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

Adversity: Learn to push through.

Anyone who has ever tried to achieve anything worthwhile has encountered adversity. Any pathway to success, be it in your job, a sport, a relationship or artistic pursuit, is going to have obstacles. The pathway to success is littered with failure and the hopes of those that gave up when the adversity became too great.

Today I want to explore the importance of learning to push through adversity, what it can teach you and, most importantly, why you need to learn to embrace it. 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.

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.

The days when you don’t feel like doing it are the most important.

“Damn, I’m so tired.” “I’m really not feeling it today.” “This just isn’t my day.” 

We’ve all heard statements like these before, and most likely thought or said them ourselves at some point. Everyone has those kind of days where nothing is going right, where we’re too stressed or drained to feel up to the challenge of training.

The days when you don’t feel like training are the most important days to train. 

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I really like the quote; “If you wait for the perfect day to start, you’ll be waiting forever.” Perfect days are few and far between. Unfortunately,  most days there is something that we inadvertently allow to impact us negatively; our mindset, no matter how strong, can sometimes slip and allow one or two of those negative niggles in.

How do we recover after a bad day? Do something constructive. If you’re an athlete, go train. If you’re an artist, create something. The days when you feel like shit are the most important ones to inject productivity into, doing something constructive will create a positive outcome within the day.

Some of my best training sessions have been after ‘bad days’ or days where I was so drained that I didn’t feel like training. I force myself to go, regardless of how I feel. If it’s a day that I normally train (and I’m not physically injured), I’ll get myself to training knowing that it will make the day better than if I don’t.

Progress doesn’t only happen on the ‘good days’, every day is an opportunity to improve. 

Thanks for reading.

Oss.

Learn to control your internal narrative, or it will control you.

We all have a narrative in our mind that tells us what kind of person we are, what we are capable of achieving and how good we are. No one tells us, but this is the only thing we truly have control over. The way you think about yourself and the kind of person you tell yourself you are is the most important narrative to control. 

If you allow negativity and destructive thoughts to dominate your perception of yourself, you will fulfill those thoughts. If you consciously fill your mind with a positive narrative, constructive thoughts and a perception of yourself that empowers you, you will fulfill those thoughts.

Controlling you internal narrative is more important than anything else you can do for helping to make positive change in your life. Make conscious strides every day to improve one thing about the way you perceive about yourself. Learn to control your internal narrative, or it will control you.

Your fears are holding you back.

“Everything you want is on the other side of fear.”

It’s a popular quote, it’s also profoundly true. We are limited by the things that we fear; the fear of failure, rejection, the unknown… even the fear of knowing what we are truly capable of.

I would like to take a little bit of time to explore the importance of not only facing your fears, but the rewards that you will find by overcoming them.  Continue reading

Black Belt is not the goal.

I think there is probably a time in anyone’s life journeys where they’ve said: “Damn, I wish I could just fast forward to when I’m X.”

I don’t think that Jiu-jitsu is any different. Many a practitioner has hoped for a quick(er) promotion or felt frustrated at stalling or slow progress. But I think something that is worth explicitly saying is this: Black Belt is not the goal. It’s only a part of it. I want to explore this and explain why we should be looking at more expansive goals for ourselves.  Continue reading

Embracing Challenge.

We all face challenges on a day to day basis, how we respond to them is essentially the largest shaping factor in our lives. Do we step up to the challenges presented to us? Or do we back away?

Facing your challenges is the only hope you have to build resilience within yourself. Embrace challenges because of their difficulty and you will find yourself desiring greater and greater challenges. The rewards are not immediately obvious when we face unfamiliar challenges, yet they are still present; hiding beneath the surface. They are also much, much larger than you may imagine. When you finally complete your task & overcome your set of challenges, a change takes place in your mind. Your confidence grows, your belief in yourself is reinforced. When you complete what you set out to do, you affirm yourself and your desires to achieve.

Think about the most memorable days of your life so far. Chances are they were the days where you were challenged and you overcame. The best days of your life are not the meaningless, easy and inconsequential ones; the best days are the ones that presented you with stress, nerves, challenges and made you question yourself. 

We, as human beings, have been impacted more so by conflict than any other factor. Our entire biology has been influenced by it; our minds and our bodies have evolved to deal with conflict and solve problems.

Put yourself to the test: Embrace Challenge. To reject challenge is to reject living life.