Tuesday, 24 December 2013

Knee update

To recap: 

July: my knee locked out and popped when I sprawled on a takedown. 

August: I was a sulking moaning crippled Shebeast.

September: 80% better. I could roll fairly well. Just couldn't kneel at all or squat very well. 

October: My knee locked out and caused paaaaaain, again. Aside from being a little sore the next day, there wasn't any noticeable regression in recovery. 

November: 90% better. I could squat (body weight with an additional 20kg or so) without any pain or feeling of giving way. Could kneel fully, but it was uncomfortable, but most of my weight shifted to my right (good) side. The knee felt unstable every couple of days. I would wobble when running around my classroom, and hear regular pops when changing gear whilst driving. No real pain though. And I never felt like my leg was literally hanging off or anything..


24th December: MRI results. A fully ruptured ACL. There's nothing remaining. AT ALL. So I've trained and competed without a ligament for 6 months. Swell. 

The specialist has strongly recommended surgery. He's also said it will be 9 months before any contact sports. I read that as "9 months before any hard rolling". I understand they'll be taking tissue from my hamstring and using that to create a new ACL. I've already received some fantastic advice from friends who train reiterating the importance of prehab, rest and rehab. It seems like that will be the deciding factor in the length of time off training.

The waiting list for the surgery is roughly 4 months. In the meantime, I'll he training my ass off. I've nothing to lose (quite literally!). I will try to compete as much as possible and improve my jiu jitsu. 

Its going to be a real test of my dedication and discipline (BJJ has helped me lose weight and focus on pursuing a healthy lifestyle). I think I might be a bit lost without jiu jitsu! 

I'll have to turn my attention to rehab. And pull ups. Lots of pull ups. 

Gah. Merry bloody Christmas! 

Sunday, 22 December 2013

Plymouth Open NOGI Highlight Photos

Another well run competition ran by Tom Barlow and the GB Plymouth boys. Here are a couple of my favourite shots of the day

The rest of the pictures can be found on
 Facebook page.

Faixa Roxa

On the 17th November 2013 I was promoted to purple belt by my instructor, Darren Yeoman.

It was a massive shock, as I've had a re-occurring knee injury that has plagued me for the past 6 months. I've kept training and I'm honoured to have received it this year. 

When I started Jiu Jitsu just over 4 years ago, I remember thinking that purple belt was the belt of ninjas. Got to work harder than ever now to maintain the high standard of a purple belt in BJJ.

Massive congrats to the following guys from Fightworx who also got promoted recently:

(LEFT TO RIGHT; Leon- Blue belt, me- Purple belt, Darren (instructor), Pablo- black belt, Wilbur- Purple belt)

A special thanks to Scramble for their ongoing support for the past 3 years. I appreciate everything you guys do for me, and I hope to represent as a scrambler for many years to come! Another thanks to Pony Club Grappling Gear for their support also :)

Final thanks goes to all the training partners I've had the pleasure of training with (at Fightworx, GB Plymouth, Fightsports Miami and Mill Hill BJJ).

BJJ has done so much for me, and I feel like I have a massive Jiu Jitsu family to thank for that. 

I'll keep training till I die!


Friday, 22 November 2013

Beastly Update


I'm still broken. But, not too broken. I'd say I'm 85% better. Knee has popped again since initial injury at the end of July. Not as painful as the first time, but it's confirmed something is definitely wrong in there..

I've been to see a knee specialist and I have an MRI scan booked for the first week of December. GP told me not to train in the meantime. Silly GP's..

I've been taking it easy but it's felt stronger as time goes on. I have the odd wobble (usually when I've been stood up for longer periods of time) but no real issues at training.

Other than moaning about my gammy knee, here's an assortment of stuff I have been up to:

1) Tabbage. I got my fourth tab! (Wheeeeyyyyy!)

A really nice surprise. I'm thankful I've continued to (sensibly) train despite being injured as it's definitely paid off. Every tab I've earned I've felt like my Jiu Jitsu has progressed significantly between each one. I don't agree with sticking to IBJJF style gradings of 1 tab per 4/6 months or whatever. Progression is a personal thing, and as such, it needs to be a very personalised system between a student and their coach.

Full set

2) Making a return to competition

I was asked by Tom Barlow to photograph the Plymouth Open (a couple of days before the competition). I agreed (as I enjoyed doing it last time) but mentioned that if I knew I was spending the whole day in Plymouth, I would have entered to fight myself, as my knee had been holding up well for the past few weeks.

He replied telling me he has entered me to fight too! I was excited, but I also felt like a bit of a gate crasher. The 2 girls already entered in the blue belt division were 49kg and 61kg. I'm a voluptuous 74kg at the moment (should get back on the Paleo...).

My biggest aim was to try out some shin on shin/open guard stuff I had been drilling at training. Which is what I did. But I also wanted to win. 5 silver medals on the trot at blue was enough, I wanted gold this time. However, I wanted to win because my Jiu Jitsu was better, not because I had a weight advantage.

My first fight was against Kirsty Utting. I had not fought her before, but I was aware of her. She has been a blue belt for a similar length of time as me, and I knew she was a Judo black belt. No way in hell was I standing with her, weight advantage or no weight advantage.

(Side note- Pictures! Why you no resize?! No tool bar to make them all big and sexy. Fine. Screw you.)

 Sitting to guard, before I get thrown on my ass.

The fight pretty much went deep half- sweep- pass- regain- pass- got swept- swept back again.

I didn't stay on the bottom as much as I had liked, but it was a good fight, were I racked up enough points passing guard a couple of times to win.

In my second fight, I fought Zayna Davis. I've trained with Zayna a few times at GB Plymouth and we have a considerable weight difference. 49kg to 74kg is a massive weight difference, so I was determined to not play a top game at all, and work on my guard even more.

I spent most of the fight trying to pull of a shin on shin sweep. I attempted it a lot, but every time I almost pulled it off, she popped straight back up again. I earned a few advantages, but it was a while before I pulled off a sweep to get some points. I tried a couple of tornado guard- back take attempts that I do in the gi, but struggled to keep a grip on her ankles to finish it off.

I managed to play  around in a lot of positions I've never used in competition before liiiiike....

De La Riva,
Inverted guard aaaand

Tornado guard.

I won by a couple of sweeps and my handful of advantages. I was very happy. I got to really have fun with my Jiu Jitsu. I wasn't crushing my opponents to death with shoulder pressure and living up to my nickname. (I might request a renaming..). I actually enjoyed it, and didn't want to hear the buzzer sound! 

Me and my biggest fan

Yeah, I was happy to have walked away with a gold medal. I felt like my Jiu Jitsu was a thousand times better than the last time I competed- which is what I want.

I compete so I can
  1. Work out what I'm crap at.
  2. Train so I'm not as crap at it anymore, so I can then
  3. Test my improvement and progression at competition.
To me, that's the whole point of competing. I'm not a medal chaser. I just want to have amazing Jiu Jitsu. I left happy knowing my Jiu Jitsu is better than the last time I competed. Back to the mats to make more improvements!

Massive shout out to G who won double gold in the white belt division, Sam smashed and got double gold in the purple belt division and Cal won gold in the blue belt. Fightworx Jiu Jitsu! (Oss and all that...)



vs. Zayna

 vs. Kirsty

(Sorry about crap quality. Click to watch in HD- even though it's crappy HD)

Sunday, 1 September 2013

YouTube Channel (shameless plugging)

As mentioned in a previous post, I now have a  SHEBEASTBJJ YouTube Channel.

I'm using this channel to post videos I'm making at training. Jiu Jitsu lifestyle/rolling mini features, if you will.

The current 5 uploaded videos were all shot at the gym I train at, 
Fightworx Academy in Torquay. They feature scenes of my instructor, Darren Yeoman teaching, as well as my team mates drilling techniques and rolling in gi and nogi classes.

Here is the most recent upload, which also features scenes of myself rolling (immense camera skills, courtesy of Mr Will Newland).
Feel free to like/dislike/comment to let me know what you think. Thaaaaanks.
*Side note*- Watching back the footage of myself rolling has been invaluable. It's not often that you get to see yourself roll (in non-competitive scenarios).
It's brought to attention a handful of things regarding my jiu jitsu- things I'm rubbish at and need to work on. But mainly, that I spend too much time upside down with my ass in the air.

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Trying my hand at making some Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Videos

It's been about 5 weeks since I injured my knee at training. I've been making good progress: resting enough, doing the correct rehab exercises given to me by the Physio and only doing very light drills.

However, on Wednesday this week, my brain decided, "naahhhh, this is all going too well", and decided to throw my body UP some concrete steps in the garden.

This WAS my good knee. It meant that for Wednesdays nogi class, I was literally useless. I couldn't kneel on either knee so I was forced to watch. Luckily I brought my camera with me. Rather than taking some pictures, I thought I'd try my hand at filming. The result is the following video:

The following day I was a little less useless, so I managed to film some regaining butterfly techniques, and some super light rolling. I managed to roll myself (thus, the lack of hard rolling footage).
I'm a total nerd when it comes to photography/filming. I don't know all the technical stuff, but I play (trial and error) until I get the results I'm after. I knocked both these up in less than an hour.

I'm planning on making some more of these (over a longer time period, so I can pick and chose the best clips). I'm really after any advice/techniques/general criticisms. So anyone who's more clued up in this stuff, please comment and let me know what you think.

Everyone else- please check out my YouTube channel (click the videos to open in youtube and click the red subscribe button).

.I'll be adding the videos to the channel every time I make a new one. Feel free to comment on those too!

All footage was shot at Fightworx Academy in Torquay.



Monday, 5 August 2013

Introducing: Flavio

In the midst of being injured, I became so bored that I confided in Google to tell me what to do. That's surely a new low..
After a few searches, I came across a video which showed you how to make your own grappling dummy.
So, wonderful people, here is my step-by-step guide on how to make a
budget grappling dummy
if you ever find yourself really, really bored.
To begin:
Here is a picture of all the crap you'll need:
Ta-daah (some crap, not included in the picture)
  • 5m of PVC tube stuff
  • 2 x "T" shaped connector bits of PV
  • Bendy wire stuff (the red stuff- can be substituted for wire coat-hangers
  • 4 x Foam noodles
  • Any old spare cloth/pillows
  • Plastic bags
  • 6 bajillion x rolls of industrial strength duct tape (ok, about 6 rolls)
  • A marker pens
  • Measuring tape
I went out and bought the foam noodles. The rest of the stuff I stole from my Dad. He's like a hoarder. Holds onto anything and everything. It's finally come in useful.

STEP 1- Making the skeleton

The video I watched shared the measurements for each body part, which really helped. I followed it exactly (that way I figure if it went wrong, I could take zero blame, whatsoever, I wouldn't feel remotely like a failure):


2 x hand @ 5.5inches
2 x forearm @ 10.5 inches
2 x upper arm @12 inches
1 x head @10 inches
1 x shoulders @15 inches
1 x torso @17.5 inches
1 x hips @ 11 inches
2 x femur @18 inches
2 x tibia @14.5 inches
2 x feet @10 inches
I marked out each body part on the PVC tubing, using a marker pen. I then began to violently saw the hell out of it.

I was the proud owner of some immense tan lines at the end of this day..

Once I was done, I lay them out like so:

STEP 2- Making him bendy

This is where the bendy wire stuff/hangers come in. I did this in 2 parts:

1) Hips and legs
2) Shoulders and arms

I cut enough wire to go from the hips to the feet (and shoulders to the hands) on each side (I also doubled the thickness of the wire by doing this with 2 wires- if you're using wire hangers, you might want to use 5/6 straightened out wires for thickness). I then duct taped it at the ends of the feet/hands, and in the middle of the hips/shoulder.

I'm not entirely convinced that last paragraph made any sense, but have a look at this picture and see if it helps: 

STEP 3- Tape up his joints

Every elbow, knee, ankle, shoulder and hip was then covered in duct tape to cover any exposed wires.

Ready for his head to go on

 STEP 4- Padding him out

From this picture, you can see where I added my foam noodles (after cutting them to size) HOWEVER, I would recommend using something less huuuuge when padding out the lower arms and legs. My guys forearms are the same size as his biceps, and getting a spare gi on him at the end of all of this was a right mission. Alas, hindsight is a wonderful thing..
Phase 1 of padding

STEP 5- Duct Tape Time

Once I had added the foam noodles, I used spare cushions and pillows to pad out areas that were still lacking any cushioning. Mainly the torso and thighs (as well as his butt). Duct tape all that on, leaving no gaps.

Phase 2 of padding

Once you've finished that, you should have a...


Now, you must name him. This stage is not optional. Its name must be Brazilian. This is compulsory. Fernando? Ricardo? I know people with these names, and I'd like them to remain my friends, so I opted for Flavio.

At this stage, I'd like to share some valuable feedback from friends on Facebook:
Saz: "Is it some rolling around, friend, thingy?"
Dan Strauss: "...That thing is f***ing terrifying"
Darren Yeoman (my coach): "It's interesting to see how you interpret human physiology... that thing will definitely kill you when you fall asleep"
Mr Scramble, Ben Tong: "That's the stuff of nightmares.."
Fellow scrambler, Miha: "Pray nobody has the voodoo powers to make it come alive"
Longtime friend, Charlie: "Art"
I think you'll agree that, overall, the feedback was largely positive (that's what I'll continue to tell myself anyway).


I have actually used him a lot recently whilst I am rehabbing my shitty injured knee. He's come in very useful. I've been able to look at techniques online and practise them on him instead of my unwilling brother/mother/partner.

Should you ever feel the need to make a grappling dummy then, you now know how to. I've basically provided you with a service. You should pay me. No? Ok.

The end.


Friday, 5 July 2013


I'm about to moan. Not blog. Mmmmlog. Moaalog. I don't know..

I've acquired what all jiu jitsu enthusiasts dread. A knee injury. A subluxed patella, with a partially torn meniscus to be exact.

Me, for the past 48 hours. Minus so much leg hair. Supposedly..

Worst of all, I wasn't even doing BJJ when it happened.

It was one of the last rounds in MMA sparring. Practising a casual bit of stand up (I'd told my sparring partner that I was working on my takedowns, something he said he was practising too for his upcoming pro MMA fight).

He shot in for a takedown and I sprawled. Only, I sprawled waaaaay too late. Like, super late. So late that my back and hips were already going backwards (if that makes sense). Throwing my legs back so late forced my left knee to lock out and buckle, and then we both landed on it. Urgh.

I yelped like a Alsation puppy. I felt my kneecap pop out, and instantly pop back in again as I hit the mat. It throbbed like crazy for 10mins or so, but I was ok enough get up and walk afterwards.

I was also well enough to drive home. The following morning however. Ohhhh my god. A trip to my GP ended in "no wrestling for 4-6 weeks" and a sick note for 2 weeks from work. Rest and ice and rest and moan and rest and ice. Or something along those lines.

Instead of moping around (too much) I'm spending my time thinking about what sorts of things I'm going to have to adapt to keep myself active. My usual week consists of;

Monday: MMA
Tuesday: Jiu Jitsu
Wednesday: Submission wrestling & MMA
Thursday: Jiu Jitsu
Friday: Rest
Saturday: 3k run, heavy lifting (deadlifts/squats)
Sunday: 1.5k run, Plyometric/supersetting exercises

I'm on day 2 of being a cripple that can juuuust about walk unaided, and I'm bored as hell already. So not doing anything, isn't an option. I'd like to do some kind of workout this weekend. Otherwise, I'm doomed to becoming a super fatty and playing PS2 games with my brother for the rest of my life..

"Smackdown vs Raw, Tony Hawks 3 or Rugby 2008?"

So, I've come across a few different exercises I can do that are fairly generic (chin ups, pull ups, tricep dips, push ups, bench press). Ideally, I want to try to stick to functional exercises for BJJ. I figured 4-6 weeks of pull ups, and I'll essentially have lats the size of wings. Right?

Luckily, my strength/conditioning/diet guru Chris (from Crossfit Westcountry), is amending my current diet to make sure I don't become a super fatty over the next month or so. I've been eating really clean recently and don't want to regress. 

I'm having to pistol squat to sit down and stand back up. At least my right leg is going to be hench as f***. Every cloud and all that. 

I know knee injuries are common in jiu jitsu, so any ideas/advice from anyone who's been in a similar situation would be appreciated.

In the mean time, I'm going to spend more time taking jiu jitsu pictures, blogging, and hopefully helping out with the kids jiu jitsu. I'll keep myself busy.

In other news:

Have you bought any of this stuff yet? If not, WHY not?

1) Scramble have released their 3rd kimono, The Athlete.

Mine arrived today (cheered me up nicely whilst angering me that I can't use it for a while..) It's another gorgeous and solid gi from Scramble. I have a white one. It's sexy. I like white gis more. I discriminate against blue gis. I don't know why. Well, I do. This is my exact thought process:

Blue gi/white belt= Smurf 
Blue gi/blue belt= Invisible belt
Blue gi/purple belt= Kinda lame
Blue gi/brown belt= Meh, alright
Blue gi/black belt= BADASS

Whereas with a white gi..

White gi/white belt= badass
White gi/blue belt= badass
White gi/purple belt= badass
White gi/ brown belt= badass
White gi/black belt= SUPER BADASS

I don't know why. That's just a little insight into my mind for you there. You're welcome.

And Pony Club Grappling Gear have released their most anticipated spats yet- The Jessica's (names after Invicta FC fighter Jessica Penne).

Chhhhhhheck these out:

Another crazy awesome design by Meerkatsu. If a rainbow ever threw up, this is what it would look like.

I haven't seen a pair of these in the flesh yet, but the colours look super bright! If they're anything as comfy as their previous spats (The Baders) I own, then they're going to be immense. My friend G has a pair. What a bitch. I might steal them.

I'll update again soon, on how miserable positive I am despite not training and how I'm losing the will to live plodding along without jiu jitsu until I'm recovered well enough to traaaaiiiiinn. Or to inform you I've developed wings..

Saturday, 22 June 2013

Forca Luta Elite Boxing Gloves review

Forca Luta is an up and coming MMA brand, based in the UK. Despite being around for less than 12months, it has already established solid support from some of the top UK fighters such as Paul Daley, Brad Pickett and Ronnie Mann.

I'm going to review their latest gloves, the Forca Luta Elite Boxing gloves. 


  • 14oz gloves (10oz and 16oz also available)
  • Lightweight construction for optimal mobility and performance
  • Ergonomically engineered curvature delivers the perfect striking surface
  • Premium vent foam complex for maximum protection and enhanced thermo-regulation
  • Fullback design and innovative closure system for an ultimate fit
  • Perforated neoprene backing ensures full breath-ability.
  • RRP: £44.99

Initial thoughts:

The first thing I notice about the glove is the design. The whole Forca Luta range adopts a black white and lime green colourway, something no other brands (that I'm aware of) does. The gloves look really smart. The stitching seems solid, and the design/logos on the back and strap of the glove looks sublimated (so it won't crack or peel off after a few months of using them). Overall, a very smart looking glove.



Why am I reviewing them?

I've been training BJJ for almost 4 years. I started MMA at the same time, but stopped because I became obsessed with BJJ. Recently, I've rekindled my love for punching people in the face. Maybe it's being secondary school teacher? Yeah, it's probably the teaching. Regardless, I'm training MMA regularly now, and thus- I needed some gloves.

I believe in supporting UK brands, and with Forca Luta having some top names in UK MMA backing them, I figured they'd be a trusted brand to try out.

Using the gloves at the Ronnie Mann Seminar
Ronnie Mann in the 14oz Forca Luta boxing gloves

Main Features:

Right, to using the gloves. I've been using these gloves (in 14oz) regularly for the past month or so. My previous gloves were a pair of 10oz Sandee Boxing gloves, so the Forca Lutas are more forgiving on peoples faces when punching during MMA class. They're also more forgiving on my wrists when hitting the bag.

The snug fit and double wrist strap really ensure my fists are protected when hitting the pads. I can feel the difference when comparing them to my old Sandees.

Another feature I like about the gloves is the mesh palm.
"Thermo- regulation" aka making-sure-your-palms-don't-get-super-sweaty-and-stink-the-hell-out-of-your-gloves.

After training, my gloves go in my training bag, and they stay there until I train again later in the week. Yes, I know- I'm a skank. Regardless, the gloves don't smell. And it has been HOT for the past few weeks. Like, humid hot. My other kit gets smelly so fast, but these gloves still have that sexy fake leathery plasticy new smell going on. I have to remind myself to get them out the bag at some point to air them out. The mesh palm does a lot of that for you, making sure your sweat can escape from the gloves, so they aren't all damp when putting them on next time you train (yuck..)

Conclusion: (can you tell I'm a science teacher?)

I'm really impressed with these gloves. Plenty of the guys at my gym swear by them and use them at Thai and MMA on a daily basis. Many of them have replaced their top brand gloves (I.e Hayabusas) with the Forca Lutas. So, if you're looking for some new gloves at a great price, but are unsure whether you should commit to a new brand, DO IT. If they're good enough for Brad Pickett, they're probably good enough for you..

Still not convinced:

If I've not convinced you, firstly- screw you. Secondly, check out the following reviews:

                             Ronnie Mann review of the Forca Luta gloves:

                        Pro MMA fighter Josh O'Shea's thoughts on the gloves:

Forca Luta

Add caption

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Hello there.

Below is a selection of photos I took at the 1st Plymouth BJJ Open last weekend. 

I'm taking more and more pictures at training, and getting as much experience as I can. Any hints/tips/advice would be greatly received.

The rest of the photos can be found on my SHEBEASTBJJ facebook page.

Big thanks to Tom Barlow for letting me take photos at the comp