Category Archives: Training

Article on the Term “Goon” in BJJ

This is a thing? Really?

Grappler’s Planet has an article about a term that I guess is making its way through the BJJ community- “goon” or “gooning” to refer to someone who uses strength rather than technique on the mats.

….So, if it’s a white belt can we call them a Goonie and demand they do the Truffle Shuffle?


Anyway, my thought on the matter is that you are always going to have someone that uses strength, and more often than not it has something to do with pride: maybe they have previous experience, or think they are in some movie montage where they should be beating everyone with just a few classes and a highlight reel to show how hard they worked…. Or something to that nature.

The key here, as is also stated in the article, is first and foremost not to be a goon, but also to focus on your technique- one of the nice things about jiu jitsu is that skill will inevitably beat strength. This “goon” will eventually realize that and have a fork in the path of their jiu jitsu career, in which they will have to decide what path they choose to follow: continue with strength and attempting to overpower others, or to change their ways and really learn jiu jitsu and the techniques that are offered.

So, check out the article 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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The Benefits of Failing in BJJ

No one really likes it, or truly wants to admit it, but there are some upsides to failing on both a smaller and larger scale.

Let’s talk about the larger scale first: you spend months preparing for a tournament. You train nonstop for months to step out on the mat and then… You lose.

Frustrating, to be sure: we like to think we will reap the rewards of the effort we put into something, even something as (frankly unpredictable) as a match. But, in addition to a humbling experience, one that exposes your weaknesses and shows you what you need to work on…you know, if you let it.

In a smaller context, failing at executing some technique for example gives you an opportunity to practice your exit strategy- just how you are going to react when things fail. This is an important skill, learning to recover from a failure. Even if you practice a technique a million times, it’s not infallible, and sometimes knowing how to recover from that failure is just as important as learning how to perform the technique itself.

So, remember to tell yourself that it’s ok to fail now and again. It lends itself to opportunity and other learning experiences you otherwise might not have.

Have a great day everyone!

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Explaining vs. Showing: How Do You Best Learn Jiu Jitsu?

So, anyone who has talked to me for longer than 12 seconds knows that I’m a visual person: I think in very visual terms, when I speak or write I like to build an image for my intended audience, and when I learn something, I need to “see” it with my mind’s eye to understand it. It’s one of the nice things about jiu jitsu class: in addition to explaining the technique, more often than not the instructor will go through the motions of the technique, offering the best of both worlds, showing the technique and then providing additional explanation and focus on certain details.

I’m bringing this up because I know there are some blogs out there that go tremendously in depth in their explanation of a technique, and basically provide a how to: and more often than not it’s all Greek to me. Not that I lack the capacity to eventually imagine what the person is trying to explain, or that the person is somehow failing in their explanation- it’s just I can’t “see” what they are trying to explain very easily.

It’s just a learning preference: I imagine there are people out there who love the step by step, written instruction on how to do something. If so, let me know who you are, and what appeals to you about that method: I’m genuinely curious.

Otherwise, have a great day everyone!


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Happy Friday: Nose to the Grindstone Edition

Happy Friday everyone!

We’re getting ready for a couple of tournaments over here, putting our noses to the grindstone and preparing for competition. Do any of you have a tournament coming up you’re getting ready for? Let me know- otherwise, have a great weekend everyone!

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Drink Up: The Importance of Water

A teammate posted this on facebook, and it’s something we all need to be reminded now and again: water is crucial in general for our wellbeing.

Take a look, grab a glass of water, and have a great day everyone! dehydration


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Happy Friday: An Tribute to Our Beat Up Gi’s and Belts

Happy Friday everyone!

Here’s a little tribute to out worn out, torn, beat up belts and gi’s:




Have a great weekend everyone!

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Crossfit Self Defense Training….Er, What?

Crossfit is offering self defense courses? Really?

Apparently Crossfit athletes can sign up for 1 day specialized self defense course, focusing on awareness  of their surroundings (good), “Defuse and de-escalate common conflicts” (also good), and “use CrossFit movements that mirror simple and effective combative movements” (um, what?).

The site repeatedly claims that athletes (and trainers) are not learning striking, however they keep using the term “combative”. Which I understand is not synonymous with striking, but it still worries me.

Also the fact that this is a one day course also bothers me: that’s like taking jiu jitsu or judo for a day and just assuming that you know everything. I know we’ve talked about this before, but it takes more than just a day to develop the muscle memory, to fully absorb the lessons taught in keeping yourself safe. Sure, it’s an interesting variation to add to your workouts, I guess, but I wouldn’t want anyone to go into this thinking they could handle any situation thrown their way because they took a day of crossfit self defense training.

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



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Ladies and the Battle to Make Weight

We all sort of know it, but really don’t have much evidence to quote and back up our claim, and admittedly, we’re usually talking about it in a sort of anectodal way and not in terms of research: it’s harder for women to lose weight than men. Which makes sense in an evolutionary perspective- women need fat to reproduce and ensure the propagation of the human race. A beautiful theory when you look at it from a grand sweeping view of humanity and history in general- a huge pain in the ass when you have a tournament in a couple of weeks and your body decides to drive to mad by holding onto water weight like nobody’s business.

There was an article on Tabata Times about 5 different ways a woman’s metabolism differ from a man’s. I’ve been a little hesitant to post this article, mainly because I wanted to find the studies where these facts were coming from. I really wasn’t able to find much, so I would say which this is an interesting conversation piece I wouldn’t take it as gospel unless you can find the research to back it up, of course. And even then I would proceed with caution and really do what works best for you; for instance it says that intermittent fasting is detrimental to women- maybe you are on an intermittent fasting diet and it’s working great for you, don’t let some article making a generalization sway you from what works best for your body.

One interesting study I did find was the Minnesota Starvation Experiment, conducted in World War II. They found after a period of weight loss soldiers would stop losing weight, essentially going into starvation mode and had the psychological profile of every grappler I have known who was cutting weight for a tournament (well, except for the possibly accidental self mutilation). What forced their bodies to give up the water weight? Eating extra calories, believe it or not. The Wikiepedia article I read didn’t really have much on this subject, but there are articles across the internet talking about the “whoosh” effect, where after the spike in calories the water weight of these soldiers quickly dropped.  So, ladies, holding onto some water weight for a couple of weeks, and you know it’s not from your cycle? Try eating some extra calories and see what happens.

Just some interesting info on a Monday morning. Have a great day everyone!

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