Alliance Blog

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

Does BJJ still work in Mixed Martial Arts?



There has been an increasing trend in people saying that Brazilian jiu-jitsu has lost its effectiveness in the realm of combat sports like Mixed Martial Arts. Most people now are coming to terms with the effectiveness of Brazilian jiu-jitsu as a means of self defense, and most people will agree as to its effectiveness in the early Ultimate Fighting Championships. Royce Gracie, the 180 pound BJJ fighter and black belt made himself and BJJ famous as he demolished opponents many times twice his size, because they were not versed in the intricacies of ground fighting. But, many people feel that BJJ is now becoming obsolete in the world of Mixed Martial Arts.

First, a large number of the best fighters in the UFC (including the current title holders) have trained in the traditional BJJ kimono and hold rank in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Even those who have never actually worn the “Gi”, still often manage to use BJJ techniques to submit their opponents. While BJJ is traditionally done in the Gi, NoGi (or training without the kimono in shorts and rashguards) is a regular part of almost all BJJ gyms and serious MMA fighters training regiments.

Secondly, even for those rare fighters who have never landed a submission or don’t engage in grappling in the ring/cage, submission defense is crucial. Whether or not the fighter chooses to grapple, he still has to be able to defend takedowns and also prevent his opponent from catching submissions during the fight. The best way to learn this submission defense is through regular training in Brazlilian jiu-jitsu.



Third, in 2012 a list of all results of all fights held in the UFC were compiled and it was broken into percentages of how the fights resulted. Out of 200 fights there were 46 submissions, 23% of the total fights in the UFC in 2012 ended in a submission. That is nearly ¼ of all fights ending up in a submission finish. Certainly BJJ can’t be completely obsolete with a number like that!

I’ll conclude by saying that of course with the current level of competition in the UFC, that Brazilian jiu-jitsu training alone is most likely not enough for someone to become a world champion. The days of Royce Gracie destroying giants with BJJ magic are over and replaced with days of a new crop of athletes emerging to claim their spots in the history books. The most successful fighters in the UFC now employ multiple trainers, all working together to create a very well rounded and skilled fighter throughout all aspects of fighting. Today’s successful fighters have to have excellent: striking, takedowns and takedown defense, and of course Brazilian jiu-jitsu to reach their full potential.

Whether or not someone has to train in the Gi or not to be a champion in the UFC is certainly up for debate, but like it or not BJJ is here to stay as staple in any successful fighter’s game.

Posted by Shane Sorensen at July 1st, 2014 Comments Off

6 reasons to add more RAW fruits and veggies into your diet.



Raw foods are becoming increasingly popular in modern nutrition. Raw foods have higher levels of nutrients, aid in digestion, promote a proper PH balance, add fiber into the diet, and are also very convenient to prepare. Subjectively, raw foods often also: increase people’s energy levels and feelings of well being, don’t leave you feeling as bloated and “heavy” after a meal, and can even decrease feelings on hunger.

#1- Higher nutrient levels. Many nutrients are destroyed at the temperatures required for cooking. By cooking foods (and especially overcooking foods) many of the vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants present in the food can be destroyed, this means less of the things you need are actually getting into your body. This, is a part of why eating a large amount of raw fruits and vegetables can contribute to a better nutrition status.

#2- Better digestion. Raw foods contain natural enzymes that allow them to be more easily broken down for the body to use. When we cook foods, the high temperatures destroy these naturally occurring enzymes. It is then necessary for our own bodies to produce these enzymes, adding additional stress and work for digestion.

#3- Better acid vs. base balance. Most raw fruits and vegetables are alkaline in nature. Alkaline foods are very beneficial for the body since the body’s regular PH must be maintained between 7.35-7.45 to maintain life. Alkaline foods encourage the body to stay in this alkaline range, which is optimal for good health. Highly acidic foods like processed meats, grains, and dairy should be eaten sparingly as high consumption can leech minerals like magnesium, calcium, potassium, and phosphorous from your body as it attempts to maintain a proper balance.

#4- Low sodium.- Raw foods are naturally low in sodium. Over consumption of sodium (especially highly processed salts found in processed foods) can contribute to: hypertension, high cholesterol, and bloating and water retention.

#5- Easy to prepare.- Raw foods take zero prep work (other than maybe peeling a fruit or veggie). Just peel and eat, or grab and eat. Little work is required to eat a raw food. Of course you can actually prepare a raw meal (raw foodism), but it definitely is not required.

#6- High fiber.- Most of the foods you eat raw (fruits and veggies), are naturally high in fiber. Fiber aids in digestion, weight loss or maintenance, decreases some cancer risks, and helps to detoxify the body.

If you aim to make 75% or more of your diet raw fruits and vegetables, I am positive you will be feeling better in no time, so give it a try!

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

Making weight for a same day weigh in competition.



Making weight for BJJ competition is a crucial, but often overlooked aspect of preparing for a tournament. Many times people spend months doing in depth strength and conditioning programs to develop strength and power, however these can be nullified by an improper weight cut, extreme calorie reduction, or last minute dehydration.

Training usually intensifies as you near a competition, leading up to a peak right before you compete. The general routine is to let the difficulty of your training build gradually to avoid overtraining. This causes an interesting trend, because generally most people who are trying to make weight for competition are also tightening down their diets and restricting calories at this time. This can lead to your energy levels plummeting, depression, decreased recovery, irritability, and even injury.

Adequate amounts of: carbs, fats, proteins, calories, and nutrients are required for proper recovery. These intense training sessions increase the demand for macro nutrients as your body struggles to repair the breakdown caused by each session of training.

I Generally try to ensure that I am taking adequate calories to fuel my training, and timing my foods properly to make the most out of every bit of food that I eat. For instance, carbs always come after a workout, this makes use of the post exercise window to replenish glycogen stores without carbohydrates being stored on the body as fat.

These are the things that work best for me when making weight for a same day tournament.

1. Try to be close to on weight 1-2 months out from the tournament.

Some people would disagree with me here, but I like to be within 5 lbs of my fighting weight about 1.5 months out from my competition. My reasoning is, that I like to listen to my body, if I am doing intense training and get a sudden craving for a huge meal, I try to indulge. By ensuring that my weight is close far out from the tourney, it takes pressure off of me, and I can focus more on training and ensuring that my energy levels are high enough to deal with the increased demands of training.

2. As you near the tournament adjust carbohydrate intake as needed to reach weight.

I like to use carbohydrates as the primary factor in my weight change. As I get closer to the tournament I will start to restrict my carbohydrate intake and increase fat and protein intake. I still make sure to eat carbs after a workout for glycogen, but I start avoiding carbs at other times, especially if the weight is coming off slower than I would like.

3. 2 weeks out from the tournament begin fiber intake increase.

About 2 weeks out from the competition I like to begin taking pysllium husk fiber, about 2 tablepoons 2-3 times per day. This serves two purposes, it helps me feel more full and helps me avoid extra calories, and it also acts as a colon cleanse and can help you shed anywhere from 1-5 lbs over a two week span depending on how much fiber you normally take in. I will take this fiber every day until the morning before I compete. My last serving of fiber is always no less than 24 hours from my competition weigh in time, as this allows all the fiber to pass through your system before you step on the scale.

4. 24 Hours before weigh in, carb restriction and sodium restriction.

On the morning before I compete I should wake up on weight or 1-2 lbs overweight tops. I keep sodium and carbohydrate intake very low, avoid red meat, and eat things like protein bars, vegetables, fish, or poultry.

If you follow these guidelines you should have a very gradual, very gentle weight cut that allows you to avoid saunas, dehydration, or starvation. I usually feel great in training leading up to competition and I attribute a lot of this to being able to eat adequately. Ensuring that I am not trying to lose 20lbs in 2 months like some others, allows me to eat a lot leading up to competition.

This guide is for same day weigh ins for tournaments like IBJJF where you weigh in and immediately fight. I encourage you to tinker with the guidelines here and find what works best for you so you’ll be most comfortable.

Posted by Shane Sorensen at May 19th, 2014 Comments Off