Training: Minimizing Evaluative Need

For a lifestyle perspective, if you’re constantly trying to improve, and open and honest with yourself, things will be pretty cut and dry; with a minimal need for evaluation as it’s ingrained in day to day life.

By contrast, the problem I see in BJJ is practices they are often a sort of social hour, and though guys/gals often DO work hard in sparring very few think progressively about training.

So yes, the typical practitioner bound by academy culture IS getting something done, but their baselines of quality and quantity aren’t increasing over time, because while the effort is there, they are going through the motions intellectually.


Training: Train Micro, Evaluate Macro

It’s easy to think in only in terms of individual workouts as that’s what’s most pressing in our mind in any given moment.  Still, what matters in terms of production are solid weeks, month, and years.

Along these lines, epic or garbage days or weeks don’t matter much if we’re not consistent. We can even have a down month in the context of six and still make substantial gains if the other five months are decent.

So, overall the idea is to be in the moment during training, while evaluating ‘progress’ in terms of larger bodies of work.  What I like about this is it takes the stress off of making every session brilliant while providing natural contingencies for down days, weeks, and even months.

A final tip is noticing how high or low you feel about training.  The more training is a part of our general lifestyle, the less emotional, and more matter of fact it is.  As such, ‘pumped’ or ‘in dumps’ are signs that our thinking is askew.  Drill and chill, chill and drill. =)

Training: Play Vs. Practice & Production Awareness

There is perhaps nothing more fun than following whatever whim crosses our mind in the moment.  We’ll call this ‘play,’ and would go so far to say we need room for it in our lives for balance, spontaneity, and release.

The problem with above is it isn’t intentional, which is fine, as long as we don’t confuse it for practice.  Don’t get me wrong, practice can be pleasurable too, but the difference is we’re getting specific things done for specific reasons with a goal mind.

This is the what separates the noob who spends hours on youtube trying to follow fashions as effectively as possible, and the more experienced player who picks one position and works it to the bone.

Yes, the noob is having a blast, but we gradually want to evolve to a place where we’re getting as much achievement per unit of action as possible.  We’ll call this distinction Production Awareness.

Remember, there’s a big difference of depth between exposure and continued exploration of single topic over time.  On the surface, they’re both ‘learning,’ but exposure is relatively passive as compared to intention driven practice.

In short, play, get excited and have fun, while understanding the difference between getting something done and following random urges.

Cross-Sides Bottom: The Invisibility Principle

The Cross-Sides Bottom equivalent of making an opponent wear all your weight is having as little of yourself on the mat as possible.  I call this principle ‘Invisiblility,’ because when we’re flat, we’re easy to find by providing a level surface area for the top player.  By contrast, shifting our hips even just a little changes everything, because:

A) We’re a less stable landing surface.

B) Can move more freely even though you’re carrying the same amount of weight.

C) Have a pivot point with which you can reverse top player.

D) There’s more space to recover Guard and/or go to your knees.

E) Can breathe easier! ;o)

Pedro Sauer creating a Cross-Sides Bottom scenario where only his feet and side of his core are on the mat:

Having written this post over a couple of days, I guess my overall idea of posture has evolved over the past couple years moving from:

Arms positions for survival>

Arm positions to set up escapes and reversals>

Arm positions AND hip/core positions that facilitate multiple possibilities depending on energy your partner gives you…

In accordance with the above video, Sauer is set-up to either reverse his opponent, recover Guard, OR go to his knees.  Now that’s posture pal!

Back to the ‘invisibility’ idea, Henry Akins breaking down shrimp movement in terms of minimizing mat contact:

Half Guard application of this principle with Kron Gracie staying in game by keeping an angle against arguably the tightest Half-Guard Passer in Jiu-Jitsu, Marcelo Garcia @ 1:58-3:51:

Study: Two Benefits Of Drawing Outside The Lines

Fads are often pretty cool, and actually can push things forward.  The popularity of Leg Locks right now is one such case IMO.

Although, I don’t usually believe in ‘tricks’ per say, but an idea offered today is focusing on topics outside of trends because it gives you two distinct advantages:

  1. You’ll be able to crush people with topics neglected in favor of the current fad.
  2. Popular progressions will be much easier learned when you get to them because the critical mass is doing most of the trial and error for you.  Heck, you might even learn such progressions by osmosis if everyone at your academy is working them.

Anyway, something to think about when deciding how to invest time. =)

Cross-Sides Bottom: Moving/Keeping Opponent Over Hips

A core ‘game’ my training partner and I discovered from Cross-Sides Bottom is moving/keeping our opponent over our hips, as it offers room to sit up on our elbow in both directions for reversals/escapes, in addition to a Harpoon Sweep if we’re able to move them down south when they have a Cross-Face as taught below by Nick ‘Chewy’ Albin:

Example of easy sit-ups onto elbow/hand to facilitate elbow push escape when opponent is low (or as they are Passing Guard demonstrated by Marcelo Garcia):

Not going to shoot a video of this and hand it to you guys, but you can sit up and stiff arm the Cross-Facing arm, getting up on the inside elbow.  It’s pretty much the same mechanics as the elbow push, but you’re pushing on the bicep at the crook of elbow with outside arm and coming up on the inside elbow.  It works because the opponent is down low.  If they’re on your chest, no way Jose, so keep em’ low yo!

If the description above isn’t clear enough, might be willing to help trouble shoot in the comment section…;o)

Have a wonderful weekend fellas!

Training: Intentional & Functional Reps

Starting differentiate between different types of reps based on results, and well, one huge thing is making each rep intentional.  Of course some lazy stretching while watching TV is better than no stretching as long as we understand more intention creates more benefit.  Also, sometimes lazy stretching can be the BETTER option when our mind is completely tanked and we need to unwind a bit.

Next, reps build strength, smoothness, reflexes, and recognition through repetition.  In this way, such training is similar to weight lifting, but applied to Jiu-Jitsu we’re trying to replace structure with strength, as well as understand the most efficient time window(s) for positions.  If intention equals how, function is centered on why we are doing what we’re doing.

Training: Reps & Building Science Into Training

‘Nothing happens quite by chance.  It’s a question of accretion of information and experience.’ ~Jonas Salk

A quick idea to build more science into training is coming at all aspects of our training as reps, be it live sparring reps or highly specific drills.

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA --- Dr. Jonas E. Salk, who developed the polio vaccine evaluated in the Francis Report, in his laboratory at the University of Pittsburgh. Dr. Salk's work on the vaccine was supported by March of Dimes grants from the National Foundation. --- Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

In this way we can make different methods of achieving specific goals work for us in a structured, examinable way, instead of showing up and going through the motions.

Study: Nurturing Individual Goals & Needs

Believe it or not didn’t start thinking about individual strengths and needs until after leaving two schools I’d been a member of a decade prior.

Why?  Well I think Jiu-Jitsu for me back then filled a social role, so naturally the needs and flavor of the Schools became my own.

While the above wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, it left me at the whim of the collective, away from the driver’s seat of:  ‘What am I looking to get out of Jiu-Jitsu, and how well are those needs being met both by myself and those around me?’

To me this represents the start of a mature Jiu-Jitsu relationship, where we’re looking for best fits.  Nothing need be taken personally because the responsibility of fulfillment rests primarily within ourselves.

Bonus Note:  If enjoyment isn’t one of your top needs, prepare for crap days on the mat for no reason.  Simple idea in theory, but can’t tell you how many times I’ve sacrificed Joy for useless comparing, lusting after progression, and getting into other people’s business.  Good vibes are too humble for these things! ;o)

Guard Passing: Helping Training Partners Capitalize

Not much new going on here, otherwise would write more. =)

For a quick note, had a friend tie me up repeatedly with a De La Riva hook Saturday, which was luckily able to shut down and pass, but felt like my approach had a ‘hole’ so to speak.

The lesson above is, just because we have success doesn’t mean method isn’t garbage to some degree!

So, shared some possible adjustments my friend could make to make his De La Riva game stronger and stickier to remind myself it’s not an ideal place to be.

Have come up with some possible Open Guard/De La Riva avoidance strategies on my end, as life on the mat continues…