Jiu Jitsu

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.

You're Never Too Old To Learn Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

You’re Never Too Old To Learn Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Today, more and more people are realizing that age is nothing more than a number and one that shouldn’t set limits on what you do or what you learn. Getting fit and learning new skills can be accomplished at any age. While the pace of improvement physically may be faster for younger counterparts, you’re never too old to learn Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. It’s a sport more focused on technique rather than brute strength. Older participants often have some advantages over younger counterparts.

Older individuals often focus more on the learning process.

It can be pretty intimidating seeing far more buff, younger individuals in the same class as you are if you’re an older adult just taking up the sport. However, I found people who take it up at a late date in life are often more focused on the learning process, just for that reason. They may not feel they can be on equal footing with someone decades younger, but with the knowledge provided, may have a healthy chance. The process is more cerebral than physical, many times, which provides the more focused individual with more leverage.

Dedication to BJJ and learning is the key.

While there are no fast rules about people and how they act, since everyone is unique, I’ve often found that individuals that start with me at a disadvantage, whether it’s size, strength or age, are often more dedicated to doing what it takes to succeed. Ironically, it’s that disadvantage and the dedication it brings that helps them overcome their shortfall.

Staying fit with BJJ helps you stay younger.

People don’t wear out, they rust out. Inactivity is the real problem, not too much activity. While some of my students will never enter a competition, they do learn important self-defense skills and get fitter in the process. I am extremely proud of all my champions here, some of whom have received honors in the world of BJJ, while others are champions for overcoming the challenges they face in life. I have seniors who consistently work at staying or even getting healthy as members of both groups of champions.

  • Unfortunately in this country, often violence is aimed at those who are weaker or older. BJJ gives seniors the advantage of having the tools for self-defense, often surprising and overcoming these predators.
  • GD Jiu-Jitsu Academy is a family of people that provide friendship and support to one another. Extending your social world, regardless of age, is part of a healthy lifestyle.
  • The learning that takes place at our academy not only boosts physical health, it boosts cognitive thinking and mental health.
  • No matter what age you are, learning BJJ helps you understand that one loss is not the end, but just another learning experience and you can accomplish almost anything in life regardless of age, physical ability or gender.

Learn How To Defend Yourself

Learn How To Defend Yourself

It’s a complicated time to live. We have machines so sophisticated that are in everyone’s homes, yet just 50 years ago, they would have been considered science fiction and found only in the mad scientist lab. By the same token, those labor saving devices have left people overweight, leading to rising health issues. The more sophisticated we become, the less prone we are to learn self-defense. That also leaves us at the mercy of others in society who are more than willing to take advantage of that. You can learn how to defend yourself, while also getting fitter, solving two modern problems at once. BJJ—Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is the best method of self defense, particularly for women.

BJJ was born because of a smaller stature.

Japanese Jiu Jitsu requires power and focusing on a number of different techniques. The Gracie family, especially Helio Gracie, narrowed the focus to create a martial arts technique that allowed those who are physically weaker or smaller to be able to defend themselves against much larger or stronger attackers. It uses leverage and the most efficient use of body strength and force to create that effect. One of the reasons it’s also so effective is that it deals with methods of fighting when the smaller person is laying on their back, which happens more often than not.

Self-defense does more than just help you protect yourself, although that’s important.

There are rising statistics on the amount of non-gun violent crime in our country per capita. It’s sad to say, but Tempe AZ has a 31% higher violent crime rate than the national average. That alone should be an invitation to learn how to protect yourself. However, there’s more to knowing self-defense, than just having it available if you are attacked. It also builds confidence. Just knowing you can handle yourself in many situations is a huge benefit. BJJ is a strategy style of self-defense. It helps you learn to slow or eliminate the fear factor that can paralyze you in a tough spot and help you think clearer under pressure. You don’t have to be in a danger of physical harm from another to benefit from clear thinking when you find yourself in a pressure cooker situation. You’ll be calm and an asset in times when others panic.

Protect your health and enjoy it, while learning self defense.

A program of regular exercise can help extend your life and keep you vital longer. If you’ve tried riding the stationary bike to nowhere and found it simply too boring or watched the clock continuously while you’re going through paces on the rows of exercise machines, you’ll really appreciate how quickly the time flies when you participate in BJJ. You’ll get a full body workout, but the focus is totally on the moves, so the time goes quickly. You’ll be in the moment the entire classtime, making you more apt to stick with it.

You’ll not only learn to protect yourself, you’ll learn to be more aware of your surroundings. The best defense is avoiding a confrontation and BJJ can help you be more aware of everything around so you can do that.

There’s always room to improve your technique and continuous challenges in BJJ. You can advance as far as you choose and never run out of goals.

One of the core foundations of any type of martial arts is not only respect for others, but also self-respect. You practice with a partner and also learn mutual respect.

I find that one of the biggest problems people have to overcome in life is lack of self-discipline. BJJ helps teach that. When you have self-discipline, you can overcome any obstacle. Often your biggest opponent in life is yourself.


Shed Pounds, Build Confidence With Brazilian Jiu Jitsu In Tempe

Shed Pounds, Build Confidence With Brazilian Jiu Jitsu In Tempe

There are so many reasons people come to learn Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in Tempe. Some choose it as a way to help shed pounds, others want to build confidence or simply learn a technique for self-defense. All of these are great reasons, but there are also many more. It’s an activity that keeps you constantly growing, since there’s no end to what you can learn and develop, even if you’re a grandmaster. The knowledge is unlimited and constantly growing. There are, however, some very good reasons it’s exceptional for weight loss.

It burns calories fast.

You’re using your entire body for this sport. However, you’re not focusing on the fat burning exercise, but on the technique and movements. You’re moving every part and getting a grueling workout that you might never do in a gym. You workout longer than you often would at the gym and the workout is similar to HIIT training. Sometimes, you’re moving at high intensity and other times, moderate, but you’re constantly moving. It burns between 3 and 5 calories per pound of body weight in training, compared to aerobic exercises that burn 2.9 calories.

You’ll workout longer and stay more focused because BJJ is fun and interesting.

Much of the training is learning the movements. It’s focus on technique is fun. It gives you a challenge each day and makes you want to come back. Let’s face it, no matter what program of exercise you do, you’ll lose weight and burn calories, but only if you stick with it. BJJ training makes you want to come back for more and leaves you excited to attend the next class.

You learn to be more aware of your body.

Commitment to the sport of BJJ certainly changes your perspective and teaches body awareness. With that comes respect for the body. You’ll be more aware of when you’re really hungry and when you’re not. It’s almost an exercise in mindful eating. As part of that awareness and respect, your thinking begins to You’ll develop a committed, disciplined attitude. Self-discipline is probably the hardest thing for people to learn. No matter who you are, it’s always a never ending battle against one form of temptation or another. BJJ helps you build that discipline.

  • The more you learn and the better you become, the more you want to learn. Unlike traditional weight loss programs where you shed the pounds and then cease the activity, BJJ keeps you interested and that helps keep pounds off permanently.
  • You participate at your own pace. You don’t have to do anything you’re not ready to do. You take each session at your own pace based on your ability and endurance.
  • BJJ helps build confidence. The more confidence you have, the more you believe in yourself and your ability to accomplish any task, even weight loss.