Archive for February, 2010

Questioning BJJ

February 20, 2010

“All of us are watchers — of television, of time clocks, of traffic on the freeway — but few are observers.  Everyone is looking, not many are seeing.” -Peter M. Leschak

For me the best way to gauge the effectiveness of a grappling session is the quality of information I extract from it.

I heard Stevie Ray Vaughan on a live track once say:  “Everything else is just a bunch of… ….something else!”



Cool definition of success

February 11, 2010

I’ve had some gracious BJJers comment on how humble I am, and upon reflection I think that has more to do with me not identifying with BJJ as anything more than something I really enjoy.

I have a coach for purely pragmatic reasons, as at the very least a coach provides an impartial, outside perspective (Royler’s role back when Rickson fought MMA comes to mind). 

I don’t get too big into teams, schools, competitions, promotions, gym exchanges, etc.  I usually come to the gym with a plan if there is sparring, do the work/class, and leave.  No deeper meaning.

 ‘Art’ as I like to define it, is a vehicle for self-knowledge; a way of understanding your beliefs, thought processes, and strengths and weaknesses.  A specific passion or inspiration can offer a magnified backdrop in which one can develop self-awareness to a degree, but ultimately every moment of one’s life is creative expression.

 Love this quote by author Robert Holden, and think it ties in well:


“Success is becoming more of who you are.”


The use of discipline

February 9, 2010

“Shallow people believe in luck, wise and strong people believe in cause and effect” -Ralph Waldo Emerson


As with anything, how one perceives a certian concept has more to do with accompanying feelings than the thing itself.  In the minds of many discipline brings up images of boredom, self-sacrifice, mindless repetition, etc.  In short, all things dull and un-fun. 

For me, discipline is about what I do during the day in quantifiable terms without  judgements tacked on.  I either went to class, did my back stretches, and got to work on time or didn’t.  No grey area, no tedious evaluating.  The idea being, to access the part of the mind that is storyless and action oriented.  


“The interesting thing about the media is that they’re always asking questions about this moment or that moment…but it’s not about the moment…the other coaches and I didn’t have to pontificate how we felt about those guys (players) and how much we appreciated them, because every day since training camp, we had been reinforcing that.” -Jim Tressel 


With the a storyless mindset I’m not a superhero for surviving a grueling kettlebell workout, nor a villian for skipping the workout in favor of couch and twinkie.  Such labeling might provide script ideas for a soap opera producer, but does very little in terms of strengthening an intellegence based on cause and effect.


“Watch a little kid when they are learning how to walk, they stand up, fall down, fall on their face, fall on their butt…they do it over and over and over; and they don’t sit around thinking ‘I’ve got to get more discipline,’ they just have a strong desire to get somewhere that’s higher than the floor…” -Mandy Evans


One of my favorite things to talk about in terms of performance is if one observed what Michael Jordan or Larry Bird did on an average day during  their careers, their highlight reels would seem more matter of fact than magic.  There is nothing more wonderful than experiencing the humility and admiration of seeing some one running in weather that had me talking myself out of my own plans to run that day. 

In recap, the idea of ‘no excuses’ in the context of discipline isn’t about beating yourself up (probably counter-productive) so much as not getting invested in stories to begin with.  Intellegent, focused, consistent action over time speaks for itself, and one either wants something or they don’t.  Going back to the coaching post, whether we actually get what we want doesn’t matter so much as being involved in a game that resonates with us on a personal level.