Ring Bell For Service

In my line of work, I am in and out of businesses configured in the following way: A long and narrow building with offices and reception area taking up a small portion of the square footage at one end of the building with the rest of the building being shop/warehouse space. When you walk into the reception area you can see that there is at least one door that leads to the shop with a sign that says, “employees only”.

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Imagine, if you will, that you walk in and find no one up front as often the front desk employees are also responsible for shipping and receiving, inventory, or some other function in back. How do you create an opportunity for you to conclude your business? Maybe you try to call the business on your cell phone hopping it rings in the back, but you just hear a phone start ringing behind the desk. Maybe you poke your head through the door that says employees only, but you can’t see anybody. Maybe you look for a security camera to wave at…. maybe jump around and holler a bit. Then you see it…. A big sign with a big arrow pointing to button on the wall and the sign says, “ring bell for service”. So, you push the button and you can hear a load bell ringing back in the shop. In seconds multiple people show up to see what the can do for you. You could have pulled any number of shenanigans that would have gotten nowhere, but pushing that button and ringing that bell? That made things happen.

There are many positions in jiu jitsu where a fundamentally sound opponent will give you little to no opportunity to mount offense or to improve your position. What do you do when that happens? You gotta ring that bell. You can spaz out all you want under someone’s mount and make no progress, but once you learn how to do a proper bridge and start to develop a sense of timing you are able to make your opponent do things that will create opportunities for you…just like ringing a bell.

Once you learn how to make your opponent post (either with a hand or foot) or make them reach or expose a limb you can launch an attack or execute an escape. So next time you find yourself “stuck”, take a minute to analyze the situation and find the right button to ring the bell.

Train hard. Train smart. Get better

Joe

Epi 288 Maria Malyjasiak

This week we have an interview with BJJ black belt Maria Malyjasiak. You will find Maria training at Abmar Barbosa Jiu-Jitsu Academy in Vienna Virginia.

We talk about:

  • Her start to martial arts
  • Changing from judo to jiu-jitsu
  • Moving to the United States
  • Changes to her game over the years
  • Her training routine
  • Listening to music before she steps on the mat
  • Starting a women’s program

Links:

Quote of the week: “Attackers may sometimes regret bad moves, but it is much worse to forever regret an opportunity you allowed to pass you by.” Garry Kasparov

Article of the week: Why I 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

Disorder and Chaos

Byron asked me to do the impossible and write a Jiu Jitsu article on this picture. He thought it would be funny to watch me struggle. I will not struggle because I will use the skills that I have acquired from Jiu Jitsu to write this article. Skills such as patience, problem solving, and perseverance are learned in Jiu Jitsu. These skills will not only help you on the mat but off the mat as well.

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Confusion can be defined as disorder, upheaval, chaos or lack of clearness or distinctness. In BJJ, we are trying to control and submit an unwilling or resisting opponent. This is not an easy task unless you outweigh your opponent by a 150 lbs. and have the strength of a wounded cougar. In order to submit your skilled and resisting opponent, you need to lead this person down a path that is undesirable for them. You want to lead them into disorder and chaos. You want to put your opponent in position where you can take advantage of them. Think of a takedown, you may post or push your opponent’s head to get him to move his hand up. As you opponent moves his hand up, this leaves a space for you to attack his legs. You change levels and shoot in for the takedown. You get the takedown. Whoever wrote that sign is trying to confuse the customer seeking service. We will combat this confusion with good old common sense.

Common sense is defined as sound practical judgment that is independent of specialized knowledge, training or the like. You can clearly look at the scenario and realize that there is not a bell where the arrow is pointing. Using a little common sense, you can see there is no bell anywhere. There is a button that probably will send a signal to the person working the front desk that a customer needs service. We also need to use common sense in Jiu Jitsu. Remember we talked about how our opponent is trying to take us down a dark path where he will seek to gain an advantage. Use your common sense to combat it. An example is your opponent has side control and is putting tremendous pressure into you and turning your head away. He also has an under hook. Suddenly, he releases the pressure. He is trying to make you react to his advantage. He wants you to turn into him quickly to relieve the pressure. When you turn into him, he will scoop you up with the underhook, move north south and apply a Kimura. Remember, if it is too easy for you to escape, it is probably for a reason and that reason is a submission or better position by your opponent.

I also think about the basics when I see this sign. In Jiu Jitsu I hear all the time that the basics are the building blocks of Jiu Jitsu. You need that strong foundation to really excel and grown in this sport. People will try to cheat the basics and while it may lead to more submissions in the short run, it will hinder your BJJ development in the long run. Leglocks can be a good example of forgetting the basics. I see many people wanting to learn leg locks from day one without even knowing how to pass a guard. This will hinder your development in the long run. This sign shows me this business forgot about the basics. Instead of having a smiling human greet you, you get an incorrect sign that is very impersonal. I would not want to do business with a company whose basics are lacking. I tried to buy a new cell phone 2 days ago. I could not complete the purchase on that day due to time constraints. The salesman asked me to make an appointment to meet with him the next day. We agreed to meet at 11am the next day. I show up at 11 and he was nowhere to be found. Two other employees were helping other customers and 2 other people besides me were waiting for service. I waited until 11:30 before I left. I was never greeted and the sales person who I made an 11am appointment with never showed up. I will take my business elsewhere.

Life is going to throw confusion, chaos and disorder at us. Life will take us down some crazy paths that may not be ideal. We can use our skills that we have learned in Jiu Jitsu to combat these situations. Commons sense, problem solving, patience and perseverance are just a few things that we will learn on the mat that will help us combat this disorder. As Joe Thomas would say(he is a real friend not like Byron), Train Hard, Train Smart, Get Better my friend.
-Gary

Epi 287 Jake Mackenzie

This week we have an interview with black belt Jake Mackenzie. Jake is a under Roberto “Cyborg” Abreu. Jake shares lots of stories about his early travels to Brazil, and developing his favorite guards.

We talk about:

  • His start to BJJ
  • Traveling to Brazil
  • Early competitions
  • Dealing with nervousness
  • Tips for half guard and deep half
  • The difference between half and deep half guard
  • Reverse half guard
  • How his competition experience helps him as a coach

Quote of the week: “I was told that I couldn’t do it, I was stupid, I was crazy. But because I believed in my dreams, I accomplished them.” D. Gary Young

Links:

Article of the week: Optimizing Body Composition for Jiu-Jitsu Performance

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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 286 How To Be A Great BJJ Student

This week we talk being a great BJJ student. What can you do to accelerate your learning and help your team? We discuss many ideas that can help.

  • Be ready for a great class
  • Know how you add value to the class
  • Asking good questions
  • How questions help the entire class
  • How students teach other students
  • Training safely
  • Know why you are in class
  • Have a good time in class
  • Paying attention to your instructor

Quote of the week: “sticks in a bundle are unbreakable” Gary

Article of the week: 12 Sports Nutrition Tips That Anyone Can Benefit From

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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 285 Olympic Medalist Adam Wheeler

This week we have an interview with Olympic bronze medalist greco roman wrestler Adam Wheeler. This interview covers a wide range of topics from BJJ competitions to his off the mat career in public service.

We talk about:

  • Starting jiu-jitsu
  • Picking jiu-jitsu up again after the Olympics
  • Getting his black belt in about four years
  • Using his greco roman wrestling in jiu-jitsu
  • His instructional DVD Upper Body Takedowns for Grappling
  • Training tips
  • Why it is important to train takedowns
  • Changing from law enforcement to fire fighting
  • Being a firefighter

Links:

Quote of the week: “The paradox is that sometimes you have to get worse before you get better.” Gary Mack

Article of the week: The Optimal State of Arousal

The BjjBrick podcast has been rated as the number 2 podcast in martial arts. Check this link out to find other great martial arts podcast.

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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 284 Eliot Kelly Coaching and Competing

This week we have an interview with Eliot Kelly. Eliot is a top ranked grappler and excellent coach. This interview covers a wide range of topics from his accelerated development on the mat to helping students at El Dorado Hills Brazilian Jiu Jitsu & Self Defense.

We talk about:

  • His start in BJJ
  • How taking a train to BJJ helped him get better
  • Coaching BJJ and preparing himself to compete
  • How to learn from a loss
  • How coaching makes him be a better competitor
  • How competing makes him a better coach
  • Dealing with injuries
  • Getting hurt and coming back to the competition world
  • Balancing BJJ and a home life with family
  • Dealing with trends
  • Matching your BJJ to your personality
  • Focusing your training
  • Evaluating your performance

Links:

Quote of the week: “Without hustle, your talent will only get dyou so far” – Gary Vaynerchuk

Article of the week:

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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 283 BJJ Black Belt Adem Redzovic

This week we have an interview with BJJ black belt Adem Redzovic. Adem is not only an amazing black belt but also a great instructor. You will find Adem training in Chicago.

We talk about:

  • Where focus goes energy flows
  • His start to Jiu-Jitsu
  • Getting a job at his brothers school
  • Having a passion for BJJ
  • How he gets new students to get a smooth start
  • The 2 feelings to avoid for working with new students
    1. Feeling like someone wants to hurt them
    2. Feeling stupid
  • Dealing with injuries
  • Using positional sparring to help new students
  • His online training program RJJonline

Links:

Quote of the week: “You may have a fresh start any moment you choose, for this thing that we call ‘failure’ is not the falling down, but the staying down.” Mary Pickford

Article of the week: New Info on the Gi vs No-gi Training Debate

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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 282 BJJ Big and Small

This week we talk about the size differences in grapplers. Are you a large person training with smaller grapplers? we have some advice for you to get the most of your mat time. Are you on the smaller end of most grapplers and need a little advice for training and competing with the larger athletes. If so this episode is for you.

We talk about:

  • Training with bigger teammates
  • Training with smaller teammates
  • Keeping things safe
  • Dealing with frustrations
  • Techniques good for small or large people
  • Competing against people of a different size
  • When the instructor shows a “big person” or “small person” move

Quote of the week:  “Do not be misled. You will suffer along the way. You will have failures and set-backs. You will have to learn to overcome these failures. However, it is this process of personal improvement that will transform you as an individual.” Book Master Jiu-Jitsu master life by Paul Kindzia

Article of the week: BJJ White Belt Survival Kit: 5 Essential Tips For Beginners

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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 Optimal State of Arousal

We all know about that one athlete who has the crazy superstition or pre-game ritual. You know, the one that won’t wash their game socks all season, or the one that has to have sauerkraut and hot dogs before every game, or the one who has to run to the center of the field and touch the team logo before every home game. Are these just crazy superstitions and rituals…. or are they something more?

Let’s consider the above paragraph while being reminded of who Ivan Pavlov was and what he contributed to science and psychology. Ivan Pavlov was a scientist who did the bulk of his work in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s winning the Nobel prize in 1904. Ivan Pavlov is probably best known for his work in classical conditioning and in particular a series of experiments he did with dogs. The dogs were conditioned to expect that food was imminently forthcoming with the ringing of the bell. Eventually the dogs would have the normal physical responses to eating (like producing extra saliva) as soon as the bell rang as opposed to shortly after beginning to eat.

As a way of dragging this onto the mats let’s look at one more idea: the optimal state of arousal. This theory as it relates to athletes says that different athletes engaging in different activities will benefit from specific levels of arousal. When speaking of arousal, we are speaking about adrenaline levels, heart rate, intensity of mental focus, etc. If we use American football as an example; a linebacker would most likely benefit more from a higher state of arousal than a quarterback. If a quarterback comes in and he’s too “pumped up” he’ll be jittery in the pocket and inaccurate with his throws. It’s extremely important that he comes into the game in the right state of mind. Every athlete is an individual and the optimal state for one will be different than for another. It’s up to the athlete to find the right state for him or her….and this is where we get back to rituals and superstitions, it’s up to the athlete to find a way to put themselves in the optimal  state of mind.

So, back to those crazy superstitions and rituals that some athletes have: they may not be simply eccentric quirks, maybe they’re part of the process an athlete uses to tell his mind and body that it’s time to perform. When a baseball player goes to bat you will notice his routine – tap the right toe, tap the left toe, adjust each batting glove, take a practice swing, step into the box, and tap on the plate twice….and every time it’s the same self-talk “relax, follow through, and put the ball in play”, or something like that. For each batter it will pretty much be the same every time.

For those of you reading this who compete regularly: How consistent is your “pre-fight” routine? Do you have a standard warm-up that you use? How’s your self-talk before the match? Do you have a ritual/routine for stepping on the mat and beginning the match? Incorporating this into your routine won’t make you a champion overnight, but we’ve all had matches where we just didn’t “have it” and our opponent scored the first points and we never caught up. We’ve also had matches where we were so hyped going into the match and the gas tank was empty 3 minutes in. Wouldn’t it be nice to eliminate these two possibilities? Try incorporating some of these ideas and see if it helps.

 

Train hard. Train smart. Get better.

 

More on the optimal state of arousal; grapplearts….the optimal state of arousal

For more information about Classical Conditioning; simply psychology

Byrons ideas about the optimal state of arousal; meet-an-inmate