Be Better

Martial arts are not about being ‘better’ than anyone else.

It’s not about being able to beat an opponent, dominate them or overcome them. At its core, any martial art is about you. It’s about you becoming a better person than you were yesterday. It’s about you learning mastery over yourself.

The more you try to prove that you are better than someone else, the more you fail yourself. The more you compare yourself to others to validate your sense of ability, the more you fail yourself.

You succeed by working to improve yourself, others will see your example and follow. You succeed by working on your own abilities and by pursuing learning.

As martial artists, we have a real ability to empower & change our own lives- and of those around us- in a meaningful, positive way. When they say: “Be the change you want to see in the world.”, you already have the vehicle to make that possible.

Go train, go learn. Be better than you were yesterday.

Thanks for reading.



Recognizing Patterns

Every sequence of movements and techniques within Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu creates a pattern.  As practitioners, we spend much time on developing effective patterns that eventually lead us to our end goal- superior position or submission.

As important as developing these patterns is, we must also learn to recognize the patterns of other practitioners or opponents. If we are able to recognize their patterns, we will be able to disrupt them by changing our timing or by applying effective counters.

This is an effective concept to try and to apply in both free training and in competition.

In free training, it will help you to develop strong counter-timing, build strong fundamental skills and help you to start thinking not just about your own game, but how it interacts with different patterns (which are core to game plans and styles).

In competition, it is usually the competitor who imposes their game plan first who will succeed. We cannot always guarantee that we will be first, but being able to recognize patterns of movement will help to to recover if you find yourself being sucked into an imposing opponent’s game plan. It may even open up opportunities to snatch a quick submission once you start to disrupt an opponent & they begin making errors.

Pattern recognition will help you to become a better all round strategist and practitioner as you will look more to actively problem solve for the pattern currently being presented to you, rather than stubbornly (and often futilely) trying to apply your same pattern to every possible situation.

Thanks for reading.


Drill to Kill: The Value of Drilling

Drilling is an integral part of any sport and, in my opinion, its value within the context of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu cannot be understated. It’s hardly a debate that best practitioners are those who engage with a rigorous combination of both drilling and live training.

Sports scientists are discovering more and more about the connections between drilling and building neural pathways that help us to build better motor memory; making it very hard to dispute the irreplaceable value that repetition of technical movements hold.

I’d like to explore this theme in depth, discussing the importance of drilling, common misconceptions about drilling, current theories in sports science and some more nuanced reflections on its value.

Continue reading “Drill to Kill: The Value of Drilling”

Beginners: Want to improve quicker? Drill with higher belts.

If you’re just starting out in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, it’s imperative that you find knowledgeable senior students who can show you the ropes. Not only will a higher belt be able to show and tell you how to execute techniques correctly, but by working on a technique with someone newer they are also building a sense of how to teach and focus on detail for themselves.  Continue reading “Beginners: Want to improve quicker? Drill with higher belts.”

The mental anatomy of a grappler.

The beauty of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu- or indeed any of the grappling arts- is that there is no body type or kind of person that can’t learn to grapple. People with very body type, every personality, race, culture, religion or walk of life can learn to grapple.

If anyone can learn, why do so many quit? Today I want to explore the ‘mental anatomy’, if you will, of the lifelong grappler and what it takes to develop the mentality. Continue reading “The mental anatomy of a grappler.”