How BJJ Helped Me With Officiating Football

Okay so there have been a couple podcasts talking about and asking about how other sports and BJJ interact. Joe Thomas talked about his fishing experiences, and brought up articles of different activities and their interaction; Gary Hull related a lot to basketball as a player and coach; and Byron Jabara … well… I am surprised how little he knows about sports LOL!

Anyway, I have been officiating youth and high school football for 20-plus years, and part of being an official is being calm under pressure. How in the world does football officiating help me in my BJJ journey? I believe that attribute helped me in my BJJ journey because one of the minute, but important aspects of BJJ I quickly learned, and am STILL learning is how you have to breathe and be calm in uncomfortable situations, and as a white belt, I am in a LOT of uncomfortable situations. To the outsider, this may not mean a whole lot, but when I was placed under the pressure of side control, knee on belly, americana, and various chokes, I quickly learned what pressure is, and no doubt, I panicked at times. However, my years of officiating under pressure kicked in, and while I still had anxiety and panic, I found myself not freaking out, but rather wondering things like, “What the hell?”, “How did he do that?”, “OMG, that is brutal pressure!”, and several more things. The point is, is that I was actually thinking of how to combat the moves, whether I used proper BJJ techniques or not… mostly, I did not use proper technique, and also learned that I better keep my arms close to me, and my elbows closer! Remaining calm enabled me to rationalize the experience the anxiety as a learning experience, rather than frustration, anger, or hopelessness. Not only is important in the short term, as I get smashed in a class or two, but also over the long term, over the span of a week, month, a few months, and more. Note that I have only been practicing BJJ for 11 months. There are factors and excuses that would make people quit BJJ,, and the mental aspect of it appears to be a bigger reason that just being physically beat down is.

So has BJJ helped me with my football officiating? Absolutely! Learning to be calm in BJJ has improved my on field demeanor, because on the mats, I learned about different kinds of pressure and anxiety not necessarily experienced on the football field… or I should hope not! I would never want to find the need to place a coach in a D’arce in order to calm him down while explaining why his team was flagged for a foul! Another thing I learned in BJJ that improved my field demeanor is being humble, and that is a reflection of the quality of the professors I learn from. Sure we all learn confidence, but when you couple that with humility, your mind thinks differently, and you end up rationalizing things differently. In BJJ, it seems like if you are placed in a pressure situation, you have to be calm, remember the of ways to combat that pressure, and rationally decide what to do to relieve that pressure. So on the field, I have to think of a number of ways to deal with the pressure , be it a coach, player, parents, fans, and any play that just happened. Basically, the BJJ mindset in this example forces a way of thinking to be 1) calm, 2) to look at a situation from several angles, and 3) to make the best choice possible to deal with that pressure.

So from the football officiating POV, being calm, humble, and rational is very important when dealing with close & controversial situations and making quick decisions (foul or no foul), then dealing with the fallout with players, fans, and especially coaches. The same can be said from the BJJ POV… being calm, humble, and rational is very important when dealing with close & controversial situations and making quick decisions (sweep, grips, choke, counter), then dealing with the reaction of your opponent’s moves and counters.

Lastly, I also credit BJJ getting my legs, cardio, and flexibility at a much higher level than in years past. I don’t think I have to explain the physical part of this part, LOL! But more so the mental part of my game has improved on both my officiating as well as my BJJ fronts.

Gerald Burgos

BJJ By The Month- January

One of the best ways to learn BJJ is to have focus on a particular aspect of your game. Join us on this journey as we train with a different focus every month. As the weeks go by you should notice a improvement in your BJJ ability. Join the community on our FB group

January 2019- Guard Submissions

Let start off the year with working from a place you can start a roll with. Pull guard and work on your submission game. Feel free to work in a sweep from time to time or a sweep might be your setup for a submission. If you get the sweep remember that you should be working on guard submissions and not your top game this month.

Here are some videos to help get you started taking your guard attacks to the next level. So let’s go to BJJ school before hitting the mats.

Here John Danaher helps you with understanding the closed guard.

Some key notes to look out for in this video

  • Your opponent is not truly on top of you
  • Using a knee pull
  • Making your opponent vulnerable to attacks
  • Upgrading a neutral position

In this video Jon Tomas helps us avoid some mental mistakes that limit our guard game.

Some notes from this video

  • Don’t box yourself into a particular guard type
  • Trying new guards for a minimum about of time
  • Finding rest spots from guard

This video by Alec Baulding will help prevent you from getting your passed

In this video you should learn

  • About framing
  • Good hip movement
  • When do stop attacking and start defending the pass

In the next video Jason Scully shows 55 high percentage closed guard techniques. There is a over load of info here. You might just pick two or three to work on.

Epi 333 Bounce Back After An Injury

This week we have a topic episode about recovering from an injury. We cover multiple articles from a variety of sports to help get you back on the mat better and faster.

We talk about:

  • Doing physical therapy
  • Taking things one day at a time
  • Pain science
  • Changing your game
  • Mental effects of being injured
  • Finding a good doctor
  • Staying positive
  • Getting back stronger
  • Having a good diet

Articles covered:


Quote of the week: “All you need to paint is a few tools, a little instruction, and a vision in your mind.” Bob Ross

Question of the week: What is the favorite thing you learned this year in bjj?

Catch us next week for another episode of The BjjBrick Podcast

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Epi 332 Maine Miller From Grappling Rewind Looks Back At 2019

Maine Miller is a purple belt in BJJ and host the Grappling Rewind Podcast. Grappling Rewind is a podcast that focuses on covering competitive Jiu-Jitsu from week to week. This episode Maine does a recap of 2019 Jiu-Jitsu.

We talk about:

  • Starting the Grappling Rewind podcast
  • What events the Grappling Rewind covers
  • Some highlight of ADCC 2019
  • Spyder Invitational 2019
  • Super fights in 2019
  • How the rules will change the fights
  • Building BJJ in the future
  • How good commentary helps grow BJJ


Quote of the week: “Talent is a pursued interest. Anything that you’re willing to practice, you can do.” Bob Ross

Article of the week:

Catch us next week for another episode of The BjjBrick Podcast

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Epi 331 The Mighty Dames Torrie O’neil

This week we have an interview with Torrie O’neil founder of The Mighty Dames. The Mighty Dames is a community of women grapplers classified as heavy weight (over 160lbs)

We talk about:

  • Her start with BJJ
  • Her style of jiu-jitsu
  • Starting The Mighty Dames
  • Having a game that matches your body type
  • Her struggles with starting BJJ
  • Helping new students with support
  • Helping girls get good fitting gis
  • Training gi and no-gi
  • What to expect at a tournament
  • How to treat training partners


Quote of the week: “You can’t change the people around you but, you can change the people around you.”

Article of the week: Jiu-jitsu and Vedanta: Four Yogic Paths to Mastery

Catch us next week for another episode of The BjjBrick Podcast

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Epi 330 Training For Different Situations

This week we talk about different training situations you might find yourself in and how to get the most of them.

  • Training while injured
  • Training for a tournament
  • Getting the most out of a tight schedule
  • Training when you are the best student in class
  • Training when you are the worst student in class
  • Training when you are on the road
  • Training with Joe


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

Article of the week:

Catch us next week for another episode of The BjjBrick Podcast

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“Jiujitsu and Vedanta: Four Yogic Paths to Mastery”

There are many approaches regarding the correct or best way to practice Brazilian Jiujitsu. A high-level coach will state that he/she has the best path, while another who went through a different path will say that her/his is the right one. When we step back and analyze their point of view, we will come to the conclusion that they are all correct. In the same vein a Kimura can be called a double-wrist lock, key-lock, or ude-garami, the various approaches all lead to mastery and eventually to becoming a black belt.

Truth is One, sages call it by various names. This is from the Rig Veda, a Hindu text written over 3,000 years ago stating that as long as a path is seeking the truth, it will eventually lead to enlightenment. Yoga established four paths to enlightenment that all lead to the same truth of self-realization: Bhakti (belief), Jnana (knowledge), Karma (work), and Raja (concentration). According to Vedanta any combination of the paths or any one path by itself is enough. I will attempt to show that the different approaches to attaining mastery of this gentle art are all equally correct.

Bhakti Yoga (Belief):

This is the path that emphasizes devotion, trust, and belief. The person in this path enjoys participating in the more formal and traditional aspects of the art and has complete trust in their teacher. They usually bow in and out of the mats, and look forward going to team events and competing. They embody Titiksha, or patient endurance, meaning bad weather and feeling slightly tired will not deter them from getting to class early. Even when injured, they may still attend class and participate by watching and taking notes.  

The student has complete trust in the knowledge of their coach and attempts everything the instructor says. This allows for direct communication and seamless transfer of knowledge from coach to student. They will learn through a tested process everyone in that lineage went through. Benefitting from those who came before and guidance from their coach mastery is attained.

During a tournament, I had just taken my opponent’s back but was getting reset back in the middle of the mat. My coach Tracey Taylor asked me, “what day it is?” I loudly replied that it was “C-Day”. Everyone around us was confused. However, in our gym “C-Day” was the day we practice back attacks. This trust and direct communication allowed me to re-center and eventually win the match.

Jnana Yoga (Knowledge):

This is the path of knowledge and wisdom. Through logic, reason, and experience one discerns between true and untrue and between permanent and temporary. This practitioner enjoys figuring out the minute details of a technique and strategizing. They enjoy figuring out the most effective techniques based on physical attributes and level of experience. They are open to suggestion but will take it with a grain of salt until they can actually implement it while rolling. 

Learning and growth becomes the priority while training. As such, they enjoy rolling with more experienced teammates and welcome starting in disadvantageous position. They will even play “games” only known to them like only using one hand or only finishing with a certain type of submission just to see what will happen. They put a lot of time and energy to fully grasp one technique. This enables them to transfer what works for one technique and apply it to other techniques as well as situations outside the mat. This practitioner gains mastery of the art by thoroughly understanding principles and concepts.

Another coach of mine, Matt Ricehouse, is one of the most analytical and cerebral practitioners I have ever met. He is able to distill complex techniques into simple concepts. He can tell you minute details of grip-fighting, and we go over those as well, but he just mentions “don’t let them touch your face.” If the opponent can touch your face, that means you’re getting punched or they have control of your collar. Prevent this and you are in good position to grip fight.

Karma Yoga (Work): 

This is unselfish action and practice without seeking or expecting any payment or reward. Often volunteering their own time and resources, they gain enjoyment from helping others. They train for the sake of training and put full effort in all aspects of the class, including the warmups. This practitioner is usually considered a great training partner. They are unselfish with their time: when they see a new person, they welcome them and help them get situated; they offer advice to less experienced practitioners; they sometimes volunteer to come early or stay after class to help sweep and mop the mats. All these are done without asking for or desiring any compensation or special privileges.

With this unselfish nature, almost everybody enjoys training with this person. Being turned down for a roll or not having a training partner is rare, allowing for more rolls and reps in the long-run. A rising tide lifts all boats. By unselfishly focusing on the improvement of their team-mates’ game, they gain mastery by indirectly forcing their own game to evolve and improve. 

This unselfish nature is found in most coaches and instructors who have already mastered the art. They share their knowledge to anyone wanting to learn. They help the community by providing their services, by participating in fundraisers, other unselfish acts. There are many stories of coaches influencing someone troubled or on the path to being criminal into someone who became positive role model and a credit to the community. 

This path ring true with our head coach Mike Rogers. He has unselfishly given so much time and resources to those in need. He’s offered free training, a roof over people’s head, and used his connections to help people get jobs or discounted services. 

Raja Yoga (Concentration):

The highest meditative state of Raja Yoga is called Samadhi. This can be compared to the state of Zen or the “flow state”. When the physical body, breath, mind, and consciousness are perfectly aligned, all distinctions between them disappear revealing the person’s true nature. In order to experience this state the mind must be steady and focused. In order to steady the mind, the breath or pranayama must be steady. In order to steady the breath the physical body must be steadied. All who train are on this path. Every class or open mat is an opportunity to practice controlling our physical bodies, our breath, and mind. Pranayama, breath control, may not be formally taught in most BJJ academies, but we are always reminded to breathe with our movements. 

Although Yogi’s usually meditate by being still, this out-of-body state can also be experienced while rolling: when the grappler does not experience any association with their body nor their mind, but as pure consciousness observing the match. They then return to body after the match or competition is over. They do not remember any details of the match(es) but they are standing on the podium with the gold medal. This art is a moving meditation, which explains why most practitioners exude a calmer, more aware demeanor after a few months of training. With constant practice and concentration, we increase control of our body, breath, mind, and awareness eventually mastering this gentle art.

All are paths equally important, and the path(s) we take are based on our own individual tendencies, environment, and experience. Fortunately, we have the benefit of finding the truth through sparring and competition. As long as we seek truth, we will eventually experience that highest self-realization.

When you get someone who embodies all four paths to highest degree you get someone truly special… you get someone like Rickson Gracie, a true master. In the documentary Choke he demonstrates complete physical and mental control during the lead up the first Pride tournament in 1997 (Raja Yoga). He has unselfishly shared his knowledge to countless students and given so much to our community (Karma Yoga). Throughout his life and even to this day he is improving upon and evolving BJJ techniques and concepts (Jnana Yoga). Following the lead of his family, he still follows the key traditional aspects to the letter, even initially refusing the 9th Degree red belt in 2017. With complete trust in Jiujitsu, he is the living embodiment of this gentle art (Bhakti Yoga). I’ve heard Rickson and many of us in this journey saying “Jiujitsu for life.” We are fortunate that Jiujitsu is great microcosm of life that teaches us to search for the truth not just in this art, but also within ourselves. ~Namaste

Four Paths of Yoga


Rodgrigo Vaghi BJJ

Bluebird Yoga

Back Attacks Enter The System by John Danaher Dvd Review

This is a review of the John Danaher DVD Back Attacks Enter the System. I found this information to be valuable and organized in an easy to understand manner.…

Full John Danaher interview…

Full Gordon Ryan interview

Epi 329 Marcus “Buchecha” Almeida

This week we have 11 time BJJ World Champion Buchecha on the show. We cover a wide range of topics from struggling with competitions as a kid to gi and no-gi training.

We talk about:

  • Training in seasons of gi and no-gi
  • His preference for training in the gi
  • Adapting his game to work in both gi and no-gi
  • Doing BJJ as a kid
  • His training schedule
  • Focusing on one or two tournaments a year
  • His thought process for deciding if he will compete
  • Developing the folding pass after an injury
  • His new folding pass instructional with BJJ Fanatics
  • Not winning a match for his first eight tournaments
  • Winning double gold for the first time in 2012
  • Getting the nickname Buchecha


Quote of the week: “I’ve seen kids who tie their self-worth to wins and losses and that’s a scary place to be. Kids need to know that they’re human beings first and the love they receive from family is not based off their performance in athletics.” Ben Askren

Article of the week: Improve Your Speed

Catch us next week for another episode of The BjjBrick Podcast

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Epi 328 Thank You BJJ

BJJ has been so great to us over the years. This special Thanksgiving episode we highlight some of the things we are grateful for about BJJ.


Quote of the week: “Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim. Accept no one’s definition of your life; define yourself.” Robert Frost

Article of the week: 5 Ways to get better at swimming

Catch us next week for another episode of The BjjBrick Podcast

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