Archive for February, 2012

The name game

February 29, 2012

I see a lot of people get caught up on naming techniques.

This is something you don’t hear in highly competitive circles.


Because when results are at a premuim context and utility are in the foreground. 

Nobody cares about names, or who created what.

Bruce Lee made this point with the term ‘Jeet Kune Do:’  “It’s a name” he said, “don’t get caught up in it.” 

So what did people do?  They went and copyrighted it, and formed an association. =)



One simple thing that will improve your BJJ the most…

February 28, 2012

The answer to blog title is stop seeking lazy answers. =)

Principles by themselves are lifeless intellectual constructs without corresponding mechanics.  Likewise, mechanics are stiff and useless without sensibility. 

Good BJJ works by how the above things complement each other.

If you want the hundreds if not thousands of details that support Roger Gracie repeatedly finishing cross-chokes from mount when his opponents know it’s coming, you have put in the work.

Looking for secrets or simple formulas is just another way of convincing ourselves we’re doing something when we really aren’t. 

The dichotomy of shortcuts is you have to invest yourself first.  Don’t expect constructing a labyrinth with corn maze in day mindset.


Love and truth in art

February 26, 2012

Been reading ‘Magic by Design’ by John Carney, a magician both old school and modern masters consider a master (read: not self-appointed title).

The great ideas in this book are too many, but one is endless criticism in the context of an ideal.

Carney cringes when he hears people use the word art, as he feels so little of what he does translates to a level constituting artistry.

On a related note, how can you expect to arrive at an inspirational creative destination without being willing to suffer a little for your art?

If you’re doing something for the love with an objective in mind, whether you’re having ‘fun’ in the moment is largely irrelevant.

What’s the truth?

Measuring progress

February 25, 2012

1) Have plan.

2) Execute plan.

3) Observe what worked, what didn’t, and why?

4) Rinse and repeat.

What do you want to improve, how do you want to improve it, and what is the most effective tool for the job?

John Wooden, who with assistants spent 2 hours everyday crafting a 90 minutes practice, would have looked at me like I was smoking crack seeing how I trained BJJ for most my life. 

These Wooden planning sessions were serious business, only to be interrupted in the event of emergency.

Wooden type results are what you get when you mix a high level of drive with high intelligence.

Effective work is working toward training smarter.


Alf laying out and putting final touches on upcoming session with G$



Black belt practice

February 24, 2012

The higher the quality and attention to detail you practice with, the more you’re going to see that a poor training session can make you worse, not better.

On a side note, me tapping Eric and getting high off that and endorphins, does not necessarily translate to getting better.  

In fact, the above may mean I’ve wandered off on a side trail of mediocrity if I leave the academy with nothing to work on.

Keeping with the same metaphor, practicing without mindfulness and a plan is like being lost in the woods with the default solution being keep moving.

Sitting still with an objective in mind, and noticing what comes without forcing the issue, is more often than not of great benefit. 

Do nothing and accomplish everything. =)


Being thoughtful and pro-active leads to an ultimate set of tools.

Getting things right the first time

February 22, 2012

Care is not about wanting things to turn out a certain way.

In fact, it’s closer to the opposite…

I see it as an attentive mind tuned to what’s in front of you, regardless of whether you ‘like’ what’s there.

It’s also about going slow enough to do things right the first time.

You can train every day, rep a position 1,000 times, or spend 500 hours doing something you’re going to have to go back and fix to move forward.

Quality takes an objective oriented mind that is patient and focused.

A masterpiece that can be thrown together and completed quickly is not a masterpiece.


Sith Lord apprenticeship rule #1: Lose the cell phone.

My style

February 19, 2012

My style of BJJ is getting better and smarter.

That’s it. =)


The inherent problem with ‘systems’

February 18, 2012

“Study is more than just memorization and repetition; it is about the comprehension of general principles and their application.” ~John Carney


My coach once told me he draws a lot of BJJ inspiration from surfing.  The art of surfing he says is similar to BJJ in that it’s about taking and using what some one gives you and harnessing it in real-time. 

Fast forward to last night, where I’m reading about a Jiu-Jitsu ‘System,’ with it’s own name no less.

Inside I’m going ‘no, no, no, no.’ ;o)

Anyone see the problem here?

Hint:  It’s similar to the flaw I pointed out with models/modeling.

‘Systems’ are closed sets of ideas you impose on something from the outside in. 

While they are probably useful and possibly even necessary in the early stages of learning a skill-set, you can’t tell or predict what the ocean is going to do brudda.


“It is what we think we know already that often prevents us from learning.” ~Claude Bernard


As a teacher this is why I communicate what ‘I’ as an individual believe, following up with reasoning as to why I believe it. 

You rarely hear some one who’s worked with me say, ‘well this is the way Jeff taught me,’ because that’s beside the point. 

What’s important, is the reason why I’m showing you what I’m showing you.  What is the principle and surrounding context?

And, if I can’t hear you talking about said principle in your own way, standing on your own two, I haven’t taught you anything.




The art of getting better

February 17, 2012

Related to the post on using sparring as a tool, I believe the biggest thing to focus on progression-wise is getting better.

Zen verbage for the above would be ‘getting better at getting better.’

Lots of BJJ folks for instance don’t even drill, let alone think about best ways to drill a certain position, for how long, and those things fit into their overall progression as a whole.

Drilling is like a swiss army knife unto itself, as is taking in and recording instruction (the leatherman). 

If you’re thinking progressively, you’re never going to run out of ways to use each of these tools in an increasingly effective fashion.

To me, this is the true ‘art’ as aspect of Jiu-Jitsu. 

It’s not about who you can tap out, or how guard your guard is, as these things are limited by and contingent on other grapplers, having nothing to do with your potential.


The martial arts douche

February 16, 2012

Because of the mythology commonly attached to martial arts, I would say there is more room for delusion and all around douchebaggery than enlightenment.

Let’s face it, people aren’t going to crowd around you for doing an exemplary job of toilet cleaning. ;o)

I imagine the same thing happens in fields like yoga, and I need not comment on religion.

The mistake made of course is, that self-worth rests in what you know or do, when in fact, as the ‘power of one’ video in the post below points out, worth is in the potential for understanding and action.

Ian, the classic insensitive, know-it-all douche (High Fidelity) *langauge warning*: