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.


February 2017 Notes

Books Finished:  ‘TrumpNation: The Art of Being the Donald’ by Timothy O’Brien; ‘Neonomicon’ by Alan Moore, Jacen Burrows; ‘A Dance with Dragons’ by George R.R. Martin.  Short Stories: ‘Pickman’s Model’ by H.P. Lovecraft.

Image result for dance with dragons artwork

Magic/Mentalism:  ‘ET Q&A’ ebook by R.W. Cosley; ‘Serial Thriller’ ebook by Sudo Nimh; ‘Eclipsed’ ebook by Sudo Nimh; ‘Sudosuke’ ebook by Sudo Nimh; ‘The Mental Mysteries of Hector Chadwick’ book by Hector Chadwick; ‘Conscious Magic 1’ dvd by Andrew Gerard, Ran Pink.  Routines: ‘Reversal’ by Banachek/Sean Waters; ‘Cardology’ by Blackstone; ‘Astronomical’ by Peter Turner.

Media: Vincent Price marathon – ‘The Masque of the Red Death,’ ‘House of Usher,’ ‘Tales of Terror.’

Jiu-Jitsu: Side Control Bottom – Turn Away Escapes, Scarf Hold with Underhook (Straight Arm to collar/jaw & Hip Tilt), Reverse Scarfhold with and without underhook escapes.  Cross-Choke from Closed Guard and Mount.

Dance:  Waist movement.

Cardio & Conditioning:  Fairly lazy month, especially with cardio, but been trying to cycle kettlebell work (just started doing kettlebell squats), bodyweight conditioning, and running.

Mind States: Distraction to Focus

As far as I can tell the brain feasts on novelty, so I don’t think we’re attention span challenged so much as the distraction, associative drive brain is constantly bombarded with a million and one things competing to distract it!

Therefore, I see intention and goals as ways of tricking the mind to help us get where we want to go, rather than being at the whim of whatever association or stimuli is floating through our heads in the moment.

Another thing is, we seem to be able to effectively drop thought to the degree we’re calm.

Wiser people than me often say when we’re revved up internally, it’s a sure sign our thinking is off, and to take a pause for the cause.  Just breathe.

Training: Intention to Detail

The reason why drilling helps us is because it forces us to be intentional.

Intention in turn focuses attention towards specifics and detail.

Remember, it doesn’t really matter how you drill, so much as using drilling as a creative means for being intentional.

Keep in mind Jiu-Jitsu is about subtleties over strength and speed.  Such subtleties are simple, but take time before they’re cognitively and kinesthetically grasped.



January 2017 notes

Books finished:  ‘Where the Red Fern’ grows by Wilson Rawls; ‘Creepy Archives Vol. 1,’ by Archie Goodwin, various artists; ‘The Practice of Practice’ by Jonathan Harnum.

Image result for creepy magazine 2


Magic/Mentalism:  Eugene Burger Penguin Live lecture,  ‘Will To Read’ DVD and scripting.

Dance:  Tick wave, arm movement and synchronization, squats.

Jiu-Jitsu Training:  Back to solo-drills and drop-ins.  Worked cross-sides top and open guard earlier in the month. Currently working cross-sides and turtle bottom.

Media & Entertainment:  Probably overdosed watching lead-up to Oregon Football’s national signing day and seeing new staff assembled.  Fun seeing the coaches scramble to get what turned out to be super solid class in limited time frame.

Conditioning:  Another fairly lazy month with weather hazards, but still managed to increased kettlebell weight and reps.  Cardio declined a bit due to inactivity.

Personal:  Becoming better at making short term, reasonable goals as opposed to going epic and sputtering out.  When framed properly goals are motivating.  Shoot for small and push for more if session warrants it; but the key is starting.  Also, the more you can note and track things, the better results.  Every little bit helps.