Monthly Archives: April 2014

Jiu Jitsu Addiction- When a Good Thing Potentially Goes Wrong

There’s an interesting article over at “The Good Men Project” about how those who suffer from addictions, or have addictive personalities have a hyper focus, an ability that almost makes them super human.

First and foremost I disagree with calling an addict “super human”. Superhuman almost implies an advantageous ability, and I feel the term in almost a weird romanticizes a real mental health problem. Inhibited dopamine receptors and the inability to readjust one’s focus, or to take something to such an extreme that it becomes detrimental to the person and those around them is not something to view through rose colored lenses.

So, what does this have to do with jiu jitsu? Eh, at first blush nothing really. It was more just an interesting article that I found: although you could think about it, I’m sure you could think of some jiu jitsu addicts. I’m not just talking about people who stalk sherdog forums all day and watch Youtube videos of every instructional ever made. I’m talking about the people who just want to drill and train and drill and train and train and drill, and all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy…

I had mentioned before that jiu jitsu should not be an escape from your problems-which a reader was very kind and turned into a quote on twitter (thanks!). There are so many benefits that can be gained from training, but when you think about it there are several pitfalls that can turn jiu jitsu, a very good thing, into a very bad thing., but mainly we’re talking about the need for repetition and training that can eat away at the hours-that hyper focus that is referred to in the article can alienate friends and family as the person solely focuses on drilling and training and the next tournament. That’s why keeping mindful of a balance, setting aside both time for jiu jitsu AND having a healthy amount of time outside of the gym is crucial.

I should note here I’m not solely picking on jiu jitsu: it’s just that’s what this blog is about, so that’s what I’m relating it to: really, anything done in excess and becomes harmful to you and others can become a bad thing.

Anyway, check out the article and let me know what you think- otherwise, have a good day everyone!

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Jiu Jitsu and the “Bro” Problem

Shark Girl had a good point in her blog post, about bjj suffering from a man, or specifically “bro”, problem- referring to this article in the NY times about the technology community and their own issue with alienating females in the field.

Fortunately we don’t really have this problem in our academy: everyone, man or woman, is treated with respect and we all share our enthusiasm and drive for learning and improving in the sport. And I am aware that I am probably pretty lucky to be in this situation: there are always going to be jerks in the world- guys who make lewd comments about how they want to be in some girl’s triangle or whatever.

From here on out I’m going to call these folks “bros”. I want to make this clear: men in general are not the problem- I know a lot of jiu jitsu guys that are kind, respectful and overall wonderful to train and associate myself with. I don’t hear these inappropriate sorts of comments often, but I think that also has to do with the fact that I stay off of Internet forums and if a comment like that is made, it’s not made by one of our guys but rather at some outside event like a tournament, and I am generally oblivious to conversations going on around me during those events. Nothing personal, I’m usually just focused on something else.

For some women however they have to deal with those bros When this sort of culture is unchecked, it can make an uncomfortable training environment for a woman to train: it doesn’t matter if the transgressors mean what they are saying or not- it may be a joke, but it can slowly but surely alienate you female training partners, making them feel unwelcome in your presence and creating bad mojo in your academy in general. This absolutely doesn’t mean you’re not allowed to have fun, or joke around, or share a laugh with your teammates- but no one likes to be made to feel like the odd duck, the freak in the crowd.

Really it boils down to this: Bros, I implore you, before you make that shitty comment that isn’t very funny in the first place (which let’s be honest here, you know it’s true) regarding women in jiu jitsu- please take a moment to think and recognize that your female teammate may be different from you, but they also have every right to be at your academy, to learn to love this sport/martial art as much as you do. Also, while you may make a personal delineation that you are not referring to those particular women in your academy- but really, just… just don’t, guys.

What do you guys think? Let me know- otherwise, have a great day everyone!

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BJJ Competition: Accomplishing Goals to Make Way for New Ones

Happy Monday everyone!

Our team headed up to Harlem this past weekend and competed in the IBJF’s New York Spring Open. Our guys fought hard and had the pleasure of bringing home some medals. Unfortunately there wasn’t anyone in my division, but I had a chance to compete in the Open: I won my first match, lost my second and walked away with silver.

Both matches were good in a sense that I was able to achieve some goals, and had the opportunity to create some new ones. Competition in jiu jitsu can show your progress, and also expose your weaknesses-which I am willing to admit Saturday did both for me: it showed where I excel, but also elements of my game that I need to work on.

I think it’s beneficial to set goals for yourself when it comes to competition, separate from the outcome of the match. I’m not saying that wanting to win a match isn’t a noble goal to pursue, but I am referring to a focus on some secondary goals, like getting a sweep that you have been working on, successfully executing a takedown, or heck, not do that thing you always do that your coach yells at you for doing. I feel this creates a more all-encompassing approach to jiu jitsu competition, rather than just solely focused on getting a win, and can show progress even amidst a loss.

Do you have any goals for competition? Well, other than winning you matches of course…Let me know, otherwise have a great day everyone!


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Happy Friday: Granny Roll (?) Edition

Happy Friday everyone!

I just watched (on mute) a portion of Christian Graugart’s instructional on “the granny roll” to defend a guard pass…

We’re going to ignore for a second that I am quite envious that Graugart is in some gorgeous location with sunshine and palm trees and talk about this move- I don’t know what grannies are like in Denmark, but I don’t think any grandmother I know could successfully roll like that- anyway, check it out and let me know what you think, otherwise, have a great weekend everyone!

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Sport Injuries: Not RICE, but REC

Well, not officially, that’s just the acronym I came up with. According to a post on Athletic Medicine, the doctor who came up with RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation) now says that ice does not really help, since it constricts the blood vessels and keeps the cells responsible for healing damaged tissue from getting to the site of the injury.

Check it out and let me know what you think. Otherwise, have a great day everyone!

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BJJ Memes!

Ok, real talk people: I just spent a whole bunch of time writing a post…and it’s not very good.

So I’m going to go sit in a corner and think about if that post can be salvaged, and how: in the meantime enjoy The Science of Skill’s 4 Best BJJ Memes

Have a great day everyone!

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Article by Val Worthington Regarding the Jiu Jitsu Salieri

Good Morning (or whatever time of day appropriate for your timezone)!

Val Worthington wrote a great article about the Jiu Jitsu Salieri– someone who care deeply for the sport, but who one would not consider a prodigy or dynamo, much like Antonio Salieri, who was a musician and contemporary of Mozart. And if you don’t recognize the name Salieri, well that’s sort of the point: the film and play Amadeus are about the composer, who takes issue with Mozart- who is quite gifted, but whose manners and attitude in contrast are quite crude, while Salieri wallows in his own mediocrity.

I feel that everyone has a place in the BJJ community, and agree with her sentiment that you should find a place in the community that dovetails with your strengths and other attributes. Hell, even if you do win tournaments left and right, you should have something outside of the tournament circuit to concentrate your time on. Maybe because I think in the long term sometimes, but our bodies can only take so much punishment, and there may (or probably) will come a time when you can no longer compete- due to illness, injury or any other sort of major life event. To find something in which you can give back to the BJJ community without being a tournament competitor I believe gives you the greatest chance to be happy, to be involved in the sport and culture without putting your body constantly at risk of breaking down.

Jiu jitsu in so many ways is still relatively new, and I really believe there is still plenty of room for innovation and new ideas. As Val Worthington also points out, even if you are a not a jiu jitsu prodigy, the jiu jitsu community still needs people with a variety of skills and strengths and you can most certainly find a way to contribute, even on a smaller scale.

Check out the article and let me know what you think. Otherwise, have a great day (night…whatever) everyone!

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Science and Irony: The Tobacco Plant May Have Key to Fighting Cancer

This really has nothing to do with jiu jitsu, I just wanted to share with you all:

We all know smoking is terrible for you, and a surefire way to ingest a heck-ton of carcinogens. But, scientists have discovered a molecule in the tobacco plant that actually fights cancer, targeting cancerous cells and ripping them open like a kid opening presents on Christmas morning, while having little to no effect on healthy cells.

Science! ….And Irony!

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



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Happy Friday: Interesting Article about Rolling…Edition

Happy Friday!

JiuJiu put up an interesting post about sparring, neuroscience and the proclivity for one-upmanship. It’s pretty interesting, and talks about the misperception of strength, suggesting that you and your partner may really try to match the intensity of one another, but each person is estimating that the other is going a little harder than the other, eventually escalating into a hard roll when that was really never the intention.

Check it out and let me know what you think- otherwise, have a great weekend everyone!

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Sometimes its the Little Things….

I really don’t have much to talk about today; I’m just appreciating the little things in life- like it’s not bitterly cold, I just got some new post it notes in a fun color, and last night I sort of pulled off a pass I’ve been working on, and eventually got a choke that I have also been working on in training last night.

Sometimes the little good things in life can add up to a pretty good day, in my opinion. Any little good things happen to you recently? Let me know- otherwise, have a great day everyone!

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