Monthly Archives: December 2019

Getting Back Into Training: Sometimes It Takes Step by Step

Hello everyone! I’m back from the mountains, getting stuff and things together for 2020. Unfortunately, while I was out my cardio went from pretty great, to pretty terrible.

It happens to most of us now and again: we take a few weeks off due to injury, vacation, or sometimes we just need a mental break now and again. And then we eat a bunch of cookies, and then next thing you know we’re huffing and puffing and feeling terrible on the mats.

It’s important to remember during times like these not to get too frustrated with yourself: take you time, take it a step at a time and give yourself smaller goals to get yourself back to the level of fitness that you were at before. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and it took you some time to get to that level of health and fitness.

But, on the other side of that, you’ll never get back to that level of fitness if you don’t get you butt off the couch 🙂 So go back to class, be patient, and suffer a little to get the results that you are looking for/expecting.

Have a great day everyone!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Happy Holidays!

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Merry Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Happy Hanukkah, and for any other holidays that may be going on that I am possibly forgetting, may you all have a happy and wonderful holiday with your favorite people!

 

 

 

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Snowmobiling and Jiu Jitsu: finding your own path on the trail

So, as I mentioned on Friday, I’m up in the mountains with family for the holidays. For a couple of days we have been snowmobiling, which got me thinking about jiu jitsu.

There is a similarity, I swear.

We have been primarily sticking to groomed trails- and I’m not sure if this is common of all snowmobile skis, but the ones that we had left distinct tracks, a somewhat deep line in the snow.

I was following another snowmobile, and found that it was difficult and kind of a bumpy ride to Follow directly in the tracks of the machine in front of me: I had more control when I got out of those tracks that were being made immediately in front of me, but still staying in the groomed trail.

How on earth does this relate to jiu jitsu? Well, think of it this way: there are those who have paved the way for us in jiu jitsu, grooming the trail for us so we have the most likely oath the success. To remain directly behind someone however is to also get stuck in their tracks- to an extent you can use something close to the same direction as the person who has gone in front of you, but you will have a smoother ride and more control when you get out of those person’s tracks and create your own.

That’s not to say go completely off the groomed trail, or to completely ignore the person that is in front of you. But to follow directly in their trail may make things more difficult than they have to be: sometimes you have to create your own tracks in the snow.

Just a thought I wanted to share. Also, I did end up getting stuck at one point, but it gave me time to take a photo of the beautiful scenery I was in the midst of, so enjoy:

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Have a great day everyone!

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Happy Friday! In the Mountains

Happy Friday everyone!

I’m up in the Rockies in the holidays, spending time with family:

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Hopefully you all also have some great plans to spend time with your loved ones.

That’s all for now- have a great weekend everyone!

 

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Belt Promotion Gauntlets

There have been a lot belt promotions to close out the end of the year, which means there have been a number of belt gauntlets. I know there have been a number of articles and posts in the past about whether or not we should continue with them.

On the one hand I can understand why people don’t want them- you see multiple photos of people with welts from some well placed whacks. On the other hand while it’s an unusual tradition, most people don’t want to feel left out of tradition.

So belt promotion gauntlets, yes or no?

Let me know your thoughts, otherwise have a great day everyone!

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Sensei Instagram

It used to be Sensei Youtube, now there’s a new guy in town….Sensei Instagram.

It’s understandable: people want to share their knowledge or just share what they are working on (which I’ve totally done on my own instagram account, so trust me, there’s no high horse that I’m talking down from ).  While I imagine youtube videos of techniques are still quite popular, there is an appeal to just getting down to the shortened, basically nitty gritty of a technique in the shorten format of an instagram clip.

I go back and forth on whether or not it’s a good idea. On the one hand, I don’t think it’s really the place for a newer belt to learn techniques. While a student can do a good deal of self correction, there really is no substitute for learning fundamentals in person and having someone give you pointers on the things you don’t see that are missing in your technique. On the other, for the more advanced jiu jitsu player it’s a great sampling of other techniques out there, and even for the less advanced player it’s a lovely way to continued to be inspired.

I just become a little concerned at the idea of someone ignoring their mastery of the basics in order to go for the fancy stuff, essentially. It’s like the Bruce Lee quote “I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.”

Chasing after the new and shiny is fun, to be sure, but it will not help you if you do not- at the very least- have a firm understanding and a level of mastery in the basics. So in short, I would say allow yourself to be inspired, try things out from instagram, but treat those techniques more like a dessert than your main meal.

Just something to consider- have a great day everyone!

 

 

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Happy Friday! IBJJF Pans Registration Now Open

Happy Friday everyone!

The No-Gi Worlds are happening this weekend, which reminded me that Pans registration is also open- I think it opened a couple of weeks ago actually…

There’s an early bird registration between now and January 10th, and then they will start to bump up the prices.

Check them out, anyone competing this weekend good luck, and otherwise have a great weekend everyone!

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Promotions Night!

Last night we had some end-of year promotions for some teammates, and now we have a whole sea of brown belts (including a whole bunch of brown belt ladies) and two new black belts!

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It’s always exciting to see teammates take the next step in their jiu jitsu journey: I’m happy and proud of everyone who were promoted!

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Does BJJ have an “Inspiration Porn” Problem?

The term certainly catches your attention, right?

Author Andrew Pulrang wrote an article in Forbes about “inspiration porn”- a term used to identify articles, memes and other forms of media that we see regarding people with disabilities that “…share one or more of the following qualities- 1. Sentimentality and/or pity, 2. An uplifting moral message, primarily aimed at non-disabled viewers. 3. Disabled people anonymously objectified, even when they are named.” The article explains that while those in the disabled community understand that the author may mean well, the content can be embarrassing or possibly demoralizing to the subject of the article/meme/whatever.

The article made me think about jiu jitsu, and the memes or social media posts that you occasionally see, with someone who may be blind, or may be missing a limb, and then of course the tag line of something along the lines of how much heart that athlete has. I get it- it’s supposed to emphasize that jiu jitsu is for everyone regardless of size or physical ability, it’s about the heart of that person…. I understand all of that. We also have those in the jiu jitsu community who have certain disabilities that we all look up to- take Jean Jacque Machado, who has a congenital hand defect and is considered one of the greats in the art.

But sometimes those posts of those who are seen as disabled or differently abled end with a tag line that can be summed up as, “what’s your excuse?”. The audience of those kinds of posts is geared toward the able bodied community, and as the Pulrang points out:

“Disabled people are used as stock figures in larger cultural narratives about hard work, gratitude, and other “traditional” values. A disabled person lifting weights or working every day for less than minimum wage is a convenient, (and seemingly apolitical), object lesson for the rest of us to work harder, complain less, and be thankful for what we have.”

So, does jiu jitsu have an inspiration porn problem? It’s a complicated answer that I don’t believe can be answered with a simple yes or no. In short, I think we as a community try to be inclusive- as I always say jiu jitsu is for ever body, but not for everybody- but we could certainly do better in giving a more prominent voice to those who continue on their jiu jitsu journey in a less conventional way. If we are truly serious about how jiu jitsu is for everyone, then we need to do a better job of having those unconventional stories told, and told by those who have experienced them firsthand.

Just some food for thought… Have a great day everyone!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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BJJ and CBD

It seems to be a thing now, right? Everywhere you turn it feels like someone is promoting CBD oils/tinctures/salves/ointments/you name it to people in the jiu jitsu community. CBD is in the middle of an avocado-like wave of popularity both amongst BJJ players and in the general population. In Philly we had at least one ice cream company touting a line of ice cream with CBD oil in it, and there’s at least one bar in town that I know of that will add CBD to cocktails for you. Back to the jiu jitsu world, there are tons of recovery gels, drops that you can take, and even Monkey Tape at one point had a version of their finger tape with CBD in it- I just took a look at their site though and it seems like they don’t carry the product anymore.

In a lot of ways it makes sense: cannabidiol is effective in a lot of ways for anxiety and pain treatment, with relatively few (that I’m aware of) side effects. Like Tiger Balm but with the additional psychological benefits. Or the pain relief/anti-inflammatory properties of ibuprofen without the whole “eating a hole through your stomach” thing. And CBD is not a prohibited substance by the WDA (but THC is still a no-no).

Personally, I’ve been using CBD before bed to help improve my quality of sleep: not that it knocks me out or anything, but I do find it a easier to relax as I’m falling asleep, and I’ve noticed an improvement in the quality of sleep that I get when I use CBD vs without.

What do you think about the popularity of CBD oil use in jiu jitsu? Think it’s great? Think it’s terrible? Or pretty indifferent about the whole thing? Personally, I think there are a good deal of beneficial properties to CBD and generally I think it’s a good idea that athletes are using CBD: training several times a week is hard on the body, and so we need to be just as smart about our recovery as we are about our training. And if CBD can help that along in a more or less organic fashion with relatively few side effects, then hey, I’m all for it.

Let me know your thoughts- otherwise, have a great day everyone!

 

 

 

 

 

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