Brazil 021 Picture

This summer I had the opportunity to train in Chicago, IL while interning at Pandora. I bounced around a few gyms until I found the best fit which became the Brazil 021 headquarters in the downtown area. I spent nearly 12 weeks training at this gym and it was an extremely positive and kick-ass experience! Below are some overall highlights of the gym to give you some insight into why you should train there if you are in town.

Family atmosphere

The gym that I consistently train at definitely has a strong family vibe, like most gyms, however, at Brazil 021 they put the family aspect first and foremost. For me, it was almost a bit sketchy how genuinely kind and friendly everyone was. Even on my first day I had people remembering my name and cheering me on during drills, it caught me off guard it was so polite. I was honestly in disbelief at the culture of Brazil 021 and thought it was fake, however, after 12 weeks it proved to be 110% authentic. People cared a lot at Brazil 021 and I found the gym to be a very positive place to go after a long day at work!

Top tier coaching

The accolades of the instructors speak for themselves, however, the in depth but simplistic view of the jiu-jitsu I learned at this gym was refreshing. I attended mostly the beginner class because I was with a friend just starting out and I still learned an abundance every day. The classes usually covered a move in detail and then the opposite of the move. For instance, an armbar would be taught first and then an armbar escape. Overall, I think the coaching at this gym was great.

Plethora of badasses

Lets just say I have never been beat up so badly at a gym in my life – in a nice way of course! I have trained in St. Louis, Phoenix, other Chicago gyms, etc. but I have never received such ass kickings as the ones I experienced at Brazil 021. The level of technique and intensity at this gym is tough to beat! Being a mid-level blue belt I hadn’t had a lot of blue belts easily pass my guard, take my back, etc. until I trained here. Especially in regards to woman BJJ practitioners there were many skilled individuals. Even at the beginner class black belts would stop in and roll.

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Conclusion

Overall, Brazil 021 is a great place to train if you are visiting Chicago or need a long term training facility. I really only covered the tip of the iceberg in regards to how awesome it was. If you have any questions feel free to comment below or visit their website!

 

 

 

 

 

 

I wanted to share this video I made with my instructors of this sick top turtle finish. This is a great finish for when you have one hook in but cannot get the other. Feel free to ask any questions below!

GreyGoose

Grey Goose: Gi Review

I’m not saying this gi will get you the ladies (or dream man) but this gi does work some magic. When I was asked to review this gi I was super excited because it’s not your average gi, it’s the, “Grey Goose.” I like to be different than the crowd and if doing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu isn’t enough, having a different colored gi helps as well! Before going on if you are looking for a less subjective review check out Meerkatsu’s extremely intricate product review here otherwise below is my opinion about this quality product!

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Washing Machine BJJ

Properly taking care of your Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu gi is essential to training. The gi is a big piece of the puzzle of BJJ and washing, shrinking, as well as caring for your gi is important. Let’s face it, if you don’t keep proper hygiene, you won’t be training very long. I have always been a little skeptical at people’s opinions and blog posts for these gi care topics so I wanted to create a solid step by step guide for each of these processes based off what I have had work for me, my dad, and other training partners.

When you first buy your gi

It’s pretty important to wash your gi before it’s first use (especially if it’s colored) to set the dye in the fabric. Here are the steps:

  1. Remove from packaging
  2. Punch into washer
  3. Add 1 cup of vinegar
  4. Wash with cold water
  5. Hang to dry

 

When you need to shrink your gi

photo 3There are a lot of times when you get a gi and it’s just a little too big, that’s when shrinking is a great idea. I have heard of many ways, but personally have done one way that I think is the safest way to shrink it without over shrinking it. (FYI: The picture to the right is of a Bad Boy gi that shrunk over time with cold wash and hang drying.)

  1. Wash gi normally in cold water
  2. Dry in for 10 minutes
  3. See how gi top and bottom fit
  4. Repeat steps 2 and 3 until appropriate size

 

When your gi obtains too much “mojo”

You may or may not have experience gi, “mojo” before but sometime’s it can be tough to shake! There are a multitude of different, “methods” to rid the smell. The real key is to be proactive with the situation and let your gi dry after practices to help prevent any smell in the first place. However, sometimes the smell just can’t be prevented. Below is a list of the top methods I have used and ones that also seem pretty legitimate for you to try.

  1. Adding 1 cup of vinegar + 1 cup baking soda to your wash (My dad claims it’s the best)
  2. Dry your gi in the sun! (Preferably outside in Brazil to sponge all Brazilian mojo possible)
  3. Use Tide sport with Febreeze works well for me personally

There are a lot of other methods, please share them in the comments section to add to any of these areas and I can update this post so it is the most complete for the BJJ community!

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There are a lot of interviews with Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belts on the web, however, there are very few of lower belt levels – especially when it comes to women. I feel like hearing what a black belt has to say sometimes isn’t as relatable as someone closer to my own belt level. That’s why I wanted to gain some insight into the advanced white belt world from Morgan Miller. She is a white belt that has recently been tearing up the female featherweight division. In fact, she just placed third in the Pan Ams last week!  I decided to reach out to her to see what advice she could give women at the white belt level in BJJ.

The interview is as follows:

Q: Why do you think women should do BJJ?

A: BJJ is a great sport for women. Its not only an awesome workout to help you get into amazing shape but a great form of self defense. I’ve also noticed it helps build confidence in women as they learn and develop skills that make them feel more safe and secure.

Q: What is your training schedule like?

A: I train BJJ every day, as well as an hour of cardio everyday (45 minutes on elliptical, 15 minutes on an exercise bike). I also do strength training 4 days a week.

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Q: What are your favorite techniques?

A: I really like scissor sweeps, arm bars and triangles.

Q: How do you prepare mentally for a tournament?

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Rolyer vs Eddie

As many of you know there will soon be a rematch between Eddie Bravo and Royler Gracie at Metamoris 3 on March 29, 2014. There is a ton of controversy that surrounds their first fight (watch it here) because Bravo wasn’t very well known and Gracie is of course from the famous family who originally founded Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Also, that fight is what propelled Bravo’s popularity and his BJJ association 10th Planet. There are a lot of assumptions about who will win the fight, however, there are also a lot of facts about the two fighters you may or may not know. I wanted to give visibility to each fighter with as many transparent facts as possible so you can decide for yourself who could win this match!

Eddie Bravo

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TeacherJean-Jacques Machado

Rank: 3rd degree black belt

Years of experience: 20 years

Fighting Experience: 5 wins 2 losses ADCC Qualifiers and Tournament

Smokes Marijuana: Definitely

Signature Moves: Rubber Guard, Twister

Royler Gracie

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Teacher: Helio Gracie

Rank: 7th degree black belt

Years of experience: 20+ as black belt

Fighting Experience: 4 time World Champion, 3 time Pan American Champion, 3 time ADCC Champion, 5-5-1 Professional MMA record, silver medal in the Judo Brazilian Nationals

Smokes Marijuana: Doubt it

Signature Moves: All Original Techniques

Comparison

Looking at the facts shows why it was such a huge upset when Bravo tapped Gracie out. We can’t ignore Bravo due to his previous win, but when looking at the facts, he is definitely the under dog. Gracie has quite the track record and statistically has the highest probability of winning, however, there is always a chance of an outlier – wow that got nerdy quick. All in all, I think it will be a great fight and I think big events like this are great for the economy of the BJJ community. Personally, I want to go with Royler, but I think there is always a possibility of the underdog winning!

What is your prediction?

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Combat Skin Rashguard and Shorts Review

When I was asked to review some No Gi gear from Combat Skin I was extremely excited because I had been recently eying up their new stuff. I have never been the guy to buy rash guards or fight shorts – mostly because I am in college and in debt – but after using the gear for No Gi training and having the rashguard on under my gi, I don’t think I could live without them.

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First Impression

photo (1)This is a picture I took of my initial reaction when I put the rashguard on. I noticed how excited I was so I captured the moment! When I took the rashguard out of the badass packaging and put it on, I literally didn’t take it off that afternoon. In fact, I did my homework in it – you can laugh if you must. It’s a comfy rashguard to say the least and has a composition of 80% Polyester and 20% Lycra. I also really liked the shorts. What I noticed when first trying the shorts on is how nicely they sit and stay on my hips. I was also really impressed with how the shorts were structured to allow for great leg mobility with stretchy fabric running through the inner leg to crotch areas – extremely well said I know.

Rolling in the Gear

I’m not sure if the gear was so cool that my opponents were distracted or I have just been really executing my game well lately, but I swear I hit more triangles when I roll with combat skin gear – I dress for success! But in all seriousness the gear performed well. The rashguard’s torso is really long so it doesn’t come up past your waistline at all when rolling which is great. Also, the shorts have a rubber surface on the inside of the waistline that keeps the rashguard tucked in as well as keep the shorts from moving. The only thing that bothered me was the neck was slightly snug, but then again, I am used to wearing T-shirts when I roll. Overall, my rolling experience of eight to nine times with this gear has been great.

Overall Ratings

Durability: High

Badass Level: Level 1000

Shrinkage: None 

Cost: $50-$55

Final Thoughts

Overall this gear is a great buy. It’s high end gear that will last you years that has a medium level price. Not only is it durable, but it has original artwork by Meerkatsu on it, which is tough to beat. I would recommend and have already recommended this gear to my training partners and university BJJ club members. If you have any questions about the gear, let me know!

Where do I buy it?

www.combatskin.com

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