Wednesday, March 29, 2006


They outweigh you by 30 to 60 pounds. They are stronger than you. They are fast, very fast. They know how to take you apart piece by piece; their skill is very good. They, or monsters like them, are the reason you closed your closet door and checked under your bed when you went to sleep at night. And for the next five, six, or maybe even seven minutes, you have no night light to keep you safe. Ever felt this way?

Big deal. It is all nonsense. They are human just like you and guess what, every one makes mistakes sometimes. Everyone. And all you have to do is stay in the fight and not give up. At least let your opponent know that they have been in a fight, and that is sometimes good enough.

You may be in for an ass kickin, but as long as you fight, you will get better. You will get stronger. And your frustration will cause you to fight your biggest opponent hundreds of times in your own mind thinking of ways to win; that is also good training. And one day you will win, as long as you keep fighting as hard as you can.

I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.
Frank Herbert
Why are you training in BJJ anyway? It is more than just improve your mind and body, although you may not be aware of it. It is better to bruise in practice than to bleed in battle. Get your ass kicked, thank your opponent, and ask for more.


Friday, March 24, 2006

Injuries Just Happen

It is a full contact sport and sometimes, even with caution, injuries just happen. In Monday's class, I sprained my wrist; big deal. In fact, I did not even realize what had happened until after class when I got home and started to relax and my wrist started to throb and smart when rotated. Nothing a little ice, tensor bandage and some immobilization for a few days would not fix; my wrist feels a little better already.

Sometimes down time is as valuable as uptime, although I prefer uptime. But this week, I just chilled out for the first time in a while. No posts, light workouts and stretching, and focused on some other aspects of my life; there are many. :)

Injuries force a change of pace and helps stave off burn out and more injuries. Like when you get a cold or the flu, your body tells you to chill for a while. But when the sickness is gone, it is back to work time. And since my wrist starting to feel better...


Friday, March 17, 2006

Nogueira Instructional

Antonio Rodrigo "Minotauro" Nogueira shares some effective techniques. The leg locks I do not think are for me yet; There is no way I am comfortable working on someone's knee or side ankle for a submission. Besides, I think these are off limits for white belts.

Five Machado Submissions

These five moves are pretty slick. #2 and #4 are my favourites.

Popcorn and Toast

On Wednesday, we were working some pretty effective escapes from side mount bottom. Without getting into specifics, there were two things I noticed that were essential to first setting up the escape and then second performing the escape.


If you are being held down and your arms are not in the right place, you need to make space where your arms should be to set up the escape. Once the proper space is created, you must quickly fill that space with your arms. The motion reminded me of being like popcorn; popping up and down with my hips and legs to lift my opponent off me for a fraction of a second. When the opponent is up, I come down as I push my hands and arms into proper position. If I do not get my arm in the right place for the escape, I keep "popping" until it is there, just like popcorn.


Once the escape is set up and arms are in the right position, legs are set up for the push; I become like toast. Toast is the is the full motion to escape and requires full dedication to get out; you do not put toast back in the toaster. And now that I think about it, I am not toast when I escape, I am more like the toaster; my opponent is toast. ;)

Just two random thoughts on popcorn and toast; effective in some situations. These two essential movements get stronger and stronger as I strengthen my hips and my bridge. I still need work on learning how to lean up and base with my arm...


Thursday, March 16, 2006

Origins - Helio Gracie

A discussion on the origins of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu from the founder. These stories are great!

Monday, March 13, 2006

Habits - Good and Bad

After class tonight I had a quick chat with one of the senior blue belts of our team, Jason. I was explaining how I would prefer being swept to give me opponent top mount because I can escape bottom mount easier than passing a tight closed guard... I have been spending a great deal of time developing my Upa.

Jason pointed out the flaw in my logic of giving up position the "easy" way; "Would you like to be on the bottom of a mount on the street?" and "If you compete, getting mount is worth 4 points." He was right, of course. Rolling is a fun game of chess, but every class I start taking "the game" a little more seriously. And this is where habits come into play.

If I develop bad habits, they will cause me great problems moving forward. Having the senior belts and Professor Schilling make corrections to my learning and training, from the theory to details, will make be a better fighter and perhaps a good teacher in the future. We all know that a bad habit is hard to break, well, so is a good one. Being a white belt and listening, really listening, and constantly trying to form good habits is probably the most important thing in developing in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Good habits.

I have to start working very hard on my guard passes; not my favourite thing, but that I think is a good habit to develop moving forward. And keeping what I earn... Another good habit.


P.S. In class tonight, Professor Schilling mentioned two books we should pick up; The Gift of Fear and Protecting the Gift by Gavin De Becker. I am a father of 13 month old son, and his safety, as well as my wife's, are always on my mind. I will be picking up the Protecting the Gift book next time I am at the book store, or perhaps the library ;).

Friday, March 10, 2006 Forum Online

It took a week to get up and running, but the forum is now finally online. Why another forum? Well, there are a lot of MMA forums and school forums, but this forum is all about Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. And, although it amuses me to read my own writing, I would like to get some other perspectives from other people who train in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

And sure, there will be a mix of other martial arts talk in the forum, no doubt. But this forum is dedicated mainly to BJJ. And there is no charge to read or write anything or limit to what you can or cannot read. I also plan to work on it until perfect, listening to your recommendations, just like this site.

To register or take a look, visit:


P.S. Nice idea Mikey!

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Jackass Jiu Jitsu

Steve-O and Chris Pontius from Jackass visit the Gracie Bara School in Brazil. Funny stuff even without wasabi, panda suits, or fire crackers.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Second Stripe Grading

Tonight I added another ring to the target on my back; I graded for second stripe white belt and passed.

Gradings are an opportunity for Professor Schilling to assess our ability to preform techniques listed in the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu curriculum for our team. For each stripe there is around 20 to 40 specific defenses, offenses, guard passes, and movements that need to be understood and demonstrated before moving forward in rank. This is in addition to "how we roll" in class.

But rank is more than just an addition of a stripe to our belt; it is an addition of responsibility. If I have one stripe on my belt, I should be able to help out a no stripe teammate with any technique for my level. And as I progress and my technique catalog increases, I should be able to be able to help out junior students more and more, not only with my immediate belt level criteria, but everything I have learned to this point.

There were three specific things I did to help me with my grading.

  1. The first was make it to class regularly and often. Being in class and training hard helped me establish the physical tools needed to preform my techniques, as well as apply my knowledge.

  2. The second thing I did was mark off all the items on the curriculum that I had a pretty firm grasp on. I would not mark off something I was not too sure of. This helped me narrow down what I needed to work on step by step and one technique at a time.

  3. The third and most valuable thing I did in my preparation was set up a couple of private lessons with Professor Schilling. I can not express how important and helpful these sessions were. We covered the curriculum step by step with points I needed to focus on. This gave me a high level of preparation for not only the grading, but my regular training as well.
I would not have passed if it were not for my teammates as well. Unlike Karate, Kung Fu, Tae Kwon Do or any of the other form based martial arts, you can not do Brazilian Jiu Jitsu alone. My team forms me and I them. My rank is a reflection of the teamwork we all put into our Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training.

The one thing I will always remember from earning my Shodan in Goju Ryu is the rank is not a destination; it is a starting point. And like with anything in life, knowing where you are and where you have been helps you with where you are going. And I just took another step forward...


P.S. Congratulations to everyone on the team who graded. And thanks for helping me with my training; you all rock!

Friday, March 03, 2006

Brazilian Soldiers

Donald Rumsfeld is giving the President his daily briefing. He
concludes by saying: "Yesterday, three Brazilian soldiers were

"OH NO!" the President exclaims. "That's terrible!"

His staff sits stunned at this display of emotion, nervously watching
as President Bush sits, head in hands.

Finally, the President looks up and asks, "How many is a brazillion?"

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Royler Gracie vs. Kempo

It does not seem like a fair fight. Once again, a BJJ fighter, this time Royler Gracie, agressively takes down and defeats a Kempo instructor, twice.