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:



Martial Arts & Gurus Part #3: More On Self-Awareness

Awareness is as human, on-going, and prevalent as the skin we live in.  As alluded to in previous post, consciousness is just as present on the mat as off, so don’t care for the idea of ‘deifying’ Jiu-Jitsu time.  Fresh thinking and insight can happen anytime to the degree we’re open to it.


In the context of a self-awareness and the Guru, the tricky thing there is they can point us in a direction, but we’re the ones who have to see truth for ourselves.

Projecting an idea of liberation onto a source (i.e. religious texts) or individual outside ourselves is just another mind-fudge that keeps us from the clarity we’re seeking.

So what blocks us from the freedom clarity imbues?  Well, generically, it’s belief.

Sounds simple enough, but the function of a belief is to prove itself, so thought patterns of this nature can incredibly difficult to spot real-time.  Often too, there is a lot of pleasure, if not identity associated with a particular belief, so they be can very challenging to give up for an experience as yet unknown.

Further, in a religious or even a Jiu-Jitsu community, presenting or seeking an alternative interpretation of whatever flavor being offered can result in ostracization or even death.

It follows, a social or actual grave in exchange for truth is no easy jump to make, and these are often the spaces from which miracles arise:

Wrapping up, that’s my take on ‘enlightenment,’ which to my understanding is a process.  I will elaborate more on knowledge, skill-sets, and learning actual tech in coming post(s).