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


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


Catch us next week for another episode of The BjjBrick Podcast

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

How to Stay Consistent in Your Jiu Jitsu Journey

Jiu Jitsu is one of those rare sports, which is a mix of aerobic and anaerobic exercises. It is a sport which works on the concept that a weaker, smaller person can defend himself from the attacker using proper techniques, grip and applying joint-locks and choke-holds in self–defense. Jiu Jitsu is not only a martial art, but a sport, a road to maintain physical fitness and a strong character which ultimately leads to a good way of living. In any sport, there are a few things you have to focus on in order to stay polished throughout the whole journey. Here are some tips:Stay Consistent bjj

1. Health is Wealth

The number one priority is health when we discuss about Brazilian sport Jiu Jitsu. Proper nutrition is one of the most important things you need to maintain, as under – nourished person is not able to perform anywhere. Eating too much and eating less, both can lead you into some trouble. Balance of diet has to be maintained. Special emphasis is made on the intake of sugar, carbohydrates as excluding them completely from your diet will be troublesome, and excess of them will end up as an obese form of you.

2. Sound Sleep

Sleep is one of those factors, which is always ignored, but proper rest of 9-10 hours is very important to keep yourself on track of this sport. Sleep plays a key role in maintaining good health. It is an inexpensive way of proper nutrition and thus, needs to be prioritized. Sound sleep helps in relaxing your mind, muscles and body.

3. Distraction – A Major Obstacle

Manage your distractions in order to maintain a balance in life. It is a major hindrance, which keeps us away from achieving your goals. Positive mental attitude will keep you motivated and always push you in making more efforts to improve yourself in the sport. Healthy aura helps you indirectly by cutting down the negative energies within you and boost up your abilities and as a result, you grow faster.

4. Practice Equals Consistency

The famous saying, “Practice makes a man perfect” never goes wrong. Practice ultimately leads to consistency. The more you practice, the more you will master it. Drill more, exercise more, it is a secret ingredient, which takes your Jiu Jitsu to the next level.Consistency bjj

5. Hygiene – Above all

Hygiene plays a key role in keeping you healthy. Special attention must be paid to hygiene as it will help you in keeping yourself away from various skin infections such as ringworm, staph, scabies etc. Skin-to-skin contact and dust are the major opportunities for bacteria and fungus to jump into your skin and make good friends with it. Keeping the body clean can help you in staying away from the various skin infections. Clipping nails regularly and taking shower after the training session proves to be very helpful in maintaining proper hygiene. A soap bar having essential oils like tea tree oil, eucalyptus oil must be preferred as natural soap bar treat skin infection effectively and helps in maintaining the pH balance of the skin. Wash your genital tract regularly and wear some good deodorant, as it will leave a good impression on your partner.

6. Over Training is Harmful

All of us are very careless about our nutrition and sleep. We work vigorously and exploit our body to its limits. You have to keep your eyes open while keeping a track of your training volume. If you exercise excessively, then you are more prone to falling sick. Excessive training results into stressing up your body and hence a decline in performance. Regular exercise is the key rule, but overdoing it will drag you into an ocean full of anxiety, dizziness, and muscle loss.

7. Be Passionate and Stay Focused

Fighting is not easy. It is very important to stay focused and attentive during all of your training sessions. Follow your instructor’s instructions religiously. Injuries are very common and the level of discomfort is very high. Take them as a stepping stone in the way of learning. Your passion about the sport will lead to a road map of your success.

8. Being Flexible Helps you Stay Consistent in the Sport

Being flexible is very crucial for the sport. Consistency implies doing exercise and taking rest at right intervals of time. Being flexible means knowing the ways and motions which suit you the most. Flexibility and mobility helps you in improving your performance.

9. Exercise but in the Right Direction

Regular exercise in the right direction is very important for being consistent in the sport. Posture plays a vital role while doing exercise. Any wrong position can result into pain in the neck and shoulders. However, performing exercise under proper supervision and right position helps you in improving your body’s flexibility and mobility. If you sweat more, then hydrate your body along with the exercise otherwise it will prove as bothersome for the health and may lead to severe headache, nausea and wooziness.

10. Listen and Learnlisten

This is the foremost step you have to follow. First, listen to your instructor and then learn. Take your criticisms in a positive direction and practice the exercise patiently. The more you will fall, the more you will learn to do it in the right way. Take a deep breath and start slowly. All these easy tips help you stay consistent in learning this art of life, your journey in Jiu Jitsu.

Author Bio:

Evie Dawson is a fitness coach and health writer based in Boston, MA. Her passion is to encourage others to rediscover their lifestyle and get inspired for organic living.

Journal Your Training and Journey with Evernote!

By Erik Beyer
I started doing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu the first Monday of this year, 2015, and was instantly hooked! (Alvarez Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in Arlington, Tx – www.alvarezbjj.com, Danny Alvarez)  I had been looking for something for me, since my wife is a runner, and doing marathons and ultra-marathons, and I felt I needing to do something active.  The gym by itself wasn’t doing anything for me, I explored some other striking martial arts, but nothing really grabbed me.  One day I was watching something on YouTube and an Alvarez BJJ video ad popped up and I realized I didn’t know anything about BJJ. 
I started searching BJJ on the internet, watching YouTube videos, and then signed up for the academy’s 30-day free trial!  I signed up for the year during the first week, got my first GI, learned how to tie the belt, and haven’t looked back.  I am almost 6-months in, still pretty green, I have watched one tournament, and I am  planning on competing in September, the IBJJF Dallas Open.  I am a sponge!  I am soaking in everything I can related to BJJ to help me to better “get it” and understand it.  I train at the 6am class Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and I will be adding one or two evening classes a week depending on my work schedule.  I am at a point where I crave Jiu Jitsu.
When I started, Mr. Alvarez Sr. (Danny Alvarez’s father) told me about keeping a journal.  It was a pretty quick mention but it stuck.  I researched the “how” and “what” of keeping this kind of journal and decided to get a classic composition book and started keeping track of every class.  I wrote down the day, date, time of class, who the lead instructor was, what we drilled, what techniques we went over, detailing the moves the best I could, and then an overall thought of the class, roll time, how I felt, or maybe a mention of a new person starting, and names of people so I could remember everyone.  It was a journal!  And I have kept it up since day 1.
evernoteNot too long ago I began using Evernote (www.evernote.com) for work, personally keeping track of websites I liked, articles, and meeting notes for work.  Then it dawned on me, why don’t I use Evernote for my journal?  I watched YouTube videos on journaling with Evernote, and read some how-to’s.  I scanned in (with my iPhone) all of my previous entries from my handwritten journal and logged them into Evernote, and now I use Evernote exclusively.  I know there are other journaling apps out there, even specific to BJJ (like www.bjjtrainingjournal.com), and other electronic options, but here are the benefits I found for using Evernote.
  1. You can access your notes on any device and computer, via a web browser, a downloadable application on your computer, and an app on your smartphone.
  2. I have separate categories for resources, articles, and my journal, and can add as many other categories as I want, maybe even “Gi’s Researched” if I am learning about Gi brands.
  3. I can save pictures, full articles, clip articles with the Chrome plug in, keep track of receipts, etc.  So, if I get a newsletter from Stephen Kesting for example, and it has an embedded photo I just highlight the email, copy and paste it into a new note in Evernote and it retains the formatting, and I can save it for later use.
  4. Search keywords!  So, I plan on going back and typing in my old handwritten entries someday so I can search keywords and phrases!  This way I can search “armbar” for example, and see all of the entries that I typed armbar, showing me how often we drilled that in class. 
  5. You can also tag posts for example.  You can tag posts with “sweeps”, “guards”, “bottom”, “top”, if you are working on those specifically.  It allows you to view all posts tagged with sweeps to review what you were taught at one point, especially, if you are working on picking your 2 techniques to focus on. (Listen to Byron’s audio book, https://bjjbrick.com/your-first-year-of-brazilian-jiu-jitsu/)
  6. If several of you in your academy are using Evernote there is a feature called Work Chat, where in the BJJ environment, students can share techniques with others, and get feedback.  Instructors can use this for planning classes even.
If you are at all like me, you have accounts with many different social networks, apps, programs, emails, and so on, and it can get a little daunting to keep track of.  I have pushed myself to commit to using Evernote as one source for my journaling, work notes, bookmarking links and resources for techniques, and articles I find and want to save or share later.
Other people will find different benefits of using Evernote.  I wrote this review in Evernote so I could review and edit it on my computer or my iPhone later.  I didn’t realize the benefits of this tool right away, and I am still learning new tricks to maximize my use of Evernote, but I know the act of journaling my classes, general entries about my overall progress, and using it as an outlet and a resource has been amazing and made the process of journaling much more efficient and even inviting.
I know I am a newbie for sure, only 6 months in, but journaling is a key training tool, and key to personal development, and Evernote offers a wonderful platform to customize how you want to keep track of your classes and overall Jui Jitsu journey.
Evernote Plans:
  • Basic – Free.  This is a great place to start and is usually plenty for the average or basic user, especially for journaling.
  • Plus – $24.99/yr: Gives you some more remote capabilities, plus more!
  • Premium – $49.99/yr: Allows business card scanning (which links with LinkedIn – very cool!), annotate PDF’s, shows related notes to the one you are writing, plus more!
I don’t get any kickback or freebies from Evernote for writing this.  My intent with this review is to explain and provide a great tool for individuals to use in their daily lives, and add to their BJJ routine.
Try it out, you have nothing to lose, and everything to gain! https://evernote.com/
About Erik:Erik Beyer
Erik is a 37-yr old white belt who just started Brazilian Jiu Jitsu the first of the year, 2015.  He is a husband, father of two boys, volunteers for the Boy Scouts of America currently as a District Commissioner.  Erik’s day job is a Regional VP of Sales for a large commercial Audio-Video-Lighting design and integration company with an office in Dallas, TX.  Erik is also a small business co-owner for a boutique craft glue, and designs and manages websites and business email management.  When not on the mat or at work Erik enjoys being outdoors, road trips, camping, exploring new places, or just relaxing with the family.
Contact info:
BJJ Academy: 
Alvarez BJJ (www.alvarezbjj.com), part of the Bastos Association, under the instruction of Danny Alvarez, 2nd Degree Black Belt.