Absolute MMA Takes Home Team Honors at Champion Grappler Jiu Jitsu Tournament

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Absolute MMA team members took the most recent Champion Grappler’s event by storm. This Utah grappling team took the top score with 9 points above the nearest team. They all fought hard and applied the technique they train in class. … Continue reading

Your first Brazilian Jiu Jitsu class.

So you’re going to your first Brazilian Jiu Jitsu class and you don’t know what to expect. That’s not uncommon, it’s new, it’s unfamiliar, it’s to be expected that you won’t know what to expect. We’re going to talk about a few things that, hopefully, will set your mind at ease.

Let’s talk a little about your motivations for going to a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu class in the first place. There are many reasons a person decides to take up BJJ. There are those of us who are looking for an unconventional (and highly effective) way to get or stay in shape. Maybe we live in a rough part of town and want to learn to defend ourselves. Perhaps you have the hopes and aspirations of being a cage fighter. There are many reasons and all are valid. There’s one underlying goal which ties them all together: Learning. We’re all there to learn. It should be our priority and if you ask anyone who’s practiced Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for any length of time, they’ll tell you it’s inevitable. You WILL learn regardless of whether you’re in the right mind-set or not. But it’s important, to get the most out of your experience, to be in the right mind-set.

You’ve made your way to the gym, it’s your first day, you have your Gi on… or maybe you don’t, that’s okay. Someone has shown you how to tie your belt and class is about to start. (If the students have not already introduced themselves to you, introduce yourself to them. They don’t bite). You get through the warm-ups, you’re already starting to sweat; breathe heavily and are wondering if you’re going to be able to make it.

“How do these guys bend their bodies this way? Did that guy just do a somersault??? I’ve never moved my body this way in my life! Who knew my head was this heavy?!”

The instructor begins to teach the technique(s) for the day. The instructor, in most cases, is a professor of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu; a black belt. In some cases the instructor may be a lower ranking belt designated by the Professor to teach for the day. In other cases a lower-than-black-belt instructor is all that’s available in the area. That’s okay, too. They will more than likely be able to teach you quite a bit. The instructor will demonstrate a few techniques and allow each of the students to practice them on each other in break-out sessions. They will bring the group back together occasionally adding details and perfecting the movements to complete the techniques. They will also be available to answer questions in-between instruction. Don’t be afraid to ask.

“What is an armbar? D’arce? Guillotine? Triangle Choke? Wait… Choke? No one said anything about chokes… I didn’t sign up for this!”

After the instructor… well… instructs, it’s time to put into practice what you know. (If this is your first class, then it is very little, if any. Which is okay). We call this “rolling”. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is unique in that we can practice our sport with 100% resistance from our opponent with a reasonable expectation of not getting hurt. Which is unlike boxing, or other striking arts where if you sparred with your partner at 100% someone is going to end up getting hurt. In a lot of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu schools, beginners don’t take part in “rolling” on their first day. A lot of times, they don’t even roll until they’ve learned the basics: Guard, Mount, Half-Guard, Back-mount, Side-mount, Half-mount; basic grips, holds, movements; submission defenses, etc.. It is always up to you to decide when you’re ready to jump in during rolling time. Don’t be afraid jump in and get going but don’t hesitate to say: “I’m not quite ready” if you don’t feel quite up to it.

First and foremost: Your training partners are not trying to hurt you. They’re there to learn just as much as you’re there to learn. If you do feel like your partner is trying to hurt you, tell someone. It’s likely they’re newer to the sport as well, and don’t realize they’re being potentially harmful. Your safety is important and you have the right to request a different, more experienced partner to train with if you feel your safety is at risk. Conversely, you are not there to hurt your partner either. It’s important to remember, especially when training with a more experienced partner, that they’re going to match your speed/intensity/strength/etc.. That is to say: they’re going to go just as hard as you… or just as light. If they feel that you’re trying to hurt them, they’re going to do something to prevent that and it will more than likely not end in your favor… which leads me to my next point.

You are going to get submitted. You will tap. You will say “uncle”. This is not a bad thing. It is, in fact, a good thing. You and your training partner are each working on different parts of your respective games. In this case your partner is working on their submissions and you are working on recognizing the submission and tapping early. Tapping early to inform your partner that the hold/lock/choke/etc. has been applied effectively and that you’re “submitting”. That’s right: Tapping. Early. Don’t try to see how long you can hold out before tapping. As soon as you recognize you may be in trouble, tap. Tap your hand, at least twice, on your partner’s body (anywhere). If you’re unable to move your hands, say: “tap” loud enough for your partner to hear. Sometimes we have to use our feet to tap, but those are rare cases. Tapping is something we should do a lot of and, as I said earlier, a good thing. Try to see every tap as an opportunity to learn. Learning happens on both ends: your partner learns what is and isn’t an effective way to apply that submission and you learn how to recognize the submission in order to avoid it next time. Whatever you take away from each tap is up to you. Whether it be “I’m not going to get submitted that way again”, or “What did I let happen in order for that submission to be applied?”. Take these questions to your instructor, ask that your partner repeat what just happened and break it down for you, then ask how you could have prevented it. What you take away from it will depend heavily on your mental attitude. “Man, I SUCK!”, “I can’t believe this LITTLE GUY is submitting me AGAIN”, or “I lift weights, I should be able to SMASH this guy!” will more than likely hinder your progress toward preventing it from happening again and learning Jiu Jitsu in general. That being said, if you are ever uncomfortable for any reason, tap. If you can’t breathe, tap. If you feel like you’re going to vomit, tap. If you’re panicking for any reason whatsoever, tap. Our training partners have been conditioned to stop whatever they’re doing and give us space to recover when they feel someone tap on them. There’s no wrong reason to tap.

Breathe! This cannot be emphasized enough. We need oxygen for our minds and muscles to work properly. If you’re not getting enough (because you’re holding your breath) then neither of the two will be working right. It’s easier said than done, we know. Try to be mindful of when you’re grunting and holding your breath when exerting yourself. It happens a lot when we try to push someone off of us or try an explosive move. We hold our breath and strain against whatever it is we’re trying to move (ourselves, someone else… or both!). Holding our breath while exerting ourselves can cause injury, let alone makes it significantly more difficult to accomplish the movement we’re attempting. Everyone who has never grappled, or doesn’t continue to grapple on a regular basis is out of shape for BJJ. There’s no two ways about it. You cannot be in shape for your first Brazilian Jiu Jitsu class before you get to your first Brazilian Jiu Jitsu class. Expect to wear yourself out and prepare for it. You will sweat a LOT, especially if you’re wearing a Gi. Bring water. Drink water all day leading up to class. Be hydrated beforehand so you don’t have to worry about it while you’re in class. Sip water if you need to, to maintain your hydration, but you should already be hydrated by the time you get there.

While all of this is happening, while you’re sweating and breathing heavy, while you’re tapping and getting smashed, tossed, rolled-up, flipped and flopped, learning and having fun is of paramount importance. I’ve heard a Grand Master say: “If you’re not having fun, you’re doing it wrong”. Have fun and learn. All the while accomplishing the goal you set out to attain. Whatever it may be.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a very dynamic and effective martial art, with some potentially harmful locks and holds. When practiced in a controlled and constructive environment it is 100% safe and can be applied without injury. Now, that’s not to say that accidents don’t happen. You run the risk of stubbing your toe every time you get up in the middle of the night for a glass of water. Understanding these risks is key to preventing them. Application of the things mentioned in this post can minimize risk, but that’s not to say there aren’t more things we can do to ensure our safety and the safety of our training partners. Use your head for more than just keeping your ears apart.

So, let’s recap:
No one is trying to hurt you. Don’t try to hurt them.
You will get submitted. Tap. Early.
Ask questions.
Breathe!
Drink water.
Have fun :)
Most importantly: Learn!!!

Once you get past your first Brazilian Jiu Jitsu class, these things will get easier. Just take it one class at a time.

Marcio Corleta Seminar tonight at Absolute MMA

World Champion Jiu Jitsu fighter Marcio Corleta will be here tonight! $50.00 will allow you to train with a multiple time World Champion and Pan Am Champion! Marcio Corleta is a top level competitor and always leaves his heart and experience on the mat with us. His specialty is guard fighting and I’m sure he will be showing us high percentage techniques. Start time for the seminar is 6:00 pm tonight, June 5th and ends at 9:00 pm. The same for Wednesday, June 6th. The price is the same for one or both days. Come train with us and improve your Jiu Jitsu at Absolute MMA!

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Champion to Teach at Absolute MMA

We just got word! Marcio Corleta, 4th degree black belt under Grand Master Flavio Behring, multiple time Mundial and Pan Am Champion and former Jiu Jitsu coach to Mirko Cro Cop, will be here this week! Tuesday and Wednesday from 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm he will be teaching Absolute MMA members Brazilian Jiu Jitsu techniques that he has perfected over many years of practice. The price is $50.00 for both days of instruction, Tuesday and Wednesday. This is a rare opportunity to train with a champion and competitor of this caliber. Marcio always gives from his experience and doesn’t hold back his knowledge. Don’t miss this chance to improve your Jiu Jitsu with a multiple time champion of the highest order!

Jiu Jitsu in Utah Shines at NAGA tournament

Absolute MMA entered thirteen competitors at the North American Grapplers Association (NAGA) tournament last weekend. We took home 19 medals! Twelve 1st place finishes, four 2nd place finishes and three 3rd place finishes. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is one of the foundations of our program. Under Professor Rob Handley, we learn and demonstrate the quality of his instruction and teaching methods. We are constantly improving our technique and challenging each other to improve our game. This is evidenced in the performance of our team last Saturday. Here are the individual results from the event. Congratulations to all our competitors, win or lose. We are proud of you all.

Mens NO-GI Novice Feather Weight
3rd Place Matt Belchak
Mens GI White Belt Feather Weight
2nd Place Matt Belchak

Mens NO-GI Intermediate Feather Weight
1st Place Denver Merrifield-Nirva
Mens GI Blue Belt Feather Weight
1st Place Denver Merrifield – Nirva

Mens NO-GI Expert Light Weight
1st Place Cameron Dansie
Mens GI Purple Belt Light Weight
1st Place Cameron Dansie

Mens NO-GI Intermediate Super Heavy Weight
2nd Place Ryan Williamson
Mens NO-GI Expert Super Heavy Weight
3rd Place Ryan Williamson

Womens NO-GI Expert
1st Place Rebecca Rodriguez
Womens GI Expert
1st Place Rebecca Rodriguez

Mens GI Blue Belt Light Weight
1st Place Justin Mitterling

Mens GI Blue Belt Cruiser Weight
1st Place William DaBell

Mens GI Blue Belt Super Heavy Weight
3rd Place Jared Fackrell
Mens GI Masters White Belt Super Heavy Weight
1st Place Jared Fackrell

Mens GI Purple Belt Cruiser Weight
1st Place Bentley Garner

Mens GI Masters Blue Belt Light Weight
2nd Place Eric Ciffone

Mens GI Directors Expert
1st Place Pedro Sierra

Kids NO-GI Beginner 49.9 lbs. and Under 7 & 8 year olds
2nd Place Mason Ciffone
Kids GI Beginner 49.9 lbs. & Under 7 & 8 year olds
1st Place Mason Ciffone

Utah MMA Gym Sparks Weight Loss.


Ruben Cervantes is one of our student successes. Ruben has been a student here since March of 2011. In that time, he has lost 20 pounds and drastically improved his fitness. Ruben came to us with the goal of losing 30 pounds, going from 185 to 155. As you can see he is well on his way. One of our regulars for the morning class, Ruben trains four days a week, both Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. He trains hard, pushing himself when his body wants to give up and breaking the physical limits he used to have.

Ruben is one of many stories at Absolute MMA that have achieved their goal of weight loss. There are many more on our team that could tell a similar story. The positive attitude and teamwork that is present every day helps us all to better ourselves and each other.

We are proud of Ruben and all our teammates who have made progress with weight loss and improved fitness. We look forward to sharing more success stories with you. See you on the mat!

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Student Spotlight


Our student spotlight this month is Hassan Campos. Hassan is seventeen and a student at Copper Hills High School. Hassan is quiet, respectful and serious about learning Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, which he has been doing since March of 2011. He comes to class ready to learn and has been doing so quietly and well. The first hurdle any person has to face when learning BJJ is how to survive. Hassan has met this challenge and is starting to overcome it. More and more people are mentioning how difficult it is to submit him and how increasingly difficult it is to maintain control and position on him. Hassan also comes regularly to the take down class on Wednesday evenings at 6:00 pm. There also he has steadily improved both his offense and defense in this very demanding and difficult discipline.

In a time when many try to draw attention by talking loud or often about themselves, Hassan stands out by being quiet, working hard and respectfully seeking out instruction. Hassan asks intelligent questions, puts time and effort into practicing the repetitions that improve his skill and doesn’t complain. While this is refreshing in any individual, it is especially so in one his age.

At Absolute MMA, those of us who have more experience share what we have with those who are less experienced. That means helping new people understand movement and techniques, gym etiquette and giving them just the right amount of resistance when working as a non-cooperative partner. Hassan does this well and without ego. He is an excellent example of a martial artS student. We are proud to have Hassan as a part of our Absolute MMA team.

Hassan just competed in his first Jiu Jitsu tournament Saturday,The 2nd Annual Wasatch Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Youth Tournament. He took 2nd place! Congratulations, Hassan! Well done.

Grand Master Flavio Behring Seminar in August!


Grand Master Flavio Behring is coming to Utah! Absolute MMA will be hosting a seminar by Grand Master (GM) Flavio on August 6th. This will be a gathering of all Flavio Behring Jiu Jitsu schools in the United States bringing students and instructors from Arizona, California, Montana and Utah.

There will, of course, be instruction from GM Flavio, one of the leading experts on the planet in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. GM Flavio always provides details and specifics about all of the techniques he shares as anyone can attest to that has participated in one of his seminars. GM Flavio is an open and giving teacher and will share his wealth of knowledge with a first week beginner the same as he would a twenty year veteran practitioner of the art.

Promotions are always a part of the excitement at GM Flavio’s seminars. We all get to share in the pride and accomplishment of our teammates. It’s a great feeling to be a part of each other’s success, knowing that we all rely on each other to improve. Their improvement is a direct result of working with each and every one of us. It is also prestigious to be promoted by one of the few Red Belt Grand Masters in the world. Bragging rights and authenticity insured.

Absolute MMA invites all who want to gain skill and be a part of a great experience to sign up for this fantastic event. Call (801) 255-1166 for details or stop by the gym at 7800 South 1338 West in West Jordan, Utah. Don’t miss meeting and working with a Jiu Jitsu Legend.

Excellent weight loss at MMA gym in Utah!

Pedro, “Hey Ivan! How are you today?”
Ivan, “I’m doing so damn good it would kill a mortal man!”

Hey gang! Remember Ivan? He was our student spotlight a little while ago. This is an update on his progress. As of June 1, 2011 Ivan has lost 30 pounds in his three months with us! He has also been directed by his physician to cut his high blood pressure medication in HALF! Ivan continues to be positive in every interaction he has with the staff and every other member here. Ivan is famous for his quotes as you can tell from the above statement. What a remarkable story. Ivan is one of many of our students who have been able to achieve and far exceed their goals as a result of their dedication, hard work, consistency and the training they receive at Absolute MMA. We are proud to have Ivan with us as one of many who have used us as a means to make positive change in their life. I know of many more Absolute Team Members who can give similar accounts of their achievements. We are proud of you all.

So you think girls can’t fight?


Here’s Rebecca and Rickey working on their Jiu Jitsu. Absolute MMA teaches Jiu Jitsu to men, women and children. Young and old, no experience needed. You don’t have to want to be a fighter to learn everything the fighters do. Statistics show that women and girls who play sports have higher self-esteem, which leads to more confidence, fewer teen pregnancies, and a host of other positive side effects. Choosing Jiu Jitsu as your sport also increases your ability to defend yourself should the need arise. What are you waiting for?