A Gift from Mrs. Hazmat

Thursday, February 28, 2008

This is really very cool.

Mrs. Hazmat is quite the gift giver, she takes her time coming up with a very well thought out gift, this time was no exception.

Imagine opening up the box expecting another starched shirt or silk tie, only to find this..

Yeah, that's right, Mrs. Hazmat had a special Nike Rash Guard custom made for "Hazmat" himself!

Once I saw the gift and tried it on I knew I had to check out the website, turns out NikeID is a slick little flash application that lets you build your perfect rash guard, along with shoes, gear bags, etc.

So what do you think? Pretty slick gift eh.


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WhiteCollarBJJ at Copa America 2008

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Well, as promised, Chewy and I traveled to Lakeland, FL yesterday to take in Copa America.

No competing for me, my nasal cavities were still under blockade by the viral forces occupying my body.

Because no one expects a Nasal Blockade!

First impressions? I was quite surprised with the turn out, there must have been at bare minimum 70+ competitors there, with coaches, family, and friends it was a great showing.

Chewy and I were there on a mission, first and foremost one of our long time training partners was competing in the Flyweight division (and yes, for those of you interested, Hazmat himself walks around in the Flyweight division) and we were there to support him.

Also, while there we figured we'd check out the competition, sort of get a feel for whether we'd both like to compete in the next Copa America.

So, what did I learn?

One of the things my coach mentioned last week really hit home today. Watching most of the matches (Gi and No Gi), it truly is more often than not the most basic submissions that win the match.

Now don't get me wrong, there was some exotic stuff on display yesterday, I personally witnessed both a Gogoplata and a Flying Triangle. Sadly neither of them worked, however what did work?

- Triangle

Yes, the simple triangle, the "day two  Jiu-Jitsu" submission of choice certainly appeared by and large to be the submission with the greatest frequency of occurrence and percentage chance of success.

- Kimura

The simple bent arm lock made famous by Masahiko Kimura, was on display at Copa America yesterday. Yet again further driving home the point that simple submissions are quite effective in tournament play.

Thank you sir! May I have another!

- Guillotine and Rear Naked Choke

Lastly, as if we needed the reinforcement, head hunting continues to be a very effective fight ender (and does wonders for French Monarchy)

While different.. the theory is still strikingly similar.

So where does that leave us?

Well if Hazmat is going to man up and compete in one of these tournaments there's a few training modifications he's going to make.

1. Drill the heck out of the basics (and their defense!)

2. Make sure my SAID circuits are effective at developing top cardio conditioning.

3. Tighten up the meal plan based on JC's suggestions at the last Intocombat.com seminar.

Now, the real key will be making all of this fit into the otherwise hectic work a day life of a professional with a wife and child..

Well if it were easy they wouldn't call it life.

Compete Smart!


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My Family.. The Biohazard?

Friday, February 22, 2008

We're going to make this post short, as tomorrow morning chewy and I will be headed to Copa America to cheer on some of our training partners and fellow students. We'll post some photos and notes from the tournament as soon as possible.

No, your's truly won't be competing this year, timing just didn't work. My loving daughter and wife brought home the bubonic plague of head colds last weekend and it appears to have taken up residence in my nasal passages.

No Rolling for you!

Speaking of family and colds, my readers who are Moms or Dads understand the almost magical properties of small children and contagions. It's not uncommon for first and second year parents to contract numerous viruses from their children (especially if your child/children are in any form of daycare or pre-school).

What can we do to avoid the colds and not miss out on mat time? Sadly, not too much, but the following has helped for me from time to time.

1. Sleep

Ahh beautiful, majestic sleep. It's a more rare than gold and more valuable than diamonds when you've got small children, plus it's the single best defense against most immune system weakening agents.

2. Did I mention Sleep?

Yes, that's right, I did, can you tell the little hazzy has been keeping me up lately?

3. Eat right and/or take a multi-vitamin

I'm a big proponent of vitamins. I like to order mine online (GNC is just too ridiculously overpriced), for a great Mens or Womens multiple, check out Puritan's Pride. Good prices, insane sales, and high quality.

4. Consider herbal remedies (Echinacea, AirBorne, etc)

The jury is still out on this stuff, I train with a guy who thinks Airborne and similar products are a racket and exist only to empty out your wallet. I train with another guy who swears by their effectiveness at preventing and shortening the duration of the common cold.

Typical Herb Products


Echinacea, commonly called Purple coneflower, is a genus of nine species of herbaceous plants in the Family Asteraceae. All are strictly native to eastern and central North America. The plants have large showy heads of composite flowers, blooming from early to late summer. Some species are used in herbal medicines.
Echinacea - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


1. What is Airborne? Airborne is an effervescent dietary supplement that was created by a school teacher to boost her immune system so that it could help her body fight against the germs that abound in the classroom. Airborne contains 17 natural ingredients, including 7 herbal extracts, antioxidants, electrolytes and amino acids. Airborne provides added support to the body's immune system by providing needed nutrients and herbs, which help to strengthen the immune system.

Airborne Health | FAQs

Q. Is Zicam Cold Remedy Nasal Gel and Gel Swabs a "cure" for the common cold? A. Since the common cold is a self-limiting condition (research shows that most people get over a cold between 10-14 days). the term "cure" is not scientifically applicable. However. unlike most over-the-counter and prescription cold remedies that have been designed to temporarily suppress the symptoms of the common cold. Zicam Cold Remedy is clinically proven to help reduce the duration and severity of the common cold.


What do I think?

Personally even if it works through "placebo effect" I'm all for anything that helps me get back to the mats quicker.

So, try like the devil to keep from getting sick, but if you do, consider trying alternative cold remedies, and please Stay off the Mats until you are better!


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Injury avoidance 101

Monday, February 18, 2008

The other day we talked about career ending injuries. If you haven't read that post yet, check it out here first.

Today or should I say tonight we are going to talk about a topic near and dear to my heart, injury avoidance.

It's quite simple really, here at WhiteCollarBJJ we understand you've got a life off the mats. Most of my readers are fellow white collar professionals, Moms, Dads, people that work the 8-6 and understand that limping from meeting to meeting just doesn't cut it.

Yes, it's impossible to prevent all injuries, unless you stop rolling all together, and since we both know that's not going to happen then we need to focus on some simple rules of thumb to avoid the preventable ones.

So, let's get started.

Rule 1

Never roll with someone until you've watched them roll with someone else.

I can't tell you how many times this simple rule has saved my bacon. it's quite simple, you don't know if you are dealing with a poor soul afflicted with "lethal spastic flailing" or if you've got an opponent who is "tap def", and either way it's in your best interest to know BEFORE you consider rolling with them.

Rule 2

Wear a mouth guard.

I only have to put one link here, just go ask "chewy" about wearing a mouth guard. Honestly, if you don't like the boil and bite then suck it up and go to the Dentist and have one custom made. I did that early on and absolutely love it. Be sure to request the mold when you are done, that way if you ever lose your guard you can have a new one made up quickly.

Rule 3

Wear a cup.

Unless it's not allowed (ie competition) Need I really say more?

Rule 4

If you have a tendency to get "the ear" then get some ear guards.
We all know how unpleasant Cauliflower Ear is, it's truly nasty, don't take my word on it though, check out the nice summary at "Why We Not Hit Hard".

Rule 5

Final Rule, get some simple wrestling knee pads, because you only get one set of knees.

This one is a hazmat signature, I've been wearing knee pads since back in the Gi days. Early on in my game I found I could "create weight" with knee on belly, but conversely that meant I was shooting my knees all over the place. End result? Lots of bruises on my knees. Thankfully switching to a pair of wrestling knee pads has greatly reduced this problem. Be sure to try a few sizes on though, as when you get to rolling they'll start sliding on you very quickly if they aren't sized properly.

Well that's about it in a nutshell. So I'll close with Mrs Hazmat's favorite quote..

"Have fun and don't get hurt!"


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Could you stop?

Saturday, February 16, 2008

I wanted to share this with you all, take some time to think about what you would do in the same situation...

Last night as class was getting started an accomplished BJJ player I've grown to respect dropped in wearing street clothes. I've been watching this guy train for a while, he's clearly got exceptional talent and motivation, so I was surprised to see him in street clothes. However, he was obviously injured by the way he was carrying his shoulder.

Next thing I hear..

"It was a career ending injury, sorry coach, I'm done."

Yes, just like that, here's a guy who'd been rolling for years and after a freak shoulder separation (with considerable complications) his orthopedic had confirmed his worst fears. No more BJJ, no more MMA, no more "training".

Poor guy looked shell shocked and frankly I would be too.

The whole experience got me thinking, sure I get frustrated when I get dinged up, annoyed when I have to miss a training session, etc.

But how small and petty is that compared to being told you can never train again?

Yes, there are plenty of other things in this world that are far more important than this game.

But.. could you stop cold turkey?

Think about that and offer up a little to all those guys and girls that had to leave the mats forever.

Next time we'll talk about a few basic injury avoidance tactics I like to use.


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Emergency Valentines Day Gift Guide

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

It's February 13th, one day before Valentines day.

Quick, do you know what you are giving your wife/husband/girlfriend/boyfriend?

Yes, most WhiteCollarBJJ readers are married, so we know the importance of getting this day right, but it doesn't mean we actually get it right.

So, let's start off with the basics for my time starved readers.

1. Buy a card, preferably one that is actually addressed to your intended Recipient. Grandma Haz still talks about the "Happy Valentines to my favorite Aunt" card that she received from a well meaning family member who shall remain nameless.

2. Be smart with the flowers, if you know your wife/girlfriend loves flowers, more isn't always best. Trust me when I tell you that while she'll appreciate the dozen roses, you wallet won't and it won't get the effect your looking for. Instead look for something different, something more specific to her. Want a sneak peek at the Hazmat buying plan? Get an Orchid. Much like the afore mentioned "Spanish Inquisition", no one expects the Orchid.

Orchids, simple but effective.

3. Take a night off of training. Yes, I know, "but it's training!", that's the magic, showing how much you appreciate her by taking a night off will pay dividends.

Now, for those of you who don't mind dropping a hint, here's a few great gift ideas FOR the grapplers in your life (here's to hoping Mrs Hazmat reads this!)

1. Gift cards say more than flowers ever could. Quick, go to BudoVideos.com and get a gift card for your Valentine. Quite simply it says, "I love you and don't mind that you like to watch fight footage and instructionals, in fact, I encourage it!"


2. Are they Internet savvy? If you are reading this there's a good chance your significant other is an avid WhiteCollarBJJ reader, making them a very astute Internet user. This makes a premium account at GrapplersGuide.com a simple and fast gift that is sure to pay dividends later. Just don't be mad if they stay up late doing research!

3. Let them take in training on another night this week. Yes, I know they gave up training for you on Valentines day, which makes them smart and thoughtful, but you can return the favor by letting them train on a day normally reserved for family time. It's simple, but will be appreciated.

Well, there's precious time left, so send this to your significant other, and stop wasting time you've got a card to get!

Good Luck!


Training with Concept Maps

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Back in my college days I learned that often the difference between whether I excelled at a course or struggled with it was how well I took notes.

In college or any schooling for that matter, note taking is very simple since by and large the concepts are easily contained on paper.

However, Submission grappling/BJJ doesn't lend well to note taking, a fact I learned over the last year.

When I first started training, like every other newbie, I began to copy down notes in a small journal after my classes in the evening after class, and just like every other newbie I wasn't very consistent with this process. Some nights the notes were hap hazard and unintelligible, other nights they simply weren't there as I crashed long before I could get them down on paper.

More importantly, even after I got them down on paper they didn't always make sense the next day/week/month when I went back to review them. I found that the core concepts and if/then situational learning just didn't translate on paper.

Lucky for me we don't need paper any more, not when we have free software!

Cmap Tools is an amazing piece of free software that you can use to create Concept Maps.

Concept mapping is a technique for visualizing the relationships among different concepts. A concept map is a diagram showing the relationships among concepts. Concepts are connected with labelled arrows, in a downward-branching hierarchical structure. The relationship between concepts is articulated in linking phrases, e.g., "gives rise to", "results in", "is required by," or "contributes to".
Concept map - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Just to give you a hint at what you can do with a well designed concept map, check out the simple one I developed from "Mastering the Rubber Guard, Half Guard Game".

So download CMap Tools and have some fun, who knows perhaps you'll actually take some notes that make sense to you a few days, weeks, or even months later.

Good Luck and Happy Note Taking!


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Friday, February 8, 2008

Personal commitment, interaction dominated by obligations. These obligations may be mutual, or self-imposed, or explicitly stated, or may not. Distinction is often made between commitment as a member of an organisation (such as a sporting team, a religion, or as an employee). A personal commitment is a pledge or promise to ones' self for personal growth.
Commitment - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Commitment? What the heck sort of blog is this? No, we aren't talking about this sort of commitment..

Nor are we talking about this sort of commitment.

No, we are talking about commitment to your game, or more directly, commitment to your submission.

Case in point, I was rolling yesterday morning with a good friend and training partner of over a year. He also happens to be the author of "Chew-Jitsu.com", great guy, and no I wasn't responsible for re-arranging his chompers. That dubious distinction lies with someone else.

Now, back to the matter at hand. Whenever "Chewy" and I roll it almost always gets aggressive, very aggressive. You see, we know each other's games so well it's hard not to get a bit "motivated" to get the submission. However the problem I'm finding lies not with the motivation, but with the second guessing or "lack of commitment".

You see, I told you we'd get around to this.

Many times during my roll with Chewy I saw something open up. Perhaps it was a nice arm bar or kneebar, or even a personal Hazmat favorite..the mounted triangle. Still, in those instances I found myself starting the submission..but then re-thinking my decision and backing off. Almost as if I thought he'd counter my submission and I should look for something else. End result.. no wins for Hazmat (this time..).

Afterwards he asked me, "Why didn't you sink that armbar, I'd swear you had it ready to go..".

You know what, I really didn't have an answer. All I could think of was my first BJJ Coach and his words to me..

"Believe in it! Believe in your game."

That's the commitment I'm talking about, next time you are setting up a submission and are having doubts.. just believe in it and give it a whirl. Worst case you lose and start over, best case.. well you just might start believing in yourself, and imagine where that would take your game.

Have Faith!


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It's all in the name...

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Sometimes I think the bard said it best..

'Tis but thy name that is my enemy;
Thou art thyself, though not a Montague.
What's Montague? it is nor hand, nor foot,
Nor arm, nor face, nor any other part
Belonging to a man. O, be some other name!
What's in a name? that which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet;
Name - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (Romeo & Juliet)

What's in a name? One of the most fascinating trends I've noticed recently is the unique process by which submission grappling movements get their names.

I've got to say the most impressive producer of contemporary names has to be Eddie Bravo. I'll admit, at first when I flipped through his books I thought, "what the heck kind of names are these? T-Rex? Night of the Living Dead?  There's no way I'll remember these."

Interestingly enough, I did.

In fact I've found I remember most movements after I've been taught them if they have an evocative name. Something that works as a nice play on words, something that references a movie, a piece of music, famous figure, or even a prehistoric thunder lizard!

Sadly Bravo's "T-Rex" isn't nearly as cool, but is still a very effective name.

The analytical side of my mind continues to wonder why.

Why do simple evocative and often times exotic names seem to stick with us more than more traditional or analytical names?

Is it a facet of our generation? Are we so tuned in to contemporary culture that names that evoke cultural norms are more readily remembered and recalled?

Perhaps there's an academic out there studying the process of naming, memory, and recall.. I'd love to know why it works.

Until then however, try to come up with names for the movements you learn, make them meaningful to you.

Chances are you'll appreciate it next time you roll.

Time to go "T-Rex Up", later!


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No one expects the....Kneebar?

Monday, February 4, 2008

We interrupt this segment to talk about UFC 81, in particular The Kneebar.

You see, I like to think of Kneebar's like the classic Monty Python sketch..

Spanish Inquistion!

NOBODY expects the Spanish Inquisition! Our chief weapon is surprise...surprise and fear...fear and surprise.... Our two weapons are fear and surprise...and ruthless efficiency.... Our *three* weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency...

Because nobody expects the kneebar!

In particular Mir's setup was nice, simple, and quite effective. If you haven't seen it yet I recommend you do, it will really make you stop and think about the Kneebar and well executed leg locks in particular.

Frank Mir sets in for a tight Kneebar

Frank Mir sets in for a tight Knee bar.

Myself, up until a few weeks/months ago all things leg lock oriented were foreign to me. Like most classic BJJ practitioners, I'd only heard of "heel hooks" as dreaded ultra dangerous submissions, something never to be used unless everyone involved knew the risks. In looking back on it that is a very sound argument, as a leg lock newbie who is a tad agressive can hurt themselves very easily when caught in a heel hook.

However the kneebar, that's a different animal.

Much like the arm bar there are numerous setups, it creates a slight pain response when it's being applied properly (makes knowing to tap easier), and as evidenced in UFC 81 it can be a fight finisher.

So how do you go about learning the knee bar? Frankly, there is only one truly well recognized and respected source of "kneebarology", Dynamic Kneebars from GrappleArts.com.

I know I've told you about Stephan's stuff before, but this is worth repeating, Plain and simple if you want to learn kneebars inside and out then you owe it yourself to watch this DVD.

Stephan breaks down the kneebar into manageable portions.

First he covers the basics of positioning, there are more than a few ways to get your body in position to apply the kneebar properly. We all know that the difference between a good submission and a weak one is more often than not body positioning. This is first section is key to getting it right when you are knee hunting.

Next he covers many different setups, from open guard, half guard, etc. In fact, the same exact setup Mir used on Lesnar is shown, and we know that one works.

Lastly he covers different flows and escapes, because quite frankly what sort of kneebar expert would you be if you constantly got stuck in other's kneebars? In addition for those exercise enthusiasts, he's got a few traditional lifts to build the lower back and squeezing power to make the kneebar work.

Over the last few weeks I've spent a good bit of time exploring the kneebar (Thanks to this DVD) and I think you might be well served to consider it as well because..

NOBODY expects the Spanish Inquis... er Knee Bar!

Good Luck and Happy Hunting!


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