Vandry BJJ MMA clinic

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October 26, 2013

MMA clinic was taught at the VBJJ academy in Austin, Texas.  Experienced students in BJJ, MMA and striking to novices attended.  The techniques taught ranged from fundamental to intermediate striking drills, to clinches to throws to grappling.  The clinic was taught due to requests from many VBJJ students and fans of the UFC and professional Mixed martial arts.  Fundamental striking drills to submissions were taught by Professor William Vandry and assistants Mr. Aiken and Mr. Haynes.

The clinic also required boxing wraps, gloves.  January 2014 is planned for the next clinic.  For more information on striking classes, Jiu-jitsu classes and clinics, please contact Vandry BJJ at 512-585-1289 or stop by the academy.


Professor William Vandry visits Brownsville, Texas Association

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October 19 was a full house of Vandry BJJ Association students in Brownsville, Texas.  Professor William Vandry taught at Manny Galvan’s Brownsville, Texas Association school.  Brownsville was the first Association school under the William Vandry BJJ Association formed in 2003.  Vandry’s association is designed to reach out to students in areas of Texas and other states that did not have an instructor or training course to develop BJJ skills, and belt ranking.

The Texas Valley area has three associations under Vandry in Brownsville, Brownsville-Harlingen and McCallen.  Manny Galvan is the instructor at Galvan’s Martial arts in Brownsville, Jesus Armas is Brownsville-Harlingen instructor, and Bob Davis is head instructor in McCallen.  Vandry taught at Bob Davis’ academy in April earlier this year.  The McCallen Monitor television show interviewed Vandry and Bob Davis:

The seminar passed its two hour time frame, with students still training almost four hours.

Vandry plans to teach four times a year in the valley to promote Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, the philosophy and newest strategies and techniques.

VBJJA Black belts Jesus Armas, Professor William Vandry, Manny and Martha Galvan

Vandry BJJ MMA clinic Oct. 26

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Developing the Leglock game

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The Vandry View – October 2013 article

Developing the Leglock game

Leglocks are an intriguing part of grappling, and are used in MMA, BJJ, Sambo and No gi grappling tournaments.  I coined Leglocks as the Great Equalizer.  I wrote a book and it was published in 2005, aptly named Leglocks: The Great Equalizer!  The meaning of that title from my book was to suggest that in many positions, including bad positions, you can still obtain and finish with a leglock hold.  I first developed leglocks when I was a teenager.  I was a Pro wrestling fan, and would read every magazine at the convenience store.  One magazine had an interesting page each month about the old wrestlers, the ones back from the 1950’s.  There was a photo that intrigued me when I was about 14.  It showed an old pic of pro wrestler Edouard Carpentier vs. Killer Kowalski.  In he photo, Carpentier had placed Kowalski in a move Pro wrestling named ‘Reverse Indian deathlock’.  I literally kept trying to figure out the move.  Of course back then I thought pro wrestling was real, and some fans still do today.  I could not find that photo online, but here is a similar photo from this silver age match of Louis Martinez vs. Tony Paris:

I later saw pro wrestlers such as Rick Flair and later Buddy Landell who utilized the figure four leglock famous in Pro wrestling.  I saw a match once with Rick Flair.  The opponent rolled to his stomach and  reversed the figure four.  That got me started on counters.  Years later when I saw Ken Shamrock apply the heelhook in UFC 1, and later fighters use kneebars, it opened up my thinking process.  Jean Jacques Machado really opened my eyes up when I saw some footage in 1996 of him competing in Sambo tournaments.  He was executing kneebars and anklelocks at will.  I studied the video over and over.  Along with fundamental learning in leglocks, it also helped me with newer ideas.  There was an out of town student  from another state that was excited when he heard our format for this month was leglocks.  He stated that they never got to train them very much.  I feel that the development of leglocks is pro and con.  For example, go to youtube and you can find tons of leglock ‘expertise’.  I have  found some youtube clips that believe it or not, the people teaching attempting to show or I should say mimic techniques from a leglock videotape I did years ago.  Unfortunately the angles were not correct and the entire process of executing was incorrect, and technically flawed.  These, like guard passing, submission and escapes need to practice via drills, not view on a videotape and attempt to teach.  Exploring is another goal.  I taught a counter to a cross ankle lock this week, which derived from a counter technique I developed four years ago.  It was a much better adaptation, and this comes with trial and error, along with deductive logic when sparring or exploring ideas.  Leglocks are not easy.  The fundamental breakdown of the technique and review is essential to development and learning.  But it doesn’t start there.  Basic passing, defending, side control, escapes, mounts, etc. are all vital components of developing good submissions, including leglocks.  On a past youtube clip, I am sparring with one of my Purple belts.  If you skip to the third round, you can find that my setup was the footlock the entire time, although the distraction technique was work well.  Those are strategies when developing good submissions and especially good leglocks.  I have been drilling leglocks at my academy for the last two months.  The important tool for learning, is to warm up with ankle locks and kneebars, and then I show the leglock technique that day.  My brand new white belts to advanced students have developed a better sense of timing, pace and ability to setup the leglock.  This is the most valuable asset of development.  Pro wrestling developed leglocks such as the figure four, and others.  But where did Pro wrestling get the ideas from?  Let’s go back to Antonio Inoki.

One of the key figures in the history of Japanese Pro wrestling, Antonio Inoki is among the most respected men in sports-entertainment and a bona fide living legend in his homeland.

Born in Yokohama, Japan, in 1943, Inoki spent much of his youth in Brazil where he was a national star in the shot put and discus throw. It was here that the young athlete met Rikidozan — perhaps the most famous Japanese wrestler of all time. The legend, impressed by Antonio’s strength and athleticism, convinced Inoki to return to Tokyo to join his Japanese Wrestling Association. Inoki, well known for leglocks in Pro wrestling also learned in Brazil!  Inoki’s most famous bout took place on June 26, 1976 in Tokyo when he took on fighting legend Muhammad Ali in a rare wrestler vs. boxer match. By most accounts, the contest was uneventful — Inoki spent much of the bout on the ground kicking at Ali’s legs — but it paved the way for the advent of Mixed Martial Arts, which would explode in popularity decades later.  This may even be considered our first official MMA match televised.

Inoki was very good at leglocks and understanding development. Although Pro wrestling is pre arranged, the techniques came from a source.  Inoki developed straight ankle locks and ‘Indian’ locks.

Antonio Inoki appling Achilles ankle hold on Yoshiaki Fujiwara

So at this point we know Pro wrestling developed leglocks, but as you can read in my book Leglocks: The Great Equalizer! (You can order elsewhere on this website) leglcocks come from the B.C. Olympic times.  But as we have shown the above history of modern times, we also show wrestling and Jiu-jitsu developed leglocks.  Gracie Jiu-jitsu Academy was formed in 1925 in Brazil.  Grandmaster Carlos Gracie learned from Japanese Jiu-jitsu master Esai Maeda.  Submission locks were before 1925, and I note even leglocks were developed back then.  Our leglocks are the same finishes from way back.  The only difference is the setups in submissions.  Here is a special treat.  These photos are from a book printed in 1923.  Here is a toehold from then:

 I enjoy research and history.  I bet Grandmasters Carlos and then Helio Gracie were working on leglocks too.  The above pic reminded me of a toehold I developed while sparring at a seminar.  As you can see below, almost 100 years later, the setup and angles are different today, but ultimately they are still the same application on the foot to execute the toehold.

Work on your footlocks and leglocks.  Practice safely, and at times there may be a fellow student struggling to escape, and he may injure his foot or knee.  At times you can just let them go, it is actually the practice of obtaining the position, not so much the finish.

Absorb and think

Professor William Vandry

Head Instructor VBJJ

Martial arts Pain and Aiken – How to Improve Your Techniques and Your Game

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October 2013 article


Over the years I’ve learned a few things about improving and progressing in the martial arts.  No matter what area of the martial arts you are trying to get better at, there are some principles that will help you make steady, consistent gains no matter what your current skill level is.

The learning of new skills goes through 4 stages…unconscious incompetence, conscious incompetence, conscious competence, and finally unconscious competence.  Let’s go through each one.

Unconscious Incompetence can be described as ‘You Don’tKnow that You Don’t Know.’  This is where most raw beginners come in at.  Not only do they not know the techniques, they don’t know the techniques even exist.  Think of Royce in UFC 1…his opponents had no idea what he was doing or even that he was doing it at the time.

The second part is Conscious Incompetence.  One can progress to the second phase rather quickly.  Perhaps you’ve had some experience on the mat and you got tapped 2 or 3 times.  Once that happens now you ‘Know you Don’t Know’.  After the 2nd or 3rd tap you know something is happening, you aren’t quite sure what your opponent did but you are watching out for it.  You’re now consciously aware that you can’t do certain skills and techniques…so you begin to consciously work on them.

After some time practicing, you will progress to the third phase of learning which is known as conscious competence.  At this phase you can do the techniques but you have to consciously think about them while you are doing them.  This is where repetitions come into play.  You break each part of the technique down into a sequence and practice that sequence over and over thinking through each step and adjusting accordingly until you can rep the whole thing over and over again correctly.

Finally after enough practice and drilling, you will enter the Unconscious Competence phase.  This is the ‘Knowing without Knowing’ phase.  The techniques have been relegated to theunconscious mind you can now pull off the techniques automatically without thought.

Obviously the goal is to get all of our techniques into the fourth phase so we can just respond with the appropriate technique at the appropriate time.  Sure, you can still consciously think about your techniques as you are using them but most of the time you won’t have to.

So…how does knowing these phases help you to improve your training?

The answer is to add several things to it…Functionalization, Adjustment/Simplification, and the application of the ‘MartialLearning Loop’.

One of the main goals of most martial arts is self-defense or self-preservation.  That means that the martial artist must be able to perform their techniques under pressure in a life or death situation.

The problem many martial artists have had in the past is that they never tested their techniques in this way.  Sure they mayhave looked good throwing fancy kicks or doing flying tiger strikes but how did they really know if they could do it for real?

The fact that a martial artist’s techniques are at the unconscious competence phase and they can perform them at a high technical level doesn’t always mean they can pull it off in a realaltercation.  The reason is they fail to realize that they were in the first phase of yet another ‘Learning Loop’.  They didn’t know they didn’t know.

They didn’t know that they couldn’t apply their techniques for real against a resisting opponent.  They thought they could pull it off because they could do the techniques with power and speed in the air without thinking.  They failed to realize they failed to functionalize their technique.  They failed to test their techniques to make sure they functioned correctly under pressure.

In my opinion, one of the main reasons Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is such an effective art is that they have all the learning/trainingelements I’ve listed so far, built-in to their training method.  Almost all bjj schools go through techniques, drilling, and then live sparring.  They are (or should be) constantly testing and adjusting their technique in accordance to what is working and what isn’t.

Most schools that is.  Some schools show the same techniques over and over again while others only spar.  This eventually leads the student to plateau as they fail to adjust and keep adding to their game.  For the students that only spar, they often practice poor technique because they are only concerned with ‘catching’ their fellow student and ‘making them tap’.  Sparring hard is important but it should be a part of the overall LearningLoop and not the end game otherwise you will eventually hit a brick wall.

In my opinion there is a much smarter way…which I call the ‘Martial Learning Loop’.

If you want to really progress quickly with your techniques, firstmake sure each technique goes through all 4 phases of Learning.  Don’t assume you know the technique fully just because you are at a high level.  Take a little extra time to sequence it and look at each part to make sure you are doing it correctly.  This is why it’s important to have a good instructor.  He/she will ensure you don’t built on a faulty foundation.

Second, make sure you drill the technique enough to get it into the 4th phase.  Most students simply don’t put in enough repetitions and it takes them much longer to progress.

Rep it as much as you need to.  Once you feel you can do it without thinking…then you can start drilling with it.  Don’t just spar all out with it just yet.  Isolate the position with your opponent and gradually have them resist until you are training as similar to sparring as you can.  Then test it in open sparring.

But don’t stop there.  What you most likely will find is that the technique doesn’t quite work the way you want it to in sparring.  Go back to the learning phases and see if you need to adjust the technique further or see if you can simplify it.  Then repeat the steps.  Here is a simple outline of the ‘Martial Learning Loop’.

Learn It → Rep It → Functionalize It → Adjust/Simplify It → Repeat

You won’t always have time in class to go through this entire loop, that’s why it’s important to take notes and set time aside to rep it and drill it.  Usually, in classes you will learn it, then rep it a few times and then jump to sparring.  That’s okay because that’s all time allows for.  Just be aware that you probably need to go back and rep it and drill it more, otherwise it might take you longer to actually add the technique to your game.

Of course the more experienced you are the less reps and drilling you will need.

Try this with your next technique and you will no doubt see a difference in your skill level.  Good luck and Good Training.


Ed Aiken

Asst. Instructor VBJJ (Black belt)

Striking instructor

Professor William Vandry to teach in Brownsville Oct. 19

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Vandry BJJ student wins MMA fight

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October 5, 2013

VBJJ student, Josh Estrada won by unanimous decision at a Mixed martial arts event in Chicago, PA.  Estrada, originally from Chicago, moved to Austin, Texas earlier this year.  When Estrada moved to Austin, he immediately began training at Vandry BJJ.  Estrada is a humble, hard training student who constantly improves his game.  Vandry BJJ striking coach Ed Aiken developed his striking and MMA drills.   Estrada gave thanks to Vandry, Aiken and the school teammates: “As I mentioned before, thank you so much for all of the help and time in preparing me for this fight.  There were still lots of mistakes so I apologize and I will work to get better for the next one. ”


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