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".

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Dustin Denes Seminar 2/11/2012

In its brief history, ECU has established a tradition of great seminars.

This past Saturday was no exception as ECU welcomed Dustin "Clean" Denes.

I'll admit I had some worries about this seminar, but I decided to take JoJo's advice and made sure I registered.

I'm glad I did!

Instead of bombarding us with technique after technique, Mr. Denes emphasized that we relentlessly drill everything he taught.

As much as I loved what I was taught, I learned even more about how I have to train if I want to improve in the future.

Thanks to JoJo for arranging another outstanding seminar and to Dustin Denes for opening my eyes.


Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Train to Dominate, Train to DESTROY! February 11, 2012

Since JoJo opened ECU, he has made it a point to host regular seminars. I've loved every single one of them. Now JoJo has upped the ante, and is making ECU "CHOP CERTIFIED".

Yeah, that's right, Dustin Denes will host a seminar at ECU on February 11th.

I could write for hours about Mr. Denes' accomplishments, but I think everyone who reads this would enjoy watching him on YouTube more. So go watch!

As Mr. Denes is a triangle ace, I expressed concerns to JoJo that this might not be a seminar for me, his immediate response was, "Henry, don't miss this seminar."

I hope that I'll see everyone who reads the ECU BJJ and MMA blog on February 11th.

I'm already registered!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

22 + 1 Black Belts

I meant to write this post sooner, but a little thing known as the flu set me back a bit.

This past Saturday, several of my ECU brothers and I traveled to "JOP" (Just Outside of Philadelphia) to attend the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu United's Tenth Anniversary celebration/annual team day. Even though I wasn't at my best, I'm still glad I made the trip.

I guess I'll have to digress slightly and give everyone a little back story. This year's team day almost didn't happen. A sprinkler malfunction flooded BJJ United headquarters. For a time, it looked like Saturday's event might have been cancelled, but BJJ United founder Jared Weiner and the rest of his team worked around the clock to get everything ready for the big day.

When things got started, I was shocked to see how many Black Belts were in attendance. My quick count noted 22 Black Belts. WOW! But my first count was quickly proven incorrect. For only the second time in my BJJ career, I had the privilege of witnessing a Black Belt promotion.

Later, we had the opportunity to train with our teammates and in some cases with the Black Belts in attendance.
While I personally couldn't take advantage of every opportunity, my friends/training partners had nothing but raves about the day.

Thank you to JoJo, Jared, and the entire ECU/BJJ United family for such a great day.

Finally, even a New Yorker like me has to admit that Philly soft pretzels are outstanding.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Growing Stronger!

One of my favorite things about being an ECU student/chronicler is seeing my fellow students make tremendous strides.

BJJ progress isn’t incremental, it’s, as I mentioned in previous post, it’s a matter of when the light goes on. In my case, I’ve felt like my progress has stagnated for a variety of reasons (and sometimes this is reflected in the frequency of my posts), but I’ve learned it isn’t always the case.

It’s not that I’m stagnating, it's more a case of other people’s "light bulbs" lighting up at an astonishing rate.

Tuesday night, I sparred with a new ECU Blue Belt. In the past, I dominated him. We hadn’t rolled in a while, but I still expected more of the same. My eyes were opened! I had to admit that the student I’m talking about had made huge strides. In fact, he did a couple of things that I’m considering adding to my own game.

Sometimes, it’s just a matter of who improves when.

JoJo always give us the tools to improve, if we keep training hard and smart, somebody’s next light bulb is just around the corner.