Feb 14, 2014

Academix Martial Arts

Dan Hale has moved into his own facility. He has poured his heart and soul into it and I must say that it is coming along to be one of the nicest I have seen.

I have been to a few different gyms in my travels and I really would say that Dan is building a world class jiu jitsu Mecca.

Very Cool

From this....

To this...

And that doesn't include the striking area, juice bar, top notch change rooms with showers and a welcoming front entrance.

Official Grand opening is on March 22nd-23rd weekend with a Special guest instructor....

Gonna be epic...

Updates on the academy here...

Dan Hale BJJ Facebook page

Academix Martial Arts Facebook Page

and address...

2388 Fairview Street, 
Burlington, ON Canada 
L7R 2E4

West side of building, head down the stairs of the Soccer Store.

View Larger Map

i guess Steve took the picture...cause he ain't in it.!


Nov 27, 2013

Las Vegas Trip; OTM, WAND, and TUF

I just got back from a vacation in  faboulous Las Vegas..

I went and checked out OTM fight shops and met Scott the owner while there. Cool guy, lots of knowledge and cool stories. The place was full of BJJ stuff. It was cool being able to compare, touch, try on, and wear different gi's back to back. Most times we just click an order button and hope for the best.

After OTM I went and checked out Wand fight team. Wanderlei wasn't there, and the gym was pretty empty. It is cool to see all of the original Pride trophies and other cool memorabilia. I did see this on the wall and though it was cool. worth a read..

So.. I guess don't be any of those guys...:)

And finally I went to the super not-so-secret location of  "The Ultimate Fighter". (hint here) It was cool to do a quick drive by on it. I think they were training inside as there were the sounds of kicking pads and other MMA related noises.

The signs say Coach Edgar and Coach Penn..:)

Now to go hit the mat and try and knock off the accumulation of fat from all-you-can-eat-buffets.


Jul 17, 2013

Laercio Fernandes Seminar

Laercio Fernandes seminar yesterday at Breaking Point MMA...(all week in fact, but I can only attend Tuesday's class)

The Cobrinha "Cobra"

Laercio taught the beginner class at 6:00pm and showed a few key details for armbar from the guard as well as an interesting way to transition into the triangle. I find each time I see a high level guy doing these basic techniques, I see some little detail that makes me say "a-ha"!

In the advanced class at 7:00pm we learned a few high level guard passes from when your opponent has the DLR hook in. I think slowly my comfortability with the DLR hook is getting better.

Instead of rolling we did a "shark tank" with 5 or so guys starting from guard, and the rest of the class lining up on the wall waiting their turn to have a chance to pass their guard. I started on the mat and had a fairly good string of sweeps going. The highlight was hitting an omaplata from guard.. I think it is the first time I have sub'ed someone from an omaplata. Definitely a high point for my BJJ game this month...


Jul 8, 2013


The talent runs pretty deep here..

This pic is from the Saturday class at Breaking Point MMA (Dan Hale BJJ). We had a lot of high level guys from around the GTA drive out to Burlington to roll. The session went 2 1/2 hours. Awesome time... I think everyone enjoyed it.

Thanks Dan, it was awesome


Jul 5, 2013

Old Worn Belts

I have a facination when ever I see pics of worn out Brazillian Jiu Jitsu belts. The rolling, drilling, blood, sweat, and tears that go into shaping these "works of art" (or smelly, salty, strips of shredded cotton..depending how you see it) amazes me.

As I find them on the internet, I will post them here to archive them.

Oh... and no traditional martial art belts.. I'm sure roundhouse kicking the air wears them out fast, but you won't find them here.


Measuring Your Progress Against Teammates

I read an interesting post from Jackjitsu over on Jiu Jitsu Forums..

He explains progress between teammates as two intersecting sinewaves that ramp up together. Both of you plateau at different times, and peak at different times.

You're the green, your teamate is the red 

I love this example/analogue as it sums up those times when I easily tap out my teammate one week, only to be smashed the next week.

I think the moral of what jack was trying to say is that regardless of the short term "ups and downs", when you look at it on a longer timeline it is easy to see the upward trend of both of you.

Jun 11, 2013

Panic, Loss, & Growth

For those who do not recognize it, This is the face of panic... MY panic.

I remember this exact moment of being trapped under this large man, whom quickly dismantled my game and left me no room. All my jiu jitsu technique was gone from my mind, and I squirmed and bench pressed my way for tiny openings to breathe. I was being systematically crushed. Panic washed over me because "nothing was working". I desperately wanted to escape, not to try and win, but just to get away from the pressure. I was exhausted, I was mentally broken, I wanted out.

20 seconds later, he gave me my wish with a looping lapel choke.

I laid there for a few seconds looking up at the gym ceiling's lights. What happened? Why had my Jiu Jitsu failed me?  Shame overcame me as I made eye contact with my beautiful wife. I had let her down. I walked off the mat towards my team with my head hung low and after a few sympathetic back slaps I retreated to the bleachers to be alone.

I was unsure of what to take away from this experience. I had let my team, my wife,and myself down. I had endured a few weeks of stress preparing for this event and had dreaded it since signing up for it. Overall I had not enjoyed anything about this experience...

That was then...(May 2012).

Here is a little of what I have learned...

I look back on that experience as the catalyst for significantly improving my game. That thought of being trapped and immobilized became the motivating factor for working on escapes, controlling the hips with my open guard, for losing weight, and ultimately pushing me to a new level in my BJJ. Without that "reality assessment" of my game, I would not have the much more rounded game I have today.

I also re-watched the competition footage again, and focused solely on the people in the background. I was so worried I had every eye on me, and felt like each mistake I made was loudly discussed by the viewing public. Each of the people in attendance watching, judging, commenting. I came to the quick realization that NOBODY cared whether I won or lost (I mean people not directly in my life). Some people in the video are causally watching the matches, or focusing on warming up, or conversing with the people around them. I laugh at how egotistical I was in thinking everyone would drop whatever they were doing to watch/comment on my match, and how nervous I was that that might happen.

Finally, since this competition I have met and befriended the person I competed against. Before the competition, I googled all of my potential opponents names to learn about them. I became stuck on him because he seemingly had the most experience and outweighed me by 30 or so pounds. I built him up in my head so much that I feared facing him. When we were slated to meet in that tournament, I was already nervous before stepping on the mat. Fast forward from that competition to a month ago when I changed to Dan Hale's school and I was shocked to find out he trained there. During our first class together I introduced myself, and we partnered together for drills. He was pleasant and laid back; not the person I had built up in my head... We casually rolled during regular training and I found that I was much more effective this time around.
I guess what I learned is that in competition, I am my own worst enemy. I build things up in my head so much that I have a huge adrenaline dump afterwards. In the end I have to accept loss as a possibility, and understand that working myself up too much was my own undoing.  


May 28, 2013


I have always felt that with each technique I am shown, I will not use it until it is somehow "perfect" or I have perfected it. That it won't work on anyone until I have refined it to some sort of level I set for myself.

Each technique that I am shown somehow goes into this "magical queue"in my mind where it is waiting to be worked on...Kind of like that waiting room in Beetlejuice, stuck there for all eternity.

I am caught in this vicious cycle. I don't use a technique because it isn't perfect, but I never work on them so they don't get any better...

I feel my ego creeping in again. If I try for the triangle and it fails, who cares?

At least I learned something...what not to do!!


May 26, 2013

Handmade Custom BJJ Belt: Update

Since my post "Handmade BJJ Belt: Reviewing My Eosin Panther" has been so popular, I decided to do a follow up.

I got this belt in July of 2012 (11 months ago at the time of this writing) and have thoroughly enjoyed it. It "feels" like a proper belt, worthy of being around my waist. Each time I reach down and collect it after a hard roll, I can feel how it was handcrafted with care. Time and effort went into this belt.

I have come to love the "waxy" feel of the quality cotton it is made from. Even though the stitching has been put through numerous machine washes, none of the stitches have let go. It is wearing nicely around the edges, and the inner core is beginning to peak through. It is showing wear that only hard fought battles can produce.

It is a source of pride, and is immensely satisfying...

Awesome belt, enough that I ordered a purple belt.. review coming soon :)


Like this Review?? Please Comment Below, And Click Here For My Other BJJ Product Reviews
 This review represents my own opinions. I am not an expert by any means in cotton, garment construction, or fabric stress. I am just a regular BJJ student who loves Jiu Jitsu. I consider myself as independent and impartial as one can get. I am not sponsored by Eosin, and I paid for this belt out of my own hard earned money If you have any questions about this review, please comment below or email me at lifevsjiujitsu@gmail(dot)com I hope you enjoyed the large detailed photos I included; it is something I think many reviews are lacking. Thanks for reading. 


May 24, 2013

Operation:Assertiveness...The First Day


Last night, I went for it...

I started in a neutral position, I fought for the submission. It was an interesting change of pace and felt "right" for lack of a better word.

Old habits die hard, and I must remain conscious of staying offensive.. but last night was a good start..


I took one to the groin last night from someone trying to recover guard... I instantly felt nauseous, and was doubled over in pain

I have not been bagged like that in my adult life. Perhaps I should try wearing an athletic cup again...

Fuck that sucked


New Road...Diet...Exercise...Flexibility...And BJJ

Since I have changed direction in my BJJ journey, I want to outline a new set of goals and strategies. I should start with Diet


I have always thought of slipping into laziness as one big slide. Something that has large clear signs to watch out for. In reality, I find that my fitness progress slides to a standstill much more deceptively. Laziness becomes a warm blanket I wrap myself in. It becomes easily acceptable to take the easy way out and NOT do any kettlebell swings, or run, or sweat. It is only after realizing that it has been a few weeks since I wrapped my hand around a bell, or did a decent push-up that I recoil in horror..

Did....did I...just completely fall off the wagon (or "on"... I can never remember which one it is)?

What happened? When did I accept my old diet back into my life?.. Gooey, cheesy, pizza three times this month? WTF?

No more......... NO MORE.... I WILL get back to my diet "winning ways".. this has only been a small hiccup in an otherwise great weight loss process.

Salads for lunch, portion control, Home cooked food, controlled fasting, all easily obtainable and repeatable goals... I feel better emotionally, spiritually, and mentally when I control my diet.


Exercise has definitely been lacking in my life. When I have a hard rolling session, I wake up the next day weak and tired... definitely not where I was 6 months ago. To fix that, I will do:
  • 10 min Kettlebells after class Tuesday, Thursday, Saturday
  • 20 min Kettlebells at home Monday, Wednesday and Friday
  • Sunday is rest day.
  • I will take the stairs at every opportunity 
  • I will walk around the block after lunch each workday
  • Protein shake each night 30 mins before bed


I have also not met my flexability goals.. I heard somewhere that being flexible takes just as much effort as building large muscles..
  • Morning stretches before getting in the shower to loosen tight areas.
  • Use the back roller to stretch out my back
  • Occasional Bikram yoga
  • Use the stability ball


My game is lacking in several area's and I have allowed the dexterity in my legs to become my sole focus on skill improvement. This needs to change, as it is providing diminishing returns
  • I will focus on a more offensive game and stop "flopping" on my back. This is my ego in disguise. If I start in that position and I get tapped,  I can mentally say "Well you started in a bad position so it doesn't really count.
  • Flopping on my back, also sets the tone of "I am going to defend instead of attack".
  • I will write down the lessons and key points I like... too often I think I will remember and do not..
  • I will be a better student. I will listen better, and stop being "defensive" in my learning. I will follow "Learning to Learn's" advice.
  • I will loosen up... Jiu jitsu is fun. 

May 23, 2013

Operation: Assertiveness...fighting lazy Jiu Jitsu

I read JoshJitsu's great post on assertiveness as a part of your BJJ game. I suggest you read it first.


I agree wholeheartedly that this is a major problem in my BJJ development, I will wait for my opponent to make a mistake, instead of actively working to improve my situation and finish my opponent.  This approach assumes:

  • Your opponent will make a mistake
  • You will know how to capitalize on that mistake...
This is what I call "Lazy Man Jiu Jitsu".
Just chillin'
This style of game IS effective...assuming your opponent has almost no grappling skill. My mindset has always been that as long as I defend, my opponent will inevitably "wear out" after trying countless times and become tired and helpless.

I was recently tapped out repeatedly to two different white belts at the new academy I am training at. 
After the roll, I assumed the reason for this was they were due for a promotion, or that they were younger/stronger/faster... or it was their "day".

Perhaps some of that was true, but after reflecting on it for a week or so, I have come to the conclusion that I was not actively fighting back. I was defending against their attacks, but not really attacking. If I am never really threatening them with attacks, then they are free to just chip away at my defense till they find a hole... 

What my defense looked like after 10 min rounds of attacks
Not a good scenario.

I think somewhere along the way(perhaps because of my lack of tournaments), I deemed it was OK to wait out the clock during a roll. Now I am in an academy where they are constantly attacking and I fins I am running for my life. I always seem to be under attack.

NEW ROAD: Attack.. Try.. make mistakes.. focus on offense instead of defense...

Update: I found this great article on how modern BJJ players DO NOT get tired like they did in the old days

http://www.innerbjj.com/2013/05/evolution-of-bjj.html Great read.

Changes...New BJJ Club

Life is funny... Change is funny

I quit the dojo I was a part of for the last three years, and went on a search to find a new home. I wanted to take my jiu jitsu more seriously, and needed something different. There were politics involved (when aren't there?), but at the core, I wanted to learn a more modern style of jiu jitsu. De La Riva, Berimbolo, 50/50 etc...

Leaving my old dojo was an emotional process. It feels very much like turning your back on the brothers (and sisters). You sweat, bleed, laugh, cry, share, win and lose together, and now effectively I am telling them they are no good, and (selfishly) pursuing a different path. I can see this hurting friendships.
BJJ is such a small subgroup that it would be great if we didn't have team/dojo alliances, or were able to avoid "us vs them" mentality. It would be great to bond together under a common love, but that is not reality...

I am afraid that possibly the next time I get to roll with some of my old teammates.. it will be under tournament conditions... that makes me sad.

 Before leaving, I spread myself out far and wide. I wanted to try out a few other clubs around the Toronto area. I had a list of criteria  (in rough order of importance)

  • distance from home, 
  • skill set, 
  • class size, 
  • instructor lineage, 
  • less "formal" or "traditional"
  • price

I tried a few different places, some good, some bad. Some where I was instantly the most experienced, others where I was smashed and hurt by the end of the night... It was an eye opening experience. Overall I never felt like I was "drowning" at my belt level.. but most places I had to swim pretty fast(In retrospect, I probably couldn't keep that pace for long)

I finally settled on Dan Hale at Breaking Point Martial Arts.

Dan is a purple belt under Cobrinha. He is extremely technical, runs a great place, and fields an active competitive team. After a couple of class it became apparent that Dan's students are friendly, welcoming, and most importantly to me.. extremely skilled and technical. I can not get away with any mistakes or "lazy jiu jitsu" all of the blue belts WILL capitalize on my mistake. There are skilled people here and "iron forges iron" I think I have made the right choice.

I like Dan's approach to rolling as well, he mandates 10 minute rounds in his classes.. this quickly separates the strong from the technical. Very few strong guys can keep up that pace for ten minutes.. it forces you to address energy conservation.

Great instructor, great place, great choice


Feb 20, 2013

Jean Jacques Machado vs Roy Harris Classic Match


Jean Jacques Machado vs Roy Harris at Joe Moreira's Black Belt Challenge in 1998...

A BJJ legend vs a member of the BJJ Dirty Dozen

I think it is Rigan that is yelling instructions to his brother during this video... definitely a cool piece of history.

Jan 21, 2013

Kyra Gracie Interview 2013

Kyra Gracie hosted a seminar at our school (a first for the Toronto area!) At the Seminar, the guys from JITS magazine stopped in to interview her.

I found this through DSTRYRsg blog post HERE

Cool Interview...We need more Role models in modern society

Some quick Seminar Photos

Jesslyn brought Mackenzie along to the seminar, and we snapped this pic...

Mack's Shirts Says "Jiu Jitsu Black Belt From Birth"..:)
Cool Seminar, filled with tons of small details and little "fixes" to help make certain situations more manageable. One of the more technical seminars I have been to, I definitely recommend her.