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The Importance of Having Goals in BJJ

There’s definitely an importance to having goals in BJJ- I don’t know about you, but I tend to have better focus in jiu jitsu when I have a specific goal in mind: I want to work on a specific position, when there’s a tournament that is coming up that I want to prepare for, or even just a minor detail of a technique that I want to work on.

There is so much to jiu jitsu that we need to learn- techniques that branch off of other techniques and counters to those and the list can literally just go on and on. Your coaches or instructors teach you certain techniques sometimes in certain sequences, not because they are solely locked into that particular sequence, but because that is the way they have found to make the most sense to pass that knowledge on to someone else. It also gives order to a class so you’re not individualizing a lesson for every single student – that would be impressive, but wildly inefficient. What the heck does that have to do with having a goal? It’s more that particularly in the beginning a set of goals are sort of created for you, because you are a novice and it’s a pretty tall order, asking someone brand new to set goals for themselves. Goals for a beginner really revolve around things like “survive” and “try to only get tapped 18 times instead of 23 times.” It’s the instructor’s responsibility in a way to think at a higher level for the student, to show them the different techniques that will pull that student out of simply surviving a roll and eventually progress and eventually excel at some degree while training.

After some time however you should start to think about your own goals and the things you want to achieve in the sport/martial art. It gives intention and direction to your training, it can give you focus and remind you to stay the course, even on those days when you just aren’t feeling your best or feeling a bit lost. Jiu jitsu is more of a marathon than a sprint, and if you do not create goals for yourself, its easy to get lost along the way.

So go out there, create some goals or intentions for your training, and have a great day everyone!

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A Birthday Wish

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Yup, today’s my birthday- in the early morning hours of June, I arrived into this world… And that was one of the last times I willingly did anything in the early morning.

Anyway, I do have one birthday wish that I would like to share with you: go out, train or take jiu jitsu class, or just in general do awesome things, and feel good about about doing those awesome things.

Have a great day and talk to you all tomorrow!

 

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Count Your Blessings, Stupid

This really is not so much about jiu jitsu but in relation to Memorial Day: for anyone who may not be aware, it’s a day to reflect on those who served in the military and have passed on, typically while serving. My post is not quite about those who passed while serving in the military- several of my step and biological grandfathers served in WWII. One of them was a Merchant Marine: the story goes that he wanted to see the world and so he became a radio operator for ships.

During his time with the Merchant Marines they went on a number of dangerous missions, including two trips on the Murmansk Run- it was an Artic convoy where according to one article, at one point there was roughly a 30% chance you were going to make it out alive.

During one of their trips (I’m not sure if it was one of the Murmansk Runs, but there’s a good chance it was), the ship he was on blew up- I believe from a torpedo from a German U boat. He tread water for some time before being picked up by another ship. I remember him talking about how he occasionally had dreams about being in the water and seeing that large ship looming in front of him.

After the war and much, much later in life he was diagnosed with dementia. I would visit him from time to time with my father, to chat and spend time with him. Funny enough (I don’t think he knew about this blog) I came to visit him one day when he was starting to lose some of his ability to speak, but after greeting him, he turned and jokingly asked my dad “Who’s the broad?”

Oh, just that classy broad, Grandpop.

Anyway, I don’t recall exactly why but I was in his bathroom for some reason, and the medicine cabinet door was open. On the inside there was a computer print out of an illustration depicting a boat in the water at some dark hour, the middle of the ship obviously being hit and in the midst of an explosion. There were letters written in sharpie at the bottom of the page:

“COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS, STUPID!!” 

He passed away three years ago today, but I still remember that piece of paper stuck in that medicine cabinet door and probably will for a very long time.

I think it’s a reminder we all need once in a while. We get tied up in all the little things, get stuck in the weeds, don’t see the forest for the trees, whatever you would like to call it. We get mad because a training session didn’t go the way we wanted, we lost a match at a tournament, that number on the scale didn’t go down as quickly as we wanted or the number on the weights we have been using hasn’t gone up as quickly as we were hoping.

Sometimes we need someone to tap us on the shoulder and remind us to count our blessings, stupid.

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Happy Friday! Women’s Open Mat Photos

Last weekend I had a chance to visit Princeton BJJ and participate in a Women’s Open Mat- it was a lot of fun and I am really happy to have had the chance to attend!

 

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It was a great chance to roll with a lot of different ladies ranging in size and skill level, and a great opportunity to meet some new people- including Laurie, who has been reading this blog for years(!)

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It was also a chance to help out some ladies with some common issues they were having with their game, and so there were fun little opportunities to teach and help, which I always enjoy.

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And finally, there was one photo taken during the event that is sheer gold, and I have to share with you all… Apparently I was talking to someone at this event, and the photographer caught this shot of me… I’m assuming mid sentence?

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Have a great weekend everyone!

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Happy Friday! Nostalgia Edition

Happy Friday! Lately I’ve been listening to some of the music that I jammed out to as a highschooler- mainly to laugh at my terrible taste in music, if we’re totally being honest.

What does that include, you may ask?

Oh yes, my friends.

As I told someone right after mentioning that I was listening to this, “I fully admit it’s terrible: doesn’t mean I’m going to stop listening to it.”

So I’ve been walking around the streets of Philadelphia basically giggling like a crazy person every time a new track comes on. Because, come on: if you can’t laugh at yourself then you need to lighten up. I’m not only typically to dwell in the past, but it’s fun to look back and chuckle now and again.

I’m also still trying to recall if I was still watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer at this point, or if it was shortly after. I’ll report back when I finally remember.

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Anyway, feel free to share your own bits of nostalgia and have a great weekend everyone!

 

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Science! Please Use Sunscreen Properly

Well, looks like we’re not using sunscreen properly, according to this article on IFLScience.

Long story short? Apply a thicker layer than what you think is the appropriate amount. I used to be someone who logically knew that I was supposed to put on sunscreen, but A) getting older and B) having a relative pass from melanoma have made me much more conscious about putting on sunscreen. It’s important: and make sure to reapply when you get back from swimming! I know I sound like an old lady, just deal with it.

Check out the article and have a great day everyone!

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Chair Throwing? Really?

So as some may have noticed (or not, totally cool) I have been sort of buried under work, life, etc. I’ve still been training, getting ready for Master Worlds, but by and large have been keeping my head down and nose to the grindstone.

I check back in to see what’s happening in the bjj world and people are throwing chairs? Really? And by people, I mean one black belt at the conclusion of a match, at a white belt.

The guy did offer an apology for his actions and I’m sure there was a lot going on leading up to this, but still I think the chair throwing was uncalled for, at any rank.

Anyway, that’s all I’ve got for today, folks- just…. don’t throw chairs at one another, please?

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Grace Under Pressure

There are a handful of skills and life lessons that we can take off the mat, and I fully believe that learning something like jiu jitsu can help in learning “grace under pressure”.

I apologize if I’ve mentioned this before, but much too often we see people lose their cool when they are put in stressful situations- and there is lot of pressure from a lot of external forces: pressure from your boss at work, pressure at home from a significant other or parent, pressure from the whole clusterduck that is highschool, college or grad school, or pressure even from the onward march of time and you STILL haven’t developed a super power (I don’t know about you, but that one definitely keeps me up at night), just toe name a few.

Chalk it up to one of those fun, complementary skills that are developed during jiu jitsu- keeping your cool in bad situations is one of those essential skills you need to learn in order to advance. You’re stuck in mount? Flailing around most certainly isn’t going to help- you’re just putting yourself MORE at risk of being submitted. So what do you do? You try to keep your cool and you start to look for ways to get out of the situation. In that case the pressure is both mental and physical- pressure of not wanting to lose, on top of the pressure of someone literally sitting on top of you.

And much like in those situations on the mat, the better you are able to maintain your wits about you, the more likely you are to actually succeed in said stressful situation.

So, long story short, keep the cool that you have been honing on the mat in your every day situations, and more likely than not you should come out on top in the end.

That’s my advice for now- have a great day everyone!

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Jeff Glover Retires from Competing

I’m not dead, I promise- just in the great work/life/training/writing balance, writing has sort of been taking a back seat.

I just checked BJJnews to see what I missed out on while I’ve been buried under work, and I’m kind of surprised to see that Jeff Glover is retiring from competing in jiu jitsu. When it’s time, it’s time, I guess.

Anyhoo, if you are just a surprised about that as I am, check out the article and have a great day everyone!

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Keys for BJJ Success: Consistency and Accountability

If you really think about it, there’s really no secret formula to getting better at jiu jitsu: the problem often lies in people’s impatience when it comes to improving their skills and advancing in rank.

Consistency is important in a lot of ways: you need to consistently show up for class, drill and attend class on a reasonably regular and consistent schedule. While the results themselves don’t always feel consistent, keeping constant in your efforts to improve will eventually pay off.

Accountability in a number of ways is important: you need to be accountable for your failures- you can’t learn from something if you don’t take ownership for it. You need to hold yourself accountable to making it to class on that consistent schedule, and to get back to class if you miss a day or two. Taking ownership of your lack of knowledge, swallowing your pride sometimes and asking for help or feedback on something you aren’t executing on.

Again, not rocket science, but they are lessons that we logically know, but we don’t always know “heart and soul”. They are lessons that we learn over time before they really start to sink in. Once we do however, the road to improvement gets just a little easier: when we take ownership of our jiu jitsu journey and take consistent steps along it, we will eventually make progress.

Just some thoughts for the morning: have a great day everyone!

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