Studying the Art

My first experience studying the Art of Jiu Jitsu was in the lead up to my first ever tournament. I was stressed out about the idea of competing and I carried that in and out of my training sessions (to my own detriment). I got my hands on a copy of Musashi’s famous ‘Book of Five Rings’ and it changed my life. Even though the book itself was not directly related to jiu jitsu, everything Musashi meditated upon applies broadly to martial arts. As a casual book reader, I didn’t realize the power this aspect had when it came to my jiu Jitsu. Studying the Art improved not only the physical aspects of my practice, but the mental side too. 

I believe that this concept if study is often neglected but is immensley useful for the begginer and advanced grappler alike. In a way, studying (whether it’s reading or reviewing video etc) is like doing mental repetitions. 

If you enjoy watching videos online, have an objective. Don’t just watch any clips because someone is showing some cool new guard or a crazy elaborate pass; reflect on what you need in your practice and then research videos regarding that specific thing.

If you’re a reader, find a style of writing that you enjoy. There’s not much to be gained reading the Hagakure or Go Rin No Sho if the style of writing is not something you’re familiar with or enjoy reading. I’ve been recommended many books on BJJ or martial arts that I’ve put down and never picked up again because the writing was not to my liking.

At the end of the day, you are learning something. You’re learning how to become better at jiu jitsu and studying off the mats is just as important as your practice on the mats. Your learning is your responsibility, so go train & go learn.

Beating the Sedentary Lifestyle: Starting out Small

Continuing on the theme from yesterday’s post; Beating the Sedentary Lifestyle: The Modern Day Killer, we will continue looking at ways to overcome the sedentary lifestyle.

Not everyone is suddenly going to be able to say “Damn, you’re right! I need to get out and exercise every day!” That’s how fads start and it’s only a superficial fix. If you go from nothing to everything, it will likely be too much and you will either get injured or burn out and give up. You have to build it up by starting out small.  Continue reading

Thoughts on Reality & Hard Work

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Photo by George Miller

“There is no substitute for hard work” 

For some, the concept of hard work & the perceived discomfort it will bring (and the perceived ‘lack’ of results that follow) is just not worth the effort. I think we live in a time, now more so than ever before, where people want instant gratification; so many people see results but do not anticipate the hard work it requires to get there and become quick to make excuses once they realize they are not willing to invest the time and effort required. 

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Nic Gregoriades: “My Journey into Jiu Jitsu”

The following is a recent Reddit post from Nicolas Gregoriades. For those who are not familiar with Nic, he was the first person to receive a Black Belt from the legendary Roger Gracie. He has worked closely with a number of other prolific black belts, produces podcasts & high quality Jiu-jitsu content and has founded the Jiu-Jitsu Brotherhood.

I was fortunate enough to meet and train with Nic in Thailand a few years ago. As a  key influence in my own BJJ journey (and fellow South African), I always find Nic’s words inspiring, honest and something to reflect on. This is a great look at Nic’s journey so far and gives a rare, well articulated, insight into what the journey through BJJ looks like.

Read Below:

Nic

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Investing in your journey: Thoughts on your time & effort as a currency

I read an interesting quote last week that caused me to reflect on the way we invest our time and effort into an activity. The quote was Jiu-jitsu related, however I think it applies to any pursuit we have:

“Jiu-jitsu is like a bank; the more you put in the more you can take out.”

On the surface, this quote seems pretty simple at first, but the more I reflected on this, the more it made me think about the investments we make into our chosen pursuits. The more time and effort we invest into something, the more we are able to take from it and the more it will come to serve us. In this article I will reflect on this idea, as well as discuss the idea of our time and effort as a form of currency.

As a bit of a bonus, I’ve added some thoughts at the end regarding Cognitive Dissonance for those of you who are interested in how this concept may affect our perceptions of our time invested and our improvement.

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Building Pathways: Thoughts on Strategy

Developing strategy and building pathways to success is important. Whether you’re creating a game plan to win a game of chess, finding the fastest way to submit your opponent or planning to create a piece of art, you need to build an effective pathway towards that end goal.

Pathways are more than just physical motions that we go through, it also involves pathways in our mind; adjusting what and how we think. Continue reading

Presence of mind: The importance of mental presence in learning.

 

“What’s the secret?” 

Who has heard this before? With reference to learning; there is no secret. There is no cheat code that lets you skip the hard work, the effort and demands of improving and learning something new. However, as is the focus of quite a few discussions here at Articulate BJJ, there are specific habits we can develop that will help us to maximize, and maybe even fast track, your learning. One of these is Mental Presence.

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Thoughts on Having an Open Mind

“Oh, I don’t need to learn this. It doesn’t fit into my game plan.” or “I already know this, I don’t need to practice it.” are examples of what got me thinking about this next topic: Being Open-Minded. 

I think I’ve been very fortunate to have had teachers, friends and peers who have modeled open minded behavior throughout my learning. I think it is also because I have been surrounded by this positive behavior that it comes as a shock to me when I see people uttering statements such as the above.

It takes humility for a person to admit they don’t know something; many of us don’t want to risk looking stupid in the face of our colleagues, partners or friends whose opinions we value. Above humility, it also takes a lot of effort for us to be open-minded. In the gym, the work place or even in the company of friends, being open minded is an invaluable attribute. Continue reading

Competition Mindset: The Do’s & Don’ts

Participating in competition provides a huge opportunity to receive some important  feedback about your Jiu-jitsu. Competing helps to sharpen the blade in a way that not even highly demanding training can; you will find out very quickly what works and what doesn’t.

More importantly, you will also learn a lot about yourself; how you deal with stress, how you deal with winning & losing and how to develop strategy & positive training habits. Competition can offer all of these things to the practitioner who adopts the correct mindset for competing. There are some Do’s & Don’ts for developing a good mindset for competition, this article will take a closer look at some of these and hopefully help you develop a mental edge going into your next competition experience.  Continue reading