30 August 2010

What is That on Your Leg?!?!

So we all know that possible trading of germs comes with the territory of doing a sport where we are in very close contact the WHOLE time. But some people don’t know what exactly they are. So this post is going to be all about those lovely little infections you can get on your body by competing, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, MMA, and whatever other martial arts on these mats. The types of skin infections can be separated into bacterial, viral, and fungal. I’m going to try and hit on the most common ones, that way if you do get one, you can get it checked out and know how to get it taken care of.

* Writers note, there will be labeled pictures of the infections… I’m warning you now. So please don’t be mad at me!


Normal bacterial infections found in grapplers, mma, etc. are impetigo, staph, folliculitis, cellulitis, and probably the most  images dangerous, MRSA. Guys these are bacterial, most can be taken care of easily, and prevented easily.Take a shower after every training, use clean gear, clean towels, if someone has a weird looking mark, ask them to get it checked out. It’s not just their health its yours. You don’t want to end up unable to train or compete because you let a bacterial infection get too bad. Impetigo, staph, folliculitis, and cellulitis, can all be taken care of in the early stages by topical ointment. If it gets a little more advanced then an oral medication may need to be used. If it gets really bad, possible surgery to drain the area, and if you let it go too long, gangrene can set in. So don’t let is get that far.

MRSA on the other hand is more serious, it’s a Methicilin Resistant Staph. Basically with this strain what has happened is because of the overuse of antibiotics, MRSA doesn’t respond to the normimages (1)al stuff, you have to use very strong, antibiotics, and have the area surgically drained. MRSA is also highly contagious, and depending on how bad your case is, you may get quarantined for a few days. I actually do know more than one person who has gotten MRSA and ended up in the infectious disease ward at the hospital.  MRSA is serious guys,there are a lot of complications that can happen from it, and MRSA can be fatal if ignored. MRSA looks like a boil, an infected hair, pimple, spider bite but it wont pop, and they become very painful abscesses. The main noticeable thing is how painful it can be.  Just keep in mind that is a bacterial infection isn’t getting better, get it checked out!


So fungal is probably the smallest group, there are one of two things you can get and they are related. Ringworm, and tinea versicolor. Ringworm’s name changes with the location but download athlete’s foot, ‘jock itch’  it’s all ringworm. Ring worm looks exactly like it sounds, its a pink itchy ring on your skin. The tinea versicolor looks like a white rash, sometimes with small bumps. It’s usually not noticeable until the person gets someone and there are lighter color blotches on the infected area. Both are easily transmitted, so competing or training really aren’t options until you have been doing treatment for three days. Most ringworm on theimages (2) feet and body can be taken care of with anti fungal sprays. If it does not respond or the area is big, you may need a prescription strength ointment, or even a prescription oral medication  may be required. There are other ‘home remedies’ to kill ringworm, fast, but most do more harm to your skin than good. Use the stuff that is made to kill the fungus. After you have started on treatment cover the area with a CLEAN bandage or wrap until it is completely gone. Ring worm outbreaks at a gym take a little bit to get over with. So do your part to help contain it!


The main viral infection grapplers and mixed martial artists need to worry about is a version of the herpes simplex virus. It’s images (3)actually been given it’s own name, herpes gladitorum. Herpes Gladitorum, is like the cold sores you can get around your mouth, except it can be found on pretty much any part of your body.  With that being said while an athlete has an outbreak they should not be training. It can spread on their skin, and to other people much easier. All that has to happen is skin to skin contact. There are antiviral treatments that can help speed up the recovery and return the person back to practice but while they have any form of sore, they can’t be training.

f012017aPlantar warts (verruca) are another virus that can be spread. The  easiest thing to do is if they are small try the OTC wart remover kits. If they are bigger go to a doctor so they can freeze or burn the wart off. If you let warts be they can multiply, and it ends up becoming painful.


Those were the most common skin infections grapplers and mixed martial artists get. There are some really easy things out there to prevent getting these infections. First off make sure you’re always wearing clean gear, that way nothing gross can grow and multiply on your stuff. Second, take a shower after EVERY practice, if you practice in the morning and night shower after both. Along with showering, get a bottle of Selsen blue, and once a week use it as body wash, or there is even a specific soap called Defense Soap that has been marketed towards the Martial Arts community, it can be found on some of the online MMA stores. It’s a great way to kill anything extra on your skin and prevent things like ringworm.  Finally probably the only thing you can’t control is how often the mats and gym gear is cleaned. That is up to the gym manager or coach. But possibly offering to help clean the mats will make sure it’s done more often. Hope everyone found this a little informative. And sorry if any of the pictures grossed you out!

24 August 2010

The Friday before, and Nationals!

Friday the 13th, oh that just sounds bad. Ok so Friday we were able to go to morning practice one more time. I only went through techniques though, no sparring. I just rested and watched BTT train, joke, and have an overall good time. I asked questions, watched people spar, and just triedDSC01960 to soak everything in.  

So after a good morning class, we ran back to the house to make sure we had everything we need for the trip to Nationals. After a few false starts, we finally got on the road to Vegas!! The drive was interesting, I got to experience rush hour traffic. I’m not going to lie, the traffic was horrible. Once we got a little further away though, the traffic seemed to melt away. and we drove through the desert! Sorry I’ve never gotten to see a desert and being able to drive through it was pretty cool. We finally got to Vegas later at night, I was refusing to eat just because I wasn’t sure where my weight was and didn’t want to have to worry. We stayed in the Rio casino, it was amazing! Go figure the Rio hotel for a Brazilian jiu jitsu tournament…

Saturday was the tournament. Normally I would talk about the matches I won highlighting the details of everything I did well, and kind of glaze over the one I lost, just kind of acknowledging it but not going into detail. This time I will be different though… I’m going to talk about the match I lost, because for me no gi is my weakest point. I don’t train it near enough. Now that I’m a purple belt I really do need to make sure my game is stronger, force myself to train the  positions, and techniques I don’t like as much.  So the match I lost. Well it went the full time, I lost 2 advantages to 1. And my main mistake? I didn’t hold side control. I thought I did, thought I got the 3 points for passing guard, but I was too low, I didn’t establish complete side control and the girl got me back in her guard. I kept my head too low, so she could control it. So nothing but my fault. Actually Marcelo Perdomo, the black belt who had let me train with his team at BTT Long Beach,  had told me to keep my head up a few days before. After the match, he looked at me and asked me if I knew what I did wrong. I told him kept my head down and he told me right. So yep I know what I did. The girl had really hard legs to control, I wont lie, and she was strong. So after that Marcelo told me to compete gi, that my gi game is better. I kind of knew that I just really wanted to make the tournament hard on myself. So hopefully Gi Nationals in September will be on my list and I will be able to show some technique there!

After I competed, I ate some really fattening pizza, had a Pepsi, and watched the rest of the tournament. I did get third place, which is nice, I just wish I hadn’t missed my chance for finals. So next time I will work harder!


20 August 2010

Athlete Spotlight: Ruben Alvarez

I met Ruben last NAGA Chicago, I had just gotten over tearing my bicep tendon and wasn’t able to carry the boxes full of swords.33990_1498956522045_1478101908_31277866_7950215_n Ruben helped me out, and we spent the rest of the weekend talking about Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, tournaments, and what it was like training in different areas. Ruben comes from Miami, an area that is brimming with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Ruben has had a rough past couple months, losing a close friend, and teammate, Peter Bivona, during Mundials. And most recently suffering a pretty severe injury he got during a no gi absolute match. The amazing thing about Ruben though, is he has accomplished so much already. I’m positive with his determination and passion for jiu jitsu, he will easily come back better and stronger. I can’t wait to see what he does when he gets back on the mats.

What is your belt rank?

Purple belt under Roberto ‘Cyborg’ Abreu and Mike Cardoso

How old are you?25542_1389516386329_1484672447_993499_247338_n


How long have you been training?

4 years

What team(s) do you train with?

I train with Fight Sports South Beach, Extreme MMA, Deninho BJJ, and Zen BJJ.

What are some of the bigger tournaments you have won?

I am Grapplers Quest Beast of the East Champion, and a 41138_1546929401556_1484672447_1377305_6953811_n winner of many super fights, and I have beaten many nig names, and submitted multiple brown and black belts.. I’ve won multiple Grapplers Quest and NAGA tournaments. I placed third at the Abu Dhabi trials. I am ranked number 1 in no- gi in Florida at 139 lbs.

What got you started in BJJ?

I use to do Aikido, and I heard about BJJ. So I watched videos and saw Royce Gracie kicking people’s ass so I left Aikido and went to BJJ.

How has BJJ influenced your life?

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is my life.

What BJJ practitioners do you look up to?8827_1228626164174_1484672447_622389_3342015_n

Roberto ‘Cyborg’ Abreu, Mike Cardoso, Enrico Cocco, Master Deninho, Boca Olivera, Pedro Torres, Jordon Schultz , Hillary Williams, Mike Wacker, Renato Tavares, Xande and Saulo Ribero, Terere, Jeff Glover, Ryan Hall, Cobrinha, Rafael Mendes and Gui Mendes, Andre Galvao, Justin Rader, Rafael Lovato jr , Alexandre Pulga, Tarsis Humpreys, Marcelo Garcia, Patrick Leber, Emilio Urrtia, Jake Mackenzie, Marcel Goncalves, Incredible Ribiero, Pablo Popovitch and his team, Dustin ‘Clean’ Denes, Gabriel Samurai, and my big bro Ricardo Rezende.

What techniques have interested you recently?

Well I’m getting credit for my 50/ 50 guard a lot of people have been asking me about that and my half guard. But I have been interested in different types of guard passes and things you will see when I come back. I am starting to switch up my game a lot.


Can you explain a little what happened at your last tournament?

I broke my leg against bjj black belt and Bellator champion, Hector Lombard.

What are you doing to keep up with jiu jitsu?

I’ve been talking to my coaches and to my teammates. I have been reading  read books watching  videos and instructionals of many different players of the game. I have been visiting my teams at the school. I am  still involved with community 39479_10150229330880644_501315643_14277662_5058440_neven though I'm out.

When do you get to start physical therapy, and how has everything been going since the surgery?

I'm getting stronger everyday. I  just have to take it one day at a time. The physical therapist says I'm healing faster than she has ever seen someone, and making huge progress.

What are your plans when you get back to jiu jitsu?

I am just going to train lightly until I am back to 100 percent

Is there anything you would like to add?

I wanted to thank my family, God, coaches Cyborg Mike Cardoso Enrico Cocoo and Mestre Deninho, all I love dearly. 31334_1474197343300_1484672447_1188008_1732173_nTo all my teammates I miss them and will be back soon. And last, a special shout out to Peter Bivona, my brother who will be missed. I love you and miss you bro. Jiu jitsu is not the same without you and you are deeply missed. And to Kaitlin for the interview and support. Thanks so much.


17 August 2010

Training with Brazilian Top Team 8/12/2010

So because of me, I won’t lie, we were late to morning practice with BTT. It was no gi class though so it was definitely a huge help. I ended up getting paired with the toughest thirteen year old I have probably ever met, Little Rudy. Rudy is probably about the same size as me and a strong kid. He does the adult classes, and kids class. I’m not sure how long he has been doing BJJ but he’s a very serious kid. I was super sore from the day before and definitely underestimated him. I was planning to go light and work through technique but Rudy was ready to go and caught me in a tight guillotine. After that I was like ok, I have to compete in a few days, you got great technique but I need to roll light is that cool? after that Rudy not only showed off how much technique he had, but he also showed how great of a training partner he could be by changing the intensity he practiced with. I really hope to hear how he does in the future. I also invited him out to Indiana because I think he’d have some great training partners in Mikey and Edwin, two of our teens, who like him, love bjj. After that I trained with another guy, who unfortunately I forget his name! I’m so sorry! but I believe he was a white belt, had only been training a little while but was definitely hard to control. He had a good base and he really was great to train with because he wasn’t too much bigger than me. Finally I trained with Marcelo and he absolutely kicked my butt, started pointing out the mistakes I was making and pushed me through two rounds of sparring.

After sparring we did a few more errands, had a pretty healthy lunch of turkey burgers, and shockingly went back to the beach! This time I brought my bjj stuff with me so we weren’t late to practice.

Night class was MMA ground for an hour, where I learned a few cool little tricks, and again went with Marcelo. I tried to remember the pointers he showed me but I made a few of the same mistakes, and learned my lesson!

During gi class, I only worked techniques, all three black belts told me to sit and rest during Sparring. During this time I met a few more people on the team, talked abuot jiu jitsu, and watched the rest of the team spar. Probably the most interesting guy was someone named JP. He’s a gigantic guy, with a crazy sense of humor, and this bottle….Yes Bottle. Marcelo had gotten JP a bottle they use to feed baby cows, and JP uses it every day. So of course, pictures of this had to be taken…

DSC01963  JP and his Baba

Thank you guys for being such great sports!!

16 August 2010

Wednesday August 11, Long Beach

These past few days I have spent in Long Beach, California and Las Vegas, Nevada. My time I spent in Long Beach was with Marcelo Perdomo, and his team at Brazilian Top Team. After hearing my fiasco with losing sponsors, my friend, who was supposed to go to Nationals with me, getting to injured to compete, etc. Marcelo invited me to stay with him and a visiting Black belt Diogo for a few days before No- gi Nationals to train and then go with the rest of his team to Vegas to compete. So after everything crazy I agreed and had an amazing few days in Long Beach! I got off the plane Wednesday and it was off to practice immediately. Morning practice with BTT, was a little rough, I didn’t sleep the night before and after the first two trainings I was beat. We went over some open guard techniques, sparred, I went with Kristen, a really strong blue belt, and with Professor Marcelo.

After class Marcelo, Diogo, and I got sushi, ran some errands, and then I got to try my hand at surfing. They had an extra board which was awesome, but the water temp, was a little colder than i was used to… 64 degrees and trying to surf in a bikini? Not so great of an idea… I tried, but unfortunately low waves and cold water sidelined me. After that it was just getting cleaned up and back to practice. Night practice we worked on some sweeps, actually sweeps I had only seen my team practice. It was kind of crazy because normally Marcello Monteiro and de la Riva schools apply it, and I was really surprised to see Brazilian Top Team showing and practingit. I actually practiced the sweeps with a another visiting Black belt named Jefferson, he and I talked about training at other schools. What some of the little details that were different between what was being shown and what he had originally seen. It was cool because while talking about the techniques I pointed out a few details he hadn’t realized and was impressed I had noticed them. Jefferson had taken a little bit of a break and was getting back into doing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu he gave me advice, and encouraged me to visit teams whenever possible and that it would be an amazing learning experience. After lightly rolling with Jefferson and Professor Marcello, I finally had to cal it quits. I was too tired and my body wasn’t responding.

Back at the house after practice I got cleaned up, and while Marcelo, Diogo, and one of their friends tried to fix the bed frame to the bed I was supposed to sleep in I ended up passing out on the couch. No sleep, flying in, all the jiu jitsu and trying to surf had me unconscious. Luckily Mopar, and Lulubell kept me company. They did wake me up when the bed was ready though, I don’t remember, but I guess I got myself to the bed and just went right back to sleep.

I wish I would have been able to stay awake later though. Apparently, Marcelo grilled out and made some really good food. Diogo told me about it in a mix of English and Portuguese the next day. That was pretty much it for day one, I know not too horribly exciting but tome it was amazing. I being able to train that much, and make it to the beach all in one day was a dream come true. In all of the down time, we talked about BJJ, some of the history, how the lineages worked, and how different jiu jitsu is state by state. Also Diogo being around was really cool. He had just come to America not too long ago from Brasilia, Brazil. He doesn’t know much of any English so I tried as much as possible to speak Portuguese/Spanish with him. He has such a passion for jiu jitsu that even though he couldn’t completely communicate, whenever he taught, or helped out in a class he got his points across very clearly. He would ask how to say different things, and told us to correct his English because he wants to get it right. Day two will be up soon!


getting the surf boards ready

DSC01958 ‘My’ board

05 August 2010

The Plan for this Blog.

Ok so I should probably give everyone a brief overview of what I hope to do with this blog. First and foremost it will be a mainly Brazilian Jiu Jitsu blog that branches occasionally into MMA, wrestling, muay thai, etc. What I want to do though, is have any tournaments that I go to will be put up on here, with any major fights being highlighted, and possibly even a few interviews from the tournament. I am gong to try my hardest to get interviews from coaches, and black belts, I don’t know how good my connections are, but believe me, I will use them to hopefully get good ones as often as possible. I really want to be able to show how BJJ is affecting different areas or communities.I hope that the Athlete spotlights, will become a weekly article. Some of the ones I have in mind are

  1. Manuel de Celis, Gracie Barra Sevilla
  2. Omar Sabha, BTT Long Beach, but Living in Prague
  3. Ruben Alvarez, Fight Sports South Beach
  4. Vanessa Smith, Marcello C. Monteiro
  5. Mike Reyna, Champion Jiu Jitsu
  6. Jean Phellippe, GB Montreal
  7. Luke Summerfield, Neutral Ground

And finally, I have been offered by a few different teams the chance to visit and train, either by the coaches or by students who have become friends through jiu jitsu. I already have a pretty long list of schools that I can’t wait to visit. Here they are in no particular order, including where they are located.

  1. Brazilian Top Team Long Beach.   Long Beach, CA
  2. Fight Sports.   Miami, FL
  3. Team Helio Soneca.   Louisville, KY
  4. Champion Jiu Jitsu.   Chicago, IL
  5. Gracie Barra.   Chicago, IL
  6. Robert Lovi BJJ.   San Diego, CA.
  7. Texas, there are a few schools out there.

I am sure there is one or two that I am missing, and if there are I am truly sorry, let me know and I will update the list! Team Marcello C. Monteiro is always my home, but I have to say thank you to everyone who has invited me to visit!

So yea! there will be the occasional random post put in here of course. I can’t promise I won’t ramble, because that is normal for me… I really look forward to seeing what I can get done. The next main articles will be training with Brazilian Top Team, Long Beach; and interview with their coach Marcelo Perdomo; and my experience at No Gi Natoinals in Las Vegas, Nevada.

As always suggestions are not only welcome, they are encouraged! If there is something or someone you want to see, let me know and I will try my best to get it done! Stay tuned, this is about to get very busy!

04 August 2010

Turning 24 and Celebrating it My Way.

So Saturday the 31st. was my 24th birthday. non of my family was able to be home but I found my own way to celebrate it. The night before I went with my friend Lauren to have sushi, and quite honestly, it was amazing sushi… After an early night, I woke up super early, and drove up to the C-3 tournament put no by Braulio Corral. Since getting my purple belt i gussed there wouldn’t be any females to compete with, but I brought my stuff just in case. I didn’t really want to compete on my birthday, but I wanted to cheer on my teammates. So when I got up there we ended up having a group of the kids compete and they all did amazing jobs. After the kids Easton competed for the first time in the adult women’s division. She got first place in adult white belt absolute, and second in the no gi women’s division.

After that I really did not see many of the fights. Braulio needed extra help with refereeing. I actually got to referee the rest of the gi divisions. I have to admit it was a lot of fun! It’s kind of stressful. There are coaches on the side that are trying to coach, but at the same time if they do not think you are doing a good enough job at keeping the fight moving they yell at you, or they are arguing points/ advantages. So you have to tune everything out and watch. The worst part is when there is no score. If there are advantages given it’s better but it’s not fun when there is a tie and you have to decide who wins. At the end of the day I ended up making a few good contacts from the Chicago area.

Oh and I got two great presents for my birthday. My younger brother Collin got me a Jiu Jitsu Progear ranked rash guard. M parents said that they would pay my entrance fee for No gi Nationals. So now I’m pretty much all set! I can’t wait to go!!!