My Book is up on Amazon!

I haven’t posted in awhile because I’ve been writing a short book.  I recently found out you can self publish on amazon, so I decided to take a crack at it and putting something up myself.  I wrote a book for people looking to get into the sport, as well as for novice/intermediate grapplers.  It has chapters about the sport as a martial art, choosing a gym, etc.  For the person already training it has concepts and strategies to help improve your game.  Its a kindle book available for download.  If you think it might be something you’d be interested in check it out! 😀

http://www.amazon.com/Jiu-Jitsu-Handbook-Beginners-ebook/dp/B00Q9AKL7C/ref=sr_1_1?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1417194469&sr=1-1&keywords=jiu+jitsu+handbook

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Jiu Jitsu as Meditation

Something I started to realize a long time ago is the fact that Jiu Jitsu is my meditation. When people think of mediation they tend to think of sitting in a dimly lit room, legs crossed, being silent. But all it really is to me is giving your mind a chance to take a break. Focus on nothing. It’s actually really hard to try to think about nothing. It takes years of practice to do it for more than a few seconds I’ve heard. Now I don’t go in for all that stuff in general, but I cannot deny the fact that grappling gives my mind a much-needed break.

When you are rolling with someone, and they are trying to choke you unconscious, or break your arm or what have you, it’s very difficult to think about anything else. If I let my mind wander for even a moment, if I lose focus, I am going to lose. Your mind will not let focus on something else. It is a primal instinct to survive, even if deep down you know it’s just practice. I cannot think about my bills or homework, or any other stressful thing. The only thought allowed is the present moment. Which when you think about it really is sort of meditative in nature. I actually find it incredibly healthy for my mind to have a couple of hours of giving the mind a rest. All day long, my mind is non stop thinking about this or that random thing, focusing on tasks at work or what I have to get done. Getting to the gym is a relief, as soon as I step on the mat my mind is only allowed to think about one thing, the only thing that matters.

Then I realized that probably exists in all things that require complete focus. If I am into rock climbing, and I’m on a rock face, I can’t think of anything other than that moment or I’ll fall. A skateboarder focuses on the board or he misses the trick. The examples are endless and I’m sure you can think of plenty of your own, no need to keep going. The point though is that I think the stereotype of the peaceful monk as the meditation master might not always be the case. Sometimes the big wave surfer is the meditation master in reality.

All in all I think it’s very important to have an activity that you do regularly that lets you “check out” mentally. It’s helpful for relaxing and getting rid of stress. When I come home from the gym the stress has dissipated and the feeling of relaxation comes easy. But it doesn’t have to be physical! It could be writing, playing chess, artwork, etc. Something that requires you to be actively engaged just enough so that you can’t entertain other thoughts. Sometimes the best thing you can do is turn off your brain for a little bit and enjoy the moment.

tatami-zen-gorilla-gi-teaser

Attitude is everything

Over the years I have seen all kinds of people walk into the gym; some stay, but most don’t. Some guys have amazing natural athletic talent, but poor attitudes. Or vice versa. I can say for absolute certain that a good attitude is all that is essential for learning jiu jitsu. I honestly have lost count of all the talented and amazing people who have come in only to get frustrated and leave, never to be seen again. I can tell pretty quickly who will last and who wont, and it has nothing to do with physical attributes.

Lets be honest, we all know that no matter what shape you are in, or how gifted you are athletically, week 1, hell month 1, you are going to be tapping pretty much non-stop. The guys who get frustrated, can’t hang. Guys who appreciate the technique, ask you how to escape that submission, have the right approach. If you come into any skill dominated arena, such as jiu jitsu, you cannot expect to do well right away. It is really important to embrace the idea that you will lose constantly.

I remember when I started, even being a big guy, I was basically a training dummy for everyone else. In fact after a while my goal was not even to not get tapped (like it was on day 1), it was actually to take slightly longer to get tapped than the time before. Focusing on the small improvements, and they will be small, is the key to mastering anything. It seems to make sense for other sports, but in grappling it’s not as obvious. For example if I wanted to suddenly get into track, my improvements would be measured in seconds. Maybe I could run the mile in 8 minutes to start, maybe after a month I’d be down to 7:30. A whole month of hard work for 30 measly seconds. In jiu jitsu its no different. After a whole month of hard work you might be able to avoid tapping for 30 seconds longer than before. Because we are not timing your taps you might find it hard to realize you are even improving, but you are.

The person with the proper attitude for learning jiu jitsu also will have the proper attitude for learning anything. If you want to learn how to master draw portraits, play chess, fix an engine, whatever, you have to go into it expecting it to take a long time. These guys who come into the gym I train at get frustrated and upset after training for 6 months or a year and still lose. I’m sorry to say that comes with the territory. You are being tapped by people who have been doing this 5 to 10 years longer than you have on average, it’s just not reasonable to expect much else. That is why jiu jitsu is the great crucible of ego and attitude. You simply will not last in this sport unless you have a great attitude. And that is why most of the people I’ve ever met in jiu jitsu are really cool. They are all people who have been ok with losing 1,000 times at least.

What you can do as a coach or a teammate however is you can help make this tough beginning phase much more bearable by doing a couple of things. First of all, toss out a compliment every once in a while. When I first started I could live off a positive critique from my coach alone for months. People tend to talk about you, but not to you. If you tell everyone else that the new guy is doing really well except the new guy, well that doesn’t really help him now does it? No matter how bad someone is when they start you can always find something positive to say unless you are just a totally unimaginative douchemonger. “You are doing a good job staying on a hip”, “way to stay relaxed”, “you really make me work for those submissions”. It not only motivates them but helps you build a nice rapport with them.
You can also give them tips or show them some techniques after class that might help. If you take the time to watch them roll, or roll with them yourself, you will probably see something fundamental you can help them with. Even something as simple as building a frame to escape bad positions can be really helpful to new players.

We all remember starting out and how rough it was. If you see someone with a good attitude, its important to help foster their attitude because it also positively affects everyone else in the gym. Those are the kinds of people you want to be rolling with, and representing your gym. Keep your goals small, and I mean really small, and you will start to see improvements where you couldn’t see any before. Also remember not to have such high expectations. It will take you a few years before you are even tapping anyone decent, so keep that in mind. Every great grappler you know of is just some guy who never gave up. That’s literally all they are.

Is MMA about winning and skill or about entertainment?

I have been meaning to tackle this subject for a while now. There is a warring of philosophies in the sport of mixed martial arts with regards to so-called “boring” fighters. There are several good examples here we can discuss but in an effort to keep the post sizeable we will be looking at GSP and Ben Askren specifically.

The average fan is uneducated with respect to grappling

Before we get to the bulk of this discussion however I want to address an issue upfront. That the average fan of Mixed Martial Arts is yet to be fully educated on the sport, especially grappling. It makes sense that seeing a knockout is one of the most exciting things in combat sports. Even though there is plenty of technique involved in the stand up game, even someone with little to no knowledge of the technique can still understand what’s happening when punches and kicks start flying. The problem though is when things hit the ground. Sometimes crowds will boo, because they are bored, they don’t understand. They simply can’t appreciate what’s happening. It would be the same thing for any sport where things might not be all they seem at face value. For example I don’t watch NASCAR, but I know that its more than a bunch of left turns. Even with no real knowledge of the sport what so ever I can imagine there is a lot going on I can’t see. The types of engines, fuel mixtures, tire types, pit crews, drafting strategies, etc. It’s the same thing when two fighters hit the floor to the lay fan. They don’t see slick guard passes, high level sweeps, clever submissions set ups, etc. Over time as MMA grows in popularity that will start to go away but for now we are just going to have to suffer the average fan. For me as an experienced grappler I see a lot happening when two fighters are on the ground, but I am also aware I am in the minority. But this post is mostly geared towards the person who understands the ground game but still may frown upon “boring” fighters.

Ben Askren is a reality

Ben Askren was released from his contract (let go) by the fight promotion Bellator in 2013 while still reigning champion following an unbeaten streak of 9 wins. READ THAT AGAIN. Ben Askren was let go while 9-0 and still champion of a promotion. What? Why would they possibly do that? The reason is unspoken but obvious, his fights are not exciting to the average fan. You see if you are unfamiliar with Ben Askren’s style of fighting what you need to know is that he is one of the most dominant wrestlers the sport of MMA has ever seen. The guy takes down opponents at will, and smothers and controls them while hitting them with short shots for however long the fight happens to be and usually wins by decision. In his last fight for Bellator he hit his opponent an unbelievable 248 times, while only being hit himself 3 times. This guy IS ground and pound. He is an NCAA 4 time All American collegiate wrestler. While his fighting style might not be as exciting to watch as someone like Anderson Silva, it shouldn’t matter. Being a good fighter should not mean being exciting or entertaining. The UFC and other organizations also lose legitimacy by stonewalling high level wrestlers. Think about it, if you are the UFC and you are proclaiming yourself as the organization with the best fighters on the planet, then you’d think they would contract fighters who find a way to win. Sadly when the UFC was given the option to pick up Ben Askren they declined. Why would they decline picking up a current Bellator Champion with a 9-0 win record? Most likely because they think he is “boring” too. Let’s talk about the UFC quick since I brought them up.

The UFC is a business

I love the UFC. I have been a huge fan since UFC 1. They are probably the reason MMA still exists and wasn’t banned long ago. They fostered it during the crucial times and are now enjoying the aftermath. Unfortunately you cannot afford a huge stable of the worlds best fighters, and go around the world hosting events, if you can’t sell tickets and pay per views. Who pays for these tickets and PPV’s? The average fan does of course. Remember the ones we talked about earlier that don’t like to watch grapplers as much as knock out artists? Brock Lesnar is responsible for several of the biggest PPV draws in the history of the UFC. Anyone who knows the sport knows he isn’t the most skilled fighter out there, but that’s not why people watch him. They watch him because he is a freaking giant man and they want to see him man handle people. Brock Lesnar, Frank Mir

Hey, I loved watching him fight as much as anyone, so I’m not hating. What I am saying though is that when you are a slave to ticket sales and PPV buys you are then slave to giving the people what they want. And if they don’t want to see an elite fighter like Ben Askren use his wrestling to effortlessly dominate fights, then they aren’t going to offer him a contract. Now understanding this is one thing, but realizing the dangerous path that this thought process could lead us on is another. Right now the UFC is heralded easily as the number one organization for MMA hands down. Part of the reason is because they boast the best fighters on the planet. But if you start to pick up less and less winners, and pick up more and more exciting fighters, what do you have? You will be left with a bunch of fighters who are really fun to watch but have no substance, a paper tiger as the saying goes. Many fighters claim they want to fight the best fighters in the world, period. If another organization has them, then they will start going to where the best fight. Overtime this process, albeit slow, could severely weaken the UFC as we know it.

Back to reality

Ben Askren and fighters like him are the reality. If you are a professional fighter and some college wrestler can hold you down for 25 minutes, then that’s a reality you need to deal with. You can’t complain, you can’t bullshit your way out of it. If you can’t stop someone from having their way with you then you are losing, bottom line. It’s tiresome to see all these guys lose to Askren or GSP and then complain afterwards that they just held them down. That’d be like complaining that a football team you just lost to ran the ball every play so you couldn’t do anything. It is your job to shut them down, whether that be knocking them out, stuffing their takedown or getting back to your feet as many times as it takes. When those cage doors close the time for talking and excuses is over. You either win or you don’t.

What’s a wrestler to do?

Many collegiate wrestlers have no real avenue of pursuing wrestling after they graduate besides MMA. Some can go to the Olympics but only a handful of the thousands of talented guys and girls nationwide. Wrestling is also a fantastic base to start learning MMA from. The thing about wrestling is that you completely dictate where the fight occurs, on the feet or on the ground. If you are fighting someone who is a knockout artist, obviously you take them down and take away their strength. If you think you are a better striker than them, use your takedown defense to keep it standing. Dan Henderson has made a career out of throwing overhand rights to win fights while using his wrestling to avoid takedowns. My advice to wrestlers turned fighters labeled as “boring” would be to work to pair your skill with a complimentary skill. The two that immediately jump to mind are heavy hands or a highly offensive submission game. I can think of more examples of wrestlers who develop heavy hands for success than those that developed submissions however; Randy Couture, Josh Koschek, Dan Henderson, Chuck Liddell, Cain Velasquez and probably 50 more. There are some wrestlers who have implemented submissions into their game but they are fewer. Either way wrestling alone can give you wins by decisions but if you want to win by a more dominant means you are going to have to focus on one of the aforementioned skills as well.

The curious case of GSP

GSP has often been called “boring” by uneducated fans too. He has a high degree of control in his matches as well, and I would argue the best control of any fighter in UFC history. Why its interesting though is two-fold. For starters, GSP never wrestled prior to becoming a fighter. He is known as probably one of, if not the, best wrestlers in UFC history. His takedown percentages are staggering, attempts succeeding 74% of the time and defending 84% in 27 fights. The second reason GSP is interesting is because despite having a controlling style, he is one of the best PPV draws in UFC history according to Dana White, president of the UFC. It is curious to me that a fighter who some consider to be boring commands such high PPV numbers. There are a few reasons why I speculate that this is the case, but they are simply my own opinions.

Skill or Thrill?

In the end the market is ultimately going to dictate which fighters are contracted out to organizations like the UFC. In the past it was the fighters who won. It still is for the most part but we are starting to see some disinterest in signing fighters who are viewed as “boring”. I believe that this is a terrible philosophy to have and that it could weaken the UFC as well as the sport if continued. When Royce Gracie came along in UFC 1 and exposed the power of grappling, and the vulnerability of many fighters thought to crush him, he changed the landscape of martial arts forever. Gone was the fantasy martial arts movies had created, and the harsh reality of being smothered and choked was undeniable. As a fan you are going to have to decide for yourself if you want to see fighting as it exists in reality, or fighting that’s exciting. And realize that as you educate yourself on the ground game, so too does it become exciting. Years from now I’d like to see the UFC still putting on the best fights, with the best fighters period. Whatever form it may take.

The hardest thing about Jiu Jitsu

I have been meaning to do a short post for awhile now about what I think the hardest thing about jiu jitsu is. I have been training long enough to see many people come and many people go. To me, the hardest thing about jiu jitsu is sticking to it. You might think that sounds strange considering how physical of a sport it is, but it actually makes a lot of sense. Even if you are the most out of shape, weak, slow etc. person, if you stick with jiu jitsu you will eventually become great. The problem is that the beginning is the toughest part by far. You are usually training with people that are far more skilled than you, and you get dominated incessantly. Your body isn’t used to rolling and its exhausting. On top of all of that you are trying to remember these strange and alien bodily movements, each day attempting to move you body in a way it has never moved before. You get sore, you get tired, and you get frustrated. When you daydreamed about learning jiu jitsu you forgot this part apparently. Getting stuck in a guy’s side control who is twice your size, just smashing pressure, breathing the same hot air, is a new kind of personal hell. But as you stick with it you start to become comfortable in this hell, you learn its nuances. You start to see it like a puzzle, a puzzle that you know can be solved given enough time. The problem is that most people never stick around to really enjoy jiu jitsu. Of the people I’ve seen come into my gym, over half will not be there in 3 months. A select few will be there though, and they will have gotten past the worst part. Granted they are still experiencing all of the same frustrations as before, but are lessened. When I meet someone who is new, training for the first time ever, sometimes they will ask me questions. Questions about all sorts of things related to jiu jitsu. I answer their questions of course as best I can, but what I really wish I could say is just don’t give up on jiu jitsu. I don’t think there is a single person out there who has trained to proficiency who would say they regret sticking with it. What you do is going to say something about you as a person. Do you just give up when something is hard? When you cant figure someone out right away? When you fail? Jiu Jitsu is a great filter in this way. Not only is it a great filter for people with unhealthy egos, as I covered in a previous post here, but it also filters out people who don’t have determination.

If you are relatively new to BJJ, do not give up! Just push on through, embrace the suck, and enjoy it because you will look back and smile. The longer you do it the more enjoyable it is I have found. It is a lifestyle and once you are hooked it will be a part of your life forever.

How to defeat bigger and stronger opponents! (Advice from the big guy)

big vs small

One of the cornerstone concepts of jiu jitsu is the ability to use leverage to defeat bigger, stronger opponents. Theoretically you should be able to defeat anyone of any size, once you have become proficient in jiu jitsu. I have seen this with my own eyes a thousand times. In fact the first UFC showcased Royce Gracie winning the tournament as one of the, if not the, smallest guys competing. If you have ever attempted to try to roll someone at a gym, chances are you also got tooled by someone half your size.

With all of this being said, I will also say it is not easy. One of those “easier said than done” situations. In my mind I evaluate someone’s game with 3 facets; Strength, Technique and Intensity. Someone who is very strong can in fact defeat someone who is more technical. And likewise someone who is more technical can defeat someone who is stronger. You can also make up for a lack in both of those categories simply by being aggressive. Everyone has some of all 3, but at different levels. For me personally, I have a high strength, followed by technique, and almost no intensity. I am a very calm and patient grappler. It is probably an oversimplified way of assessing but it helps me to quickly categorize grapplers and strategize against them.

Now there are many people out there who have written about this topic but I feel I bring something unique to the conversation, the fact that I am usually the bigger, stronger guy. Yes, you read that correctly. I think it gives me a new perspective, because I know many of the ways a smaller opponent can and has beaten me in the past.

One of the first things I’ve noticed is that a smaller person can use their superior cardio to wear down a bigger guy like me. If you try to out muscle me, you will always lose, and get tired just as fast as me. However if you focus on movement, and make me chase and move constantly, I can sometimes wear out very quickly. Even if you are on the defense, even if you are on bottom, keep working for that underhook, keep shrimping, keep hand fighting, etc. Do things that don’t require much energy from you. Don’t try to push me away, it wont work. Don’t try to bench press me, that also wont work. But things like shrimping wont tire you out and it will keep me in a state of movement. Never let the big guy rest. After a few minutes you will notice a guy like me start getting lazy. The pressure lessens, my grips get weak, I don’t scramble as well, etc. This is often overlooked I have found, which is too bad because it’s really effective if you ask me.

Secondly, your game need to be focused on mechanically superior techniques. What does this mean? Here are some examples to illustrate. If you can’t lock your feet in a closed guard, abandon it, you will do much better in a butterfly guard. Like I said I am a big guy, always have been barrel chested. This means that about 50% or more of my training partners/students have a hard time locking their ankles behind my back. Even when some do it hurts their feet if I simply push back against their lock. There is no point to closed guard now. You have to be able to switch to a new guard temporarily for this big opponent. Butterfly guard, open guard, rubber guard, I don’t care. Now outside of guard, you are going to have to be more choosy with your techniques. If you weigh 140 lbs, and I weigh 250 lbs, a triangle shouldn’t be your go to is what I’m saying. Also a sweep like a scissor sweep becomes much harder, but with a minor adjustment you can turn it into a knee push sweep which works very well. The body’s ability to kick/leg press is substantial. If you put your foot on my knee and kick straight, I will never be able to stop it. There are lots of examples that illustrate this concept but I think you get the idea. Lastly your game plan needs to shift as well. You want to focus on chokes and taking the back. You try to kimura a guy twice your size, chances are he will straighten his arm. That’s ok because instead of fighting it, just throw it over your head and take the back. There is no muscling out of a choke! Even a big guy with a thick neck can be choked easier than can be Americana’d. When you take someones back, their strength counts for very little. That is the position you want to be in, you want to be a human backpack. Mount you will get tossed off, side control you will get bench pressed, but the back takes their power out of the equation for the most part. I can’t tell you how frustrating it is to have someone small on my back, and not being able to escape for 5 minutes.

Lastly you need to realize that time is on your side, big time. I don’t mean in the immediate sense, we already talked about that in the cardio paragraph. I mean in the sense that your technique will be 10x better than a big guy’s over time. Small grapplers are far more technical than big grapplers. Why? Simply because they have no choice. When I get in trouble, as a bigger guy, I can “cheat” often times by powering out of certain situations. If you are a smaller grappler, that option simply doesn’t exist. Stuck in side control under a big fatty for the last 10 minutes? Too bad, you are going to continue to be there until you figure out a way to squirm out. And on side control escape days, you are going to be paying 100% attention to the instructor because you know what that little piece of hell feels like. And I am not just talking about escapes either. Even offensive techniques like submissions require more from you. The angle, the pressure, the grip, it all must be that much more perfect. I have seen big guys tap people out with a forearm choke before, but as a small grappler you know that will never work for you. You are going to have to really nail the technique to hit that north south choke on the big boys. In a way I am slightly jealous as a larger grappler to be honest. I got a head start when I entered my first class. I was already strong, so I could survive much longer, I could impose my will on guys who had been there awhile based on size alone. Well in the beginning that was nice, but now I am having to revisit all the techniques I thought I knew to improve them. If I would have started as a small man, my technique would be so much crisper by now I imagine.

So don’t get frustrated as a small grappler, which is easy to do. Just stick with it and know that in time you will be better for it. Focus on chokes and any movements/sweeps that employ kicking motions and stiff arms to the face. And always remember that your bigger opponent is more exhausted than you at every point of the match, which should motivate you to push even harder against them.

Affording a gym membership and why you should

I can’t afford it.
Something that I have encountered a lot over the years is people’s excuses for not training. I’m not talking about the average person walking around the street, but the people who come in for a free class or an open mat and seem to love it. They are interested, see the benefit, seem excited, but then come up with tons of excuses why not to. I would say however that the excuse I hear the most is that they can’t afford it. Now I understand that a membership at a grappling or mma gym can be daunting. Ranging anywhere from $50-$150 on average, that is a serious commitment any way you slice it. What can be irking though is these people seem to have no problem coming up with money for other things. These same people who claim they really want to train but can’t afford it, are going out to the bars every weekend, drinking fancy coffee from Starbucks, buying cigarettes, etc. Its funny to me that these people don’t realize how much disposable income they actually do have. What they should say instead of “I can’t afford to train” is “I don’t want to make the financial sacrifice to train”. Just a thought exercise, lets say you go out to eat once a week. Lets say with your food, drink and a tip you are spending on average $15. That’s $60 a month. If you are like me you probably eat out closer to twice a week but I’m being conservative. At my gym you can get a grappling only membership for $50 a month. That means that if you were willing to skip one night a week eating out you could afford to train. This is just counting eating out. It’s not counting the beer, the coffee, the cigarettes, the fancy clothes, etc. My point is that it’s actually really not that hard to make room in your budget for a gym membership, especially if its something you genuinely want to do. I could go on an on with examples of how to make it affordable to you, but I think you get the point. The money is there, you just don’t want to give up certain things in your lifestyle. I am not criticizing that decision, I am just criticizing the excuse that people come up with. I would rather someone say to me “I don’t want to pay that much” instead of “I can’t”. You can, you just don’t want to.

Why would you want to pay a membership to an MMA or grappling gym when you could get a membership at a regular gym with tons of weights and aerobic machines?
Back before I discovered jiu jitsu, I was an avid weight lifter. I was a casual power lifter of sorts. I didn’t take it very seriously, but I was a lot stronger than the average guy for sure. Even so, my first jiu jitsu class I was helpless. I literally could do nothing to anyone. I was getting tapped even by people half my size. It was a big eye opener for me because up until that point I thought being strong was enough. Once I realized that I was wasting my time in a sense, I trained grappling instead of lifting weights. The other thing that’s interesting to me is that the technique is mental, and doesn’t really degrade. If you are into fitness you know that a few weeks off can really hurt you. You will lose a couple of pounds of muscle, lose your cardio, flexibility, etc. With grappling its knowledge so that doesn’t go away if you take a short break. The cardio is the only thing I’ve noticed that goes away but you get in back within the week. I like the idea of putting in the time and energy during training and knowing that its more or less permanent, unlike fitness in general.

Outside of that there are the numerous benefits I’ve already addressed in previous blogs. First it is a total body workout. You will use muscles you never even knew you had. Grappling is a combination of strength training and cardio. It is very unique in its nature and you will definitely lose weight.

Secondly it is a great stress reducer. Wrestling around with someone is exhausting, and its good to get that pent-up energy out. Especially if you work at a job that involves very little movement, like sitting at a desk. Our bodies are made to move. We have millions of years of evolution hardwired into us allowing us to do amazing things with our bodies. If you deny it of that, I believe it’s really bad for not only your body but also your mind as well.

Thirdly the social aspect is really cool as well. I worked out at the traditional gym for years, and maybe talked to 3 or 4 people, briefly. Its more or less a solo endeavor. In grappling you really get to know people. It’s a tight-knit group, you are all struggling and learning together. You talk before, during and after class. You make friends and end up hanging out sometimes even outside of the gym. I think that is a really cool benefit that isn’t talked about much.

The last benefit I’ll mention, even though there are so many more, is your confidence. If you have never been tested, if you have never been in a bad situation, then you are always walking around with some level of fear. I don’t care if you are a big strong dude who thinks you are a badass, you know and I know there is a small bit of insecurity lurking somewhere in there. That fear actually affects how you interact with people. You might act tough when there isn’t really a call for it, you might carry a weapon, you might play out scenarios in your head of what might happen walking to your car in a bad area of town. This anxiety is expressing itself in your actions and is a really bad thing because people can read it, whether they are aware of it or not. I think we have all met someone like that, who is always acting tough, or trying to start something. It’s actually because they are so insecure. Training jiu jitsu will give you the confidence you need to never feel that way. You will start to be more relaxed in social situations, easier to talk to, friendlier etc. I believe this is one of the biggest benefits of training because I feel it bleeds into many aspects of your life.

If you are one of those people who has tried grappling and really enjoys it, but comes up with excuses why not, you need to stop. Realize it is just fear on your part, and that it is holding you back from what could be an amazing new aspect of your life. Stop telling yourself you can’t afford it, you aren’t in shape enough, you are too small or weak, you are too old or too young, or any other negative thoughts expressing your insecurity. Jiu Jitsu will change your life, I have seen it with myself and many others. It requires sacrifice, and it is a lifestyle change, but I’ve never met someone who has looked back and regretted it.