Monthly Archives: July 2014

Jul 29

Ken Primola Sprawl

By bestfree | Uncategorized

As promised, here is the video of BJJ Black Belt and wrestling bad
ass Ken Primola showing how to do a proper wrestling sprawl:

I think the sprawl is the most important defensive basic skill for self
defense and competition – and along with being a defense, it is also
an excellent scoring weapon, as demonstrated in the video above.

Ken shows some cool sneak peeks into back-takes and a guillotine
setup from the sprawl – check it out! We use this often in my
MMA gym in Miami, FL!

Jul 28

Full time MMA

By bestfree | Uncategorized

This entry is ONLY for people who aspire to do martial arts full
time – whether it be as a professional athlete, instructor, or
school owner. If you don’t have aspirations to do martial arts
full time – go ahead and disregard this email.

For those of you that ARE aspiring to train full time just like
some of the guys at my MMA gym in Miami, FL… get a pen
and notepad, grab your favorite beverage, find a cozy place to
sit, and watch this video below:

It is a more than two hour webinar replay from a while back… but
to someone that is aspiring to be involved with martial arts as a
career – it is an important video.

Jul 25

Serious High School KO

By bestfree | Uncategorized

A couple of days ago I sent a pretty disgusting video of a gang of
hooded teens beating on one defenseless teen. It was disgusting
and revolting.

I received a lot of feedback from concerned people wondering if the
kids were caught. To ease your minds, yes, the police caught ALL
the kids.

I got some feedback from people noticing how all the kids, despite
all their sucker punches and kicks, were not able to knock out the
boy. A few people made the correct observation, which is if that
boy knew martial arts, he probably could have fought off those
attackers, although they outnumbered, because despite their
numbers, none of those kids were able to generate enough power to
knock him out.

However, one person replied, “Well, that didn’t seem so bad, all he
got was a bloody nose…”

Not everyone in high school throws pitty pat punches… here is a
more disgusting and SERIOUS video… I have to warn you, I’m not
sure this boy survived this beating, whenever someone gets stomped
on their head while unconscious over concrete, I imagine death is
a serious possibility – and YES, this happened IN SCHOOL, in front
of everyone.

How would you feel if you saw this video and it was YOUR child
getting their head caved in, along with their teeth swallowed?
THIS is real life. Even worse, God forbid… imagine if your child
was murdered in school by another kid… and imagine if all of this
could have been avoided with martial arts training… notice the
position the kids were in is the “guard” position – a normal
position of mixed martial arts. We use train in this position
all the time in my MMA gym in Miami, FL.

I cannot emphasize the importance of teaching your kids and teens
martial arts so that they can first avoid conflict all together by
having the right mental skills and confidence to do so – and then
not getting into a position to potentially be killed. As a parent,
if you don’t watch this video, you might as well stick your head in
the sand and pretend nothing like this could happen to your child.

Don’t just get angry about the video… create action with the
emotion and get your children enrolled into a martial arts school

Jul 24

Sorry I lost…

By bestfree | Uncategorized

Anybody that is involved with combat competition has either heard
this before or told this to somebody… and it is pure bullshit.
Nothing frustrates me more than when a fighter steps into the cage
and misinterprets his/her loss for complete failure. I don’t blame
them, I have been the victim of these misplaced feelings myself…
but I was fortunate to have a good coach that picked me up and
reframed my mindset so I was able to grow from the experience and
become a champion. So what did my coach tell me and what did I do?
Let me share with you my perspective on losing.

First of all, there is a difference between losing and being a
loser. There is a difference between temporary failure and
complete failure. Nobody ever achieves success in a linear
straight path of victories… NOBODY. For instance, most people
think the path to becoming black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu looks
like the diagram below:

White Belt ==> Blue Belt ==> Purple Belt ==> Brown Belt ==> Black Belt

But that is WRONG!!! The path looks more like the diagram below:
Being a success in martial arts is just like being a success in any
other field…

The path to success is full of obstacles that are going to pop up
along the way… it’s never going to be a straight predictable path!
The reason most people aren’t successful is because the first time
they take a step backwards – they quit! The ones who are
successful are the ones who stay on the path – no matter how
squiggly the path line is! They go backwards, forwards, sideways,
in circles, etc. until they get to their goal. Successful people stay
the course!

Everybody at some point is going to lose… it is part of the
journey to success. However, many of us take these loses wrong and
end up feeling like a loser.

Famous American inventor, Thomas Edison, when trying to invent the
light bulb, had encountered plenty of failures along the way… it
was reported that it took him about 10,000 attempts to invent the
light bulb! When he had approached the 9,000 mark, he was asked if
he felt like a failure with his endeavor to invent an electric
light source, and his response was, “”Young man, why would I feel
like a failure? And why would I ever give up? I now know
definitively over 9,000 ways that an electric light bulb will not
work. Success is almost in my grasp!”

This is a very powerful quote from a proven champion of life… and
understand that this isn’t a word game – this is his actual
perspective on life. For instance, if you have lost five fights in
a row… you didn’t fail five times – you learned five ways to not
win a fight! Sounds funny but the fact is that one most usually
learns much more from defeat than from victory. For instance,
let’s say you have poor takedown defense but have won all of your
fights versus kickboxers who have not tried to take you down… you
might not make any adjustments to your takedown defense; however,
if you fought a strong wrestler in your first fight and he took you
down ten times in the fight – I bet you would get to work
immediately on your takedown defense…

So if your first five fights were versus bums that had no training
and you managed to KO them within sixty seconds without getting hit
once… or you had a single match that you lost by being taken down
ten times… which taught you more? The five wins or the single
loss? For that reason, you should be GRATEFUL for your losses! If
your goal is to become world champion, you need to seek perfection,
and our losses bring up our weak spots that need reinforcing. Our
losses are literally tests. We want the test results – we don’t
want to be walking around with defects!

When I lost my first eleven matches in a row, my coach kept telling
me, “It’s OK Marcos, you got to pay your dues…” This is the
truth! The greater the barrier of entry – the sweeter the reward.
Why is this? Because the harder it is to become successful in a
field, the less people that are willing to go through it – which
means that when you bust through that threshold, there will be more
rewards with less people to share it with!

Most people are not willing to pay the price to become a champion –
which is why there can only be one. Most people fall off like
ticks on a dog along the way. If you want to be a champion, you
will have to “pay your dues” which is the pains of temporary

Now these losses that happen along the way aren’t just “paying your
dues” but also a motivational force that makes you better!
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt Wallid Ismael, famous for being the
only man to have ever finished UFC legend Royce Gracie by
submission, said, “Losing weakens the weak and strengthens the
strong…” This single quote drastically affected my perspective
on losing!

Think about it… the weak lose and start questioning themselves…
“I suck… maybe I’m too old… I don’t have enough time to
dedicate to this… I’ve gotten worse over the years… I need a
break from training for a bit…” while the strong get more
determined to never lose again and head back to the gym the next
day more pumped up and eager to train and overcome that temporary
defeat. While they are hitting the bags or drilling their
takedowns, they remind themselves of the moment they let victory
slip, and it only energizes them to push harder and harder. You
need to decide if you are going to be weak or strong. It is that

I remember that when I was wrestling, there were times when a
wrestler would lose that he would get off the mat and throw a
temper tantrum… yelling, kicking the lockers, punching the walls,
etc. My coach, Tirso Valls, would storm in and always say the same
thing, “STOP wasting that precious energy! Save it for training!”

He was so darn right! If you start yelling, kicking things, etc.,
you are letting the energy out! It is best to sit down and bottle
it in. Rechannel the frustration into determination… and either
let it out that night in a run or save it for the next day’s
training session and take it out on the bags or in your drilling.
I have seen losses completely transform an athlete’s work ethic and
take them into new levels as a fighter… they were strong… but
I’ve also seen single losses destroy a fighter early in their
career… they were weak. Life favors the bold and strong – make
it happen!

Jul 22

Bottom Half Guard Kneebar

By bestfree | Uncategorized

Back in 2002 or 2003, UFC legend and movie star Oleg “The Russian
Bear” Taktarov showed up to my gym! He was filming a role in Bad
Boys 2 and swung by to show some moves. Oleg is a Sambo master
and he showed a whole bunch of really cool leg locks… and the
one move that impressed me the most was this kneebar he would pull
from the bottom halfguard!

I had seen Frank Mir attempt it on Ian Freeman in the UFC
but he didn’t finish it and I had incorrectly written it off as
garbage… until Oleg showed me some little tips that made this
move a high percentage killer! Since then, it has become one of
my top “go to” moves in grappling and MMA. I can force this move
and practically hit it at will, especially the follow-up sweep.
A lot of the guys in my MMA gym in Miami, FL also use it as well.

Check out the video below:

If you like the video, please click on “like” and drop a comment
below the video, it really helps me out. Thanks!

Jul 21

Lift Weights?

By bestfree | Uncategorized

A lot of people ask me if weight training
is good for mixed martial arts… and my answer is yes. Weight
training, if done properly, can be very beneficial for MMA and
UFC style training.

However, there are several things to keep in mind… for one
thing, you should have a workout that is custom tailored for your
fighting style. If you are primarily a striker, you shouldn’t be
loading up too much on the curls – but if you are primarily a
wrestler, then hit the curls hard. 

As a striker, it is important to keep your arms elastic and
flexible (hence a striker should avoid bulky arms) but as a
wrestler, having powerful arms is good for finishing double legs
and other takedowns.

Another thing to keep in mind is a proper warm-up before lifting
weights. If you go the weight gym, you’ll see people just do a
few stretches and then start lifting… and if you look around in
the same gym, you’ll see bulky dudes walking around with their
arms all curled in… you don’t want that. You want long, smooth,
flexible, and strong muscles. You don’t want to leave the gym
with your arms curling in.

To avoid that, a proper warm-up is important. Personally, I
like to do a big shadow boxing routine, break a sweat, and then
stretch out my arms. Once you are warmed up and stretched out –
begin your lifting. Make sure you do each exercise with a light
warm-up set first.

In between sets, instead of just sitting and waiting, stretch
your arms and shadow box. The stretching and shadow boxing
between sets will keep your arms loose and flexible. Try this,
you will notice a big difference.

Then at the end of your workout, burn out with some cardio.
Either do some intense shadow boxing (until you are sweating) or
go for a one mile run. Afterward, do a nice long stretch.
You’ll notice the difference when you get home – and especially
the next day. Your arms will feel loose and flexible – not sore
and curled up.

If you guys see me lifting weights at our Miami MMA gym in Miami, FL
that is why you always see me shadow boxing in between sets 🙂 That
being said, it helps to have an ipod with your favorite music
playing while lifting.

Jul 18

Cradle Choke

By bestfree | Uncategorized

I’m big on incorporating wrestling moves into submission
grappling… and the cradle is a powerful hold for grappling,
MMA, and self defense that is very under utilized. In wrestling,
the cradle is a common hold! We use it all the time at my
MMA gym in Miami, FL.

In the video below, I show a basic cradle setup from the back
and I show a few nice submission setups from the hold, including
the cradle choke! Check it out below:

Check out the video and enjoy!

Jul 17

Heel Hook Escape

By bestfree | Uncategorized

What is the most dangerous submission in submission wrestling?
I’ll give you a hint… it is BANNED from most grappling
competitions and from most gyms! We allow it at my
MMA gym in Miami, FL, but most don’t. This submission is dangerous
because there is a thin threshold between pain and possible
permanent damage – so there isn’t much time to tap…

The submission I’m talking about is the HEEL HOOK!

I have an old video I posted on youtube a while back that
I just added to my website that I would like to share with
you… which are TWO Heel Hook Escapes, with the first one
being my most reliable escape… and the second one being
an escape to a back-take setup! Check it out:

Remember, practice heel hooks with EXTREME care… they are
very dangerous and one hard pull can result in someone needing
surgery… and for that reason, ALL grapplers and martial artists
should be extremely familiar with the proper escapes…
just rolling isn’t a technical escape to the heel hook…
watch the video and pay attention to the little black belt
detail that makes “just rolling” actually a technical escape.

Jul 16

David Y-Choke

By bestfree | Uncategorized

My brother David (Four-Time ADCC Veteran and ADCC Barcelona
2009 Bronze Medalist) just posted up a video on his website
which is pretty unusual and cool… it is also a bit
controversial… even in our MMA gym in Miami, FL

People often see the technique, the Y-Choke, and say, “That’s

From different referees I have talked to, if you don’t squeeze
the wind-pipe, it is supposed to be legal (talk to a referee

Ok, so what am I talking about? 🙂

Here is the link:

If you like the video, go ahead and join my brother’s email
list as well. If you like my blog entries, you’ll like his emails,
plus he is uploading lots of new videos, so check him out!