Martial Arts & Gurus Part #2: Distinguishing Knowledge from Self-Awareness

A distinction made in the last post is there’s a difference between knowledge based skill-set and self-awareness.

Enlightenment isn’t magic as far as I know, and you’re still going to have to trudge through all the belts and sparring partners like any other bipod.  There are no short-cuts kiddo!

Conversely, a Black Belt in Jiu-Jitsu doesn’t mean you know jack about anything else knowledge wise, and can in fact be completely delusional about a number of things.




Yes, many of the situations we face on the mat can act as a metaphor and microcosm of life outside the academy, but so goes the task of mastering ANY rubber meets the road skill-set.

I guess the point is knowing what you’re after while in search of a Guru Dude.  When younger and newer to Jiu-Jitsu I projected many things into it that were largely fantasy.  Keep it simple.

Martial Arts & Gurus Part #1: Legit Masters and Gurus

Thought it would be fun to write a bit on ‘Gurus,’ as I’m coming to believe they are a more common stumbling block on the path to self-awareness and knowledge than one would believe.

This is probably especially the case in Jiu-Jitsu and Martial Arts, where we often have people coming in from less than perfect pasts, looking to compensate for low self-worth physically, as apparently the Carl Sagan route wasn’t appealing enough.


The first point I wanted to make is that there ARE legit gurus out there, both in terms of knowledge (Jiu-Jitsu) and self-awareness.

So, how can we spot the legit versus unfit?

Well, number one, legit Gurus abhor followers as it diminishes a person’s self-worth.

Number two, they will most likely do things out of the kindness of their heart, and need little if anything from you.  If they run a business, their rates are probably very reasonable, as again they aren’t looking to get rich overnight, with sharing being part of the reward.

Number three, they will most likely surprise you with their normality, as they aren’t afraid to be human and vulnerable (i.e. they aren’t looking to cultivate an image).

Common sense really, but have been a little lost myself at times, so I digress. =)


Mind States: The Ultimate False God

“We live in our fantasies and endure our realities.” ~Robert Anton Wilson

The ultimate false god is self-image.


Well beliefs about ourselves have a way of disguising themselves as ‘helpers,’ even though they’re basically viruses intent on proving themselves. falsegod

Likewise, self-image works to keeps us at whatever level of knowledge, understanding, and awareness we’re currently at.

In this regard, an ‘open mind’ is a bit of a fallacy because ‘openness’ is the mind’s natural state.

The ‘problem’ is, we constantly clog our personal minds up out of misunderstanding and habit.

In applying the above to Jiu-Jitsu:  Have a teacher, train at a school, join an association, and have a game, but never be limited by such things.

Smell the roses, but be willing to move on.  It’s all process in motion.

Mind States: Being, Doing, & Grounding

‘Grounding’ is when being and doing are one thing.

Such ‘grounding’ fluctuates quite a bit for me, as I often ‘do’ things for reasons that have nothing to do with the activity in question and/or get caught up in timelines and short-term outcomes.

Have learned though to make less and less of the above ‘lapses.’  It’s a part of growing up. =)


Mind States: Process vs. Enlightenment

I think it was modern mystic Byron Katie who first used the verbiage of enlightenment being a story of the past.

In it’s place, suggesting the concept of process.

Process flows, builds on, and often ‘utitilizing’ yesterday, without being constrained by it.

A great example of the above in terms of make the old new again to help mold a more inclusive and and functional future for Jiu-Jitsu as a martial art featuring Rickson, Ryron, and Rener Gracie along with Pedro Sauer:


Mind States: Using Ideas Wisely



Another way to approach the preceding post is, there are magical ideas that transform everything, sometimes offering a peek into an entire new awareness.

Because ideas can be this transformative, it’s easy to get stuck at that level of development, projecting a once liberating idea into everything we come across.

How do we know we’re doing this?

Projection = Tension.

Play free:




Training: Principles Behind Methods & Creativity

Recently read a book on music practice, and excitedly tried to adopt some of the principles to Jiu-Jitsu training.

While this was an interesting experience, there’s a part of me that feels I could have gotten 2 months worth of work done in 1-2 weeks had I been more open-minded and less methodical.

The lesson here is first, think about principles behind methods, which I sorta got right…

Second, is balancing our current understanding of principles with an open mind that fosters creativity and adaptability.

Reflecting on the above, the issue is that methods and even principles can act as a sort of self-image we start filtering information through, effectively killing insight and flow.







Training: ‘Finding’ Drills & Rep Machines

While we are going to pick up some movements more naturally than others, something I’ve learned over the past few years is nothing replaces the combination of speed, relaxation, precision, and overall efficiency repetition nurtures:

Reps create magic.

To illustrate this point, can’t remember which youtube video it was (I’ll search and add this weekend), but Kurt Osiander discussed Ralph Gracie having his students work straight armlock from the Guard, for example, for 1-2 months straight.  Is it any surprise that Ralph’s white and blue belts went on to regularly tap visiting upper belts with these positions?

Kurt O: RocknRolla

With the above ideas in mind, the idea offered today is drilling and reps as a concept. Once the role of this concept is understood, we can be open to all the ways we can get reps in during training, 5 minute breaks at work, mental reps, solo reps, and on and on and on…

Art is about imagination, and reps are everywhere.  Be creative. =)