This episode was only the second time we have been able to record with all three of us together. It is coming at the back end of the BjjBrick Camp. The big news coming out of the camp is that Gary Hull received his black belt on 6-15-2019. We have been trying to interview Gary for years but he always passes, to this episode we both just direct a lot of questions in his direction to create an interview he did not see coming.
We talk about:
Why we started BJJ
Changes to our games
Some of the lessons we learned on the mat at the camp
Our first bricks for BJJ
What we look for in a training partner
Changes we are wanting to make to our game
Our friend Josh makes an appearance to chat about the camp
Quote of the week: “If you are planning for a year, sow rice; if you are planning for a decade, plant trees; if you are planning for a lifetime, educate people.” – Chinese Proverb
The following is a monologue by Billy Crystal from the movie City Slickers and was sent to me from my friend and 60+ year old grappler Andy Dicky. In the movie Mitch (played by Billy Crystal), Phil, and Ed are all experiencing their own mid-life crises and take a two-week vacation at a dude ranch to figure things out. The scene that this monologue is from features Mitch speaking to his son’s middle school class on career day prior to leaving for the dude ranch.
Value this time in your life kids… Because this is the time in your life when you still have choices, and it goes by so quickly. When you’re a teenager you think you can do anything, and you do. Your twenties are a blur. Your thirties, you raise your family, you make a little money and you think to yourself, “what happened to my twenties?”. Your forties, you grow a little pot belly, you grow another chin… the music starts to get too loud and one of your old girlfriends from high school becomes a grandmother. Your fifties you have a minor surgery…you’ll call it a procedure, but it’s a surgery. Your sixties you have a major surgery, the music is still too loud, but it doesn’t matter because you can’t hear it anyway. Seventies, you and the wife retire to Fort Lauderdale, you start eating dinner at two, lunch around ten, and breakfast the night before. You spend most of your time wandering around malls looking for the ultimate in soft yogurt and muttering “how come the kids don’t call?”. By your eighties, you’ve had a major stroke, and you end up babbling to some Jamaican nurse who your wife can’t stand, but you call mamma. Any questions?
What’s the point of sharing this with you? Is it to make sure we understand that this is as good as it’s going to get? To warn you that from here on your life will get progressively worse with the passage of time? Not at all. But things will definitely be different, and not all those differences will be “good”. Our knees, our backs, our shoulders, our central nervous systems and reflexes, etc. are examples of things that deteriorate with age. This means our experiences on the mats at 45 will not be the same as they were in our 30’s…in our 50’s our experiences on the mats won’t be the same as they were at 45. Our experiences won’t be the same over the years, but they can still be great.
Don’t waste time looking back with regret because you did not start sooner or did not pursue jiu jitsu with the passion that you now wish you would have. Don’t waste time looking down the road and worrying about your physical attributes fading and your body breaking down and the things that you may no longer be able to do. Instead, live in the moment. Enjoy your time on the mats today. Make the most out of each class, each round that you roll, each tournament you enter, each seminar you attend, etc. This moment is the only one that is guaranteed. Value this time on the mats.
We would like to invite you to be part of this special episode by sharing your story about how BJJ has benefited your life off of the mat. We are hoping to make a very positive and motivating show.
We are asking for 5 minutes or less testimonial audio clips from the BJJ community.
There are two ways we are collecting these audio clips.
1) use your smart phone to record a mp3 and email it to us at email@example.com.
2) email us your contact info at firstname.lastname@example.org and tell us a few good times to call and we will call you and record it over the phone.
1) reflect on the off the mat benefits BJJ has given you
2) make an outline
3) go to a quiet place to record
4) give examples or a story not just a list of items
5) feel free to include your name full or just first name, where you are from, your school.
6) have fun
BjjBrick (metaphor) it’s important to have a few key techniques that you can perform at a high level. You need to have a well-rounded game, but having some great techniques will help you excel at BJJ. To your opponents it will feel like they got hit with a brick. It takes a lot of blood and sweat to make a BjjBrick, but if you are making the correct bricks the effort will be well worth it.
Big strong tree-
The Bjj Tree, Click to enlarge, feel free to share!
Trunk- Fundamentals, Posture, and Game plan
Big branches- Positions, some branches will be stronger than others
Smaller branches- Techniques, from the positions
Leaves- Owning the techniques
Big roots- The pioneers of BJJ, and/or your instructor’s instructor
Medium sized roots- Your instructors and training partners
Small roots- Other methods of training and learning
Pile of leaves and branches on the ground- We all discard some techniques and positions when we are searching for what works best for us, this is normal. You should avoid having a giant pile of leaves and branches under your tree. Focusing on key things will help keep you from having this problem.
How important is it to have really good fundamentals? Having poor fundamentals is like a tree trying to grow branches without having a strong trunk. Strong fundamentals are the foundation of your game, like a strong trunk supports a large tree.
The Building Burns-
The building burns. Important concept for someone learning BJJ and making the transition to MMA.
This analogy helps someone who has been training BJJ and now they are going to be doing MMA.
Quote of the week: “I fear no the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times.” Bruce Lee
Ways to help develop a culture of learning at your BJJ school
Recognize improvement and accomplishments
Keep trying new things (everyone, the teacher and student)
Have a system of teaching and order to the class
Don’t teach, help students learn
Experience vs being taught- we learn more from experience (people learn more in the field than at school)
Enjoyment- improves performance, and learning
Promoting positive peer relationships
Get on the mat with your students- you might feel things that you cannot see
Have students figure out answers to their own questions (with your help) positional spar. Give them to tools to learn on their own.
Trial and error
Answer and encourage “Why” questions. “why do you grab his leg like that?”
Mistakes and Failure are ok, this is how people learn
Making leaders at your BJJ School
Funny but, not a way to be a leader
How can everyone have a leadership role?
Answer your student’s questions- This will encourage other students to help lower belts. Be an example of a good student/instructor
Help build people’s confidence with real and honest feedback
Positive attitude- Toward the training, and about the people
Be Passionate (don’t just show up and go through the motions)
Care about your training partners, (Learn names of new people, Get to know their life off the mat)
Have students show techniques they are performing well
The Meme about the birds crapping on each other Sucks!
It’s about PEOPLE!- Dr Carol A. Johnson example “I know that I am no more well educated, no smarter, no richer, no braver than any of you. You have everything you need. Everything you need to go and to serve and to help those who are poor, ill, injured, hurting, forgotten. You just need to do it. And you will find that the rewards that you receive are far greater than the things you sacrifice to do so. You are already so blessed, and you can be further blessed. I have been around the block a few times and I think I know what really matters in this world.” 1. Relationships, not things.2. What we do for others, not for ourselves. 3. What we do for eternity, for our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.”-Carol A. Johnson, MD 2012 Kansas Humanitarian Award recipient
Quote of the week: “If you are tired, don’t show me” Ken Primola
The BJJ life is going great. You have gotten rid of that old worn out white belt and been handed a new blue belt. There are definitely a few tough white belts you roll with, but most do not give you much of a battle. Then it happens, a white belt taps you out. Believe it or not, if you train long enough, a lower ranking belt will tap you out. Your belt provides no protection from other belts. If anything, lower belts will likely be giving you their “A game”. Here is a little advice to remember when you get caught by a lower ranking belt; this advice can be for any level.
The disappointment- The first time I was tapped out by a lower belt I was disappointed in myself. This is probably the most common thing to feel. You might wonder if you deserve your belt, or maybe you are just getting worse. Show your instructor respect and don’t question your belt. If you are questioning your belt, you are questioning you instructor’s judgment. Most likely the main cause of getting tapped out by a lower belt is that the lower belt is advancing.
Don’t avoid this lower belt- Getting tapped by a lower belt can be a freak occurrence, but most likely this lower belt has been slowly catching up to you. Do not avoid the lower belt that is putting you in danger and giving you a run for your money. You have a color belt, you are not just some person to roll with you are also a coach to lower belts. You need to be helping to develop the members of your team, not avoiding them because they are getting better. Avoiding the students that are improving is a mistake.
No excuses- When you get tapped by a lower ranking belt don’t give an excuse. You are not going to lose respect from this person because you got tapped. You lose respect if you complain and give excuses. When you are in a submission, fight to get out of it. Do not stop rolling and give advice on how to finish the submission. Coaching while in a close submission is a cheap way to avoid getting tapped. It is better to fight out of the submission and then tell them how to tighten it up.
Be happy- So you got caught by a lower ranking student, who cares? If you get mad when you get tapped out you are forgetting to leave your ego at the door. Students that get upset after getting tapped have a higher likelihood of quitting. When I was a lower belt I remember not finishing submissions because my partner would get mad. Someone who gets mad is not a good training partner or member of the team. After you get tapped by someone for the first time give them a quick handshake and tell them “nice work”, then get back to rolling.
To sum it up- Worrying about getting tapped out is a negative thought process that will eventually slow your progress. You will roll one less time because you are tired, you will not branch out of your comfort zone and try new techniques. I have seen students come to class less due to frustration and then ultimately quit. That’s a stupid reason to quit BJJ. No one loves getting caught by lower belts, but it is going to happen sometime. Just keep rolling; it’s only a big deal if you make it a big deal.
Sooner or later you are going to tap out someone who has a higher rank than you. This can be very exciting and a sign that you are making real progress. Here is a little advice for you to consider when you get to this experience in your BJJ journey. To keep it simple, let’s focus on white belts tapping blues, but the advice can be for any level.
Good job- Your hard work and training is starting to show progress. For most new white belts, a blue will seem almost invincible for a long time. You should feel a happy and a little excited. The person you were when you first started BJJ could not have accomplished this task. The technique you used might be something to really focus on. You should do more drilling with the technique and get even better at it.
Be humble- First of all you can’t accomplish anything at the expense of your teammates. You accomplish WITH your teammates. This blue belt has probably helped you get to this point. Do not be rude and celebrate in front of everyone what you just did. Just finish the round like you would if the blue tapped you out.
Think about what happened- Doing this may take away some of the excitement of your accomplishment. Keep in mind that this is not a tournament, this is training. There are many things other than you being awesome that could have helped contribute to you tapping out a blue belt. There is a good chance that your partner was not rolling as hard as they could. In BJJ position is so important. If your partner rolls light with you, eventually you will get a good position and catch them. This blue belt could be very tired, or you might have a size advantage over him. In the long run tapping out a higher ranking belt is a small step.
Don’t tell your coach you are ready for the next belt- This is rude and very short sighted. Your coach will know when you are ready for your next belt. One submission over someone does not deem you worthy of a new belt. Your coach is more likely to be watching how you move in general, and not watching for a few seconds of greatness. For example, you may have a great triangle choke but if you stick your arms up to escape the mount, you are not ready for a belt promotion.
To sum it up- Good job in moving forward with your BJJ progress. But keep in mind that tapping out a teammate that was not giving a 100% is not the best thing you will accomplish on the mat. Keep working hard and look to make submitting higher ranking belts more common. Keep in mind that someday you will be wearing a blue belt and get tapped by a white belt.