If you want to study open guard, lasso guard, and omoplata’s, then it is best to go to the source of those concepts : Antonio “Nino” Schembri. Nino, also known as Elvis due to his love for the king, is a Gracie Barra Black Belt that created the open guard styles that we see today. Nino had minor successes in IBJJF Worlds and ADCC, as well as MMA (he famously upset Kazushi Sakuraba in 2003 in Pride 25). In every match that I have seen him in, he is extremely active and always hunting for those arms and shoulders.
David Meyer has his place in the pantheon of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu as being a member of the “Dirty Dozen” – one the first 12 Americans to be promoted to Black Belt. David also is distinguished as the first American to medal in a world championship, taking 3rd in the absolute division in 1998.
When I was living and training in South Florida, local tournaments became more prominent and competitive as Brazilian Jiu Jitsu grew in the region. American Top Team, which we were affiliated with for a few years, typically had the largest contingent at these tournaments. Sometimes we had to compete against ourselves in order to get some mat time in. But, other academies did certainly exist and one, Freestyle Fighting Academy (FFA) took it upon themselves to challenge many of our professionals in a vain attempt at sparking some sort of rivalry. I don’t recall these challenges ever turning out well for FFA, as evidenced by the super fight below.
Marcos “Parrumpinha” da Matta (right) is a revered member of ATT as a coach and MMA fighter. He accepted a challenge from Mike Cardosa, then of FFA, whose only real accomplishment was making it through to the second round of the -65kg class of the 2001 ADCC championships, before being submitted by Royler Gracie.
I saw this match in person and it was the first time I had ever seen a score over 30 points.