Epi 346 Off The Mat Training

This week we discuss off the mat training. Sometimes life throws us a curveball and we spend some time off the mats, we need to make the most of this time.

We talk about:

Links:

Quote of the week: “The secret of happiness is something to do” John Burroughs

Catch us next week for another episode of The BjjBrick Podcast

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

“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

Vedanta

Rodgrigo Vaghi BJJ

Bluebird Yoga

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.

Links:

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

Epi 325 Trim The Fat From Your BJJ

This week we talk about making changes to your game to make it lean and mean.

We talk about:

  • What is considered “fat” in BJJ
  • Times we have cut things out of our game
  • How to identify fat in your game
  • When is it okay or good to have fat in your jiu-jitsu
  • The benefits of trimming up your game
  • Being able to make changes

Links:

Quote of the week: “I’m not one to blow smoke at my players. They kicked our butts on the offensive boards. And it’s not just because the ball came their way.” Gregg Popovich

Article of the week: Staying on a Bull

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’s Your Poker Face?

We’ve all heard that “jiu jitsu is like chess”, but have you ever considered that it’s a lot like poker as well? I spent some time thinking about these two activities today and I see at least five lessons one can learn from playing poker that can be easily applied to jiu jitsu.

  1. You gotta play the hand you’re dealt. Yes, you can discard and draw cards, but you can’t make requests…you have to make the best of the cards in your hand. In jiu jitsu this is true on the macro and micro levels. On the macro level i.e. looking at the journey as a whole – we don’t all have the same physical attributes, we don’t all have the same amount of time to invest, we don’t all have the same training opportunities etc. So, your journey may be a little more difficult and take a little longer, you just have to press forward and play the hand your dealt. On the micro level – every time you go into a competitive roll whether it’s with one of your favorite training partners or whether it’s in a tournament, you each bring different skills to the mats. At that point it’s probably too late to try and revamp your game, you have to use the tools you currently have in your toolbox (or the cards in your hand) in such a manner that will produce the best outcome.
  2. You have to know the rules and understand the objectives. I have a vague memory of a scene on tv of a guy laying down his cards saying “read ‘em and weep” thinking he had a flush, but his cards were a mix of spades and clubs…. yes, they’re all the same color, but that’s not really the goal. While this point has application for those who are training jiu jitsu as a hobby but don’t compete the real value of this point is for the competitor. Don’t lose matches because you didn’t know the rules or intricacies of how points are scored.
  3. Bluffing is a necessary skill to win. When you are bluffing at the poker table you are simply trying to create the illusion that something is true (like you have a great hand) when it may or may not be. Likewise, from guard you may mess with your opponent’s lapel to get him worried about a technique he may not have seen when you have no intention of playing any form of lapel guard. It doesn’t matter so much if you have a decent lapel guard, but it does matter that your opponent believes you do.  
  4. You gotta know when to hold em, know when to fold em, know when to walk away, and know when to run. In poker there are times when you say “I’m good with these cards, I’m going to play them” there are other times you just lay em down and fold. There other times when you have to say, “this table is too rich for me” and just walk away. Then there are other times you realize you’re playing with sharks and you better run. The lesson here is you have to learn to read situations on the mat quickly. If you have been doing jiu jitsu for any length of time you should be able to visit a new school for an open mat and almost immediately be able to read each training partner, you roll with. No matter what position you are in – their stance, posture, grips, frames, etc. are all clues that should help you understand what they are bringing to the mat. 
  5. You never count your money when you’re sitting at the table. In the old west, gambling was a cutthroat business and sometimes men bet all they had on a game. Making a show of counting your money was a sure way to get shot in the alley behind the tavern. You won’t get your ass shot but making a show of every victory you have in jiu jitsu is not the best approach to making friends and earning respect in the community. Having friends and respect in the community go a long way towards helping you get better at jiu jitsu. The goal is to have a healthy ego and be humble at all times.

      In conclusion: If you’re going to play the game, you gotta learn to play it right. There may not necessarily be a “right” and “wrong” way to do jiu jitsu, but there are definitely some ways that are better than others to get good at jiu jitsu and win matches. The sooner you figure this out, the better off you’ll be.

Train hard. Train smart. Get better.

Joe

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

Links:

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

Your-First-Year-Of-BJJ-artwork-1199

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 315 One Month of Training in One Day

This week we hope to help you accelerate your BJJ training. Every now and then you have a day on the mat that produces great growth. We talk about days we have had like this and help you to create more of them for yourself.

Byron, Gary, and Joe

We talk about:

  • Is it possible to experience one month of growth in one day
  • Attending seminars
  • Increasing your training
  • What to do before class to help you have a great class
  • Preparing for a seminar
  • Creating better training days
  • Having great training partners
  • Learning from teaching BJJ
  • Taking a private lesson
  • How instructors create accelerated learning
  • Gary doing better vs the kids class

Quote of the week: “You got to go down a lot of wrong roads to find the right one” Bob Parsons co-founder of godaddy

Comment of the week: “One thing jiu-jitsu has taught me for life is, when you are under tons of pressure, always keep in mind to breathe and not panic, cause there is always a window to change your outcome. Learn that no matter how hard the struggle is in that moment, when you see the opportunity present itself, learn from the struggle and enjoy the outcome.” Chris from the BjjBrick private FB group

Your-First-Year-Of-BJJ-artwork-1199

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 304 High Percentage Martial Arts with Louis Martin

We talk about:

  • His start in martial arts and BJJ
  • His background in statistics
  • Watching 100 white belt matches
  • Tips for white belt and blue belts that do tournaments
  • When you should not go for a submission
  • Using closed guard as a white belt
  • Using game theory to look at BJJ
  • Advice for blue belts and it is much different than the white belt tips
  • Learning from watching hundreds of street fights
  • How to guard against negative gym management techniques

Links:

Quote of the week: “If your mind is strong, all difficult things will become easy; if your mind is weak, all easy things will become difficult.” Chinese Proverb

Article of the week: 5 Things No One Talks About When You Start Jiu-Jitsu

https://foxfitnessbjj.com/specials.html?fbclid=IwAR0Upb0jX0TTv-i3wRc0t6A-C7Gpr-7DBbRy-foCwcmjpkwPRey9uvlq85I
Your-First-Year-Of-BJJ-artwork-1199

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 303 Why Are You Not Getting Submissions?

This episode we give you advice about what you can do to get more submission.

We talk about:

  • Lacking focus in your training and during rolling
  • Positional sparring
  • Going deep in particular systems and moves
  • Fundamentals
  • Finding answers to common problems
  • Giving up too soon on a submission
  • Giving up too late on a submission
  • Getting control of your opponent
  • Putting your system in a funnel
  • Having confidence in your technique

Quote of the week: “Tell me, I forget. Show me, I remember. involve me, I understand.” Chinese Proverb

Article of the week: I Watched 100 White Belt Matches. Here’s What’s Actually High Percentage.

https://foxfitnessbjj.com/specials.html?fbclid=IwAR0Upb0jX0TTv-i3wRc0t6A-C7Gpr-7DBbRy-foCwcmjpkwPRey9uvlq85I
Your-First-Year-Of-BJJ-artwork-1199

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 290 Top Game

We talk about:

  • Why play top game?
  • Advantages of top game
  • The types of top games we like to play
  • Passing guard
  • Passing half guard
  • Keeping top position
  • Getting more pressure

Quote of the week: “Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language” Dale Carnegie

Article of the week: Ring Bell For Service

Your-First-Year-Of-BJJ-artwork-1199

Catch us next week for another episode of The BjjBrick Podcast

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