A Very Hard to Submit interview, Sean Roberts

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We at VHTS had the great opportunity to have our blog editor (who lives in Guatemala) train with the great Sean Roberts. Sean was in Guatemala for a couple of weeks, sightseeing, eating the local cuisine but mainly training and having load of fun. We had the chance to get a one on one classes, sparring practices and of course an interview. We talked about a lot of things from Ralph Gracie to comp, training and his new team CHECKMAT. 

 

Hey Sean, thank you for taking the time. How is it that you got into Jiu-jitsu, what’s your origin story?

I did karate when I was young, like a lot of kids in America that do martial arts. When I was around 10 maybe I got tired of it. So then I did basketball for a long time, about 6 years and when I got into high school, I was pretty good at basketball so I made the all-star team. But when I went to high school as a freshman well you know I got cut from the freshmen team first round. I later found out it was because there’s a lot of politics in that, parents that pay to get their kid in the team and stuff like that.

After a year I didn’t do anything and then I decided to get back to karate, I remember I liked it but my dad didn't want me to go back. So I remember my dad showing me Royce Gracie in UFC 1 just crushing people but he said he didn't want to show me that when I was younger because when I was younger I was really hyper so he didn't want me choking out people on the playground, but now was the time so he showed me and then I started following the gracies and did their techniques online and then I just got tired of doing it online so I signed up at this place with Ralph Gracie and ever since I've been team Ralph Gracie and I even teach there, there's only been one change since I began because now I fight for Checkmat but I teach at Ralph Gracie.

 

And do you still see instructional videos?

I used to use them a lot from white to purple belt. But now it's really hard to find new stuff. Although I still do look for good bjj videos.

 

So now you teach at Ralph Gracie but fight for Checkmat, how's that?

My family we own a school in chino hills California so I teach there part time and the rest of the time I train there. 

 

Why is it that you went away from Ralph? (training wise).

So I used to live in San Francisco and I went up there to train instead of going to college. Then I got my blackbelt and I came down and had to teach at my school and lost my northern California team. Ralph is really good in northern California, if there's a tournament in northern California Ralph's team is going to win, they’re really tough guys and there’s also a lot of them too. So when I moved back down I had only two blackbelts to train with and I had to find someone else so I could have better training. I'm not gonna give up my dreams for just the team, I don’t believe in loyalty to that extreme where you have to give up all your goals to stay with the team.

 

In regards to Ralph Gracie, he's known to be very intense. Could you elaborate on that?

He's really intense and up there, especially when we train he goes really hard. He's nice and really intense, regarding the stories some of them are true you know (laughs). But If i had to pick someone besides my family members to be there at a certain time or else I'd die, it would be Ralph, like: "Ralph if you're not here at 3'o'clock I'll die" it would be him. Because I trust him that much. 

 

Is Ralph really specific when you guys train, like he wants you to do things exactly like he wants it or is he more lenient or permissive?

He’s open minded, he really helps you out with your mental game. You're a reflection of you instructor so he's intense and known to be really stubborn but that's good for jiu jitsu, being stubborn and never giving up. So I'm a reflection of him in a way, although I'm not super intense. 

 

What upcoming competitions do you have right now, which you're training for?

I try to take them as they come, because right now I'm not eligible to do the world championships because I don't compete a lot. I might be doing Metamoris again, or a new series that is still secret. I can't give you guys the scoop.

 

What is your training schedule and what do you do when you're training for a competition.

I train twice a day every day when it comes close to competition and that's it basically I just train a lot. I do drill, but I don't just do the same thing over and over again.  I don't necessarily drill the techniques I do specific movements over and over and over, it's not like I have a new technique or something special that I just drill drill drill. I kick up the training sometimes and still do twice a day everyday but HARD training.  Not longer rounds but just more intense rounds. 

 

A lot of people, myself included, don’t compete that often. So normally the pressure of competing and nervousness make you feel really unprepared. What advice would you give someone starting out in jiu jitsu and someone who goes to their first comp?

When I was a white belt and I competed I felt like tournaments are almost a month worth of training so you can really find the holes in your game. And if you lose, a loss is a lot more dramatic than losing in the gym so you definitely learn from that because the dramatic experience helps you learn a lot faster. So doing comps is a must if you want to get better.  But to get over the nervousness, I mean I still get nervous every time. It's not like you get used to it but you learn how to handle it and manage it better, I’m still you know, get nervous my knees shake I have to get into the combat mindset and stuff

Can you spot the VHTS ninja?

Can you spot the VHTS ninja?

 

In terms of nutrition, either for comps or for daily training, what’s your diet like?

I'm not super healthy, although one thing is that I don't drink a lot of alcohol or any at all. Maybe for a special occasion and only if I don't have a comp. I do definitely eat healthier when it comes closer to competition day. But when I don't have anything coming up I'll eat what I want, if I want Taco Bell I'll eat Taco Bell, if I want a grilled chicken I’ll have a grilled chicken. 

 

Do you use any supplements (protein, creatine)?

I have used before, but it's really expensive.  I never really got into that whole hardcore supplement taking. I see people come in with preworkout and postworkout and there’s this and that and this, and I'm just like "do you really need that?”  I mean every advantage you can get helps but taking all that to me feels very excessive.

 

What about supplement training? Marcelo Garcia is an advocate for not doing crosstrainig, weight lifting, running or anything else and only does jiu jitsu for jiu jitsu. This mindset works for some people but what is your take on that?

I can't really talk about strength and conditioning because I've never really done it anyway, so it's not like I've experienced both worlds. Like I do know the difference but I've never been into that, I do believe that a stronger athlete is a better athlete and it's really hard to argue with that because a stronger athlete is a better athlete. I do believe that doing strength and condition is good but I just don't do it, but at the same time I feel like if I train too hard I get burned out in jiu jitsu so I like to keep things not so intense so I don't burn out before a tournament.

 

People you look up to in the jiu jitsu community.

Technique wise I really like Leandro Lo, I like his style. Marcelo Garcia. A lot of good people. Those two guys pretty much, as well as my teammates and Ralph Gracie. 

 

Which BJJ guys that you haven't trained with would you like to meet and train with?

I've trained with a lot of people but definitely I'd love to train with Cobrinha and Marcelo Garcia.

 

Regarding up and coming jiu jitsu guys, specially blue belts and white belts that really want to dedicate themselves to jiu jitsu for a long long time, what advice do you have?

You have to want to become the best, so just keep training. I was a white belt at some point as well. I wanted to be the best so I kept on training there's really no shortcuts. The most important thing is to have a great instructor who can help you and just keep doing the hard work, that's basically it.

 

Which was the hardest belt transition for you?

Blue to purple is normally the hardest, I want to say for me what specific belt would be the hardest but more than a belt it’s a specific time in your career. For example I don't have a big ego and once you're comfortable with being tapped and you realize that the gym is where you learn and it doesn’t matter who taps you, that's when you'll get better.  So it's more a specific moment in my career, and once I got over that, that's when I started to excel in jiu jitsu. It's sometimes demoralizing when a lower belt taps you but it just gets easier and easier as you go through the ranks. There will always be lower belt who catches up to you every time. I've had it and I know other people who’ve had it but that's something that really tests your jiu jitsu mentality, it's hard and frustrating because you think "I used to tap this guy all the time, and now he's passing my guard and getting better positions" so it’s hard.

 

What is your schedule or plans regarding training outside the US?

Being here in Guatemala is one of the few times I've been outside the country for training, I was once in Costa Rica but I don't count that because I only trained a small group of guys.

Photo by Andy Ramirez

Photo by Andy Ramirez


Regarding your training here in Guatemala, we're kinda new to BJJ and have been into it for less than 10 years. What has your training been like?

I like it, all the guys are really dedicated and I feel like it's only a matter of time before you guys catch up. It's hard for you guys here because you don't have many blackbelts. As a student it's not just your instructor's job to get you better, it's also your job to get yourself better. It's your job to learn new techniques and watch the videos, you have YouTube you know? Without YouTube and internet Guatemala wouldn’t have had jiu jitsu and now all the information is online so you can train really hard.



We thank Sean Roberts for taking the time to train with us and to speak to us so we can do the interview. We wish him the best in his future comps and in his growing career.


V H T S

very hard to submit



Posted on August 6, 2015 .

Remember: Just Grip-it and Rip-it! JITSGRIPS Review

 Is Jiu-jitsu -- the gentle art -- really gentle? Well most likely your answer might be "no."  Although you brag about your berimbolo technique, you do need strength and stamina. More over,  you need to know how and when to apply strength.

Some of the most important skills one learns is how to be explosive and how to store energy to be able to fight for one last sweep, one last escape and finish with one last sub. 

For us "gi players", grip strength is key and paramount for a great game, a great fight and great technique relies on grips. Everything from sweeps where you grab the collar, where you grab the lapel; guards like spiderguard, De la Riva; and submissions like collar chokes, ezekiels this and much more need great grip strength so you don't worry and you don't get tired in the midst of the grip figthing. It's not just grabbing and holding, and it's not just having hand and forearm strength; it's knowing how to hold on and being accustomed to gi grips!

Obviously the best and number one way to have great grip strength is without a doubt TRAINING oh and SPARRING! Sadly sometimes you can't train even if you are training you can't spar everyday (your job may not allow it). But when you don't have the time or the sparring partner, the people over at JITSGRIPS have made a great alternative.

Introducing the JITSGRIPS training for your grip strength.

First-off this thing is great, it's basically a gi sleeve with an attachment but this "simple" contraption is actually really great and useful. The number of different exercises you can do seem endless. I've done everything from dumbbell raises and crunches, to pull-ups and if you have the chance to go to fitness gym you can hookup the JITSGRIPS's straps and get even more workouts including tricep kickbacks and extensions and a whole lot more. I personally prefer to do dumbbell or kettlebell lifts.

I also really like to do body weight pull-ups with different hand positions. 

Your finger will definitely hate you when you start to use the JITSGRIPS but they'll be loving you by the time you've trained and are fighting a grip war on the mats.

One thing I found really practical and innovative are the resistance bands. The resistance bands are great and really meant for practicing spiderguard NON-STOP. Whenever you're on the losing end of the spiderguard it not fun at all for the other guy to just pull your sleeves left to right, then right to left over and over, do lasso guard on the left sleeve, do lasso guard on the right sleeve and then do sweeps. So when you can have a "partner" that doesn't tire and with whom you can drill on and on and not just drill your setups/guard/sweeps but also work on your grips, that is one great thing. It's really easy to change from the normal attachment to the resistance bands.

I just included some exercises, but the list of things you can actually do with the JITSGRIPS is endless! After some weeks of using the grips your hands really do look "hurting" but you do get much harder forearm, your fingers become harder and you can grip for longer. The body weight lifts are remarkable because you're basically holding on all your weight with only your fingers and your fingers will be slipping so you will not only harden your muscles and hands but they'll become very hard and won't wear or hurt (after training a lot) I have to admit that I was able to hold on much longer while sparring, which is basically the main objective.

Have you used a JITSGRIPS? Be sure to read more, ask around and check out http://www.jitsgrips.com/ for more info. Also this guys are on FACEBOOK and INSTAGRAM. 

V H T S

very hard to submit

 

Posted on June 11, 2015 .

VHTS Improvement survey discount WINNER and some valuable info

Hey there VHTS fans, clients and dear friends; we have a winner to whom we'll give out the 30% discount. Our VHTS survey is not finished not by a longshot. We're still very interested in knowing your thoughts and opinions and the survey will stay open for as long as we have YOU our loyal fans, our clients and our dear friends.

We wanted to also show you some interesting data we obtained from the survey. As you already know this survey's main purpose is for us to grow, get to know you guys and be better day by day. So all the questions that needed you guys to write are the ones we're really focused on, although the multiple choice questions are also very important since they give us a broad perspective of what the BJJ comunity is after. So here we wanted to show you some graphs and show you guys who the winner is:

 

  • BJJ RANK

With this we can see our main demographic are Blue belts with a whopping 61%. We got few brown belts and no black belts whatsoever. So if you know a Brown Belt or Black Belt who wants to voice out there opionions let them know about our survey. We're always interested in seasoned athlete's way of life and way of thinking.

 

  • HOW MUCH WOULD YOU SPEND ON A BJJ GI?

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This type of questions really helps us understand how much everyone is willing to spend on a BJJ gi, some gis have higher costs and some have lower but with this we understand the "budget" everyone has and can innovate to try to suit everyone's needs, from the budget friendly gi to the high end premium gi.

 

  • WHAT IS THE FIRST THING YOU LOOK FOR IN A BJJ GI?

They say first impresion is everything, and to us here at VHTS first is where we want to be. We don't have gis like in a supermarket where you have millions of brand and products but we do have to understand our clients. This basically means that when shopping/looking for a new gi 47% of you guys first look at the design and 37% of you guys look at how it will fit. Esthetics vs. Functionally.

  • WHAT IS THE SECOND THING YOU LOOK FOR IN A BJJ GI?

The second thing you guys look for in a BJJ gi is How it Fits (for those who look for design first, other graph) and 24% of you guys look at price. We can see how it fits is a very important part of gis since many chose it first and many as a second option. Price being very important as well.

  • WHAT IS THE LAST THING YOU LOOK FOR IN A BJJ GI?

The last thing you look for, is sometimes even that aspect that you don't pay attention to (maybe not at the begining) but we sure do. But 24% percent of you guys don't really care for a brand name, I believe it's because if you like the gi "you like it" doesn't matter who makes it. And 18% of you guys either don't look for a design until the very end or look at the price. Interesting and somewhat contrasting choices but they make us understand you better.

  • WHAT COMMON PROBLEMS DO YOU FIND WHEN YOU PURCHASE A BJJ GI?

We at VHTS really strive to have perfect gis and to offer high end quality. Sometimes problems do arise either with our brand or others and we wanted to know which are the most common of problems so we can take them full on and be sure not to be in this list. 35% of you guys experience wrong fit (wich we all know sucks) and 26% of you guys have gis that shrink, it's a horrible day when that gi that fit you perfectly doesn't fit you any more. 13% of you guys chose color fading and poor quality as common problems as well.

  • WHAT ASPECT OF BJJ GIS COULD BE IMPROVED?

So once we get over the hump, problems are, we have to look at where you want us to improve. 22% chose Color and Designs (by the way, have you seen our new AVOCADO gi is on presale?). 19% of yu guys chose jacket cut and fit as well as sizing options, we can see this has a direct influence from the common problems we just saw in the last graph. 

 

We're still studying and reading the surveys to know them by heart and be able to respond to our BJJ VHTS comunity. We thank our already done entrees and wish to ask all of you guys who've still not taken it to do so and tell your friends and training partners.

We used RANDOM.ORG to choose the winner of the 30% discount, and as luck would have it we did the "randomizing" function 3 times, the 3 times the same person was chosen (very lucky person). So please DYLAN JAWAHIR with his email SUPERDYLAN@YAHOO.COM get in touch with gitak@vhtsny.com so we can give you a 30% discount to be used on our products.

 

V H T S

very hard to submit

 


Posted on May 15, 2015 .

A Unique Passion for Photography and BJJ, Unai Arozena

We can all relate to having a passion, having multiple passions also. But the passion that characterizes us the most is the passion for BJJ. It's almost like a contagious disease that once caught you can't let it go, and it doesn't matter where you're from or what you're doing.

Unai Arozena is a 40 year old Venezuelan photographer with more than 20 years in the photography business. He is just starting out with BJJ (in his now 40 years of age) but has a great story, a great passion and amazing VHTS pictures. We took the time to catch up with Unai and hear his story and what he had to say:

How long have you been in the photography business and why did you start with it?

It would be hard to know how many years I've been in this photography world. Since I was very little I've had influences because of my father, I was always snapping pictures and later viewing them in our home projector, these where some of the best moments for me. When I was 18 years, we started hanging out with friends on the beach and I would always take a camera with me so I could capture the day's best moments.

Photography for me is a way to depict memories and capture what you are feeling and what you see. I do not see a landscape; I see an opportunity to take a picture. That is why I'm so passionate about this beautiful art.

 

What type of pictures do you like to take? What inspires you to think "man, I gotta take this picture"?

To be honest I see great pictures everywhere, from when I sit down to eat a bowl of pasta to when I'm driving around in my car and see something unique that makes me think "I got stop and take this picture". I believe this is something you're born with, knowing when the right time to take a picture is and from what angle.

I don't have a clear preference for a type of photography per se. What I definitely do not like are pictures where people are posing. I like everything very natural, laughter and smiling, emotions, capturing a unique moment where people do not know I'm taking their pictures. I'm really passionate about Sport and Action pictures, capturing the winning moment, the final scream, the expression of the guy who lost; I believe this to be unique moments. Animal photography is also a great passion of mine, I love seeing animals free, running, flying... this makes me truly happy.

Once you've taken a picture, what is the first thing you check or fix in post or photoshop?

A picture can change a lot, depending on what you want at the moment, but I believe that the first thing I check is if the camera is focused and the brightness. After that comes some touching up back home, I'm a photoshop lover but I'm also a perfectionist so perfect sky tones, erasing/deleting something not desired in the picture, contrast retouching and coloring. I believe a photograph can be enhanced after you make some easy adjustments. 

 

What inspires your art? Be it other artists or anything else.

I've never really felt inspired or have wanted to imitate someone else in all that I've been doing. I simply observe and learn from all that I see. To me it doesn't matter if I'm the most recognized photographer or just an apprentice, we all have something to contribute. Right now, to this day, my children inspire me a lot. I like to show them pictures of when they were 1 year old so that they can also see them when they're 20 years old, I believe this is unique. 

 

Why did you decide to start doing Jiu-Jitsu?

Three years ago I met RAFAEL "GORDINHO" LIMA, BJJ world champion in 1998. I was living in Europe at the time and he was starting his adventure of getting a new BJJ Academy in Florida, so we started to work on the web page, graphic design, clothing design and publicity, all this from different continents. One day I decided to travel to Florida to meet him and from that moment I was blown away by Rafael and what he did with so much passion and how he transmitted his passion to children. A few days later I was traveling with him to photograph a seminar he had in New Hampshire. From that moment on I've been living in Florida, working for Rafael's BJJ academy START and practicing this incredible sport and discipline. 


What is is about VHTS that you like?

VHTS is a brand with a lot of pasion, besides their Gi brand is incredible and they have remarkable athletes that really live and breath BJJ like Matheus Diniz and Mansher Singh Khera. It is a real honor to be able to work with VHTS.


What else would you like our blog readers to know about you?

In regards to photography, I've spent the last 13 years living in Europe taking pictures of everything related to "Mundo del Motor" like Formula 1, Moto, Rally, GT1, Formula Renault, etc. For more than 5 years I've traveled through Europe with the colombian pilot OSCAR TUNJO, the future of Formula 1, taking care of his graphics career.

On a more personal level, I'm a sports lover. I've practiced everything from surfing, skateboarding, martial arts, basketball, volleyball, soccer.. and with BASQUE BALL I competed in 5 world competitions and even won silver and bronce in the Argentine Panamerican games of 1995. This was a huge honor for me to be able to represent VENEZUELA. I've got 2 sons which are incredible and I enjoy very much hanging out with them and doing sports, they definitely take after their father lol.

 

Thank you very much to Unai and his great photos and passion. We wish him the best with his BJJ training and look forward to seeing more of his pictures. If you want to get to know more about Unai, go to his website at www.unaiarozena.com and be sure to follow his Instagram account @unaiarozena.

V H T S

very hard to submit

Posted on May 11, 2015 .

VHTS GI IMPROVEMENT SURVEY

Hey Guys! thank you for taking the time to speak to us through this survey, remember this is your spotlight and what we want to know is whatever you want, need or think! Your opinions and your thoughs will help us innovate, grow and improve on all aspects.

Take all the time you need and at the end SUBMIT your survey, we'll be reading every one filled.

Remember, at the end of the survey we'll do a contest and draw a lucky winner (at random) to whom we'll give out a whopping 30% discount on all VHTS gear and swag. Remember to post this up wherever you can so we can get all you guys and your friends's surveys.

Let the survey begin:

Name *
Name
BJJ Rank
What is the main activity for which you purchase BJJ gis?
How much would you spend on a BJJ Gi?
What is the first thing you look for in a BJJ Gi?
What is the second thing you look for in a BJJ Gi?
What is the last thing you look for in a BJJ Gi?
What common problems do you find when you purchase a BJJ Gi?
You can choose more than one option
What aspect of BJJ gis could be improved?
You can choose more than one option

V H T S

very hard to submit

Posted on April 24, 2015 .

VHTS YEARBOOK: Most Likely to Defend what you Have Built!

For those of you who liked the title of the post and believe/think it's a technique post on submission escapes or scrambles you are mistaken. This article is about defending yourself on and off the mat and not just by a choke or a submission but by defending against diseases.

Are you ready for the most comprehensive list of cleanliness products for the BJJ athlete? well welcome to our DEFENSE SOAP review. Defense soap is a soap company for the short sighted but once you go on line and check out their products you'll be amazed at all the thing they sell. 

We got the chance to try out several products and ALL OF THEM WORK AMAZING! We really fell in love with some and found it hard to continue on when they were all used up. We'll give you a rundown of each product and why we loved them, since they're so many and in the spirit of college yearbook we'll give out "most likely awards".

Our Products include:

  • DEFENSE Soap
  • DEFENSE shower gel
  • DEFENSE body wipes
  • DEFENSE barrier foam
  • DEFENSE essential oils
  • DEFENSE healing salve
  • DEFENSE equipment spray
  • DEFENSE super shield laundry treatment

And now, on to the awards!:

MOST LIKELY TO REPLACE YOUR CURRENT BAR OF SOAP

Here we have the original and the name that started it all DEFENSE SOAP, bar of soap that is. This is a great bar of soap, it looks clean (a truly white almost shiny bar), it smells clean (kind of like coconut oil mixed with salt) and of course it feels really clean when you use it. 

This bar of soap feels like the bar of soap a doctor or surgeon would use when he's about to operate. It's not your normal creamy, "scented" bar of soap; it's the kind of soap you use when you want to get yourself clean and remove grime and dirt, as well as other filthy substances.

I've been using it both in the shower (which make showers super clean) but I've also been using it just to wash my hands. It's a great bar of soap. After a long day at work, after long training sessions, when you're sweaty and when you're dirty nothing cleans as much as the DEFENSE SOAP BAR.

MOST LIKELY TO BE OVERUSED DURING YOUR SHOWER

After trying the SOAP BAR and the SHOWER GEL I must say it's really difficult to know which to use. But sometimes you decide to use the soap bar and sometimes the shower gel. Well, when you do use the shower gel for the first time you'll love it.

The shower gel feels pretty much like the soap bar only in a gel fashion. Once you start using the shower gel you'll see how you won't be content with just using a small amount of shower gel, you'll love using a lot of it to shower. The scent on the shower gel is much more impregnating than on the  soap bar and you do feel much cleaner when you use gel instead of soap bar (could be personal preference) so you'll want more scent, better feeling and more cleanliness 

MOST LIKELY TO FINISH THE PRODUCT BEFORE YOU CAN DO THE REVIEW

I gotta say, I LOVED THE BODY WIPES. When I first saw them and started using them I only thought of them like the wet wipes for little kids, to my amazement these are not like those (well.. kinda). I started using the body wipes on a regular basis, I used the body wipes before putting on the gi, after training, in between rounds and after a hard days work.

The body wipes became really addictive to me, the main reason is the simple and effective way to use. You don't need a faucet and soap (be it hand soap or a bar of soap) you just need to pull out a body wipe, clean your hands or arms and then you're as clean as you can. The can of body wipes has enough wipes for a long time, the smell of the body wipes is akin to the soap bar and shower gel, it has  a slight eucalyptus smell. I ended up using the body wipes long before I started writing the review . I almost gave the BODY WIPES a "MOST LIKELY TO BE YOUR FAVORITE DEFENSE SOAP PRODUCT" but I want you guys to make up your own mind. The Guys over at Defense Soap also have a new "bucket" full of body wipes be sure to check them out.

MOST LIKELY TO MAKE YOU FEEL PROTECTED WHILE ROLLING

While you're rolling you wish to feel as protected as you can, not weak or flawed. The first way to start feeling like you have an armor on is to wear a VHTS gi (may I recommend the G-CHAINZ as it feels like a heavy couture samurai armor, but I digress). The second way to feel protected is when you're not constantly worrying about getting a sick or getting a skin infection, here's where BARRIER FOAM enters.

Barrier foam is very much like hair foam, once you start taking the foam out of the can it grows a lot in size, this makes it really easy to apply to your hand and then to your body (I've done feet, legs, chest, arms and neck). The foam is great because it is very light but feels almost "creamy" on your body. The Barrier Foam has vitamin E and D as well as aloe vera so it feels great on your skin and moisturizes as well. This is something I really like, I don't normally use moisturizer but I would have hated to use a foam barrier that would leave my skin sticky, dry and cracked. 

You feel really clean and comfy when rolling with a layer of foam barrier. Now, I do feel it is a little bit too "germaphobe" to be applying barrier foam under your gi everytime, it feels like if you were going to be training with people you know will have skin diseases. So I do feel this is overkill, although I do understand that people that travel a lot for BJJ or people who train at different academies would love to use this barrier foam often. I have used it on a very regular basis specially when we're sparring a lot and I must say I finish training with my skin feeling great. 

MOST LIKELY TO HEAL YOUR MAT AND GI BURNS 

When I got the ESSENTIAL OILS and the HEALING SALVE I must admit I said to myself "well I'm never going to use this", ohh how wrong was I. I went withough using these products for about a couple of weeks, but then I got a very gnarly gi burn on my shoulder. It hurt a lot when I put on the gi and moreso if I put on something tight like a rashguard. I inmediately used the healing salve and it worked wonders for me. The healing salve I would say is akin to vaseline, but much much better. It is green in color and much much less stickier than vaseline and it also has a very strong eucaliptus smell, strong enough that when I used it other people would smell it. 

After the gi burn and another gi burn, mat burn on my feet and a very hard armbar at a competition that scrapped my arm (I eventually tapped) I became a fan of the HEALING SALVE, I must say I do not know and I do not imply that this product "healed" me it probably did as my skin did heal much faster, but what I loved about the salve is that when you have mat burns and scrapes even looking at it hurts you let alone putting on a gi or having a match. When I used the salve I forgot I had a scrape or a mat/gi burn and could fight on (which is very valuable).

As far as I know and as far as I tested out the ESSENTIAL OILS is basically the same thing but in a liquid form, it's a colorless oil with a very strong eucaliptus scent as well. I must say I preffer the salve but I finished it due to many burns and scrapes. I even cut my hand with a laser at work (yeah, that's how cool my job is) and I used the ESSENTIAL OILS and it felt wonderful, even when I bumped my hand on a table or door, the essential oils made my cut feel great and it did heal much faster.

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MOST LIKELY TO REMOVE FUNK FROM YOUR GYM EQUIPMENT

If you're like me you probably grab your DATSUSARA BAG and throw in your sweaty headgear, mma gloves, kneepads, VHTS ranked rashguard and VHTS BE WATER jacket after training. The DATSUSARA BAG is wonderful at not maintaining any funk and smelling great, but (and it's a big but) your other equipment does not. If you store it long enough (even an overnighter) your kneepads, gloves, rashguard and such will begin to smell HORRIBLE... that's where the EQUIPMENT SPRAY comes in.

The equipment spray is great and is meant to be used on heavy bags, grappling dummy and some mat areas. It does all that but also it's great for your sweaty equipment. The EQUIPMENT SPRAY is great because it comes with the concentrated solution and the spray bottle (just add water). I started to spray each item directly but after a while just sprayed inside the bag and let me tell you my mma and BJJ equipment now smell as fresh as it can be without it being new. I can see how gym owners can use it on bigger gym equipment and it will be a life saver as well. it's not to strong that it will make you dizzy once you smell it but not too weak that you will have to spray time and time again the same equipment. Just right just fresh.

 

MOST LIKELY TO KEEP YOUR GI CLEAN AND FRESH

I don't wash my gis in the washing machine, I do it by hand (we have a maid) but even when my gis are washed by hand every so often be it blood on the gi, yellow neck/collar or mat stains will not come out very easily. The first time I tried the SUPER SHIELD LAUNDRY TREATMENT I used a portion on a washing machine load and did load up a freshly trained in gi. It got clean but nothings "spectacular" so I went a step further.

I had my maid use it directly on a war worn gi and the results were great (according to her). Every stain on the gi was easily wahsed off, the smell of the gi was really fresh after the wash (even with little or diluted SUPER SHIELD LAUNDRY TREATMENT) and it was cleaned in less time because it was much easier to remove tough mat or posibly blood stains. I have been using the SUPER SHIELD LAUNDRY TREATMENT ever since, either with gis or with normal clothes loads in the washer and I must say the colors are great and the clothing smells super fresh and clean (the laundry treatment claims to protect clothing from other bacteria as well).

 

The guys over at defense soap have a load of other products and still working hard to have more. Be sure to check out there website ( www.defensesoap.com ). They really care about having you clean and disease free so they have a "learning center" where you can brush up on your chops. We wanted to speak to the main man, Guy Sako, this is what he had to say.

DEFENSE SOAP'S main guy, (literally Guy Sako) working alongside his youngest son

DEFENSE SOAP'S main guy, (literally Guy Sako) working alongside his youngest son

What is your sports/combat background? I am entering my 39th season as a wrestler/coach.

Wrestled for Cleveland State University where I was an NCAA qualifier in 1988.  I coached collegiality for 3 years before moving to the youth level to coach my son.

Why did you start DEFENSE SOAP?  

I created Defense Soap when my entire wrestling team of 100 wrestlers had ringworm.  The school shut down our program and ended our season.  I decided to do something about it so I created Defense Soap.

What is the main goal with DEFENSE SOAP?  

To eliminate skin infections for combat athletes.  My goal would ultimately put myself out of business.

You guys have A LOT of products, are you planning on releasing more? what's in stored next for defense soap?  

Our foaming shower gel will be on the market within days.  Now that I have retired from the Cleveland Police Department after 25 years I plan on being very proactive with Defense Soap.  I have run the company reactively for 10 years.

What is the product that you guys sell the most?  

Our bar soap outsells all of our other products.  It is a triple milled pure bar of soap made with the finest ingredients and with the highest of standards.

Anything else you'd like to add? or like our readers to know?  

We would like to let your readers and our customers know that we developed Defense Soap out of the need to protect combat athletes.  We are combat athletes ourselves therefore we have a very good understanding of these needs.  We only make the highest quality products possible. We will never skimp on quality and we will never make a product that there is not a demand or need for.  Our marketing is pretty straight forward and our products are no nonsense for no nonsense athletes.  And finally, I still answer the phone in my company so when a customer calls they are assured they have the attention of the right guy


Have you used DEFENSE SOAP? let us know what products you liked and which ones you loved. Where we on point with you guys?

V H T S

very hard to submit 


Posted on April 19, 2015 .

Rolling on out

The M80 roller is a truly unique device helping you to improve your mobility and recovery. Even though this has great benefits, not many of us have used it or even know how to start. This is why VHTS chose to initiate this review with an interview with M80's main man Matt Olaya, so we can give our thoughts afterwards.

 

1.    Hey Matt, thanks for taking the time to speak with us. What is your sports background?

I’ve always been intrigued with Combat/Mixed Martial Arts, but I am not a contact sports person.  I grew up swimming competitively in the Antelope Valley (LA County, California) from 12 years old till 18 years old.  Then I was able to swim on the California State University of Northridge NCAA Division 1 Team. I was able to increase my training both swimming and Land Strength and Conditioning. After college I started to run more and got into biking.  Then i tried my first Triathlon (70.3 Half Ironman St. George Utah, 2013). After that, I fell in love with Triathlons and continue training year around. Swim, Bike and Run are my passion.

 

 2.    How did you get started with M80 roller?

While I was training for my first Half Ironman (70.3 St George Utah 2013) I knew that recovery was going to be crucial to my long training and tough schedule.  It tried all foam rollers on the market and was not satisfied.  I tried bare PVC pipe and same thing, hurt too much and very pointless to the Self Myofascial Release technique.  So I went to the garage and started to draw up ideas.  After a couple months and some accidental material pairing, I found the perfect recipe. 

 

 3.    Say I'm new to exercise and M80 roller, and I've seen this cool looking cylinder-thingy but don't know what it's for. What would you tell me so I could understand how to use it and why use it?

M80 Roller is an elite Foam Roller.  It is the most durable, intense foam roller to help all the active athletes out there keep their body healthy.  So a novice foam roller user should start with a regular White Foam Roller which has more cushion and flex to help their body adapt quicker, then graduate up to the M80 Roller.  But I would start a first timer with Lower Body (Glutes, Quads, Hamstrings, Calf). Upper Body ( Shoulders/Upper Back).  

 

 4.    What are the best areas to use the M80?

Since M80 Roller is so intense, Lower Body is easier. The larger the muscle the more weight distribution of the M80 Roller allows the rolling experience to be better.  But if you are used to Foam Rolling, M80 Roller should be used all over the body. It will hurt, but it will get in deep and break up any knots, scar tissue, adhesions and tight muscle.  Not fun to recover the body, but you will enjoy waking up the next day feeling better and stronger.

 

 5.    When is the best time to use the M80 pre or post workout? follow up question, early in the morning or late in the evening?

M80 Roller should be used Pre Workout, During Workout and Post Workout.  Obviously we don't live in a perfect world, so if you had to choose, I would say Pre Workout (Great Warm Up, Muscle Activation and Lengthening Muscle to allow full Range of Motion) and Post Workout (Allow muscles to restore relaxed state and flush out all waste, lactic acid and allow fresh nutrition, oxygen, repairing tools to help recovery). No time of day is better.  If you wake up with a kink in your neck or shoulder that prevents your head from moving, roll out! If you M80 Roller out before bed, I guarantee you will sleep amazingly :)

 

 6.    Say I feel a lot of pain when I use it in certain areas, this thing might be hurting me. Is this true? what am I doing wrong? what should I do, is this normal?

M80 Roller hurts. No Doubt.  Tolerate pain a little to allow muscles to recover and benefit from the Self Myofascial Release Technique.  Little by little it will get more tolerable, but use your senses to determine how much too much really is. Don't roll on Bones or joints.

 

 7.    How much time should you use the M80 per area?

There is no real evidence showing what is superior to the other.  I use the feeling of your body to determine what is good.  Towards the beginning 5 secs per muscle is a huge accomplishments.  Months later, 30 secs is possible.  At this point, you will learn what works and what time frame needs to relax and fix any kinks in the muscles.  If I have time to spare, I will roll out my legs (Glutes, Hamstrings, QUads and Calves) for an hour.  Play around with time and feel what works for you.  Consistency is key though.

  

8.    I've seen youtube videos of similar rollers, where is the best place to see "instructional" videos?

I have some regular Videos on the www.M80Roller.com/videos I hope in the near future to get more detailed videos on M80 Rolling and different sports that coincide with M80 Rolling too. 

 

 9.    I've got a:  "tear in a ligament", "recovering from a broken...", "I've got a bad back", "I've got a foot/leg/arm disorder", should I use an M80 roller?

If there are serious issues with your body that has been going on for more than a week without exercise or constant stresses of movement, then you should seek professional help.  But if you have something minor and know that you have something that just needs some TLC, then M80 Roll out all muscles that surround your problem area.  The body is complex and one spot is not the only area you should pay attention to.  Either way, professional help is recommended to help you recover quicker, more efficiently and most importantly get you back on your feet doing what you love to do!

  

10.  If I don't have any muscle pain or hurting, should I still use the M80?

Pain is usually a great scale of what you are doing to the muscle. If you don't feel pain during the rolling, then try to place more body weight on the spot to get more stimulation.  Position your body differently can expose more muscles that might not have been stimulated before.  If you still don't feel much or are not aware of proper Foam Rolling techniques, then ask for help.  There are a lot of people out there that specialize in Self Myofascial Release Technique. 

  

11.  What is the "go-to" sequence/exercise we should do on a daily basis with the M80? (if we don't have anything hurting at the time)

M80 Roller Go-To: Definitely the Upper Back (Shoulders) to help those tight shoulders.  Glutes and Lower Body because we are more sedentary (Sitting down) more than ever before.  Humans are not meant to sit a lot, so make sure to stimulate the lower body and keep Range of Motion as a priority to help your body function correctly and more efficiently.  

A special thank you to Matt, remember if you have anymore questions be sure to hit him up. And now on to our VHTS review...

M80 ROLLER REVIEW

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I gotta be honest, I'm new to the whole "myofascial release". I normally don't think too much on my recovery time either pre or post workout I just suck it out, which is not the best thing in the world. I spoke to a couple of doctors before using the M80 Roller and they spoke wonders of these types of "massages" and how they helped with recovery and helped with loosening up muscels before training.

 Warning! this thing HURTS!  I started to use the M80 on and off. I'm normally rushing to the gym from my work vise versa so I don't have much time; however I took it as a daily task and started to plan my training and my schedule around the M80 massage. 

 What I did was take the M80 roller and roll with it before training, this was semi enjoyable (at least when I wasn't hurt or tired). Even though I knew that this exercise would stretch me out and warm me up I felt like I wasn't doing too much, and to be honest I even thought that there wasn't any need to do it.

Now since using the M80 roller post workout, it is completely another story  when I was hurt/tired and had muscle fatigue.

I would target the following areas:

  • Chest and biceps
  • Thigh
  • Lower back and up to shoulders
  • Side and upper back
  • Calf and some ankle

Using the M80 roller when you're tired or hurt is HORRIBLE it hurts a lot. You can literally feel every one of your muscles getting massaged it's a very intense feeling. Now please don't get me wrong rolling on the M80 is horrible but... (and its a big "BUT") after you finish using it your body feels amazing. 

I couldn't feel this well or even think the M80 roller was working at first because I just kinda rolled in it a couple of times, did it slowly, did it without intensity and just felt the pain and that was it. When I saw videos and researched a little bit more I took the Rolling much more seriously I really felt the benefits of the M80 roller. I've been rolling with it every other day and SPECIALLY when I have muscle fatigue and my muscles hurt.

It's a love-hate relationship because it really does hurt when you use it but you know that using it and pushing through the pain will help you to recover from injured muscles, recover from muscle fatigue, injury and help you in the long run to feel better. Sometimes we have "All-sparing" days at my gym, we`ll go 10 minute rounds, 30 second break switch up partners, we'll do this for an hour to an hour and a half. Normally the morning after these training days my body will be really hurt, really tired and spend the day really tight and tense muscles. 

 I went through a tired week of using the M80 roller and then going cold turkey days without using the M80 roller. I must admit I almost "needed" the M80 roller on most days. The M80 roller didn't just help me with hard training days but also with hard stressful work days. I'm the Production Manager and New Project Developer at a big Packaging company so some days after long hour and long meetings my back and neck start to tensed up, this is the reason why I also started to use the M80 roller at night when I got home after work and must also admit I was able to sleep better and feel much more relaxed the next day also eliminated muscle fatigue and muscle pain. 

 For anyone and everyone who has ever felt muscle pain and fatigue after a long day either work day, practice day or play day needs to use the M80 roller. It's a great recovery tool and something that really works. If you have the money and time to go to a masseuer on a daily basis I would say skip the M80 roller, but odds are you don't. As I always say, try the M80 roller first and after you recover your body day by day you'll see why this is a great tool and a great exercise to have a better body, more energy, better movement, less pain and general better body wellness.

have you ever tried an M80 roller? if so let us know what you think! What are your favorite exercises and body groups as well as your input on "is it worth it".

V H T S

VERY HARD TO SUBMIT

 

 

 

 

Posted on March 18, 2015 .

Nutrition to Stay Alpha: Q5 supplement review

 

Jiu-Jitsu as a martial art, as a sport, as self defense is growing and exploding with brands that sell everything from a coffee cup (Which I have) to training dummies, clothing, soaps (we have reviewed some) and even nutrition. But are all these brands the same? definetly not.

Q5 Nutrition is one of those companies which we at VHTS really love. Pure, honest and made for you and me. Q5 is a company that strives to be different and strives to set itself apart, not just because it has awesome proucts (more on that in a while) but because it's main objective is to maintain the athlete healthy and as they say "kicking ass".

I would like to start this review by sharing their "mission statement" and beliefs which they call their CORE IDEAS:

  • I believe in being honest with our customers.

  • I believe in helping our customers maximize their enjoyment of a healthy and active lifestyle.

  • I believe the long term health of our customers is more important than short term performance gains or short term profits.

  • I believe clean, pure, potent ingredients are worth a little extra money in the long run.

  • I believe in using modern science and natural resources when developing products.

  • I believe in ongoing testing for efficacy and safety.

  • I believe in local manufacturing whenever possible.

  • I believe in avoiding artificial flavors, preservatives, colors or sweeteners whenever possible.

Bill Thomas, Founder of Q5 labs

 

Q5 Nutriton is a company which hasvarious range of nutrition products, about 40 plus, from pure nutrition, to joint medicine and even energy supplements. Once you get online and check their "About" section It's very clear that they're the supplement brand for the average joe, well.. the average jiu-jitsu joe who only wants to train, stay healthy and fight back any type of injuries.

They sent us two very exciting products THE WARRIOR ORANGE a energy supplement and the T888 ULTRA JOINT a supplement which really hit the proverbial nail on the head for me.

 

WARRIOR ORANGE

Q5 Nutrition has a whole line of "warrior" line which is basically a powder that mixes with your drink and has different characterisics. The one we tested out is the Warrior Orange. As the website describes "It's Like Tang for Men! Healthy Energy Kick Powerful Enough to Fuel a Grown-Ass Man." 

 

I have to start this review by confessing that I am an addict, caffeine addict that is. I have to have two cups of coffee every day (once in the morning and another in the evening) and normally while hanging out I'll enjoy another cup of something like a capuchino or something along those lines. Why? well I really need the energy boost it gives me, but I do dislike the jittery effect and the sleep loss that caffeine brings to the table. Enter WARRIOR ORANGE.

So what is WARRIOR ORANGE? it's a really fine powder (actually really like tang) with a strong chewable-vitamin-C smell. It's an energy boost and a blend of 17 fruits and vegetables designed to support physical performance, brain function, oxygen utilization, cardiovascular function, and fat and glucose metabolism. It also provides a nice energy boost with natural Green Coffee Bean extract and White Panax Ginsing (and is really tasty as well).

I've been testing this product on and off for about 2 months, I say on and off ´cause I've been doing comparisons to my morning coffee vs. my morning warrior orange. First off all IT WORKS GREAT it does give me a boost, but a much more natural un-jittery feeling. I feel much more energized and not just "amped up". I also slept much better the days I had Warrior Orange as opposed to my regular coffee.

The other great thing is the taste. I've tasted all sort of supplemtns that had the sort of taste that made me wonder if what I was consuming was in fact edible. I wanted to test the heck out of Warrior Orange so I mixed it up with everything (check out the list) and the taste was always great. 

  1. Plain tap water 
  2. Cold Milk
  3. Chocolate milk (one of my favorites)
  4. Frosted flakes with milk
  5. Vanilla Ice-cream
  6. Orange juice
  7. Lemmonade
  8. Acai juice
  9. Acai bowl
  10. Lemon Ice tea

I do have one complaint though and more than anything it's some "advice" to future WARRIOR ORANGE consumers. It's really hard to mix, it can generate a lot of clumps if not mixed properly. I found it does mix better with warm/hot liquids but I don't really want to drink hot milk or hot acai juice. I found out the best way to mix it was very fast when and pouring the liquid on top of the powder and not the other way around. The clumps have a great vitamin C/orange flavor so it doesn't hurt but I would have preffred to mix it easier. 

 

T-888 ULTRA JOINT

Q5 Nutrition has a whole gamma of joint supplements. We had the pleasure of testing out the T-888 ULTRA JOINT. 

What are joints anyway? well joints reffer to the tissues that allow movement and that binds our bones. They're all the ligaments, cartilage helping to support us. So you can see that for us--Jiu-jiteiros, sustaining healthy joint is one of top missioins..

T-888 are pills made out of glucosamine, methylsulfonatemethane, nexrutine, curcumin and other ingredients. T-888 is a very powerful anti-Inflammatory pill that helps strengthen our joints and is great for people recovering from injuries.

VHTS blog avid audiences might remember that I had a ACL tear last year, I got this T-888 and inmediately felt better. I can't say exactly what it did and I did not have a doctor examine what benefits I was getting out of this pill but what I can say is that the swelling in my leg, my movility and the pain really disipated once I started to take this pills. I do feel this is something that one should take on a regular basis not just injured, the glucosamine in it are great and strengthen our joints so that we can avoid having injuries.

Q5 labs though recomends for a daily usage their JOINT ARMOR and SUPER FLEX TYPE II both of these are daily supplemtns but also offer pain relief and strength to joints, I mean let's face it if we train as hard as we train we might already have developed injury so these types of supplements really do a grat job.

As an interestng note, the T-888's name is inspired on the T-800 terminator from the movie THE TERMINATOR. If only we had steel joints insted of fleshy ones huh?

We had the chance to speak to the Q5 Alpha man himself, William Thomas, he has a wealth of knowledge and he let us pick his brain a bit:

Hey William, what is your BJJ rank, years training and why did you start?

Brown belt, 7 years, I was a wrestling coach and a friend brought me to a class. I was really impressed at how easily the instructor was able to tap me out and decided I had to learn!

 

Why did you start Q5?

As I got older (I'm 47) I was having trouble recovering and started looking for supplements that would help. Most of what I found was garbage, or for guys looking to get huge in the gym and that's not what I needed. Since I couldn't find what I was looking for and figured there must be a lot of other guys with the same problem, so that's why I started Q5.

What exactly does Q5 and ALPHA mean?

The name of the company was inspired by the Book of 5 Rings, something every martial artist or fighter should read many times. Stay Alpha is a fun, tongue in cheek way of saying don't let life or age or circumstances put you down - be the Alpha force in your life - be your own driving force. Make your own chances, create your own opportunity, live how you want to live no matter what the world says. Stay Alpha.

 

What are your most popular proudcts? And what products are you trying to push into the market right now?

Our most popular product is our BJJ Endurance stack, it's a special stimulant free combination of natural ingredients designed to help you train longer with maintain a better focus. It doesn't give you a spike in energy or jitters like a lifting preworkout, just a bigger gas tank and clearer thinking.

We have a number of products, we focus on endurance, recovery, and joint support because those are the things our customers say are important to them. Our newest product is T-888 Ultra Joint which is designed to take after an injury to help speed recovery.

 

Ok, Imagine I'm a 6 times a week, 20 something year old BJJ and MMA athlete, what supplements do I NEED to take to be healthy?

As a heavy training 20 year old I would say you want to be sure to take a high quality Omega 3, like a fish oil or our Krill Oil, some D3, and make sure you are getting enough high quality protein every day. Also, make sure you are sleeping enough and drinking enough water. You don't need a lot more than that as a young athlete.


Or maybe I'm a 2 times a week, 30-40 something year old doing BJJ and/or MMA as a hobby, what supplements do I NEED to take to be healthy?

If you are a 30+ year old hobbyist, you might want to look at adding in a good daily vitamin, a joint support supplement like our Superflex, and if you aren't getting enough greens in your diet a green foods supplement like Warrior Green is a great choice. After that it really becomes athlete specific depending on your unique challenges and goals.


And finally, what do you take on a daily basis vs. what do you take on the days you're training?

On a daily basis I use Krill Oil, Superflex, D3, and our nighttime recovery Maxistak. On training days I use our Endurance Training stack and have a protein shake after class, I usually add Warrior Green to my protein shake.


Q5 labs is a great company and a very serious one also. You can see them everywhere now, from THIS WEEK IN BJJ to other MMA and BJJ retailers. These 2 products that we tested out were awesome and really made us fans of this great company. If you're looking for supplements for your training look no further than Q5 and take a look at their vast prouct listing over at www.q5sn.com. They also have a big sponsored team so check them out and let us know what you think of their product, which product are you currently using and which ones you're interested in.


V H T S

very hard to submit



  












Posted on February 16, 2015 .

Matheus Diniz, to him jiu-jitsu is everything

We had a chance to sit down and tallk with one of the latest VHTS ninjas to get to know him more and see his perspective on life and bjj.

1. How long have you been training, and what was it about jiu-jitsu that made you fall in love with it?

I have been training BJJ for seven years. Since my first class I feel in love with Jiu-Jitsu, On my first class my first Instructor had me sparing. It was so much fun, I competed in my first tournament one week after my first class, I knew that I wanted to be involved with JiuJitsu for the rest of my life! 

 

2. To you, what is jiu-jitsu?

Jiu-Jitsu is everything in my life. My friends, mentors, it is peace it is ,happiness, my job, new opportunities and much more things have come from being involved in BJJ. I feel the most calm and happy when i am on the mats.

 

3. What is the main reason and motivation for people is training, competing and falling in love with BJJ?

I can’t speak for everyones reasons for training and competing. I believe that Jiu-Jitsu offers everyone something special and unique for each person. Jiu-Jitsu has brought only positive things into my life and i'm sure that this is true for other people; that is why they stay with BJJ throughout their lives.

 

4. What are main benefits of BJJ?

BJJ benefits are numerous…. Health physical and mental, social and much much more!!!

 

5. What would you say to someone just started to train BJJ or someone who doesn't even know BJJ?

I think to try and explain Jiu-Jitsu to someone is not enough. To fall In love with BJJ you must experience it for yourself, and i'm sure that way they'll fall in love with the art.

 

6. BJJ role model or inspiration? Life role model or inspiration?

In BJJ and in life Marcelo Garcia is a great influence in my life. He is someone I have always looked up to and strive to fulfill his teachings, I am so thankful to have him in my life and for all the opportunities that he and his wife have given to me. My family has also been a great inspiration in my life. I know my family will always be there for me. Despite the difficulties in my life growing up, My Mother, Grandparents and Uncle made sure that I had a great childhood. They molded me into the man that I am today and for that I will be forever grateful.

 

7. Best supplement training for bjj? Yoga? Crossfit? Weightlifting? Judo/wrestling?

I just train Jiu-Jitsu as hard as I can. Everyone is different but, for me I think the best supplement to my BJJ training is wrestling.

 

8. What are your life goals, and BJJ goals?

My life goal is to continue to help my family the best I can. My BJJ goals are to win everything that I can, become a Black Belt World Champion and be an ADCC Champion.

 

9. Why did you choose VHTS as a sponsor?

 I choose VHTS as a sponsor for a few reasons. Firstly, I really liked their products and believed that their gear was the top quality. Secondly,I liked how VHTS makes efforts help support the BJJ community in its growth worldwide. Finally, Gi Tak the owner of VHTS has become a friend of mine. He treats me and other VHTS athletes so well and continues to support us in our quest to achieve our goals.

 

10. What is next for Matheus?

For me I`m just going to continue on my journey to become a Black Belt World Champion and represent my team.

 

11. What would you like people to know about you?

I`m just a hardworking guy, focused on my goals from a small town in Formiga, MG, Brazil!!!!! 

 

12. Anything else you'd like to say?

I would like to thank my family, my team, Marcelo and my sponsors VHTS, Hook Sweep, MGinaction.

 

V H T S

very hard to submit

Posted on February 10, 2015 .

After training on the mats, you should use AFTERMAT

Have you been training on the mats? you definitely need to try these products, aptly named AFTERMAT. Aftermat is a hygiene  company that focuses on a lot of different products, really simple in how to use them but really complicated in their ingredients. Once you go to their website you can see this guys really love to train and have a great sense of humor as well (just click the "truth" tab to see what we mean).

We had the pleasure of reviewing three products they have: The Scrub Soap, The Shower Gel and The Shampoo. All of these are excellent products and have become a staple of my showers. 

 

SCRUB SOAP:

We'll start with the Scrub Soap a very interesting bar of soap:

A worn out bar of soap demonstrating how I've been using it nonstop

A worn out bar of soap demonstrating how I've been using it nonstop

First thing that caught my eye was the color of the bar It's a Black bar of soap. This bar looks awesome and smells great, another thing that immediately made me look twice is its rough texture and exfoliating particles. 

The soap is great, you feel truly clean when using it; the texture is great; the smell is also amazing. According to the ingredients list, the soap contains jojoba oil, coconut oil, palm oil, tea tree and orange oil (the coconut and the orange oil smell is great).

After using the bar of soap for a while I had to re-read the ingredients list and found something really awesome that I've never seen in a soap or hygiene product, "activated charcoal". Since I'm a Chemical Engineer, the term "activated charcoal" really cought my interest. For those who do not know, activated charcoal or activated carbon is a form of carbon made to have low-volume pores and is basically used in filtration procedures due to the fact that it eliminates colors, smells and taste. Having activated charcoal on a bar of soap is really high-tech stuff and the main reason why this bar of soap works so well and also the reason why the bar is black. Amazing product!

 

SHOWER GEL:

If you're not a fan of soap bars, the people over at AFTERMAT have a great product for you as well. 

image_3.jpeg

 What I love about "Post Training shower gel" is that it gives clean and fresh feeling.

The gel has an amazing smell (as well as all the other AFTERMAT products), it has a really strong coconut smell, along with the rosemary and the aloe vera. It is a pleasure to use this shower gel. Once you use this, your skin feels super clean, I gave it to a friend once and the exact phrasing was "squeaky clean" it is a strong gel and one that I really liked to use. I'm normally a soap-bar-kinda-guy or at least I was, since I started using this shower gel I've been going back to the shower gel as my go to hygiene product. I even bought myself a luffa thingy, I do feel like shower gels are much more aggresive in the cleaning department, although I'm not entirely sure if the abrassiveness of a shower gel-luffa combo are to hard on the skin for some people.

 

 

SHAMPOO:

I get used to typical "head and shoulder", "Herbal essences", "loreal", dove-type shampoo and such. They always have a strong aromatic smell that at least I don't like very much, it's a typical smell that feels rather "unnatural" (if you know what I mean). Thas is one of the main reasons why the AFTERMAT SHAMPOO hits it out of the park for me. 

The Shampoo itself is interesting, it is not cream based but liquid type and totally transparent. It smells amazing (a strong coconut smell). When I first tried it on it felt soo different, the strong natural scent plus the fact that is was so liquid. 

I love this Shampoo, it is the product that I like the most out of the three we reviewed. I must say though this is a STRONG shampoo, it leaves my hair, once again, squeaky clean. I almost feel like it removes too much dirt/grease out of your hair, which could be a bad thing if used incorrectly. At lest I had the habit of using shampoo every day but with this one, being so strong, I've been using it every other day or even less. It's a joy but it can be strong to some people.

 

We had the chance to speak with Matthew Borst and Danny Valle and have a Q&A, check out what they said:

  What is your MMA or BJJ background?

Both Matt and I train in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under former UFC welterweight champion Matt Serra. Matt is a purple belt and I received my black belt from Matt Serra back in August 2008. I have been training in martial arts for almost 30 years and am one of the head instructors at Serra BJJ. Matt is an instructor there as well. 

 

To whom do you recommend AFTERMAT products?

We recommend it to anyone and everyone training in combat sports including wrestling, kickboxing, MMA and BJJ. Even if you don’t train in one of these disciplines, Aftermat is for anyone who wants high-quality hygiene products that won’t damage and dry out their skin like other soaps do.

 

When did AFTERMAT start and how?

Matt began the company on his own more than three years ago. While training at the academy he realized that many students, himself included, were using cheaply made, off-the-shelf products that weren’t doing anything but drying out and cracking their skin. He began to research the market, soap manufacturers and the ingredients they used. He knew he could put together a better product, and he did. 

Matt asked me if I was interested in designing his new website not long after his launch. He was also looking for a partner and, naturally, I was on board. Since we both trained at the same school and had the perfect audience to promote our product, we were able to get direct feedback from our students. And since we’re both BJJ practitioners, we knew exactly what we wanted out of hygiene products. Today, the company has grown greatly and we have customers all over the U.S. and abroad.

 

 The ingredients to the shower gel and shampoo work incredibly well. How did you guys choose or research them?

Matt has done a huge amount of research and testing. He came up with Aftermat’s unique blend after several trial rounds in which he tested, retested and sampled different combinations of ingredients. When he found just the right balance of ingredients and essential oils, he shared the products with students and got very positive feedback. For more on our research and references, you can visit this page on our website:http://www.aftermat.com/research-and-references.

 

Ive never seen activated charcoal in soap before and to me it's really groundbreaking. How did this ingredient come along?

Research. Matt did his homework and learned as much as he could about several different ways to make bar soap. He liked the feel and texture of the charcoal and found a manufacturer who could craft a bar with it in a very natural way. It worked perfectly, and, as a bonus, the soap looks really cool!

 

What's next for AFTERMAT fans and customers?

This year we are planning to introduce some new products. We are working on getting the items we feel customers will get the most use out of. We don’t want to sell anything for the sake of making a buck. We want to make sure everything we put out makes sense.

 

Anything else you'd like our readers to know?

We chose to build the Aftermat brand because we believe in quality first. It’s very easy to open up shop with cheap products, use clever marketing to pass it off as something more than it really is, then sell it at a high markup. We don’t care for that. We want our customers to know that we have integrity and we stand behind our products.

  

Have you guys used AFTERMAT products? Let us know what you think!  

   

V H T S

very hard to submit

Posted on February 3, 2015 .

THE NEW FACE OF VHTS: Mansher Singh Khera, MUNCH

We here at VHTS are very excited and happy to have this incredible athelte in our team of VHTS Ninjas, a humble, hardworking and very focused invidiual with whom we had the pleasure of speaking with. He had a lot to say about training, VHTS and the famours Marcelo Garcia, let's see what he had to say:

 

Name, age, bjj rank and years in BJJ

Mansher “Munch” Khera, 22 years old, brown belt under Marcelo Garcia and have been training since Summer of 2009.

 

Munch with some Teamates at MG's Gym

Munch with some Teamates at MG's Gym

How and why did you start your bjj journey?

It was the summer after I graduated high school and MMA was on the rise. I was interested in learning more about it in addition to that I enjoyed watching Pehlwani in India. I had a classmate who was training at a small MMA gym in Queens, I went to go check it out and it was pretty my history after that. 


You're a common name in BJJ now because you're winning everything, talk to us a bit about what's it like to compete at a high leve, your biggest tournaments and your medals.

I think at this point in my career my biggest accomplishments would be that I’ve won NoGi worlds 4x twice in my weight and twice in absolute. I also medaled in Gi Worlds (Silver and Bronze) and Abu Dhabi Pro(Silver and Bronze). Medals I don’t really keep track of the total. The medals serve as a great souvenir to look back  on of your accomplishments but I truly enjoy the feeling and rush after weeks of hard work getting your hand raised. The medal that I have my eyes on is Gi Worlds I’ve come close but fell short of my goal.


Do you change anything from when you're training on a daily basis to when you train for a tournament.

Yes, essentially I focus on picking up the intensity and doing less experimental moves. I also focus on specific situations in my mind. I.e. If I look at the clock and see its short time I will imagine that I have to score to win, or submit to win. I usually will sometimes drill more before big tournaments. I don’t like drilling but will do more drilling than usually prior to tournaments to make sure my key moves are on point. Also I’ll usually try to train extra rounds after class with anyone if I don’t drill. Essentially I drill to get the feel of the move but I’ll roll extra and only focus on trying to get that specific move which I feel sometimes is more beneficial for me then drilling.


            Munch with his BJJ Coach/Professor Marcelo Garcia, a 4x ADCC champion, 5x World BJJ champion and             3x Brazilian National Champion

            Munch with his BJJ Coach/Professor Marcelo Garcia, a 4x ADCC champion, 5x World BJJ champion and             3x Brazilian National Champion

You train with the LEGEND Marcelo Garcia, what's it like? Did you start training with him from the start? What have you learned from him, besides amazing technique?

It’s surreal because people travel miles to train with him for a day and I see him everyday, he’s in my corner for fights, occasionally grab a bite to eat. It’s funny that once you get over all the things he’s accomplished and done for the sport he’s just a normal person with a unique and funny personality. He def is a great leader and role model for all of his students. He tries instill in  my teammates and I, to be good people and represenators of not only the school but of ourselves.  He’s cultivating a crop of great grappler but despite that he always finds a way to keep us all grounded and not feed too much into our successes. I started out training with him when I was 17 and  I feel I def wouldn’t be the same man I am today without him. Not to say I would be necessarily worst off but I feel at this point in my life I’m def more focused, humble and have a better direction of what I want to accomplish in my life than most 22 year olds I def don’t think I would be this ahead of the curve if it wasn’t for training with MG and meeting the people that I have met. Essentially I have an avenue to practice my passion and learn tools that will help not only my BJJ career but any career that I seek after my BJJ career is over.  


        Munch showcasing his VHTS gis, G-Chainz, G1 White and G3 Black

        Munch showcasing his VHTS gis, G-Chainz, G1 White and G3 Black

You're now a VHTS NINJA, why did you choose VHTS and what do you like about them over other BJJ companies?

I decide to go with VHTS because like myself its young and has potential to grow into something big. I liked their vision and the opportunity to help grow a new company and local brand. I like that I can be at the forefront of this company and potential be the face of it. When people think of NIKE they think Jordan. I want people to think of VHTS and think MUNCH. I feel that this brand was the best avenue to do that with. 

 

Any advise you'd like to give to people starting out bjj, be it profesionally or as a hobby?

My advice would be to first just enjoy it and show up. The biggest hurdle I feel in the beginning is just showing up and don’t get discouraged if your not improving. 2nd I feel it’s always great to have goals to keep you focused on improving and enjoy breaking those milestones. 

 

What's next for Munch?

I will be teaching a seminar in Ireland in January and be competing in Europeans. Focused on staying healthy and working towards being my best for 2015 Worlds.

 

Anything else you'd like to add?

Just like to say thank you to my instructors (MG, Paul Scheriner, Bernardo Faria), my good friend Henrique Rezende, my teammates, and my family. Also thanks to my sponsors check them out if you haven’t already:

MGINACTION: www.mginaction.com

VHTS: www.vhtsny.com

Chokeboyz: www.Chokeboyz.com

 

V H T S

very hard to submit

Posted on December 9, 2014 .

Hemp Bags for your Everyday Needs

When you think of gym bags for BJJ and MMA, DATSUSARA isn't the only one coming to mind, but it is definetely one of the best. With their innovative style, quality build and original materials, it's no wonder why DATSUSARA and HEMP are two words on the tip of everyone's tongue. DATSUSARA bags are truly geared toward the final user with excelent details and carefully engineered practicality in design.

 

VHTS presents DATSUSARA GEAR BAG CORE and COVERT EMISSARY BAG REVIEW.

When we started to look for a great gear bag, one company and one product came to mind: DATSUSARA. We really wanted to try them out and have a taste of what everybody is calling the best BJJ gear bag in town (or any town for that matter) so we chose to focus on the GEAR BAG CORE a big equipment bag really usefull for everyday work and training, and great for comutes and/or trips where you need to be able to pack everything you need without it taking a lot of bags.

And we'll also be reviewing the COVERT EMISSARY BAG much more of a stylish work bag where you can have your documents, laptop, books and other stuff. So we got you covered all through your day, be it training or working.

 

GEAR BAG CORE:

I don't train for a living (saddly) I have a steady job (kind of a 9 to 5) so to me it is very important to be very time efficient, training before and after work is the period of time I have at my disposal. I need to be able to pack a bag with MMA and BJJ equipment for early morning practice and still be able to pack a change of clothes and toiletries so I can inmediately go to work and after work go to MMA training at night. I am able to pack all of this but need a lot of bags. What if I forgot my work shoes? What if I didn't pack a towel?, Ineed a spare kimono today. I need to be able to manage all this and it can be an easy feat if done correctly (or with the correct equipment bag) enter DATSUSARA. 

The GEAR BAG CORE looks and feels ENOURMOUS even when it's empty (and to think theres still the GEAR BAG PRO a bigger beefier bag than the CORE). The gear bag core measures 14" in height, 21" in width and 13" in depth. If you're like me and get overwhelmed with this huge bag, wait till you see it full and you'll see why being big is a great thing for this bag. One thing I think is a testament to the well though out design is the fact that even though it's a really big bag, it still feels comfortable when you use it (more on that later with photo evidence).

Besides the main compartment (about 14" x 16" x 13") which features a small bag (for wallet, id, keys, etc) and a thick/hard carton (to maintain the bag's form) there are also a total of 2 huge zipper pockets at each end, 4 mesh pockets or holders (2 at each end) and 4 smaller pockets on one side (2 small ones, one medium zipper and a big velcro pocket).

What can it store?

  • 3 Gis (VHTS of course, but any other brand will due fine, just not great!)
  • MMA gloves
  • MMA/Nogi equipment (rashguard + spats + fightshorts)
  • Tripod and Gopro camera
  • Boxing gloves
  • Boxing Headguard 
  • 1 towel
  • A Water bottle
  • A change of work clothes (CAT boots + Jeans + Shirt)
  • A post training hoodie
  • and still have room for toiletries, wallets, keychains, cell phones, mouthguards and a 7" tablet

If that doesn't sound like a lot to you, let's see all this in the bag and outside the bag as well.

I'm not the biggest of guys (5´3" tall) and even with my frame the bag feels really comfortable. This is due to all the extra details it has, it manages it's weight accordingly and feels really balanced, the shoulder strap is diagonal so it distributes it weigh, just a tug on the strap and you have it to your prefered sizing.

If you prefer the carry handle you may do that also. Is it a heavy bag? Well, I must say it is not, the heaviness factor manly comes from what you put in your bag.

So, is this just a great big gear bag? the short answer is No. This is a really thoughtful highly detailed gear bag made from an unconventional (but for us a much better), fabric. The velcro is heavy dutty and all the stitchings feel super strong even the zipper is bigger, chunkier and beefier. It literaly has everything you could want and could think of improving in a BJJ and MMA gear bag. Plus the added benefits of HEMP wich we will speak of in a moment.

 

COVERT EMISSARY BAG

If you're looking for something for your work or where you study, DATSUSARA has you covered as well. This is a much "simpler" bag in the sense that it has less space and is designed for a laptop and books, documents and stuff like that. I would't imaging using it for the gym although it can be used in that way, more than anything it's a super stylish messenger bag that gets a lot of eyebrows lifted (you should see me entering a business meeting with it).

It has a lot of details and since a picture is worth a thousand words I want to ilustrate it's first features and later go into each one:

The flap is really strong and heavy and it has PAL webbing (small pencil holder like straps where you can place other accessories). You can see it has a top zipper (and it's super strong and big) this protects the laptop compartment which is waterproof. Also this zipper is used so you can acces the rest of the bag without opening the flap (I must say this is really useful). The flap has 2 big zipper bags (big enough for a 15.9" laptop) and 4 smaller pockets (1 huge velcro, 2 smaller velcro and a medium zipper bag with the DATSUSARA logo). The strap has a rubbert texture to it which feels really nice and comfortable. The handle is really tight, when I say tight I mean the velcro almost industrial grade feel great when closing it.

The shoulder strap has a really thick and heavy duty parts, the strap is also adjusted by velcro and at the end has more PAL webbing. One thing interesting to me is the buckle, I hope the photograpsh does it justice, ITS MASSIVE and really strong which I loved.

You can see a closeup of the PAL webbing on the front and the zipper pockets. On the bag the mon star embroidered logo (everyone asks me about this logo), and some detail of each pocket, as you can see really heavy duty.

The infamous big strong zipper I was talking about earlier, which is really useful when you want ot open the bag without opening the flap. At first I though this would be all that great, Until I started to use it on a daily basis. More PAL webbing on the side and another closeup of the big velcro compartment.

The COVERT EMISSARY is like a military grade messenger bag for everyday use. I use it for work and travel, have a laptop with all the accessories and is covered with books, tablets, notebooks, binders and other documents. It is an amazing bag and as I sadi really detailed parts with thorough design. Each bag is diferent but I'm sure the design process is very similar and it consists of looking at every part of the bag and deciding how to make it better and how to use the best parts.

 

Chris Odell is DATSUSARA's owner and an advocate for Hemp as it is good for the enviroment. We had a chance to speak with him and this is what he had to say:

What is your martial arts or BJJ background?

I did some Koei Kan Do when I was a kid but hated the authoritarian style and the lack on functionality, I think I spent 5 months learning one punch that wouldn’t work against a 5 year old. Then later, around 2005 I got into JKD as the concepts behind it made perfect sense, use what works and reject what does not. But I found that scene to be full of in fighting and it suffered from instructors that wanted to teach what Bruce Lee was teaching vs. evolving the art as intended. I then finally saw UFC 1 and decided to try an MMA gym, I enjoyed that and started training regularly in 2006, mostly the kickboxing classes at first then after my first amateur match I decided getting hit in the head often was a bad idea for me so since then I have been focusing on BJJ.

 

How did you get involved with hemp? and what exactly is hemp?

I have been involved with hemp politically since the age of 13, I always saw it as a useful resource that was only held back by illogical laws. Hemp is the same plant as cannabis that is used medically and recreationally except that it’s a very low (less than 1%)THC relative of sorts so it isn’t psychoactive and can’t get you high.

 

Why is the company called Datsusara?

I liked the phrase as I feel that people should have more time to do the things they love in life vs being enslaved to a job they hate just to make ends meet. It’s not a lazy thing, it’s about spending your time being truly useful in a way you find fulfilling (Datsusara means "to leave the salaried/corporate worker's life" in Japanese).

 

Why did you start the gym bag and gear bag buisness? 

I wanted to get out of the line of work I was doing and so I took my current love of MMA and my long love of hemp and decided to put them together to make something people would find useful and environmentally friendly.

 

What is on the horizon for DATSUSARA

We are woking to get our gear out to a larger more general sports market which means expanding and making sure we have enough bags and apparel to support that. We are always working on new products but for now we are spending more time refining quality on the current lineup.

 

Something else you'd like our readers to know about DATSUSARA or HEMP?

Just that we really appreciate all of the support and love we get from the community, it means the world to all of us here. Thank you.

 

In conclusion DATSUSARA and it's bags are truly amazing. I've been reading on FB and other BJJ blogs about DATSUSARA and I must admit I liked the astetics and wanted to own a bag for myself. But now, after having one I must say they are far better than what I though, it's a truly "you had to been there" kinda feeling but more like "you gotta try one for yourself".

Be sure to follow DATSUSARA on Facebook and for more info on hemp and the rest of the gear bags be sure to go to www.dsgear.com where you can also see some great videos of each product they have.
 

Do you have a DATSUSARA gear bag? if so let us know your thoughts on this great product.

 

V H T S

very hard to submit

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted on December 3, 2014 .

Are you KLEAN? or just CLEAN? IRON LION SOAP REVIEW

A lot of companies have come out with new soaps and products to keep you clean on and off the mat, each of them have found their niche in our BJJ WORLD. All of these companies strive and work for one very important thing "health and higiene", bacteria is all around us and when we're training we become very suceptible and vulnerable to infections like staph and ringworm. 

Many people don't place as much importance as they should to all of this , the downside? well, a couple of weeks to a couple of months out of action but something worse is you could be doing is contaminating your friends and training partners and to a further extent your friends and family.

Enter IRON LION SOAP a soap company that really makes an effort to be differnt from the lot, they make soap bars, maybe nothing out of the norm but the way they market them, mixed with the innovative features in each bar (smells, ingredients, uses) really makes this "normal" bars of soap not normal at all. And make taking a shower and cleaning yourself a reall joy and great experience.

 

We tested out 5 different soap bars: SP, MOJO, ASK,  T2 and ONEONE7 each of them has different characteristics, and although they're all made so you can take a great shower, each of them is meant to be used in a unique way (more of this in a moment). We'll be reviewing each one and letting you know how to use them and which one we preffer.

The packaging is also something to be noted, they come in carton boxes (individually packed, but I also got 3 smaller samples packed in a single box). Each box has instructions on it via drawings, as well as the ingredients to each soap, I found this packaging to be really neat. They also come with 3 IRON LION SOAP stickers (the logo by the way is really cool) and a refrigerator magnet. 

 

(First of, and before we review each one invididually I must say all of these soaps have a GREAT smeall, really calming and soothing. They're not your normal "creamy" bars of soap and the texture is also very different. Using all of these soap bars is a treat and I can truly say without a doubt that you'll enjoy whichever you use. I cannot atest if they will last longer, equally as long or will last less than traditional "creamy" drugstore brand soaps but I cann say they do clean more and smell much better as well.)

SP

This was the first soap I tried, mainly because of the ingredients/smells:

  • Orange
  • Sandalwood
  • Cedar wood
  • DRAGONS BLOOD (I had to google what it was)
  • Patchouli

While I do know that reall dragons does not exist and its blood would not clean or heal me, the ingredient had me perplexed. When you see the color of the bar (photograph) and when you smell it (buy it and smell it for yourself) you'll see what a trully unique bar of soap this is. I would say this is definetely one of my favorites). Dragons blood is an extract found in a large variety of flowers and plants and is an ingredient found to be medicinal. The SP is one of the more aromatic smells it trully does last you all day long. 

What's it good for? well it's antiseptic (antimicrobial and against infections) and antiviral (used to treat and/or combat infections like antibiotic) and makes your skin super smooth. One thing I found really interesting and liked about this bar of soap (and it repeated in others) is it's not creamy not at all! I'm used to those white/beige creamy soap bars that make a lot of foam and lather, while this one is nothing like it but definetely leaves me feeling much cleaner.

 

MOJO

Good thing I read the website and paid attention to the line "NOT FOR YOUR MOUTH, KLEAN FOR YOUR BEING". This is a Vanilla + Oatmeal soap bar, if this sounds like a tasty breakfast you'd be right (and it smells awesome as well). This bar is used as an exfoliate, why? well it has chunks of oatmeal so you can exfoliate (remove old/dead skin cells from the surface of your body).

The scent is strong with this one and much more intoxicating (good and bad) but it's a treat to use it as well. One thing I found interesting about this bar is that the foam/lather it makes has a brown tint to it, posibly due to the ingredients in this soap bar.

 

ASK

You may think I have too many favorites but this one is amazing as well. At first sight it didn't caught my eye, looked like a cool green bar of soap. But then I smelled it. WOW. It smells like those Wrigglys Spearmint Bublegum, this is because of the ingredients:

  • Eucaliptus
  • Spearmint
  • Coconut

It smells amazing, once I smelled it one thing became clear: "I'm gonna smell like this too". It's a really refreshing smell and it lasts a really long time. One thing I liked this soap over all of the others is the clean smell it has, you continue to smell it all day long and it makes you think of cleanliness. It was a really interesting feeling (this bar provides much more lather and foam than the others I tried, which was a plus as well). This is a bar of soap great for making the skin feel smooth it also relaxes you while you use it, it smell is really captivating and I encourage you guys to try it out.

 

T2

T2 is named after the TEA TREE (TT = T2) this bar also smells great I would say it's a more mild smell and a bar of soap for "generic use". It's meant to treat acne (I did try it on my face and it left me squeaky clean), kills bacteria and treats eczema. As you can see it's a bar of soap with a broad range of uses.

I personally don't use bars of soap for my face, I preffer handsoap type gels, although this bar was nice enough to try and it did leave me feeling like it was doing it's job. Eczema sound really hard and dangeours but truth be told we've all had eczema, even a bit. It's basically an inflamation of the skin, itchinnes, redness and can also be known as dermatitis, if you suffer from these ailments this bar of soap is definetely for you. 

 

ONEONE7

his is another "general purpose" soap bar, as I would call them. The difference with this one is the cleanliness and how it feels. It has a great smell as do all these soap bars but the ONEONE7 felt extra clean. I had to investigate on the website and see why. It is an antibacterial soap bar, I'm not sure if this is the case for everyone but this was the soap which made me feel the most clean and with the longest cleanliness feeling of all the soaps I tried. 

It is advertised as being for all type of skin ailments, I am happy to say I don't have any skin ailments at the time but this soap bar did feel different, at least for me. 

 

We here at VHTS are really passionate about training, jiu-jitsu lifestyle, gis/kimonos and our products so we strive to find companies that feel passionate about what they do as well. AVI RUBIN is the voice of IRON LION SOAP and is very passionate about their products, we had a chance to sit down with him and get to know the brand a little bit more:

  • AVI thank you very much for your time and for letting us pick your brain. What is your martial arts background?

Both my father and I have been training BJJ for close to 10 years. My father received his black belt in January 2013. Jiu Jitsu is a major part of our life and has awarded us with lifelong friendships and many great experiences. 

 

  • Why did you decide to start a organic soap company?

We started ILS after a terrible case of ringworm. After many weeks combating this undefeatable ringworm with creams, ointments and injectables I turned the organic route. After some research and a bit of poking around we discovered Tea Tree oil and the amazing characteristics it posses. One thing led to another and fast forward a few months the ringworm was completely gone and we started sharing our tea tree soap (OneOne7) with our friends and family. Shortly there after we began exploring other magical, natural ingredients and Iron Lion Soap was born. 

 

  • In my house the norm is those creamy "dove" type soaps, why is IRON LION SOAP better?

This is a tricky question for us Mario, let me explain why. The approach ILS takes with our soaps is simple, if you chose to better yourself and make the effort to educate yourself you will learn how important real soap is. Our skin is the largest organ in our body, it does much more than just protect our insides. Any commercially manufactured soap is uncomparable to ILS it's simply the choice of doing better vs not! 

 

  • Some of the soaps I tried don't generate foam/lather I didn't find this to be bad. Did you make them so they would be like this or it was a coincidence?

Each and everyone of our bars shares a common base of ingredients, two being coconut oil & shea butter. These two combined not only provide exceptional lather but also provide much needed vitamins and minerals to your skin. Depending on whether you shower with a towel or lufa vs not can make a variance in way ILS lathers. 

 

  • Could you also explain the name for IRON LION SOAP and each different soap bar name?

Iron Lion Soap is a father and son duo rooted in a reggae american israeli culture. A little bit of new school mixed with traditional methods and practice allow for ILS and what we stand for. The names for our bars come after much internal discussion and feedback from our customers. 

 

  • What's in store for IRON LION SOAP in the future?

We recently started venturing out of just handmade all natural soaps to include small batch solid lotions and some liquid soaps. Our elusive Liquid Lion will be making an appearance on our social networks soon & available in very limited quantities. In addition to that we are working on a few collaboration efforts. Just around the corner we have our Team Klean : Sponsored Athletes program getting ready to launch as well. 2015 is going to be serious for ILS, join us in our journey. 

 

  • Any thing else you'd like our reader to know about IRON LION SOAP?

We want to thank all our current sponsored athletes and our ambassadors all around the globe. Also a big shout out to Kyle in Hawaii for waving the flag out there and all our local souljahs for holding us down and spreading the klean!

Thank you to AVI RUBIN and the rest of the IRON LION TEAM SOAP company.

for more information visit: www.ironlionsoap.com

In Conclusion, I could ramble on about all the benefits, the great smells and ingredients, how it makes your skin feel and why is IRON LION SOAP such a great company, but to be honest I would rather you guys take a chance buy a soap bar and let us know if we're right or not (I know you'll think the same as we do at the end). IRON LION SOAP is a company that really differentiates themselves from the norm and this is a great thing, their products are really thought with the customer in mind, keeping the customers happy and clean. I for one am hooked and will definetely be purcahsing more from these guys.

Have you tried IRON LION SOAP? please comment and let us know!

 

VHTS

very hard to submit

Posted on November 24, 2014 .

VHTS Halloween Contest WINNER

We had a lot of entries some very funny and some very bold.

We took our time and decided on which costume we liked the most. 

 

VHTS HALLOWEEN CONTEST WINNER: Brian Gray

As you guys can see its a really funny costume and true to the original. 

 

So Brian please send your t-shirt and short size to: hardtosubmit@gmail.com and mario.barrios@vhtsny.com

 

VHTS fans stay tuned as we have much more posts, reviews, contest and products coming your way. As always, chime in be it through our blog or our FB page as to what you guys want to see and read!

 

v h t s

VERY HARD TO SUBMIT

 

 

Posted on November 4, 2014 .

VHTS Halloween Contest

Booo!!! Hey there VHTS fans. We're on the verge of Halloween a holiday In which we can dress up, put on our best costumes, pretend we are superheroes and be a kid and fantasize for a bit.


Here at VHTS we want to acknowledge all those who dress up for Halloween and give away a prize for those with originality, boldness and generally speaking a fun side!  And those wear there BJJ gi armor with pride!


One winner (chosen by us) will get the new not-yet-released VHTS team pocket t-shirt and VHTS black & green fight shorts.

 

How to enter the contest:

You have to send a picture of a unique, wacky, funny, over-the-top BJJ and/or MMA and/or ComicBook inspired Halloween outfit/costume 

Or

Send a picture of yourself in wearing your Gi in the strangest, most random, boldest place you can (needless to say someplace where BJJ gis aren't usually worn)

We'll look over all the submissions and decide which we like the most (if there is a tie we'll look to you guys to help us decide) 

 

The deadline is Sunday, October 2 at midnight. The winner will be announced on Friday, November 7. We'll post pics of the nominees, final winners and honorable mentions.

 

Send your pics to mario.barrios@vhtsny.com and hardtosubmit@gmail.com.

 

V H T S

very hard to submit

 

 

Posted on October 31, 2014 .

What to do BJJ while injured

An MRI of my knee when I got injured, ACL tear and a broken Tibial plateau

An MRI of my knee when I got injured, ACL tear and a broken Tibial plateau

Jiu-jitsu is one of those things that if you don't do it constantly and diligently you won't become better at it. The best in the world train 6-8 hours a day and those who don't consider it as their work rather their hobby also train a couple of hours a day if they can manage their family and jobs. 

 Whether Jiu-jitsu is our life or our hobby, it is a real drag when we can't train or go to class if we're away on a trip; if we're sick; or if we have to work. If missing a couple of days of training is horrible experience, imagine how being injured and having the type of injury that doesn't let you train anything will feel like!

 I train 7-8 times a week for about an hour, well... used to train. A couple of months ago I had a stupid accidental fall, carrying a training buddy (while doing some body weight strength training) I tripped fell wrong on my leg/knee and dislocated my patella, a training partner put it back but that was the least of my problems I went straight to the emergency room and found out I had torn my ACL and broken my tibial plateau (the head of the tibia) two months with a cast and crutches and no training till January (6 months out of bjj).

But enough of my sob story. Jiu-jitsu is not just something you do, it's something you are and a way of life, here are 5 ways to continue doing bjj while you're injured

A lot of great bjj instructional videos, there are many more but these are some that I like

A lot of great bjj instructional videos, there are many more but these are some that I like

1. Catch up on some BJJ instructional videos:

Just because your body can't train doesn't mean your mind can't train. Sometimes in our busy schedule we don't have the time to sit down and just watch some videos, understand some new concepts. Provided injury giving us haiatus in our schedule (where bjj class used to be, tear), we can use that time to study and catch up on some theories, moves and such.

 I like to focus on videos about concepts and fundamentals of new moves, I'm not saying that the old school video fundamentals won't work but I like those that show me something new from an expert in the subject.

Magid Hage -- baseball bat choke, Rafael Freitas -- baratoplata (let me say this catches people of guard), Ryan Hall -- his guard passing 50/50 concepts, Eddie Bravo -- his rubber guard, the Miyaos -- Berimbolo; These are something truly unique games. If you are looking for weakness in your game or things which you hope to improve, I'm sure you'll find a video just for you by browsing through instructional videos listed above.

A young and handsome Helio Gracie

A young and handsome Helio Gracie

2. Continue going to BJJ practice (Hey Helio Gracie learned just by watching right?):

Even if you can't get on the mat, tie your belt and start training, this doesn't mean you can't go to BJJ class. Sure bjj documentaries are cool and may show you a lot of knowledge but nothing beats your professor teaching you one on one or even the valuable questions or mistakes you make or your training buddies do.

Just going to bjj class and not training? that sound like a drag right? well... it can be if you're not in the correct mindset. Open your mind and it can be an incredible experience. And as the old saying goes "Half a loaf is better than none at all".  Remember you can learn a lot just by watching because you can focus more on the tiny details that sometimes you miss while you rolling (you cannot observe yourself while you roll). Watching his older brothers teaching other people improved Helio Gracie's knowledge one step further, and if it was good for Helio, it may help us too. 

Some of bjj's best photographers and filmakers (Stuart Cooper, Hywel Teague, William Burkhardt and Mike Calimbas)

Some of bjj's best photographers and filmakers (Stuart Cooper, Hywel Teague, William Burkhardt and Mike Calimbas)

3. Take up photography and film:

 Given documentaries, films and photographs of BJJ, we already know that they take big part of modern Jiu Jitsu. So why not start to be a photographer or film maker while you are injured. your passion towards Jiu Jitsu may lead you to explore knew field and learn knew skill set.  

 I'm not saying some of the best bjj photographers and filmakers started their career while injured, but what I am saying is that if you have a passion for bjj and a passion for film or photographs then why not startup your career (do not kill your potential).

Nawadays, you can see these great artists: STUART COOPER: Hywel Teague in the intriguing BJJ HACKS documentaries: Mike Calimbas who does a lot of photo work for IBJJF and William Burkhardt's pictures featured also on CONNECTION RIO and BJJ Pix. 

4. Start writing about BJJ, in your own blog, forums or for an AWESOME BJJcompany like me!:

Ok, I just gotta get this out of the way, start writing for an awesome bjj company but not VHTS 'cause you'll take my job. 

One of the reasons why I started writing was because of my injury, I started to have a lot of activity in forums, bjj pages and groups and well.. this BLOG!

If the point is to continue doing bjj, what is better way than writing about what you're passionate about, what peeves you, your difficulties, gi reviews, comps results and more. Writing is a very special and personal thing to do, but so is BJJ so why not combine both and have a great time writing while you're injured and hey once you get back on your feet you would have made this "your thing" and you can continue to write.

Just remember if you have anything you want to write about, please be sure to do your research and always write about what moves you, what you are interested in and what you love!

mmm ACAI GOODNESS!

mmm ACAI GOODNESS!

5. Consume as much Acai as humanly possible and feel Brazilian while doing it:

What screams more BRAZILIAN JIU-JITSU than ACAI bowls and smoothies?

If you're injured and just can't train or go to bjj class you should still behave like you have the BJJ lifestyle and of course that includes having loads of ACAI.

Some places in the world aren't exposed to ACAI (I live in Guatemala and we don't have ACAI here saddly, but I'm working on changing that). but if you are able to go to your local ACAI shop please do it; have a bowl and think of those less fortunate. Remember if you consume ACAI while doing bjj or bjj like things this will only make you feel better.

Have you been injured in bjj? what have you done while injured? any tips or advice for us?.

Let us know!

V H T S

very hard to submit

Posted on October 23, 2014 .

Be Water my Friend

The Great Wave off Kanagawa, a famous and beautiful Japanese painting depicting the power of water.

The Great Wave off Kanagawa, a famous and beautiful Japanese painting depicting the power of water.

"Empty your mind. Be formless, shapeless like water. Now you put water into a cup and it becomes the cup, you put water into a bottle it becomes the bottle, you put water into a teapot and it becomes the teapot. Now water can flow or it can crash, be water my friend"
Bruce Lee
 

Bruce Lee... I don't know about you guys but whenever I hear his same it is like I'm saying the name of a legend, a mythical figure. Just the name "Bruce lee" makes me to think of many stories, many pictures, many videos and lastly how great he was. 

But, why? I truly believe that anyone who does not know much about martial arts, knows that he is a LEGEND and one of the pioneers of Mixed Martial Art (combining aspects, theories and principles of several martial arts).

Bruce lee was a remarkable man, we won't go into all the details of why but what we can say is that he was amazing not just because he did Wing Chun or because he created Jeet Kune Do but because of his theories, philosophies, way of life. One of his most memorable concepts was the video you just saw "Be water my friend", this is not a new concept but a concept which translates to all martial arts, specially jiu-jitsu and in great lengths to our whole lives.

Examples of water flowing and water crashing

Examples of water flowing and water crashing

Let's take a small journey and if you will try to imagine the following imagery. Think of a river, filled with rocks, full of ridges. In seasons when it rains the river overflows but when there is drought the river barely has water. The water still contained in the river still flows, ever so gently, the small stream made up of this water does not move the rocks or pebbles, does not change ridges or flows over the side of the beaten path, the stream flows downriver slowly but surely. if a rock is in its way it moves in such a way not to disturb the rock but to pass with it, to its side on top and if it continues to flow it will reach the end. Water flows not with strength but adapting to its path and while it adapts it moves and it reaches it's maximum flow.

Now imagine waves, a strong current, a season of much showers and rain. The path where the river flows is not big enough for such a huge current of water so it overflows. The overflown water gains momentum, gains strength, moves fast without something to contain it or to stop it. If nothing stops the flow it will just become stronger, faster and continue to be an unstoppable force. What would happen if this flow hits a wall? hits a canyon? hits a building? It will hit it with all it's force, strength and speed that it gathered while it flowed, whatever tries to stop it will receive a strong blow and it will not stop the flow it will only be an opportunity for this great force to crash.

Bruce Lee's concept is easy to grasp and easy to understand, sadly it is not an easy concept to apply, to live and to perform  in the best way. It is a great concept but one that you have to master, one that you must make your own and once to train it, do it daily, do it subconsciously you will in fact become water.

 It is a difficult concept because our minds are not trained to be in this way; we -- human being -- struggle with difficulties and changes we face in our lives; we are animals who live in a world of habits. And we let our habits define who we are and what we do. It is because of  that we do not flow, we force each move forward and because of this we are not able to change the habits. 

 However, in Jiu-Jitsu if we move our opponent instead of moving ourselves, we  spend more energy-- tiring out faster. We use so much energy which do not flow; we cannot just wait until our opponents make mistakes. If we just force strength, we only use partial energy (one way)-- trying to force submission, sweep, and pass. however, I am not saying we should not use strength; we should understand about both strength and how energy flows. Jiu-jitsu is about understanding the flow of multifaceted energy like how water flows-- no shape. For instance, If we get our opponent in a triangle but do not have the strength or energy to finish the submission probably they will escape. If they catch us in a submission and we are required to escape but have no strength then we cannot escape, we cannot crash or EXPLODE. We should use our strength when the time is right-- the time when our strength can be maximum-- using an opponent's energy and position.   

GM Rickson Gracie

GM Rickson Gracie

GM Rickson Gracie also speaks of the "flowing" concept (and if Rickson speaks well you better take his advice and listen right?)

"The most interesting aspect of jiu-jitsu is, of course the techniques are great, but the sensibility of the opponent, sense of touch, the weight, the momentum, the transition from one movement to another. That’s the amazing thing about it. You must allow yourself to go as on auto pilot. You don’t know exactly where you’re going until the movement happened because you can not anticipate what is going to happen. You must allow yourself to be in a zero point; a neutral point. Be relaxed and connected with the variations. Flow with the go."
Rickson Gracie

Rickson is a world renowned grappler and vale tudo champion, I highly doubt that he cannot crash when needed to or use his stregnth to overpower oponents but he speaks of flowing and being in the zone. Rickson speaks of the same principal that Bruce Lee does, how flowing makes an important aspect of BJJ.

Saulo Ribeiro also has a famous phrase:

“If you think, you are late. If you are late, you use strength. If you use strength, you tire. And if you tire, you die.”
Saulo Ribeiro 

But does this refer to flowing? OF COURSE IT DOES! The only way you could be "late" is if you're trying to anticipate a mover by creating it, using strength and not flowing. If you do not flow with your opponent you will be out of time to respond, to act and to move. 

Posted on October 14, 2014 .

Don't let your gi die, DYE IT!!!

That`s me... well, the equipment/ingredients, me dyeing and the final product.

That`s me... well, the equipment/ingredients, me dyeing and the final product.

Today we have a guest writer helping us shade some light on the wonderfull art of rescuing a gi-- armour falling apart. we basically grab a Gi... DYEING IT!!!

Some do it for fun, some for uniqueness, some trully do it because a gi needs restoration. All I can say is "it is fun"!

Today we have Michael Czapczynski helping us out with some insight on how he has done some really cool dying jobs, as well as myself contribuiting while sharing my experience on a Gi that needed some "stains" removed. As always chime in, comment and let us know what you think, what we missed, how do you dye gis and your reasons why.

We present you our guest writer Michael  Czapczynski, nooo not grand master, red belt Relson (it's the guy on the left)

We present you our guest writer Michael  Czapczynski, nooo not grand master, red belt Relson (it's the guy on the left)

Michael Czapczynski:

There is nothing better than a fresh white gi, but with long training sessions it starts to creep in slowly; that unpreventable mat sweat staining. BELIEVE ME I am not complaining. I am happy to own kimonos that are durable enough to allow for the time necessary for this phenomenon to occur, but for me it was my impetus to dye my first gi.  

It  was a Redstar brand model white stamp. A really nice clean gi that I purchased very close to the start of my bjj journey.  It was simple with red stitching and red taping, but after a while the undeniable results of hard training started to become visible.

It is said that "sometimes you are the hammer, and sometimes you are the nail". Well after months of being the nail and only occasionally being the hammer, my gi was no longer that crisp clean white. No matter the process I went about cleaning it the days of white as snow linen perfection were gone.  The gi itself was now an off-white and the collar was turning a distinctive grayish hue.  

Obviously what's a guy to do? My first option, fill my closet with white shoyoroll illest kimonos, was out of the question. I've heard rumors of people having to drill berimbolos upwards of 10,000 times during a monsoon, without getting hit by a single drop of water JUST to be considered for buying one on the secondary aftermarket. SO I did the next most sensible thing, and decided to dye my beloved white gi. Because why couldn't my beloved white gi become my beloved navy gi?

So first I found this awesome blog about dying kimonos. http://www.stevebjj.com/2012/01/18/how-to-dye-a-gia-step-by-step-guide/

I strongly suggest you follow these directions I have now used them on a few gis and I have been very successful. Also Stevebjj has a lot of examples of his work on the blog. I found this very helpful in picking colors because it gave me a little context as to how the dye will look once it has finished the chemical process of dying the cotton.

You will need to get a fiber reactive procion dyes. This kind of dye will adhere to organic matter like cotton and be chemically bound. As a result after you wash your newly dyed gi a few times to wash off excess dye, you should not experience any additional dye bleeding.  I also strongly recommend using dye from http://www.dharmatrading.com/dyes/dharma-fiber-reactive-procion-dyes.html?lnav=dyes.html

A couple things to definitely consider:

  • DO THIS IN A BIG TUPPERWARE IN YOUR TUB!!!
  • Don't rush. Take your time and keep that gi moving. Have some music or a podcast playing in the background to keep you entertained.  You will be busy upwards of 3 hours.
  • Do things slowly and make sure all the chemicals you are working with are fully dissolved before you add them to the dye vat. The shaker bottle described in the stevebjj blog was indispensible.  I used it to mix the dye and urea as described. I used another one to help prepare the soda ash.
  • There is some pretty cool chemistry going on during this process.  Basically (no pun intended) the soda ash increases the pH  and acts as a catalyst allowing the dye to covalently bond to the hydroxyl group of cellulose (plant fiber that cotton is made out of). This means the dye can interact with any plant based fiber (cotton, hemp,  linen, rayon), but leaves the non-plant based parts of the gi unaffected! So in the case of my redstar gi, the gi itself was dyed, but the sexy red stitching and taping was left red!
  • I've also had success dying a Fuji gi a gun metal grey, and a VHTS G1 an awesome Emergency room baby blue. Full disclosure I ended up shrinking my VHTS gi in the process be very careful and If you think your gi can shrink don't use water that is even partially warm. It will slow the process of dying, but who wants an awesome dyed gi that you can't wear!  Luckily I was able to pass it along to a friend that it fit perfectly.
Amazing looking gi, maybe VHTS will come out with this colorway. What do you guys think?

Amazing looking gi, maybe VHTS will come out with this colorway. What do you guys think?

a Selfie with Gi Dyed photobombs!

a Selfie with Gi Dyed photobombs!

VHTS thanks Michael Czapczynski for his post and remembers fans to check out Michael's facebook page  facebook.com/whshbrand 

Basically I did the same thing as Michael, I had a hard time deciding on the color to use. Once you go into Dharma Trading's website you can see there are A LOT of colors, besides you can use more or less dye so you can have a darker o lighter color. 

a rainbow of gi colors, this an more (even moreso if you count lighter shades and darker shades)

a rainbow of gi colors, this an more (even moreso if you count lighter shades and darker shades)

When you start of a dyeing project you basically know what color you want, or at least what type of color. Black, Blue, Green, Red, Yellow, Pink. But sometimes when you start looking at the color palets you go a whole other direction! "well... red is cool but orange would be better", "I wanted blue but this shade of deep blue will look awesome", "black is MY color, but a really deep purple would have a better contrast", "I wanted a pink gi, but a brown gi will match my belt" etc.. etc.. etc..

With so many colors to choose from you can literally go nuts, I went literally nuts... well BRAZILIAN NUT at least. 

the PR116 otherwise known as the BRAZILNUT that's what I chose

the PR116 otherwise known as the BRAZILNUT that's what I chose

I won't go over the method I used. I basically followed STEVEBJJ's blog and the instructions that DHARMA TRADING offer, if you follow them to the letter it will turn out great!.

The reasons why I dyed my gi was to cover up stains and color that bled on my knew Gi after a few washes. The Stains where a dark tone so I couldn't use a light dye I had to go for a darker tone otherwise it wouldn't have covered the stains. I was thinking about a blue tone but there are so many blue tones that I just could't decide. I decided I wanted a kaki/brown color and after much thinking and comparing swatches to other gis and other colors I decided on the BRAZILNUT*. If you check closely the BRAZILNUT has a small (*) on the right, this means to get the color really dark you must use twice as much dye.

At the end of my proces I was 70% happy with the result and 30% unhappy with the result. The reason? well.. it came out TOO DARK lol. I've read a lot of different reviews on gi dyeing and everyone says it's a pain to do dark tones so I did it the other way around and it was just too dark.

the main reasons for this were the following:

  • I used enough dye for a 4lbs. gi, while my gi was around 2.4lbs (so almost double the amount I needed).
  • I had a large bucket but... didn't fit all the water that was needed so I used about 25% less water therefore the dye was more concentrated.
  • I used a bit more CALCIUM CARBONATE than I needed (the fixing agent) so more color fixed on to the gi.

All and all I'm happy with the result (although for my next dye, If I do make one) I'll try to fix this first issue. It's an original Gi that's for sure and I found out customizing a gi and getting a cool color isn't all that hassle. You just need the right ingredients and about 2.5 hours.

this is the final product! a BRAZILNUT GI

this is the final product! a BRAZILNUT GI

You can see the color came out really dark and strong, I'm happy with that and the fact that is was not full of patches, light dye stains or anything. But it is way darker that I intended. These dyes are perfect when you like the patche son your gi or other elements as they will only dye cotton fibers not polyester (like most patches are).

So how about you? have you dyed a gi before? would you like to? comment and let us know!

 

VERY HARD TO SUBMIT

VHTS

Posted on October 3, 2014 .

Jiu-Jitero's Lifestyle FB Post follow up

A couple of weeks ago we asked our FB fans to chime in on their "bjj lifestyle" to get to know the average jiu-jitero and get to know our fans. With a little help from our VHTS Ninjas, we will try to understand who we are and what we do.

 

We basically wanted to know if our VHTS fans and sponsored athletes had a laid back attitude towards BJJ or if they took it to the extreme. The results were astonishing!... BOTH! some are laid back and some are very strict. What we were interested in was alcohol consumption, dieting and training regime.


"I'm neither. I'm a full tiem student, teacher and intern, so I try to eat right about 80% of the time and also train as often as possible. But I'm also a pragmatist, so my students, schoolwork and trainees come first... which means that sometimes I don't get the sleep, clean diet and training time I'd like. Oh, and I have a beer about every other weekend.
T Nicole Kirk (VHTS FB FAN)

T Nicole Kirk brings up an important point, some of us do have a life outside BJJ, school, work, family. So how does this compare to say a BJJ athlete who's only work is BJJ?

Let's see what Nicholas Bohli VHTS NINJA had to say, he's a full time Jiu-Jitero, competitor and coach at AOJ (PS: you might remember him from an interview we did a while back, check it out here http://www.vhtsny.com/blog/2014/8/14/nicholas-bohli-living-a-life-he-loves-vhts-style )

"I was never one to consume alcohol, I would have a few beers at special occasions, but now with training I don't drink at all. It would be too dificult for me to get my body to recover and be able to perform at the highest level.
I don't folow a special diet I just try to eat as clean as possible, doing all my shoping on the perimeter of grocery stores. Love to eat fresh fruits and vegetables, lean meat, fish and greek yogurt.. As faras supplements to enhance my diet and workout I take BCAA's, protein shakes and glucosamin to help my joints.
My usual schedule is competition training in the morning, private lessons and kids class in the afternoon and advanced class or fundamentals at night."

And how about a full time Jiu-jiteiro and BodyBuilder? Of course we're talking about another VHTS NINJA, Lora Hallock (you can read more of Lora in this interview http://www.vhtsny.com/blog/2014/8/7/ladies-first-interview-with-lora-hallock-vhts-ninja )

"My diet is not a temporary phase of cutting something out. Nor is it restricting any cravings my body might need. My diet is a lifestyle for me. Whether I'm out of town, on vacation, at home, out to eat or preparing to compete my diet is consistent. People know my famous line of <no butter, no oil> hahaha! My diet includes fish, chicken, raw vegetables, oatmeal, almonds, fruits, egg whites, etc. I do splurge after a tough training week and will relax with a glass of red wine and a piece of dark chocolate, but that's just 2-3 times a month.
I also take supplements and Cytogreens as well as protein powders, BCAA's, multivitamin and glutamine. 
In regards to training let's just say I sweat at least once a day.

But you don't have to be a full time jiu-jitero to have the lifestyle. Several of our VHTS FB fans also enjoy that lifestyle.

"No alcohol, drugs, tobacco, meat or dairy. And I train as much as possible"
Adrian Gutierrez (VHTS FB FAN)

"I don't drink. Diet is about 75% on point, but I'm a chef so food is a weakness. Train no less than 5 times a week"
Adam Romero

How about that "after a tough week" we've been hearing about. Marco Alvarado another great VHTS NINJA does do that too, although he also has a great diet!

"Y do consume alcohol, I'm definetely not the "weekend warrior" drinker where I behave all week and rage it on the weekends. I belive that anything done in moderation is exremely harmful. However, on training days that I have trained two or three times I feel a beer is deserving!
I have a great diet, I don't eat fast food and love to eat well-balanced meals consisting of clean proteins and low and high glycemic carbohydrates timed correctly. First and foremost I always try to start my day with a green shake consisting of mixed greens (kale, spinahc, chard) protein, fruit, fiber and chlorella)." 
 

So.. is drinking alcohol bad. Well everyone will tell you excessively, but something in which almost all of our fans and NINJAS coincide is that in the right amount (not too much) is their style. The Korean Zombie (not Jung) Dan Hubler, another of our VHTS NINJAS does drink but also has a clean way of life.

" I do consume alcohol. I'm a bit of a beer snob. Fortunately the best beers can be pretty expensive, so a night of drinking for me usually means one community craft beer. I also brew my own stuff. There's a really big craft beer subculture in the jiu-jitsu community.
I try and eat well but i'm not excessively strict about it. I avoid sugars, white rice, flour, etc. If ever I do eat those types of foods it's only once a week. And Acai as a supplements, is Acai considered a supplement? I'd have elevated levels of whatever it supplements.
I'm a high school wrestling coach so I get wrestling practice several times a week. I worked full time and am enrolled in a full time masters of education program so some weeks I don't have time to train BJJ and it's fine with me. Jiu-Jitsu is not my career it's my wonderful hobby. "

Work and family seem to be a huge factor in how much you train BJJ, our FB fans say basically the same thing.

"I'm an in betweener. I eat out and enjoy a cold one from time to time but all in all
Jits is what makes me feel complete. It's hard to get in training sometimes because of school and family"
Carlos Baca (VHTS FB FAN)
 
"I supplement and have a strict/clean diet one month leading up to competition (two months prior if it's a major competition). Staying close to fight weight is my goal when not in comp mode. If I party (which is rare) I'll party pretty hard (alcohol, not drugs), but as a personal penance I do at least one double day of training the following week. Married, Full time job, 2 kids and I train 2-4 hrs/day, 4-5 days a week more when I'm in comp mode. I sleep 6 hrs/night)"
Gabe Cera
 

It's hard sometimes to balance BJJ but it's good to have a balance also. Most of our FB fans diet, some don't, most drink alcohol, some don't. But something great about everyone is that we all train BJJ let's see what else our FB fans had to say.

"Let's say that the right path is the path in the middle. I'm not a straight edge nutritionist, but I know that if you do not give the right fuel to your body it will find it difficult to do a good job on the mat. On the other hand who could resist chocolate, pizza and a beer from time to time"
Stefano Carrera (VHTS FB FAN)
 
"I'm a family man. Train 2 days a week. Non competitor. Couple (literally one or two) beers most every night. Diet is home cooked but the chef is italian so it's not super healthy"
Tim Nix (VHTS FB FAN)
 
"My hubby and I both train. Strict rest and diet regimen 6 days a week. but when we cheat, we go way of the plan and feel no guilt"
Dawn Paredes (VHTS FB FAN)
 

Alex Ecklin is another VHTS NINJA and great competitor, he also supplements his training making him a all around athlete.

"I do drink socially, but not before tournaments. I stop as soon as I find out I am fighting. When I do drink it's very minimal anyway
In regards to dietingI combine a bunch of different diets together while listening to my body. I would say I eat 80% vegetarian when I am dieting, with a heavy focus on carbs coming from fruits; fats coming from avocados and nuts and proteins coming from fish and chicken. I skip breakfast and train on an empty stomach but I always listen to my body and if I am craving something (as long as it's healthy) I will eat it.
I train BJJ, Muay Thai and do strength and conditioning. I also run and do random workouts all of the time. I try to walk as much as possible, I believe that is a big thing in not getting injured, people don't walk enough and sit for too long and then when they start to train hard their body gets overloaded. I train approximately 20+ hours a week, which includes regular classes, running, strength training but the martial arts training is the bulk of the hours."

So how about you? did you comment on FB? Comment and let us know your thoughs on this subject and stay tuned for a lot more posts featuring our FB fans and upcoming contests.

 

VERY HARD TO SUBMIT

VHTS






Posted on September 20, 2014 .

Meet the Designer: G-CHAINZ Gi by APPLESEED

Appleseed logo with the VHTS G-CHAINZ Gi logo

Appleseed logo with the VHTS G-CHAINZ Gi logo

It's time to delve into the world of designer-gis, one of the newest VHTS gis is also one of the most stylish and fashionable gis to hit the market. We wanted to introduce our readers to APPLESEED the designers of the gi and also take an in depth look into this amazing new uniform. 

 

So who is APPLESEED? and what's your background? 

My name is Florian and I am the guy behind “APPLESEED”. Basically it’s just me, myself and I nobody else. I am a BJJ purple belt under Hugo Février (an Alliance Black Belt from France) but I train here in Germany under my other head coach Christoph Schadek (Black Belt under Hugo Février). I also have been doing Karate for many years, before I started with BJJ.

 

How did you get into the BJJ design business? 

Hahaha well it actually all started with a SHOYOROLL gi design contest. I then started working for them, designed a couple of designs and it blew up for me after that.

Instagram was and is one of my best friends to get the word out there. When I worked with SCRAMBLE for the first time I felt settled. I felt like I made it LOL. The reason might be I saw Scramble growing from the bottom when they still had that small yellow page carrying only 4 items. So it was a big honor to be part of their history.  But nevertheless I am still striving for more am not sure what “more” looks like but I am trying hard to satisfy myself with the things I create. I still don’t feel like printing something on a shirt is the limit.

 

APPLESEED has also designed several popular T-SHIRTS currently available at www.vhts.com

The CHOKE T-shirt is a very clean looking one while the ACAI T-shirt makes a reference to popular Brazilian super-berry

The CHOKE T-shirt is a very clean looking one while the ACAI T-shirt makes a reference to popular Brazilian super-berry

VHTS has also a OUTERSPACE JIU-JITSU PROJECT T-shirt

VHTS has also a OUTERSPACE JIU-JITSU PROJECT T-shirt

The G-CHAINZ is a white super clean looking gi (on the outside). It's a 480 GSM Gold Weave jacket with an inner Gold Flower and Chain sublimation printing lining (which looks amazing). It has soft seam tape, gold chain embroidery on the outside. The pants is made with cotton canvas fabric and reinforced with gold weave fabric around gussets and knee pad.

If that still doesn't interest you take a loot at these pictures.

Back to back VHTS female and male models showcasing the G-CHAINZ

Back to back VHTS female and male models showcasing the G-CHAINZ

 

How is the design process, and the creative process while designing a Gi?

Usually I just have an idea however often that first idea is replaced by something better I come up with in the process of designing. However it’s sometimes hard when you have a better idea in the process that is way different from what the client wanted. So you have to stick to the old idea. Often I get inspired by the process of designing a commissional work so another design is inspired by that particular work.

G-CHAINZ inside print

G-CHAINZ inside print

What was the inspiration for the G-CHAINZ?

I always loved the baroque patterns of Versace. These patterns were always a huge inspiration and had a significant impact on my designs. When VHTS came up to me with the idea of chains and a floral theme I immediately  thought of the infamous Versace patterns!

 

How much input did Gi Tak (VHTS Owner) have? What did he want on the Gi?

Basically he told me he wanted a gi with chains and a baroque floral theme. I really love when I can work with people who know what they want. It’s such a pain in the ass when you work with a client that just tells you “design something super cool” you will end up designing for hours and the client will tell you “ah nah” don't really like it.

Detail of the Chain embroidery and VHTS G-CHAINZ embroidery

Detail of the Chain embroidery and VHTS G-CHAINZ embroidery

Being on the VHTS bandwagon is awesome, what do you like/love about VHTS?

I love the simplicity of VHTS. It always had that “rvddw-feel” for me. I hope for VHTS that it stays true to itself and keeps delivering it’s minimalist, clean message. Staying true is so important don’t mess it up with being mediocre. Some things might seem far away but try to reach for it releasing products that are just a sellout from what you have thought of doesn't take you where you want to be.

 

Anything else you'd like to add?

Now you let me do that freestyle-thing hahaha. Yeah first of all thanks to all you guys who love my stuff and kept reading until the end.

Check out my Facebook page “APPLESEED Germany” and Instagram @aplsd

Thanks VHTS for giving me the chance to introduce myself and Always mind the world wasn't made for “mediocre-ism”.

 

VHTS

VERY HARD TO SUBMIT

Posted on September 2, 2014 .