Monthly Archives: May 2014

Happy Friday: Rainy Day Edition

Happy Friday everyone!

Mother Nature is a volatile mistress, to be sure: it was sunny and warm yesterday, and today it’s cold and rainy. Booooo.

But, that also means it’s an excellent day to get some training in: because who really wants to be outside in this kind of weather?

Anyway, have a great weekend everyone!

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BJJ and Psychology: The Relational Humility Scale

Researchers in the psychological community have come up with a relational humility scale– from what I understand, basically a way to quantify the level of humility a person possesses. Which does sound odd at first, but becomes more interesting the more you think about it. Humility is sort of like that one quote from Supreme Court Justice Potter Stewart, you just know it when you see it, and its varying degrees.

I would be interested to see this scale applied to the BJJ community, and what sort of results they would find: humility in relation to success in competition, longevity in the sport, at what rank do students possess the most humility, the least, etc.

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

 

 

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New IBJJF Rules are Up

Hey everyone,

I know I’m late to the party, but the IBJJF released their new rules book: make sure to look through and check out the updates before the next IBJJF tournament you plan to compete in.

Have a great day everyone!

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Interesting Post about Public Relations and BJJ

Megan over at Tangled Triangle recently wrote a post about the weight of responsibility when it comes to public relations and the BJJ community. I agree with Megan when she says we are basically all marketers now for jiu jitsu- from the highly acclaimed black belt down to the 3 month white belt.

Funny enough, it sort of reminds me of highschool (flashback time, y’all!). I went to an all girls catholic highschool- which may explain a lot of things, or lead to more questions, who knows. But, I do remember one of the administrators speaking to the student body and explaining that even outside the four walls of the institution, when you wore the school’s uniform (plaid skirts, sweaters and knee socks, whoo!) out in public, even after regular school hours, you were acting as a representative and ambassador for the school, and should behave as such.

We represent the culture and spirit of the sport, on and off the mat. Every time you tell someone you train jiu jitsu, every time you wear your academy’s shirt, or slap a jiu jitsu decal on your car, whether you like it or not, you have become an ambassador for the sport to the general public.

The post also mentions some misbehavior from grappler Dean Lister- as I’ve mentioned before, I seem to live under a rock and have no idea what anyone is talking about, but apparently it involves a lewd gesture at a seminar that was recorded? Anyway, it boils down to this: while we are indeed all ambassadors for the sport, some certainly have more clout than others, and need to keep that in mind, particularly in a more formalized(ish), public event . There’s a big difference between drinking with your buddies and joking around, and teaching a seminar that could potentially be recorded.

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

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Jiu Jitsu and Meditation: Seizing the Moment

I’ve mentioned before that Jiu jitsu is a sort of unconventional form of meditation- and there is one element on Jiu jitsu and meditation that I find go hand in hand, and that is being present in the moment.

There’s one yoga instructor whose class I have taken several times, and at some point during the class he’ll remind the class to neither lean back and dwell on the past, or forward, anxiously into the future, but to remain centered and focused on the present.

And that can also be applied to Jiu jitsu: you find little success during a rolling session if all you do is focus on the last or the future. Lamenting missed opportunities to execute techniques will only create more missed opportunities, and anxiously waiting to execute something more often than not in my experience leads to other missed chances for something that may not have been what I was looking for, but just the right technique for that position.

Of course, particularly in the beginning there is nothing wrong with waiting for a specific position- but I have found that as you grow in experience and skill, you’ll see chances for other sweeps, submissions, etc. and if you are too focused on how you messed up the last time, or too focused anticipating just one move you’re really just making things more difficult for yourself.

So, I guess in summary, don’t languish too much in your past mistakes, or anxiously anticipate the next move, shunning other options. Be in the here, and now, and seize what moments and opportunities that are given to you.

Those are just my thoughts on the matter. Have a great day everyone!

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Happy Friday: Courage Edition

Happy Friday everyone!

I favorited this tweet from @assaultgear…yesterday? Two days ago?

Anyway, just thought I would share with you all:

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Have a great weekend everyone!

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The Team: Our Big Crazy Jiu Jitsu Family

Brace yourselves everyone, photos are coming…Well, particularly of one tournament, just because that’s what I have…Anyway…

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Our team has attended a number of competitions lately, from Pans, to New York Open, NAGA’s, a New Breed tournament, and still have more to attend in the coming months.

We’ve gone to these events, put our best effort and skill out there and either won, or learned for the next match and moved on to the next one. But more important in my opinion is not only the results we get from these tournaments, but the attitude we bring with us: not only are we there to compete and do our best, but we are happy to be there and with each other.

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Throwing a teammate- it’s fun! 

 

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I’m always proud of our team: the effort we put out there and the support we offer one another- we train, we compete, we cheer each other on- it really is one big crazy family that I feel very lucky to be a part of.

 

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Just wanted to share with you all- have a great day everyone!

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Shakespeare and Jiu jitsu academy lockers

So, quick story, when I was in highschool, instead of taking a practical class like home ec or sewing as an elective, I chose to take Shakespeare, taught by a wonderfully kooky woman. When she wasn’t telling us to cover our eyes during a nude scene in Romeo and Juliet (the Zeffirelli version, not the baz lurhmann edition with Leo DiCaprio and Claire Danes), or conversely telling us how Shakespeare wrote tons of dirty jokes and sexual innuendos into his comedies, she worked with each student, utilizing their strengths so they could reap the most benefits out of her class.

And her classroom was a mess. A true example of chaos. Shakespearean plays are not meant to be read quietly, but rather performed, and so she has a plethora of random costumes, props, and even a large Elizabethan/Tudor style partition in her classroom, behind which all this stuff (usually) lived. Items always managed to creep out however, and sometimes detention assignments included going to her classroom to straighten out the chaos.

I remember standing with my teacher one one day, looking at her classroom. While viewing the damage from that particular class period she said to me, “you know, some teachers worry about keeping test keys in their classrooms, worried that their students will find them and cheat. I say let ’em- I might actually give them extra credit for the effort.”

That’s sort of how I feel about my locker at the gym. I keep it locked, not because I’m overly concerned about things being taken, but more because I don’t want to come into class one day and find someone has shoved their belongings on top of mine.

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Although at this point, I don’t even think I would be mad. I might even commend them for the effort.

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Jiu jitsu Helps Strengthen Intellectual Capacity

Well, I think it does anyway, and I (sort of) have the evidence to back it up:

According to this article, a series of studies showed that strategic thinking exercises improved individuals’ abilities when it came to abstract concepts, reasoning, and innovation. Other areas of the brain also appeared to reap the benefits of the exercises, including memory, problem solving and planning.

And when you think about it, you get to a point where jiu jitsu truly becomes the “human chess” game- while still very physical, also becomes an exercise in strategy: when to go, when to stop, advancing in a position, utilizing a weakness in another player’s position. It’s all pretty interesting stuff.

Let me know what you guys think- otherwise, have a great day everyone!

 

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Rolling in BJJ: Sometimes You Have to Play on the Black Keys

It’s an expression my grandfather has said now and again. He was a part time jazz musician back in the day- I don’t know if it’s just a local expression, but when someone asks who you are feeling and you reply that you feel like you are “playing on the black keys”, it basically means you feel off or not yourself.

What I mean in this context is that sometimes whether you like it or not you are going to be in a place where you feel off: you’ll be in a position you don’t train quite as much, for example. We humans tend to shy from the unfamiliar: we experience a dislike and tend to have a strong aversion to things outside of our comfort zone. We like routine, to repeat the things we’re good at, to confidently tread over the well worn path of what is known to us with the knowledge that it will bring us the greatest chance of success.

It makes us feel good about ourselves, but it doesn’t really make us better. Or rather it makes us better at a very small range of things. To put yourself out there, to put yourself in bad positions is, in my opinion, one of the best ways to learn and improve your jiu jitsu game. I’m not saying just flop to the ground and hope things work out: I’m referring more to the idea of sort of venturing off the beaten path, casting yourself into the wilderness so to speak, and then work on finding your way back to the familiar. Sure, it’s a sort of trial and error sort of method but you may end up finding new opportunities for sweeps or submissions you never realized before, or something that didn’t work for you in one context, totally works in this new (albeit odd) situation you have found yourself in.

It’s the growing pains of learning and improving. Sometimes you have to play on the black keys to discover how to make a more diverse and intricate song.

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