The Good Days Don’t Count

If our goals are shallow, most likely our commitment will be as well. Starting martial arts can be scary. Walking through the door for the first time is a huge step. Once we get started, however, staying can be even more difficult. When our initial motivation wears off, once we reach some short term goal…

Learning Self-Defense For Others

The Gracie jiu-jitsu self-defense curriculum is not for you. Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioners often talk disparagingly about the Gracie self-defense curriculum. They say things like: “I don’t care about that. I just do BJJ for fun. I can defend myself. I don’t need that stuff.” The people who say things like this are usually capable, fit,…

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…