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Teppo Ebi – May 14th

May 15, 2008

Yesterday I went to TEPPO EBI in Kurume city with Brent. Teppo Ebi is a Brazilian Jiu-jitsu club with a membership of about nine strong, including two kids.

The “sensei”, whose name escapes me, is basically the guy who has been doing jiu-jitsu for the longest yet still remains a blue belt. Never got a chance to roll with him, but from what I saw, he’s definitely a high level blue, I’d say he’s close to his purple but I have no clue what a separates blues from purples.

I was wrong on a few points from my last post. The sensei did go to Hawaii to compete but that was a few years ago, not recently. Only two of them are actually entering the Kyushu Open. And the club is pure BJJ, with no-gi from time to time. There are three blue belts, the rest are white. And true to Japanese sporting law – they’re tough.

It was exactly what I’ve been searching for – an honest to goodness authentic Brazilian Jiu-jitsu training session. Complete with pre and post training lounging, chit-chat, and a warmup that took me back to my days as a white belt. I had the goofy smile on my face for an hour and a half.

For those of you entertaining the thought of starting Brazilian Jiu-jitsu or if you’ve never trained with the gi on before allow me to share a few things about the gi you may or may not be familiar with.

Hot Stuff
Obviously it’s going to be hot wearing something that’s basically a low tech jacket while doing a physical activity. So yeah, the gi is hot. Helps you stay hydrated.

Kung Fu Death Grip
When I first met Matt of Martial Farts fame and shook his hand, I noticed he had quite the hard grip. I mistakenly took that as the typical American Alpha male greeting “I’ll shake your hand to say hello but crush every bone in it to show you who’s the top dog in them here parts, uh-huh.” But Matt’s much better than that, he’s English.

My point is that I’d forgotten that training with the gi automatically strengthens your grips. The gi is basically a big handle, making it “easier” to control your opponent regardless of position. There are grips and handles in the no-gi game, but nothing like the gi.

It’s been such a long time that my hand strength, my grips were blown by the third round of sparring.

If you want Popeye forearm strength, that kung fu death grip, go train with the gi.

Time is on my side
Rolling with the gi is not the balls out fast paced activity no-gi is. I tried that, but I got tired quickly because a) I was hot and b) my partner had a kung fu death grip on me. So I couldn’t really go anywhere.

So I took my time and waited. When the opportunity came I secured my grips and positioned myself to pass. It was slow and easy, but I passed which surprised me. And then I found myself in guard again because I was too busy being surprised. Serves me right.

If you technique is spot on, its hard to stop a pass, even if it’s slow and steady.

Dreaded Collar Chokes
I only got submitted once. Baseball choke. Ha.

Most of the time, no-gi chokes can be seen coming a mile away. The same can be side about collar chokes. However if a practitioner is really good (purple and above), collar chokes can be quick and sneaky. Some people may view that as a reason to hate training with the gi, but I have to disagree. I think it raises awareness and submission defense.

One hand deep in the collar is a warning sign. The other hand is the threat (but not always the case). All that needs to be done is to make sure it doesn’t turn into the hand that chokes you out.

All in all, I had a wonderful time and I plan on making regular trips to Teppo Ebi. I wish there was a purple belt there, but that would be unfair to the growth of the purple. And the guys there are a fun and relaxed bunch, zero ego. One of them knows Matt and the “sensei” knows Toyofuku san of Brawl Bros fame. Small small world.

Looking forward to the next session.

6 Comments leave one →
  1. May 16, 2008 12:45 pm


    btw, your Brawl Brothers link goes to a 404 page. [and also all your pics go to]

    The kids in that last pic are adorable…

  2. May 17, 2008 9:53 am

    One of them knows me huh? Maybe just saw my face at a comp… Great to see you’ve found somewhere to call home… So that means you could be competing soon huh! If you don’t do June’s, there is another one in August but the name escapes me… Viva?
    I’m getting an MRI on my foot today as it is not fixing itself. Bums!
    And I really didn’t realise I gripped your hand hard… seriously, I don’t like it when people do that to me. Having said that, I do work on my grip and it is essential for BJJ (and judo.) So maybe it is paying off!

  3. May 17, 2008 9:54 am

    Oh yeah and sort out the picture links… I want to zoooom!

  4. May 17, 2008 3:41 pm

    thanks for the heads up. linked the last pic to zoom (not that big) so enjoy. plus all the blues (all the guys standing next to me, squating guy — no, guy with cap and kid — yes) are in one corner which wasn’t planned but kinda funny. cap n kid guy is the “sensei”.

    oh and i have a little problem with the competion (as it should), will write about that one soon…

  5. May 18, 2008 10:56 pm



  1. Brawl Bros - May 23th « Murasaki BJJ

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