Each week of 2012, I’m watching a disc from my giant stack of BJJ tournament DVDs. This pile contains Mundials 1999-2005, Pan Ams 2001-2005, CBJJO Worlds, Marc Laimon’s banned Mundials and ADCC Remixes, dozens of Brazilian state championships, as well as special events like Rickson’s invitational and the So Cal Pro Am. I also have binder full of Grapplers Quests and ADCCs. (I will get more recent tournaments too.)

My goal is to work through years of Pan Ams, Mundials, ADCCs, and a bunch of random Brazilian state championships (and whatever else I have around). I’ll be taking notes on my observations.

Pan Ams 2003

This first week we watched bjjtapes.com’s DVD of the 2003 Pan Ams. Pe de Pano wins the black belt absolute, so I will write up my notes on him first.

PDP is gigantic. Only Werdum made him look normal sized, so Werdum is a hulk too.

PDP takes people down with drop seoi-nage, a surprise considering how he’s famous for being a giant guard monster. Of course, he also just pulls guard sometimes.

He steps on the hip and sits down to pull open guard. Sometimes this goes to closed guard, but he usually ends up in half guard as things progress.

From whatever guard he’s in (open or half), he fights to sit up on their leg (single leg guard) and pass their far sleeve between their legs and trap it. Then he steps on the far knee and pulls the collar for the sweep. (I can find a video if you don’t know what I’m talking about.) Eduardo once told me that if PDP gets this sweep, that means he wins the match. He just did his favorite move on you and now everything is how he wants it.

When he tries to work toward this move from half guard by getting the underhook, but he gets flattened out (or when they try to do the cross knee/knee cutter pass to push him down), he makes sure he has the low underhook around the back of their thigh. Then he twists up to his knees and does a simple single leg takedown/sweep, often with their far sleeve gripped between the legs (like he needed for the other sweep).

Most guys manage to at least recover guard as they are swept, but PDP moves right into over-under passes by sprawling out and driving forward. To end the pass, he often reaches his “under” hand to the end of the pants and stretches the leg away.

Once past the guard, he uses reverse scarf hold to secure the position before popping up to knee-on-belly. This is where he dominates them. He’ll switch from side to side, windshield wippering his feed over their hips. He’ll go back and forth between knee-on-belly and reverse knee-on-belly (or more accurately, sternum and chest.) He’ll also spin around above the head, often using reverse knee-on-belly first (so it’s just normal knee-on-belly after the spin.)

At first, I thought his constant switching was wasted motion. Sometimes he gets his ankle caught in half guard, but he smashes out of that. But he is a million pounds of knee pressure, and he does get reactions out of it. He taps Todd Margolis with knee-on-belly by itself.

That fight started with Todd working hard for low double leg takedowns on the ankles, with PDP just becoming a giant circus tent over him when he sprawled. They are scrambling a lot, Todd looks like he’s getting tired, and PDP (IIRC) gets a throw. He goes to knee-on-belly and pulls hard on the collar. Todd pushes on the knee for a second, it doesn’t move an inch, then he taps out.

In other fights, when they try to turn toward him and get the knee off, he spins around for the spinning armback (with the underhook) and/or takes the back. If he doesn’t get the armbar right away, he gets back control (harness or lapel control) and threatens collar chokes, armbars and even triangles.

In a fight against a very soft and pasty white guy, PDP sweeps and gets knee-on-belly, then gets the crucifix when they big guy flounders up to his knees. PDP finishes with a reverse omoplata.

Other Matches

The first match on the DVD has Werdum (I think) going for a loose De la Riva guard and getting his ankle busted by a rolling toehold. I saw two fighters get caught in toe holds and ankle locks that wore ankle braces in later matches.

Kenny Florian fights as a brown belt, but the match wasn’t too exciting, except for a very well timed collar drag/snapdown that unfortunately wasn’t finishes as they ran out of bounds.

Travis Lutter fought as a black belt, but I don’t remember anything exciting.

David Jacobs fought but spent most of the time trying to get double under passes to work that never seemed to get there.

Leticia Ribeiro has a good fight against an Asian black belt.

Marcio Feitosa fought, but I don’t remember anything but some grinding matches that end in points.

In the background of a boring match, I saw a black belt win with a loop choke from butterfly guard that ends with him spinning himself under side control (how I like to do it!)

Rener Gracie fought a few times. He is fun to watch because when he’s not going for leglocks, he’s doing Helio’s self defense BJJ. I believe it was Fabio Leopoldo that he beat by jumping to closed guard, attacking with a basic cross collar choke, then going to the triangle when Fabio reached in to defend his neck. He twisted to his belly and did a push up to roll into a mounted triangle.

Rener fought Gordo (the half guard creator) in a bizarre match. Rener jumps to closed guard and spends the first 2 minutes trying to do the basic cross collar choke. Gorgo does the basic thrusting collar choke defense. Rener climbs to a triangle. Gorgo defends by pulling the knee down and sprawing. For 7 minutes. Rener is pulling on everything as hard as he can, and even gets his foot hooked under Gordo’s chest. Gordo finally gets out then somehow manages to pass guard before the timer rings. Eduardo said Gordo told him he couldn’t feel half his body afterward.

Braulio Estima wins the brown belt absolute. Three matches stand out.

In one, he pulls guard and does a helicopter armbar from De la Riva by almost sweeping the guy straight over his head. This was slick.

He gets a nearside armbar from knee-on-belly that looked slick, but watching it in slow motion, his opponent practically gives it to him by turning away slowly (maybe he was trying to do a running escape?)

The last match is against this spazzy brown belt who is waving his hands like crazy and ducking and weaving and running circles around the mat when they start. Braulio just stares at him, then grabs an ankle pick. The guy puts both hands on the floor with his ass up, and Braulio hops on to his back with two hooks and rolls into a basic collar choke for the tap. Spazzy brown belt lays on the floor in shame for a minute and doesn’t want to hang out for the hand raising.