Leg Locks

The training of leg lock submissions has always been a controversial issue in the grappling arts.  Sambo and catch wrestling practitioners swear by them while… Read More

Renzo Gracie Pittsburgh 2011 Recap

Two thousand twelve is here! The past year went really fast for me so writing this was a nice way to reflect on all the good memories. Challenges overcome are always good memories so I’ll start with those. The toughest challenges were thrown at guys most of us respect. First, Lance Thompson had a very serious injury last December. I’ve heard that the number one reason purple belts don’t move up the ranks is due to injuries. This is understandable having had one myself. It is amazing how such an obstacle can change your mental state. Injuries give some people a powerful reason to quit something, even when it is positive for them. Lance underwent surgery and came back even better than when he left! Mike Wilkins faced a different kind of challenge. After establishing himself as one of the areas best amateur MMA fighters, he decided to step up a level and go professional against the advice of the armchair critics and other people involved in mixed martial arts. He finally got a fight in Costa Rica. He lost at the very end of the first round (which he dominated) to a submission. It was a difficult way to lose after spending almost a year on improving his grappling. The critics and naysayers were vindicated, right? Wrong. Mike came back and had a dominating win in his first official pro fight right here in Pennsylvania. Heather Wiederstein also came back from injuries and losses. Read More

New to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu? What to expect Q & A

Q: What should I do if I would like to try a Jiu-Jitsu classes, fitness, and/or a private class? A: Fill out the simple contact form found on our webpage. Someone will get in touch with you soon. You can write to us on the contact form  with any questions that you may have. You will  find  our instructors and members are happy to answer any questions. Most importantly, just take the first step and contact us. It has the potential to start a very rewarding journey and there is no risk or pressure. Q: What should I do once I arrive? A: Introduce yourself to the instructor, fill out the participation waiver completely, tell the instructor a little about yourself and your background in athletics and martial arts, if any, and ask questions. Read More

Watching a Cagefight

I first met Mike Wilkins at Mad Dog Gym a few years ago. It’s a little gym in the back corner of a tattoo parlor. Inside, you’ll find mats, punching bags, and screaming death metal. I was new to the world of MMA, and in between getting slammed, spraining my neck, and being caught in bicep slicers on a nightly basis I met Mike. He was a friendly guy with an oddly likeable alpha-male persona. These days, we train together at the Renzo Gracie Pittsburgh Academy in Lawrenceville. Read More

Shawn Williams Seminar (Aug. 19-20 2011)

This past weekend members of Renzo Gracie Pittsburgh were treated to not one, but two days of instruction from one of the greatest Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu teachers in the world, Shawn Williams. A second degree black belt, Shawn has been studying the art since September 1996. Being only the fifth American in history to obtain a black belt, he graduated under the tutelage of Renzo Gracie himself. Shawn’s long list of accomplishments include medalling in prestigious competitions such as the ADCC trials and Grappler’s Quest. He even created his own variation of the high/rubber guard, dubbed the “Williams Guard.” Read More