Monthly Archives: August 2013

Happy Friday: Labor Day Weekend Edition

Happy Friday everyone!

Hope everyone had a great summer; good training sessions, maybe a vacation or two and so on.

I don’t have much time to talk today, so instead here are some awesome photos from a family reunion trip I went on over the summer:

Hopefully you all also had a moment this summer to appreciate nature-



A chance to relax-


And a couple of super fun times-


Have a great weekend and happy Labor Day everyone!



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Interview from a Ring Boy

Much thanks to Georgette for sharing this: amateur MMA fighter Eddie Wittern was supposed to fight in an event on September 7th, but his opponent sustained an injury and will not be able to compete. What could have been a bummer became awesome as Wittern decided to become a ringboy for the female fighters at the event.

Check it out! 

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Training with Higher Belts

Jess from Jessjits wrote a post about training with higher belts and whether she thought it was ok to ask a higher belt to train at your own academy or at someone else’s, and whether or not it would be considered disrespectful.

I’m sure different schools have different rules for this sort of thing, but at ours in general, lower belts wait for higher belts to pick them for training.  Also for the most part it’s a non-issue, mainly because higher belts are asked to pick their sparring or training partners for matches before lower ranks. In more of an open mat situation, it’s a little more lax but for the most part  if you are a lower rank and you are not sure whether you should ask a higher rank to train (say there are like, 2 or 3 of them warming up or whatever), just sit and wait for someone to ask you. Obviously if it’s just you and one other person free it shouldn’t be that much of an issue. I know from our open mats you’ll be thrown into the mix one way or another: either through a round-robin or someone will grab you to jump in.

I would say if you are visiting another academy, I would definitely err on the side of caution. Also, talk to the instructor and see what their policies are when it concerns live training.

What are the policies at your academy: is it the same as ours, or a little different? Let me know and have a great Wednesday everyone!




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Congratulations to Korea’s First Female Black Belt!

On Saturday BJJ practitioner Heejin Lee became Korea’s first female black belt! Sweet!

Read all about it on JiuJiu’s blog.

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This Week and a Series of (Not Personally) Unfortunate Events

Hey everyone, I’m going to be studying all week for a test I have to take on Friday, so while I will still be posting throughout the week, it’s probably going to be a lot of “hey, check this link out while I go and review the same material over and over until I can recite it in my sleep.”

Fun times, let me tell you.

In the meantime, remember the black belt who lost his cornea on the mat? Apparently this poor guy can’t catch a break in the injury department, as he recently dealt with bursitis of the knee and about to go into surgery for his meniscus.

As someone who has broken the bursa sac in their knee twice (falling up a flight of stairs on two separate occasions- what, I’m clumsy) and has dealt with other assorted knee issues, I totally feel your pain dude.

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Happy Friday: Thug Notes Edition

Happy Friday everyone!

So I like things that are smart, and I like things that are funny (really, who doesn’t?) but I especially love when things are smart and funny.

I was introduced to Thug Notes, a sort of Youtube Cliff Notes for classical literature hosted by Sparky Sweets, PhD.

If all of Jane Austen’s novels could be described this way I think I would be much more willing to read them. Frankly I’ve read two (Pride & Prejudice and Persuasion) and it felt like I was trudging through mud. I really enjoy classic literature, there’s just something about Austen’s writing style that just doesn’t appeal to me.

Anyway, check out this video and have a great weekend!


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Sleep Will Help You Learn Jiu Jitsu

In addition to taking class, drilling and getting the proper nutrients in order to learn jiu jitsu and get better, you can add a good night’s sleep to your regimen as well (and stop staying up all night watching Youtube technique videos).

Science Daily reported scientists are currently researching how sleep helps the brain learn motor task. It certainly makes sense: something you learned yesterday may make much more sense the next class, the pieces coming together easier than before.

Anyway, I think the article’s pretty neat: check it out!

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BJJ Drilling: The Perils of Ignoring the Details

We’ve all done it at least once in class while drilling a technique: we zone out during repetitions, we go through the motions, we don’t quite pay attention to all the little details that make it successful. It’s not that we think that highly of ourselves: more often than not it’s usually when it’s a technique we’ve been taught before: the human mind is constantly looking for ways to be more efficient, and doesn’t want to spend the time and concentration on what it already thinks it knows. At least that’s what I tell myself every time someone spells my (full) first name incorrectly.

Anyway, this is a trap that we have all fallen into before, and something we really should be mindful of: as we all know, when it comes to jiu jitsu, the devil is in the details- you may find yourself grinding out a technique because you forgot exactly where to put your leg, hand, arm or weight. Why? Because when you left out those details when you drilled this technique: maybe you reassured yourself that you would remember when the time came, or those details just slipped to the back of your mind, which also happens. Now it’s time to put that technique to use and it’s not working, because all of those details are not a part of your muscle memory.

Again, this is something I am fairly sure we are all guilty of at least once in our jiu jitsu careers- life in general, even. We get distracted, or not fully understand a detail so we ignore it, thinking it won’t effect the overall outcome. Which sometimes, occasionally would be correct, but it would have been a lot easier if all the proper details and elements were there in the first place.

So be mindful of what you are doing when you drill: don’t worry about the quantity of repetitions you are putting in, but rather the quality since that is what will truly pay off when the time comes.



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BJJ & Teaching: Adjusting to Encourage Success

A lot of people don’t know this, but I teach some of the lower level jiu jitsu classes with a teammate- it can definitely be fun some nights, watching some of the lower belts stumble through, or sometimes have that moment when everything clicks and they really get some of the stuff that we teach them.

I don’t usually like to talk about students in our academy, but we’ve recently had a white belt in our class that has presented an interesting,  but definitely good challenge. He usually takes the afternoon classes, but has shown up a couple of times in the evening class we teach. He’s very nice, courteous, a pleasure to have in class- he just also happens to be blind. I personally think it’s awesome that he’s taking jiu jitsu. Granted he’s a bit of a ‘ringer’ in the class: he is also a black belt in judo- so which he does have some ne waza work under his belt, there are a lot of positions and fine details of certain techniques he isn’t entirely familiar with.

They are really minor adjustments in teaching that need to be made, but they are things you wouldn’t naturally think about- I talked with my coach about what we could do to make sure he gets the most out of the class, such as use him as an uke (someone you perform the technique against) so he can feel the movement of what you are doing.

Overall I think it’s pretty awesome that he’s taking classes with us: he is actually not the first blind person we’ve had train with us, and I think it’s pretty great to have people with different needs in our academy- it offers a diverse element to the group, and encourages instructors to not just go through the same techniques the same way over and over again, but to think about how best to serve their students and give them the tools they need that best suits their class. Finally it really shows students, especially in the lower ranks how jiu jitsu can be for people with all sorts of different abilities and from all walks of life.

Just something cool I wanted to share with you guys: have a great Tuesday, everyone!


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BJJ Company Crisis Management: Do’s and Don’ts

So, fun little fact- I have a B.A. in Communications, focusing on Public Relations: actually I double majored in PR and Psychology, and you would be surprised how much the two cross paths. But, since I don’t think anyone really wants to talk about how comorbidity of experiments leads to the validity of research results, or my personal favorite phrase in regards to personality theory- how our personalities are comprised from “deviations of the human syntax”, I’m going to instead focus on public relations and brand management particularly in the jiu jitsu community.

Back in the day when I was in Public Relations 101, they used certain events to showcase what someone should, and should not do when it came to crisis management: damage control, really. It’s bound to happen- people make mistakes, and say and do the wrong things all the time. And I feel like I’m in PR class all over again when reading about Grapple Planet vs. Dojodirect, reviewing the do’s and don’ts of how to handle a crisis.

We’ll start with the company that in the end handled themselves well: Grapple Planet. I had mentioned the parody video of a young woman, I believe her name is Cindy, attempting to poke fun at ‘sexy’ video instructionals, but it just didn’t come off so well. Grapple Planet posted the video, and by and large the jiu jitsu community was not amused. JiuJiu has the entire story on her blog, and while this started to have the makings of a PR don’t, with poor feedback (asking ‘why take things so serious?’) but eventually Grapple Planet listened to its customers, removed the video, and wrote a nice apology on their facebook page, including one on JiuJiu’s blog. In the end this company handled the situation well: they acknowledged their customers concerns, took action, apologized, and reaffirmed their commitment to the community.

The loser of the week unfortunately was Dojodirect. A female grappler pointed out to the company some spelling errors they had made on their facebook page and website, and while they technically acknowledged the error and ‘thanked’ the customer, they also took the criticism personally, insulted her and suggested the woman was premenstruating early, or was just an “angry woman in general”. While it shouldn’t matter which woman made the comment, he shouldn’t have gone there in the first place- unfortunately for him it was a pretty well known and respected female grappler, Pippa Granger. She shared the interaction with the large circle of influence, and Dojodirect has been paying for it ever since. He made a somewhat public apology on Twitter, and personally apologized to Pippa, which she again posted to her circle of influence. It was an all right gesture on his part, and an excellent gesture on hers in letting the community know that he was attempting to make amends.  I’m not looking for Shakespearan prose people, I just want accountability for your actions.

What I think Dojodirect didn’t realize is yes, the guy has been working hard to build his website, offer merchandise for sale, etc. but by and large, the community doesn’t know who the hell he is, and at the moment our only impression of the company is a negative one. Reputation and image can be seen as like having a savings account at a bank- for the most part you should only be making deposits, for those (hopefully) very rare occasions where you are forced to make a withdrawl. He just didn’t have enough in his “image account” and made a huge withdrawl, and now he’s overdrafted and paying the fines. Hopefully his interactions with customers, particularly females, will improve and he can get himself out of the red.

So what did we learn today? Listen to your customers, acknowledge there’s been a misstep, apologize and take action to rectify the situation, and reaffirm your commitment in supporting said community. There have been multiple PR missteps among several BJJ companies- Dojodoirect is not the first and sadly will not be the last, but it was nice to see Grapple Planet took a potentially bad situation, turned it around and made the appropriate steps in responding to the community.


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