GTR Archives 2000-2020










Global Training Report



Hardcore Submission Fighting

Volumes 1 –3

With Nicholas C. Starks

  Reviewed by Roberto Pedreira

Nicholas C. (Nick) Starks began his personal martial arts odyssey at the tender age of four, when his parents enrolled him in Master Kimfs Taekwondo dojang. At about the same time, he began learning the deadly Korean art of Hapkido. After adding some jiu-jitsu and judo manueuvers to his repetoire, he eventually hooked up with shoot fighting world champion Bart Vale. Later he trained with Greco-Roman world champion Reza Nasri, bare knuckle world champion Gokor Chivichyan, and Robert Busseyfs warrior international (the only one who wasnft a world champion, I guess). Nick was also a champion, although not a world champion, but just a US champion. He was the champion of the US Vale Tudo in 1995. Therefs video of his championship showdown to prove he did it. His opponent looks like he might have given Fred Ettish a run for his money, throwing his lead leg way up high so Nick wouldnft have to strain himself to catch it and take him down. 

About this time, Nick enrolled in classes in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and studied with Marcio Simas in Orlando Florida, USA.@Marcio Simas is not a world champion that I know of, but he received a black belt from Carlos Gracie Jr., and that impresses me more than winning some micky mouse vale tudo by beating one Joe Blow who was naïve enough to enter without knowing what he was getting into.

What am I driving at?

First of all, like Rickson, I donft wanna say nothing bad about no one. Nick seems to know a lot of individual techniques. Some are Gracie Jiu-jitsu® techniques, others are sambo, others are basic judo newaza, and he more or less executes and explains them adequately. The problem is superficiality. Nick has had too many teachers, too soon. He seems to be based somewhere in the southeast of the USA. On one volume he is assisted by Jeff Mullens who owns a karate school in Memphis and is wearing a Gokor seminar shirt (this part was shot next to a pond in a park and a flock of ducks wander into the training area to see what the guys are up to, which adds a touch of realism). Gokor is based in Los Angeles and is a student of Gene LeBell. Did Nick learn some of Judo Genefs favorite techniques via Gokor and is now passing them along to you third hand? Something is always lost in every generation of a translation: the details. Unfortunately, the details are what make grappling techniques work. You can only learn so much from seminars.   

Passing himself off as a Vale Tudo champion based on one dubious fight against a clueless opponent does nothing for Nickfs credibility (hyperbole being mandatory in the martial arts video business, I doubt Nick would have forgotten to mention his other victories if he had any). Introducing his assistants as his gblack belth students is laughable, when Nickfs own jiu-jitsu abilities look at roughly blue belt level, at most.  Ok, these arenft Gracie Jiu-jitsu ® black belts and Memphis or wherever Nick is isnft Rio de Janeiro.  The question is then, what kind of black belts are these? What do they represent?  Other than as little gold stars to motivate children, belts serve only one purpose, which is to match fighters in tournaments at levels of skill and experience that are regarded by the competitors themselves as fair and reasonable. (Obviously, as the Brazilians know so well, black belts can also serve as valuable marketing tools). 

I donft hold with the gmore techniques per dollar is betterh philosophy. Ceteris paribus, that might be true, but ceteris is never paribus. It depends on the techniques taught and what you need. A good concept can be worth a hundred techniques. Moreover, I doubt anyone is going to learn any technique from a video (or book). The only way to know you are doing the movement right is to have someone who already knows show someone else how it feels to be on the receiving end, and then have that person tell you whether or not if feels the same when you do it. A video canft do that. A good concept however can be extended far beyond its original application. 

Now, letfs say you are already lucky enough to have a truly qualified instructor and a few people to train with. Maybe you already grasp the fundamentals of grappling. And maybe you want to see some techniques from different but compatible styles that you might try. In that case, Nick Starksf tapes could serve a purpose, because he shows a lot of techniques. Maybe some will be new to you. You can be the judge. I will list the techniques shown. Conveniently and considerately, they are (mostly) numbered on the tape. 

The tapes are confusingly labeled. Volumes 1, 2, and 3 are on tape 1, which is labeled Volume 1 and together include 47 techniques. Volume 2, which appropriately is on tape 2, contains three sections and includes 31 techniques. Volume 3, or rather tape 3, is simply labeled Hardcore Submission Fighting (it is described as Volume 3 in the Paladin catalog). It, that is, volume 3 or rather tape 3, includes five sections and a bunch of techniques. The orderly numbering system on the first two tapes falls apart on the third tape, which also features an interview with Nick, but there appear to be about 23 techniques.  Confusing yet? Ok then: volume 1 consists of 15 techniques, volume 2 consists of another 15 techniques, and volume 3 consists of 17 techniques. They are all on the first tape, which is called Volume 1. Now tape 3 contains one part, and one bonus tape # 2, which includes four sections, one of which is the interview. And so on. Anyway, there are about 0ne hundred techniques in total on all three tapes.   

Itfs hard to describe grappling techniques. Most techniques donft have names, or if they do, the names arenft highly descriptive, and the variations donft have names. An armlock is a juji gatame in judo, a chave de braço in Gracie Jiu-jitsu®. What the Japanese call ude garami, the Brazilians call either kimura or Americana, depending on whether the g branch g is up, or down. The Japanese call an upside down juji gatame an ude gatame (an g arm hold g). The Japanese tend not to teach or practice techniques they canft name. The Brazilians donft have a problem with the namelessness of most of their techniques. On the contrary, it may actual encourage them to look for variations. Some of the techniques Nick demonstrates have general sorts of more or less familiar names from judo or jiu-jitsu or pro wrestling (such as triangle, sleeper, heel hook, etc). Others he simply tries to describe as he goes along: g I call this a Gokor choke because I learned it from Gokorg, for example. Rather than vainly attempting to describe all of the many, varied, miscellaneous, and assorted techniques, it will have to suffice to list them pretty much as Nick describes them. I add a brief comment when I believe it will help. By the way, some of the techniques are duplicated on different volumes, hence the same name twice. 

Tape 1

  Vol. 1

1 Victor's Throw to knee bar (youfve seen Oleg try this many times; Kazushi Sakuraba actually makes it work sometimes).

2. Headlock roll 

3. Dropping into armlock

4. Reach down, wrap ankle, roll

5. Chicken wing take down

6. Juji gatame (basic armlock)

7. Nightmare choke

8. Triangle  ( sankaku jime) starting from mount

9. Pass guard to ankle lock

10. Sambo achilles tendon lock

11. Grip variation on 10

12. Kimura from guard

13. Shear sweep ( Brazilians call this g scissora g)

14. Ude garami

15. Quarter position ( also known as g turtle g and gdogh positions) elbow lock with leg

16. Roll out of quarter position to reverse triangle

17. Roll out of quarter position to to juji gatame

18. Roll out of quarter position to grab ankle


Vol. 2


1. Gokor choke ( Keith Shwartz calls this a g baseball chokeg)

2. Punch choke ( this is one half of a ryote jime – a two hand choke -- if that makes sense)

3. Sleeper from mount

4. Triangle

5. Triangle using one arm and one leg

6. Triangle from mount

7. Neck crank from side

8. Neck flex from standing to ground

9. Bart Vale special (Lebell face crank)

10. Wrapping X collar choke

11. Tsukkomi jime (a sort of reverse eri jime collar choke)

12. Loose lapel wrapping choke

13. Obi jime (belt choke) from quarter position

14. Suso jime (shirt choke)

15. Okuri eri jime  (sliding lapel choke)

  Vol. 3

1. Arm down ude garami from side

2. Juji from guard

3. Ude garami with legs from side bottom

4. Juji from guard

5. Juji from knee on position

6. Flip flop juji from knee on when opponent tries to push your knee down (taught on Renzofs and all beginning jiu-jitsu tapes)

7. LeBell upside down armlock (ude gatame)

8. Pillow lock (Figure 4 to neck crank from side position

9. Heel hook from guard

10. Uupah (basic Gracie escape from mount) to side, then heel/knee lock

11. Underhooking knee bar

12. Ankle lock from side

13. Knee bar #11, but from guard

14. Ankle lock when opponent is face down

15. Variation on #14

16. Leg lock when opponent is face down

17. Shin sweep (most basic Gracie sweep when opponent stands up in your guard) to ankle lock


Tape 2


Throws and Takedowns


1.  Ninja roll (the name should give you a clue)

2.  Double leg take down with lift

3.  Single leg take down

4.  Knee lift from front

5.  Baseball slide (illegal judo takedown)

6.  Catch front kick, bend knee outside ( another Bart Vale Special)

7.  Roll to knee bar if opponent catches kick, overhooking

8.  Ankle key lock if opponent catches kick

9.  Drop and leg hook, if opponent catches kick

10. Achilles lock from catching kick

11. Scoop and slam



  1.  Juji armlock  (same as before)

2.  Cobra grip    ( this is LeBellf s terminology, so evidentally Nick got it from Gokor)

3.  Ezekial ( as the Brazilians call it) variation, shearing jaw

4.  Ude garami

5.  Cobra grip turnover

6.  Bridge and roll exit from mount  (basic g uupah g escape)

7.  Variation on #6, for street/vale tudo

8.  Backing out of mount

9.  Elbow escape (basic Gracie escape)

10. Buck to side mount escape ( Mario Sperry says this is the only mount escape that will actually work against an opponent who doesn't have homosexual tendencies). 



1.  Kata juji

2.  Sit-up sweep

3.  Pop and stand

4.  Upside down heel lock after shin sweep

5.  Tripod sweep ( taught on most jiu-jitsu tapes, such as Pedro Carvalho and Mario Sperry)

6.  Helicopter ( as Renzo calls it) turnover from guard ( Nick fails to scissor his bottom leg and it gets trapped under his opponent).

7.  Grab wing and take back

8.  Calf pinch from half - guard

9.  Cobra choke from guard

10. Sleeper from guard (kata jime, or g shoulder choke g)


Tape 3    

Ultimate Counter Measures


1.      Vs. Guillotine

2.  Vs. Guillotine

3.  Vs. Guillotine   

4.  Vs. Triangle

5.  Vs. Triangle

6.  Vs. Kimura

7.  Vs. Knee Bar

8.  Vs. Achilles

9.  Counter to Achilles

10. Counter to counter to Achilles


Bonus tape # 2


Escapes from Bottom


1.      Vs. Kesa gatame

2.  Vs. Kesa gatame

3.  Vs. Kesa gatame

4.  Putting opponent in guard, from yoko gatame

5.  Reversing kami shiho gatame



The countermeasures and escapes above are very basic.

Ground Striking Maneuvers


1.      Punch

2.      Elbows (Nick describes the elbow as g the hardest bone g. The elbow is not a bone, it is a joint where the humerus articulates with the ulna and radius; it is the distal end of the humerus that we desire to bring into contact with our opponentfs head. The humerus is no harder than any other compact long bone; it is simply that when the joint is in flexion, the epiphysis of the humerus – (or, as Paul Vunak might say, the lateral epicondyle) is harder and less vulnerable to injury than your hapless opponent's face, which can not be similarly said of your closed hand.

And assorted other unnumbered techniques.



Nick explains what shoot fighting is, talks about his martial arts background and his writing career, and encourages viewers to join Bart Valefs organization.


Aggressive Muay Thai Fighting Techniques


1.  Jab and Cross

2.      Hook

3.      Uppercut

4.      Up elbow

5.      Diagonal elbow


This is the worst illustration of how to throw a hook and uppercut Ifve ever seen. Therefs no law against not knowing how to throw hooks and uppercuts, but pretending to instruct other people, while not merely not knowing how to do it correctly yourself but while doing precisely the opposite, should surely be considered some sort of misdemeanor. Rather than attempt to punch like this, just lay down, turn over, and give up your back. It'll be less painful in the long run. Nick is on firmer ground with the elbows. Fortunately, almost any way you throw an elbow tends to work.

A few last remarks. Therefs no music on the tapes. Ifve observed that in general the better the training tape is, the less music there is on it. That doesnft necessarily mean a tape with no music is good, but at least itfs better than it would be if it had music. Especially if it sounds like the producer's 13 year old brother selected the tunes. 

There you have it.  When you practice some of the sambo and shooto oriented techniques, remember that great strides have been made in the surgical rehabilitation of shattered knee joints. Youfll be up and limping in no time. You may eventually recover near normal use of your leg. Make sure your insurance is paid up.


Order from:


Paladin Press, P.O. Box 1307-8GB, Boulder, CO  80306


Price: $34.95 per tape ($99.00 for all three)


© 2000, R. A. Pedreira. All Rights Reserved.