Archive for July, 2012

Everyday engagement

July 28, 2012

What did I do yesterday and why?  What holes did I find (if I didn’t I wasn’t paying attention), what did I do to re-correct, and how did this effect my plan today?

Usually, over time I pursue the wrong goal, often missing huge chunks of BJJ understanding.  No big deal though, as mindset and process are what’s important.






Genius, the sister of talent

July 27, 2012

For things I love, the mantra is getting better.  There was an idea in a Sugar Ray Robinson book that if God gives you a talent, you have to work 10 times as hard to develop that talent.  I like that.

When you stop trying to get better, the adventure ends.  So yeah, I like the idea of genius about as much as talent.  Who cares?  Get back to work and learn whatever you can.


July 25, 2012

“Describes the act of simultaneously accepting two mutually contradictory beliefs as correct.”

Sounds weird, but in the context of getting things done, I believe doublethink is the rule rather than the exception.




Making hard work easy.

Relaxed Tension.

Expanding focus.

Making the complex simple.

Letting go of outcome.

Being present.

Embracing ambiguity.

Endless path.




Respect for the craft

July 24, 2012

‘Tapping’ as I did to two of my friends Friday and Saturday respectively, nets way more improvement information than domination.

May way of conveying this to one of my training partners, Dave, who caught me is you want to get choked by your friends.

That is, being a BJJ practitioner, you’re trying to write the best thesis you can, and you need your friends for editing help you can’t do from the outside in.

If ego gets in the way in the way of the above process, it’s about tantrum not thesis.

On a related note, I recently got a kick out of Stephen King saying his book ‘The Tommyknockers’ wasn’t edited so much as ‘gutted.’  This was well after years of commercial success and millions of dollars.  With this stature he could be lazy and demanding, but he’s a writer with respect for the craft.


Entertaining vs. Educating

July 23, 2012

Do I follow the thought out, priority based plan, or drop it to grapple some one I haven’t seen in a long time?

If it’s important enough to grapple the friend, I can take a minute or two to re-connect, get contact info, and set up a future date.

And hey, it’s cool to grapple the friend, I just have to be honest enough to say I sacrificed training to follow a whim, and didn’t show up for the art.

Just like there is infinite room for skill development, I don’t think you can ever be too grown up in terms of follow through.


Exploration vs. Imitation

July 20, 2012

I understand some level of mimicry is necessary for learning, but one way I try to get around excessive copying is building lessons around principles and metaphors.

The idea I wanted to communicate today is that what you feel on the mat is infinitely more important anything I can offer from the outside looking in.

The preceding distinction is why my coach and I don’t really care for the rah, rah, go team, group-hug atmosphere. 

Inspiration that truly serves and inspires in my mind comes out of individual exploration and knowing yourself apart from a group, school, or team. 

Spend time on the mountain alone.  Taste, touch, feel, explore, get dirty, make mistakes, and come back to share once in awhile. 


Inside the majestic Oregon caves.

Awesome Joseph Campell quote…

July 19, 2012

Both my coach and I contend we don’t ‘teach’ anyone Jiu-Jitsu.  Our job is to show up and provide illustrative examples and scenarios.  What you take away from those examples and scenarios rests squarely on your shoulders:


“When we talk about settling the world’s problems, 
we’re barking up the wrong tree.
The world is perfect.
It’s a mess.  
It has always been a mess.
We are not going to change it.
Our job is to straighten out our own lives.”

~ Joseph Campbell



Research vs. Results

July 19, 2012

Hitting my instructor up tomorrow to catch wind of a series of reversals and arm triangles he’s developed as a result of an injury.

My goal here is to gather as much information as I can.  I don’t care if we spar, or if it’s purely an instructional session.

This lead me to the idea of research versus results:

I think people often take the idea of ‘results’ out of context.  Results are there to provide a map demonstrating you how well an approach works.  In other words, how sound was your plan in the context of what you wanted to get done?  You may even find that while a certain approach wasn’t useful in the context of a goal, it could be useful elsewhere.

To me, the bigger picture is research.  Sparring for instance is an information gathering tool.  The ‘goal’ is to relax, put myself in positions, and feel what is going on.  Testing (results) certain ideas and positions is one aspect of this process.  When I make such testing a constant foreground, or worse still an avenue for self-worth and validation, I diminish the multitude of sensory resources and input always there for the taking.

Be a scientist who happens to do Jiu-Jitsu.  Interpreting results is an art unto itself!



Related post:

If the post below sounded weird…

July 18, 2012

…and it is weird…

…I love the idea of being astonishingly productive and prolific WITHOUT being manic.

To me this is both the hardest and easiest thing in the world.  It’s doing something today I couldn’t conceive of yesterday.  I want to do the impossible. 

On that note, check out this killer t-shirt my buddy G$ recently purchased:




Enjoyment and smart training

July 18, 2012

Prefacing this post by saying that think a lot of martial artists come at training from a life of confusion and misery.  While it’s great you’re coming to the gym instead of wallowing in self-pity, you can only get so far with Jiu-Jitsu if you see it as a release.  How much intellectual and artistic expression can one have if life is out to get you?

So, for clarifaction, when I’m talking about ‘enjoyment’ I’m assuming you’re not one of these people via an understanding that you play a role in your emotional life, and ‘thought’ as a principle has something to do with it. 

I’m also assuming that you’re somewhat committed to the idea of getting better.

Make no mistake, the above two ideas have taken 16 years to wrap my head around, and are HUGE.  The great thing is, they are simple as well, and if a person listens they will GET them and never look back. 

So…the idea I’m at now is enjoying myself more and more each session.  Can you increase technicality, progressing both academically and practically while at the same time enjoying yourself more and more each practice?

Enjoyment is such a weird thing because it’s by nature it’s open ended, and NOT academic.  You can kind of get at it by asking questions as I did above, but probably the biggest thing is being humble enough to give it time and space.