Saturday, January 21, 2012

2012 so far

So far the year 2012 has been extremely busy an action packed. After the new years break I was straight back into training twice a day and working to pay for my Europe trip in February.
This weekend we had the Illawarra training camp up in Wollongong. It is the 14 year in a row the club has run the event and it was fantastic with around 200 people on the mat. He morning session was a technical session run by stewart brain, Daniel rusitovic, Morgan Endicott Davies and Ron ivers and Martin Kelly. These guys covered some really good gripping strategies and i definitely picked up a few things I can implement in my own game. The afternoon session was dedicated to randori. There were stacks of good guys on the mat and I had a lot of good hard fights.
In 3 weeks time I have a comp in my home city before heading to Europe for the a grand slam in dusseldorf and a world cup in Czech republic.
2012 is going to be great!!
Chat soon

Ps for those interested I hVe nearly completed the final draft for my next ebook that I know is going to benefit your judo game

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Judo helps BJJ
Today we’re talking about the benefits of training Judo to improve your Jiu Jitsu skills. I want to talk about some of the benefits of cross-training to enhance your Jiu Jitsu, and some of the things that it can offer that will help you in that area. One thing that is very important is that people need to keep an open mind about training in Judo, and not look at it as a completely different martial art. I’ve told some of my Jiu Jitsu students here in Houston that I recommend training takedowns and throws as well, and some of the feedback that I’ve heard is “I don’t really want to learn Judo, I want to learn Jiu Jitsu.” But they’re really one in the same art, they just have different rules and sport specifics. When you break it down and think about getting good at Jiu Jitsu, a BJJ match starts on the feet. Right now there’s not a lot of Jiu Jitsu schools that focus a lot on the stand up game, and if they do, they’re often times incorporating Judo. I think that’s a very important part of the game. The stand up game, the throws, the takedowns, are just as much a part of the game as the grappling on the ground.

Let’s look at some of the benefits of training. First of all, grappling matches start on the feet. You have a definitive advantage when you start on the feet and you have confidence with your throws and your takedowns. If we have a match together, and we’re equally skilled as far as the grappling is concerned, then there’s not going to be a big chance of one person dominating the other. But suppose my Judo background has made my takedowns and throws very good and I have the opportunity to throw you and take you down. Not only do I get ahead on points, but my confidence is going to go up while I execute the throw, the same time that your confidence is going to down. So by me having the skills to get the fight to the ground on my terms, I have a huge advantage, not only in getting the points by establishing dominance and position early on, but it’s a huge mental boost as well. Where as it can take your opponent out of the game when they suddenly realize they’re loosing. So there’s a huge advantage immediately starting off, because the fight starts on the feet.

Let’s look at a couple of other things that throws can do to help your Jiu Jitsu game overall. You will improve your stamina. Judo is a very, very physical workout. It’s going to get you in really great shape. Grip strength; you’re constantly working on getting the dominant grip, which is something that I think is sometimes overlooked in BJJ. The gripping game (gi specifically) is important standing up and on the ground. A keen sense of balance is very important in Jiu Jitsu. Judo is definitely going to help your balance. Foot placement is going to help you recover from being thrown. These are all things that come into play while you’re grappling. You have to recover from sweeps, you have to recover from reversals, you have to have balance. Core strength; in Judo you use your core as much as any sport out there. Your core muscles that are involved in the throws and takedowns, are going to see the benefits of that. You’re going to have much better core strength, which is very important to your grappling game.

Of course, your confidence is going to go up, with the stamina, and with this new found core strength. And the more confidence that you have, the more you are going to progress. So when you can find something that gives you a higher sense of confidence, your grappling will improve as a result.
People still look at BJJ and Judo as two different arts. They don’t necessarily want to cross-train both. That goes both ways. There are Judo guys that don’t want to train BJJ, even though in a Judo match you’re allowed to choke and arm-lock your opponent. So many of the moves that you’re allowed to do in Jiu Jitsu, you’re allowed to do in Judo as well. Judo players focus a lot of time on the throws, which they should because they aren’t given a lot of time to grapple, but it can’t be neglected all together. And of course some of the BJJ guys don’t want to do it, they say they don’t like it. They don’t want to do throws, they want to do grappling. But if you want to compete and you want to excel in what Jiu Jitsu is, overall, then Judo is going to help you. You absolutely have to make it part of your training, at least part time.
Some of the top fighters in Jiu Jitsu right now, if you look at the World Championships, the Pan Ams, Abu Dhabi, all of these guys are training Judo. Xande and Saulo Ribero, Roger Gracie, Jacare, “Margarita”, Leo Viera, these are handful of names that are all proficient in Judo. They all have excellent takedowns and throws, and they’ve all incorporated them into their competition training and it’s shown by the advantage that they have in the stand up and the takedown game.

Don’t forget to train sport specific. Some people say “I don’t like doing those throws. Look where you land. You’re giving up your back” or “look at that throw. You’re completely exposed, you’ve landed in a choke position.” Answer to this problem: modify the techniques. It’s all a matter of modifying it to make it sport-specific. Anything you train should be specific to your goals. If you want to be a good wrestler, then your goal is to not get pinned on your back. You’re not allowed to choke in wrestling, therefore you can give up your back more. In Judo, you’re main goal is to throw your opponent on their shoulders. You throw your opponent, you win the match, the match is over and there’s no need to worry about being choked or anything like that. So of course you’re going to do everything you can to get to that position, even if it means giving up your back, because if you accomplish your goal then it doesn’t matter. The match is over. My advice to someone wanting to add takedowns to their game, who may be worried about putting themselves at a greater risk: You modify the techniques. That’s all you have to do. You pick out the techniques that don’t involve the risk of putting yourself in a bad position, because obviously in a BJJ match you don’t win the match on a throw. You just get points for the throw and put yourself in a better position. And the throws that typically put you in a bad position, you simply modify them, work them out with your partners, and you find a way to do them that does not risk exposing your back quite as much, or that does not risk putting you in a compromising position. That’s what you have to do and that’s what BJJ is all about, finding the most efficient way to win. It’s not a matter of “I can’t do this.” It’s a matter of eliminating or taking out some of the stuff that you don’t want to negatively affect your game, and keeping everything that is positive for your Jiu Jitsu.

The bottom line is, it’s all grappling, and it’s all fighting. Everything goes well together. Even with some of the striking arts, a lot of the concepts go along with martial arts in general, from one martial art that’s all striking to one martial art that’s all grappling, so many of the concepts go well together. And don’t forget to analyze and modify the techniques to make them specific to what your goals are. You’re going to find that you can learn a lot from being open minded, listening to people that offer advice and not being closed minded to learning something new. I think Judo for Jiu Jitsu is one of the best things you can add, if you are a serious Jiu Jitsu player and you’re serious about improving your grappling over-all.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Advanced lifting techniques for judo players

There are a few exercises that I recommend that all elite Judoka should be lifting on a regular basis. These lifts include squats, dead lifts, sumo dead lift high pull and power cleans. These exercises are full body exercises and will give you the strength needed to compete at a high level in Judo.


-Place a barbell on your upper back/trapezius muscle
-Keep your eyes looking forward and chest up throughout the entire movement, position your feet shoulder width apart
-Maintain a slight curve in your lower back
-Keeping the weight on your heels, inhale as you begin the squat by moving your hips backwards as if sitting on a chair
-Lower yourself until your knees are at a 90 degree angle
-Exhale as you return to the starting position and repeat

Squatting Tips:

-Do not lock out your knees at the top of the movement, keep a slight bend at all times.
-Contract your abdominals throughout the movement
-Keep your head facing forwards
-Don't let your knees travel in front of your toes
-If you have never performed squats I suggest you ask a qualified fitness professional to assist with your technique

Dead Lifts:

-Squat down, keep your head up and back straight. Grasp the bar with an overhand grip (slightly wider than shoulder width).
-Drive with your legs and lift the bar from the floor.
-Exhale when lifting the weight and inhale when lowering the barbell
-Once the bar is clear of your knees, drive your hips forward and squeeze your shoulder blades together to finish the lift.
-Lower the bar and repeat.

Dead Lifting Tips:

-Dead lifts are an advanced exercise and can be harmful, especially to your back, if performed incorrectly.
-If you have previously never performed Deadlifts ask a qualified fitness trainer to assist you in your technique.
-Keep your neck straight throughout the movement
-It is important to keep your back flat and straight throughout the entire lift.
-Do not lift more weight than you can handle. Do not sacrifice technique in order to lift a heavier load.
-Contract your abdominals throughout the entire dead lifting movement

Sumo Dead Lift High Pull:

-With a wide stance, grasp the barbell in between your legs with palms facing towards you
-Make sure your back stays straight throughout the entire movement
-Using your legs, lift the bar off the floor and using your arms begin an explosive lift upwards
-Keep your back straight and weight on your heels
-As the bar passes your hips thrust forward to assist the bars movement upwards
-Finish by completing an upright row movement with the bar at shoulder height
-With a controlled movement return the bar back to the starting position.

Sumo Dead Lift High Pull Tips:

-Make sure you do not compensate by leaning backwards while lifting
-Do not sacrifice technique by attempting to lift a heavier weight
-Power cleans:
-Bend your knees and bend at the waist so your shoulders are just over the bar
-Maintain a slight curve in your lower back
-Straighten your arms so they are not bent
-Using your legs begin driving through the floor, lifting the bar off the ground and exhale
-When the bar passes your knees continue the next part of the movement by thrusting your hips forward and simultaneously contract your trapezius muscles
-As the bar continues to travel upwards start the 'catch' by bending your knees to get under the bar.
-While keeping a grip on the bar rotate underneath and finish with the bar resting on your upper chest with elbows high
-Slowly lower the bar and repeat

Power Clean Tips:

-If you have never performed power cleans I highly suggest you ask a qualified fitness professional to assist you in learning the technique
-Depending on your gyms rules you may be allowed to drop the bar from chest height opposed to lowering the barbell down, ask the manager on duty before dropping the weights on the floor

If you can implement any of these exercises into your Judo strength training programs you will become fitter and more powerful on the Judo mat. If you have never completed these exercises before I suggest you see a fitness professional to make sure you are lifting correctly.

Friday, January 13, 2012

IJF World Masters this weekend

For all the info  and to watch live check out 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The dangers on using saunas for judo, bjj and mma athletes

With the rise of mixed martial arts you may find that many amateur athletes don't bother about dieting for competition as they would rather 'cut weight' like the fighters in popular MMA TV shows. If you ever watch top-level cage fighting cards you more often than not hear the commentators mention that a particular athlete walks around at this weight and then cuts twenty pounds to make weight and then smashes a drip in his arm to re-hydrate and eat heaps of food. Although this sounds tough and crazy the fact of the matter is that cutting weight doesn't always mean sauna-ing a heap of weight. Cutting weight means having a strict professionally done diet as well as top-level strength and conditioning coaches monitoring everything that the athlete consumes. I know that some athletes have zero percent body fat therefore the sauna is the only option but what tends to happen is these athletes (that clearly could lose 2-3 kg of fat) are telling people they need to cut weight in the sauna and it's going to be so hard. These are people who are more than likely going to get hurt while sitting in the sauna as they don't know how dangerous sauna-ing really is.

Stereotypically saunas are used for relaxation and recovery sessions either for everyday life or in between training sessions. Usually in these recovery sessions you will do stints in a sauna and then hop into a cold pool for a few minutes and then repeat the process.

These days many Judokas, wrestlers, rowers, boxers and mixed martial arts athletes use a sauna to help them sweat a few kilograms of water resulting in weighing less and being able to fight in a lower weight division. Although this practice is considered 'normal' among athletes you need to be aware of the dangers that saunas pose to people wanting to 'cut weight.'

In 1997 a young wrestler in Iowa, USA was 'cutting weight' to fight in the 150 pound weight division. He collapsed in a sauna suffering from kidney and heart failure. In August 2010, a Russian man died of 2nd degree burns while competing in the World Sauna Championships.

Put simply saunas can be dangerous and should be AVOIDED AT ALL COSTS.

Within minutes of sitting in a sauna your:

• Body temperature increases
• Blood pressure increases,
• Skin pores open,
• You begin sweating,
• Muscles relax,
• Heart rate increases.

When you sit in the sauna for hours on end you are in danger of a variety of things including:

• Extreme dehydration,
• Loss of electrolytes,
• Heart attack,
• Suffering heat exhaustion,
• Feeling faint, dizzy, light headed
• Feeling like you want to vomit

The safest and most effective way to make weight to is diet and train properly. I highly encourage you to never use the sauna but instead seek dieting advice from a registered professional and if you need to move up to a heavier weight division then do so.

In saying that though there are times when I have had to go for a run and sweat out a few kilograms. This is highly not recommended and every time I have run to sweat a few kilograms it has been because I had not prepared well enough through other means such as diet. I highly recommend that you do not sauna to make weight as it is nothing more than ridiculous and can lead to serious harm or even death.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

No Bull Supplements and losing weight

Lately I recently picked up a sponsorship of a small Independence supplement company in the name of No bull supplements. No Bull Supplements pride themselves on not selling the 'magic pill' to weight loss OR muscle growth but instead selling good quality protein at the fraction of the cost of most supplement stores.

The main products I have been using are a whey protein isolate as they not only taste great but have less than 5 grams of sugar per serve. The main reason for why I have resorted to protein after training is because I drive about 30-40 minutes to get home from training and if you do not eat within 30 minutes after training you take a lot longer to recover. The 30 minutes after training is called the Anabolic window. This window is roughly 30 minutes after training where you should eat something as it is the time when your body is craving nutrients. If I finish training at 800, cool down to 815 and then drive home and have a shower I haven't eaten for nearly 90 minutes after training- and this can severely affect your recovery.
But now I leave some protein in my training bag and as soon as I finish training i have a shake before driving least this way I have something to assist in recovery. I also throw on a bit of L-glut amine to assist in recovery as well
To read more about the Anabolic window check out this article

As a special to people who follow my blog and know me No bull are offering a Free t-shirt or singlet to anyone who quote Beyond Grappling or Matt D'Aquino when purchasing an order.
I highly encourage anyone who takes protien (and thinks they are paying too much ) to check out for more info on Protein, creatine and L-glutamine.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

My roller coaster ride of 2011

2011 year in review

I thought I would share with you a summary or overview of my year 2011. I had an extremely interesting rollar-coaster tupe year with many ups, downs, loop da loops and flats.
Stating off early in January I headed down to a training camp with Aussie 66kg fighter Ivo dos santos ( I then fought and won the act international open beating all of my opponents by ippon. Our oceania championships where being held in April so in march we headed off to budo university in Japan where we trained twice a day for 2 weeks. Unfortunately the huge earthquake and tsunami devastated japan and cut our three week camp short.
In April I competed and won our oceania championships and gained 180 points towards my olympic selection campaign. For those that don't know in order to qualify for the Olympics you must be within the top 22 nations in the world. The international judo federation take your top 5 results in the first year and top 5 in the second year- they put them all together and the top 22 nations in the world qualify their spot at the Olympic games. This simply means a lot of travel and a lot of pressure- not to mention the fact that us Australians cannot drive to any tournament we must fly overseas a minimum of five times a year.
Soon after our Oceania championships I was training with a good friend and with 30 seconds left in the training session I attacked with a completely normal drop seoi nage- my opponent defended the attack and I felt a lot of pressure in my rib before it pop out of place. I dislocated my intercostal rib cartilage. It was very painful - I couldn't breathe, walk, drive or get in and out of bed (not to mention the shiny of sneezing. I also picked up a stomach bug at hospital and I can tell you right now that vomiting with a broken Rib cartilage is not fun at all.
I ended up having 6 weeks off completely of ALL exercise (as I was unable to do any sort of deep breathing or abdominal contractions.) therefore I had to forgo our national championships and it was the first nationals I hadn't placed at in 13 years.
In early July the aussie team flew to the America's to compete in the Miami world cup, us open (non Olympic qualifier), Venezuela world cup and the el Salvador world cup. We decided to do these tournaments for a few reasons but the main reason being that the year before the entries were small and hopefully easier to win- this year was not the case.
At the miami world cup I placed 7th beating fighters from sweden and Dominican republic before losing to Mongolia and Canada.
Us open: I lost to an American by the name of Andre Taylor before beating a Brazilian and the. Losing to a fellow Aussie.
Venezuela: I had a tough battle against a huge Brazilian but lost by a waza ari despite my numerous flying armbar attempts.
El Salvador: I beat the American Taylor before losing to alves from brazil and then Romero from equador.
The world championships were in paris later in the year - I drew a rough first fight in 2010 European champion milous from France.
Samoa world cup was probably my worst performance of the year. I had a great national training camp leading up to the competition but I just wasn't on that day. I drew a fighter from hong kong who wasn't much chop but threw me with the craziest, weirdest most bendy ko uchi makkikomi thing that landed me flat in my back - game over for me (and such a crucial tournament for Olympic points.)
Because I did so badly at the worlds and Samoa I decided to compete in the Tokyo grand slam and the qingdao grand prix in Beijing in mid December. it makes for a long year but to game points for the Olympic selection I would fight anywhere.
In Tokyo I drew Mackenzie from great Britain he has won a few world ups but his styles works so well against me and I had a good game plan But walked forward one too many times and got throw for a waza ari that u could not recover.
Qingdao grand prix I got pounded - lets not talk about that one :(

In conclusion my judo was up and down in 2011 with many major and minor injuries along the way but that is just what happens to elite sportsmen. I was telling a client that even elite level table tennis and badminton players get injuries as all elite athletes training almost too much- but training is part of the journey.

2012 brings a lot of training dieting and competing- I have a training camp in January before competing in a number of tournaments throughout jan and feb. At the moment u need to win the Oceania champs in 2012 to qualify for London but it is going to be a very tight squeeze into the last few spots- but I'll keep training hard and trying my best and see what happens.

Throughout 2011 i have picked up a new sponsor in no bull supplements. The No Bu team pride themselves on not making ridiculous statements that so many supplement companies make. They sell extremely cheap good tasting protein for a fraction of the cost most companies sell for. If you do take protein and are keen in trying something different or want to save some money check out and if you make a purchase mention me and you will receive a free t shirt or singlet.
I am still bring sponsored by pat from Pat supplies me with the best judo suits and rash guards available to judo players as well as some great protective gear. I highly recommend you check out what pat has in store because I guarantee you will not be dissapointed.

On a personal note I am continuing to complete my bachelor of primary education at university. I am just over half way and am enjoying my studies.
I have also been writing articles a d a number of ebooks- I really enjoy wrong ebooks because there is so much out of date and poor content on YouTube and the net that I want to pass on good information to all judoka around the world. My next ebook strength training for judo is an amazing ebook which answers every single question that u have been asked through my website or blog.

2012 brings a lot of new challenges
I am applying for a job in the fire brigade as well as leading a small group of young men at my church's youth group. I will be continuing my study as well as training my butt off.
It is exciting times and I am so looking forward to it.
I encourage you to think about 2011 and 2012 and what you need to change in order to get what you want. That may be train more often or train less, eat cleaner food, hang more with family and friends or to simply be a more positive person. All I can say is good luck in 2012 I hope it is everything you wished it could be and more.
Talk soon

Monday, January 2, 2012

5 Awesome Grappling Dummy throws

If you own a grappling dummy there are so many techniques you can do that will help you get better at grappling. On my grappling dummy I do heaps of throws but Osoto gari, Seoi nage, Tai otoshi, O goshi and Harai goshi are some of my favourite techniques to throw my dummy with. Here is a step-by-step guide on how to throw your dummy.
Osoto Gari
- Start with a standard grip
- Step forward with your left foot and pull your opponent off balance
- Keep your opponents arm tight to your chest
- Bring your foot forwards ready to sweep your opponents leg
- Keep this leg slightly bent with toes pointed downwards
- As your leg sweeps your opponents leg, make sure your head travels forwards towards the mat (simulating a seesaw movement)
Seoi-nage (Shoulder throw)
- Begin with a standard grip
- Start your entry by stepping forwards with your right leg as you simultaneously open up his right arm
- Simultaneously punch your right elbow up into your opponents' armpit, as you pivot on your front right foot so that you are facing the same direction as your opponent
- Make sure both your feet are inside your opponents' feet
- Make sure your knees are bent and your back is straight
- Pull your opponent forward and straighten your legs to lift your opponent off the ground
- Finish by bringing your right arm down alongside your left knee
- Begin with the standard grip
- Step forwards with your right leg, as you simultaneously pull your opponent off balance
- Pivot on your right foot and place your left foot inside your opponent's feet, as you simultaneously wrap your arm around your opponents head
- Quickly start the sweeping action with your leg
- Keeping your sweeping leg slightly bent, hit your opponent in the knee with your hamstring to finish the throw
Tai-otoshi (2 on 1 Grip)
- Begin with a standard grip
- Step forwards with your right foot as you pull your opponent forwards with your left hand
- Pivot on your front foot so you are facing the same direction as your opponent. Make sure your left foot isn't too wide
- As you pivot, simultaneously bring your right hand into your opponents elbow and step across your opponents' legs, then sharply pull him over the leg to finish the throw
O-goshi (Hip Throw)
- Begin with a standard grip
- Step forwards with your right foot as you under hook your opponent with your right hand
- Pivot on your front foot so that you are facing the same way as your opponent, and both of your feet are in between their feet
- Keep your knees bent and back straight
- To finish the throw, straighten your legs and rotate your opponent over your hips.
Author: Matt D'Aquino
I have written a book called "The Complete Guide to the Grappling Dummy." This eBook contains over 100 techniques for Judo, BJJ and MMA as well as 65 workouts catered for Judo, BJJ or MMA. The Complete Guide to the Grappling Dummy also comes with 2 bonus eBooks. The first is "40 Kettlebell Workouts for MMA, BJJ & Judo" as well as "99 Tips for fighters" which is a collection of nutrition, fitness and technical tips that helped me become an Olympian. For more info visit