Epi 249 Black Belt Kristina Barlaan

This week we have an interview with BJJ Black Belt Kristina Barlaan. Kristina is a black belt under Caio Terra. This interview covers a wide range of topics from her first tournament to off the mat challenges.

We talk about:

  • Competing as a white belt
  • How she turned BJJ from a hobby to a job
  • How she uses BJJ to help people
  • Dealing with a long drive to train
  • Dealing with anxiety and depression
  • Advice for people dealing with anxiety or suicidal thoughts
  • Why it is important to reach out for help
  • How BJJ can help with depression


Quote of the week: “Everybody has at least a few areas in their thinking and some attitudes that need to change. If you want to improve your life, you need to go after those areas.” John Maxwell

Article of the week: Back to the Basics

We also end a prank on Gary this episode “the best thing about BJJ”

















Catch us next week for another episode of The BjjBrick Podcast

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

Epi 248 The Grappling Referee David Karchmer

This week we have a conversation with the grappling referee David Karchmer. David has been a BJJ Black Belt since 2012. He has officiated over 3,500 gi and no-gi matches for multiple organizations.

We talk about:

  • This reason for his website The Grappling Referee
  • Doing video education for interesting calls in BJJ matches
  • How enforcing the borders is different between organizations and individual referees
  • When to move grapplers back to the middle of the mat
  • The role of safety in border enforcement
  • What happens when two competitors fly off the mat
  • What is done when a submission attempt ends up out of bounds
  • Getting submitted by a move that is not intended to be a submission
  • When it is appropriate to talk to the referee
  • How injuries are handled from a referee’s point of view
  • Kids vs Adults rules
  • When a referee should stop a match
  • Common mistakes competitors make
  • Remembering to control long enough to get you points
  • Bending the rules
  • Advice for people that want to be a referee
  • Finding a mentor for being a referee


Quote of the week: “Instead of wondering when your next vacation is, you ought to set up a life you don’t need to escape from.” Seth Godin

Article of the week: Properly Responding to Feedback to Get Better At BJJ

















Catch us next week for another episode of The BjjBrick Podcast

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

Epi 247 The Performance Equation with Jonathan Thomas

This week we talk with BJJ Black Belt Jonathan Thomas about the elements of performance. You will find Jonathan training and teaching at Valhalla Jiu-Jitsu in Gothenburg Sweden.

We talk about:

  • His early history and success in BJJ
  • Some of his favorite techniques
  • Training according to your body type
  • “If you cant do the move in sparing you cant do the move”
  • The five factors that define performance Technique, Strength, Mobility, Endurance, Mindset
  • How some people put too much emphasis on the mental side of BJJ
  • How to actually learn from your losses
  • How to properly develop technique
  • How he runs a class
  • Finding a training partner to get extra training
  • How to avoid being in a plateau
  • Advice on how to develop your game
  • Using competition footage to learn
  • Building strength for BJJ
  • Training while injured
  • Steroid use in BJJ
  • Training for better endurance
  • Being nervous is normal
  • The limits of confidence
  • Diet and nutrition


Quote of the week:  “Controlling your time helps overcome frustration and brings life into balance and order, giving you the feeling of control and poise.”  Bill Newman

Article of the week: The Artist v The Athlete

















Catch us next week for another episode of The BjjBrick Podcast

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

Epi 246 Jake Fox, Tim Sledd & Roli Delgado BjjBrick Extra

This episode we have interviews with Jake Fox, Tim Sledd, and Roli Delgado. This is a great preview of the first BjjBrick Event. The event will be June 22, 23, 24 in Wichita Kansas at Fox Fitness. We hope to see you there!

Jake talks about

Tim talks about

  • The concept of Small Axe
  • How he teaches a kids seminar
  • Why he teaches a particular way

Roli talks about

  • Teaching leg locks
  • Running his school in Little Rock
  • The leg lock Osage Crunch

Contact FoxFitnessBJJ@gmail.com if you have question about the BjjBrick Summer Camp. Here is the event page of Facebook https://www.facebook.com/events/1832580536773035/

















Catch us next week for another episode of The BjjBrick Podcast

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

Too Much Knowledge Can Slow the Learning Process in BJJ

This may seem counterintuitive but stick with me for a bit.

Let’s step off the mats for just a second and look at learning a golf swing. The golf swing can be broken down into many parts. Let’s just look at the setup as outlined here 50 Best Swing Keys. You need to have your legs properly positioned with your feet outside your hips, and your toes pointed outward at a 25 degree angle. Now you need to have your upper left arm on the top of your chest, and your right arm needs to be slightly bent at the elbow. Then you need to have your right shoulder slightly lower than your left, and you need to be holding the shaft perpendicular to the ground.

That is a lot of stuff to do and you have not even started to move yet. The article goes into much more detail about how to properly smack the life out of the ball.

Even if I did have some knowledge of golf (I don’t) taking in a long list of different aspects all at once is a lot to ask of someone wanting a better swing.

The same thing can happen in BJJ if you are coaching to correct every little detail, the learning process can actually slow down. Instead fix one or two main things, and acknowledge one or two things that are done well. When the corrections have been made, build on that by fixing one or two more things.

Teaching too much can make students overwhelmed. Frustrated students are not in the state of mind to learn.

You might think that this coaching advice is mostly geared toward helping new students. I would argue that novice or expert will struggle to make more than one or two corrections at a time.

We can all improve, gaining knowledge needs to be at a rate that is conducive to learning.

Ideas for this article were inspired from the books Practice Perfect: 42 Rules for Getting Better at Getting Better and Peak secrets for the new science of expertise 


Epi 245 Big vs Small BJJ

This week we discuss the issues that come up when training with people that have a significant size difference. If you are getting crushed by big people, we have some tips for you. Are you one of the bigger people on the mat and you struggle to find good rolls we offer our advice.

This poor artwork was made by byron with a sharpie.

We talk about:

  • When does the size difference become important
  • What positions we prefer with rolling with the larger grapplers
  • Working your best positions
  • The training advantage of the smaller grappler
  • Tips for getting good rolls when training will smaller people
  • A reminder to not judge a book by the cover when rolling with the big guys
  • Overcoming social hurdles on the mat

Quote of the week: “If you have committed a mistake in the day, make a note of it, learn about its cause and respond appropriately to resolve it and in turn boost your confidence.” Lenny Olsen

Article of the week: Coaching Tip- Critique vs Correct In BJJ

















Catch us next week for another episode of The BjjBrick Podcast

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

Back to the Basics

My youngest kids are girls that are less than two years apart in age. The
older one was not too interested in driving so delayed taking drivers education
and getting her permit. By the time she did start the process her younger sister
was almost ready as well. This resulted in me doing a lot of driving and teaching
for almost a year straight. Whether they were driving, or I was behind the wheel,
every time we were on the road it was a lesson. I would say “we’re a few blocks
from the Jr. High and it’s 3:00 we should be keeping an eye out for kids, right?” or
“this is the first rain in a few weeks, be aware the roads could be slick” or “can
you see the mirrors on that 18-wheeler in front of us? If not, we’re following too
close” etc. etc. etc. These are all just basic safe driving practices that experienced
drivers follow without thinking about. But after a years’ worth of conscienceless
thinking about and actively discussing these issues I felt like a safer driver.

I’ve been driving for over 30 years with 2 tickets and zero accidents in the
last 20. After all that time of safe driving, if spending some time consciously
focusing on the basic principles of safe driving can make me a better driver, I’m
willing to bet the same logic applies to jiu jitsu? If you spend some time focusing
on the basic principles of good jiu jitsu your techniques will get tighter, you will
become more efficient, your defense will improve….in short, your grappling will
get better.

It’s tempting to make a list of “5 basic principles and concepts…..”, but the
reality is every person will be different. If your top game is weak or not
progressing the fundamentals you choose to focus on will be different than they
would be if your go-to guard game needed some improvement.
Focusing on the basics in general will help your jiu jitsu. Focusing on specific
basics that are directly relevant to your game will help you even more. In my
mind, this is an example of a time that paying your instructor for a private lesson,
will be worth every penny you spend. Tell your instructor you would like to
improve upon the foundation of your game – that you would like to make sure
your jiu jitsu is fundamentally sound and ask him for a private lesson, so you can
roll, and he can assess your game and make suggestions.

In conclusion, no matter how long you have been training jiu jitsu, there is
always value in getting back to the basics. No amount of slick moves and fancy
techniques will ever make up for a game that is not fundamentally sound. It’s
never too late to get back to the basics.

Train hard. Train smart. Get better.


Epi 244 Iron Axe Event Fabio Morescalchi and Steve Norwick

This week we have an interview with Fabio Morescalchi and Steve Norwick. Steve and Fabio are running the Twin Cities Invitational. It is an event that benefits the We Defy Foundation and Mission 22. The event will be held June 9, in Bloomington Minnesota.

We talk about:

  • Fabio’s early start to BJJ
  • What BJJ can do for you off the mat
  • Building a community with BJJ
  • Mission 22 and The We Defy Foundation
  • Superfights for the Iron Axe event
  • The meaning of The Iron Axe
  • Some of the benefits of BJJ


Quote of the week: “When you’re riding, only the race in which you’re riding is important.” Bill Shoemaker

We talked about this book Antifragile: Things That Gain from Disorder

Article of the week: 5 BJJ Tournament Tips You Must Know

















Catch us next week for another episode of The BjjBrick Podcast

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

Properly Responding to Feedback to Get Better At BJJ

It happens all the time on the mats. One person gives the other person a bit of feedback, some information that they can use to help develop their game. If the person receiving the feedback is you I have a couple of things you should consider.

In my example the feedback is coming from a person who is qualified to give you help.

Let’s step on the mat for some nogi. I am working to pass your guard and you have one hand on my neck to help control posture. I tell you this bit of feedback “try moving your hand up a little bit closer to my head”. This grip sounds odd to you. When playing gi you control the posture with a collar grip. Your hand naturally slides a bit further back and to control the neck. In addition you are satisfied with your collar grip conversion to nogi and you do a pretty good job of controlling the posture. This feedback is probably ignored, and you keep on doing what you are doing.

When you get feedback apply it first, then consider if it is good advice. If it was intuitive for you to play your grip on the lower part of the head you would have already been doing it. Often times good feedback will seem counterintuitive. You might find that gripping on the back of the head gives you much more leverage. You are not just pulling the person down from their neck. Your energy is first pulling the head down, then the neck therefore the posture is broken much easier.

The point of this article is not to help you break your opponent’s posture more effectively. I want you to try the feedback you get and then judge its effectiveness.

Thank the person that took the time to give you the feedback. Your development on the mat will be more efficient if you continue to get more feedback and you should do all you can to encourage more. Using the feedback and thanking the person go a long way to helping you be a joy to coach.

Ideas for this article were inspired from the book Practice Perfect: 42 Rules for Getting Better at Getting Better

Epi 243 Black Belt Ultra Heavyweight Joseph Moku Kahawai

This week we have an interview with Black Belt Ultra Heavyweight Joseph Moku Kahawai. Moku is a active competitor and he is happy to cover a wide range of topics from off the mat life to training to compete with the best in the world.

We talk about:

  • His start to BJJ in 2008 at BJ Penn’s school
  • Moving from Hawaii to California
  • Learning takedowns as a black belt
  • Why he was a guard player
  • His training schedule
  • Overcoming difficulties as a child
  • Tips for rolling with smaller teammates
  • Advice for traveling and doing bjj
  • The story of getting his black belt after winning double gold
  • Fighting in ACB


Quote of the week: “All the world is full of suffering. It is also full of overcoming.” Helen Keller

Article of the week: Creating an Environment for Success

Gary shares an off the mat lesson about setting goals Your-First-Year-Of-BJJ-artwork-1199

Catch us next week for another episode of The BjjBrick Podcast The BjjBrick Podcast is in iTunesStitcher radio, and Google Play Music for Andriod