Tuesday, August 5, 2014

What is BJJ?

What is BJJ? The obvious answers are it's a martial art, it's self-defense or it's grappling. If you're reading this blog chances are you already know that. This question is actually much deeper than that. What is BJJ on the most basic of levels? Well, the short answer is: BJJ is art meets science. Art meets physics and bio-mechanics to be exact. Why is this important? It's important because it impacts the way we train and the rules of our sport and due to these things it impacts the way we fight by default. Now before we go further, I have to define the sciences I spoke of in the preceding paragraph. Even though physics as defined by Webster is a science that deals with matter and energy and their interactions, for the purposes of this post I will focus solely on the interaction of motion. Bio-mechanics is defined Webster as the mechanics of biological and especially muscular activity(as in locomotion or exercise); also the scientific study of this. Due to this we can define BJJ as follows: The study of the control of the locomotion of the human body within ground grappling involving submission and usually a Gi or Kimono. Why is this important? Bio-mechanics never really change, however, locomotion is a very individual thing that varies from person to person. What makes us move(bio-mechanics) stays the same, but locomotion the way we move is very personal. Some people are more flexible, so it takes longer to finish a kimura simply because they have a wider range of motion. Why is this relevant? According to a recent article posted on graciemag.com it was stated by the president of the Copa Podio that rules were going to be put in place to "punish the use of the lapel guard." The rule which is alluded to as a penalty in the article isn't explicitly stated, but reason given was in short, stalling. I spoke a little about this where I broke down the fight at the WPJJC(Abu Dhabi Pro) between Keenan Corneilus and Paulo Miayo back when they were still brown belts in April of last year. I do agree you must entertain and stalling is boring, but it really comes down to what you consider entertainment. Let's be honest, Jiu-Jitsu is naturally slow and boring, it excites us(practitioners) because we understand the difference between a 4-fingers in grip and a thumb-in grip. We understand the intricacies within the sport and why they are so important. These sentiments were echoed by Keenan in a follow-up graciemag article also on their website. Lapel guard falls under the art branch that I mentioned earlier. We all need to find our own methods of control based on our personal locomotion. If we ban lapel guard we have to ban any variation of high guard, half-guard, or open guard. That means all have left the standard half-guard and standard closed guard. If we do that, we may as well force every instructor to adopt a Grandmaster text and teach with Katas too. What Copa Podio officials should have said was "We don't like lapel guard because it impedes lateral movement." Lateral movement is the most important in all of Jiu-Jitsu. Without lateral movement you wouldn't be able to maintain side control, pass guard, recover guard, take the back, any sweep where your opponent doesn't go straight back or directly over your head would be out of the question and good luck with your takedowns. Banning or penalizing creativity in an attempt to make BJJ exciting is quite futile and will take BJJ the way of Olympic Judo and detract spectators instead of bringing them in. You don't things more entertaining by making them dumber. Educate don't depreciate.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Grapplers Heart Tournament

The Grapplers Heart tournament is the brainchild of Dr. Jon Gelber. It's a tournament for people with disabilities a chance to enter or return to competition. For more information or if you are interested in competing visit the Grapplers Heart website. www.graplersheart.com

Friday, November 29, 2013

New Article

http://fightmedicine.net/uncategorized/speed-and-strength-by-romeo-barnes The recent article I wrote for Fightmedicine.net.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Friday, April 19, 2013

Double DQ: World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Cup -Keenan vs Paulo

Everyone's buzzing about it. The brown belt absolute final. Short and sweet version: I agree with the referee. Here's why: When cameras are on and you are getting paid, you must entertain. Now that isn't to say the fight wasn't actually entertaining, it was very entertaining just not in the traditional sense. Anyone who knows me knows I'm a huge fan of TCGs(Trading Card Games), so I will use that that premise to explain what I mean. Watch two competitors with the same game is to BJJ what a mirror match is to any TCG. You know exactly what your opponent will do, the winner will be the person who alters their gameplan just enough to give them an advantage. Such as, dragging the arm to arm bar or come to the top instead of dragging the leg and taking the 50/50 position as you would usually. Not only that, but the grip placement and angles you use will be vastly different. Watching a mirror match is interesting because it gives you a chance to study these intricate differences you wouldn't normally see, and that is what makes it entertaining. Don't believe me watch Keenan vs anyone else twice(the same match) then repeat that with Keenan vs Paulo you'll see what I mean. Is this a problem for sport Jiu-Jitsu? Yes, but it's purely a reflection of the scoring system. The scoring of BJJ tournaments makes pulling guard more profitable. Let's say you pull guard and sweep me landing in full mount. You score 2 for the sweep and 4 for the mount. Conversely, if I take you down and land in Side Control on top I only get 2 points. How is that fair? We both advanced in position twice. You can say you never passed my guard. Well, truthfully, passing guard isn't really my responsibility, my job is simply to get to the next advantageous position. This is why if I'm in your guard and drop back to a heel hook and I come out on top when you scramble to defend I score 2 points.(Look up Leg Lock as a sweep) How do we fix this? Pulling guard= -2 points meaning their sweep will put them back at 0. Thus, when they mount as in the previous example they are only up 4-0 instead of 6-0. It's really hard to score in a BJJ competition, especially at the high level doing it twice insanely difficult, doing it twice from a disadvantageous position damn near impossible. Until next time folks

Thursday, March 14, 2013

1 year

These last 2 years has been pretty crazy for me. Here's a quick recap for those who haven't been following September 2010, I go into hospital for a surgery that has been routine for the past 11 years, a baclofen pump replacement. It happens every 5 to 7(depending on your pump's battery). I had the 7-year battery. I woke up from the surgery with insane back pain. Now you must understand, I suffer from neuromuscular scoliosis, so if there is anyone who knows about back pain its me, because I deal with it every single day. Needless to say, when I woke up and couldn't stand the pain from simply lying on my back I knew something was wrong. They sent me home the next day and two days following that my incision opened. After countless ER visits and re-admissions to the hospital for infection we finally decided to abandon the idea of a new pump installation altogether. Fast forward Feb 2011 I finally start training again and in December of 2011 I received my black belt. They say when you get your black belt you learn more than you ever learned coming up through the ranks. I've been a black belt for a year, so what have I learned? Well, I'll be the first to admit I've been exposed to a few new positions, but they've all been variations on classic positions like spider guard. What I discovered was more about myself than BJJ. After I finally was finished with the revolving trap door that was the hospital, I learned that BJJ is easiest part of my life. There's nothing those mats can throw at me that I can't handle. In short perseverance is just as important as preparation.

Sunday, November 11, 2012


As you know(if you've followed this blog) I have a YouTube channel. Every discussion video will be posted here just as the previous two have been. However, competition videos will not. Currently, there are no competition videos up, but to be the first to view them when they do go up you need to subscribe to my YouTube. You can do that here: