Saturday, October 9, 2010

BJJ in Lexington, KY

I was in Lexington for work and I brought my Gi in hopes of finding a BJJ gym. Four Seasons MMA is a great place. Head Coach Michael ODonnell, black belt and member of Carlson Gracie Fight Team, was very welcoming. The class was not large (<10) and the coaches were not lazy. They went out of their way to help with technique. The format was different than what I was used to: starting and ending with sparring. The BJJ mat was elevated on top of used tires, which added a spring and cushion to falls, very OMJJ Approved. I am still searching for the gym that has double mats for that cushiony soft landing from a toss, but 4S's were close (yes, its a joke)! It is located in an industrial building and it was like an oven during the hot September day that I was there. It was a very active place with kids and other MMA classes.

Bow and Arrow Choke from Full Mount

After succumbing to the bow and arrow choke many times, I finally was in a class where it was being taught and drilled.  We drilled it as a counter to the opponent shrimping out of full mount.  It is definitely OMJJ Approved.  It requires minimal movement and energy.  The especially OMJJ Approved technique is the variation where you don't pull back on the leg or hip, but just use the free hand to pry behind the head.  I couldn't find a YouTube video of the bow and arrow choke from full mount nor the head pry variation, but this video is close:

OMJJ Approved BJJ Techniques

In an attempt to identify the most favorable techniques for the old man jiu jitsu practitioner (and to assist me in remembering them), OMJJ Approved techniques will be listed with the following logo:
OMJJ Approved techniques meet one or more of the following criteria:
  • Minimizes energy use
  • Requires limited flexibility
  • Emphasizes technique over strength
  • Applies strategy over endurance
  • Frustrates youthful practitioners
OMJJ Approved may also be applied to BJJ schools and events that facilitate the aged and feeble BJJ practitioner.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Blair Academy Wrestling Cage Fighter Fundraiser for Adam Frey Foundation

I went back to my alma mater, Blair Academy, for my 25th reunion.  I wrestled at the school starting in 1981, which they have had a run on being national champions in prep schools for 30 years.  Blair is widely regarded as the best high school wrestling team in the country, for which I had little to deal with.  The Assistant coach during my last years, Jeff Buxton, is still there leading the team...truly amazing accomplishments.  Coaches Hutchinson and Latessa have since moved on, but they were also amazing at building the program in its early stages.

Adam Frey ’05 and Ryan McGrath ’98 were accomplished wrestlers at Blair who died from cancer at young ages.  Cage Fighter created a fundraiser Tshirt, which proceeds from the sale of the shirt go towards the Foundation in Memory of Adam Frey and Ryan McGrath.

Buy the Tshirt at

See more about the Adam Frey Foundation:

"The Adam Frey Foundation is a non-profit organization formed by Adam Frey to give comfort to and provide enjoyment for those receiving treatment for cancer.

During an aggressive bout of chemo, about a month before Adam passed away, he wrote in his blog, “Hopefully life outside of chemo and the sickness will be comfortable.” The purpose of The Adam Frey Foundation is to make this hope come true for people fighting cancer.

When Adam was undergoing cancer treatments, he would visit with the other patients in the hospital. It did not matter to him if someone was nine or 90; he was going to engage them in conversation, and it was these conversations that enabled him to see a real need.

He started with bringing a hot lunch every third Wednesday to the Hillman Treatment Center in Pittsburgh. Then when Adam started going to Sloan Kettering in New York for treatments, he asked, “Mom, can you make dinner for the whole floor. Mom, when you order the groceries, get this type of Gatorade for this person and this cookie for that person.” He even planned a turkey dinner one day and invited people as he walked down the hall. Adam had the means to help, and he did, no matter what he had to do. It was at this time that he decided that when he left New York, he was going to start a foundation that would help people get the food they needed, gas monies to get back and forth from the doctor’s, air fare, and other necessities needed for life with cancer. His mindset is that millions of dollars are allocated to the research of cancer, but very little goes into funds that can be used for something other than needles and pins; something that can put a smile on their face.

As of today, The Adam Frey Foundation is the leading contributor to the Hillman patient assistant program where gifts cards are provided in $100 amounts to be used for food, gas, or prescriptions. We have also organized an event for Easter where the Easter Bunny will be providing treats to the children, and gift cards to the parents at the Children’s Hospital Cancer Ward in Pittsburgh. Also, we are in the process of speaking with The Hope Lodge, and Sloan Kettering, both in New York City.

As The Foundation grows, the amount of those who we can help will also grow. Adam was very passionate about this work, and it is through this Foundation that not only his love of life and compassion for people can continue to spread, but his fighting spirit will also live on."

Sunday, September 19, 2010

President Theodore Roosevelt Trained Jiu Jitsu To Lose 20 Pounds

According to an article on, President Theodore Roosevelt trained jiu jitsu to lose 20 pounds prior to an election.  He also aspired to attain the fifth degree of the seven degrees (purple belt?). 

Below is an extract from Professor Yamashita Goes to Washington.

Although The World reported that there were seven degrees in jiu-jitsu, and Roosevelt intended to have at least five of them, Roosevelt’s primary goal in all this was not rank, but weight reduction. Since becoming President, his weight had soared to over 220 pounds, and he hoped to be down to 200 by the elections. So, during March and April 1904, Roosevelt practiced judo three afternoons a week, using a ground floor office in the White House as his workout space. Then, for the rest of the summer, he practiced occasionally. He stopped training during the elections, and there is no record showing that he resumed his studies afterward.
The President’s training partners included his sons, his private secretary, the Japanese naval attache, Secretary of War William Howard Taft, and Secretary of the Interior Gifford Pinchot. When these people were unavailable, then Roosevelt tried his tricks on husky young visitors. The latter included Robert Johnstone Mooney, who with his brother visited the White House on the afternoon of Thursday, August 18, 1904. According to an article published in The Outlook in October 1923, Mooney’s brother was a noted amateur boxer. So, after doing a little sparring with the two young men, Roosevelt:
sprang to his feet and excitedly asked: ‘By the way, do you boys understand jiu-jitsu?’ We replied in the negative, and he continued, pounding the air with his arms, ‘You must promise me to learn that without delay. You are so good in other athletics that you must add jiu-jitsu to your other accomplishments. Every American athlete ought to understand the Japanese system thoroughly. You know’ – and he smiled reminiscently – ‘I practically introduced it to the Americans. I had a young Japanese – now at Harvard [A. Kitagaki] – here for six months, and I tried jiu-jitsu with him day after day. But he always defeated me. It was not easy to learn. However, one day I got him – I got him – good and plenty! I threw him clear over my head on his belly, and I had it. I had it.’Then, to prove his point, Roosevelt demonstrated his techniques on the Mooneys using considerably more enthusiasm than control. Professor Yamashita remarked the same problem, of course. According to an American journalist named Joseph Clarke, Yamashita later said that while Roosevelt was his best pupil, he was also “very heavy and very impetuous, and it had cost the poor professor many bruisings, much worry and infinite pains during Theodore’s rushes to avoid laming the President of the United States.”