– It is easy to understand how an outsider watching Jiu Jitsu would only see armlocks, chokes and the occasional footlock. These are the highly visible aspects of the art. The Submissions! Easily recognized. But they are only the tip of the iceberg. The dedicated practitioner of Jiu Jitsu will gradually get a deeper and deeper look underneath the surface. Seeing the depths that are hidden to the untrained. How deep one goes depends on two things: Mat time & Mindset.
Mat Time? Easy. Train consistently and often. 2 to 3 classes per week minimum is recommended.

The correct mindset is helpful to achieve mastery in Jiu Jitsu. With the wrong mindset we can only go so far in the art.

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Hard Work, Consistency & Patience

Three main things that will guarantee proficiency is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu: Hard Work. Consistency. Patience.

Hard Work: Time is a precious commodity. Make the most out of it. When your on the mats for an hour, fill that hour with Jiu Jitsu. Be in the moment. Let everything that isn’t Jiu Jitsu go for that hour. Total Immersion. After class, normal life can resume. Drill technique as much as you can. Roll when you are tired. Take Breaks when needed, but we should always roll when we are exhausted. That is when we learn about energy efficiency.

Consistency: Train often. Make it a habit. Balance work, family and other adult responsibilities, but honestly examine how you spend your free time. Cut out the waste and fill it with Jiu Jitsu. Proficiency comes from mat time.

Patience: No great thing is created suddenly. Jiu Jitsu is an incredibly complex Continue reading →


Certainty is the Enemy of Growth

are-you-sureAre you certain you know this technique or that? Are you sure you know the basics? One of the most disgusting things I can witness on the Jiu Jitsu mats is “experienced” belts lounging about during drilling time because the technique of the day is too basic. Really Mr. Blue/Purple/Brown Belt? You know BJJ fundamentals 100% perfect? You’re already too good at Jiu Jitsu and drilling is just a waste of your time? I have seen this many times. One or two reps (when the instructor is looking) then its fucking off for the next 15 to 20 minutes until sparring starts. The comments, “yeah, I got this one down already” gets thrown around all the time.

RECOMMENDATION: Never be certain you know ANYTHING in Jiu Jitsu 100%. When presented a technique that you have drilled a thousand times before, drill it like it’s your first time. Drill the hell out of it! be super-mindful about everything in that technique. Drill like a beginner…even the so-called “boring” techniques (ie., non-submission or non-sweeping techniques). If you do this, little by little, you will peel back layers and get a deeper understanding of the technique. Even “simple” techniques have an amazing amount of complexity to them. To gain that knowledge you must drill like a beginner.


Mindset Principles Explained

respectMUTUAL BENEFIT & RESPECT: Training in Jiu Jitsu is not a one-way street. it is important that we think of our teammates and training partners as ESSENTIAL to our development in this art. We gain more when we increase other’s skill sets. “Iron sharpens iron” is a BJJ motto that fits well with this mindset principle. As we train we should never forget that as our partners skills increase so do our own. We should never “use” our teammates solely for our own ends. They are not fresh meat to beat up and leave behind. If everyone had this selfish mindset progress would be stagnate and the dojo would be an ugly place to be. For the practitioners with more experience never forget what it was like to be brand new. This mindset reminds us that we MUST help raise the lower belts up. And in doing so we benefit because they will push us further. The goal of any BJJ teacher should be to have his students get so skilled as to constantly challenge him. Thus, with this cycle we evolve…together.

TAKE CARE OF YOUR TRAINING PARTNER: Cause no injury! Because we cannot learn Continue reading →


Resistance Training Method

Many things set Brazilian Jiu Jitsu apart from other martial arts. One of them is how we train the art. That is, with the use of active resistance. We do not rely on the cooperation of our partner (opponent). We EXPECT resistance. We expect the other person to put up a fight and not allow us to do what we want. We spend roughly half our training time drilling techniques. Learning the mechanics of certain moves. How the use of angles, leverage and physiology works in certain situations. The nuts and bolts of technique. Move your arm here, grip here, place your elbows here, etc. The other half of our training is dedicated to sparring or “rolling.” This is where we test out our skills against partners (opponents) who are actively resisting us and also attempting to affect us with their techniques. This is the APPLICATION OF TECHNIQUE part or how we link these drilled techniques in a dynamic situation. This RESISTANCE is a vital part of what make BJJ powerful. It keeps the art’s teeth sharp. Some other arts may use this Resistance Training Method (RTM). Judo, Wrestling and Sambo come to mind. This RTM gives us feedback in the manner of cause/effect. If we do a technique wrong or FAIL, we are rewarded with reality. No false sense of security here. If the technique is weak then the technique is weak. The other benefit with “rolling” is the need to learn TIMING and CUE RECOGNITION (I’ll talk about these another time)

So, failure is inevitable. Don’t aim for it, but accept it. Better yet, embrace failure! Because every time a technique fails it is automatically error-correcting. Bit by bit the technique is refined through failure. We owe this to the RTM of BJJ. Our technique is forged through the fire of failure again and again. With patience, grit and gratitude we hone our techniques into truly deadly weapons.