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BJJ 101: The Basic Positions & Submissions Used In Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has seen ever-accelerating global growth in the past decade, spreading from Rio de Janeiro to Vancouver and beyond. Equal parts sport and ever-evolving martial art, BJJ requires familiarity with a wide array of specific positions, movements, and submission techniques to stay competitive. Due to this, beginners in BJJ often feel overwhelmed by the amount of fundamental information necessary to become competent grapplers. 

Such fundamentals are consistently displayed by competitors in every level of grappling and mixed-martial arts competition, transcending time, trendy techniques, and even belt colour. While it is tough to entirely quantify the basics of BJJ, we nevertheless have selected the most common, important positions and submissions for new students of the art to focus on.

Basic Positions: and Overview

Some of the basic positions you will see in any reputable Vancouver BJJ gym are the closed guard, half-guard, side mount, full mount, back mount, and front headlock, as well as the standup position that typically begins all competitions and fights. Understanding how to attack, defend, and advance position from these fundamental BJJ positions forms the core of any solid BJJ foundation. The submissions we discuss in the second half of the article are all available from one or more of these basic positions.

The Most Common Beginner’s Battle: Closed Guard

The closed guard is likely the most common defensive position you will encounter in BJJ as a beginning BJJ student. Although there are near-endless variations of the guard, most beginners instinctively find themselves in closed guard, with the bottom player’s legs closed and locked around the top player’s waist. The simplicity of technique and relative lack of flexibility required to enter the basic position help the closed guard offer security to most BJJ beginners. A great way to learn the fundamentals of breaking posture, you can employ both your legs and arms to control your opponent, keep them off balance, and maintain distance.

Closed guard also offers a number of submissions — such as the armbar, triangle, and omoplata — to the bottom player. For the top player, opening your opponent’s legs and passing their closed guard is the first challenge to overcome in advancing top position to reach a better point of control such as side mount, full mount, and back mount.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8zdW3axLGsk

Advancing Position: The Half Guard

Half-guard — whereby the bottom player has trapped just one of the top player’s legs within their own — is the next major position beginners must learn. It is critical for both players to understand this position, as although half-guard is technically a step towards superior position for the person on top, the bottom player has a massive arsenal of sweeps and crafty submissions at their disposal, most of which are not readily available from the previously discussed full-guard. Demian Maia, one of the most decorated grapplers on the planet, routinely uses the bottom half-guard position in MMA as a means of sweeping his opponent.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kDfGTFAu8W0&t=1s

The First Position of Control: Side Mount

As the top player, once you have successfully passed the half-guard you will typically find yourself in side-mount. Common in other grappling arts such as wrestling and judo, the side mount affords you both the opportunity for stifling control as well as submissions such as the armbar, kimura, and americana. For the bottom player, side-mount will force you to dial in your defense and escapes, keeping your limbs in tight and working to resecure some form of guard.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A3_kWqLfaUU

Survival: The Full Mount

Should the top player continue to advance position, they will generally enter the full mount. Full mount is an aggressive position of control for both BJJ and full-contact fights, offering a number of submission options and -- in the case of the latter -- the ability to freely punch your opponent in the face.

For the bottom player, surviving and escaping the mount is crucial for both competition and self-defense, a critical foundational aspect of all beginner BJJ programs.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LMp2Ok31P3U

Worst-Case Scenario: Back Mount

From full mount, your attempts to finish your opponent will often force them to turn over and reveal a path to their back -- the most dominant position you can secure. Taking the back is a great way to advance position, score points, and put your opponent in an incredibly difficult spot. There are several ways to attack from back mount, including one of the most decisive, high-percentage finishes in all of martial arts: the rear naked choke.

Surviving choke attempts and escaping back mount are crucial aspects of all beginning BJJ curriculums. The back mount is about the worst position you can be in as the bottom player -- you have no avenues of attack and your defense must be near-flawless. On the upside, finding yourself in back mount forces you to develop the ability to defend yourself, ultimately escaping your way back to a neutral position and attempting your own guard-passing, mount, and back-take techniques.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B1cZkOmuWog

The Endpoint of Scrambles: Front Headlock

The front headlock is another common position even untrained individuals are likely to encounter in a grappling scenario. If you attempt a takedown on your opponent from a standing position, or scramble to escape from the bottom, you are quite liable to find yourself in the front headlock. For the top player, the front headlock offers a massive arsenal of chokes, including the guillotine, d’arce, and their many variations. Additionally, taking the back from front headlock is a tremendously effective way to advance your top position.

For the bottom player, the front headlock can offer some surprisingly aggressive wrestling techniques such as the hip-heist, as well as both single and double-leg takedown options. Surviving, advancing and recovering position from the bottom front headlock is vital for BJJ competition at all levels, in addition to being crucial for self-defense and MMA.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O22YyheqB-Q

The Universal Starting Point: Neutral Stand-up Position

While Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu focuses primarily on ground fighting, nearly every BJJ match, MMA fight, or street altercation starts from the neutral standing position. The intricacies of standup grappling — largely the domain of wrestling and judo -- must be understood by BJJ players all the same. A firm grasp of footwork, grip fighting, tie-ups, guard-pulls, and the common takedowns are imperative in order to have a well-rounded grasp of basic BJJ for competition and self-defense.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qDXSMEPru3M

Fundamental Submissions

A properly applied submission can be the final stage of any BJJ match, roll, or fight. While most beginners are eager to learn submissions and begin tapping people out, the unfortunate truth is that there is nothing basic about finishing any submission. Submitting a reasonably trained opponent with any particular attack is, in and of itself, an advanced proposition with many intricate factors. Submissions that seem simple, such as the rear naked choke, require a number of detailed steps to consistently finish trained opponents who know how to stay calm, avoid mistakes, employ basic defensive maneuvers.

Nevertheless, as a new BJJ player, you will begin learning submissions early into your training career. While there is nothing wrong with attempting submissions using your newfound knowledge, the true first step toward ‘learning’ submissions is understanding how to survive and defend them.

Given that most of your training partners will be more skilled than you for some time, you are far more likely to end up on the worse end of the positions we discussed for much of your early time on the mats. As such, you will have plenty of opportunities to learn how to defend submissions long before you have the chance to apply them offensively.

While the list of submissions and their variations in BJJ is vast, there are a handful of common submissions viable from the positions mentioned above that you must learn how to defend and utilize in order to build a solid BJJ foundation. Among the moves you must become familiar with are armbars from the top and bottom positions, the key-lock attacks such as the kimura and americana, the rear naked choke, triangle choke, and guillotine.

Armbars from Top and Bottom

The armbar can be reliably applied from both the guard and mount positions, and is among the earliest submissions a beginner will be exposed to. The finishing details may vary greatly depending on the specific position and style of each player, but the mechanics of the armbar are fairly universal: the attacking player isolates and controls an opponent’s arm with their legs, pinching their knees above the elbow and controlling the opponent’s wrist with their hands. Pressure is applied to either the back of the head or the face (depending on the position), using the calves, shins, and thighs, to keep the opponent pinned down. The breaking mechanism occurs when the attacker extends the hips, hyperextending the opponent’s elbow using the lower abdominal area as a fulcrum.

As a beginner, the first step in understanding how to survive and defend the armbar is by relieving pressure on the elbow, removing the leg from your face to regain posture control, and from there posturing up and pulling your arm out. Understanding the mechanics of the armbar is important for consistently getting these steps right, and any qualified BJJ instructor should be able to competently instruct in them.

Learning the defense and escape sequence from an armbar will make you far more capable when attacking your own armbar submissions, as you will understand the angles and movements your opponent needs to make in order to escape. You can prepare for and anticipate those counters, ignoring useless spazzing or attempts to “muscle out” of the position.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nA1DcH3Zkow

Keylock Attacks: The Kimura and Americana

Another major submission category to be aware of are keylock/figure-four shoulder attacks, specifically the Kimura and Americana. Though these submissions tend to have a lower percentage of success in the long run compared to other attacks, they provide useful opportunities for control and threats to set up other finishes. Their simplicity and availability from a number of positions on both top and bottom warrants their standing as BJJ fundamentals -- any BJJ player worth their salt will attack the Kimura or Americana should the opportunity be presented.

The Kimura grip in particular is available from both top and bottom positions, and can be used to escape, reverse position, or get the tap. It involves a figure-four grip on the opponent’s wrist, with one of your hands controlling the opponent’s wrist and the other arm wrapping around the opponents tricep, weaving through to grab your own wrist on the opposite hand. [PIC] This figure-four lock forms a powerful lever to over-rotate the shoulder joint. The opponent must turn their entire body to relieve the pressure, tapping if they cannot continue to turn. Failure to do so will tear the shoulder from its socket, a painful and debilitating injury.

The Americana is similar in concept to the kimura, but is generally only available from top positions. The Americana uses a similar figure-four grip to rotate the shoulder in the opposite direction as the Kimura, to similar effect.

The most important aspect of studying figure-four shoulder locks is knowing how to prevent your opponent from securing the grip. Keeping your elbows tight to your body prevents most opponents from easily securing the figure-four grip, without which it will be nearly impossible to finish the submission. Once you know how to hunt for the figure-four grip, you will be able to snatch should-locks on people who are careless with their elbows and leaving openings for attack.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tMCtcwr6Z68

Bane of the Guard Passer: The Triangle Choke

The triangle choke is a head-and-arm choke applied using the attacker’s legs. Performed by sliding a leg over one of your opponent’s shoulders and positioning your calf perpendicular across the opponent’s neck, you then lock the leg down at the ankle with your other knee, trapping one of your opponents arms aside their neck.

Though available from both top and bottom positions, the triangle is most frequently attacked from guard by the bottom player. An incredibly technical move to finish, understanding how to avoid the triangle by keeping ‘both arms in’ or ‘both arms out’ when in the opponent’s guard is the first lesson when it comes to dealing with this submission. You will learn advanced set-ups to attack the triangle as you progress, and will conversely develop more technical means of escaping this dangerous hold the more you practice.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uTGg1q2_i6U

Choking From the Front: The Guillotine

Similar to the rear-naked choke in its instinctiveness and obvious danger, the guillotine choke involves wrapping-up the opponent’s neck with one arm, their head trapped under your chest, with finishing pressure applied under the chin to either the carotid arteries or the windpipe. There are a number of guillotine variations depending on the exact position you find yourself in, but the guillotine is most commonly seen when, during a wrestling engagement, the shooting player exposes their neck through improper head position.

Learning how to shoot safely with good posture and minimal neck exposure is the first step towards avoiding this choke. If you do find yourself wrapped up in a guillotine, your must understand the head and chin angle required for the finish, as well as the hand fighting options to create space in order to survive the choke attempt.

As with all submissions, finishing the guillotine is an art in itself. Without an understanding of how to defend this choke, it will be difficult to submit skilled opponents just by squeezing hard on the head from a front headlock.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=at1I6k-mrHs

The Ultimate Finish: The Rear Naked Choke

The rear naked choke is arguably the poster-child finish for any grappling situation. It is effective in BJJ, MMA, and real-world fighting because it allows the attacker to stay almost completely out of harm’s way while cutting off the blood flow to the opponent’s brain. This makes for an incredibly deadly submission that, properly applied, will work on any opponent regardless of size or strength.

The rear naked choke attack occurs from the back mount position, and is the number one priority for the bottom player to defend against once their back is taken. The attacker weaves their arm under the opponent's chin and grips their own opposite shoulder or bicep. From there, the non-choking hand will push the opponent's head deeper into the choke, making for a nasty finish. There are several other details, such as head position and rotation of the choke, that can make the difference between an opponent tapping or hanging on, but the general idea is quite intuitive for beginners.

The first defense to the rear naked choke is to protect your neck by controlling the attackers hands, preventing them from wrapping up your neck. The attacking player must be patient in order to secure your neck and the submission, allowing the defender some time to escape. This is an important battle you must become aware of as both the attacker and defender, and is part-and-parcel of understanding the ins-and-outs of the back mount position.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AkdQCYDoeBk

Building Respect Through Mastering BJJ Fundamentals

Learning BJJ is life-long journey, and typically requires years of practice before a solid appreciation of the basics is earned. Luckily, the rewards are also infinite, as grasping each position leads you to better understand the many positions prior and beyond. With the Vancouver martial arts scene rapidly growing, taking the time to focus on the basic positions and submissions detailed above, particularly from survival and escape standpoint, will help grant you the base you need to earn your way forward as a grappler — both in sport, class, and self-defence scenarios.

 

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Muay-Thai-101

Muay Thai 101 – Know the Basics

By Stacy Bryan

Muay-Thai-101

It was about ten years ago when I first heard the words “Muay Thai Kickboxing”. My kids had recently begun to take Brazilian Jiu Jitsu classes, and the UFC had gone mainstream just a few years prior. As I watched the kids take turns flipping each other onto the mat, I realized just how badly I needed to get into shape. The only problem was not knowing where to start! I soon found myself googling general terms like “personal trainer Vancouver” and “gym Vancouver” – you know, things that made sense at 3:00 a.m.! For logistical reasons, I settled on the MMA fitness class at the same BJJ gym as my kids, and wow, what a workout! 

One night at the gym I overheard the instructor telling his students that in Mixed Martial Arts,  BJJ almost always steals the win once the fight hits the mat. This left me wondering: which stand-up (striking) martial art is most effective? Could it be kickboxing? Western-style boxing? How about Karate, or Taekwondo? A short time after, while watching a UFC fight, I heard Joe Rogan explain that the best MMA fighters usually train Muay Thai – in fact, some even travel to Thailand to do just that. Well, I have always been a super competitive gal, and since I couldn’t stand the idea of being flipped over some dude’s shoulder like in Judo, I decided to search for Muay Thai Kickboxing in Vancouver and give it a try. The rest is history!

What is Muay Thai Kickboxing?

Developed for close quarter combat centuries ago, “The Art of Eight Limbs” uses the whole body as a weapon of war. Known for its simplicity, power, and efficiency, the art is continually tested in the ring, as well as in real-world situations. So, if you’ve ever thought about giving some Vancouver Kickboxing Classes a try, I highly recommend Muay Thai! This martial art/sport can seem intimidating at first, so I thought I’d share some of what I learned with you. 

The first thing I learned after entering the gym was what I’d call the Thai art of “sabai sabai.” Loosely, I would equate the phrase to the words (and concepts of) “chill out”, “relax”, or “take it easy”. I would wager that any good Vancouver Muay Thai instructor would agree that we want to see you as relaxed as possible at all times! I was taught that the best way to achieve this is to consciously feel your entire body, recognize the tension, and let it go. 

Now, let’s get into some Muay Thai basics:

The Thai Stance: A proper Muay Thai stance should allow you to be mobile, strong, prepared to avoid incoming attacks, and to launch attacks of your own.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v43O9-t1UxE

Now that you know how to get into a fighting stance, I’m going to break down a few of the Muay Thai moves that I’ve found most effective.

Knees/Kicks

The Diagonal Knee

Your weapon: your knee
The target: opponent’s diaphragm

This is a short and powerful strike where you use the bone of the knee as your weapon. It tends to be a favorite of the Thais, as it earns big points in the ring. Fair warning: this is a very dangerous strike, as you’re using the swing of both your hips one arm to generate force. As with all Muay Thai moves, the hips are the driving force behind the strike, meaning you twist in and through your target.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qqEJVNn67tY

Teep Kick (Straight Push-Kick)

Your weapon: the ball of your foot
The target: opponent’s chest, stomach, face

When kicking with the ball of the foot, we must learn to always bend our toes back to keep them out of the way -- particularly if you wish to avoid painful impact! Many people who aren’t in the mindset of protecting their toes suffer injuries to them early on in their training. This won’t happen to you, luckily, because we are going to help etch it into your brain. Eventually, with a lot of training your toes are going to be conditioned to always bend back. 

The Teep kick is ideal for self-defence on the street. Ladies, take note: a good teep to the groin of your attacker should render them speechless and imobile. In addition, if you kick above the belly button, it won’t just push the scumbag away -- it’ll knock him back a few feet. Of course, all of this applies to men as well. Don’t be soft, learn to teep hard! If you want to simply throw your opponent’s timing off, use a teep to push him back. The teep isn’t a snap-kick like in other martial arts, because the knee remains fully extended on contact. There are many body components to think of when first practicing the teep, but don’t worry! It should quickly become natural.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=akTP1HaToW8

Roundhouse Kick

Your weapon: your shin bone (tibia)
The target: opponent’s leg, mid section, head

Properly executed, this is one of the most powerful kicks in all of martial arts and is particularly effective in real world fighting situations. It is a great example of what Muay Thai is all about, conducted using your skill and control of your body. 

There are a couple of ways you can envision this kick. Similar to a whip, the leg moves fast, snapping the strongest at the very end. You could also imagine swinging your leg like a baseball bat from the hip, keeping the leg long and mostly straight. Imagine that your hips are the hands that hold the baseball bat, and you swing it for a home run hit. Instead of aiming your swing to hit the ball past the outfield, think of aiming to kick through your opponent. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=whPGZOOA47s

Elbows

With elbow techniques your weapon is the sharp point of your elbow. Imagine your elbow slicing like a knife or striking like the point of a spear, rather than just smashing with it as hard as you can. It’s good to keep in mind that elbow strikes are close-range techniques -- they should be used when your opponent is close enough, or when you’ve already moved in towards them. The three basic Muay Thai elbow strikes are:

Horizontal Elbow

Weapon: the sharp point of your elbow
Target: opponent’s face

Downward Cutting Elbow
Weapon: the sharp point of your elbow
Target: opponent’s forehead, temple

Upwards Elbow

Weapon: the sharp point of your elbow
Target: opponent’s chin, nose

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kt8PsJaEtM8

Punches

Your weapon: the knuckles of your first two fingers
The target: opponent’s head, face, stomach, ribs, liver

In Muay Thai, there are many different punches that can be aimed at a variety of different targets on your opponent. With each punch, you should try and remember that the weapon is your first two knuckles (you’ll notice they stick out the most). It may be tricky to land these knuckles with gloves on, so imagine that your knuckles are driving the punch through your gloves.

Jab

A quick straight punch (kind of like a “pop”) with the lead hand that allows you get in and out quickly, set up further strikes, and disrupt your opponent’s offence. Your target is most often going to be the nose or chin of your opponent. The jab is the perfect set-up punch to knock your opponent out of rhythm, while also maintaining distance or a defensive position. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o_4XUhY3bls

Cross 

Usually preceded by the jab, a straight rear-hand punch you will hear described as the “power shot.” Good rotation in the hips will allow for a powerful punch, as your rear right hand travels a longer distance, across the body. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r1pJvd2mX78

Uppercut 

The uppercut can be thrown with either hand and is aimed at the bottom of the chin, a tightly arced shot striking directly upwards.  

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1GCm2_gsVT4

Hook 

Can be performed with the lead hand or the rear hand, the hook is one of the most powerful strikes available to you. Equally devastating to both the body and the head, a properly placed hook (on either the liver, jaw, or temple) can knock your opponent out completely.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G_Iiu3qAtDI

Defence

Kick Check

The most common way to defend a kick in Muay Thai is called “checking”. This is done by lifting your leg to act as a barrier against an incoming roundhouse kick. The incoming kick should be blocked by your raised leg, meanwhile protecting your face with both of your hands.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zc__1wQBs0s

Lean Back Defence

This is one of the most common and easiest defensive techniques in Muay Thai. You simply lean back out of the way to avoid an opponent’s punch or high kick.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V4SNJ-QkFhw

What to Expect at Your First Class

Everything you’ve read so far might be daunting to a beginner. Just be happy to know that any good instructor will quickly assess your abilities and meet you where you’re at. Your first Muay Thai class may be nerve-wracking, and you’ll likely end up working harder than ever before (even with just the warm-up). Don’t worry, this is all part of the process -- just getting your into class is the first step! 

In general, here’s what you can expect at your first class:

Most Muay Thai classes -- be they in Thailand or at a gym in Vancouver -- are going to begin with a good warm up to get your heart pumping, including jumping rope or a short jog, some basic upper and lower body stretches, and a round or two of shadow boxing. Next you will likely work on technique, which may include either punches, knees, elbows, kicks or a combination thereof. An instructor will demonstrate the basic movement or combination of the day, and you will partner up with another student to practice the techniques using pads. 

The two of you will switch back and forth several times, and the instructor will likely work in some conditioning rounds -- periods where you have to execute basic techniques repeatedly and strenuously. You are not going to be expected to participate in any sparring until much further down the road, so don’t stress about that. Most Muay Thai gyms will start with the very basics; how the gym operates, warm-ups, fighting stance, and getting the foundations down to build up to a strong technique. Honestly, any gym offering kickboxing classes in Vancouver will be very welcoming and understanding to beginners! Finally, you will cool down with some stretches, maybe discussion on what was learned, or what will come in the next class.

Muay Thai is a difficult martial art, but the instructors will understand this better than anybody, and are prepared to meet you wherever you are, be it beginner or pro. There are many options for procuring a personal trainer in Vancouver -- however, a good Muay Thai instructor will be patient and bring you gradually into the harder, tougher stuff while encouraging you to sharpen your skills. My first class was an incredible workout, and while leaving my body exhausted, the burn felt good -- I just had to keep coming back!

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Why DCS Is A World Class Facility, by Riley Maggs

This past winter, at the ripe young age of 30, I realized I was at a crossroads: either lose some weight, or buy some bigger shirts. Although the first, healthier option won out, I've never been too fond of certain forms of exercise. I am, however, a massive fan of combat sports and have dabbled in various martial arts at various points in my life. I figured there must be someplace to train martial arts in Vancouver where I could put those interests to work for my body’s benefit.

As a recent transplant from Alberta, finding the right gym in Vancouver was somewhat intimidating. The hours I keep working nights don't often align with the 9-to-5ers who make up most of the population. I needed a place with a broad range of class times from morning to late evening. Despite a few years of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu experience under my (forever white) belt, the cathartic intensity of Muay Thai kickboxing captured my curiosity enough that I decided to give it a shot. Plus, if I could bring these two disciplines together and try my hand at mixed martial arts...well, what would be the harm? Basically, I needed a place I could train Muay Thai in Vancouver -- or whatever else I wanted, whenever I wanted -- without having to compromise on quality of instruction. In DCS I found a gym, and community, that exceeded my expectations by bounds.

The Diaz Combat Sports facility sits at the edge of Chinatown, occupying a pair of spaces that bookend the block of Gore Avenue from Union to East Georgia street. Both spaces house plenty of amenities for a comprehensive martial arts and fitness experience. The first, near the corner of Union and Gore, welcomes the adjacent park with open floor to ceiling windows. It boasts an elevated, fully-equipped boxing ring, heavy bags, an MMA cage setup from UFC cage provider Throwdown, two private shower spaces, and plenty of storage for personal effects. Jump ropes, heavy bags, and high-quality Fairtex pads/focus mitts are all available for member use during and outside of class times, and handwraps, gear, and gloves can be purchased at the front desk.

The two-story second space sits at the corner of Gore and East Georgia -- steps away from Vancouver's legendary Vietnamese-Cambodian eatery, Phnom Penh. Heavy bags hang and kettle-bells soar on the main floor, home to DCS's world-class boxing, strength, and conditioning programs. Rowing-machines, resistance bikes, squat racks and heavy chains are all regularly employed to break you down and build you back up, stronger each time. Upstairs, the high-quality padded floor plays host to regular Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Muay Thai, and wrestling classes. No matter the workout, the air conditioning here is a glorious, life-saving luxury.

DCS's robust program schedule offers a variety of classes to students of all skill levels, numerous times a day. Further, the main facility is open exclusively to women for 90 minute durations Monday-Friday evenings, with both striking and grappling lessons available. Personally, I had no trouble fitting several classes at DCS a week into my unorthodox schedule. My shirts all fit again, for the record.

That DCS has the space to offer such an array of classes is all well and good, but what about the instruction? This is where DCS truly shines – the people, their staggering degree of knowledge, and their commitment to maintaining a friendly & positive atmosphere. DCS instructors are world champions, Fight of the Year recipients, and trainers to some of the combat world's biggest stars. While the accolades these people have accrued over the years are too many to recount in full, I can't help but share a glance at some of them:

Owner Ryan “The Lion” Diaz has a lifetime of martial arts experience and well over two decades experience in professional competition. His knowledge base extends to cover every aspect of MMA, and his striking acumen are particularly noteworthy – Ryan is currently the head striking coach for Bellator great and former UFC lightweight champ, Benson Henderson.

Muay Thai expert Adrian Shead honed his skills during a 15 year stint in his native Thailand, a period that saw him lead both the AKA Thailand and Tiger Muay Thai fight camps as general manager. When he's not teaching kickboxing in Vancouver, Adrian serves as coach and manager to featherweight world champion Petchpanumrung in Glory, the premiere kickboxing organization on the world stage.

Skipper Kelp is the architect of the DCS boxing program. A former pro welterweight with a boxing record of 24-4-1, Skip remains infamous for his bombastic, highly-entertaining fighting style. In 2006 he coached the boxing team he founded at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, to a collegiate-level national title, and has since gained recognition as UFC president Dana White's personal boxing instructor.

Thanit “Boom” Watthanaya splits his days between Canada and Thailand, his enthusiasm inspiring students on both sides of the Pacific. Along with his wife – British Columbian and fellow professional fighter Frances Watthanaya – Boom maintains the Wor Watthana Muay Thai Gym, which they opened together in January of 2015. Located in Thailand's poverty-stricken rural Isaan regain, on land that once served as a garden for Boom's father, the gym acts as a community hub and safe haven for the area's chronically under-supported children. There they are provided shelter, access to resources, and the chance to thrive in a positive community while learning the art of Muay Thai. Don't let his caring nature and generosity fool you: Boom's nickname is no coincidence. Among his 46 wins in 60 professional fights, nearly half of them are by knockout – a true feat for a competitor in the lighter weight classes.

Stuart Cooper, former BJJ instructor at Evolve MMA in Singapore and Tiger Muay Thai in Thailand, recently brought his world-beating level of expertise to DCS's grappling mats with the founding of his Stuart Cooper Jiu-Jitsu program. Stuart’s arrival announces that there has never been a better time to train BJJ in Vancouver, as his program understands and is built upon a truly global perspective of the art.

Six-time Muay Thai world champion Lamsonkram Chuwattana is an absolute icon of his sport. Lamsongkram's understanding of the nuances of striking, and particularly clinch work, is unparalleled. He represents the art at its highest level. All-time MMA great Georges St-Pierre's coaches at Tristar gym have a well-known reputation for seeking out only the most exceptional teachers, and Lam was the man they hand-selected to instruct GSP in the art of eight limbs. You can now find him right here, teaching Muay Thai in Vancouver and helping students of all levels sharpen their skills at DCS every single day.

Impressive as these things are on an individual level (the world-class trainers, the breadth of programs offered, the variety of times to attend, the quality of the space), none of them would mean half as much if not for the DCS's relentlessly positive atmosphere. Learning at DCS takes place under the careful tutelage of experts who want to see you improve your technique, your physical ability, and your overall well-being. They share your triumphs, however small – I still remember how pleased Adrian was once I finally managed to throw an upward elbow strike with more force than a gentle nudge. The room constantly buzzes with positivity.

During my first class, I could barely stand following the warm up. Jonathan, an irrepressibly good-spirited instructor, took myself and a couple other first-timers to a corner of the gym to work the very basics of striking while we whinged and wheezed. Had he scoffed or seemed even a little annoyed that an out of shape amateur like myself had turned up, I would have promptly turned tail and hunkered down at the nearest bar for another ten or so years. Instead, he laughed when we laughed, encouraged us when we needed it, and made me feel like I was welcome – even if I couldn't do more than five push-ups at a time.

The gym I was searching for had a pretty long list of boxes to check. As it turns out, Diaz Combat Sports offered not only a spectacular place to learn martial arts in Vancouver, but held it all together with a positive environment and world-class instruction. On any given day, you can pick the brains of several people who have trained champions about any number of martial arts. Adrian will tell you about the importance of kickboxing fundamentals. Ryan will remind you that even top level-MMA fighters need to follow the most basic rules of escaping an opponent's guard. Lam, a one-in-a-million Muay Thai talent, will gladly help wrap your hands for you if you show up late. It's preposterous.


DCS Compound - Coming Soon!

???Here it is!!!???What you have all been waiting to hear?
?DCS will be moving two blocks away to Pender St. to an 11,000 square foot facility in 2020!!! ?We will be welcoming you to experience the DCS COMPOUND!

Our new facility will be three floors fully equipped with Boxing ?Ring, Octagon, separate areas for Kickboxing??, Boxing, Jiu-Jitsu and Conditioning??, bag room, VIP training room. Full change room amenities with showers ?and lockers, a juice bar?and a merchandise store. .

I cannot express my gratitude?? enough to all of you for your support. How far we have grown in 4 years with now 1000 active members and over 10,000 people walking through our doors, is just unheard of!!! We absolutely cannot have done this without you. It is you that make this all possible. So many people to thank??individually and will make another post for that.

We became #1 in the city and now it's time to take on the world?. I have worked so hard to assemble a team that can truly be considered one of the best in the world. Research and see the credentials our instructors have and you will be astonished, shocked and amazed. No other gym in the Canada ?? let alone in the city can match. And it’s crazy, it’s right here in Vancouver. You don’t have to go to Thailand ?? or the States ?? or anywhere else anymore. We have brought the best training ?? to you! It is time to put Vancouver on the map as a true destination for Martial Arts training.

To all the Martial Artists in Vancouver. No matter what gym you train??at you are welcome to be part of our mission and put Vancouver on the map. Support our cause and come in and help us make Vancouver a true destination for those wanting to learn Martial Arts. You have a chance to be part of something big?. Our trainers are truly sought out from all over the world ? and they are here now full time in your home town. Our vibe? is unparalleled, our trainers ?? are the highest level you can find, our facility will be state of the art and truly one of the best in the world?.

So ask yourself.... if you have a chance to train at one of the best gyms in the world. Why would you train anywhere else??? Why????


Katana BJJ tournament - DCS Kids

Congratulations ???to all our DCS competitors at the Katana BJJ tournament yesterday. Soooooo proud of of every single one of you!!! Friendly reminder our Jiu-Jitsu program at DCS is about to get a whole lot more exciting with @stuartcooperfilms arrival at the end of this month. He will build a competition ?? team to compete in Jiu-Jitsu competitions all over. Can’t wait!!


SCJJ X DCS - Coming September!

Please ?? tell me how this makes you feel... Because it’s giving me goosebumps???!!! I’m beyond exciting?, honoured, grateful and so many more things. Stuart Cooper is coming and will be arriving in two weeks time. Then it begins... Stuart Cooper Jiu-Jitsu. Catch SCJJ at DCS starting the end of this month???!!! Come train with THE Stuart Cooper here at DCS Vancouver.


Veronica Macedo UFC Uruguay - WINNER!

We are sooooooooooo excited ??? for@veronicamacedomma UFC fights ?????? 1st at UFC Uruguay and can’t wait for her to show the world ? what an ?amazing? fighter she is and that hard work pays off. Don’t be surprised if you see some cool ninja tricks. Hahahaha ???

Be sure to catch us on ESPN+ or UFC Fightpass ??  Please help me wish Veronica the best of luck ? and lets show that all our DCS Fam is behind her. Go get ?? it Veronica!!!!

Update: Winner ??? in the 1st Round by Armbar!!!! @veronicamacedomma sooooo proud ???? of her!!!! Congratulations ??????Veronica!!!! We are all proud of you here at DCS.


Welcome: Luke Sykes to DCS

?Flash Update? Starting Wednesday @sykesluke13 will be taking over the 12:30pm Combat ??Conditioning ?? and will be running his Combat Athlete Class. .

He will run his Combat ?? Athlete class the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of every Month at 12:30pm at DCS!!!
Luke is a fitness instructor at Equinox and Yyoga. Being known for always having his classes packed he is considered one of the top fitness trainers in British Columbia. Whose coming to train ?? with Luke???


Kids World Vancouver X DCS

Awesome session with @kidsworldvancouver???????!!! All the children today had sooooo much fun?!!! Thank you ?? for stopping by!!! Bring your child today and come join the fun ? at DCS!!! .


Moving on up! Jiu-Jitsu

Yesterday Douglas had the privilege of promoting Emma to yellow belt.
She's been a regular at DCS for years since 2016. She started training Jiu Jitsu with the women in the past year and has been doing amazing. It's such an honour to have her positive, loving, and caring nature in our classes. Congratulations Emma! From the entire DCS family.