Alliance Blog

Does being part of a good team matter in BJJ and MMA?



Many people often wonder, how important is being on a good team if you want to be successful? Can you truly reach your fullest potential without the backing of a team full of talent? The answer might be highly debatable, but it seems pretty obvious if you take a look.

In Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and in Mixed martial arts, we often hear many names of the top up and coming competitors. Most of these fighters are part of a large team, or switch quickly to larger teams as they begin to gain more recognition. Here at Alliance Headquarters in Dunwoody Georgia we recognize the importance of a strong team to help you reach your goals.

Case Study: Alliance Jiu-Jitsu association.

Alliance is one of the largest Jiu-Jitsu teams in the world, not only does the team feature gyms all over the United States and Canada, but also throughout Europe, and South America as well. Alliance is host to a huge number of past and present reigning world champions from white belt to black belt, and many of Alliance’s competitors frequently grace the podium at the largest international BJJ events.

As a team Alliance has captured more world titles than any other BJJ team in the world and has reigned supreme for 7 consecutive years in a row unchallenged. If one checks the results of any IBJJF open tournament, especially the 4 major competitions, Pans, Worlds, Brazilian Nationals, and Europeans, its easy to see that there are a huge number of Alliance competitors placing.

If you look closely at the results you will see most of the competitors who place that are not Alliance are still on one of 4-5 other large teams present in the BJJ community. Of course there are always a few “lone wolves” that win without being part of a large and successful team but these are of course, the exception and not the rule.

Being part of a strong team not only pushes you harder and allows you to grow more quickly, but it also lends you valuable support when you are in times of need. Being part of a large team means: you fight higher quality opponents every day in the gym, you are exposed to a wider variety of moves and techniques, you usually have longer and harder practice sessions, and you have a team and become part of a special group of individuals coming together to help one another.

At Alliance Martial Arts our head instructor (and creator of Alliance), believes in the power of a strong team. Throughout Alliance history the team has been built and dismantled several times through shifts in competitors moving to other teams and creating their own teams, but it has withstood the tests of time and continued to grow stronger each year. There is a special passion within a true team environment that allows it to withstand hardship and foster growth for all of its members, but there is only one way to find out. Try it out.

Come join us at Alliance martial arts in Dunwoody Georgia and see for yourself!

Posted by Shane Sorensen at August 18th, 2014 Comments Off

Best snacking habits for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and MMA



Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a highly demanding and dynamic workout. Jiu-Jitsu athletes must maintain a blend of flexibility, strength, power, and endurance in order to flourish in training and competition. It is important to provide your body with the proper fuel to power through your workouts and help you recover quickly.

Complex Carbohydrates and protein before training.

Before training it is good to eat a snack consisting of a complex carbohydrate and some high quality protein. This carbohydrate will help provide your body with energy during your training session and keep you feeling energized. The protein will help prevent muscle breakdown, and also slows the release of glucose into the bloodstream from the carbohydrate that you just took in. I like to avoid “heavy foods” at this time, foods like meat, or cooked vegetables require a lot of energy to digest and usually leave me feeling bloated in a training session.

Examples: 1/2 cup oatmeal with honey and 1 oz of almonds and a protein shake, ½ cup cottage cheese and 1/2 cup of fresh berries and ½ banana, 2 pieces whole wheat toast with 2 tablespoons of peanut butter, protein bar with a banana, oatmeal bar and almonds or other nuts. Other good carbohydrate sources before a workout include: most fresh fruits, dates, figs, quinoa, and brown rice.

Snacks throughout the day.

If you are at work waiting to get off, or if you are the gym waiting between BJJ classes then either way its about the same routine. You want to avoid eating “heavy meals” avoid things like high sugar foods, fried foods, and refined carbohydrates. Foods like fresh fruits and vegetables, the complex carbohydrates listed above, and lean proteins all add up to sustained energy levels and energy that will carry over into training later in the day.

Examples: ½ cup cottage cheese and mixed berries, smoked salmon with almonds and brown rice, ½ cup oatmeal with 2 tablespoons peanut butter, ground turkey lettuce wrap, sliced chicken wrap with mayo almonds and sliced apple, 2 hard boiled eggs and a banana.

General rules for snacking on training days

1. Eat light (avoid fried foods, greasy meals, refined carbohydrates, sugars, and large meals) 2. Eat complex carbohydrates paired with protein and healthy fats 3. Eat frequently if possible at least 2-3 meals and 2 snacks each day minimum. 4. Veggies keep you full and give you nutrients so snack often. 5. Don’t eat too close to training (this is self explanatory)

Swing by Alliance martial arts world headquarters in Dunwoody, GA and pick up other habits for a healthy lifestyle.

Posted by Shane Sorensen at August 5th, 2014 Comments Off

BJJ benefits- Social circle



Many people feel incomplete or a lack of belonging in our world. Sometimes it really seems like there is a drastic shortage of good people out there, it can be hard to find good friends. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu can be one of the best places to: find friends, be inspired, learn to set goals, and experience rapid personal growth.

Find lifelong friends

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu classes are usually loaded with people from all walks of life. No matter what type of person you are, or what other interests you have, chances are there is someone at your gym that you can relate to. Not only will you talk with these people daily, you will sweat with them, compete with them, and often help encourage each other in times of sorrow. BJJ is an awesome environment filled with comradery, its a unique culmination of many different people united with one goal. These bonds become like family ties, you will form some of the strongest friendships you could ever imagine in BJJ.

Find inspiration

Most of the people you will meet will have stories of inspiration. I have met some of the most inspiring people I have ever talked to right at Alliance martial arts. A perfect example of this is, recently one of the other students at my gym suffered a serious injury of the arm during a judo competition. He required several surgeries and extensive rehabilitation. The entire process has taken months, but he continues to exude positivity. He posts updates to facebook showing his progress and always sends out words of encouragement and inspiration along with his pictures. This is only one example of many that I have seen, you may even be a source of inspiration for someone else you meet.

Find your drive to succeed

All the inspiration you’ll be getting at BJJ will start to change you in many ways. You will find yourself becoming more organized and often you’ll have more focus. As you start focusing more on whats important setting goals becomes a natural part of the process. Bjj is about dedication and hard work, as you embrace the ethic of hardwork you’ll start setting goals to get you where you want to be in life.

Find the you, that you have always wanted to be

As you start setting goals and get inspired, you’ll start getting better. BJJ has a way of improving many aspects of your life, helping your interpersonal skills, making you more organized, helping you stay motivated to eat better, and it pushes you through many uncomfortable situations, all these things will lead to a better you. I have grown tremendously since starting BJJ, and the mental toughness and dedication I have learned from taking classes has made me better prepared to face adversity and grow as a person. In all aspects of my life I can say BJJ has made me better, and most of my training partners would feel the same way.

Posted by Shane Sorensen at July 28th, 2014 Comments Off

Why Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is the best choice for self defense.



There are many different options for those seeking to learn martial arts as a form of self defense. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is undoubtedly the best choice for men, and women alike, who are looking to prepare themselves for a self defense situation.

Size doesn’t matter (or can be overcome) Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, the gentle art teaches techniques that allow a woman or even a small child to protect themselves against a much larger or aggressive attacker. Watch some of the earlier Ultimate Fighting Championship events and look for Royce Gracie, who despite being outweighed sometimes by 100lbs or more, is able to defeat his much larger opponents without taking large amounts of damage from punches and kicks. If a 160lb man can defeat a 260lb professional boxer with nothing but Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training, then of course it stands to reason that a 130lb female who is keen on Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu can defend herself against a 180lb man with no martial arts training.

70% of fights end up on the ground anyway (or something like that) There is an old saying by the Gracie family that 70% of fights end up on the ground at some point during altercation. While this number is very vague and hard to verify through research, if you look at most street fights the majority of them do end up on the ground at some point, this is with zero Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training to speak of. Most fights you can find on youtube where two untrained fighters are in a scuffle will end up on the ground, usually there is no definitve takedown attempt, but in a live altercation things happen, people slip and fall, trip over something, lose their balance in a clinch. In this type of situation, once the fight is on the ground, the person with the best grappling skills or greater strength (assuming there are no grappling skills), will most likely be the victor.

People who have never trained grappling have NO IDEA how to grapple. Everyone instinctively knows how to throw a punch or an elbow, the technique and efficiency may be very low but most people will still flail wildly to win a fight. However, if you have never trained grappling or done Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, then you are literally out of your element when a fight ends up on the ground. A man can be the best boxer on the planet, but if a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu takes him down to the ground with a double leg, all of the boxers training goes out the window, suddenly it is a grappling match. Though anyone can throw a punch, it takes experience grappling in order to be good on the ground.

All of these reasons should be a clear cut case that Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is by far the best option for someone looking to learn to better protect themselves or their family.

Posted by Shane Sorensen at July 22nd, 2014 Comments Off

Why learning Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is safer than learning MMA



Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has often been referred to as the gentle art because, one of the basic principles of BJJ is to use your opponents strength against them. If your opponent is agile you learn to slow them down, if they are strong you learn to use leverage to counter their strength, and if they are much bigger than you you learn to control their weight and stay out from under them. As more and more people look into the martial arts for an effective way to defend themselves BJJ continues to shine as a highly effective, and relatively safe option for those looking in this direction.

Mixed Martial Arts is a mix of several different types of fighting styles usually striking (boxing, kick boxing, muay-thai, or karate), take downs (judo, wrestling, or sambo), and grappling (catch wrestling, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, or sambo). Learning to use Mixed Martial Arts safely and effectively can take many years, because you must focus on multiple types of fighting styles and create a system to use all of those different arts in conjunction. Because of this requirement to learn many different aspects of fighting, the learner sometimes loses the ability to focus on fine details of techniques which can increase risk of injury.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is also a non striking art. Unlike Mixed Martial arts training, or most other martial arts for that matter, BJJ does not use punches, kicks, elbows, headbutts, knees, or any other concussive blows to render an opponent unconscious in order for self defense. These attacks carry a high risk of injury, broken bones are not uncommon in these sports, and concussions are also a semi-regular part of training for many of these practitioners. Concussions are highly dangerous especially when experienced multiple times. Most striking arts engage in regular live sparring which will of course increase the risks of obtaining a concussion during training.

Mixed Martial Arts is often much rougher in practice than BJJ. Because of the unpredictability of the sport, many times unexpected slams, falls, and strikes can leave training partners injured. Mixed Martial Arts often carries with it a host of “tough guys” who want to prove themselves especially when they are new to the sport, these people often will hurt people trying to prove how “tough” they are, they will use excessive strength and energy in order to assert themselves over others in training. Because of the strong focus on things like respect and consideration the traditional martial art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is often times a much better environment for those looking to learn without all of the hot heads in an MMA gym.

To sum up, the lack of striking gives BJJ less risk of concussions and broken bones, BJJ is safer and more controlled than an all out fight, BJJ encourages the use of less strength and more technique, and lastly BJJ usually has a safer and more welcoming environment for training. Stop by Alliance Martial Arts Center in Dunwoody, Georgia, and see what its all about!

Posted by Shane Sorensen at July 17th, 2014 Comments Off