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,…

Enter First With Your Mind

“Always irimi, even when retreating.” – Budd Yuhasz There are a lot of valuable lessons beneath the surface of Japanese weapon training that translate to empty hand practice. With sword-work in particular, the principle of irmi* becomes especially evident. Irimi, meaning ‘entering body,’ is more than simply the act of entering into an opponent’s physical…

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…

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…

It’s Not For That (And That’s Okay)

“The aiki-arts (aikido, aikijujutsu, hapkido, et al) are ineffective for fighting and incapable of teaching practitioners how to defend themselves against even the most inexperienced attacker, let alone a seasoned martial artist.” As a practitioner of both aikido (one aspect of Taikyoku Budo) and Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ), I have spent a lot of time contemplating…