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.

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The Eternal Apprentice 

Many people are not willing to start learning something new because they dislike the idea of looking like a beginner. The cycles of learning never change and always deals in certainties: Mastery is a lifelong pursuit and we are all beginners when we start anything. These are both topics I’ve discussed before in previous articles, however I would like to explore the concept of The Eternal Apprentice; once we have started something new, how can we adopt a mindset that allows us to continue pursuing mastery? I’d like to coin the phrase, The Eternal Apprentice, to describe this mindset.

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Even when we stop wearing a white belt, symbolically no longer being a beginner, the mindset of a white belt is one that we can continue to adopt as we continue on the path to mastery. Constantly being prepared to learn is the key to self growth.

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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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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

The Devil is in the Detail: Paying attention to the small things and being detail oriented.

One of the most important aspects of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is the importance of details. When executing a technique, there a certain number of details you must incorporate to perform the move correctly and efficiently. Being detail oriented can make for slow progress at times, however later progression becomes accelerated as your execution of techniques (once learned) never hits a critical mass of errors that lead to the technique being applied failing.

The phrase: “The Devil is in the Detail” is profoundly true within BJJ for this reason. However, understanding and committing to a Detail Oriented approach can have major benefits for any other aspect of your life too.

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No Trying, Only Doing.

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As a big Star Wars fan, I’ve always noticed the close parallels between the protagonists of  George Lucas’ universe: The Jedi, and practitioners of the Martial Arts. Yoda, the ageing grand master and ever-wise mentor, is of particular interest to me and one of his many classic quotes will form the central idea of this post.

The stoic and philosophical nature of his character has been described by some as “mystical”, however I would argue that is less “mystical” and more “methodical”. For anyone involved in the martial arts, creative arts (or any  discipline really); I think we can all begin to glean some deep understandings from one of my favorite Yoda quotes: “Try not, do or do not. There is no Try.” Continue reading

Being too nice is slowing your progress.

One of the truly unique things about Brazilian Jiu-jitsu is the connections we make on the mat; after any stretch of time training at a gym, you are bound to make friends out of your training partners. You experience various challenges together, develop your skills together and, most importantly, make friends for life. I’d like to think that many of us are conscientious training partners; striving to reach our goals alongside our friends and training partners.

I was asked an interesting question recently by a friend who doesn’t train (often naive eyes can present us with new ways of looking at a question we have taken for granted.): Don’t you find it difficult sparring with your friends when you know some techniques hurt them?

My immediate response was simple: I don’t use techniques that hurt my training partners. The more I thought about this question however, the more I started to look at it from different angles… Continue reading

Swimming with the Current: Thoughts on style, changing & innovating

One of my favorite quotes is by Thomas Jefferson:

“In matters of style, swim with the current; on matters of principle, stand like a rock”

I have primarily concerned myself with the second half of this quote and the emphasis placed by Jefferson on not compromising ourselves for the sake of others. As an innovator and agent of change himself, Jefferson’s quote is a perfect fit for the concept I’ve been thinking about recently.

Recently, I turned my attention to the first half of the quote: “In matters of style, swim with the current.” We live in a rapidly changing world that demands that we are able to adapt, change and innovate. To keep our head above water, we have to learn to swim with the current: adapt, innovate and change to survive.

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