The MMAU Blog

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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Tips for the New Female BJJ Practitioner


Another great article from Atos HQ for females looking at starting BJJ.

Choose your rolls wisely:  Roll with training partners you know are safe to train with who know how to give you good training, but not hurt you by using too much strength and power.  When trying to decide if a person is safe to roll with take into account their mental attitude, physical stature, years of experience being gentle, and belt rank.   The reason for this is the injury risk.  Unfortunately women are smaller and weaker so they must be very selective with their training partners.  If you do not do this you risk an injury that will put you on the sidelines.  That new meat head white belt with an ego even bigger then his biceps is not worth risking your training time over.  Stick with the safe rolls until you feel your technique is strong enough to protect your body against injury.

Don’t get discouraged:  For a lot of girls they are the only female at the gym and they are the smallest.  This is tough when you first start out, but remember it won’t last forever.  Keep coming to class consistently and keep working on your technique.  The little details are so important especially for someone who may be weaker and smaller then everyone else.  There are certain things that work better on bigger opponents so stick with it and ask tons of questions.  The more often you train, ask questions, and problem solve the faster you’ll improve and get more efficient at combating the size difference.

Enjoy the journey:  It can be awkward sometimes as a beginner and a female.  People don’t want to pair with you because your new and small or maybe they are afraid to roll with a female because they don’t know how.  This phase will end.  Be confident when you ask someone to roll don’t let the awkward feelings get to you.  You will get past this you just have to keep coming to class consistently, show that you want to learn, and that you aren’t going anywhere.  Once you have more experience it will be much easier and you’ll find that there’s many small details you picked up on faster then someone who is big and strong because you had to in order to survive.  Once you get past this small learning curve everything gets much easier and then you can start winning rolls with people who are newer then you even if they are much bigger.

The amount of women who train Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is steadily climbing and as it does it will just get easier and easier for females to train, and have training partners who are also females.  Many academies have started offering women’s only classes, which are a huge help for females just beginning and it also gives upper belts females a chance to finally train with other girls their size.


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Eating Clean: Nutrition Plan Guide for Martial Arts

For grapplers that are looking to shred, lose fat, and just basically build a lean, muscular, aesthetic physique, you’ll no doubt already be well aware of just how much hard work, motivation, and dedication it actually takes for you to get in any type of decent shape in the slightest.

If you decide to really take your grappling conditioning to the next level, however, then just basic “clean eating” and regular training won’t be enough, as truthfully, most people’s idea of clean eating involves “diet” sodas and frozen ready meals.

The foods and nutrients that we put into our bodies will show on the outside and so if you’re looking to build the body you’ve always envisioned, take a look at this basic beginner nutrition plan guide which will have you piling on the muscle and shredding away the body fat like never before.

Protein sources


First up, we’ll begin by taking a look at arguably the most important macronutrient of all, at least from a muscle building perspective, and that is protein.
Protein plays a vital role in protein synthesis and it is a key part of the growth and repair of muscle tissue.
What’s more, however, is that as protein is also vital for cellular health and function, it’s more vital than ever because we ourselves are basically made up of billions upon billions of miniscule cells.
For anybody looking to build muscle, protein is obviously essential, but as well as that, it also plays a vital role in fat loss and metabolic function as well.
The reason for this is that protein is a thermogenic compound, which means that it is harder to digest and break down than other foods. When we try to digest it, our bodies must work harder and so require more energy, which means more calories are burnt.
This not only helps us to burn calories, it also prevents us from overeating because it stays in our stomachs for longer, keeping us feeling full for longer. If fat loss and muscle growth are your primary objectives, here’s a look at some ideal sources of protein:

They’re versatile, taste great, and also contain essential minerals too.

Red meat – Whilst too much red meat can indeed be bad for us, if we don’t go crazy and eat too much of it, it is in fact extremely beneficial.
Lean red meats like beef, venison, and game, are fantastic as they’re naturally low in calories, contain B vitamins, and are rich in minerals such as zinc and iron.
What’s more, they also contain vital proteins and amino acids, including creatine.

Whole eggs – If you consume whole eggs, stay away from eggs, which come from caged hens as they contain very little nutritional value in the slightest. Instead, opt for free-range, or organic eggs instead. Eggs contain a complete, essential and non-essential amino acid profile, they contain around 5 grams of protein per egg, and the yolk itself is a rich source of healthy fats.
They’re also highly versatile and contain minerals as well.

Fish and seafood – Fish and seafood are also great sources of very lean protein, and in the cases of oily fishes, healthy fats as well.
Fish and seafood in general have been found to be extremely beneficial for the brain and the protein content itself is also very impressive.
And also it’s one of the top natural ways to increase testosterone levels.

Nuts and seeds – Nuts and seeds are ideal for vegans and vegetarians as they too contain healthy fats, vitamins, minerals, protein and amino acids.
Always opt for organic or natural nuts and seeds with no artificial seasonings, or added salt.



Carbohydrates are also extremely beneficial for anybody trying to get in shape as they provide energy, they help keep us sustained, and they help to prevent us from overeating too.
Plus, as an added bonus, many of us feel great after consuming them and as there are so many to choose from, you’re always able to find ones to your liking.
Typical examples of the most beneficial include:

Oatmeal – Rich in B vitamins and minerals, oatmeal is ideal as it provides a slow release of nutrients, with the soluble fiber helping to keep you feeling full for longer.

Rice – Rice, either brown or white, is another firm favourite amongst athletes as it is also a great source of carbs, and with brown rice, you get added vitamins and minerals too.

Potatoes – Potatoes, either white, or sweet, are ideal post-workout foods as they contain relatively high glycemic indexes, and so they can begin refuelling glycogen stores in muscles right away.



We shouldn’t fear fats, we should instead embrace them because they have been proven to be incredibly healthy and beneficial for us, providing we choose healthy sources.
Healthy fats lower dangerous cholesterol levels, they boost the metabolism, they fuel our bodies, they help strengthen our major organs, and much more besides.
Here are some of the best examples:

Oily fish – Oily fish such as salmon or mackerel, is packed full of omega 3 fatty acids, which provide countless benefits to the body in a number of different ways, especially in relation to brain health and function.

Avocados – Avocados are rich in natural oils as well as vitamins and minerals, which strengthen immunity, help promote weight loss, improve brain health and function, and much more besides. Plus, they taste amazing too.

Coconut oil – Coconut oil is a great source of Medium Chain Triglycerides which help strengthen the heart, boost immunity, provide antioxidant benefits, and plenty more besides.
These fats help improve major organ health and function, whilst communicating with fat burning enzymes, basically telling them to burn more fat which means you lose weight quicker.


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Rule #1

When your sport is as complex as BJJ, your strength training must be as simple as possible. In fact, your strength training should be simple anyway. No, I didn’t say easy. Simple means I don’t have to worry as a coach too much, and the training looks boring on paper, but it is challenging in real life. If my guys need more excitement, they roll. Believe me, that is crazy enough.

Rule #2

BJJ is quite demanding on the body, and keeps the practitioners in constant flexion. You make turns and rolls; you pull and you get pulled; you push and you get pushed; and you pull and push at the same time, quite often while your opponent does the same. So, against all that flexion, we must do a bunch of extension, and we neutralize the rotation with anti-rotation exercises.

Rule #3

When you train BJJ more than two times a week, you have no business with cardio, strength endurance, or any type of crazy interval program. If you have no strength, what will you endure? (Pavel.) True that. Instead of adding more risk factors to your life, let’s work on your body armor. Strength is some of the best armor, unless you can combine it with some extra muscle. But in BJJ competition, weight can be an issue. What you need is simple, effective strength training, neutralizing all the negative adaptations you might build while fighting on the tatami.

Rule #4

You can have incorporate variables when you work on your strength, but changing exercises often is the poorest choice. Again, many trainers use exercises as a tool to entertain clients. BJJ is already entertaining. You need an effective, low-risk, simple strength program, based on principles that target movements versus muscles.

Rule #5

Movements we should train to support rule number three: deadlift, one-hand floor or bench press, single leg deadlift variations, kettlebell two-hand swing, pull-ups, and dips.

Rule #6

Movements you should practice to maintain quality movement: goblet squat, kettlebell front squat, Turkish get-up, partial get-up, Pallof press, single-leg deadlift variations, one-hand swings, one-hand rows, and lunging presses.

Rule #7

Strength moves should be two to three exercises maximum, and normally a total of 9-12 total reps, somewhere in 75-90% of the 1RM. How many sets? Well, it takes normally 3-4 sets to accomplish the given number, with good quality movements, where all repetitions are challenging but not hard, without going to failure at all. Oh yes, the above principles are good for all the listed exercises, except heavy swings. Heavy swings are a different category. Normally I use 5×5 or 10×5 of a very heavy swing. No cardio here.

Rule #8

Practice moves should be two or three exercises, and normally total 18-25 repetitions, mainly with a 60%-80% of 1RM. Again, all reps must be good quality.

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Benefits to Getting the Whole Family Involved in BJJ

Check out this great article from Atos HQ on the benefits of getting the whole family involved in BJJ.


Built in quality time and bonding time- Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a positive thing to do with free time as a family.  It also gives everyone something to practice outside of class together that encourages an active healthy lifestyle and a common interest for the family to share.  The kids will be more likely to stick with it if the parents or at least one parent is training with them.  Training can become a consistent time the whole family can hang out together and bond over a shared love for a sport.

Helps the family stay happy and healthy- The sense of achievement a person gets from doing Jiu Jitsu will make everyone more happy and confident.  It keeps the mind and body active by providing a fun outlet to learn a new skill and it gives the whole family a fun new activity.  It is important to have some kind of hobby to pour into that is not work related to get your mind off the stresses of life and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is the perfect choice.

Traveling for competitions can double as a family vacation-  Many times traveling is part of BJJ if the family starts getting involved in competing and this can be a great way to also get in some vacation time.  Even if it is just a weekend get away it is a chance to make lasting memories as a family.

Support- You will better be able to motivate and help each other if everyone is training.  Everyone can help each other with techniques they are having trouble with or help remember details that may have been forgotten.  Understanding the sport better is especially helpful during competition.  If the whole family is training together everyone will understand how the sport works and the best way to encourage one another in training and at tournaments.

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