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.

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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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!!

 

 

Kimura Control Series with Jake South

 

 

If you have trained or competed in Utah very long in Utah, you’ve likely been submitted by Jake South via some form of this slick Kimura series. With every version, you feel completely safe until you are suddenly and unexpectedly swept into danger of a simultaneous reverse triangle, armbar, and body crusher. I can drill this 45 minutes with Jake, know it is exactly what he’s chosen to submit me with for the day, and Jake will still get me with this series 10 times out of 10.

Jake is a super technical 4-stripe brown belt at Unified Jiu-Jitsu in South Jordan, Ut. Thanks for your help Jake!

Jake’s last MMA opponent knows all too well how effective this series is!

Drysdale Jiu-Jitsu Belt Test

by Arlo Gagestein

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I had the honor of spending last Saturday at Drysdale Jiu-Jitsu in Las Vegas for a belt test and promotion ceremony. Several of my teammates were testing and a handful of us from Utah went out for the festivities. Witnessing the test brought back a flood of memories from my last promotion a couple years ago. After successfully demonstrating proficiency on a wide range of techniques, each person being promoted has to roll for an hour straight.

Now for those of us who frequently roll and hour or more, this might not sound too bad. The catch however is that you get ZERO rest, and every two minutes a new opponent jumps on you with the primary goal of breaking you down and wearing you out. If you notice the number of people in the above photo, it should be no surprise that there were plenty of fresh, well-rested opponents to keep those testing fighting to catch their breath.

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As I jumped from one body to the next, I remembered the despair of being 30-40 minutes into my test with a seemingly unending supply of energetic teammates attacking me over and over again. You are exhausted, it hurts to breath, your limbs are useless, and you are repeatedly being beat by people with years less experience than you have. Let’s start you fighting for your life against the black, brown, and purple belts, then let every blue and white belt in the gym kick you while you are down. Welcome to purple. It doesn’t take long to begin questioning, “What am I doing here?” “Do I really want to continue suffering through this?” “How bad do I want this belt?”

There is a Rickson Gracie quote that I absolutely love and that defines Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for me.

Where there’s discomfort, there’s fear, in these very tough positions, you’re in a little piece of hell. And through this daily suffering, you learn to survive in these situations. You have to find comfort in uncomfortable situations. You have to be able to live in your worst nightmare. Jiu-jitsu puts you completely in the moment where you must have complete focus on finding a solution to the problem. This trains the mind to build that focus, to increase your awareness, your capacity to solve problems. Sometimes, you don’t have to win. You cannot win. But that has nothing to do with losing.”

“Sometimes, you don’t have to win. You cannot win. But that has nothing to do with losing.” In the helpless, hopelessness of a belt test; 40 minutes in with 20 minutes of hell to go, you learn what this promotion means to you. You have dedicated yourself to the art, to the endless pursuit of progress, chasing a destination that never arrives. In this moment, survival is everything. Everyone in this hour thinks about quitting. Everyone questions themselves, but I’ve never seen anyone give up. I’ve never seen someone in the dark tunnel, chasing the colored belt, quit. The rougher the ride, the more abuse they take, the more satisfying the victory of completion.

My hat goes off to everyone who was promoted last Saturday. I know you suffered worse than anything I can remember. You too have probably already forgotten just how bad it was. The sweetness of promotion erases a multitude of beatings. Beatings we are programmed to forget, so that in a couple years,  when the time has come, we’ll once again silently wait in the mat’s center, ready to battle all who approach.

To my teammates from Mori Training Center, thank you. Your determination and dedication to the art makes me better. I admire and value your friendship and support more than you will ever know. Together we suffer, and together we grow.

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Caffeineated Jiu-Jitsu

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Great news for caffeine addicts everywhere!

 

Eur J Sport Sci. 2016 Feb 10:1-8. [Epub ahead of print]

Caffeine improves muscular performance in elite Brazilian Jiu-jitsu athletes.

Abstract

Scientific information about the effects of caffeine intake on combat sport performance is scarce and controversial. The aim of this study was to investigate the effectiveness of caffeine to improve Brazilian Jiu-jitsu (BJJ)-specific muscular performance. Fourteen male and elite BJJ athletes (29.2 ± 3.3 years; 71.3 ± 9.1 kg) participated in a randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled and crossover experiment. In two different sessions, BJJ athletes ingested 3 mg kg-1 of caffeine or a placebo. After 60 min, they performed a handgrip maximal force test, a countermovement jump, a maximal static lift test and bench-press tests consisting of one-repetition maximum, power-load, and repetitions to failure. In comparison to the placebo, the ingestion of the caffeine increased: hand grip force in both hands (50.9 ± 2.9 vs. 53.3 ± 3.1 kg; respectively p < .05), countermovement jump height (40.6 ± 2.6 vs. 41.7 ± 3.1 cm; p = .02), and time recorded in the maximal static lift test (54.4 ± 13.4 vs. 59.2 ± 11.9 s; p < .01).The caffeine also increased the one-repetition maximum (90.5 ± 7.7 vs. 93.3 ± 7.5 kg; p = .02), maximal power obtained during the power-load test (750.5 ± 154.7 vs. 826.9 ± 163.7 W; p < .01) and mean power during the bench-press exercise test to failure (280.2 ± 52.5 vs. 312.2 ± 78.3 W; p = .04). In conclusion, the pre-exercise ingestion of 3 mg kg-1 of caffeine increased dynamic and isometric muscular force, power, and endurance strength in elite BJJ athletes. Thus, caffeine might be an effective ergogenic aid to improve physical performance in BJJ.

KEYWORDS:

Testing; fatigue; strength

PMID:
26863885
[PubMed – as supplied by publisher]

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/26863885