Epi 318 An Amazing Journey with Stephan Kesting

We talk about:

  • His start with martial arts
  • His first experiences with grappling
  • Starting Grapplearts.com
  • Getting a life saving kidney transplant from his brother
  • Doing his 1000 mile canoe expedition
  • Some of the tools he carried
  • Dealing with difficult weather
  • Jiu-jitsu training tips
  • Building a big gas tank for the mats
  • Being a problem solver
  • Dealing with the dangers of the water
  • Dealing with isolation
  • Staying safe when bears are near
  • The cost of a big trip like this
  • Pushing your limits

Links:

Quote of the week: The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing. Walt Disney

Article of the week: Be A Better Coach by Not Instructing Your Students

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

Epi 317 Living the Dream Nick Unander

This is our second interview with Black Belt Nick Unander. You will find Nick training and teaching in Paralimni Cyprus. Nick had a recent health scare and he updates us on his story and shares much wisdom about his continued BJJ journey.

We talk about:

  • Teaching BJJ in Cyprus
  • Having tourist train in his academy
  • Dealing with a recent health scare
  • The roles of a coach
  • Making adjustments to his workouts
  • Changing his diet to be more healthy
  • His plans for travel
  • What should new students be working on?
  • Training in a difficult environment
  • Training on a tight schedule
  • Advice for starting BJJ as an older student

Links:

Quote of the week: “Definiteness of purpose is the starting point of all achievement.” ―W. Clement Stone

Question of the week: As a blue belt, I am going to try no-gi for the first time, any tips?

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 AndriodThis entry was posted in Uncategorized by byronjabara. Bookmark the permalink.

Epi 316 Top Level Competitor Dante Leon

This week we have an interview with Dante Leon. We cover everything from getting ready for ADCC to tips for the listeners.

We talk about:

  • Training both gi and no-gi
  • Training with specific rules in mind
  • Training for a particular person or training to take on a bracket
  • Kicking in the door of the black belt division
  • Staying healthy and lifting weights
  • Training around injuries
  • Training for professional vs recreational
  • Getting your mind and body ready for peak performance
  • The importance of his team
  • Training smart
  • Tips for lifting to get better at BJJ

Links:

Quote of the week: “If you cannot do great things, do small things in a great way.” -Napoleon Hill

Article of the week: The Gentle Art of Choking

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 AndriodThis entry was posted in Uncategorized by byronjabara. Bookmark the permalink.

Be A Better Coach by Not Instructing Your Students

I’d like to take a minute to share with you an awesome training experience I recently had in the gym. The experience was very enlightening. I saw a fellow student, an accomplished brown belt, spend the entire time during the learning new technique portion of class assisting a brand-new student without ever once telling him he had done something wrong. Here’s the story….

            I showed up a little late which is common when I’m at work and the students were already drilling the first set of instructions the coach had given. I stood with the coach observing and B.S.ing with him until it came time for him to show the next set of details in the technique. After that I needed to pick a pair of students to work in with – I had noticed my friend Josh working with this brand new guy (a guy about 15 whose parents were on the sidelines) so I joined them thinking Josh could do the technique on me and that would give him a chance to explain all the details as he executed the move. Here’s how that went….

            It started with me on my back with my feet on Josh’s hips. Of course, in a real fight there would be grips to break and other things to deal with but for now we were just working the mechanics of the pass. The new guy had already repped this on Josh….so Josh stuffed one of my feet and then crouched over it effectively eliminating that foot from the equation. Josh said “just like you stuffed my foot and took a low stance, I’m going to do the same thing. I like to really crowd my opponent because it takes away any power or leverage he can generate” ….”then just like you put your right hand on my left hip…I’m going to do the same thing, I like to connect my knee and elbow because it prevents Joe from getting a knee shield and starting to develop a half guard”…..”then I grab his sleeve, the same way you did and pull up so he can’t get on a shoulder or worse for me on his elbow”…. “I sidestep a little and then with my right leg I pin his right leg to the deck just like you did, I like to be closer to his knee because….” The whole night was like this. At every step Josh was providing the new guy with some direction and guidance while at the same time telling how many things he was actually doing right.

            I’m not saying this is the only (or even the best) but in this instance I think there were two main positive outcomes. The first is that people are more likely to listen to your instruction when it is delivered with compliments in a positive manner. The second, and I think this is huge, is that I believe the kid left class very optimistic about his chances at succeeding in jiu jitsu. I can imagine him getting in his car and telling his parents “I think I could be pretty good at this”. Isn’t that the way we would like all new students to leave class?

Train hard. Train smart. Get better.

Joe

Epi 315 One Month of Training in One Day

This week we hope to help you accelerate your BJJ training. Every now and then you have a day on the mat that produces great growth. We talk about days we have had like this and help you to create more of them for yourself.

Byron, Gary, and Joe

We talk about:

  • Is it possible to experience one month of growth in one day
  • Attending seminars
  • Increasing your training
  • What to do before class to help you have a great class
  • Preparing for a seminar
  • Creating better training days
  • Having great training partners
  • Learning from teaching BJJ
  • Taking a private lesson
  • How instructors create accelerated learning
  • Gary doing better vs the kids class

Quote of the week: “You got to go down a lot of wrong roads to find the right one” Bob Parsons co-founder of godaddy

Comment of the week: “One thing jiu-jitsu has taught me for life is, when you are under tons of pressure, always keep in mind to breathe and not panic, cause there is always a window to change your outcome. Learn that no matter how hard the struggle is in that moment, when you see the opportunity present itself, learn from the struggle and enjoy the outcome.” Chris from the BjjBrick private FB group

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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 314 Atos Black Belt Nikki Sullivan

This week we have an interview with Atos Black Belt Nikki Sullivan. Nikki has a wealth of information and her down to earth style is great to hear in the interview.

We talk about:

  • Writing for Belt 2 Belt and Yoga for BJJ
  • Starting martial arts at her college
  • Doing her first BJJ competition
  • Making a change to do BJJ full time
  • Getting her black belt
  • The value of her coaches and teammates
  • Trusting your coach
  • Internal dialog for BJJ
  • Keeping a positive attitude
  • Using movies and music to change your mood
  • When to take time off

Links:

Quote of the week: “A good firefighter knows how, an educated firefighter knows why.” Chris Walker

Article of the week: How do you drag yourself out of the BJJ slump

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

Epi 313 Masters 7 Purple Belt Dave Brown

This week we have in interview with 61 year old purple belt Dave Brown. Dave has had several live changing results from BJJ. This interview Dave shares his story of weight loss and success on the competitive mats.

We talk about:

  • His start to BJJ after watching his son in a tournament
  • His wrestling background
  • How BJJ got his health going in the right direction
  • Working with his doctor to be safe with his training
  • His off the mat training of weights and running
  • Competing as a blue belt
  • Getting his purple belt
  • Training with his son
  • Dealing with being sore and injuries
  • His goals for Masters Worlds
  • Doing at least one tournament a month
  • The advantage of his schedule

Links:

Quote of the week: “The fire service is 150 years of tradition unimpeded by progress.” Old fire saying

We answer a question about what someone who has been training for about a year should be working on.

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 AndriodThis entry was posted in Uncategorized by byronjabara. Bookmark the permalink.

Epi 312 Learning while rolling

In this episode we talk about one of the most important things to learning BJJ efficiently. You need to be learning while you roll. We share a bunch of tips for a variety of situations.

We talk about:

  • Tips for rolling while you are new
  • Training with someone that has much more skill
  • Looking at common things in your defeats
  • Giving advice while rolling
  • Asking questions while rolling
  • Keeping a good attitude

Quote of the week: “Take the wood and make one of your own” Donatello

Article of the week: Top 5 Taboo Topics in BJJ

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 AndriodThis entry was posted in Uncategorized by byronjabara. Bookmark the permalink.

Epi 311 How Training BJJ Saved Josh Myers

This week we have an interview with Josh Myers. Josh credits BJJ with being a part of surviving cancer.

We talk about:

  • His start to BJJ
  • Getting a cut inside his mouth from hard training
  • Getting diagnosed with cancer
  • Getting skin grafts
  • Putting stress on your body
  • Other health benefits of BJJ
  • Tap Cancer Out
  • How to help a friend that has cancer

Links: Josh shares his story here

Quote of the week: “Time is a vindictive bandit to steal the beauty of our former selves. We are left with sagging, rippled flesh and burning gums with empty sockets.” Raphael

Q&A What is the first top dominant position i should work on?

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

Josh Myers and his Journey with Cancer

My Journey with cancer all began “officially” on November 9th, 2017.  Of course it had started months prior to that official date, unbeknownst to myself.  

I am a very active person and one of my favorite things to do is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.  One night, on September 11th, while training here in Medicine Lodge, I got struck in the cheek. My training partner was attempting to take my back and came around and hit me in the face.  This was an accident, of course and just one of the things that you just expect to happen in a sport like that. Things like that are exactly why we wear mouth guards, after all.  I knew immediately that it had cut my inner cheek, so I did what most MEN would do…. I was going to let it heal naturally.

At this point in my story it is the end of September, and I have been dealing with this cut for a couple weeks.  I finally began talking to my wife about it and she wanted me to get checked out. As fate would have it, I had recently changed jobs and while I had insurance coverage at this point, there had been a snafu and I didn’t have my card, nor was I very sure exactly how good  this new insurance was going to be.  I was busy and it was going to be kind of a pain, so I toughed it out and continued on.  All the while I am still training Jiu Jitsu. My training partners are aware of the injury and began urging me to see the dr aswell.

Toward the end of October, the insurance was a non-issue, things had slowed down a bit, and was READY to go to the doctor to get this thing dealt with.  My first visit was with a doctor at our local hospital who referred me to an Ear Nose and Throat specialist in Wichita. He didn’t think that there was any reason to be concerned, but “better safe than sorry”.  The fact that I was now being referred to a “specialist” made me put it off yet a little longer. Shortly after the first of November, I finally gave in and called the specialist to schedule my appointment. The date for this appointment was set up for November 9th.  To this point CANCER had never been mentioned, thought of, or insinuated.  There was no reason for this to have even crossed my mind at this point.  After all I have never smoked, never chewed, and am a very light drinker. I just didn’t have any of the risk factors associated with cancer.   

The day of my appointment with the Ear Nose and Throat specialist arrived; he had a look in my mouth and then immediately asked if his colleagues could come and get a look too, I began to get a little worried.  At this point I really just wanted this guy to sew my mouth up and let me be on my way. They all left the room and came back to tell me that while they had NO reason to believe that it was cancer, they would like to take a biopsy of it just the same.  Let me just say that the biopsy was just as painful as it sounds.  

I left that appointment thinking one thing….”HOW CAN I HAVE CANCER!?”  It wasn’t official yet but the drive home alone from Wichita was difficult.  My mouth hurt even more than it had been before and the word CANCER was now swirling around in my head.  I made it and I called all of the people that I NEEDED to during that initial drive home from Wichita. My wife was first of course, and then my Mom and Dad.  They all were my rock through this: from day one they had me. But not just my actual family but my Jiu Jitsu family. My training partners held me up in an extremely difficult time. Continued to push me to train when I felt good enough.  They pushed me and kept me positive. Pake McNally is my instructor, and my other main training partner Ryan Cope.   

Of course the results of a biopsy aren’t instant, and even though it was just a few days the wait was agonizing.  I called the next day and the next and the next….I couldn’t stand it. I knew that it was negative – it HAD to be – I just needed to hear it.  

On November 13th at 3:30 in the afternoon I got THE call.  I was at work and so I went to my pickup and took the call.  The doctor then proceeded to explain that the results came back positive for cancer, but that he truly believed that it was a type of cancer that is caused by a strain of HPV.  Getting a positive result for a STD isn’t something that anyone wants typically, but the doctor explained that it would explain why I had cancer, and if it was derived from that it would be much easier to treat, so we hoped for a positive STD test result.  Another round of waiting for results, and of course it would also take a couple days to get them back. Fast forward three more days of waiting and multiple calls to inquire about the status of my test, I finally got THE call – 2.0.  They told me that they had figured out the strain of cancer and it was not derived from a STD, it was in fact: Squamous Cell Carcinoma, which is essentially a strain of skin cancer.

 So it begins in earnest.  The ENT referred me to an oral surgeon in the Wichita area for the following week.  When we arrived to this appointment, he took one look inside my mouth and immediately told me that my options were limited.  He informed me that “it” had attached to the muscle inside my cheek and that “it” was no longer anything that he could remove.  This was getting more complicated because “it” was going to be something that a team of surgeons would be required to take care of.  And not just any team of surgeons: a special team of surgeons – one of only two such teams in the United States that are able to perform this type of surgery. One of these teams being in Kansas City at KU Cancer Center and the other being in Houston.  Logistically, the choice was obvious: we were going to Kansas City.

When we met with the surgeon and his fellow, they explained that they would have to remove the mass and then place a flap of my own grafted skin and tissue over that area within my cheek.  They would take the main tissue graft that would go inside my cheek from my arm, and then place a very thin skin graft from my thigh over the area on my arm and then put the arm in a cast for the duration of the time I would be in the hospital.  They talked about breathing tubes and feeding tubes and recovery time. It all seemed crazy and surreal to me. At this point I had to give in and quit training. As much as I wanted to be there I couldn’t stand the pain.  

After our initial meeting with the surgeon at KU Med in Kansas City and the CT scan, PET scan, and all of the blood draws – they set my date for surgery: December 15.  When the day came I was in a lot of constant pain, eating was quite difficult at that point, and I was SO ready to be DONE.  

Little did I know that I was a VERY long way from being DONE.  The days in the hospital were a blur for me. My amazing wife stayed by me nearly every hour I was there.  I had a feeding tube. I couldn’t speak due to the breathing tube. The experience goes beyond being surreal.  My arm was in a cast and I had NO idea what was underneath it. I found out later that it was slightly more extreme than I had initially imagined.  After 7 days in the hospital I was released to go home on the 22nd of December.  

Just in time for Christmas. 

The trip home from KC to Kiowa was slightly less than desirable and quite nerve-wracking for everyone involved, but we got it done.  At that point I was eating thru a feeding tube every 3 hours and couldn’t do or say a lot. The healing process throughout this whole thing was unbelievable.  I gradually got stronger through the support of my family and friends. Also my amazing community lifted me up in their arms more times than I could count. The outpouring of messages that I got from the BJJ community was insane.  Gyms from all over the state sent donations and most importantly an amazing amount of encouragement.

In the days to follow there were lots of visits from friends and there were a lot of Disney movies watched in our household.  I slept the days away just trying to heal. When the day came that they told me I could finally have food again I was beyond thrilled.  That feeling only lasted so long though. As I started my radiation treatments at the end of January. 5 days per week for 6 weeks – 30 sessions all together.  I just wanted to be back in the gym. Feeling normal and doing the things that would help me feel that way.

I was driven to Wichita by an army of volunteers that I couldn’t even begin to name off of the top of my head.  Some of you are here tonight. I remained strong and fought through the nasty radiation and FINALLY at the end, the side effects really got to me.  

I couldn’t drink water or eat food.  I was back to using a feeding tube which I SWORE would NEVER happen again.  I kept telling myself that once the radiation was over I was finally going to be DONE and could get on with my life… as I keep finding out during this process: that just simply isn’t the case.  

I have come leaps and bounds from where I was 6 months ago.  But I still have a very long way to go. As of my latest appointment with my surgeon I am told that I am cancer free, my mouth is healing well, and that things will be improving but that I should also expect that sometimes things aren’t going to be so good.  

I am back to working full time as a GM technician in Kiowa, and back to training Jiu Jitsu.  I competed in a tournament in April. Yes I actually competed in a competition with guys that had been training for years and are healthy individuals.  It was something I had to do to make myself feel more like me again.  

After this experience rediscovering what NORMAL is has been a difficult endeavor.  I don’t feel like the same person I was a year ago. I know that mentally I’m not the same person, or at least I hope that I’m not.  This journey is one that I never imagined myself to be on. I was and still am beyond thankful for all of the support that I received.  All of the survivors that stepped up and called me to just let me know that I wasn’t alone, I was continually surrounded by a group of people that understood what I was going through.  

My battle is not over… this journey is really only just beginning for me.  I will continue to heal and grow as a person and develop a NEW and hopefully a better – certainly different – normal.  

UPDATE:As of January 2019 I am cancer free.  I am set to get scans every 6 months. I have gone through many many more Drs Appointments.  I have gone through speech therapy. I have been diagnosed with Trismus also known as LockJaw.  This is something that I will battle my entire life. It will effect the way I eat and drink. It will effect the way I talk.  I currently can only open my mouth up a 1/2″ at the very most. Most of the time its closer to 1/4” I stretch daily and struggle but stay positive and keep moving forward.  You can’t let a diagnosis define you. The power of positivity is definitely real. In September of 2018 I competed in a tap out cancer tournament. It was an amazing experience.  The Tap Cancer out Foundation raises money To cure Juvenile cancer. I would urge anyone out there to look into their tournaments. My Next and Last tournament was last June in Wichita Kansas.  I got 3rd place and competed stronger than ever before.  I feel good and Jiu Jitsu is what I believe to be the primary reason for that.  When things are off Jiu Jitsu is there.

Josh Myers