Competition Day with Coach and Competitor Sean Downie

August 27th, 2015 | Subscribe to AZSBJJF by Email | Subscribe to the AZSBJJF RSS Feed

With the 7th Southwest Classic quickly approaching on October 10th and 11th, competitors are busy making arrangements and planning out their training schedules. While the preparation for the tournament is now the main focus, competitors are also thinking about the day of the tournament. Whether you are a seasoned competitor or someone who is thinking about signing up for his or her first tournament, it is often helpful to hear from experienced competitors on how they handle competition day. Lotus Club brown belt Sean Downie competed and coached at the 2015 Arizona State Jiu Jitsu Championships, which took place on June 27th and 28th at Desert Vista High School in Phoenix. Sean was kind enough to discuss the tournament with us.

-Can you talk us through your day at the AZ State Championships? How many matches did you have and how did they go?

My day started off by arriving at the tournament around 9:30 to be there to coach my kids. This is always the toughest aspect of competitions for me, coaching my kids all morning and then competing myself. I had 10 kids from my gym compete Saturday so it was a long day for me. My kids did awesome, 6 of them winning gold and the other 4 taking either second or third, which was a big part of Lotus Club’s points for the 3rd place kids’ trophy.

After the kids finish I flip the mental switch from coach to competitor, throw on my headphones and start to focus. I knew I was going to be in for some really tough fights Saturday, having rolled with and competed against Daniel Hampton plenty of times and also having rolled with Horlando a few times. I know they are both world class competitors and started to prepare for possibly facing both of them back to back. I ended up making a mistake and leaving my lapel open for Daniel to find the choke in our weight class, which he took advantage of flawlessly. In the open weight I got a bye through the first round and was able to watch everyone go through their first fights, which I feel helped me prepare mentally for my fights. I felt confident that the open weight would be a rematch between Daniel Hampton and me. I was correct, as Daniel made it through his two opponents and I secured my spot with a submission in the second round. I was able to catch Daniel in a knee bar and secure the win in the open weight for brown belt adults. Along with my win in the adult open weight, my teammate Claudio Rios took double gold securing the brown belt masters open weight title along with my adult open weight, which was pretty cool.

Sean Downie

Congratulations Sean and thank you very much for your time! You can sign up for the Southwest Classic by going to

Seminar with Isaac Doederlein on August 22, 2015

August 7th, 2015 | Subscribe to AZSBJJF by Email | Subscribe to the AZSBJJF RSS Feed

Isaac Doederlein Seminar

2015 AZ State Jiu Jitsu Championship Recap – Day 2

July 30th, 2015 | Subscribe to AZSBJJF by Email | Subscribe to the AZSBJJF RSS Feed

June 28th, 2015 marked the second day of the AZ State Jiu Jitsu Championships and was led off by the purple belts. Going into the day it seemed that the 1st place adult team trophy would mainly be contested by Caio Terra Association (CTA), Nava BJJ, and GD Jiu Jitsu. The purple belts of GD Jiu Jitsu, most notably Thomas Keenan and Josh Guerra, were on a mission to help secure the first place trophy for Team GD Jiu Jitsu. Josh started off his day by taking 2nd place in the heavy weight division. It would only get better from there, however, as he closed out the open division with teammate Thomas Keenan, scoring 3 submissions along the way. Thomas also had an incredible day, racking up 6 wins between the middleweight and open weight divisions.

2015 State Thomas & Josh

The final group of competitors to hit the mats at the 2015 AZ State Championships were the black belts. Carlos Farias, owner and head instructor of Carlos Farias Jiu Jitsu in Mesa, won the Master 3 black belt open class division defeating Salvador Flores from BJJ Revolution in the finals. Carlos started off the match with a takedown and used his signature top pressure to pass the guard. From there he was able to secure an arm triangle choke, getting the tap a little over 2 minutes in. The adult black belt division saw the black belt debut of GD Jiu Jitsu’s Jonathan Van Buren against Lotus Club’s Andrew Gardineer. Jon quickly pulled to cross guard where he was able to transition to a slick calf slicer, forcing the tap from his opponent. The win contributed to the 250 total points scored by GD Jiu Jitsu, which was enough to capture the 1st place adult team trophy. Nava BJJ secured the second place trophy with 149 points, followed by CTA with 134 points. Full team results can be seen below.

The 2015 AZ State Championships were yet another fantastic platform for Arizona’s top competitors to showcase their skills. With 715 competitors representing schools from across Arizona, the 2015 AZ State Championships were the largest tournament hosted by GD Events to date. The conclusion of the tournament left both the competitors and the spectators extremely excited for the Southwest Classic in October.

2015 State Adult Podium

1-GD Jiu Jitsu 250
2-Nava BJJ 149
3-CTA 134
4-BJJ Revolution 101
5-Power MMA 99
6-JCBJJ 87
7-Lotus Club 75
8-Gracie Arizona 65
9-Carlos Farias 55
10-CTA Arizona 53

Seminar with Caio Terra on 8/1

July 30th, 2015 | Subscribe to AZSBJJF by Email | Subscribe to the AZSBJJF RSS Feed

Caio Terra Strong Heart 8-1

Seminar with Clark Gracie on 7/31 at Ruffhouse

July 30th, 2015 | Subscribe to AZSBJJF by Email | Subscribe to the AZSBJJF RSS Feed

Clark Gracie Ruffhouse 7-31

Seminar with Andre Galvao on August 8, 2015

July 26th, 2015 | Subscribe to AZSBJJF by Email | Subscribe to the AZSBJJF RSS Feed


Seminar with Clark Gracie on July 30th

July 22nd, 2015 | Subscribe to AZSBJJF by Email | Subscribe to the AZSBJJF RSS Feed

Clark Gracie Nava Seminar

2015 AZ State Jiu Jitsu Championship Recap – Day 1

July 19th, 2015 | Subscribe to AZSBJJF by Email | Subscribe to the AZSBJJF RSS Feed

With both the heat and the anticipation quickly rising, the kids divisions took to the mats to kick off the 2015 AZ State Jiu Jitsu Championships on Saturday June 27th. Schools from across the Valley competed for the first place kid’s trophy, which was captured by Power MMA back in April at the Kid’s Cup. While all the kids put on great performances, Caio Terra Association (CTA) was able to narrowly edge out Power MMA to capture the first place trophy, scoring 149 points to Power’s 144. Below are the overall results for the kid’s teams. Congratulations to all the kids who competed, as they brought a level of fun and enthusiasm that carried on throughout the tournament.

2015 State Kid's Podium

1-CTA 149
2-Power MMA 144
3-Lotus Club 94
4-GD Jiu Jitsu/Horizons M.A. 83
5-BJJ Revolution 79
6-Nava BJJ 57
7-Higher Ground 46
8-Osborn BJJ 38
9-GD Jiu Jitsu 35
10-BJJ Revolution Blackout 28

As the kid’s divisions finished up mid-day, the blue and brown belts were eager to join in on the action. The standouts of the brown belt division included GD Jiu Jitsu’s Daniel Hampton and Lotus Club’s Sean Downie, among others. Daniel was able to capture first place in the adult brown belt heavyweight division, beating Sean via choke in the process. Both athletes also competed in the open division, where Sean and Daniel met again in the finals. In their second match Sean was able to catch Daniel in tight kneebar to capture the gold, capping off an excellent display of heart and technique from both competitors.

Daniel & Sean 2015 State

The blue belts were up next and comprised some of the largest divisions of the tournament. One of the main standouts of the blue belts was Nava BJJ’s Kevin LePert. Kevin captured gold in the adult blue belt heavy weight division as well as the adult blue belt open division, using the triangle choke as one of his main attacks. While there was no shortage of exciting action on Saturday, the teams were very excited for the purple belt and black belt divisions on Sunday as their efforts would determine the overall team results for the adult competitors. These results will be covered in the next post!

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in the Grand Canyon State

July 13th, 2015 | Subscribe to AZSBJJF by Email | Subscribe to the AZSBJJF RSS Feed


When many people think of high quality jiu jitsu in the United States, Southern California and New York immediately come to mind. While these places are undeniably hotbeds of jiu jitsu talent, Arizona is also home to amazingly talented instructors and competitors. What often separates one area from another in terms of the level of its jiu jitsu is the presence of high quality tournaments, as they challenge practitioners to continually strive to achieve better performance and results.

The AZSBJJF and GD Events have been hosting top quality tournaments in Arizona for well over a decade. What started as a 40 person in house tournament in 2001 has expanded into annual competitions for adults, kids, and master level athletes. These tournaments include the AZ Open, The Copa Bella/Kid’s Cup, The AZ State Championships, and the Southwest Classic. Just as the Arizona jiu jitsu scene has come a long way, so has my personal journey to the Grand Canyon State.

My name is Danny O’Donnell and I will be contributing to the blog in an effort to bring you more awareness about the instructors, athletes, brands, and tournaments that make the Arizona jiu jitsu community so unique. This will include interviews, tournament recaps, seminar reviews, and any other news or information related to Arizona jiu jitsu. These blog entries should provide you with a better understanding of how special our community is and how it fits into the bigger picture of the growth of jiu jitsu in the U.S.

My personal journey started in Chicago, and after taking a seminar and private class with the head of the AZSBJJF Gustavo Dantas, I drove approximately 1,753 miles Southwest. I knew that in order to dedicate myself to my personal goals on the mat, I needed to surround myself with the types of world class instructors and athletes that call Arizona home. I first arrived In Tempe, AZ at the end of August 2014 with the goal of competing in as many tournaments as possible. One of these tournaments was the 2015 AZ State Championships, which were held on June 27th and 28th at Desert Vista High School in Phoenix. Stay tuned as the next series of posts will cover the tournament results and highlight some of the standout competitors.

Full results are available at


June 21st, 2015 | Subscribe to AZSBJJF by Email | Subscribe to the AZSBJJF RSS Feed


The tenth mental mistake from the series “Top 10 Mental Mistakes BJJ Competitors make and how to avoid them” is UNDERESTIMATING MENTAL PREPARATION.

“Competition is 90% Mental and 10% Physical”. How many times have you heard statements like these from World Class Competitors, Sports Psychologists and Mental Coaches? However, the training regimes of Jiu-Jitsu competitors seem to reflect the opposite. A lot of athletes have the feeling that they need invest more time, money and effort in:

✔ Technical DVD’s

✔ Private Classes and Seminars

✔ Strength & Conditioning Programs

✔ Supplements & proper nutrition

These extra investments can absolutely help, but the reality is that good physical, technical and strategic training must be accompanied by good mental preparation, which is widely underestimated in sports and it’s not different in the Jiu-Jitsu community. Often times, athletes are hard workers with great discipline and perseverance, but have a hard time overcoming internal obstacles that prevent them from reaching their full potential and performing to best of their ability.

In this video I share the importance of Mental Skills Training and I will introduce you to my program “Inner Discovery for Outer Success”, which is now available online ON DEMAND at

Check out the video, “like” and subscribe to The BJJ Mental Coach YouTube Channel. Also check out and subscribe to my newsletter and blog updates.

If you have any questions or suggestions, please contact me at


Gustavo Dantas
The BJJ Mental Coach
“Bringing Innovation to Jiu-Jitsu”


Check out ‪‬‬‬ to find out how “Inner Discovery for Outer Success” can help you!

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