Archive for July, 2010

The most important BJJ principle

July 28, 2010

“Jiu-Jitsu is the art of feeling.” ~Saulo Ribeiro



Certianly haven’t mastered this principle, nor was I taught it until brown (in the form of a guard pass hinging on waiting for the right time/tension).  Or maybe it was taught, but wasn’t open enough yet to recieve it?

Using guard passing as an example, the blanket strategy up to that point was cycling 3-4 guard passes over and over, with the back-up plan to try harder. 

Pure genius. =)

80% of the people I wrestled weren’t familiar with one of those passes, so I usually passed based on superior knowledge. 

I would pass the other 10-15% with pressure, as maybe they were familiar the technique, but didn’t have automatic enough reactions to defend.

Success can be your enemy only in the real world.

Luckily it dawned on me, possibly after Eric told me to wait the 569th time, that doing guard passes have nothing to do with doing jiu-jitsu. 

This is where the principle of sensibility comes in.  It’s the art of waiting and feeling.  Jiu-jitsu, it turns out, is what happens between techniques.

You’re either forcing what isn’t there, or taking what some one gives. 

Taking what some one gives hinges on sensibility.



Everyone deserves music…

July 16, 2010

Saw the awesome Michael Franti in concert last night, and the blog post title is the name of one of his songs.

A question I asked myself was:  “If jiu-jitsu was music, what would it allow people to do?”

Answer:  “To interpret, create, and share melodies.”

While my current BJJ thinking is geared toward Jiu-Jitsu  that would allow my step-mom to survive an altercation,  BJJ to me as a whole is about creative expression.

It’s all too easy to get caught up in a sea concepts, techniques, principles, and methods. 

True artistry to me though has always been about people.  That is, a space for connection and coming home.  A space to breathe.


Doing no harm

July 14, 2010

Word got to me through the grapevine that a  purple belt promotion of mine was recently criticized by a local instructor on an internet forum.

The criticism is fine, but I thought this would be a nice opportunity to put belts into perspective historically…

Up until 1967, there were two belts in BJJ:  White and black. 

Blue through brown were brought into the mix so there could be a forum for white belts to compete in a newly created recreational forum, now known as Sport BJJ.

Black is the equivalent to diploma, and when seen in this light, and in the context of history, it might seem logical to conclude that black is the only belt that matters.

The reality is there are levels of black belts. 

Based of what I’ve seen on video, and heard about Rickson’s BJJ, there is a wider skill gap between him and myself, and a fresh white belt. 

So what does matter then? 

My opinion is enjoying yourself. 

The new student, 2 weeks in, enamored, excited, and inspired by the vast sea of knowledge and possibilites BJJ offers, can easily have a much better day than me because they aren’t weighed down by concepts yet, belts included.

Probably the worst thing I could do as an instructor is take this inherent glee away by behaving in a way that demonstrates I value such concepts more than enjoying each day on the mat.