StrongHold Athletics BJJ Camp 2017

by | Apr 10, 2017 | bjj | 0 comments

I attended StrongHold Athletics‘ Midwest Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Camp 2017 was a great opportunity to meet BJJ practitioners from all over Wisconsin and the Chicago area, and train under talented Brazilian jiu jitsu competitors including Shawn Hammonds, Nick “Chewy” Albin, and Mark Vives, assisted by 22-year-old black belt Chad Hardy. The camp was at the Central Wisconsin Environmental Station, April 7-9.

attendees and teachers together at BJJ Midwest Camp 2017
Black Belts together at BJJ Midwest Camp 2017

Attendees and teachers together at BJJ Midwest Camp 2017

More of the details of the event and teachers below
Credit for above photo to Brian Kato Huynh

Shawn Hammonds, Nashville MMA

2x Pan American Champion

Shawn Hammonds

Shawn Hammonds, 3rd degree Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt and judo black belt and 2x Pan American Champion, came up from Nashville, Tennessee. He taught a judo takedown he likes to use against wrestlers, pressure passes for the guard positions, and a more straight-forward choking submission that works for gi and nogi. We worked the pressure passes for a long time in the camp, and I feel very confident with them now, and understand how the pressure pass can really motivate the opponent to allow the passage to relieve the pressure. Shawn’s teaching style was straight to the point. I really liked Shawn’s drill for grabbing a lapel choke when an opponent turns sideways to escape mount position. He taught common positions that provide stellar opportunities to close submissions.

Shawn’s compelling point about entering competitions:

I believe it was Shawn who made the compelling argument that if you are into BJJ for self defense, you should compete in tournaments because it is more similar to a defense situation with the intensity and anxiety than the safety of your home gym with your friends.

Competition Technique: Shawn showed us how he used this judo against a wrestler at IBJJF Altanta 2017 TWICE

Shawn Hammonds taught takedowns, guard-passes, and submissions at Stronghold BJJ Camp 2017

A Drawing of Shawn Making his Music

Shawn is also a great guitarist and singer, and played music in the evening fireside, which I got a chance to draw a picture of him doing!


Nick "Chewy" Albin, Derby City MMA

2016 Nogi Pan American Champion, Multiple IBJJF Medalist

Nick “Chewy” Albin


Chewy helps Karen and Masha at StrongHold Athletics BJJ camp 2017

Nick “Chewy” Albin of Derby City MMA and Youtube BJJ channel “Chewjitsu,” showed great reversals from half-guard including a toe-tuck roll and alternatives, and a variety of surprising and cascading submissions that an opponent likely won’t expect, and will likely end up getting you a nasty reputation with your BJJ friends lol (wrist-locks). I even learned about the “cow-hand;” when I asked Chewy why it’s called that, he looked up, and it turned out that it’s called that just because that’s what it was called 🙂 . Chewy emphasized that he wanted people to question things and follow up if a question came up, he gave really great feedback and technical corrections throughout the seminar.

Chewy was really outgoing and shared humorous stories during the hang-out times in the evening, including stories of strange people coming in to the gym with inflated ideas about their cage-fighting skills, and talked about people in his life who enhanced his productivity and happiness.

My favorite Youtube Videos by Chewy

One of the reasons I even found out about the BJJ Camp was because I mentioned one of Chewy’s videos to Tyson, a blue belt that I roll with. Chewy’s videos are great support for competitive training, and he addresses many intellectual, psychological, and social training issues for people who contact him, besides sharing his techniques. Many of his videos are about helping people adjust expectations or change their assumptions, or maintaining good training habits through highs and lows over one’s BJJ journey, and he relates a lot of personal experiences. Here are a couple of Chewy’s videos that are exemplary of his channel: Chewjitsu.

On the second evening, during UFC fights when everyone was hanging out in the cabin, I drew caricatures of anyone who wanted them. I don’t remember having someone laugh so hard as Chewy did when I showed him his, and Shawn Hammond said I got it right! It made me very happy to draw the people at the camp, because I got so much from everyone who was there!


UPDATE: Chewy’s Video of the StrongHold BJJ Camp


Mark Vives, New Breed Training Center

3x American National Champion, Pan Am Medalist, 2x Chicago Open Champion

Mark Vives

Mark Vives came up from New Breed Training Center (Niles, IL), and he was just spectacular to learn from. I didn’t do well on some of his techniques, but he gave a couple of crucifix setups and submissions and that seem now like a great opportunity to control a match. When he first showed them, they looked impossible, but his breakdown was so clear and resourceful, I can’t wait to start applying it. The techniques Mark showed took seemingly safe positions of the opponent and made them catastrophically unsafe. Mark showed a fantastic way of compelling an opponent to expose their next, and the used of legs to control the arms in the cruifix, and some great X-guard drills. I admire Mark’s intensity and tenacity during the time that I learned from him.

UPDATE: painting of Mark Vives performing the crucifix that he taught at the StrongHold BJJ Camp, by Theo Howard

Other notable people that I met during the event

    • Rocky– Purple belt, great to roll with, came all the way from Chicago IL at Carlson Gracie’s Gym. Great stories of teaching police academy cadets what jiu jitsu is.Had a great roll with Rocky, he’s 125 pounds of very difficult to manage.
    • Chad “The Beast” Hardy 22 year old black belt under Chewy, at Derby City MMA. I rolled with him on the first day, and I was helpless. I think I was submitted about 10 times in five minutes. “The Beast” is an apt nickname, although speaking with him, he seemed to be a really humble, nice kid! Check out his YouTube Channel.
    • Todd-Todd was my drill partner for the weekend, another blue belt of similar weight but with a couple more stripes. He gave great feedback about techniques. I am very grateful for Todd’s feedback, and helping me develop, he was very gracious!
    • Cesar-a great sense of humor and outgoing personality, Thank you for the caricature of myself this weekend, Cesar! #CloudyJesus
    • Wade Barden-Thank you so much to Wade, who owns and runs StrongHold Athletics, and organized this event, it was such a great opportunity, and it was great to branch out and meet so many different people!

Here is one of Chad Hardy's most recent videos:

Rocky at Stronghold Midwest BJJ camp 2017
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