Commentary: Fine Line of Jiu-Jitsu as ‘Life Lessons’

‘You can only give away what you are.’ ~Syd Banks

Have come full-circle on using Jiu-Jitsu to teach life lessons. =)

A huge, huge problem with this though, is the delusional moron who thinks they know something about life because they are good at Jiu-Jitsu. lol

One doesn’t necessarily translate to the other, and projecting wisdom with little or no substance behind it probably does more harm than good.


Study: Chasing Fundamentals vs. Training Partners

Image result for practicing than playing

Searching for, studying, and training fundamentals is what makes Jiu-Jitsu easy.

All too often though, we get drawn into responding to and defending whatever our training partners are doing.

While this is natural and even useful in refining fundamentals, the vast majority of people we train with will likely be chasing some combination of:

A) Positions that leverage their natural attributes; B) Aesthetic preferences; C) Whatever is trendy at the moment.

In other words, they probably aren’t pursuing fundamentals for the sake of fundamentals.

This above is fine, but there will come a time when this person will be exposed to a practitioner who is extremely fundamentally sound, and walks all over them with relative ease.

At this point they will be faced with deciding whether to continue on the path they’re on with diminished returns, or returning to square one.

Lesson: Start at square one from square one.  If you find yourself at square two, go back to square one.  Simplicity isn’t exciting, hence we often fly right by it.

September 2016 Notes

Oregon mountain bike rides this season: Kent-Phil’s Loop, Bend; Peterson Ridge Trail, Sisters; Forest Park, Jacksonville; Dead Mountain/Flat Creek Trail, Oakridge; Goodman Creek Trail, Lowell; Cathedral Hills, Grants Pass; North Umqua Trail Mott & Tioga Sections, Glide; Gales Creek, Historic Hiking, and Storey Burn Trails, Tillamook; Stubb Stewart Trails, Vernonia; Molalla River Corridor Trails, Molalla; Forest Park, Portland.

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September readin’: Silence of the Lambs by Thomas Harris, Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, 14 by Peter Clines, The Case of Charles Dexter Ward by H.P. Lovecraft, Obi-Wan & Anakin #1-5 TPB, ‘M’ is for Magic by Neil Gaiman, Fortunately the Milk by Neil Gaiman, The Croning by Laird Barron.

Media: Loved, loved, loved first season of ‘Stranger Things.’  Thank you Netflix!

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Lifestyle: Friends vs. Training Partners

Yo, if I was friends with you while training at your gym, and I leave your gym, and you stop calling me it means I was training partner not a friend.

This isn’t to hate on anyone.  Training partners are RAD and vital to Jiu-Jitsu growth, and not everyone is going to be a friend away from the Academy.  It’s math. =)

Guess I’m writing about this because it’s something I wish understood earlier in my Jiu-Jitsu journey.




Training: Jiu-Jitsu Stress Relief & Layers of Focus

First off, using Jiu-Jitsu as stress relief is a 100x better than going home and stewing about work, traffic, weather, and/or worse still, spreading this negative energy to loved ones.


So yes, Jiu-Jitsu effectively gets us back to present an in motion.  Great right!?  Sure, and sometimes it’s just what the doctor orders…

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Going deeper, while using Jiu-Jitsu as stress relief probably has a positive effect on our overall well-being, it negatively affects the quality of training.


Because by nature, using something as a release means we’re still engaged in negative chatter having nothing to do with broadening our physical and intellectual understanding of Jiu-Jitsu.

The above scenario is human and happens for a variety of reasons ranging from diet and sleep; to the psychology of unrealistic expectations, personal hot-spots triggered, and the oft-mistaken belief that holding onto and things helps us ‘problem’ solve.

Tying this into training (BJJ Scout & Demian Maia make damn good art btw)…

…high levels of detail and focus require a clear, unhindered mind.

Again, as discussed many times, we’re naturally going to be up and down, the key is remembering awareness, potential, and consciousness is what we are.  We don’t need to get all rah-rah Tony Robbins or eastern Guru dude as it takes us from the very essence we’re seeking.

To close, train and be blessed with whatever clarity and degree of insight you have on a given day. =)




Updates: Summer Life & Musings

As far as physicality goes have done a lot more dancing and riding bikes this summer than Jiu-Jitsu.  All of which am happy to say, still make me feel like a boy.

Current magic carpet:


Nonetheless, hard to write a Jiu-Jitsu blog if not doing Jiu-Jitsu. =)

To keep you in somewhat of a loop, besides aforementioned bikin n’ dancin, have delightedly swam the following waters of:

Books (many audio editions):  The Fireman by Joe Hill; Locke & Key by Joe Hill; Boy’s Life by Robert McCammon; End of Watch by Stephen King; Saga by Brian K. Vaughan; Summer of Night by Dan Simmons; Call of Cthulhu and assorted short stories by H.P. Lovecraft; The Game by Neil Strauss; Confucius, Buddha, Jesus, and Muhammad lecture by Mark W. Muesse; The Little Book of Big Change by Amy Johnson; Ship of Theseus aka S. by V.M. Straka; Swamp Monster Massacre by Hunter Shea, Tao Te Ching by Lao Tzu, Stephen Mitchell, The Inside-Out Revolution by Michael Neill, The Space Within by Michael Neill, Beyond Beliefs: The Lost Teachings of Sydney Banks by Linda Quiring, The View from the Cheap Seats by Neil Gaiman (reading), The Croning by Laird Barron (reading), Dark Gods by T.E.D. Klein (reading), Exquisite Mind by Terry Rubenstein (reading).

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Music:  Have been blown away by Van Halen’s pre ‘1984’ work with David Lee Roth. Feel like I’ve been living under a rock.  Van Halen II is amazing!

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Movies:  Star Trek Beyond, Batman Vs. Superman, X-men Apocalypse, The VVitch, Bridge of Spies, Anomalisa.

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Concerts: Lyle Lovett (thanks to generous parents for dinner, tickets, and altogether wonderful evening).

Up next: College football!!

If you made it through all this, that’s some of what life looks like away from the mat.  Cheers. =)

Mind States: Paradox of Flow & Moving Mountains

A thing with flow is, we often kill it by conceptualizing a particularly good run or breakthrough.

The wiser, more flowin’ thing to do is accept both crap and candy (judgement themselves that clog potential to the degree we personalize and/or label) with equanimity and move on.

This often translates to being a work horse with little mental effort, as doing and meaning are one.

To close, a theory I have is that being simple is a tough thing to wrap our heads around because there’s no direct payoff, even though it’s probably the only way to move mountains…

John Gill, Inventor of Bouldering: The Real Peter Parker


Mind States: Jiu-Jitsu as a State of Mind

After considering previous post, thought if Jiu-Jitsu really is about flow and taking what some one gives you, ego is not that.

That flow oriented mind state has to come first, otherwise it’s just a collection of techniques thrown at some one to validate image.

So, a metaphor I’m offering is to think of our state of mind in any moment as the oil lubricating an engine:

No matter if we have Hyundai or Ferrari levels of experience, that car isn’t going anywhere without some oil, and we want this oil to be as clean and pure as possible to promote engine longevity.

So the question is, are we using a Jiu-Jitsu mind to facilitate our respective mechanics or garbage?

Mind States: Capacity For Ego & Kindness

Six months of Jiu-Jitsu gives you the tools to physically dominate 98% of the population, even though you’re a relative ‘noob’ in the wider Jiu-Jitsu world.

The next phase, should one choose to accept it, is developing an alpha level skill-set within a Jiu-Jitsu school.  With a little luck and perseverance you’ll eventually graduate to alpha of alphas.


The totally weird thing about this whole process, is if martial arts are done in a healthy, human oriented fashion; kindness is nurtured.

While this seems like common sense on the surface, what’s NOT being said is such kindness must be cultivated during a process where capacity for ego increases as skill/knowledge increases.

Advice to avoid such trappings:

Just play.  If you play long enough, and are present enough, you will get good at Jiu-Jitsu without it being a big deal.  It’s simply good fun.