Wednesday, 25 February 2015

The Berimbolo Kid's Match of the Week - Week 28 - Victor Silverio vs. Felipe Pena - Abu Dhabi Pro Trails 2011 (Purple Belt)

(The previous edition can be found HERE)

Hello, and welcome to another edition of Match of the Week. This week's match is Victor Silverio vs. Felipe Pena from the 2011 Abu Dhabi Pro Trails in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. 

Victor Silverio is a black belt under Julio Cesar and fights for GFT (Grappling Fight Team). The first time Victor was mentioned worldwide was when he won the 2009 Abu Dhabi Pro as a blue belt at 17 years old. He was also brought to the attention of the BJJ world, when he was a competitor on Lloyd Irvin's BJJ Kumite in 2012. As of now, Silverio is known as one of the best up and coming talents in the black belt division.

Victor is a three time Rio Open Champion (2014 black, 2012 brown, 2011 purple), a two time World Pro Champion (2013 brown, 2009 blue), and a one-time CBJJE World Champion (2013 brown), Brazilian National NoGi (2011 purple), and Sao Paulo Open Champion (2014 black). He is also a two time Pan American bronze medalist (2012 weight & absolute) and an ADCC Brazilian Trails silver medalist.

Silverio is very fast and aggressive during his matches. He nearly always starts off his matches with a relentless takedown. He seems to favour the traditional double leg takedown in particular. Victor is also an extremely good guard passer.  Again, just like his takedowns, very fast and aggressive.  He uses the toreando pass to great effect, literally smashing past peoples guards.

Victor Silverio

Felipe Pena, also known as Felipe Preguiça, is a black belt under Marcelo Azevedo and fights for Gracie Barra. Since his time as a purple and brown belt, Felipe has been considered by the media as one the hottest prospects in Jiu-Jitsu after his impressive performances at the lower ranks. Felipe is the younger brother Augusto "Tio Chico".

Felipe has done tremendously well throughout his competition career. He is a four time World (2014 black, 2012 brown, 2011 purple weight & absolute) and South American Champion (2012 brown weight & absolute, 2011 brown weight & absolute), a three time Brazilian National Champion (2014 black weight & absolute, 2012 brown), and a two time Pan American Champion (2012 brown, 2011 purple). He is also a one-time European (2012 brown) and Copa Podio Middleweight Grand Prix Champion (2014).

If you have seen any of Felipe's matches, you would know that he is an exceptional guard player. Mostly, he likes to play open guard, but he's very good from the closed guard also. Even though he is a very good guard player, Felipe is well rounded as a grappler. He’s good at takedowns and passing the guard, especially using the leg drag. Using the leg drag, he nearly always gets the guys back. He is phenomenal at taking the back. He does it flawlessly.

Felipe Pena

A very good match from two of the best purple belts in the world at the time. Another guard passer vs. guard player match. The pace of the match is high, and at points it gets really high, especially in the scrambles. The match is just full of action. 

The video of the match can be found below! I hope you guys enjoy!

See you next week!

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Wednesday, 11 February 2015

10 Years of BJJ - My Jiu-Jitsu Journey - Part 12 (Welsh Open 2009)

(If you haven't read the previous part, you can find it HERE)

Now, after being graded, I was super motivated to train hard and eventually get to green belt. Even if that meant staying in the kid’s class for another two years, I just didn't really care. All I wanted to do was get my green belt prior to my 16th birthday.

The next day (Friday) I actually took the day off school. I don't remember exactly why, but I was probably 'sick'. Anyway, around 5 o'clock in the afternoon, my dad got a phone call from my instructor saying that he was running a competition and wanted me and my brother to compete in it on Sunday. I was a little shocked to say the least, just because it was two days away and I don't like doing things last minute (I've always been that way). 

Reluctantly, I agreed to it, and that was that. I didn't know anything about the competition, how many people were in my division, what weight I'd be fighting at etc. I actually didn't know what the competition was called until I got there. 

Up until this point, I'd only ever competed in one BJJ competition (the others I competed in were Japanese Ju-Jitsu competitions because there were no or very few BJJ competitions run in the UK in the early to mid-2000's) and that actually went really well. I took silver and submitted two of my opponents. I saw this as a good opportunity to test my skills (or lack of) against some people my own size for a change. I still had no idea about weight classes, the rules, the point system or any other stuff associated with competition. 

Fast forward to Sunday morning, and we arrive at the venue in Newport. I was a little shocked because there were no kids or teenagers about. Only me and my brother, sitting there like a bunch of lemons with my dad. I then found out that there were only four of us in my division, and it was open weight due to lack of entries. So at least either me or my brother would walk away with a medal, even if it meant fighting each other.

About 2 hours later, I was called and my division was about to start. 

My opponent was a kid who was the same age as me, but much shorter and skinnier. I thought this was going to be an easy match, but I soon ate those words. The match starts and we start to try and take each other down, mainly with foot sweeps. Back then I had no game. I was neither a top nor bottom player. I literally just did anything and my technique was quite sloppy. I cringe just thinking about it now. 

After about two minutes or so, the guy lands a killer foot sweep and lands straight into side control. F***! Now I really am well and truly screwed. I couldn't escape side control to save my god damn frickin' life. I tried to shrimp but I sucked at that as well. I looked like a dead fish just flapping around out there. After about two minutes with the guy on top of me in side control, he gets an armbar and that was it. 

This was really a reality check for me. I needed to do something with my training or I was just going to continue to get killed out there. The last time I competed I did so well, now I got absolutely schooled by someone half my size. As frustrating as it was, I wasn't too disheartened. All I wanted to do now was train and get better.

My brother's match went actually pretty well. He fought a guy from Roger Gracie Academy who was around the same size as us and an orange belt. He eventually got submitted with a triangle about 4.5 minutes in, but it was a good match. 

Now, there's actually footage of me versus my brother, so I thought I would share that rather than explain the match fully. The quality of the footage is abysmal! But if you are interested you can take a look. I'm the one on the bottom the whole way through.

(If you're viewing on a mobile device, please click HERE)

Another competition over with... But then something happens a few weeks later which change my Jiu-Jitsu game forever. 

I hope you guys enjoyed this part of 'My Jiu-Jitsu Journey', and part 11 will be published next Wednesday.   

Catch you later,

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Monday, 9 February 2015

The Berimbolo Kid's Match of the Week - Week 27 - Rodolfo Vieira vs. Rubens "Cobrinha" Charles - 2011 Abu Dhabi World Pro

(The previous edition can be found HERE)

Hello, and welcome to another edition of Match of the Week. This week's match is Rodolfo Vieira vs. Rubens "Cobrinha" Charles from the absolute finals of the 2011 Abu Dhabi World Pro.

Rodolfo Vieira is one of the best Jiu-Jitsu competitors in the world today. He is a black belt under Julio Cesar and fights for GF Team (Grappling Fight Team). In 2009, Rodolfo literally became known overnight after he won the Abu Dhabi Pro trials as still only a brown belt, defeating numerous black belts along the way. The BJJ media would go one to label him 'The Black Belt Hunter'.

As a competitor, Rodolfo has accomplished pretty much everything a competitor dreams about. He is a five time World (2014, 2013, 2012, 2011 weight & absolute) and World Pro Champion (2014, 2012 weight & absolute, 2011 weight & absolute). He is also a two time Pan American (2011 weight & absolute), European (2012 weight & absolute) and Copa Podio Heavyweight Grand Prix Champion (2013 & 2014).  

When you think of Rodolfo Vieira, the first thing you think of is his guard passing. His guard passing is one of the best in the world. Specifically, he is best known for the knee slide pass. Once he passes, he is relentless. Making quick transitions to either the back to set up a choke, or straight to an armbar. 

Rodolfo Vieira

Rubens Charles, better known as "Cobrinha" (Little Snake), is one of Jiu-Jitsu's most accomplished competitors. He is a black belt under the legendary Fernando "Terere" Augusto and was once part of the TT team. Since the breakup of the team, he has since joined Alliance Jiu-Jitsu. Today, Cobrinha is also a world class instructor, with lots of great talent coming from his academy. 

As I mentioned previously, Cobrinha is an extremely accomplished competitor. He is a four time World (2009, 2008, 2007, 2006), World NoGi (2007, 2008, 2011, 2012), and Pan American Champion (2007, 2008, 2009, 2010). He is also a one-time ADCC (2013), European (2013), and Pan American NoGi Champion (2008). Cobrinha is also a member of the IBJJF Hall of Fame.

Cobrinha is known for one thing, and that is his guard. His guard was voted as the guard of the decade by other Jiu-Jitsu world champions. The guards which Cobrinha uses the most often throughout his matches are the de la riva and spider guard. From both these guards, Cobrinha sets up multiple sweeps, submissions, and flawless transitions. Cobrinha again has a solid top game. From the top, Cobrinha is very aggressive and is constantly attacking making good work of using pressure. 

Rubens "Cobrinha" Charles

To sum this match up, you have one of the best guard passers in the world vs. one guard passers in the world. The match is only a few minutes long, so I won't spoil it for any of you. 

Make sure you take a look at the video below! I hope you guys enjoy! 

See you next week!

Before you go, I recently made a Facebook page. I'd appreciate it if you could LIKE the page. Thank you!

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Monday, 2 February 2015

The Berimbolo Kid's Match of the Week - Week 26 - Roberto 'Cyborg' Abreu vs. Bill 'The Grill' Cooper - Grapplers Quest 2009

(The previous edition can be found HERE)

Welcome to another Match of the Week! This week's match is Roberto 'Cyborg' Abreu vs. Bill 'The Grill' Cooper from a 2009 edition of Grapplers Quest.

Roberto Abreu, better known in the BJJ community as 'Cyborg', is a black belt under Francisco 'Toco' Albuquerque. He initially started training with the Nova Geracao Team, but has since started his own team, Fight Sports. Cyborg is well known for his very unique style of grappling and the tornado guard, which he has since made famous. 

Throughout his reasonably long career, Cyborg has won multiple titles. He is a four time World NoGi Champion (2012, 2011, 2010 weight & absolute), a two time Pan American Champion (2008, 2001 blue), and a one-time ADCC (2013 absolute) and European Champion (2005). He is also a six time World bronze medalist (2013, 2011, 2008, 2006 absolute, 2003 purple, 2002 purple absolute) and a two time ADCC (2013, 2011) and World NoGi bronze medalist (2008 absolute, 2007).

Obviously, as I mentioned earlier, Cyborg is well known for his tornado guard. He is also known for his half guard and the deep half guard position. A very unique, yet under utilised submission which Cyborg has great amounts of success with in competition is the reverse triangle. For such a big guy, Cyborg moves almost like a lightweight. He is very explosive with his movements.

Roberto 'Cyborg' Abreu

Bill 'The Grill' Copper, also known as simply 'Bill the Grill', is a black belt under Ricardo 'Franjinha' Millera and fights for Paragon Jiu-Jitsu. At the time he received his black belt, Bill was the youngest American ever to do so.  Bill has also ventured into the world of MMA, and has competed in Strikeforce. He also holds black belts in Judo and Tae Kwon Do. 

Bill has many accomplishments to his name. He is a 27 time Grapplers Quest Champion, and a one-time Pan American (2007 brown), Houston Open (2010 black), and Best of the West Champion (2007 brown). He is also a two time World silver medalist (2008 black, 2007 brown absolute), and a one time World bronze medalist (2010 black), and World NoGi Silver (2007 black absolute) and bronze medalist (2008 black). 

As a grappler, Bill is extremely well rounded. He is dangerous from anywhere. He doesn't seem to really have a preference. Throughout his matches he is very aggressive and always keeps the pace high. One thing I noticed is that his cardio is phenomenal! He literally never seems to get tired. In terms of submissions, Bill really likes the guillotine choke, especially in NoGi. The rear naked choke is another favourite of his.  

Bill 'The Grill' Cooper

I remember this match very well. This was the full grappling match I ever saw on YouTube when I was 14 years old. I don't know how I managed to come across it, but I remember I was blown away with what I saw. I didn't actually know who either of the guys was. 

Man, this match is just constant action! It's just back and forth constantly. Neither guy ever stops for a second. I usually try to sum up the match in a few lines, but I would find it nearly impossible to do in this instance. Just watch the match for yourself; I'm sure you'll have a blast.

The video of the match can be found below. I hope you guys enjoy! 

See you next week!

Before you go, I recently made a Facebook page. I'd appreciate it if you could LIKE the page. Thank you!

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Sunday, 1 February 2015

Medals vs. Prize Money

I was thinking about this actually the other day, and that's about the idea of prize money vs. medals in Jiu-Jitsu. When I use the term 'prize money' I mean winning a cash prize for either winning a competition or placing on the podium. I mean is it really important for big competitions to offer cash prizes?

Before we diverge into both sides of this, I'd first like to share what competitions and events offer prize money and how much each of them offers.

IBJJF Pro League
  • First place - $5000
  • Second place - $1000
Abu Dhabi World Pro
  • First place - $30,000 (absolute), $8000 (weight)
  • Second place - $3000 (same for both absolute & weight)
  • Third place - $1500 (same for both absolute & weight)
  • First place - $40,000 (absolute), $10,000 (weight)
  • Second place - $10,000 (absolute), $5000 (weight)
  • Third place - $5000 (absolute), $3000 (weight)
  • Fourth Place - $1000 (same for both absolute & weight)
  • Super Fight - $40,000 (winner), $10,000 (loser) 

A total of $100,000 is divided between 14 competitors. I assume the higher you are up the card, the more money you will receive. I'm not aware if any bonuses are given if a submission is achieved.

Copa Podio

Copa Podio does not release any information in regards to how much each of its competitors is paid. It has been assumed that the winner gets $10,000.

Grapplers Quest

First place - $3000
Second place - $1000

Obviously, there are other competitions which offer prize money, but they are much smaller and less well known. The six listed above are the most major ones. 

I guess the main problem is that the IBJJF (International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation) does not offer prize money in the World Championships, nor any other of its major competitions (Pan Ams, Europeans, and Brazilian Nationals). But should they? Does it really matter?

Years ago, BJJ was famous for losing some of its major stars to MMA, mostly based on the terms of there was no money in Jiu-Jitsu. You dedicate your entire life to the sport, you go through all the bad times, all the hard training, and finally you achieve the pinnacle of our sport; becoming a World Champion and all you get for your hard work is a medal. Back then there was really no money in Jiu-Jitsu. 

Today, that is a completely different story. Athletes today have big time sponsors who are willing to support them in order to accomplish their dreams. There are lots of Gi companies out there which give their athletes free clothes and training equipment, will pay for competition fees etc. A company which seems to be quite popular among elite grapplers and even some world class lower belts these days is the clothing company, RVCA. This company is one of the main sponsors of the Mendes brothers, and invested money in order for them to start an academy, The Art of Jiu-Jitsu (AoJ). Recently, the major sports company, Adidas, is starting to get involved in BJJ.

It doesn't even end there. Lots of big name competitors have instructionals, and online training programs such as MG in Action, Estima in Action, All Galvao, Keenan Online, Mendes Bros Online etc. And recently you have been seeing major supplement companies such as Gaspari Nutrition and MusclePharm sponsoring a few athletes, and I'm sure more will soon jump on the band wagon. 

Obviously, only the top competitors in the world will mostly get these. But that is not always the case. You are increasingly seeing more purple and brown belts making a living from Jiu-Jitsu. Some of these even conduct seminars around the world and even have their own instructionals. 

Then again you also have your academy. This is most probably the main source of income for major BJJ athletes and people who are simply just an instructor. 

Right, let’s not start to get too far off topic here. I assume most of you who make Jiu-Jitsu your life did not do it for the money, right? Obviously, money is nice, but I assume you either made Jiu-Jitsu your life to one day become a world champion or to open your own academy or both. You did it because you love the art and wanted to dedicate your life to it, it has changed your life and you want to pass that on to others and improve people’s lives. I guess that is what Jiu-Jitsu is all about.

If you dedicate your life to one day become a world champion, and you finally reach that goal, will a cash prize make it anymore sweet? I can't answer that for everybody, but I suppose it wouldn't really matter but it would be nice. What you have striven for is the title. For the next year to be considered ‘the man’, and being known as a world champion. 

I guess the money is just a bonus along with the title because the gold medal is what usually anybody ever cares about. So, does it even matter about cash prizes? I think it does in the aspect of Jiu-Jitsu being seen as a true professional sport. Realistically, lots of big competitions need to attract major sponsors and offer a good amount of prize money to its competitors. 

In short, the IBJJF needs to put prize money for at least the winners of the black belt divisions in their major competitions. As Jiu-Jitsu becomes ever more popular, it will be more necessary every year which passes. If they don't do it now, it will only be a matter of time before they will. 

This concludes this article. I hope you guys enjoyed, and if you have anything you want to say, please feel free to make a comment. 

Before you go, I recently made a Facebook page. I'd appreciate it if you could LIKE the page. 

Catch you later,

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