The Importance of Having Goals in BJJ

There’s definitely an importance to having goals in BJJ- I don’t know about you, but I tend to have better focus in jiu jitsu when I have a specific goal in mind: I want to work on a specific position, when there’s a tournament that is coming up that I want to prepare for, or even just a minor detail of a technique that I want to work on.

There is so much to jiu jitsu that we need to learn- techniques that branch off of other techniques and counters to those and the list can literally just go on and on. Your coaches or instructors teach you certain techniques sometimes in certain sequences, not because they are solely locked into that particular sequence, but because that is the way they have found to make the most sense to pass that knowledge on to someone else. It also gives order to a class so you’re not individualizing a lesson for every single student – that would be impressive, but wildly inefficient. What the heck does that have to do with having a goal? It’s more that particularly in the beginning a set of goals are sort of created for you, because you are a novice and it’s a pretty tall order, asking someone brand new to set goals for themselves. Goals for a beginner really revolve around things like “survive” and “try to only get tapped 18 times instead of 23 times.” It’s the instructor’s responsibility in a way to think at a higher level for the student, to show them the different techniques that will pull that student out of simply surviving a roll and eventually progress and eventually excel at some degree while training.

After some time however you should start to think about your own goals and the things you want to achieve in the sport/martial art. It gives intention and direction to your training, it can give you focus and remind you to stay the course, even on those days when you just aren’t feeling your best or feeling a bit lost. Jiu jitsu is more of a marathon than a sprint, and if you do not create goals for yourself, its easy to get lost along the way.

So go out there, create some goals or intentions for your training, and have a great day everyone!

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Happy Friday! I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends

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Happy Friday! Just a friendly reminder that a good deal of jiu jitsu is about aggressive cuddling all your friends….

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Have a great weekend everyone!

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Gi Tops with Text on the Inside

Admittedly, I haven’t really been intentionally shopping for a gi- I’ll occasionally check BJJHQ and see what kind of deals they have- so if this is already a thing please by all means let me know.

Lately gi companies have been adding text to the inside of their gi tops- Hyperfly has been known for its “You Can’t Teach Heart” text, and I just saw a gi that says “Just Jitsu It”

Naturally (I guess) I’m starting to wonder if anyone has made a gi with other kinds of text on the inside, and if not, I would like to provide a few options:

“Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya”

“I see a Little Silhouette of a Man” and of course if we’re going with song references, “Welcome to the Jungle”

The list could go on and on- just a couple of suggestions from the peanut gallery I guess. I understand that some of these would probably run into some copyright issues, but just a thought- a need for something more than just “Just Jitsu It”

That’s all for now- have a great day everyone!

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A Birthday Wish

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Yup, today’s my birthday- in the early morning hours of June, I arrived into this world… And that was one of the last times I willingly did anything in the early morning.

Anyway, I do have one birthday wish that I would like to share with you: go out, train or take jiu jitsu class, or just in general do awesome things, and feel good about about doing those awesome things.

Have a great day and talk to you all tomorrow!

 

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Finding Your Reason to Do (or Continue) BJJ

There are a ton of different, great reasons to do jiu jitsu- for self defense, for physical health, for mental wellness…. The list really goes on an on, when you think about it. And for some people it starts with some external factor that comes into play- a friend started and wanted you to come along, someone mentioned that you should try it because it’s a great way to get into shape.

When it comes to ensuring longevity in the sport however I am a firm believer in having a reason that involves you, and you alone. Starting because say a friend started is a great way to get someone in the door, but there are going to be times when that simply isn’t reason enough to continue to go. It’s the same thing with a lot of big changes you make in your life: when you finally choose to lose those last 10 pounds, quit smoking, finally do the thing you always said you were going to do. It’s an action that requires a greater amount of commitment in the whole process than some external factor will provide you.

It’s important to take ownership in your decision to do jiu jitsu, because eventually and inevitably it will get hard. While your proficiency in the sport will sky rocket at first, but progress in anything is filled with hills and valleys, and there are times when you will hit one of those low periods and start to wonder if the risk is worth the reward: you are having less than stellar sessions rolling with people, others that you considered yourself equal to are getting promoted before you… again, the list goes on an on. By taking ownership in the whole process, I think personally it makes it a little easier to deal with those rough times, having the understanding that you are having a rough patch in your training, but you chose and it is something you will continue to choose to stick with.

So really think about why you are doing jiu jitsu- what makes you happy about getting on the mats day after day. Once you understand that it makes this whole journey, particularly the rough parts, a little easier to understand and gives you an anchor point to hold onto even when things seem to be going a little sideways.

Just some thoughts- have a great day everyone!

 

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Happy Friday! Trust, in One Photo

Happy Friday everyone!

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This was from the Girls in Gis event where I taught a mini seminar a little while ago… It takes a good deal of trust to just hang on someone while they stand there, hold on to you with one arm and chat about what to do next.

Fortunately Sarah and I have been training together for over 8 years and have gotten to the point of speaking only in half sentences sometimes to one another. While not every training partner relationship needs to be this way, I do hope you have training partners that you feel you can trust to not let you fall.

Have a great weekend!

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You Need to Make Mistakes in Jiu Jitsu

I remember- oh gosh, at least a decade ago- I was having an argument with one of my older brothers (I have 2- a step brother much older than me, and a brother that is only about 2 years older). The argument was with the one that is closer in age to me- we were disagreeing about something- I think it had to do with relationships? He and I have gotten into so many arguments over things that it’s hard to keep track. In a different set of circumstances he would have made an excellent lawyer.

I do remember him giving an exasperated sigh at one point and asking why I wouldn’t listen to him, and avoid making a mistake. And my response that it was because it was a mistake that I needed to make. Which is sort of how I feel about jiu jitsu- there are mistakes that you need to make if you are ever going to grow in the sport.

At first glance, the whole thing looks and sounds amazing. Imagine going through life and never making a mistake about anything: on the surface it seems like an amazing super power: you always wake up at the right time, you always do and say the right thing at the right time, you go to jiu jitsu and you perform each technique flawlessly, just as you’ve been instructed.

But have you learned anything in depth? Probably not, because you never needed to explore really why something wasn’t working. Like I mentioned before, humans are amazingly efficient machines, and we focus on inefficiencies when they arise in an effort to correct and streamline. Mistakes are also in a way what make us human: we talk about and laud the super athletes in the sport because they perform certain techniques with a sort of mastery and efficiency that we aspire to, because it is so rare. Certainly not unattainable, but we’re human- we are all bound to make mistakes at some point.

That’s not to say we should all just run around making mistakes, shrugging our shoulders and not learn anything from them (obviously, but sometimes I point out the obvious). The purpose of a mistake is to learn from it, to self correct so we can not only understand why we do something, but also what happens when we don’t. It’s a way of feeling out the boundaries of what we are able, or unable to do in order to get the results we want. Sort of like how toddlers and young children make mistakes all the time, but with like, at least 30% less screaming and cartoons involved- or maybe equal, I don’t know what kind of life you live.

Anyway, the point is don’t be afraid to make mistakes in jiu jitsu, because they are necessary to your growth: just be aware and strive to learn from them.

Have a great day everyone!

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Forgetting We’re Human

I think we have all run into this situation: we go into class not exactly feeling our best- say from a stomach ache, we’re starting to feel run down because we’re starting to get a cold but we haven’t presented all of the symptoms just yet, we have a muscle that’s tweaked, something going on in our work or personal lives that leaves us preoccupied. We drill, we train, and then sometimes we become frustrated when we don’t do as well as we think we should- reality is not meeting our expectations, and so we become frustrated with our performance. In fact we’re probably already irritated that we (probably) had to take some time off, so now we’re in an even worse mood and we stomp out of the academy that night, irritated with everyone and everything. I could say that this has never happened to me…. but, that would be lying.

We occasionally forget that we are human, in a way- we forget that we are more than just a machine that will quickly and efficiently perform the same task with the same amount of proficiency every single time. We progress and excel in learning and performing techniques some days. We understand there are hills and valleys to progress, but at the moment we either are on (or think we are on) an upward swing and we try to milk it for all its worth.

And then a downward swing hits us. And we’re pissed. Sometimes its due to some external factor like previously mentioned, and then just sometimes we’re just having an off day. I want to remind everyone that it’s ok to be human: it’s ok to have off days, to not be 100% on point every single time- you still need to strive to do your best, but sometimes just “meh” is really all you can eke out, and that’s fine.

Remember, jiu jitsu is definitely more of a marathon than a sprint, and during this whole adventure you will make some headway, but there will be times where you are sort of stuck and you need to slog through the mud. I just ask that you remember that this too shall pass, and that you shouldn’t let these less than stellar moments get you down too much.

That’s all for now- have a great day everyone!

 

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Limiting Beliefs May Be Holding You Back in Jiu Jitsu

 

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There’s a term that’s tossed around my work sometimes- limiting beliefs. We think a certain thing won’t work, or a behavior won’t change. The definition of a limiting belief, according to the internet is “a thought or belief that a person acquires as a result of making an incorrect conclusion about something in life.”

This can plague our everyday lives, and can also effect our jiu jitsu. After one bad session of trying spider guard, we suddenly proclaim that we are terrible half spider guard players and we refuse to work in that position. We mess up a takedown, and suddenly we’re not the kind of jiu jitsu player that does “that” kind of takedown. We’ve all done it at some point, myself certainly included. We have one bad experience and then BAM- we think that we can’t do something, full stop.

While sometimes there are things we really can’t do due to some physical impediment, we shouldn’t let our limiting beliefs keep us from progressing into more fully rounded jiu jitsu players. Obviously, waaaay more easily said than done: humans are remarkably efficient machines, and it takes conscious effort sometimes to do things that we think are inefficient uses of our time: we like doing things we are good at, or have promise of being good at, because it feels like a more productive use of our time- to hone our skills at something we’re already doing well.

My ask really is to still try things that you have a belief that you are not good at- whether it’s a takedown, a sweep, or something else you think you can’t do (without hurting yourself, of course). When you are taking class and that particular technique comes around in the rotation, try to make an effort to clear your mind of the previous bad or less than stellar experiences, and try to start fresh. You never know, there may be something that you didn’t pick up on last time you tried and makes everything substantially easier.

I don’t know about you, but the next logical question for me would be “so how do you know when something is a limiting belief, versus an actual limitation”? Honestly, I’m not sure. I think there is always some validity in trying something, even something you know you aren’t good at- either you will improve, even just a little bit, or worst case scenario you are reminded that we can’t be good at everything, and that there will always be things to work on when it comes to jiu jitsu. But regardless, you should always make an effort to try things, even when you think you are not good at them.

Have a great day everyone!

 

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Does BJJ Inspire Grit, or Are People with Grit Inspired by BJJ?

It’s one of those “chicken and the egg” questions- what comes first, the person with grit who walks in and starts jiu jitsu, or is it something that develops in a person as they train, compete in tournaments, and prove their resilience to others, and more importantly themselves.

Ultimately it’s a bit of both, I think. Not everyone with grit does jiu jitsu, but everyone who does jiu jitsu has grit. Even if you don’t think you have it: take for instance the shy person that walks into an academy and signs up for their first class. There are tons of other kinds of activities, etc. that someone could do to meet whatever goal they put before themselves particularly if it’s something like getting healthy or losing weight.

I’ve said before that jiu jitsu is for every body, but not for everybody. It’s a sport/martial art that will push you to grow, will force you to understand what it means to lose and more importantly how to pick yourself back up after that loss and to keep on pushing forward. I think for a lot of people they walk into an academy with that spark of grit, of resilience, which will be fed while the person begins to learn jiu jitsu, begins to train, and really begins to understand sort what they are made of. When we train, when we compete, sometimes are put into terrible situations time and time again, and we all learn that we can survive, or even find a way to get out of that situation. It’s an important lesson that I think everyone should learn at some point, but that’s just my two cents.

That’s all I have for now, folks- have a great day!

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