Jiu Jitsu

Mental And Physical Control

Mental And Physical Control

My students in Tempe, AZ will attest that I constantly preach about both mental and physical control in BJJ to achieve their best. This sport requires mental toughness and that only comes when you’re focused and practice mentally conditioning. It helps build mental toughness, the ability to continue when others would have quit and stick with a goal even though things may be going against you. The mental aspect of BJJ is as important as the physical and on some levels, even more important.

If you panic when you’re in a precarious position, you won’t succeed.

One of the most important lessons of BJJ is to avoid panic and giving up. No matter how much it seems like you’re defeated, if you remain calm, you can identify your opponents weakness and use it against them. It takes focus and confidence to do it, which are two important lessons learned from Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Remaining relaxed during a competition and focused can mean the difference between a win and a loss.

Mental and physical control help wipe out negativity, your worst enemy.

Getting angry, feeling threatened or frustrated won’t help you in a match. However, preparation will. It gives you the confidence to remain calm and completely focus on your opponent, their moves and their anticipated moves. Expect to feel a little nervous when you’re first competing. It takes time to develop that mental control. However, when you’re thoroughly practiced in your moves it gives you the strength mentally to continue and your physical control takes over the battle.

Preparing your body physically varies by individual.

Physical builds vary and affects the types of guards and moves you use throughout each match. People that are taller or shorter or those that have more muscle or excel in speed, use their build to their advantage, practicing moves that will benefit their girth, lack of it or height. No matter what your size or shape, building your endurance will help you gain more physical control. Even boosting your flexibility can add to your physical control of a match.

  • BJJ is all about preparation, both mentally and physically. It’s one reason many people keep coming back for more. That mental and physical control learned in BJJ translates to other areas of your life.
  • Just like in life, in BJJ the hardest element to control and the only one that you can control in any situation is yourself.
  • When rolling, focusing on the act, rather than worrying about the end results is always best. Keeping your mind positive throughout practice and enjoying each challenge as it occurs is the making of a champion.
  • Controlling all parts of your body is important. For instance, if you don’t have hip control, you may not be able to keep get the upper hand, especially if your opponent has hip control and can counter your moves.

What Is Submission Wrestling Vs. BJJ?

What Is Submission Wrestling Vs. BJJ?

There are all types of martial arts, each with subtle and not so subtle differences. Each one has a different name. If you’re comparing submission wrestling with BJJ, you’ll notice there are a great deal of similarities. That’s be because submission wrestling is often called no-gi BJJ. That’s because it’s practiced without a gi—the traditional loose fitting belted jacket and pants worn in Judo. However, it’s more than just a subset or breakoff from BJJ. It has some other differences, with influences from other grappling arts.

Expect some moves in submission wrestling you won’t find in BJJ.

The heel hook isn’t allowed in traditional BJJ tournaments, but it is big in the submission wrestling world. It’s a must in the no-gi world of submission wrestling. Right along with no heel hook is the rule that is quite controversial. It’s the one about no reaping. Most gi tournaments don’t allow reaping, even for those with higher belts, despite the fact that many people think it may be appropriate for that level of proficiency.

Submission wrestling has more variety of submissions.

It only makes sense that there would be more submissions, since it’s submission wrestling. Besides the heel hook, hip locks and submissions like the spinal crank are banned from traditional BJJ gi tournaments. While you won’t find a formal set of rules for all BJJ tournaments, you’ll find more moves are allowed in these tournaments, unless it’s an IBJJF no-gi one.

There normally aren’t advantage points in submission wrestling.

Advantage points are tie breakers and do a great deal in keeping the competition fast moving. The points are accumulated based on the positions or actions that are important in Jiu Jitsu and help shorten the match by making it less likely for overtime to occur. However, nobody wants to win by leading in advantage points when they’d prefer a clear victor in the sport. Submission wrestling doesn’t use these and its all about submission. The matches are normally longer. It’s like comparing a sprint to a marathon in some cases.

  • While you can grab the gi in traditional BJJ, grabbing clothing is not allowed in no gi submission wrestling.
  • Rash guards and spats are allowed in no gi competition, but not in traditional gi BJJ. You can also wear a gi if you’d like in no gi competition, but it’s mandatory in gi BJJ.
  • While submission wrestling is interchangeably known as no-gi BJJ, it has elements of other grappling sports. People involved with other sports can do well in it, but it’s dominated by BJJ devotees.
  • There are far less strict dress rules for no gi as there are in gi. While there are general rules, like wearing black shorts and a black or white top with the level color, gi tournament participation has more specific requirements for the gi.

Is Jiu Jitsu Safe?

Is Jiu Jitsu Safe?

There’s a lot of talk about whether participating in sports is safe, including whether Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, is safe. I tell my clients in Tempe, AZ that of all the martial arts, BJJ tends to be the safest. Of course, like any athletic activity, you’re using your body and pushing yourself, so there’s more chance of injury than you’d have sitting in a chair. That inactivity of sitting in a chair too long is far more lethal than the bumps and bruises you might get with BJJ. While there’s discussion whether MMA is safer than football, with valid points on each side, BJJ has the lowest rate of injury compared to MMA at 236-286 per 1,000, Taekwondo: 20.5-139.5 per 1,000, Judo : 25.3-130.6, Wrestling : 9.0-30.7 and finally BJJ at 9.2 injuries per 1,000.

Training is different from actual match.

When you’re in training for BJJ, it’s tough work. However, tough doesn’t mean dangerous. It simply means exhausting. Exhausting is very different from dangerous. You’ll probably get some bumps, sore muscles or even bruises, but nothing that’s earth shattering. Training is very different from matches. Everyone is watching out for his or her training partner. You’ll get tough workout, but nothing seriously normally happens. You can’t say never happens because anything is possible. In fact, you could get injured by tripping or getting pushed when you’re just going for a walk.

Your ears may take some punishment.

Cauliflower ear is one potential danger, if you aren’t wearing head gear. When your outer ear gets hit and it tears away at the cartilage, pulling it from the perichondrium, the space between the cartilage and the perichondrium fills with liquid and than can harden into a lump. If it’s drained, there’s no problem. If not, cauliflower ear develops. It looks bad and if too big, can create an obstruction and cause hearing difficulties.

You may end up with tendon damage or hyper extended joints.

The most common type of injury for BJJ occurs in the elbow joint. It’s most frequently caused from the armbar and submissions. While it may keep you from practicing BJJ if injury occurs, if you don’t take time off, it can become a chronic problem. Reducing the chance of a permanent injury by seeking medical attention can help prevent permanent damage.

  • If you have a serious condition, you should always check with your healthcare professional before proceeding with any sport.
  • There are fewer throwing techniques in BJJ than Judo and unlike MMA, BJJ competitions don’t allow strikes. Neck cranks and heel hooks are also disallowed, making it safer.
  • The instructor makes a difference in how safe practicing BJJ is. Part of the focus on any instruction should be on ensuring you watch out for your partner.
  • Focusing on training and the moves you’re doing can help make training safer.

What Is Grappling In MMA?

What Is Grappling In MMA?

Grappling in MMA is the type of fighting used. It’s an up-close-and-personal style of fighting that uses hand-to-hand techniques, with the advantage coming from position and overtaking an opponent. The type of training used for the basis of each decides the type of grappling most often used. Each one is different, yet many of the types of moves overlap.

Beating an opponent starts with endurance and a plan of action.

If you started out your training in BJJ, you’re lucky and have exceptional aerobic conditioning. Endurance and outlasting an opponent is just part of the strategy, with submission being the goal. Grappling is often a successful combination of intelligent moves, muscularity and fighting a great ground fight. The BJJ grappler is often described as being his or her best in a ground fight. The most often used grappling techniques include chokes and joint locks.

Chokes and joint locks immobilize opponents and help you win submission grappling.

Chokes are part of grappling and there’s a lot of them to learn. While each sport has their own version, basically a choke is an effective way to get the opponent to tap out or to choke them out. There are a number of different types of chokes in the grappling martial arts, but anything that restricts breathing or obstructs the throat is a choke. Joint locks are also important in immobilizing opponents. There are five types of jointlocks, armlocks, leglocks, spinal locks, wristlocks and small joint manipulation, such as toe or finger bending.

Throws, submissions, sweeps and takedowns are part of the grappling arts.

Judo brings throws to the MMA arena and are used effectively when grappling. Submissions are attributed to almost all grappling sports. Takedowns are attributed primarily to Sambo practitioners. They have a wide variety of takedowns in the weaponry that may or may not be part of the arsenal of other grappling arts.

  • Sambo has a wide variety of striking techniques. In fact, it offers far more time spent striking than other types of grappling arts.
  • Grappling in MMA involves all the techniques used by the various martial arts and wrestling. In fact, many wrestling based participants that switch to MMA do quite well.
  • Of all the grappling sports, BJJ is one where being on your back doesn’t mean you’ve lost the match, but can mean victory since there are many attacks and submissions when you’re on the bottom.
  • Anyone with a good understanding of BJJ has an advantage in MMA competitions. The ability to outlast and strategize, plus the wealth of sweeps, reversals and submissions helps to give them the advantage.

Ways To Be A Good Training Partner

Ways To Be A Good Training Partner

When you practice Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, you are part of a team, while also remaining an individual attempting to conquer your own goals. You may think it’s all about you, but it’s really not. You don’t improve at this sport on your own, but achieve each level with the help of others. You also need to strive to find ways to be a good training partner for others, too. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a unique individual sport that also has aspects of a team sport and depends on everyone sharing, remaining friendly and helping each other achieve their best.

Always be ready to share your knowledge with newer students.

If you’ve been practicing BJJ very long, you have learned from others. In some cases, it was indirect and the lesson learned came from being forced to submission, but in many cases the knowledge came when you were practicing with someone who was a bit better at a specific technique or concept and shared their knowledge with you. Remember, you learned from someone better than you, so occasionally volunteer to partner with new students who are still unfamiliar with drills and help them learn. You’ll be amazed at how much you really learn yourself because you’re more focused on the basics.

Tap when it’s appropriate.

Even though your pride may be on the line, sometimes you have no option but to tap. Doing it too soon not only slow your training program, but also your training partner’s. It never gives them the full opportunity to learn how effective they are at each technique or ways to get better. Try to push yourself to last a little longer and find a way to escape. The one thing experience brings is to become more aware at when it’s appropriate timing, when you know there’s no way you can turn things around, it’s time. If you’re just beginning BJJ, you’re better off tapping earlier and then discussing what could have been done to improve, rather than risk continuing.

Keep your training partner safe.

Yes, Brazilian Jiu-jitsu is a sport where you want to dominate, but in practice, particularly when you’re practicing with someone with obviously less skill, adjust what you do to their level. You could dominate them, but then neither of you are really learning. You need to give just enough resistance to challenge the newer student, but not discourage them. You’ll learn by doing this if you use a technique fostered by those who are skilled in BJJ, limiting yourself to one or two options for submission. You’ll find new ways to achieve that goal and improve your skills while being a much better training partner.

  • Stay focused during instruction, learn to moves so you can do your best. Listen closely to each move. Practice moves in your head, so you can be better during drilling, which gives both you and your partner an opportunity to improve.
  • Keep your lines of communication open and eliminate confusion. Ask questions when you don’t understand something.
  • Right along with communicating your needs comes listening to your partner’s needs and goals. If your partner is training for competition, but you just want to shed a few pounds and learn self defense, find a common ground where you both benefit from the pairing.
  • Respect your partner and keep your word. If your partner said they’re new or are nursing a particular injury and you promised to respect that and avoid moves that might exacerbate the condition or lead to immediate submission, don’t bully them by changing gears mid practice and ignoring your promise.

Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting BJJ

Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting BJJ

I started BJJ in Tempe quite a while ago, but I’m still finding things I wish I knew before starting BJJ. I see the same thing every day with new students. One of the biggest lessons that is eventually learned is that I don’t have to prove anything to anyone but myself. If I follow the rules of the class and practice the instruction, that’s about all the requirements. The rest is up to me, but it can go overboard. Tapping out isn’t necessarily bad if I learn from the situation. Overtraining at the expense of relationships leads to a lonely life and that’s not what the sport is all about. It’s about taking responsibility for your own life and being an adult.

Size doesn’t count.

I once faced an opponent that was far smaller than myself. I felt a bit cocky, smug and sorry for the little guy. That was a huge mistake. It didn’t take long for this mighty mouse to make me tap out. It happens all the time in BJJ. It’s the art and techniques you use, rather than brute strength, but that’s a tough lesson that I’m still learning. When I face someone considerably smaller, I automatically think victory, even though my logical brain is telling me to watch out, small but mighty often wins.

Be consistent and stick with training.

BJJ is more than just the art of grappling. It’s a total body fitness sport that needs to be maintained. If you are consistently training three times a week, you’ll maintain your cardio and technique. Taking time off not only slows your progress, it can make it come to a halting stop. One thing that I can attest to when it comes to training is that I personally enjoy it so much that I have more of a problem spending too much time in training. However, some people take longer to get past the initial phases that can be less exciting. Stick with a training schedule and you’ll be glad you did. You’ll reap the rewards you hoped to achieve.

Don’t compare your progress to anyone else.

Everyone masters BJJ moves at a different rate, but slow and steady can win the race. I’ve seen people who look like they were born with a BJJ manual and had memorized it by the time they were a toddler. They just are naturals that zipped by everyone else. Ignore their rapid progress and just keep practicing. Hard work and consistency pays off in the end. It’s all about your journey, so spend your time focusing on yourself.

  • Cleanliness counts and there’s no shortcut. Once I didn’t have time to wash my gi, so I just threw it in the dryer with dryer sheets. It smelled good for a short time, but my let me know it didn’t after the first hard workout of the class. Be a good partner. Be spotlessly clean with extra deodorant and freshly brushed teeth.
  • Gender has nothing to do with winning or losing. The best students want to train with people at their own level or better to improve, regardless of gender.
  • There are no ultimate moves that work like magic in every case. Each session is another step toward mastery.
  • What you wear isn’t as important as what you learn, with one exception. However, to avoid irritating more seasoned students learn how to tie your BJJ belt.

Surviving The Beginner Phase Of BJJ

Surviving The Beginner Phase Of BJJ

If you’ve already attended a few sessions of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, you’ll already know there’s a lot to learn and a lot more to this sport than you ever considered. For those who have had no other martial arts training, surviving the beginner phase of BJJ is even more difficult. I like to give tips and advice to newbies to the sport that can help them transition in easier. Here in Tempe, AZ, I’m proud to say our gym is welcoming, but it’s not always that way everywhere else. Those new to the sport are often politely avoided, with the more experienced students hoping to practice with others who have even more experience than themselves. Don’t worry, it happens to everyone along the way. You aren’t a social pariah forever.

Expect to be exhausted after class.

Not only will you be totally confused at first, your body will take a beating from the intense workout. You may think you’re in great shape, but you’ll be amazed at how much BJJ taps into your energy reserves and before you know it, you’ll be both stressed and exhausted, trying to catch your breath, regain your strength and understand what’s going on in the session. Be prepared to be submitted frequently.

Stick with it.

Never give up. Instead, work harder. You may not go to class every day, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do things to help you get into shape faster. On those days away from the gym, make sure you get some exercise, but not brutal exercise like BJJ. Keep it light, walk, take a casual bike ride, do yoga or stretching exercises. Your body needs a day of rest, but that doesn’t mean you can’t get some light exercise to keep the blood flowing and help speed recovery. Take it easy, but don’t come to a halt.

Pay attention to the moves, practice and remain mentally calm.

It’s hard when you’re on the mat to remain mentally calm and focus on each move and countermove, but it’s vital. BJJ is a sport where size doesn’t count, but mental acuity, anticipation of the other person’s moves and a cool head to visualize how to find the other person’s weakness and turn the tables is what wins matches. Thinking yourself to success is as key as strength and endurance. Shut off the fear and turn on the cunning.

  • Always maintain good hygiene. Seriously, nobody wants a smelly partner. Wash your gi after each practice. Keep hair tied back if its long and nails groomed. Don’t forget deodorant, brushing your teeth and breath mints.
  • Know that you’ll be able to achieve the next level with perseverance. Often people that are dedicated but start out further behind others, turn out to be the best at this sport because they have heart and persevere.
  • No matter how much you think you know, you don’t. Listen at first and don’t interject any knowledge you just gained from watching YouTube or reading an article. Unsolicited advice from a beginner is just plain rude.
  • Stay focused on the basics. Learn the basics well and don’t try to get ahead of yourself. The basic moves are like the letters of the alphabet that eventually turn into words, then into a story.

The Psychology Of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

The Psychology Of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

When you discuss the psychology of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, you have two options. There’s a lot of talk about the mental and emotional benefits afforded when taking up the sport of BJJ, but also the mental attitude it takes to win a match. Both of these intertwine, so they’ll both be included in this discussion. BJJ requires mental discipline, which is not only a psychological benefit, it’s also an attitude that helps win honors.

Small successes lead to big ones in BJJ.

I’ve been part of the sport for long enough to see huge men sign up and want to take on others in a match immediately. They get what they want, but often not with the results they expect. You see, it’s not all about strength and size. It’s about the ability for someone smaller in stature to take on someone who’s bigger, stronger and more aggressive. It’s done with leverage, positioning and grip. It’s all about sizing up your opponent and immediately identifying his or her next move, preparing a counteraction to subdue and control them. Size doesn’t matter here, but knowledge and trust in your instincts do.

You learn to control your mental state and find what works for you to win.

This is both an attribute that will help you win matches and succeed in life. It’s not easy. It also may not remain the same throughout your years of practice and competitions. Finding your optimal state of arousal is important. Some people find that getting primed on anger helps them win, as long as they also can maintain focus. Others find that meditation before a match helps tremendously. Having a clear head and focusing on technique and performing well during the match is the key, not winning or losing.

You build your self-esteem with BJJ and improve your confidence.

This is one of the psychological benefits you get with BJJ. It starts the day you have your first match, which can be the first day of training. You’re constantly being tested and with hard work, will come out victorious. That’s a huge confidence builder. You’re also learning to be more observant, finding which techniques and tools provided by the training that match your body build and and even your opponents build.

  • BJJ can make you feel safer. Not only are you learning to identify danger through improved observation skills, you’re learning you can defend yourself against others far bigger.
  • Psychological benefits come from the constant contact of the opponent in BJJ. It triggers the release of neurochemicals in the brain that help create a sense of connection, focus and awareness.
  • You’ll learn mindfulness when you practice BJJ. That helps you focus on the here and now in everyday life.
  • You get all the mental benefits you’d derive from any intense exercise, which includes the release of BDNF—Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor, which can leave you more focused, energetic and even happier the rest of the day.

The Jiu Jitsu Lifestyle

The Jiu Jitsu Lifestyle

The Jiu Jitsu lifestyle is a state of mind. It doesn’t mean you’re constantly absorbed in the sport itself…although some people are…but instead transfer the lessons learned on the mat and in training to your everyday life outside. For instance, training and preparation now becomes a priority, whether it’s on the job or at a BJJ—Brazilian Jiu Jitsu session. Being willing to learn new things to improve yourself, your skills or your fitness, helps you win at both life and in a match.

You’ll learn to improve your diet and eat healthier.

Yes, it’s true, most people in Tempe, AZ and throughout the US could benefit from this lesson. It’s not that the information is forced on you during sessions, it’s that you want to learn how to eat healthier to improve your performance. Not only will you begin to recognize healthier foods with the knowledge that comes from study, you’ll be able to recognize healthier foods by the way your body feels when you eat it. A fresh green salad certainly leaves a different feeling that’s more energetic than a junk food.

You’ll develop a sense of well being and calm.

Learning to focus and slowing down the action mentally allows you to choose the best move to take out an opponent. While this strategy alone is used by some during competition, in many cases it’s combined with controlled spirited aggression. Focusing on the opponent’s moves and living in the moment is one of the big takeaways from training. It helps you in daily life to remain calm and collected while others are panicking.

You learn that finesse and skill always wins over brute strength and bullying.

BJJ is all about technique, not size. A 110 pound well-trained woman can take on a 220 pound untrained man and win. Steam rolling others either with weight, power or other controlling technique isn’t necessarily the way to win in either BJJ or life. In fact, it may be a sure fire way to failure. If you’re a parent, you probably already know that screaming at your kids normally won’t get you very far. Teaching them, motivating them and convincing them calmly—even if it’s with the line, “because I’m the parent”—gets faster results and a happier family situation. You’ll start changing your tactics as a family member, team player or boss.

  • You’ll learn to look for the most efficient way to do any task, which is at the heart of BJJ training. During matches, you learn to look for ways to maximize your efficiency, while using the least amount of energy.
  • You learn to handle situations before they become huge problems. Just like in a match, finding a counter to an opponents move needs to be done quickly, yet with thoughtful actions.
  • You’ll learn to seize the moment and be more daring. The focus and living in the moment it takes for a match helps you identify opportunities everywhere. You’ll learn to take chances and calculated risks.
  • Your problem solving skills will improve just by flexing your strategy skills.

The Benefits Of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

The Benefits Of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

When you first start training, you’ll immediately experience some of the benefits of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu—BJJ. There are so many, and they span the gamut from physical to mental health. For instance, have you been trying to shed a few pounds and get back into shape? You’ll be working every part of your body in this sport! That means burning loads of calories and building some serious muscle. Unlike most workouts that are boring, you probably won’t even realize you’re exercising because you’re so focused on the sport.

De-stress from the daily grind and all those imbecile drivers.

We’ve all experienced road rage or felt our blood pressure rising from an incident at work. Taking action at those times isn’t a good move, but you can relieve the stress on the BJJ mat. The intense physical workout and aggressive nature of the sport helps you release those pent up emotions, burn off the hormones created by stress and replace them with the ones that make you feel good and at peace.

Build confidence while you learn to defend yourself.

BJJ is all about controlling your opponent and that it’s more the moves you make that count than the size or physical strength of the opponent. After all, it was developed by Helio Gracie, who was slight of build, but knew there were ways to change the moves of traditional Jiu Jitsu to make his size irrelevant to whether he won or lost matches. Once you have experience in matches with people versed in this sport, you’ll be even more confident you can protect yourself from people who have no training or knowledge.

BJJ works you brain as well as your body.

While all exercise is good for the brain, boosting oxygen levels and building new neural pathways, some of it can be mind numbing. Seriously, when was the last time you enjoyed walking on a treadmill or riding a stationary bike to nowhere? In BJJ, you’re constantly trying to anticipate your opponents moves and create the perfect strategy to counteract them. It’s like a very physical game of chess that builds problem solving and critical thinking skills.

  • While BJJ is fun and a healthy outlet, it’s also good for your professional and personal life. After just a few weeks, you’ll feel a boost of energy from the rigorous workout you’ve been getting.
  • Learning to stick to a project and take small steps that build to bigger gains is important no matter what age, sex or occupation you are. It’s a great lesson for children.
  • BJJ teaches respect for your opponent, humility and patience. Rather than chastising yourself for mistakes in matches, you learn from them.
  • No matter what your age, BJJ is fun and allows you to progress at your own rate, while building close relationships.