The MMAU Blog

Tips for Optimizing Your BJJ Training Time

Great article from Atos HQ on how to optimize your training.  Check it out!


Set Goals for your Training Each Week:

If you set specific goals each week it gives focus to your training so that you can maximize each session.  It will also give you a sense of accomplishment at the end of the week which can be very encouraging.  Setting goals each week also includes more specific goals for each individual class period.  For example, if you are working on a specific guard and sweep from that guard maybe your weekly goal would be to just work on that guard during training, and a more specific goal would be trying to successfully hit that sweep at least 15 times during class sparring.  Obviously this can be applied to any technique you may be working on, and if you are a beginner it could be as simple as just working on guard control and retention.

Ask Questions and Constantly Problem Solve:

If you are having trouble with certain positions in training or someone is passing you the same way every roll, you need to start asking questions so you can fix this problem area in your game.  The faster you can find these weak areas and fix them, the faster you will progress.  It is important to stay present during every roll so that you can see what is working, what is not working, and where you need to improve.  If you don’t have an answer for something, get one as soon as you can, so you can fill that hole in your game.

Use the Buddy System to Keep You Accountable and Consistent:

Some days you may not be as motivated to train.  This is where the buddy system comes into play.  If you have someone there to encourage you, and keep you accountable it can make all the difference with your consistency.  Most of the time once you get to training you’re glad you did, but sometimes you need a little extra push of encouragement to get there.  In order for everyone to improve and get good training they need training partners, so for your sake and your teammates, keep coming to class.

Stay Focused and Present During Class:

There’s a difference between just showing up to class, and being mentally present during class.  Life can get busy and sometimes you won’t be able to train, so when you can you need to really take advantage of it.  When you are drilling the technique covered in class really try to get repetitions on it instead of just socializing with your training partner.  Know what you want to work on during rolling before you get to class so that you can be focused in every round.  Try not to sit out any rounds, if you can, so that you can get as much live practice as possible.  If you have a little time after class, even if it’s just 30 minutes, get some drilling in before you head home.  Those 30 minute drilling sessions will add up quick if you stay consistent with them.

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The Hidden Benefits of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

A great article from Atos HQ on the hidden benefits of BJJ.


Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is more then just a sport or another type of martial art, it can change your life.  Many times you hear people talk about Brazilian Jiu Jitsu as a lifestyle, but what does that really mean?  It means that the benefits of BJJ go beyond things you can see, such as health and weight loss, it reaches into your daily life off the mat as well.  It teaches things like hard work, confidence, and how to stay calm in a stressful situation.  For many people it becomes a hobby they can pour into, bringing balance and happiness to their lives.

Physical Benefits:

A lot of people get into BJJ in order to improve their fitness.  One of the first things you notice about training is what it’s doing to you physically.  It’s different for everyone, but the common things people notice are weight loss, increased flexibility, strength, and better cardio.  Whatever it may be for you, there’s no doubt Brazilian Jiu Jitsu can change your body.  What you may not notice initially is the overall improvement of health.  BJJ also teaches you how to use your entire body to accomplish movements.  Many people are stuck sitting for a large part of the day, forced to develop strange movement patterns and pick up bad habits.  Once you begin training you will develop better mobility, body awareness, and strength.

Mental Benefits:

Along with all the physical benefits of BJJ there are also many mental benefits that often get overlooked.  When you are learning a new technique it takes just as much mental energy as physical to learn the technique, and apply it.  Many people will study BJJ videos and techniques just like you would in school to learn them.  There are endless techniques to learn, and every time you train you add to your game to fill holes, and improve your strategy during rolls.  Often times BJJ is compared to chess, because there is so much hidden strategy, and you always have to be at least one move ahead of your opponent.  For kids especially it will teach them how to focus, and problem solve.  BJJ is by no means an easy sport, but because of this it is also extremely rewarding.  It’s not easy to learn a new technique, try it out, then get smashed, but it is all worth it when you finally hit that technique in a live roll.  This resiliency will become instilled in you, and will spill out into many aspects of your life.  Life is stressful, but BJJ provides the perfect stress relief by giving you something else to focus on, and a way to let out your frustration by rolling some tough rounds, and getting your mind off things.  Sometimes the mental benefits that can’t be seen are the things having the most impact on your life.

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Why Private Lessons are Beneficial

A great article from Atos HQ on the benefits of doing privates

Most all instructors and upper belts at any academy are willing to give private lessons.  When you are trying to get better at a subject in school sometimes it’s difficult to get the attention you need in a class full of students.   This is where a tutor would be beneficial.  It’s the same case for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.  It’s just a matter of how much you prioritize your training, and how much money you want to invest. If you are thinking about giving private lessons a try, here are some quick and helpful facts to consider.

Individual attention from your instructor:

You have your instructor all to yourself, so if you are having trouble with anything in sparring or have any other questions it’s easy to get answers. Even if you just need advice on your game or tips on what to work on, privates are the perfect time to get that game changing technique you may not of even known you needed.

Customizable help:

Your instructor/coach can give you valuable feedback about your BJJ including bringing to light your good and bad habits. This will help you improve much faster, and give you a better idea what you need to work on. They can go over techniques that will work for your game specifically that you can add in immediately.

Flexible scheduling:

Sometimes work may get busy and classes could be hard to attend with a busy schedule, but with privates you have way more flexibility. It’s easy to find a time that will work with your schedule to take a quick one hour private, so you can continue to progress.

Quicker road towards achieving your goals:

Private lessons can put you one step ahead of your competition, and give you that edge you need. When you are learning BJJ you need to have an answer for every situation, and taking a private with an instructor can help you find those answers more quickly.

Roll with your Professor/Coach:

Private lessons are also a chance for you to roll with your instructor, which can teach you a lot. They can analyze your game better by feeling you roll, and point out holes in your game. In a large class setting it may be hard to get this opportunity, so take advantage of private lessons.


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Prof. Andre Galvao 5x ADCC Champion!

Congrats to all our competitors who fought in Finland at the ADCC World Championship!

A special congratulations to Professor Andre Galvao on his 3rd consecutive super fight win.  He is the first in history to ever make this huge accomplishment.  He will return in 2019 to defend his title once again against Felipe Pena.  We would also like to acknowledged JT Torres’ impressive victory in the -77kg division.  He is the first American ever to become the ADCC -77kg Champion.  We are so proud of you all!

Kaynan Duarte: At the age of 19 he made his debut at the ADCC Championships as one of the youngest competitors.  He fought his way to ADCC by winning the trials in Rio de Janeiro.  He had a fantastic performance winning his first match via guillotine.

Biggest First Round Upsets From ADCC 2017

Photo: Hywel Teague

Pablo Mantovani: He is one of our newest black belts here at Atos HQ.  After winning his division at the ADCC Brazilian Trials he cemented his spot in the ADCC Championship this year. He put on quite an impressive performance making it all the way to the semi finals against Paulo Miyao after a bloody battle against AJ Agazarm.

Michael Perez:  He is an ADCC veteran making his first appearance in 2015 after winning the North American Trials as a purple belt.  He won his first match by points and then had an intense match against Yuri in the semifinals losing by ref decision, and then went on to face Buchecha in the absolute.  He already has his eyes on ADCC 2019.

Keenan Cornelius:  He’s been on a tear this year since returning from a knee injury.  In 2013 he made his first ADCC appearance shortly after receiving his brown belt by winning the North American Trials -88kg weight division and absolute.  He went on to place double bronze that year and in 2015 he won silver.  He blew through the competition this year making it all the way to the finals in the -88kg division and placed second.

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Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Hygiene Tips

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai are very much a contact sports, which means it is extremely important for everyone to take responsibility for their own hygiene.  It is also the academies job to insure that the mats are kept squeaky clean.  Here at MMAU we make it a top priority to keep the mats clean at all times, but this must be paired with every member practicing good hygiene both on and off the mats.  It will not only prevent the spread of disease, but it also makes training more pleasant for everyone.  No one likes rolling with the stinky gi guy.  It’s everyone’s responsibility to take care of their own hygiene to keep everyone at the gym happy and healthy.

Here are a few tips for keeping good hygiene:

  1. Make sure fingernails and toenails are clipped short before each training session.
  2. Put on deodorant before training.
  3. Brush your teeth before training to prevent offensive bad breath.
  4. Shower as soon as possible after training to reduce the risk of skin infections.
  5. Wash your gi and belt right after training, don’t let it sit in its stench. Do NOT just air dry your gi after training without washing it.
  6. Do not train with open cuts or scratches unless they are properly covered.
  7. Do not train if you are sick even with just common illnesses such as the cold or flu.
  8. Any skin issues need to be addressed immediately. Often, issues like staph infections and MRSA start out looking and feeling like a bug bite, or ingrown hair. If you notice anything suspicious on your skin, please consult a physician and do not train until it is all cleared up.
  9. Wear compression shorts and rash guard under your gi.
  10. Be sure to wear shoes when you are not on the mat.
  11. Be sure to collect all clothing and training gear from the locker room and put it in a plastic bag after each training session, leaving these articles causes foul odors and the spread of germs.

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Self-Defense BJJ

Many people begin Brazilian Jiu Jitsu as a means to learn self-defense.  It is the perfect style of martial art for self defense because the majority of fights end up going to the ground, and if you know BJJ, you will be much better off than an untrained victim.  The majority of the population is completely clueless when it comes to fighting, so even if you are just a blue belt in BJJ, you will more than likely be levels above anyone who tries to pick a fight with you (unless you’re attacked by another BJJ blue belt, then you should score an advantage and stall them out).  Even if the person is trying to punch you, BJJ will teach you how to control the distance to mitigate damage, take them down, take their back, and put yourself in the advantageous position you need to end the fight.  All the live sparring that you do in training will help you stay calm under pressure, and it will give you the practice you need to perform your techniques on a resisting opponent.  Women especially are at risk because they are naturally smaller and weaker than men.  Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is empowering for women and gives them the confidence they need in case something were to happen.

Check out the Atos HQ blog for more articles like this.

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To Stand & Pass or Stay on the Knees & Pass?

Great article from BJJEE on to stand or not to stand when passing.

Often times during a jiu-jitsu battle, the majority of the time is spent in some type of guard. Now when your on the top guard position, whether it’s full guard, open guard or butterfly guard, your priorities are submission prevention, upright posture, sweep prevention and passing. But the big question when passing is to stand or not to stand.

As with any technique in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu there are strengths and weakness’s with each tactic. Knowing what they are will give you an advantage in the decision making moments. Lets first look at the sweeping factor. While on the knees with upright posture, wide base and hips forward, it becomes a real challenge to get swept. As far as the standing passes go, well that is a different story. Once you stand up you become very vulnerable to sweeps. The bottom opponent is able to implement almost all the sports guards once you stand and give that space. X guard, sit up guard, de la jiva, spider, lapel guard, and the list goes on. So as far as sweeping goes I would choose to stay on the knees to avoid the dynamic sports guard sweeps. But if you don’t’ have good upright posture, wide base or you lose your posting ability, well then even on the knees the sweeps can happen to you.

Now we must examine breaking the guard open. Often times this is the most difficult part for a bjj practitioner. On the knees you do have leverage and ways to open their legs without using too much power and strength, but if it’s a guy with big strong legs or even long legs, the ability to generate enough leverage and power can fall shy of accomplishing the objective. When you stand, not only have you stretched their legs further then on the ground, but you now added an alley to your side. Not the French like in the revolutionary war, but gravity. With the added leg stretch, added leverage and gravity, no legs can stay closed for long. So as far as breaking the guard open, hands down standing wins every time.

Bernardo Faria putting intense pressure on Leandro Lo passing on the knees:

Bernardo Faria vs Leandro Lo 2015 Worlds Semi Final Match

Now we must look at which one makes you more vulnerable to submissions. On the knees you are susceptible to all the classic submissions: arm bar, triangle, Omoplata, kimura, guillotine, collar chokes etc.… But when you stand you allow leg attacks to enter the equation. Knee bars, heel hooks, ankle locks, calf crunches, etc.… Even though leg attacks are the most obvious and used when an opponent stands, that does not mean upper body submissions are not there as well. Spider guard can create opportunities for triangle chokes, arm bars and Omoplata. So when it comes to submissions I would say it depends on your submission defense strengths. If you don’t defend leg attacks well it might be best to stay low.

Rodolfo dynamic standing guard passing:

As far as passing itself goes, it’s fairly simple. Staying low keeps you in the basic fundamental passes where as standing, which it does have its basic passes, but it also opens your risk to the high level sport guards which can be complex to pass. It takes some time to develop a passing game for some of the specific guards, but you can’t ever expect to pass if you don’t develop them into your game. So if you do not have a high level passing game to avoid their sports guard traps, it might be best to stay low, because it stays basic when your low to the ground.

So we know to avoid complex sweeps and leg attacks you stay low. If you are facing a guy who is larger and stronger opponent whose legs just won’t seem to open, then you might need to stand. If you want to avoid the sports guard games, stay low. If you have a guy who doesn’t use sports guards, then you can go high. If your passing game is basic, stay low. One is never always the answer, but having a deeper understanding will allow you to make an educated tactical choice on to weather stand or not when guard passing. Everything has it’s weaknesses and strengths and its up to you to develop the skill of decision making in combat to make the appropriate choice based on your game and who your opponent is.

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