Category Archives: jiu jitsu

Coaching and What it Means to You

So I’ve had a professional coach for the past few months, and frankly I’ve been having some trouble really finding a groove with that coach. I’m starting to wonder if at least part of the problem has to do with what a “coach” means to me, especially with my background in jiu jitsu.

While I’m not expecting the coach at my job to show me some new, slick submissions, I think there are some expectations that I may be bringing in to the relationship due to past experience. For instance, your coach is also usually your instructor- for the most part, anyway. They are usually intimate with your struggles because they have seen you train, they have rolled with you on occasion and have watched you roll with others, pointing out certain positions or sticking points and offering suggestions how to get around them.

To be fair, that may not be everyone’s experience when it comes to coaching. Maybe your teacher and your coach to two entirely different people- the coach being there to lead and motivate, while the teacher is there to perform more of the day to day tasks.

Do I think a coach needs to be there every single time you train? No, but I think they should be around on a fairly regular enough basis to understand your style, so they can aptly and accurately offer suggestions on how to better your game. Or really work to get to know the person by asking questions about common sticking points, and seeing what sticks in order to work on common problem areas, brainstorming or offering suggestions that the person being coached can then put their own spin on.

What does having a coach mean to you? Just curious. Let me know- otherwise have a great day everyone!


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Results and Thoughts on EBI 12

Last night was the 12th Eddie Bravo Invitational, or EBI 12. This one was particularly interesting because it was an all women card. I was only able to watch the first round and two matches in the quarter finals (because of that whole pesky “work in the morning thing”) but it seemed to be a pretty exciting event.

The eventual winner was Erin Blanchfield over Gabi McComb via armbar in overtime- good for her.

The only other thing I’ll say about the event is that while combat jiu jitsu- striking while on the ground- seems like a good idea in theory, watching it in practice I’m not totally sold on it. I think it’s more appropriate if the match is being stalled one way or another, but in the little I saw, it seemed like competitors were trying to strike one another while a legitimate submission attempt was going on, which was a little silly in my opinion.

Those are just my thoughts. Also, having an event at 9pm on a Sunday night would not be my top pick for an event. Especially while Game of Thrones is running. Just sayin’.

For those who watched, what were your impressions? Also, for anyone who missed the event, you can find them here.

Have a great day everyone!



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You Will Never Compete Feeling 100%

It’s something we always hope for, but rarely (if ever) actually happens: feeling phenomenal for a tournament. No injuries, well rested, ready to go. I’m sorry to burst anyone’s bubble, but if you have been in the sport for longer than say 8 months to a year, chances are you are going to compete and not feel your best. There’s going to be some nagging injury that is enough for you to go “huh, that doesn’t feel awesome”.

That’s not to say you should go into competition with a serious injury- as much as you may love competition, there comes a point where the risk simply isn’t worth the potential reward, and really you are benefiting yourself in the long run if you just sit this one out and wait for the next competition.

What I’m saying is that there are times when people may feel ‘off’- not seriously injured, but they still train- and that’s sometimes the price we pay when training. It’s a full contact sport, and with that often comes smaller bumps and injuries just from day to day training.

Ultimately it’s up to you, the competitor: if you are in enough pain and you are worried about it enough, then by all means, sit that competition out and wait for the next one to roll around. But keep in mind the times where you are completely, 100% pain free will be few and far in between.

Have a great day everyone!


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Sometimes You Need Exaggeration for Practical Application in Jiu Jitsu

Seems a bit counter-intuitive, no? Jiu jitsu is pretty much centered on the premise of what one would realistically do during a fight (for the most part- if someone did the worm guard in a back alley street fight I would both annoyed and just a little bit impressed).

Exaggeration of movement in a technique does have its place, in some situations. I remember one of our old instructors explaining this concept to us: in live training and in competition it is tremendously rare to fully, perfectly execute a technique, such as a sweep. So, by training the body to “learn” that muscle memory of exaggeration, you are priming yourself to be more successful in a technique in a live situation, rather than minimizing your movement and then wondering why that sweep/etc. never works when you are rolling or competing.

I’m certainly not saying to do this for every technique, but in some cases, particularly techniques that require a big movement on your part, it’s better to go big.

Have a great day everyone!



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Things to Remember When Learning Jiu Jitsu

For all the techniques that people show, share, expound on, there are some key things you need to remember when it comes to learning techniques (that will “change your life for forever”- or something of that nature).

  1. Do what works best for you. There are going to be certain sweeps, submissions, positions that just make sense and you are going to take to them like a fish to water. You’re going to find your groove, and not only is it natural, I think it’s something you should embrace.
  2. Don’t be afraid to try new things. While you find things that work the best for you, it doesn’t mean that you should ignore everything else and only work on the things you’re good at. How can you know what to add to your repertoire if you only do the same things over and over again?
  3. You don’t have to master everything, but you should at least be acquainted with them. This is related to the previous point, but it’s an important one. You are not required to master every single position in jiu jitsu- it would take several lifetimes to do so, and therefore kind of an unrealistic expectation. I would strongly encourage people to at least be familiar with the positions, sweeps and submissions so you’re not blindsided by them down the road.
  4. Have fun! This one is pretty self-explanatory, but I think in all of our effort to succeed in jiu jitsu, this one gets a little lost sometimes in the struggle to advance.

While these items are not the secret to success in ultimate mastery in jiu jitsu, at least it may make the journey a little easier.

Have a great day everyone!

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Experimenting in Jiu Jitsu: Let’s Get Weird

Basics and solid fundamentals are key in jiu jitsu, to be sure. But I fully believe it is beneficial to occasionally put yourself in unusual positions- to get a little weird with your jiu jitsu sometimes. Well, weird in a safe way, I guess I should mention.

There are a few benefits to putting yourself in unusual situations: first and foremost, there’s a good chance it will fail and will give you the opportunity to figure out an exit strategy. It’s all fine good if it actually works, but putting yourself in less than advantageous positions also has value, as it helps you figure out how to squeak out of a sticky situation.

Second, it can possibly help you see opportunities for different sweeps or submissions. There’s more than one way to break an egg, and there are multiple ways you can initiate a technique. It doesn’t have to always be simply “A+B=C”. Play around, see what works best for you and the game you like to play.

And finally, it adds fun to your jiu jitsu! Changing up your game and approach, experimenting adds a bit of variety to your training sessions, which can be a lot of fun.

So go out there and get a little weird, everyone!


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Article on Keeping Things Stupid Simple when Learning BJJ

Hey Everyone,

Stephen Kesting has an article on how you should keep things “Stupid Simple” when learning a new technique. Check it out and have a great day everyone!

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Article on the Perceived Importance of Belts and Stripes

Hey everyone- while I’m catching up on taking Monday off (because I was being a birthday princess), take a look at the article from Gracie Barra about their policy on promotions and the perceived importance of belts and stripes.

Check it out and have a great day everyone!

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The Necessity of Imagination in BJJ

Seems like it wouldn’t have a place in jiu jitsu, right? Having an imagination? Believe it or not there really does have a place in jiu jitsu. You have to be able to imagine what your attempting and the most likely reaction to it. It’s the ability to visualize not just what you are doing now, but the most likely sequence of actions that will follow between you and your partner.

It’s ok if you don’t see that progression now, particularly if you’re at a lower belt. That sort of imagination/visualization comes with time and practice: you start to see the opportunities to act on the techniques you imagined yourself performing. But, as I said, it takes time and practice in order to hone that skill.

Just some thoughts for the day- have a great day everyone!

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Science! Jiu Jitsu is Beneficial for Your Brain

As if we needed additional evidence…

IFLScience has an article about how aerobic exercise is not only beneficial for the heart, but for the brain as well.

Take a look at the article and have a great day everyone!

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