What is Jiu-jitsu for? There are a number of reasons, but let’s go through a few:
1. Self defense
Martial arts first and primary goal is to learn how to defend yourself. It is not for competition, or even fitness, although those are goals on a secondary level. You have to learn how to deal with stronger opponents, or those that can possibly bully or pick on children. Most parents bring children for something of an outlet. Usually this can be a parent that wants his or her child to be less introverted. I have worked with children with Autism, Asperger syndrome (AS), also known as Asperger’s, is a developmental disorder characterized by significant difficulties in social interaction and nonverbal communication, along with restricted and repetitive patterns of behavior and interests.1 As a milder autism spectrum disorder (ASD), it differs from other ASDs by relatively normal language and intelligence.2
I have been very successful with those children, and working around those conditions. My top children’s coach has worked with autistic children as well. I have also worked with legally blind children at my academy, and one did well in a competition of BJJ years ago. My wife and I work with the legally blind year around, and we do projects for the Texas School of the Blind, and have worked with the Blind Veterans Association.3
For average students, most also want some type of self defense course. Despite what some schools promote training 7 days a week, or competition is their main promotion, they miss the point. Most students do not compete unless it is a small club or group. Some may compete once in a while, but the goal is not to force students to compete as a primary goal of their learning. For my students that do compete, if they are children I emphasize their school grades first, and although rare, school instructor’s should pay attention to a parent’s goal with their child.
Children’s parents are usually attentive to watch classes, or attend ranking ceremonies. They are very supportive to their children. I have experienced in the past parents looking for schools to enroll their child that can be quite the opposite.
Here are two experiences I had that show different types of parents. One was a Father who moved in from the Dallas area, and his child was about 12. I change into my gi to teach the kid’s class. I come out of my changing room and there is a child I do not know in a gi sitting on my mat. I asked him could I help him. He shrugged his shoulders. I walked into the lobby and it was a parent there. I asked him could I help him, and he told me he wanted his son to try my class. He said his son had trained a year, and was the most talented child in the world. Usually parents call or make appointments through email when bringing a child or if an adult plans to attend or try a class.
I was right about to start, so I explained to him waivers for a class, brief rules. He had no problem, and kept expressing how great his child was.
When we did the class, I had three children that trained with him. All of them were very nice, didn’t go hard on him, but tapped him in a gentle way. They were all his age as well.
At the end of the class, the child told me how impressed he was by the students, especially the two girls. When I walked into the lobby, I began to speak to the Dad. He then seemed eager to leave. He stated that he wanted to talk to his son and get back to me. I asked his son in front of him how did he like my BJJ class? His son replied: “Wow, I have never seen this before, and those girls I don’t know what chokes they did..”
I then looked at the Dad, and stated: “Well, I think you heard it yourself, it looks like he has a desire to learn.”
The Dad replied by telling me he wants his son to be a world champion. He then told me he has two other sons. What he told me next summarized his entire goals in BJJ for his son. He replied, and this is pretty much verbatim:
“Well…my goal one day is to have all three of my sons fight in the UFC…”
He then said he needed to leave, grabbed his son and left.
This is an issue with those types of parents. Those children may in fact never learn, or develop their self defense skills because of the living vicariously through the child parent.
I have on the other hand some great parents. One of our students and kickboxing students has two children. He and his wife like many other parents in my kids class are very supportive, and are there at promotions, or even in tournaments. I note when his children compete, they are very talented, but there is no pressure from him or like the parent above. Children have to develop and grow, as I have some students in their twenties that used to be in my kids class.
Some adults may have this same persona. I have discussed many times other school’s students asking to attend my classes, and asking for open mat days, but I refer them back to their instructor. I think any type of solicitation may be of different factors. If a student no longer trains at a school, then I am glad to speak with him, but never, and never should any BJJ instructor take a student from another school simply to make money or care less about his respect for other schools.
Women develop self defense and that is their primary goal at first. We had one woman who was very shy and polite, that attended kickboxing classes at our school. She contacted me months ago, and was frightened and excited that she defended herself against a male adult. It was remote control for her, and a good snap kick to the person’s chest backed them off. Good for her!
I have had overweight children, and adults start at my school. My wife and I research and lecture on nutrition. We believe in maintaining health with students. We teach at our Got pain? clinics each year regarding nutrition, inflammation, diet, and rest. If you have blood pressure issues, or arthritis, it can be very difficult to train with inflammation or pain. Those you can overcome with proper training, warmups and of course learning nutrition. I have many articles you can refer to such as some on joints and pain.4
I have had some overweight students in the 300+ range and one in the 440lb area. Children have more diabetes, and obesity and the parents do too. I have worked with two good students who have literally changed their health. Here is one I changed his diet, correct nutrition, and you can clearly see a huge difference in less than six months:
Here is a second student, about 440lbs. and down to around 300 in less than six months:
Obesity and blood pressure relate with diabetes, heart disease and other conditions. For more information on health articles, you can read about disk disease, diabetes and more.5
Nutrition is not an option. When we have essential vitamins and minerals, remember what essential means. You don’t have a choice. Both of the students above had arthritis, and one had a knee that kept popping out of joint. He doesn’t have those problems anymore, but a key component whether just for self defense, competition or fitness there is another primary point. If you don’t add nutrition, you will degenerate more. A primary diet of correct mineral and vitamins along with enzymes and detoxification are paramount in today’s plague of illness, heart disease, diabetes, cancer and more. As a student, you have to remember calcium and magnesium flex and relax muscles, along with keeping the neurological system maintained. If minerals are depleted, you can develop other forms of osteoarthritis, osteoporosis and others. Read other health articles for more information referencing the Pubmed medical journals.4
Keep training, and if you are a potential student looking for self defense, fitness, health or related areas, please give us a call or stop by the academy. 512-585-1289.
Professor William Vandry
1. National Institute of Mental Health. September 2015. Retrieved 12 March 2016.
2. World Health Organization. 2015. Retrieved13 March 2016.
I just finished my third quarter association seminar. Thank you to all my students and all RCJ Machado students from Brownsville, San Antonio, Dallas Ft. Worth area, and of course here in Central Texas. A big question many of my students asked was an issue regarding heel hooks. Those are the most dangerous of all foot and leglocks. Heel hooks can twist the instep, and possibly sprain or break the ankle/instep area, the meniscus on the knee and even potentially damage the hip area if excess leverage applied.
There are good heel hook experts such as Dean Lister and others. Going back to the main question, many asked about defending, as applying heel hooks are relatively simple. Most heel hooks in no gi competitions you can see are quick, and usually many times the legs ‘lace’ or develop figure four type traps over a leg.
Although more applicable via speed, and especially in no gi, yes there are counters and defenses. The main issue is most grapplers spin out, or jerk out. I was told by a great BJJ black belt in 2001 that he doesn’t really have any counters, he just works on prevention. I can agree in part, as many simply work on a mental note that they will escape if they just do this quick move or that move. Not exactly. You should always prevent moves or submissions from the beginning. From there I personally look at counter attacks.
If you look how Anderson Silva fought, he is a fantastic counter puncher. Many great boxers such as Sugar Ray Robinson, Marvin Hagler, James Toney, Sugar Ray Leonard, Floyd Mayweather Jr., and others. The same way applies to leglocks. A dooming strategy is reaching for any submission and literally giving the strategy way in advance. For example, you are passing an opponent’s guard. While passing, the opponent applies spider guard. You cannot grab the ankle while he is in spider. You have to break down the spider guard, get some distance, THEN setup an attack.
Same thing with counters. You should develop counter games by looking at your techniques from beginning to end. Then end to beginning. You have to look at your flaws, and your lack of finishing ability. Here on a few videos, I am applying leglocks. Let me breakdown what I am doing regarding strategy. There are three training sessions that display counter attacks on a video below:
1. Vandry escape to Footlock
On the first match, I play defense. Many grapplers do not explore bad positions such as mount, side mount, back mount, letting people pass guard. Here I have a much larger student. When I was a white belt, side mount terrified me. I remember my instructor Carlos Machado when we were white belts, side mount felt like a horror movie. My good friend Marcos Santos and I were laughing one time when we talked about how Rigan used to crush us when we were white belts. The panic, anxiety, panting. So what did I do? As a white belt after class, I would ask fellow students to smash me in the side mount, and I would work on escaping. I then got so comfortable, I started wrapping my gi around my head to smother me, then worked side escapes. This of course was a bit erratic back then, but as a white belt, Jiu-jitsu is almost like Aaron and Moses vs. sorcerers of the Pharoah when turning a cane into a snake. It was pure magic to me, and still is in many ways today. Ok, so here I let him get smash. Most people when shrimping out, panic more because they get pinned or can’t escape. What I did here was spin one way, then sort of cartwheel spin the other way. I then apply a z type half guard to block for a moment. As my opponent attempts to flatten, I base my back leg to sort of upa up to get to half guard. The half guard when I am looking for footlocks is not a true tight, figure four half guard. It is simply trapping his thigh. From there, the opponent is attempting to apply the cutter choke, and I bait him by allowing him to. I apply my footlock from my half guard. Now lately, I only have received about ten million emails asking me exactly how did I do that, as many BJJ students state they don’t understand how I found the leverage. This too is a different story, but let me say the way I play the game, the more someone smashes, the easier it is for me.
2. Vandry guard defense to shoulder lock
Here I am playing a game when opponent stands to pass. I hook his leg to do a passive sweep. I don’t want to sweep too much because I wanted to finish from the guard. Opponent stumbles, then comes down to my guard. I attack the left arm, but the goal is always the right arm. These I call red herrings. You throw baits out to see what the opponent is going to do. He defends the left arm, then I switch to his right to finish elbowlock.
3. Vandry Defense to footlock
Here I am training with a student who attacks back very good. I turtle, then counter his clock choke (no comment!), then he attempts a bow and arrow variation. I turtle up again using a similar upa assistance move. I give him the back. He goes for the choke, and similar to video one, baiting opponents by letting them attack is not giving them a submission. It is a way to counter their submission or I should say not allow them to complete it while you are countering. I then apply a favorite footlock from back mount defense. The standard back defense is when an opponent crosses the ankles. My opponent is a brown belt, and is way past that level. I hook the foot in a certain way to ensure the footlock. I did teach this at my last seminar as well. Check them out:
4. Strategies on counters
My suggestion is to work on comfort zone regarding bad positions first. Work with your instructor, or training partner slowly first, then build it up. Sparring in classes are too often students concerned more with winning or dumping stressful energy out rather than work on the details, timing, techniques and strategy. One of my purple belts drills with his training partner for weeks before classes a technique we work on to get familiar with. In addition, countering should never be an arrogant, bored content. It is never executed as if you are arrogant. Counters and escapes are always a higher level of awareness, worry, and defense first. My advice is to remember, Jiu-jitsu is a learning science of grappling, and you have to train consistently at a pace, not to do the same techniques over due to a stale reliance or comfort zone.
Professor William Vandry
5th degree BB, RCJ Machado
VBJJA teammates Chris Kirk and Danny Taki at NAGA
August 13, 2016
Competitors in Mixed martial arts, No gi grappling and Gi Jiu-jitsu competition were successful competing this weekend in Austin, Texas.
Vandry Association Lake Travis Jiu-Jitsu club’s (Lakeway) child student Seth takes Gold at NAGA!
Vandry Association Austin Academy students Max Lash two Gold medals, with best friend Chris Kirk, one Gold, one Silver.
Chris Kirk with Vandry Teammate Danny Taki, Danny taking Silver in No Gi, and 4th in Gi.
Vandry Association Brownsville Academy (Armas Jiu-jitsu) student Abraham Vela again dominates No gi divisions in tournaments, taking Gold at NAGA!
Chris Kirk’s best Joe Rogan imitation when someone gets put to sleep!
Congratulations to all the VBJJA students, and to coaches Jesus Armas, Elliot O’Hara, Markus Lagmannson, Justin Toler and others for helping these students in preparation!
The next event was a Mixed Martial arts event in Austin, and Lake Travis BJJ club student Ben Bourland fought a much taller opponent Travis Stanchek. The fight was at Emo’s Austin event center with full nightclub commodities. Ben won a split decision, and both fighters had good heart.
VBJJ Lakeway Coach Elliot O’Hara and Ben Bourland
Ben Bourland and Professor William Vandry
Opponents, and friends after fight. Ben Bourland and Travis Stanchik
Victory after fight!
Emos MMA Honorious Fights staffer Armando Vargas and Justin Toler in VIP section!
Armando and I
Chandra, Elliot and Justin at Emos supporting Ben!
My friend and Emos MMA event promoter Nael, and good person who works with the less fortunate
Congratulations to our VBJJA schools, instructor and students for all the hard work, research, practice, study and honoring our Martial art of Jiu-jitsu and our lineage!
If you are interested in BJJ, competition, striking and developing skills, please contact a Vandry BJJ academy in your area. Go to our associations page for more information:
Thank you to our kind sponsors for being involved with our Got pain? clinic, and for requests on topics such as:
- legal blind diseases
- canine diseases
We thank Tonya, Pet Supplies Plus manager for her input on pet health issues, and her request for more research on canine allergies, illnesses and her support for our Got pain? clinics! Thank you Primal pet foods for your support in pet health as well, and to The Noble Pig restaurant with the best sandwiches in Austin, Texas and pork and the great food for our UFC private party from my friend Brandon, and of course our Vandry BJJ academy for requesting topics on family and friends who desire more information on health, and our St. Jude’s Miracle oilTM product for helping make these studies and research a reality. Thank you again!
To our sponsors:
Go see my good friend Brandon and his staff at:
- 12233 620 N. Suite 105
- Austin, TX 78750
- Hours of Operation
- Serving lunch and dinner Mon – Thur: 10am – 8pm / Fri 10am – 9pm
- Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner Sat: 8am – 9pm / Sun: 8am – 8 pm
Say hi to my buddy Tonya at:
Address:13450 N HIGHWAY 183 STE 112
AUSTIN, TX 78750-3227
BJJ black belt William Vandry speaking to blind children on goals, and overcoming blindness
William and Chandra Vandry founded the Vandry Hope foundation, a non profit 501c that sponsors projects and research for PTSD, Chronic pain, Legally blind and Poverty. Projects have been sponsored for years. The Vandry’s have worked with TSBVI for their self defense clinic since 2012.
Chandra mentoring blind students
Chandra teaching mount escapes to blind students
Tony Es, Jeff Anderson, Ted Osburn, Jesus Armas, William Vandry, Ed Aiken, Mike Drabek, Jeremy Leigh, CJ Johnson
Thank you to all of my students!! I had a great time at our recent Association seminar. For all of our out of town associations and black belts, thank you for your support for our community. Jiu-jitsu is a martial art predicated on defeating the larger opponent. Grandmaster Carlos Gracie designed his blueprint we all follow to this day on the guard, escapes, sweeps, counter attacks, etc.. I get motivated to work on new development in Jiu-jitsu. There will be times when I spend literally a year working on something new sparring each class, assessing how the progress of a technique is developing. Counters are one of my favorite techniques to work on. We developed cutter and bat chokes, as well as escapes. Many in Jiu-jitsu are so skilled, that they don’t worry about working on bad positions. I like to work on those first. Side, mount, back, submission escapes are a never dying energy I have had since I was a white belt. When we worked our escapes, you have to know the breakdown of the submission first. I lecture to students quite often that escapes are like taking a spark plug out of the engine of a car. This way the car cannot work. I enjoyed the questions, and the counters to cartwheel passes. I want to thank my senior belts, and for all the wonderful support from my students. Seminars I begin forming officially in 2003. I design an in between development of techniques to ‘catch up’, or ‘speed up’ a student’s abilities as opposed to simply drilling techniques they already know.
Keep training, look forward to the next one!
Absorb and think,
Professor William Vandry