Posts Tagged ‘“Three Rivers Academy”’


Firstly, this isn’t a religious post, except in the fact that jiu-jitsu is a deeply religious thing for me. Rather, I’m referring to having faith in the training, in the technique, in the realization that all will come when you are ready for it.

The first truly Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu technique I ever learned was a half guard pass. I had virtually no context for it. It had never come up in a fight and I hadn’t realized what it was if it occurred in training prior to learning it. I repped it out and listened to the explanation for it but it wouldn’t be accessible to me for some time.

Finally, probably 2 or more years later I found the exact right scenario and that technique, which I thought I had forgotten by then, came to the surface. I was ready for it! Has this ever happened to you?

This is one of those beautiful jiu-jitsu epiphony, metaphorical moments of clarity, when it all makes sense again. When the roll speaks to you, you understand it to be the truth because it proves its inherent value in the moment perfectly. There are of course other moments in life when the pieces fall into place, but jiu-jitsu is so often times complex and chaotic yet formulaic and precise, that it seems to hold an equation up to the universe and say “See! This is how it works!”

Sorry for the philosophical rant, but that’s the nature of the thing. If you dismiss a move as not useful, either in itself or just for you, you miss out on the possibility that maybe you were simply not ready for it. It happens the other route as well. For example, the white belt who has “mastered” the upa escape and now only relies on the elbow escape because the upa is “too basic.” Or then there is the intermediate student who “needs another sweep” because everyone has caught on to his standard sweeps. It is simply a matter of readiness and appropriateness. So then the statement above could equally say, “If it isn’t happening for you, the situation isn’t appropriate for it.” Same meaning.

The answer, to me, is a matter of having faith that if the technique is trained enough, it will work for you when you are ready. Or that you will reach a moment when the situation is apporpriate and you were able to apply it to the situation. The only missing ingredients then, are a lens for determining if the technique is sound in itself (which comes with time), and the patience to stick it out and develop proficiency and ability with the technique (which takes faith.

Now go train!

DaFirma Kimono Company

I’ve been doing Jiu-Jitsu for a couple decades, and in that time I have had many gis. I remember when bjj specific gis started really hitting the market and Krugan and Kikskin were all the rage. Howard Combat Kimonos were big for a long time. Atama was king and is still one of the big dogs. Storm, Hyabusa, Origin…there are so many incredible gis on the market that I can’t include in here. But it doesn’t matter, because I’m pretty much done with any brand other than DaFirma Kimonos.

I don’t fully believe that DaFirma is the best quality kimono on the market – just being honest. But they rival the top quality gis on the market for certain. And the difference is in the care, consideration and professionalism of the company.

Ricardo Tubbs, the president of the company, makes sure each and every order is handled with the utmost attention to quality and oversees every step along the way. Whether it’s a custom job, which DaFirma exceeds once again in doing, or a standard order of the company’s pre-designed awesome merchandise, every order is treated like it is the most special order. This is something rare to see these days – a company more concerned with customer satisfaction than turning a huge profit!

So how does the quality stack up? I know I keep harping on the customer service and friendliness factor, but make no mistake, these gis are comfortable, durable, and gorgeous. They are so competition-oriented in design that they are perfect for professional performance. I am happy to see more and more big and respectable names in the jiu-jitsu community catching on the the fact that this is the kind of product and service that should be the standard in jiu-jitsu kimonos. I recommend these gis to my friends and students, and my home base academy of Three Rivers Martial Arts uses DaFirma for our custom academy uniforms. Additionally DaFirma handled my custom KnightBJJ kimono designs too.

So if you’re looking to have your academy custom gis made up, looking for a premade and super sweet gi yourself, or in the market for shorts or rash guards, then I highly recommend for your next purchase. Here are some videos where I sport my custom Knight BJJ gi made by DaFirma while showing a cool technique, and I along with Amy Kilpatrick of Atmosphere Martial Arts show a slick sweep while wearing our DaFirma kimonos.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu submissions from kesa gatame, or “scarf hold” with Eli Knight, black belt under Royce Gracie.

1. Near side straight armbar
2. Near side bent armbar (Americana)
3. Far side straight armbar
4. Far side bent armbar (Americana)



I recently was contacted to be featured in the US Combat Sports “Grappler’s Spotlight.” I was happy to do it, and was asked what would I like to focus on for the interview. I decided to share my journey, particularly as it pertains to the difficulties of maintaining and progressing my training in such a geographically-challenging area of the country as the Midwest, especially at the time I began my training when there were few resources for Jiu-Jitsu instruction anywhere in the states, not to mention Kentucky! Here is a link to the article:


I haven’t posted anything in a while on this blog. Mostly because I have been busy teaching every day, and today is no exception. I just finished a lesson with a 61-year-old Marine veteran. And I am truly humbled. Again!

The most exhausting thing about teaching and training to the degree I do isn’t the physical expenditure or even the mental – these are both extreme at times, but I can handle each much more than the emotional toll it takes on me. I try to give all I have emotionally to my students, and in the process I take on a lot of what they bring in with them emotionally, which is oftentimes a lot of negativity or pain in one form or another. To call it an honor to meet and train with and teach the people I get to is a gross understatement.

Whether it is my student with epilepsy who struggles daily in a battle with her own bodily control, or the autistic children who a few months ago could barely follow a 3-step verbal set of instructions, or the gentleman I just mentioned from this morning, I am humbled and privileged to see what real strength and fortitude is, when there are so many others in the world that fall victim to self-pity, whereas these folks who overcome so much. This veteran, who is twice my age with more holes in him from bullets than I care to mention, including in his head, arms, legs, abdomen, and all points in between, showed me the utmost respect upon meeting me. At his age and in his condition, to walk in the door and sign up is amazing to me! And it motivates me to be the best version of myself and to polish my understanding of the art so as to give him the best representation of what has affected my life so greatly. There is no doubt that what we do at Three Rivers Martial Arts is extraordinary and life-altering, but if ever there were question to it, it would quickly be extinguished by the evidence of our students’ accomplishments.

These are not things that they hand out trophies or medals for (though plenty of our students have those too), and these accomplishments are not things that are widely publicized (though Three Rivers has made quite a name for itself). Rather, the quiet achievements of the unsung champions of our academy scream a brilliant emotionally-charged primal scream that resonates through the universe and advances a shift in consciousness that is inextinguishable and unstoppable.

So today, like most days, I am humbled. I bow in completed deference to the wave I am riding, and I am proud and elated to even be associated with what is going on here! I will do my best today and pray it is received by as many as possible.


Here we are having some fun in the academy. Jason Hawkins and I have been training together 16-17 years now.

This is an example of the videos posted at Three Rivers Martial Arts Academy YouTube channel. You can see me, Jason Hawkins, Jared Jessup, Brad Lynn, Derik Perry and all our other instructors and many students training, teaching and more. Check it out and come back to my blog often for updates.

Three Rivers YouTube Channel

Happy Holidays to everyone!

It has been a while since I posted, so I would like to update you on some stuff:

Firstly, my first-ever Charity Workshop event went great! The generosity everyone showed by coming to it, training, and giving extraordinary amounts was heart-warming! We collected tons of food, clothes, toys and cash. The donations were distributed like this:

Thanks again to everyone who participated and donated!

Now, on to Jiu-Jitsu! I posted a little while back about the new 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu site, and the updates to that site have been great, so far. Technique-wise, it is one of my favorites to visit for cool new tricks. Here is the link to the site 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu, and here is a video for a sample of the system Eddie professes:

An even more exciting site that has launched since last I posted anything is the brainchild endeavor of Marcelo Garcia and Josh Waitzkin. If you don’t know who Josh Waitzkin is, read about him! Talk about an amazing guy! You remember that movie “Searching for Bobby Fisher,” about that kid who was a chess prodigy? Josh is that kid, all grown up now, and has since become a chess world champion, Tai Chi push-hands world champion, and now a brown belt in BJJ under Marcelihno! He came up with the idea to make an interactive BJJ learning tool website based around Marcelo. Here is how they describe the site:

  • Nightly access to Marcelo Garcia’s classes and sparring sessions in his brand new NYC Academy.
  • Watch Marcelo teach, roll, and break down his BJJ philosophy just like you were in the school.
  • A growing database of Beginner and Advanced techniques all categorized to allow for customized study based on your level and repertoire.
  • An innovative navigational system, drawing technology from elite chess training, that will allow you to search for submissions, sweeps, escapes, transitions, competitive principles, all the while weaving back and forth between lessons and rolling footage.
  • Watch Marcelo teach a technique you like—you are one click away from seeing all the examples of him applying that technique while rolling.
  • Watch Marcelo slap in a crazy submission while sparring—one button and you can see him teach that lesson in class.
  • If there is a technique you have seen in the rolling footage that is not taught in a lesson yet, send in a request and we will ask Marcelo to break it down.

Now, the site is a little pricey, in the range of $25 a month. I suspect it is worth it, but I can’t bring myself to pay that right now, because it is not where my head is in my training. But I do think it is pretty genius, so here is the link to the site And if you don’t know much about Marcelo…well, you are probably not reading a BJJ blog if you don’t know much about Marcelo…but anyway, he is multiple BJJ champion in Gi and No Gi Mundials, Abu Dhabi multiple champion, and probably owns any other highly-coveted BJJ title you can imagine. Here is a highlight video of him for your viewing pleasure, also followed by him vs Xande Ribeiro (whom is regarded by many to be the most technical BJJ competitor out there). I had to include the second one, because it is so beautiful that I thought I would cry…seriously:

Insane Marcelo Highlight:

Marcelo vs. Xande

Lastly, and something I will promote more in the near future but thought worth mentioning already, is the IQ Athletics website. My BFAM (brother from another mother) Jared Jessup has a business called IQ Athletics that deals in not only Jiu-Jitsu, but kettlebells, personal training, and other fitness/wellness endeavors. Jared is a brown belt under Royce Gracie, and an awesome Jiu-Jitsu man and teacher. His site is up here at, and will be updated more soon. On it you will be able to find contact information for Jared, find out about his services, and see other resources as well.

Here’s looking forward to an exciting new year coming up, and I will tell you my resolution in the next post!


Below you will see the poster for my upcoming, Free Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Workshop. It has all the information you need to find out how to attend. However, please read below the poster, as I have a couple thoughts to share with ya. Thanks.

Free Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Workshop!!!

Free Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Workshop!!!

I have been working on ways in which I, and my Three Rivers Martial Arts family, can give back to the community that has made us what we are. Beyond that, I have been trying to come up with as many ways, qualitatively and quantitatively, to give back to the community on a global scale. This is a simple and complicated task.

The easy part is doing: Give to charities, spread joy and kindness, harm no one, live the Golden Rule in everything you do.

The hard part is the direction and organization: How do you make compassion contagious? How exactly do you get others involved? I found what may be the most perfect answer at the most perfect time for me. I came across a TEDTalk (which are always awesome and you should check out by clicking here if you’ve never seen these before), by a woman named Karen Armstrong. She came up with an idea/initiative called The Charter for Compassion. I checked out her lecture, was blown away; checked out some videos on the topic, was amazed; and read the Charter on the site devoted to it, and was overwhelmed! This Charter has some meat to it. It is not an empty, vacuous set of ideas floating with no direction and saying “Hey guys, can you please be nice to each other if you get around to it?” No, rather, this is a mandate of sorts, it seems to me, stating that if we cannot spread compassion, and disseminate the true nature of what it means to be compassionate, then we are headed for misery and downfall.

I will explain another time what the hell Jiu-Jitsu has to do with Compassion, if you don’t already understand, but for now it is just simply my vehicle to promote awareness and get people involved with the charitable principles of compassionate awareness. Like Edmund Bourne said:

“Despite our differences, we are all in this together. No act of kindness or compassion goes unnoticed. To change the world, take compassionate action within your immediate sphere of influence. To change yourself, start by being still and making time just to listen.”

So it is in that vein, that I invite you all out to my workshop, where I will show you some of the best Jiu-Jitsu that I can, get you excited about learning such an incredible system, and hopefully (my greatest intention) create an atmosphere that breeds so much compassion that it is palpable. Bring what you can: food(canned, packaged, not highly-perishable), clothing, toys, and of course cash. Every bit of it will go to local charitable organizations and help out families and individuals in need.

If, you don’t have anything to give when you show up, I will not turn you away. You can participate in the workshop for the admission price of one promise. You must make me a promise that you will, on that day, affirm the Charter for Compassion on the website, and also that you will do some compassionate, selfless, altruistic act of kindness. That is all. But you have to mean it.

Thank you, Dear Reader. Now, go do your practice!