Keeping Jiu Jitsu Safety a Top Priority in the Dojo.

April 23rd, 2014

You ever roll with the guy who says let’s go light, and then proceeds to grab you and drive you over 3 sets of other people rolling? They then smash you into the wall, grab a heel hook and crank it wildly as hard as they can. Before you can tap, you’re knee pops 5 times. “Thanks knee for tapping for me, I was just about to do that, but this gorilla didn’t give me a chance.” I used to have of trouble with guys like this. Ultimately, it’s the instructors/owners burden to keep everybody safe. Reckless training would lead to unhappy or to injured students. That would lead to bad attendance due to injury. Which would lead to less training partners coming to the gym, which would lead to uninspiring classes. That would lead to guys not progressing as quickly in their training. Not to mention it would lead to less money coming in. No money, we can’t pay for lights, water or a space to even train in.

After years of not knowing what to do, I decided to change it up. Now, everyday before rolling, I do a quick injury check. I ask who has any injuries, which helps people remember that some people can’t go super hard, and lets the class know the instructors are paying attention, and we’re care about safety. After that, I give a speech to the class about our number 1 priority, taking care of your training partners! This is your number one job as a member of the team. If you let them get hurt, you got nobody to help you out. If you injure people, it will spread quickly and soon people will avoid training with you.

The Next thing I do puts how hard you should go in perspective. I preface how hard the roll should be by breaking it down like this:

If you are going to go…

-100%, it’s only if you’re fighting for your life against Nazi war criminals, evangelical leftist rapists or an equally threatening foe.
-80% is for fighting for the UFC championship belt.
-70% competing at a friendly Jiu Jitsu tournament.
-60% solid training for a competition or fight. This is reserved for people who understand the risks of training hard and accept the risks, I keep this separate usually.
-50% good old competitive everyday training. This is for 90% of the people. Under most circumstances, training at this rate, you should be able to get up and go to work the next day, and train again tomorrow. It’s competitive, it’s challenging, yet it’s good natured, and enjoyable.

It works extremely well at our gym. Injuries happen much less frequently at 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu now days. It’s not the good old days of MMA/BJJ, we’re much smarter now. Therefore we have to be more responsible with our health.

<10th Planet Van Nuys> Submission Only Tournaments are Superior.

November 29th, 2012

As of recently I was perfectly happy with the rule set in BJJ. Alright, I lied a little bit, I’m really unclear as to the system of advantages that the IBJJF use. It’s not for a lack of trying to figure them out either. So, maybe I’m not completely happy with that, but otherwise, I’m ok with it. I think there’s always going to be a place for the point system. It system was put into place to make a game out of self defense so we could compete against each other so see who the best martial artist was. This can lead into the whole self defense vs. sport bjj argument which I’m not going to get into today, that a different topic. The point system represents moving into a more advantageous position. The idea is if this were the streets or a fight of whatever, we would theoretically be able to inflict more damage without sustaining as much, thus we’d be “winning the fight.” By no means is it a perfect system, but it was the best we had.

Lately there’s been a string of great “submission only” tournaments. The rules in these tourments are simple. The person who wins by submission wins, and continues in the tournament. If there is no submission, both competitors lose. It may seem harsh, but there’s some definite advantages to this style of competition. Here’s a few things that I like.

1. Submission only cuts down on “grey area” wins. There’s a ton of arguable calls in jiu jitsu. Many times refs aren’t 100% sure what the rules are because they’re not very specific at times. What I call a pass, sometimes isn’t a pass to another referee. There’s too many subjective calls. This can leave fans, and competitors alike with a bad taste in their mouths. I can’t tell you how many people who may have otherwise gone to more competitions, either to watch or participate, were turned off by the whole thing, because of grey area calls.

2. Sub only discourages stalling. If you came to pass the guard, get 2 points and stall out the rest of the match, this kind of contest is not for you. We have a joke at 10th Planet Van Nuys about losing 2-0 to a wrestler. The wrestler who have little to no submission ability will enter a Jiu Jitsu tournament, take his opponent down, and then shut down for the rest of the match. I don’t feel doing the bare minimum, and laying on top of somebody represents winning. The term wet blanket was coined for these type of fighters.

3. Sub only promotes action! The idea is that in submission only tournaments, if you’ve trained for a month, paid an entry fee, dieted, cut weight, waited around for hours for your name to be called, you’re not going there just to lose. That mean’s you’re there to win, and the only way to win, is to go for submissions. If 2 combatants are in there trying to win, you’re going to see Jiu Jitsu at it’s most exciting.

4. It’s more fan friendly. Having fans will make the whole sport grow. If the sport grows, maybe we’ll see it in the olympics. Even if submission only was the gateway drug that led you to get into the point system eventually, wouldn’t that be good? If a casual fan goes to a tournament, they soon learn, even though they might have paid 10-20 dollars to get in, this tournament is not for them. Most of the time, you can’t see the clock, so you don’t know how much time is in the match. You can’t see the score cards. They’re usually set up so that only the competitors can see them. As a coach, I usually can’t even see them. In many cases, especially with advantages, fans don’t know the rules. Forget the fans, like I said earlier, coaches and competitors are unclear with the rules because of subjective grey areas. If there’s 6 matches going on at a time, and you are trying to watch 2 at the same time, if you look away and you miss points, you’re lost because you can’t see the score cards. Submission only takes all that away, either the match ends in submission and you see somebody tapout, or you see two people walk off the mat, not to return that day. It’s simple and easy to follow.

Now, I admit, sub only isn’t perfect either, it’s going to have shortcomings too. However, it does have some really great points. I’d love to start seeing more of the really big names in the sport come out for the sub only format, just like in Metamoris. The Gracie Worlds is coming up January 20th, in Los Angeles. Hopefully we’ll see a big turn out.

Coach Alder Hampel
10th Planet Van Nuys

<10th Planet Van Nuys> Passing the Guard is 80% of Jiu Jitsu! Part 2

November 28th, 2012

This is continued from yesterday’s blog Passing the Guard is 80% of Jiu Jitsu!

Let’s say I pass the guard, mount, move to knee on bell, take the back, etc. I’m still going to have to avoid my opponent countering, and being put back into the guard. We’re constantly, passing, recovering, passing and recovering. There are in fact, very few times a person doesn’t need to be concerned, at least a little bit, with “passing the guard.”

My point is this, where should we be spending most of our time when we’re looking up new techniques, drilling, game planning, and practicing? I think I can make a good argument for activities revolving around the guard. I feel that much of your game, especially in the beginning should have the guard in mind. Many of your most sexiest submissions will be much easier to get once you’ve successfully mastered guard passing. It’s really one of the foundation of Jiu Jitsu.

I’m not here to change your game or to tell you what to do. All I’m trying to do is give a little insight. Take a step back, try to look at the game as a whole. Now ask yourself this; “How would working on my guard passing really help my game? If so, how? How could it help me as a bottom player, even if I don’t like to play top?” Now whatever your answer is, go to practice, and start coming up with some answers! If you come up with some arguments, let’s hear them, I’d like to open up a discussion on how you feel about it.

Coach Alder Hampel
10th Planet Jiu Jitsu Van Nuys

<10th Planet Van Nuys> Passing the Guard is 80% of Jiu Jitsu! **Part 1

November 27th, 2012

Passing the guard is 80% of the game of Jiu Jitsu! At least according to my not so scientific calculations. I didn’t spend anytime researching that number, I didn’t review any stats, I just declared it as of right now. How did I come to that conclusion? Well, the statement was made specifically to get your attention. Did it work? I guess I could have said something like, it’s 97.7% of the game, that might have been more shocking, but probably less believable. Anyways, now that I have your attention, let me get to my point.

Guard passing gives you freedom! I don’t want anybody telling me where I can and can’t go. The more options I have to move about the body, the more options I can go when I’m shut me down in one way or another. It will also give you the mobility to get into advantage positions, (mount, back, north/south). It will give you the ability to control, and submit at a higher clip, because your opponent has less tools from which to defend with. On the other side of the coin, being on your back, passing will keep you from being put in these bad positions. Knowing what the top player is going to do before he does it, will allow you to stifle, and counter.. Thus, keeping you safe, while putting them into worse positions.

Today, I can’t imagine a world where I can only use submissions from the topside of the guard. If you decide to bypass passing you’re limited to a very small game. You don’t have to pass to submit your opponent. D’arces, neckcranks and foot locks are all available. There’s some crazy kamikaze fly over or rolling techniques that are available as well. I look at these moves as shortcuts, and although you may be able to tap your opponents now, once people figure out that’s your game, they will be less likely to be taken off guard. I know this all too well from experience. When I first started Jiu Jitsu, I was all about the quick submission. I wanted to beat you as fast as I could. It was my own ego trip. I wanted to trick you with superior technique. When I watched Ken Shamrock heel hook Pat Smith at the inaugural Ultimate Fighting Championship, I wanted to be just like that! I thought if I could sub you quick with some wild foot lock, I wouldn’t need to get good at clearing the legs and passing the guard. It worked well for a while, but once guys figured out that was my schtick` I got crushed. Point is, there’s not substitution for hard work and consistency.

In Jiu Jitsu, the match always starts standing, right? Yes, and takedowns and techniques from standing are important, I wont dispute that. You don’t have to stay on the feet for very long however, even if the rules in a tournament require you engage, touch, or are even penalized for pulling guard. The fact is, if you want to nullify the wrestling advantage, you can pull guard, and butt scoot towards your opponent. So basically, if I trained since I was 5 at wrestling, and I got into a match with a jiu jitsu guy, and he just dropped to his bum, all that skill and experience would be taken from me at that point. Now, I’m forced to what? Play the guard passing game. Now if I’m the guy who pulled guard, I’m not playing the guard passing game right? No, actually that is incorrect, I AM playing the guard passing game. I’m having to defend the guard pass. Even if, simultaneously, I’m trying to sweep, I still have to make sure I don’t leave an opening for the top player to pass.

Guard passing can be overlooked quite a bit. I’ll see guys working on the latest and greatest techniques without any context of the big picture. Many times they’ll completely overlook how they are going to get to the technique they’re practicing. They’ll be practicing the move like it exists in a vacuum. I suggest this, whenever you work on a new technique, have an idea what would have lead you that position. Most times you can trace it right back to the guard. This kind of thinking is what builds great game plans because it forces you to connect the right techniques together in a series. ie takedown > guard pass> mount > armbar or guard pull > sweep > pass > americana. When this is done smoothly, and with efficiency you’ll get a beautiful chain of events that looks like a work of art.

Stay tuned for tomorrow’s blog for part 2!

What Makes a Good Jiu Jitsu Training Partner part 2.

November 19th, 2012

In the last article we talked about the importance of training partners, you can check out that artcle here. This is part 2.


Please, be kind to your training partners! These people are the ones helping you get better, train for tournaments, teach you new moves, give you details on existing moves. It’s not a competition to see who can hurt each other the best. This is already a rough enough sport, we don’t need to be getting injured every time we show up to class. This might seem pretty obvious, but don’t bully people. Yes, I am talking to you adults! What does that prove? Ok maybe, you’re entertained at some poor saps expense, but what happens when there’s no more poor saps to torture, because you’ve ran them all out of the gym. A bad training partner can make an otherwise fun sport a terrible experience. I’ve seen people avoid certain classes to avoid problem training partners. I’ve also heard of seen people leaving gyms because the owner or the coach never addressed these bad training partners and people were either injured or abused. At 10th Planet Van Nuys my coaches and I are very careful to address people who may be abusing their partners. I make sure they understand what they’re doing is not cool. If they continue to do it, I wont hesitate to protect my team, and remove that person from our gym.

Another thing to watch out for is the opponent resisting 100% or reversing the position on you during training. I’m not talking about when you’re rolling live, I’m talking about when we’re learning a move and drilling it. If I’m working my technique and the person keeps blocking my technique, chances are they’re, not helping, they’re just being a jerk. Maybe you have all the best intentions in the world by trying to show him what could happen, but first let’s learn the move before we start talking about the options of what could happen when some body does, “this or that.” Let your partner do the move, help them, correct them, but it’s just annoying if you shut them down. Sometimes it can be helpful, you don’t want your opponent getting in repetitionss of something that is incorrect, but you don’t have to go hard and fight them in order to show them what they’re doing is incorrect.

I’ll write some more on this later, you can always learn to be a better training partner. You can’t write enough material on this subject, if nobody talks about it, you’ll continue to have bad training partners. If you don’t want to speak up and tell your training partners about this stuff because it’s uncomfortable, then just link you’re team to this article.

Coach Alder Hampel

10th Planet Jiu Jitsu Van Nuys

<10th Planet Van Nuys > “What Makes a Good Training Partner?” pt. 1

November 15th, 2012

Something I address frequently at 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu Van Nuys, is the value of having a good training partner. They can be very influential in your Jiu Jitsu career. This may seem obvious, but sometimes we need a good reminder. A good training partner, just like a coach, can be somebody that will help you to becoming a better practitioner. Brent Littel has been one of my best training partners/mentors over the years. He has helped me get to where I am as a player ,and as a coach. He’s kept me accountable when I was slacking. Without people like him, I wouldn’t be where I am today. You and your partner form a sort of think tank, where you can bounce ideas off of each other. You can form solutions as a team that you may not have thought about on your own. For the most part, our sport requires you do most of the movements on, or with another person. I’m a big fan of solo drilling, bridging, rolling and shrimping without a partner, but the majority of stuff is more fun, and more effective with another human being.

What I myself look for in a good partner is first and foremost, trust. I’m putting my safety in this person’s hands, I sure as hell don’t want to get hurt by a careless/crazy/ego driven person. I need to feel comfortable with them to be able to focus on my technique, and not be afraid he’s going to snap my arm. If I’m practicing a move, and I’m worrying more about that person spazzing out on me, my technique is going to suffer. If I don’t trust somebody, I don’t want to train with them. Will I? probably, I’ll make the best out of the situation, but I’ll be very careful as to what I let happen.

I’m careful in who I choose to roll with as well. I’m very concerned with injury. If I feel my partner will try to spike me with a power bomb while trying to get out of a triangle, I won’t roll with him. If I feel a partner will potentially put his knee on my orbital to escape a kimura, I wont roll with him. If everybody has this mentality, it should hopefully force the bad apple to either change, get kicked out or quit. Either way that’s a win for the team. Contrary to popular thought, you’re not a “wuss” if you choose to not roll with a certain partner, to avoid getting hurt.  I’ve accepted the fact that I’m going to get injuries here and there, but if it’s avoidable, I’d rather pass on training with a jerk today, than not roll tomorrow. I’m getting to be an old guy, I’m a product of the 70’s, I’d rather train smart, than be a tough guy and sit on the sidelines icing my wounds.


Part 2 coming tomorrow, stay tuned!


Coach Alder Hampel


The Self-Taught Champion – Fact or Fiction?

July 16th, 2012

Another good article on the psychology of BJJ and MMA


This UBGB (Underground Blog Guest Blogger) is by David Avellan. Along with his brother Marcos, David founded South Florida’s Freestyle Fighting Academy (FFA) in 2001, and has trained fighters for the UFC, WEC, Bodogfight, EliteXC, Strikeforce, and dozens of other promotions.

Everyone loves a rag-to-riches story.

Fighters such as former UFC Champion Evan Tanner had learned much of what he knew training on his own. Evan was famous for studying instructional books, videos, and even getting into bar fights to practice his techniques!

But that was over a decade ago before the evolution of MMA. Is that still possible today?


In fact, I would dare say that it would be easier now than ever before.

How come?

There are so many more resources available to the public now that in the past were guarded secrets. With the growth of the internet and MMA community, it is even possible to be trained online for free by world class instructors such as UFC sensation Alan Belcher, America’s Jiu-Jitsu Coach Lloyd Irvin, and my brother Marcos and I.

If that is true, wouldn’t there be thousands of UFC keyboard warrior champions?

LOL! The beginner’s folly is to think that knowing enough technique is all it takes to become the best.

When I started competing in grappling, I didn’t have a BJJ instructor. I didn’t know how to do an Omo Plata, or how to sweep from the half guard. In fact, I didn’t even train with the GI.

Yet, I was able to defeat BJJ Black Belt World Champions such as Roberto “Cyborg” Abreu, Alexandre “Xande” Ribeiro, Rafael Lovato Jr., and Rener Gracie.

I didn’t have access to all the talent and resources that these individuals had, yet I still was able to defeat them.


One thing, and one thing alone will decide your fate – your mind.

You can have all the talent, resources, and techniques in the world, but without the proper mindset you are doomed to fail.

Somehow, this all important fact is lost on 97% of people.

The most important thing I learned from my high school wrestling days was not a double leg shot, it was the principles of champions.

The first and most important of these principles is very simple. Most people know about this principle, but have never bothered to use it. They think they understand it, but they really don’t.

If you want to be a self-made champ, you HAVE to follow this principle to the letter:

Written Goals
We all have heard about goal setting many times throughout our lives, yet I know very few people who actually do it.

To understand the importance of goals, let me give you an example.

Say we have the Guinness book of world records archery champion. The guy is so good that he can hit a grain of salt in mid-air. Now I blind fold him, spin him in circles and tell him to hit a target I never showed him in the first place.

You think he has a chance of hitting a target he doesn’t know exists? Very, very slim.

You see, it doesn’t matter how good you are. If you don’t know what you want, you are not going to get it. This is why it is crucial to set goals and write them on paper.

If you say you understand the concept of goal setting, but that you don’t need to write down goals – you don’t understand the concept! Writing down the goals is important and makes the goal real.

Goals need to be written in specific detail. Just saying that you want to be the best is not enough. Think about:
•Exactly what you want to achieve
•When you want to have completed your goal
•How you will feel obtaining it
•The price you will have to pay to succeed

Once you have thought through this and KNOW exactly what you want, then you must write it out. It is good practice to write your goals as if you already have achieved them. Think of it as if you are in the future, writing down a journal entry just after completing your goal. Insert as much emotion into the writing as possible, as emotions are the strongest motivators to action that we have.

Next, you need to read your goals out loud to yourself every day. Each time you do this you are programming yourself – reaffirming your belief that you can achieve your goal. When you read your goal, it is important that you do so with a positive state of mind. If you just read the goal without emotion, it will do very little to help.

Finally, I go an extra step and tell everyone what I plan on doing. That way, I’m now accountable for my actions. Most people feel uncomfortable doing that, but as you will learn later, being uncomfortable is crucial for growth.

I will post more principles over the next few days and give you time to digest the material. Remember, just reading this is not going to help you. Many people say that knowledge equals power, but that is false. Applied knowledge equals power. So go and apply this principle!

Believe and Achieve,

David Avellan

P.S. > Do you write goals? If not, what is stopping you? Let me know, as I want to know all the reasons (good or bad) why people don’t do it.

Blackbelt Psychology part 2

July 16th, 2012

A Beautiful Mind for MMA?
UnderGround Blogger Marcos Avellan, along with his brother David, founded South Florida’s Freestyle Fighting Academy (FFA) in 2001, and has trained fighters for the UFC, WEC, Bodogfight, EliteXC, Strikeforce, and dozens of other promotions.

This is the sequel to my piece that was posted a few days ago about the Boxing Secrets that I smuggled from Cuba.
In the movie, “A Beautiful Mind”, the main character, Russell Crowe, is a schizophrenic. As a result, he sees and imagines things that aren’t really happening… and I’m recommending you do the same in your MMA training!
What? I must be going crazy too! 🙂 Check out my video to understand what I mean by this.

link to video

Blackbelt Psychology part 1 by Marcos Avellan

July 14th, 2012

UnderGround Blogger Marcos Avellan, along with his brother David, founded South Florida’s Freestyle Fighting Academy (FFA) in 2001, and has trained fighters for the UFC, WEC, Bodogfight, EliteXC, Strikeforce, and dozens of other promotions.
This is Part III of my Black Belt Psychology Live Demo. If you haven’t seen parts I and II, check them out first below:
Part I = *VIDEO* Smuggled Cuban boxing secrets!
Part II = A Beautiful Mind for MMA?
Part I was about shadow boxing… Part II was about creating fight memories… and Part III is about dealing with competition jitters!
The core of this lecture is based on the premise that if I had a crystal ball and showed you that you’re about to lose your upcoming match… what would you do? Watch the video and you’ll understand how this perspective can help remove your competition jitters!
This video is part of the philosophy I have been using for years to help prepare myself and my team for any fight or competition.
If you liked this video demo, please join my email list at for more videos and articles.
Marcos Avellan
P.S. Now that you are seen all three parts of my demo, what do you think? Please leave me some feedback! 🙂

Link to video

Joe Rogan Recieves his 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu Black Belt From Eddie Bravo!

July 12th, 2012

If you want to learn the 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu system just like Joe Rogan, and you’re in the San Fernando area, check us out at

Going from Chump to Champ requires this…

July 10th, 2012

This is a great article by ADCC vet, David Avellan. It talks about many of the same principles I believe in! It talks about discipline, motivation, consistency, goals etc. IT’S a MUST READ!!!


Underground Blogger David Avellan, along with his brother Marcos, founded South Florida’s Freestyle Fighting Academy (FFA) in 2001, and has trained fighters for the UFC, WEC, Bodogfight, EliteXC, Strikeforce, among many other promotions.

Most people that begin martial arts do not have it.

They come to the martial arts with the idea of learning it, not realizing how important it really is.

Every person who quits doesn’t have it.

Those that stick with it begin to develop it.

Like a muscle, it grows stronger with use.

With it you have the power to accomplish anything you desire.

What is it?

It is the single, most important aspect of developing greatness.

To be able to reach the high levels of aptitude required for championship level performances, you must be able to stick to a structured training regimen for a long period of time.

The path to greatness is very treacherous – filled with dangers and wicked twists that will throw off all but the few souls that possess the will and the discipline to stay the course.

Being disciplined means that no matter what is happening in your life, you will complete the task you set out to do every day.

It doesn’t matter if you are tired, sick, grumpy, have a hot date, have work to do, or (add your favorite excuse here) – you do what needs to be done.

When you have your own team of trainers, you don’t require that much discipline. Your coaches ARE the discipline. They will call you, contact your family, or even come to your house to make sure you train.

To be a self-made champion, you need to have discipline. While this can be a challenge, the rewards of having a high level of discipline are well worth the price of attaining it.

The Challenge

When you first start a new program, it is easy to stick to it. You are excited and pumped up to get results and have fun.

As time passes, the initial high fades. That is when your discipline (or lack of it) will kick in.

Those of little discipline quit quickly. They find all sorts of excuses to not fulfill their duties.

Those with discipline buckle down and stay with the program.

They have to push themselves out of bed, hype themselves up, and get their butt moving.

The hardest part is deciding to follow through. Once they are in the gym, it is relatively easy.

How do you Develop Discipline?

Discipline is like a muscle – it develops with use.

You train for discipline just as you would setup a weight lifting program, by increasing the difficulty gradually over time.

A simple way to start is by giving yourself a daily task to perform that is easy.

For example, set out to do 20 pushups every morning when you wake up.

This is not very challenging (physically), but you will find that sticking to this can be mentally challenging.

One day you will get up and be in a rush to do something. As a result, you forget to do it. Then you just drop the whole regimen altogether, deciding that will start over again tomorrow…

…And we all know how long in the future that tomorrow will be.

The key to developing discipline is consistency. You HAVE to do what you set out to do. No ifs or buts.

To keep yourself accountable, write down your discipline challenge and place it on a wall that you will see every day. This will be your reminder to do your task.

Start off with a simple task, such as:
•    20 pushups
•    20 sit ups
•    1 mile run
•    20 repetitions of your favorite technique

Once you master this challenge and are able to stuck with it for at least 2 weeks, add another simple challenge or increase the difficulty of your challenge (instead of 20 pushups, do 30).

In this fashion you will continue you to develop your discipline, but there is one more thing required.


The reason it is easy to start something new is because you are motivated.

You watched a UFC and got pumped up to “train UFC” and become the next Anderson Silva.

In those first few weeks, you are riding the high of your initial motivational source.

However, motivation is like a cup of water with a leak.

Over time, your motivation drains out of your body and before you know it, you could care less about becoming a UFC champion.

Even someone with superb discipline would have a hard time rationalizing the effort required to stick with a tough program without the proper motivation.

So how do you stay motivated?

Simple, keep filling up that cup!

You need to have a wealth of motivational sources. Think of them like wells of water.

A good motivational source can supply you with endless amounts of motivation.

A bad motivational source gets tapped out with a few uses.

Motivation goes hand in hand with getting or visualizing results. When you picture yourself with the UFC belt around your waist, and the feeling you would have being known at the baddest man on the planet, that might motivate you to train hard.

Everyone is different, so you have to find out what motivates you. You then want to protect these sources and make sure you can call upon them whenever you need to.

Motivational sources can be:
•    Books
•    Movies
•    People
•    Objects
•    Memories
•    Goals
•    Results

Once you have a sufficient amount of sources to keep you motivated, you can truly begin the process.

Discipline Building Process

1.    Write down your discipline challenge (20 crunches)
2.    Write down your key motivation for completing the challenge (I want to get six-pack abs)
3.    Post them somewhere where you will see them every day.
4.    Complete your challenge every day, no matter what happens.
5.    When you are struggling, read your key motivation, visualize the results, and get pumped.
6.    Once you mastered the challenge, increase the difficulty or add a new challenge.

Believe and Achieve,

David Avellan


Link to article

18 Tips To Help You In BJJ & Grappling Competition

December 13th, 2010

18 Tips To Help You In BJJ & Grappling Competition
(and Why Competitions Are a Good Idea)

I try to compete in grappling tournaments as much as I possibly can. Why is that you might ask? Well it’s for many different reasons:

The love of competition – The first reason is that I love to test myself and compete. I love the challenge that competitions present and after a good match win or lose I am glad I stepped on the mat against someone I didn’t even know. Competitions are fun for me and that is what really motivates me.

It’s a true test – Competition is a true test of how all of your grappling skills come together. Under the stress of competition the true nature of your skills come out. There isn’t any lying to yourself or anyone else about your abilities. It is just you, your opponent, and your mind and it’s up to you during that time and in the environment to decide what you’re going to do with it.

  • How are you going to handle the crowd?
  • How are you going to handle the butterflies in your stomach?
  • How are you going to face the person across from you that you don’t even know anything about?
  • Are you going to remember your techniques?
  • Are you going to freeze up, or are you going to stay calm and do everything you do in the gym and win?

Those are just a few of the tests that you have to face in competition and it is great to see how you would do. Competition helps to let you know where you stand in the larger scheme of things by giving you a realistic look at where you stand against other guys with the same experience level as yourself.

The people I meet – As with your classes and training, competitions are a great place to meet people who love doing what you do. I have been fortunate to meet many great people from going to competitions. I have made friends, been invited to other training facilities, and got to know many great people from going to competitions.

Not many people think of competitions in this manner, but you never know as far as the people you meet and how they might affect your life. I try to not live mine as a hermit and I take advantage of the different people I can meet, because they just might help me become a better person and help me lead a life that I might not have been able to lead if I didn’t meet them.

The experience and learning – While competition is a test of your skill against an opponent you aren’t used to and in an environment you aren’t used to there is no such thing as passing or failing in competition. The one thing that does always happen after competition is growth

I have never participated in a competition and not learned something or gained a greater experience of grappling, whether I was to win or lose. Every time I step off of the competition mat I step off a better grappler, a better person, and someone who wants to work harder.

Now you may not feel exactly the way I feel, but I guarantee you will feel something. You may be angry because you lost, you may feel satisfied because you did better than you thought, or you may be pumped up because you won. Either way you are walking off with a feeling, and with those feelings you will analyze. You’ll analyze what you did right, and what you did wrong. You’ll analyze what you could have done, and what you should have done. You’ll analyze the way you felt, your conditioning, how the crowd made you feel, and so on.

With all of that analyzing you will grow. Sometimes it just isn’t the same as practice. With practice you do learn but you don’t really analyze that much because it is something that you do on a regular basis. You warm-up, you do some drills, learn some techniques, and you roll. You may think about it after, but with not much analyzing. After a competition though you won’t be able to help but to analyze what you did. This will make you so much better then you can imagine.

You will be pumped up for the next training session and to drill the things that you feel you need to work on as a result of your match and you will grow. You will have gained an experience that you just can’t mimic in practice.

You may want to compete even more, or you may not want to compete any more, but you will not be able to walk away from that competition without learning something.

Here are some things that I’ve learned from competition whether I won or I lost:

  • I have learned that it’s ok to be nervous and I’m not the only one.
  • I have learned how to test myself in uncomfortable situations.
  • I have gained confidence.
  • I have learned many things that I need to work on and trust me I have worked on those areas.
  • I learned what it’s like to step out of my comfort zone and to know its ok.
  • I learned that I am better than others.
  • I learned that others are better than me.
  • I learned that it’s ok to lose.
  • I learned that if feels great to win.
  • I learned that I will learn more every time I compete.

That’s not even a complete list, but I’m sure you get the point. If you are worried about competing and if you’re not sure if it’s for you, you’ll never know unless you try. The people who become champions and who succeed in life didn’t do so because they thought about trying it’s because they did try.

Here are some tips to help you make your first competition go smoother:

  1. Try to think of it as an extension of your training. Think about it as if you’re going to class to train during an open mat but you get to roll even harder. This helps me to relax and realize that it isn’t the end of the world. It really is only a grappling competition. In the whole scheme of life the only person who really is worried about if you win or lose is you and not anyone else.
  2. Try your hardest to win, but if you don’t, keep your head up and make sure you learn something from it because if you don’t and you just let your ego get in the way then you pretty much just wasted $70 to $90. Know that when you leave that building, that one day really didn’t affect your future in anyway and that you will always be able to get better and test yourself again.
  3. What I like to do to help me from getting tunnel vision and zoning out while I’m grappling is when I first step on the mat. I look around in the bleachers and turn my body 360 degrees and I take in the spectators and the environment. This helps my mind adjust to the open environment and helps me focus on my opponent during the match. This also helps me relax.
  4. Practice breathing. Practicing my breathing helps me to relax and focus. It helps me keep a clear mind and it also helps me control the adrenaline that is kicking in. By doing this it keeps me from getting gassed out quickly even though I probably had the conditioning. You’d be surprised on what your adrenaline can do to you and if you don’t control it. You’ll gas out fast and feel like you’re hyperventilating. So take the time before your matches to close your eyes, visualize, and breathe. Many times right when I step onto the mat I take in two or three deep breathes in though my nose and out of my mouth. This helps slow my heart rate.
  5. Remember to breathe when you’re out there, don’t breathe in with your mouth. Please, I repeat PLEASE do not hold your breath when you’re out there. First of all if you have high blood pressure it’s not good for you and second of all you’ll gas out in a second.
  6. Also breathe in through your nose. Don’t breathe in through your mouth. Breathing in through your mouth takes more energy and also gives the feeling of hyperventilation which in turn leads to you losing your wind and not even being able to move your own arms. Trust me, I know. Breathing is a big part of the game that many people lack. If you get this down it’s going to bring you one step closer to not ever having to worry about gassing out when you roll.
  7. It’s usually a good idea to watch your opponents who compete before you. The reason is because it gives you a good perspective on what type of game they might play. This will help get you ready for them if you were to meet up in later matches. You may see someone who pulls guard right away, and this may help you go for the takedown quicker because you know they’re going to pull guard anyone. Or you may see someone with a really good guard and you might be able to pull guard on them to stop them from playing their game.
  8. Either way by watching your opponent’s it usually helps you get a little understanding about what it is that they do.
  9. Try to have your instructor or someone from your team be there on the sidelines with you to help coach you. This is a great resource because your coach can usually see many things and opportunities that you can’t see yourself. This will give you the ability to open up your game a bit more.
  10. One important thing however is that you don’t forget that your coach is out there trying to help you when you’re actually competing. Many people get out on the mat and they lose perspective of everything around them. This makes it much harder for someone to coach you because when you are in this situation you probably don’t even know your coach is there anymore. So do your best to stay focused. Anytime you have the chance to listen to your coach or if you have great control and you can even look at him (just pay attention to what you’re doing also) then do so. It will help.
  11. Do not drink orange juice or any acidic drink the day of your match. You don’t want to be the only person in the gym throwing up on the mat do you?
  12. Bring water but don’t over drink the water. You’ll be surprised on how dry your mouth will get just because of your nerves. Take in little sips here and there to keep your mouth moist. Also make sure you don’t drink too much water to where you’re full because you’ll definitely feel it.
  13. Do some sort of yoga or meditation exercises the night before. By doing this it helps you relax the night before and clear your mind. Keeping you from getting nervous the night before and losing sleep. Doing some relaxation yoga or meditation exercise before you go to sleep will help you get a better nights sleep.
  14. Make sure you bring your mouthpiece. I know a lot of people don’t where mouth guards when they compete even though the competitions say that you have to where one, but the one day you get smashed in your mouth and lose a tooth then you’ll definitely wish you wore a mouth piece. Trust me I know from experience when I chipped one of my teeth from not wearing a mouth piece.
  15. Bring flip flops or sandals. Please do not be one of those people who walk in those disgusting bathrooms without any shoes or socks on and then steps on the mats. I really don’t understand it and it’s not the most sanitary thing in the world. Do help the grappling community be clean and bring a pair of flip-flops or sandals to where when you walk around the gym. They are easy to take on and off before you compete and it helps prevent the spread of disease.
  16. Expect a long day. Unfortunately 95% of all grappling tournaments last forever so if you know what to expect right in the beginning it will help you get mentally prepared. So if you read this you now know that there is a big chance you will be waiting around for a while to compete. Make sure you stay focused and tell yourself that you knew it was going to be like this.
  17. It’s a good idea to bring something to pass the time. You can bring a book to read, a portable DVD player, some cards, an iPod, a portable video game console or something, but whatever you bring it will help the day go by much better without having anything at all.
  18. Out of all of these the biggest tip I can give you is to have FUN. If you’re not having fun then whatever you went through for the competition really isn’t worth it. You need to have fun even when you’re trying your hardest to win. You should be in there not only to win, but to have a good time and a great learning experience. Activities without fun turn into work. Do you really want to work anymore then you already do? I know I don’t.

Good Luck!

Jason Scully
Grappler’s Guide Academy
Grappler’s Guide Community

I took this blog entry from

10th Planet Van Nuys: Gym Etiquette, Hygiene and Mat Cooties.

September 27th, 2010

Hello and welcome to another news letter. I want to remind all you guys of some basic things that you probably already know. We need to stay healthy and motivated while we are in training, especially now, 1 month out from the competition at Grappling X. This means staying healthy, and avoiding mat cooties. Things like ring worm can take you off the mats and can be super annoying. Things like staph infections can be even worse. That means following a few simple things to stay cleanly and to have good mat manners. I also want everybody to have good gym etiquette. Please take into consideration your teammates. People don’t want to roll with people who don’t take care of basic hygiene and grooming. Here’s a simple list of things to follow to ensure you don’t fall victim to the gross nasty cooties and being avoided by your team.

1. Shower BEFORE getting on to the mats. Through out your day you can pic up all types of stuff, don’t bring that into the gym. Not to mention none of your teammates want to roll with you if you have a case of the stinkies.
2. Shower after rolling. Don’t wait too long to get home and wash yourself down. Using things such as tea tree oil soaps, defense soap and other such products will help. Make sure you scrub down with a washcloth, loofa or other such items to make sure you get super clean. If this doesn’t work for you, have your girlfriend hose you off in the backyard.
3. Clip your nails. Cutting open people because you have sharp talons is never fun for the person on the receiving end. I have a scar right between my eyes because some jerk was too lazy to clip his nails before class.
4. Don’t go off the mats, outside or in the bathroom without your shoes on. You’ll track all types of dirt and other yuck back onto the mats.
5. Cover all cuts, scraps or open wounds. Nothing nastier than getting bled on. Not to mention you can get infections
6. Sanitize yourself. I carry a bottle of hand sanitizer in my bag and in my car that I use after training. Wipes are also popular, I believe sells good ones.
7. Brush your teeth. Nothing is worse than getting stuck in a head and arm that’s reinforced by dragon breath.
8, Wash your mouth guard. If that thing touches the mat, make sure you rinse it well before inserting it back into your mouth. Listerine kills bacteria, i like to soak my guard in it
9. Wash your clothes. Once you’ve sweated and rolled around in gear, make sure you wash it. To get out oder that stay with your clothes after washing, use vinegar in the wash, it helps.
10. Wash cups, sweaty towels, ankle sleeves, knee pads head gear etc. Just like any other article of clothing, you need to keep everything clean! You wouldn’t continuously wear the same rash guard without washing it right? These items should be treated no differently.
11. If you are sick, stay off the mats until you’re better. No brainer right? Don’t be that guy (girl) that gets the entire team sick!
12. If you have ring worm or any other skin disease that can be pass on, stay off the mats! Inspect your training partners if you think they may have something. If they do, refuse to roll with them until it has cleared up.
13. Remember the people in the gym are your training partners, not your competition. Do NOT bully, spaz, try to hurt, crank or do anything else that might be hurtful both physically or mentally to your gym family. If there is a problem with a particular student, avoid rolling with them and tell me or the gym enforcer and we’ll handle it appropriately.
14. Deodorants and body sprays are your friend. Now, I’m not saying you need to smell like you’re going creepin’ with The Situation and Pauly D., but if you know you have a predisposition to smelling a little “ripe,” use generously!
The less abrasive you are, the more training partners will want to work with you and help you get better. I hope this helps. Feel free to add your own rules to the mix and bring them to the teams attention at practice. Train hard, train smart, and train often! See you on the mat!

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Eddie Bravo “THE TWISTER” *10th PLANET DEDICATION* ~Naledge~

July 14th, 2010

Kettle Weight Shrimp Drill

March 12th, 2010

For all you crazy kettle bell folks. I know who wont be doing this, Scott Epstein.    😉

“Neale Hoerle – 10th Planet Morgantown Head Coach

25lb. Kettle Weight Twisting Drill
30-50 rep range

Rotation Twist Strength”