Archive for June, 2012

Pressure-less passing

June 30, 2012

Breaking somewhat of a cardinal rule here and giving away some positional stuff as a reward for sticking with me when topics stray a little bit like below.


…been reading about pressure passing games lately.

This approach in my experience is suicide for a weaker, smaller grappler, who’s doing all he or she can just to stay in posture.



Why would you rush when you have positional advantage via gravity?  Beating a dead horse here, but this is yet another example of sport BJJ hurting one’s sensibility of BJJ is as a whole.

Wait for them to unlock their feet while in closed guard. 

Wait for the easy pass when they overcommit to sweep or submit. 

Wait, wait, wait. 

Why would you do a ton of work without seeing if they’ll do the work for you?

If they don’t freak out in their rush to score points it means they are good, or at least patient by accident.  In this case advance, but go slow, withdrawing when necessary.  This is two parts reconnaissance, one part advancement. 

These are the kinds of things I hammer home in person, as well as telling people to scrap certain passes altogether because of uncessesary risk.


Related post:


Applying wellness first

June 28, 2012

G$ asked me awhile back that with so many interests how do I manage time?

Great question!

I’ve been taking time off of BJJ to re-orient myself with another interest (dancing), which possibly has better physiological benefits than BJJ?  Since I previously hadn’t been dancing daily, I’m currently overcompensating by leaving BJJ aside.

How and when will BJJ become primary again?

The worst thing I could is consult a time management book and/or try to figure it out consciously.  To me this violates a love for the sake of love.

What I do believe in is relaxing and enjoying myself, and letting the answers come.  I was blessed with so many things to love for a reason.

Wellness first. =)

On this note, here is a clip of my favorite dancer Pop ‘n Pete!:

Training methods and reference point efficacy

June 24, 2012

Man, I still can’t believe I’m seeing people refer to traditional martial arts training as a reference for what/what not to do.

With a wealth of result driven information garnered from years of competitive athletics out there, what gives?  Why are we still talking about individuals who haven’t discovered the original Model T when modern stock cars exist?


Shake ‘n Bake!


I often see the preceding ‘traditional’ analogy as a reason NOT to work on form and reps.  Dude, what modern athlete in a lucrative sport doesn’t consider form, technique, and rep work essential?  Ever hear of a batting cage?  Don’t throw the baby out with the bath water!


Ted Williams for those who don’t know. Probably the greatest hitter of the modern era. Study the principles and habits!

The simplicity of work

June 21, 2012

Once you wrap your head around the idea that being a technical BJJ black belt isn’t going to make you a better human being, work becomes work.  No big deal.

I guess I wish some one had told me this a long time ago.  Instead, I’ve spent a fair bit of time caught up in romanticism martial artists tend to gravitate toward.

Work from the preceding perspective is both hard and easy.  It’s hard in that you have to pay for every scrap of good BJJ you have.  No Pearl District here boys. =)

The easy part is you ‘get’ the common sense of investment, meaning returns await if you’re willing to pay a price.  This is a bittersweet understanding that probably everyone understands on some level, but is uncommon action-wise, meaning there is a lot of confusion here too.

Again I think a big part of this is marketers selling the idea of a fast way to something you’ll treasure.  Dude, why would you treasure anything you can get via credit card over the internet delivered on your doorstep 3 days later?

Something with potential to touch a heart requires more than this, but we all know that don’t we. =)

Give all you have today to something or some one you love, then get up and do the same thing tommorow.  No popularity contests, blue ribbons, or weak back pats. 

End of rant…;o)

Experienced advice

June 19, 2012

The difference between a beginner and experienced practitioner in terms of advice is the beginner is in a rush to give a lot of it. =)

The experienced practitioner on the other hand, observes first, then gives 1 piece of advice addressing exponentially more things than the 10-20 individual solutions the beginner offers (provided those solutions apply).

Also, the experienced practitioner isn’t going waste his or her time giving you anymore material to work with until they see you’ve put the preceding suggestion to work.

Compliments are nice, but one really isn’t in a position to comment until you’ve put weeks if not months in.  The best ideas are work supported, requiring strong individual motivation before fruition.


House of 1,000 weak ideas

June 18, 2012

A huge chunk of the journey from beginner to mastery is navigating through hundreds of bad ideas to find the handful of  good ones.



Keep things simple.  Approach each session with an academically sound plan reflective of skill-level and put it to work.  The preceding handful of ideas are enough to keep one busy for a lifetime.

It also wouldn’t hurt to do a private lesson or two to help speed this process up, but for whatever reason I find most BJJ students prefer confusion and ineffective approaches for years instead of spending $100 over the course of an hour and listening. =)

The smarter you work, the easier it is to do hard work because you know what you’re getting back from the investment.

Wellness and Jiu-Jitsu

June 10, 2012

Probably my favorite subject in the world is the conundrum of cultivating peace of mind. 

Being BJJ is an activity I highly enjoy, I’d love to say it influences well-being in positive way, but at this point I see it as a skill-set mastered through practice.  Nothing more, nothing less.

Lest the reader chalk this up to my own ignorance at not having learned anything over 15 years, I’m well aware of other martial arts instructors claiming a wellness-martial art connection, with which I reference a Dalai Lama talk where he pointed out after receiving applause for a statement that American audiences are notoriously quick to applaud as if that meant something (nothing like patting yourself on the back for watching some one talk).

Taking the above into account, the first step here is intellectual honesty.  Lets not cheapen hours of earnest BJJ research with empty feel good words, nor assume well-being has anything to do with something as rudimentary and rote as hours logged in a given field.

Going back and re-reading this post, I’m thinking that perhaps this topic isn’t something I should tackle, but will forge on because there are so many well-meaning, but in my experience misguided ideas out there surrounding a conncetion between wellness and Jiu-Jitsu.

Thoughts? =)

9 planets of technical BJJ

June 3, 2012

Since BJJ is multi-dimensional, it’s both simple and not simple.  For fun here are 9 worlds:












Anyone have a 10th, 11th, or 12th outside of ‘points?’ *har*

The cool thing here is endless exploration room.  How many ways can we enhance relaxation during sparring, training, and even research?


Refined decisions

June 2, 2012

‘Refined’ is the word I was looking for in the post below.

Regardless if you’ve been doing BJJ for six months or six years, you want to be on a path facilitating refined decision making.

BJJ-wise, I can usually hear where a person is at intellectually 5 mintues into a discussion.

The person above might even be able to tap me out, but I believe you can only get so far if for example you see BJJ as a vehicle for running people over.

In MMA Anderson Silva is the perfect illustration of this.  Two top contenders may brawl it out for a title shot, and be a notch or two ahead of every one else in the division (Rich Franklin was 3 notches), but the gap between Silva and them is so night and day in striking they’d have to go back to the drawing board to beat him consitently.

In boxing as well, Ricky Hatton was one of the best in the world, but changed trainers after fighting Mayweather and Pacquiao and realizing resource-wise he was bringing a knife to a gun fight.

I realize very few people who throw on a gi are going to be the BJJ equivalent of Floyd Mayweather, but that doesn’t mean we can’t strive to be as smart as possible, bringing a quality oriented mindset to every session.

The point of academia, direction, and planning

June 1, 2012

BJJ has academic roots, requiring work for comprehension.

My coach recently complained about (and takes partial responsibility for) people who’ve been training it his gym for a couple of years still looking at him for direction on the mat.


The whole point of 1-2 years on the mat is garnering enough intellectual foundation to form plans. 

Getting better is a function of increasingly comprehensive (well-reasoned) plans by way of deeper understanding. 

It goes without saying that blindly showing up for class and sparring after does not facilitate this process.  After all how can you expect to cook a decent meal if you’re waiting for things on a platter.