Saturday, December 27, 2008

The A-B-C of defending the double under pass

Thanks to everyone who voted on the poll for what videos you think I should do next. There was an overwhelming interest in guard defense, so I have started to plan out a handful of tutorials on this subject.

First one is my take on how to defend the double under pass, which is a very common and basic guardpass. Basically, I have three plans of defense when people try to use this pass, which I explain about in the video. I hope you don't mind I mumble a bit in the video and also is quite pale - I had a TERRIBLE hangover when shooting it LOL

Next video is already shot (universal guard defense tactics - or some other name like that haha) but I need some more sparring footage with it before I release it. Will make some next week!

...and don't forget to vote ;-)

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Reached 200 flighthours & 2008 recap.

So I finally made it to the first 200 flighthours out of the planned 1000. Damn it is gonna take a long time to get there! :D However, when I think about it, 200 full hours of sparring is quite a lot, and when I look back on the sparring videos I have uploaded here along the way, I see a very big improvement in my game during the period. Technique-wise, I haven't changed a lot. 80% of the moves I use are still the same, but what has really improved is my timing, setups and ability to "read" the game when I roll.

This is really one of the most fantastic things about Jiu Jitsu. I often talk to beginners who are frustrated about rolling because they feel "blind" to what is going on. They can't recognize positions, see the holes or predict what is going to happen. This is one thing, that I really feel has been my biggest improvement over the last year or so. The amount of information that is being processed in my head during sparring is growing bigger and bigger, and I can't stop being amazed about how the brain can analyze more and more details in such a complex thing as live wrestling. I enjoy every single minute of training Jiu Jitsu more than ever, and I am glad I have this beautiful sport in my life.

This year has been amazing trainingwise. I have improved a lot myself, but even more important is, that the team has really grown to a whole new level. I have so many skilled guys available to spar and train with, no matter if I wanna do BJJ, wrestling, MMA or Muay Thai. All the time, new talents are joining in, and I can't wait to guide them to many great experiences through combat sports.

I have high hopes for 2009. We are going to expand the gym with double matspace, boxing ring, cage and everything else we have been dreaming about. A lot of our guys are looking at competing. Some guys are going to fight for the first time, and some guys are planning on moving up to professional MMA, so I will be very busy coaching all of them together with the rest of the instructors. My BJJ kids are looking really promising as we have a lot of talent and enthusiasm on the team at the moment. I expect them to demolish any competition they might face by the end of this year. I better hurry up tapping them out before they grow to my own size in a few years! :)

As far as the blog goes, I have a lot of new videos coming up, both instructionals and sparring. I have had a minor shoulder injury for the last few weeks, so I have not been able to finish them, but they are on the drawing board and will be online soon, so check back often :)

Oh yes, and dont forget to vote for me in the Best BJJ Blog of 2008 competition!!

Poll closes at January 5th :)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Triple attack series by Christian Montes

I think most people who train in sports like BJJ find certain training partners along the way, who they "click" really well with both in training and socially. One of mine is Christian Montes, whom I met in his New York gym, Ronin Athletics, back in 2004 when it was very small with less than five guys on the mat. It was immediately obvious, that we had a very similar approach to BJJ training, and whenever I train with him, I always get a ton of little details to take home and implement in my own game. Although I only go visit for few days every year, I consider Christian one of my very best friends and I feel that our almost parallel careers and development of technical level within BJJ, provides us with some unique sparring that is really worth a lot to me, both on the mat and business wise.

Since my first visit to New York, I have been coming back every year to train and hang out with my friends in the small gym, that has now grown to a full size, full time place in the center of Manhattan. I know there are many world class instructors just around the corner, and I always plan on going there for training as well, but every time I end up just hanging out with all the guys at Ronin. Training there reminds me so much of training at home in my own gym. The vibe and people are very similar and I really enjoy it, which is always the number one reason for me to train. NEXT time though, I will go visit Renzo and the other gyms... maybe ;-)

What that said, here is a short clip I had Christian Montes do for this blog. His offensive game from cross sides top is pretty similar to mine, but I think he has quite a few cool details that are worth checking out. Enjoy the video and stop by Ronin if you are in NYC! :)

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Shogun's Sidecontrol Series

Ok so here is a short video on my primary offensive game from the sidecontrol position. It is very simple, and there is not really anything revolutionizing in it. Just thought it would be good to outline it in a video and flowchart, mostly for my own sake, but if anyone out there can get anything out of it, then that would be cool too :)

Hope you enjoy it! As always, comments, ideas, questions, suggestions etc. are more than welcome :)

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Armdrag single video

Ok so here is one of the tutorial videos I shot while I was in New York. The armdrag single is my number one takedown and one I have been working a lot on for a long time. I have pulled it off countless times and many people have asked me to do a tutorial on it, so here we go.

Really it is a pretty simple move, the key is all in the little details, which I have tried to explain as good as possible in the video. I also added some - more or less successful - examples from sparring and competition in the end. Speed and explosiveness is needed for this move, just like most other wrestling, but with some practice I think anyone can pull it off.

I hope you like the video, feel free to leave a comment so I know that someone is actually watching it :) Thanks to Gunni Nelson for the help as dummy!

More video tutorials to come soon!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Training in Ronin Athletics - with video :)

So, originally it was my plan to go to New York for nine days and spend all my time on training. When I was in Mexico and only had a few days left, I checked the weather report for New York and made a quick decision to go to Cuba and Jamaica instead. Missed the president election in NY and lot of the training, but the experiences of the extended travel was definitely worth it.

When I got to New York, I really wanted to do some training, since I hadn't done anything but drink and relax for three weeks. Unfortunately, most of the guys were at the NAGA tournament that weekend, so it only ended up being a little training thursday evening and a very good session on sunday.

I heard that brown belt Gunnar Nelson from Iceland - who just fought and won in my last Adrenaline show - was in town for the NAGA tournament (in which he won gold no-gi and silver gi btw), so I called him up and invited him for some training. Despite I - as the only one - had a TERRIBLE hangover, and was seriously out of shape from following the Cancun Conditioning program for a long time, we had a really cool training with lots of nice details shared between us.

As always, training in Ronin feels like coming home, and this time was no exception. I wish I can have some more time there next time I am in town, which - statistically - will happen inevitably around fall next year :)

I shot some video of the training, which you can find here underneath in an uncut version. Also, we shot some tutorial videos, that I will put only within the next week or so. Good stuff worth waiting for!

Hope you enjoy the videos and maybe catch a detail or two from them :)

Friday, October 17, 2008

Going to New York and Mexico today

Today, I am leaving for a trip to New York and Mexico. I will - as always - visit my friends at Ronin Athletics for some good training. I will update this blog with some photos and descriptions about the training, so make sure you check it out the next few weeks :)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

TV star! :)

Yesterday, a danish TV channel was doing a small feature on Mixed Martial Arts with a profile of one of the most active fighters here in the country, Kenneth Rosfort. I travelled to USA on a training trip with Kenneth in 2003, where we were talking about starting MMA careers. He has come a long way since then and is currently holding a 10-3 record. Very good athlete.

In addition to the interview, they needed someone to demo some MMA in the background, and me and three other guys from the gym jumped in. It was freezing cold and there was dew on the mats so they were EXTREMELY slippery, but other than that, I think that it went pretty well.

You might not understand danish, but you can see the clip here:

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Thursday workout: Takedowns and Tractor tires

Had a great workout this afternoon with some takedowns and after that an outdoor session with our new tractor tires.

Since the competition and A-game training is over, I am now going back to focusing on learning new techniques for my game. John, a wrestler from Oregon, is visiting Denmark for four months and dropped by my gym for some BJJ training. We don't have any wrestling in Denmark besides very few people doing Greco-Roman, so it is cool to get a lot of new inputs from him, and I am trying to learn as much as possible these months. Currently I am working on incorporating a fireman's carry, low single spin and a duckunder in my wrestling game. Those are all something I have never really worked on before, so I still have lots to learn, but I feel like I am making progress.

As promised, I recorded some video from the training. The first one of the wrestling is just a raw edit and is mostly for my own reference to remember and review my training and technique. If any of you out there feel like watching it and maybe get a few good things out of it, then that's great. The other video I did a quick edit on, perhaps I'll use it as a little promotion video for our gym's new training toys :)


Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Training with the gi again

For four months, I have trained no-gi only. Both because of the summer heat, but also because we have had some MMA and Submission Wrestling tournaments coming up, so we have planned the training for those of our athletes that has been competing there.

This week we started training with the gi again. I almost forgot how HOT it is to train with, but I know it is only a matter of getting used to it. Other than that, I have had some really cool experiences with it. It has been awesome to rediscover all the little details of the gi-game and I have tried to focus on really using the cloth when rolling. My competition A-game is still in my reflexes, but I have managed to pull off quite a few gi sweeps and submissions. I also met another old friend of gi-training... finger injuries, yaaay! :) Friday, saturday and sunday classes will still be no-gi, and I am looking forward to do both.

We just got three big tractor tires for the gym, and I was using them for my tuesday workout yesterday. Awesome training. Workout of tomorrow is me and a few of the guys from the gym are meeting up for a Sean Sherk-style session at noon (without the roids though ;)). One hour takedowns and one hour tire-workout. It will probably be raining, so it will be Rocky style training!! My videocam is in the gym since I am working on some new tutorial clips for this blog, so maybe I'll film some of the training tomorrow and put it up here.

Other than that training is going really well and the gym is packed with people. We are signing new members up daily and are definitely in need of more space as soon as possible, although it is not easy to find here. My beginners classes in BJJ and MMA are overcrowded with new talent and enthusiasm. A LOT of these guys are gonna be monsters in a year of two, so I am gonna be busy as coach and also I need to work hard so I am not gonna get my ass kicked in sparring :D

Oh yeah, in 16 days I am going to New York for the fifth year in a row to visit my good friends at the Ronin Athletics gym. Can't wait to hang out and train with all those guys again!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Tournament highlight video

Here is a small highlight video of our team that I made from the weekends tournament:

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The competition comeback - Analysis

So yesterday, I was competing for the first time in over two years and I will write a little about it while it is still all clear in my memory.

The short version is, that I won four out of five fights and ended up with a third place. Our team came in first on the team competition. My personal goal for the day was to reach the finale and for the team to win the Best Team title, so I am very satisfied with how it all went anyway. Here goes the long version - it is ok to just skim through it ;-)

No-gi submission wrestling with special rules. No points the first three minutes. After that, first fighter that scores three points win. One point for takedown, guard pass, mount, sweep and backmount. Submission always win of course.

As you can see, both the hair and the belly was like Chuck Lidell's. This was to trick my opponent so they would never guess that my gameplan more resembled Marcelo Garcia's ;-)

My preparation for this tournament has not been optimal since I have had three injuries which has prevented me from sparring with full intensity and focus. Besides some minor problems with my knee and neck, I have had a very very sprained thumb that has made any gripping with my right hand almost impossible in the last two months. I have tried to spar anyways, but it has been difficult not to think about the thumb all the time, so keeping focus on the sparring has not been easy. A week and a half ago, I hit it really hard and basically cramped out my entire body in pain. I decided to go through with the tournament anyway and just see how it would go. I actually expected to hit the thumb again during a match and then have to leave the competition.

I had put more focus on getting the right food and sleep up to the tournament, and I think it made a big difference for my energy level on the day.

The primary thing for me with this competition was to just get on the mat again, get the feeling back, see how I would react and how well my game would work under pressure. During the matches, I had a lot of focus on relaxing, thinking and just play technical and smart instead of just powering through. I was also a little worried for my conditioning because of the lack of hard sparring in the recent months, so therefore I would put extra emphasis on being as economical with my energy as possible.

Strategically, I had made a gameplan that was the result of going through my a-game gameplan in training over the last three months. I have taken some things out and simplified it a bit for this tournament, so it was really a minimum of techniques I would be looking for.

In the clinch I had two scenarios. If I could control the pace, I would set up the Marcelo Garcia style armdrag to single leg setup, which is basically my number one takedown at the moment. If I felt like it would take too much energy to clinch with my opponent, I would simply pull guard and go for a sweep, where X-guard and simple sweep are my two favorites.

While on the ground and on top, I would do anything to get to sidecontrol, where I can set up the kimura or armbar from baiting the opponent to underhook. In case I needed to take some energy out of my opponent, I would go to mount and make him work a bit from there.

Basically I think it went really well in all my matches. Naturally, my mind was playing tricks on me up to the competition, and I was a little worried about how I would perform after being away from the scene for so long. I can only conclude, that competing daily in the gym has definitely been enough to prepare for a tournament mentally, as I felt really good and confident in my technique while on the mat.

Amazingly, I didn't feel any pain at all in my thumb the entire day. It was probably adrenaline or maybe the laser treatment I got the day before really helped.

While preserving energy and feeling confident worked great, it was also this lack of intensity that cost me the spot in the finale, since I got caught with a kimura while in halfguard top during a short moment with lack of focus and a little overconfidence. Besides that, I pretty much executed the gameplan perfectly in all matches, so I am satisfied with my performance.


My first match was against an opponent I know a little about, since I have been watching a lot of his pro MMA fights over the last few years. Nice guy who I have known for a while. From watching him grapple before, I expected him to come out with a low base and handfight, so that was perfect for setting up my armdrag single. It went as expected and it didn't take long before I got the grip I was looking for, and while having executed this move a thousand times in the gym, I pulled it off without thinking about it. Unfortunately, I did not get enough of my weight pulled into him to move his leg and break his base enough, so I had to swith to a double attempt and then a single. I went right into a scramblepass and ended up in sidecontrol where luckily he had the underhook ready and my armbar/kimura setup was right there.


This was an unknown opponent, but I saw him fight my first opponent, so I kind of knew what to expect. Muay Thai background so he was playing really hard clinch and going for the double necktie to power me down. Big strong guy, so I wanted to make him use a bit energy before I tried to finish him off. Due to his aggressive clinch, I did not expect to armdrag him, so I let him try and catch me for a bit and was just waiting for us to clinch up so I could pull guard and sweep. Worked fine first time where I butterfly sweep to mount but he manages to escape. Same recipe again, and this time I got an X-guard sweep, pass and was setting up the kimura. I felt he still had a lot of energy to power out of it so I decided last second to bail on the kimura and go for the mount instead to win on points.


The quarter final against another MMA fighter. Again a physically strong opponent, but I was confident that technique would overcome strength :D I had no idea what he would try, but his clinch seemed aggressive so I pulled guard and went for a footlock. He has very strong legs so I decided it would take too much energy to try and finish it. Sat up instead and passed the guard while setting up a bicep slicer on the way. he was not tapping to that, so I baited the underhook and finished by kimura.



Semi final against one of the experienced grapplers from another gym in our city. Due to his clinch style, I was very confident that I could pull off the armdrag. I set up the grip and went for it, but he reacted quickly and sprawled. I followed up with a simple counter that a wrestler currently visiting Denmark for four months showed me just days before, and I easily finished the takedown and ended up in a low mount. He had some very good escapes and good movement from bottom so I went in and out of guard, halfguard and sidecontrol a few times. I felt in total control of the situation and was just waiting for the opportunity to escape the halfguard, grab the kimura and step over the head to finish. It was almost there at a point, but right when I tried to step over, he managed to pull halfguard back. At this point, I was a bit too relaxed and confident, and for a split second I look up to say something to my cornerman. Immediately, my opponents grabs a kimura and initially I was not worried about it since I have never really been tapped on that particular move from bottom halfguard before, but he had a very strong grip and before I knew of it, I had to roll and he got the tap out. Very nice move by him and I will definately work more on my halfguard top in the next period :)


This was against one of my own team mates, who is extremely explosive and technical. Luckily, I had almost 8 kilos on him, so size was definitely to my advantage. I have rolled with him a thousand times before so it was difficult for me to figure out how to beat him, since he knows my game in and out. Luckily, I could just follow my original gameplan and win by kimura from sidecontrol, but it took a few attempts, where I really had to work for it. Definately my toughest fight of the day. I like to joke around during training, so fighting my own team mate was a great opportunity to make a little fun out of it all :)


This weekends compeition has really made me think a lot about what actually motivates me to keep doing this sport, and my thoughts about this, will be written in another post soon. I think this post has been long enough already :)

Monday, September 22, 2008

Getting back in the competition game

Besides competing in the gym almost every single day against a bunch of really skilled teammates, it has been a very long time since I have entered any sort of competition. I always have a lot of projects going on, and given my time consuming roles as full time gym owner, promoter, coach and instructor, it has been difficult for me to find the required time and energy to focus on my own training enough to compete again. Last time I competed was about two and a half years ago and shortly after that, I got a pretty bad pelvis/hip injury from a deadlift, that has held me from doing any form of lower body (and thereby cardio-)training since. These factors combined has put my focus on all the other factors of the sport besides competing.

I have tried several treatments for my injury over the last few years, but nothing has really worked until recently where a friend of mine referred me to a physiotherapist of his. Over the last two months, I have paid her for literally torturing my body, and finally I see some results. I can now run, squat, jump, etc. without feeling pain for a week afterwards. It is not fully treated yet, but definitely going in the right direction.

With my newly acquired luxury of being able to actually train my lower body, I have decided to join my team in a submission wrestling tournament next saturday. We are 29 competitors from my gym and I will join them in our quest to gather most points and win the team contest.

Competition for me will never be about honor, winning, being "the best" etc., but is merely a tool for me to develop my skills and explore my own potential. I do this for myself and myself only. Self confidence has never been a problem to me (in the good way :)), so I am not out to prove anything to myself or anyone else. What I am trying to do with this project though, is to use competition as a catalyst to evolve, improve and develop my skills in the sports. A natural step on my way to brown belt and beyond! :)

Recently, I was thinking back and realizing, that I have actually competed at about 15 tournaments in the past, but it is such a long time ago, I have a tendency to about forget it. I dug up some old photos from my hard drive from these events and have uploaded them to this post. Skinny kid!! :D

Now, getting back in the competition game is gonna be a long term, slow starting thing for me. I think that technically I could not be better prepared. Physically, I would rate myself to be about 75% of my potential in my current weight class. Mentally, I am obviously lacking experience and I am totally out of the rhythm in this area. Nerves or concentration has never really been a problem for me during matches at competitions in the past, and I have always felt confident in my game, so I hope this will also be the case saturday. Naturally, my mind is playing tricks on me these days about my confidence in getting back on the mat after such a long time and with high expectations for myself, but I am aware of it and working on turning it all to my advantage.

Basically, my plan with this particular competition is to get back in the rhythm. Get on the mat, feel the nerves, do my best to execute my gameplan and see how it goes. I hope to win, but it is not my primary goal this time. I have been making a gameplan for the matches, that I have trained in the gym again and again under pressure against all my team mates, so I feel very confident in being able to execute it saturday. But we'll see how it goes. My toughest opponents will be my own team mates, who are not only extremely well prepared like myself, but also knows my game in and out :)

So these are some of my thoughts about getting back into the competition game. I will be sure to post here after the tournament to evaluate my performance and also put my matches up along with the gameplan I had been using (not gonna reveal that for my opponents just yet ;-)).

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Adrenaline 3 - what an amazing experience

I have not been posting a lot on this blog lately. The last few months I have been really busy preparing Adrenaline 3, which was my biggest MMA event to date. The preparations were done well, so everything went smoothly on the day and I could really enjoy experiencing the whole show, audience and fights. The fights were awesome and had some of the most spectacular finishes I have ever seen, including one guy getting hit by a kick to the neck in the title fight and just kept standing up while being completely knocked out.

We had three guys from our team fighting MMA at this event, and we had put a huge effort into preparing them for these fights. They were very, very hard matched and all three lost their fights. That is what happens, and I don't want my own fighters to get easy matchups at my own show. The most important thing is, that the whole process of preparing the guys for the fights have been amazing and they have all taken a huge jump in skill level since we started. Win or lose, I am very proud of all of them.

Parts of the established danish media was covering the event and they got some really good videos out of it. Here are some of them:

- Interview with me about MMA
- Feature about Christoffer Volf from my team
- Christoffers fight

A week before the show, I put together a promotion video for the event, you can check it out here:

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Great training today

It was probably just a regular training for everyone else in the class today, but I managed to go through a full day of training for the first time since a got my injuries a few weeks ago. I can only use my right hand as a knife-/judochophand with my thumb in, but it worked out pretty well for me today. Since I couldn't control my opponents wrist with my right hand, I had to work on getting under- and overhooks in the guard instead an voila, an oooold friend, the butterfly sweep, just came by for a visit.

Anyways, I managed to spar for a total of about an hour and a half, then did some pullups and work in the rings afterwards. We just got a new 8 meter pullup bar with rope and rings, and all our weights have been collecting dust since it came up :D We also bought a hammock to hang in it, which I use a lot in the daytime when just relaxing before class.

Besides the training, I am getting to ride my bicycle a lot these days due to the nice weather. It is almost meditating to just stroll home through the city for half an hour after a good, hard practice.

What a perfect way to start a beautiful sunny weekend!! :)

Friday, August 8, 2008

First injuries in a long time...

I have had a really good period with no injuries since february and training has been going great in a very high intensity. Then last week, I got three injuries almost at once. My old neck injury came back, I got some small problem with my knee and I have sprained my right thumb badly from one of the guys upkicking it from guard.

I almost forgot how annoying injuries are, but I guess it is the price I am paying for the life I am living :) I am getting some good treatment and hope to be back on track as soon as possible. I need to be able to train because I am promoting my next big MMA event, Adrenaline 3 in one month, and there are many guys from our gym who are fighting and could use me as sparring partner. For now, I am sticking to coaching them and organizing their training, drills, gameplans and so on.

Lately, I have also been working hard on relaunching my gyms website. So far, it has been updated with some videoclips from each of our classes, but I am currently working on shooting a lot of new photos and giving it a structural and design update. Here are some a clips we have produced from my BJJ and MMA classes:

To watch the rest of them, visit

Monday, July 14, 2008

Pump ze guns!

Last weekend, we held the annual gym summerparty. We had a barbeque on the beach and the weather was perfect.

It was also time for the finale of another tradition we have in the gym: The Gun Festival. Basically it is a competition about who can increase the size of their arms most in two months. There is always a lot of hype and trashtalking going on in the gym for those two months as we all pump our guns intensively to win the competition.

Last year I won with an increase of 7.7% and this year I made it to 11.16%. However, this was not enough to win the competition, as one of the other guys increased impressive 11.59%. So I had to give up the throne and now I must listen to him the next year until I can win back the title.

Here is a little highlight in superslow that I made with my new camera:

As always, our gym parties always ends up with a lot of challenge matches, also known as "Happy Grappling". Here is one of mine against our local powerhouse Rasmus "Rhino" Keller: (Don't mind the shirt with a picture of him naked, it is a long story lol)

Ok, I promise next post will be more serious :D

Friday, June 27, 2008

Awesome reference video

I stumbled over this video today on

Great, basic technique reference with tons of little details to explore and play with. I can literally see years of material to work on in this one clip. I am saving it here for reference, so I can get back to it after my A-game project :)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Visually building an A-game gameplan

In Jiu Jitsu training, I love to just go with the flow and see whatever happens without having any plan. I always have some moves that I work on, but I have never really had any specific plan for what I do. Since my last post, I made a decision to try and change this for a periode. Therefore, I have been doing a project of determining my gameplan for my A-game.

Just recognizing the techniques that I consider my A-game has been a lot of work, since Jiu Jitsu can sometime be a big confusing mess of techniques. Watching some sparring videos of myself has really helped me to understand what moves and positions I consider the fundamental building blocks of my game.

As I slowly started to get an idea of my gameplan, I realized that it didn't work just to keep it in my head. I had to write it down. I tried to write it down just as regular text, but it was too confusing to read. Then I stumbled over a piece of software called OmniGraffle, which is a super easy to use application for creating flowcharts on a Mac. With this, I have been able to make a visual, easy-to-read overview of my current A-game gameplan.

I started out by making a flowchart of my entire game. This ended up, as I expected, being pretty big and confusing. I have been trying to fill in as much as possible, but I had to leave things out like specific sweeps, escapes and position transitions or it would be too much. Here is the result:

From here, I boiled it down to my current A-game and ended up with this:

Ofcourse, it is missing many little details in between, but I want to keep it as simple as possible, to make it easy for me to look at.

The fundamental positions are symbolised with grey boxes. The boxes with the black border, are positions/transitions and the ones with red borders are submissions. I have tried to outline my preferred route to the submissions with thick, blue arrows. The thinner, black arrows symbolize alternative routes, that I might take if something is missing.

I have decided to make it an offensive only flowchart, since my game for being on bottom is really simple: Escape to a top position right away, then go back to follow the plan. Whenever I leave the route of the gameplan, I am immediately looking to find a way back into the chart and back into the route to submission.

When sparring in the gym, I am currently trying to follow this plan no matter what opponent I wrestle. Some of them are really good, others are beginners, some of them know everything about this gameplan and therefore exactly what I am planning to do and some are just really good at defending my game. I think that all of these factors just makes my progression on my gameplan even more solid, since I am forcing myself to follow it, no matter how hard or easy it is for me to do it. So whenever I am in a difficult situation, I am always thinking to myself "follow the gameplan", so I don't take the easy way out and bail a position or something, but always try to improve setting up these specific moves.

My plan is to work on this specific plan for a period, to see just how good I can get at executing it against any opponent. I will of course post updates on the project here, as well as try to continuously optimize the gameplan along the way.

Also, I can see a handful of really interesting things on the big chart of my entire game, which I will look more into soon and post about. Looking at my game visually this way gives me a much better idea of what I am actually doing, pretty cool :)

Got a new videocamera!!

I finally got myself a new videocamera, so I can make some more clips for the blog here. It is a really nice Sony Full HD camera with a harddrive, so I don't have to worry about tapes anymore.

I am playing a lot with it these days and hope to shoot some technique as well as sparring videos to put up here soon :)

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Reached 150 flighthours, good/bad rolls and UFC in London

So, been about a month since I last updated the blog. I am still training consistently and with no injuries, which is awesome. I have had a really, really good period lately, where training has just been amazing. Every single roll had taken me straight into the zone.

That all changed monday. Maybe it was the heat and dehydration from training with the gi, maybe it was all the other guys who had a really good day, maybe it was... I don't know. It just didn't click for me, and I felt the same way at training today. My body felt tired, overtrained and my head has not been clear. During sparring, it felt like I was just waiting for my body to start pulling off the moves I am currently working on, but nothing happens. I realize, that this is a period I must fight through to come out stronger on the other side. I am trying to push myself to work hard even though I don't feel like it.

I filmed some of that training from this week. When I look through it, I think it looks better than I remember it. I felt terrible in most of these rolls, but I guess that must be just something inside my head. Here it is, maybe you can pick up a few things here or there:

By the way it struck me, that basically every video on my blog is no-gi. I actually do 50/50 gi/no-gi, so I thought it would be about time to have some gi-video on here as well :)


My current list of things to work is pretty simple. It consists of solid, A-game techniques, that I am trying to improve in different situations against different opponents:

- Setting up armbar from sidecontrol with over or underhook
- Taking the back from armbar
- Getting to arm across guard and sweep/armbar/take back
- Sweeping/taking the back with De La Riva guard
- Finishing from the back
- Footlocks
- Upside down guard as guard defense and triangle/omo plata setup

Last one is not really A-game, but pretty useful and fun still. As you can see on the list and in the video, I have a period where I work a lot on taking the back and finishing from there. Good, basic skill to work on, I think :)


Other than my sparring having a little down period, life is great. The summerweather here has really picked up and the sun is now up till around 10:30pm every night, which really fills me with energy. I am riding my newly imported German mountainbike to the gym and back daily, totaling about 75 enjoyable minutes a day.

Friday morning, me and 15 other guys from the gym are headed to London, to watch the UFC 85. Danish fighter Martin Kampmann is having his comeback, so we thought we would go over to give him some support. I have talked to a few BJJ gyms in London, where I intend to drop by and do some training during the trip. I will make sure to get some pictures and write about those experiences here in the blog :)

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Great training with Rey

The last two days, I have been training with Rey Diogo as he visited my gym in Copenhagen. Monday he did a seminar for about 35 of our students and tuesday, I took a private lesson with him. I had planned to train for a few hours with him tuesday, but the weather was very hot so we only lasted one.

I got a lot of good little details out of training with Rey. I like his simple approach to Jiu Jitsu with focus on the basics. That's the same foundation I am trying to build my own game around (with just a liiiittle fancy stuff on the top :D).

After the seminar, Rey promoted five of our guys to blue belt. Two of them are of "the new generation" in the gym and the other three has been around for many years. He also authorized me to give out some blue belts myself in the gym, since we don't get visits from black belts that often. Giving out my first blue belt would be a very big thing for me, so we'll see when or if I will use the opportunity.

I will definately go visit Rey again in L.A., maybe even later this year when I am planning a short trip to New York and Mexico. He is in Sweden every year, so we will try and get him down here every time since it is really close by.

Now I will head to the gym for more training! :)

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Being a full time ninja is STILL the shit

Training is amazing. I've been completely injury free for 3 months straight and sparring in the gym has been really good. The team is so strong right now and every single roll I have with my training partners is highly challenging physically and technically. I feel like I improve my game really well at the moment and I enjoy training so much it obviously has an effect on my teaching. Overall, training and teaching Jiu-Jitsu full time is STILL a lot of fun here two and a half years after I quit my job as graphical designer in a boring computer company :D

Tomorrow I am picking up Rey Diogo from the airport. I trained with him in California during my trip to USA last year. It was good training and he was a cool guy, so when I found out that he regularly was teaching in a gym in Sweden only 300 kilometers from Copenhagen, it was easy to arrange a visit to my gym. He is gonna stay here for two days and do a seminar in my gym tomorrow morning that I am looking very much forward to. I have also planned on taking some private lessons with him both tomorrow and tuesday. I'll make sure to write about my training with Rey here in the blog when he has left :)

Another story of my life is that I successfully promoted my second big MMA show a few weeks ago, Adrenaline 2. It was an amazing experience and I am so eager to keep developing this event and watch it grow bigger and bigger. I'll write more about my experiences as promoter in another post later.

Also, I have some more posts lined up for the blog along with some new technique videos I have had in my mind for so long I need to do something about them now. And in one month I am going to London to attend UFC 85 and cheer for danish fighter Martin Kampmann, be sure to find a post about that trip here as well! Keep checking back from time to time, updates WILL come eventually ;)

Saturday, March 29, 2008

A-game Camping vs. making a decision to improve.

Recently, I have wondered a bit about, what I could say was the most important thing for me in the process of improving my skills in BJJ, MMA etc. I feel that my game is constantly improving. I can feel a difference in my skills on the mat from one month to the next and I can see that I catch more new submissions, escape more cleverly, analyze the opponent better, see more openings etc. etc. But what is it, that makes me always improve, when I see other guys have the exact same game year after year, never implementing anything new, never improving or exploring what they already know?

I don't think it is a question of talent. I myself have never been very gifted athletically, I have just worked hard to get where I am. After a lot of thinking and trying to analyze how the other guys in the gym train, think and "work" in the game of Jiu Jitsu, I have come to a conclusion. There is one single factor, that is common for the group of guys I see constantly improving their game the same way as I do, compared to those whose improvements can stall for years:

They all make a concise decision to improve their game.

Those who never stop improving, are the ones that are always "working on something" when they are training. I do this ALL the time and it suddenly makes sense that this is the most important factor in getting better at Jiu Jitsu for me and almost everyone else I have come across.

Beginners are always improving and eager to learn. I have yet to come across a beginner, that was not interested in learning something new and experimenting with it. But when you get to a certain level, where you have a good understandment of the basics and found a few moves that are your favorites, it is not directly necessary for you to improve, in order to survive a class and a sparring session with your team mates. You can hold yourself against most sparring partners, just with the basics and the few moves that works for you.

This is the critical time for you to make a concise decision to improve. It is SO easy to just lean back and play safe with the skills you feel comfortable with, instead of running the risk of trying something new and failing. I have named this phenomenon "A-Game Camping", because I see these guys just camp out in their A-game without making a decision to improve it.

I've set up a few rough identification points and observations I have made for the two groups:

A-game Campers:
- Learns new move in class - goes straight back to A-game in sparring.
- Have a low "technical level" vs. "sparring hours" ratio.
- Have a handful of solid moves.
- Can have the same game for years.
- Not taking many chances in sparring.
- Rarely exposing holes in own game on purpose.

"Constant improvers":
- Learns new move in class - tries it out again and again in sparring.
- Always "working on something" during sparring.
- Can name X number of moves after sparring that he was experimenting with.
- Always thinking of moves to try out when back on the mat.
- Fails and taps many times in sparring, but becomes very skilled in the long run.
- Often exposing holes in own game on purpose.
- Outperforms A-game Campers in a relatively short time.

Of course, this is a very rough way to put things, but the point is, that if you want to improve your game, you MUST make a concise decision to do so. Decide with yourself what you need to improve on and make the decision to do it in every opportunity you get. It can be a specific technique, a position, a transition or maybe a mental aspect.

I have been doing this for a long time, but I think the moment it really took off as a very efficient training tool for me, was when I started to write down a list of what I was currently working on. When I write it down, it is as if I am making a promise to myself, that I will do it and run the risks. That I won't just fall back to my safe A-game that doesn't hurt, doesn't fail and doesn't require a lot of stamina, will and determination in sparring. The list is constantly changing. Some things, I work on only for a few weeks, some things have been on the list for half or whole years. The important thing is, that as soon as the list is written down, I know exactly what I need to try out next time on the mat, and it is obvious to me, that I am really improving in these areas. I know this because I strike out things on the list now and then :)

I like to keep my list simple with as few things to work on as possible. Funny thing is, if I have a period when I don't write down my current "projects" and I then decide to do it, I realize that the list i huuuge and I really need to cut it down and focus on less areas. So writing it down also keeps my focus on the most important areas of potential improvement.

If you look back in my blog, you can find lists like this here and there. My current list of what I am working on looks like this:

- Being more aware of footlocks both offensively and defensively
- Toehold from Omo Plata
- Ryan Hall's 50/50 heelhook
- Short armdrags in guard
- Marceloplata mountattack position
- X-guard as guard defense to sweep or set up footlocks
- Triangle as a way of control from sidecontrol bottom and top
- Inside trip from double overhooks, collargrips and beltcontrol
- Committing to takedown attempts even though I know they might fail
- Marcelo-style armdrag scramble (on the list since January 2007! :))

Obviously, this would be a good time to ask yourself: Are you an A-game Camper? :)

EDIT: I wrote this when I was a little tired and might not have got the definitions out exactly as I meant them. By A-game camping, I don't mean only working on your A-game, which ofcourse there is always a time and place for, and which is very important. I am talking about only surviving sparring by holding on to what you know and not working on improving it. The point is to make a decision to improve, no matter what area the improvement is on. It can be anything from improving your timing in your A-game, escaping mount more often, working on your "poker-face" or learn a fancy new spinning heelhook. Don't be fooled by MY list, that often has fancy techniques on it. I am fully aware that most people will never do those techniques that I am working on, and that is perfectly fine as it should be. The "B-game Explorers" was maybe the wrong term, since I by "B-game" only meant areas in your game that can improve, and that is - as we all know - everything. So I can see where confusion on that term can arise.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Working, working, working

I have a few posts planned for this blog, but I am really busy planning my next big event these days, so you will have to wait a little longer before I have time to post here :)

I am really excited about the event, which is going to be April 12th. Lots and lots of work goes into arranging a show that size, but hopefully it will all pay off on the day. I think it is going to be an amazing experience to watch the fights and listen to the audience.

Yesterday I finished the poster, think it ended up being pretty cool:

Monday, March 10, 2008

Great rolls, MMA training, new kettlebells and BJ Penn's book

Today in the gym I had one of those days, where every single round of sparring was just pure pleasure. I feel my jiu jitsu is better and sharper than ever and my body is pulling off techniques, setups and combinations I have never seen before :) Maybe it is because I can finally go full intensity after my long period of injuries, I don't know, but it is a really cool feeling that I thought I would share on the blog.

Also, I am starting to go some more rounds of MMA sparring in my class twice a week. It will take some time to get back up in gear with it, but I think my technique is pretty good. I see a lot of stuff especially on the ground, where I try to focus on setting up grappling with strikes and strikes with grappling. Something I was inspired to think more about, when I read my latest book purchase, BJ Penn's MMA book. I own a pretty big library of MMA, BJJ, wrestling and Judo books, but I think this is the best one I have read. There is a lot of cool basic technique in it and BJ seems like a very intelligent fighter (I would have expected that anyway). His approach to MMA fits perfectly with my own game and fighting style. The book is highly recommendable and I got it for silly $15 or something on Amazon.

We just bought two new 32 kg kettlebells for the gym this weekend. It was a very exciting moment for me to meet those two balls of metal and it kind of re-sparked my interest in kettlebell training. I did a little workout with them saturday and was extremely sore sunday, so it was a great feeling. I should do some more of that, it takes a lot of strength and control compared to the 24 kg I have been using for the last few years.