BJJ in the North East!!!

Arashi Do is very excited to announce our newest location on the Eastside at 12127 54 st.

This new dojo wil be run by BJJ Black Belt, Professor Neil Armstrong along with his wife, BJJ Purple Belt Shannon Armstrong.

We are very excited for Prof. Neil and his family, all of whom train in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.  Prof. Neil has a wealth of knowledge in BJJ and is excited to have you come out and see just how incredibly fun and empowering Jiu Jitsu can be.

If you would like to get started now is the time.  He is offering a 30% discount to the first 30 people to join with an annual membership (half of which have already been scooped up).

Contact us at or call or text us at 780-217-5406 to reserve your spot


Do You REALLY Need to Compete in BJJ?

I have been teaching Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for WELL over a decade and during that time I have had the pleasure of having 12 or so students make it to Black Belt.  All of them have competed at some point in their Jiu JItsu Journey but few kept up to the demands of tournament competition.  Today I’ll discuss if you really have to compete in BJJ, why you might not have to and when you should probably stop competing.



The quick answer is NO, you do not have to compete but it would really be a shame if you didn’t.  I have competed at every belt level including Black and I can definitely say it’s worth it, even the losses (although those still suck).  I used to track how many tournaments I competed at and my win/loss record for many years.  I stopped tracking stats when I got to 100 matches, and that was when I was a Blue belt.  That was a huge part of my development, it showed me so many lessons each of which I could, and likely will, turn into an article, but reading about it will not give you the experience you could get from doing it.

I will add that this is not just a message to white belts.  I have been running BJJ Tournaments like the Mind Body Soul and The Submission Series for years and the White and Blue belts come out in droves… then it drops off pretty sharply.  I will admit it has gotten better in the last couple years.  The pools of Purple and Brown belts are growing and the tournaments are reflecting that somewhat.  But I know the percentage of higher belts in Alberta is not being reflected at the tournaments.

I can understand the desire to just roll for fun in the club with the guys/gals but this is not a substitute for tournaments.  Remember those lessons I mentioned I gained from competing?  I didn’t stop learning them at Blue belt.  I learned lessons at every belt from my competitions and the cool thing was, the more advanced my belt, the better the lesson and the faster I was able to apply it.

Jiu Jitsu might be in your heart but is it in your head?



There are a couple reasons why you might HAVE to compete in BJJ.  When I started doing BJJ in Edmonton there were not many places doing it and not many people training in class.  Going to tournaments was like extra training, that’s why I had gotten to 100 matches so quickly.  So if you are short on training partners, get ready to travel.

It is funny how many parents support my encouragement to have their kids compete, even the ones that might not be ready but when I ask adults if they are competing I get a multitude of excuses.  And I get it… I understand…  They are valid to a point.  I like watching my students compete because I get to see how they will react in a stressful situation.  The most important thing for me to see from my students is that they can protect themselves and I just go out and hire thugs to go “Test” my students now can I.  Tournaments are that test.

Now you might have great rolling ability on the mat in your club with your friends, but can you pull off that stuff when you have someone you don’t know trying to rip your arm off surrounded by a crowd of people yelling?  Ok I’m exaggerating a bit but you get the idea… Tournaments are a great way to test your skills and still do it in a safe way.  It will show you holes in your skills that your training partners might not have been able to capitalize on.


Now I don’t want to go out and discourage people from competing but there are some people that just do not do well in tournaments, and for a while I was one of them.  I went through a long, long, looong phase of being playful.  When I got my Purple belt I started exploring Jiu Jitsu to the furthest points of effortlessness that I could.  And while that was an awesome thing to do and experiment with, I would recommend saving that for non tournament times.

Several times throughout my training I will work my escapes.  Usually this is when I am injured (another great article idea) and covers a 3-6 month span.  I can attest that this mindset of letting people get you in bad positions so you can work your escapes is really good but not when you are competing.  Bad habits start to get formed if you train this too long.  You will get points racked up on you and by the time you realize what you have been doing wrong it’s likely too late.

So if you are in one of these phases either don’t compete or make sure you screw your head on straight leading up to the competition.

The Sweet Taste of Victory


At the end of the day , there are a lot of reasons why you shouldn’t compete and honestly there are a lot less for why you should but what you gain from competing can not be gained any other way.  Club rolling is not tournament rolling no matter how you try to make it.  So get out there and compete, just make sure you are ready to give your best.


If yFb 30 day trial profileou haven’t fallen in love with BJJ yet come down to Arashi Do Edmonton and try out one of our great programs like Muay Thai or Fundamental BJJ

All those and you get a 30 DAY FREE TRIAL!


Keep in touch with us through facebook and Instagram where I am always posting neat Martial Arts stuff.  We also have news about our school HERE

BJJ Guard for Self Defence

One of the things I love most about Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) is the simplicity of the moves when looking at them from the outside but the layers of detail when you are applying them.  The more you repeat a move, the more you learn from it.


You can be doing a move for years and then someone defends differently than you are used to, a student asks the right question or you suddenly “feel” something you never did before.  As an Instructor, this happens to me all the time.  I am constantly review and refining my movements.  Each student reacts slightly different and each has their own understanding of the move which leads to many variations… to me this is the excitement of Jiu Jitsu, never ending levels of details.

Now for the beginner this can be very overwhelming, but the great thing is the simplicity of BJJ.  If you gather a base understanding of the concepts of Jiu Jitsu you will absolutely be able to apply these movements to an untrained attacker.  The move below has a few little tricks to help with the mobility of the movement, but the overall technique is very simple and effective for Self Defence.

If you like the idea of this move, be sure to stay tuned as there will be others in this series.  IF there is a question about this move, please comment or make a request for a situation you are curious about.

… or better yet…

Fb 30 day trial profileCome down to Arashi Do Edmonton and try out one of our great programs like Muay Thai, Fundamental BJJ, Women’s Only BJJ or Children’s Muay Thai for ages 4-7 and 8-14.

All those and you get a 30 DAY FREE TRIAL!

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Tricks For Beginners


One of my favorite things is watching peoples disbelief when a move is applied effortlessly.  I love the look of amazement and confusion on their face.  It really is like doing magic tricks to kids.  I’m going to share a couple things with you that will help you next time you roll but like any magic trick, the more complicated it is the more practice it takes… depending on who you are trying to fool.

Be Stronger NOW!

As a beginner it can be very difficult rolling when you are not sure what to do or when to do it.  On top of that your partner is trying to bend and twist you up until you tap.  I see beginners fatigue quickly over and over and then succumb to defeat, mentally and physically exhausted.  Here is a trick to help you out next time you roll and it’s super easy.

KEEP YOUR ELBOWS IN!  By keeping your elbows close to your hips you become much stronger physically, which means while you are rolling you will use less energy.  An add on to this is to have your hands up by you neck to defend choke attempts.

Your opponent will use a lot more energy trying to dig out your elbows which is something he will need to do to get any arm submission and make choking you much more difficult.


BJJ Class Postcard

Escape Easier

Building off the structure made from the last tip will also help you escape easier.  By keeping your elbow in in stops your opponent from controlling your armpits with their arm. They will want to get this underhook position to keep you flat, which in turn makes your escapes more difficult and starts to separate your elbow from your ribs so they can attack more.

By getting these underhooks of your own it will allow you to move easier and create more space without leaving your arms exposed.  Having underhooks will also allow you to get on your side more which means you will carry a lot less weight of your opponent.


A Sneaky Armlock

Sorry for the crappy music in the intro, turn the audio down for the first 30 sec.



If you’ve been BJJ for a couple months, or are an avid watcher of MMA, then you can appreciate what a couple slick tricks can do.

Fb 30 day trial profileCome down to Arashi Do Edmonton and try out one of our great Brazilian programs like Fundamental BJJ, Women’s Only BJJ or Children’s BJJ for ages 4-7 and 8-14.

All those and you get a 30 DAY FREE TRIAL

BJJ and Personal Boundaries

Enforcing personal boundaries can be difficult to do, especially if you’re really empathetic. If you’re prone to giving any situation the benefit of the doubt and insist on demonstrating basic decency at every turn then enforcing your personal boundaries may prove to be a bit difficult. Brazilian Jiu-jitsu (BJJ) is a about contact sports where grappling and holding on to your opponent is the main part of the learning process.

This doesn’t mean that you should be unhelpful during training sessions! It means that sometimes there are things that you need to do to let others know where to draw the line. Sympathy and optimistic human behaviors are not always mutually exclusive. There are three things you need to keep in mind to ensure that you enforce personal boundaries in your BJJ gym class.

Thomas Sara1: Take Your Time Before You Act

If you have been asked by someone to do something and it doesn’t sit right with you then don’t agree or disagree at that moment. Take your time even if you don’t know how you feel about it. If the person doesn’t sit right with you then you don’t have to agree do what they say. If you say ‘no’ and the person keeps insisting then inform your coach to take viable action.

There are times when someone after class might come up to you and ask whether you could finance their classes because they don’t have the funds anymore. Don’t over-explain or anything, just say that you will consider what he/she said for a day or two. This will give you time to think it through as you won’t feel influenced or pressured.

2: Learn to Say ‘NO!’

It is understandable to give in to someone pestering you and influencing your empathetic side. You give in, thinking that if you help him/her this once then perhaps they will leave you alone. However that turns out to be false as now you are constantly being nagged by that very person for help. You wonder if it would have been better if you had just kept on saying ‘no!’

In fact, it would have been better if you had kept on saying no! The word ‘no!’ is a complete sentence and anyone who refuses to respect your decision is only trying to assert their control over you and the situation. To put it simply, anyone who refuses to take a ‘no’ is the very person who needs to be required to do so.

Me Cross Choke3: Let Yourself Change Your Mind

Even the most alert person can be caught off-guard and end up agreeing to something that you actually would never agree to. You need to let yourself have second thoughts. It is the worse feeling to think that you are stuck with something, making you feel even more violated. You need to let yourself change your mind.

If a fellow BJJ practitioner asks you to do something out of the blue and you agreed to do that at the moment then remember that all it takes is one sentence to reverse that regretful decision. Repetition is your friend, as stated in the previous point; learn to say ‘no’ repeatedly.

5 simple self defense moves

Learn 5 Self Defense Moves you can do today

At Arashi Do Martial Arts in Edmonton, we help our members evolve both athletically and ethically. We ensure that personal boundaries are respected and no one oversteps their limits.

Fb 30 day trial profileCome down to Arashi Do Edmonton and try out one of our great Brazilian programs like Fundamental BJJ, Women’s Only BJJ or Children’s BJJ for ages 4-7 and 8-14.

All those and you get a 30 DAY FREE TRIAL

Difference between BJJ and Judo

There are many people who think that Judo and Jiu-jitsu is the same thing. This is not the case because these are two different types of martial arts. They may look the same and even sound the same to an average person but they must not be confused with one another. Let’s look at these two martial arts and understand their differences.

Historical Differences


Jiu-Jitsu is considered one of the oldest martial arts dating back to the times of the samurai. It was developed by these great warriors during the feudal period of Japan to give the samurai the ability to fight without weapons.

jigaro kanoJudo

The patriarch of Judo is considered to be Kano Jigoro. A small man, weak and frail, he was always picked on by those larger than him. He tried to find himself a Jiu-jitsu master at the age of 17 but had difficulty finding one. He eventually found Fukuda Hachinosuke to train him but Fukuda died after a year of training Jigoro. Later Jigoro found Iso Masatomo.

After 22 years of training, Jigoro took students of his own and began creating different moves that are still practiced by Judo practitioners today. Jigoro realized that Jiu-jitsu was a dying martial art in Japan and he could evolve it into something that would be more appealing to the masses. He named the martial art, Judo.

Combat Differences

mestre behring blackJiu-Jitsu

Those practicing this style were actually meant to use weapons. This style was meant to enhance the fighting skills of the samurai with few weapons so he is able to stand a chance against an armed opponent. There were even samurai who went a step further and took on their opponents without unsheathing their swords. Such was the confidence these warriors had in this art.

As Jiu-Jitsu evolved, it became less and less dependent on weapons. The art incorporated throwing, striking, restraining, evading and escaping. The techniques involved joint locking the opponent in order to disable them and prevent them from causing any harm to the defender. This was useful during the battlefield for the samurais as they would utilize the Jiu-jitsu chokes to render their rivals unconscious. These gave them enough time to either escape or kill their enemy.

If the fight goes to the ground then a Jiu-jitsu practitioner can use their skills to easily and quickly strangle their opponent with a variety of chokeholds. During a competition this may lead the opponent to submit while if used in a street fight it can make the rival unconscious.


With Judo, Jigoro wanted to make it more practical and focused on throwing the opponents to the ground by using off-balancing techniques. He developed it to be used for successful defending from any attacker.

Even though a Judo syllabus does not consist of strikes, its practitioners are taught to defend themselves from such. They are taught to deflect the attacks and use them to their own advantage.


When it comes to these two martial arts, Jiu-jitsu is the father of judo. Anyone who is well trained in Jiu-jitsu can easily teach Judo lessons as most of the techniques used in Judo have been derived from Jiu-jitsu. Visit us at Arashi Do Martial Arts in Edmonton and learn the ways of the ancient samurai warriors, the way of Jiu-jitsu!

Fb 30 day trial profileCome down to Arashi Do Edmonton and try out one of our great Brazilian programs like Fundamental BJJ, Women’s Only BJJ or Children’s BJJ for ages 4-7 and 8-14.

All those and you get a 30 DAY FREE TRIAL

BJJ for Self Defense, Confidence, Discipline & Peace of Mind

Brazilian Jiu-jitsu (BJJ) is becoming an increasingly popular Martial Art. With its ‘technique over strength’ training program, people want to learn the ways of BJJ for self defense, confidence, discipline and peace of mind. Let’s look at how BJJ can help instill these things in you to better yourself.

5 simple self defense movesSelf Defense

BJJ is all about technique over strength. How you can beat an opponent who is much larger and stronger than you is where BJJ excels. If there is anyone trying to snatch something from you or giving you a hard time by constantly shoving you then your BJJ lessons will help you defend yourself against such miscreants. BJJ teaches a realistic way of self-defense; if anyone gets a hold of your clothes or grips you from behind, you will know how to free yourself and topple that person to the ground into submission.


The biggest benefit of BJJ training is that it boosts your self confidence. Unlike other martial arts, Brazilian Jiu-jitsu sessions let you practice against fellow class mates in every session, supervised by the instructor. Your will learn how to deal with real life fight situations. You will learn to wrestle to clinch your opponent and escape from different types of holds and grips. This realistic way of combat approach gives you the self confidence you need for real world situations. The knowledge of techniques that allow you to defend yourself is something that will raise your self esteem.


Discipline is a major part of all martial arts and BJJ is no exception. You will listen and learn from your instructors and do as they ask. You will learn to discipline yourself to follow their command and however they teach you BJJ techniques, that is exactly how you have to follow them. Discipline is also about knowing your opponent. You will learn to respect your opponent and not look down on them. Isn’t that the reason why you joined BJJ in the first place, to not be looked down upon? You will learn to think of others as your equals.

Peace of Mind

BJJ provides a workout that is not only good for fitness but also gives you a peace of mind. With today’s worrisome and depressing lifestyle, BJJ is the perfect way for you to give yourself a workout that soothes the mind. Focus is a major part of BJJ and when you learn to focus your energies in the right way, you will be truly at peace with yourself.

If these are the things you want in yourself then do not hesitate to call or visit us at Arashi Do Martial Arts in Edmonton. Having confidence, peace of mind, self defense techniques and discipline are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the benefits of BJJ. If you want to learn more about the benefits of BJJ then call us now or visit us!

Fb 30 day trial profileCome down to Arashi Do Edmonton and try out one of our great Brazilian programs like Fundamental BJJ, Women’s Only BJJ or Children’s BJJ for ages 4-7 and 8-14.

All those and you get a 30 DAY FREE TRIAL