Epi 222 Jiu Jitsu in Trinidad & Tobago with Rondel Benjamin

This week on The BjjBrick Podcast we have BJJ Brown Belt Rondel Benjamin from Trinidad and Tobago. We cover a fun variety of topics including BJJ, stick fighting, free diving and much more.

We talk about:

  • Island life on Trinidad & Tobago
  • Trying to use the internet instead of finding a coach
  • Going away for business and learning BJJ
  • Combat sports and Trinidad & Tobago
  • Calinda a type of stick fighting practiced in Trinidad and Tobago
  • Exposing Calinda to the BJJ students
  • The people who have influenced him the most
  • The 5 pillars of Jiu-Jitsu
  • How his reason for doing Jiu-Jitsu has changed
  • How learning how to control your breathing you can better control your body and mind
  • The benefits of free diving for BJJ

Links:

Quote of the week: “Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more violent. It takes a touch of genius—and a lot of courage to move in the opposite direction.” E.F. Schumacher

Article of the week: Grappling With Age

We also continue playing family feud at the end of the show

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Five things that can kill your guard

Are you trying a new guard and it’s not working? Are your opponents and training partners having little trouble breaking and passing? There are many reasons this could be happening. If you have found yourself in this position, take a look at the five things below and see if they help.

Five things that can kill your guard:

  1. Poor posture. From every position, top or bottom, there are things you can do to have a strong posture and structure and things you can do that make it weak. With a weak posture and structure, you will not be able to absorb or exert force. In other words, you won’t be able to keep your opponent from putting you on your back and you won’t be able to create space and set up attacks. To learn more about strong and weak structures and posture go here Nic Gregoriades-Strong Structure This is a key element to playing any guard and something we can all improve on.
  2. Not recognizing when your opponent is no longer actually in your guard. When your opponent is in your guard their objective is, obviously, to pass/improve their position. You could say there are three steps in this process: They are in your guard, they are passing your guard, and they have passed your guard. Another way to look at this is that there is a zone that your opponents are in for playing guard, and when they are no longer in that zone, you are no longer playing guard. For more on this idea go here: Jason Scully-Guard Retention Recognizing early when your opponent is out of your guard zone will not only give you the opportunity to prevent the pass and regain your guard — you will also see opportunities to catch submissions in transition as well as sweeps or reversals.
  3. Not knowing the other side of the equation well enough. If you have learned to defend and pass a particular guard well, then when you are playing that guard you will have a pretty good idea what your opponent is trying to do based on the grips they choose, their posture, base, pressure etc. This allows you to anticipate and counter a move almost before they try and make it. If you are not familiar with the other side of the equation, then your opponent will have this same advantage.
  4. Not staying busy enough. ABA…always be attacking. As a general rule, if you’re positionally sparring with an equally skilled opponent and your only objective is to hold them in your guard, it might take some time, but they will eventually pass. On the other hand, if you are looking for sweeps and submissions and are attacking relentlessly, your opponent is likely to either tire or make a mistake. When this happens the sweep or finish will present itself.
  5. Missing some key details of the specific guard you are playing. The first four points are general ideas/concepts that apply to every guard. If you play multiple guards well, it’s likely you already understand these concepts. If that’s you, and you’re struggling with a new or different guard you’re trying, it’s possible you are simply missing some key details regarding grips, points of control, or the specific techniques from that guard. Ask your instructors and senior teammates for advice.

The great thing about jiu-jitsu is that often times what will fix one problem will fix many others as well. Look at the first four points of this article. If you apply these concepts to your spider guard for improvement there, you will likely see improvement in all other aspects of your game as well. So, if your guard game is a struggle, try looking at these concepts and then see how the rest of your game improves as well.

Thanks to Nic Gregoriades and Jason Scully for providing quality content to help illustrate the points made in this article.

Train hard. Train smart. Get better.

Joe Thomas

Review: How to Raise your Child’s Confidence Through Jiu-Jitsu

By: Danny O’Donnell

In Jiu Jitsu Confidence: A Parent’s Guide to Raise Confident, Disciplined and Bully-Proof Children, author Nigel Kurtz asserts that Jiu Jitsu is “the perfect vehicle to developing a child’s full human potential.” The book is a clear, concise guide on why Jiu Jitsu is the perfect sport for children and how to help them get the most out of it. Parents will certainly get a lot of value from the book regardless of how long their child has been training. However, it would be best utilized if read upon enrolling your child at a Jiu Jitsu academy, serving as a meaningful guide in this new world of martial arts. The book is divided into various sections that cover the top 10 reasons to train, how Jiu Jitsu differs from team sports, the Jiu Jitsu mind and lifestyle, competition and parenting tips. The following paragraphs highlight some of the main concepts of the book, many of which are unique to the sport of Jiu Jitu.

While competition through all sports will aid in the development of children, Jiu Jitsu has many unique benefits. In Jiu Jitsu Confidence, Nigel lists the top 10 reasons to learn Jiu Jitsu and then goes into great depth with each. The first reason presented and one that really stood out is “Fail to Learn.” Because Jiu Jitsu is often practiced against a fully resisting opponent, it is inevitable that a child will experience failure and likely experience it often. Even the greatest Jiu Jitsu champions often remark how their early days of training were filled with failures, often getting beat by people with inferior physical capabilities. In the author’s words “Your child will fail at some point; it’s a given. How they recover from that and what they do with those lessons will set them apart.”

A second benefit that stood out in Jiu Jitsu Confidence is described as “Adulthood.” Children practicing Jiu Jitsu will be exposed to adults from diverse backgrounds learning the same techniques and strategies as them. They will notice how some adults thrive while learning a new skill while others will complain and make excuses. Children will learn to identify the individuals with a positive approach to learning and have role models that can guide them throughout their journeys. Two other benefits, that often go hand in hand, are confidence and bully-proofing. Bullying is a big problem in today’s world, especially with the ability to bully on social media. Overcoming obstacles with Jiu Jitsu will give a child the knowledge that they can successfully learn an employ a new skill. This increased confidence along with the technical abilities to subdue a potential physical threat will likely limit any instances of bullying.

Parents always want the best for their children in all aspects of life. Often when their child is playing a sport, they want to offer advice and encouragement. This is fantastic but must be done in the correct way if a child is to get the most out of Jiu Jitsu. In one of the most important sections of the book, Nigel gives parents tips on how to guide your child on his or her journey in Jiu Jitsu. One of these tips is to not put too much pressure on your child to win, either directly or indirectly. The focus should be on growth and improvement. This will give your child more satisfaction and reduce the rate of burnout. This goes along with another tip, which is how to properly goal set with children. While having goals to win tournaments or beat certain opponents are certainly acceptable, they are not entirely in one’s control. Nigel discusses the importance of performance goals, which often come in the form of executing a specific technique or strategy. These goals are easier to control and “put less emphasis on winning and more on growing their technical ability under pressure.”

In summary, Jiu Jitsu Confidence does a tremendous job outlining the benefits of Jiu Jitsu for children. The most valuable aspect of the book, however, lies in the execution of how to guide children through the sport and introduce them to similarities between it and the challenges and accomplishments they will deal with all throughout their lives. One of the overarching themes throughout is that Jiu Jitsu should be used as a vehicle to bring out the best in children and help mold them into the best people they are capable of becoming. If you would like a more in depth discussion of these concepts and many more, you can purchase Jiu Jitsu Confidence: A Parent’s Guide to Raise Confident, Disciplined and Bully-Proof Children on Amazon at the following link: https://www.amazon.com/Jiu-Jitsu-Confidence-Confident-Disciplined-Bully-Proof/dp/1549752383

Epi 221 Learning Jiu-Jitsu with Kit Dale

This week we have an interview with Kit Dale. We cover a wide range of topics from how he got his Black Belt in 4 years to his acting career.

We talk about:

  • Starting BJJ in 2008
  • His early competition history
  • Acting in a movie
  • His changing attitude toward competing
  • How he got off to a good start in BJJ
  • Learning concepts over techniques
  • Moving away from an outdated model of teaching a class
  • How to get your opponent to move
  • Training only 5-6 times a month
  • Tips for students training in a traditional school
  • How the 80/20 rule applies to learning BJJ

Links:

Quote of the week: “Don’t be fooled by the calendar. There are only as many days in the year as you make use of.” Charles Richards

Article of the week: Self Defense Seminars: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

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Epi 220 Adaptive Athlete Jess Munter Will Inspire You

This week we have a great interview with adaptive athlete Jess Munter. During birth Jess suffered a Brachial Plexus injury, as a result of this injury she is unable to use her left arm. Growing up Jess tried several sports but they did not fit her and they ended in frustration. A couple of years ago Jess found Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, the benefits she is getting and passing on from BJJ is an inspiring story.

We talk about:

  • Training BJJ on a busy schedule
  • Her Brachial Plexus injury to her left arm
  • Other sports she tried before jiu-jitsu
  • How she discovered jiu-jitsu was good for her
  • What jiu-jitsu has done for her off the mat
  • What it was like training during her first month
  • Her goals to help people
  • How BJJ has helped her become more positive
  • She shares stories about doing tournaments
  • Dealing with frustrations on the mats
  • How she stays safe on the mat
  • How good communication is key to her safety

Links:

  • Jess on instagram

Quote of the week: “A fight is not won by one punch or kick. Either learn to endure or hire a bodyguard.” Bruce Lee

Article of the week: 3 Proven Methods For Gaining Self Discipline

We also start playing a game of family feud fast money at the end of the show.

Also a congratulations to Gary Hull for receiving his brown belt!

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Self Defense Seminars: The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Self-defense seminars, and specifically women’s self-defense seminars,
have enjoyed some popularity through the years. Within the martial arts
community opinions vary: Some say they are of very little benefit, some say they
have no value, and some even say they are counterproductive as they can give
people a false and unwarranted sense of confidence. I would say all three of these
views have some merit and represent what is good, bad, and ugly about self
defense seminars.


First let’s talk about the good. You can’t teach someone to fight over the
course of a 4-hour seminar, but there are some things you can do to help prevent
them from becoming a victim in the future. Let’s look at a few:
Promote safe behavior: If at least some of the seminar is devoted to helping
attendees adopt behaviors that will make them less likely to be a victim – that is a
good thing. Things like, parking your car under a street lamp, walking in groups at
night, always be scanning your environment, keeping your cell phone at the
ready, etc. are all behaviors that can help people avoid becoming the victim of a
violent encounter.
Serve as a starting point: When someone attends a self-defense seminar,
joins a gym, and starts training on a regular basis the seminar has been a
success.
Supplement existing training programs: Maybe you are training 1-2 times a
week at a school that is extremely focused on IBJJF style tournament jiu jitsu and
you would like some more self defense specific training. Catching a decent self
defense seminar once or twice a year may be just what you need.

Now let’s talk about the bad. Most people attending a self defense seminar
where they are shown a handful of techniques are under the impression that they
can then go use these techniques on the street to defend themselves. This is not
possible. There are skills and attributes necessary to prevail in an altercation that
cannot be obtained at a 1-day seminar. These skills and attributes can only be acquired through consistent training that includes “aliveness” and regular
sparring sessions. Let’s look at some of those skills and attributes.
Muscle Memory: Any technique you would use in an altercation to defend
yourself needs to be completely automatic and responses will only become
automatic when they have been repeated 1,000’s of times. Furthermore, muscle
memory is somewhat situational. If you only drill the move in a static
environment, you are likely only going to be able to repeat it in the same
controlled setting.
Fight Stamina: Whether it is because of a person’s inability to deal with the
adrenaline dump or a lack of activity specific conditioning, most people are
completely gassed and unable to continue in a fight within two minutes. Live
sparring will give you the activity specific conditioning you need. If you train and
choose to compete, that will help you get accustomed to the adrenaline dump.
The Ability to Comprehend the Violence: Assaults don’t start with a “slap,
bump, and roll”. Often the victim is caught off guard, starts the fight a step
behind, and never catches up. While we (hopefully) will never feel like we’re
facing sudden, overwhelming, and unprovoked violence, in the gym we’re often
caught with a quick hard takedown, or an inadvertent elbow/knee. This s not the
same as getting blindsided on the streets, but enough of these incidents will help
us be prepared for a more extreme situation.
Spatial Awareness: To defend yourself in a violent confrontation you need
to develop an innate understanding of distance and angles. Ideally, we keep the
attacker in front of us outside of striking range. If we can make that happen, no
fight happens. If we can’t make this happen, we at least want to keep the fight at
whatever range we are most comfortable at and definitely not let an attacker get
behind us.

And lastly, let’s look at the ugly. I don’t want to spend a lot of time here.
The fact is some of these seminars are simple scams – they do little other than
separating the attendee from their money. And worse yet, some students leave
with a false sense of security, and may end up catching the wrong end of a
beating because they now think they can “handle themselves”.

Long story short: Buyer beware. If you (or someone you know) is thinking of
taking a self defense seminar it can be a positive and productive experience if you
shop wisely, find a reputable instructor, and have realistic goals.
Train hard. Train smart. Get better.
Joe

More articles by Joe here

Epi 219 How Deep is Your Jiu-Jitsu Pool???

This week on the podcast we talk about a way to evaluate your game. Your collection of techniques fall at different skill levels. We look at these five different levels and give advice or depending on what level your technique is. Don’t think of it as all of your BJJ is at one level, think of it as parts of your game are at different levels.

The Depth of your Jiu-Jitsu Pool

  • Level 1- You don’t know how to swim = You don’t train Jiu-JItsu
  • Level 2- Standing in the pool = Becoming aware of the a technique
  • Level 3- Swimming = The BJJ you know
  • Level 4- Swimming in the deep end = Your best moves
  • Level 5- Deep dive = A part of the game that you are one of the best

Quote of the week: “Age is no barrier. It’s a limitation you put on your mind.” Jackie Joyner-Kersee

Article of the week: How Much Do I Need To Cross Train To Get Better at BJJ?

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Epi 218 World and ADCC Champion Braulio Estima

This week we have BJJ legend Braulio Estima as our guest on the podcast. We talk about training, competing, and the Grappler’s Escape cruise you can catch him on April 29-May 6, 2018.

We talk about:

  • How his game has developed over the years
  • How to make an opponent uncomfortable
  • Making your opponent fight out of their game plan
  • Tips for training if you are the most skilled person in the room
  • Why it is so important to share with your teammates
  • How often to train, and doing mental training
  • The Grappler’s Escape cruise in April 2018

Links:

Quote of the week: “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” Theodore Roosevelt

Article of the week: How to Play Up Sports On Your Resume

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Epi 217 Australia’s Rising Grappling Star Craig Jones

Craig Jones shocked his opponents and the world with his performance at ADCC this year and we are excited to have him this week on The BjjBrick Podcast.

We talk about:

  • His start with BJJ
  • Why some students like no-gi more
  • How he developed his Z guard game
  • His training for ADCC 2017
  • Training for the rule set
  • His matches with Leandro Lo, Murilo Santana, Keenan Cornelius, Xande Ribeiro and Chael Sonnen
  • Making the change from a grappling hobby to a serious sport
  • His plans in the future
  • Training and traveling
  • Training on a tight schedule

Links:

Quote of the week: “Feeling gratitude and not expressing it is like wrapping a present and not giving it.” William Arthur Ward

Article of the week: The Nine Mental Skills of Successful Athletes

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Epi 216 BJJ in Cyprus with Black Belt Nick Unander

This week we have an interview with Nick Unander. Nick is a friend and former of Joe. Nick has been training martial arts since 1986. You can find Nick teaching and training BJJ in the island paradise of Cyprus.

We talk about:

  • His start in martial arts (Tae Kwon Do)
  • His first experience with Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
  • Make Jiu-Jitsu a career
  • Doing early MMA matches
  • Opening a martial arts school
  • Moving and opening new BJJ schools
  • Training under Marcelo Alonso
  • What new students should focus on learning
  • What he looks for in a blue belt
  • Blue belt blues (blue belts that quit training)
  • His thoughts on compeititon
  • His phrase Jiu-Jitsu will either take you, make you, or break you

Links:

Quote of the week: “Wise sayings often fall on barren ground, but a kind word is never thrown away.” Arthur Helps

Article of the week: Overcoming Fear in BJJ

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Catch us next week for another episode of The BjjBrick Podcast

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