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

Thoughts on Attendance: 3 reasons to be there.

Attending training is an often discussed topic. The bottom line is that consistent attendance leads to consistent improvement. 

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve heard a person say that they’ve hit a plateau or they’ve been in a training rut for months and months; irregular attendance is almost always the reason for this narrative.

The baddest men and women I have encountered in the training room are the ones who are consistent. They attend class, and reap the rewards of their hard, consistent, training.

The mats never lie, and it’s always very clear to see how much time anyone in particular is putting in. I’d like to share 3 of my main thoughts on this topic: Continue reading

How valuable is your time?

Twenty Four hours. That’s all you get in any given day.

You are the only person accountable for how well or how badly you spend your time. You are also the one responsible for putting a specific value to your time. 

When you spend your time on any given activity, make sure that what you gain from that activity reflects the value of your time. It is considered a waste of your time if you are sinking a large amount of time into an activity that holds limited benefits for you.

Equally, we have to understand that we can invest badly in a potentially beneficial activity if we do not give enough time to it. This needs to be applied to a martial arts context, as often valuable training time is squandered by arriving late for class, half-assing warm ups, skipping reps in drilling or sitting out during sparring when still able to train.

Our time is limited, it is valuable and we need to make sure we use it well. Put value on your time and keep yourself accountable for how you spend or waste it.

Time is the only thing you have, and you have far less of it than is comfortable to think about. Get out there and get to it. 

Thanks for reading.

Oss.

Hitting the wall: Thoughts on plateaus & mental blocks in training.

20170414_111938.jpg

Many a student has experienced the notorious “plateau” or felt the sensation that they, try as they might, are getting nowhere with their training. “Hitting the wall” is or experiencing a mental block is common in any area of learning, Martial Arts being no different.

I would like to share my thoughts on why I believe that the dreaded plateau does not exist. In my opinion, it is in fact a symptom of a far more important cause that needs to be treated in your practice.  Continue reading

Whatever you do, just don’t stop.

As a teacher, I’ve seen far too many young people learn how to quit before they learnt how to persist. As a training partner, I’ve seen talented people quit because accepting that they could possibly be bad at something was too much.

You never know how close you are to a break through. You never know how close or how far your next success is… the only thing that is certain is that quitting is not the solution.

Whatever you do, just don’t stop.

Thanks for reading.

Oss.

Jiu-jitsu. Any way you look at it.

We all have these moments or experiences that force us to see things in a new light or from a different angle. Those formative moments, “moments of clarity” if you like, or sudden realizations mainly occur when we open ourselves up to new opportunities. Some of the most formative moments in my own journey with the martial art haven’t even occurred on the mats, or with people who know what Brazilian Jiu-jitsu is. 

Jiu-jitsu can teach us to learn from anyone. Any way you look at it, those lessons travel with you throughout your whole life.  Continue reading

The Exchange of Information

Possibly one of the most unique things about Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu among the martial arts is the way that information can be exchanged.

Unlike some traditional martial arts, there is no premium on knowledge; anyone, with enough time, dedication and practice, can develop understanding about a set of techniques or broaden their skill set.

The exchange of information in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu is far more organic than in more traditionally structured martial arts. A practitioner can learn lessons from anyone. With the right mindset, anyone can come across the information they require to improve on the mats.

Most commonly, it is the role of the instructor to pass on information and knowledge. In most cases, this is where a lot of learning occurs. The instructor will pass on information to the student, who will interpret it in a certain way and act on it accordingly. However, another part of this exchange is between students. As students execute techniques on each other, they are organically exchanging information and learning more about one another’s strategies, go-to techniques and more.

Students can sit and discuss any number of techniques or approaches to BJJ and glean information from a training partner in the right mindset. I think the fact that we can learn from each other in such a natural, organic way makes Brazilian Jiu-jitsu one of the most consuming martial arts to learn. Every conversation, every roll, every drilling session with a partner becomes a learning opportunity.

Thanks for reading.

Oss