Testing your ideas

Everything is just a theory until we put it into practice. 

I can hold beliefs and opinions about a great many things. However, those theories mean nothing if they are not confirmed by application. This is a crucial differentiation to make: It does not necessarily follow that something should be just because you believe it to be. You must test your beliefs and apply them to make sure that they are confirmed by reality. 

Just because someone holds the belief that they are the best, does not necessarily mean they are the best. They have to test this belief by weighing their skills against others. Their beliefs will only be confirmed if the results confirm them.

When someone dictates their opinions to others without having their opinions questioned or tested in an open exchange or dialogue, they are being irrational. Rationality is reality. If I roll up to training or my job believing that I am already the best, that I have nothing left to learn, I will be unable to improve. I would be holding an irrational belief about myself and my abilities that would only serve to hold me back; restricting my ability to grow as a professional, a martial artist or human being

We must learn to be willing to test all of our most precious ideas and beliefs. If you hold something to be too sacred to you- and it is irrational- you dig the grave for your own personal and intellectual growth.

So, before you hit someone with an “I think..” or a “You should…”, try asking “What do you think…” or “What should I…” I lose interest so rapidly in a one way conversation where I’m being told rather than being listened to. Most people are, even if they’re too polite to tell you.

Don’t punish people with irrational ideas, put your ego aside and try to engage people intellectually; you might even learn something.

Thanks for reading.



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.”