Velasco vs. Vazquez compete at Wanderlust Micro-tournament

SCHAUMBURG, IL — Several athletes from the Chicagoland area stepped on the mat Saturday at Midwest Training Center to compete in another in-house micro tournament, presented by Wanderlust Grappling.

There were a total of five Gi divisions (3 male & 2 female) and four No-Gi divisions (2 male & 2 female)—all of which were set for beginners only.

The brackets and weight classes for this event were as follows:

  • Male:
    • Under 165lbs Gi
    • 165-185 Gi
    • Over 185lbs Gi
    • Under 165lbs NoGi
    • 165-185 NoGi
    • Over 185lbs No Gi
  • Females:
    • Under 155lbs Gi
    • Over 155lbs Gi
    • Under 155lbs Nogi
    • Over 155lbs Nogi

As the tournament neared its end, a highly anticipated match between two very skilled grapplers—Vicente (Tony) Velasco (shown), BJJ Brown Belt & Owner/Operater of No Joke BJJ Affiliate Ground Flow Grappling, and Elmherst, Illinois' Manny Vazquez. While both competitors are very knowledgeable in the sport, Vazquez brings a superior MMA record—having fought in several premier organizations such as XFO MMA and Bellator.

It was perhaps his long history in the fast-paced MMA environment that ultimately lead to Vasquez's victory by the d'arce choke submission.

6 Tips for Visiting Jiu Jitsu Academies

I am lucky in that I have a great job that takes me around the US. When I travel for business, I stop in at the local academies. I have dropped in to over 10 different gyms and I have never regretted these visits. The Jiu Jitsu community is typically very welcoming to visitors. It’s a great chance to test your skills against strangers in a relaxed manner, and it’s also a great way to meet people!

There are some things to remember when visiting a different academy, and I will outline some of the tips I have learned over the years:

1: Contact First Before Coming

Always contact the academy first before dropping in. It allows you to introduce yourself and learn some of the nuances of the gym. Do they only allow white gis? What is the drop-in fee? Can you go to the “Advanced Class” as a 3-stripe white belt? You will want to know the answers to these questions BEFORE you pack your bags!
Most academies have their own websites, but if that isn’t an option they should have a phone number to call. I always give the dates I will be in town and my belt level and school affiliation; then I ask about their visitor policy.

2: Come Early

You will want to get there early for a few reasons. It’s a good idea to meet instructor before the class starts so that they can help you and look out for you. You will generally need to sign waiver form, so you also want to get this out of the way.

3: Be Humble

You should not be visiting to prove your technique is the best in the land. You are not at the Mundials. You are a guest in someone else’s home, so be respectful. Treating every roll like it’s a deathmatch is a great way to be kicked out.
Respect the instructor’s teaching and don’t teach your own knowledge unprompted. This is especially true when you are a lower belt. Trust me, you do not want to be that guy.

4: Understand the Rules for Rolling

You do not want to go breaking gym rules, so do your best to understand them. When rolling, try to stick to non-white belts if possible. Again, you are not here to smash new white belts, you are here to learn, have fun, and get a good test of your current skills.
I also typically won’t ask women to roll. I have heard many stories of women getting creeped on by strangers and I don’t want to appear like one of those guys. If they ask me, that’s fine, but I don’t want to push anyone.
At first, try to stick to typical submissions. Steer away from neck cranks or chest compressions, for example – anything illegal under IBJJF rules. Some academies are okay with them, but many are not. After a roll or two you may have a better grasp of what is acceptable.
Leg locks are another potential hazard area. Check before you put someone in a leg lock. Even though leg locks are becoming more accepted, there are many gyms that still prohibit them altogether, especially at lower belt levels.

5: Use Proper Gi and Patch Etiquette

Some schools have a gi policy, while others don’t care.  The safest bet is to wear a white gi with no school patches.  Many academies will prohibit patches of other affiliations.

6: Be Positive

Above all, you are there to have a good time.  Stay positive and that will go a long way. Try to get a picture post it on social media (if that’s your thing).  The exposure will benefit you both. Thank the instructor and the people you drill and roll with.

So there you have it – 6 tips for visiting another academy.  The general theme is to prepare and be humble. If you have been training BJJ for a while, it should be no problem.  Even if you haven’t, follow these tips and you shouldn’t have any problems.

Remembering Heroes of 9/11: The Black Belt Who Fought Back

Despite the nearly-eighteen years since, the attacks of September 11th, 2001 have remained scarred into the hearts of this generation and will forever live in infamy. Albeit difficult to remember at times—given the dense fog of terror and tragedy—there is an overwhelming number of brave individuals who took heroic action on that fateful day.

jeremy glick judy bjj brazilian jiu-jitsu

Jeremy Glick (1970-2001) | Honorary Judo Black Belt

One of these heroes is the late Jeremy Glick—a passenger onboard United Airlines Flight 93, husband, father, and former National Collegiate Judo champion. For those of you who are involved in the sport of Judo—or it’s close-cousin, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu—you know just the type of man that Jeremy was.

"He was a no nonsense kind of guy. He took ownership of things. Very focused," said Glick's former boss, Thomas Torf (according to San Francisco Business Times). "He loved his family. He was a good business man. All of us loved him."

Sadly—as we know—United Flight 93 was one of four commercial airliners that were tragically hijacked by terrorists on 9/11. There’s one slight difference between Flight 93 and the rest of the airplane hijackings that took pace—this plane had a Judo practitioner on board. The terrorists did not manage to fly this airplane to their desired destination thanks to the brave passengers on board who stood up to the hijackers and fought for control of the plane (Glick being one of them).

According to accounts of cell phone conversations, Glick, along with passengers Todd Beamer, Mark Bingham and Tom Burnett, formed a plan to take the plane back from the hijackers, and led other passengers in this effort. Glick's last words to his wife when aboard Flight 93 were: "We're going to rush the hijackers."

As Martial Artists, the bravery of Jeremy Glick serves as a lesson that once joining a combative sport, we have the ability to use our bravery, strength, confidence, and leadership to improve the world around us.

May legacy of Jeremy Glick live on to remind belted members of the Judo & BJJ community that we DO NOT back down when it is time to protect those around us...

In September 2008, the United States Judo Association (USJA), awarded Glick with an Honorary 10th Degree black belt (via Daily American).

A non-profit organization called Jeremy's Heroes has been established by Jeremy's brothers and sisters. It is dedicated to building character and confidence in America's youth through sports.

What is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?

Brazilian Jiu-jitsu (BJJ) is a self-defense art and competitive sport based on taking your opponent to the ground, achieving positional control by continuous grappling, and applying submission holds involving joint locks and chokeholds until one of the contestants surrenders. It combines aspects of wrestling and Judo as well as its own specific techniques.

Brief History

Jiu-jitsu basically means "Gentle Art". It was practiced in Japan for a long period of time and it is often believed that the Gracie family from Brazil—through the help of Mitsuyo Maeda from Japan—practiced and developed the Kodokam Judo to modern Brazilian Jiu-jitsu.


Brazilian Jiu-jitsu is based around techniques that teach how to immobilize an opponent by several procedures, including: Pull guard, joint locks, chokeholds, and also the art of defeating an opponent by having more physical strength irrespective of the body composition.

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