Friday, November 26, 2010

Congrats to the New ECU Promotions

Last night I attended an outstanding seminar, courtesy of "Rob G." Thanks to the seminar, I have plenty of ideas for new posts, but I want to get this out fast. JoJo promoted five new Purple Belts and a brand-new Blue Belt.

Congrats to all:

Purple Belt
Kith Pradhan
Terrence Cheng
Matt Kachmar
Tom Waldren
Adam Dickerson

Blue Belt
Anderson Perez

Since, I never like to leave my readers without visuals, here's a quick video of Tom Waldren in a match with elite ECU competitor Brian Kim...

Now I'm stuck with every writer's favorite problem. We've had such a great month at ECU, that I have tons of material. Rob's seminar only added to those tons.

How am I to choose?

Turkey Day Training!

JoJo decided that yesterday he would host a, “Thanksgiving throw-down! For Free!” Open mat 12-2 at - open to all. "That's right so if your school is closed come to ECU and train for free! There will be no mat fess for visitors that day! Come burn some turkey!”

That’s what JoJo envisioned. I honestly don’t know how the entire time went since I arrived late and went home early (sorry, but someone had to pick-up Grandma), but I was glad to see some un-familiar faces.

Everyone who made it to the ECU Thanksgiving Open Mat brought their “A GAME”.

Now we get a seminar that not only features Rob G., but JoJo threatens "special guests".

I can't wait!

Thursday, November 25, 2010

I Love the Holidays!

I love training during the Holiday season. It’s a time when old friends come home and inevitably find their way to ECU for at least one night. Whether they’ve been away for school, work, or – in some cases – trying to become Rock Stars, it’s always great to see people who’ve, somewhere along the line, been a big part of my BJJ journey.

I wish everyone who reads this a Happy Thanksgiving, and hope that even more of our old friends will stop by in late-December/early-January.

Sunday, November 21, 2010


ECU founder JoJo Guarin is a Pan-American Gold Medalist. He has collected trophies, medals and Samurai swords too numerous to count.

He’s also a notorious guard-puller. JoJo has so many different attacks from the guard that he’s admitted to allowing takedowns in competition so he can bring the game to his world. It’s a good strategy – if your name is JoJo Guarin.

However, JoJo is not just a competitor; he’s first and foremost a teacher and coach. Realizing that his reputation has created an expectation about his students, JoJo has decided that he will begin a new emphasis on putting our opponents on their backs. Whether it’s a classic wrestling takedown or a Judo throw, JoJo is on a mission:

“Everybody knows I like to pull guard. Everybody thinks that all of my students want to pull guard. I want give my students options. I want their opponents to think ‘he’s going to pull guard’, and then get taken down.”

Saturday, November 20, 2010

“Black Friday” Seminar

On Friday November 26, 2010, ECU will be hosting a three-hour seminar in North White Plains. The featured instructor will be none other than Rob G. himself, but JoJo is hinting that there will be several “special guests”.

I look forward to seeing everyone there.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

An Interview with Jojo and Rob G. PT II – Teaching Philosophies

After JoJo and Rob G. brought me up to speed about their history together, they wanted to spend some time talking about their teaching philosophies. Of course, I had to listen.

As one would expect, JoJo and Rob G. overlap on two of the most important traits a teacher can have:

  • Attention to detail; and
  • A willingness to adjust the instruction to each individual class.

JoJo and Rob G. make sure they have carefully and studied each technique they teach before they present it to a class. I’ve often watched JoJo rehearse a technique with his planned “Uki” before he presents it to the class. I’ve also witnessed classes where JoJo would, “shift-gears” in situations where classes were either more or less experienced than he had anticipated. Rob G. considers this one of the hallmarks of good instruction.

Finally, I’m going to Bullet-Point JoJo and Rob G’s principles of teaching, and end with a great quote from Rob G.

JoJo Guarin

  • Put every position under a magnifying glass;
  • Dedicate one month to every position;
  • Study other player’s techniques; and
  • Find the best way to teach every class.

Robert Gutierrez

  • Fitness! (I left this bold on purpose.)
  • Drills and Cardio related to the techniques he’s teaching;
  • Creating a path of techniques;
  • Feeling out the class before I teach; and
  • Never having a set format. Deciding the format based on attendance.

And now, as promised, the single best quote about successfully teaching BJJ. After the interview, Rob G. had one more thing he wanted to add:

“I feel that the reason I’m successful in teaching Jiu-Jitsu is that I believe 100% in what I teach. I believe 100% in the techniques I teach. I believe 100% in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. I believe 100% that what I teach is effective. And I believe 100% that what I do helps my students.”

I still have plenty of excellent material from the interview that I hope to share with you soon – including the principles of ECU itself.

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

Friday, November 5, 2010

10/30/2010 ACOM-Sports Medal Totals!

ECU rocked the 2010 ACOM-Sports 2010 Grappling Grand Prix. Every participant in the Pro division reached at least the Second Round. Omar Delgado defeated an opponent who out-weighed him by well over 100lbs.

In the amateur divisions, ECU made a great showing. There were so many medalists that it took me a while. Here they are…

Joe Oppedisano JR – First Place Men’s Purple Belt

Wojciech Husak – First Place Men’s Purple Belt

Henry Strada – First Place Men’s Masters Gi

Terence Cheng – First Place No-Gi

Anderson Perez – First Place Men’s White Belt

Jose Duenas – First Place Men’s White Belt

Matt Kachmar – Second Place Men’s No-Gi

Rick Carde – Second Place Men’s Masters Gi

Daniel Acosta – Second Place Men’s Purple Belt

Terrence Cheng - Second Place No-Gi

Great Job everybody!

I've got some excellent stuff in mind for the next few posts. My only problem is deciding what to cover first. It's a good dilemma to have!

Comments and suggestions are always appreciated.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

What’s in store for November?

October was half-guard month.

Since the time he founded ECU, JoJo has made it a point to pick a theme or technique for each month. JoJo believes that truly understanding a position or technique takes a significant amount of time. He decided to dedicate October to the half-guard.

The half-guard is not a glamour position, but sooner or later, everyone ends up there. Whether escaping the Mount, or missing a pass, everyone gets caught in half-guard.

In the basic classes students learned the cardinal rule of half-guard – DON’T LET YOUR OPPONENT FLATTEN YOU OUT! as well as basic sweeps and passes.

The advanced classes learned the nuances of the deep-half-guard, and advanced sweeps – DON’T LET YOUR OPPONENT FLATTEN YOU OUT! STILL APPLIES.

October has let me improve my half-guard tremendously, and now I look forward to what JoJo has planned for November.

Comments, questions, and suggestions are always welcome.

PS: I still owe everybody two blogs soon. First, I need to release the official medal count from the October 30, 2010 Acom-Sports tournament - it was too big for me to remember off the top of my head. I’ve also been asked repeatedly about my tease about Rob G.’s philosophy of teaching. The teaching post will follow as soon as I feel can do it justice.

PPS: I plan on an interview with ECU's youngest student.

Monday, November 1, 2010

A Plethora of Medals at ACOM-Sports

The ECU family earned an impressive number of medals at the October, 30 2010 ACOM-Sports tournament.

Pics and Vids to follow.

I'll post the medal totals once I hear from JoJo and Joey O.