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Monthly Archives: December 2012

Tai Kai Jiu-Jitsu Blue Belt Requirements

Here are the current Blue Belt requirements for Tai-Kai Jiu-Jitsu. Thanks to Professor Sugure for the much needed kickstart and help to get these requirements going.

Blue Belt Requirements


Ukemi-Rolls & Falls

Rolls (Front/Back) Falls (Back, Side, Front, Rolling)

Basic Movements/Positions

Base, Shrimp, Bridge, Bridge to Knees, Guard Replacement Roll (Granby Roll)
Mount control (swim, “spiderhands”, Modified mount, take the back, remount)
Guard control (Guard swim, Under/Over hooks, armdrag, take back, punch block series)
Side control (Standard, Kesa, 500 Kilos, Reverse Kesa, Knee on Belly, North South)
Clinch Control (Pummel) Gripfighting (Hand/wrist control, armdrag, 2 on 1)
Back Control (Take the back, Hooks, Seatbelt, Side/side, Flattening out, Remount)

Self Defense

Standing up Properly (“Masters Lift”)
Front Bear Hug (Arms Over)
Double Leg Defense (Knee & Guillotine)
Front Bear Hug (Arms Under)
Standing Headlock (Bent F & B)
Standing Headlock w Punches
Standing Guillotine (Takedown&Sit)
Standing Rear Choke
Defense Against Right Hook
Rear Choke (Posture Broke Back)
Wrist Grab (Palm Up & Palm Down)
2 Handed Front Choke (Basic & Throw)
2 Handed Wrist Grab
Single Lapel Grab (To Back)
Double Lapel Grab (Hands Together)
Shoulder Grab (Bent & Straight)
Rear Bear Hug (Arms In)
1 Hand Throat Grab (Armlock)
Rear Bear Hug (Arms Out)
Double Lapel Grab (Hands Apart)
Guard Pull
Punch Block Series (1-5)


Mount Escapes

Upa (Hand on throat)
Upa (Arm Under Head or In Collar)
Shrimp/Elbow Escape
Foot Over/Foot Under Shrimp Escape
Knees In/Butterfly

Side Escapes

Go to Knees (Single Leg)
Shrimp to Butterfly

Headlock Escapes(Ground)

Frame Escape (Leg Over)
Hooks Escape
Bridge and Roll
To Knees

Back Escape

The Basic
Pass the Arm Over
Wrong-Side Bridge and Elbow Push
Opponents Feet Crossed

Knee on Belly

Hip Push and Shrimp to Ankle Pick
Ankle Push to Half Guard

Submission (Escapes)

Guard Arm Bar (Stack)
Top Arm Bar (Running Escape)
Guard Guillotine (Head down Butt up)
Triangle (Bully Escape & Technical)

Guard Passes

Closed Guard

Double Underhook
Over/Under Pass
Single Under (Standing)
(Combat Passes) Knee Slide Pass

Half Guard

101 (Mount and Side)
World’s Pass

Butterfly Guard

Basic Butterfly Pass



Scissor Sweep
Scissor W/Knee Push
Hip Heist
Butterfly/Hook (Elevator)

Guard-Opponent Stands

Double Ankle
Hook/Tripod Sweep
Sickle Sweep
Push Sweep(double Ankle with feet in hips)

Half Guard

Guard Replacement
Take The back from half Guard
Put in one hook butterfly sweep


Rear Takedown(Sit and Roll)
Osoto Gari
Body Fold
Single Leg (Run the Pipe)
Double Leg (Leg Trip/Cut the Corner)
Inside Leg Trip
Hip Toss
Arm Throw/ Seoi nage
Guard Pull/Sweep
Leg Hook Takedown



Collar Choke Palm Up/ Palm Up
Collar Choke Palm Up/ Palm Down
Arm Triangle
Armbar (Arm Under Leg/Foot on Hip)
Transition from Armbar/Triangle/Omoplata


Standard Armbar
Collar Choke Palm Up/Palm Down
S-Mount to Armbar
Collar Choke Palm Up/ Palm Up

Side Control

Straight Armlock
Arm Triangle


Rear Naked Choke
Sliding Collar Choke
Single Wing Choke

Congrats New Level 1 Thai Boxing Graduates 12/19/2012

Congrats to Tai-Kai/ Thai Boxing Assoc of USA -Syracuse Branch latest level 1 graduates Ed Abrasley and Sheena Bidwell. Ajarn Seaman tested them tonight testing their form during Thai Class and their Pad Rounds right after. Anyone that has never witnessed a Thai Test under Ajarn Seaman, it is one of the harder tests in martial arts. Ajarn Seaman said that both students passed the test with flying colors. Ajarn said their conditioning was excellent. Congrats to Ed and Sheena and also a big congrats to Ajarn Seaman for producing such a good quality of students.

Congrats to Kyle Parella- and Big Thanks To Coach Mike Leone

This is a picture of Kyle Parella and Coach Mike Leone. Kyle is a student at Tai Kai and also wrestles for ESM. Coach Leone has been doing a lot of work with Kyle in our wrestling program and within our Jiu-Jitsu classes. It has paid off. Kyle is 14-4, all the loses are to ranked competition. He is currently ranked number 3 in his weight class in his division. Everyone at Tai-Kai has nothing but good things to say about Kyle. Also a congrats to Kyle’s biggest supporter, fan, and Jiu-Jitsu student at Tai-Kai , his father Frank Parella. So good job Kyle keep up the good work.

Congrats to our Latest Tai Kai Prize Wheel winner Heath Bressette

Congrats to Heath Bressette. Not only did he give the gift of introducing Jiu-Jitsu to his brother, but since his brother enrolled Health got to spin the prize wheel. Heath won $75 in cash. Remember all you have to do is refer someone that enrolls and you get to spin the Tai Kai Prize wheel. Who will be the next person to spin the wheel?

Why Women Should Grapple by Stephan Kesting- This Saturday at Noon -Women Only Jiu-Jitsu Class -FREE

Reprinted From www.grapplearts.com

Most Brazilian jiu-jitsu and submission grappling students are male, and in most grappling schools females are the exception, not the rule. My foundation in the martial arts was self-defense oriented, not competition oriented. From a self-defense perspective I think that grappling is incredibly important for women: there is no better way to learn to deal with the stress and pressure of a real attack than trying to apply your techniques against resistance while sparring on the ground. However my opinion in this area may have limited value: I am a 200+ lb male, and my experiences on the mat and the streets are very different from a 120 lb woman.So I asked the female readership of the Grapplearts.com newsletter why they thought women should grapple, and was overwhelmed by the thoughtful and insightful answers. Without further ado, here is why women should grapple: Stephan Kesting

Grappling is valuable to women because it shows that you do not have to be the biggest or strongest to be successful at something. It helps show the values of women empowerment, strength through adversities, and sacrificing to succeed at all costs. Grappling does not differentiate between male or female; it just matters if you know the correct technique and can execute them flawlessly.

Cassie Feinstein
University of Iowa Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Club

I think grappling is valuable for women because it teaches them endurance and determination, and also not to consider getting knocked to the ground the end of the fight. Knowing how to maneuver on your back, understanding the physics to use angles and speed versus brute strength and, most importantly, understanding that you DO have options that can turn the tide in your favor if you are alert and willing to take advantage of any opportunities that present themselves, can literally mean the difference between surviving and being killed if it comes down to a life-and-death situation.

Jami M. Lynn
Student of Sifu Rick Tucci and Guro Amy Tucci
Princeton Academy of Martial Arts, New Jersey

Why I think grappling is valuable for women in particular: domestic violence, including physical and sexual abuse, is far too prevalent in the US and abroad, and most of the time, the victims are women. Most girls growing up aren’t taught to be tough physically, we aren’t taught how to throw a punch, or to fight back. We’re “supposed” to be sweet and gentle and kind. The source for my facts is here:http://www.datehookup.com/content-domestic-violence-fact-sheet.htm

In addition to all the things that men get out of it, grappling training is great for women because it teaches us how to fight with men, and it trains us to be tough. A woman who can defend herself against a larger and stronger opponent, and neutralize the threat of an attacker, is much less likely to become an unfortunate domestic violence statistic.

Rosie ‘Supervixen’ Fitzpatrick
Instructor: Luis Pantoja
School: Yamasaki Academy

My name is Heather and I have trained in Taekwon Do for years, but I have just recently begun grappling. I am confident in fighting while I am on my feet, but the ground work was a whole portion of my training that was missing. Being a female, and considering that a large percent of all fights end up on the ground, it is important to know what to do should you find yourself in that situation. So whether you train in grappling for sport or self defense it is definitely knowledge I suggest all females should possess.

Heather Richards
Instructor: Ron Dupuis

I feel that grappling is important for women because we should all know how to fight on our backs. I’m not sure of the exact statistic, but an amazingly high number of altercations on the street end up on the ground, and for a woman to be able to think clearly and defend herself on her back is incredibly important.

And as for the grappling itself- from a non-self defense point of view…. It makes you amazingly fit and it’s some of the most fun I can think of!!!”

Kristin Kelly

My name is Deedee Hagar: I am 29 years old and I have trained in BJJ under Tony Torres-Aponte for close to two years now. I can tell you that grappling has changed my life for the better. Not only has grappling given me more confidence in a self defense aspect but I feel like it allows a lot of life’s challenges to be worked out through problem solving skills learned on the mat. Every move is looked at through different aspects, often counter intuitive and this
transfers beautifully into day-to-day life. Also, a lot is to be said for the self control that comes with training, the experience of total power over another or vice versa and the sense to realize that this is training in case a life-threatening attack ever occurred. This knowledge is priceless for women.

Grappling is mentally challenging, physically beneficial and tremendous fun. Tony, my instructor is an incredibly gifted teacher and whole heartedly encourages women to join the art. Hopefully the future will see more women involved and accepted in the sport. Once you give it a try it’s easy to see why it can be so healthfully addictive.

Deedee Hagar
Instructor: Tony Torres-Aponte
School: Urban Jungle Self Defense / Gracie BJJ
Houston, Texas

I think that grappling for women is important for the same reasons as for men…

Grappling (in all its forms) is a challenge to master – and I like challenges. It is realistic in terms of self-defense training, it’s great for building strength, conditioning and flexibility. Grappling has both a technical aspect as well as an athletic side. For those who like to compete I would say grappling offers a variety of quality competition, but mostly for me, grappling (BJJ) is extremely fun.

Personally, I think more women should train it simply to understand the pressure factor. Panic tends to set in when someone bigger is on top…breathing is difficult…then exhaustion…then bad stuff can happen. If one can get used to feeling the pressure…then breathing is better, relaxation can take over and one can actually mentally function under the pressure. After a few months of training I have already gotten accustomed to feeling it . Still doesn’t make it easy to physically escape but I am not panicked and I can breath.”

B. King
White belt
School: Charles Gracie JJ
San Mateo CA

I think it’s important for the sport because it makes it even more appealing to the everyday person to see both sexes practicing MMA. Another reason grappling is good for women because 100% of rapes happen pinned down to the ground so being able to defend yourself is very valuable.


There is an obvious self defense aspect, how many women have a fear of-or have been held down against their will? The self defense is valuable and so is the empowerment. When women realize technique is based on leverage and not strength and that they can do this, they learn quickly and feel good about themselves. I think all women should grapple!!! Oh, and what a way to stay fit!

Suzanne Ramsden
Maverick Training Center
Huntsville Alabama
Helio Soneca Bluebelt

First, grappling is an important way to learn to apply techniques in different combinations and orientations, which is important to remembering precisely how to use them. Women are unlikely to wrestle with friends – unlike guys maybe – and so lack opportunities to apply techniques. Also being generally smaller/less strong than most guys, we get knocked down more easily, especially in sexually motivated attacks. At 105 lbs, I’ve experienced (in street situations) the ease with which I can ‘become airborne’ and end up on the ground, even if the attacker (of whatever gender) is not very big.

Many women are unused to groundfighting which may seem undignified or ‘unfeminine’. Being used to practicing grappling can reduce/remove the psychological intimidation factor, freeing you to deal with the more important physical aspects of the attack better. Finally, grappling is fun, and there is no better workout!!

Teacher: Leon Vu
Budo Shin Jujitsu

Grappling for women is important because it gives you more confidence in yourself and makes you less afraid to face everything – attacks on the street and even life decisions. My first competition was frightening, but I’ve learned to remain calmer in situations and be a little stronger and more confident. Grappling also gives an alternative to rougher sports that they may not otherwise do, such as boxing.

Christina “Dolly C” Fraquelli
Roger Gracie Academy
Mentor (my Mr. Myagi): Felipe de Souza
Coach: Jude Samuel
Surrogate Dad: Mauricio Gomez (Roger’s Dad)

Grappling is good for women for the same reason it is good for men: It is a great exercise, sport, self defense and its fun.
Grappling is especially good for female self defense since few women can strike nearly as hard as men (of course there are exceptions) and the ground is where an assailant would probably try to get a women anyways.
One problem I have is that normally cool guys don’t want to get beat by a women so they go all out every time making it difficult to ever practice new techniques (but I still beat them).

I am 51 years old and have been in BJJ (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu) for one year. I teach at the Virginia Military Institute and we offer a combatives
course. Among the reasons I practice BJJ is:

It is a great work out,
I love the technical work
The self confidence it has given me is profound!!
BJJ has also given me a ‘sense of presence’. My first reaction to having someone mount me was to bite! Now, I am better at not panicking and I can think more clearly through the movements. A great metaphor for life!

Holly Jo Richarson

Because it is like no other martial art when you have to defend yourself. The moves and techniques of BJJ are all a woman needs to know. Once you take down your opponent – you can ground and pound, choke, or armbar and have them TAPOUT!

Linda “Da Pounder” Salas
“It’s all about your JAB (Jiu-Jitsu, Armwrestling & Boxing)!”

Training BJJ has really changed me, inside and out. There are so many benefits of regular training (aside from the obvious physical benefits such as increased strength and agility), from clarity of thought, to self confidence, to increased concentration, to a better understanding of your body, and also strength of character, that will give you an edge not only while fighting, but in everyday actions such as working and problem solving. BJJ is also a wonderful way to relieve stress. It has done wonders for me.

Syble Abshire
Blue belt under Mike Ellender
Lake Area Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Lake Charles LA

I started grappling and a bit of stand-up two and a half years ago. Here are my two cents worth regarding your question why grappling is valuable for women:

As my instructor pointed out, if a situation were to escalate to a physical confrontation, I’m going to end up on the ground sooner or later, most probably with a much heavier and stronger person. Good idea to learn to what to do.
Also if I have encountered the feeling of a heavy person squashing me, trying to choke me, etc. I’m more likely to keep my wits about me, panic less and hopefully remember something from class.
Fitness, looks and vanity. It is the best work out imaginable, keeps my mind engaged so I cannot think about what stresses me, exercises just about every muscle in my body (even the ones I didn’t know I had), instant strength training by trying to push against another body, increases my flexibility, and is a cardio workout galore in every class.
General awareness and pain tolerance. I have noticed in myself a greater awareness about my environment, the body language of people around me. Instead of having mental images supplied by Hollywood, I think about the people in class. I’ve never played any competitive sports, I’m certainly no athlete, so having experienced a few bruises and sore muscles, I have now more tolerance for discomfort than I’ve had before. It’s very applicable to my daily life.
Michaela Wolfert
Trained by Pete Tremblay and Tanya Vlahac
Total Fitness in Carleton Place, Ontario.

This Saturday at Noon – Women’s BJJ Clinic at Tai-Kai at 12 PM (It’s FREE Too!!!) Guys – Tell your daughters, sisters, wives, & girlfriends. Don’t miss this opportunity for a some great training and fun…

Are my legs too short to apply the triangle choke? by Stephan Kesting

(Reprinted from www.grapplearts.com)


The first time I ever saw the triangle choke in action was in 1994, during the last match of UFC 4.

Royce Gracie had just squared off against Dan Severn, a seemingly unstoppable wrestler with a huge weight advantage. I remember thinking, ‘There’s just no possible way that Royce is gonna win this one.’

The fight went to the ground quickly, and after 15 minutes of getting manhandled Royce found a way to set up and apply the triangle choke. He adjusted it and the hairy scary behemoth wrestler tapped out.

Right then I became an instant fan of the triangle choke!

Now, years later, the triangle choke is no longer a closely-guarded secret of the Gracie family. Instead it’s become one of the signature moves of BJJ (think of how many schools use it in their advertising or on their logo). And the triangle choke continues to be responsible for a huge number of submissions in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, no-gi grappling, and MMA.

But a lot of people still have problems with this submission initially. The most common complaint being “My legs are just to short for triangle chokes.”

Now it’s true that leg length is a factor. In general, long legs make the triangle choke easier to apply. Royce, for example, is built for the triangle choke: tall, lean, lanky, with long legs.

In addition to leg length, leg thickness also plays a role. Thick, muscular legs can be a bit of a liability in the triangle choke because the space inside the triangle formed by your legs will be smaller. The flip side, though, is that once someone with muscular legs gets the triangle choke locked on then, oh boy can they generate pressure. Generally the recipient of a choke like this feels like their melon is about to explode!

Now there are certain adjustments, modifications, and variations that can save the day and allow you to use the triangle choke despite having shorter, stouter legs.

First of all, keep in mind that the triangle choke is one of those techniques that you have to develop a feel for. It’s not like the armbar which most people can make work on their first day in class. With the triangle choke it can take a while to learn all the subtle adjustments and positioning details to make it effective.

One such adjustment is to turn sideways when you apply this choke.

Yes, some people can apply the triangle directly in line with their opponents, but if you’re going to do this (i.e. stay square) then you really do need longer legs.

Turning sideways gives your shorter legs a bit more room to get into position. And also makes it a lot harder for him to escape the triangle.

I’ll explain about turning sideways in a sec, but first let’s go over some terminology. When you’re triangle choking someone you have their head and one arm trapped between your legs.

The arm that’s between your legs is his ‘trapped arm’.

The arm that’s NOT between your legs is his ‘free arm.’

When you’re turning sideways bring your head towards his free arm and away from his trapped arm. Ideally you’re bringing your head all the way to his knee. In the picture below I’ve got my training partner’s left arm trapped, and I’m in the process of turning my body towards his free right arm.

At this point a great way to finish is to underhook his free arm with one arm, and then squeeze, squeeze, squeeze to apply the submission.

Along with controlling the head and breaking down his opponent’s posture, this rotation of the body was something that Brandon Mullins REALLY emphasized to me during out sessions together. Turning sideways is one of the easiest fixes for a faulty triangle choke, so make sure you give it a try and see if it helps.

The next tip I first learned from Oleg Taktarov, who doesn’t have particularly long legs either (sorry Oleg, but it’s the truth). Make sure that your triangle choke is high on his body, with your leg across his neck, not his upper back.

Let’s say that you’re applying the triangle choke on me, and that you have my head and left arm trapped between your legs just like in the picture above.

If you can see my entire left shoulder popping out between your legs then it’s going to be a LOT harder to finish the choke. My shoulder will be blocking the power of your choke, and if your legs are on the short side then there’s also going to be tremendous pressure on your ankle.

Usually if you can see the shoulder of your opponent’s trapped arm then it’s a sign that your legs are too low on your opponent’s body. In the example above your left calf might be across my upper back, rather than on the back of my neck.

Think of putting your calf across the back of the neck, exactly where an executioner’s axe would strike. Done this way your legs will be in a much better position. Your opponent’s trapped shoulder will be mostly obscured – and not seeing your opponent’s shoulder tells you that your legs are high enough on the body.

Another option: if the regular BJJ triangle choke is just too difficult for you to use on a specific opponent then consider giving the ‘side triangle choke’ a try. You can’t use the side triangle from the guard – not easily anyway – but I’ve found that it’s much easier apply side triangle chokes on larger opponents than regular straight-on triangles.

I break down the side triangle choke for you at about the 2:43 mark of the following youtube video

Now even if your legs are super-short, and your opponent has the neck and shoulders of a roided NFL lineman, and you can’t even cross your ankles behind his back, then there’s STILL hope for you…

Let’s say that your long-limbed and uber flexible BJJ teacher shows you a super-cool upside-down, flying, leaping, 12 step entry to the triangle choke. You tell yourself, “Man, that entry would really fit my game, but I can only finish the triangle on about 25% of the people with because my legs are so short…”

No problem!

You should still learn and practice that cool entry; don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater…

You see, every single triangle choke entry can be converted into an omplata armlock, or an omoplata sweep.

Think about the last entry or setup for the triangle choke that you learned or drilled. Now, at the last moment, instead of locking your legs in the classic triangle choke position, move his arm to the outside of your hip (sometimes this involves bringing your own arm up underneath his and punching it to the ceiling).

Then, instead of moving your head towards the side of his free arm, you move your head the OTHER way. Towards his trapped arm, with the goal of bringing your head to his knee. Voila! The omoplata.

This is easier to demonstrate than it is to talk about. Trust me, every triangle choke entry can be converted into an omoplata entry. Play around with this on your own a bit and you’ll see what I mean.

Tai Kai Goes Undefeated at AFA in Watertown

Congrats to Team Tai-Kai in AFA , Watertown 12/1/12. Tai Kai went undefeated in these Amateur MMA fights. Marc Stevens did a great job with the whole event.

Fight 1:


Bryce Tallini dominated this fight with takedowns and control from the mount. He did a lot of damage in round 1 with punches from the mount and almost pulled off a flying triangle when the bell rang. In round 2, Bryce got the takedown into the mount. Bryce punched from the mount and got an armbar from the mount for the win

Fight #2:

Doug “smooth” Miller dominated this fight with takedowns and attacks from the mount. He punished his opponent with punches from the mount. The cage had blood all over. In the end Doug won a one sided Unanimous Decision,

Fight #3:

Dustin Whalen was there ready to fight. His opponent arrived late and literally got one look at Dustin and literally left out of the back door. Dustin will fight in the next event in Liverpool. We will try and hide Dustin next time. LOL

Fight #4:

Next up was Big Ed Abrasley. Ed had a war. Both fighters hurt eachother with punches on the feet and on the ground. Ed showed more heart than any fighter I have seen. Ed almost had a choke early on. He almost had a side choke in the 3rd also. Ed overcame being hurt in the 2nd round to get the takedown get the mount and start attacking with punches from the mount. Ed eventually got the back and the tapout from the Rear Naked Choke. Great Job Ed.

Also Big congrats to Cody Plotner. Cody trains at CNYMMA and also cross trains in Oswego and comes down to Tai Kai in Liverpool. He controlled his fight with takedowns and punches from the mount forcing the ref to stop the fight. Cody won the title. I was very impressed with Cody, keep up the good work with him CNYMMA