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).

Image result for saga covers by brian k. vaughan

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!

Image result for old school van halen


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

Image result for the vvitch

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.


Training: The $30 Grappling Dummy & Henry Akins

Postings have been of ‘Mind State’ variety lately, in part from making mental strides and/or stumbling, and partially because I’ve been studying Henry Akins material as opposed to coming up with my own:  www.hiddenjiujitsu.com

One thing Henry has cracked (or learned from Rickson Gracie) that I wouldn’t have considered is Cross-Sides Top solo drills (‘Solo-Drills’ upsell available to purchasers of publicly available courses).

Switching gears to the $30 Grappling Dummy, the related idea there is attempting to take any position you’re focusing on and turn it into a solo-drill.

The $30 Grappling Dummy itself is none other than the humble yoga mat.

The ‘$30’ range implies doing something research and getting something nice, as my first $10-$15 yoga mat purchased off ebay, which was as useful in comfort and protection terms as a camping tarp.  Do your body a favor. =)

Lastly, current thoughts on solo-drills:

Nothing replaces a good drilling partner, not even sparring.  In the same way, a good drilling partner can never replace what sparring gives you.  Know your goal and choose your weapon wisely.

Further, solo-drilling is 500x better than doing nothing, because you’re awakening and/or improving muscle memory laying dormant when sitting on your bum.

So yeah, solo-drills are a MUST, both for functional warm-ups, supplemental training when injured or traveling, or the killer workout you can STILL get in during the inevitable instances of a training partner no-show.

In other words, you’re training isn’t complete without a stash and growing catalog of solo-drills.


Mind States: Bringing Romance to Training

A thought that occurred to me yesterday  is that one aspect of romance is going slow for the sake of going slow, and savoring whatever we happen to be doing.

The follow-up question was: What keeps me from the ‘romantic’ approach all the time?

Well, often when working on something, it’s to get to the ‘next’ thing.

This it would seem, is a bit short-sighted, because if we can’t fully dive into and enjoy our current topic of study, why would we enjoy a future progression?

The magic is in us, not the subject.  Or perhaps there is magic in subject, and through full engagement student and subject dance.


Mind States: Yet Another Humility Take

‘Humility’ exists only in relation to stories we have about ourselves.

Stories are cool and fun.  Trust me, I relish the smell of used bookstores and comic book shops.

amazing stories

The problem is taking our stories seriously.

I didn’t put the time in to reach Black Belt to feel bad about a Blue or Purple tapping me out. Hell, more than likely a Purple has invested a lot of time in the position he or she catches me with.  Feeling bad in this case isn’t misguided, it’s delusional.

Also, sometimes my Jiu-Jitsu just isn’t that great.  I should be able to slow down, or at least nullify a stronger, faster, younger opponent, but my technique doesn’t always live up to the billing.  That’s why I keep showing up:

To deepen understanding and refine application.

Black is the new White son: