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3 Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Legends Come Together for Weekend Seminar at American Top Team Lowcountry
3 Jiu-Jitsu Legends Come Together for a Weekend Seminar at American Top Team Lowcountry

CHARLESTON, SC – Three of the greatest Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Black Belts in the world are coming together in Charleston, SC on Saturday, Feb 16 and Sunday, Feb 17 to teach seminars for Martial Artists in the Lowcountry. BJJ Legend, Ricardo Liborio teams up with 4x BJJ World Champ, Rodolfo Vieira and 9x World Champ, Bruno Malfacine to teach these all-level seminars at ATT Lowcountry in Charleston, SC.“The mat experiences these three champions possess is off the charts and their technical knowledge is positively encyclopedic.” says Malachy Friedman, head instructor and owner of ATT Lowcountry. “This will be a beast weekend and we are expecting attendees to come from North Carolina, Georgia and all up and down the state to experience this world champion weekend.”

Heading up this BJJ Dream Team is Rio de Janeiro native, Ricardo Liborio, a 6th degree Carlson Gracie Black Belt, co-founder of both Brazilian Top Team and American Top Team, ADCC “Superfight” victor over Mario Sperry, 3-time Brazilian National Champion. IBJJF World Champion, Abu Dhabi Submission Tournament Champ, USA Grappling Coach, MMA Coach of Robbie Lawler at UFC 189, Yoel Romero, and current champion Tyrone Woodley.

Bruno Malfacine may be the best Rooster weight (118 lbs.) in the history of Jiu-Jitsu. Malfacine began his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training at the age of eleven in Duque de Caxias under Carlos Santana before moving to Gama Filho and Team Alliance. This 9x world champ has racked up over 40 submission wins. Malfacine has unbelievable skills that at just 5’4” he can compete against much larger opponents and come out the victor, proving BJJ’s secret sauce is body mechanics over brute strength. Malfacine teaches and trains in Orlando, Florida, where he is pursuing MMA. He has a professional MMA record of 3-0.

Rodolfo Vieira, was dubbed the “Black Belt Hunter” when he defeated the 2x world champ at Abu Dhabi World Pro Championship when still a teenager. A true Jiu-Jitsu legend, Rodolfo is just 29 and already a 4-time IBJJF World Champion, ADCC Champion (2015), now MMA Champ with a 4-0 record.

Expect a BEAST SEMINAR with three of the most knowledgeable “BJJ Heroes” on the planet on Saturday, February 16th and Sunday, February 17th starting at 12:00 pm each day. Location is ATT Lowcountry, 1850 Wallace School Rd. Charleston. The weekend seminars are sponsored by ATT Lowcountry, Black Label Jiu Jitsu, Anchor Pest Control, Gameness, Coyote Nutrition, Broken Lantern Tattoo and Martial Arts Nation. For more information, contact Sarah Gomez at 843-561-4848 or Visit us on Facebook

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American Top Team Anti-Bullying Program

American Top Team Anti-Bullying Program
Bullying has been on our national radar screen as a major social problem for many years. The effects of
bullying can be dramatic and long-lasting for the bullied child and include emotional and physical pain,
academic problems, and social withdrawal. Even the aggressor experiences negative consequences,
putting themselves at higher risk of becoming involved in criminal activity in adulthood.
American Top Team is a world-renowned Martial Arts Academy with many famous athletes counted
among our ranks. At American Top Team, we take a firm stance against bullying and believe that given
the right voice behind the anti-bully movement, we can not only reduce the number of bullied children,
but also prevent those prone to bullying behavior by giving them strong, positive role models.

Types of Bullying

BJJ Charleston

  • Verbal
  • Social
  • Physical
  • Cyber





Why Bullying takes place?
-Lack of social skills
-Defense mechanism. The bully’s competence, social connection, or self-worth become exposed.
– Verbal or physical aggressiveness may take place at home.
– Bullying has reinforced social status or power.
– Home may lack healthy affection or empathy.

To teach kids the proper social skills to effectively prevent bullying.
Prevent bullying before it takes place.
Intervening safely during the act of bullying.

The AggressorCharleston, Antibullying

– May be excluded, lonely or hurting
– May be bullied at home, neighborhood or in school
– Not understand how to make friends

Myths and Realities on bullying and how to combat it

– Bullying is used to gain a sense of power or satisfaction in hurting someone
Reality: Bullies usually need an audience to accomplish these goals. Taking this away from them weakens their motives.
-Mediation is not the best remedy
Reality: There is an imbalance of power between victim and bully. Mediating often only enforces
the imbalance at times.
-Bullying toughens the victim

Reality: There are no winners in bullying. Every child is different and not every story ends in a
victory for the victim.

American Top Team’s approach

Who we are
American Top Team is the Premier Mixed Martial Arts Team in the country. With over 100 professional
fighters, we are the team with the largest roster in the UFC. American Top Team also teaches adults and
children martial arts for competition and self-defense. Yes, we are competitive fighters, but we are also
sportsmen and women who live by the seven principles of the Black Belt: self-control, discipline,
modesty, courtesy, integrity, perseverance and an indomitable spirit.
Our approach to minimize bullying in school
In our academies we are adamantly against bullying in any and every form. We teach our students it is
not ok to bully or be a bystander to bullying. Many of our instructors and competitors are well
accomplished and their pledge against bullying holds weight with the youth we instruct. Standing strong
against bullying, we explain the different roles in bullying and then roleplay scenarios so it is easier for
our students to understand how to prevent or take part in bullying.
Our Seminars
Anti-Bully staff introductions as well as getting to know the audience with simple Q&A to relax and
involve the students. A dialogue on bullying: what students think bullying is; if they or someone they know has been bullied (usually by a show of hands); if they have brothers or sisters who may have excluded or have witnessed
bullying. Usually everyone has joined in bullying at some point.
Explain the different kinds of bullying with an example of each.
Role-playing involving the staff, teachers and students.
Examples of each scenario and how to handle each.
The Pledge to Stand Against Bullying
Copies of the Anti-Bully pledge are given to children to sign, and take home to present to their parents.

Jiu-Jitsu is an Art

“Human nature (Jiu-Jitsu) is full of riddles and contradictions; its very complexity engenders art – and by art I mean the search for something more than simple linear formulations, flat solutions, oversimplified explanations.” – Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

 Substitute the words Jiu-Jitsu for the words human nature and it challenges one to consider exactly what does art encompass. If art, as Solzhenitsyn suggests, is about the search full, complex and brilliant solutions, then shouldn’t a competitive sport like BJJ be considered an art? We are used to judging some athletes for their artistic performances as well as their athletic prowess. We hear commentators discuss how Olympic judges give or subtract marks for both technical and artistic merit in sports where you have to be spectacularly fit. Where does “Artistic Sport” and “Competitive Sport” come together and where does it diverge? Ballet, and especially Cirque de Soleil (a combination of dance, gymnastics, staging, music, and story-telling), are certainly recognized as artistic performances yet not sport.

The biggest difference between those performances and Jiu-Jitsu, aside for the obvious fact that we face opponents, is that in our sport that beautiful armbar ending in a submission is spontaneous; it’s not a scripted routine performed on cue. These beautiful submissions are only repeated if the situation arises that would make them possible.

Yes, I recognize visual artists don’t use scripts and create unique one-of-a-kind works, but visual artists don’t work in real time in front of audiences and painting would never be considered an artistic sport.

So what about art that is spontaneous and performed before audiences? I’m not the first to see links between the art of Improv Theater and sport. Take soccer. Both are “team activities” with players anticipating plays in a wildly dynamic environment, connecting, feeding each other, moving towards the goal, be it an actual goal or successful sketch. The art of Imrov prepares actors to make quick, spontaneous responses also needed in fencing and in both these activities pacing and timing are key. Finally, Jiu-Jitsu, like Improv, is different every time. Both require mental agility to quickly size up a situation and offer a creative response. Unlike Improv, in Jiu-Jitsu, you set up your fellow “actors” to make them more vulnerable so you can leverage their mistakes.

 It is not enough to know your craft – you have to have feeling. Science is all very well, but for us imagination is worth far more.” – Edouard Manet

The famous French painter Manet tells us that art cannot be created without connecting with one’s emotions. Skill alone is not sufficient.

Jiu-Jitsu is far more than belts; it’s science, art and tradition that’s best applied with courage and humility. After years of embracing defeat, practitioners advance, their battle becomes more fluid; a skillful dance with a potentially devastating ending. A slight movement of a wrist could reverse power of position leaving the owner of the misstep to quickly shift their mind to a more calculating player. If we could see players emotions as light you would see an array of colors depicting intense speed and domination; to calculating strategic thinking; to humility and calmness. A spiritual journey for some, for others it’s an escape, a fulfillment in an otherwise mundane life.

To us, Jiu-Jitsu is a personalized art form, as elegant and imaginative as Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” or as brash and unconventional as Banky’s street art. Whichever your style or combination you chose, it is your quest in a never-ending “game of human chess.” –Black Label Jiu-Jitsu.

You are who you associate yourself with – “No Bully Zone”

Truism #1: You are who you surround yourself with. This is something my mother always told me, and
it’s spot-oNo bully Zonen. In my kid’s Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu classes, I teach them that if they are in a group of kids that is making fun of another child, then they are as guilty as the others. Why? They give the group strength by being part of
it. That bully isn’t so tough when no one is on his side. Do they have to speak out against the bullying?
Not necessarily. That takes a lot courage for a child and also the ability to protect himself. Should they walk away? Absolutely. This is by far the easiest option and sometimes it’s the best thing to do. Walkaway.
Now I’m more confident that I can protect myself, yet many times I just have to walk away too. When I meet people that are not interested in improving themselves or their community, I just keep walking.
Recently, I encountered a group that advocated misogyny, and flaunted a lack of a moral code, so yeah, I walked. Fast. I don’t care who they are. I won’t associate or have any communication with them.
No one is perfect; some people just lack common sense or maturity. I don’t run those people off. I run a business and love customers, but this is also where I spend the majority of my time. See Truism #1! As the academy leader, I have to set expectations for acceptable behavior.

No gym-bullies or frat antics. I won’t compromise on that.

 All are welcome. Our community brings people from all walks of life, all getting along, sharing in
martial arts – BJJ, Muay Thai, Boxing, Wrestling and MMA. This is an intentionally healthy lifestyle,
physically, mentally and emotionally. For it to continue to be a healthy community, it must be
healthy for all members. All.

 We are a family – an opt-in family. Show up, shake hands, work with everyone. Help the new

 Walk the Walk! While it’s not my job to pass moral judgments, it does matter how my coaches
and athletes are regarded. How I’m regarded. What message are we conveying to the children in
the Little Foxes class? Display the behavior we teach the children in the academy: courtesy, self-
control, perseverance, etc.

It’s a challenge for those in high level, competitive martial arts – where the goal is victory through the art
of combat – to consistently take the high road. I had a mentor who proved it was possible. I had signed
up to learn the martial arts, and he taught the martial way (Budo).
Budo brings attention to both the physical aspects of fighting and to the development of the mind and
the spirit. I have reached a stage in my journey where I believe it’s possible to have an academy where
all can flourish. Where there is respect for our mutual goal to improve – body, mind and spirit. I built my
academy on this vision. Those few who don’t value this vision have always found their way out.

Black Label Jiu-Jitsu

What Struggle Teaches

What Struggle Teaches

I have been involved in this sport of MMA for the past 18 years. Early in my career, I have made a lot of
poor decisions in my training and recovery that are clear to me now. I was in the sport before money
was ever really being offered to fighters who were not Tito Ortiz or Chuck Liddell. Our training was very
abusive in that every training session was sparring and our sparring resembled a professional fight.
Around 2004, I became a training partner to the soon to be Middleweight Champion, the late, great
Evan Tanner (RIP). Evan Tanner, Malachy Friedman, Struggle

In one week, my nose was pushed around my face 3 times. It has now settled
somewhere in the middle left section of my face. I moved around a lot, going wherever the next training opportunity arose. I found my way to American Top Team Head Quarters where I was not just training with one champion, but many, every day. My mentality was still to never say no to sparring and training 2x daily. I left myself no room for recovery from nagging injuries. One day, I injured my neck and lost most use of my left arm and needed surgery. I had post-surgery complications that kept me in pain for years and then lost use of my right arm, requiring a second surgery. Note to the people I train: I am talking about professional MMA, not Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu or Muay Thai student classes. And again, this was when I was a
lot younger and before I got smart and began considering my long-term health. As a coach, having
experienced extensive injuries, I have resolved that my fighters will not.

Yet, here is the paradox. Every time I came back from an injury, I was better than before. Not physically
stronger, not faster, but I had improved my overall skills. How? I was fearful. I was fearful that others
would surpass me in skill level, fearful that I wouldn’t be ready to take an opportunity after I had healed.
So what did those hard times motivate me to do? While I couldn’t work my physical game, I could work
on my brain game. I studied hours of tape, making hours of notes. I visualized every position and
technique before sleep. I was working more on my training than when I was putting in 5+ hours a day
sparring and physically training.

Now when I am hit with a major obstacle, I know I can overcome it. I wrote a 1,500 page business plan
during one injury downtime. Today, I own a gym in my hometown. During another downtime, I wrote 3
years of curriculum. Another time, I focused on a UFC fighter who was fighting an opponent with a
mastery of a particular technique. I worked so hard on this position, I entirely deconstructed the
position and created a foolproof escape sequence that was published on DVD and distributed by major
online Jiu-Jitsu video publishers.

When coaching, I became injured during training. I thought, okay what are you trying to teach me now. I
felt Struggle was telling me: Old friend, you can be a mat monster but teach terribly because you are only
concerned with your own satisfaction, or you can be the person who makes mat monsters. Make
champions. Fuel the passion, and when you are well again, be better than before.

And I was. I learned to adapt my game to my limitations, making them an attribute. Struggle forced me
to educate myself, and once again refocus on my own unique skill-set, my teaching and my academy.
Real growth is rarely paired with complacency. No, more often its partner is struggle.

Although I still curse struggle when it visits unannounced, it has given as much as it has taken. I would
say to the students and athletes that I train that you will struggle too, but ask yourself what is this trying
teach me, and know you are well-prepared to confront it. It’s what we do.

The Power of Drilling

Power of Drilling

Depending on your coach you will be given a technique to drill or your own time to drill a technique of
your choice. Let’s say your coach says “armbars 25x each, warmup!” Your thoughts “Boring, I know this”
Let me just swing side to side and finish up these 25 reps. So my question is this… How good is your
armbar? Can you armbar most of your class? Blackbelts? World Class Black belts? Well, at that level it’s
hard to armbar anyone. Well, tell that to Rafael Mendes, World Champion who finishes the best in the
world with this simple technique.
Never rush through a technique, whether you know it or not your brain is making a neural connection
with the armbar whether you are doing it right or wrong. Your brain is memorizing it. The slower and
more correct you do it, the thicker the neural connection becomes; meaning that the information is
traveling through your brain faster and more efficient than ever before. Once again, Myelin at play.
This is brain science and it is responsible for all the tasks you do effortlessly. The more Jiu-Jitsu you can
accomplish with muscle memory, the more the “active you” can observe other parts of the match or
training you are involved in.

Read about Myelin here and turn your brain into a Super-Highway!

Most Self-Defense Courses Are Cash Grabs

Women’s Self-Defense

This past week, the Post and Courier ran a story about me and the success of our ATT Lowcountry free
Women’s Self-Defense seminars. The same icy cold January day that the reporter came out to observe,
another 100+ women of all ages came to learn the basics of real self-defense.

In the seminar I began as I always do with advice on how not to become an unsuspecting target of an
attack. I always preach situational awareness. Simply knowing what is going on around you is the first
line of self-defense. Simple concept, yet easy to forget or dismiss because we can’t imagine anything
happening to us at the time. The truth is we do not know when an attack will happen, but do know that
1 in 6 women will be attacked in their lifetime. This is an insane statistic, and the motivating reason for
this seminar and the reason I am so very careful about what information I provide and which techniques
I teach.

I cannot say the same for many other self-defense courses and internet videos. I especially warn against
thinking that taking a 6-day course is equivalent to a magic pill. The knowledge and prevention gained in
a short course is only the first step. If you ever have the necessity to employ the self-defense techniques
you learned, I guarantee you will be in an adrenalized state which makes calmly remembering
techniques very difficult and can lead to panicking. A five or six week course where you train once a
week is simply not enough.

I’ve got a beef with Women’s Self-Defense taught using so many fun games you might think you were at
a kid’s birthday party. These courses are cash grabs that wrongly give women a false sense of self
confidence in thinking they can defend themselves because they screamed and bounced off of target
throwing elbows and knees. Sure, this might be a rush of high energy, but there is zero science behind
what is being taught. We tried to use some of the popular moves to get out of a hold from behind. Check out the results below.

Here I have some effective moves to actual get out of this situation

Be loud, yes, but be loud while escaping. I object to teaching women to roleplay a beat-up-the-bad-guy
scenario, when such a display of bravado only increases their odds of being sexually assaulted or
jeopardizes the chances of saving their own life. This is completely unacceptable. Giving improper advice
on such a serious subject is totally irresponsible. To learn of an assault against a student who followed
that advice would be a terrible fate for any legitimate instructor. But the truth is that most women will
not discuss their attack, so the probability of this getting back to the instructor is minute.

In some short courses where they claim to teach easy-to-apply street-fighting techniques, they actually
bring out a bad guy dressed in a suit at the end. The women are encouraged to have at him, punching,
kicking and kneeing him in the groin to the cheers of their classmates. I find that carnival atmosphere
deeply disturbing because at best it’s silly and at worst, it is extremely dangerous.

I’m told about other schools basing their techniques on the premise that women should always stay on
their feet. Wow! People are also attacked on the sitting at bus stop, at their desk, sitting in the park,
lying on a picnic blanket or in their dorm room. People are quickly knocked to the ground too. It
happens in a heartbeat. It’s not a place you would intentionally bring the fight unless you are skilled in
ground combat like Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. I am and would never suggest to a beginner to take their attacker
to the ground as a defense, but let’s face it, sometimes you end up there.

Yes, in an ideal world, instructors want women to remain on their feet and escape an attack. Here is
what they don’t tell you at those other courses. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu uses body mechanics, so that a smaller, weaker person, using leverage and mechanics can create strong frames with their body, and
break free from someone choking them, grabbing them, and yes, from someone on top of them.
Knowing how to mechanically free yourself, will win you the critical advantage. The goal is always to
break free and escape.

I preach striking has its place, but it is lower on the list of defenses. Why? Because when you hit, your
attacker hits back. If a larger, aggressive male hits you back, he may beat you badly or knock you
unconscious whether you know technique or not. A fight is one you can lose, so we never willingly enter
a fight; we always look to escape with our life.

Learning leverage and frames takes focus and may not be as much fun as bouncing off targets. Not every
day spent drilling self-defense techniques feels like a day at Skyzone. Still, there are empowering
moments like getting to choke someone with their own shirt, or learning how to break an arm of
someone grabbing you. BJJ is an insanely fun hobby once you learn to utilize concepts and techniques
against a resisting opponent. BJJ enthusiasts mix it up, using self-defense techniques against friendly
opponents in highly charged games of human chess. It’s an incredible rush.

What is the ultimate solution to protecting yourself? I believe any of my women students who take Jiu-
Jitsu seriously will be able to protect themselves. What else? A gun? Maybe. We know that can go bad
fast. What if you are attacked before you can use it or it is taken from you? Use weapon retention?
What is the basis of true weapon retention? Well it involves levers, angles, leverage, and body
mechanics. In other words, Jiu-Jitsu with a weapon.

In December, we will be holding a Free Women’s Self-Defense in West Ashley.

1850 Wallace School Rd. (Behind Barnes and Noble)


Growing into the GI

Growing into the Gi

With small children, a big part of learning martial arts is simply about developing self-confidence. Having confidence to put on a gi and walk onto the mats may be easy for some children but certainly not all.

Some children require more reassurance than others. So parents don’t get discouraged if your child needs a little extra time to feel comfortable. The life-lesson is patience. For the parents!

I’ve never met a child that didn’t conquer his trepidation when treated gently. Parents, put yourself in your child’s gi. Walking onto the mats for the first time can be intimidating for adults. Now imagine you are 3’ tall. You can help your first-timer by bringing them to the academy when it is quiet and the mats haven’t filled up with students.

Group martial arts help children learn social skills – waiting one’s turn, showing respect by using please and thank you and not interrupting – that are as important as the techniques they learn.

Don’t stress if your child has a rough first day. Today, they may be the new kid having trouble putting a foot on the mat. Tomorrow, they will be the helper, who brings the new, new kid into the group.


BJJ FOR LIFE: The Superior Self-Defense


Part 3 – BJJ – The superior self-defense!
I talked about Focus and Fortitude and how they worked together and got stronger through BJJ practice. In earlier posts, I talked about how studies show that neural pathways are engaged and strengthened through repetition, making BJJ a great activity to develop the mind, and with consistent practice, children learn to focus.
I also covered other top reasons to study the art, such as earning respect, learning problem solving, developing confidence, self-reliance and an indomitable spirit, etc. There is one benefit of BJJ that I haven’t talked about in a while and that because it’s completely obvious to me though it may not be as evident to parents watching every week from the sidelines. BJJ is one of the best self-defense systems on the planet. Yes, your Little Fox or your Fox Champ is really very cute, but that makes it all too easy to overlook that your child is learning a real-life skill that may protect him/her someday. We try to make learning fun, but BJJ is serious self-defense. A child who starts young and continues practice into adulthood will be well-prepared indeed. Steer your kids in the direction of their best interests. Encourage them if they start to lose their enthusiasm. Remember BJJ trumps all! – Professor Malachy Friedman

Adults check out “Why Navy Seal Jocko Willink Thinks Jiu Jitsu Is A Real Superpower” 

Benefits of Learning a Martial Art – Cultivating Respect is Most Important


Parenting experts often talk up the benefits of learning a martial art. They talk about fitness, focus, friends and self-discipline. To borrow from the late, great Aretha Franklin, it’s cultivating R-E-S-P-E-C-T that experts say is most important. They say that children learn respect by showing respect (bowing, shaking hands, sportsmanship, etc.) and this may be the most significant benefit because it improves behavior off the mats. We totally agree. Our Fox Champs have many opportunities to learn respect and gain self-respect on the mats. As skills grow, so does confidence, pride and self-respect. Kids with a high degree of self-respect who show respect for others are more likely to become successful and happy.

Imagine a workplace where all your co-workers were respectful team players, reliably punctual, unfailingly considerate, clean and appropriately groomed at all times and were focused on the job at hand? That’s the DREAM TEAM there. If these were family members, you’d host Thanksgiving every day.

Manners such as these are taught at home and school and much to the delight of parents, on the mats. Parents send their children to us to learn the most effective martial art, but we never hear any complaints when the kids absorb The Rules of the Mat! In fact, some parents think that’s the best part.

The Rules of the Mat:

  • Come to class with a positive attitude and try your best in every class!
  • Show courtesy to your fellow students and instructors – on and off the mat.
  • Be on time. If you are late, get permission before entering the mat. Bow to all coaches and shake hands if you are late.
  • Never step on the mat wearing shoes. (You MUST use shoes when using the bathroom.)
  • Always bow to the mat upon entering and leaving.
  • Refer to your instructors by their title (ex: Master) or “sir/ma’am.”
  • Respect teammates by paying attention and not talking while professor is speaking.
  • Practice good hygiene; Keep your gi clean. Braid or pull back long hair. Cut your nails.
  • Remove accessories, bows, earrings, bracelets, etc.
  • Greet your opponent. BJJ standard greeting is bow and shake hands.
  • Do not attend class if you are sick.
  • Keep your hands to yourself. If a problem arises, bring it to your instructor’s attention.
  • Keep our bathrooms clean!

BLACK LABEL JIU-JITSU: Find Leadership through Jiu Jitsu