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Welcome To The Team.

Terra Firma is a Brazilian Jiu-jitsu team of white belt ruffians. This group was founded by brothers Hiram, Nabor, and Kareem Navarrete, along with long time friend Emmanuel Silva with the hopes and dreams of one day opening up there very own academy. This site is meant to keep track of "the brothers" and there team as they journey down the road of the smooth art. These boys don't know what's in store for them but there prepared to do whatever it takes to succeed and have fun along the way. So slap on that gi, tighten up your belt, and let's roll!!

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Apr 27, 2012

Saddle Up!

It's a new year, and we here at Terra Firma BJJ are happy to kick start it off with all of you grappling fiends! I hope you've all kept up with your training this year, because if you haven't then I've got a story to scare you straight. I'M HERE TO SCARE YOU STRAIGHT!!! (Office reference..yes? no? anyway...)

[DISCLAIMER: the point of this story isn't for you all to hear me whining about how hard my life is (though I do whine), or why I should have done this, or said that. It's to show people what happens when you decide to cut BJJ out of your life, and believe is a sad...sad life]

I'm not one for analogies, I'm also not one for horseback riding (in fact I've never actually tried it) but if and when I fall off the said horse, my hypothetical steed if you will, I know I'll only have two options from there.  Get back on the saddle, or quit and go home.
    All stories have there high points and low points, and unfortunately for me, this particular story is during my recent training rough patch.  Due to some unfortunate circumstances, and my own mistakes, I haven't  been able to train as much as I'd like to. Be it laziness, complications, or just plain stupidity, there is no excuse for skipping out on jiu jitsu.  Granted I've had some recent troubles, whether it's getting evicted from our house, losing my job, or just not having the time or resources to do it, I still can't comfortably say that there was no way for me to train. There is ALWAYS a way to train, sadly I just didn't look hard enough.
    In all the time I trained, I always loved it, but I never appreciated it for what it did for me. Jiu jitsu gave me a purpose, a reason to wake up in the mornings, gave me motivation to get through those long days, and without it my life has been seriously lacking in substance, and structure. Without BJJ I wake up, go to work, come home and go comatose in front of a screen, and that's on a good day.  Most other days I sleep in till 10:00, then spend the rest of my day plastered (you guessed it) in front of a computer screen. Believe me when I say no amount of excuses can justify what you do to yourself by depriving your soul of a passion that is deeply engrained into your life.
    It took me 4 months to realize what I was really missing, and everyday I regret giving up what I had. But I'm also glad that I went through this hiatus, because it gave me some insight into how much I really care about this sport. I recently started training again, and am even on the hunt for a new academy to join, and honestly I couldn't be happier. So no matter what you tell yourself, your not "too out of shape" to train, the gym isn't too far for you to travel to, and your life doesn't hold too many distractions to keep you from doing what you love.

So saddle up, hit the mats, and roll a good one for all the people 
unfortunate enough not to have Jiu Jitsu in there lives.

Apr 20, 2012

Learning To Lose

By: Hiram "Tortuga" Navarrete
They say that competition breeds excellence, that iron sharpens iron, and that like pressure turns coal into diamonds, so too does adversity turn boys into men.  Why then do some choose to stray from the field of competition?  Most say they fear that they won't succeed, that they'll embarrass themselves.  Which is completely understandable.  I've competed in two tournaments now and I still get that nervous ache before every match, but every time I step on the mat I remember the wise words of a great teacher (Rodrigo Teixeira).  "There is no losing when you compete, you either win or you learn".  With that in mind all the pressure of winning and losing is lifted from your.  Winning is great, but to lose may be infinitely more beneficial.  It may sound crazy so you'll have to to hear me out on this one.  Let's try this hypothetical scenario out - you are the ultimate've never entered a single tournament but you sure as heck roll like your in one.  You smash on guys, run through them, and just all around mess them up.  You've thought about competing but never do so with the idea that guys that enter those comps are monsters and are beastly good, and your better off winning in practice than losing in competition.  So your content staying in your little corner, racking up your tap counter.  Then one day your invited to join your team in a mandatory tournament where you find yourself behind by 10 points with your opponent on your back working his damnedest to choke you unconscious.  What do you do then?  You've never been put in this situation, and you have no idea how to escape it. - My point in all this is simple, sometimes you have to compete and put yourself in bad positions and situations in order to better your overall game.  You can't let your fear of losing get in the way of bettering yourself.  Every time your beat, you see the mistakes that you made, and you work to never make those same mistakes again.  In doing so you better yourself every time you tap, like the old saying goes "the more you tap the more you learn".  So to all my fellow grappler's our there who for whatever reason choose to avoid the thrill of competition, I say to you, ride head first into battle, unafraid of the results.  The worst that can happen to you is to experience failure, and from failure success is born.

White Belt Got You Down?

By: Hiram "Tortuga" Navarrete
I recently read an article concerning promotion amongst purple belts, and the trials and tribulations they will face getting past a slump many get on there way to that coveted color brown. Many feel overwhelmed with the new found rank, as the article points out, and the feeling of one's game plateauing over time becomes evident. (note: I will post the link to the website where these articles can be found). But thinking back to the message this article portrays makes me believe that the purple belt blues can hit some people much much earlier. Hence my title. I'm currently a white belt, and I have been training for a little over 7 months. On average that's not a long time by any stretch of the imagination, and yet there are some that may get impatient on there trip through the smooth art (yes a high level white belt such as my self being one of them). A couple of bad training days, chock full of sloppy technique can make you feel like your your game is regressing. In case your like me and don't know the EXACT definition of "regressing" here it is! [ movement backward to a previous and especially worse or more primitive state or condition] (Yup sounds about right). Everyone goes through this, no matter how high a level they are. These feelings will come and go throughout your grappling career. But what's important is that you stick with it. There will be days when you just don't want to get out of bed, believe me I've had plenty, but what you have to ask yourself, is the juice worth the squeeze? The day you realize that all that training, all the preparation, all the blood, sweat, and tears that you have literally shed on the mat wasn't just to earn a piece of colored cloth, wasn't for a belt. But for the improvement of you as a grappler and as a person. Every great practitioner that now wears his black belt once wore the white. We all start on bottom and we never stop learning. In jiu jitsu as is in life theres always a time to take that chance, and to find that opening for success. We can all reverse our position and end up on top. So no matter what you do, no matter how hard, or frustrating, or impossible something may seem. Know that it can be done. The key to success is to keep moving forward. When the world takes you down you regain your guard and slap on that triangle. When it feels like the world is slipping out of of your control, you transition into an armbar and crank till you can't crank no more! If you can keep moving, flowing, and reacting then your sure to find your light at the end of the tunnel. Just whatever you do, don't tap out to the woes of the white belt.

Thank you to for allowing me to reference there amazing archives.
Please check out there website for all sorts of BJJ goodies!

The Belt Itself

By: Emmanuel "Macaco" Silva

A few nights ago I was browsing through my Facebook, as I would any other night , and I came across a question that really hit home. It asked "Where does earning a Black Belt stand in your life long list of goals?". On any other night I would've answered something along the lines of "My top 5!" or " Easily on the top of my list!", but on this night I, as a White Belt with no stripes, took the question and thought of it on a whole other level. I began to question my self on the very thought of "what is a black belt". The answer that came to mind, was as clear as day " its a piece of cotton and cloth" no more no less, but what it symbolizes is what really matters, and what really matters is, as the old saying goes, "Its not the destination that's important, but the journey itself." Do I disregard the Black Belt itself? No, I give it its full credit as a symbol of someone who has earned it and reached the pinnacle of the sport, because with this Black Belt the practitioner shows the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu world that he(she) has been through the road. The Road of limitless hours, days, nights, weeks, months, years of training. Those countless cramps, aches, pains, sprained joints, and broken bones. The countless drops of blood, sweat, and tears. That journey that I as a White Belt first started when I put on my gi and tied my belt, and that same road all Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioners will embark on that fateful first day. So, what is my answer to that question I came across those nights ago, if i get my belt its fine with me but my top Jiu jitsu priority is training and hopefully one day passing on my knowledge to another "beginner" and letting him(or her) know the joys of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

Sep 28, 2011

On The Roll Again

By: Hiram "Tortuga" Navarrete

How many teenagers have you known that have promised themselves to one day hit the road and see the world?  Heck, how many adults have you met that have done the same?  You might as well come out with it already, I caught you.  There's not a single man, women, or child, that hasn't at one time or another, wanted to go on one epic, momentous trek across the globe.  Well, maybe not a child, but you get my drift.  If your anything like me (god forbid) then you ultimately, and unfortunately never got around to putting your feet to the pavement, and just going for it.  But say you were presented an opportunity, that as a BJJ practitioner you just couldn't pass up.  The chance to embark on a jiu-jitsu-fied, globetrotting journey, an opportunity to roll in uncharted mat space around the world.  Now the only question is, where would you go on the road to the flow?

On the roll again
Just can't wait to get on the flow again.
The life I love is tapping out to all my friends 
And I can't wait to get on the roll again.
-Sorry Mr. Nelson

Sep 20, 2011

Mat Burn

By:  Nabor "Leon" Navarrete

It goes without saying that work and relationships don't exactly go hand in hand. It's all fun and games until someone get's hurt. I mean, do you really want to try running a business with your "better" half breathing down your neck? Sounds pretty bad, right? So you can only imagine the possibilities (or problems) once you and your partner hit the mats. Tell her the pot roast was undercooked, and good luck getting her off your back, literally. Let em know he's not bringing home the bacon, well have fun stopping his HULK smash pass. Passions run high in relationships, and passion can spoil and turn into tension on a dime. There's an old saying "check your ego at the door" and I'd like to add to that by saying this, "leave your passion on the mattress, not the mat". After all, just because someone is easy to mount, doesn't mean there guards worth passing. You can quote me on that one.

Sep 18, 2011

The Bedazzled Grappler

By:  Hiram "Tortuga" Navarrete

Now I know that there are many of you out there that enjoy a brightly colored gi, or some nice patch work/embroidery, and that's fine (I enjoy the occasional romp through a tie dye kimono myself).  And though some may think it's a good idea to bedazzle there gi (though personally I shudder just thinking of the outcome to that experiment) know that while your sprinkling your gi with designs and doodads, your also painting a rather large target on your back.  As the old saying goes, "the nail that sticks out farthest, gets hammered hardest".  There are some who favor a more traditional approach to the martial art, and may frown on contrast stitching, or camo pants.  I'll be the first to say that it sounds judgmental, but everyone is entitled to there own opinion.  Some see a tricked out or expensive gi as a sign of experience, which of course isn't always the case.  I recall myself, as a fresh faced white belt (still a white belt btw just dirty faced with experience now) seeing a man wearing a blue gi and mistaking him for the instructor.  Which just goes to show you that anyone, even a rough and tumble veteran like myself can be confused..right? Well it at least shows you that people will judge a book by it's cover, because the cover is all they can see.  Those that mistake you for a high level grappler may just look to "take your head off" to prove there manly toughness.

It all sounds rather unfair, but that's just how some people are built.  In no way is this post meant to discourage you pink and purple gi lovers out there, just to warn you of possible setbacks.  Personally I hope to look into a future where white gi's, black gi's, blue gi's, purple, red, yellow, and even rainbow kimono's can all share a mat in this crazy world that we call Jiu Jitsu.

Sep 16, 2011


As you may or may not have noticed (hopefully you have) the boys of Terra Firma now support BJJHQ.  If your looking for a daily deal on any and every Brazilian Jiu Jitsu related gear and apparel then look no further.  BJJHQ has one great item on sale everyday of the week with minimal shipping costs.  So if your on the hunt for that ever elusive kimono or snazzy rash guard, then I strongly recommend you tune in to BJJHQ's page early and often.  Who knows, you may just find exactly what your looking for...and on sale!

Sep 2, 2011

BJJ Eden

By:  Hiram "Tortuga" Navarrete

So today on my bus ride to downtown Los Angeles, I met a very sweet older women handing out pamphlets concerning religion.  We chatted for a bit and we parted ways, but not before I managed to snag some literature.  I chose to read up on the fabled "Garden of Eden".  That fantastical garden where man was said to have lived in peace and perfect harmony.  Well it got me to thinking, is there a Brazilian jiu jitsu eden?  A "garden" for grapplers?  A paradise for guard players?  Where the mats are always clean, and our gi's are always crisp.  A space, where there are no distractions, no chaos of the outside world.  The mat is vast, and your mind is clear of all non-jits thoughts, while your body is free from all soreness and injury.  This is a place where mat burn is nonexistent, where people don't know the meaning of "spazzing out", and every student has his/her own personal black belt instructor.  Walking in you feast your eyes on an endless multitude of gi's, every hue and tone imaginable.  And you ask yourself if such a place can exist?  We may never find out, but in the meantime I'll continue to train, mat burn or not, and rest assured, if I ever find the fabled Jiu Jitsu Garden of Eden, you'll be the first to hear about it.

Aug 30, 2011

Passing Of The "Old" Guard

By: Hiram "Tortuga" Navarrete

The winds of change. The passing of the torch. The changing of the guard.
These are only a few ways of saying the same thing, and that's the age old lesson of the young, hungry, lion besting the old shark.
Image By: Animal Kaiser

In recent years it's become apparent that the ways have changed when it comes to competition in Brazilian jiu jitsu.  The glory days of old school jiu jitsu power houses such as Saulo Ribeiro and Fabio Gurgel are said to have come to an end, while the rise of names such as Rodolfo Vieira, and Jao Assis, have made it apparent that times are changing.  The new generation of competitors and fighters are not only skilled technically but show an amazing array of athletic ability.  What I see today are people flying all over the place, exploding into submissions but still staying precise and technical with there attack.  While the classic grappler was more focused on a steady pace, keeping controlled and finishing  We've seen many examples of youth overcoming experience and guile but what were all forgetting is that if you swim with the shark, old or not, YOU WILL GET BIT.  These men are members of the old guard for a reason, and we need to show them the respect that they have earned.  So when these legends ride off into the sunset, as they pass the torch on to you, don't be surprised if you get burned along the way.