Category: BJJ News

Crucifix Seminar Handout

With my crucifix and reverse omoplata seminar just over a week away (Sun, May 5 at Steel City Martial Arts in Pittsburgh), I wanted to share a handout that we’ll be giving to participants. If we can get our act together in time, we’ll also be giving attendees notepads and pens for note taking.

The seminar is being put on by Artéchoke Media, a Jiu-Jitsu publishing start-up founded by Marshal D. Carper. Marshal and I are also working on an instructional together, but we’re staying mum on the details until they we’re closer to release. Hint: you can safely guess the topic is related to the seminar.

This handout doesn’t cover everything that I’ll be teaching, but it hits the basics that I will definitely cover. It’s as many key points as I could fit on one sheet of paper.

Crucifix Seminar Handout

The crucifix fits into a bigger game of attacking the back. You’ll discover it fills certain gaps and solves problems. Even if you don’t add the crucifix game, I hope to give you a fresh perspective on positioning and control, and make you think about the difference between “the fundamentals” and “the fundamentals of an advanced position.”

Crucifix Basics

We will start with a basic crucifix so you know what our goal is during each entry. The most common and obvious crucifix entry: countering a bad (head outside) single leg. The usual mistake is trying to throw a hook in to take the back, only to be dragged down. Taking the crucifix is the simpler thing to do.

Crucifix on the knees – Maintaining position

• Harness (seatbelt) grip, or one-on-one with free hand posted far in front
• Hips heavy on their shoulder, lean to their rear, pressure on the arm
• Knees pinched, ankles crossed or triangled on their “hip side”
• Use the pressure of your hips and legs to break their grip if they join their hands

Sideride Basics – Maintaining position and getting the crucifix

• Grips: Harness, double lapels, or spiral ride
• Drive knee in behind elbow and shoot it forward to expose arm
• Step or stomp foot over arm and drag heel back to trap arm
• Sometimes they will just grab your leg if you put it in front of them

Rolling to the traditional crucifix (laying face-up)

• Keep your “head side” leg bent to trap their arm as you roll
• Roll over your “hip side” shoulder (the other way is awkward and dangerous)

Traditional crucifix – Maintaining position

• Keep a very tight harness, or grab behind your head, or control their wrist
• Don’t let them join their hands and turn toward your legs
• Bridge so they don’t slide down to escape or push themselves too high

Reverse Omoplata

This submission is awesome and simpler than you think. Here it is in 5 easy steps:

1) Trap the arm. 2) Cross the arm. 3) Reach inside. 4) Roll. 5) Finish.


Crucifix seminar in Pittsburgh on May 5 (only $30!)

Who’s in Pittsburgh? Come train with me! I’ll be at Steel City Martial Arts on May 5 to give a seminar on the crucifix. You can RSVP on Facebook or by contacting Marshal Carper at

Here’s the full seminar info:

Matt Kirtley, the founder of, is giving a seminar on his favorite position, the crucifix. This seminar will introduce the crucifix position, explore entries, counters, recounters, transitions, and finishes (including the reverse omoplata). All skill-levels welcome.

Matt is a black belt under Eduardo de Lima and an accomplished jiu-jitsu writer. He will be available for privates and group privates following the seminar.


May 5, 11am-2:00pm at Steel City Martial Arts
3842 Library Road, Pittsburgh, PA 15234 (Directions)

  • $30 for full seminar
  • $100/hour for private
  • $60/hour per person for a group private

Please contact Marshal Carper to register. Spaces are limited.

Presented by Artechoke Media, promoting the organic growth of jiu-jitsu thought, theory, and technique.


Recent Updates

Let’s round up everything that’s happened around here since the last time I posted!

I made this video for‘s last Technique of the Month series on combinations:

Submission to Submission – Spin-behind kimura to same side armbar

What happened to the weekly tournament reports?

The BJJ DVD Project (and all my online project) have been put on hold since I got a new job. That’s good new to me and bad news to you. I’m still sitting on notes from ADCC 2009 that will be posted… eventually.

A very generous reader of the site sent me a VHS tape of the 1996 Mundials. Once I unearth the ancient technology to watch it, I will post a write-up on it.

What have you missed on my BJJ gear site?

Just today, a review of Rei-Gi’s exclusive Roger Gracie gi went up. Check that out.

You may have missed a review of Ronin’s Fighter gi and the interview with company’s owner where he had choice words for why BJJ gis cost so much more than their judo counterparts.

Fushida, “winners” of the 1st place rating in the 2011 BJJ Gi Survey, also sat down for an interview.

What’s coming soon for the gear site?

I’m sure I am driving some gi manufacturers crazy by taking months to test their gi and see if it really stands up to training (rather than just reviewing out of the box), but Black Eagle and BJJ Religion can soon breath a sigh of relief.

I’m also sitting on a mostly complete interview with Vince from Shoyoroll that I may just post in its current state.

Want to play PS3 games with me?

My PSN username is Fistfingers!


The Flow Podcast with

Episode 3 of The Flow Podcast by is now up. You can download on iTunes or listen using the embedded player on my site.

So what is this show even about? Emilio, the host, and I talk for close to an hour about topics like…

  • my background and the history of and BJJ blogging in general
  • the BJJ gi survey and its most interesting results so far
  • the good and bad that comes from Youtube jiu-jitsu
  • the ups and downs of training jiu-jitsu
  • about Eduardo de Lima, my instructor at Gracie Barra Clearwater
  • how teaching changes your perspective on BJJ
  • the role of competition in personal development
  • and even an alternative business model for instructional videos

The FightWorks Podcast #251: BJJ Gi Survey!

2011 BJJ Gi SurveyIn this week’s FightWorks Podcast, Caleb and I talk about the 2011 BJJ Gi Survey and how your participation will help the BJJ community (and your checkbook.) Here’s what Caleb wrote:

You spend a lot of time on the mats. It’s what Brazilian jiu-jitsu people do. You also may spend a lot of money to train BJJ. For example, we know that even two years ago more than half of the people who train were paying more than $100 per month for classes!

In the same way you want to make sure you get the most value for your training dollars, you want to also know that the gi you buy is going to give you exactly what you expected. Gis are expensive too, right? And the average price of a gi seems to be going up every year though many would probably say that the quality of the average gi is not changing very much.

Luckily there is someone very passionate about gathering information about gis out there. Aesopian, aka Matt Kirtley, began collecting information about jiu-jitsu practitioners’ opinions in 2009. And he’s now collecting data again!

This week on the “audio home of Brazilian jiu-jitsu”, we’ll speak with Matt and learn a little about this year’s gi survey, including:

  • why you should participate
  • how long it takes
  • what’s new in this year’s survey
  • what we can expect to learn from it


Even if you never get a chance to listen to today’s show, it’s important to take the 5 minutes and participate in the survey. Knowledge is power, so help make the jiu-jitsu community stronger by sharing your information in his survey!

[iTunes] Subscribe to the Podcast directly in iTunes (recommended)
[mp3] Download the show


Ranking Gis from Best to Worst

After reading the results of the gi survey from last year, a reader sent me an interesting series of emails about running an analysis of the data. Here’s what he had to show and tell:

I stumbled across your gi survey a while back and came back to it this weekend as I was looking for a new gi to buy. I decided to have a quick crack at analysing your dataset (actually just the question about favourite gis).

I cleaned up the data by using only responses from people who owned at least 2 gis, and who had listed one of those as their favourite. After that, for each pair of the 21 gi brands that were owned more than 10 times in the dataset, I counted the number of time the 2 brands were owned together and one of them was listed as the favourite, and which one was the favourite. I then ran a quick statistical test on the pairwise comparisons. I also summed up the numbers for each brand, to get an overall value of a brand versus all the others and ran a statistical test on that too.

According to the study:

1) Shoyoroll seems to be the best brand overall by quite a margin, so if you want the best gi no matter the price, this is your best bet.

2) Sirius and Padilla & Sons really stand out as the best deals by far given their high ranking and low price compared to every other brand analyzed. They both have very comparable rankings and prices so it’s hard to recommend one over the other.

3) If you want to try something different, go for Isami (but consider Shoyoroll, Sirius or Padilla & Sons first).

4) Of the 6 major brands identified in the survey (Atama, Koral, Gameness, HCK, Keiko Raca and Vulkan), Vulkan seems to be the best, followed in order by Koral, Keiko Raca, Atama, HCK and finally Gameness. So if you want a gi from one of the big brands, go for a Vulkan (or perhaps a Koral if you really don’t want a Vulkan).

5) At the other end of the spectrum, Krugans, Adidas and Kikskin seem especially bad.

This is a quick and dirty analysis but I hope you’ll find the results as interesting as I did. It actually made me buy a Padilla and Sons straight away, given the overall results above versus the price of the gi (plotting proportion against price would be an interesting graph too).


Seiji is Awesome! Reverse Omoplata in MMA

Skip to 14:40 for the finish.

Link to Youtube video. More videos of Seiji hitting this move in tournament are posted in the comments.

Seiji Sugiman-Marangos (Franco/Behring Jiu Jitsu):

“I first came across Matt’s (Aeso) rants on the virtues of the crucifix position and reverse omoplata as a white belt with less than a year’s experience in jiujitsu.  I thought that the technique looked really cool and began looking for the position during rolling.  It wasn’t until I used the technique to win a match while I was still a white belt that I started taking the position seriously and began corresponding with Matt to troubleshoot the technique as well as working with my coaches: Shah Franco, Marco Costa and Richard Nancoo, on integrating it into my game.

“For the past few years I’ve slowly been accumulating wins by reverse omoplata in the blue and purple belt divisions of the local tournament circuit. Ever since I had my first professional MMA bout last year I’ve had the thought in the back of my mind that one day I’d like to finish a fight by reverse omoplata.  During my most recent fight, hitting the technique was the furthest thing from my mind, but when I felt my opponent’s arm grab my leg I went to the position instinctively.  After executing the technique I think I was probably as surprised as my opponent as well as everyone else in attendance.

“The reverse omoplata is not a complicated or gimmicky move (most people learn how to front roll in their first BJJ class).  Although it may appear risky, I find that the most difficult part of the technique is the initial arm trap and not the roll-through, which is where you risk losing dominant position.  I wouldn’t advocate giving up back control with hooks (although I have been tempted in the past) but the reverse omoplata has been one of my main options from side-ride for almost as long as I have been training.”

Want to learn the move? The original reverse omoplata tutorial is up here.


Stephan Kesting’s Free BJJ DVD

Stephan Kesting emailed me last week to let me know about a freeBJJ/grappling DVD he is releasing and I wanted to pass the word along to everyone. You can watch a preview here or sign up to get the DVD here. I own all of Stephan’s DVDs and have been a big fan of him and his sites ( and the newer for years. It’s awesome that he is putting out this DVD since his original instructionals remain some of my favorites.

For those of you wondering, my knee is healing up fairly well and I’ve been easing back into training. Not 100% yet but it’s doing as well as I could hope. Leave a comment and let me know how your training has been going!


UPDATE: 10 Quick Tips on the FightWorks Podcast

Update! You can get 5 more tips in The FightWorks Podcast at the tail end of a really interesting show about the Pan Ams. Get it here.

This week Caleb of The FightWorks Podcast had me on to go over the first 5 of the 10 Quick Tips for White Belts. More interesting than that is Caique got his red and black belt from Rickson and sat down to talk about his introduction to the Gracie family, jiu-jitsu back in the day in Rio de Janeiro, his arrival in the United States, jiu-jitsu today, and much more. Check it out!