Archive for April, 2012

The Belt

April 29, 2012 5 comments

The belt. To a new Brazilian Jiu Jitsu student, the white belt around their waist is simply a piece of cloth that keeps their gi closed and signifies that they are a beginner. As you progress in Jiu Jitsu though, the belt starts to take on a whole new meaning…..whether you know it or not.

About a month ago, something happened to me that affected me in a way that I did not expect; I lost my belt. I’ve misplaced my belt a few times but it always turned up so I didn’t panic at first and figured it was probably just back at the academy. I called one of my instructors and asked him if he’d seen my belt and he said he did remember seeing a purple belt lying around but wasn’t sure what brand it was. I figured it had to be mine but when I showed up for class that night and checked, sadly, it was not my belt.

We had a lot of visitors in town that week for a camp so more than likely it was picked up by a fellow purple belt by accident and his was left in its place. Reluctantly, I put on this “other guys” belt that was left behind and jumped into the class. The next day I went online and promptly ordered a new belt.

You might be asking yourself why I didn’t just keep the belt that was left behind. The belt that was left behind was the same color as mine, fit me just fine, and was broken in from time on the mat. Why spend the money and go through the hassle of getting a brand new belt?

To me the answer was simple: It was not MY belt.

That belt was not tied around MY waist by Dave Camarillo after four years of hard work. That belt never had MY blood and sweat on it. That belt had not been present for MY training sessions with instructors like Caio Terra, Flavio Meyer, Queixinho, Roy Dean, Clark Gracie, Paul Schreiner, Cobrinha, Bobby Southworth, Mike Prudencio, Joe Moirera, Roy Harris, Andre Terencio, Hannette Staack, etc. That belt did not spend over two years tied around MY waist. That belt, although it looked and felt like it, was not MY belt.

There are those who think that a belt is only good for holding up your pants or simply displaying your rank. I feel sorry for those people. Earning rank in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu under a legitimate instructor takes years of hard work, dedication, and sacrifice. It’s hard work physically, mentally, and emotionally to get good at Jiu Jitsu. It takes dedication to keep coming back to class even after an injury or when you feel like you’re not progressing. Jiu Jitsu also takes sacrificing things like time with family, friends and your ego. Your belt, more than just holding your gi closed or pants up, is representative of all of these things and more.

What does YOUR belt mean to YOU?


Caio Terra’s Modern Jiu Jitsu: DVD Review

Caio Terra’s newest DVD produced by Mobile Black Belt created quite a bit of buzz after a trailer and a few short clips were posted online during the weeks leading up to it’s release. The first thing everyone noticed was the unbelievable level of production for a Jiu Jitsu DVD. I was lucky enough to get a quick interview with the director himself, Patrick Paulson, as well as a chance to review the DVD set. Enjoy.

RynoHi Patrick, please tell us a little about Mobile Black Belt

Patrick– Mobile Black Belt creates high production value media.  Our goal is to produce products that have REAL VALUE to our clients, partners and sponsors.  What that means is; as a customer you love the product and think its a good value, as a partner you know we took your image to a higher level in our production, and as a sponsor your brand is attached to something worth looking at and is something dynamic that people are talking about.  We make our videos available to people all over the world through our mobile apps, DVDs and online videos.  We offer some of our content free, some priced very low, like our apps and other projects, like Caio’s four DVD set, that are priced higher…mostly to cover the expense of a professional quality production.

Ryno– How did you choose Caio to make this instructional?

Patrick– My partner Aparecido Faria has known Caio since Caio was a little kid competing in Brazil.  He has followed him over the years and thought it would be a good fit.

Ryno- The production value of this instructional is unlike anything that has been done before. How did you achieve this?

Patrick– Thank you. Let’s face it, the bar for instructional BJJ DVDs is pretty low. In fact, it couldn’t get any lower. As a consumer of a lot of BJJ DVD sets, I felt a little cheated because they cost so much but looked so terrible. If I’m paying $150 for a DVD set, shouldn’t the sound, lighting and camera work be better than the amateur level? The short answer is “f*&k yes!”  I have over 25 years experience doing professional film and video work. I was a music video director for years and I directed Jay Z’s feature film “Fade to Black”.

I have done hundreds of live event broadcasts…this has been my life.  About four years ago I discovered Jiu Jitsu and thought I might actually be able to make this look good, so I started playing with some basic ideas. You haven’t seen the best from us yet. This  is all simple stuff we’re doing now.
Ryno- Do you think we’ll start to more instructional DVDs with this type of production in the near future?
Patrick- I think people who own our products will have a hard time going back and watching some of the DVDs other companies are producing. From the customer’s point of view, we offer the best value…plain and simple. Will other people try to do what we do? Yes, they will have to if they have any sense of responsibility to their customers. But this is not the kind of stuff you can fake. I believe Jiu Jitsu is a beautiful art and it deserves be filmed is a way that reveal its beauty.
Ryno Do you have any projects with other black belts coming up that you can tell us about?
Patrick- We have been contacted by the biggest names in this industry and that’s a nice confirmation of the work we are doing. We like to keep things under wraps until the production is almost done, but I can tell you that you won’t be disappointed with the instructors or the productions.
Ryno- Thanks for your time Patrick
Patrick- Thank you. We really like the idea of people sharing what we do on the grass roots level; bloggers and people who actually train BJJ and own BJJ DVDs and apps.

As you can see from the clip above, the production value of this DVD set is above and beyond anything done to date for BJJ instructionals. How many times have you purchased a DVD instructional for $100 or more and it looked like someone just put up a tripod in their garage and started “directing?” Well, that’s probably because that’s exactly what they did! Let’s look at a few common problems with your average BJJ instructional and why Modern Jiu Jitsu is actually worth the money:

Average Instructional Poor quality film and lighting…looks like a VHS tape from 1980.

MJJ Filmed in stunning HD with professional lighting…the reason most people have high-def flat screen TV’s these days.

Average Instructional Sounds like it was filmed in a bathroom stall.

MJJ The sound and voice over work are crystal clear, just like the picture.

Average Instructional Angles! I’m tired of trying to figure out what’s going on and watching the instructor spin the uke around in circles to try and capture all of the proper angles (which they still miss many times)….it’s really distracting and is one of the only things I griped about in Caio’s first DVD.

MJJ Not a problem here. 360 degree angles, close-ups, wide shots, real time and slow motion ….I think the only angle they’re missing is a helmet cam on the uke and a helicopter cam.

Average Instructional Instructor ramblings like “so like what you do is like uhhhh” and “so next it’s like, so you kinda uhhh grab like here and uhhhh.” Ramblings like this make it seem like the instructor put little thought into the lesson and creates a lot of confusion.

MJJ Being clear and concise in an instructional is very important but is often overlooked. Although English is not Caio’s first language, he does a very good job of delivering the lessons clearly and the director’s editing keeps any ramblings to a minimum.

Now, all the production in the world doesn’t matter if the instructor and material suck right? There’s a reason why guys like Ricardo Almeida and Pedro Sauer invite Caio Terra to do seminars at their academy. Not only is he really good at Jiu Jitsu, he’s also great at sharing his knowledge as an instructor.

Modern Jiu Jitsu is Caio’s take on some of the most fundamental and high percentage movements in Jiu Jitsu that all practitioners need to know in order to have a strong foundation. The Jiu Jitsu in this DVD set can be used by people of all shapes, sizes and skill levels.

If you’re looking to learn inverted guard or flying triangles, this is not your DVD set. If you want to learn solid Jiu Jitsu with a modern twist, proven at the highest levels of competition, you should get yourself a copy. The DVD set is comprised of four discs totaling 140+ techniques and 5 hours of video, covering the following positions- Closed Guard/Mount/Turtle/Back/Butterfly Guard/Side Control/North-South/Half Guard/ Standing Passes/Takedowns and can be purchased at

*Full Disclosure– I’m not just a fan of Caio Terra, I’m also a student. I received a set of DVDs from Mobile Black Belt in return for this review, but I don’t get paid for this stuff and it wouldn’t be worth a free DVD and an “atta boy” from my instructor to give you guys a bunk review! You guys can learn more about Caio here.

PS- While putting the finishing touches on this review, Caio wins gold at the 2012 Pan Ams by submission! How’s that for advertisement. Congrats Caio!