stopped by the school to watch some training and then get some lunch with the guys.  Watching the guys learn techniques was great great, but sad since I couldn’t join in.   They were working on my favorite move: the armbar from the guard.  Oh the sadness…

While I’m waiting for my follow up visit I have the memories of all the training I did throughout the fall and winter to keep me company.  Although it was brutal I did enjoy the head lock escapes we covered for two weeks.  My instructor saw that there were a lot of guys having trouble with the concept so he decided to punish us by making us do it over and over and over and over again.  After the first day I couldn’t turn my head to either side.   I had to turn my whole body when I checked on other cars as I changed lanes.  It didn’t get any better during the subsequent classes.  Thankfully, science created Aleve.  Love that stuff.

December was a great month in that I got to improve my guard passing techniques.  I’m lucky to have an instructor who focuses on the basics and as you just read will focus on them to the point of torture.  I like that.  I don’t mind learning new moves, but it’s so satisfying working on a technique that you’ve learned a while ago and actually seeing/feeling your technique improving.

Well, wish me luck.  Hopefully, I’ll be back on the mats the first week of February.

Chau e Bom Dia!

Bem Vindo!

January 24, 2010

Hello people of the Interwebs!

Welcome to my Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu blog!  I’m Jaime, a 33-year old guy, living and studying the art of softness in Newark, NJ (it’s one of two locations all the Portuguese in the world called home when they immigrated to the U.S., the other being Boston, MA.).  I was born in Portugal and two of my aunts immigrated to Brazil 50 years ago.  I have to thank them for doing so because it was my visit to their homes in Brazil that sparked my interest (now obsession) in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.  Like anyone else who is on the mats every day I saw the first UFCs and was happy to see Portuguese culture (albeit indirectly) shown in to the United States by Royce Gracie and his family.  However, it didn’t occur to me that I should dip my toe in the sea that is Brazilina Jiu-Jitsu (Gracie Jiu-Jitsu if your a brand person).

Unfortunately, I was too focused on advancing in Tae Kwon Do to pay any mind to it.  However, several years later I gave in to the millionth request from my aunts in Brazil and finally paid them a visit.  I took three weeks off because I knew I wanted to see A LOT of Brazil and had extended family that I needed to meet.

It turned out that one of my cousins, Ze, was a black belt in B.J.J.  We started talking and he took me to where he trained, Gracie Humaita, and that’s when the obsession began.  I stepped on the mat ready for some basic instruction when my cousin turned to me and said, “You’re a black belt in Tae Kwon Do, right?”  I replied, “Yes,” and explained that it had been a while since I sparred.  He said, “Fight me like you know how to fight and then we’ll start the lesson.”  I was really surprised by his statement, his calm demeanor and his seriousness.

I reluctantly agreed and got into my fight stance, he said, “Go” or “Comeca!” (just being true to the language).  After a few seconds of circling I decided to move in.  He caught my punch in the clinch.  To my surprise I couldn’t get my arms away from him nor could I score a hit as his arms blocked mine.  In a second he slid to my side then back in front of me squaring his hips against mine.  The next thing I knew I lost contact with the Earth, then regained it when my back hit the mat; his knee was on my stomach (he felt like a million pounds) and had my arm in an arm lock that felt like a steel vice.  I tapped immediately.  We reset and I decided to try to keep him away with some kicks.  Unfortunately, he caught my leg and once again I was on my back.  He held me down in side control and everything seemed OK until I got this feeling that my shoulder was about to separate itself from the rest of my body (I later learned that was a key lock).

This pattern repeated for several rounds with me tapping every time.  After we were done with sparing I was so jealous of my cousin.  Here I was covered in sweat, bruised and battered, breathing like I was having an asthma attack and Ze was fine.  Not to mention that he completely neutralized my Tae Kwon Do, man-handled me with ease, is a 50-years-old and was 50-lbs lighter than me.

I spent the remaining days of my vacation at his school.  My cousin gave me tons of literature about the history of B.J.J. (I have Kid Peligro’s The Gracie Way and Helio Gracie’s Gracie Jiu Jitsu in Portuguese) that still serves as a source of information for me.  When I returned to the states I set about finding a school.  This was the most frustrating/difficult part of my sojourn (learning a new technique has been less frustrating).  I wanted to learn self defense, a martial art.  What I found was a foux-minor league of the UFC.  Now I love mixed martial arts.  I buy every P.P.V., I attend amateur fights and read A LOT of blogs/web sites ( is a favorite).

But I didn’t want to get into a cage.  I didn’t want to be a mixed martial artist.  I didn’t want to do anything, but study Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.  Finally, I found a place in Newark, NJ and have been in complete bliss ever since.

Here in this blog you’ll hear read about my experiences/training in B.J.J.  Hope you enjoy it!

Chau e Bom Dia!