Mentors: I am a huge believer in the idea of taking on mentors – outstanding figures in the sport who you believe have some characteristics that strongly appeal to you or which you believe could greatly improve your performance and direction if you were to implement them. A truly great grappler who dazzled the sport when he entered and blitzed his weight division on several occasions was the inestimable Jean Jacques Machado. It was not just that he won that was so impressive- it was the WAY he won. There was not a moment wasted on the mat – he embodied what I take as the ideal of jiu jitsu – PURPOSEFUL DIRECTED TOWARDS CONTROL THAT LEADS TO SUSTAINED ATTACKS CULMINATING IN SUBMISSION. Nobody demonstrated this ideal better than Mr Machado. If you wanted to show a curious friend what great grappling looks like and were looking for exciting and technically flawless matches you could not do better than those championship winning performances. From the of the match until the inevitable submission finish it was a hustling bustling flurry of well directed attacks in combinations that flowed evenly between position and submission and created tactical pressure rather than physical pressure – watching this pressure crack his opponents was one of the most instructive lessons of my own development. Trying to recreate that sense of efficient and unrelenting attack has been a big part of my work – and it should be yours too. What a pleasure to the great man visit the blue basement and show his knowledge to new generations of students alongside my Sensei Renzo Gracie – they grew up together in jiu jitsu – now they share it and improve it on opposite sides of America I will always be grateful to the mentors who provided insight, inspiration and example to me – through and training their work can become yours – find them, study them and cherish them.


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