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


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?


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

Epi 310 Three X No-Gi Black Belt World Champion Pati Fontes

This week we have an interview with Patricia Fontes. Patricia is a IBJJF black belt No-Gi World Champion in 2015, 2016, and 2017. Her interview covers a wide range of topics.

We talk about:

  • Her start to sports with ballet
  • Her move to the United States
  • Dealing with injuries
  • Training both Gi and nogi
  • Dealing with the stress of a tournament
  • Getting her black belt
  • Competing with black belts as a brown belt
  • Teaching kids BJJ
  • Keeping jiu-jitsu fun
  • Traveling to Brazil


Quote of the week: “Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication” Leonardo da Vinci

Article of the week: 5 Things You Learn as a White Belt Helping Teach the Kids Class


Catch us next week for another episode of The BjjBrick Podcast

The BjjBrick Podcast is in iTunesStitcher radio, and Google Play Music for Andriod This entry was posted

Epi 309 No-Gi Star Ashley Williams

This week we bring you an interview with one of Europe’s top competitors Ashley Williams.

We talk about:

  • His move to the Submission Only format
  • Fighting in Polaris and the 3 round system
  • Training for specific events
  • Dealing with a combination of injuries
  • Using a counter attack strategy
  • His experiences in EBI
  • Being in exciting matches
  • Dealing with losses
  • The change of the leg lock game
  • Tips for people to do better in competition
  • Different levels for each belt


Quote of the week: “The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.” Michelangelo

Article of the week: Make your BJJ training effortless

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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

5 Things You Learn as a White Belt Helping Teach the Kids Class

As a salty white belt, I can say beyond a shadow of a doubt that most of the improvements in my Jiu Jitsu and myself as a person can be traced back to a few months ago when I was asked by my Professor to help with the kids class. At first I was apprehensive, I didn’t know if I was ready for this or if I was good enough. I was NOT, but it turned out okay because soon I realized it was more about learning than teaching. Here are five things I’ve picked up spending time with the kids classes:

1. The Details

       Remember the sweep that coach just showed you but you can’t nail it down, or you complete it but it is so rough that it is unrecognizable compared to the beautifully executed and flawless sweep that was just preformed? That’s normal, and with any technique you will have to drill it for countless hours to nail it down perfectly. Want a shortcut? Teach the move to a couple of kids. You will be forced to look at the technique under a microscope, think about it in a different and more easily explainable way. This, after teaching the same technique countless times and correcting kids as they are drilling will make you remember every little detail, thus improving your understanding of the technique.

2. You Discover How Much Patience You Truly Have

            I can distinctly remember being five years old, tears flying out of my face and screaming like a banshee in karate class and just in general being a “brat”…I am paying for that now. Something you must never lose while working with children (this is applicable outside of BJJ) is your patience. You are forced to be the calm one, and try to handle the kids even at their worst. Just remember that the kids class will end, so be calm and think of a way through it, just like when that guy in class that outweighs you by a metric ton and decides that he is content tapping you with his famous side control. Maintaining your composer will help the kids in the long run, they will trust you and you will have a much easier time with them and in your rolls.

3. There are no Mistakes, Only Lessons

            It can be very easy to criticize yourself, flooding your head with defeat and doubt. This too will change if you begin teaching kids. When children are drilling or rolling you will naturally see some “mistakes” being made (just as with us white belts), you can use that as an opportunity to fix their technique and make it even better. Likewise, when you are rolling and you tap every 10 seconds, you learn not to beat yourself up (Your classmates are doing a good enough job at that) but rather to try and learn from where you fudged up and apply that lesson later on.

4. How to be a Counselor and Better Teammate

       Everyone has had one of those days. Your boss was a real big “Richard” or your significant other has decided not to play nice and you are just considering skipping training all together, but you grab that GI out of your closet, get the gym bag ready, shuffle out of your house and make your way to the Academy. Kids have those days too, whether it be a bully at school or a possible myriad of issues in home life. Over time the children will grow to trust you a respect you (If you have stuck to number 2 on this list) and they may come to you with these issues. It is important to maintain an atmosphere that kids will feel comfortable talking about their issues, just in the same way you can roll and maybe vent to a teammate that is willing to listen; then leave the academy feeling like a load was lifted from your chest.

5. What BJJ is Really About

            For most, BJJ started out as just a fun way to get in shape or meet new people. However if you stick with it you will notice something more. I know for me personally, after my first month helping with the kids class I felt to understand what this Jiu-Jitsu was about. We teach our kids that you do not need super powers, or loads of money to be a hero or help people, but rather you simply need to try your best. Just like Jiu-Jitsu requires you to give your best effort in order to improve, so too does life.

In conclusion: I can’t say you will experience the same benefits from helping in the kids class that I have…. But I’ll go out on a limb and predict that will be an experience from which you will grow both as a martial artist and as a person. If your instructor gives you the opportunity….GO.

By Randall Goodson

Epi 308 Believe & Achieve Adam Wheeler

This week we bring you an interview with Olympic Greco Roman medalists and BJJ black belt Adam Wheeler. Adam has a new book that shares much of his story. Adam’s book is Believe and Achieve: Overcoming Obstacles to Excel.

We talk about:

  • Some stories from his childhood
  • Transitioning from wrestling to BJJ
  • Gi and nogi training
  • Training safely
  • How to make the best out of a bad situation
  • Being around positive people


Quote of the week:”Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.” Arnold Schwarzenegger

We also recapped the second BjjBrick camp.


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