Category Archives: Black Belt

Guess who’s (broken) back

Well 2014 rolls around and I am making my second attempt at a come back, the first attempt was just over a year from my surgery to take a disc out of my back and chuck a new one in and was too soon I was too injured after every small effort at training to keep it up and setting myself back.

I am back walking properly no sign of the permanent limp they said I might have and bar a few issues left over from damage to my spinal nerves I am healed and well.

So once again I am back to BJJ which I have sorely missed and have always had it in my mind that I wanted to come back and one day earn my way through the belts. Who knows it could happen I just have to re dedicate myself and start the path again.

It has now been 19 months with no exercise bar a couple of hours and as such it is hard to see how I will do as I am less fit now than I have ever ever been but that will all come back with training and work.

Since have been away my mate Gregg is a brown belt with a stripe and James is a brown belt, well done to you both it is an immense achievement and something to be very very proud of.

Steve W is a black belt and that is fantastic and something that I genuinely aspire too and cannot say well done enough or how deserved it is.

If I have missed anyone it is because I haven’t been around and don’t know so my apologies.

Lets see how tonight goes and how I feel tomorrow I can’t wait but am also a bit apprehensive as another break down would really annoy me but I feel very positive towards it all.

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Filed under BJJ, Black Belt, Blue Belt, forge, injury

ADCC 2011 day one

I will post a better update when I have worked out all that went on however just to say.

What a good day it was, well organised, some great fights and loads of the top fighters wandering around more than happy to pose for pictures or just chat.

One odd thing was watching fighters who when you train with them seem almost invincible getting beaten, it almost seems impossible but it happens.

As expected the superfight was cagey but with so much to win and lose it was not a shock.

Roll on day 2.

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Filed under adcc, BJJ, Black Belt, competition, no gi, Rash Guard

Interview with Colby Black – Draculino’s main man

Well I have said it before but I am finally back in the game and back online.

I have been concentrating on getting my new job settled and making sure I make the right impact and that is now all going great and am enjoying myself even though it is a fair bit of travel.  I also managed to squeeze a wee break in to the south of France and all that along with settling a few other things has taken me away from the game I love and from this site.

So I thought that the opening of the new Forge and the Mendes Brothers Seminar would be a good time to kick start my ass into gear again.  Thus as of 23rd September 2011 I am have until December 30th 2011 to get from 23st 5lbs to a maximum of 21St and to prgress my BJJ in general.

I will also be tweeting from the ADCC weekend and writing an update when I get back so you can follow me @stewnorriss Here

Now to the main point of this article, I ran an interview some time ago with the legendary Draculino none of which would have been possible without both Justin and the Colby and I wanted to learn some more about Colby the man himself and also about his training.  In typically cool style he produced a video interview for me in two parts and here they are.  A genuinely interesting and certainly very good guy…

Interview Part 1
Interview Part 2

 

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Filed under BJJ, Black Belt, Draculino, forge, interview, mma

Not drowning just waving :-)

Well despite appearances to the contrary I am in fact still around and also round 🙂

Last few months have been fairly hectic with family things and a new job over in Bradford which is going great but has stifled training opportunity a bit. However with my first pay day in about 7 weeks coming up (the joys of job moves) and GB Leeds being a short ride from work. I aim to be back training much more often as of next week and yes I miss it.

However some cool things are to be posted soon I attended a brilliant seminar with Felipe Jerry a world class black belt. I went to Professor John Goldson’s first big class also a great day.

Coming up are a profile of Dave The Iron Giant Keeley, news of Kim Taylor’s next seminar, a trip to the ADCC in September and hopefully the UFC end of the year as my fight club membership will give me early and discounted tickets so would be rude not too 🙂

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Filed under BJJ, Black Belt, Jiu Jitsu Style, John Goldson

Mackenzie Dern – Interview ADCC Update

I recently got back in touch to talk to Mackenzie about her experiences in Abu Dhabi and you can see this at the end of the interview, once again many thanks to the lovely and gracious Miss Dern who as ever is a pleasure to talk to.

I sat down to talk to the daughter of BJJ legends Wellington “Megaton” Dias http://www.teammegaton.net and step daughter of Luciana Dias herself a munidal finalist and black belt, the charming and friendly Mackenzie Dern (center below) herself a top class and dominant BJJ competitor.

Tell me a little about your past and present, and your BJJ journey?

Well, I first started learning jiu-jitsu when I was three years old. I started competing when I was 7 years old and I competed in the kids division until I was 14. I traveled a lot to Brazil and San Diego and was then able to start competing in the adult division. Fortunately, Arizona, Brazil and San Diego are where I am able to do a lot of my competition training. Right now, I am currently in Arizona but the last couple of weeks I have been traveling a lot with my dad, doing seminars and competitions throughout Europe.

You have an extremely impressive competition record for one so young, what are you highlights?

Yes, thankfully I was able to start jiu-jitsu at a young age and with the help of my instructors and teammates, good results are starting to show! My main titles are 4x World champion, 3x No gi World champion, 2x American National champion, 2x European champion, Rio International champion and South American champion.

Did you feel you had to go into BJJ with such an inspirational father as a figure?

My dad definitely is the reason for me being in Jiu-Jitsu, but he never forced me to train or compete and because of this my passion for Jiu-Jitsu developed on its own. However, because he is such a well know BJJ fighter I do feel like when I compete I am representing him so I try to represent him and his jiu-jitsu as best as I can.

How do you feel the world of BJJ has changed for female BJJ fighters?

BJJ for females has evolved so much throughout the years. We have gone from purple, brown, and black belt together and now we have enough girls to just have brown and black fighting together. Unfortunately, I think girls are still far from being treated like the guys, but slowly we are getting more and more credit for our accomplishments.

Are you held back as an attractive female with a famous father do you feel you have to fight harder for recognition?

No, I think it helped me develop myself within the jiu-jitsu community, but after a while I was recognized for my wins and not for being Megaton’s daughter. I think being an attractive female competitor and having a famous father I have a lot of attention so I try my best to be a good role model and help get more and more girls into Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

What are your inspirations in life and in BJJ?

My dad is my inspiration not just as an BJJ fighter or instructor but as a person as well. Not only did he help me develop my commitment to jiu-jitsu that I have today, but he taught me to try and be a good person on and off the mats. Leticia Ribeiro, also has been a huge inspiration for me throughout my BJJ journey. She dedicates herself to jiu-jitsu for women and I hope one day I can make an impact in jiu-jitsu like she has.

What are your future plans within the world of BJJ?

My future plans in Jiu-Jitsu are to compete as much as possible. I hope to compete at least every two months so I stay on a good competition rhythm. I hope to accompany my dad on many seminars so I can get some experience. When I arrive in Arizona, in the beginning of February I will be assisting an all girls open mat and I am really excited about that! Also coming up, I will be competing in the Abu Dhabi World Pro trials in Canada and then I have the Pan Ams and Worlds planned. Then I will most likely stay in Brazil for a while.

Have you considered MMA?

No, MMA is not something I plan on doing in the future. I know a lot of people who go from BJJ to MMA, and are very successful, but I just see my future in BJJ.

What aspirations and dreams are there for Mackenzie Dern?

I hope to one day win all the main competitions at black belt. I would love to have an academy with a strong women’s team. Lastly, I would really like to have made an impact in Jiu-Jitsu and stay as involved with the Jiu-Jitsu community for as long as possible!

Can tell me about the comp in Canada Adu Dhabi trials how it went and what it means to you?

The trials went great! I had a bye my first round the second round was against a black belt from Chicago. I won that match by points 5 x 0 so that was good! Then i was in the finals against a purple belt that she had already beat me once and i had already beat her once so it was good to fight again! Luckily i won that fight by points too, i think it was 4 x 0 but it was sooooo cold! Lol

And the meaning of this to me is really big! Just that I am going to be able to take part in a tournament competing with some of the best of the best is going to be a great learning experience and a privelage! I am going to train my hardest and get ready for this exciting event!

Anything else you would like to say?

I would like to thank my family, friends, and teammates who help me get to where I am today. My fans for all the support. My sponsors ATAMA Kimonos, Versatile Fighter, and Fight Soap for helping me out, and thank you Stewart for the questions

Brilliant Thanks so much I will look forward to talking to you after the ADCC see how you, your boyfriend (Augusto Tanquinho Mendes) and your step mother and father get on (first time this has ever happened in an ADCC)

ADCC Update May 2011

Man, the Abu Dhabi World Pro was a really great experience and I definetly hope I can make it back next year! I won my first fight by an armbar against a a purple from Abu Dhabi. Then I lost my second fight by armbar against Michelle Nicolini. It was a fun match and I was happy that I did better than my last fight against at the Abu Dhabi trials in Lisbon. 

My dad lost to Bruno Frazatto, a tough Atos guy, after his first fight did not show up and my stepmom lost to Monica Silva who is also a really tough girl! My boyfriend did really good in Abu Dhabi and was able to leave with a gold medal! He fought Ryan Hall is first match. Then beat Ary Farias, Guilherme Mendes, Ed Ramos, and in the finals Rafael Mendes. They were all good and tough fights for him and he was happy to be able to compete against such good competitors! I am so happy for him and, of course, for my dad and stepmom who go out there and fight so good against all the top competitors! 

In a whole the tournament was a lot of fun! It was great meeting so many people from all around the world. There were so many good fights that it was hard to pick one at a time to watch. I had to keep looking at all the different mat areas the whole time! lol I think all the competitors did a great job! 

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Mackenzie Dern – Interview

I sat down to talk to the daughter of BJJ legends Wellington “Megaton” Dias http://www.teammegaton.net and step daughter of Luciana Dias herself a munidal finalist and black belt, the charming and friendly Mackenzie Dern (center below) herself a top class and dominant BJJ competitor.

Tell me a little about your past and present, and your BJJ journey?

Well, I first started learning jiu-jitsu when I was three years old. I started competing when I was 7 years old and I competed in the kids division until I was 14. I traveled a lot to Brazil and San Diego and was then able to start competing in the adult division. Fortunately, Arizona, Brazil and San Diego are where I am able to do a lot of my competition training. Right now, I am currently in Arizona but the last couple of weeks I have been traveling a lot with my dad, doing seminars and competitions throughout Europe.

You have an extremely impressive competition record for one so young, what are you highlights?

Yes, thankfully I was able to start jiu-jitsu at a young age and with the help of my instructors and teammates, good results are starting to show! My main titles are 4x World champion, 3x No gi World champion, 2x American National champion, 2x European champion, Rio International champion and South American champion.

Did you feel you had to go into BJJ with such an inspirational father as a figure?

My dad definitely is the reason for me being in Jiu-Jitsu, but he never forced me to train or compete and because of this my passion for Jiu-Jitsu developed on its own. However, because he is such a well know BJJ fighter I do feel like when I compete I am representing him so I try to represent him and his jiu-jitsu as best as I can.

How do you feel the world of BJJ has changed for female BJJ fighters?

BJJ for females has evolved so much throughout the years. We have gone from purple, brown, and black belt together and now we have enough girls to just have brown and black fighting together. Unfortunately, I think girls are still far from being treated like the guys, but slowly we are getting more and more credit for our accomplishments.

Are you held back as an attractive female with a famous father do you feel you have to fight harder for recognition?

No, I think it helped me develop myself within the jiu-jitsu community, but after a while I was recognized for my wins and not for being Megaton’s daughter. I think being an attractive female competitor and having a famous father I have a lot of attention so I try my best to be a good role model and help get more and more girls into Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

What are your inspirations in life and in BJJ?

My dad is my inspiration not just as an BJJ fighter or instructor but as a person as well. Not only did he help me develop my commitment to jiu-jitsu that I have today, but he taught me to try and be a good person on and off the mats. Leticia Ribeiro, also has been a huge inspiration for me throughout my BJJ journey. She dedicates herself to jiu-jitsu for women and I hope one day I can make an impact in jiu-jitsu like she has.

What are your future plans within the world of BJJ?

My future plans in Jiu-Jitsu are to compete as much as possible. I hope to compete at least every two months so I stay on a good competition rhythm. I hope to accompany my dad on many seminars so I can get some experience. When I arrive in Arizona, in the beginning of February I will be assisting an all girls open mat and I am really excited about that! Also coming up, I will be competing in the Abu Dhabi World Pro trials in Canada and then I have the Pan Ams and Worlds planned. Then I will most likely stay in Brazil for a while.

Have you considered MMA?

No, MMA is not something I plan on doing in the future. I know a lot of people who go from BJJ to MMA, and are very successful, but I just see my future in BJJ.

What aspirations and dreams are there for Mackenzie Dern?

I hope to one day win all the main competitions at black belt. I would love to have an academy with a strong women’s team. Lastly, I would really like to have made an impact in Jiu-Jitsu and stay as involved with the Jiu-Jitsu community for as long as possible!

Can tell me about the comp in Canada Adu Dhabi trials how it went and what it means to you?

The trials went great! I had a bye my first round the second round was against a black belt from Chicago. I won that match by points 5 x 0 so that was good! Then i was in the finals against a purple belt that she had already beat me once and i had already beat her once so it was good to fight again! Luckily i won that fight by points too, i think it was 4 x 0 but it was sooooo cold! Lol

And the meaning of this to me is really big! Just that I am going to be able to take part in a tournament competing with some of the best of the best is going to be a great learning experience and a privelage! I am going to train my hardest and get ready for this exciting event!

Anything else you would like to say?

I would like to thank my family, friends, and teammates who help me get to where I am today. My fans for all the support. My sponsors ATAMA Kimonos, Versatile Fighter, and Fight Soap for helping me out, and thank you Stewart for the questions

Brilliant Thanks so much I will look forward to talking to you after the ADCC see how you, your boyfriend (Augusto Tanquinho Mendes) and your step mother and father get on (first time this has ever happened in an ADCC)

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Carlos Zapata (Team Quest) – Interview

I was lucky enough to have a chat with Carlos Zapata the blackbelt owner of Team Quest training centre in Redding California tqredding He is a fascinating man to talk to and as friendly and helpful as I have come across so my thanks to him and to Rob for putting me in touch with him

–          Tell me about yourself your path into BJJ and training in Brazil?

I started training BJJ in 1997 with some guys in Redding, California while I was attending college. Like many others, I watched the early UFCs with Royce Gracie and I wanted to learn what he knew. Luckily there was a few guys that had trained with Rickson and Joe Moreira that lived in my area and I began to learn from them. I fell in love with the challenges that Jiu-Jitsu presented and with the effectiveness of the techniques. When I was a brown belt, I had the opportunity to train with Carlos Diego here in the states and he invited me to train in Brazil at Clube Pina. Training in Brazil is intense and I learned that you have to keep pace to survive. The guys down there are very tough and the academy had many brown and black belts to train with.

(note Carlos received the Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu from Faustino “Pina” Neto and is the first American to be graduated to the rank of Black Belt at the prestigious Club Pina Academy in Brazil.)


–          Was there any link between your BJJ and military training?

There really is little similarity between military training and BJJ. BJJ is very technical and methodical, where military fight training is very basic and uses much more large motor skills than fine motor skills. I never compared the two as there is little comparison. It did, however, give me a good mindset for when I teach law enforcement and military personnel.


–          Is there any difference in teaching normal students and marines as I see you are also a marine corps instructor

There is no real difference with teaching Marines or normal BJJ students. They all require much attention and guidance. In both you have good students and some not so good ones.

–          What led you to open your own school and why team quest?

I got out of the Marines in 2007 and by this time I felt comfortable with opening a BJJ school back in Redding. I wanted to open the door for others to learn and I wanted to continue my journey in Jiu-Jitsu as an instructor.
I used to train at Team Quest in Temecula, California and I always liked the way that they ran their programs – Very organized and had a great sense of teamwork. I enjoyed the environment. I also trained at the Portland gym and really got along with the guys there and felt that we could work well together so when the opportunity presented itself, I jumped on it. It’s a great fit for us.

–          Is there a difference between your style Club Pina and other systems such as Gracie Barra in which I train?

Every person that trains BJJ has their own style which is developed by their own interpretation of Jiu-Jitsu for their own needs. This is what is great is that BJJ is truly for everyone, just as Helio and Carlos envisioned. Clube Pina and Gracie Barra have very similar styles as they are rooted in the same lineage. Clube Pina actually used to be a GB school and many of their top guys such as Bibiano Fernandes and Carlos Holanda have fought under the Barra flag – But really, each school has it’s own personality and there is something for everyone in the BJJ world. Everyone has to find a school that meets their needs.
–          How did Jose Chavez’s (the first Redding BJJ World Champ) success make you feel and who else do you have in the gym who might make an impact?

Jose Chavez made me extremely proud as he is the first world champion that I trained. His success is the success of his teammates and training partners. He works extremely hard and his dedication paid off. I have quite a few guys in the gym who are very tough and talented. I look forward to our team making a splash in the BJJ world next year with competitors in different divisions. I also have many great students that love the art and train tirelessly to improve BJJ. When one guy improves, our martial art gets better.


–          That is very true indeed, so if it is OK can I ask a bit about your MMA tside specifically cornering, how do you approach cornering fighters?

My approach to cornering fighters has always been focused around mindset. I like to make sure that they believe in themselves, in their training and in their gameplan. Fighters are either victorious or defeated before they enter the ring. I like to make sure that they envision winning and that they feel happy and poised as they enter the ring. The hard work is done in camp and the fight is a contest of who had the better preparation, so the focus of energy is in the camp.
–          Do you teach it all or do you bring in specialists?

I work within a team of specialists. Because of my background, my best input is with regard to the situations on the ground. Jiu – Jitsu has 3 aspects. Sport BJJ, MMA, and street self defense. When training guys for MMA fights, I ensure that I am giving them the correct aspect and techniques that will keep them safe in that realm and within the parameters of that fight. My Muay Thai coach, Josh Hernandez, ensures that the fighter has good fundamentals in the standing, and My Boxing and MMA coach, Mark Shoemaker, ensures that the fighter is polished and technically superior in all aspects. We have a lot of talent within our camps and everyone brings something to the table. We all learn together and from each other. It’s definitely a team effort. If you go to a gym and one guy is teaching it all, you are not getting enough perspective to make a guy successful. For this camp, we are bringing in Robert Follis for a couple of days. He is the true “guru” of the MMA world and always bring a good perspective to inspire our fighters. We will also travel to the Portland Team Quest gym to cross train with our brethren there and to keep fresh guys in the mix.


–          Will you focus more on MMA or more BJJ

My focus is in coaching and developing fighters and students. I leave every door open and see what presents itself, but for now I will continue to train everyday with my team and focus on them. I am fascinated with coaching, leadership and training. My students can have the spotlight – They have earned it.

–          What next for you and your team

We have a lot of guys fighting MMA right now and a few champions within the gym. We will make sure they stay busy along with our BJJ team. We will continue to learn, grow and wave the Jiu-Jitsu flag wherever we go, on and off the mats! Osss!
–          Thanks so much for your time and patience.

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Filed under BJJ, Black Belt, interview, Team Quest