Truth in Art and Grappling

“It is only brave before you do it.” —Debbie Millman Art, creative work shared with others, is a lot like grappling in that it takes risk to attain any kind of reward. In order to be successful, you must put yourself on the line. You must invest in losing, a lot. You must invest in…

Three Archetypes for Better Randori

In competitive grappling, such as Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ), judo, et al, there are essentially three different ways that one can approach randori (free sparring), depending upon our personality, training goals, or partner. We can train defensively, offensively, or educationally. That is, we can approach randori like the tortoise, the hare, and the scientist. The tortoise…

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…

Enjoyment Is Its Own Reason

Why practice a martial art that is not “the best?” There is a lot of criticism in martial arts circles these days around what are seen as impractical or ineffective martial arts. These are martial arts that do not participate in sportive sparring, competitive bouts, or resistance-based training. At the top of the list are…