Mind States: Method, Rules, & Creativity

Consistency and enjoying ourselves are night and day more important than method.

Without these things ‘practice’ and ‘methods’ becomes rules instead of means to an end.  Play accordingly.Image result for open your mind quote


Mind States: Habit & Depth


The great, if not romantic thing about Jiu-Jitsu and the classical philosophical/spiritual traditions is you can can always go deeper; provided you transcend habit enough to embrace something new.

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Training: 3 Focused Learnin’ Areas

Big on 3’s right now; have no idea why…

3 areas of focus in words: Fun, Legacy, & Competence.

Fun topical focus is doing whatever the hell you feel like focusing on in a given moment.  While this sounds a bit lazy, it actually allows room for your subconscious to flow and give you access to information that isn’t readily available when you try to plan every step of your Jiu-Jitsu path.  It’s Zen sh*t:  Focus with no focus.

Legacy topical focus is kinda the opposite of the above, even though it’s still fun.  It’s focusing on a specific topic at least 6 months.  6 months isn’t written in stone, but the idea is we are in an LTR with a position instead of hopping from bed to bed.  This is where we build depth of understanding.  We’re disciplined here: Zen sh*t.

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Competence topical focus will be defined as taking the soberest look possible at our game and addressing holes as they come up.  These holes will generally be revealed in sparring or by a coach.  This isn’t by nature as fun as fun (unless our attitude is humble and gracious), and we aren’t going to suss out holes in a legacy project because that’s more apt to be a strength than anything else.  Honesty: Zen sh*t too.

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Mind States: Mental Trifecta for Performance Part 2 – Fun

With fun, we have two types of fun:  One is lighthearted and renewing; while the other is tension fueled escapism.

The difference is awareness.

In some respects it’s easy to get the escapism and awareness based fun confused because they both can feel great, but awareness based fun is generally more relaxed and subtle.

To Jiu-Jitsu, awareness based fun enhances everything we do and/or steers us back in the right direction.  Yes, you can still have worldly success without it, but you’ll likely be out of balance and won’t enjoy it ala Scrooge:

On the other hand, with an ‘aloha’ fun in mind, you can have everything with nothing.  It’s all about the feeling!:


Mind States: Mental Trifecta for Performance Part 1

To attain an extremely high level of performance we have to do lots of stuff, and do that stuff well.

In the mid-2000s my training partners and coaches talked a lot about fun, which, as we’ll see in the coming posts is indispensable and awesome, but I wasn’t training that smart or frequent at the time! =)

So, 10 years later, having realized ‘fun’ doesn’t necessarily translate to getting things done, have come up with a mental trifecta of sorts:  Fun, Smart, Frequency.

World class work means we’re doing all three.  We’ll examine the definition and utility of fun, smart, and frequency in depth is future posts…



Study: Absorbing Technique through Relaxation

One of many legendary Rickson Gracie stories is him crushing people with leg locks ONE DAY after being shown by Erik Paulson.  Rickson explains this a bit in his epic Joe Rogan interview, saying the leg attacks naturally fit into his game.

Even with proper fitting and Rickson’s deep understanding of body mechanics, the above story illustrates a steep learning curve by anyone’s standard!

Still, some things we CAN do though to heighten our learning capacity is:

  1. Be inspired by this story.
  2. Believe it IS possible to learn this quickly some of time.
  3. Relax, relax, relax.

Relaxation is key in any learning scenario, because excess tension reinforces the fact that we don’t ‘have it’ yet; otherwise we wouldn’t be bull-rushing our way to competence.

To reiterate, relax and let process run it’s course.  If it’s worth our time, we’ll take the time, but let’s not get in our own way before we start.


Rickson with as nasty of a leg lock combination I’ve seen circa early 90’s (eat your heart out ‘new school’) @ 4:01-4:50:

Erik Paulson demoing some of his Leg Lock technique:

Rickson’s Joe Rogan interview:


Training: 3 Kinds of Mindfulness

A hurdle Jiu-Jitsu folks often have to jump through if they haven’t done much drilling compared to sparring, is slowing down and being more mindful.

The problem is, when sparring, if we think too much we get our asses kicked.  So yes, it’s mindful, but in a survival oriented context!

Conversely, during repetition style drilling, it’s naturally more of a challenge to be mindful, as attention lapses don’t result in being strangled!  As such, I liken this to meditation where our drill or intention acts as a mantra of sorts, re-focusing us when we get off track.  Discipline son, discipline.  Don’t be lazy and just free roll if that wasn’t your goal.  Work the work.

Rigan Machado on these two different training methods:

To recap, we currently have a survival oriented mindful, and a repetition based mindful.

The third is data oriented mindful, where we’re trying to process a combination of new, complex, or detailed information.  Picture eyes glazing over or nodding off as we’re trying assemble all the individual parts that make up position, or during a seminar style information dump.

Probably the best advice I’ve heard is studying data heavy material in 20 minute chunks with brief rest periods in between as outlined here by Dr. Chris Dula:

So there you have it, three types of mindful: Survival, Repetition, and Data.