Epi 204 BJJ and Weight Loss With Weston Roberts

Weston is 18 years old, he has lost 100lbs and it is fair to say BJJ has changed his life. He has been training for around three years in Jasper Alabama.

We talk about:

  • Starting BJJ at 280 lbs and getting down to 180 lbs
  • Trading video games for BJJ
  • Getting into a flow state while rolling
  • Tips for learning BJJ
  • Advice for someone starting jiu-jitsu for weight loss
  • Talking to your training partners while you roll
  • Tips for rolling with higher level people
  • Teaching BJJ as a lower belt
  • Making changes to your diet
  • Performing better with a improved diet
  • How BJJ could benefit kids in school

Quote of the week: “There is still no cure for the common birthday.” John Glenn

Article of the week: I think I suck at 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

Defend the Primary Threat

When it comes to jiu jitsu I’m extremely “concept” orientated. I believe that after you’ve learned the basics of each position and a few moves from each position, understanding a few basic concepts can do so much more for your jiiu jitsu than simply continuing to collect random techniques. Defending the primary threat is an example of a concept that, when implemented can improve your game from many different positions in a short period of time.

Defending the primary threat is a concept that I spent a good deal of time focusing on as a white belt shortly before receiving my blue. Identifying the primary threat from most of the positions I found myself in and figuring out ways to defeat them made a dramatic difference in my rate of progression. Lets’ look at a couple of examples that will illustrate what I mean by “defending the primary threat”.

First, the primary threat from any given position might not be the same for every jiu jitsu practitioner. If when in your opponent’s guard you are consistently being swept by the scissor sweep or variations of it or you are constantly fighting the cross-collar choke then the cross-collar grip is probably the primary threat you need to be concerned with. Conversely, if you are constantly being arm barred of swept, swept with the flower sweep, or having your back taken off an arm drag then having your arm dominated and your elbow pulled across your center line is the primary sweep. You can learn and drill all the guard breaks and passes in the world, but if you don’t learn to defend these primary threats you will always struggle inside your opponents closed guard.

A few other examples really quick: If from bottom half guard or when shrimping from bottom side control to recompose your guard you are getting choked with guillotines and similar chokes then the primary threat to defend is your opponent getting his arms in position to execute the choke — i.e. defend your neck. If from top half guard your opponent is getting the under hook and sweeping your or taking your back then obviously your opponent getting that under hook is the primary threat that must be defended.

This concept can be applied from the offensive perspective as well. If you have found that bottom half guard with the under hook is a position you are having a lot of success from then getting that under hook should be your main objective. If you like working from top side mount you need to keep your opponent on his back so you may want to consider that getting the cross face and blocking the hips are some of your main objectives.

In closing: Do you want to get better at jiu jitsu fast? Start looking at the concepts that make it work. If you’re new to the idea of “concepts” talk to your coach or experienced grapplers in your gym. There are also a ton of online resources available as well. Check them out.

Train hard. Train smart. Get better.

Joe Thomas

More articles by Joe here

Expanding your Jiu-Jitsu in a logical manner

I ran across this scenario and subsequent question not long ago: A white belt 6-8 months in has developed a decent closed guard but when his guard gets broken he has no answers to prevent the pass. His question was, “what’s another guard I can add to my game?”. That’s a great question, but a better question might be, “how do I figure this out myself? — how do I determine which positions and techniques to add to my game?”. Most grapplers will find themselves at the point of needing to evolve and expand their game many times during their journey. Sometimes you will adjust your game for competitive reasons, because of injury, or simply to continue moving towards a complete game. If you have a sound methodology for making these kinds of jiu jitsu decisions the process will become more efficient allowing you to progress more quickly. Here’s a few questions you can ask yourself during the process.

Have you explored all the options in the game you’re already playing? I would not try to discourage someone from expanding their game, but before you abandon something that has been successful, but no longer is – it may be worth spending some time trouble shooting. Perhaps with a few simple tweaks, you can get some more mileage out of that position. This may be especially relevant if you are trying to solve a problem for an upcoming tournament. A month before competition is not the best time to be revamping your game.

Does it solve the problem? If your training partners are using standing guard breaks and passes, spending a month studying half guard might not be as effective as spending a month transitioning from a broken closed guard to a single leg x guard, x guard, or de la riva guard.

Does it fit with the game you are already playing? Adding a new element will be easier if it shares some commonality with the game you’re already playing. All jiu jitsu fits….so maybe a better question here is “how will I make this fit into my game?”.

Does it fit with your physical attributes, skill set, and experience level? Every jiu jitsu practitioner has a different body type with different physical attributes and therefor certain positions and techniques will work better for some athletes than others. This definitely should be a consideration when expanding your game.

Is it the next logical step in regard to complexity and difficulty? If the two takedowns that had been working for you no longer are, then getting the fight to the ground would be a problem for you, and adding some additional techniques would make sense. Learning to do flying triangles and flying arm bars could be a possible solution, but you need to have the requisite skills in place first. If you are not already proficient at arm bars and triangles from more traditional positions and during transitions, then doing flying variations is most likely not the next logical step.

What does your coach think? If you have reached a point where you must expand your game to address a weakness, odds are your coach has also noticed you have an issue to address and has some direction for you. You can catch your coach before or after class, or even better, schedule a private lesson with them.

In conclusion: Efficiency is a core concept of jiu jitsu. Efficiency of movement is one of the things that allows smaller, weaker, or older people who have trained to prevail over those who haven’t. Why not apply this same principle when it comes to building your game?

Train hard. Train smart. Get better.

Joe Thomas

More articles by Joe here

Epi 203 Mike Bidwell From BJJ After 40

This week we have Mike Bidwell from BJJ after 40. We cover a huge range of topics in this show.

We talk about:

  • Mike’s start to martial arts
  • His early days of BJJ and MMA
  • The value of competing
  • Spending 13 years as a brown belt
  • Moving schools as a brown belt
  • Getting out of shape as a brown belt
  • Setting small goals to get to the next level
  • Talking with an instructor about your next belt
  • As a vegan what he likes to eat before training
  • Why he loves the triangle choke
  • Tips for having a good triangle choke
  • Goals for the BJJ after 40 practitioners
  • Starting BJJ while in your 40’s
  • Drilling take downs instead of doing them at full resistance
  • Dealing with injuries
  • Chasing a criminal that was messing with his car
  • Advice for BJJ players older than 40
  • The differences between a black belt and a brown belt
  • What it means to be yourself on the mat
  • The term “Flow Mike Bidwell”
  • Working with Nic Gregoriades
  • The Cryangle choke and how he came up with the name
  • Why the cryangle choke works best against the flexible opponent
  • Creating the body that you want to do BJJ with
  • Looking for the lessons when you get tapped out

Links:

Quote of the week: “No greater thing is created suddenly, any more than a bunch of grapes or a fig. If you tell me that you desire a fig, I answer you that there must be time. Let it first blossom, then bear fruit, then ripen.” Epictetus

Article of the week: What you need to know when transitioning from the gi

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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

Epi 202 Things BJJ Can Learn From MMA and Vice Versa

We can learn lessons from anywhere and find ways to bring these lessons to BJJ. An easy cross over is MMA. This episode we will be applying MMA ideas to BJJ and BJJ ideas to MMA.

BJJ learn from MMA

  • Athleticism maters
  • Top game is fun (and less tiring)
  • Position before submission or winning
  • Getting stuck can be game over
  • Have more than one coach (guard passing coach, takedown coach)

MMA learn from BJJ

  • Cleaner guard passes
  • Try a gi class to roll with the best grapplers in the area
  • Training not to win but to learn
  • Escapes with a gi
  • Long term focus

Quote of the week: “Never pick a fight with an ugly person, they’ve got nothing to lose.” Robin Williams

Article of the week: 3 Michael Langhi’s success rules

Mat Tales 24 Bitter Pill to Swallow

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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

Epi 201 Eddie Fyvie 1st Rickson Gracie Cup

This week we talk to Ricardo Almeida black belt Eddie Fyvie. Eddie is organizing an innovative tournament called the Rickson Gracie Cup. This tournament will feature both BJJ, self-defense, and a seminar by Rickson Gracie.

We talk about:

  • The Rickson Gracie Cup September 9 and 10
  • A Rickson Gracie seminar the evening of September 10
  • Promoting self defense with BJJ
  • The basic rules for the self defense contest
  • What is was like to host the biggest BJJ seminar in US history
  • Teaching BJJ to 320 people at the same time
  • What does self defense bring to jiu-jitsu
  • Not having advantages in this tournament
  • Using a stalling clock like a shot clock
  • Giving incentives for competitors to finish the match

Links:

Quote of the week: “You must not fight too often with one enemy, or you will teach him all your art of war.” Napoleon Bonaparte

Article of the week: Understand Where The Danger Is! And Don’t Be There!

A special thank you to Berry White for making a brief appearance!

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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

Epi 200 Kids BJJ Revolution Korbett Miller

We are proud to reach episode 200. We could have not made it without great listeners and guests. At this landmark episode we are thrilled to bring you an interview with BJJ black belt Korbett Miller. Korbett is dedicated to helping schools grow and promoting BJJ to the next generation of grapplers.

We talk about:

  • Being a successful school owner
  • The potential for a youth program in a BJJ school
  • Some of the benefits for kids doing BJJ
  • Kids BJJ compared to other martial arts programs for kids
  • Kids BJJ Revolution online training
  • Having over 200 kids at his school
  • Scheduling a kids class based off of when school gets out
  • How to get kids to pay attention and learn techniques
  • Having drills work like a game
  • Slow and right and fast and tight drills
  • Building grit in kids with BJJ
  • How to properly praise a student by talking about effort or strategy
  • Rolling vs drilling for kids and adults
  • How kids earn their white belt in his program
  • Goals of a kids program
  • Controlling the environment the kids are in not the kids themselves

Links:

Quote of the week: “Never let the fear of striking out get in your way.” Babe Ruth

Article of the week: 5 Common Mistakes in Cutting Weight

Mat Tale Epi 22 Saturday Schedule

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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

Epi 199 Venla & Hanna- Juggling Busy Lives and High Performance on the Mat

Hanna and Venla are BJJ black belts currently in Sweden from Finland.  They are both active competitors with busy schedules. Hanna is in med school, and Venla is a school teacher. Venla won worlds as a black belt in 2014 the same year she was awarded the rank of black belt.

We talk about:

  • Training BJJ in Sweden
  • BJJ in Finland
  • Treating BJJ as a hobby
  • Venla competing in Finland at ADCC 2017
  • They always follow the same training routine and it is working
  • Training 5-7 times a week
  • Having simple and focused training
  • Doing lots of positional sparring
  • Dealing with injuries
  • Traveling and doing BJJ
  • They share some of their teaching methods
  • Teaching 5-10 seminars a year
  • Teaching training methods not just techniques during a seminar
  • Off the mat benefits they are getting from BJJ
  • Balancing work life with BJJ
  • Dealing with nerves before a competition
  • Avoiding mindless repetitions while training

Links:

Quote of the week: “I wasn’t naturally gifted in terms of size and speed; Everything I did in hokey I worked for, and that’s the way i’ll be as a coach” Wayne Gretzky

Article of the week: Things to Remember When Learning Jiu Jitsu

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Catch us next week for another episode of The BjjBrick Podcast

Gary’s audio book this week is called Biceps, Triceps, Quadriceps, Pentacepts”

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

Can a Coach roll too much with the Students??

It is great to have a coach that will get on the mat with the students and train. It is often a badge of honor, a way to lead by example, and proof that the coach is a legitimate source of instruction.

This article is not an aid to help determine if your instructor is a sham. I simply want to invite coaches to consider an important tool for teaching jiu-jitsu.

If you are a coach and you roll every round, you might consider a different option. Try rolling most of the rounds with the students. Use the rounds that you sit out, to watch the students roll. This is a great opportunity to look for areas of improvement and discover strengths of your students. I know that you can do this when you roll with your students, but students roll differently with their coach.  By watching your students roll, your lesson plans can be adjusted to the needs of the room. Simply guessing what technique to work next is unlikely the most beneficial way to plan future lessons.

Observing students roll is also a good way to correct poor mat behavior. Someone may not be a mat bully to you or even able to put you in unsafe positions. But when you take a step back you can better identify a mat bully, and request that a change in behavior is made (something the rolling partner may not be willing to do for themselves).

Look across the spectrum of sports- coaches don’t typically take the role of participating to the degree of a BJJ coach. Why is that? I have two main reasons. The first, is most coaches in BJJ are actively trying to get better at the sport so their participation is benefiting themselves. The other reason speaks volumes about jiu-jitsu. In many cases coaches can outperform the students (even if they are significantly older or not as athletic). Therefore by being an “on the mat rolling coach” is providing the students with competitive and technical training sessions.

I am not advocating that coaches stop rolling with students. I am saying that it may be beneficial to take a step back and make observations and corrections from the sidelines. After all how many football coaches do you see putting pads on? How many basketball coaches are blocking shots? How many baseball coaches do you see hitting home runs? How many boxing coaches do you see land a knockdown punch?

Watch the video below to learn more about rolling too much with your students.

Great coaches may not always be doing the sport, but they are great at transferring knowledge and changing habits.

A wise coach will spend some time observing students and making changes.