Wednesday, 25 September 2019

MMA & BJJ Seminars at ACSA MMA Melbourne

We recently held two great seminars at Australian Combat Sports Academy.

First, we had UFC and Grappling legend Jake Shields who covered some great details on Takedowns, Guard passing, Back control position and Leglocks.

MMA Melbourne

The following week we hosted Japanese Leglock legend Masakazu Imanari. This was another great session where we covered some excellent drills based around his famous 'Imanari Roll' Leglock entry as well as some great details on finishing leglocks.

MMA Melbourne

Coming up next on Sunday 7th October we are hosting one of my former coaches, Chris Brennan.

Chris "The Westside Strangler" Brennan, Pro MMA from 1994 until 2012, has competed for the UFC, PRIDE, Cage Rage, King of the Cage and Shooto. He is a former King of the Cage Middleweight Champion and former King of the Cage Middleweight Superfight Champion. In 2014 Chris was inducted into the Mixed Martial Arts Hall of Fame.
After retiring from MMA competition Chris switched his focus back to grappling and won the No-Gi Black Belt World Championships in 2013, 2014, and 2015 was also the 2014 Nogi Pan American Champion.
He made his UFC debut at UFC 16 in March 1998 and won via armbar submission in the first round.
As a professional MMA fighter has accumulated 21 wins including 18 first-round submissions. he holds a 95% finish rate, amongst the highest in MMA.

In September 2002 I moved to Irvine, California to live and train at Chris Brennans Next Generation Jiujitsu school. Next Generation was also one of the only BJJ/MMA schools in the world at that time where you could live and train at the gym full time. I shared a small room at the gym with several other aspiring fighters from all around the world and trained 3 times a day for 3 months.

I'm very excited to be able to bring him to teach at my school nearly 20 years later. This session will run from 9am on Sunday morning and will be a 3 hour Kimura Masterclass.

You can book your spot at this link:




Wednesday, 11 September 2019

Why MMA Fighters must train in regular classes - MMA Melbourne

MMA Melbourne


Why do some MMA fighters have successful careers while others start off well but then quickly go downhill?

I’ve seen fighters have a lot of success early in their career, then they stagnate, they stop improving and gradually get worse and worse results. How can we explain this deterioration of skill level and results?

There are several factors that can have a bad long term effect on a fighters career.

The Fight Camp Problem:
One common thing I see with many fighters is that once they have a little bit of success they stop attending regular classes and instead just want to do their own fight training, They just want to do their own padwork and sparring rather than attending classes like the regular students,

They see top professionals like Floyd Mayweather training like this so they assume that's what they should be doing too. They also think they’ve become too good to train with the regular students and that all the training should be focused around them and their competition goals,

The reality is that if you are already an elite world champion like mayweather then it makes sense not to do regular classes. There's a point of diminishing returns, time is better spent doing training that is solely focused on you. Also, if you are already a world champion you can afford to pay your trainers and sparring partners a full time salary so they can work around your schedule,


Why do fighters think they don’t have to come to regular classes?
They think that training in the regular classes with non fighters will hold them back. This is not true. I have seen many recreational students who have a much higher skill level in specific areas than the professional fighters. The fighter would actually benefit tremendously from training and sparring with these non fighters.

They believe training should be all just focused around them, This is completely unrealistic, Even if the fighter is paying his trainer 10-20% of the fight purse, it is very unlikely that any decent or suitably qualified trainer will be willing and able to devote all their time over the course of an 8 week training camp.

They think they already know everything that's being taught in class so there's no point wasting time practicing it again. This is usually never the case. There isalways more to learn and more skills to be refined and improved upon.

Disadvantages of only doing fight training:
There are several common patterns which I notice from fighters who only do ‘Fight Camps’ rather than regular training. These include stagnation and deterioration of ability.
Fighter is happy in the short term because he gets to train on his own terms. It's all about him, he feels like a professional and builds his ego but it's a disaster long term,

The fighter may be able to maintain their current level of skill, technique and fitness but is not improving and will not be capable of beating the next level of opponent.

The fighters coach who was probably responsible for the initial success doesn't want to work with the athletes who don't attend his classes regularly as this sets a bad example to the other students.

This often leads to the fighter finding other coaches who are willing to work them but usually the replacement coaches are inexperienced and just trying to make a name for themselves which will ultimately do more harm tahn good to the fighters career.
Why should fighters keep training in classes?
Its very important to continually keep improving and updating your skills. MMA fighting is a game of levels. If you beat a fighter of one level then you will have to move up to the next level to keep progressing your fight career. The level of skills and ability that was required to beat your previous opponent will not be enough to beat your next opponent.
This is especially the case in the sport of Mixed Martial Arts where the overall skill level rapidly increases from year to year. The level of skill required to win a state or national title even a few years ago would likely not be enough now.

Check out our BJJ & MMA Classes at ACSA:


Monday, 19 August 2019

Jake Shields and Masakazu Imanari seminars - ACSA MMA Melbourne

We have two great seminars coming up soon at my gym Australian Combat Sports Academy

Firstly we have UFC legend Jake Shields on Thursday 12th September at 6pm. This seminar will focus on Shields unique style of  'American Jiu-jitsu' blending BJJ with Wrestling specifically for Nogi Grappling competition and MMA.

Follow this link to book:
https://www.panchomichael.com.au/products/jake-shields-no-gi-seminar-thursday-september-12-australian-combat-sports-academy-thornbury



Then on Sunday 22nd September, we have Japanese MMA and Grappling Legend Masakazu Imanari.
This seminar will focus on Imanaris unique style of Leglocks.

You can book in here:
https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/masakazu-imanari-leglock-seminar-tickets-67336690855




Sunday, 11 August 2019

MMA Title Fight Preparation - MMA Melbourne

MMA Melbourne
ANNIE THATCHER - Bantamweight MMA Champion

Our fighter Annie Thatcher recently won the Path to Hex amateur Bantamweight title under IMMAF Rules. Here is a log of Annies training over the last 5 weeks leading up to the fight.

Week 1 - 5 Weeks Out from Fight - Starting weight - 70kg.
Monday 17th June
Wrestling - Drilling Clinch Techniques against the Fence
MT - Drilling and Padwork
Tuesday 18th June
5 - 6 pm - Padwork & Technique Drills (4 x 3 Min Rds then Drilling Combos)
6pm - NOGI BJJ (NOGI class/ Rolling) - Side Control Techs
7.30pm - Technique Drilling (Drilling wall takedowns/technique plus defence then conditioning)
Wed 19th June
Wrestling - Drilling Clinch Techniques against the Fence
MT - Drilling and Padwork
Thurs 20th June
Lunch Time Session: 11-12 - Annie - Drilling low kick combos with one mit and kick shield with Feroz. - Three pad rounds with Phil,
5 - 6 pm - Padwork (4 Rds working on specific combos and movements) & Technique Drills (Clinch against the cage working on ‘Bump & Jump’)
6pm - NOGI BJJ (NOGI class/ Rolling) - Side Control Techs
7.15pm - S & C Class - Explosive Repeat Intervals
All main exercises performed with emphasis on explosive power
Main Exercise 1
  • Landline press 10 reps each arm
  • Followed by 1 minute of steady state rope skipping level 5 rating of perceived exertion (RPE)*
  • Repeat 5 times with no break in between.
1 minute rest (focusing on recovery breathing technique)
Main Exercise 2
  • Slam ball throws against wall at chest height 10reps each arm
  • Followed by 1 minute of steady state rope skipping level 5 rating of perceived exertion (RPE)*
  • Repeat 5 times with no break in between.
1 minute rest (focusing on recovery breathing technique)
Main Exercise 3
  • Slam ball throws to floor 10 reps
  • Followed by 1 minute of steady state rope skipping level 5 rating of perceived exertion (RPE)*
  • Repeat 5 times with no break in between.
1 minute rest (focusing on recovery breathing technique)
Main Exercise 4
  • Standing squat jumps 10 reps
  • Followed by 1 minute of steady state rope skipping level 5 rating of perceived exertion (RPE)*
  • Repeat 5 times with no break in between.
1 minute rest (focusing on recovery breathing technique)
Friday 21st June
6pm - MT Class (1 Hour)
Sat 22nd June
9am - MT Class - Tech and Padwork
10 am - MMA Class - Combo into Takedown Drills, Clinch drills & Wall Drills - Boxing w/ Takedowns Sparring.
11am - NOGI BJJ - Knee Tap Takedown & Side Control Submissions & 30 Min Rolling.
Sunday - Rest and Recovery;
Review of the Week
‘I think the week just gone was really great for technical work, laying ground work for game plans, striking technique and cage clinch.
I feel like I hardly did any sparring, I always get anxious about not sparring enough.
But it has been really good to work on things to implement into sparring.
I trained a lot last week but didn’t pull up too sore and didn’t feel too run down by Saturday which was good. Sometimes I get to Saturday and I’m like 😖😖😖

Week 2 - 4 Weeks Out from Fight - Weight - 68kg
Monday 24th June
Wrestling - Drilling & Sparring - Double Leg TD drilling plus 15 mins Wrestling Sparring
MT - Class - 6pm to 7.30pm
Tuesday 25th June
LunchTime - On Tuesday Phil had me and feroz working a hook as you step back and switch stance against an opponent coming forward and that has worked well in sparring.
5 - 6 pm - Padwork & Boxing with Takedown Sparring in Cage
6pm - NOGI BJJ - Mount Techs
7.30pm - Comp Team Class - Takedown Drills on Crash Mat then shark tank Grappling rounds.
Wed 26th June
Wrestling - Drilling & Sparring
MT Classes - 6pm - 8.15pm
Thurs 27th June
5 - 6 pm - 4 rds Padwork & Combo into Takedown Drill with Resistance on Takedowns.
6pm - NOGI BJJ - Mount Techs
7.15pm - S & C Class.
All main exercises performed with emphasis on explosive power
Main Exercise 1
  • Landline press 10 reps each arm
  • Followed by 1 minute of steady state rope skipping level 5 rating of perceived exertion (RPE)*
  • Repeat 5 times with no break in between.
1 minute rest (focusing on recovery breathing technique)
Main Exercise 2
  • Slam ball throws against wall at chest height 10reps each arm
  • Followed by 1 minute of steady state rope skipping level 5 rating of perceived exertion (RPE)*
  • Repeat 5 times with no break in between.
1 minute rest (focusing on recovery breathing technique)
Main Exercise 3
  • Slam ball throws to floor 10 reps
  • Followed by 1 minute of steady state rope skipping level 5 rating of perceived exertion (RPE)*
  • Repeat 5 times with no break in between.
1 minute rest (focusing on recovery breathing technique)
Main Exercise 4
  • Standing squat jumps 10 reps
  • Followed by 1 minute of steady state rope skipping level 5 rating of perceived exertion (RPE)*
  • Repeat 5 times with no break in between.
1 minute rest (focusing on recovery breathing technique)
Friday 28th June
No training
Sat 29th June
9am - MT Class - Tech and Padwork
10 am - MMA Class - Drilling Combos into Takedowns plus Low Kick/Heel kick techniques. 2 Rounds Shootbox sparring.
11am - NOGI BJJ - Drilling Mount techs and rolling.
Sunday - Rest and Recovery;
Review of the Week
‘This week, my fitness felt pretty unreal. Wasn’t gassing at all in sparring or pad rounds. Even Quan’s S&C class I felt way better than last week. We will see how I go cutting back food this week.
Overall, I’m feeling super excited right now, just need to keep my diet in order to make weight. Other than that all of my skills are feeling sharp and I think the combos we are practicing work well with my style and abilities.’

Week 3 - 3 Weeks Out from Fight - Weight - 67kg
Monday 1st July
Wrestling - Drilling (Single Leg Takedown - 4 Finishes) & Wall Wrestling Sparring
MT - Boxing Drilling, Padwork & Sparring with Boxing Team.
Tuesday 2nd July
5 - 6 pm - Padwork (3 x 3min Rds) & Sparring ( 4 x 4 Min Rds 1 min rest. Fresh opponents each minute)
6pm - NOGI BJJ (with MMA Gloves) - Back Control Techs and Back Control Sparring.
7.30pm - Comp Team Class: Takedown Drilling, Wall Wrestling and Winner stays on Grappling Sparring.
Wed 3rd July
Wrestling - 30 mins Cage Wrestling.
MT - Drilling and Padwork
Thurs 4th July
5 - 6 pm - Padwork (3 x 3 min Rds): Sparring (4 x 3 min rds vs Bobby) : Resistance Band DL Td (3 sets x 10), 30 seconds of power G & P on Bag after each set.
6pm - NOGI BJJ - Drilling Back Control Techs & 45 Mins rolling.
7.15pm - S & C Class:
Explosive Repeat Intervals:All main exercises performed with emphasis on explosive power aiming to maintain output with each set
Main Exercise 1
Landline press 10 reps each arm
Followed by 1 minute of steady state rope skipping level 8 rating of perceived exertion (RPE)*
Repeat 5 times with no break in between.
1 minute rest (focusing on recovery breathing technique)
Main Exercise 2
Vertical medicine ball throw laying on physio ball 10 reps
Followed by 1 minute of steady state rope skipping level 8 rating of perceived exertion (RPE)*
Repeat 5 times with no break in between.
1 minute rest (focusing on recovery breathing technique)
Main Exercise 3
Battle rope bilateral whips 10 reps
Followed by 1 minute of steady state rope skipping level 8 rating of perceived exertion (RPE)*
Repeat 5 times with no break in between.
1 minute rest (focusing on recovery breathing technique)
Main Exercise 4
Standing squat jumps 10 reps
Followed by 1 minute of steady state rope skipping level 8 rating of perceived exertion (RPE)*
Repeat 5 times with no break in between.
1 minute rest (focusing on recovery breathing technique)
Friday 5th July
5pm - Gi Sparring in BJJ Class
6pm - MT Class
Sat 6th July
10 am - MMA Class 5 x 5 min Rds x Sparring against 5 sparring partners. 1 min each and each partner working on a different objective. Then mma drilling.
11am - Muay thai training with fight team.
Sunday - Rest and Recovery;
Review of the Week:
This week, went a bit too hard with S&C at the start of the week, felt like I struggled during Tuesday sparring because my legs were sore. But surprisingly still felt fit by the end of Tuesday night fight team sesh. Striking sparring felt really good all week, practicing my posting and cross hook cross combo.Wednesday night on the pads I was WRECKED but technique still looked pretty good in video.
Felt even better again this in Quans S&C class, tried to make the active rest rounds a little more intense to push myself. Saturday sparring felt unreal, was picking up on people game plans and implementing my own. A few times I worked the jab, right knee, cross, left kick combo that we do on pads and it landed well. Even after the big mma sparring session I felt good, joined in on Muay Thai sparring too with Phil and the guys. Stuck to a good diet this weekend at mum and dads but we don’t have a scale here so I can’t weigh myself. But weight should be on track I’d say.

Week 4 - 2 Weeks Out from Fight
Monday 8th July
No Training
Tuesday 9th July
5 - 6 pm - 4 x 5 Min Rounds of MMA sparring. New partner each minute.
6pm - NOGI BJJ - Turtle position techniques and sparring.
7.30pm - Comp Team Class: Guillotine Escape sparring, Turtle Position Sparring, Side Control sparring, Wall TD Sparring.
Wed 10th July
Wrestling - Wall TD Sparring
MT - Drilling and Padwork
6 RDs of Hard Padwork focusing on specific combos and power.
Thurs 11th July
5 - 6 pm - 5 x 3 min Rds Sparring vs different opponent each min.
6pm - NOGI BJJ - Turtle Position techniques and sparring.
7.15pm - S & C Class Explosive Repeat Intervals
All main exercises performed with emphasis on explosive power aiming to maintain output with each set.
Main Exercise 1
Landline press 10 reps each arm
Followed by 1 minute of steady state rope skipping level 8 rating of perceived exertion (RPE)*
Repeat 5 times with no break in between.
1 minute rest (focusing on recovery breathing technique)
Main Exercise 2
Vertical medicine ball throw laying on physio ball 10 reps
Followed by 1 minute of steady state rope skipping level 8 rating of perceived exertion (RPE)*
Repeat 5 times with no break in between.
1 minute rest (focusing on recovery breathing technique)
Main Exercise 3
Ball slams to floor 10 reps
Followed by 1 minute of steady state rope skipping level 8 rating of perceived exertion (RPE)*
Repeat 5 times with no break in between.
1 minute rest (focusing on recovery breathing technique)
Main Exercise 4
Standing squat jumps 10 reps
Followed by 1 minute of steady state rope skipping level 8 rating of perceived exertion (RPE)*
Repeat 5 times with no break in between.
1 minute rest (focusing on recovery breathing technique)
Friday 12th July
Morning Weight = 65kg
5 pm - BJJ Class - Gi - Turtle Position Techniques & Sparring
Sat 13th July
9am - MT Class - Tech drilling and 4 rds Padwork
10 am - MMA Class - 5 x 6 Min Rds Sparring - New opponents each minute.
Sunday - Rest and Recovery;
Review of the Week
This week was great, lots of sparring which was great. (Exhausting) but great. I feel my rounds got better every time.
My fitness it constantly getting better, I’m not worried about 5x 3 minute rounds at all.
My weight is very much on track and I’m 100% injury and illness free (touch wood)
My Saturday rounds were full on, but I made it through and finished strong and that will definitely be harder than what the fight will be.

Week 5 - Fight Week:
Monday 15th July
MT - Drilling and Padwork
Tuesday 16th July
6pm - NOGI BJJ - Technique drilling
7pm - Final Fight simulation Sparring - Warm up in changing room, padwork etc, Walk to cage with entrance music, 3 rounds sparring vs Bryan.
Wednesday 17th July
Padwork and drilling.
Thurs 18th July
Padwork and drilling.
Friday 19th July
Weight Cutting.
Sat 20th July - Weigh In and Fight Day
Weighed in at 10am at 61.1kg


Result -Win by decision / Path to Hex Bantamweight Champion.

Wednesday, 22 May 2019

How to be a good BJJ training partner - BJJ Melbourne

How to be a good BJJ training partner



Pay attention when the instructor is teaching techniques or explaining drills. If you're training partner has to reteach what the instructor has shown it is a waste of time.

If you don't understand the technique or need to see it again ask the instructor. This is much more efficient than going off to practice a technique you don't understand and there will probably be other students who also need to see it again.

When you go back with your partner to practice the technique try to do as many repetitions as possible while maintaining good form. Even if you know the technique do as many reps as possible rather than just doing it halfheartedly while having a chat.

Stick to the techniques being taught. Your instructor has chosen to teach these specific techniques in this particular way as he feels this is what will benefit your long term development in Jiujitsu. His choice of what to teach is based on extensive experience. Save your own variations of techniques for open mat and sparring.

Don't 'over-coach' your training partner when drilling. This is usually counterproductive as it will get the student in the habit of not paying attention when the instructor is teaching. Also quite often students teaching other students results in being taught poor or badly understood technique.

Don't try to win in sparring. Work at a controlled pace rather than trying to overpower your training partner. Focus on trying to use the techniques that you have learnt in class rather than seeing it as a strength contest.

If you're paired up with a lower level student don't try to smash them but also don't spend the entire round re-explaining all the concepts and techniques of Jiujitsu. The best and most productive use of the round is to just spar at an acceptable pace allowing them to attempt techniques and letting them get a feel for what Jiujitsu sparring is all about.

Try to roll with a variety of sparring partners in each class. Don't just stick to the same four or five people. A greater variety of sparring partners will give you a better variety of techniques and styles to work against.

Avoid short cuts. There are techniques in Jiujitsu that will allow you to get quick wins in sparring against fellow beginners students however these techniques will not work against anyone who's been training for more than a few months. Think long term and focus on the high percentage techniques that are difficult to pull off now but with consistent practice will be your A game when you're a blue belt or purple belt.

Treat all your training partners with respect. Your training partners are one of the most important elements in how much you will improve. If you treat them well they will want to help you to improve.

BJJ Melbourne


Check out our BJJ Classes at ACSA BJJ - Thornbury, Melbourne:

Sunday, 3 March 2019

My BJJ Class Grading Requirements - BJJ Melbourne

BJJ Melbourne


Over the past two years, I've been working on specific grading criteria for each belt level in my BJJ classes. Previously we had always just based grading around how students were performing during sparring in class or competition success. This had also always been the case at the schools where I'd trained over the years. 

Over the years I noticed some problems with this system. Firstly, students who were more athletic could get away with doing very well in training and competition for the first few years but never developed the correct technique so would often quit once they reached the higher belts. Secondly, the lack of structure and criteria of exactly what you need to know and be able to do at each belt level often lead students to lose interest and motivation.

This is the current Promotion Criteria that I use for Promotion from White to Blue Belt and Blue to Purple Belt. Students are tested on these techniques on Grading Day and are also tested in rounds of sparring including Positional Sparring and Line ups where they have to roll with fresh opponents one after another for a set period of time.

The Grading requirements are still a work in progress and I have been adding and removing some techniques at each Stripe and Belt Level since I began.


White Belt to Blue Belt Grading Requirements broken down by Stripe:BJJ Melbourne
Blue Belt to Purple Belt Grading Requirements broken down by Stripe:
BJJ Melbourne
Check out our BJJ Classes at ACSA BJJ:

The Key to Success in BJJ Training

The Key to Success in BJJ Training An old training partner of mine once jokingly told me that one of his pet peeves about JiuJitsu is that y...

Popular Posts