A year in Review.

A year ago- almost to the day- I started Articulate BJJ as a project to help me better digest my own learning as I engaged with Brazilian Jiu-jitsu.

A lot can happen in the space of a year. It certainly has in this case.

The goods have been many; travelling & training in Thailand, meeting new people, having great training partners and coaches, starting a new job in a new city, competing successfully over a dozen times, a national championship & seeing  positive progress in my training.

The bads have been fewer thankfully; car crash, injury, illness and hospitalization.

We need the bad to have the good, so I try to remember this and keep my complaints to myself. The highs come with the lows; you can’t be at the top if you’ve never been at the bottom. I try to practice gratitude, not just because I am aware of just how many are so less fortunate, but because I know how little it would have taken for me to be there too… Just one wrong decision here, or one decision there… I have a lot to be grateful for.

And that includes you. Once again, thank you for reading. The support I receive from everyone is more valuable than I am able to express in humble words.




Warriors in the garden: Fostering resilience.

It is better to be a warrior in the garden than to be a gardener in a war.

It’s a commonly referred to quote in martial arts circles. One way I like to interpret this quote is that it’s better have resilience and not need it than to not have resilience and need it. 

Just like most skills or traits, resilience needs to be developed. To a certain extent, everyone has some innate resilience depending on what they’ve experienced in their lives. We can continue to develop resilience as we continue to go forth into the wider world.

Can the ‘gardener’ ever become the ‘warrior’? I believe so. I’ve seen it and continue to see it through the lenses of martial arts and in my work as a teacher. I see people developing the fortitude to confront challenges that they never thought themselves previously capable of.

All it takes to develop resilience is to step outside of yourself. We can achieve this by taking that step outside of our comfort zones, putting aside our egos and addressing the deficits within ourselves. In this way, any gardener can become a warrior. 

Thanks for reading.


Roll with a goal

How often do you find yourself being sucked into a training partner’s game or being controlled from the slap & bump to the buzzer? This could be because you are not setting specific, achievable goals for yourself in your training. Learning to roll with an objective is crucial to making continued progress in your training.

Continue reading “Roll with a goal”

Newtonian BJJ

Brazilian Jiu jitsu is newtonian.

In this context, the term newtonian means that the force being applied is met with an equal amount of force in return.

Jiu jitsu can be seen as newtonian because the better you are at Jiu jitsu, the harder it gets.

The more you understand about grappling, the harder it becomes to improve. You have to struggle for every fraction of improvement as the learning curve becomes steeper. You have to battle for even a single inch against more and more technical opponents. The better you get, the harder it gets.

This, in my opinion, is what appeals to so many who come to embrace the never ending path of learning that is a martial art.

The better you get, the more difficult BJJ becomes.

Learn to love what is difficult.

Thanks for reading.


Theory versus Practice.

It’s not about what you believe; but what you put into practice every day.

The uncomfortable truth about reality is that nobody (other than yourself) really cares about what you think.

Your opinions & beliefs about the world (and even the way you perceive yourself) does not make any impact on the world outside of your mind. Reality, and those around you, are only able to interact with the actions you manifest as a result of your thoughts. 

We can have the most elaborate, beautiful sounding theories about the world in our minds, but these mean nothing in the face of practicality. We still have to negotiate a world that presents us with real challenges on a daily basis; only your actions will dictate how the consequences play out.

A person may perceive themselves to be “the best”; a hard worker, a champion, a good person, but their perceptions are only matched up against their actions. Do they act as a hard worker does? Do they act as the champion does? Do they act as a good person might? Theory must be put into practice, otherwise it is only hollow and useless. If you hold certain things to be true but do not act as if they are, you are being dishonest with yourself and deny yourself a fulfilling life. 

The joy of the human condition lies in the fact that we all perceive the world differently. We all hold certain things to be true and perceive reality in our own way. Perception and belief alone does not an interaction with the world make however. We must align our theories with our actions if we are to honestly express ourselves in the world.

Thanks for reading.


The Orthodox & the Unorthodox: Thoughts on approaching unpredictable opponents.

In general terms, we can divide practitioners into two categories: Orthodox and Unorthodox. This is a categorization of types of Jiu jitsu practitioners and the way they express the art form.

Have you ever found yourself mid-contest with an opponent who, even though you know exactly what they’re going to do, still manages to finish you? What about the opponent that is about as predictable as a rabid vermin; throwing unpredictable techniques out at a rate that you are unable to contend with? This is a question of styles. Neither is wrong, but both present us with issues of predictability. 

Let’s explore this in more depth… Continue reading “The Orthodox & the Unorthodox: Thoughts on approaching unpredictable opponents.”