Find Your Way Back to the Familiar

If you are stuck in a position you do not know how to get out of, find your way back to a position you do know how to get out of and escape from there. I received a call from one of my lead technicians the other day with a question about how to remove…

A Willow in a Snowstorm (Jujutsu and the Transcendence of Violence)

Does your jujutsu (jiu-jitsu) propagate violence or transcend it? The Japanese word jujutsu (柔術) is often thought to translate as ‘gentle art.’ Gentle implies a lack of force or lack of strength. Anyone who has ever done any form of jujutsu knows that there is nothing gentle about being thrown, pinned, joint-locked, or choked. In…

Start By Not Losing

“If they can’t submit you, they will start to respect you.” —Anonymous For a long time, I was one of the only white belts at a Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ) school full of blue, purple, and brown belts, as well as the black belt who owned the school. Every roll was hard and I was getting…

Cutting Through Closed Guard

Accepting even an expert’s opinion as fact, without testing and retesting it in different contexts, can be detrimental to growth and progress. When I first started cross-training in Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ), I accepted the opinion that closed guard is better than open guard for self defense. It seemed logical. There is more postural control in…

Mercy is Found in Death

Mercy is the ability to destroy a person at the very moment of his or her error or mistake, at his or her most fragile and vulnerable, but choosing instead to offer compassion to that person, to teach him or her how to be better. One of the foundational training methods of classical Japanese martial…