Monday, 31 March 2014

Is The 50/50 Guard Ruining Jiu-Jitsu?

I guess the 50/50 guard is the biggest marmite move in Jiu Jitsu, you quite literally either love it or hate it. Personally, I love the 50/50 guard, I would say it's my second favourite guard behind closed guard, and a guard I feel very comfortable in.
However, it wasn't always this way. I actually started out with a deep hatred for the position due to a guy in my academy kept getting me in the position and I had no idea how to defend. I kept getting my guard passed from the position, and it was VERY frustrating. Although, one day I decided to learn the position itself and learn the key aspects of the position, and since that day I never really looked back.
Fast forward a couple of years and now it seems like everybody these days in competition is using the 50/50 guard. So why is that? Well, the position itself, if utilized correctly is very effective. Actually, I asked a similar question in an interview I did with Atos brown belt Michael Liera Jr (which can be found here). I asked him why he thought modern jiu jitsu techniques like the berimbolo and the 50/50 guard are commonly used in competition, and he replied "The berimbolo and 50/50 guard are used in competition because they are effective". And I guess that pretty much sums it up. If you are stuck in the 50/50 guard of someone who is really good at the position, they will most probably turn out to be your worst nightmare!
A lot of people in the Jiu Jitsu community are very negative about the 50/50 guard position. Many people don't like it because it's not relevant in 'street' jiu jitsu', but who is going to try and pull 50/50 guard in an actual fight? 
Also, often people consider the position as either boring or a stalling position. With that in mind I can say that sometimes two people locked up in 50/50 guard can be extremely boring to watch, and if you want to stall your way out of a match the 50/50 guard does have the potential for you to do that. But the position itself does have a lot of attacking options from it. Lots of the top athletes in our sport such as Rafael Mendes, Rubens "Cobrinha" Charles, Guilherme Mendes, Bruno Frazzato, Caio Terra, Ryan Hall, and more recently Keenan Cornelius and the Miyao brothers all use the position very effectively to either submit, pass, or transition to the back.
Quite a lot of people actually know very little about the 50/50 position itself, and the options you can get from the position. The submissions you can achieve from the position are mainly limited to leg attacks, although Keenan Cornelius has pulled off a few arm bars from the position, most notably against the Miyao brothers.
Keenan Cornelius submits Joao Miyao with a 50/50 armbar
The potential leg attacks which can be achieved from the position include:
  • Straight Foot Locks
  • Knee Bars
  • Toe Holds
  • Heel Hooks (Standard & Inverted)
Since I am only a purple belt, the only leg attack accessible to me is the straight foot lock, which happens to be one of my favourite submissions. If I'm honest I only really attack the foot lock in the 50/50 position, as for me I prefer to attack the foot from that position rather than the traditional foot lock guard position as I feel I have much greater control over my opponent. It should be said however that heel hooks are illegal under IBJJF rules, but the 50/50 guard is a perfect position to set one up, this is something which is covered extensively in Ryan Hall's DVD on the 50/50 guard.
Personally, I use the 50/50 guard to transition to the back, either by using this technique:
Or alternatively, by stepping my near side leg over my opponent putting them into a leg drag position where I have the opportunity to take their back. I find the 50/50 guard particularly useful against bigger opponents and also people who may be slightly better than me. I remember Ryan Hall saying on his DVD that the person who comes out better from the 50/50 is not the better grappler but the person who has the greater knowledge on the position itself. To an extent I think that is true, but just because I have a decent amount of knowledge on the position doesn't mean I will be beating black belts anytime soon.
The 50/50 guard has a reputation for being extremely hard to pass. Actually, if you research 50/50 guard techniques on the internet, probably 85% of them will be passes, and they range from everything from the decent to the absolute awful. It always seems to me that people just want to learn to pass the guard rather than try to learn to be offensive with it. Personally, I think that's a shame. The 50/50 guard, if yielded correctly can be a very dangerous tool to have, and there are many effective options from there.
I would recommend everyone to try the 50/50 guard, and try and see beyond the stalling side of the position. I would be interested in hearing some of your guys opinions on the 50/50 guard.
If you would like to see some effective use of the 50/50 guard, then watch the video below:
I hope you guys enjoyed this article.
Catch you later,
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Friday, 28 March 2014

Marcelo Garcia vs. Rafael Mendes - The Dream Match

If I could think of one grappling match I would love to see, it would probably be this one. In a way it’s kind of cliché, in the sense of old school vs new school, the previous generation vs the current generation. But if this match could take place, in my opinion, it could potentially one of the greatest of all time.

Marcelo Garcia
Marcelo Garcia is widely considered by many to be one of the best pound for pound grapplers in the world today. He has won five world championships at the black belt level in the middleweight (-82kg) division, and has also won the 66–76 kg division four times at the prestigious ADCC tournament.

Marcelo is very well rounded in terms of his grappling ability; he is excellent both on his back and on his feet. In particular Marcelo is best known for his x-guard, butterfly guard and guillotine choke. What's good about Marcelo is he always hunts for the submission, he doesn't play to win by points or advantages, he looks to finish the fight and submit his opponent.

Rafael Mendes
Rafael Mendes is one of BJJ's new generation. Since his late teens he has been considered to be one of the biggest up and coming stars to hit the BJJ scene. At the age of 24, he has already won three world title as a black belt, and two ADCC titles. Rafael is notorious for his style of jiu jitsu, this being mostly focused around modern jiu jitsu techniques such as the berimbolo and 50/50 guard, which he uses frequently throughout his matches. Rafael gained considerable notoriety by defeating Rubens "Cobrinha" Charles at the 2009 ADCC final, who at the time was the current world champion and considered to be one of the best pound for pound grapplers in the world.

Rafael Menes is always an exciting fighter to watch, he is a very technical fighter and always looks to take the back of his opponent, most of the time via the berimbolo. He is very comfortable on bottom and on top, his guard seems to be pretty much impossible to pass and his attacks from the guard are very strong, probably the overall best guard in BJJ.

On the other side of that, his top game and passing is also very good, most notably using the leg drag pass to pass his opponents guard. In the 2014 Europeans, Rafael passed the guard of Paulo Miyao, a guard which no man has been able to pass, with the exception of Keenan Cornelius.

Rafael Mendes against Paulo Miyao at the 2014 Europeans

I guess what makes this match in particular so exciting is that Rafael Mendes is arguably the pound for pound best of the modern era, and Marcelo was the pound for pound best previously, so it’s basically a match to see who really the best is. Rafael went unbeaten for over 3 years in competition before finally being beaten by Augusto "Tanquinho" Mendes in the final of the featherweight division of the 2013 mundials, but still nobody has been able to submit him in years.

On the other hand, Marcelo hasn't been defeated in competition since 2009, which was against Braulio Estima in the absolute division of the ADCC that year. Although it must be said that Marcelo hasn't competed since ADCC 2011, so ring rust could potentially be a factor in the match. Although, I don't think it play that much of a role in the match itself.  

Another reason is simply the match up of styles is very good. On one hand you have Rafael Mendes who likes to use lots of modern techniques such as the berimbolo. On the other hand you have Marcelo, who doesn't really do anything super flashy, but his jiu jitsu is super-efficient. The real question I would like to know could Marcelo prevent the berimbolo of Mendes? Or could he potentially pass his guard? That is something in particular we have never seen before. I will even go one step further and say could he submit Mendes? Possibly with a guillotine?

Marcelo Garcia sets up a guillotine choke on Victor Estima at ADCC 2011

You could potentially argue that the weight difference might also be a factor, but Marcelo is pretty small for a middleweight, so I can’t really see that making an impact.

On paper this should be a GREAT match, but most often that doesn't work out all of the time, after all a fight is between two people. Take the most recent match between Andre Galvao and Leandro Lo at the absolute final of the 2014 Pan Ams. Now in theory this should be a great match. Both of these fighters are very aggressive, like to go for the submission etc. But in reality the match in my opinion from a spectator’s point of view was awful! It was pretty much a 10 minute stall fest. Now I'm not saying that would happen in this particular matchup, but who knows.

Now where could this match take place? Well straight off the bat the obvious choice is Metamoris, but again it’s if both fighters are happy with the match up, it’s under the right conditions etc. Actually, I saw a post on Facebook a few months back from somebody saying that Marcelo wouldn't be interested in doing a match for Metamoris, which is his own choice, and that's fine, if he doesn't want to do it, then nobody should force him.

I'm pretty sure I'm not the only person who would love to see this dream matchup. Personally, I think this is the BJJ equivalent of Anderson Silva vs GSP, it’s just something that people would really like to see.  

I hope you guys enjoyed this article!

Catch you later,

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Wednesday, 26 March 2014

Update (26/03/14)

A week has passed already?!?
Yeah, so first off, I want to alpologise for not posting this yesterday, but something came up which was pretty important, and I will get to that in a little bit.
So, the last post I published was the first part of a meditation series I started, and I promised that I would continue the series each day. However, on Sunday, whilst writing up the second part of the article, I guess something came over me, and I didn't want to continue writing the article.
Why? Well, what it boils down to is the direction I want to lead this blog in, and by that I mean mostly towards Jiu-Jitsu. I know I touched on this a little before, but I don't want to keep jumping from topic to topic. Okay, sometimes I will probably talk about some other things, but for the most part it will be purely about Jiu-Jitsu.
So, over the past couple of days I have been coming up with a few ideas on some Jiu-Jitsu articles I would like to write, and I can safely say a few are almost complete. So hopefully in the next few days at least one of them shall be published.
So how come I didn't release this update post yesterday? Well, I am very pleased to say that I was writing questions for an interview I am doing with Gracie Barra's golden boy, AJ Agazarm.
AJ himself is a pretty well-known person in the BJJ community. He often appears on This Week in BJJ with Budo Jake, and is regular competitor in IBJJF tournaments. Along his career, he has taken medals in nearly every major IBJJF tournament across the world. He was only recently promoted to black belt in June of last year, but since then has won a staggering 15 medals in IBJJF competitions!
I really look forward to reading the answers AJ gives to the questions I asked him.
If you would like to see AJ in action, then a highlight video of him can be seen below:

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Saturday, 22 March 2014

Meditation: It's Simply A Journey... - Part 1 (The Beginning)

So why did I start to learn to meditate? Well, I wanted to start something completely new in my life, and it was the start of the New Year. So I really wanted to stick with something, not just start something and then give it up a few months down the line. I already knew the benefits of meditation and how it can pretty much change your life, so I wanted to give it a shot. The only thing I had in mind to compare it to was self-hypnosis, but I can say that it's pretty different from that.
So I learned very quickly that meditation is simply not as straight forward as I hoped. What I mean by that is that the core principal of meditation is exactly the same no matter what, but there are so many other things you need to consider, such as hand positioning, breathing techniques, the way you sit, the way you place your feet etc. So at first it was pretty damn annoying to say the least, and I pretty much tried lots of different combinations, until I found something which worked best for me personally (I'll get to that at later date).
So the first time I meditated I took a traditional meditation method of sitting on the floor with my legs crossed, keeping my back straight, and holding my hands in the Sacral Chakra (Swadhisthana) position.
Sacral Chakra (Swadhisthana) 
Now when I started meditating one of the first things which I was concerned with was the time, and selecting the perfect time was also a problem to me. I thought 10 minutes was too short and 30 minutes was too long, so I decided to go straight bang in the middle with 20 minutes.   

To be perfectly honest, I really didn't do that much background research on meditation, so I pretty much jumped straight in at the deep end without a second thought. Obviously now I know that was a mistake, but I kind of just wanted to do it and experience it for myself.

Now, the first time I meditated I can pretty such say I absolutely HATED IT! And the main reason for that was because simply I had no real idea of what I was doing, or should be doing; to be honest I was just sitting there breathing wishing the timer would go off.
If I'm honest at that point I just wanted to give up and find something else to do with my life, but I thought of it kind of like Jiu-Jitsu. When you start Jiu-Jitsu it's tough, and I mean tough! You constantly get your ass handed to you by everybody, and the thought of "will I ever be good at this?" runs through your mind all the time, but if I thought like that about Jiu-Jitsu I most probably wouldn't be doing it anymore, so that encouraged me to carry on.


The main problem I was having was that I was worrying about everything, and if I'm doing everything "the right way". In reality I was trying too hard. The fact was I was trying to be really good at something which I had no idea about or any guidance in, so the thought of being phenomenally good at something on your first try was kind of impossible. All I knew was that I so wanted to be good at it, and if that meant trying everything under the sun to see what worked best for me then so be it. To be honest I just wanted to continue the journey pretty much like I did with Jiu-Jitsu.
Let's just say things started to look up from here!

Part 2 will follow tomorrow.
Catch you later,
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Friday, 21 March 2014

Meditation: It's Simply A Journey... - Introduction

So today I want to talk about something which is pretty different from my typical Jiu-Jitsu content, and if you couldn't guess it already, today I shall be talking about meditation. Now, this is probably going to consist of a series of different posts as I want to go into quite a lot of detail on this subject, so each day I'll try and cover a different topic or two. I really want to share with you guys about my experiences meditating and the effects it’s had on my life thus far, which hopefully some of you guys might find interesting.

Now some of you guys might be wondering has this series got anything to do with Jiu-Jitsu? Well, I will however talk a little about Jiu-Jitsu in this article, as meditation affects nearly all aspects of your life, and Jiu-Jitsu is a major part of my life, so we will touch on a little bit of Jiu-Jitsu here and there. But this article is definitely not a "meditation for Jiu-Jitsu" kind of post.

So like I said previously, this is going to be the start of a series of different posts, and today is just a little introduction into what you can expect over the next few days. Now before this series starts, I just want to say that this is not going to be “Meditation 101" and I am not a Zen Buddhist and everything I shall talk about is mainly from my own personal experience.

So hopefully a few of you will enjoy what I write, and part 1 of this series will be published tomorrow.

Catch you later,

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Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Update (18/03/14)

What happened last week?
Well, basically there was going to be an update post last week, but it pretty much turned into an appreciation post for all the support I have been getting over the previous week, so if you haven't seen that already you can click here.
But anyway, what has happened? And what is going to happen?
So the last thing I posted prior to my thank you post was an article I wrote on my experience using binaural beats. So this article was a little different from my blogs typical BJJ based content, but none the less many people seemed to enjoy it, and to me that's all that matters.
I think my next post will probably be about my meditation experience as I think it’s something a lot of you would enjoy, and I want to share with you guys how my life has started to change, and some of the things I have learned along the way, so stay tuned for that!
So, the Ryan Hall interview I am still in fact waiting on and the Kit Dale Interview is in the process of being done. So when will they be done? Well the Ryan hall interview, who knows, but the Kit Dale interview will hopefully be out by the end of this week.
On the subject of interviews, I published a new one two days ago, and that was with Mason Monsevais, which can be found here. So the interview went over really well, and is pretty close to being my highest ever post on this blog, so thanks again to everybody who read it, it means the really does mean the world to me!
But a big shout has to go to Mason himself, as when he shared it, it pretty much blew up! And also a BIG thank you to Art of Jiu-Jitsu Academy (AoJ), who since sharing the post has caused a massive amount of traffic towards the post in the last 24 hours. Thanks guys! I really do appreciate it!
With regards to Mason himself, I really wanted to interview him, simply because I really liked his style of Jiu-Jitsu, but not only that,  I saw what he has accomplished in a short period of time, and thought he was pretty damn good to say the least.
So, currently Mason is one of the best blue belts in the world, and I can confidently say that he will number 1 in the world pretty shortly. So, thanks again Mason for the interview, and I wish you every success in the future.  
So write now I am pretty close to achieving 10,000 views on this blog, which is an incredible number! Since two weeks ago we were only at 5000, but this blog is growing incredibly fast, and in March alone I have gained over 6500 views! So at the end of these posts I know I always tell you how thankful I am for your support, but it really does mean A LOT! And as I found out pretty quickly whilst blogging that gaining a decent following takes a while, and it’s not going to simply happen overnight, but this is a journey, and I'm loving every second of it!
Catch you later,
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Sunday, 16 March 2014

Meet BJJ's Rising Star Mason Monsevais

Today I bring you an interview with Mason Monsevais. He is considered to be one of the best blue belts in the world today, so it has been a pleasure to get the chance to interview him. I hope you guys enjoy!

For some people who may not be familiar with you, could you please introduce yourself?

My name is Mason Monsevais. I'm a blue belt underneath the Mendes Brothers at the Art of Jiu Jitsu Academy in Costa Mesa, California. I got started in jiu-jitsu because I was a fan of MMA. UFC fighter Josh Koscheck opened up a gym in my hometown of Fresno, California and I joined shortly after. I trained MMA for a bit but fell in love with jiu-jitsu. After a while I knew I needed better training if I wanted to be successful so I put my life on hold in order to move down to Costa Mesa and train with the Mendes Brothers.

What is it about Jiu-Jitsu you love so much?

I love jiu-jitsu because there is always something to improve on and get better at. It's impossible to master and always challenging. Even if you win you can always find something to work on. 

What drew you to initially start training at the Mendes Bros Academy?

I remember watching Rafa submit Cobrinha at Pan Ams 2012 and instantly became a fan of him and Gui. It just so happened that a few months later they would open up their gym a few hours away from where I was living, so I made the decision to train full-time and move down to Costa Mesa. I really liked their style so I thought it'd be best to learn directly from them. 

What is it like to have Guilherme and Rafael Mendes as your head instructors?

It's absolutely amazing. Their knowledge and attention to details in unrivaled. I feel really fortunate and blessed to be able to train with and learn from them. They're both also really cool off the mat and outside of the gym.

Mason with Professors Guilherme and Rafael Mendes

What’s the overall atmosphere like at AoJ?

The overall atmosphere at AoJ is really cool. Professors Rafa & Gui really focus on the family environment and pay a lot of attention to the kids program. It's very welcoming for guests to come and visit as well as help people start their jiu-jitsu journey. 

Do you ever get the opportunity to train at any other Atos Affiliates?

During training camps we have the opportunity to head down south to San Diego and train with Andre Galvao and his students. 

What was your first experience with competition like?

My first competition experience was pretty chaotic. I signed up for a local tournament just three months after starting training and really having no idea what to expect. I didn't understand the rules or points system but somehow was able to win three fights and take 1st. After that experience I was hooked and began competing as much as possible. 

How significant is competition in the progression of your Jiu-Jitsu?

I think competition is very important when trying to progress in jiu-jitsu. It allows you to test your techniques against people you've never rolled with before and is also a great way of finding mistakes and things to work on. Win or lose you have the opportunity to correct mistakes and better yourself. 

Do ever get nervous when it comes to competition? If so, how do you deal with them?

I don't really get nervous anymore when it comes to competition. I view the tournaments as an extension to my training so I find them pretty enjoyable. It's an opportunity to showcase my jiujitsu.

You have accomplished a lot over your short career, but what has been your most proud accomplishment?

My proudest accomplishment so far is definitely winning the IBJJF Europeans earlier this year. I had 5 really tough matches but was able to grind them out and take gold.

Mason takes gold at the 2014 IBJJF European Championships

What has been your most challenging match in competition to date?

My toughest match so far was probably my semi-finals match at Europeans. I fought a tough kid from Brazil who put me in a lot of challenging spots. 

Who would you say is your biggest competition throughout the entire blue belt division?

I think there's a lot of good competition at blue belt right now but I feel comfortable and confident fighting everyone. 

Ultimately, what are your goals throughout 2014?

For the remainder of 2014 I'd definitely like to win Worlds both in the gi & no-gi as well. I'd also like to make it to Japan and compete in the Rickson Cup. 

Looking at the big picture, what are some of your future goals?

My future goals are obviously to be a Pan& World champion at every belt level as well as an ADCC champion. Once I'm done competing I'd really like to share jiu-jitsu with as many people as possible and start training my own champions. Jiu-jitsu has changed my life in so many ways, I can't help but try and spread it to as many people as possible.

You are widely considered to be one of the best blue belts in the world, how does that make you feel?

It's a really good feeling but my goal is to one day be one of the best black belts in the world. It's a good short term accomplishment that I hope translates through to every belt level. 

Source: Boston BJJ Scene

Could you share your training schedule throughout the entire week with us?

My training schedule is pretty simple. It's basically 3-5 hours in the morning, a little break for lunch, then back to the gym at 4PM to teach kids classes and train again at night. Overall I spend anywhere from 5-7 hours a day training jiu-jitsu. This is Monday through Saturday and resting on Sunday. 

Who are some of your Jiu-Jitsu Idols?

Obviously my Professors Rafa & Gui are my idols when it comes to jiu-jitsu. There's a few other guys who I really enjoy watching fight as well, especially Clark Gracie because of his omoplata game. 

Overall would you say your instructors have the biggest influence on your style of Jiu-Jitsu?

Yes definitely. I am on the mats with them for hours upon hours so they have a huge impact on my jiu-jitsu. I moved to Costa Mesa to train specifically with them so that I could emulate their style. 

What other people besides the Mendes brothers have an influence on your style of Jiu-Jitsu?

I'd have to say Clark Gracie because I'm a big fan of the omoplata. Other than that I am pretty much just doing Mendes Brother style of jiu-jitsu. I think their style allows a smaller person like myself to be able to control the distance and be successful against any size opponent. 

What style of Jiu-Jitsu do you personally like to play?

I enjoy playing guard but lately I've been coming on top and passing the guard. My interests change from time to time but as of right now I really enjoy playing on top. My mind works in a weird way.. I become obsessed with certain moves and get fixated on attacking that move. Right now it's currently omoplata's & the knee slide pass. 

Is drilling a major priority for you in order to progress your Jiu-Jitsu?

I think drilling is very important because it teaches your body how to do the move or movement. It's hard to try something live if your body isn't familiar with the move. 

Do you do any cross training in order to improve your Jiu-Jitsu?

I don't do any other cross training. I think if you want to get good at something, you should do a lot of that one thing. I train a lot of jiu-jitsu because I want to get good at jiujitsu. 

Personally, do you take any supplements? If so, which ones?

I'm not a very big fan of supplements because I think without a proper diet they don't make a difference. I really like caffeine (haha) because it allows me to get amped up when I'm feeling sore and tired towards the end of the week. Other than that I think a proper & balanced diet is the main thing. 

What is the preparation like at AOJ for a big competition?

The preparation doesn't change when we are preparing for a tournament. We are always training hard and competing as much as possible so the training is always tough and geared for competitions. 

How did you do at the recent Pan Ams?

I won three fights and made it to the quarter-finals. In my fourth fight I lost after a controversial call. Even though I didn't get the result I expected I was really proud of my performance. I never once felt like I was out of control or in danger during any of my matches. Obviously I wanted to win but these situations happen and it is what it is. I cannot wait until 2015 to have another opportunity to become a Pan-Am champion!

Are there any non IBJJF competitions you would like to do in the future?

I am really looking forward to traveling to Japan at the end of the year and competing in the Rickson Cup.

Source: GrappleTV

Will you ever consider making the jump to do MMA in the future?

Depending on how jiu-jitsu goes over the next few years will determine whether or not I will make the jump into MMA. I am definitely interested but my jiu-jitsu goals come first! 

Besides Jiu-Jitsu, what do you like to do in your spare time?

To be honest I don't really do much besides jiu-jitsu. When I am not training I am at home resting. It's hard for me to even sit through an entire movie without daydreaming or focusing on jiu-jitsu. I am a big fan of art but jiu-jitsu controls my mind & thoughts 24/7! 

Which do you prefer Gi or NoGi?

I love training in the gi. I hardly ever train no-gi but I will when a no-gi tournament approaches. I one day want to fight in ADCC so I will start focusing on the no-gi training in the future. 

Coming up next month is Metamoris III, with the long awaited rematch of Royler Gracie vs Eddie Bravo, who do you think will win and why?

It's hard for me to say but I think Eddie Bravo will find a way to win. I am really excited for this event and can't wait to be there live. Both my professors are fighting! 

Okay, time for the quick fire questions, they are:

1.     Gran Turismo or Forza? Gran Turismo. 
2.     The Rock or Stone Cold? The Rock of course! 
3.     Smile or Game Face? Smile.  
4.     Crushed Ice or Cubed Ice? Crushed Ice whenever I have the choice!
5.     Be older than you are or younger than you are? Man I wish I was younger! 19 was the perfect age.
6.     Goku or Vegeta? Goku! #TeamGoodGuys
7.     Ed, Edd or Eddy? DoubleD was always my favorite. 
8.     Headphones or Ear-buds? Headphones to cover my cauliflower ear. 
9.     Freddy or Jason? Jason.
10.   Duck or Chicken? Chicken!
11.   Snickers or Twix? Snickers! 
12.   PSN or Xbox Live? I never play video games but probably Xbox! 
13.   Resident Evil or Silent Hill? Resident Evil. 
14.   Call of Duty or Battlefield? Call of Duty. 
15.   Jedi or Sith? A wise man once told me, "You're either a jedi or you're not.."
16.   Darth Vadar or Darth Maul? Darth Vader forsure!
17.   Christmas or Halloween? Christmas! Not a big fan of Halloween...
18.   Mashed Potatoes or French Fries? I loooove mashed potatoes (haha)!
19.   NWO or DX? Not sure?!
20.   Shaken or Stirred? Shaken?
21.   Hurley or Billabong? RVCA ;)
22.   Digital Alarm Clock or Ringing Alarm Clock? iPhone Digital Alarm Clock!
23.   N*sync or Backstreet Boys? Hanson (hahaha)!
24.   Coffee or Hot Chocolate? Coffee hands down.
25.   Cartoon Network or Boomerang? I was always a fan of Cartoon Network.

I think this will conclude our interview. I'd like to thank you for giving me the chance to interview you, it has been great! Before we end, is there anybody you would like to thank?

Yeah no problem. Was awesome! I'd like to thank my Professors, family, and AoJ family for all the support. They make it all possible!

If you want to stay updated with Mason and his journey, follow him on Instagram and Twitter, and also add him on Facebook!
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Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Thank You!

Isn't today the day you usually do the update posts?

Yeah, in fact that is correct, but I wanted to do a special appreciation post today for all the support I've had over the last 48 hours, so the update post will be moved to tomorrow.
Right anyway, so I can safely say quite a decent amount has happened in the last 48 hours. Now at this point your probably wondering what on earth I am talking about, as I haven't made any new published any new content since last Friday, but actually a lot has happened since Sunday evening, and by that I mean a massive influx of over 2500 views to my blog page in the matter of 24 hours, and now your probably wondering why? Well that's because I shared two of my first ever posts I made on this blog, and they were one about modern Jiu-Jitsu, and the other about Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare.
Now some of new readers have probably never seen these posts, actually I tell a lie, pretty much nobody actually did. And that's simply because when I started this blog I never shared any of my posts, and I kind of just hoped people would find me. Now looking back that's probably the stupidest thing I could have done because sharing my posts on Twitter, Facebook, Reddit etc, is a huge part of getting my content seen with the rest of the online community.
So anyway, I actually put a good amount of effort into these two posts in particular, as I really wanted people to notice my writings, and I wanted to "stand out" so to speak. So on Sunday both posts put together had probably no more than 50 views combined, and looking at that it kind of felt that all my efforts had been wasted, so I decided to post them on Reddit, as a few people might be interested in them, and also it will give them an opportunity to view maybe some of my more recent posts.
So I check back after 10 minutes of posting them, and both of them had over 50 views, which I thought was pretty good, and maybe if they could both get over 100 views that would be spectacular, but how wrong was I! Because in the next couple of hours they pretty much completely exploded and within two hours they both had almost 500 views a piece, which was completely MIND BLOWING! I'm not lying when I say I couldn't stop smiling all night, it was just totally crazy to me that how these posts had gone public almost two months ago and now people were going crazy for something I personally wrote, here on my computer in my bedroom, I tell you the feeling I had was spectacular. But then I thought it was all over, I thought that it would just plateau, and not make hardly any more progress, but I was wrong again! The number just wouldn't stop climbing, and within 24 hours they both totaled more than 2250 views, and I thank everybody who read both articles, all your support really motivates me to keep doing what I do, and I really do hope this blog can potentially one day be a major success.
The other 250 view came from people viewing my other posts which of course I am very thankful for as always. 
I'm proud of all the content I have put out on this blog, but these two especially as I personally wrote them, and now my article on modern Jiu-Jitsu is the most viewed post on my blog. 48 hours ago it had about around 30 views, now it has over 1200 views, which to some people may not really be that spectacular, but since I only being doing this 9 weeks and am relatively unknown, it's a huge milestone. Now in no way am I a professional journalist or writer, and sometimes I make spelling and grammar mistakes, and the layout may not be the best, but every post I make I give 110% percent and try to be the best I can ever possibly be. So I would like to thank all of you who have stayed with me on the journey, and I hope we can continue it together!

Oh, one last thing, if you are interested in reading both of these articles they can be found on the right under the popular posts heading, put you can also find them by clicking the links below:

Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare

Modern Jiu-Jitsu

Catch you later,

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Friday, 7 March 2014

Binaural Beats: Experimenting with eDrugs

So at the start of this year I wanted to start some completely new things, so I thought of the classic new year's resolutions that everybody attempts to do for a month and then gives up on, but to be perfectly honest most of them don't really apply to me, so I tried to think of things more outside the box. What I decided to do was firstly to start blogging, which I can safely say I LOVE, and secondly I wanted to learn to meditate, which I can easily say is one of the greatest things I have ever done in my life. So anyway searching the internet as you do, looking up different meditation techniques, postures, hand positions etc, I eventually came across binaural beats, which if you couldn't guess already is what I intend to talk to you guys about today and my overall experience using them.

So what exactly are binaural beats? Well it's actually something which is created by the brain when it is presented with two sounds of similar frequencies, and with each of these frequencies being played separately to each ear your brain will then begin to integrate each of these frequencies and thus create a third sound which is referred to as a binaural beat.

For example, if for instance a frequency of 100Hz is played in one ear and a frequency of 105Hz is played in the other, then a binaural beat of 5Hz will be created. Brain waves will then shift in order to match this frequency or binaural beat.  

Okay, but what does this have to do with meditation exactly? Well if you take a look at this chart it shows us various brain wave frequencies corresponding to consciousness levels:

Beta (13-26 Hz) - Alert concentration and problem-solving
Alpha (8-13 Hz) - Alert relaxation
Theta (4-7 Hz) - Deep relaxation and increased learning
Delta (1-3 Hz) - Deep sleep

So basically what a binaural beat does is it can induce the listener into various levels of consciousness, but its most frequently used by listeners to induce them into a state of deep meditation.
So is it legitimate or is it just another load of BS? Well from my experience I can say it works pretty damn well, but only if you allow it to, don't expect to stick on some headphones and all of sudden turn into a Zen Buddhist. Like everything with meditation you have to completely let go and fully focus on the sound itself in order for a deep state of meditation to be successfully achieved.
So can they be used over traditional meditation techniques? Personally I don't think so, I personally can reach a much deeper state of meditation by using traditional mediation techniques than solely just relying on binaural beats. Don't get me wrong you can reach a decent level of deep relaxation with binaural beats but personally I don't think they offer as much as normal meditation does.
From personal experience, the best way to use binaural beats is to use them in conjunction with your normal meditation, so sometime throughout the day I will listen to binaural beats in conjunction with my daily morning and evening meditation sessions. As a result of doing this I have noticed a MAJOR improvement in my meditation, since using them I find it easier to focus on my breathing, my concentration levels have increased etc. I guess its kind of like a pre-workout supplement, its not essential to take one before you workout but it can definitely help, and the same is true with binaural beats, they are not essential but if used correctly you will see great improvements in your meditation practice.
So where can you get binaural beats? Well they are all over the internet, you can listen to them on YouTube, download free MP3's or buy them. Personally I bought mine, but I've tried others on YouTube and they all work reasonably well. But you MUST listen to binaural beats, wearing headphones, preferably over the ear headphones.   

So I imagine you're probably wondering by now why in the title did I refer to them as "eDrugs". Well some people say that binaural beats mimic the effects of drugs such as LSD and marijuana, and essentially you can get 'high' off them. Well in regards to that, I've never personally taken any of these drugs (or any drugs for that matter) and although they can make you feel very relaxed I really do doubt that sound frequencies can really replicate the effects of a drug.   

So I hope you guys enjoyed this post on binaural beats which is little different from my traditional Jiu-Jitsu based posts, but I wanted to introduce you guys to something completely new from me.
Catch you later,

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Thursday, 6 March 2014

Update (06/03/14)

So he promises us one thing, and then gives us another...
Yeah, last week I think I was a bit optimistic with my schedule, but no matter, I still managed to get out a two part interview with Michael Liera Jr, which turned out to be very successful, so I would like to take this opportunity to thank everybody who viewed the interview, shared it, liked it etc.
Before we begin, I'd like to first give a couple of BIG shout outs to a few groups who really helped the exposure of the interview. They are firstly some of Michael Liera's sponsors, RVCA and who shared my interview on Twitter, and secondly Montreal BJJ Scene and BJJ Scout for also sharing my interview of Facebook. Thanks guys! It means a lot! 
Right, so lets get into this update post!
So first off, as you can see my blog has visually changed quite a lot in the last week, hopefully you guys really like it, because personally I love it! I want to try and improve this blog as much as I can, so changing a few thing aesthetically here are there can't possibly hurt. All of the editing was done by Simon Matthews of  Deezinehub, and he did a tremendous job, so if you want top quality web design then I suggest you check them out!

Right, so when I started this blog I didn't want to be a totally BJJ focused blog, I wanted to write about various other topics so I could appeal to a much larger audience, but as I found out in the early days that it doesn't really work that well. So I changed my content to focus primarily on BJJ and it has been a great success! So from now on about 90% of my content will be focused around BJJ, and from time to time you'll probably see some other stuff from me on non-BJJ topics, one of which is almost ready to be posted tomorrow, so check back tomorrow for that.

With regards to interview I have a few planned up, but nothing I can announce to you guys as of yet, and yes before anybody asks the Ryan Hall and Kit Dale interviews are still being done.

Also, my guest post for Nick Aboe is done, just have to edit a few things and put a few images on and it will be finally complete, so head over to his blog tomorrow to see it.

And as far as news goes that's really about it...

Oh yeah, before I draw this post to a close I just want to say that today I achieved 5000 views on my blog, and I must say that's pretty good considering I've only being doing this for 8 weeks, but I am extremely thankful for all the support I have been getting, and I hope you continue down this road with me. I take blogging pretty seriously, just simply because I want to be the best I can possibly ever be, even though I do around two posts a week, I do A LOT of work behind the scenes, such as thinking of ideas, doing interviews, contacting people for feedback etc. But now I want to get better, and put out more content, so now at a minimum I will be posting four times a week, and try to create a solid schedule.

Right that's all from me! New post on here tomorrow, and also a guest post on Nick Aboe's blog.

Catch you later,

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Sunday, 2 March 2014

An Interview with Atos Wonderkid - Michael Liera Jr - Part 2

(This is part 2 of my interview with Michael Liera Jr. If you haven't seen part 1 of this interview, please click HERE.)

What would be your advice for somebody at their first Jiu-Jitsu tournament?

Relax, and just try to focus on one match at a time. Fighting in a competition and sparring in the gym is the same exact thing, so try not to over-think it.

Would you say it’s essential now for a Jiu-Jitsu athlete to be on a strength & conditioning program?

I know plenty of great Jiu Jitsu athletes who aren't on any kind of strength and conditioning program. Personally, I have found lifting weights has been very beneficial for my Jiu Jitsu.

In terms of supplementation, do you think it’s essential to take them? And do you take them personally?

I feel that supplements help me in my training. I like to take pre-work out supplements before I train when I am tired, whey protein after I work out, and BCAA's throughout the day to help my recovery.

Could you take us the through what the Atos training camp is like in preparation for a big competition? (I.e. Worlds, Pan Ams)

Atos training camps usually start two to three months prior to the competition. We train twice a day, and in between our training sessions we drill, work out and rest. The training camps tend to be pretty grueling, but they are my favorite time of the year!

How is your preparation going for the Pan Ams coming up?

The training camp for this year’s Pan Am's has been going really well. I'm really excited to compete in my first major gi tournament as a brown belt. All of my focus for the past few months has been on getting the double gold!

Would you like at some point to go and compete in Brazil?

I went to Brazil and competed in the 2010 Rio Open, but I have not been back since. I currently don't have any plans to go out there, considering all of the major tournaments are here in California, but I would love to go back out there soon.

Have you ever considered doing MMA in the future?

I'm not too thrilled with the idea of doing MMA any time in the future. I really respect MMA fighters because I know how hard the business is. I'm just not very interested in it.

Source: Owen Francis

Other than Jiu-Jitsu, do you have any other interests?

I spend most of my time doing Jiu Jitsu, but I also really like playing video games, and spending time with my dog.

For the next two things, could you please state what is your most and least favourite submission and guard.

My favourite submissions are from the back, and my least favourite submissions are any flying submissions.

My favourite guard is the De La Riva, and my least favourite guard to be in is the inverted guard.

Some people don’t like to roll with really big guys or do absolute divisions due to their size. Since you are a smaller guy, what is your strategy going in to compete against a much larger opponent?

I really enjoy competing in the absolute divisions. My main strategy in going against bigger guys is to keep their weight off of me with the spider guard, and attacking for omoplatas. Also the berimbolo can be really effective against bigger guys.

Source: CTRL Industries

Coming up next month is Metamoris III, with the long awaited rematch of Royler Gracie vs Eddie Bravo. Who do you think will win and why?

I'm really looking forward to this match up! I'm ok with whoever wins as long as it is a good fight. I've trained with Royler Gracie in the past, and his Jiu Jitsu is phenomenal, but it is hard to say considering both of them have not competed in years.

Just to break things up from this formal interview, I would like to ask you some trivia questions. They are:

1.     Who is your favourite Dragon Ball Z character? Krillin Cornelius
2.     Who would win in a fight, Godzilla or King Kong? King Kong
3.     Whopper or Big Mac? Mmmm Big Mac
4.     PlayStation or Xbox? PlayStation
5.     Coke or Pepsi? Coke
6.     DC or Marvel? DC
7.     Simpsons, Family Guy or South Park? Simpsons
8.     Messi or Ronaldo? Ronaldo
9.     England or Wales? Wales
10.   PC or Mac? Mac
11.   Early bird or night owl? Night owl
12.   Cake or pie? Neither.
13.   Ice cream or yogurt? Yogurt
14.   Ketchup or mustard? Mustard
15.   Body weight exercises or lifting weights? Lifting weights
16.   Shower in the morning or shower in the evening? Both
17.   Saver or spender? Spender
18.   7up or Sprite? Mmm 7up
19.   Twitter or Facebook? Facebook
20.   Hamburgers or Hotdogs? Hamburgers

I just want to say thank you Michael for giving me the opportunity to interview you, it has really been a privilege! Before we conclude this interview, is there anybody you want to thank?

Well first off thank you for the great interview! I'd also like to thank my sponsors Shoyoroll, RVCA, and! Ossss.
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