Friday, November 19, 2010

Pousada Mata Atlântica Dos Sauer, Petropolis, Brazil

In the late 20th century, the estate and surrounding lands of a particular Brazilian family was lost in a series of events that eventually was forgotten in the mountains above Rio.

Located in the Serrana region of the State of Rio de Janeiro, that estate was a part of a gigantic 28,000 sq. meter property surrounded by the beautiful mountain forests of Petrópolis. Of the 28,000 sq meters in the property, 20,000 meters were devoted to a forest and natural habitat reserve for the local indigenous fauna and flora that are native to the surrounding ecosystem.

From 1978-2008, the halls of this estate slept admist the thick and misty forests of Região Serrana until in 2008, Pedro Sauer, the grandson of the Patriarch of the família Sauer commissioned the rebuilding and renovation of his family's property and inheritance.

After its renovation, Pedro's idea was to open his childhood home and paradise to the public and allow for all to come and enjoy the heaven on earth he once called his home.

Renamed the Sauer Mata Atlântica Inn (Pousada Mata Atlântica dos Sauer), the inn boasts a gorgeous and sprawling property of luxury residences and accommodations in the quaint yet splendorous style of Brazilian mountain living.

The plaza of the inn is lined with beautiful and intricately designed gardens, marble courtyard, and natural spring that runs through the property to cool your feet in the warm Brazilian sun.
The estate has 11 natural fresh water springs that occur throughout property as well as a waterfall that flows next to the terraced gardens. As if that were not enough, the palmeira jussara, a palm tree in near extinction, grows on the land "as if it were a weed, but more picturesque".

Guests of the inn are able to enjoy both of Brazil's natural beauty was well as the city life, as Petrópolis' quiet mountain location is only a short drive (even shorter if Professor is driving) away from vibrant Rio.

If you are interested in booking a stay, visit and the following links!

Home Website for Pousada Mata Atlântica Dos Sauer

Add our Facebook Profile for Mata Atlântica Dos Sauer!

Add our Facebook GROUP!!

Training with the Gi

Having traveled from Brazil to the U.S, the biggest difference in training I've observed so far has to be the (largely) American preference forgoing any training with the gi in favor of no-gi grappling.

Throughout my own experience, I've come across millions of different reasons why a person should or shouldn't train with a gi. Examples:

"The Gi slows down the game and forces you to think.."
"The gi is a reliable training tool that helps simulate real clothing in a street fight"
"The gi makes you more technical because it just does.."
"The gi is a pointless training tool because it is too unrealistic"
"The training with a gi is pointless because it is too complex for grappling"
"Training with a gi does not prepare you for a fight because you rely too much on grips that don't exist in real life"

The list could go on and on. While the gi may or may not be these things, the thing to understand is that the gi is a form of training tool.

It can be easy to understand why people will often say that the gi is unrealistic. Walk into any IBJJF tournament and sit down for 5 minutes. You will probably see 100 different sweeps and variations of basic submissions that involve wrapping and twisting the gi in all sorts of directions and form your own conclusion that the gi is only a game based on grappling. I believe this is different because as a sport, if something is not illegal then there is no limit to any innovations that will further the sport's competitiveness.

Going back, simply saying that training with a gi makes you a better martial grappler or a sport grappler is an uneducated and irrelevant statement. The correct recipe for a champion in wrestling involves many hours of devoted physical conditioning, superior strength, speed, stamina, and the ability to out-work your opponent whether by sheer brawn and/or technique. The inclusion of a gi would be most unrealistic and pointless in a wrestler's training regimen. While many of the qualities mentioned would be beneficial to a jiu jitsu player, the training methodology and fostering of jiu jitsu skill requires a different approach.

For the sake of training a well-rounded Gracie Jiu Jitsu grappler that relies inherently on the principles of superior leverage and technique (which are qualities such that if they were taught to a person with no outstanding athletic or physical qualities, would be able to defend themselves and/or compete against stronger opponents), I believe the gi to be a mandatory element in a person's training.

Training with the gi offers an nigh infinite amount of variables with which the jiu jitsu player must concern himself in order to win. The gi is both dangerous and helpful to a player. Without it, you may not realize that your opponent has to ability (in both no-gi and gi) to choke you from a certain position that you consider to be safe. Training the body's reflexes, mind, and furthering the education of understanding which combination of variables, grips, and positions will result in the correct outcome allows for the player to become more technical.

One of Jigoro Kano's innovations in Judo was the refining of classical ju jutsu to Judo, where he excluded the practice of many dangerous and harmful techniques to katas. This allowed for Kano to further develop and improve on jujutsu training methods by focusing on randori with techniques that could be APPLIED safely to an opponent at full force, thus allowing for a safe way to improve physical and combat proficiency without maiming opponents.

I believe this principle can be directly applied to Gracie Jiu Jitsu grappling, where taking away the unreliable qualities of brawn and berserk allows for the fostering of safer and more effective qualities such as patience, superior timing, speed, technical knowledge, and true jiu jitsu prowess.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

In Brazil!

I am in Brazil until Sept 8, 2010 :-)

Dennis Barongan, Dexter Gould, and Bryan Mossey, as well as my other purple and brown belts will teach in my stead for the rest of the month.

Please visit my facebook page under Pedro Sauer to fill out a survey on my new jiu jitsu academy in Sterling, Virginia.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Determining skill

As a practitioner of jiu jitsu, I've often been confronted with the question "Professor, how do I get good?" or "Is he good at jiu jitsu?"..

Being "good" at jiu jitsu is a fickle thing.

It is very much like conversing with a friend. First, I believe you must learn the alphabet. It is critical to be well versed and educated in the basic structure and manner in which jiu jitsu is conducted. I believe it is not too much to expect a white belt to learn all the chokes and locks possible in jiu jitsu. The further your education is in the alphabet, the more words (techniques and rational combinations) you can form. A beginner (after being gently coaxed into jiu jitsu using appropriate an introduction of basic movements), should be taught every single sweep, escape, choke, and lock variations that is possible. In this way, I believe they become exposed to the existence of any and all such movements and are able to explore, like children often do with words their parents use, the mechanics by which those sweeps, locks, escapes are utilized on a human body.

If I only taught a beginner the alphabets A, C, and S (armlock choke and sweep), there are not many words he can form..much less sentences or intelligent conversations to interact with his opponent. It would simple be shouting the letters A, C, and S in different sequences. He would also stuck in the guard and helpless on a bottom position! In such a situation, the louder, most obnoxious  (stronger or most insistent) fighter would win the argument. You can obviously see how this is not jiu jitsu. Just because you know three letters or words of katakana does not mean you know how to speak Japanese. You can imagine just as well, the people who believe jiu jitsu is simply a sport of submissions mixed with athleticism are really trying to win ten different arguments with only ONE debate topic and strategy.

When a proponent of jiu jitsu is fully and completely educated in A-Z (all basic and apparent techniques), he is then ready to begin to comprehend the sentences and words we use. Every now and then we might need to check the dictionary, but he is fully capable of taking any new techniques, positions, combinations and strategies and breaking them down and simplifying them into the alphabet that he knows.

After a certain while, performing and practicing jiu jitsu is as easy as speaking. The proponent no longer has to translate the word into his native tongue before speaking, he can easily construct different sentences, speak intelligently with his opponent and even form his own way of conversation and play with sentence structure at his own leisure.

What I am trying to say is: I believe a good jiu jiteiro does not THINK to remember what the escape from side body was when he is caught in it already, or what the certain mechanics of that armlock was when  he is halfway through catching the arm. A Jiu jiteiro intelligently KNOWS how the body moves, the extent of which an arm is capable of stretching, and what movements are required to break an arm.

It should be like speaking, except it is with your body.

This is why so many instructors will often beg their students to go slowly and flow softly. Attacking each other with force and strength is like watching Will Farrell and John C. Reilly converse with each other in Step Brothers. The roll is going nowhere, and even if someone wins, it is redundant. We put our children through grade school for a reason. What good would it be to enter our 6 year old child into a college debate club? Go slowly. Regardless of your age or background, a new language takes time to understand fully.

A perfect conversation is one that is elegant, deep, refined, cultured, and full. It is succinct on paper (Pass the guard, mount, choke) but complex in action (imagine the 50 different guard passes, 3 different mounting techniques, and the myriad of submissions that the proponent must have performed and countered before winning!)....

I hope you understand, my friend!

- many thanks to my good friend "Brian 'the Chinese Mafia' Chang" for helping me with this.

Friday, August 13, 2010


Humble yourself. Not to appear that you claim to know nothing but because you really know nothing.

 This man is victim of attacks by kerambit, a curved blade of filipino origin. It's method of use is practiced widely by those who train in the filipino martial art of Kali...

Only a fool has confidence that overpowers his humanity.

No one will ever know EVERYTHING.

Monday, August 9, 2010


Helio Gracie, Rorion, Rolls, Relson, Rickson, Rolker, Royler, Royce, Robin.

João Alberto Barreto, Alvaro Barreto, Francisco Mansur, Flavio Behring.

The list can go on and on without even touching Carlos Gracie Sr.'s side. Carlson, Robson, Rilion, Carlos Jr., Reylson, Rosley, Carley, Crolin, Renzo, Charles, Ralf, Ryan..

The Machados.

Now that the jiu jitsu that we all practiced and spread almost 20-30 years ago is now a global sport and martial art, the issue of lineage is a delicate topic. People outside of the original generation try to classify our skills and put us into boxes.

Now that both of our founding fathers have passed onto Heaven, I find myself thinking of these things. I, personally, am not worried about whose jiu jitsu is better or which team is the best. I think of the legacy of our generation. At 95 years old, Helio Gracie continued to make improvements to his jiu jitsu in the privacy of his own home in Petropolis and thoughts. I hope that our new prodigies, our successors, the young jiu jitsu stars who will take our place and our belts some day will remember the legacy we left behind. The knowledge that we all gathered together over the years must not be lost.

Romero Jacare Cavalcante, Marcio Maccarao Stambowsky, Fabio Santos, Caique, Delariva, Murilo Bustamante, Liborio, Carlos Valente, Luis Limao Heredia, Anibal Lobo...all the teams of our sport.

Alliance. Gracie Barra. Nova Uniao. Carlson Gracie. Gracie Elite. Gracie Humaita, Gracie friends. Your masters, your instructors, your coaches, your professors all remember their instructors. Regardless of the patch on your are descended from a generation that once saw no distinction in teams. We were all once a family. Training with each other, surfing, and all dedicated to spreading the gospel of jiu jitsu.

We as fighters and sportsmen...who will always ask the question "Do you train?"...remember your roots!

I always will remember mine.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Gracie Jiu Jitsu..Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Back in the day, my professor Helio Gracie agreed to begin the first jiu jitsu federation in Brazil. The starting of that federation allowed for the growing of sport jiu-jitsu and soon became the "brazilian jiu jitsu" that we know today.

Gracie Jiu Jitsu is the martial art that the masters Carlos and Helio Gracie brought into existence. Through the sweat of their brows they revived techniques from Japan and created a fighting system unlike anything previously seen in the world.

I recently watched a movie called Ip Man (Chinese martial arts master). While the fight scenery was obviously staged, the intentions of Gracie Jiu Jitsu were to empower normal everyday people to be able to actually fight and defend themselves much in the same way Ip Man (in the movie) would use his Wing Chun to win duels and defend himself from thugs. (defeating multiple opponents, however, is a topic that I am not touching..)

Gracie Jiu Jitsu is a martial art meant for fighting much like any combative system like Kali, Silat, Kyokushin..(the list goes on).

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (if we must use another name) is the sportive version, the recreational side of our art that everyone can enjoy without going out and picking a fight or going into MMA.

Sport Jiu Jitsu, however, was the next step in Jiu Jitsu's proliferation and popularization. Now we have people contesting which techniques will work on the street and which can only work on the mat. These arguments must be discussed with a universal understanding of what we are doing here..

Positions such as the deep half guard, 50/50, x-guard and SO on are all evolutions of the art of grappling. They were quick solutions to certain problems in basic grappling and the playing of these guards and positions are only possible because the rules and limitations of our sport allow for them. This much is simple. When you take out the punches and the nhb, these positions are naturally there. I believe when it comes to bettering ourselves at grapplers in sport, there is nothing we should not learn. I am 52 and I still open my mind to any white belt-black belt that has a new move to show me. But when it comes to using those techniques for the actual act of self-defense and fighting.... I am sure many players and fighters would quickly agree that they would not use their favorite half guard when knocked to the ground in a fight. It is just common sense for anyone who values their face :-)

In conclusion, it is simply understanding what you are training that makes the difference. There is no harm in training for self-defense or sport as long as you understand the difference. Like many things, jiu jitsu does not have to be a chore.. it can simply be enjoyed.