Animal Style Workout Variations for BJJ

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Animal style movement training seems to be pretty popular nowadays. Its hardly anything new. Animal style training can date back to the monks of the Shaolin temple. They used many different animal movements in their Kung fu.  I first was introduced to animal style workouts back in about 1994 when I Trained at Romero Calvacanti’s(jacare) Master BJJ gym in Atlanta.  Animal movements are one of the standard warm ups used in a lot of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu gyms world wide.  Now animal movements have caught on to the mainstream. Since functional training is so popular now, animal style workouts fit right in. They are full body movements that can be performed almost anywhere.  In this video I am doing some variations that I have developed my self. The movements in the video will help with your conditioning, agility, mobility and coordination.  Stay tuned for my upcoming Body Weight 4 BJJ programs! It will contain and encyclopedia of BJJ/MMA specific movements and workouts!. Enjoy! 

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3 Minute Total Body Weight Circuit

When developing workouts for my classes and dvd’s, one of the main concepts I use is what I call the “balance principle.” This basically means, I try to hit all of your major muscle groups evenly. So after a Kettle-Jitsu workout, you should never feel like you just got a leg workout, or just a core workout. By combining as many muscle groups into your workouts, you will get that metabolic effect. I use this principle with both body weight and kettlebell training.

For this particular body weight workout, I combine dynamic exercises that hit multiple muscles simultaneously to give the circuit an anaerobic effect. I call this the Lunge/Touch and kick circuit. This is a 3 minute nonstop circuit in which you change exercises every 30 seconds. There are 4 exercises.  1. The lunge/touch and kick 2. Walk out to a push up 3. Mountain climbers 4. Burpees.  In my classes, before any workout, we start off with joint mobility and some light body weight movements. I cant stress enough how important this is. This prepares your body for rigorous training and helps to prevent injuries. We do an ab pyramid, then break down each movement in the circuit for 30 seconds with a 15 second rest in between. To have a better understanding of this formula, check out my Kettle-Jitsu Revolution dvd.  It follows the same aforementioned format.  After this, you should be ready to start the Lung/Touch and kick circuit!

Instructions:  Set your timers to 3 minutes with 30 second intervals.  We rest for 30 seconds in between rounds. I use a ringside mma timer.  These are great because you can set it to ring every 30 seconds. This lets you know when to change exercises.  To perform the circuit, start with lunge/touch and kick(right leg back, kick w left) for 30 seconds, walkout/push up 30 seconds, lunge/touch kick(left leg back, kick w right) for 30 seconds, walkout/push up 30 seconds, mountain climbers for 30 seconds followed by burpees for the final 30 seconds.  Repeat as many times as you like. At my gym SoCal mma, we do 3 rounds and follow it up with our kettlebell workout.

You will feel this circuit everywhere! Enjoy!

Best Kettlebell Exercise for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu!

jiu jitsu magazine articletgu sale $17Get the Ultimate TGU on sale now for only $17! ass seen in the latest issue of Jiu JItsu magazine! Click the above banner or this link!Ultimate Turkish Get Up Program download Or, get Save $$$$ and purchase the Kettle-Jitsu Revolution 8 week program and Ultimate TGU together for only $47!!! Click the below banner or this link to save! Kj revolution/Ultimate TGU combo!New web banner package dealTurkish Get Ups are one of the initial exercises that I knew had a direct connection to MMA and Bjj.  The mechanics of the TGU are almost identical to a movement in BJJ called, Standing up in base or the Technical lift. The TGU is the best kettlebell exercise for BJJ for 3 reasons. 1. You work your pushing, pulling, squatting/lunging movements all in one exercise. 2. it has numerous applications in actual BJJ techniques. 3. It works motor skills we are not accustomed to doing in every day life. Therefor it enhances your coordination.  Most traditional Bjj dojos practice this via body weight on a daily basis.  Standing up in base has many applications in jiu jitsu. It has also evolved into a movement necessary for the “scrambling aspect” of Mixed Martial Arts. Scrambling is the art of regaining the standing position in an MMA fight.  If you are not good at scrambling, then you will have a shot career in MMA.  So, drilling the mechanics of Standing up in base is a must. In the enclosed video, I have several variations of the TGU and Brazilian get up and some applications with a partner. Implement these into your mma and kb training and you will experience tremendous gains! Be sure to check out Joey Alvarado’s article on the Turkish Get Up in the latest issue of Jiu Jitsu Magazine!

Road to The California Open Championships!

In the past year, I have competed in 11 Brazilian Jiu Jitsu tournaments. After 30 plus years of training in martial arts, that is the most I have competed in a single year! It has been a fun journey and a great learning experience. This past weekend I competed in the Five Grappling California open Championship. I felt the urge to write about this particular event because I faced a few set backs which made it particularly challenging.
As you all know, I just released a new dvd. This is the first dvd I have ever produced on my own. Im a trainer, not a dvd maker, marketer or even a computer guy for that matter. So once I embarked on the making of this dvd became a long drawn out process. It was all trial and error. That and having to run my gym SoCal mma consumed all of my time. It was difficult to even find the energy to train. So, I was having inconsistency in my jiu jitsu training. However, I never neglected my Kettle-Jitsu training. I make it a point to train with my classes 4 times a week. I lead by example. I think it is important as a trainer to do so.
Even though I was really busy, I set a goal to compete in the California open. The dvd was out already, so there was a bit of a load of my back. A few weeks into my training, I strained my hip really bad. It was so bad I had to see a doctor. Of course he said I needed to lay off the Jiu Jitsu as well. Even though my hip wasn’t well, the Kettle-Jitsu training didn’t bother me much. So, I decided that since I cant train jiu jitsu, I will focus on intensifying my kb and bodyweight training. For me this means doing more rounds and increasing the weight of the kettlebell. Since my dvd was out. We were working the whole 8 week program from it at my gym. We followed it to a T. I steadily increased the weight until I was using a 50lb kettlebell for most of the workouts.
Then my hip started feeling a lot better. Good enough to start training jiu jitsu again. But by then, the tournament was really close. I don’t even think a full 2 weeks of training bjj would make a difference. To make matters worse, after a rolling session, my knee somehow got tweaked. It started to swell. So the bjj training again went out the window. Because of the knee injure, I couldn’t even train the week before. I had to scale down the Kettlejitsu training to let my body heal before the tournament. But the knee injury was enough to make my weight off. So this caused another problem. I had to cut 5 lbs the day before the competition in order to make weight.
So after all of that, I competed and won all of my matches by submission. I was extremely happy by the outcome because of all of the adversity I had to endure. I went in there with my Kettle-Jitsu conditioning and experience and still pulled off the victory. This is what really separates what I do, from other fitness systems. Kettle-Jitsu works every aspect of your conditioning, coordination, strength, agility, speed and focus. All of these of which are very important to combat athletes. How may fitness systems can claim that?
Nowadays there is this big strength trend. Everybody is preaching how important it is to be strong. You see people all over facebook talking about deadlifting this much or that much. Is it more important to be strong, or to be fit? What consequences will you face after years and years of heavy lifting? Fitness should be everyone’s priority. Why is it so important to be strong? Does your job require it? Safety and functionality of your fitness regime are more important. With Kettle-Jitsu, I do not emphasize using a lot of weight. It is up to the practitioner to decide whether they want to go heavier or not. Even then, I stay away of using extreme amounts of weight. Even as a competitive athlete, I don’t feel a need for it.
So don’t get sucked into the new “strength trend.” All you need is kettlebell and bodyweight. Kettle-Jitsu is for everyone! It even helped me compete and win the California open with minimal jiu jitsu training! But remember, you don’t have to be a fighter to train like one!
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How to add value to your MMA or BJJ gym

Almost 8 years ago, me and my business partner decided we would open up and mma gym. So obviously we had to come up with a name. We settled on the name SoCal mma and fitness.  I have been training my whole life in martial arts, sports and fitness. So I really wanted to create a one stop shop where people could come train in all the different disciplines of mma. But I also wanted to cater to people who just want to get fit.  Back then I had a descent background in fitness. But I can honestly say I was just flying by the seat of my pants when teaching. Although I still put on some good classes, I hadn’t really developed my own formula for training people. So I eventually starting developing Kettle-Jitsu. My classes started becoming more structured and it became a lot easier to teach classes. The classes also started to grow! The same goes to my assistant trainer Chris as well. He started to develop his own style. He also got certified in Training for Warriors, Martin Rooney’s training system.

Now, the fitness classes are the biggest draw at my gym.  A large reason is because great fitness classes attract a lot of women. Women do everything in groups and pairs.  Have you ever notice how women always go to the bathroom together.  They need that same support with working out. Women almost always come to the gym in pairs.  They are also the best at referrals.  If a women enjoys the class, she will tell her friends about it.  I once had a women try out my evening 6:30pm class. Then she showed up with 3 friends the following morning at 5:30am!

My whole point behind this is that if you only cater to mma folk, or only Bjj people, you really limit your demographic. If your gym says Cageside MMA, who do you think you will attract? You will definitely not attract women. So I do think it is important to name your gym accordingly.  With SoCal mma and fitness, adding the word fitness welcomes people who want to get in shape. My second point is to have a solid, proven fitness system at your gym.  By having a great fitness program, you attract women and women are great at bringing in business.  At my gym we offer 2 solid fitness systems. Kettle-Jitsu and my trainer teaches Training for Warriors mixed with his own stuff. People really appreciate the variety.

So to sum things up, my 2 ways to add value to your mma or bjj gym are, 1. Choose the name of your facility wisely. By choosing the right name, you can widen your demographic.  2. Choose one or more fitness programs.  Solid fitness programs keep people in the doors and increase referrals.  so it may be wise to find a couple of reputable certifications to do. cert

12 Kettlebell Flows for BJJ/MMA and Fitness

12 kb flows

I am constantly preaching about the versatility of the kettlebell and bodyweight training. I really feel you can express your personality through these two training devices more so than any other single fitness device.  Kettlebell flows are a part of that versatility.  Flows are 2 or more exercises combined together into one, seamless and continuous pattern. Kettlebell flows challenge your hand eye coordination, timing, rhythm, focus and conditioning, all at the same time. All of these attributes are necessary for martial artists. In Brazilian jiu jitsu we combine and chain techniques together. Also when training BJJ, you are working multiple muscles at once. This is why kettlebell flows are simillar to training BJJ.

Kettlebell training is so deeply rooted in tradition, practicioners rarely think outside of the box. I believe this limits the potential of your kettlebell training. I believe the kettlebell is an extension of your body. The design of the bell allows endless options for all types of movements.  In order to achieve total kettlebell mastery, you shouldn’t limit yourself to only a few movements. I use kettlebells  and bodyweight as my sole source of strength and conditioning. In this video I have 12 different kettlebell flow variations that I use with my self and the clients at my gym.  Students love them because they are challenging and different. They engage you unlike any other exercises you have ever done.  Some of these movements are traditional exercises combined into a flow.

I encourage you to explore the endless options the kettlebell can give you.  Inject your own personality into them and develop your own movements.  Remember, the movements in this video are not for the beginners. These should only be practiced by seasoned kettlebell practitioners. Enjoy  12 kb flows

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Kettlebell Flows for Fitness and MMA



The Art of the flow

The word flow, has a very particular meaning in the way teach Kettle-Jitsu.  I have developed many flow patterns as a means to get people in shape. In Kettle-Jitsu, a flow is a combination of two or more movements, into one seamless  pattern.  By doing this, you are hitting multiple muscles simultaneously, challenging your focus and your timing.

Although you may think flows may be difficult to teach, there is a way to simplify it.  I can teach anyone to do a bodyweight flow and kettlebell flow in one session. The way to do it is to break down each movement and drill them.   For instance in the first video, SoCal Fighter Michael Perez is working our T-Rex fighter flow.  This flow is a combination of a goblet squat, seated curl, two hand press and figure 8 to hold.  Separately, these movements are relative simple. Except maybe the figure 8.  So, in order to teach this to a class full of people you would break down each movement for 30 second intervals. I usually allow a 15 second break to rest between exercises.  For instance to break down the T-Rex triple attach, we do 2, 30 second rounds of goblet squats, 2, 30 second rounds of seated curls and 2, 30 second rounds of 2 hand presses. You can always opt to do more sets of each exercise if you like. Then, ill combine them together into a one minute flow.

Video #2 is a clip of that same flow in action in a Saturday Kettle-Jitsu bootcamp at my gym SoCal mma and fitness in los Angeles.  Most of the people in that class had never performed this flow or even tried a fig 8.  Another important tip in teaching kettlebells is to make sure your clients are thoroughly warmed up. Not warming up properly in my opinion the number one way people injure themselves. Not because of improper technique.

I had one client tell me that my workouts were unlike any other workout she had done. “Incredible” is how she described it.  I really think that creating flows engage your clients unlike traditional style workouts do.  Check these videos out for yourself and try them out for youselves!


The benefits of training early in the morning.

The Benefits of working out in the morning

Im often asked about the training schedule at my gym.  When I mention my 5:30am Kettle-Jitsu bootcamp, I always get the same reaction.  Their eyes open wide as if I were crazy! Lol Waking up that early in the morning to workout is something that is hard to fathom for most people.  But I feel its something that is engrained in my DNA.  I come from a family of fighters. Pugilists traditionally wake up early to do their road work.  My father did it and so did my cousins. I have even heard stories about how it was such a habit for my cousin, that even after an all nighter partying, he would still wake up and run!

For me training in the morning is a discipline thing. I love the feeling that im up early doing something good for myself and others, while people are still counting sheep. From a fighting stand point, look at it like this.  If your not up early training, your opponent probably is. That means he is sacrificing more.  If he is sacrificing more, that means he is hungrier. Anyways, those are some personal reasons of why I feel working out in the morning is the best time to do so.  Here are some legit reasons in case you need more convincing.

  1. When you exercise in the morning, it kick starts your metabolism.  It will keep it elevated all day. So you will burn calories throughout the day.
  2. After your workout in the morning, your endorphins will be at peak levels.  So you will be more energetic.
  3. There may be a direct relation to working out early and eating healthier. So basically if you workout early, you are less likely to eat poorly throughout the day.
  4. Research has proven to enhance mental acuity. After a workout, you can stay focused for up to ten hours!
  5. Last but not least, if you finding it difficult to find time to workout, anyone can wake up an hour earlier to get a workout in.

The benefits of compound bodyweight training

The benefits of compound body weight training

I’m sure most of you all are familiar with the burpee. This is what I like to refer to as a compound body weight exercise.  People worldwide use burpees every day and with good reason. It’s simple and extremely beneficial exercise. A compound exercises is made up of 2 or more movements together. The burpee combines a squat, sprawl and a push up. So you are working several major muscle groups at once making it a metabolic exercise. Compound exercises raise your heart rate more so than muscle isolation exercises.

Since the burpee is such an awesome exercise, it made sense to me to develop more compound body weight and kettlebell exercises.  In the new kettlejitsu revolution dvd, I use many different body-weight flows and combinations. Some of these flows even contain movements from jiu jitsu and mma. I specifically created these combos to challenge you both physically and mentally. A good example of what I am talking about is the karate kid flow.  This compound movement consists of a sit up, shin box, deck squat and push up. Using these exercises in unison has many benefits. It challenges your focus, timing, coordination and your conditioning.

This particular exercise was inspired by my trip to Lisbon, Portugal.  There I administered a kettle-jitsu workshop. One of the attendees was a karate kumite fighter named hugo. I was showing different sit up combos and he stopped and asked if was it OK if he added a kick to it. I said show me. I immediately loved it and added it to my arsenal! When I got back home I played with it and added the other movements.  It spawned the “karate kid flow!” We use it regularly at my gym socal mma and fitness to my students enjoyment. Check out the enclosed video for a demo of this amazing compound body-weight exercise. Enjoy!


Kettle-Jitsu and Crossfit: A Comparison

Kettle-Jitsu and Crossfit: a comparison
Since developing my system of training, I am constantly being asked questions related to fitness. I think the most common question I get is what I think about different fitness systems. Probably the most common one I am asked about is crossfit. First let me say, that I am not an authority on crossfit what so ever. I do have friends who train in it. I also have students that previously trained it as well. I know from what ive seen on videos and the dozens of crossfit people I have on my page. I also know it is a highly controversial subject in the fitness community right now.
People come into my gym all the time and ask if we offer crossfit. I tell them no, but kettle-jitsu is comparable to it. To put it quite simply, I think crossfit is a form of circuit training. They use various different training tools in different stations and get great results doing it. It’s also a sport. Kettle-jitsu is also a form of circuit training. But, we use the kettlebell and bodyweight for our circuits. So instead of choosing to look at crossfit as a totally different style of training, I see more similarities.
Crossfit uses a lot of Olympic style lifts like snatches, cleans and overhead squats. Kettle-jitsu does the same, only with a kettlebell. I think this is where my system adds a bit more variety and safety to training, When I teach these movements, I start my students off with a single kettlebell. I also insist they use a weight comfortable for them. By using a single kettlebell, it allows for more natural movements which make the bell allot easier to control. This makes training a lot safer.
Crossfit also has their WODs or workout of the day. This is one area which I’ve seen them criticized for. The more schooled fitness experts feel that this method is too sporadic. But I see crossfit people getting great results. So what’s the problem with it? Kettle-Jitsu uses workouts of the week. Some of my movements require a little more coordination. By using the same routine for the entire week, we get to practice the movements in our circuit and master them through repetition. This also gives my students the opportunity to gradually increase the weight as they feel comfortable with the exercises.
Crossfit also uses bodyweight exercises such as burpees, squats and lunges. Kettle-Jitsu offers a plethora of bodyweight exercises. We have different burpee variations, bodyweight flows and a lot of mma influenced bodyweight exercises. I think variety is key in retaining clients. Most people do not like to exercise because its boring for them. Doing the same monotonous exercises will not keep your clients interest. So I feel both kettle-Jitsu and crossfit are good at mixing it up.
So there you have it. I just touched on a few points that were off the top of my head. Like I said earlier, I see more similarities with Kettle-Jitsu and crossfit than differences. Both systems get results. Id love to hear more opinions!:)