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Happy Friday! Nate Diaz & UFC 241

Happy Friday everyone!

Well, just when you thought UFC was getting relatively more tame….

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For anyone who didn’t catch it, this is UFC fighter Nate Diaz. Nate and his brother Nick are all about fighting, and the 420 lifestyle. So, absolutely true to form, Nate smokes a joint during the UFC open workout, and then from what I understand gave it to his fans to finish.

It’s literally the most Nate Diaz thing I have ever heard. Keep livin’ the dream, man.

Have a great weekend everyone!

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Finding Your Fist in Jiu Jitsu

While on vacation I started to read the book Blink, about the adaptive unconscious and basically what every jiu jitsu person works on mastering: the ability to think and make decisions without bringing the conscious mind and reasoning into play, “Mushin No Shin” as one of our old judo coaches use to say- “mind no mind”.

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I’m barely through the first chapter, but the author touches on an interesting concept: apparently in Morse Code there is something known as a “fist”- a voice or particular style to each operator’s execution of code. Of course the first thing I thought of was…. jiu jitsu! (surprise, surprise)

As you go along, you will begin to find your fist, or style to jiu jitsu. Of course when you first learn a technique your coach/instructor will want you to mimic the movement as they have taught it: they want to make sure you are hitting all of the key points in the technique, and to ensure that is happening they are going to insist that you do things in a particular manner and sequence. And you absolutely should- go and create that strong foundation and groundwork for your jiu jitsu. After some time however you will find that you prefer to do things one way rather than another. When given the option to put a foot or hand in place A or place B, you’ll choose place A every time. Or say you’re in a certain position, you’ll pick always pick a certain action and way of doing those things, creating your own style or approach to rolling.

And that’s great! It means that you are really making the sport your own, that you are learning the techniques and approaching them from your own unique perspective. As long as you are hitting the key points in a technique, the world is your oyster and you can perform those moves in a way that works best for your body and brain.

This will take some time and will come naturally, so no need to panic or feel a sense of anxiety of yet something else to learn: at white belt you’re basically a blank slate, and as time goes on through blue you start to get a feel for what you like and don’t like, what feels a little more natural to you, and then from purple belt basically until the day you can’t do jiu jitsu anymore it’s refining those techniques and applying them in your own voice.

So, go out there and keep training, keep learning, and find your own fist in jiu jitsu…just don’t use your actual fists. That’s kind of a no-no in most situations.

Have a great day everyone!

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Happy Friday! Lake Tahoe Edition

Happy Friday everyone!

I’ve been a bit quiet the past couple of days- every 3 to 5 years a good deal of my family comes together for a little family reunion on Lake Tahoe, which is where I have been for the past couple of days.

It’ll be great to get back on the mats, no doubt about it, but in the meantime I’m soaking up the sun and fresh air while I can 🙂

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My aunt and I catching some air while tubing on a previous trip 

Anyway, have a great weekend everyone!

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Happy Friday! You Stay Classy, Philadelphia

Happy Friday everyone!

This is too funny not to share and I’m not even sure how to begin to explain just how quintessentially Philadelphian this is-

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Best of luck to this guy, I guess.

Have a great weekend everyone!

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Happy Fourth of July!

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Have a happy and safe Fourth of July everyone!

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Article on Teaching Martial Arts to Patients with Parkinson’s Disease

Full disclosure, I messed up my time management this morning and the day has been running full speed ahead and leaving me in the dust.

It’s totally my fault and I’ll talk a bit more about it tomorrow- but in the meantime, take a look at this article about how one hospital in Chicago is teaching martial arts to patients with Parkinson’s, and the effects they have been noticing on the patients.

Check it out and have a great day everyone!

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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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