Posts Tagged ‘gracie barra’

As a dad, I think like most dads, I want to pass something onto my kids. Being uniquely unqualified at everything I’ve ever done in my life, I’ve figured out that I can kind of, sort of, teach Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to my kids. It started with a couple of at-home roll-out mats and the Gracie Bullyproof discs.

1-Year(ish) Later

I helped restart the kids BJJ program for my MMA Team, Chimera Mixed Martial Arts. After a few months, Gracie Barra Seattle held an in-house kids tournament. This looked like a good opportunity to allow our kids to participate and ease into the BJJ tournament scene. I learned a lot from these kids and I hope they learned something, too.

It’s Not All About Me

It’s not about me, what I’ve taught these kids, or how well I’ve taught them. They’re on the mats, not me. Anything I’m trying to teach them ends when they shake hands and the ref says it’s time to compete.

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That being said, being the coach of multiple competitors is extremely stressful. You want the other coach’s and Professor’s to notice your hard work. I wanted my coach to notice mine, anyway. Sometimes that’s made palpable by a gold medal. Sometimes it’s not.

If I lose as a competitor, it’s okay. I learned something. I physically learned what did and did not work. I can say, “I have work to do.” I can pretend I don’t care, lick my wounds, eat some ice cream, and attack it on Monday. I know what my coach is teaching me works. I’ve seen it work.

If my team loses, it’s tough. It’s not okay. I am emotionally and physically invested in multiple fighters who trust me and that what I’m trying to teach will work for them. If it doesn’t work out, then it becomes, “What did I do wrong? Is my system broken? Do I need to scrap it? Should I even be teaching these kids?”

The stress of a coach far outweighs the stress of a competitor.

It’s Okay To Lose

Not wanting to lose as a coach is understandable. Just as if I was competing, I have to try my hardest and hope for the best. I’m not a professional athlete, and I don’t train as if I was. I’m also not training professional athletes. I’m trying to teach kids to roll.

It’s not the end of the world if my kids lose. Children want reassurance. They want attention. They want love. I think I’ve learned that it’s very important to let them know that no matter what happens, win or lose, that they did an incredible job.

It’s Okay To Cry

Kids are little people. Just like people, kids have emotions and feelings. Crazy, huh? Who would’ve thought it? The problem is kids aren’t hardened by life. They haven’t figured out how to deal with their feelings. Extreme joy, disappointment, lost, bewilderment, confidence, embarrassed, frightened, angry, confused, ecstatic, hysterical, sad, or frustrated – these are just a few of the emotions you can expect to deal with. YOU will be dealing with them because these children don’t know how to. They’re going to cry. Odds are, it won’t be because they lost. It will be because they don’t understand how to cage their emotions. Be their outlet. Give them a hug. Tell them its okay to let it out and when they’re finished crying, talk to them about it.

My wife said something incredibly smart to me. She told me that when someone is crying it’s our natural tendency to inject ourselves into it. We want to help. What can I do to make you feel better? Instead of interjecting ourselves into it, let them have their moment and cry it out. Let them breathe. When they want to talk about it, they will. Be ready for it when they do.

Teach Them At Home

I have a rhythm when I teach. I’ll usually pair the kids up after class and have them drill or do some positional sparring. After about 3 minutes or so, I’ll stop them and give them each a critique and a compliment. “Hey, you could do a little bit better at hitting that sweep by under hooking the arm. You did that Americana really well. I liked the way you kept your head down, keep it up!” That seems to work great. The kids like that they got a little positive reinforcement and then, for the most part, try a little harder at whatever they needed to work on. The emotions on the mat at a tournament are way too high for that kind of teaching. It needs to be all positive reinforcement. If you want them to work on something, make a note and talk about it in class, on your home turf, after the emotions have settled.

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Drill To Win, Flow To Drill

There’s no doubt about it. You have to develop muscle memory to consistently hit that technique you’re looking for. That goes for kids, too. They have to drill, drill, drill! However, there’s more to it than that. You have to flow.

Your drills have to incorporate a repeatable pattern. For example, starting from the guard, they have to pass the guard, get side control, slide to mount, establish control, and finish with an arm bar. You have to help them put the pieces of the puzzle together, just like you would at home.

They may recognize the different techniques, or even know them perfectly, but because you teach them doesn’t mean they will know when to use them. You may teach them how to pass the guard, and you may teach them side control. However, if you don’t teach them how to pass the guard and flow into side control, they won’t. Kids will do exactly what you teach. If you teach them individual techniques, they will be do individual techniques with very little flow.

Teach a flow and when they get stuck in someone’s guard, you’ll see them pass it, establish side control, slide to mount, establish control and then finish with an arm bar.

You Want Them All To Win

I was chatting with one of the other team’s coaches and he said something to me, almost in passing, “Man, you want them all to win.” I looked around and I saw these kids. All of them, not just mine. Not just my team but all the kids in the room. He was right. These are the kids of our future. They will be taking care of us the rest of our lives. I saw my own futures past in their faces and he was right. I wanted them ALL TO WIN.

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Medals Aren’t The Real Trophy

I took 7 kids from our team to compete. 3 finished first in their division. 1 finished second. The others were in last. Statistically, that looks pretty good, I think. I don’t really have a baseline to compare it to, since it was my first kids tournament coaching. One of my daughters took 2nd, and the other last. I am equally proud of them. Not because of how well they did on the mat. Not because I could see that what I had taught them was sticking. I was proud because they had the courage to go out there, do something new, and face a challenge that most people will never understand. They both got a piece of shiny medal to hang on their walls, but the real trophy was watching them learn to be fearless.

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Gi Soap

Intro

When I reached out to my fellow BJJ players at Gi Soap, looking to write a review on some of their products, I was more interested in just getting some free stuff and maybe a cool patch.  To be honest, my plan succeeded.  I got them to send me some free product to review and a cool patch.  I didn’t necessarily expect to be impressed.  I figured, “soap is soap”.  You don’t really think that any one soap or body wash will be different from any other.  Sure, some smell nicer than others.  Maybe you notice one lathers a little bit more, or maybe, one rinses a little easier.  But rarely, do you say, “Wow!  That’s some GOOD soap!”

Well, today was that day, my friend.  I got me some DAMN GOOD SOAP!   Gi Soap has recently released a new body wash line to complement their bar soap production.  It’s all quality stuff.

Oddly enough, I suddenly found myself reliving scene from Fight Club.  Instead of selling soap to glamorized, size 0, twenty-something’s who just had liposuction I was trying to pawn off this great product on meat-heads with cauliflower ear.  Hollywood ALMOST got it right…

The Science:

There’s a little bit of education involved here.  You have to have some personal revelations about yourself and your body before you become willing to drop $9.00 on a bottle of soap.  If you think about it you’ll probably come to the same realizations that I had.

First, traditional body wash that is chemically made is not good for you.  It “cleans” you by stripping away the natural oils of your body.  Sure, it also strips away all that nasty dirt, sweat and grime but you’re not cleaning your body the way nature intended.  We, as animals, produce and secrete our own natural oil as natural barrier and protection for our skin.  We are programed to defend ourselves against bacteria, dirt, sweat, grime and anything else we can try to find to roll around in.

By stripping our own natural oils we’re no longer protecting ourselves.  Conversely, we’re making ourselves more susceptible and vulnerable to infection and disease.  In fact, we’re more likely increasing our chances of catching ring worm, athlete’s foot, or some other god forsaken bacteria that will keep us off the mats and away from the gym.  This is also why you should never shower BEFORE going to the dojo.

That’s where Gi Soap steps in.  The oil’s they use in their body wash and soap bars protects us, naturally, in conjunction with our body’s own oil secretion.  Tea Tree Oil, for example, has been shown to treat and cure athlete’s foot, has the ability to cure fungus infections of the nails, and helps clear up mild and moderate acne.  Regular body wash doesn’t do that.  And that’s only one of their ingredients!’

"Real products tested on real fighters!!! Ringworm gone in a few days with our bars of soap just by washing the area few times a day and then letting it air dry!!"

“Real products tested on real fighters!!! Ringworm gone in a few days with our bars of soap just by washing the area few times a day and then letting it air dry!!”

 

Packaging:

It’s not the prettiest bottle of body wash but who cares?  It has the Gi Soap logo, the list of ingredients and a cap.  What else do you really need?

Smell / Feel:

It doesn’t smell musky, or male, or like a man without his shirt on riding backwards on a horse on the beach.  It smells natural.  It smells like a peppermint plant.  Not the peppermint candy that you get from grandma’s candy bowl in the secretary’s office, but the real plant.

Its texture is an oil base.  I feel very Roman when I shower with it.  Like I’m pouring perfumed oil over my head.  It’s a little different from what you might be used to because it doesn’t lather excessively.  Rather, it coats the skin.  You may have to use a little bit more than your normal body wash to coat your entire body.

Post Wash:

After washing with Gi Soap you’ll feel a little bit oilier than what you may be used to.  I know I did.  However, it’s not a greasy feeling.  It’s a smoothing feel.  Almost like you’ve treated your body to a massage and it has that post-oil feel.  It’s nice.  After using it for a week I can definitely tell my skin is healthier and happier.

Pros:

At the end of the day my skin doesn’t feel dry.  I don’t feel the need to put lotion on because of cheap soap.  I’ve noticed my skin has a healthier appearance and feel.  It kills bacteria.  It works WITH your body, naturally.  You’re supporting a small business, for a community you love.

Cons:

It’s a little bit expensive.  You have to use more than expected so it doesn’t last as long as your normal bottle of soap.  Your wife or girlfriend will steal it because IT’S THAT GOOD!

Conclusion:

Gi soap works with your body, not against it.  You’ll feel healthier.  Your skin will look better after a week.  It’s a great preventative measure to make sure you don’t get any kind of skin infection to begin with.

Is Gi Soap worth the cost?  Yes!  Absolutely.  After doing a little bit of research and finding out more about the soaps that I’ve been using and what they’re doing to my body, I almost have no choice.  Once you see the sin you’re committing, you have to confess and you have to mitigate it.  I’m no longer using lotion, either, which helps to offset the cost of Gi Soap as well.

After learning what Gi Soap is doing for my body and the positive results that I’ve personally seen, I don’t think I can ever stop using it.

4/5 stars.  Go pick up a bottle (or bar) and try it out.  It’s worth it and you won’t regret it.

See you on the mats!

GB Pro Light

Intro

The first Gracie Barra academy was established in 1986 by Master Carlos Gracie, Jr.  Starting in the 2000’s, they’ve had a requirement for schools to have “Official” gi’s.  Part of this, I believe, was their push to be uniform, and in a sense, one team under one banner.  While other schools have team gi’s, Gracie Barra is the only one I know of that you are required to wear their specific gi at all times while on the mats.  Read more here.

STORM Kimono’s was founded in 1995 and have steadily grown.  They are a leading sponsor of athletes in the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu field.  You’ll find competitors at the highest level wearing their equipment, you’ll see them worn by specialists in books and magazines and you’ll even find them on the beach with their new casual wear line.  Read more here.

Info

The Gracie Barra “Pro Light” is one kimono in a line of new gi’s designed by STORM Kimonos for Gracie Barra affiliate school members.  It can be purchased online at Gracie Barra Wear or in any Gracie Barra academy for $179.99.

Earning the first stripe on my white belt back in 2009 at Gracie Barra U-H.

Earning the first stripe on my white belt back in 2009 at Gracie Barra U-H.

Disclosure

I have a special place for Gracie Barra in my heart.  I earned the first stripe on my white belt at Gracie Barra University of Hawaii.  I currently train at Chimera Mixed Martial Arts, whose Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu program is taught by Gracie Barra Seattle’s brown belt Ben Pyne.  I also drop in occasionally at Gracie Barra Seattle.  However, my love for Gracie Barra will in no way influence my opinion of the Storm / Gracie Barra collaboration or the product they have provided.

Intro

Gracie Barra and STORM Kimonos have teamed up to bring you a pretty slick new gi for Gracie Barra academy’s around the world.  Their design cues are well done but they stay in line with the traditional gi’s of Gracie Barra.

When you first receive the gi, the packaging is unimpressive.  You do see hints that excite you, though.  Like the massive "EQUIPE" logo.

When you first receive the gi, the packaging is unimpressive. You do see hints that excite you, though. Like the massive “EQUIPE” logo.

Inside tag of the collar.  It's a big patch but the way it's sewn in doesn't rub or scratch the back.

Inside tag of the collar. It’s a big patch but the way it’s sewn in doesn’t rub or scratch the back.

 

After opening the gi and inspecting it, the patch work is really well done.  The subdued "G"s in the red really make the "BARRA" pop.  Pretty standard logo patching from STORM throughout.

After opening the gi and inspecting it, the patch work is really well done. The subdued “G”s in the red really make the “BARRA” pop. Pretty standard logo patching from STORM throughout.

Reinforced armpit patching, which makes for some extra sturdiness in the gi.  Not all gi's have this so this is definitely a feature that I like!

Reinforced armpit patching, which makes for some extra sturdiness in the gi. Not all gi’s have this so this is definitely a feature that I like!

Extra material and reinforced stitching make the vulnerable parts of this gi extra strong.  I also really like the contrasting "G" on the tape that is found in on the edge and inside of the sleeve and pant cuffs.

Extra material and reinforced stitching make the vulnerable parts of this gi extra strong. I also really like the contrasting “G” on the tape that is found in on the edge and inside of the sleeve and pant cuffs.

More reinforcement stitching on the pants.  The red drawstring is an excellent touch.  I also like how GB/STORM have capped the drawstring with some extra blue material, as opposed to searing it or using a knot.

More reinforcement stitching on the pants. The red drawstring is an excellent touch. I also like how GB/STORM have capped the drawstring with some extra blue material, as opposed to searing it or using a knot.

Side view of the gi.  The larger patches, compared to previous ones, go a long way to making this a gi you can really appreciate.

Side view of the gi. The larger patches, compared to previous Gracie Barra gi’s, go a long way to making this a gi you can really appreciate.

Back view.  I like the small leg patch on the back.  You don't really notice it at first but then it becomes one of those little touches that you really like.

Back view. I like the small leg patch on the back. You don’t really notice it at first but then it becomes one of those little touches that you really like.  I also really liked the subdued silver “G” in the white “EQUIPE” patch.  Interesting fact, I always thought that “equipe” meant “equipment”.  Like Gracie Barra Equipment.  Turns out it’s Portuguese for “Team”.  You learn something new everyday!

Stats

I ordered a size A3 “Pro Light”.  Its weight, out of the package and prior to washing was 3.8 lbs.  The size chart does not provide a weight for the “Pro Light” gi.  I measured the “Pro Light” prior to washing it.  Its measurements were as follows:

Jacket

Arm length, from the leading edge of the lapel to the exterior edge of the cuff, following along the top of the sleeve:  30.5” (-.6” difference from the advertised size chart)

Left cuff, flattened:  6.5” (-.3” difference from the advertised size chart)

Vertical torso length, from the leading edge of the lapel to the exterior edge of the back:  31.5” (no difference from the advertised size chart)

Trousers

Exterior length of the leg, along the side, from the top of the waist to the edge of the cuff:  39” (-.2” difference from the advertised size chart)

Interior seam, from the crotch down to the edge of the cuff:  29” (-.1” difference from the advertised size chart)

Leg cuff, flattened:  10.25” (measurement not provided on company size chart)

Waist, from edge to edge:  23.5” (+1.3” difference from the advertised size chart)

Inseam, from the top of the waist to the joint in the crotch:  12” (measurement not provided on company size chart)

Following the care instructions on the tag, I machine washed the jacket and trousers in cold water and allowed them to hang dry.  The post wash measurements are as follows:

Jacket

Arm length, from the leading edge of the lapel to the exterior edge of the cuff, following along the top of the sleeve:  30.0” (-0.5”)

Left cuff, flattened:  6.5” (no change)

Vertical torso length, from the leading edge of the lapel to the exterior edge of the back:  30.75” (-.75”)

Trousers

Exterior length of the leg, along the side, from the top of the waist to the edge of the cuff:  38” (-1”)

Interior seam, from the crotch down to the edge of the cuff:  29” (no change)

Leg cuff, flattened:  10” (-.25”)

Waist, from edge to edge:  23.5” (no change)

Inseam, from the top of the waist to the joint in the crotch:  11” (-1”)

The “fit percentage”, based on the above measurements, from the advertised size chart to the actual received product was 19.84%.  That’s almost 20% of difference between what’s advertised and what’s received.  The disclaimer to this is that I did not follow all of the measurements given on the size chart.  I also am not a seamstress and may not have made the measurements in the exact place as the manufacturer.  These measurements should in no way discourage you from purchasing the gi and are provided for informational purposes.

The percentage of shrinkage, based on the above measurements, from pre-wash to post-wash, following the given care instructions was -1.92%.  Less than 2%!!  That’s great!

Overall, I was pleased with the ratio to pre- and post-wash, the weight, and the ratio to advertised size and actual size.

Fit and feel

I’m 6′ and 185-190lbs and I sometimes get stuck in these in-between sizes.  An A3 isn’t quite big enough (after the wash) and an A4 is way to big (even after I try to shrink the snot out of it).  The GB/STORM gi doesn’t have that problem.  It’s slightly bigger than most other gi’s so it fits me perfectly.  The sleeves don’t shrink up and make me look like an old school judo player and there is plenty of room on the inside of the jacket to move around in.  Some gi’s can bind and tie you down because they lack the space inside the material to move.  Not this one.  If you’re a bigger Jits player that’s on the cusp of two sizes, this may be a perfect option for you.

The jacket and pants fit great.  It’s a little big compared to the other gi’s I own so you may want to size down.  Check out my stats above, this kimono has less than 2% shrinkage so don’t expect to buy an A3 and shrink it in the wash to make it fit.  It’s going to be the size you purchase.  Check their size chart prior to purchasing.

Style and Design

The Gracie Barra “Pro Light” incorporates design inputs from STORM Kimonos and Gracie Barra.  It does an excellent job mixing the old school layout of the GB brand with new modern touches from STORM.  Subdued “G”s accent the logo and patch work.  Larger patches give it a cleaner “read” when you look at it.  The updated tags even standout.

STORM’s touches take it from a gi that you need to a gi that you want!

Fin

It’s Christmas time!  I love it.  I love the meaning of it.  The celebration of God and Jesus.  The joy I’ll see on my children’s faces on Christmas morning when they run down the hall and rip through the wrapping paper on the present’s stuffed up under the tree while I enjoy a hot cup of coffee on the couch with my family.  I’m fortunate that I have the opportunity and ability to provide this for my family.  However, there are children out there who don’t have the opportunity to rip open gifts that their family purchased for them and maybe experience that same kind of joy.  And, to be honest, I think we all know that they won’t stand in a giant circle singing songs like the Who’s of Whoville.

Gracie Barra is doing something about that!  They’ve teamed up with the Marine Corps’ Toys for Tots program to bring happiness to some tiny tyke’s this year.  On Saturday, December 17th, Gracie Barra Irvine will be hosting a seminar where the cost is a new, unwrapped toy.  Professor Marcio Feitosa will be leading the seminar.  My suggestion?  Go check it out!  Train some Jitz, bring a toy, and bring a smile to a child’s face this Christmas!

There will be a pre-seminar parents and kids class and food and drinks will be served.  There will also be a GB Wear sale where 30% of the proceeds will go to toys for tots as well.  The event will kick off at 9 a.m. and the seminar will start at 10 a.m. finishing with the potluck at 12.  Merry Christmas!