Never Underestimate the Value of The Comfort Zone

It’s often said, “growth takes place outside of your comfort zone”. While that is true, the implication is often that outside your comfort zone is the only place growth happens, and that’s not true at all.

Studies indicate that children do better in school when they come from a stable home, grow up primarily in the same community (as opposed to moving around), have an extended family network, live in a community with a low crime rate, etc. In other words, they flourish where they feel comfortable or safe, e.g. their comfort zones. People who work for companies that are stable and well managed with decent compensation that show appreciation to their employees and offer opportunity for advancement are generally happy and productive at work. Why? In part, because they are working from their comfort zone. Do children and adults also experience growth when the step out of their comfort zones? I think the answer certainly is yes, but in order to step out of their comfort zones, they must have a comfort zone to begin with.

I am proposing that jiu jitsu is probably not unlike other areas in life and that we benefit from having a comfort zone and operating a good deal of the time from there. Finding a home gym where you are comfortable and cultivating a good relationship with your teammates, then developing your “A” game, are a few crucial components to creating your comfort zone. A comfort zone in jiu jitsu would be one where you feel comfortable trying new things and failing. In your comfort zone you can expose your weaknesses and work on solving problems.

Even when you challenge yourself to step outside your comfort zone you can do it from within your comfort zone or take your comfort zone with you. Whoa…. Let me try to make sense of that. If you’ve been doing jiu jitsu for a while and have decided, it’s time to step outside your comfort zone and enter a competition you could just sign up for the next competition whether anyone from your team was going or not. It would make more sense though, to sign up for a competition that your school was going to as a team. You would be exposing your self to the rigors of competition intensity training while training with your teammates, you would be going through the weigh in process and finding your brackets and the correct mat with your teammates, you would have your coach or another teammate in your corner, you would have your team with you to support you if you lose and celebrate with you if you win, etc. etc. If you’re going to re-invent your game and try some things that are completely new, wouldn’t it be easier to do that with your favorite teammates in an environment where there was no pressure to be “winning” rounds?

In closing, I wouldn’t suggest that you take the one or the other approach, but that you would seek a healthy balance of both. Cultivate a great training environment that would be your comfort zone and then stretch the limits as needed and as appropriate.

Train hard. Train smart. Get better.

Joe

Epi 268 BjjBrick Extra Jeff Westfall

This episode we have an interview with Jeff Westfall.

We talk about:

  • His start in martial arts
  • Early Jiu-Jitsu in the USA
  • The Martial Brain Podcast
  • The concept of thinking outside of the box
  • The power of continuing education
  • Survivorship bias
  • Closed guard tips
  • Getting out of side control tips and ideas

Links:

Tip: Pulling workouts help develop muscles to add pressure to your game.

Question: The question involves taking private lessons from different instructors

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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 267 Joel Bouhey Talks Falcon Guard and Reverse Triangle

This week we have an interview with Luis Heredia Black Belt Joel Bouhey. You will find Joel training and teaching his innovative style in Maui.

 

We talk about:

  • Training BJJ in Oregan and Hawaii
  • Making the transition to full time training
  • Changing your focus while training
  • Training BJJ for MMA
  • BJJ for self defense
  • The development of new techniques
  • What is the falcon guard
  • The reverse triangle
  • Tips for training BJJ while traveling
  • Tips for competing while traveling

Links:

Quote of the week: “Sooner or later, those who win are those who think they can.” Paul Tournier

Article of the week: How to Measure Success in a Jiu-Jitsu Competition

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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 266 BJJ Blue Belts :)

This week we talk about blue belts. Getting a blue belt is an important step in your jiu-jitsu life. You will not forget the day you got the blue belt. It is often the first major mile stone in BJJ. This episode we talk about the ups and downs plus share a few stories from being BJJ blue belts.

Blue belt topics inculde:

  • Getting beat by white belts
  • Blue belt blues
  • Learning from teammates
  • Being an older blue belt
  • Dealing with the feeling of having a target on your back
  • Our games as blue belts
  • Helping white belts

We defy information about a seminar in Wichita Kansas.

Quote of the week: “Living in fear is not living; it is tantamount to being a prisoner of our own weaknesses, constantly awaiting the next injustice.” Gus Lee

Article of the week: The Brotherhood Extends Beyond the Mats

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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 265 Alliance Founder Romero Jacare Cavalcanti

This week we have Romero Jacare Cavalcanti. Jacare is well known in the Jiu-Jitsu community for being the founder of the Alliance Jiu-Jitsu Team. Alliance is thought of as being the most successful BJJ team. He is also one of only six people to be promoted to black belt by Rolls Gracie.

We talk about:

  • Becoming a black belt in 1982
  • Starting the team Alliance Jiu-Jitsu
  • Some of the reasons why Alliance has been so succesful
  • Only a small amount of students compete
  • Information about the Alliance affiliation
  • Running different classes for different students
  • Why it is important to have a beginner class
  • What the students do in the advance class
  • Keys to doing BJJ for a long time
  • Promoting over 200 black belts
  • His plans for moving to California
  • Growing Alliance Jiu-Jitsu affiliation
  • Advice for the hobbyist grappler

Links: Alliance Team

Quote of the week: “Nothing gives one person so much advantage over another as to remain always cool and unruffled under all circumstances.” Thomas Jefferson

Article of the week: Value this time on the mats kids

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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 264 Top MMA Grappling Coach Neil Melanson

This week we have an interview with Neil Melanson. Neal is one of the top MMA coaches in the world working with fighters such as Chael Sonnen, Vitor Belfort, and Randy Couture. He has made a recent move back to Las Vegas and has plans on opening a gym with Ricky Lundell. This interview is packed full of great advice for competitive grapplers, pro MMA athletes and everyday hobby martial artist.

We talk about:

  • Being back in Las Vegas
  • What you don’t train someone to do can be important
  • Strategies in MMA grappling
  • Leg locks in MMA
  • Room for growth in the leg lock game
  • How your body type can dictate your style of grappling
  • The growth of the no-gi game
  • Learning to fight off of the fence
  • The idea of mastery for grappling
  • His next instructionals
  • Opening up a gym with Ricky Lundell in Las Vegas
  • The need to always be growing

Links:

Quote of the week: “I remember once, actually the first race I ran, I fell.” Usain Bolt

Article of the week: Is It Ok For Beginners To Start Training No-Gi Only?

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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 263 BjjBrick Extra Tim Credeur

This episode we have Tim Credeur. Tim is an American Mixed Martial Artist, UFC veteran, and 3rd Degree Gracie Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt. He also has the distinction of being the first BJJ Black Belt in Louisiana.

We talk about:

  • Growing up with martial arts in his life
  • His first thoughts while seeing early UFCs
  • His first MMA fight
  • Why it is important to be consistant
  • Starting BJJ
  • What methods of starting jiu-jitsu works best for the long term
  • Advice for doing a tournament
  • Training tips for developing your game
  • How to normalize competitive environments

Links:

Gladiators Academy

Tim Credeur on Instagram

Books Tim Recommens

Tip: Roll one extra round if you have time

Question: What do you eat before you train?

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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

The Brotherhood Extends Beyond the Mats

Much is made of the comradery between teammates and the relationships developed on the mats. Have you ever wondered why relationships run deep and the level of trust between training partners is so high?

I would suggest that there are two main reasons:

1) As it relates to jiu jitsu, the truth is always revealed on the mats. If you talk a big game and exaggerate your skill level, you will be exposed as a fraud very quickly. Being completely honest and transparent in one aspect of your life leads to being honest and transparent in other areas so teammates get to know the real you fairly quickly.

2) You are literally putting your physical well-being in the hands of your teammates and they are doing the same with you. When you’ve trusted someone not to break your arm when they’ve had the chance it’s pretty easy to trust them with less crucial things.

I recently was able to benefit from this brotherhood when I needed the old siding on my house removed and replaced with new. One of my training partners Javier San Miguel runs a roofing/home repair company, San Miguel Roofing. San Miguel Roofing is located in Clute Texas which is due south of Houston. I just got done doing some interior work and had a horrible experience with the contractor so for the exterior work I was definitely looking for someone I could trust. My wife cautioned me about hiring a friend out of concern that if things went sideways the friendship would be ruined. I told her I felt I knew Javier pretty well and had good reason to trust him (see paragraph A)

We couldn’t be happier with the outcome. Either Javier, or his father Jose who helps manage the business, was at the job site every day to ensure the work was being done correctly and getting completed on time. I would summarize the outcome this way: Quality work done by professional craftsmen.

Not only has this relationship benefited me, but it has benefited Javier as well in that it was additional work for his business. If you have a teammate who owns, operates, or manages a local business consider giving them your business before you hire someone else. Jiu Jitsu is a community both on and off the mats, and as such, when we have the opportunity to support and/or help one another we should do so.

If you are a BJJ Brick listener and happen to be in the Houston or Brazoria County area and know someone who may be looking for home roofing or home remodel services Javier can be contacted here — San Miguel Roofing or Facebook – San Miguel Roofing

Train hard. Train smart. Get better.

Joe

Epi 262 Jay Hieron Talks MMA, Jiu-Jitsu and Stunt Work

This Week we have an interview with Jay Hieron. Jay is a former World Champion Welterweight Professional Mixed Martial Artist. Jay also stars alongside Denzel Washington in The Equalizer 2

We talk about:

  • Starting MMA
  • His first thoughts about BJJ
  • His level of training today
  • Transitioning into stunt work and acting
  • How martial arts has helped him outside of the cage
  • Training for stunt work
  • Being lit of fire
  • Doing stunt driving
  • The importance of a good reputation
  • Having a martial arts mind frame
  • Learning film fighting
  • The importance of enjoying what you do

Links:

Quote of the week: “Reject any doctrine – religious, atheist, political, cultural, etc. – that is teaching you not to befriend the people you happen to meet”.

Article of the week: Dating And Training: How To Make It Work

The phrases “subtle good looks” was used to describe Gary. I have always liked this phrase because it sounds like a complement at first.

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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

Value this time on the mats kids

The following is a monologue by Billy Crystal from the movie City Slickers and was sent to me from my friend and 60+ year old grappler Andy Dicky. In the movie Mitch (played by Billy Crystal), Phil, and Ed are all experiencing their own mid-life crises and take a two-week vacation at a dude ranch to figure things out. The scene that this monologue is from features Mitch speaking to his son’s middle school class on career day prior to leaving for the dude ranch.

Value this time in your life kids… Because this is the time in your life when you still have choices, and it goes by so quickly. When you’re a teenager you think you can do anything, and you do. Your twenties are a blur. Your thirties, you raise your family, you make a little money and you think to yourself, “what happened to my twenties?”. Your forties, you grow a little pot belly, you grow another chin… the music starts to get too loud and one of your old girlfriends from high school becomes a grandmother. Your fifties you have a minor surgery…you’ll call it a procedure, but it’s a surgery. Your sixties you have a major surgery, the music is still too loud, but it doesn’t matter because you can’t hear it anyway. Seventies, you and the wife retire to Fort Lauderdale, you start eating dinner at two, lunch around ten, and breakfast the night before. You spend most of your time wandering around malls looking for the ultimate in soft yogurt and muttering “how come the kids don’t call?”. By your eighties, you’ve had a major stroke, and you end up babbling to some Jamaican nurse who your wife can’t stand, but you call mamma. Any questions?

What’s the point of sharing this with you? Is it to make sure we understand that this is as good as it’s going to get? To warn you that from here on your life will get progressively worse with the passage of time? Not at all. But things will definitely be different, and not all those differences will be “good”. Our knees, our backs, our shoulders, our central nervous systems and reflexes, etc. are examples of things that deteriorate with age. This means our experiences on the mats at 45 will not be the same as they were in our 30’s…in our 50’s our experiences on the mats won’t be the same as they were at 45. Our experiences won’t be the same over the years, but they can still be great.

Don’t waste time looking back with regret because you did not start sooner or did not pursue jiu jitsu with the passion that you now wish you would have. Don’t waste time looking down the road and worrying about your physical attributes fading and your body breaking down and the things that you may no longer be able to do. Instead, live in the moment. Enjoy your time on the mats today. Make the most out of each class, each round that you roll, each tournament you enter, each seminar you attend, etc. This moment is the only one that is guaranteed. Value this time on the mats.

Train hard. Train smart. Get better.

Joe

Here is the clip!