Thursday, October 28, 2010

ECU Coming in Force!

On Saturday October 30th, ACOM-Sports is holding its 2010 “Grappling Finals”. Three of my ECU brothers are competing in the All-Star Open Weight Championship division. ECU founder JoJo Guarin, ECU Brown-belt Jordan Lutsky, and one of JoJo’s most dangerous students – Omar Delgado - are all ready to roll.

The ECU team is coming strong. From White - Belts through Black - Belts, the East Coast United team has prepared diligently for this tournament. From Novices to Masters, ECU will be bringing competitors.

Let's all hope for a fun and well-judged tournament.

BTW, this is more of an announcement than a true blog. Check back Monday for a more detailed blog.

Comments, criticisms, and suggestions are always appreciated.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

An Interview JoJo and Rob G PT 1

Last week, I had the opportunity to sit down and interview ECU founder JoJo Guarin, and the man he calls his mentor - Robert, “Rob G”, Gutierrez. Both JoJo and Rob G took the time to give detailed answers, to my questions, and even suggested some other avenues for me to explore. When we were done I had so much material that I’m confronted with endless possibilities, and will have to break the interview into several separate posts in order to do it justice.

I think that I should start with a little history, and finish up with a great mission statement from JoJo.

In 1994, Robert Gutierrez (“Rob G”) entered a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu school in Thornwood, New York. Eight months later “Rob G” earned his Blue Belt.

Not long after the promotion, a young man walked into the academy. His name was JoJo Guarin. Rob recognized JoJo’s natural talent for BJJ, and did his best to help him progress.

Through the years, JoJo followed Rob G to academies in the Bronx, and later to an academy run by three-time Abu Dhabi Submission Wrestling Championship Medalist and UFC Veteran Sean Alvarez (both Rob G. and JoJo received their Black Belts from Sean).

JoJo and Rob G. have both had long journeys in BJJ. At times, their paths have diverged, but today, they are once again working together.

When JoJo founded East Coast United, he knew what kind of school he wanted to create

“I chose the name East Coast United, because I wanted to create a school that was united with some of the best BJJ guys around. If I want to get better, I have to train with the best. I look for the best training partners I can find, and I encourage my students to do the same. When I ran into Rob G at the New York Open, we realized we could help each other.

Re-UNITED, JoJo and RobG have been training together on a weekly basis. In addition, Rob G did an excellent seminar at ECU a few months ago. Working together, they improve both their own skills and those of their students.

Thanks again to JoJo and Rob G for taking the time for an interview. In a later post, I’ll let you know about the best quote I’ve ever heard about teaching BJJ –courtesy of Rob G.

Thanks for reading the ECU BJJ and MMA blog. As always, comments and suggestions are appreciated.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Tournament Preparation

A couple of weeks ago, one of my fellow ECU students asked Jonathan “JT” Torres, what he focuses on in the weeks leading up to a competition. JT quickly replied:

“I like to work on my favorite techniques when I’m getting ready for a tournament.”

I don’t compete that often, but when I have, I often spend the weeks leading up to a tournament trying to fill the holes in my game. I’ve noticed that I’m far from unusual in that regard.

Of course, JT has far fewer holes than I do, but I quickly recognized the logic in JT’s statement. The week before a tournament is not the time to add new techniques, or attempt to fix weaker techniques. It’s a time to focus on strengths.

Adding new techniques takes time, repetition, and testing before it truly becomes integrated. The time to test out a new technique is not during the stress of competition, but back home training with your teammates.

When I discussed this topic with ECU founder JoJo Guarin, he pointed out an extra benefit of focusing on favorite techniques – confidence! Favorite techniques are usually favorites because we’ve had success with them. We’ve probably used them hundreds of times in class, and know that they work, while we may be unsure of a relatively new technique we learned only a couple of days ago.

Finally, I would like to join all of my ECU family in congratulating ECU kickboxing instructor Daniel “K-9” Cion for his victory in his professional MMA debut.

I hope you enjoyed the second edition of the ECU BJJ and MMA blog. As always, comments and suggestions are appreciated.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

What a Year!

Hello and welcome to the East Coast United BJJ and MMA Blog. I figure that I should start off with a couple of introductions.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) Black Belt JoJo Guarin founded East Coast United (ECU) in October of 2009.

October 1, 2009

ECU’s first year has been a time of growth. From new students to belt promotions to competition success to a second location to great seminars by Tito Hartz, Justin “Chim-Chim” Garcia, and Rob Gutierrez, the ECU family has had an excellent first year.

October 12, 2010

October 12, 2010

In addition to outstanding BJJ, JoJo has also established Mixed Martial Arts (MMA), kickboxing, Judo, and Yoga programs.
The children’s program has expanded greatly and now includes both grappling and kickboxing.

Since I’ll be handling the primary writing duties for the ECU BJJ and MMA Blog, I guess I should also introduce myself. I’m Henry Strada. I’ve had the great fortune of training under JoJo Guarin for nearly five years. I currently hold the rank of Purple Belt, and try to train five or six days a week.

As I said, this is merely an introduction. Going forward I’ll be covering a variety of topics, including ECU news, competition results, mini-interviews with ECU students and coaches, training tips from ECU instructors, and sometimes, I’ll just have a random thought or two that I think is worth sharing. I also plan on plenty of pictures.

As we go along, I hope that everyone will enjoy the ECU BJJ and MMA Blog. If you have any comments, questions or suggestions, please let me know.