The Joy of Jiu-Jitsu

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You have to love auto-correct. Usually it is frustrating to attempt a text and have my phone come up with something I never would have said. However, there are certain times my phone does things that just make me smile.

My phone has never done Jiu-Jitsu (intentionally – there was that one time I was suckered into a plain-clothes nogi match, that I jumped in without emptying my pockets), so it makes sense that it wouldn’t understand it. For some reason, as much as I type it, my phone immediately wants to replace Jiu with Joy. Rather than being frustrated, I’m always amused! My phone is either NOT SMART, or is somehow delving deep into my subconscious with uncanny accuracy. I cannot deny it, Jiu-Jitsu brings me joy.

If I am texting you about Jiu-Jitsu, we are likely pretty good friends. There are few things in life that I would rather be doing than training Jiu-Jitsu with friends. Jiu-Jitsu elevates my mood. Some of my closest friends are those I share mat time with. It is fun – joyful really – spending time with these friends on or off the mat. Training is also a joy regardless of who I’m with, as the bond of Jiu-Jitsu is quickly formed. Training with my closest friends is the best of both worlds.

Welcome to Joy-Jitsu. Let’s train.

Journey to Black Belt – Reflections by Dane Barlow

I first met Dane at as a blue belt at a submission only tournament in Utah. He is a genuinely nice guy and a fierce competitor. I’ve enjoyed following his career and admiring his successes over the past years, but never knew his background or his story. This weekend, unsuspecting, he was awarded his black belt. His words in response to receiving his belt are beyond inspiring! You NEED to read this!

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By Dane Barlow

Ok, I have processed this amazing event in my life. I made big plans for a return to competition next year at brown belt but Mitch and the Knights of the Round Table had a different plan. When I started training Jiu-Jitsu I had just lost everything in the home building collapse. My son wanted to train and I had to find a place. I met Mitch Coats in his small academy (Alliance Jiu-Jitsu, Boise, Idaho). And I watched the Jiu-Jitsu art. It was like ballet except fighting. I had never seen something so fluid yet both offense and defense were being played. I signed us both up that night and a week later I told Mitch I didn’t know how long I could afford to train but that I would go till I ran out of money.

I had barely reached the point living in the attic of my sister Noel’s garage with my wife and kids- that I could constantly provide food and basic needs consistently. The pipes froze that winter and we had space heaters and blankets to keep warm. At two months I felt like I either had to go all in or quit. You see maybe my story begins when my step dad told me in high school that I was no one’s hero. I should give up on dreams and plan on a regular job right out of high school. I wanted to be the hero of my own story. I wanted to leave the disparity of my failure behind.

Jiu Jitsu and Mitch gave me the confidence to take back my life and mental attitude. I set a goal to save 10,000 dollars and change my life. This was impossible but I set the goal anyways. I also told Mitch I wanted to be the best white belt. I began to restructure my life with discipline and tapping out and restarting daily if needed. I was on a journey. I told Mitch I wanted to be somebody at Jiu Jitsu. I won countless medals in white belt tournaments all over and shortly after my blue belt promotion travelled to Brazil to compete in Rio at the master international championship. I won a silver medal after a tough finals match I lost by points. With that I came home and changed my life.

I had saved $20,000. I spent $4,000 to take my wife with me to Brazil. And I called a man up and offered to work for free to learn to make teeth! Within six months he handed me a porcelain brush and taught me everything he knew. Six month later under stress of life and bad decisions he had to sell the business. I took the reigns of my life again and told him I would find investors to buy the business. I told Mitch I would be somebody at Jiu Jitsu then do the same thing with my career. I did find investors and I promised to pay everyone back in one year. My mentor told me it was impossible to do and that I was silly and making a mistake by setting impossible goals.

Well I did it. And I won the Pan American championship and a #1 world rank at the same time. Kristi Barlow, my wife, took care of me. Supported me. Went to many matches or took care of the kids so I could leave and have these journeys against myself. I met so many competitors I consider fellow travelers on this journey. All over the place. Too many names to list. Guys who fought so hard to beat me and I them. Thanks guys! You all know who you are. You guys honored me with battles.

I spent the next year paying off my debt and equipment. I spent $250,000 in two years to get the business and equipment leases paid off. I redid countless smiles for charity with Doctor Huff. I sacrificed more money to charity than I took in income for two years to prove it could be done. Kristi let me do it. We bought dinners for thanks giving and dinners for Christmas for countless families because when we had nothing someone did the same for us. Sitting in our little attic with a 1-foot tall Christmas tree Jessica Brennan bought us we ate food some mystery family left at our garage door. I had to return the favor.

At the brown belt level I won several tournaments and a bronze at masters worlds. Then Mitch pulled me aside and said, “Quit competing and go do what you said. Become somebody at your profession.” I wrote magazine articles and shook hands with everyone. I shared information with anyone I could trying to help others and I also helped myself become better. I was spotted by Dan Boskocevic with GC America and he told me he wanted me to share myself with his customers. I lectured internationally in Mexico first I did the entire lecture in Spanish. I met Von Grow and he introduced me to a whole new world of sharing information about teeth. Later I would be elected to become a member of the dental technicians guild. One of 150 in the world to serve and share information to help build up our industry with passion handmade teeth. I would go on to lecture and teach all over as well as speaking at the Chicago winter meeting. A big deal for our industry. And then I made plans for my return to competition. I was promoted on a weekend in which I also donated a new smile to a woman and finished the last implant crown for Johnny Goforth. A black belt. A new beginning. And a full circle of giving back.

Jiu Jitsu and Mitch Coats changed my life and along the way I have had the honor of changing other people’s lives. I did nothing on my own. My team was there the whole time. Countless to name individually I love you all. My brothers and sisters in the battle of life. We were not born perfect. I do not have a perfect life. I fail. But I tap often and start again. I drive to be better. I challenge myself. And you all join with me. We can’t help the past, but we can change our stars by the choices and goals we make today. Thank you all my friends. Each one of you who read this to the end was most likely someone so special to the reformation of my life. You are all special to me.

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The Proving Grounds Invitational

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September 10, 2016 will put Utah on the world grappling map. The Proving Grounds Invitational is a brown/black belt only tournament that will feature 3 pools of ridiculous  Jiu-Jitsu talent in a winner-take-all, submission-only event. The winner of each tournament bracket, -160 lbs., 160-190 lbs., and 190+ will walk away with $2,000 all for the privilege of  beating people up all nigh!

This tournament is an exceptional blend of big name grapplers like Bill “The Grill” Cooper,  World Champion Grapplers like Brandon Ruiz, UFC Vets like Tyson Griffin and Jerermy Horn (did you know he has 91 professional MMA wins with 63 submission???), Bellator Fighters like Alexander Huddleston and Scott Thometz, local ninja nightmares Jacob and Jason South, Utah legend Justin Ellison, and many, many more! To top it off, Proving Grounds is giving away a sick AR-15 from Reactive Gunworks!

If you are anywhere near Utah (like, within a 400-mile radius) you DO NOT want to miss this event! Tickets go on sale Tuesday, August 9th at 10am. For more details on the event, the gun giveaway, and to buy your tickets, visit www.thegaragemma.com

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Summit and Submit II – The Events

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Summit and Submit II is rapidly approaching. In addition to grappling, there will also be other events that will count for points toward becoming tournament champion. Most events will be scored 3 points for 1st place, 2 points for 2nd place, and 1 point for 3rd place. At the end of the weekend, the person with the most points wins! Here are the events:

Mat Carry – Most carries over 10 miles scores 3 points, second scores 2, 3rd scores 1 point.

*Barbell Carry – Most carries scores 6 points, 2nd scores 4, and 3rd scores 2 points.

*Jiu-Jitsu Tournament – 1st place scores 6 points, 2nd scores 4, and 3rd scores 2 points.

Spinning 65 lb. Barbell Throw – Furthest scores 3 points, 2nd scores 2, 3rd scores 1 point.

Freestyle 45 lb. Barbell Throw – Furthest scores 3 points, 2nd scores 2, 3rd scores 1 point.

Barbell Man Crank – Fastest time for 1 round (24 squat, 24 lunges, 24 split squat jumps, 24 squat jumps) scores 3 points, 2nd scores 2, 3rd scores 1 point.

Backpack Push-up – Most reps scores 3 points, 2nd scores 2,  and 3rd scores 1 point

*These two events will be the hardest of the weekend, so are worth double points.

Bonus Points – 10 pound weight plate carry (the entire distance) scores 2 bonus points, heaviest backpack at truck scores 2 bonus points. In both instances, if someone has to carry some of your load on the way back, you lose the bonus points.

There you have it! Remember to let me know ASAP if you are planning to come so that we can be planning!

Summit and Submit II

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Summit and Submit II is rapidly approaching! We have decided on the third weekend of August to return to King’s Peak in the High Uintahs. This year’s trip will be a 3-day trip rather than a 2-day; likely Friday, Saturday, Sunday as the sooner we get there, the easier it will be to find tent and tournament sites. Saturday, Sunday, Monday is also an option, but again may limit our location choice. We will likely go with whatever works for the most competitors. We will decide within the week, so give us your input ASAP!

Like last year, we will be hiking 10-13 miles each direction carrying mats, backpacks, and a few other assorted goodies that we will use for challenges throughout the weekend. Remember, this is a combination grappling/strongman/endurance event (all at altitude), so don’t skip out because you think you’ll get destroyed on the mat. Even if you have no intentions of trying to win, Summit and Submit is a life-changing adventure, so come anyway! That being said, it may also be the hardest thing you’ve ever done, so don’t take it lightly. Start preparing immediately! We will also have a complete list of challenges posted within the week, so you will know what to work on.

We are just over a month out, so start planning now! This year’s event promises to be much bigger than last year, and every bit as epic!

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Submission Naming Contest!

We need your help! Arlo came up with this ankle lock and we have no idea what to call it! Post your ideas here or on our Facebook page and we will decide a winner next Thursday! Winner will receive a PDF version of Arlo’s book Warrior Core: Core Training Secrets for Modern Combat Athlete (www.warriorcorebook.com), and a Jiu-Jitsu Advantage window sticker! Watch this video and submit your ideas!

 

Courage in the Face of Complacency

by Jeff Moore, ‘The Ginja Ninja’

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Most people think of cowardice as being the opposite of courage.  Those people might share an example of the heroic fireman blasting past the trembling bystander in to a building engulfed in flames as a contrast between courage and cowardice.

This certainly still applies in my estimation, but Rickson Gracie said something on Rogan’s podcast that got my attention.  I’m paraphrasing, but Rickson said something to the effect of, “In modern society, the opposite of courage is not cowardice.  It’s complacency.”  While looking in to this topic, I found that Nelson Mandela said, “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.”  Rickson and Mandela… good enough for Killer J.

In our somewhat civilized society, most people aren’t faced with fending off hordes of marauders, launching spears in to charging rhinos, or Tarzan’ing from a jungle vine and rescuing a baby from the clutches of a crocodile.  That stuff happens, just not all that often.

Most of us are faced with less imminently severe stressors, but in the long term, our modern day stress can be crippling and is kept in place by complacency.  Do you have a job you don’t like, but fear quitting and doing your own thing?  That’s complacency.  Are you trapped in a bad relationship, but you won’t leave because you fear being alone?  That’s complacency.  If you’re a jiujitsu player, do you find yourself not progressing because you stick to your “A” game at all times while sparring because you fear trying out a new technique and failing?  Complacency.

I know I have fallen in to the complacency trap multiple times in my life with various things, so don’t take this post as being preachy.  I’ve let fear best me plenty of times, and the comfort of the mundane and predictable has been alluring enough to freeze me up for periods of time.  I need to remember to have the courage to take that leap, and not let fear bind me anymore.  Neither should you!

Cleaning House and Moving On

I spent this past weekend moving out of the house my wife and I bought nearly 14 years ago. As I’m sure any normal person would, while I was loading a trailer in the rain, I naturally started thinking of Jiu-Jitsu…

It is amazing how much stuff accumulates over time. Trip after trip hauling stuff outside, I was in awe with how much my family has. I’ve spent enough time in third world countries to be embarrassed by the enormity of my possessions. Sorting through things I found objects I use daily, others I occasionally use, and some objects I haven’t seen since tucking them in storage 10 years ago. Some are still useful, others are not.

As I started relating this to Jiu-Jitsu, I realized stepping away from one house to live in a new, completely different house that this is similar to progression in Jiu-Jitsu. I am a completely different Jiu-Jitsu player than I was 8, 5, even 2 years ago. When I started my BJJ journey, I was a guard guy. I had long, strong legs and held close guard like my life depended on it. I went for armbars and triangles from the bottom, and that was my entire game. 8 years later, I can’t remember the last time I used closed guard. 80% of my submissions were triangles. Now, I triangle someone once in a while, but more frequently attack elbows, shoulders, knees and ankles.

Just like the useless, sentimental stuff I had packed away in boxes, some of my BJJ techniques from long ago are no longer useful. Techniques I used to use all the time worked great on white belts, but would get me quickly submitted against the guys I train with now. Other techniques probably shouldn’t have even worked on white belts, but I got away with them because I was strong and athletic and the other white belts were as clueless as I was. Most of these techniques I threw out years ago, and a couple I still break out when I’m training with beginners. Some of my junk got tossed during this weekend’s move, and just like the back-up techniques, I’ll pack some back in storage another 10 years, just in case I need it someday.

Other useless items weren’t even hidden away unfortunately. We had some things sitting out in plain sight that have no value or practical use at all. We are used to having them around, so they stay. Sentimental or not, we need to cut some of these things from our life. In my Jiu-Jitsu game, there are these things as well. I developed bad habits years ago on the mat that still haunt me. I still do them because they are comfortable. To a certain degree, they define me, regardless of how many times my coaches chew me out about them. I’ve been told thousands of times never to lay flat on my back, but I still do frequently. I frequently turn the wrong way, grab the wrong arm, and get caught in basic submissions. The difference is that while once naive about these things, I now know imediately that I once again screwed up. Still, the habits remain. Now that I am moving, these impractical things have been once again brought to my attention, and I’m committed to purging them from my life.

And the triangle, my bread and butter move as a white belt…IT’S COMING BACK!!