Monthly Archives: April 2012

What is Jiu Jitsu?

That was the question Saulo posed to us toward the end of the seminar. If you met a stranger, and they asked you what jiu jitsu was, what would you tell them?

I have thought about this question since, because to be honest it appears to be a simple answer. It means a lot of things to me, at least. Throughout the years it has been a number of things for me: a weight loss tool, self defense system, a way to meet new people and a subject that have given me tons to write about.

I think I have finally come up with an answer that is pretty succinct. Jiu jitsu is a martial art that not only can make you more physically fit, but also has the potential to make you a better human being.

There is no mysticism, no BS when it comes to what works and what doesn’t in jiu jitsu. The sport/martial art uses physical, concrete truths to achieve particular ends. The physics of gravity, the principles of leverage and an rudimentary understanding of biology and the human anatomy are only required to explain why techniques work.

Saying that, there is also relatively little you can hide about who you are once on the mat. You can call yourself as patient as a buddha sleeping in a lotus flower for all anyone cares, but your true emotions and behavior become evident once you train. It takes a strong person to understand and admit faults in their personality. What’s great about jiu jitsu however, is there are plenty of opportunities to work on those faults, and ultimately make you that better human being.

Think of what virtues you could potentially practice, if you are open to it: patience in the 8 to 10 years working for a black belt, humility in getting beat by those higher ranked than you, determination in the vowing to succeed during those low moments when you feel in a rut, compassion when hearing the frustration of your teammates, camaraderie with said teammates during tournaments and even for people across the world whom you meet through tournaments blogs, etc. Not to mention learning how to be a gracious winner and a graceful loser, seeing your losses as opportunities to improve. And last but not least, courage through competition when you have to face your fears and reservations and step on the mat anyway- not with an entire team or even a partner. Just you and all the preparation you put in for that moment.

So, for me, that is what jiu jitsu is: an opportunity to become more fit physically and to become a better person all around, if you allow it to happen.


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“I Don’t Want Winners. I Want Champs”

Last night we had a two hour seminar with Saulo, and i have to say it was really good. He went over a number of positions that actually answered a number of questions I have been struggling to answer in my game, so that was a definite plus.

Not only is Saulo good at teaching the techniques, but he is also great at motivating people, inspiring them to do better and not worry so much about their tournament track record.

“I don’t want winners,” he said last night, “I want champs. Champs at life.”

All in all it was a good night: some other people took photos so when I get my hands on them.

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Saulo Ribeiro Seminar! Tonight!

Tonight we are having a seminar taught by saulo! I’ll let you all know how it goes!


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The Great Big Adrenaline Dump

Reason # 2567 training in jiu jitsu is beneficial: it helps you better understand and handle when your body decides to dump a whole bunch of adrenaline into your system, and worse yet, when that adrenaline wears off. We all get super amped or stressed over things in our life: that big review at work, that final exam in class, that moment when you are in the clear after using your super-spy moves to narrowly escape your own untimely demise at the hands of some well funded super-villain.

I would bet it was a martial art that helped Bond keep his cool during missions, not shaken martinis. JUDO CHOP!

As I have mentioned before, life is stressful. Sometimes good stress, sometimes bad. But, and this is where jiu jitsu comes in, if we enter stressful situations willingly (like say a tournament) I believe we can be better prepared for those times when we enter stressful situations kicking, screaming and holding onto the door frame like our lives depended on it.


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Training With Saulo Ribeiro

Saulo Ribeiro is hanging out in our academy this week, and last night I had an opportunity to roll with him for a match.

It was awesome! And it totally tired me out. He was going at a leisurely pace, and I was rolling around defending from all kinds of submissions that appeared to have sprung up from no where. Which at purple belt maybe I shouldn’t admit, but he’s also a 6 time world champion, so whatever. I regret nothing.

While perusing the internet I found a pretty sweet highlight reel of Saulo and Xande. At about 1:44 you can actually see our academy‘s patches on Saulo’s arms. Hooray!

I would however suggest playing it on “mute”.

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Real Life Easter Egg

The Easter Egg I am referring to in this post goes a little something like this, according to Wikipedia

“an intentional hidden message, in-joke, or feature in a work such as a computer program, web page, video game,movie, book, or crossword.” 

I seemed to have found a real life easter egg through the Grappling Girls Guild Blog and their feature on teen competitor Dominyka Obelenyte. In the article they used the photo of when we competed in the NY Open, when we were all on the podium. 

All I have to say is….Sorry Dominyka! 


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Ladies Night!

Some of the girls in our academy went out last night, and I have to say it was a lot of fun!

We’ve never done something like this before: usually we all hang out at the gym, or in some sort of jiu jitsu related activity, so it was a lot of fun to go somewhere totally non-BJJ or MMA related and just hang out.

Last night’s excursion took us to a Japanese tapas restaurant and Karaoke bar. We ate, drank, and then delightfully sang off key and danced around in our  little reserved karaoke room (which, I found out since I left a little early, was virtually sound proof).

While a portion of our night did revolve around jiu jitsu, it was nice to know the other ladies for what they do outside of the gym, and more than just those hurried conversations you have in between matches or drills. It was fun to sit down at a table and really chat with everyone.

I think we all agreed that it should be a regular thing, and I am honestly looking forward to the next night out. Yay! 🙂

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Saulo Ribeiro Seminar Thursday, April 26th

Hooray! 6 time World Champion and all-around nice guy Saulo Ribeiro is coming to our academy for a few days, and will be teaching a 2 hour seminar Thursday, April 26th from 6-8pm. If you do not know who Saulo is, please make it a point to look him up. He’s one of the top guys in the sport, and he and his brother are “one name” famous in the jiu jitsu community. Like “Madonna”, “Bono” and “Julia”.

I have to say Saulo brings a positive energy with him which always makes his visits and seminars an absolute treat.

I’ll let you guys know how it goes!

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And Some Days, You Just Take A Nap

You know what’s nice about not currently training for a tournament?

The ability to take a day off, to “play hooky” if you will, and spend your afternoon doing something else. Like sleeping.

Yes, I said “to hell” with working out and slept for several hours. Because I’m an adult and I am allowed to.

For the record, if I ever justify something with the phrase “because I’m an adult” it’s usually because I feel like I’m doing something childish and/or mildly irresponsible.

Some days we need to be a little “bad” when it comes to working out, our diets, etc. I guess to break up the monotony of whatever fitness program you are on? I am currently under the belief that most Americans feel they need to “treat” themselves, on practically a daily basis if left to their own devices. And there is always a justification for it:

“I had a hard day at work”, “I-95 was super stressful to drive today”, “I prevented the world’s untimely demise with my superpowers. Again.”

The rub is every day has its challenges, which So I guess one day a week to treat yourself in reward for all the progress you’ve made is preferable to a daily “treat”.

However for days like yesterday, sometimes you choose the cheat day, and sometimes the cheat day chooses you.

And as a complete side note, Lex asks the same question we’ve all been asking over here: why won’t the IBJJF offer recordings of matches for sale? 

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New BJJ Clothing Company: Raw

I found this on Georgette’s site, a new clothing line for BJJ called Raw (Roll, Adapt, Win). From what I have seen so far I like the style-not too flashy, some nice typography, all in all a good deal.

Raw describes themselves on their site as, “founded on the spirit of jiu-jitsu and those that paved the way. We know RAW embodies the vital principles of the sport, because like you we train and those principles flow through our veins too.

When we roll, we are moving to advance our position. Along the way, we adapt to our opponents movements altering our own while setting up counters and submissions. In the end…, win or lose, we win because we are steadfast in our dedication to learning the art and bettering ourselves as individuals.”

I say go and check them out.

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