Thursday, November 20, 2014

Mestre Paulão Rezende at ECU!

In 2012, Jo-Jo traveled to Brazil to visit family.  Of course, he also decided to take advantage of his time in Brazil and get some world-class training.  After talking to some of his friends in the Black-Belt community here in the US, Jo-Jo decided to train with Mestre Paulão Rezende at the Projeto Soma Academia/Gymin Poços de Caldas, Brazil.

Mestre Paulão recently journeyed to the US and ECU was lucky enough to welcome the Mestre and his 38 years of experience to our academy. 

While I was unable to attend the seminar, I knew I should at least stop by and take some pictures.  In a stroke of luck, I did even better.

I was present when Mestre Paulão gave an inspiring speech about how we as students should conduct our lives, ending it with the inspiring words that we should "Fight for Jiu-Jitsu".

Mestre Rezende was kind enough to grant me a brief interview.  With the help of an interpreter, I learned that Mestre Rezende has thirty-eight years of experience and has been teaching for twenty-three of them.

When I asked how many champions he has mentored over the years.  The Mestre asked me for my pen and paper and began writing down names.

It was a long list:

            Reinaldo Ribeiro
            Marcelo Garcia
            Eric Cardoso
            Joað Rafael (Gargamel)
            Matiteus Henrique
            Felipè GiGiarol
            Rodnei Barbosa
            Rodrigo Ranierì
        Ives Sacramento
        Mario H. Garcia
        Sagatti Rodrigues
Suitably impressed, I asked the Master about his Jiu-Jitsu philosophies.  Mestre Rezende had three major points:

  • "You have to have respect.  The way you conduct yourself on and off the mat matters;"
  • "Fight for Jiu-Jitsu, not for your team (country); and
  • "Be loyal to your master."
Finally. I asked Mestre Rezende if  he feels like he's still learning after 38 years.  His answer was quick:

Special Thanks to Marcelo for translating.

I made a special effort to get all of the accents right on the names and places.  Hopefully, I did a decent job.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

"Dustin Denes Seminar #3"

A couple of weeks ago, I received an email from Dustin Denes promoting a short-notice seminar at ECU on July 14.  I signed up that night.

Since it was on short notice, we didn't reach the crowds that previous seminars by Mr. Denes attained, but Mr Denes still gave us nearly four-and-a-half hours of instruction and guidance.

Once again, everyone who attended the seminar learned/drilled rock-solid techniques.  My favorite aspect of Mr. Denes' seminars is that he doesn't bombard us with dozens of techniques, but instead has a drill a few related techniques over and over again.

While I won't give away the exact techniques we drilled at the seminar, I will say that Dustin Denes has taught me tons of BJJ concepts.  Whether it's rib-pressure, drilling like a champ, or "Jiu-Jitsu Feet", I'm glad I attended the seminar.  I've found that Mr. Denes' concepts apply all across the BJJ game.

Thanks to Dustin Denes for giving the seminar and Jo-Jo for hosting it.


This post has already appeared on Facebook, but I wanted to get it on the official ECU BJJ and MMA Blog.  I was not present for this event so I had to bring in John DiMarco as a guest author.  Enjoy!


The advertisement read: "Hammertime: Go Hard or Go Home!!” High-Intensity tech drill and battle... 5-7pm plus." Well, the operative word here is the "plus". After a 4 1/2 hour epic seminar with Master Dustin "Clean" Denes where we drilled the dog position (where you gotta battle like a dog), several brave ECU soldiers tested their mettle with an additional 4 hours plus of drilling.

Everyone works hard during the week at our regular classes at ECU, but this was an opportunity for us to really test ourselves, be pushed to exhaustion, try new things and see who could thrive under pressure.

In the end, it was over 8 hours of BJJ on Saturday, something very few ever come close to attempting. Jojo always says that when you're tired is when you need to focus on technique, but it's also where you test the limits of what your body is capable of. After this kind of training, a one hour class or a round of tournament matches are much easier to handle because both the body and mind have been conditioned for battle. 

One of the things that we love about Jojo is that he gives us what we need. He is master technician, but also an amazing instructor and coach who is never afraid to pick up new tricks to share with us. Hammertime was also an opportunity for him to observe us and better understand our strengths and areas of need. Master Clean also has more knowledge of what makes us tick for the next seminar.

Comfort and growth don't co-exist. You need to push yourself out of your comfort zone in order to really grow, and that's what this weekend was about. The BBQ on the beach was a nice reward at the end!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

"Finally a Break"

I meant to post this sooner, but Monday afternoon my father called and asked me if I wanted to go fishing.  Of course, I said yes and my latest post had to wait.

This past weekend was one of the busiest in ECU history.  On Saturday, we had the privilege of another seminar from Dustin "Clean" Denes.  I can talk for hours about how great this seminar was, and will in the future, but for now let's just say that anyone who attended the seminar will never be the same.

On Sunday we had the first annual ECU family barbecue at Robert Moses State Park.  Food and fun were the order of the day.  In between trips to the ocean, the ECU family feasted on steak, chicken and many other excellent dishes.

Even though I ended the weekend tired, I can't really complain about a great seminar and a fun BBQ happening on the same weekend.

Thank you to JoJo for starting it all, Dustin Denes for another great seminar, Lou for helping me with the grills, and everyone who joined us on Sunday.

Friday, May 25, 2012

The Artist Paints the Picture

Recently, at ECU, JoJo has had us relentlessly drilling a series of submissions from the guard. The first in the series is a rather slick arm-bar. JoJo has given us a very specific way to drill the technique - AND IT WORKS!
But I had small problem, while trying to drill the technique, my instincts kept screaming at me to deviate from the specifics of the drill. I trust JoJo so I've been drilling the technique the way he's taught us.
Given that my first instinct in BJJ is often wrong, I decided to ask JoJo. When I spoke with him, he said that my instinct wasn't wrong, but that I should drill the techniques as taught. When it comes to sparring, however, JoJo delivered what I consider a true classic, "When you're drilling, do it the way I teach it, but when you're going 'live' you're the artist and you need to paint your own picture."

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Believe in the Technique!

A couple of weeks ago, I found myself sparring with one of the largest students ever to join ECU. I eventually managed to turn things in my favor.

Later, I decided that I would play a "bottom" game against the behemoth in the future.  Initially, I wasn't successful despite JoJo's coaching, but I eventually ended the sparring session satisfied.

Immediately after the round, JoJo pulled me aside and said, "You're used to being the biggest and strongest, but what happens when you're not?  It's time for you to believe."

BTW, I apologize for the lack of pictures, but I got tired of waiting and decided to post via 3G.

Sunday, February 19, 2012


As I've already posted, JoJo continued ECU's tradition of excellent seminars by hosting Dustin Denes. While the instruction was great, and I'll be using everything I was taught often, I learned something even more important...


I'll admit that in the past I haven't always been the most diligent student when it comes to drilling new techniques. Even though JoJo emphasized the importance of repetition, I'd often check the clock and decide that I was "done".

However, at the seminar, another "light bulb" clicked - If I want to improve, I need to train like a champion. Now, I take the clock as a challenge. If it says thirty seconds, I try to see how many times I can do a particular technique before the bell sounds.

While trying to increase the number of repetitions is certainly an admirable goal.

JoJo also wants to emphasize that each repetition be done properly. If a student does a technique wrong 100 times, will not help the student improve. Instead the student should strive to do each technique correctly, and then try repeat it as much as possible.

Looking back, I realize that JoJo had been sending this message for a long time I just needed someone else to "clean out my ears".