Basic Anatomy of a Jiu Jitsu Class

 

Okay so what makes up a BJJ class? In my opinion there are 3 basic parts to a complete BJJ class. This can be interpreted in a few ways but here is how I break it down. I’ve also included the issues that typically come with each part.

  1. Warm-up/stretch
  2. Drill 
  3. Roll (spar)

The class should start with a light warm-up and stretch. I combine these 2 components together because they should both be light and the stretch should be an active stretch and both the warm-up and stretch should be specific to the class to follow and the fundamental movements of Brazilian jiu jitsu. Far to often I see pre-class warm-up sequences that rival a full blown HIIT work-out and the students are spent before the actual jiu jitsu starts, or the warm up is just skipped all together. 

The second part of the class is where we learn the techniques and drill, drill, drill them. It’s also the part where the students like to talk more than the drill, do the technique 1 time and start looking to debunk its validity by resisting a partner who doesn’t even know the move yet. It’s also the most important part of the class because in addition to learning the technique whether it’s a transition, a sub, or a control technique, etc you should also be learning the theory behind the move, (when and why). 

Finally the rolling portion (sparing) of the class, the part everyone wants to skip straight too. This is the most fun part of the class and the part most people understand least. At the end of class when we roll each student should have a specific goal and that goal should be the same for each student. That goal is to try and apply the technique you just learned in class to a resisting partner who is trying to do the same to you. The thing I hear most when I tell this to students is “Yeah, but we just did this he’s going to be expecting it,” yeah, no shit and what better way to work the technique and develop a better understanding of both sides of that specific technique. 

This is also the part of the class that turns into a world championship fight to the death for some students, this serves no purpose other than the potential of injury and loss of students, it also causes students to not want to train with specific students for the above reason. Everyone should understand that the academy is a team with the end goal of improvement for all in a fun safe team environment. 

This anatomy of a BJJ class can be further broken down to subsections depending on the training atmosphere, for example is it a class or a seminar, length of the class, and if the class is training for a specific goal (upcoming competition). 

Have fun, train hard, train smart, and have fun 🙂

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Jiu Jitsu in St Barthélemy – 1

Question – What’s better than a vacation in the French West Indies? 

Answer – A jiu jitsu vacation in the French West Indies. 

So this was the 6th BJJ camp I’ve been to and although I love them all for different reasons this one I believe to be my favorite to date. More on the reason for this thought later. 

The trip started with a flight to St. Maarten. After getting through customs I jumped into a cab to Philipsburg so I could catch a ferry to St. Barthélemy. When I got there I had a couple of hours to walk around town and grab some lunch. The biggest thing I noticed in Philipsburg is that they have yet to recover from hurricane Irma. The city seemed pretty run down and although there is rebuilding in progress it seems some areas are forgotten and it’s going to take quite some time. I did sit in a small bar/restaurant for lunch (I don’t remember the name but the wifi code is buybeer). The place is what I pictured as a stereotypical Caribbean bar and while I don’t drink I was hungry and the place looked really cool so I felt compelled to get lunch there. My lunch; an awesome vegetable wrap and fries.

Did I mention I ate like shit for the past 9 days? 

*Side note – left Saddle Brook 10 Feb 174.8 pounds, this morning 19 Feb 171.6.. Scratches head…..

Ok, the ferry from St Maarten to St. Barthélemy, where do I start? Do not, and I mean do not under any circumstances sit outside in the last row on the left side of the boat unless you dig the smell of diesel fuel and like being soaked with salt water, by the time we docked it looked like I swam there however, I was in St. Barthélemy and about to begin a week of surfing, jiu jitsu, and all around fun with a group of awesome people.

Now I need to address what’s makes this camp so special,  besides the prefect weather and island life of course. Most of the camps I’ve attended have anywhere from 100 to 200 participants so training partners of all size and skill levels are readily available however, it’s hard to meet everyone and people tend to group off. This camp has about 35 to 40 people in attendance so it was easy to meet everyone and actually get to know them. We ate dinner together ever night, went to the beaches together, trained together and just had a great time hanging out and playing games, one night after dinner I witnessed one of the most intense games of pick up sticks ever played. 

Cliff Hanger…..

To be continued……..

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Weight Cutting

A couple of weeks ago UFC fighter Uriah Hall damn near died during his weight cut for his UFC Fight Night 124 fight with Vitor Belfort. Uriah found himself rushed to the hospital after fainting and it was reported he had a seizure and may have suffered a mild heart attack. So why does this happen to a 33 year old professional athlete? The short answer; normally weighing 220 pounds and fighting at 185.

This is an issue that has always bothered my for a couple of reasons, first; repeatedly cutting 35 pounds in order to fight will slowly destroy vital organs the body needs to function properly, and second with the weigh in the day before the fight fighters rehydrate and routinely fight 15 or so pounds above the weight class. Sure you may say they all do it, but, if thats the case why cut down so much and destroy your body and possibly take years off your life in the process.

The athletic commissions need to take responsibility for the health and safety of the athletes and put strict, enforceable restrictions in place. This will have a two fold affect, athletes will minimize the risk of organ failure and fighters will be fighting against an opponent closer in natural weight. Answer this question for me, if 2 men are preparing to fight and one weighs 220 and the other weighs 215 what is the need for both these men to risk their health by cutting to 185 and completely depleting their body of sodium and water in the process?

Whats the answer? Well, there are a few options available. One option is to restrict the amount of body weight a fighter is allowed to cut. Come up with a percentage of a fighters natural body weight and enforce this strictly with off contest weight checks and hydration tests, also at the fight weigh in include hydration testing. Another available option is to add weight classes possibly every 8 or 10 pounds. I feel a combination or the 2 would be the best way to go.

If you take the time to really think about combat sports and the toll they take on the body and the brain (this is a subject for another day), why add the possible long term affects that weight cutting can add to the damage thats being done as a natural result of the chosen sport.

This is subject that needs to be addressed by the athletic commissions and fighting organizations to come up with a realistic safe option that in the long run is in everyones best interest. This is long over due.…

Peace

Fall Camp, Heidelberg Germany

 

Fall Camp Heidelberg Germany

I guess to start by saying the camp was awesome would just be redundant as all the camps are awesome. This was my third BJJ Globetrotters camp and the best to date. As always I met and made friends with great people from all around the world, but this time, for the first time, I taught a class at camp. My fear was an empty mat, the reality was just over eighty participants, how awesome is that. My class was on passing the butterfly guard and I taught with my typical combination of technical instruction and sarcastic wit. I received a lot of positive feedback from many of the students and some great feedback from a couple of the other instructors. I would say my first class teaching (of hopefully many more) for the BJJ Globetrotters was successful.

The second reason this camp was so important to me was because just like the first globetrotters camp I attended it helped my overcome an anxiety trigger. The prospect of sharing a cabin with 9 others and sharing a bathroom was a total nightmare; however, I decided I needed to do this to overcome one aspect of my social anxiety and I did. The trigger to overcome this time was to travel outside the United States; yes, in my 51 years this is the first time I left the US, you would think as close as I live to Canada I would’ve made that trip at least once by now but; I have, well had this thing about leaving the states. Anxiety trigger 2 conquered.

The camp itself is an amazing experience. You get to meet and train with others who share the same passion for Brazilian jiu jitsu that you have. These other campers come from around the globe and bring their style of BJJ with them. Although we all train the same art it is a very personal and unique experience for every participant due to all the variables that come from everyone’s individuality. Seeing other people’s little variances on techniques is a great way to improve your training by opening previously overlooked options.

Heidelberg, Germany was an excellent choice for a camp location. The sports complex was quite large and the mat space easily accommodated 200 plus globetrotters. Classes transitioned smoothly from one instructor to the next and the open mat periods flowed nicely. The sports hall also had clean locker rooms equipped with showers and a great cafeteria that offered inexpensive food options for those who did not participate in the food plan.

I wasn’t sure what it would be like staying in a hostel but even that turned out to be a pleasant experience. We were 4 to a room and we had a private bathroom and it was clean with comfortable bunks.

The city of Heidelberg may be the coolest place I’ve ever visited. The old part of the city with its narrow cobble stone roads and small homes was like traveling back in time. In the city center the streets were lined with small shops, bars, and restaurants were you can get any type of food you could possibly want. Then there’s the castle overlooking the city, a nice climb to go in the back way, or you can drive up to the main entrance, a great experience regardless of your choice with breath-taking views out over the city and the Neckar River.

Speaking of the Neckar River, there’s a really cool park on the riverside that has beach volleyball courts, and outdoor bar, and music playing continuously, a great place to hang out and just relax and soak it all in. There is also a bike/walking path that extends for miles on the riverside.

The other thing that struck me about Heidelberg was that a large percentage of the residents ride bicycles as their primary mode of transportation. They have a rent a bike system in place with pickup/drop off points all over the city and virtually every place you go there are bike racks, also there are bike lanes on almost every road and they even have traffic lights specific to bicycles.

The one negative in the entire trip was the lack of internet access. Heidelberg has free wi-fi in the city which I was able to access however there was no internet access. The only 2 places I was able to get online were the cafeteria in the sports center and the hostel lobby.. Oh, hold on a second, that’s actually a good thing too. Never mind it was 100% positive.

All in all this was an amazing trip with great Brazilian jiu jitsu, great people, great food, and I cant wait to do it all again…

 

Peace

But I Thank………..

I don’t necessarily believe in the concept of God as this supreme being that has created everything and has predetermined our existence, however I find myself thanking him (or her) every day. I do believe that most of the stories written in the Bible are true, however in the cases where God is speaking to some of the cast I feel there is another explanation. Don’t ask me what that explanation is as I don’t know the answers, all I have is more questions.

 

BJJ Tournament Rules

It seems like every week a new grappling federation is popping up and holding tournaments. I think this is both good and bad. Good in the way that our sport is growing in popularity, and bad because with this growth usually comes the watering down of the original intent of the “art”. The original intent of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu was self protection, self protection in the way that a smaller person could defend themselves against a lager attacker. The original intent of Tae Kwon Do was self protection, typically meeting force with force with defensive maneuvers and punching and kicking. With the popularity of Tae Kwon Do tournaments the rules slowly began to change. First the punching began to fade then the contact began to fade. When I trained in TKD we fought when we sparred, there was contact and if the fight went to the ground as most fights do you’d better know how to fight there as well. We didn’t go for points for one simple reason; if you get attacked your attacker will not stop attacking because you scored a point.

While I feel that sport martial arts are good it’s the rules that water down the martial art itself. Traditionally speaking, if you got a black belt it meant you could fight and defend yourself, now if you get a black belt in a martial art designed for competition that meaning isn’t necessarily true. A lot of black belts today have a false sense of security due to the sport aspect of the what they are learning.

Now here’s the issue I have with all the grappling tournaments that are popping up every week, each one has a different set of rules, and much like what happened to TKD this is watering down BJJ. More and more schools have a sport based curriculum (if they have a curriculum at all) and this takes the self protection out of the art. While I agree that for children there are certain things that need to be modified in both training and competition for safety, however adults need to train the art as it was meant to be. Therefore as an adult in competition there should not be limits on the moves and submissions that are (or least least should be) part of every adult BJJ academy curriculum. I realize there is no easy answer to this issue, however I feel it needs to be addressed.

 

To be continued…

Peace

 

Leave it on the Mat

When you get on the mats it releases all the outside distractions and stresses of life. You are pushing yourself physically and mentally and growing every session (whether you realize this, or not). You will have good days and bad days, days you feel every technique is working with minimal effort, and days it seems nothing you do is right. You may tap an upper belt, you may get tapped by a lower belt, either way you will learn something about your technique and more importantly about yourself.
Leave it all on the mats, don’t brag and don’t pout, never leave the mats angry..
‪#‎brazilianJiuJitsu‬ ‪#‎LeaveItAllOnTheMats‬
Oss

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Things to Ponder

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  1. If you are not a productive contributor to society shut up. Stop complaining, stop giving advice, stop discussing politics/religion/health/music, stop saying how the government is fucking the people, just stop…..
  2. If “they are poisoning us; they’re poisoning themselves as well.
  3. Things happen in this world. Not everything is created by the government/new world order/illuminati or whatever else you want to call it. Not everything is a conspiracy or a cover up.
  4. The government is not trying to take your guns away from you. Gun control doesn’t mean gun confiscation.
  5. It’s easy to push the blame, you have more control than you realize. I’m in the situation I put myself in, so are you.
  6. Proper diet and exercise go hand in hand. However, a good healthy diet with minimal exercise will yield more positive results and health than exercise and eating a garbage diet.
  7.  All food is “real” food. The saying “eat real food” is stupid. It should be “eat natural food”.
  8. No GMOs.. Sounds good, right? Do you use a microwave, smoke, drink alcohol, milk, or soda, eat fast food, or processed food, canned food, use anti perspirant/deodorant, This list can go on forever.
  9. How do you know that vegetables you grow are not GMO. Do you really know where those seeds came from.
  10. Dana White, love or hate him but know one thing that’s for sure; you would not have MMA without him. Think what you want, but he saved the sport and made it what it is today. Also you can complain all you want about fighter pay but they make the choice to fight and know what is going in, and don’t compare it to boxing because most boxers make less. They are business like any other, the CEO makes millions they guys who do the work make a few thousand. Right or wrong…
  11. You’re in competition with no one but yourself. Wake up, work out, eat, work, relax, go to sleep, repeat.
  12. If you hold a door for someone and they don’t thank you who cares, if you’re holding for the thank you you’re holding it for the wrong reason.
  13. This I’ve said before, It’s better to be politically correct than mean.
  14. You go on Facebook and tell the American people they’re “sheepole” and better wake up, meanwhile you’re getting your info from a source just as skewed, so what’s the difference. Going onto a social media site and spewing your holier than thou bullshit just makes you an aggressive, pompous ass. What you fuck are you doing to make change for the better?
  15. I’ve also said this. Music: there is no good or bad, it’s personal. Music makes everyone feel something different. I happen to like almost any music, I like new rock, and country. Just because a certain music is complicated it’s not better than a simple 3 chord pop song, it’s just different; just because I happen to like simple music doesn’t mean Mr. prog rock or jazz in more educated musically.
  16. I try to be the best me I can be, I may not be doing so good, but I’m trying the best I can…

 

That’s all for today. Live you life the best you can and Be Happy.

 

Peace

 

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Hero

Hero is defined as 1. A person who is admired for great or brave acts or fine qualities. 2. A person who is greatly admired. 3. A person noted for feats of courage or nobility of purpose, especially one who has risked or sacrificed his or her life. 4. A person who, in the opinion of others, has heroic qualities or has performed a heroic act and is regarded as a model or ideal.

I think most Americans agree that members of the United States military are heroes, they go into a foreign land and risk their lives for the interest of the United States. That said, to our enemies they are no heroes, they’re villains destroying their homeland. I also believe that the majority of Americans consider law enforcement to be heroes, however there’s a large portion of people who consider the police to be bullies or worse. I think we can all agree that firefighters, EMTs, and paramedics are heroes. To kids growing up their favorite athlete can be a hero, to a young boy his father, and to a young girl her mom. The list goes on.

There really is no clear cut criteria, it’s all subjective, a hero to you may not be a hero to me and vise versa.

Courage – the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery.

There are lots of ways to look at this as well. It takes courage to go fight a war, go into a burning building while everyone else is running out, apprehend an armed criminal, get into a cage and fight another man, go to school on your first day when you don’t know anyone, fight cancer, tell you mom you did something you weren’t supposed to, admit to yourself your family and friends that you are gay, etc, etc..

Just because you may disagree with what others perceive as courage doesn’t diminish their perception of it. To compare someone who’s fighting cancer, to someone who lost a leg in war, to a transgender person is not fair. The phrase apples to oranges come to mind.

So did what Bruce Jenner did take courage? Yes

Is Caitlin Jenner a hero? To the others who are going through the same struggle, Yes.

I personally do not see Bruce/Caitlyn as a hero, but I do think he/she showed courage. Either way none of this affects my life so I move on.

Why are so many of you so angry over this? Keep scrolling, change the channel, whatever. Why must everything fit within your realm of what should be. We all need to accept the fact that we are all different, with our on views, needs, and beliefs.

And stop bring God into everything it’s irrelevant to the conversation, and from what I understand about Jesus he would be not only tolerant of all this, but helpful and supportive.

Peace

Just some more thoughts…

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There is a ton of great new music out there, you just need to go and find it. Don’t just listen to what the record companies and radio stations are trying to jam down your throats..

The fact that “Tips” are now called “Hacks” irritates me.

I don’t understand why it’s suddenly cool for the younger generations to like Tony Bennett. Yes he’s a great singer, I know.. But really….

If you keep mentioning K____ W____ every time he does something: he wins…

The Odd Couple was the best sitcom ever.

If you’re going to ignore me on social media, ignore everything, don’t suddenly appear when you disagree with me.

Slaughtered Grace. (I’m lucky to now be a part of it).

I have the best daughter in the world.

And the best, most beautiful girlfriend.

Peace…..