The Mata Leon (The Rear naked choke) is not only ...probably the most commonly known technique in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, but also the most effective technique in BJJ. The words "mata leão" loosely translate into "lion killer" in Portuguese. This technique embodies everything Jiu Jitsu is! A very powerful technique that does not rely on having a size advantage to be successful.. in fact, it may even favor the smaller, lighter opponent! In our next episode of 60 seconds with SMMA, we look at a basic method of training the Mata Leon that we practice here at Sudbury MMA!! Enjoy!
One thing I really like about Karate, and this is something I have definitely taken as a part of my teaching style is “Story telling”. I used to love listening to some of the stories about the old Karate Ka (practionners) and their training. I would read books about the old masters and some of the tales of their training and challenges. I also used to love some of the responses I would get when I asked a my instructor questions. The responses would sometimes confuse me or lead me to ask more questions.. but either way I loved them. I titled this blog as one of these responses. Let me tell you the story!
I was in Okinawa, Japan and it was the first time I had traveled so far and I was alone.. I was 20 years old and ready to take on the world! For this trip, I had so many questions… I truly thought I was going to learn the most secret techniques that I had been desperately wanting to learn since I had started training in martial arts. I had romanticized martial arts and I was convinced that there was secret moves that were only taught to a select few etc.. and I was going to be the foreigner that learned them (I know.. too many movies!)
I had been in Japan about a month at that time, and the first thing I figured out was that it was pretty hard to learn anything with such a huge language barrier… (but that’s a different story). So I had to rely on his bad English and my non existent Japanese to try and communicate. Then it happened! Another student showed up to class one day… he introduced himself clearly and I realized he spoke fluent English! I was pumped. Do you know what it’s like to not communicate with people for an extended amount of time (that’s another story! LOL) This guy was now my official translator.
After class one night, Sensei opened up the group to questions and I thought… now is my chance!
My first question, was.. How often should I hit the Makiwara? (*Makiwara is a wooden post) His answer was simple… he replied: “every day”. I then asked if I should be concerned about long term damage to my hand. He just looked at me kinda weird… so I referred to one of the senior student in the class who was most likely in his late fifties and asked how long he had been hitting the Makiwara. He replied years… so I asked if his hands ever hurt? He looked at me… seemed to think for a little while (in retrospect, I am not sure if he was simply processing the question) and he responded: “It only hurts when I stop”. This was one of those situations where I don’t think he really answered my question but I loved the answer. Actually, let me rephrase that.. I did not think he answered the question at the time.. but now as I think back, maybe he did.. because if I take too many days off training, I generally believe my body weakens.
So my next question was of course (a reflection of my impatient nature at the time) and I am kinda embarrassed by the question 20 years later… but I asked how long do I need to train in order to master Karate?
His answer: “Train every day like eating”
I looked at my friend (hoping there would be some follow up to that statement).. there was none, so I asked what Sensei meant by that?
He repeated the answer “Train every day like eating” The interpreter followed up by saying don’t be concerned with mastering Karate, just train everyday and like age, it will come.
I mention this story today as we recently did a podcast about plateaus.. if you missed it (here is a link to the podcast). I wanted to tell that story, but as in most of my discussions, I got side tracked and forgot… In training, we experience a lot of highs and lows … and the highs and lows will be different for each one of us.. We love the highs, but the lows are unavoidable.. Don’t be concerned with training only for the next high, or don’t be concerned about the occasional low in training, because your answer / journey lies in Training every day liking eating.
As I reflect on this… for me, its about simply enjoying the daily training or journey. Focus on the positives, vs the negatives. Know that true mastery may never come.. and that’s OK, because it’s the chase, or the journey that I love!
See you on the mats
One of our new video blogs is called 60 Seconds with SMMA. These mini tutorials are designed with the beginner in mind. What we try to do is explore one technique in a 60 second time frame.. (OK, well sometimes it goes a little longer than 60 seconds) but generally we try to keep it short, Everyone knows.. I have a tendency to talk quite a bit, but i am keeping it as short as possible!
We will be covering techniques from all the different Martial Art programs we offer at Sudbury MMA. From Kids classes, to all our Adult programs, these videos are designed to give our members a quick reference point to the exact techniques we cover in class. It will also help anyone who trains to see different techniques that they could implement into their game. The internet is flooded with new moves and sometimes difficult techniques. Our goal is to make these techniques as simple as possible, so anyone can follow along and hopefully even pick up a new detail to raise the level of their own game.
You will be able to find these techniques on our Video Tips Page on the SMMA website (CLICK HERE TO SEE MORE) or you can subscribe to our YouTube channel and get notified each time we upload new videos! CLICK HERE FOR OUR YOUTUBE CHANNEL (Make sure to click the little Bell and get all the latest notifications!)
We hope you are enjoying these videos! If there are any specific videos or questions that you might have, please leave a comment and we will address them in an future video!
See you on the mats!
Welcome to the team Dillan and Whitney!
I have always said that it's our members that make us the best!! Its our members that create the atmosphere here at Sudbury MMA. Its an atmosphere that is warm and welcoming to everyone and especially for our beginners. We are excited when new people come in. Mainly because we want to show them how martial arts really can change their lives!! We all remember our first time walking through the doors.. a little nervous, a little excited ... and before you know it, you develop a bond with the other team members and feel like you have known them forever!! These are the people that will help keep you on track to attain all your goals, cheer you on when you win or reach these goals and hold you up when you are down.
Get in better shape, learn something new, have FUN and meet new people that will be come not only your team, but an extended family. Don't believe me, come in and see for yourself!!
See you on the mats!
We got home late Thursday night (well some of us.. but that’s another story!) and Friday Morning, we were back on the road for the Muay Thai Provincials. The Sudbury MMA team had 6 competitors ready to step in the ring and let loose. Our team was comprised of all age groups, our youngest competitor was Carson (11years old), then Owen, one of our junior athletes and of course our four adults (Ricky, Sonia, David and James).
The weekend was a huge success for our team finishing with two Provincial Champions, 2 silver medalists and 1 Bronze medalists.
Carson won his division and has the honour of being Sudbury MMA’s youngest Muay Thai Provincial Champion! This is a huge step for our kids program and we are excited to see more kids get involved in competition within this sport.
Owen’s opponent unfortunately withdrew and what was most impressive was how Owen (who is 13) took the news. He was visibly upset.. but very understanding and commented that he still was happy to be at the event and that he could see his team compete. I was actually taken aback and thought to myself, what a great young man.. I was proud to have him on our team.
James lost a tough match in his opening bout. I was able to chat with him a he stayed all day to help warm up the fighters and help corner.. he learned a lot and is already expressing how he cannot wait to get back in the ring and redeem that loss. This is the perfect attitude and I cannot wait to see how he bounces back.
Sonia fought and won a VERY tough first match!! I believe that this tournament really showed us what she is capable of achieving in this sport if she puts her mind to it. In her final match up, She just missed the championship but I believe there is definitely some hardware in her future!
Ricky fought extremelly well.. in the first round, he landed a kick that I thought actually KOed his opponent. His opponent was super tough because he came back, just in time for the 8 count and then got the split decision at the end. Ricky came home with the silver medal but it was a great fight!
Dave secured himself a Provincial Championship last weekend. More importantly, he displayed patience and the ability to adapt to his opponent even if it meant working a strategy that he was not comfortable with. This was another great experience for his growth as a competitor… and of course, a provincial title is always great as well!
What I was most impressed with during the weekend… was how our team really functioned as a Team. They supported each other, helped each other warm up… helped with the cornering, cheered each other on etc… even the kids stayed right to the end to watch all our fighter’s matches! It was a 12 hour day, between weigh ins and the final fight and every one of our guys stayed right until the end! I was very proud. Anybody can fight.. but not everyone is a Team player and especially in these sports where it may seem like an individual sport to the outsiders, our fighters demonstrated exactly how a team functions and for that… I am the most proud!
On to the next adventure!! See you on the mats!
So as I mentioned in the last blog, we left Sudbury at 5am after a crazy weekend. I would like to say we slept on the plane but I think we were riding high on the energy from the weekend, talking about the MMA fights and looking forward to everything that was coming up that week. One of the great things about travelling for martial arts.. or at least what I always try to promote is to take in some local sights as well. The great thing about training in that you will have this great network of people around the world. In each town we go, we always have a place to visit and train. It kinda gives us a reason to anywhere… because in the end we can train there. So of course, we are in California to compete and train… but of course, we are going to take in some sights too!!
We land Monday night and meet up with our head instructor, Professor Pat Cooligan, who brings us to a great restaurant… now for those of you who have travelled with Professor Pat, you know what I mean.. this place was amazing. It was not on the “A” list but definitely the B list. I think the highlight of that meal was the enormous pieces of bacon that we had. I will leave it at that, because I love seeing people’s reaction to these types of new food adventures and I know we will see it again!
The tournament did not start until Thursday, so that means we had a couple of days for sightseeing. First on the list, Randy’s Donuts! Randy’s is a land mark in California and has been featured in several TV shows and movies… not to mention, it has the best donuts in the world (just my opinion… but those who know me, know I know!!). It was a great time, but I am afraid we may have ruined Randy’s for Davin and Piper since their Dozen Donut eating contest.. lol.
We then hit up the Hollywood Walk of Fame. This strip is so cool! I love the street performers, the little shops, the cafes, the people etc.. It was so much fun seeing all the stars.. not so much fun listening to the rap CDs Ricky and Davin picked up from some of these aspiring stars that want to break out into the business. Other sights we took in was the Santa Monica Strip, Bubba Gump’s restaurant, Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills and of course the Hollywood Sign.
The tournament started on Thursday and as someone who loves BJJ, I was pumped. Our Team competed and I was extremely proud to watch my students compete on the world’s biggest stage (in terms in of BJJ). Everyone did amazing! Piper fought her way to a Silver Medal and consequently was promoted to Blue Belt by Professor Pat.
Experiencing competition at the highest levels is a game changer for many people’s learning curb and I have no doubt that each of these athletes (whether they won or lost) have levelled up simply by competing on those mats. I can tell you that we definitely picked up on some positions that were being used that we do not see often in the Ontario circuit. So we will be working those for sure.
Watching the Black Belt semi-finals and finals on Sunday is a must for any BJJ fan! It is absolutely amazing to watch all your BJJ Idols compete and experience the greatest crowds, and Brazilian chants during the matches. To experience some of the highlights and controversy literally had me jumping out of my seat. As I am sure may of you already know, there were several great matches and Mundial moments… but when Romulo Barral had his ankle broken, I feel we witnessed Jiu Jitsu History. He may not have won that match, but he was cheered by the crowd louder than almost anyone else in the tournament for being the legend that he is.
We were fortunate enough to stay an additional few days and spent our time in the evenings training at Professor Shawn Williams’s academy, 5 Star Martial Arts. Professor Williams is like an encyclopedia of Jiu Jitsu and a great instructor. He is a pioneer of BJJ in the USA, and Renzo’s 5th American Black Belt. It was awesome to be there… he literally made it feel like home for us! We cannot say enough good things about his academy!
I am pretty sure we almost lost Piper to the Cali lifestyle and vibe but we did manage to bring her back. 10 days flew by and before we knew it, we were back on a plane heading home. But there was no time to relax.. we had to leave the next day for the Muay Thai Provincial Championships.
See you on the mats
The SMMA competition team has had a crazy three weeks!! From MMA fights to a Kickboxing show, to the BJJ World Championships and the Muay Thai Provincials, we have not stopped since early May! There are so many cool stories from the last few weeks of travel, that I will cover as much as I can over a few blogs this week.
It all started in the SOO, with WRECK MMA SSM. Actually, it started a couple of nights before… Sudbury MMA hosted two great seminars. Thursday was a Muay Thai Kickboxing seminar with none other than Kru Mark Holst. Kru Mark is a past UFC fighter, and professional Muay Thai fighter having competed all over the world. His seminars have really brought up our MT program here at Sudbury MMA. Friday was a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Seminar with Professor Hammer at our New Sudbury location. The seminar was fantastic! Not only did we learn some great Jiu Jitsu techniques from a great instructor, the highlight of the nights was seeing six of our students receive their well deserved Blue Belts.
So after two great nights of training, Saturday morning, we headed for the Amateur WRECK MMA card in SSM where we had two athletes competing. The event was fantastic! I love the vibe of house shows. I have been to large UFC events and honestly prefer the smaller live shows. 500 – 600 people crowded into a venue where there really is not a bad seat.. watching hometown heros taking on the out of town “bad guys”.. the crowd cheering, the sound and impact of competion.. I truly love the environment and even though I have coached numerous competitors through numerous bouts… it is still very exciting. We ended the night 1-1 but both fighters learned a lot and I believe have a great future in amateur MMA here in Northern Ontario.
Sunday, we had another athlete competing in a women’s only kickboxing card in Guelph, Fight like a Girl. This was a great event not only showcasing women kickboxers, but also for a great cause. We also walked away with the “W” in a dominant performance that day bringing our weekend record to 2-1. If that was not enough… the SMMA team was leaving for California to attend the 2017 BJJ Mundials (Worlds) at 5am the next morning! One of our coaches, Ricky, deserves a special shout out… This young man not only fought Saturday, he also drove home that night after the fight and left at 4am Sunday to corner our athlete in Guelph. He then drove home Sunday night, and met us at the airport on Monday morning to go to California. There is only one word to describe this guy… STUD!!
In our next blog, we will cover the travels in Los Angeles, the Mundials and of course the training!
See you on the mats!
We have been pretty lucky over the last couple of years as our competition team has really grown. Its kinda funny because 95% of our members are recreational, but it seems that we now have some form of competition event in either BJJ or Muay Thai every second or third week. Our competition programs have really developed into great programs that give our competitive students the opportunity to compete in several different venues and platforms. The Sudbury MMA Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai Teams competes in local amateur shows for both Submission Grappling and Muay Thai Kickboxing events as well as tournament format competitions at local, provincial and now international events. This week is an example of how crazy our schedule can get.
Saturday, we have two athletes, Davin Reid and Ricky Collinson competing in an amateur MMA match at the WRECK MMA event in Sault St-Marie. Sunday, we have Sonia Paquette competing in a women’s only fight card, Fight like a Girl, in Guelph and Monday, I leave with four competitors Davin, Ricky, Fiona and Piper for the Mundials (World BJJ Championships in California, USA).
This is an exciting time for us as it will be the first year that we bring competitors to the highest level of competition in BJJ. I truly believe that to be the best, we need to compete at the highest levels, and win or lose, these students will be bringing that experience back home with them, which will in turn help motivate and bring international level experience to our home academy in Northern Ontario. Stay tuned to our Facebook Page for all the weekend updates!
See you on the mats!
I was having a conversation with a couple of students and it really dawned on me that sometimes, the only thing that is put out on social media is our PR (Public Relations) version of life. People only post the positives.. or only what they want others to see. They only post their best pictures.. and would not dream of posting a bad picture.. because what if “so and so” sees it. They never post anything that could leave them feeling judged or criticized. Even in our class pics, its always the busiest classes, craziest drills… things that are appealing and we hope will want to make people come and train at Sudbury MMA. So now I will tell you all bout the truths!
Training is hard sometimes… getting in shape is hard! Heck.. even trying to get back in shape or getting in better shape is hard!! My body actually hurts right now from 3-4 days of pushing past my comfort zone. I would rather roll (train) light. I would rather stop when I am tired. I would rather eat sugary “stuff” and poutine salads. I am also debating if I should stop at Dairy Queen on the way home because I have eaten .. “OK” this week and met all my workout goals. This is the reality. This is what I believe all normal people think. Do I think this makes my everyday efforts of trying to eat better and train harder invalid.. Not at all. I think the majority of people feel this way sometimes an we should not feel guilty. And I think that we should all accept our reality. Balancing everything life throws at us is challenging.. now, add in all this crazy healthy eating and working out stuff and we are really crunched for time! We work hard at achieving our goals .. and sometimes we deserve to reward ourselves. And sometimes we deserve to make up reasons to reward ourselves. LOL.. Sometimes we take short cuts.. everybody does, even in training. But that is where the SMMA Army comes in.
We motivate each other to push past our limits. A small example for me where the SMMA Army pushed me past my comfort zone was Wednesday. I tried to take an extra break in Randori, the students just kept coming.. No Breaks! It may seem small, but i got the extra push from my team.. that extra push to help me reach goals quicker. We help each other through those difficult moments that seem so hard and rejoice when we have those great moments! And.. we take a pic and put it on social media for our Public Relations!
See you on the mats!
When you look around the mats in your next class, I really want you to make sure and try to make everyone feel welcome and without being the “weird person”.. take a moment to appreciate your training partners. I sometimes think this is commodity that people take for granted. Its easy for everyone to talk about their instructor’s etc.. but I would have to say that although your instructor plays an important role in your development, so does the several other people in the room.
Your training partners can have a bigger impact on your training and life than even your instructor. Not only are they also there day in and day out chasing the same vision you are… they are there helping you get better too. They are also there, often being a supportive friend when things are tough in other areas of your life. They rejoice in your success and feel the pain of your losses. They really do become an extended family. I am positive that like me, you miss them when you don’t see them around for a week or so. And When they finally come back to class, well of course you rib and maybe tease them a little… but you are sooo happy to see them. Your training and your overall martial arts experience would not be the same without them. I have literally had friends for over 2 decades who share a common passion of martial arts.
So I am sitting here and as I write this, thinking of so many people… I can truly say I miss a lot of people. I see that some training partners (from literally 20 plus years ago) are still training, and training with the same passion that I remember us having when we were in our late teens. It is awesome to see. I see people who may not train anymore but they were such awesome people, I am sure they left a huge impact on everyone who they crossed paths with in life. Of course, I also think of the few friends in our martial arts community that we have lost of the years.. those ones hurt the most.
This blog was not meant to be sad.. rather the exact opposite. Tomorrow, (or tonight if you are reading this Monday)… Go to your martial arts academy, train hard but most importantly laugh, have fun and connect with your team while we all try to self improve. Enjoy the friendships your training partners bring. That is all that matters.
See you on the mats!