LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 08:  UFC interim middleweight champion Robert Whittaker poses for a portrait after his victory over Yoel Romero during the UFC 213 event at T-Mobile Arena on July 8, 2017 in Las Vegas, Nevada.  (Photo by Mike Roach/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

First Australian UFC Champion, Rob Whittaker, to Defend his Belt in Perth

AUSTRALIAN Robert Whittaker has been crowned the UFC middleweight champion after defending champion Georges St-Pierre vacated the title. The Canadian’s bombshell decision means Whittaker becomes the first ever Australian to call a piece of UFC gold their own. Whittaker held the division’s interim title but it now is confirmed he is taking the strap for good.

Rob, who is also a Gracie Humaita Australia student and instructor at our Smeaton Grange branch will be facing Luke Rockhold on his first title defense. The fight is the main event on the UFC 221, to be held in Perth, on Feb, 11th.

Check the face off:

south-sydney-rabbitohs-at-gracie-jiu-jitsu-sydney

Why Rugby Players Should Train Jiu Jitsu?

Elite rugby players and coaches are always looking for an advantage over their competition. The Scottish rugby union’s coaching program, for example, runs a module that specifically focuses on innovative coaching strategies. They ask coaches to questions things like, should you kick to touch inside your 22m line when you have a clear overlap out wide? Should you run the ball if you have 75% accuracy at reclaiming a high-ball.

Recent strategic innovations in the game have focused on the tackle area. It’s become commonplace for the defensive side to give up the ruck in favor of setting a full defensive line.

Today, though we’re going to discuss an off-field innovation that comes to our courtesy of Rugby League. The emergence of contact coaches and the use of Wrestling, Judo and most importantly Jiu Jitsu techniques to improve the speed of the tackle area.

South Sydney Rabbitohs Training at Gracie Sydney with Coach Alex Prates, Gracie Jiu Jitsu Black Belt:

BENEFITS OF JIU JITSU FOR RUGBY

BODY CONTROL

Being able to control how your opponent can move is a huge part of BJJ and an exceedingly useful skill in rugby union. The three key control point in BJJ are the hips, the shoulders, and the head. By applying pressure on these areas, BJJ players can force an opponent into a bad body position and an eventual submission.

Controlling the head – the head controls the spine. Wherever the head goes, the body will follow. In Jiu Jitsu, controlling the opponent’s head is easiest from a top dominant position (often referred to as side control). This position allows you to prevent your opponent from getting back to a kneeling or standing position. But “steering” an opponent’s head is also something that Jiu Jitsu players will attempt in standing or scrambling positions. By steering the opponent’s head, they’re unable to balance correctly; this will often lead to a more advantageous position for the player doing the steering.

Controlling the shoulders – either from the side control position or other ground positions, BJJ teaches players that once they gain a top position, they should control the opponent’s shoulders. This shoulder control prevents the opponent from regaining their feet and keeps them flat on their back (unable to roll). Your shoulders are also a useful tool in BJJ. The shoulder is often used to place pressure on the opponent’s head and neck as part of controlling their head. Pressure on the neck draws the opponent’s attention away from other areas as they attempt to restore breathing.

Controlling the hips – this is perhaps the most relevant part of Jiu Jitsu for rugby players. As in rugby, a Jiu Jitsu player’s hips are a critical tool for controlling their direction. Rugby players are taught from a young age to focus their attention on the ball carrier’s hips, because… “the hips don’t lie.” In other words, watching an opponent’s hips is the best way to know what direction they will move in.

Whether you’re trying to take down, or keep down an opponent, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu aims to control their hips as much as possible. From the guard position, pressure on the hips can force the opponent to release their leg control of your waist. From the half guard, hip pressure can allow you to pass their guard into the highly sought after a “mount” position. The hips are also the focus of many different takedown techniques borrowed from Judo and employed in MMA.

In rugby, controlling the ball carrier’s hips gives you a huge amount of leverage to effect the tackle and get the opponent on their back. A tackled player who is face down on the ground can protect the ball from players on their feet using their body. However, if the tackler can position the ball carrier on their back, this exposes the ball to “poachers” in a standing position who can then compete for possession. Note that the tackler is still required to release and roll away immediately. But controlling the ball carrier’s hips on the way down can give your teammates a greater ability to steal possession back for your team once the tackle is effected.

GETTING OFF YOUR BACK

Rugby is a game played by people on their feet, end of story. One prop I played with suggested quite adamantly that… “It takes absolutely no talent to stand up.” But it’s not that simple when you’ve either been tackled or cleaned out of a ruck, and you have a 255 lb brute laying on top of you. While most Brazilian Jiu Jitsu players are comfortable on their backs, they also recognize that this is a weak position in self-defense situations. As a result, BJJ players train to get back to their feet as quickly as possible from laying flat on their backs with pressure from an opponent on… you guessed it, their head, shoulders, and hips. In rugby, being able to get back to your feet quickly means an extra player in the defensive line. Training Jiu Jitsu can help rugby players get back to their feet and into the game.

When rugby players first start out in Jiu Jitsu, it’s tempting for them to utilize their superior strength to bench-press opponents off of them. Unfortunately, this seldom works against a player who is the same size or has the superior skill or both. In most cases, all you’ll accomplish by trying to brute-force your way off your back is to burn precious energy reserves. Instead, BJJ teaches players to use their arms and hips to create space underneath the opponent for an escape. This technique is known as “Shrimping” and is particularly useful in rugby if you have someone laying on top of you who is themselves pinned by another player’s weight. You’re not going to move all that bulk with your arms. Bridging with your hips, however, can often create enough space under your body for you to wriggle free and get back to your feet.

BODY AWARENESS

If body control is the ability to manipulate the position of your opponent in grappling or contact situations, body awareness is an understanding of your physical abilities and limitations. Do you have functional or straight-line strength? Can you control your breathing under pressure? Does your body bend and twist correctly? How do you react when you’re out-matched physically?

Jiu Jitsu practices will test your understanding of yourself. They demonstrate your areas of both weakness and strength. There’s nowhere to hide when you’re rolling. The open-mat format gives you the chance to learn and improve with virtually instant feedback from training partners who will help you grow.

PHYSICAL CONDITIONING

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu requires an entirely different kind of conditioning to rugby. You’re not going to be running the equivalent of 7 miles in an hour. But you may still be exhausted at the end of your training session. Many first-time BJJ players will start out with deficiencies in strength, speed, and stamina, but these can all be trained on the mat.

Even amateur rugby players will usually enter Brazilian Jiu Jitsu with an advantage in size and strength over their opponents. But at the same time, they will typically lack flexibility, core strength and body awareness.

BJJ is perfect for rugby players, especially as an off-season training protocol, as the movements require combinations of:

  • Speed – not straight line running speed, but speed on the ground. The faster player will often be able to obtain an advantageous position and submit an opponent.
  • Squeezing – of the hips, grips, and adductors. In Jiu Jitsu, you’ll need to apply pressure with your arms and your legs. From a guard position, the legs are used to squeeze the opponent’s hips and prevent them from moving.
  • Relaxing – you can’t stay stiff the whole time, knowing when to relax is critical and usually foreshadows the application of pressure. Skilled Jiu Jitsu players will apply pressure in order to manipulate the body of the opponent. But relaxing during a round is critical to maintaining outputs for a full 5 minutes.
  • Pulling – unlike striking arts, Jiu Jitsu players are comfortable being close to their opponent. Submission maneuvurs can only be effective in close quarters. So pulling and holding an opponent close, both with the legs and arms can setup these opportunities.
  • Pushing – is generally a defensive move in Jiu Jitsu. Pushing with the feet especially can force a standing opponent off-balance. While pushing with the arms can create space and the opportunity to escape compromised positions.
  • Gripping – is critical to everything in Jiu Jitsu. The application and maintenance of pressure with the hands and arms is important to many upper-body submission techniques. You’ll see virtually instant improvements in the gripping strength of your hands, fingers and forearms when you start rolling.
  • Getting up – sucks. Especially when you have someone on top of you preventing it. But as Rugby League has shown us, there is a skill to getting back to your feet quickly. A skill that BJJ teaches in almost every training session.

HUMILITY

Right from the outset, Jiu Jitsu is a humbling experience. Without the technical knowledge, rugby players are at a significant disadvantage over more skilled opponents. You’re going to get tapped out. You’re going to get tapped out more than once. Maybe even more than once in a single round. The number of combinations of submissions is mind boggling. And you’ll likely be the victim of every single one before long. And that’s O.K. Rugby players are not usually well known for their humility. But there’s nothing so humbling as being choked out by someone half your size.

The question is, how will you react to this challenge? Will you learn, ask questions and grow as a competitor? Or will you be dissatisfied with not being the most physically dominant player in the game?

PATIENCE

Jiu Jitsu teaches two kinds of patience. Short-term patience on the mat and within a round. And long-term patience that will require weeks, months and years of commitment and dedication to BJJ. There are mile markers along the way. Points at which you’ll feel you understand what’s going on and how to defend yourself. Another where you’ll begin to formulate attacks and control your opponent. But the learning curve lasts a lifetime, just like in rugby.

Within a round, you may find yourself in a compromised position where there are few good options. Getting out of that position isn’t going to happen instantly. It requires testing, setup, defense and control all of which take time. Sometimes, you’ll need to wait for a mistake or an opportunity presented by the opponent. Sometimes, you’ll need to perform step 1, step 2 and step 3 in order to effect your escape in step 4. As a top dominant player, effecting a submission requires you to obtain perfect body position and wear-down an opponent by applying pressure to the shoulders, head and neck. It takes time and patience, both to win and to not lose.

DEALING WITH FAILURE

But you are going to lose. Consistently and often. That’s not easy for everyone. But for those that can put their ego aside, failure can be an excellent training tool. When you’re submitted with an arm bar, you have the chance to learn why it happened. Perhaps the greatest feature of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is that it gives you the opportunity to fail incredibly frequently. If you learn something every time you fail, you’re going to get better at Jiu Jitsu, at Rugby and at life.

#article from ruckscience.com

rickson-gracie-yoga-beach-stretch

8 Reasons Why Doing Yoga Will Improve Your Performance on the Mats

With over 5,000 years of history, yoga is one of the favorite forms of exercise for active people today. A mix of movement, breathing and meditation, this ancient set of techniques can and will help you with your conditioning for a better performance on the mats.

1 – FLEX ACTION — Yoga poses require flexibility. During your first yoga class, you probably won’t be able to touch your toes, but if you stick with it, you’ll notice a gradual loosening, and eventually difficult poses will become possible. Open your hips, lengthen your muscles and get a bigger range of motion in every Jiu-Jitsu position.

2 – STRONG STANCE — Maintaining good posture and creating balance within you helps in many different aspects of Jiu-Jitsu. Yoga will give you good balance when you are trying to take someone down, or while passing the guard if you need to hold a position for a long time, without getting swept.

3 – RELAXED MIND — Keeping a cool and focused mind is so important for fighters. Become present within your body and mind because you are listening to the cues of your breath and staying present with each movement that you make. Holding poses for a long time challenges not only your body, but also mostly your mind. Yoga teaches you to maintain calmness in a stressful situation, which can help you reverse any bad position in Jiu-Jitsu.

4 – OXYGEN FLOW — Learn to manage the flow of oxygen that comes into your body and use breathing to manage stress and recover. Yoga stretches your muscles, moves your organs, and drains your lymph. Cutting circulation off within the body and bringing fresh circulation and oxygen into certain areas helps to heal any kind of damage or scar tissue that’s been developed over time.

yoga-bjj 2

5 – STRENGTH FIX — Jiu-Jitsu athletes need to be explosive but also need to be able to hold a given position for a long time. Most strength programs deliver the first but not the second. Also, when you build strength through yoga, you balance it with flexibility. If you just went to the gym and lifted weights, you might build strength at the expense of flexibility. Yoga enables you to hold a certain position and endure the pain without losing concentration – and that can help any fighter.

6 – JOINT HEALTH — Each time you practice yoga, you work on your joints taking them through their full range of motion. This keeps your joints calibrated and can help prevent injuries that are so often common in Jiu-Jitsu athletes. Without proper sustenance, neglected areas of cartilage can eventually deteriorate, exposing the underlying bone like worn-out brake pads.

7- SPINAL SUPPLY — Most yoga poses are controlled from the core, therefore delivering great relief for the back. Strengthening your core and abdominal area is essential if you want to keep your back safe during training.

8 – DIET BOOSTER — Yoga lowers cortisol levels. Because it is a stress-relieving activity and a mind and body relaxer, it can help you worry less (especially before competitions), which will control your cortisol levels. High cortisol levels have been linked to what researchers call “food-seeking behavior” (the kind that drives you to eat when you’re upset, angry or stressed). The body takes those extra calories and distributes them as fat in the abdomen, contributing to weight gain.

At our Gracie Humaita Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) Australia HQ, in Alexandria, we have a free Yoga Class every Monday at 7pm, please come and let it improve your Jiu Jitsu.

1-750x330

Gracie Humaita Australia Students Robert Whittaker and Carissa Holland Qualifies to Commonwealth Games 2018

Gracie Humaita Australia Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) is very proud on the weekend. Our Student from Gracie Smeaton Grange/Grange Wrestling and UFC Interim Middleweight Champion Robert Whittaker has qualified to represent Australia in wrestling at the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games.

Whittaker earned the right to fight for a gold medal in April by winning at the Australian wrestling trials on Saturday. That followed his win at the Australian Wrestling Championships in May in the 97 kilogram division.

But a UFC middleweight world title fight could get in the way. Whittaker looks likely to headline UFC 221 in Perth next February although it is unclear who he would face at the event, the company’s debut in Western Australia.

Carissa Holland, another student from Gracie Humaita Smeaton Grange / Grange Wrestling also qualified for her second Commonwealth Games.

Huge Congratulations!

Screen-Shot-2017-11-26-at-3.41.23-pm 2 1-2

11021279_10152714961197918_3506171443357564074_n

3 Reasons Your Friends Should Try Jiu-Jitsu

Most of us students of Brazilian jiu-jitsu can not imagine our lives without going to the academy several times per week. At a social gathering some of your friends will ask how your jiu-jitsu is going and might express curiosity about what you do at the academy.

Many people are interested in trying a martial art or are looking for another fitness activity to get involved in, but they may be unsure what it is all about and how to get started. The best way for them to over come their inertia and inhibitions is to come along with their friend – YOU! and try a class or 2.

If you think they need a little convincing, here are 3 Reasons Your Friends Should Try Jiu-Jitsu:

1) See your friends more often

For most of us who are busy with work, family, and all of our other obligations, we don’t see our close friends as often as we would like. A bbq once or twice each summer and maybe a birthday party, but most of time we struggle to socialize with some of our favorite people.

If our friends are training at the jiu-jitsu academy a few times each week, it is FAR easier to stay in contact and keep the friendship strong. Due to the nature of close contact and cooperation of jiu-jitsu training, many friendships are made and strengthened in the academy.

There is no complicated arranging of schedules to meet – “I’m training Mon/Wed/Fri this week, see you there!”

SONY DSC

2) Hang out with your friends while getting fit

Instead of meeting in a bar for happy hour, deep fried foods and alcoholic beverages to socialize, how about a fitness oriented activity?

It is far easier to adhere to a healthy lifestyle when you are surrounded by people who also eat healthy and who avoid self destructive behaviors like smoking and excessive drinking. Trying to quit smoking, drinking and get more active in your lifestyle?

You are also more likely to stay regular with your training if you know your friends will be expecting you at the academy. If you centre your socializing around a fitness activity like jiu-jitsu, you are “killing two birds with one stone” by working out and seeing your friends at the same time.

SONY DSC

3) Making new friends and REAL face time

With most people owning a smart phone and connected to social media 24 / 7, we are starting to lose actually interacting with friend sin real life!

Consider for a moment how many of your friends that your primary interaction with them is to “like” a Facebook post or Instagram photo of theirs. While social media and online communication does make it easier to stay in touch with our social circle, it is not the same as REAL “face time” with our friends.

Many of us feel a little guilty about the amount of time we spend online and know instinctively that we should see our friends in person more often. Outside of work our opportunities to meet new people can be limited.

The jiu-jitsu academy is a great place to meet some new friends are the positive “can do” types of personalities that we want more of in our lives.

In addition to learning how to protect yourself and your loved ones, getting fit around a group of positive people is a great reason to invite your friends to come visit your academy and try a jiu-jitsu class.

So… Bring your friend to train and lets share the happiness of what Jiu Jitsu can bring to us!

22549069_1299695390140576_4667575887696434377_o

Great Performance at the Central Coast BJJ Event

Once again our Gracie Humaita Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) Australian Team did great at the competition on the last weekend, winning 1st Place on the Overall Gym Result.

The highlight of the event was our long time member and Gracie Humaita Bankstown coach, Sami Baki, who won his 4 fights by submission, check what Sami said after the event:

“I’ve had a lot of highs and lows in recent times and continue to stay head strong insisting on being better everyday…. yesterday was no different where I was fortunate enough to Win the Central Coast Brown Belt Invitational with 4 submission victories from 4 matches.
Huge thank you to Alex and Tiago for a great event.
To my team at Gracie Humaitá, coaches, training partners and family thank you for the support on and off the mat.
Winning and losing is easier with great people around you.”

Well done all Gracie Competitors, instructors and coaches, We are Proud of You!

IMG_4972 IMG_4973