Thoughts

Train Forever: Taking Care of your Body

Jiu-jitsu translates to “soft art.”  I think my muscles and joints are the soft part, constantly at risk of being crushed by the art.

So, the trick is to be soft like the willow, bending without breaking.  Or some other metaphor that basically means you have to stretch, avoid overtraining and training while injured, rest, and eat well!

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Thoughts

Healing with Yoga and Jiu Jitsu

Yesterday was one of those days that I just didn’t want to be a part of humanity anymore.  I mentioned in a previous post that every woman I have ever asked has been sexually assaulted at some point in her life.  I was talking to a friend yesterday and she realized that what she had previously thought of as a bad sexual experience was in fact rape because she said “no” multiple times during the experience.

She started dwelling on what she could have done differently.  It is never the person who was sexually assaulted’s responsibility to have done anything differently.  Often the assaulter is taking advantage of power differentials, social norms, and trust in a way that makes it less likely or impossible for the person being assaulted to fight back.  It is not your fault and you are not responsible for what happened to you.

I wanted to do another post on the guard for self defense today.  But instead I will focus on how jiu jitsu and yoga can help in healing from sexual assault.  It is not your responsibility to keep bad people from doing bad things.  No matter what happened in the past – remember you are strong and have the power to heal.

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Technique

Making the Most of Pressure: Side Control

There few terms in jiu-jitsu that get tossed around more than pressure.  You might hear ‘base’ or ‘posture’ more frequently, but understanding pressure is a vital component of any BJJ top game.  Pressure refers not just to physical weight (or the sensation of weight) but also constant attacks that keep your partner on the defensive.  This post will focus on the physical pressure, and at another time I’ll revisit this issue to address attack pressure.

Occasionally referred to as the “100 kilos position,” side control is best known for immense pressure.  Learning to apply more pressure from side control can make the difference between your rolls ending in a draw and having them end in a submission.

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Thoughts

Escape your Own Head: How to Get the Most out of Jiu Jitsu

You hear a lot in jiu jitsu that you should leave your ego at the door, don’t focus on winning or losing, and avoid negative self talk.  Sure – these are all great advice but how do you do it?  It’s certainly not as easy as packing your gym bag, remembering to leave your ego on the shelf at home, and going to train.  I struggle with negative self talk in all facets of life and I know my life would be easier if I could just be nicer to myself.

So how do you tell your mind to just shut up so you can train?

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Thoughts

Questionable Fashion Choices of BJJ

A lot of hobbies have ‘uniforms’ or clothing associated with them.  And often times these uniforms, while eminently practical, fail to align with modern sensibilities about what is appropriate to wear in public.  Jiu-Jitsu is no exception to this rule.

Here are the fashion mistakes you’ll feel inclined to make if you play jiu-jitsu:

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Self-Defense

Why Rolling is Important for Self Defense

In a previous post I discussed the 5 self defense moves I would teach a friend who doesn’t know any jiu jitsu.  Learning techniques is important but I believe rolling can be just as beneficial for learning how to defend oneself.

For example, say Betsy learns a self defense move in a seminar.  She practices it 20 times with an non-resisting partner during the seminar then shows it to a friend when she gets home.  Is Betsy likely going to be able to use that technique in a self defense situation in 6 months?  What about even the next day?  When I’m rolling I usually try to use the move taught in class that day but I’m not usually successful with it right away.

Here are three reasons I think rolling is helpful for self defense.

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Theory

Jiu-Jitsu Spark Notes: Or What You Need to Know to Roll

I’ve already done a post on how to get the most out of rolling, and if you are looking for best practices, this isn’t that.  This post is the information that I believe to be the barest minimum necessary to get someone rolling.

Will they be good?  No.  Will they be as safe as they can be?  No.  But, sometimes you just have to work with sub-optimal conditions.  Maybe you’re at party and some friends want to see what this “jiu-jitsu” thing is about.  Maybe you’re at a college level club and someone without any experience shows up to an open mat.

So, when reality gets in the way of ideal, this is a way to stay safe and have fun.

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Technique

The Minutiae of Grips: It’s Not Just Where You Grab but How you Grab It

The first time I rolled after a seven year break my forearms burned.  It had been so long since I had fought to hold on to a grip that my arms were exhausted.  But since then I have not had any issues with my grip.  Contrast my experience to my friend’s.  He started in May of this year and is constantly complaining about his fingers hurting and his grip burning out.  He’s much stronger than me so I suspect he has not learned how to relax while gripping.

Some people do experience finger pain in jiu jitsu that seems unavoidable (my husband loves Grappz for this reason).  But holding on the right way is important too.  Sometimes how you grab is as important as where you grab in jiu jitsu.  Ok – that’s a bit of an exaggeration but if you can’t hold on, where you grab doesn’t really matter.

Here are four kinds of grips in jiu jitsu and two tips that apply to all grips.

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