Monthly Archives: November 2019

Happy Thanksgiving!

For those in the US, have a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving!

And for those outside of the US, or just not celebrating, have a wonderful Thursday!

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Did Someone Say Jiu Jitsu Candles?

Sure did!

There are some local black belts in my area that are creating and selling candles locally- not that I’m really about promoting the sale of products on this blog, I do enjoy supporting local businesses and it’s definitely a bonus that these folks are also in jiu jitsu.

 

You should definitely check them out when you have a chance: they are also having a Black Friday sale…. I honestly forget the particulars (sorry), but check them out on instagram or visit their website!

Have a great day everyone!

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Promotions!

Happy Monday!

Friday night was a bit special for our academy- we had a couple of students earn some stripes, and another one of our students became a black belt! our teammate Jeanne also happens to be a dear friend of mine, so it was exciting to see her achieve this tremendous milestone.

I’m super happy for her and the fact that she reached this part of her jiu jitsu journey- and it’s exciting that out of 3 out of the 12 female black belts in PA all under one roof.

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

 

 

 

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Digging a Little Deeper in BJJ

So, fun entry in the Chronicles of Katie Losing Things, I couldn’t find the band to my Whoop fitness tracker (you can take the band off and slip the actual tracking part into an arm band), I looked through the pockets in my bookbag, all around my house, and decided that I must have left it on my desk at work, as sometimes I change the tracking device from my wrist to arm when I’m at work before I make the trek to the gym to train.

Trekked all the way up to New York and back, went back to work and the band wasn’t on my desk like I thought, so I decided to take one last look in my bookbag, but one pocket that I didn’t totally turn inside out…. and it was totally there. Whomp, whomp….

The moral of the story is this: sometimes we think something won’t work, but in digging a little deeper, and operating outside or even in spite of our assumptions can occasionally surprise us. We thought that escape wouldn’t work until we dug a little deeper and surprise! We’re out. That sweep that hasn’t worked before, the choke we were a little too shallow with in the past: sometimes when we dig a bit deeper, there’s a reward waiting for us at the end.

Not to muddy the theme of this post, but just like we talked about learning the fine lines in jiu jitsu previously, there is a fine line between digging deep and insisting on something past the point where you need to just move on. How can you tell the difference? Instructors can give you tips and tricks for certain moves, but ultimately you need to train, experience it first hand and figure it out. And there will be times it will go (potentially hilariously) wrong, but there are times where it really is worth digging deep to find out something works.

Just some thoughts to share- have a great day everyone!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Good Jiu Jitsu Isn’t Always Pretty, and Pretty Jiu Jitsu Isn’t Always Good

Just a thought I was having this morning: I was thinking mainly about movies, if we’re being totally honest. Something can look good, but not necessarily be good in other regards.

When it comes to movies, I’m sure you could come up with a couple of examples of films that in terms of visual styling are amazing, but when you really start to dissect the plot and dialogue, really don’t make any damn sense. The most recent example for me is the movie The Witch: visually really interesting, great shots…. plot looks like a slice of Swiss cheese.

Jiu jitsu has its own issues with that. I’m sure there are some jiu jitsu players out there with some really cool, fancy guards and sweeps…. that really don’t connect to anything, or are really just done for the sake of being done. I like to think of those moves as almost the haute couture of jiu jitsu. I believe someone, somewhere in my life explained haute couture this way: no one in their right mind would (or should) walk out the door in some of the outlandish outfits that walk down the runway, but it’s more you should expect to see those elements in fashion in the coming weeks, months, etc.

Same thing with pretty jiu jitsu: you can take some elements from it any incorporate it into your game, but to take some of these techniques wholesale is the jiu jitsu equivalent of walking into a party looking like a fluffy, 3D Rorshach test.

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…But does it have pockets?¬†

Visually impressive, not terribly practical.

It’s also important to note that sometimes good jiu jitsu is not necessarily pretty. In fact sometimes basic, unimpressive moves are the most effective. Of course there is beauty in simplicity, and of course we can appreciate when a move is well executed, but sometimes the unimpressive “unpretty” stuff is really the best. It’s the stuff that may not make the highlight reel, but they are relatively simple moves that you can rely on.

So, just to recap- don’t worry if you don’t think your jiu jitsu isn’t pretty, because sometimes the good stuff just isn’t pretty- what’s important is that it works.

Have a great day everyone!

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Happy Friday! Fall NY Open Edition

Happy Friday everyone!

It’s been one of those silly weeks where a bunch of little things go wrong (amazon package mix ups, getting to work late, pen exploding in my hands and ink getting everywhere… those kinds of things) but I dunno, I’m still in pretty high spirits.

Our team is heading up to New York this weekend for IBJJF’s New York Open, so that’ll be exciting. I decided not to compete to let my thumb/wrist continue to heal, but I’ll be running around coaching our teammates…. so if you see a woman hopefully just jogging, but possibly sprinting to a mat, hello, and I apologize in advance for all the yelling I’m going to do.

Have a great weekend everyone!

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Learning the Fine Lines in BJJ

It’s difficult, time consuming, but ultimately rewarding when you really dive deep and learn the fine lines that exist in jiu jitsu.

We all start off with the broad strokes- place hand here, foot there, move leg and head and arms this way and that. As you progress there is still some of that simplicity, but there as they say, the devil is in the details. You start to learn to the find the fine line between a choke and just bugging your partner’s neck and irritating them. You start to learn, feel, and finally understand the difference between using a lot of muscle in a technique versus using leverage and letting physics and body mechanics do a lot of the work for you. You start to learn the fine line between just muddling through a submission versus really effectively executing it.

You start to learn some other fine lines too, like the difference between confidence and cockiness, between assertive and overly aggressive, bravery and false bravado….The list can go on and on, but they wouldn’t be alliterative, and I do love my alliterations ūüėČ

You get the idea- at first you start to learn the basics, and then as time goes on- if you are paying attention, you will start to really get into the nuances and the fine lines that exist in jiu jitsu. It will take some time so don’t panic if you don’t see those differences right now. It’s one of a couple of reasons that it takes approximately a decade to earn your black belt in jiu jitsu- it takes time to notice these differences and nuances, to fully understand them more than just logically, but to ingrain them, to understand them “heart and soul”.

There are also fine lines that even when we try not to, occasionally we trespass to the other side- despite our best efforts we botch a technique or submission, accidentally cross face someone, again the list goes on. It’s important to acknowledge those moments, and to dust ourselves off and try again. We can’t progress if we don’t own our failures as well as our successes. It’s through drilling and training, failing and succeeding, can we navigate these nuances and fine lines in jiu jitsu.

Just some food for thought- have a great day everyone!

 

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Happy Veterans Day

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November 11, 2019 · 10:15 am

Don’t Fear the Chaos in BJJ

This is one of those things I think a lot of us know logically, but we don’t know “heart and soul”: it’s not something we understand and utilize on a consistent basis.

We know there’s chaos in jiu jitsu- we know about the scramble, the mess of a pile of limbs and awkward angles that we can sometimes end up in. When it comes to progression sometimes however we hang onto what semblance of order that we can, and sometimes even missing some opportunities in order to maintain that sense of order we are so desperately seeking.

I’m talking about those moments in which we all have, at some point or another, stalled in training. Not because we didn’t want to move forward, but we wanted to ‘get our bearings’ or pull ourselves out of the chaos for a moment to think about our next move.

This is fine and good sometimes, absolutely- what I’m saying is sometimes you need to embrace the chaos, let things get weird sometimes and see where it leads you. It can be sort of uncomfortable, sure, but allowing yourself to ride that wave of chaos can sometimes land you in positions (for better or worse) you may not have otherwise found yourself in, and gives you the opportunity to grow in your jiu jitsu. Of course we would hope that unusual position would be a good one, but let’s not forget there’s validity in putting yourself in a bad position in training: remember, we train hard and face the chaos so we can fight easy come tournament time.

Have a great day everyone!

 

 

 

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The Discomfort of Getting out of Your Comfort Zone, Inside and Outside of BJJ

I know this is one of those “well, duh” kind of statements, but man it’s hard getting out of your comfort zone sometimes.

But man, is it also rewarding- fortunately more often than not.

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It would be dishonest to tell you that’s it’s amazing to step outside of your comfort zone, and to just leave it at that. To be perfectly honest it can be anxiety provoking- your stomach turns into a big old knot, even if it’s something you know you want. Knees weak, palms are sweaty- no vomit on anyone’s sweater though (at least I hope not)… Also, and I hate to be the bearer of bad news, sometimes things won’t work out the way you originally planned.

But there are so many good things that can come from stepping outside of your comfort zone: you can “level up”, so to speak, or you can be placed in a completely different path than what you imagined. And even if things don’t work out, you’re at least not hindered by “could of, should of, would of” conversations, wondering what could have been if you had taken that step

This applies in and outside of jiu jitsu- trying for that takedown may not turn out quite as great as you imagined in your head but it’s better to take that risk, to deal with those nerves and accept whatever comes of it with open arms, rather than sitting and wondering how things could have gone if you had opened your game up a little.

This actually reminds me of my dad- love him dearly, but he is someone that it can take some effort to get him outside of his routine and comfort zone. In his own words, “it’s safe inside the box, nothing bad ever happens in the box.” – we were talking about his insistence on buying one exact brand of New Balance sneakers at the time, if anyone was wondering.

And in some ways he’s right, nothing bad happens inside the box…. But there’s really no chance for anything cool to happen either. Or a tremendous amount of growth, while we’re at it: we grow to the confines of the “box”, so to speak. We then have the choice to push outside of that box, that comfort zone, or we stop growing in order to remain within the confines of what is safe and comfortable.

So while it totally sucks, and makes you feel anxious and a little awful sometimes, don’t let that stop you from stepping outside of your comfort zone- you may be surprised at what you will find and you’ll have the opportunity to grow, regardless of the outcome.

Have a great day everyone!

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