Tag Archives: buchecha

The Best Unknown Jiu Jitsu Competitor in the World

Leo-NogueiraLeo Nogueira, in my mind, is the best jiu jitsu competitor in the world right now. I don’t mean to be disrespectful to say he is “unknown”, but relative to the other big-name contenders, it does seem to be the case, at least just based on the conversations I’ve had with other jiu jitsu folks. Most people know the other top players from young guns like Buchecha and Rodolfo to veterans like Xande and Roger. In fact, I don’t even have to say their full name and you already know who I’m talking about. On the other hand, do you know who Leo is?

I first saw him at the 2012 Worlds, warming up, pacing with the probably the most confident look of determination I’ve ever seen. I turned my head and when I looked back he was already mounted on top his opponent getting the tap. “Who the hell is that guy?” was my thought, and it wasn’t until I got back and started looking on YouTube that he has been a quiet but dominant force on the competition scene.

He has a very basic game akin to Roger Gracie, but what impressed me most is how little threatened he is by the best closed guards in the world. His closed guard split and pass is the most relentless that I’ve ever seen. Here’s a video of him showing one variation of it. It looks incredibly simply and you might wonder: “Yeah, but can he do that in the final of the black belt Worlds?” Yes, yes he can.

Keenan Cornelius is facing him next Sunday (Jan 13, 2013) in the Copa Podio. It’s a heavy weight tournament with 10 competitors who are the best of the black belt heavies, except Keenan who is a brown belt who until recently has been competing at Middleweight. I think this will be the toughest opponent Keenan has ever faced. If Keenan wins that would make a powerful statement about the growth of jiu jitsu in America, but he is up against steep odds. Leo is probably going to be on top playing a very conservative passing game. In some ways, this will be a chance to see the best of “old school” jiu jitsu against the best of “modern jiu jitsu”. Here’s an interview with Leo about the match.

Train Your Armbars by Breaking Broomsticks

I have not yet run up against a situation where I put on an armbar in competition and my opponent did not  tap. However, it does seem that some people don’t like to tap to armbars. An example of this happened twice in Metamoris last weekend with Xande against Dean Lister and Buchecha against Roger Gracie.

This led to the usual discussion full of absurd quirkiness between Josh and I about ineffectiveness of an armbar for breaking arms, unless… an idea was brought up on how to remedy this obvious “flaw” in our approach to jiu jitsu training…

One of the things that makes BJJ such an effective martial art is that we can train daily at close to 100% intensity. We can do everything including chokes at 100%. The only thing we can’t do is the “breaking” submissions. When I put on an armbar, the person will tap from the first feeling of pain or tension in his arm. So we never get to feel the amount of force required to actually break an arm. The solution, my friends, is obvious… It comes from two YouTube clips below of (1) Karate board breaking and (2) Jeff Glover training with a broomstick. Combining these two, the idea is to practice breaking arms by breaking broomsticks. And eventually, you might even graduate up to breaking 2-by-4’s. This could be a new exercise fad to take over Kettlebells and Bulgarians bags.

PS: Not that it needs to be said, but I’m just joking about the broomsticks. Be careful when putting on armbars in training. In competition, it’s a different story, it’s up to you how far you decide to take it when a medal is on the line.



Not Many Americans in the Top 100 BJJ Competitors

The IBJJF released the list of the top 100 Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competitors. The first thing you notice is that the top 100 really put the “Brazilian” in “Brazilian Jiu Jitsu”. There are many names I don’t know, but I can only count the “American” competitors I know on one hand: JT Torres, Rafael Lovato Jr, Zak Maxwell, and … that’s all I know.

Of course, the Brazilian / American line fades slowly as many of the top coaches and competitors all live, train, and teach in the United States anyway. Many of them have become, or soon will become, American citizens. Still, one thing is clear, if you placed at an IBJJF tournament in the black belt adult division, you are 20 times more likely to have been born in Brazil than any other country. Jiu jitsu is spreading all of the world, but that has not yet made a dramatic impact at the Worlds in the black belt division.

Here is the full 100 list with some links. Note that I shorten the first 20 names to what they are more commonly referred to as vs their full birth name.

  1. Rodolfo Vieira
  2. Bernardo Faria
  3. Marcus Almeida (aka “Buchecha”)
  4. Bruno Malfacine
  5. Leo Nogueira
  6. Rafael Mendes
  7. Caio Terra
  8. Guilherme Mendes
  9. Otavio de Sousa
  10. Leandro Lo
  11. Romulo Barral
  12. Claudio Calasans
  13. Nivaldo de Oliveira Lima
  14. Sergio Moraes
  15. Antônio Carlos Junior
  16. Antonio Braga Neto
  17. Michael Langhi
  18. Bruno Frazatto
  19. Samir Chantre
  20. Lucas Lepri
  21. Alexander Trans
  22. JT Torres
  23. Rafael Monteiro Barbosa
  24. Rodrigo Henrique Cavaca
  25. Ary de Melo Farias
  26. Bruno Augusto Togni Antunes
  27. Augusto Lopes Mendes
  28. Lucas Joas Gomes Leite
  29. Alexandro Ceconi de Souza
  30. Roberto de Abreu Filho
  31. Marcelo Garcia Vespúcio
  32. Rubens Charles Maciel
  33. Rodrigo Fajardo
  34. Victor de Oliveira Estima
  35. Gilbert Alexander Pontes Burns
  36. Gustavo Ramos Campos
  37. Laercio Fernandes
  38. Vitor Henrique Silva Oliveira
  39. Roger Gracie
  40. Pablo da Silva Santos
  41. Gustavo dos Santos Pires
  42. Rafael  Freitas
  43. Kayron Gracie
  44. Carlos Vieira Holanda
  45. Philipe Cançado Della Monica
  46. Rafael Lovato Jr.
  47. Igor Silva
  48. Oliver Leys Geddes
  49. Tarsis Carvalho Humphreys
  50. Daniel Beleza G. de Andrade
  51. Roberto Satoshi de Souza
  52. Michael George Wilson
  53. José Tiago da Silva Barros
  54. Lucio Furtado Rodrigues
  55. Felipe P. da Costa e Silva
  56. Leonardo Fernandes Saggioro
  57. Bruno Bastos Cruz
  58. Murilo Silva Ferreira de Santana
  59. Koji Shibamoto
  60. Eduardo Ramos da Silva
  61. Diogo Sampaio Araujo
  62. Ricardo Ferreira Evangelista
  63. Andre Luiz Leite Galvão
  64. David Juliano Lemes
  65. Antonio Carlos Alexandre Peinado
  66. Vinícius Tavares Marinho
  67. Igor Rodrigues dos Santos
  68. Thiago Gaia Taciano de Oliveira
  69. Renan Borges
  70. Francielio Fernandes da Costa
  71. Pedro Régis da Cunha Mello
  72. Vitor Fabio Martins Toledo
  73. Antonio Antonioli
  74. Clark Gracie
  75. Mario Sergio Names Reis
  76. Marco Antonio Giudice Machado
  77. Yuri Costa Simões M. da Silva
  78. Roberto Camargo de Alencar
  79. Bruno Almeida Alves
  80. Zachary Lantz Maxwell
  81. Leandro Martins da Silva
  82. Leonardo Gergis F. Leite
  83. Kron Gracie
  84. Carlos Diego Ferreira Neves
  85. Braulio de Oliveira Estima
  86. Jonatas Novaes do Nascimento
  87. Osvaldo Augusto H. Moizinho
  88. Raphael B. Carneiro Fischetti
  89. Renato Guimaraes Cardoso
  90. Fabbio Passos de Alencar
  91. Stephen Vincent Hall
  92. Paulo Tarcisio  Pessoa Jardim
  93. Thiago Reinaldo de Souza
  94. Bruno Matias Soares
  95. Rodrigo Leite de Medeiros
  96. Denilson de Carvalho Pimenta
  97. Alexandre Couceiro Ribeiro
  98. Gabriel Rodrigues A. Goulart
  99. Gustavo Ernesto Carpio Caceres
  100. Leandro Luiz da Silva

Buchecha Is Not Happy with the Referee Decision

I’m a big Green Bay Packers fan. So it was heartbreaking to see the refs make a bad call on the last play of the game that gave the win to the Seahawks. Since the NFL referees are on strike, the IBJJF refs stepped up to take their place. Luckily, the 2012 black belt world champion Marcus Almeida Buchecha was on the scene to voice his opinion:

Predictions for Epic Submission Only Tournament: Buchecha, Roger Gracie, Andre Galvao, Ryron Gracie

On October 14th, the world will get to witness seven epic battles at the Metamoris Pro Jiu Jitsu Invitational:

  • Roger Gracie vs Buchecha
  • Andre Galvao vs Ryron Gracie
  • Kron Gracie vs Otavio Sousa
  • Kayron Gracie vs Rafael Lovato Jr
  • Jeff Glover vs Caio Terra
  • Dean Lister vs “King” Kevin Casey
  • Jean Jacques Machado vs Nelson Monteiro

This will be a submission-only tournament (30 minute time limit I believe), and for jiu jitsu fans such as myself this event will be amazing no matter what. Old champion vs new champion, Gracie vs non-Gracie, American vs Brazilian, scrambler vs technician, etc. Like I said: this is epic.

So let’s make some predictions! I have idolized most of the people on this list, so win or lose, they will all remain legends in my eyes and the eyes of the jiu jitsu community (I hope). That said, I think some people are more ready than others:

  • Roger Gracie vs Buchecha: This one is tough. Buchecha is on fire and is hitting his prime. But Roger is the greatest competitor in sport jiu jitsu history. My prediction is Roger takes this by cross choke from mount.
  • Andre Galvao vs Ryron Gracie: I believe Galvao can beat Ryron on points 99 out of 100 times. However, given Ryron’s approach to this match, he may be very difficult to submit. I believe Galvao catches Ryron early on with a choke from back control.
  • Kron Gracie vs Otavio Sousa: This should be an awesome war. Otavio Sousa has been on fire, much like Buchecha. But this is a submission tournament, and Kron is an expert of finishing people (even when he’s significantly behind on points). I predict Kron will come out on top deep into the 30 minute match with a kneebar submission.
  • Kayron Gracie vs Rafael Lovato Jr: Two great competitors for sure. Rafael has size and experience on his side, and he’s been hungry for that second gi World title. I’m excited to just watch him work against Kayron’s guard. I predict Lovato Jr will win via choke from a dominant position (mount or back).
  • Jeff Glover vs Caio Terra: Rematch! I think Caio will take this one in a crazy scrambling battle of footlocks, fifty fifty, deep half, berimbolos, etc. Caio wins by toe hold late into the match.
  • Dean Lister vs “King” Kevin Casey: Kevin Casey is the one guy on the list I don’t really know in terms of jiu jitsu. He might be good, but he ain’t beating Dean Lister in a submission-only tournament.
  • Jean Jacques Machado vs Nelson Monteiro: I’m not touching this one, lol. 7th degree black belt vs 5th degree black belt. Both are admired and respected in the jiu jitsu community. This remind me of the Renzo Gracie vs Mario Sperry superfight at 2011 ADCC. It was just awesome to watch two legends go at it one more time, past their prime, but still full of the competitive fire that never dies in warriors like that. Alright, fine, I’ll say it, Machado wins.

So to summarize, my picks are Roger, Galvao, Kron, Lovato Jr, Caio, Lister, and  Machado. But I’m not betting on it. In a submission-only tournament, anything could happen.

Adding a Straight Foot Lock to the Butterfly, X Guard Mix

The butterfly guard, to me, is the best “learning” guard. By that I mean, for my experience with jiu jitsu, it’s the guard that most prevents stalling-type tactics in training and allows me to explore different positions, off-balancing techniques, grips, sweeps, back takes, etc.

From the butterfly guard, I look for the one-legged x-guard, regular x-guard, reverse de la riva, etc. I haven’t, however, looked for the obvious leg locks from the x-guard position. There’s a knee bar, and there’s also the basic straight footlock. In the following video, Marcus “Buchecha” Almeida shows this basic footlock. To me, these type of videos are what YouTube is good for: high-level competitors showing jiu jitsu fundamentals:


I’m still focused on controlling and dominating the butterfly / x-guard positions, so submissions are still secondary for me, but it’s good to start thinking about these things, so that I can start to notice openings when they pop up.