Monthly Archives: March 2014

For the Jiu Jitsu Newbie Training with a Higher Belt

Good morning everyone!

A reader recently left a comment asking about my thoughts regarding someone at her level, a jiu jitsu newbie, training or drilling with higher belts, and the feeling that she was taking time away from their drilling and training.

First and foremost I would say don’t worry so much about that sort of thing: sure, there are times when a higher belt wants to work on something more advanced, or has a tournament coming up and will want to drill or train with someone at a rank closer to their own but for the most part higher belts, at least at our academy, are always willing to work with lower belts. It can be made into a beneficial situation for both partners particularly in a training situation. The higher belt can try something new that may up until that point has given them problems, a weak area in their game or something they have a low success rate with, while the lower belt has the opportunity to defend and even advance from those situations.

This may not be the case at every academy, but we higher belts (wow, that’s weird to say) do care about the white belts- we care in the sense that we want you to succeed, to stick around, to learn and grow and find your love for jiu jitsu- to become a part of the big crazy second family that will have that special place in your heart.

Also, personally I think it’s a little hypocritical for a higher belt to refuse drilling or training with a white belt, or not answering their questions. I will offer this addendum to that: if you are in a structured class and you are a white belt who may be drilling with a higher belt, ask your instructor questions if there is something you don’t understand, not your partner. We were all white belts once, stumbling through the basics, and it was through drilling, training, the guidance of our coaches and other higher ranks that we got through that beginning stage. For a higher rank it’s really sort of paying it forward, when you think about it: someone once took the time to help you drill and armbar, that choke or sweep you grew to love, and now you are just returning the favor and helping someone else discover a technique and overall their love for jiu jitsu.

Most higher ranks understand all of this when they drill or train with white belts, so for all the newbies out there- don’t fret, concentrate on the basics and enjoy yourselves. 🙂


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Happy Friday: Banned Substances Edition

Happy Friday everyone!

So, I am sure you have all heard by now that Gabi Garcia tested positive for clomiphene- I think that’s how you spell it- after competing in the 2013’s IBJJF Worlds.  From what I gather about this drug, it’s used as a fertility drug to promote ovulation, but according to the Almighty Wikipedia and other sources, it is also used as a post cycle therapy drug, to help rebalance one’s hormones after throwing them out of whack, like after a cycle of steroids. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think that’s how it’s used.

While she did test positive, the USADA (United States Anti-Doping Agency) found Garcia at no fault after an investigation in the matter. Garcia claims there was a cross contamination in supplements, or gynecological medicine she was taking…

…Someone’s not telling the whole story here, in my opinion. I don’t really believe the whole cross-contamination story, unless Garcia is really going to the absolute worst, back alley gynecologist and pharmacist in the world, who would mix medications together. Honestly, I would believe she was willingly taking clomiphene to treat infertility before believing cross-contamination.

Also, when thinking about this, I realized I would be terrible at taking steroids: I’m pretty good about taking medications and supplements, but considering how forgetful I can be about some things…Yeesh… Our hormones and that whole system I feel is something for the most part you shouldn’t mess with unless there is something quite wrong, or you are using something like for fertility or birth control, or you need to otherwise correct a imbalance or treat a problem that is threatening your quality of life- and you are under the close supervision of a medical professional. I won’t tell anyone else how to live their lives, it’s just a choice I wouldn’t make.

What do you guys think about the whole situation? Let me know- otherwise, have a great weekend everyone!


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Metamoris 3 Trailer: Oo, Fancy!

So Mr. “G in a Gi” decided to pull out all the stops with a pretty fancy trailer for Metamoris 3.

It’s pretty cool, and I would suggest checking it out…I feel a little guilty about saying this, but I don’t know why, but Keenan Cornelius always looks like a serial killer to me. I’m sure he is probably a very pleasant guy IRL, at least I hope so, but there’s something about his facial expression. Sorry Keenan, I would just be highly uncomfortable sitting alone in the same room as you. It’s not you, just your face.

Or bad lighting. That could also be the culprit.

Anyway, are you planning on watching Metamoris this weekend? Let me know, otherwise have a great day everyone!


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Jiu jitsu Training Schedule: One Size Does NOT Fit All

This is a concept I feel like a lot of people understand logically, but have a hard time fully comprehending. I remember once drilling with a white belt, newly striped I think, and she asked how often I trained. Without thinking about it, I told her the truth: pretty much every day, and then realized my mistake as her eyes widened at the thought of increasing her training from 2 to 3 times a week to coming in I tried to reassure her that this was not the standard, which hopefully got through to her. I think she had to stop training due to work/life reasons… That’s what I tell myself anyway…



Don’t let the awkward expression fool you people, this is the face of an addict… A jiu jitsu addict. Well, coffee too, but that’s an issue we’ll tackle another day. It’s not a problem if it doesn’t hurt other people…right?

…uh, guys?

My point is your class attendance should be regular, and at least a weekly basis, but it also should be a schedule that best fits your needs and obligations. And more importantly, maintains your sanity. How can you fully learn and appreciate what is being taught if you are stressed throughout an entire class about how much work you have to do? Jiu jitsu offers valuable lessons in terms of physical and emotional balance, if we are willing to learn and accept them.

There can be pressure sometimes to train more: because you want to progress faster, because you want to do fancy stuff, because you don’t want to get left behind when stripes and promotions come around, because you’re an exercise addict, really the list goes on and on- and it’s fine to set short term goals for yourself, but you should also have plans for a longer term journey: let’s not even talk about how long what belt takes, if this is something that you want to do for the rest of your life, it has to fit into the rest of your life, correct?

So, in short, find a schedule that works best for you: whether that is twice a week, or twice a day, do what works best for you and don’t worry about comparing your attendance to others. I would just recommend being as consistent as possible, and if you asked me what I would suggest as the best amount of times per week, I would say at least twice a week, 3 times would be best, but really, again, whatever works best for you.

How many times a week do you attend class? Do you feel pressure to attend more, do you have a goal to attend more classes-or are you happy with your attendance rate? Let me know- otherwise, have a great day everyone!



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Jiu Jitsu and Improvement in The Feeling of Wellness

When talking about fitness and weight loss people always try to sell others on it talking about how good they will look, and briefly gloss over how much better you feel. Or maybe that’s just the impression I have gotten over the years. Personally, I would like to flip the emphasis. I said this to a couple of people recently: if I could somehow bottle up just how good you feel when losing weight and getting healthier, I think it would encourage a lot more people to get out and exercise.

Our brains are pretty much pleasure junkies-I’m pretty sure I stole that term from a Cracked article (and yes, I read Cracked articles now and again), but whatever, our brains love feeling good and there are so many pleasant emotions when you finally get yourself into gear and become healthier. Granted I’m speaking from a jiu jitsu perspective, but really this could apply to any sport: for Pete’s sake if a trampoline class and Zumba make you happy, go to class and shake what your Momma gave ya, because I can almost guarantee that you will feel better afterwards.

I’m not going to lie, sometimes working out sucks. Sometimes you are tired, sometimes you are sore, and sometimes you are feeling lazy and you just don’t want to get yourself moving-  but even just the immediate feeling after a work out makes the effort work it, for the most part.

There are also times when you feel good that may not be so obvious- the satisfaction of climbing a flight of stairs and not being (totally) out of breath, for one. When you are able to push yourself just a little faster, a little harder every time you work out.  The feeling of accomplishment when you are able to execute a skill or technique all on your own, without any additional instruction- almost like you know what you are doing! That feeling of surprise when you are able to fit into those pair of pants you never thought you could squeeze yourself into (yes, I know it’s related to how you look, I’m cheating a little here), or you put on an old gi and find yourself swimming in it. And finally, that feeling when you realize that even when you are sore and tired from all the exercise and skill learning and everything, just a general feeling of wellness even at rest- and you realize that you wouldn’t trade one of your worst days now for one of your best days when you were the least fit.

I have little interest in telling people how good they will look from getting involved in jiu jitsu- sure, you will lose weight and that’s awesome. But how you will feel- that to me is more important. You can be skinny and feel terrible, but being active (and eating right, but to me that’s subjective to your own dietary needs and preferences), maintaining a general feeling of wellness, unfortunately it’s something you can’t show a person but I feel is so crucial for people to experience for themselves.

Do you feel like you have experienced this improvement in overall wellness- physically, emotionally, since starting jiu jitsu? If so, was there a specific moment when realized that you just overall felt better about yourself, life, etc.? Let me know- otherwise, have a great day everyone!


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Otavio Sousa Let Go from Gracie Barra Irvine and Other News

So, as I’m sure most of you heard over the weekend, Otavio Sousa posted on his facebook account that he is no longer employed as a teacher for Gracie Barra Irvine.

It sucks to be let go from any job, so I definitely feel for the guy, but also keep in mind there are always 3 sides to a story- your side, my side and then the truth, which I have found more often than not involves a mash up of the two sides and additional facts that come into play. Right now we are only hearing Sousa’s side: whether or not we hear anything from his (former) employers, only time will tell.

Any other news I missed over the weekend? I feel like that was the big story over the past 48 hours or so. Oh! Janni Larsson, a female black belt from Sweden, just recently won the Swedish Martial Artist Role Model of the Year! I had the pleasure of meeting Janni during the last Pans: she is an absolute sweetheart and I’m so happy for her!

I think that’s it for now-any other stories anyone else knows about?  Let me know, otherwise have a great day everyone!


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Happy Friday: Spring Edition

Happy Friday everyone! Spring has finally sprung! At this rate I’m hoping we’ll all thaw out by, oh, June maybe. Here on the East Coast we’re expected to get a sunny day tomorrow with a high temp in the mid-60’s-seriously, I can’t wait.

Actually, I was thinking about this while out in Cali: It would be great to have a tournament in CA in something like a large tent, like you would have at a fair, so we sun deprived competitors could catch a few rays in between matches. But then again we would probably all get sun burned, and that would suck…

What do you guys think? Would you be down for a technically outdoor tournament, or would you prefer to keep your grappling competitions indoors? Let me know, otherwise have a great weekend!


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Photos from 2014 Pans Trip

Prepare yourselves everyone, because you’re about to get a whole bunch of photos from Pans.


We brought a teammate with us on the trip to act solely as our photographer. So thanks Rob! I know it’s a lot of photos of me (sorry) but if I wait for permission from all my teammates for all the photos, I’ll be posting this, oh, next month or so….Anyway, here we go!


Getting ready to compete- hooray! IBJJF also took some photos during my finals match in the Open Division:




That is the look of surprise- I knew I did everything I could, but neither of us had scored, and it’s always sort of nerve wracking to leave it up to a ref’s decision.


Hooray! 🙂


It was great to head out to Pans with all my teammates, a little over 20 competitors- we ate together, hung out together, and it was a really good time. It was great to watch everyone compete, to cheer for them and really watch each teammate work hard and really put themselves out there.


And after the competition we went to a trampoline park! It was super fun!


Overall it was a great trip and I’m super proud of our team. Yay!


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Getting Back into the Swing of Things, and Why Dark Chocolate is Good for You

Hey everyone, still playing catch up at work and sleep, but in the meantime check this article out about why dark chocolate is good for you. Not that any of us really need to know the particulars as to why dark chocolate is healthy, just that we are allowed to eat it and feel good about ourselves, but the American Chemical Society just adds to the assertion that dark chocolate is one of the best things on earth.

Check out the article, and have a great day everyone!

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Home! Ow

Good news is we just flew back into Philly, like literally I’m still sitting in the plane. The bad news is that it’s 6am. And I still fully intend on going to work today…

…This is gonna suck…

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