Archive for November, 2011

Video: Roger Gracie interview, quick thoughts

November 26, 2011

Watched this video and thought ‘new positions’ were a good idea for fundamentally sound black belts (read: have a foundation first) before Roger comes back around to my opinion @ 5:30. 

In addition, I don’t think variations are really that big of deal as long as you explain things in terms of principles, leverage, and mechanics.  Copying ideas and positions can get the ball rolling, but will only get you so far in facilitating deep understanding:


Happy thanksgiving, favorite sports video

November 23, 2011

My favorite sports related video is oddly noted for a complete lack of competitive context with big wave pioneer and surfing legend Greg Noll hitting the nail on the head @ 2:50.  Pure inspiration:


Unavailable for instruction through 2/1/12

November 23, 2011

Holiday time!

Best sports psychology book, end of regular (weekly) blog posts

November 16, 2011

Thanks for rollin’ with me, as I guess this blog has been a sort of BJJ think out loud  forum the past couple years. 

I will still be accessible by email and available for privates unless otherwise stated.

I’ll leave you with the most insightful sports psychology book I’ve read to date.  It’s ‘Stillpower:  The Inner Source of Athletic Excellence.’  by Garret Kramer:

Interview with Kramer:

Video: Teaching Avery and Dylan (children) BJJ

November 13, 2011

Editor’s note:  Plan on getting this video up again at some point!

Fun vid (compliments of of last practice with Avery and Dylan. Some of the text was changed in the final cut, but can’t figure out how to import it onto my damn laptop. 

Anyhow, donated BJJ lessons to a local elementary school this past spring.  The results were as follows =):


In addition to progressions…

November 10, 2011

How you practice is just as important as what you practice.

I have a friend who has been training BJJ for 5 years with numerous instructors. 

Over that time he’s obviously been shown hundreds of positions, but believe it or not, the concept of effective practice and going slow to mine fine details were revelations.

Again it goes back to do you want to learn to build a livable house as quickly as possible, or dream home?  The dream home is going to require serious apprenticeship, and be a tedious step by step process.


November 9, 2011

A huge theme I come back to is not teaching overnight BJJ, but a progression that builds on itself.

If there is a question of where you’re at in a progression, and what you need to work on based on experience level, you’re poorly coached.

I say this not to hate on anyone, but to point out that as a student 98% of your focus should be on a few things layed out for you to master at a given point in time.  The work path should be simple and straight-foward.

Any uncertainty about WHAT to focus on, takes the mind off that work.

If food was technique, :50-1:51 was me at blue belt:

Don’t be like me. =)

If your instructor doesn’t have a written or video based curriculum with specific sets of expectations and progressions for each position, ask him or her to provide you with a guerrilla one for the time being.

I have my own progression based ideas, but as stated in the Practice Notes update, have decided to save them for private students and personal friends.

Consolidating information

November 8, 2011

Answering the question of consolidating and assimilating information from a number of different instructors, possibly in contradiction with one another:

Obviously, having a core curriculum and ongoing scheduled communication between instructors organized by a head coach solves the problem outright.

If there isn’t a high level of organization, there is still hope. =)

If a head coach isn’t provided you have to appoint yourself one.

The problem here is, the less experience you have, the less you’re going to know who to listen to.

A person who seems really articulate might be really good at explaining things that would never work on some one decent, or things you aren’t ready for yet.

You can go with other people’s opinions, but often they are more clueless than you are (navigating by youtube comments = 20 year white belt).

So that’s the rub…

If you are able to stick with BJJ for an extended period of time, there is once again a beacon of light…

…what a great instructor says becomes MORE relevant as time passes.

The bottom line is there ARE garbage, half thought out ideas that either don’t apply, or work very good against skilled grapplers.  But to reiterate, positions and ideas a great coach teaches you will serve you more and more as you progress from white to black.

So yeah…one head coach…possibly two at MOST.  Take everything else with a grain of salt, and when in doubt holla at your boy or girl.

Lastly, a quick teaching nub:

Positions flow from principles that flow from an overriding philosophy.  In other words, a position by itself is an empty carton of milk.  You need context around that cereal!!:

Update: 2011 Practice notes

November 7, 2011

After writing a lot of this material down I’ve decided NOT to release this information, saving it for private students and friends only.

G$ asked some great general questions I’m still going to answer here for free, but decided I’ve worked too hard in relative isolation to put a public price tag on this stuff.  Too personal! =)

Constructing a basic BJJ game

November 4, 2011

Having some one do live rounds of sparring without a basic strategy and idea of what to do from each position is the construction equivalent of sending some one to a work site with half the tools they need for the required job, and a working knowledge of how to use half those tools. =)

In other words it’s a waste of time of the people on site that know what they’re doing and have to leave their job to instruct and lend tools, as well as that of the person being set up for failure, who have no choice but to ask questions or flail blindly

And dang, if it’s a surly work crew, it’s flat-out irresponsible and abusive.  Conscious or not, it’s neglect.