Don't worry, there will be a point in your Jiu-Jitsu experience, in which you start to feel everything "click" and will start to truly understand what is happening. Finally the impossible seems possible and your body has caught up to your mind. Your technique and movement are flowing with precision and accuracy. Your confidence and self-esteem is soaring, as you begin to conquer feats on the mat you never imagined you could.
So with all of that...
What actually happened?
When did it happen?
Can we understand how to achieve this level of Jiu-jitsu enlightenment faster?
When you enter a Jiu-Jitsu Academy, you are entering a world in which almost EVERYTHING is counter intuitive. It is truly like you have walked into another world, where the inhabitants are speaking a language you don't understand. Slowly as you immerse yourself into the landscape and culture of Jiu-Jitsu, you begin to understand what is goin on around you and you start to blend in.
The beginning stage of Jiu-Jitsu for everyone is exciting, life changing, and also frustrating. Everyone at some point, regardless of their love of Jiu-Jitsu, has had their heart broken by Jiu-Jitsu in someway. It's impossible to avoid this. If you care about your own personal progress and learning effectively and efficiently, you will get frustrated when you expectations are not met.
Jiu-Jitsu is very difficult in the elementary stages of your training. You are learning new patterns of movement that are not natural. Your brain is getting rewired in order to soak in all of this new knowledge you are incurring. At the same point, you are trying to win a a physical chess game against an opponent who knows your tactics, strategies, and personal strengths and weaknesses.
You will struggle and here is why...
In order to win the match, the fight, the battle, you have to consciously pay attention to the movements your opponent is making. You have to consciously pay attention to your own movement and techniques, all while monitoring your level of exhaustion, surroundings, and psychological panic signals. This is A LOT of conscious effort. When you think about it, it is a MIRACLE that one can even make it beyond this and actually achieve success. But people do and people will continue to.
With that all being said, it will get easier. Experience and training will start to take YOUR MOVES and make them into muscle memory. The need for conscious thought over your own movement will be greatly reduced and you will be able to focus on your opponent. Give it time, keep up the repetitions and trust the process.
Pay MORE Attention
The TRIAD of Attention is:
Usually when a student comes to me, frustrated and confused, it is because of one of these two things. It is because they are unsure what to do and where to go. It's rarely because of a need to attain more skill. When someone is seeking an answer to a problem, they don't know the right questions to ask. If you don't know the right questions, how can you expect to find the correct answers. If you think the problem is something that it is not, how do you know if there is actually a problem or merely a need for a change in perspective on what's happening.
The answer usually lies within that triad. There is a time when you are so focused on what you are doing, you are blind to what your opponent is doing to you. There is a time when you are using so much strength, with little technique, or are so fatigued, that you can't comprehend what you should be doing or even come close to what your opponent is doing.
To find a balance; to find harmony; to find a synchronization of this triad; is to truly discover mastery and discover the beauty of Jiu-Jitsu. A state of practice in which everything is working together with fluidity and on time. But if we really want this...we need to start working on each of those factors separately. This will take a lot of effort and a lot of patience.
Beat your Self, don't beat yourself up
Don't get down on yourself. Frustration and fascination are closely related and are two paths on the trail to success. One will lead you into a disastrous world, in which you are focused on your inadequacies, angry and resentful at the success of others, and likely to call it quits on something you actually enjoy. Imagine giving up on something you love, something you care for. People do that all the time with Jiu-Jitsu. I have NEVER met someone who was happy they stopped Jiu-Jitsu. I have met THOUSAND'S who regretted quitting.
Don't get frustrated by your lack of victories in class. Don't get frustrated by the improvement of the person next to you. Don't assume that your progress is because the world is against you.
DO focus on improving what you can change. Train with a purposeful mindset.
This will be a continual series of writings designed to help articulate what is difficult to understand in the gentle art.
When you have made full use of every resource available to you...
When you have searched within you to find the TRUTH behind your goals, desires, virtues, and shortcomings...
When you have reached a peaceful level of existence in which time goes by at just the right speed and life seems to be working in perfect harmony...
YOU MAY HAVE REACHED YOUR POTENTIAL!
There Is More
Imagine yourself a few years from now.
Think of what you want.
Picture the ideal version of you and place you would like to be .
For some, this vision of the future is foggy and filled with uncertainty. This is unfortunate. It can be hard for some people to define their goals and even more difficult for them to build a strategy to obtain them.
This is mostly due to the fact that most adults are not engaged in an activity that stimulates growth or progression. Without continual growth and progress, the future can seem hopeless and miserable. It may be hard to see yourself in the future, because you can’t picture yourself doing anything different than you are right now.
If this continues, it will not be good for you and it will not be good from those around you. Regardless of your place in the world and the lack of “gifts” you were born with; you are an individual. An individual that has the capability to transform and become something of value to yourself and to others around you.
Sometimes you SHOULD NOT accept yourself. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t accept the hand you were dealt and things you cannot change. What it means is that you should ALWAYS work to strive to the highest good and ask the best of yourself. Otherwise, you will remain trapped in a cycle of monotony and boredom. THERE IS MORE TO YOU...
What Is Your Potential?
If you were to take advantage of every possible resource available to you...
If you were to work tirelessly, with discipline, sacrifices, proper choices, and virtuously...
That is what your POTENTIAL is.
None of us are doing this. We can always do more. We can always do better. To be honest, there is no measurement or proper framework to understand our “POTENTIAL.” What we have is an idea of an ideal version of us. Or perhaps we have an idea of someone we aspire to model ourselves toward. Both of those can be good ideas.
Some people do not like the idea of modeling themselves after someone else. It’s understandable. But wouldn’t it be arrogant to think we could do better than someone who is already at a stage of their life, success, and development that we haven’t reached? Wouldn’t it be easier to follow the processes they followed to reach the ideal state we are working towards. Even if you did exactly what THEY did, it still wouldn’t be the same. You are you and you are different in many ways. Some good, some bad. So it may be in all of our best interests to analayze our possible potential and find a template to work from.
Jiu-Jitsu Is Your Key
I may be a little biased towards Jiu-Jitsu, but in this case, my bias is acceptable...why? Because it’s the truth. Not my opinion of the truth. The actual truth. Truth like LAW.
Simply put...Jiu-Jitsu is an activity that stimulates continual and infinite growth. The training that takes place on the mat, forces and ignites development in every trait and developmental category you can think of.
In order to be successful on the mat, you have to learn patience, composure, focus, timing, develop physically, learn to breathe...the list goes on and on.
All of these areas and more get developed through the disciplined practice, the strategic analysis, the discoveries of unimaginable physical potential - you didn’t know you had.
The training is like a catalyst for your growth. It is a vehicle to your realized self-potential. It helps you become aware of your insufficiencies, vulnerabilities, and weaknesses. While this is brought to light, you are developing strength, handling pressure better, and surrounding yourself with individuals who are working collectively as you are to reach their own potential.
This is why Jiu-Jitsu ignites the spark dormant within you. It takes you from a space of uncertainty to a world of certainty. You start to see yourself in ways you couldn’t when the fog clouded your vision of the future. Jiu-Jitsu helps you uncover and unlock the potential within. The potential that allows you to transform into your ideal and gives you the tools to live with your vulnerabilities. Don’t stop moving forward. You are not even close to reaching the maximum height of your potential. When you think you have, you may realize there is more. We don’t know our potential, but we do know that if we strive for BETTER, we are on the right path.
Who Is Your Toughest Opponent?
That question is pretty interesting. I guarantee most of you immediately pictured one of your training partners or a competitor you have dealt with. The fact that we all imagind something or someone else as our problem is the BIGGEST part of the problem.
Throughout your Jiu-Jitsu training, you will have ups and downs. The mats are an elaborate laboratory in which you are tested and are quite possibly, re-engineering yourself into a new person. Most of this is done unconsciously and non verbally. This is not an accident. Humans evolve an incredible amount when challenged.
So who is your toughest opponent? Have you figured it out? I'll let you in on a little secret...It's YOU.
Your "Self" Is Scarier Than Any Opponent.
“People will do anything, no matter how absurd, to avoid facing their own souls.” - Carl Jung
By the time you reach adulthood, chances are you have labeled yourself as something. most likely, you have come to the conclusion that you are that label and that "it is what it is". Well, if that were the case, what would be the purpose of doing anything?
I truly believe that most people don't believe the label they have put on themselves. They have willingly chosen to accept that label because they unconsciously know that tearing away at that label would be hard work and they may be forced to do things they do not want to do.
That is why Jiu-Jitsu is so powerful. Jiu-Jitsu is a sword that cuts through your soul and forces deep introspection and reflection. Your struggles on the mat are not because another person is submitting you or you can't execute a technique properly. You CHOOSE to feel a certain way when you are submitted.
Some people don't care about being submitted and that's fine, but they will never improve or reach their full potential. They are trying to avoid the work it takes to put into improving and they don't feel like doing that, so they are just going to "not care".
Other people get really upset, because they have high expectations and when those expectations are not met, they become angry. They are frustrated by Jiu-Jitsu, because Jiu-Jitsu forces humility. It forces the societal Alpha down to his knees and this person is forced to see a reality that they thought didn't exist. This reality is forced upon them by an individual who they had thought didn't fit into their existential hierarchy. When the former football captain gets twisted up in a knot by the "nerd", his world is turned upside down. This person had been the predator his entire life and stumbled into an almost parallel universe where he is now prey among what he thought were prey animals.
Use This Feeling For More Effective Learning...
BE CURIOUS. This type of feeling or mentality, allows you to keep a neutral state of emotion. Primarily because when you are curious, you are focused on learning "how-to" do something instead of doing something. When you are trying to do something and that thing fails, you are going to be upset. Why? Because you had a goal and that goal was crushed or didn't meet your expectations.
When you are curious, you are interested in testing things out. You are trying to reach a conclusion. You are searching for something. This puts you in a neutral state in which you are able to emotionally deal with any outcome because you knw that the end result will be positive. The end result will give you information to use for the future.
In my opinion, this is what led Helio Gracie and his relatives to make such great advances in the art of Jiu-Jitsu. After learning the art, their focus was on making it the best and testing it, in order to develop it. Perhaps this happened because they received only a few years of training with their teacher, Maeda, and The Gracie's were forced to seek out information to learn. Although they had a strong belief in what they had learned and een practicing, a healthy skepticism, kept them searching for better answers.
Get out of YOUR OWN WAY. Stop the negative self talk and enjoy being a part of a VERY difficult process.
The TURNOVER Rate
Rickson Gracie said to me, “There is a problem in our industry. The turnover rate is too high. People are quitting everyday. Those people who are quitting, NEED Jiu-Jitsu the most!”
This really resonated with me. It was a powerful statement. The entire year before, I was intensely focused on STUDENT RETENTION. Keeping customers that I already have instead getting new ones.
I would welcome anyone in the door, but keeping the ones locked in are gonna create future instructors and also your best SALES people when it comes to word of mouth.
The turnover rate is disastrous. Some academies use unbreakable contracts to force people to stay on. Others chalk up the students lack of commitment to their discipline, weakness, willpower, and on and on. This is unfortunate. A true leader accepts responsibility for the problems that arise with their “team”. Solves it from the top down. Looks at themselves first and really PAYS ATTENTION to what is happening.
What Is The Problem?
That is not that simple. Let me try and break it down...
A Jiu-Jitsu academy opens its doors to all genders, ages, and individuals with various backgrounds and lifestyles.
It is a community of like minded individuals who may be very different from one another, but share a common bond on the mats.
The PROBLEM is this...
Not every student is ready for every aspect of Jiu-Jitsu right away. The student who starts out shy, perhaps was picked on their entire life. They are starting Jiu-Jitsu as a way to empower themselves, yet the thought of being pinned down and strangled is a NIGHTMARE. Yet, this may be the first thing they experience.
So what seems normal to the common Jiu-Jitsu practitioner, competitor, instructor, etc. is a NIGHTMARE to some new students. To put them in a situation carelessly in which they are give too much pressure, too soon isn’t going to help them until they are READY to feel it.
Some people begin their training and are ready to take on everything. Others begin and barely have the nerve to walk onto the mat.
To to create an environment that is welcoming for both, you must give each what they NEED.
The shy and timid student should be “protected” until they are skilled enough to take on the pressure with some confidence. This means no sparring/rolling for awhile. They need to feel like they know what they are doing before they get thrown to the wolves. If they don’t learn progressively and are given too much pressure, they will become a ghost in your academy. Baby steps.
Last year, we had over a 90% retention rate with a 300% student increase. How? I paid attention to every person that walked in through the door and made sure they were given what they need.
Are they an intense person who wrestles and is fired up to train again? Put them in the mix a bit.
Are they very timid and fearful from past life experiences? Hold them back. Let them learn. Maybe even give them an early false sense of security. Over time, you can strip them of that sense and they will be ok to deal with it because they are skilled and prepared to.
Fight To Keep Them
Jiu-Jitsu isn’t natural selection. It isn’t survival of the fittest. If the place where the “weak” learn to become “strong”. Where a 120 lb man who has been bullied his whole entire upbringing has a chance to transform and reverse the cycle.
Guide then along their Jiu-Jitsu journey. Don’t push them into the deep end until they are ready to swim a little.
Dont say that a student quits, ONLY because of a lack of discipline. Maybe they have a lack of inspiration. Maybe they feel out of place. They have felt out of place their entire life. Do you think they want to willingly put themselves in a situation where they feel those feeling again?
Be a leader. Take responsibility. Give everyone the experience they need. I promise you...in the long run, it will make a HUGE difference.
There are THREE THINGS you can do with your past.
1. Reminisce on enjoyable times.
2. Let go of painful memories.
3. Learn from it. (Both success and mistakes)
Anything else, is a waste of time. Your past is what shapes you and it is also what destroys you. It is what made you into the person you are, and it is what is holding you back from becoming the person you want to be. It can be a blessing or a burden. The amazing thing… It is your choice as to what it becomes for you.
Thinking back on 2017, I had some of the most amazing memories of my life. Of course, just like any other year, there were hiccups and tragedies along the way. All I can do right now, is make sure that I learn from my mistakes and what I did successfully. Everyone talks about learning from mistakes…but what about learning from what you did GREAT. There is just as much value. If you can make a blueprint out of those successes, your chances of future success will increase.
As far as the mistakes and tragic experiences are concerned, what can I do about them. I can’t go back in time. The past is FIXED. It is PERMAMENENT. I can only let go of what pains me and I can learn from what I regret doing or a mistake that I made. If you hold onto pain from your past, it will eat you alive. It will cause more pain in the future and it will ALWAYS hold you back from moving forward.
LEARN & LET GO. Don’t hold on. Don’t block it out. Think about it. Analyze everything. This is critical. This is what gives you peace. It is what helps you avoid future mistakes and may help narrowly escape a tragic situation.
Here are THREE tips for developing mindfulness in the present.
1. Realize that NOW is NOW. The past and future have no part in it.
2. Look around and marvel at the miracle of what we have.
3. Do something NOW. Do something impulsive. We might not have tomorrow.
Having a child in 2017 was an unexplainable and magical experience. There isn’t anyway to articulate it. The feelings are beyond explanation. Every waking second with that little baby, forces you into the present moment. You lose sight of anything bothering you and lose track of time altogether. Nothing else matters except caring for that little one. It is FORCED mindfulness training : )
You flick a switch and lights turn on. You turn a knob and have fire. You turn a key and can speed down the road. Life is truly amazing. Start paying attention to it. Stop dwelling on the past and your shortcomings. Stop allowing the future to take you away from enjoying where you are right now.
Both of those things are very difficult to do. The past shapes you and the future motivates you. So, what can you do right now? BE ALIVE. Do something that boosts your energy. Got run. Do Jiu-Jitsu. Take a ride. Watch a movie. Read a book. BE ALIVE. Enjoy now. The past is over and tomorrow doesn’t exist yet. You need to prepare for tomorrow. But don’t allow it to stop you from living right now.
I wanted to stick with the theme of THREE items to help you with past, present, and future. But for this one I couldn’t. It was tough to nail three things down. I do know one thing… Your future is determined by two things. HARD WORK & LUCK. Samuel Goldwyn said, “The harder I work, the luckier I get.” I thought about that quote for a long time. I used to think that my work ethic determined everything. I definitely think it controls the majority. Maybe 80-20.
But really, my ability to work hard, analyze, and stay one step ahead, always puts me in a position to catch a much-needed break or to get something I want. Sometimes things fall into your lap. Usually, it is not a mistake. That big break hits you after you have been working tirelessly on a project or a job. Suddenly, the pieces fall into place and a small, ounce of luck, decides the outcome.
If you are hanging on to problems from your past…
If you are ONLY acting on impulse in the present…
You may be playing a risky game! Your life is a balance of past, present, and future. The work that goes into living, should be focused on ALL three of those elements of time. This balance will insure that YOU are balanced. It will insure your success and will help guide you to your own personal enlightenment.
If you can’t learn and let go of your past, you can’t become what you want to become. You can’t live comfortably in the present and it will be a road block for the future. in 2018… try and find balance. Conquer yourself and transform into who you really want to be!
See you on the mats,
Training Is Not Competing
Jiu-Jitsu is effective for so many reasons. One of the main reasons is the "live" aspect. You will have countless sparring, rolling, grappling, and live training sessions take place along your journey to Black Belt.
To preserve yourself, you must learn how to moderate and control your pace and moderate the intensity levels of training sessions, day by day.
It is very easy to turn your training partners into opponents. Sometimes this happens unconsciously.
You are measuring your abilities and trying to get a reference point for where you are at. On the surface, it seems like to would make sense to measure yourself against the people you train with.
The truth is...this will lead to animosity, a desire for your training partners to not progress and a hindrance on your own progression. You will have many ups and downs. Most of them can be prevented. Most of them involve your own personal evaluation against your teammates. Most of this evaluation is not valid as there are so many factors to look at.
Teammates Are Not Opponents
Some of you are saying, "NO, that's not me". Well the truth is, if you are rolling and concentrating only on winning or getting the tap...it IS you.
Don't misunderstand me; one of the most important elements of your development is to be able to "Tap" and catch submissions with extreme precision.
There is a big difference between that and the constant need to "win" every round with your teammates.
Place an emphasis on DEVELOPMENT. Focus on improving. Learn to become a more effective trainer partner. One who is safe. One who can shift the way they train as you switch from a partner who is much older or injured or a lesser rank.
With this understanding, the people around you will get better and will make you better in return. People will have a DESIRE to train with you. You will improve rapidly because your aren't focused on the idea of winning. Yiu will be determined to work on your game.
A training partner is someone who is willing to practice against you under a certain rule set. They enter this agreement with the idea that you will both cooperate and train in an effective way that promotes DUAL benefit.
An opponent is someone you face off against, your skills against theirs, in an effort to decide a victor. Two enter, one leaves. No focus on development, only winning or losing. Don't become that. Don't let it happen. Your career will be short lived.
The Secret To Training Forever
Master training. Master practice. Seek to become the person people WANT to train with, instead of the person people HAVE to train with.
Treat your teammates as teammates. People working together in cooperation for s common goal...Self mastery and personal fulfillment. Both of those are related to self, but success with either of those accomplishments are IMPOSSIBLE without help and support.
The next time you face off against your practice partner, think about what you are going to work on and improve upon. Let go of the result. The results will be a byproduct of the skills you attain. They are not your opponent. You did not win, you did not lose. You both improved. You both helped each other become better than you were yesterday.
- Eddie Fyvie #JiuJitsuForLife
Baptiste Power Yoga has been extremely beneficial to my Jiu-Jitsu training. For decades, I have used Kettlebells and focused on high intensity interval training. They are still part of my weekly training. With all of this activity, I make the time to incorporate yoga into my daily routine. It has helped me in countless ways and changed my physique. It helped me find relaxation, and allowed me to become aware of my body movements.
Because of Baptiste Power Yoga and it’s extensive focus on movement, core work, balance, breathing techniques, stabilizing, and integration of muscles groups. Yoga has catapulted my abilities on the mat and upgraded my Jiu-Jitsu game!
How will Baptiste Power Yoga Improve your Jiu-Jitsu Game?
Jiu-Jitsu and Baptiste Power Yoga complement each other. They are the perfect combination. There are a number of similarities between the two practices. They compliment each other wonderfully, because they both require; intensity of movement, breathing, integration of muscle groups, core strength, and flexibility.
Practicing Baptiste Yoga regularly will improve your Jiu-Jitsu in the following ways: improved flexibility, increased strength and balance, body awareness, and breath control. All of these attributes affect every aspect of your Jiu-Jitsu. You will feel an immediate advantage.
REASON ONE: Improved Flexibility
Stretching has always been part of my workout, and I always considered myself flexible--until I was introduced to Baptiste Yoga. I soon learned that I had a ways to go. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a Martial Art that adapts to your body and personality. You don’t need flexibility, however; having flexibility is unquestionably beneficial.
By having better range of motion in your joints, you can open up more options in each position. In fact, some aspects of Jiu-Jitsu will be completely inaccessible and could be limiting your grappling skill until you develop better flexibility.
REASON TWO: Increased Strength and Balance
The kind of strength--namely, core strength-- developed through Baptiste Power Yoga is unlike anything I’ve experienced.With consistent yoga practice, students develop “intelligent” strength. Baptiste Yoga trains the central nervous system (The CNS controls every movement in your body), it also teaches students how to properly engage the exact muscle groups, to help maintain postural alignment and better movement. Good posture and efficient movement are undoubtedly the hallmarks of superior Jiu-Jitsu.
One of the best things a fighter can have is balance. Practicing Baptiste Power Yoga is an exceptional way to develop balance. Many poses are done on one leg, which only improves stability. Mastering balance poses will improve your takedowns, and top positions. Your offensive takedown will be better set up and it will be next to impossible for your opponent to sweep you on the mat.
REASON THREE: Body Awareness and Breath Control
Your body is the tool that creates your Jiu-Jitsu. The more you learn about your body, the more effectively you can operate it on the mat. One of the valuable ways this is mastered is through breath control. Baptiste Yoga instructor’s are extensively trained in breath control. They will help you to connect breath and movement, and give you the ability to utilize your lungs to their full capacity. This will greatly improve your stamina on the mat.
After decades of training, fitness, and combat, I have realized that going”harder”, is not productive long term. It will give short term benefits, but for longevity and a lifetime on the mats, you must train smarter. The combination of Jiu-Jitsu and Yoga are unmatched. The greatest Jiu-Jitsu artist of all time, Rickson Gracie and Olympic Gold Medalist, Kendall Cross used Yoga extensively in their training to insure victory.
At 56 years old, I am in the best shape of my life and it is no coincidence. Jiu-Jitsu and Baptiste Power Yoga are the fountain of youth.
“Iron” Mike Parisi
Brown Belt at The Eddie Fyvie Jiu-Jitsu Academy in Malta, NY
Owner of Power Yoga NY
United States Army Veteran - 82nd Airborne
Unwritten & Unspoken
There are a lot of grey areas in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. This is to be expected. Every combative discipline, based upon reality, has a level of vagueness to it. There are endless unwritten and unspoken segments of the Gentle Art.
WHY does this happen?
Unpredictability. In combat, in reality, in a fight; you can anticipate, you can strategize, but there is ALWAYS a level of unpredictability. The answer to solving this problem -- TIME & EXPERIENCE. Over time and through experience, you will train the circuits in your brain to fire reactions quicker and you will learn the deep complexities of the art. Eventually, the deepest complexities will make the simplest sense. That is called MASTERY.
This is why traditional belt tests are so difficult to administer in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Your understanding of the art comes through practice, struggle, failure, and development of muscle memory. How can you test that? This is a MAJOR problem. So often, students quit due to frustration. When really, they are exactly where they NEED to be, they just don't understand what they should know, feel, or improve upon.
White Belt a.k.a.Elementary School
What you can expect...
In the beginning, expect a tsunami of confusion. Expect to feel as if you walked into another realm of reality or another planet. Expect a feeling of excitement, unlike ANYTHING you have felt before. Improving yourself and gaining knowledge, is one of the NUMBER ONE things you can do to prolong your life and become fulfilled with happiness.
What you struggle with...
You might feel like you aren't getting any better and wonder why you can't make anything work! What's interesting about this--if it were anything else, you would chalk up your frustration to inexperience and the fact that you are a beginner. The problem is, Jiu-Jitsu digs deep into your ego and chokes you into humility. Humility is one of the HARDEST things to develop. Everything in you fights against it. You have YEARS of pride built up and maybe a false sense of personal abilities, insecurities, etc. Most of us start Jiu-Jitsu in adulthood, riddled with bad habits, and some tough life lessons from our past. Then...Jiu-Jitsu reinvents you. White Belt is elementary school. You are just learning the alphabet, then making sentences, pretty soon you will be off into middle school, where you can start to roam a little more free. It is hard for a person to be a beginner. But it is something that will humble you and keep you engaged with life forever.
Ideas to improve...
The two most important parts of your white belt experience:
This means you should be, drilling, watching, studying, asking questions, and finding and developing minor patterns. Jiu-Jitsu is human chess right? Physical training and rolling will be more important later. So white belt is about learning what the game is, figuring out what the pieces are and how they move, and getting to a point, (As Chris Haeuter says) where you can sit down and play a game.
Blue Belt a.k.a Middle School
What you can expect...
Your biggest feeling of gratification yet. After hundreds of classes and countless car rides home, wondering what the hell you just did, it is starting to make sense. Then, just as it is starting to make sense, you start to feel like you are going backwards. A sudden re-emergence of your ego comes back with your new found skill. Only to be crushed again. (It never wins, tap out).
What you struggle with...
White Belt is over. You have a decent grasp on what this Jiu-Jitsu stuff is. Now, your performance is being more and more evaluated. The teachers and teachers aides that you had in elementary school (White Belt), aren't there 24/7anymore. You have to start doing your own work and will be dealing with tougher material. Blue Belt seems like forever and there might even be some Blue Belt bullies who are closing in on Purple. Sometimes it feel like things are getting worse, and then you realize-- your partners were just getting better -- like you. You feel a sense of uncertainty and increased pressure. You might miss that white belt. It was nice, because of the lower expectations lack of pressure. Now it's time to perform!
Ideas to improve...
Focus on three main areas to accelerate your progression.
Purple Belt a.k.a High School
What you can expect...
Hey, you survived! At this point, you are most likely a lifer. You aren't going anywhere and you are actually, quite advanced. You have your own flow on the mat and have developed your own "style". You can expect to have some pretty exciting things happen on the mat. A lot of Purple Belts, finally "catch" a Brown or Black Belt. Don't lie, you know it's exciting. But, like high schoolers, you might think you know it all, and might have someone more experienced put you in your place. You know a lot, but the experience is still missing.
What you will struggle with...
At first, like all belts. Growing pains. As the belt is being tied on, you are whispering to yourself, do I deserve this. You definitely do. It's a simple equation, you have people at the same belt rank who might be 2-5 years ahead of you, it's a big gap. You will grow into it. As I talked about in a previous blog, you are dealing with some un-teachable aspects of Jiu-Jitsu. Namely, transitions, anticipation, and sensitivity. Only experience develops those attributes. Higher belts transition a bit quicker. They have more experience, so they anticipate the road ahead. They have a six sense, and can FEEL the fight better than you. This comes with time sand this is why ROLLING is so important at this belt. Various types of rolling.
Ideas to improve...
Click the button below to read an entire article dedicated to improving at this rank!
Brown Belt a.k.a College
What to expect...
Two kinds of PRESSURE.
Those damn Black Belts are still kicking your butt and even some of the Purple Belts are doing well against you. Well, if tapping, getting swept, and taken down, is a sign of not deserving a rank, then ALL of us, should go hand our belt back. Brown Belt is undergraduate and graduate school rolled into one. You are cramming the final pieces of information in and you are preparing to enter the workforce and will be let loose. Don't waste your time at this Belt. The last thing you would want to have happen is, you get your Black Belt and don't know what to do with it.
Ideas to improve...
Focus on using pressure. I don't necessarily mean, body weight pressure. Use pressure to induce panic. How? Real pressure in Jiu-Jitsu, will make your opponent open up quickly, in ways they usually won't. This pressure, is caused by the threat of offense. When you are advancing position, working a submission, or unbalancing your opponent for a sweep, they HAVE TO react. If they don't, they will lose. When imminent damage is unavoidable for them, they will panic. They will do whatever it take to survive or they will fail and they will NOT survive. Pressure your opponents. Make them always uncomfortable and unsure of what "could" happen. Click below to read more about this belt.
There is so much more to be said about each belt, There is so much to be discovered and put into language. That's what give the art it's beauty. It's infinite and perspective is something that everyone has to themselves and eventually, through mastery, will share with those around them!
Minimalism is a lifestyle concept that teaches you how to do more with less. It helps you strategize how to remove materialistic and unimportant objects that don't provide value to your life.
Minimalism gives you a taste of freedom. Less decisions, less junk, more value, and more action. I am fascinated by this concept and try to implicate it in my life and into my training. However, it wasn't always this way.
I was fortunate to begin training Jiu-Jitsu at an early age. I can remember sitting in my 6th grade class, with a notebook, and jotting down notes on Jiu-Jitsu. I would write down techniques, make up mind maps, list all of my setups, whatever came to mind.
Nearly two decades later, I reflect back on how I MINIMIZED those cluttered and chaotic scribbles from a LARGE notebook, to ONE page. It took me awhile and took a deep understanding of the art. It took a lot of effort and intense, honest reflection, to analyze what's needed for success.
Jiu-Jitsu at it's core, is minimalist. The art centers around the concept of, "maximum efficiency - minimal effort". Humans, as like everything else, have complicated it. With 24/7 access to BJJ information, we can't get enough. We are satisfied by a gluttonous, craving of "more". But more is not always better and more is rarely necessary.
STEP ONE: Analyze the elements.
The elements of Jiu-Jitsu are the molecules and cells of each technique. They are the inner workings. Base, leverage, weight distribution, timing, angles, etc. These elements are the foundation for the techniques we learn. They are what's behind the magic and invincibility of the art.
The problem we face; we forget this and we don't have to work hard to figure anything out anymore. What used to be hours on the mat and brainstorming with teammates is traded for Google and YouTube.
I have a way to help focus on this. I call it the "Pyramid of Execution". This is a pyramid that is made up of THREE layers.
As you pursue Jiu-Jitsu mastery, your partners begin to defend your initial, "basic" attacks. When this happens, you have TWO directions to go.
Number ONE, is why some people frequently struggle with executing basic techniques. They search for other moves and collecttechniques, while neglecting the most important elements of the moves they know.
Number TWO, is why people like Rickson Gracie, Roger Gracie, and even other athletes, like Michael Jordan, or Dan Gable dominate their craft with simple form. They aren't "one in a million", like people think. They are enlightened beings who realized they should develop and fix what they know, instead of reinventing the wheel. The valued simplicity.
When a move fails you, revert back to WHY, analyze the elements, instead of looking for another move. If you exhaust the elements, now it might be time to try something else.
Did the "basic" arm bar not work, simply because of your opppknents defense? Or, was it because you had poor timing, poor angles, poor base, etc.
Treat every "basic" technique like it's the MOST VALUABLE THING YOU OWN and you will never abandon it. They aren't basic moves, they are THE MOVES. One day, you will have Black Belt eyes and the "basics" will be seen like never before. You will abandon the flare for the functional.
STEP TWO: Remove steps
In your training, ALWAYS remember the following...Every step within a technique has a counter. If you have a move with 6 steps, your opponent, has 6 chances to counter.
Teaching kid's classes for the last 11 years forced me to strip down the techniques in Jiu-Jitsu to the bare minimum. Originally, I thought it might create a less effective form of the technique. What I quickly realized was, fewer steps, meant fewer counters, and WAY LESS complication.
Try this exercise: Pick three of your best techniques. Maybe a triangle, half guard sweep, arm bar from mount. Anything you want. Teach them to someone. How many steps did it take you for each one?
After this awakening, declutter the move. Remove the waste and junk. Keep what you need and what is necessary. This will leave your opponent with few options to counter and shorten your path to victory.
STEP THREE: Find concepts in the chaos.
How many techniques do you know. Hundreds maybe? Here is the truth, you don't and won't use all of them. Your brain and body do not have the muscle memory for all of them.
If you really want to enter the majestic realm of Black Belt, you will need to get a firm grasp on the concepts. You will have to condense and organize all those techniques, to have better control and not be forced to react to 20 different things.
Anticipation is mastery. Black Belts can anticipate and don't need to react as much. Why? Concepts. While you are figuring out how to get there, they already know the road and are waiting for you with a friendly choke!
Find two ways to block twenty things.
Find four takedowns, that can be done from one position.
One concept can be stronger than 50 techniques.
When you understand Jiu-Jitsu concepts, you will be able to sit in a neutral zone where you can roll swiftly through a FEW necessary moves. You won't be lost in a position trying to remember what you know.
When passing open guard, never let your opponent put the soles of their feet against you.
As you are passing and they try to, remove the foot and keep progressing.
This idea, this concept, will allow you to move freely and flow with your opponents movements. Your opponent has freedom of movement. If you focus individually on executing 20 different guard passes, you will hit a wall. Focus on NOT letting the "dirty feet" (That is what Rickson Gracie callsthis drill/concept) touch you, and you will have most likely passed guard with something not even categorized as technique.
I know dozens of guard passes and use four. Not by choice or preference. I reverse engineered the position and only do what I need to do. Your brain will slow, your speed will go, and your strength will die. Technique is invincible.
SIMPLIFY, MINIMIZE, and ORGANZIZE your Jiu-Jitsu. Don't over complicate it. When you can accomplish something as intricate as Jiu-Jitsu in a simple way...That is ART.
It will be ok.
Students and practitioners of Jiu-Jitsu approach me on a daily basis with a sense of frustration. They are upset and feel like they aren't improving. They are trapped inside of their own brain and are being armbarred by insecurity. Life would be much easier, if they only realized how GREAT they are doing.
I find myself constantly reassuring them. Most of these practitioners have been training around 6 months to 2 years. They are not really at a point where they can be the judge of their own abilities, because they do not have a complete understanding of the art. Their frustration is usually a mixture of things.
These all sound like frustrating situations. Truthfully, until a certain point in our training, NONE of us have control over any of these things, until a certain point in our training.
Have patience...It will be ok.
You have NOT gotten worse.
Early in my BJJ career, I can remember hitting techniques in competition that I did not have success with in training.
Originally, these techniques were my best techniques and suddenly, they started to not work in practice. I was incredibly confused. I wondered why they would work in a tournament, and not in class.
After much reflection, I realized that my lack of success in practice was due to my training partners improving!
At a tournament, people did not have any idea what my best attacks were and did not have an understanding of my style. This revelation helped me immensely. I would go back to training and come up with new transitions and set ups for my best moves. This kept my practice partners on their toes!
As competitors started to figure me out, I had to do the same for them. I was FORCED to evolve. All that time, I just thought I sucked and was getting worse!
Your training partners are TRAINED for you. Most of you have been rolling and practicing together for so long, your matches might seem choreographed. They know every move you make.
On top of that, JUT LIKE YOU, they are improving! They also might train more than you and get more mat time. This is going to make things tough.
Have no fear and remember...healthy competition with practice partners is great, but -- to much competitiveness in practice will lead to you having a desire to see your teammates get worse and devolve. This is an unconscious thought. This type of environment becomes TOXIC and leads to locker room talk of "who tapped who." If you want to see some BIG LEAGUE improvement, you better hope your training partners are tapping you.
How to conquer these feelings
The Universe and Jiu-Jitsu, has a unique way of working itself out. Chris Haueter said, "It's not who's good, it's who's left." That is so true! With endurance and persistence, you can overcome ALL talent and ALL skill. The smartest and toughest people in the world will fail if they lack persistence.
Make sure that your practice is academic. Keep studying the art and searching for answers. Keep refining until your blade is shape. When you are doing your daily practice, you must remember, your teammates know EVERYTHING about you. They are your kryptonite.
Go into your next practice and attack with an entirely different strategy. If you play guard, try to get on top. If you prefer arm locks, attack with all chokes. If you usually pass guard, sit back for a leg.
This will put you ahead of the rest. This will keep your training sessions exciting, less frustrating, and fresh.
The feelings you feel, are not because you are getting worse. You are getting better. Your partners are getting better. They are making it tougher for you and your success yesterday is a failure today. It is ok. Don't compare yourself to everyone you roll with.
Detach yourself from the comparisons and focus on the art. The art is infinite and your abilities are infinite. You will be tied down by your negative ego and constantly disappointed when comparing yourself to others.
Persistence is key. It is everything. Have a little patience. There is light at the end of the tunnel and it is so worth it to make there!
Why did I do it?
Last year I had an incredible business opportunity slip through my grasp. I had to turn down an incredible offer. I had to miss out on a HUGE opportunity.
Now, in hindsight, I am so glad I did it!
This was a chance to add to my growing business and a chance to accomplish a goal I had pursued since childhood. If you told me 10 years ago, I would turn down something like this, I would've said you were crazy.
This chance opened my eyes to an array of areas in my business life and personal life, I had been neglecting, procrastinating, and unknowingly failing at.
I was inspired watching a TED Talk with Tai Lopez, in which he explained his daily habit of reading one book per day. He had a quote that resonated with me from his grandfather. This quote was from his grandfather, who was helping Tai through a struggling time. He said, "Don't look inward, look outward." To me, that quote represents the concept of pursuing knowledge and the idea you must get up, get out and put in the work.
"You can pray for rain, but don't forget to water the seeds."
Jiu-Jitsu gives me the tools and teaches to always pursue knowledge and look for answers.
The answers to my business woes and complacency were not trapped inside my brain. They were out there somewhere. Who would've known they were in Barnes and Noble.
1. GRANDIOSE goals, create GRANDIOSE change.
Dale Carnegie is one of my personal favorites. In his book, "Make Yourself Unforgettable", he talks about the dangers of setting GRANDIOSE goals. The main problem with setting a grandiose goal is the fact that they are big goals that usually don't get accomplished because of the individuals arrogance towards the amount of effort, work, or strategy needed towards accomplishing it.
I prefer to set grandiose goals in order to facilitate even MORE motivation. I take on the workload head on and fully accept the possibilities of failure. I know that If my goal is to read a book per month, this will most likely turn into a book per year.
To combat this, I always make my goals ridiculously difficult and almost impossible to accomplish. WHY?
Because, I know that if I set the goal high, it will create an environment in which I have a much greater work load, need to be more disciplined, and could potentially achieve more overall progress.What if I don't reach the goal? So be it! I probably made three times the amount of progress in TRYING to achieve it.
So, to jump start my life change and fix my ways, it HAD to be a book per day. Sometimes two, maybe three. I woke up earlier, sometimes went to bed later, watched little to no TV, and dove right in. This adventure taught me and reminded me to ALWAYS set the bar high. Improvement will be guaranteed.
2. Total immersion is best for learning.
I used to think learning was best accomplished through a step by step, structured and ordered process. I always tried to take my time, and go slow and try to not miss anything. Well, I missed A LOT!
There is nothing wrong with the above method and honestly, it can work perfectly fine. It has its time and place. However, is that best for our brain? Does our brain care about sequential order?
After one month, my brain was all over the place. I was confusing quotes, forgetting chapters, and forgetting where I had left off. Suddenly, an amazing process began. Everything started to work its way out. Like a switch was turned on and everything was stored exactly where it should be. It was incredible to feel my brain sorting things out and putting the pieces of the puzzle together.
In the beginning, I told myself, I was just going to read, maybe take notes, and let things happen. I read everything I could that related to my interests. I read fast, read slow, jotted some things down, and even skipped some parts that didn't apply to me. I immersed myself. I jumped into it.
It actually calmed me. My whole life was patterned around doing everything in order. Especially when it came to learning. But, learning is deeper than that. It is truly about acquiring the information, working with that information in some type of practice, and letting your brain store it and takeover the rest.
When you want to learn something, dive in. Study and watch EVERYTHING. Things will stick at different points for different reasons. Something that doesn't make a difference to you now, will make a difference later when it matters more.
3. One year ago, I couldn't open a Microsoft Word Document.
That is an absolute fact. It is a sad fact. It is one of my regrets in life. I have a lot of regrets. I love regrets. They are reminders of past failures and misfortunes. They are motivation. My life was built upon a foundation of regrets. Don't run from them. Don't lie to yourself about not regretting. Push through it and make sure it never happens again.
Growing up, I was OBSESSIVELY focused on Jiu-Jitsu. I had a one track mind and it greatly effected my grades and performance in school. I was educated on the mats. Luckily, it worked out. Mostly do to my will, persistence, hustle, and grit , but it was unfortunate to lose out on certain skills. I missed out on a lot of technological and educational lessons that could've made life much easier. I neglected habits that would help me day to day, off the mat. It's ok. I use this experience as a lesson to inspire kids to focus on education and to make sure they understand WHY they need to finish those tricky math problems that don't seem functional at all.
After 5 months of a ONE book per day.
Sweethearts and Heroes co-founder, Jason Spector, offers a valuable reminder for all of life's tragedies and failures...
"Make it the best thing that ever happened to you."
I am glad I turned down the INCREDIBLE business oppprtunity. If I hadn't, I would not have gained the amount of knowledge and new found success I own now forever. I would be trapped in a failing situation, gasping for air.
I am glad I had the sense to "look outward". All of the masters in life have their wisdom and knowledge laid out on those things called pages, divided into things called chapters and binded into things called books. Oh yeah, and they definitely save a lot of details for their books. Google does not have all the answers.
ALL THE SOLUTIONS are there. It will take some discipline to find them and some sleepless nights searching for them.
It will be all worth it. Set your goals high. Jump right into it, don't wait. Challenge yourself to learn something you never learned before. You will be better. You will be satisfied. It can change your life.
Everyday people ask, so here it is...
DO JIU-JITSU...A LOT!
That's it! Your technique and brain circuits need to be wired for the mats. Until then, anything else you do, will be taking you away from important time on the mat.
Until you have sufficient technique, you will not be able to have control over your cardio.
**For the impatient blog skimmers, the answer is towards the end.**
Jiu-Jitsu is priceless
Ok, so you bring your child to our academy and you want them to attend classes. Every parent has their personal reasons. Some reasons include...
The best part is the fact that they will receive ALL of that and then some. But here is what really sends our program and the value of it into the priceless category.
We utilize Jiu-Jitsu almost like an insurance policy for your child's future. Jiu-Jitsu becomes a tool to manifest ALL of those special traits and abilities.
The training that takes place on the sacred mats of EFJJA have become a lab for child development. In our lab, kids are faced with incredible opportunities to hone and sharpen these traits and skills.
They learn courage by taking on a larger training partner. They learn patience by sitting patiently during class or waiting for the moment to attack in their match. If they are not patient, they will not be able to "win". ALL positive behaviors and social skills are constantly reinforced. They are expected to behave maturely while having fun and are forced to work with various partners of different ages, genders, and abilities. I could go on forever.
The BEST part...
All of this happens by accident. The training, to them, seems fun and seems like they are merely learning self-defense. What they don't realize; the areas of the brain that get used and activated when these abilities are needed, are getting a constant workout during class.
They are getting sharpened with each lesson and teachable moment. They are getting more self control with each grappling match and they are becoming empowered and transformed into REAL LIFE, superheroes.
The comparison of Jiu-Jitsu to another activity or sport is not a reasonable comparison. It isn't fair to the other activities because the value of Jiu-Jitsu reaches incredible heights. If you offered me a BILLION dollars, I wouldn't give up the art. Jiu-Jitsu is an art that takes an individual to the most instinctive element of human behavior. It is practiced with others and it is a game of self mastery.
You cannot be successful if you don't fully understand yourself. You cannot be successful if you do not learn how to coexist with others in our community and the community around us.
What is the MOST IMPORTANT reason your child should do Jiu-Jitsu???
They will use these lessons they learn on the mat to move swiftly and gracefully through life. Gaining confidence as the grow and having the ability to courageously, stand up for their beliefs. To have the humility to understand when they should compromise them.
Jiu-Jitsu is an ART form. It is ULTIMATE human behavior supplement. Where else could your child receive DAILY practice in the following areas...
When you are calculating the cost of classes, don't forget to add in the value. When your child leaves the nest, they will thank you. You will have prepared them for adulthood.
How did this masterful preparation occur? By using the most effective, sharpest, and skillful tool there is for life, Jiu-Jitsu.
Teaching Jiu-Jitsu for on the mat performance and for the manifestation of those skills into reality.
JIU-JITSU TEACHES US HOW TO LIVE
Jiu-Jitsu will ENHANCE your life
Most people start out in Jiu-Jitsu expecting to learn Self-Defense and get into shape. Over time, practitioners come to realize; Jiu-Jitsu ENHANCES every area of their life. Every lesson you learn on the mats, will have a direct correlation and connection to every situation in your life.
Each practice, you dive into physical training that stimulates the brain as much as the body. This creates a euphoria and thirst for knowledge the brain craves. These sensations slow as we age and as our high energy, activity level drops off and stalls. Jiu-Jitsu is a tool to keep you feeling young, alive, and excited for LIFE!
The physical training, mental training, and concepts become a part of your habit, subconsciously. You become Jiu-Jitsu.
This is why everybody is SMILING at Jiu-Jitsu ;)
Benefit One - Patience
Every successful Jiu-Jitsu'ist has this important quality mastered. They have no choice but to become patient. Countless hours on the mat, in TOUGH spots and precarious predicaments force this attribute.
You come to realize, if you want to progress, you must become patient. The consistent practice of patience on the mat, bleeds over into the rest of your life.
The training and lessons pass through your mind as you wait in line at the DMV, as your child's behavior tests you, or as you wait for opportunities and openings in the workforce. Sometimes you have to WAIT for the opening to occur or for the onslaught to pass before you can be successful.
Benefit Two - Problem Solving
If you can escape from the Full Mount, while someone is trying to arm lock you...You have MASTERED problem solving.
How many situations require problem solving? Not just problem solving, but being able to solve the crisis - under pressure. Everyone has this skill, just some better than others.
Being able to focus, analyze and interpret problems could save your life. It could improve your life. It WILL make things a lot easier. Jiu-Jitsu gives you the guidance and the map to bring you in the right direction.
When you have to focus on class instruction, thoroughly search for details, and pay attention to the small things - you become problem proof. Again, you can't be successful at Jiu-Jitsu or anything for that matter; without focusing on every little detail and looking for every possible way to find the solution.
Benefit Three - Disciplined Habits
The great, Royce Gracie taught a seminar at The Eddie Fyvie Jiu-Jitsu Academy in Malta, NY. After the seminar he gave an insightful Q&A. He explained that DISCIPLINE was the number one lesson his father, Helio Gracie, passed down to him.
We could all use more discipline in our lives. More discipline to eat better, sleep better, shed unwanted pounds and so much more. The fact is...we need MOTIVATION to do these things.
Jiu-Jitsu is that motivation. It is a stimulating activity that creates a burning desire to become your best. The only way to accomplish that, is to curb all of your vices and destroy undisciplined habits.
It is amazing to see people change their ways as they move through the ranks. They don't realize they are doing it. They have the intuition to change habits as they feel sluggish, feel stagnant, and feel frustrated on the mats. The motivation makes them willing to do whatever it takes to combat their lack of willpower.
The areas of your life that have frustrated you and issues you have procrastinated fixing will slowly fade away. In order to reach your BJJ goal, you need to tap out your habits!
Benefit Four - Social Confidence
We see some beginning students start their journey with a fear of social interaction, conflict, and connection.
The physical power gained through Jiu-Jitsu provides the foundation for your social confidence and connection.
Thousands of students have walked through the doors that suddenly received a promotion at work because of a new found and inspired work ethic. They had the courage to approach the girl they were nervous to approach. They had the fortitude to speak their mind to the bully or coworker who was taking advantage of them. The camaraderie on the mats and empowerment felt through the art destroys your social barriers.
I hope you can handle feeling invincible.
Benefit Five - Happiness
Without personal happiness, you have ZERO ability to truly be the best friend, parent, spouse, or sibling you can be. You can last for sometime without it, but it will catch up to you.
It is like when you are on a plane and receive instructions to save yourself first. This is done so you can help or save others. Personal happiness is the same.
The endorphins, the physical and mental power, the new found friends and acquaintance create a heightened sense of satisfaction. This satisfaction makes you feel enlightened and strengthens you like never before. Moving throughout your day with a smile and something to look forward to. Going through life feeling accomplished day to day because you are accomplishing difficult goals and tasks.
You will be happier. There is not a sad face in the Jiu-Jitsu room. We won't allow it. We will be there to uplift your spirits and keep you motivated.
What does this all mean? Do Jiu-Jitsu!
www.EFJJA.com || Feel the change.
After 11 years of teaching Jiu-Jitsu in Malta, NY; I can honestly say that I have faced every imaginable, obstacle and challenge. From day one, I felt a natural, intuitive ability to work with kids. This use of my intuition helped drive me into understanding the children and developing patience.
I realized quickly that positivity and high levels of praise were getting AMAZING results. I give out so much positive energy. So when my tone lowers and becomes stern, the children know they did something wrong. They are more accepting of my negativity in that critical moment. They accept my stern tone with no ill-will or bad feelings. Positive corrections with a calm tone are absolutely, the most used. Negative corrections are always few and far between. Almost non-existent.
1. Praise During - While they are performing a task, I find it very important to praise them along the way. Quick praises such as "good job - perfect - amazing - wow", are great things to add to their work. It is VERY important to have good timing with those praises when you start to sense frustration.
As soon as they get frustrated (either by difficulty or negativity), they will begin to shut down and their performance will suffer. Correct them during the task and finish the correction with "AWESOME - GOOD JOB", and you will get amazing results!
2. The Car Ride Home - This is an essential time of learning. Their endorphins are high and they just finished a tough class. However, this moment is VERY fragile.
Option one and everyone's first instinct, is to give a rundown of everything that went wrong. Option two is to say nothing. Both give a bad impression and can lead to a total shut down and negative response from the child.
Let's try option three...
• Tell the child that you had a great time watching.
• Ask them what they think they did best.
• Ask them one thing they think they could do better next time.
• If you feel the need to correct, try this...
*Perhaps their takedowns did not go so well*
"You were awesome in class today. loved watching. Your takedown didn't work because you didn't get low enough. Next time, try to get lower and you will be able to take everyone down!"
3. Bad Performance - Most of the time they know how good or bad something went. Sometimes the children do not realize it. I will tell you this, if you critique them too much, they will shut down. They will want to quit. For the rest of their life they may associate positive activities with negative feelings. This could create a fear to take risks and try new things.
Think of it this parents...You go to work. Do you enjoy constant criticism. Negative responses. Feelings of inadequacy? Or do you prefer positive reinforcement, getting promoted, being uplifted? Of course you prefer the second. Nobody enjoys constant criticism. Nobody likes negativity. Uplift your child with positive corrections and they will be able to take on the world!
In closing, I find it is easy for me to be stern with a child because my ratio of good guy to bad guy is much in favor of the good guy.
I am always so positive and uplifting with the kids, that in the rare moment of bad guy/sternness, the kid's know that something is wrong. This trust and bond creates an unbreakable connection between teacher-student and parent-child.
Lots of praise. Positive corrections. A healthy ratio of good guy and bad guy and you will have a successful child!
Eddie Fyvie - Malta, NY Jiu-Jitsu
First impressions start the story." - Nicholas Boothman
Jiu-Jitsu is for everyone
Jiu-Jitsu is the MOST EFFECTIVE Martial Art in the world, yet, not everyone is doing it. We still have not reached the full potential or mainstream reach of the art. I feel as an instructor and as a missionary for Jiu-Jitsu, my main job is to promote the art and also paint the perfect picture to new student's that may have created certain mental/cognitive biases towards the art. It is for Men, Women, Children, Sizes, All Ages...you name it! But, do we on a daily basis, when talking about Jiu-Jitsu, "SELL" it properly to our friends???
“When we become expert in something, our tastes grow more esoteric and complex.” - Malcolm Gladwell
- You are 40 years old.
- You have not exercised in 10 years.
- You have children, a wife, a great job, but are feeling either vulnerable physically or possibly passionless.
- You have heard of Jiu-Jitsu, maybe watch it on YouTube, and have always had an interest, but you don't really understand the art or what it encompasses.
One of your co-workers just began training and is feeling the amazing effects and can't wait to share the details of the classes!
You ask him "What is it like? I am out of shape. I have never done it before.
Can I do it???"
He replies: "Man, it is awesome. It is really TOUGH, there are CHOKES , ARM LOCKS, LEG LOCKS, THROWS, it's amazing! If you are out of shape, you MIGHT be ok. Even if you haven't done it before, you SHOULD be ok, you just have to have the COURAGE to walk through the door, and take some BUMPS and BRUISES in the beginning. Just come to a class with me, SIGN THE WAIVER, and hop in! Want to come tomorrow night?!?!?"
You reply: "What is the WAIVER for?"
Co-worker: "Something you sign that just says that you won't SUE or anything if you get HURT or DIE. It's a quick form."
Did he come with you to class???
I appreciate the enthusiasm!I don't think that your co-worker came to class and I also don't think that he got the correct perception of the art. When a new student begins, they will suddenly have a new sense of appreciation for technique, humility, discipline, and will have realized that Jiu-Jitsu is truly MAGIC! However; the descriptive techniques listed above are POWERFUL and are a part of what gives Jiu-Jitsu it's strength, they do not generally sound appealing to someone who is nervous, undecided, or fearful of potential risk and injury. Once they are enrolled in the class and they see how safe, effective, and develop proper technique they will be ready for all of the good stuff Jiu-Jitsu offers!
Avoid the "hidden, negative, connotations." All of the above words in RED stand out, not because I highlighted them, but because these are only what the person will hear! Although, you said it was awesome, you explicitly told them they would...
Try this next time
When your friend/co-worker/relative or whoever, nervously asks you about Jiu-Jitsu, and you can see that they have interest but are looking for reassurance, explain to them...
We can all agree that the above is a lot more friendly sounding and is the absolute truth. The beginner's enthusiasm is completely understood, but if WE are to grow this art and promote it to the community and the world, we need to make people realize that a Jiu-Jitsu Academy is not a fight club, or the UFC, or some place negative, where they are going to possibly get hurt...The Jiu-Jitsu Academy is a place where they learn how to NOT get hurt!
Word of mouth is everything
In Seth Godin's amazing book, "The Purple Cow", he explained how almost every top business in the world was gained notoriety and success, mainly by word of mouth advertising. Customers that were so blown away by the product or company, they could not stop telling everyone about it! The easiest part for them was the fact that they were coffee shops, restaurants, and department stores. All of them are slightly easier to describe in comparison to Jiu-Jitsu : )
When we start to WORD things more effectively, we will have a better chance of the world being introduced to the MAGIC of Jiu-Jitsu! What you wear, what you say, and how you act, will give an instant SNAP JUDGEMENT to someone who may NEED or WANT the art desperately, but are unsure what they will enter into.
I am not trying to turn student's or you reading this into a "BJJ Salesperson." I am merely trying to polish up everyone's ability to convince their friends to come in! The more students, the more the school will grow. When the school grows, training level and potential increases. When this all happens, Jiu-Jitsu will finally embed itself into the culture!
All Jiu-Jitsu representatives know the power of the art physically, mentally, and even spiritually. But as we grow and mature through training we must not forget how we felt before we started. If you have been an athlete your whole life, you have been blessed, but you must remember that you have to treat and spread Jiu-Jitsu to people that do not have your attributes and gifts.
Promote the "Gentle Art" (Jiu-Jitsu translated), gently, and make sure that people are reassured they CAN do it and this will help achieve the next wave of mainstream popularity in our ART!
Eddie Fyvie // www.EFJJA.com
>>> Create a script <<<
Go up to your child and say something a bully would say. See what they do...
They said... nothing????
Your child might not say anything or might say the WRONG thing and feel or look foolish in the moment of confrontation. To combat this, start coming up with ideas of things they can say back immediately! If your child does not have PHYSICAL Self-Defense skills they will most likely remain SILENT out of fear of getting hurt.
We have evolved socially, our instincts have not. When you know that you are prepared for a PHYSICAL threat, things get easier. It makes me very sad to think that there are kids walking around fearful, constantly looking over their shoulder, and avoiding social situations because they are intimidated. This was me at one point, I refuse to allow this happen in our world.
FIVE response strategies
If your child is quick-witted...They are probably ok, but could jump from 1-5 accidentally.
If your child is a bit more timid...Make sure they have a script ready, and know the order.
A script for the principal
There will come a time when the child MUST bring in reinforcements. Our school system is fully aware of the bullying epidemic.
However; there is a problem with how children communicate the problem to their teacher's and administrator's.
How many times a day, do you think the principal hears, "He is calling me names!" Probably over 50 times a day. Then your child comes home gloating, and says, "But I told the principal." From this, the parent will get mad and complain that the school does nothing.
Here is the solution...CHANGE THE SCRIPT! Your child needs to "sell" to the principal a NEED for resolve. The administrator's and teacher's slowly become immune to blanket statements like the one above. Here is a better idea...
"____ (Insert name) is calling me names and bothering me every single day. I'm not coming to school again until it stops. It is torture being around him!"
This will send off ALARM SIGNALS to the teacher or principal. This is one of the first steps to creating a resolution.
Parent VS. Parent
" Hey listen ____ (insert name), your kid is a real jerk. What's his deal? He comes to school and picks on my kid everyday!"
How do you think this turns out??? This is our instinct when a bullying situation arises, but it is not an effective problem solving tactic. Try the above statement at your next business meeting and see how it goes down.
TRY THIS ---> " Hey how's it going. Can I talk to you really quick? I think our kids are having a problem with EACH OTHER at school. Kid's are crazy ( : ) smile), I want to see if we can figure out how they might be able to get along better. What do you think?"
This creates a solution to the problem in which the parents are teaming up. The targeted student's parent did not make any accusatory remarks. Sometimes the other parent (Bully parent) is COMPLETELY unaware. Dale Carnegie explains in his book "How To Win Friends & Influence People"... "If you want someone to do something, you have to get them to WANT to do it."
Create a solution, don't create more problems.
There are endless directions that you can go with creating "Verbal" Jiu-Jitsu strategy. Be creative, look at what's overlooked, DO NOT assume anything. Human's have a way of acquiring knowledge and then assuming that other people know what they know.
Eddie Fyvie - Bullied to Black Belt™
The Jiu-Jitsu mats are my laboratory
t is where I grow as an instructor, and forever remain a student. It is where I pass on knowledge, acquired through almost two decades of practice. It is where I experiment and develop, to insure students learn efficiently, quickly, and become the best they can be.
I believe instructors must have a continuously open mind in order to learn, to change, and always grow. Complacency usually leads to failure and I intend to use "The BJJ Lab" as a place where knowledge and goal achieving is accomplished.
The belts of Jiu-Jitsu have always had a mystique. For so long, there were few that could provide answers as to what each belt meant. Over time, some common grounds were met and there seems to be a general understanding or feel of what each belt encompasses.
I believe there is always room for improvement on the instructor side. I hold myself to the highest standards and place "deadlines" on my student's progression. I refuse to allow myself to become complacent. I do not believe in testing. Testing forces students to prepare for the test. To be externally motivated. It's ok, but their improvement of skill, comprehension, and retention, may not be up to standard. They performed and executed the test, but may not have connected the circuits for the long term. The test is everyday in practice. I believe that a students full potential and growth can only be met if I do the job I am supposed to.
For the past few years, I have evolved as a teacher. I have matured and developed new ideas and a new outlook on life and BJJ. I realized that for so long, I was grading my students poorly, and perhaps, slowing their progression by not having a "perfect" evaluation standard. Each person is different, so each evaluation, must be different.
"Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid." - Einstein
The THREE C's - Comprehension
As the student evolves, I start to look at the following for "Comprehension" assessment...
The THREE C's - Cooperation
Your ability to work with partners, re-teach, and share information is crucial to development. If you are constantly basing your skill set off of your "grappling performance and tap ratios"...You are missing some important lessons.
When it comes to increasing knowledge, improving yourself, and becoming the best version of "you", cooperation is crucial. Teamwork is essential.
Imagine a team environment that bases its grading solely off of winning and losing. This environment will slowly become one of keeping secrets, withholding information, and hoping that your practice partners get worse, so you can continue to "win". The problem is...Nobody wins. This has happened quite often in the BJJ community and happens all over, through every art and sport. Also, every part of life.
An environment, where one is motivated to improve "themselves", but understands the need for others to improve in order for that to happen, is the most successful. Everybody wins. I care about your rolling and "tap ratio" and love to see you submitting your training partners. But it really is only a small piece of the giant puzzle.
I want people to be intrinsically motivated. Motivated by the desire to grow to become better AT THE ART. Motivation externally, by reward (belt, tapping others) is OK, but it plays a small role in how I view progression.
You might be able to submit people, but lack understanding.
You are getting better, but nobody wants to train with you.
You are strong, but not smooth.
The moral of the story is...Worry about being better than the day before and much better than the day you walked in. The rest will fall into place. Your partners will improve and their growth will keep you climbing the mountain and avoid plateauing.
The THREE C's - Competition
Do you compete a lot? Are you 18-30. Want to be a world champ? If that is the case...then you will be evaluated on competitive performance a bit more. You should be in a challenging but correct division in each tournament.
As a competitor, you must be placed in the ideal divisions. If you are a Purple Belt, with Brown Belt Comprehension and Cooperation, but you cannot come close to catching a Brown Belt in a match, you might get held back.
Essentially, a coach needs to help the sport competitor win. The coach must place more assessment on grappling and competing performance, more than he or she does with others.
There are so many factors that go into measuring a students abilities. A tough, challenging, and empowering art like Jiu-Jirsu leaves a lot of room for emotions and disappointments. Most of these hardships are due to people comparing themselves to others. You could believe that you are better because you tapped a higher rank. Some might even feel undeserving of their belt rank. Don't let this be you.
Self-Defense, Martial Arts, Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ, jujitsu) in Malta, Ballston Spa, Clifton Park, and Saratoga Springs
Disclaimer : 10 years of teaching, well over 10,000 hours...the tips below are from the life lessons I have received and thousands of parents and kid's I have worked with!
"Kid's haven't changed, leadership has changed." - SweetheartsAndHeroes.org
We are their guides through life
• What if everything you were doing is correct?
• What if everything you were doing hurt more than helped?
I am not yet a parent. I can only imagine the stress of the above questions as parents raise their children. I am extremely excited for my future as a parent, but in the meantime, I am an observer of human nature. I am working to master my craft as a teacher. I am in the Jiu-Jitsu lab studying and experimenting like a scientist to make the most effective learning environment for adults and childhood development.
From criticizing to...APOLOGIZINGThe number one thing that I have seen over the years when observing parents is, when the PARENT joins Jiu-Jitsu their whole outlook CHANGES! In many cases you will see the following occur...
An "Allergy to passion
"The "passion allergy" is a deep, deep, theory. I cannot remember where I STOLE the phrase, but it hit home when I heard it!!!
"Passion Allergy" Definition: As the child grows, they will become passionate about many things. If these things/activities start to coincide with criticism, negativity, and resentment, they most likely will develop fear and low confidence when it comes to trying or developing a passion in adulthood. This will also hinder their TRUE potential.
Life IS A sprint, except for childhood
I like to use the quote "It is a marathon, not a sprint." But then I immediately contradict myself by saying "Life is short."
They are both correct. We have a small window to be successful in our personal lives and also to be successful in impacting those around us. However, children can test patience and they are going to make many mistakes along the way, we must have the enduring spirit, patience, and fortitude of a marathon if we are to cross the finish life-line!
Patience isn't possible until we understand they must be understood
My wife is an early childhood educator and has helped me immensely in my ability as a youth instructor. I surround myself with SMART people so I seem smarter :). She gave me a quote "it's not patience, it's understanding". This simply means that until we understand the child, who they are and what they are, we won't have the ability to be patient because we are looking through our own perspective and aren't grasping WHY they are doing what they are doing! My best advice is to always read, study, research, experiment, use the wisdom of those that were successful before us. I am always searching for "better". People have complimented me with my ability to be patient. This only developed as I started to understand why and how I should and could be patient!
" The secret to success is just copying what the successful person did." - Mark Schultz (Olympic Gold Medalist)
Positivity is the key
Here is a test...pick something your child is not familiar with. Teach them how to do it, but only use negative tones and negative corrections. Watch the clock and see how quickly they do it or if they want to continue doing it. Then...
Try the same test, but with positive tones, positive corrections, smiles and pleasantries. Watch the clock, watch the difference.
I already know the answer. I have personally seen the difference and FELT the difference in my own life. Their have been countless studies on this topic. I would provide examples, but ever since Google was invented, you will most likely already have "Googled" my above statements to check the validity.
In part TWO, I will talk about...
Self-Defense, Martial Arts, Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ, jujitsu) in Malta, Ballston Spa, Clifton Park, and Saratoga Springs
I was pushed to the breaking point, BUT...
I believe my self motivation stemmed from early positive affirmations, from my father who would always tell me that I COULD be the BEST and WILL be the BEST at whatever I want to do. This created a motivated monster who only thought that being the best was the only option. This is NOT a bad thing...human competitiveness and the willingness to strive for the best is what creates amazing results! Nothing worthwhile in the world was created with out a competitive spirit.
As I strive to be the best, I studied the greats along the way and noticed the work ethic and the grit they had. I knew I had to work hard to be something special.
There were times when I felt burnt out and when I believed that the training and practice went too far. However; it was always fixed with TWO secret tricks...
When I played baseball, my father would have me do hand-eye coordination hitting drills until my hands bled and it was dark, EVERY NIGHT. This seems insane (it is), but, I would play the next day and get a hit almost every time I stepped to the plate. PRETTY SOON, I was asking him to stay even later and do even more drills. This is where I reflect and find out where a lot of my self-motivation came from. I was always made to believe that I was extra special for putting in the extra effort. The crazy practice was always finished off with,"You are the best and will be the best in the world!" Thanks POPS!
---> ***Disclaimer*** This worked for me, it may not work for everyone. But the power of making someone feel great regardless of effort, definitely does!
Developing the HABIT of not quitting
"Chains of habit are too weak to be felt until they are too heavy to be broken." - Warren Buffet
The habit of quitting is the hardest of all habits to break. It comes on like a disease and then once it spreads, it is next to impossible to get rid of. Giving up, falls into two categories. One category is OK, the other is NOT.
Through this analysis of the situation, you can start to assess if quitting is an option. I also have seen disturbing trends where, the child shows a slight disinterest and the parent gives in because the PARENT wants to quit the activity. We must always take a back seat to the child's future. I have seen this countless times. There is one way to get good at what you want and to be the best at what you want...DON'T QUIT.
The method to our madnessOver the years I have experimented, researched, and spent countless hours and sleepless nights, honing my craft as an instructor. I know that my leadership could be the difference in a child's future success, even in the slightest way. If I can provide an atmosphere to reinforce positive behavior's, I will do EVERYTHING in my power.
When it comes to teaching, I know that everything you do requires practice. You cannot stump me with one thing, even breathing takes practice. It seems natural, but I spend 75% of a class reminding people to breathe : ). I focus on praise, developing "grit", attentiveness, discipline, and respect, among other things. We must practice and TEACH everything. There are so many expectations from parent's of their kids, yet, we must remember to TEACH and practice everything if our expectations are to be met.
"HEY LISTEN!" ----> How do you listen?
"PAY ATTENTION!" ----> How do you pay attention?
"GET UP, KEEP GOING!" ----> Why?
Work on your answers for these questions and develop a practice.
This is part TWO, there is so much more...I will come back around to this topic at some point. I hope this helps. Please reach out to me (email@example.com) with questions, concerns, or to tell me I'm wrong. I could be...who knows, I'll just keep practicing!
Self-Defense, Martial Arts, Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ, jujitsu) in Malta, Ballston Spa, Clifton Park, and Saratoga Springs
A whole life dedicated
For nineteen years, I have been involved with both Jiu-Jitsu and MMA. At 10 years old, I made an aggressive decision. I was going to dedicate my life to Jiu-Jitsu and follow in the footsteps of those early fighters I watched on my VCR player and illegal PPV box.
Fast forward, eight years later and I'm standing in a ring across from Jim Miller (both of our pro debuts) in Atlantic City, NJ. It was surreal and it was the culmination of my training as an adolescent. After this fight, I dedicated myself completely and continued to purse fighting for eight years, the only issue...MMA WAS BANNED in New York.
This forced me to travel to other states in order to compete. I went on streaks for months and at one point close to a year of not being able to fight because of not being a "Local". A local that could sell hundred of tickets, fighting ten minutes or one hour from home.
I was traveling anywhere from 3-7 hours to fight. It was taxing. It forced me into retirement. It depressed me. It was sickening to be there, year after year, watching politicians shoot down legislation to UN-ban MMA.
The last few years, Amateur MMA popped up and provided some minor growth, but died off quickly as fighters realized there was NOWHERE to fight in our state. The lack of standards in these events, did more harm than good as well. MMA Athletes in NY State are a DYING, almost EXTINCT species.
I'm watching it firsthand AGAIN...
My long time student and friend, Matt Secor has competed all over the country. TUF 16, Bellator, World Series of Fighting, you name it. He has compiled an 8-3 record and is also 4-1 in his last five fights. He has persevered through the difficulties of not only competing out of state, but having to travel and train out of state.
There is VERY limited training and sparring in our area, due to the fact, fighters RARELY make it. Not because of skill or dedication, but because they get shut out of certain opportunities.
I understand it from the promoters side, "Why would you hire someone who has to travel, sells fewer tickets, and doesn't have a local following." I have watched the sport get crippled in Upstate NY. It is sad. My survey to any pro fighter in this area (There are few), ask yourself, how many pros are still at it and still competing? How many live and train local? How many made it to the big stage?
Petition for a LOCAL guy
Finally there is some hope...On December 9th, the UFC is coming to Albany, NY. It is bittersweet for me. I had to give up my career as a pro fighter and I gave up hope, this would happen. I feel this card NEEDS some local talent. I don't feel this way for selfish reasons (maybe one or two, lol). I feel this way because our community and culture NEEDS to be ignited.
Inspire the future
The top fighter living and training in Upstate NY, is 20 minutes from Albany, his name is, Matt Secor. He is the perfect candidate for this fight card. Having his local star on the event, will inspire a massive amount of local competitors to keep the dream alive. It will help foster hope for the future athlete and competitor in Upstate NY, giving them something to aspire to. I am pleading. MMA training and sparring is disappearing! When there is no one around fighting, nowhere to fight, and there is no inspiration locally, how could it SURVIVE?
Help us do it
We are petitioning and pleading to get Matt Secor on this December 9th, UFC fight night. He deserves it, he has earned it through victories, and now it is a chance to keep the dreams alive for those in my area.
Welterwieght, Middleweight, any weight, any opponent. Matt Secor is ready. Upstate NY needs the ignition. Find Matt on Twitter @secormatthew.
Help us continue this movement. The talent and potential are untapped and this could open the flood gates of future fighters that can say they are from Upstate NY!
Self-Defense, Martial Arts, Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ, jujitsu)
in Malta, Ballston Spa, Clifton Park, and Saratoga Springs
You get anxious in training thinking about the competition.
You get anxious before hard training thinking about the hard training.
You get anxious just before competition, thinking about the difficulty or duration of the competition.
You get anxious mid-way, thinking about the pending outcome.
You get anxious afterwards, thinking about the next event.
I know all of these feeling well. So do you. Now ask yourself, which one of those anxieties, have ANYTHING to do with WINNING & LOSING...
Everybody says it "Live in the moment, be in the moment, enjoy the moment, etc."
It has been said so many times that I think we have become immune to the statement. We hear it, we nod, we agree, we move on and forget about it. Some have thought deeply. Most have not. The problem is, it is EXACTLY what we need.
When people focus on "The Moment", they usually think it's about focusing on NOW, without any thought of past or future. This isn't necessarily true. The past and future play a major role in your ability to be in "The Moment." The past and future affect your performance in "The Moment".
However, "The Moment" is the time in which all matters will be decided and accomplished. Things will get done, or not done, finished or not finished.
It is the pivotal time when the past collides with time to move into the future.
This makes "The Moment", the MOST essential.
HERE IS HOW TO USE IT IN COMPETITION...
The match is looming
The training is over.
The event is now.
The anxiety is at an all time high.
Negative self talk is battling against positive self talk in an epic duel.
You didn't sleep well the night before. You may have come close to or actually vomiting your breakfast from nerves.
Now STOP...Ask yourself if any of this anxiety has anything to do with winning?
You have made it to the event. Regardless of what supplements you took, how well your training went, how well you slept the night before...At this point, you are either going to DO IT or NOT DO IT.
A good training camp will DEFINITELY play a major role.
But, once the event starts, it means almost NOTHING. You could've had the best training, but nerves beat you. You could've had terrible training and somehow pulled off a victory.
I have had some of my best matches with NO training. Some of my worst when I had INCREDIBLE training.
During Training Camp
Put yourself at ease. It is a lot simpler than you are making it.
The tournament/fight will come. You are going to WIN or LOSE. It may be TOUGH. It may be EASY.
Here is the deal, are you going to DO IT or NOT DO IT?
You are going to do it. Put it into your brain that you will finish no matter what. Even if you don't finish or the outcome isn't what you expected, at a certain point, you have LITTLE CONTROL. All you can truly do is, train your best, one day at a time. Eat sensibly. Sleep as good as you can. When the competition comes, go out there and be present in "The Moment".
Realize that the past (training) has something to do, but at that present time, nothing to do with finishing, winning or losing.
Realize that the future (results/post match) will never be in your favor if you aren't focused second by second and inch by inch on what you have to do.
After 19 yearsEach day I am thankful for so many reasons. Each tough training session, I look forward to the difficulty. I embrace it with LITTLE focus on afterwards or before. If I allow the thought of the difficulty creep into my head prior, I will not be effective in training. If I focus on the length and duration during, it will sap my will and energy.
I enter training with a curiosity.
I go into the match with a humble acceptance of what could happen and I realize that my past helped, but now is what I need.
My willingness to accept any future outcome is based upon the fact that "I don't know" what it will be.
Will I get hurt, will I lose, will I win? Did I do enough, did I prepare, did I warm up well enough? I don't know.
What I know is this..I am here. I am going to do it. I am going to push. I am going to accept fear, understand it and bring it with me while I CRUSH this competition. I don't know if I'm ready, I don't know if I will win...
I do know that I'm here and I'm THANKFUL that I GET to compete. I'm always going to do it, regardless of anything else. I might as well stop worrying about before and after and accept the HERE and NOW.
We could leave this earth even quicker than we arrived. Pain is fleeting, victorious feelings will be blurred and forgotten. What matters is now...
Eddie Fyvie || www.EFJJA.com
"If you want to master FEAR, do all of your practice in hell." - Unknown
Sometimes we have to remind ourselves that we are here on earth ONCE. In that time frame, we need to cram as much life out of life as possible.
There is nothing more empowering than overcoming a fear, beating the odds, or conquering adversity. It changes you. It gives closure to anxieties and pressures. It gives you a sense of relief and feeling of victory.
In this life, I have learned that...
Complacency is the quickest way to catastrophe.
Challenge yourself to be better. To be tougher. Be willing to put in the work. It is ALWAYS worth it in the end. We have limited time. In that limited time, do everything your heart desires. Dogged persistence and determination will get you there.
Even if you fail, you will never feel as if you failed.
Moments of weakness = Teachable moments
Every time I find myself saying...
"I hate ______", I do it IMMEDIATELY.
What you hate is usually what you NEED.
To build strength, we need the tenacity and the grit to build upon our weaknesses. Starting out weak, is sometimes the most difficult part. It always feels impossible at first when you get started.
As a child, I did not have it easy by any stretch of the imagination. All I had, was a sense of self belief and self motivation to get more out of life. I did not have the resources or all the tools. I learned one thing VERY quickly, when you have an end goal and you are going for it, there will be times in preparation where your mind might say "I don't want to". When you feel of hear that weakness in your conscience, do what you don't want to, IMMEDIATELY. That is the perfect time.
This may sound arrogant, but, I have conquered so many goals and feel so complete in my life that I am starting to make up random goals to accomplish.
I have NO goal bucket list. I have completed the list. So now I must create more goals to avoid complacency.
None of it was easy and I am not special or gifted. I was born with a clubbed foot, in the middle of a ghetto, beaten up daily for not fitting the demographic, and not knowing if there was a way out. I knew one thing, dogged persistence, grit, survival. Nothing could stop me, if I didn't stop.
I changed my thinking early on and I realized that doing what was always fun or enjoyable, usually wasn't helped me reach the unthinkable goal.
Doing what I wanted at the moment in place of what I needed, never helped me get what I wanted.
Learn to love doing the things that you hate.
Find joy within the struggle and comfort through pain.
Right now, I own a Jiu-Jitsu school and have a BUSY life, but I feel the need to prepare, train, and compete in ULTRA marathons. I am making up goals. I am making up painful ones. I still need to find out what I am made of.
Plus, if I am going to lead by example, I need to create an example. If I am going to ask others to give me their best effort, I need to know what the depths are before I ask them to "dive in".
You will always REGRET not doing instead of doing. Try, and then try again. When you don't want to, that is when you should. If you don't think you can...stop thinking and start moving.
Trust me...it's not easy, but you can.
Eddie Fyvie || www.EddieFyvie.com
Question:I am a new student. I rolled after my first Jiu-Jitsu lesson and was completely hooked. Even though I was tapped frequently, I fell in LOVE with Jiu-Jitsu!
After that, my instructor informed me that I must wait until my first stripe to enter LIVE TRAINING. I am sad that I have to wait. How can I get my Jiu-Jitsu fix outside of regular the classes?
Unpopular decisions...I have been fortunate enough to find Jiu-Jitsu early on and am in my 19th year of training. The time I have spent on the mats has allowed me to witness the EVOLUTION of BJJ teaching.
When I first started, you were essentially thrown to the wolves. Some survived, most didn't. The survivors had a distinct love for Jiu-Jitsu that allowed them to persevere through anything they faced on the mats. However, training partners dwindled, schools started to close down, and people were frequently injured.
Over time, better training methods were developed. Instructors became better educated on teaching the art and helping students learn. I believe a lot of this was attributed to the fact that we finally had enough time, stats, data, and results of BJJ in America. From this data, UNPOPULAR decisions were made. It may not be the best idea for students to "roll" early on.
If everyone was a"survivor" these UN-popular decisions wouldn't have to be made. Unfortunately, countless injuries, pissed off students, and complaints, caused change.
Embrace the grindI can assure you this...After you go through these classes (48,according to your instructor), your experience and rolling abilities will have such a head start. You will be thankful that you entered in rolling with knowledge, technique, strategy, and some concepts.
Although that first day was fun...It become very un-fun when you continue to get crushed and feel like you will never improve. This may not be you, but for the most part it is. After 48 classes you will understand what happened during live training. You will understand how to keep yourself and not put your self in worrisome, injury prone positions.
Surprisingly, you will actually advance quicker this way. It may not seem like it now. but just realize this...
Rolling WITHOUT knowledge, will create fear. It will force you to develop habits of not "going for it." Every time you try to, you are caught. You will begin to misinterpret strategy and not ever have the confidence to offensively attack.
Rolling WITH knowledge, will create confidence. You will trust your technique, because you have technique, and you will be able to FIX what goes wrong. It is imperative that rolling is followed by analysis. This analyzing is what allows for true improvement. In the beginning, this is impossible. In the beginning, you will have no answers. You will start to create answers and they will not be correct. It will stunt your future growth.
In the meantime if you are "jonesing" to roll and cannot wait, here is what you do.
Buy some cheap mats. Network with a fellow student in class that you trust. Meet up and train outside of class.
Take some private lessons from a Purple or Brown Belt. They will be more inclined to grapple with you in the privates more so than the Black Belt/Professors.
Stick around to watch Intermediate/Advanced/Open Mats. Sometimes, a fellow student will be inclined to invite you in for some training.
Talk to your instructor, one on one and ask if he will take a special interest due to your eagerness. Perhaps he will. Tell him that you will go slow and train very controlled. If at any moment you over step your boundaries and start to become unsafe, he can stop you immediately.
Just remember this...We are lucky to have Jiu-Jitsu. We are lucky to live in an era where this is accessible and any moment on the sacred mats is a true blessing. Patience is a virtue. Enjoy the process and remember how lucky you are to have found the art and will now have the chance to live the best life you could've ever asked for, due to JIU-JITSU!
Eddie Fyvie | www.EFJJA.com | Malta, NY
Interested in speeding up progression?
Immerse : Involve oneself DEEPLY in a particular activity or interest.
This is a concept I preach to all frustrated students that are just starting out. It is the quickest way to get things moving along. Plus, the learning is nearly accidental and subconscious. You don't have to be studying, just enjoying and watching. Your brain is starting to make Jiu-Jitsu an habitual thought process.
Don't take your time with progression. Hop right in, "Gulp" the information down and let your brain start to sort it all out. But, there are difficulties associated with trying to immerse yourself in Jiu-Jitsu.
Some things are easier to IMMERSE in. Pretend you have just seen Basketball for the first time in your life. Just like anything else, you start to learn and it is SUPER confusing.
HOWEVER...On your way home
Do you see a theme? Do you think this access to your "new" sport will help you learn quicker?
You will learn your "new" sport of Basketball VERY quickly because of the mainstream and constant access to the sport. Although it seems slight, you are hearing terms, plays, concepts, players names. You are seeing visuals of movement and other technical aspects.
This is a learning paradise for your brain. This extra sight and sound sensory and visualziation is going to work wonders the next time you step onto the court.
To IMMERSE in Jiu-Jitsu you have to actively seek out information
With certain activities, you are basically surrounded by information regarding the subject. This is usually the case because of mainstream exposure and greater reaches of popularity.
With Jiu-Jitsu; you need to get the magazines, watch the videos, Google, go on YouTube, take classes, watch classes, subscribe to blogs. The information isn't as readily available, so it will take some searching, work, and motivation.
"Knowledge is best acquired and retained when effort is involved."
- Peter C. Brown "Make it Stick - The Psychology of Learning"
When you immerse yourself, you will hear foreign or abstract Jiu-Jitsu terms/techniques and start to recognize them by sound. Most likely, you have even seen the technique or situation if you have watched and read the right stuff. Your brain has an amazing way of sorting things out. You can try to slow down your learning and focus on little things and details one step at a time...this is good and will work, but it is going to be an arduous, slow process.
This is not necessary for learning anymore.
We live in an era and society of INSTANT information. We never had this before, and because we never had this, we HAD TO go slower and focus deeper because of a lack of resources. If I couldn't escape an arm bar, I might have had to wait SIX MONTHS to figure it out, 18 years ago when I started. Now you have access to the ability to look up and figure it out on your phone next to the mat.
There is so much to learn and the answers are at the tip of your fingertips. You now have the ability to Google your way through the ranks. But always remember, this is an ADDITION to your learning, nothing beats the time and experience on the mat. That almost goes without saying, or at least it should.
But if you want to fast track your progression in the beginning, go out and start searching, start watching, start listening, all of a sudden, your grasp will be very deep and it will take half the time.
Your ability to execute may still be a ways away but your ability to LEARN and catch up on things will make that execution a much closer reality.
Eddie Fyvie - Immersed for life