Jiu jitsu creates a vehicle for success through personal ownership and a growth mindset. To achieve skill in jiu jitsu, one must stop making the same mistakes and instead grow to create new answers for problems that had once been impossible. This concept of self-reflection, followed by redirection and the will to do better, will carry over easily from inside to outside the dojo.
Did you know October is National Bully Prevention Month? I didn’t even know that was a thing until my child’s PRESCHOOL sent us an announcement about it. Really…preschool. Kids are already being bullied in baby school. Once we found out about this, my husband Thomas Williams – our Jiu Jitsu instructor – asked if he could talk to the school about bullies, bully prevention, and even stranger danger awareness. As we have been doing this we have noticed a few things that parents should keep in mind.
Lunch should be simple and effective, just like a well-executed grappling technique. I use a few key ingredients that have a lot of variety and versatility. I don’t want to get bored, but I still need to receive the same cornerstone nutrients no matter the organization of the meal.
My favorite meal to make for lunch is a salad. Now I know what you’re thinking; salads are for chicks and vegans, right? Well that’s true, but as performance athletes we need them too. The salads I make are are tasty, versatile, and full of all the nutrients I need.
The ability to defend oneself is everyone’s right. The problem is that not all of us are born with the same abilities or strengths. Luckily for us, information is the great equalizer. jiu jitsu is an excellent tool to utilize for self-defense because it’s as much science as it is an art.
There are thousands of self-defense styles, and I’m sure many of them are effective and useful in their own right. However, jiu jitsu answers the questions of “What if I’m smaller than my attacker?” or “What if I get knocked to the ground?" and "what do I do if the attacker gets on top of me?” These are the worst case scenarios that have been tested through jiu jitsu and have the track record to honor its merit.
Every practitioner you ask will have a different answer, and many will have a multi-part answer. I decided to take BJJ for several reasons, including to increase my level of physical activity, spend some quality time with people I care about, and most practically, for self-defense.
Physical activity is obviously healthy for utilizing muscles that aren’t exercised at my desk job. It also helps my brain stay balanced through the release of endorphins. Therefore, I must have some kind of exercise in my life.
I’m writing this to give insight to what my diet is like and how it improves my Jiu JItsu experience and why it’s necessary. I have been a performance athlete since I can remember, and I wish I’d known then what I know now. When I began my Jiu Jitsu journey my diet wasn’t terrible compared to the average household, but it was nowhere near what I needed and didn’t change until I was a few years into college.
At this time I was training Jiu Jitsu every day, and like most, completely addicted. My teammates were a mix of hobbyist and pro- fighters, with a handful of guys like me. It was a breeding ground for competition, and everybody was interested in what the others were eating and what supplements they were taking. This was my first experience in which nutrition sounded like it mattered. Coincidently I was writing a paper for school about the food industry; the information I was exposed to influenced and inspired me to look at my own diet and see where I could make improvements. The diet I have now, 10 years later, has worked well to supply me with the necessary fuel to improve and then maintain my performance level. Not only that, but helps secure my place on the mat for years to come.
Continued from Part 1
Like a Rubik’s cube that can break your arm if you twist it wrong. For every submission, there are several escapes. For every escape, there are countless counters. People compare BJJ to chess, but everything gets compared to chess. Really, this comparison is pretty apt though. You try to look into the future, learning to try predict the movements of your opponent so you can counter, throwing out a sacrifice and making them think you are over extended, but really you drew them into a trap. It’s a fantastic game, and since you learn new techniques regularly, it is vastly different every time even with the same training partner.
It’s particularly hard as a white belt.
There is no way around saying that. It’s hard because it combines so many types of difficulties, condenses them to an hour or two every couple of days, and leaves you asking what just happened. I think that as I progressively learn technique, it will get less difficult. Having said that, I’m pretty sure it will never get easy. But what makes BJJ so hard?
Let’s be honest, jiu jitsu is challenging, sometimes frustrating, but that’s probably why you’re attracted to it. The guard pass is the most dynamic movement we practice, with the greatest number of variables of reactions and outcomes. It sucks when you've been working for a guard pass over and over until you finally clear the legs, then try to secure side control only to have your opponent shrimp out and pop a knee in between the two of you. Damn, back to square one.
How can you stop it? Here’s a few things I do that I’ve learned over the years: