Being Yourself in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

You can roll how you want to, as long as you are willing to live with the consequences. One of the things I love about Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) is the diversity of styles and personalities I have found on the mats over the years. Even when all of the people in the room have the…

Chess and Collar Chokes

“If we are playing chess and I do two moves, but you only do one move, who is going to win? Jiu-jitsu is like chess. I do one move and you do one move, but if I do one move and then you let me do another move, game over.” – Relson Gracie In life,…

Lose Now to Win Later (As a Big Guy or Gal in BJJ)

Are you playing the long game or are you trying to win? As a big guy in Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ), I am often encouraged to use my weight and size to my advantage. It is common to hear, “No one tells the smaller guys to be less fast or flexible. Use what you’ve got.” On…

Passing Guard for the (Small) Win

If you want to get better at guard passing, get swept a lot. An essential skill in Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) is the ability to pass an opponent’s guard. That is, the ability to get past a downed opponent’s legs in order to attain a dominant position on his or her torso and from which to…

Sharing Self-Defense And Forming Friendships

If we walk the path together, we are more than simply travel companions. We are friends. We are family. A few days before Ike Haertel, head instructor at Kogen Dojo, was going to test for his black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) with Relson Gracie, several of us attended a seminar with Relson at our…