The Thrill of Defeat

The Thrill of Defeat

See, the problem is that there’s training, and then, there’s testing. And they aren’t the same. Testing, is when the outcome is important. Self defense, tournaments, etc., but on the mat in the gym, that’s training. That’s where you want weaknesses, and holes in your game exposed. That’s where you try moves that you’re not good at yet and pay the price. And that’s awesome. Every time you get beat, you have the chance to improve something. You have the chance for your Jiu-Jitsu to grow! That should be exciting. Awesome, in fact.

Read More

BJJ - Different For Self Defense?

BJJ - Different For Self Defense?

Long before the media craze, BJJ was involved in MMA. Back then it was called Vale Tudo (anything goes). No protective equipment, no weight classes. There were very limited rules, no eye gouging, no biting, and that’s about it! In this realm (when I first started fighting), BJJ reigned supreme. People were amazed at the unprecedented superiority of BJJ. As far back the late 19th century, the root arts of BJJ were untouchable in the world of real fighting.

Read More

Jiu-jitsu, the Olympics, and the Sport Trap

Jiu-jitsu, the Olympics, and the Sport Trap

The problem is not with the sport aspect of combat arts, per se, but rather when the sport aspect becomes the driver of the direction of the art.  This usually happens when, in order to gain popularity, the powers that be try to steer an art into the realm of sport. Usually this requires that the safety of participants increase, and that the art become more spectator friendly.  As such, rules are set in place without regard for whether the art remains realistic (i.e., how many times have you witnessed a street fight go to the ground, only to thirty seconds later of inactivity have a third party bystander stand up the two fighters?)

Read More

More bad arguments about lifting and BJJ

More bad arguments about lifting and BJJ

The arguments as to why bodyweight exercises are superior to weightlifting are twofold; the use of instability training, and that they better prepare the body to move. Generally speaking, these arguments fail for two reasons; there’s a ‘some is good, more is better fallacy’, where there is an assumption that an exercise is “better” because it trains more than one attribute at a time. The problem with that is it assumes that you need to train more than one attribute at a time while ignoring the question as to whether those attributes are being optimally trained. Moreover, there are some seriously flawed assumptions both about weightlifting and bodyweight exercises; specifically that there is no inherent magic to bodyweight exercises, and that some of the ancillary benefits for bodyweight exercises can be found in weightlifting. Moreover, some of the argued flaws with weightlifting can be found in bodyweight exercises.

Read More

Wendler's View On Women Lifting

Wendler's View On Women Lifting

In general, women should train the same as men. I’m not sure how the “women need special shit” myth got started — maybe because guys have “outies” and girls have “innies”? Or maybe because it doubles the number of programs coaches can sell? That said, coaching women might be different, but everyone is different to coach, regardless of gender.

Read More

Women, Self-Defense, and Victim Blaming

Women, Self-Defense, and Victim Blaming

What happens when all of the lessons taught to boys not rape fail?  Then what?  We have to live with the reality that even those taught not to rape will rape (who does not know murder is wrong, yet in 2013 we had over 15,000 homicides in the U.S.).  Moreover, by turning this is into a social problem (and thus a social solution), in essence we are saying women are helpless to prevent this from happening.  How is that empowering, and not infantilizing, women?  I sincerely cringe at some of things that my daughter will be told in her life, and the notion that she is without choices to help minimize risk to her body is one of them.

Read More

When the feedback says you're getting worse

When the feedback says you're getting worse

In jiu-jitsu people often look at various training partners as weights.  That guy is like trying to lift 100 pounds, she is like trying to lift 200 pounds, Jay is like trying to lift infinity pounds, and so on.  When I say 'lifting' in terms of jiu-jitsu, I am not necessarily talking about "winning", but rather being able to do something against a particular training partner, achieve some goal (i.e., sweep, pass, submit, or maybe just not allow the training partner to advance past a certain point on the ladder).  Let's say passing the guard of a particular training partner is like lifting 200 pounds, but you can only lift 100 pounds.  You get better, and eventually you can lift those 200 pounds (i.e., pass their guard).  The problem comes because people tend to lock a training partner into a particular weight; that a particular training partner is always like lifting X pounds.  Why's that a problem?  Let's continue with this scenario to highlight why.

Read More

The first rule of self-defense: Stand-up for yourself

The first rule of self-defense:  Stand-up for yourself

In terms of self-defense, not addressing the uncomfortableness is even more problematic.  You walk through those doors of your gym to get better, to get stronger, to practice “self-defense”. If you succumb to peer pressure when being asked to roll or train, then you can’t expect yourself to be able to withstand the emotional and physical pressure during moments leading up to a potentially dangerous situation.

Read More

Plateauing in Jiu-jitsu

Plateauing in Jiu-jitsu

And when this happens to you for the first time, the frustration can build. Imagine going from getting better just from doing the warm-ups, to now it taking a few months for you to see/feel as though you've made even a modicum of progress.  What's wrong?  Are you getting worse?  Or is everyone else getting better at a faster rate?  Why?  And as with lifting, people might change their programming (how much they drill, roll live, take class, etc.), or just quit out of frustration. 

Read More

Rules about Hygiene and Attire

Rules about Hygiene and Attire

As a reminder, hygiene is important is the sport given the amount of direct body contact that occurs.  We do our best to keep the gym, the mats in particular, clean, but it's also important that members help by remembering some important rules about hygiene.  Additionally, there are some rules regarding proper attire that should be adhered to: 

Read More

If Superman wasn’t bulletproof, he would just be “that scared guy that can fly”

 If Superman wasn’t bulletproof, he would just be “that scared guy that can fly”

So, if I know I may only have a few months……. I need to prepare you as best I can. So, in the Basic Curriculum (White Belt stripes 1 & 2) everything is about basic defense.  In the Intermediate (stripes 3 & 4) it’s more about attacking.  Hell, I used to call it “Self Defense” and “Fighting Fundamentals”, because that was a more accurate description of the concepts in each. One was about “not getting beat up”. The other was a little more in the “beat them up” vein.

Read More

The Lost Art of “Safety”

The Lost Art of “Safety”

I can’t tell you how often I pose this scenario to “advanced” BJJ people, and hear “replace guard”, or “go inverted guard” or some such nonsense. Yes, that shit can work. And yes there are dudes in the world that can sweep me on my head with it. But that’s not the fucking point. Christ, Liberace made an excellent living playing the piano, and wearing bedazzled jumpsuits. Doesn’t mean you tell you kid to do that instead of going to school!!!!

Read More

UFC says Takedowns not important . . . except it doesn't

UFC says Takedowns not important . . . except it doesn't

So, is the implication that based on this study we no longer need to learn takedowns?  I am sure some are drawing that conclusion based on the number of headlines I have seen this morning seemingly declaring the death of takedowns in BJJ schools.

Okay, full disclosure.  I am a blue belt, have had exactly zero MMA fights, and have watched exactly zero UFC promotions from start to finish since UFC III.  Where I have some authority to speak on the issue is that I can read . . . and put sentences together . . . and stuff. 

Read More

Jiu-jitsu, Lifting, and the Recovery Boogeyman

Jiu-jitsu, Lifting, and the Recovery Boogeyman

That's not to dismiss the importance of adequate recovery.  However, the concerned is misplaced, and tends to lead to rather absolutist positions grounded in nothing more than one's opinion.  For instance, I recently on the interwebs and read on a comment thread about strength and conditioning for jiu-jitsu that you should not squat more than once per week.  Cannot be done because you will not be able to recover.  And I have to say, I agree with this.  Well, I mean, I did agree with the notion that a person cannot squat more than once per week and train jiu-jitsu.  Well, that is until, you know, I actually tried to squat more than once per week. 

Read More

Lipstick On A Pig

Lipstick On A Pig

For you to realize all the beautiful things that can come from training (or a relationship), you have to learn to love the little things. The deep things. Not just the surface. It's fine to enjoy the "honeymoon" phase in your training. The huge leaps in progress. The "light-bulb" moments where things suddenly make sense. That's super cool. But after a while, they get less frequent. And smaller.

Read More