Quote of the week: “You can practice shooting eight hours a day, but if your technique is wrong, then all you become is very good at shooting the wrong way. Get the fundamentals down and the level of everything you do will rise.” Michael Jordan
My youngest kids are girls that are less than two years apart in age. The
older one was not too interested in driving so delayed taking drivers education
and getting her permit. By the time she did start the process her younger sister
was almost ready as well. This resulted in me doing a lot of driving and teaching
for almost a year straight. Whether they were driving, or I was behind the wheel,
every time we were on the road it was a lesson. I would say “we’re a few blocks
from the Jr. High and it’s 3:00 we should be keeping an eye out for kids, right?” or
“this is the first rain in a few weeks, be aware the roads could be slick” or “can
you see the mirrors on that 18-wheeler in front of us? If not, we’re following too
close” etc. etc. etc. These are all just basic safe driving practices that experienced
drivers follow without thinking about. But after a years’ worth of conscienceless
thinking about and actively discussing these issues I felt like a safer driver.
I’ve been driving for over 30 years with 2 tickets and zero accidents in the
last 20. After all that time of safe driving, if spending some time consciously
focusing on the basic principles of safe driving can make me a better driver, I’m
willing to bet the same logic applies to jiu jitsu? If you spend some time focusing
on the basic principles of good jiu jitsu your techniques will get tighter, you will
become more efficient, your defense will improve….in short, your grappling will
It’s tempting to make a list of “5 basic principles and concepts…..”, but the
reality is every person will be different. If your top game is weak or not
progressing the fundamentals you choose to focus on will be different than they
would be if your go-to guard game needed some improvement.
Focusing on the basics in general will help your jiu jitsu. Focusing on specific
basics that are directly relevant to your game will help you even more. In my
mind, this is an example of a time that paying your instructor for a private lesson,
will be worth every penny you spend. Tell your instructor you would like to
improve upon the foundation of your game – that you would like to make sure
your jiu jitsu is fundamentally sound and ask him for a private lesson, so you can
roll, and he can assess your game and make suggestions.
In conclusion, no matter how long you have been training jiu jitsu, there is
always value in getting back to the basics. No amount of slick moves and fancy
techniques will ever make up for a game that is not fundamentally sound. It’s
never too late to get back to the basics.
I am fairly new to BJJ but not to martial arts in general. BJJ has always enticed me because of the fluid flow of the art plus the confidence and humility of its practitioners. I have mainly trained in striking arts and I have to say the brotherhood that I see between the students in Jiu-jitsu is so different. With that being said there is a lot of intimidation. I have never been one to have the most self confidence and I hope that BJJ will change that, which I believe it will. My question is getting over the fear, for lack of a better word, of rolling with folks. It’s not that I am “afraid” to do it but it’s very defeating sometimes when almost instantly you feel weak and beaten as soon as you start. I enjoy drilling and working technique but when we roll at the end of class it kind of gets to me. Is that to be expected? I know talking with other students they have basically said it kind of sucks when you first start but just to keep doing it and it will get better. I know that with continued work it will get better but how do I address the apprehension now? I do know giving up is not an option for me because I have given up in the past on things. Not because it was tough but because I think my self esteem gets the better of me. I know I have to keep pushing because I really want to develop my self not only physically but mentally too.
It was 2002 and I had started training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu with John Castillo. John was a purple belt and he opened up a school in the back of a used golf supply shop. One of the first things that John taught me was not a submission or a sweep, it was not even a position. John showed me how to break-fall.
“You are going get knocked down and thrown as you learn Jiu-Jitsu; you need to learn how to fall safely.” John explained as he taught me how to break-fall.
At the time, I was 22 years old and learning how to fall was not exciting. I wanted to learn how to choke and armbar people who were bigger and stronger than myself. But thankfully I was not running the class, because learning how to fall is important if you want to keep getting up.
Over the course of my Jiu-Jitsu career, I have fallen many times. This early lesson has payed off by keeping me on the mat.
So you want to get better at Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu? We have an APP for that! Well, not really an APP for your phone or tablet. APP stands for Attitude, Plan, Practice- three of the biggest factors that will effect the quality of your Jiu-Jitsu development.
Attitude– Your attitude is a huge factor in your success. A positive attitude will help you get past the many hurdles you will have in learning Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. A positive attitude will help you get back on the mat after a tough day of training. Your teammates are more likely to help and coach you if you have a great attitude. A humble attitude will keep you focused and motivated even after an accomplishment or milestone.
I recommend that you smile more, enjoy the training and make friends with your teammates.
Plan– Invest the time and energy to make a plan. Organized training is more effective than training moves and techniques randomly. Determine what areas of your game need to be worked on, and what areas of your game are already good but could be even better. Are the techniques you are good at complimentary of each other? Take time off of the mat to study the techniques you have selected in your plan. Your best techniques should work together, that way you can funnel your opponent to an area that you are very strong.
I recommend you get even better at your best technique, and it never hurts to add a few more ways to get to that technique.
Practice– Having a great attitude and a well thought out plan are excellent, but they will not get you very far if you don’t practice. Time on the mat cannot be substituted. If you are able to drill the techniques that you have in your plan you should do this. During the rolling phase of class it’s important to work your plan and not just go through random techniques on your training partner.
Make the most out of each time you step on the mat. Time with quality training partners on the mat is valuable.
Chris Easter is a Black Belt and has been training BJJ since 1998. Chris has a game that focuses on the basics. Chris has moved many times due to being in the military, this has given him the opportunity to train with many amazing practitioners and share Jiu-Jitsu. He is now training at Sergio Penha’s.
We talk about:
Moving and finding a new gym
Training in the military
The importance of drilling
Different types of drilling and what they will accomplish
How his off the mat training has changed over the years
Welcome to the amazing experience that is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ). Byron helps to get you through your first and often most difficult year of training. His goal is to help you simplify and find joy in BJJ. Many people start BJJ only to quit after their first few months. This book will help you start off right and avoid common mistakes, reducing the odds of quitting and help you adapt quickly to this new lifestyle.Download ithere Price $11.99
Matt Thornton is the founder of Straight Blast Gym. He was introduced to BJJ in 1991. In 2001 Chris Hauete awarded Matt his black belt. He can be found running his own Academy in Portland, Oregon, when his is not traveling.
This episode we talk about:
His personal training history
We go deep into what are the fundamentals of BJJ
Why he recommends not teaching your style, just teaching fundamentals
How to find your own game after you get the fundamentals
The process of becoming a black belt in BJJ
Why many people make the “all you can eat buffet” mistake when studding martial arts
Conor McGregor’s striking style and movement
Fundamentals are not style specific
The principal of Aliveness
The iMethod (introduction, isolation, integration)
Why it is important to make BJJ simple
The SBG kids program Growing Gorillas
Some advantages for kids to do BJJ vs other sports