Epi 154 Scrambling

This week we are talking about scrambling. We want to give some tips and help bring order to this potentially chaotic situation.scrambling

We talk about:

  • Defining a scramble
  • Finding order in a scramble
  • Who benefits in a scramble
  • Common positions to create a scramble
  • Ways to end the scramble
  • Tips to win a scramble

Links:

Quote of the week: “Art, in itself, is an attempt to bring order out of chaos.” Stephen Soundheim

Article of the week: Something You Need to Know About the BJJ Gauntlet

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Gary’s audio book this week is “The Scramble, What Fighters Eat For Breakfast”

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How I progressed at BJJ going to class 6 or 7 times a month

joe-thomas-2I was listening to my favorite podcast (The BjjBrick Podcast) the other day and realized that the host Byron Jabara frequently asks the guests he’s interviewing “what advice would you have for a BJJ practitioner who can only train once or twice a week?” For most of my BJJ career I have had very unorthodox training schedules that severally limited my training opportunities so I thought I would share a few things that have worked for me.
For our purposes here I will focus on a two year period when I worked a 14/14 schedule on a vessel in the Gulf of Mexico offshore oilfield. For 14 days I lived on the ship with no option to get to town and train and for 14 days I would be home. Of course when I was home I had to catch up on yard work, home maintenance, spending time with the beautiful wife, spending time with the kids, etc. so it’s not like I could train every day. My goal was to train 8 times every time but life gets in the way and a rarely met that goal. Yet still I progressed. Here’s what I did and what I would suggest for others.

1. Find a way to continue learning even when you’re off the mats. I used a couple books, a couple DVD sets, and youtube. Youtube is great because it’s free. I tried to spend at least 15 minutes each day “studying” jiu jitsu. A couple of suggestions on this point:
• Ask your coaches and training partners who they would suggest you learn from. You want to make sure you’re using quality sources.
• Study techniques that are right for you based on your experience level, age, and body type. If you’re just starting at 40 years old I would not suggest spending a lot of time studying inverted acrobatic jiu jitsu.
• Be systematic. If you’re off the mats 4 days and watch 2-3 youtube videos a day, don’t study 10 different things. If your school follows a program and you know ½ guard is the topic of the week, maybe stick to that at home. My school didn’t follow a program but I would study one move or position for 3-4 days before moving on.joe-thomas-1

2. Find some time to work on your cardio and fitness. I’ve heard a lot of suggestions and theories on this topic and am not enough of expert to say I have the answer, but here’s what worked for me. I put a timer app on my computer set for 5 minutes of work and 1 minute of rest and would do 3-5 rounds every day. Here’s an example of a circuit I would do with about 4X6 feet of mat space available to me: Shrimping in place, technical stand ups, sit ups (simulating sitting up to kimura or hip bump sweep), push up to knee on belly drill, umpa bridges, and wrestlers sit outs. I would do 10 reps each and continue the cycle until the 5 minute bell rang, rest and repeat. I felt this helped my cardio and conditioning while at the same time keeping my body accustomed to doing jiu jitsu movements for 5 minutes at a time.
 Pro tip: consider combing points 1 and 2 just like you would in class. Watch 15 minutes of instruction, spend 10 minutes stretching and visualizing the techniques you just studied, and then proceed with the circuit training.

3. Minimize the amount of time off the mats. On my 14/14 rotation I always tried to train right before I went to work and as soon as I got home, keeping my time off the mats to about 15 days. When this wasn’t possible and I ended up with 18-20 days off I could tell it took more training sessions to get my timing back – to see opportunities and to capitalize on them. If you train 6 times a month, once every 5 days is probably better than lumping several training sessions in short period of time and then being off the mats for 10 days.
 Pro tip: take advantage of every opportunity you have to train. If you’ve got an extra hour during the week at some point and can catch even just part of an extra class….go train. 20 minutes of drilling or ½ hour of open mat is not as good as a full class, but its way better than nothing.

4. Stay connected socially with your school and training partners. One of the hardest things about being that guy who only trains a few times a month is when you show up for class, see a few guys you don’t know but they seem to know everyone else, and one of them walks up and welcomes you to the class as if you’re the visitor even though you’ve been training at the school for years. Social media makes it easy to connect with your school and training partners. Connect with the school and training partners on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. and stay engaged. When you see a fellow student got a stripe, congratulate them and tell them you can’t wait to get to class and have a roll.
I’ll end with a word of encouragement: Whatever the reason is that you can only train once or twice a week (kids in extracurricular activities, working overtime, a toddler at home and a pregnant wife, etc.) it will pass. Maybe you feel like you’re making glacial progress for three years – you’ve worked your tail off and you’re a 4 stripe white belt — then life changes and now you can train a little more. You may at this point set a school record for progressing from 4 stripe white belt to purple and you will be glad that you stuck to your training routine.

Contributed by our friend Joe Thomasjoe-thomas-3

Epi 153 Could Nicky Ryan Be The Future Of Submission Grappling?

This week we bring you an interview with rising no-gi star Nicky Ryan. You will find 15 year old Ryan training with John Danaher, Eddie Cummings, Garry Tonon, and his brother Gordon Ryan.

nicky-ryan

We talk about:

  • What got him started on the mats
  • Home schooling this year
  • Having John Danaher as a home school teacher
  • The home school laws for New Jersey
  • His daily routine
  • The game he plays the most and how it is changing
  • Working on his top game
  • Competing with adults
  • Quickly developing skill
  • Training leg locks safely
  • Passing the guard and attacking the legs
  • Training wrestling for take downs
  • Losing weight
  • The benefits of submission grappling for kids
  • Having a complete game
  • Competing for money
  • Fighting in a super fight Oct 8

Links:

Quote of the week: “Fall down 7 times get up 8” Japanese Proverb Presented by Dainis Nguyen

Article of the week: The Ultimate Micro Game

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If you are interested in supporting The BjjBrick Podcast find out how here

The BjjBrick Wall of Support is being constructed and you can help

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Catch us next week for another episode of The BjjBrick Podcast

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Epi 152 Double Black Belt Dainis Nguyen

This week we bring you an interview with double Black Belt Dainis Nguyen. Dainis started judo as a kid and eventually moved to BJJ. He is an active competitor in BJJ both gi and no-gi, with many exciting matches under his belt.

Photo by Afrobraz

Photo by Afrobraz

We talk about:

  • Starting martial arts with judo
  • Blending judo and BJJ
  • His new gym Team DNA BJJ
  • The social atmosphere in his gym
  • The process of opening a BJJ gym
  • His competition goals
  • Nutrition advice
  • Developing healthy eating habits
  • Why it is important to be persistent in BJJ
  • The 3 different type of training partners you need (+=-)
  • First tournament advice

Links:

Quote of the week: “There is little success where there is little laughter” Andrew Carnegie

Article of the week: 10 Ways to Improve Your BJJ While Off the Mats

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If you are interested in supporting The BjjBrick Podcast find out how here

The BjjBrick Wall of Support is being constructed and you can help

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This week Byron is working on an audio book called “How I Submit People On The Mat With Laughter”

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Epi 151 Steven Patterson is Coaching, Competing, and Running a School

This week we bring you an interview with BJJ Black Belt Steven Patterson. Steven is training under Comprido, and he is a 14X Chicago Open Champion and he took 2nd at no-gi Worlds. We have a great conversation about training, competing, and teaching.

Steven Patterson BJJ

We talk about:

  • What got him started in BJJ
  • His first tournament
  • His odd experience training BJJ with his first instructor
  • Being asked to try Ayahuasca
  • Evaluating an opponents stance
  • What to do if you have a tournament you are not happy with
  • His match in fight to win on Sept 24 vs Chris Hartwig
  • His experience as being a IBJJF referee
  • University of Ground Fighting
  • Starting his gym as a brown belt
  • His gym in New Lenox, Illinois
  • Developing a kids program
  • How teaching kids changed the way he teaches adults
  • Why people start BJJ
  • How BJJ is like skateboarding

Links:

Quote of the week: “If you do not change direction, you may end up where you are heading.” Lao Tzu

Article of the week: Sharpening the Ax

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If you are interested in supporting The BjjBrick Podcast find out how here

The BjjBrick Wall of Support is being constructed and you can help

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Gary’s audio book this week is called “story time with Gary, time to sleep”

Catch us next week for another episode of The BjjBrick Podcast

The BjjBrick Podcast is in iTunesStitcher radio, and Google Play Music for Andriod

Sharpening the Ax

I’ve always loved this wives tale. I especially like it in its relationship to jiu jitsu. I was reminded of this when The BjjBrick Podcast interviewed Tim Sledd (of Small Ax BJJ Oceanside).lumberjacks

Sharpening the ax

In 1885 there was a champion woodsman in a logging camp in the US Midwest named Olaf. He could fall more trees in any given day than any other tree faller for 500 miles. One day a new woodsman, Sven, showed up and after two weeks it was obvious he was in the running for the title of “best faller” in the camp. So Olaf challenged Sven to a contest: the two men would fall trees on Sunday when the rest of the camp was idle and whoever fell the most trees in 12 hours would be the champion.

The two woodsmen began chopping at 6:00 a.m. on Sunday morning. The men in camp could hear the axes striking the trees and the trees falling. After an hour and a half one ax fell silent—15 minutes later both axes were again heard at work. An hour and a half later, again, one ax fell silent. This continued all day.

At the end of the day Sven had felled 20% more trees than Olaf. Olaf was beside himself: “I heard your ax fall silent for at least 15 minutes almost every hour, how could you have fallen more trees when you stopped to rest so frequently?” Sven responded, “when you heard silence, I was not resting…. I was sharpening my ax”.

Grapplers that come to class and only want to roll and put all their effort into open mat are like Olaf who chopped wood for 12 hours and never sharpened his ax. Practitioners that put an appropriate amount of effort into drilling, positional sparring, and learning new techniques are like Sven, who saw the value in taking time to sharpen his ax.

Thank you to Joe Thomas for sharing this story.

Epi 150 We Share Tips For Bringing A Friend To Class

This week we have a important topic about bringing a friend to BJJ class. When you bring a friend you want them to have a good exposure to the martial art. This episode we have lots of tips about bringing a friend to their first BJJ class.

Epi 150

We talk about:

  • The benefits of bringing your friend to class
  • The goal of safety and fun for your friend
  • Taking away the initial stress of going to their first class
  • Why you should be at the class for their first day
  • Tricks for remembering names
  • How to get them to have fun on the mat
  • Telling them about the format of the class
  • What to do after the class is over
  • Why people may want to try a class
  • The follow up phone call the next day

Quote of the week: “Death is certain life is not” presented by Brent Lillard

Article of the week: How Do You Measure Progress?

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If you are interested in supporting The BjjBrick Podcast find out how here

The BjjBrick Wall of Support is being constructed and you can help

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Catch us next week for another episode of The BjjBrick Podcast

Gary’s audio book this week is called “measuring up your submissions, Subs for people who are over 7 ft tall”

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Something You Need to Know About the BJJ Gauntlet

In many Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) schools, students occasionally get whipped by belts. This is typically done as a right of passage during a belt promotion, birthday, or some type of celebration. Students line up with their BJJ belts in hand and whip the person who must run the gauntlet. Today I want to bring this dark topic to light.

Belt whipping meme bjj

Hazing students has a negative effect on self-esteem

BJJ brings many positive-life changing benefits to the people that train, none of these benefits are a product of belt whipping. Belt whipping is a form of hazing (illegal in 44 US states). It is seen as a way to prove yourself to be part of a tough group. Many kids and adults are in BJJ programs to learn how to not be the victim of a bully, and build confidence. They may find themselves in a room full of bullies with belts peer pressuring them to do something that they would rather not do. One of two things usually happens in this situation. The student realizes that this is an unhealthy environment and they leave the school. Or the student fails to stand up for themselves and they give in to the peer pressure.

It takes a person of extraordinary confidence to look at the gauntlet and tell the group “No, I am not doing this. I am not going to be whipped, and I am not going to whip anyone else. I am here to learn BJJ; I am not here to take part in hazing.” It takes more courage to stand up to the group and say no to the gauntlet than it does to get whipped by belts.

Some proponents of belt whipping argue that this sport is for people that are tough and can take a beating. I argue that BJJ will make a person tough, after all it is a rough experience being on the mat. BJJ is designed for the smaller, weaker person, not the guy who walks in the door already a tough guy. Instead of building the weaker person up, the sight of this hazing is likely to chase them away. Another argument is that the gauntlet is a tradition in BJJ (dating back to the mid 90’s if that counts as tradition). Tradition is important in martial arts, many traditions have a rich history, the gauntlet does not have a rich history. Much like picking fights on the beach this tradition is best left in the past as BJJ is spread around the world.

Let’s address the legal issue with a little more depth. It does not matter to the law whether the student gives implied consent. Their consent to the hazing is not a defense that a social club can use, it is still illegal. If a student is not physically harmed it will typically be a misdemeanor, but if there is an injury the crime of hazing is a felony in many US states. Whipping marks left by a belt could be considered an injury. Gym owners and coaches should heed this warning. By writing this article I am not trying to get anyone in trouble with the law, I just want to see successful gyms with good business practices. Ask yourself what successful business would post illegal activities on social media?Hazing 6 states

It is time to leave this tradition of hazing in the past. The gauntlet is not helping to build stronger or better students, BJJ does that in spite of the gauntlet.

Things like rolling, or a throw are not hazing – they are part of doing BJJ. If your school is participating in hazing its students I recommend sharing this article with your instructor and respectfully sitting out of the process. I am confident that most instructors are simply unaware that they are breaking the law. Help them out by letting them know.

I look forward to reading your comments.

Links

Epi 149 Employees & BJJ with CEO Brown Belt Brent Lillard

Brent Lillard is a brown belt that co-founded a business called Govsmart in 2010, selling IT products to the government. Govsmart is a 69 million dollar business and was listed as number 20 on the Forbes list of America’s Most Promising Companies. Brent credits much of culture of his business and the team to the fact that many of them train Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Brent Lillard (photo by Alex Brown)

Brent Lillard (photo by Alex Brown)

We talk about:

  • How Govsmart was started
  • Some of his perfected methods and techniques of taring
  • Keeping it playful vs keeping it real
  • Why the basic techniques are so important
  • How BJJ became a part of Govsmart culture
  • The incentive program for employees to do BJJ
  • How he brings a new employee to try the mats
  • A comparison between the culture of BJJ and the corporate world
  • The story of an employee that lost 160lbs
  • Other team building activities for work
  • Dealing with an employee with a bad attitude
  • How BJJ has effected turnover of employees
  • Selling the idea of doing BJJ to employees
  • Training with a busy work schedule
  • Training safely
  • Personality traits that do well in BJJ

Links:

Quote of the week: “Correction does much, but encouragement does more.”
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Article of the week: 5 lessons to learn as a white belt that will be worth for your entire Jiu-Jitsu journey

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If you are interested in supporting The BjjBrick Podcast find out how here

The BjjBrick Wall of Support is being constructed and you can help

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Catch us next week for another episode of The BjjBrick Podcast

We also have Episode 4 of Mat Tales “January”

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Epi 148 Jonathan “The Scorpion” Uzcategui

This week we bring you an interview with Jonathan Uzcategui. Jonathan is a great coach and competitor. We are excited to bring you an interview with him covering a wide range of topics.Jonathan Uzcategui

We talk about:

  • His personal history in BJJ
  • Training with Rubens “Charles” Cobrinha as his first instructor
  • His wife Hope Uzcategui 2X IBJJF world champion
  • His style of training
  • Why he likes to partner up training partners for the best training
  • Training new students
  • Organizing a weekly schedule
  • Using video to evaluate his students and give them advice
  • Working escapes when you are tired
  • Treating visitors correctly
  • Crawl, walk, run

Links:

Quote of the week: “Trust in god” and believe in your self, have faith in your self, and work really really hard” Tom Deblass

Article of the week: Five things every new/visiting student should receive on their first visit to your gym

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If you are interested in supporting The BjjBrick Podcast find out how here

The BjjBrick Wall of Support is being constructed and you can help

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Catch us next week for another episode of The BjjBrick Podcast

Gary’s book this week is called “Foot in Mouth, the Unknown Move Called the Dentist”

The BjjBrick Podcast is in iTunesStitcher radio, and Google Play Music for Andriod