Archive for December, 2011

BJJ etiquette

December 31, 2011

BJJ value is a bit unique in that it’s a knowledge oriented trade.  Since you’re not dealing with material goods, etiquette isn’t quite as clear. 

You wouldn’t for example, walk out of a grocery store with a cart full of groceries without thinking of paying, or go through a checkout line asking the cashier if you can have free items.

Sooo…a few basic guidelines:

1) If a person has 1-2 more years experience on the mat than you, wait for them to ask you to train, as you’re the one gaining the bulk of the benefit.

2) An instructor is responsible for teaching during class hours.  If they allow time for Q & A during class, cool, but if you want extra information, that’s what privates are for.

3) If you don’t have much money, showing up early and leaving late, as well as listening and drilling the crap out of everything the instructor teaches during class goes a long way.


On giving and instructing

December 30, 2011

Giving is an illusion of sorts, as it depends on the other person being open and receptive first.

Most of the time, altruism translates to patting ourselves on the back for something we deserve a small amount of credit for and/or doing our job.

This is something I think is really important to impart as a coach…

99.5% if your success has nothing do with me, but rather you listening and engaging with the material.

You’ll likely make friends and connections along the way, still, mastery is a solo journey.

There isn’t strength in numbers if you’re surrounded by sheep. ;o)


Side note on mastery:

BJJ isn’t hard as long as you give it proper space to develop.   Regardless how hard you try, things happens on their own time.

I probably could have shaved years off the learning curve had I not been a in such a rush.




Academic trinity of BJJ…

December 27, 2011

Wrote awhile back that sensibility was the most important BJJ principle.


Updating that today:


Sensibility, leverage, and patience working together complete the whole.

If you don’t have patience, you’re likely going to sacrifice leverage to get a hand inside the cookie jar.

I still think sensibility is the key point though, as you’re body is constantly giving you feedback on mechanical integrity.

Drilling a lot on my own has taught me there is leverage points in every position that once pointed out, intuitively feel strong and true (bio-feedback).

If there are secrets in BJJ, it’s those fine little details where 1-2 inches make a position 10 times stronger.


More on academia

December 25, 2011

Academia, as I define it, must serve the work. 

Academics, I have to imagine, were originally intended to further functionality.

As with anything, great intentions easily fall victim to ego instead of an earnest desire to work more effectively.

Just as you can always improve a position, there is always a way work smarter. 

The opposite of this is essentially doing the same thing over and over because that’s what everyone else does. 

To be honest, I don’t often recommend BJJ to people because the popular landscape is an intellectually dead groundhog day full of thin skin, back slaps, and hero worship. 

In retrospect, it’s not a huge surprise that pro MMA fighters ‘discovered’ my instructor, while he’s still a relative unknown in the BJJ community.  Again, I think this goes back to a respect for what works, as these guy’s livelihood depends on effective progression in a increasingly competitive field.

Compare this with being concerned over when you’re going to get your next stripe, who tapped who, who won the worlds, among many other caddy nonsense topics that litter the weak jiu-jitsu mind.

Seek leverage, sensibility, and patience you must!

BJJ academics

December 24, 2011

I wrote G$ privately recently, telling him this blog has been a vehicle for letting ideas gel and take form over time.

As stated below, I have the general direction, but the fleshing out part is a largely organic process.  If I knew what I was doing in advance, I’d be at said destination.  This is where giving space fits in.

The word/idea I’ve been looking for in my last few posts is academic.

Academic, as I’m defining it here is having some sort of thought process behind what you do.  You’re not just coming to class and doing whatever comes to mind and/or drilling a position to copy what Roger Gracie or Marcelo Garcia are winning tournaments with. 

This is not reason.

My instructor’s passing game for example, has more rhyme and reason than any BJJ I’ve come across thus far in 15 years.  I would go so far to say that before learning how to pass from Eric I was a BJJ copier.  The structure was so well thought out, it influenced everything I did from that point forward.

The distinction is copying success versus studying underlying mechanics and principles, as well as being intentional and prioritizing.

The cool thing is, once you have the mechanics and principles, you can apply them to anything and everything.  Copying a move on the other hand, gives you at best, surface understanding and limited applicability.

Comments?  This is one of THE BJJ points.

More on 2012, new years resolutions…

December 23, 2011

Busiest day on this blog ever yesterday?  As if to reinforce the post below, life rarely happens in a A+B=C fashion.

Anyhow, another idea on goals:

With Christmas steadily approaching, I hope you had a night, if not many childhood nights where you could absolutely not wait to get up the next morning…

Listening to a fresh Krav Maga student talk excitedly at a party Wednesday, it dawned on me that the point of art is allowing a sacred part of ourselves breathing room.

The point here…

…forget goals and let how stoked you are about getting up the next morning be a guide as to how clear you’re current thinking is.

Today is the holiest day in existence.

Children live in soul because they haven’t made the mistake of conceptualizing it yet. ;o)

2011 goals in review, on to 2012

December 18, 2011

Tacky marketing line, as I don’t sit down and write out goals anymore, nor am I too specific.

One of the problems with goal setting is you can’t get somewhere you haven’t been before, and hell, if your trying to change, ‘the goal’ is likely limited by very the thought process you’re trying to climb out of. 

Again, this is why ‘discipline’ and ‘motivation’ often work as more efficient ways of beating yourself up.

My process, if you could it a process at all, is having general directions with lots of space.  For instance, I never planned to be hitting the cross choke from the mount hard, but here I am studying and repping entries and mechanics. 

When I get too serious about it (yes it’s a personal problem), I watch a movie or Ben and Jerry it instead (eat your heart out Tony Robbins).

For whatever reason I’ve become more secretive (unless paid) and reclusive than ever over the past year.  Knowing what I know now, if I had gone the traditional goal setting route in 2011 I would have posted this on my bathroom mirror:


Loyalty, honor, respect

December 12, 2011

Taking and making a position top notch, black belt quality, takes so much work I don’t have much patience for BJJ conversations outside this topic.

Consider the creative gap between playing guitar and guitarist. 

The difference is one of devotion. 

Honoring a craft is putting simple, humble hours in.

As far as loyalty and respect, man, there is no greater honor to me than some one really taking the time to think about, learn, and refine something I share with them. 

I liken ‘care’ not to some heavy emotion, but present moment attention.  It’s gentle and subtle.


Mind-killer possibly worse than fear

December 6, 2011


Definitely guilty of this, probably even in some of these blog posts.

Contempt is perhaps more dangerous than fear because it’s masks itself so well.  Fear cripples people yes, but often we are more aware of it.

Regardless, like fear, contempt puts you to sleep.

Life of course requires ‘yes,’ or ‘no’ judgements, and while there is a fair degree of lameness in the martial arts, I’m just as lame when settling my thoughts there.

To quote author and speaker Sydney Banks, focus on yourself.

In BJJ terms this amounts simply to:  “How can I get better?”

Key to passing gnarly guard without getting swept or submitted

December 2, 2011

All we need is just a little….