Be willing to kill your darlings

William Faulkner once said “In writing, you must kill your darlings.” In writing, it’s often considered an important part of the writing method. The idea is that you need to be willing to cull all of the overly-dressed and precious things that you are attached to because it removes you from your sense of objectivity.

Essentially, this is just simple critical thinking and it applies far more broadly than just to writing, martial art practice or study.  Continue reading “Be willing to kill your darlings”


Stop sitting rounds out.

We should hardly have to make this argument, because we’re all on the mats to train. Sitting out rounds is not just a disservice for your training, but your training partners too. By allowing yourself to sit rounds out, you’re wasting your own training time.

You’re tired? So what? If your Jiu-jitsu doesn’t work when your tired, maybe you need to focus on your output or your technique. Hard rounds will only serve to make you better. You’re paired with someone bigger, stronger or better than you? So what? Jiu-jitsu was designed to overcome those opponents.

A lot of this comes down to ego. You are not the most important person on the mats. If you’re sitting out, that means one or more of your training partners is missing out. Your desire to get some rest and save yourself for the next round so you can ‘win’ is bullshit. 

There are a few legitimate reasons to sit out like injury, or if the mats are simply too packed (should you be in a smaller gym space). If you can’t roll, then drill, if you can’t drill, ask someone with that tricky guard or pass for some pointers. If you can’t even do any of those, maybe take some time off to rest. If you’re just propping the walls up, the chances are others are going to see it as okay to do the same. It’s an unnecessary distraction to others, especially when rest rounds turn into conversation and story time. It’s a bad example and a terrible image; what a new person would think coming into your gym only to see a line of people sitting against the wall?

If you’re sitting rounds out as a way to duck hard rounds & opponents, then you need to reassess your attitude to your training and your Jiu-jitsu. The training room is no place for that kind of precious ‘beat your team mates’ mentality. 

We’ve all been guilty of this when we didn’t know better. I know for certain that I only started to see genuine improvement when I stopped this bad habit. I see it with new practitioners too; the sooner they embrace those hard rounds and roll tired, the sooner they see true improvement in their physicality and mentality.

Thanks for reading.


Technique is not the most important thing in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu

If I said that technique wasn’t the most important thing in BJJ, I imagine many would stretch their fingers before beginning to furiously type a scathing response to such a heretical statement. But bear with me for a second…

Technique is second only to self belief. You can be an encyclopedia of technical knowledge, but if you don’t have the confidence or belief in yourself to pull it off, that knowledge is useless.

I’ve seen technically knowledgeable team mates flounder against less technically sound opponents many times; logically this should not happen, yet it does…Why? Belief in our ability to apply technique is a major factor in this. Confidence in our abilities translates to success in execution. There is no substitute to that equation.

Having the confidence to pull off a technique is often more of an influence than our knowledge of the technique itself. I don’t always have to have a complete understanding of the nuances of a particular guard pass to get it to work, sometimes my trust in my ability to pull off the technique at the right time will lead to a successful execution rather than overthinking the entire thing and not acting at all.

All of the best coaches I’ve worked with over the years have always helped to foster self belief in their students. Despite often imparting great technical advice, the best coaches seem to have a knack for also building a student’s confidence and belief in themselves. The best athletes are always built upon a strong foundation of self belief. For many it’s a learned internal narrative and it takes constant self reflection and objective assessment of one’s own abilities to develop.

Henry Ford is credited with having said “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.” It’s true, all of our actions stem from our belief in ourselves and our ability to perform. If you don’t have the confidence to make yourself believe you can do something, then you are very unlikely to succeed.

You can explore this idea in anything that you do, it’s not unique to Jiu Jitsu. Vary rarely are any of the lessons we learn on the mat things that we cannot apply in other aspects of our lives.

Thanks for reading.



Chasing the Finish

In the same way that every logical argument has a conclusion, or scientific & mathematical equations have solutions, submission-based grappling styles have a singular favored outcome: The Finish. 

Submission is the ultimate goal in our martial arts. In realistic application the submission signifies the complete domination of your opponent. In short, submitting your opponent means that you have not only controlled them, but literally have the ability to either kill them or severely maim them should they not submit.  There is nothing more definitive than that. 

This was the original intent that these martial arts were developed with; the goal of controlling an opponent and putting yourself in the position to be able to fatally wound them should there be the need to do so.

At the core of grappling, this remains an imperative: complete control over an opponent Continue reading “Chasing the Finish”

Accepting change

Change is constant. Every waking moment presents you with a new opportunity for both positive and negative change.

If you begin to look at personal growth in this way, you can create a lot of opportunities for growth and change your life for the better.

Don’t fall behind in your pursuit for personal growth because of a failure to accept change.

To benefit from change, we must accept two things: That change is a signal for growth and that no one is too perfect to grow.

We can all learn something new about ourselves as long as we embrace change and new opportunities.

What isn’t going to help is when we cut ourselves off from these chances to grow because of the potential discomfort or fear.

Ideological Consistency

One of the most important aspects of the scientific method is Ideological Consistency.

It’s not enough to successfully reach a logical conclusion once, it has to be proven true again & again by not only yourself, but others.

This is the same in Jiu-Jitsu. One day, one roll or competition does not dictate your ability or skill.

Your true ability and skill is dictated by the day to day consistency you display on the mats and in your life.

Consistency in thought and action is to create balance as human being and martial artist.

And that’s the bottom line, because Musashi said so *mic drop*