Tag Archives: jiu jitsu training

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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Drilling vs Training: When to Do Which

It’s been a struggle since the dawn of time- how much time to drill vs how much time for sparring aka rolling.

Ask a newer belt and they will tell you roll, roll, roll: less time drilling and more time sparring. This whole topic was actually spawned from a conversation with a lower belt. It makes sense: you acquire something new, and immediately want to put it to use.

The more advanced you become however, the more you see the value in drilling- you could almost say you took the new thing out of the package, you’ve played around with it a bit, and now you want to mold it better to your habits, body type, other things to make it your “own”, to develop the muscle memory for execution while you are training.

I’ve always said there’s validity to both: you need drilling to improve training, and you can definitely make a case to say you need training in order to know what to work on for better drilling. The two can- and should- go hand in hand if you let them.

Ultimately, you shouldn’t drill just for the sake of drilling and you shouldn’t train just for the sake of training. By combining the two you can push your jiu jitsu forward by drilling techniques you want to hone, and then putting them to the test. Or, conversely you can make note of certain situations you find yourself in while training, and then drilling methods to get out of those positions, or better yet turn those positions into something that is more advantageous for you.

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

 

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Sensei Instagram

It used to be Sensei Youtube, now there’s a new guy in town….Sensei Instagram.

It’s understandable: people want to share their knowledge or just share what they are working on (which I’ve totally done on my own instagram account, so trust me, there’s no high horse that I’m talking down from ).  While I imagine youtube videos of techniques are still quite popular, there is an appeal to just getting down to the shortened, basically nitty gritty of a technique in the shorten format of an instagram clip.

I go back and forth on whether or not it’s a good idea. On the one hand, I don’t think it’s really the place for a newer belt to learn techniques. While a student can do a good deal of self correction, there really is no substitute for learning fundamentals in person and having someone give you pointers on the things you don’t see that are missing in your technique. On the other, for the more advanced jiu jitsu player it’s a great sampling of other techniques out there, and even for the less advanced player it’s a lovely way to continued to be inspired.

I just become a little concerned at the idea of someone ignoring their mastery of the basics in order to go for the fancy stuff, essentially. It’s like the Bruce Lee quote “I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.”

Chasing after the new and shiny is fun, to be sure, but it will not help you if you do not- at the very least- have a firm understanding and a level of mastery in the basics. So in short, I would say allow yourself to be inspired, try things out from instagram, but treat those techniques more like a dessert than your main meal.

Just something to consider- have a great day everyone!

 

 

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Promotions Night!

Last night we had some end-of year promotions for some teammates, and now we have a whole sea of brown belts (including a whole bunch of brown belt ladies) and two new black belts!

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It’s always exciting to see teammates take the next step in their jiu jitsu journey: I’m happy and proud of everyone who were promoted!

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Digging a Little Deeper in BJJ

So, fun entry in the Chronicles of Katie Losing Things, I couldn’t find the band to my Whoop fitness tracker (you can take the band off and slip the actual tracking part into an arm band), I looked through the pockets in my bookbag, all around my house, and decided that I must have left it on my desk at work, as sometimes I change the tracking device from my wrist to arm when I’m at work before I make the trek to the gym to train.

Trekked all the way up to New York and back, went back to work and the band wasn’t on my desk like I thought, so I decided to take one last look in my bookbag, but one pocket that I didn’t totally turn inside out…. and it was totally there. Whomp, whomp….

The moral of the story is this: sometimes we think something won’t work, but in digging a little deeper, and operating outside or even in spite of our assumptions can occasionally surprise us. We thought that escape wouldn’t work until we dug a little deeper and surprise! We’re out. That sweep that hasn’t worked before, the choke we were a little too shallow with in the past: sometimes when we dig a bit deeper, there’s a reward waiting for us at the end.

Not to muddy the theme of this post, but just like we talked about learning the fine lines in jiu jitsu previously, there is a fine line between digging deep and insisting on something past the point where you need to just move on. How can you tell the difference? Instructors can give you tips and tricks for certain moves, but ultimately you need to train, experience it first hand and figure it out. And there will be times it will go (potentially hilariously) wrong, but there are times where it really is worth digging deep to find out something works.

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Good Jiu Jitsu Isn’t Always Pretty, and Pretty Jiu Jitsu Isn’t Always Good

Just a thought I was having this morning: I was thinking mainly about movies, if we’re being totally honest. Something can look good, but not necessarily be good in other regards.

When it comes to movies, I’m sure you could come up with a couple of examples of films that in terms of visual styling are amazing, but when you really start to dissect the plot and dialogue, really don’t make any damn sense. The most recent example for me is the movie The Witch: visually really interesting, great shots…. plot looks like a slice of Swiss cheese.

Jiu jitsu has its own issues with that. I’m sure there are some jiu jitsu players out there with some really cool, fancy guards and sweeps…. that really don’t connect to anything, or are really just done for the sake of being done. I like to think of those moves as almost the haute couture of jiu jitsu. I believe someone, somewhere in my life explained haute couture this way: no one in their right mind would (or should) walk out the door in some of the outlandish outfits that walk down the runway, but it’s more you should expect to see those elements in fashion in the coming weeks, months, etc.

Same thing with pretty jiu jitsu: you can take some elements from it any incorporate it into your game, but to take some of these techniques wholesale is the jiu jitsu equivalent of walking into a party looking like a fluffy, 3D Rorshach test.

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…But does it have pockets? 

Visually impressive, not terribly practical.

It’s also important to note that sometimes good jiu jitsu is not necessarily pretty. In fact sometimes basic, unimpressive moves are the most effective. Of course there is beauty in simplicity, and of course we can appreciate when a move is well executed, but sometimes the unimpressive “unpretty” stuff is really the best. It’s the stuff that may not make the highlight reel, but they are relatively simple moves that you can rely on.

So, just to recap- don’t worry if you don’t think your jiu jitsu isn’t pretty, because sometimes the good stuff just isn’t pretty- what’s important is that it works.

Have a great day everyone!

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Learning the Fine Lines in BJJ

It’s difficult, time consuming, but ultimately rewarding when you really dive deep and learn the fine lines that exist in jiu jitsu.

We all start off with the broad strokes- place hand here, foot there, move leg and head and arms this way and that. As you progress there is still some of that simplicity, but there as they say, the devil is in the details. You start to learn to the find the fine line between a choke and just bugging your partner’s neck and irritating them. You start to learn, feel, and finally understand the difference between using a lot of muscle in a technique versus using leverage and letting physics and body mechanics do a lot of the work for you. You start to learn the fine line between just muddling through a submission versus really effectively executing it.

You start to learn some other fine lines too, like the difference between confidence and cockiness, between assertive and overly aggressive, bravery and false bravado….The list can go on and on, but they wouldn’t be alliterative, and I do love my alliterations 😉

You get the idea- at first you start to learn the basics, and then as time goes on- if you are paying attention, you will start to really get into the nuances and the fine lines that exist in jiu jitsu. It will take some time so don’t panic if you don’t see those differences right now. It’s one of a couple of reasons that it takes approximately a decade to earn your black belt in jiu jitsu- it takes time to notice these differences and nuances, to fully understand them more than just logically, but to ingrain them, to understand them “heart and soul”.

There are also fine lines that even when we try not to, occasionally we trespass to the other side- despite our best efforts we botch a technique or submission, accidentally cross face someone, again the list goes on. It’s important to acknowledge those moments, and to dust ourselves off and try again. We can’t progress if we don’t own our failures as well as our successes. It’s through drilling and training, failing and succeeding, can we navigate these nuances and fine lines in jiu jitsu.

Just some food for thought- have a great day everyone!

 

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Making Hard Choices on Your BJJ Journey

It seems really easy at first: you sign up for a class, you begin rolling (flailing) around as you try to find your rhythm, and slowly you begin to fall in love with jiu jitsu. And so you spend more time at this sport/art that you begin this sort of love/hate relationships with- you love doing it, you hate how bad you are at it. So you keep going to class, chipping away at it so to speak, still spending some time frustrated but also building friendships, and whether you know it or not, you are actually improving at jiu jitsu.

And occasionally throughout your time in jiu jitsu, there comes pressure not to continue- sometimes internally, but also sometimes you may have someone or a couple of people in your life- who may be well intentioned- but they may want you to stop the sport all together. I can specifically remember talking to my mother over the phone and can still hear her ask “can’t you do something else?” She was speaking from concern, and I think partially from a lack of understanding of not only what the sport entails, but the benefits that come from learning and training. Also, pretty sure I was venting about some jiu jitsu related frustration at the time, and so to someone who really isn’t interested in the sport, that seems like a totally logical response. I don’t agree with it, but I get it.

When it comes to those sorts of moments, that’s when it comes down to a decision that’s made by you and you alone. I think this is when a lot of people have that moment of either listening to others and back off, or they “take a break” that never seems to end, because they take a few months off and before you know it their schedule is filled with another million things that need to be attended to.

Side note, that’s not to say that people don’t have absolutely good and legitimate reasons not to train jiu jitsu: some people have loved ones that need to be taken care of, some have work/family/life responsibilities that simply cannot and should not be ignored. And really, for some people they just don’t find the joy in jiu jitsu anymore. And that’s totally fine: again, jiu jitsu is for every body, but not for everybody.

Ultimately, no matter who says what if you want to continue on your bjj journey, you have to do jiu jitsu for you.  When I have been faced with these kinds of choices in the past, I’ve taken a moment to think about what I wanted, and the two options that were offered- one would be to say yes to others who would not want me to do jiu jitsu-again, not out of malice, but really from a place of concern and lack of understanding. Unfortunately that would also mean probably not living a life in a way that I would have chosen specifically for myself, and in that be unhappy. It’s not the most fulfilling path but can appear to be the easier road to take. Or, I could continue with my choice, which can be harder, requires a little more time defending your choices and actions, and makes those close to you a little uncomfortable as they come around to the idea of your choice and the journey you have decided to embark on, but they will eventually come around to the decision (for the most part). I have frequently chosen the latter, knowing that it is sometimes the harder road to take, but ultimately the more fulfilling one, because while it may not be a decision that others totally understand, it’s one that I have made about my life and a path that I have chosen for myself.

So, for anyone who skipped the past five paragraphs (no worries, totally don’t blame you), the TL;DR version is this: there are going to be times when you have some hard decisions you have to make about whether or not you want to continue in jiu jitsu. This will be a hard decision for others around you, especially if it is one that maybe those close to you don’t truly understand. But, ultimately it is your life and really the main person you need to be accountable to when it comes to this decision is the person that stares back at you in the mirror when you’re alone (we’re not counting the creepy ghost that haunts your bathroom vanity, they don’t get a say in this). Living your life in a way that’s best for you sometimes can be difficult, and comes with some hard decisions, but ultimately is the most rewarding because it is a life that’s chosen and lived on your terms.

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

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The Problem With “Everyday Porrada”

I’m sure by now you’ve heard the term  “everyday porrada” or the two words switched around- and if you haven’t, or if you have and weren’t sure what it mean, it comes from BJJ player Romulo Barral, in an interview after an exciting match with AJ Souza. When asked about his secret to doing so well during the match, his response was “The secret is to train hard every day. Everyday Porrada and nothing else!“ (thanks BJJ World for the backstory)

The article I pulled that from also quickly notes that very few people actually embody that lifestyle, and personally I think there’s good reason for that: it’s because training like that for an indefinite period of time will absolutely burn you out, physically, mentally and emotionally. We talk about and look up to the people who can train like that everyday, because frankly they are outliers. They are the exceptional, because what they is an exception to what the human body really is typically capable of handling, and I think that’s something we sometimes forget.

In order to truly be effective and still keep all your body parts running in a more or less optimal condition, there has to be times of intentional, effective recovery. The human body- yours, mine, from the lowest white belt to the most seasoned black belt, needs a time where the body can recover from the damage that we do to it. Think about running absolutely as hard as you can for say 15, 20 miles every single day for the rest of your life: most people’s bodies would break down due to the repeated stress of running that hard and with that kind of regularity. And there would be very few who would excel at it, and we would admire them and secretly (or not so secretly) wish to be them. But it’s not healthy in the long run (ha, pun unintended).

I think ultimately I would be more ok with the idea of “everyday porrada” if there was more of a “work hard, recover hard” kind of mentality to it- train hard as hell, and then apply that same amount of focus on really ensuring that you go through some sort of effective recovery schedule- yoga, massage, those cryo freeze therapy things, tub of ice water (not really my thing but hey, whatever works for you), focusing on each to get the most out of your training, without the risk of running yourself ragged and feeling like something is going to -metaphorically or literally- fall off.

Let me know your thoughts on this, otherwise have a great day!

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Activity Does not Equal Productivity on the Mat

It’s a hard lesson that we learn over time on the mats: activity does not equal productivity on the mats. If that were true, white belts would be beating everyone, all the time. We all know what a white belt match looks like, lots of flailing, exaggerated movements that don’t really lead to anything, the occasional flop over someone or something. Funny to watch sometimes, but not entirely the most productive. Unless the white belt is trying to tire themselves out, which in that case they are overachieving in their efforts.

It’s over time where we start to streamline our movements- we become less “spazzy” on the mats, we stop trying to do all the things and we start to really learn to put intention and purpose behind our movements, and learn to conserve our energy, to look for opportunity and start to learn when its time to work and time to wait. It’s something that we need to learn while drilling as well- simply going through the motions while we drill won’t help us hone our skills.

When we really begin to take this lesson to heart and start to really focus on purposeful, intention filled drilling, we can really hone in on the important actions and see ourselves really progress in the art/sport. We focus while drilling so we can create the muscle memory, so that we may trust our muscle memory as we hunt for opportunities while training or competing. It’s working smarter to get more out of when you have to work harder.

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

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