Posts Tagged ‘Brazilian Jiu Jitsu’



Recently I had a conversation with Dimitrios Andritsos from KMG Beligium. We were discussing the type of KM instructors out there in this community and the differences between them. We both agreed that although many people teach KM, everyone teaches it very differently.

This interesting phenomenon is in part due to the process of becoming a KM instructor. Generally KM instructors are trained through intensive 4  to 20 day courses; approximately 8 hours each day. Although that is enough hours to teach an experienced martial arts instructor the techniques of KM, it is not enough to change their behaviors and thinking, or provide full knowledge, tactics and the skill set of a KM instructor. For those who are fortunate enough to continue their training with a good KM lead instructor or organization in their local country, this issue is solved. These local organizations produce many pure blooded KM instructors with extensive knowledge of KM, field tactics, firearms, shooting etc. Israel and Serbia are the two countries that produce the purest and scariest KM instructors I have personally known.

Those who chose not to continue their KM education have to fill the knowledge and skill gap with their previous martial arts background. Hence, the KM world is diverse and different from school to school and instructor to instructor. Here are the three types of KM instructors out there:

  1. Soldier

Due to KM’s origins and ability to be adopted into military training, many soldiers around the world were attracted to the KM community. These type of instructors have the correct mentality and tactics when comes to KM, but the skill set and techniques are generally not the sharpest. Hand to hand combat is a very different special set of skills. It needs years of training to indoctrinate these into a person’s body.

  1. Fighter

Here I mean both martial artist and sports fighter. Most KM instructors come from this group and some are superb at transferring KM techniques and systems into their existing training database, but some bring their past martial art training into KM training. Some of these systems are compatible with KM’s mentality and training methods. Some are not. In general, I find instructors with a sport fighting background have good training methods for their students.

  1. Fitness Guy

Some fitness professionals with limited martial arts experience also start teaching Krav Maga classes. Their classes are a hybrid of Krav Maga and a fitness workout. This is the norm for most Krav Maga classes in North America. After all, this type of class attracts the most consumers, who want to get fit doing something that is fun; however, this type of class has little value when it comes to enabling one to walk in peace.

KM is not supposed be a system that requires a long period of training, but comprehensive training should not be as fast as some schools claim. The reason why Israelis do this is because:

  1. This is how the army does it – it takes from 1 to 3 months, depending on the unit, to develop an IDF Krav Maga instructor.
  2. Many Israeli organizations do not have the patience to stay in other countries and tutor pupils from beginner to instructor.
  3. Israeli people, generally speaking, are meant for KM. Do not forget, the majority of Israelis do their national military service of 2 to 3 years. The military train people both mentally and physically. A smaller amount of instructor training will work for countries that have a more militant background like Serbia, Russia, Poland etc., but for countries where average citizens do not serve and have limited access to firearms, a shorter period of training will not be sufficient.

In essence, we are all different, but one goal should be the same: that is to continue educating ourselves in every possible way on the subjects of Krav Maga, fighting, psychology, teaching, sports science, firearms, shooting, bladed combat etc. We need to recognize our strengths and weaknesses and become a hybrid of all three subject experts.

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Matt Kwan (Right) and Mike Lee (Left)

Matt Kwan is a Brown belt under Gary Hsueh and John Tompkins of Burnaby BJJ/Pacific Top Team. Originally a soccer and hockey player, Matt discovered Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and was instantly hooked. Matt competes regularly in local, national and international tournaments, and is one of the top competitors in BC. He has trained Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for over six years and is constantly looking to expand his knowledge, seeking out the most current techniques in grappling. His true passion lies in the sharing and instruction of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu with teammates and new students alike.

Mike Lee is just a regular, everyday, normal guy who loves the practice of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Mike loved the arte suave so much, that he packed up and moved to Hermosa Beach, California to live and learn under the coaching of Bob Bass and the Machado Brothers, eventually earning his black belt. Mike also happens to be a Kodokan Judo black belt and is particularly experienced with teaching how Judo can help your Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and vice On Guard Logo.

Together they have opened On Guard BJJ in Port Coquitlam they are offering what they call a complete grappling program with BJJ, Judo and Wrestling. If you live in the area of Port Coquitlam or other Tri-Cities you should drop by. They are offering classes Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 7:15pm-09:15 pm. They will be full of grappling conditioning, technique and sparring.

Check them out at:

Recently, I had an impromptu personal trip to New York. Being the person that I am, I thought, how can I make this into a business trip as well, and where should I train?

It is very easy when travelling to put martial arts training and physical fitness on hold for other endeavors, but I think this is a mistake. When you travel it is the perfect opportunity to either cross train in other styles or go to the best of the best locally in a style you are already used to train in.

In marcelo201304_jr0149a.0my case, as I also train BJJ, there was only one option. Of course that option was to go to Marcelo Garcia’s BJJ Gym in the Chelsea area in New York. Why Marcelo’s place? Aside from the fact he is a 5 time world champion and 4 time ADCC Champion among other numerous awards.

Marcelo is largely considered to be one of, if not, the top grappler on the planet. On first appearance he does not look like much, as my travelling companion said “How is he the head guy, he is so short”. There is not a man on the planet who has grappled with him who will now not underestimate him. He has produced some very high level black belts and other award winning grappler’s from his gym.

This is not the first time that I have trained at Marcelo’s .career_bioThe difference between this time and last time is I am now a blue belt. If you are a white belt and decide to go train at this gym then you will be disappointed .You can only attend maybe a third or a half of the classes. This is largely for safety reasons as it is a destination to go to for many grapplers. They do not want any hot head white belt to come in and train with them. They would like to make sure that you have the fundamentals and that you are not a douche bag before they let you take the higher classes.

Guard Pass 1

This time, as a blue belt I could attend all the classes that were listed. Arriving on a Friday afternoon I was able to do 3 and a half hours of straight training. The first two hours were an Advanced 1 and A beginners 2 class taught by second dan Black Belt Paul (If you know his full name please let me know as I do not know it) and the last hour and a half class Advanced 2 was taught by Marcelo himself.

When you go to schools like this you never know who might be teaching. The last time I was at Marcelo’s the legendary Bernardo Faria (The number 1 ranked IBJJF black belt by points) taught the class and when I went to Cobrinhas in LA Black Belt Michael Langhi was teaching. Regardless of who is teaching,  when you go to a high level school like Marcelo’s you know that it does not matter as it will be usually be one of the highest calibre guys around.

The one thing I noticed about learning at Marcelo’s is the fluidity of the teaching. Every class focuses on a specific scenario and they usually teach 2-4 options to deal with it in progression. What that means is, they will start with something and say if they do this here is what you do (Offensive option 1). Of course in an action/reaction scenario it is likely they will defend thus after showing an initial technique (Offensive option 1) the next one is always what to do when your opponent blocks with the most common block. So if offensive option 1 doesn’t work because they block like A then do offensive option 2 from the same position. Then if you do the technique to deal with block A but then they block with B then you do offensive option 3 in the same sequence. Now the fluidity part comes from the fact from the given position they are showing you can simply cycle through all the options until one works or the position changes.

This may sound rather confusing but if you do BJJ then I am sure you can follow. This fluidity in teaching methodology is so important in any martial art because of the action/reaction nature of a real conflict. I have learned at various schools for BJJ and I find that no one teaches better than the high level Brazilians. I couldn’t tell you why because any high level BJJ practitioner should be able to instruct in the same fashion, but I have always found there to be a lack of fluidity in how they teach when learning from a High-level BJJ practitioner who is not Brazilian.

For example, in most of the BJJ classes I have taken, they will often show 3 different attacks to do from the same position. However they rarely match up in a fluid continuous attack pattern. They are often 3 different attacks in the same position that are not always sequentially following the same attack but rather are 3 different attacks that can be done but a break in the flow of the attack must occur.Safety Net

For example, say we are in top/full mount. Options for the offence could be a Kimura. Another option could be an Arm bar transition or it could be a mounted cross collar choke. While yes, all three of these are top/full mount attacks they are attacks that are not fluid together in one continuous high pressure altercation.

This may sound all rather confusing, but fluidity of attack pattern is super important in BJJ and even more important in Krav Maga. A person will rarely do A and then stick with A. They will do A and you block A then they will do B and you block B and then they will do C and then you block C. However, if you are not constantly attacking with the goal of progression without releasing pressure, then this will just continue to be a back and forth scenario going nowhere. Fluidity is important because it cuts down your reaction time and does not give your opponent time to counter your next move. Keep the attack pattern simple by rotating through the 3 options rapidly, until one works, increasing your proficiency in your attack.

Simplicity, fluidity and efficiency are the 3 things that any high level practitioner usually follows. While, there are styles that are complex with lots of options in both Krav Maga and BJJ the best fighters come from camps that focus on these three things. So far, in BJJ of all the super high level practitioners I have taken lessons from (Bernardo Faria, Marcelo Garcia, Michael Langhi, Wellington “Megaton” Diaz and Luanna Alzuguir). They all have one thing it common- these three factors. While there are moves in BJJ that are effective but complicated, in my opinion the best practitioners keep things simple.

This concept is clearly why Marcelo and his chosen instructors make his school the best in New York. Why not learn from the absolute best!

Of course Marcelo’s school is not just all about competition like many others, they teach a more traditional version of BJJ as well that includes a self defense aspect. Mind you, as a Krav Maga practitioner I find the self defense applications outdated and unrealistic for the average person but it is always nice to see how other martial arts approach self defense so I can be prepared to deal with it on the street once I have recognized their style.

Regardless even if you do not practice BJJ or are simply a beginner I highly recommend going to Marcelo’s academy in NY even if you just want to pick up their fluid teaching style (instructors). It has a very positive atmosphere and you can expect only the best to be training there regularly. I myself personally plan to drop by every time I manage to make it out to NY.

So, if you are a Martial arts who continually wants to better themselves, if you Travel, you should train and you should always seek out the best and the brightest in any style at your chosen travel destination.

By: Jonathan Fader

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“BJJ & MMA Head Instructor

Don Whitefield trained Judo and Boxing in Germany before he moved to the West Coast and started to train Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu with Team Megaton and the Carlson Gracie team. Don received his Jiu-Jitsu black belt directly from the legendary Ricardo De la Riva in his main academy in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 2009.

Over the last ten years Don has taught Jiu-Jitsu to countless students and coached many BJJ and MMA champions. Many of them opened their own clubs as successful parts of the West Coast BJJ Association.

Other students that started training as white belts under Don are the headcoaches of these gyms: Clinch MMA in Port Coqutilam, Coquitlam Martial Arts, Genesis BJJ In Abbotsford, North Burnaby BJJ, Red Tiger Martial Arts in New West and Surrey.”


In addition many of his students have achieved IBJJF world Titles Including our own BJJ trainer Scott Boudreau.

Don Whitefield Cornering one of his fighters in BFL at the Riverrock Casino

Don Whitefield Cornering one of his fighters in BFL at the Riverrock Casino

Jonathan Fader receiving his BJJ Blue Belt from Don and Scott

Jonathan Fader receiving his BJJ Blue Belt from Don and Scott