Category: BJJ News

News about seminars, tournaments, schools, and instructors.

If you’ve missed me, check Panda Nation

Updates to has been glacial slow in recent years, but that’s not to say I haven’t been busy. Since the beginning of 2016, I have written over 20 articles for the Inverted Gear blog, created over 65 (and counting) White Belt Wednesday videos with Hillary and Nelson, and I may or may not have been a crazed Adidas-wearing panda ninja that chased Nelson around his house with a katana. One of my blog posts even resulted in this t-shirt becoming a real thing:


The purpose of this post is to catalog all that activity in one place.

White Belt Questions, Black Belt Answers:

Solo Drills: Horizontal Movements

My posts to the Inverted Gear Blog:

  1. You Learn Even on the Bad Days
  2. 5 Ways to Take Ownership of Your Progress Today –
  3. How to Fully Develop Your Grappling Gameplan
  4. Building Your Gameplan Around Combo Attacks
  5. The Best Way to Learn from Instructionals
  6. 5 Tips to Keep You on the Long Road to Black Belt and Beyond
  7. Surviving the First Year of BJJ: A Crash Course for White Belts
  8. Advice for Newbie White Belts and Anxious Blue Belts
  9. Getting Through the Blue and Purple Belt Growing Pains
  10. What It Means to be a Brown Belt and How to Make Progress Towards Black
  11. 10 Ways to Improve Your BJJ While Off the Mats
  12. 5 Simple Tips for Fixing Your Wrecked Body
  13. What Drives Success in BJJ
  14. Finding the Right BJJ School for You
  15. How to Teach for Maximum Knowledge Retention
  16. Adventures in Reaping Land: A Review of Reilly Bodycomb’s Rdojo Camp
  17. The Four Corners of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
  18. Becoming a BJJ Houdini
  19. The Black Belt Secret to Jiu-Jitsu Excuses
  20. Are you playing to win or just not lose?

More content is always in the works, so follow Inverted Gear to get it while it’s hot.


Flipping the BJJ Classroom with Bruce Hoyer

Last week a friend directed me to a video called “How I teach BJJ” by black belt Bruce Hoyer. In the video, Bruce explains how he has converted his school to the “flipped classroom” model, inspired by a recent movement to reform education made popular by organizations like Khan Academy.

In an academic setting, a flipped classroom has students watching online videos of lectures on their own, then coming to class to do their practice problems, group discussions, hands-on projects, etc. with the teacher going around to give one-on-one attention. Bruce has adopted this for his BJJ classes at Next Edge Academy in Sioux Falls, SD. Watch his explanation:

Watch “How I teach BJJ” on Youtube.

As you read through the Q&A with Bruce below, you’ll see mixed in videos by cognitive scientist Robert Bjork as he talks about the science of learning that supports Bruce’s approach to teaching.

Q: As an instructor, did you have any mental blocks that made it difficult to get away from the classic class model?

A: The biggest mental block I had to overcome was the fact that I had yet to see anyone teach this way so I assumed it must not be a proper way to instruct. I kept researching and researching and finally I just decided to take the leap because much of the information I read about learning pointed to this style of teaching. I made sure to keep one group learning the traditional way just to see the difference in the two groups.

Q: How much work was it to film the techniques and set up the online components? What would have made this easier?

A: The first step was building a curriculum. So far I have about 300 5-minute videos that I have filmed for the curriculum and they are kind of ever-evolving, so I am constantly making changes.

My first stab at this had things broke down into systems and I quickly realized this was a bad idea because the student could go a long time without learning basic positions and fundamentals.

The second version of my curriculum had techniques more widely scattered which worked better. The mind tries to make sense of everything so sometimes putting things in systems can, in my opinion, actually hurt people’s progressions because they are not coming to the conclusion on their own. Essentially I am giving them the dots and asking to connect them, rather than me showing them how they are connected. From everything I have read, if they come to this conclusion rather than having it given to them they will retain it better.

The third version I added moves before and after the move to help with association. So say the move is kimura from guard. The first class you would learn kimura from guard — that’s it. The second class would then be getting into guard and doing a kimura — so maybe you are escaping side and going into guard. The third class in this sequence, which is actually about 10 classes later, would be getting into the guard, doing a kimura then something after the move fails, maybe a guillotine or hip bump sweep. They get to pick the techniques before and after for the most part so they get to influence their game, so they start to associate the new move with moves they already know. I also purposely put it 10 classes after because that will force them to recall a move from a few weeks ago. The more they have to think about it, the better chance it will stick.

So long story short, to date that’s the best possible system I could come up with that and I would try to mimic that, but once the curriculum is set the videos don’t take long. Keep them short, 5-6 minutes per class tops so the person can review easily before class. Also on review days you don’t need to show the move again. Those review videos in my curriculum are me just talking about the concepts of the moves.

Q: Have you run into any unexpected problems implementing the flipped classroom model?

A: With a flipped classroom the problem I was surprised with was how quickly you have to convey to everyone what they are doing. Often I will yell out what everyone is doing that round and I only give myself 1 minute to do it in. If I have a class of 25 that’s a hard task to tell 13 people what move they are doing. The TVs helped with that. Now everyone can look but I still yell them out just as a confirmation that they understand.


In this system, the higher belts have to know the name of the moves by heart so they can help. This was difficult in the beginning too. All of our higher belts had to go back through the white belt curriculum so they knew what I meant. This is tough for new students from other schools coming in that were blue or purple belts already. I feel that it is necessary though.

The other big one is keeping up on lesson plans. It doesn’t take long, maybe 10 minutes tops for a class of 25 people, but sometimes you get sidetracked and the students are like “Hey, where is my lesson plan!?” The nice part is at least you know they care!

Q: I have seen concern that this method doesn’t suit the student who just wants to show up and not put in extra time outside class. Is this a concern you share?

A: I do often run into are people being unprepared. Most of my students are prepared which is great. However some don’t want to put in the work. At first this upset me, but later I understood that not everyone is looking to become the best. Some people just want to train and that’s fine. Now if someone hasn’t studied before they came in, they are the last person to drill so it doesn’t take away from others’ time, then I or a higher belt will show them how to do the move. I feel that even with them not preparing beforehand, they learn a lot. I just think it would sink in more if they reviewed the 5 minute video before class and after. Some of the students make notes after each class in their online notebook that I can see, and I think that further helps cement the learning process. The goal is to not make it detrimental to those trying to learn.

Q: What advice do you have for someone interested in trying the flipped classroom?

A: It’s a lot of work in the beginning and you should prepare for your students to reject it at first. It will feel super clunky for about 2 weeks then once people get the idea they really like it. It also makes for tougher learning in the sense that you have to bridge some of those gaps I talked about earlier. So people start to get frustrated when they can’t think of a move to do before or after, but like you have learned with “training dirty or ugly,” that’s often when the real progress is made. You start to form links and force your brain to remember these things because your brain has determined that they are essential. I am a huge fan of active recall. If I can get someone to remember move associations that they have built they are far more likely to remember it rather than telling them “do an armbar, now a triangle, now an omoplata.” For me that’s the biggest part.

I want to use as much research on learning as possible to develop a system where no matter who it is, they will learn at an accelerated pace. A lot of information is out there and we as a community refuse to use it because that is the way it has been done. Does the old system work? For sure! Can it be better? I think so.

Grapplers of the 1920’s took Judo and modified it into what today is known as BJJ. They broke traditions and evolved it to fit more body types and work for everyone. I feel like the same needs to be done in teaching, not only for BJJ but in schools in the USA as well. I still feel like I am maybe just now a blue belt at this learning stuff, so I think my personal system will change dramatically the more I learn.

With that being said, people shouldn’t be afraid to try new things with teaching. The best support I get is from my students because they know the hard work I put into it. When they see that, they try harder and it makes my goal easier to achieve. You have to really take time to set it up so it won’t fail. However, if you do put in the time, your students will love it. To my knowledge, I don’t have a single student that would prefer learning the other way and that speaks volumes to me.

If anyone is interested in trying it, please let me know I would be happy to lend a helping hand and maybe you can show me a better way!


Listen to me on Verbal Tap Cast!

Raf and Kevin had me on their show Verbal Tap Cast to talk about BJJ, MTG, D&D and our course my latest Indiegogo project. Listen to the show here.

Looks like my appearances on Open Mat Radio sparked a lover’s feud between Raf and his archnemesis Paul Moran.

Don’t forget to check out 3-D Jiu-Jitsu: An Introduction to Thinking Conceptually! This is the test model for what we hope to do with my crucifix and reverse omoplata instructional.

Marshal is giving away 10 copies of his latest Victory Belt book on his site!


Listen to me on Open Mat Radio!

Paul from Open Mat Radio had me on his show this week! You can listen to it here. It’s a long talk, but I think you’ll enjoy it.

I owe Paul a big thanks for offering an interview spot or a month of advertising on Open Mat Radio as a perk for backing our Indiegogo campaign.

Don’t miss Marshal’s free instructional 3-D Jiu-Jitsu: An Introduction to Thinking Conceptual to get a taste for what we hope to do with my bigger crucifix and reverse omoplata instructional.


I Need Your Help!

Today’s a big day! Today I launch the Indiegogo fundraiser for my crucifix and reverse omoplata instructional and Marshal D. Carper releases his free instructional 3-D Jiu-Jitsu: An Introduction to Conceptual Thinking.

Watch this video to learn why we need your help and why we’re releasing 3-D Jiu-Jitsu for free.

Super Magic New “eBook” Format

Take a look at a page of 3D Jiu-Jitsu, like 2-05 Ankle Grip Counter. You’ll see a written introduction to the technique, like with all BJJ books. You’ll see moving pictures, a feature usually reserved for the Harry Potter universe, with each technique being shown from several angles with animated GIFs. And to complete things, you can watch a video of the technique being taught, just like in any DVD. This was Marshal’s idea for a new mixed media ebook, and that’s what we plan to do for the crucifix and reverse omoplata that I love so much.

We hope you like the “text + gifs + video” format and how it works across every device with an internet connection. We’ve been testing it on Macs and PCs, iPads, iPhones, Android phones, and anything else we can find with a web browser and a screen. We have more refining to do, but we hope you like the new approach as much as we do.

What Your Support Means

Why do we need help with fundraising? Here’s the story:

Marshal runs a BJJ publishing start-up called Artechoke Media. The BJJ book market has slowed to a halt, and that bummed Marshal out. He has big plans, but so far he’s been testing the BJJ ebook market with Don’t Wear Your Gi to the Bar and now 3-D Jiu-Jitsu.

He’d brought me in as a bona fide black belt to be his first “big” instructional. I’ve had an outline for a crucifix and reverse omoplata instructional for a long time (since that’s kinda my thing), but I was waiting for a cool way to do it instead of just making a DVD. Marshal showed me tests of his “multimedia ebook” idea and I loved it. We got started on my instructional, with him flying me out to Pittsburgh to film it. But after experiencing catastrophic camera failure and trashing everything we’d recorded, then Artechoke losing its web developer, and a drying up of funds, our projects were put on indefinite hold.

That’s where your support comes in. With a successful Indiegogo campaign, we’ll be allow to:

  1. Finish my crucifix and reverse omoplata instructional using the innovative mixed media format pioneered by 3-D Jiu-Jitsu.
  2. Establish the Artechoke Media studio and make it capable of producing future high quality instructionals with more BJJ black belts.

I took over web development, and that’s how 3-D Jiu-Jitsu got finished.

How’s This Different Than Pre-Ordering?

Using crowdfunding like Indiegogo allows us to be fully transparent about where your money is going. Neither Marshal nor I are Mr. Big Bucks. We both work day jobs in addition to training and trying to get this BJJ publishing company off the ground. Your backing will be used to complete this project, and ideally carry us into making more products without the need to run another crowdfunding campaign.

Plus, Indiegogo lets me do cool stuff! Instead of pulling the usual sales high pressure “buy now” B.S., I get to give out bonus perks like discounted 1-year memberships, copies of Kesting’s DVDs, an autographed photo of Kyra Gracie, a guest spot on Open Mat Radio, and even my entire personal BJJ book and DVD libraryTake a look at the perks.

How You Can Help


Gawakoto x Meerkatsu x Scramble Fundraiser for the Philippines

Gawakoto x Meerkatsu x Scramble

Pre-order here.

To raise money for the victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, Gawakoto has teamed up with Meerkatsu & Scramble to produce this one of a kind shirt featuring all three artists’ work.

Pre-orders for the first batch will be taken between Thursday 14th until Monday 18th. Tees will begin shipping roughly two weeks after This way the money from the shirt can be donated quicker.

Donations will go to Disasters Emergency Committee
100% cotton yellow shirt
Water based inks, printed in the UK sale coming soon too.


Don’t Wear Your Gi to the Bar! Did you get your free copy of this ridiculous BJJ book?

Don't Wear Your Gi to the Bar

Pick up a free download of Don’t Wear Your Gi to the Bar! My good friends Marshal D. Carper and Darryl Cozza are letting it all hang out in their newly release book. They tackle important issues like how to talk to your family and coworkers about BJJ (spoiler: Don’t) and how to not be “that guy” at class (you know who we’re talking about).

Don’t Wear Your Gi to the Bar marks the first release by Artéchoke Media. Marshal is dedicating himself and Artéchoke to producing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu books, e-books and videos for real BJJ fans. I hope you’re as excited about that as I am!

You may have noticed the BJJ book market has dried up. If you’re sitting on pre-orders for books by Eddie Bravo, BJ Penn or Neil Melanson, you’ve seen a string of release dates come and go. To be fair though, if you’re a mom who wants to raise a gluten-free paleo baby and become a supple leopard before the next Crossfit Games, there’s never been a better time!

Marshal has new and exciting ideas for how to approach BJJ books and instructional material, which is why I’m partnering up with him on my first “real” instructional product. You’ll be hearing more about it in the near future, but you probably already know it’s going to be about the crucifix game. We are aiming to use alternative marketing and distribution models.

If you want to be a bro and support Artéchoke’s efforts, you can buy a paperback copy of DWYGTTB on Amazon or CreateSpace and share it with your friends on Facebook, Twitter and PornHub!


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.


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!