Smash Gyms Blog
20Aug/130

POSTURAL ALIGNMENT IN GRAPPLING

POSTURAL ALIGNMENT IN GRAPPLING 

The human body contains the blueprint for it's structure which provides maximum biomechanical strength,stability, and efficiency. This answer is contained in the body’s posture. From the front view, the center of the ankle, knee, hip, and shoulder joints should all be vertically aligned. In addition, the center of those 4 joints on one side of the body should be horizontally aligned with the same joints on the other side of the body. Also, from the front view, the head and spine should be aligned with the center of the body. From side view, the center of the ankle, knee, hip, and shoulder joint, in addition to ear,should be vertically aligned. This alignment should be the same when viewing the left and right side of the body.

If you were to draw a line from one joint to the joint that is either vertically above or below it and also the joint which is horizontally on the other side of it, those lines form a 90 degree angle. If you examine the vertical alignment of the joints from the front and side view, in addition to the alignment of the spine from the front or back view, you will
see that it is at a 90 degree angle to the earth. So, if you look at this structural blue print for human posture, you will notice that it is all based upon 90 degree angles.

I often discuss placing your body in the strongest biomechanical position possible and your opponent’s body in the weakest biomechnical position possible. Most Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioners understand the term “posture” in the context of positioning the arms and body when in the guard, or on the bottom of a pin or the mount. What must be understood is that posture is the position of your body at all times, in a positions, in all situations. So based on the description of postural alignment described above, how to achieve this should be very clear- when grappling, you must achieve and/or maintain as many 90 degree angles with your load joints as the situation allows while you destroy as many of those 90 degree angles in your opponent’s body.

Principles of Alignment in BJJ

Note that I am not saying that all the 90 degree angles must be achieved in all techniques or situations(for example, it is obvious that spinning for an armbar from the guard will require that you round your back or when pinning an opponent or kneeling in the guard, it is more appropriate for your knees to be in a position that is much wider than the hip joints), but rather you must achieve as many 90 degree angles as is appropriate for the situation, especially between the shoulder and hips since that area is where power is generated for the limbs.

The human body is a system of levers and the your load joints are the fulcrums. Like any lever, the positioning of the fulcrum is essential in determining the amount of effort which will be needed to produce force. With the fulcrum in an optimal position, the lever can produce a great amount of force with a minimal amount of effort. So when your body’s
alignment contains as many 90 degree angles as possible, all the fulcrums are in their optimal positions. Similarly, when the fulcrum is not in an optimal position, it requires a much greater amount of effort to produce force.

Because the human body is a system of levers, nothing happens in isolation. The body works as a unit. This means that in the event that the 90 degree angles are destroyed in one specific area, it effects the entire body. For the BJJ practitioner, this means you do not need to deal with a problem site specific. For example, let’s say your opponent is
pushing you with his arms. Most people would assume that doing something directly to the arms would be the way to resolve the situation. However, another alternative would be to create a misalignment in your opponent’s body and destroy all the 90 degree angles between his hips and shoulders. The farther the angles between the hip and shoulders are deviated away from 90 degrees, the weaker his arms will become thus making his pushing ineffective.

Who is aligned and who is misaligned?

The effect of proper and improper alignment of the joints is a universal law of human biomechanics, therefore, there are no movements in grappling for which these principles do not apply. Understanding the application of these ideas will not only give you a greater understanding Jiu-Jitsu, but will also give you the key and be the starting point in having a greater ability to problem solve on your own.

--Written by Smash Gyms Jiu-Jitsu Instructor Michael Jen in 2005--

18Aug/130

Smash Kids medal at the North Bay Judo Developmental Tournament

Derek and Aaron Jen represented the Smash Gyms Kids Martial Arts Program and competed in the 5th Annual North Bay Judo Developmental Tournament.  This was a smaller competition with fewer competitors, so the brothers were put against opponents of higher rank.  Aaron placed 1st in his division and Derek placed 2nd in his division.  Congratulations to both boys!

Check out the highlights!

 

12Aug/130

Weekends full of BJJ and Weightlifting Competitions!

A few weeks ago, Sam Jung represented Smash Gyms at the East Bay Brazilian Jiu-jitsu Open.  Sam put on a great performance and placed 1st in the gi division and 3rd in the no gi division.  That same weekend, Jonathan Bialoglovski competed in the Calfornia Black Belt League: Victory Challenge and place 1st in his division.

Then this past weekend, Christina Apatow represented Smash Gyms Women's BJJ and competed in the KO Finisher Series Submission Only Tournament.  With no competitors to go against in her division, Christina moved up 2 weight classes. She did awesome and placed 3rd.  Christina finished two of her matches by armbar and gi choke.  The most memorable moment was when her opponent refused to tap to the gi choke and ended up being put completely unconscious.

While Christina was competing in BJJ, Smash Gyms' Strength & Conditioning instructor, James Cebedo, competed in the Redwood Empire Weightlifting Competition.  James threw up some big weight and placed 2nd in his division despite only weighing 157lbs in the 170lbs division! This was James' first weightlifting competition so he decided not to cut any weight and still took home a silver medal!

 

A big congratulations to all the competitors!

Check out the highlights of Christina at the KO Finisher Series!

 

27Jul/130

Funny Video and Realistic Training Methods

The instructors at Smash Gyms are life-long martial artists with various backgrounds of different self-defense and martial arts disciplines.We were there when the fight world was shocked during the original UFC's which proved that a knowledgable grappling specialist could easily manhandle other high level martial artist who lacked real grappling knowledge. This brought attention to the fact that for decades the Gracie family had open challenges to other martial arts and fighting styles and had defeated countless opponents in no rules fights. We put our ego's aside and went through hard training to develop real skills, and came to the realization that our past training in combat  systems with unrealistic training methods had little value in a real fight.

Through the evolution of sport fighting and MMA in the last 20 years it has become apparent that combat sport styles did very well in real combat situations. This was because of training methods. They go 100% live and test techniques. If you go 50%, you are not going live. Theories, techniques, and strategies must be tested. You must try to prove their effectiveness and not just take your instructors word for it. Sport fighters train this way and have evolved sophisticated systems of fighting. Skills in these sports have been passed down from generation to generation and evolved to be as effective as possible through natural selection and a scientific process. Professional fighters, police departments and even the US Army replaced old systems with these disciplines because the effectiveness could be proven in 100% live situations. Many lifelong martial artist came to the realization that although it was a jagged pill to swallow they needed to learn these arts after losing to these sport practitioners.

Specialist in different fighting sports became hot commodities as coaches for any serious martial artist or fighter. People who were paying attention learned that you could not be successful learning from one style. Jack of all trade fighting styles proved to be a beginner systems at best. The best fighters in the world learned they need a coach for each discipline. A specialist trainer is one that has spent the 10+ years it takes to master a real skill. Fighters realized that to reach a high skill level they needed to get out of their comfort zone, put their ego aside and step into the world of the specialist. They learned that they need to lose in 100% live situations until they could win in 100% live situations. This is how to develop real skill that is repeatable in a live situations.

While the UFC and MMA in general grew in popularity, many traditional martial artist took refuge in claiming that their style was too dangerous to prove in a real fight. When they did go live with people that understood how to produce a real skill it became obvious that practitioners of these untested fighting styles typically did not progress beyond beginner level technique in actual combat, even after many years of training. Ironically these styles are the ones that usually claim to be the most "realistic".  Many of these styles focused preparing on a mentality for certain situations that never happen to make up for their lack of realistic training methods. When these unfortunate practitioners actually were challenged they were not ready for the intensity due to the lack of 100% sparring, and their curriculum of untested, unproven techniques. They would be dominated by specialist every time.

Many styles or instructors claim to have the best answers to every question. They may claim that they have the answer to beat everyone in every situation. This comes from insecurities or marketing. It may seem like confidence but it's a rouse to control students and instructors to hide their "styles" weaknesses. We all have weaknesses. Those that won't admit it, often have the biggest ones. The truth is that if you only take MMA, Krav Maga or other general self-defense fitness classes it will be difficult take reach a true level of mastery. Individuals with existing skill sets in focused combat sports will easily dominate in those styles. You will need to take lessons focused on individual disciplines from true experts in each subject if you are serious about becoming effective in self-defense and martial arts. There are no short cuts.

If you want to truly learn a subject you need to see an authority on the matter. To combine kicks and punches at the highest level you need to find a kickboxing coach. To learn to stop or execute a takedown you need to study wrestling and judo. You simply will not be able to execute or defend against those willing to do it. If you want to dominate, control or submit an attacker in a one on one fight you should take BJJ classes. If you want to learn to knife fight then find an expert! No fighting style is an expert in every situation.

For a Martial Artist to evolve techniques, strategies and methods must be tested in unchoreographed 100% live training. Practitioners must be scientific about their training. Don't just take your instructors word for it. Make it work live. True testing must occur with live resistance. In real life nothing is perfect. When an instructor shows a technique he is showing an example of an exact situation. When you go live there are an infinite amount of variables that could happen. This forces the practitioner to react and adapt the technique in a way to make it work. This leads to a deeper understanding and then to mastery.

To reach the highest level in anything, you need focused instruction. Many times the fighting styles that will give you cliff-notes of other arts were started by a "guru" that actually went and learned from specialist! They went to experts and put in the time and became skilled. You should do the same! Go to the source. If you go to one person to learn everything you are likely learning watered down 3rd or 4th hand information. In any area, there are experts that truly understand. You must spend the time in their world to really be effective. If you aren't losing, you aren't really learning. It is important to distinguish between scenario training and live training. Training partners pushing you with pads then letting you win during a difficult drill is not real fighting no matter how challenging it seems.

Combat is not a religion. Martial Arts have come so far in the last 20 years and many people still don't get it. Time and time again people have marketed end all be all to fighting styles with no substance. The best instructors have an open mind and continue to learn and evolve on their own and pass that on to their students. Fighting has been around since the beginning of time and it is now evolving at a breakneck pace. Because of the internet our ability to find, share, and test information is easier than ever before. You can find live footage of what works. There are thousands of real fight videos online. You will see virtually no fights end in groin shots, eye gouges and other "dirty " techniques that many claim take the place of real skill. You will only fulfill your potential by getting out of your comfort zone, putting your ego aside and find true experts that are willing to show you their skills in a 100% live situation. If this idea seems sacrilegious to you then you are part of a cult, not a fighting style.

Veteran martial artist have seen trends come and go and then repeat. Even now every few years a new heavily marketed fighting style shows up late to the party claiming to be the end all be all answer to fighting. These new styles are often popular because they protect the fragile ego's of the students and instructors. It is traditional martial arts packaged as realistic scenario training without the real training methods. Those with experience know this is nothing new and has been proven to be ineffective over and over.

"One test is worth 1000 expert opinions" - Wernher von Braun

Realistic Weapons training

You really get hit!

Below is realistic close combat weapons training. They use a paintball gun so you can see who really gets shot! Many theory based "experts" may criticize techniques used to win during this live test without but are unwilling to prove it in a live situation with experienced combat sport athletes. Also they may totally disregard the results of the test due to years of being heavily influenced with untested theory. If you train live you will see that individuals with combat "sport" backgrounds will dominate other styles with very little training.

29Jun/130

Congrats to newly promoted BJJ blue and purple belts!

A big congratulations to Chad Himeda, Juan Romo, Ben Hyatt, BJ Barrow, John Valdivia, Jack Lai, and Calvin Hawkes on earning their blue belts in BJJ.  These students have been dedicated to their training and have shown good improvement over the past years.

Patrick Kong and Brian Kuhn also earned their well deserved purple belts.  Brian and Patrick have consistently shown their skills by competing and medaling in virtually every major competition in the Bay Area since white belt.

Once again, congratulations to all who were promoted and the Smash BJJ instructors look forward to your continued progress.

More Pictures Here  !!!!

12May/130

Great performances at the San Mateo Boys & Girls Club Judo Development Tournament

Louie Noble Jr., Derek Jen, and Aaron Jen competed in the May 2013 San Mateo Boys and Girls Club Judo Developmental Tournament.  This is a small informal tournament put on 4 times a year for kids to give beginners competition experience.

Aaron was in a division in which he rolled though all 4 of his matches with ease and used the opportunity to try techniques he had not pulled off in competition before.  Derek was in a really tough division.  Not only was his division filled with kids his belt level and higher, but many of the kids were also significantly  heavier.  Derek ended up winning 4 out of his 6 matches.  Louie Noble Jr. dominated and won all 6 of his matches by either pinning or throwing his opponents for ippon.

In the end, Louie and Aaron placed 1st and Derek placed 3rd in their respective divisions.

Check out the highlights!  To watch in HD, simply change the quality setting on the player when the video begins!

17Apr/130

May 2013 Class Schedule

Class Schedule

Two brand new evening classes starting in May! Both classes are a great workout and fun!

Our Self-Defense & Combatives classes will provide members with top quality instruction in a wide variety of subjects. This beginner friendly & new class will feature our Women's Personal Protection curriculum as well as Jiu-Jitsu Combatives (the base of US Army Combatives).  You will recieve  instruction from experts in a wide variety of subjects. The various classes that make up the Smash Gyms Self Defense System will not only develop a student's skills, but also help them get into great shape.  Due to the fact that each class addresses a specific and different aspect of self-defense, the workouts are fun, interesting, and challenge the body. These classes will make anyone aware, ferocious, ready and in shape to defend themselves in any situation.

Due to popular demand we have also added evening Mixed Martial Arts Classes! This program is truly a mix of martial arts and does not necessarily refer to the sport of MMA. Each subject at Smash is covered by expert in his field so this class is an amazing compliment to our Self-Defense and Combatives class. The Smash Gyms MMA program includes a systematic blend of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, Wrestling, Judo, Kickboxing & Self-Defense techniques into a comprehensive weekly training program that will safely progress beginners at an accelerated pace. Our classes are designed as a path for the average person to progress safely and quickly into a well-rounded and fit martial artist. Our programs have proven to be highly effective in Self-Defense, Kickboxing, MMA, and Brazilian Jiu-jitsu sport competition. These uniquely structured classes are presented in a format highly conducive to learning while maintaining a strong focus on safety.

If you really want to learn any subject you need to see an authority on the matter. No single fighting style has true expertise in every situation or subject matter. Anyone that has studied martial arts or fighting knows this is true. If you look at the best professional martial artist and fighters in the world they have sought out experts in each subject. They have separate expert coaches from each discipline.  We used this principle to create our Mixed Martial Arts and Self Defense & Combatives programs. Every class subject will be taught by an expert for the highest possible level of instruction. In both classes gaining actual fighting ability is of primary concern while maintaining a strong focus on fun, fitness and safety!

8Mar/130

Beginner Self-Defense & Combatives at Smash!

Our new Smashfit-Beginner Self-Defense & Combatives Class was a hit!

This class is designed for people with absolutely no martial arts experience and those interested in learning how to use Jiu-Jitsu technique for self-defense rather than sport. This is a no gi class. Jiu-Jitsu Combatives is the base for the US ARMY Combatives.

The techniques taught in this class have been tested over and over again in real life encoutners. The reason why the US Army adopted this curriculum as their base is because you are able to safely test them at full force to show the effectiveness. Our instructors have a deep technical knowledge of body mechanics and leverage so these techniques can work on anyone regardless of size or strength difference. Jiu-Jitsu combatives were designed for smaller and weaker people to safely control bigger and stronger people. The US Army and various Law Enforcement Agencies have recognized this and now seek our Jiu-Jitsu instruction for unarmed combat.

In this beginner friendly class, there is NO live sparring in which people will be really trying to punch or submit beginners. Students will be able to learn jiu-jitsu combatives and self-defense techniques in a non-competitive introductory class that has been designed for all fitness and skill levels.  All technique taught can be applied easily regardless of body type or athleticism.

While knowledge of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu can be invaluable for everyone, when it comes to self-defense, it is especially important for women! When a woman is attacked, the typical attacker isn't trying to box or kickbox her.   While a few strikes may be involved, an larger and stronger attacker will often grab a woman and attempt to manhandle and control her until he is in a dominant position.  Our Jiu-jitsu program is the ideal solution for that type of situation.

The Smash Gyms Instructors have strong focus on safety at all times. Students will train with like-minded partners they are comfortable working with in a structured, cooperative, and fun learning environment.  Feel free to jump in and try it out!

On a historical side note for those who may not know, Brazilian Jiu-jitsu was originally designed for streetfighting and the sport evolved from that. The point system in sport BJJ is based on what was considered the most dominant positions from which to control and submit or strike an opponent in a streetfight.

Back in the early 90's, before the UFC, the early pioneers of Jiu-jitsu in the United States made a name for themselves from challenging other styles. These challenge matches were true no holds barred fights with no gloves or any protective gear in which everything was allowed and nothing was off limits- punches, kicks, knees headbutts, elbow, groins strikes, etc....

Now, with the growth of modern MMA, BJJ works along side other martial arts. It wasn't like this back in the early 90's.  It was BJJ vs. everyone else.  The Gracie family had their "Gracie Challenge", but this challenge was adopted by literally every Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioner regardless of belt color who came to the US. There was no concept of advertising and promotion in BJJ as we know today. They got their name out simply from put out challenges and showcasing their style in actual combat.

21Jan/130

Gold at the West Clovis Judo Invitational

On Sunday, Jan. 20th, Smash Gyms Kids Martial Arts student, Aaron Jen, competed in the 2013 West Clovis Judo Invitational held in Fresno, CA.  Aaron won all 4 of his matches by ippon (pin or throwing an opponent flat on their back) and took 1st place.  Another big congrats on a great performance!

Check out the highlights from Aaron's matches....

 

19Nov/120

Great performances at the Bay Area Jiu-jitsu Championships

On Sunday Nov. 18th, Smash Gyms Brazilian Jiu-jitsu students competed in the 4th Bay Area Jiu-Jitsu Championships in Hayward, CA.   The team had contestants in the kids, women, men, and no gi divisions.  At the end of the day of tough competition, our competitors earned 2 gold, 4 silver, and 2 bronze medals.  Big congratulations to all who competed.

Here are some of the highlights of the Smash Gyms BJJ team  at the Bay Area Jiu-jitsu Championships...