Monthly Archives: February 2020

A Difference in Focus: Newer Students vs Seasoned BJJ Students

It’s something I’ve noticed when teaching classes, but also when I taught a seminar. Granted, I’ve said before that my moves were not very flashy: I went over guard breaking, a decidedly not sexy move.

The newer belts wanted to see something dramatic and flashy, something they had never seen before…. and they were pretty unimpressed with my guard breaking instructions (but, they were all also successfully executing said guard breaks during the rolling sessions at the end of the seminar, so I don’t really feel that bad about it).

The higher belts though seemed generally impressed, and almost a little jazzed about something that would be considered mundane, but there were certain nuances or particular phrases that I used to convey the information to everyone. It was an interesting juxtaposition, I would say.

This is a personal theory, but I think when we are newer to the sport we want to see all the cool stuff, the wildly different- possibly because we’ve been drilling all the fundamentals and we want to see something big and spectacularly different than the things we’ve been drilling the past bajillion times over the months and years. You can’t see the nuances, so they don’t really excite you. Totally understandable.

For the higher rank though, the person that has been around the block and then some when it comes to the sport, there’s a respect for those little things. Sure, the big fancy stuff is cool and you’ll try it, but now you know and understand the finer points, and if someone can provide you with some insight to small tweaks in your game, different nuances in your existing technique, then that’s exciting! It’s a way to streamline your technique, or something different without having the reinvent the wheel and relearn a whole bunch of muscle memory.

Neither viewpoint are wrong: it’s all very much in line with the progression in jiu jitsu and really boils down to what you are focusing on in your journey. The newer student craves the big and the bold because they its something they can sink their teeth into, the more advanced student focuses on the tweaks and nuances to improve upon the solid foundation they have already created for themselves and their jiu jitsu game.

It’s just an interesting observations I wanted to share with you all 🙂

Have a great day everyone!

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Teammates and (Emotional) Closeness in BJJ

My teammates and I were recently wondering about this in outside of class: what leads to the emotional closeness that you experience with teammates?

I know I mentioned previously that having a friend is heavily preferred in jiu jitsu, but there’s still the question: what variables are in play to create the environment that promotes friendship among teammates?

First and foremost I would like to think it’s the mutual respect and trust among teammates in what would be considered precarious positions- you’re either making your teammate airborne, or putting their body into a position that could really hurt them. The teammate is in an emotional and physically vulnerable position, and through jiu jitsu, there’s a display of trust and respect by not taking advantage of that vulnerability.

Through jiu jitsu we are literally up in someone’s face, totally invading one another’s personal space- which let’s be real, that’s not something we usually tolerate unless we like and trust someone- and we come out ok from it. Being that close to someone, being in a vulnerable position, and not only that, sometimes failing and looking silly in those vulnerable positions inevitably leads to an emotional closeness that can seem a little strange to people outside of the sport.

During this discussion I also mentioned that while we all come from different experiences and really walks of life, we’re all connected by one common characteristic: grit. We’re all willing to work hard at a sport that takes forever to improve in, we’re willing to do the work, put our noses to the grindstone and continue on our jiu jitsu journey. All of these factors, and others (I’m sure) lead to a closeness that may not always seem to make sense, but has the potential to give us friendships that last a lifetime.

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

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Galentine’s Day Event This Past Weekend!

Yes, I know technically the 13th is actually Galentine’s Day, but we decided to commandeer the following weekend to invite some ladies around the city to stop by our academy, learn a little BJJ/self defense, and enjoy some snacks and drinks afterwards!

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We showed them a little self defense stuff, including a simple hip throw, as well as a taste of some other basics moves to give them a feel for the sport.

We also happened to get some nice slow mo footage of me demonstrating on a teammate:

It was a fantastic team effort, with ladies on our team from blue belt all the way up helping out. All in all I would say it was a pretty great day 🙂

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

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

Happy Friday, and Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

May you get all the snuggles- both struggle snuggles and the regular, non-struggle kind- that you deserve.

And even if you’re not into Valentine’s Day (no judgement here), have a great weekend!

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The Importance of Friendship in BJJ

We talk all the time about how teammates are crucial to our development in jiu jitsu- while maybe not considered as important, friendships also pretty important when it comes to jiu jitsu.

The moments that are experienced and shared on the mats can last a lifetime: struggling through the same technique together, laughing at the same silly thing one or both of you did, the list goes on and on.

Friendships can also take place in a competition setting as well. In fact, it’s one of the bigger reasons why I like competing: it’s a chance to meet people from all over the country, globe even, and share in the same experience and love for the sport.

While it’s certainly possible to train without developing any deep friendships with anyone, I think it would be a bit lonely. That’s just my opinion though, I’m sure there’s someone out there who would disagree with me.

Just some thoughts I wanted to share: have a great day everyone!

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Inclusion in BJJ: Getting Everyone Involved in Class

While preferably we would like everyone to follow along and do the things we tell them to in class, students sometimes are just physically unable. They are injured, sick, or have some other issue that makes them incapable of participating in class.

It’s tricky, making sure that someone is still able to be engaged and feel included in class. We had a little bit of an accidental genius solution last night: we had a teammate who was unable to take some judo takedowns, and so she became our “photographer” for the night, taking a ton (and I mean, like, A TON) of shots of us tossing each other around- it was a lot of fun and a great way to keep someone involved, without having them do something that they would feel uncomfortable engaging in.

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It’s something that instructors can and should be mindful of when it comes to students who may not be able to participate, and for students who maybe are unable, it may be a good idea to offer a suggestion on what can be done in lieu of a technique. Sometimes your teacher is not entirely sure what you are capable of doing at the time, so it’s helpful to offer an alternative.

Just something I wanted to share with you all: have a great day everyone!

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The Side Effects of Intentional Drilling in BJJ

We’ve talked before about drilling to hone your skills, and being intentional with your movement- there’s a fun side effect of drilling that we haven’t really talked about- and that’s becoming familiar with your own idiosyncrasies and ways of moving your body in order to complete the technique.

At first we focus so much on the basis when learning a move, or even learning to drill a technique- we make sure we’re hitting all the key pieces, the milestones that define the technique we are looking to execute, and then we even start to look for ways that we can refine that technique to be faster, more efficient.

But in analysis of our own techniques, sometimes we also pick up the quirky little things we do when performing a move: I noticed last night I do a little hop when doing a specific takedown- it was probably born out of trying to avoid tripping over the other person when they hit the ground, but it’s still just one of those funny little things that you don’t think about until you’ve done that one specific thing over, and over, and over again.

Just one of those funny little things I noticed and thought I would share- are there any funny things you notice when you perform certain techniques? Let me know, otherwise have a great day everyone!

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