Alliance Blog

The 5 best tips for the BJJ or MMA beginner.



If you are just starting BJJ or MMA then there are definitely some obstacles in your way that you will have to face to make it to your black belt. I have compiled a short list of the top 5 tips to help you make it through the hard times in the beginning.

1. Know that even the very best in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu took time to get better.

Number one on the list is twofold, first is that if you are just starting out then you are not going to be good at BJJ. Maybe you wrestled, maybe you did Judo, are in good shape, or have a natural affinity for Jiu-Jitsu but the fact remains that in order to be good at BJJ, you have to put in the hours and train BJJ. Sure other talents can bring you early success, but if you really want to get good at BJJ you have to learn it. Secondly, there are very few if any “phenoms” who go from white belt to black belt in 5 years, and the ones who do trained incredibly hard and put in multiple sessions daily to make it happen. If you want to get better its going to take time, so just be patient.

2. Know that upper belts you roll with will usually match your intensity.

If you have ever found yourself getting absolutely crushed by a purple belt then it might be because you were being overly aggressive. Many times beginners get so focused on submitting an upper belt or hitting their new move that they will spar way harder than what is practical. Most of the time upper belts will let you work a little and give you opportunities to try new things, but if they let you sweep them and you explode as hard as you can, do a cartwheel and try to armbar them as hard as you can, then they will most likely go a lot harder next time to keep you from doing anything.

3. You probably aren’t as good as you think you are, and probably don’t know as much either.

It is common to see beginner white belts with 2 stripes coaching others, but at this stage in the game you should really be focusing on learning and not trying to coach others. You might know a few things from your time on the mat, but often times the true art of coaching lies in understanding positions deeply and being able to explain all of the nuances. Its good to be a team player and help out during drilling, but try to leave coaching to an instructor unless you know for sure what you are talking about.

4. Try new things.

To get better you have to try new things and it is vital to your growth in BJJ. Don’t focus too much on one move, branch out more, learn, get in bad positions and try to figure out how to escape. You are building your foundation so build it strong.

5. Stick to the basics.

Sure flying armbars look cool, but sticking to simple, proven, and fundamental techniques will serve you better in the long term in developing a solid game for BJJ.

Posted by Shane Sorensen at September 9th, 2014 Comments Off

“Winning or loosing it doesn’t matter, the important thing is to be on the mat”



“I am very proud and pleased of all my students that competed last Sat at the Atlanta Open, I could see how much better you’ve got, winning or loosing it doesn’t matter, the important thing is to be on the mat representing you and our team.”-Jacare in response to taking second place as a team at the Atlanta Open.

Alliance had a great performance at the Atlanta Open this past Saturday. The team collectively did great, but lacked the sheer number needed to produce a first place prize for the team. All of the competitors who stepped on the mat Saturday did great, regardless of outcome. As our professor Jacare reminded us above, the most important step is the first step, the step to action. People can talk their whole lives, wish and dream, but without taking action we will never succeed, we will never improve, we will never meet our fullest potential. Fear of failure, or fear of anything can cripple us easily if we let it take root within our minds.

Sometimes winning or losing is irrelevant, sometimes what looks like a loss is only a short term setback that will leave you poised for greatness later down the road. As Alliance Atlanta continues to grow, and as the team continues to improve and push past our limits we will all begin to see more success, not just one or two of us, but all of us.

That is basically what life is, its not being afraid of all the risks we can’t control. It is refusing to let fear cripple us. The man who grows the most isn’t the man who lives a life of comfort, never takes risks, never looks failure in the face and refuses to let it overcome him. What matters are the moments out in battle, on the mat in competition or in training each day. To the person who challenges themselves every single day to be the best that can, congratulations. Congrats to all of our Alliance competitors, and if you aren’t yet a part of our team, now is the perfect time to become a part of the alliance family.

Posted by Shane Sorensen at September 3rd, 2014 Comments Off

First Omoplata successfully finished in UFC history.

Ultimate Fighting Championship fighter Ben Saunders secured a victory recently with an Omoplata submission finish in the very first round. The omoplata finish was a first for UFC history, mainly due to the fact that bare skin and sweat can make it incredibly hard to finish this submission in a mixed martial arts fight, even with a highly skilled BJJ practitioner executing it. The fact that this submission was applied so early in the fight most likely has a large impact on it being successfully finished in the fight.

Ben Saunders in a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt and skilled in the art. This is a perfect example of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu used in a mixed martial arts fight. Watch the video below to see the finish in action.


The ompoplata is a classic Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu submission, often credited to have been created by Nino Schembri (this topic is the subject of debate). The omoplata attack has been used heavily in BJJ competition by competitors like Michael Langhi, Cobrinha, Clark Gracie, and Zak Maxwell. Although not often considered a top tier submission has continued to gain popularity over the years as new set ups and finishing techniques have arisen. The omoplata coupled with the triangle choke and the arm bar make up a classic sequence of submission used by most with a dangerous guard game.

The omoplata locks the opponents shoulder and arm between the attackers legs and uses the attackers body weight to exert tremendous pressure on the shoulder. In MMA and No-gi competition the attack has some disadvantages as sweat can make the submission hard to finish and hard to control the opponents arm and shoulder. The omoplata is a regular occurrence in high level BJJ competition and as BJJ and MMA evolve we will be seeing a lot more of this versatile submission.

Posted by Shane Sorensen at August 26th, 2014 Comments Off

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