The Versatility Of Jiu-Jitsu

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Nov 9, 2016 2:12:18 PM

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Everyone knows that jiu-jitsu is part of the foundation of mixed martial arts. Without jiu-jitsu, the UFC would not even exist. It was Rorion Gracie that originally started the UFC as a platform to prove jiu-jitsu’s efficiency against other martial arts. His brother Royce Gracie was successful in proving this and the UFC began its ascent. Overtime, as athletes became more educated about the techniques that were useful or not, wrestling and muay thai were added essentials to a fighter’s arsenal.

Nowadays jiu-jitsu has evolved according to the required task at hand. For example, cops have been using jiu-jitsu training for many years now to fine-tune their skills so that they can subdue any suspects with the least amount of damage. Although this is not always possible, jiu jitsu does allow for it.

Next, there is sport jiu-jitsu. Let’s face it, jumping guard and playing 50/50 until sliding into a berimbolo isn’t going to help you in a street fight. In the case of sport jiu-jitsu, the game has evolved to achieve the goal of the sport athlete: win a match according to the rules (be it by a submission, points, or advantage). Depending on the athlete’s style, they may prioritize one method over the other. Some athletes adapt their game to gain position with little focus on a submission, where as some have a game where their priority is to get a submission as quickly as possible from anywhere.

Another “school” of jiu-jitsu is self-defense, which is the original intent of the jiu-jitsu that Helio Gracie preached. However, it should be noted that Japanese jiu-jitsu (where BJJ and judo all stem from) was originally the form of combat that the samurais used in war, which ranged from self-defense all the way to the mastery of several different weapons. All these different skills branched out over time into their own specialized disciplines. In a way, the jiu-jitsu we know today is the ground specialization branch of the samurais’ original art. They had to know how to defend themselves properly should a fight had gone to the ground. They had never developed their technique into things like the berimbolo or pulling guard, as they would have never needed something so impractical for their intent.

The self-defense form of jiu-jitsu is probably the purest to its original intent. Most good schools implement the importance of self-defense in jiu-jitsu right from the beginning of white belt level. Practitioners would do well to remember the base of the sport. You could be winning all the tournaments in the black belt division in your town, but if you can’t escape a headlock or bear hug from behind, you’re training will have a glaring hole. Self-defense jiu-jitsu has become very popular and it is a strong attraction for children who are bullied at school and those who want to upgrade their personal safety.





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Topics: Training Hints and Tips, BJJ in Everyday Life

5 Things All Companies Consider When Sponsoring an Athlete

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Jul 23, 2015 4:00:00 PM


Brand Loyalty

One of the most important things all major companies consider before endorsing a new athlete is brand loyalty.  Brand loyalty is a consumer behavior related to personal preference for a particular company, brand name, or product line.  Loyal customers purchase products from their preferred brand regardless of convenience or price.  This is the kind of relationship companies want to have with the athletes they choose to endorse.

It is imperative for athletes seeking sponsorship to have a strong history with the products or brand name they are seeking to promote.  After all, you will act as an ambassador of sorts for their brand through representing their company name and logos on your t-shirts, competition uniform, banners and social media platforms.  You should demonstrate brand loyalty before seeking sponsorship with a company.   


Brand loyalty is directly related to the personal integrity of the athlete.  Being completely and utterly loyal to a company or brand is an ethical commitment. Your personal integrity, as well as the integrity of the sponsoring company, means that wearing and otherwise promoting any other brands within the same market is wrong.  The integrity to be loyal to your sponsors and their brand means not only wearing their products and supporting their products but believing in them.  As a sponsored athlete, every class, every tournament, every photo opportunity is a chance for you to proudly promote and show support for your sponsors.  This is easy when you are honestly proud of the products you promote.

Integrity also speaks to the willingness of an athlete to promote their sponsors without being prompted.  If you have chosen your sponsors correctly, promoting the brand won’t be a hassle; it will be welcomed habit.  Companies also want to know that the athletes they choose to support have a high level of personal integrity in the practice room and on the competition mat or canvas.  

A high level of sportsmanship is a prerequisite for getting and maintaining the sponsorship relationships you need to support your competition career. Winning certainly helps, but if you lose a match, it doesn’t mean your sponsors are going to stop believing in you.  After your opponent’s hand is raised, you shake their hand and the hand of their coach and learn from your mistakes.  



Athletes seeking sponsorship need to know how to present themselves as potential ambassadors.  The first thing every athlete needs is a brief one-page resume reviewing commitment to the brand or product, recent achievements, as well as a detailed description of how you will promote that brand within your community.  A solid resume should also outline a history of competition results, with focus on your recent victories within the past year.  Providing a list of products that you already use and believe in, a clear explanation of what you are looking for from your sponsor, and pictures/videos of you competing in the company’s products are all very important elements of a sponsorship resume.  

Knowing what you want from the brand before applying for sponsorship is key.  If you are seeking a gear sponsorship, lifestyle/apparel sponsorship, help with competition entries, travel, incentives or training costs/tuition, then be sure to communicate that up front.  Often times, taking a diversified approach to seeking sponsors can help athletes here.  While you may seek a gi sponsorship from your favorite kimono company, you might receive assistance with your competition entries from sponsors within your local community.  Very rarely will any one single company provide an athlete with full support for all of their training, competition, and travel expenses.  

Circle of Influence

An athletes’ circle of influence is an important factor in sponsorship.  The broader the circle, the more an athlete can give back to their sponsors.  Effective sponsorship involves much more than wearing a kimono in the local tournament. 

If you own a Jiu-Jitsu school, your circle of influence could involve introducing both the students on your own mats to your sponsors’ products as well as the other coaches and school owners within your association.  If you don’t own a martial arts school but are an active competitor, you can still promote your sponsors by wearing their gear during training and networking with those around you.  Every time you explain why you prefer the brand name rash guard and fight shorts you are wearing, you are solidifying your relationship with your sponsor. 

Social media platforms are also key communication avenues for your circle of influence.  Sharing pictures and videos of your sponsor’s brand establishes a clear track record of loyalty.  Once sponsored, promoting your sponsors brand on your Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. will help promote both the athlete and the sponsor.  Making and sharing posts about your sponsors products and creating your own pictures and videos of your competition footage in all of your favorite products can reach thousands on major social media platforms. 


For most companies, consistency is a major consideration when endorsing an athlete.  Do you have a strong commitment to training?  How often do you compete?  Are you committed to continued competition?  

These are all important questions, that aren’t always necessarily based exclusively on your competition results.  While in the Jiu-Jitsu world many companies look at who is making the podium at major IBJJF events, consistent competition can be just as important.  Every time you step on the mat is a chance for you to promote your sponsor. 

Companies want to know that once they invest in you the relationship will continue and even grow through mutual benefit and support.  It is important for companies to know that you are committed to furthering the relationship through consistently doing your part. 

In short, companies want to know that the athletes they choose to support will consistently and effectively communicate brand loyalty to their circle of influence with sincerity and integrity.  My relationship with my amazing sponsors is based on these principles and should provide you a model for building your own list of sponsors.


My name is Brian Wilson; I am a purple belt in BJJ, full-time martial artist, owner of Força Martial Arts & Fitness in Russellville, Arkansas, and a sponsored athlete.  I am also a historian and martial arts scholar holding a Master of Arts in History. 



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Topics: Training Hints and Tips, Tournament/Competition Tips, BJJ in Everyday Life

What To Expect In A Good Seminar

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May 21, 2015 5:00:00 PM




Seminars are one of the best ways for someone to pick up new knowledge in jiu-jitsu. Every instructor has a different style, and while the basics of jiu-jitsu pertain to everyone (regardless of body type), the fancy and more specialized moves for your body type are sometimes harder to find and properly train. The best thing to do is to go to seminars with professors that have a similar body type to you and are famous for techniques that you can already do on a basic level. If you end up going to a seminar with them, you will hopefully be able to learn the details of the technique that you have been missing. Seminars are meant to be supplementary; they are the icing on the cake, and not the cake itself. 

This is why traveling is such an important part of jiu-jitsu. BJJ is a deep and diverse sport in which you will never stop learning. The secret is not to know and master every single move, but to know all the basics and then layer them with some trickery of your own. Almost every jiu-jitsu master has their own specialty that they have developed since early belt levels. Sometimes you have to seek out that specific instructor to really pick their mind and gain that knowledge. For example, if you’re a De La Riva user, and you highly depend on that position, first priority should be to seek out a Ricardo De La Riva seminar. Considering that he originally developed the position and has been using it for decades, it puts him levels above the competitors that use the De La Riva guard today. Also, don’t forget that guys like De La Riva have decades of teaching experience and will be able to communicate the techniques in the best way possible.

The biggest complaint you will hear after a seminar is that the professor didn’t show anything “special” or it was “too basic.” It’s true that sometimes professors don’t want to share their top stuff at seminars to people that are not part of their own academy. In the majority of cases, the only people that will say the seminar wasn’t “‘special” or was “too basic” will be those who are not experienced enough to see the finer details of a position. 

Find seminars with people that match your style. Make sure that when you are at the seminar, you really pay attention to the particular details of a position – you should hopefully find new aspects you didn’t know. You’d be surprised at how many black belts attend seminars and still come out with their eyes opened.




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Topics: Academy Etiquette, Training Hints and Tips

5 Things You Must Consider For Competition Prep

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May 14, 2015 2:00:00 PM




Here are some quick tips of things you should do before a competition, ranging from 3 months out to right before your match. This mainly pertains to beginners that want to start competing. As you become more advanced, you learn what details work best for you.


  1. Start your diet early.

Most competitors have to cut some weight to make the most out of themselves at competitions. If you like competing at your walk-around weight, and you do well, then lucky you! But most have to go through the task of reaching a certain weight, and it’s not easy. The best trick is to lose fat and retain as much muscle as possible during the weight cut. More experienced competitors usually have their own system for this, but it can be very hard for beginners. One of the simplest tips is to start your diet early – don’t procrastinate. Starting early will give you some leeway if you still have some weight to cut. One of the most embarrassing things is to get to the scale overweight and get disqualified. 

  1. Start all of your hard rolling early.

The logic here is that you need time to recover from all your hard training. The earlier you start all your shark tanks and conditioning, the earlier you can begin to restore your body for the competition. Also, if you have any injuries, as a result from that training, then you have time to recover and continue your training so you can compete again. 

  1. Know when to rest.

It’s good to train hard, but you have to train hard in moderation. Overtraining can very easily lead to injury. If you’re feeling nauseous or feeling some sort of pain, think about it and decide if it’s worth stopping and taking a day off. Training hard is important, but training smart is more important. There is no point in showing what a tough guy you are in the gym and training through injuries. Rest properly and you can show everyone what a tough guy you are in the competition, where it really matters. 

  1. Stop hard training one week before competition.

There are various different theories on this, but it’s been said by many professionals in the past (ie. Xande Ribeiro and Marcelo Garcia) that taking a week off before a tournament allows you to not only be physically ready, but it also helps mentally with your nerves and anxiety. You can still do light exercises to keep your body warm and sharp, but nothing strenuous. 

  1. Learn new moves early.

If you really want to add new moves to your arsenal, you have to do it at the beginning of your training camp. Unless you are insanely talented, you need time to let the technique sink into your regular game. In tournaments when you are exhausted, you will only resort to your top techniques that are second nature in your game. If you want to expand that repertoire, you need to add those new techniques as early as possible. Adding new techniques right before a tournament is generally useless.






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Topics: Training Hints and Tips, Tournament/Competition Tips

The Competitive Mentality

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Mar 26, 2015 12:17:00 PM



Competing in tournaments is a hard thing to do for many jiu-jitsu practitioners. Even in the higher belts, the nervousness and pressure never really goes away. But for beginners, competing can be one of the most daunting things they have ever done. Tournaments bring a combination of challenges; the pressure to win, avoiding injury, many people watching you, and an inexplicable feeling of anxiety – a fear of the unknown. Each of these challenges has solutions, some easier to solve than others. Once you have learned how to deal with them mentally, you can start to enjoy competing and even the anxiety that comes with it. 

Pressure to win is probably the most common challenge one faces when entering a competition. Everyone has an innate feeling of not wanting to disappoint their instructor and teammates, even if they never actually put any pressure, such as telling them they have to win. But these practitioners have to understand that you will never really disappoint them. It is only in the very rare situations, perhaps for top jiu-jitsu competitors, that real pressure exists. If you’re not a professional, and you’re not building your reputation for a career, then there really is no reason to fear losing. No one will put that kind of pressure on you – so if you think that pressure does exist, put it out of your head. Most jiu-jitsu practitioners in the world are recreational athletes. They train only because they enjoy it. So if you compete and lose, it’s okay! You really have nothing to lose and a wealth of experience to gain. This single thought can help you overcome this particular challenge.

Avoiding injury is more of a fear than an actual challenge. A lot of beginners, especially after their first tournament, feel the intensity of competition and it leaves a bad impression. This is especially true for older beginners, who are usually more prone to injury. Because the intensity is so high in tournaments, most injuries happen during scrambles or during quick submission catches. At the academy, you usually hold back on the speed of the submission to not injure your teammate. In tournaments the competitors don’t want to take any chances of losing the submission, so they crank it at full speed and power and only release if their opponent taps in time. These are both very valid and real scenarios. But the truth is your chances of getting injured in tournaments are probably not that much higher than in the academy, and as your jiu-jitsu improves, so will your ability to anticipate the dangerous scrambles and minimize your chances of getting injured. 

The anxiety that people get when many people are watching you in action is actually an interesting concept which I’m sure psychologists ponder upon on a regular basis. If you think about it logically, it doesn’t make any sense to be nervous if many people are watching you, especially in jiu-jitsu. It’s not like you are competing against all those people watching, and most of the people don’t even know who you are. That means that if you perform poorly, no one will actually care. There is only one person you really have to think about and that person will be standing across the mat from you. 




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Topics: Training Hints and Tips, Tournament/Competition Tips

What White Belts Should Focus On In Their First Month

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Mar 19, 2015 3:01:00 PM



Starting jiu-jitsu training is a tough experience. It doesn’t matter if you’re a child or a middle-aged adult, the experience is both confusing and exciting at the same time. The first hurdle you go through is usually dealing with the fact that you’re going to be in such close contact with another person. And since you’re a beginner, every rolling partner is a stranger. You don’t know if they are going to be nice and technical with you, or if they are going to be a jerk that’s going to make your life miserable for the next few months - it’s really going to test you. If the jerk gives you a hard time, what will you do? Will you quit? Or will you drive through and improve? In doing the latter, you will not only gain the respect of your new teammates, but you will also be able to fight back and no longer feel the pain or shame of being tapped so often. That leads to the first point - you should focus on learning to defend yourself while becoming conditioned to handle the smothering and heavy pressure of the more experienced practitioners with whom you roll.

 There are many basics someone needs to learn when starting jiu-jitsu. Many of these basics may not be actually mastered until you’re a black belt. The goal is not to be an expert at this stage, but to just be able to use it on people around your own level. These are just a few tips that many beginners overlook because they are generally too busy trying to be on the offense, but as a white belt, you have to practice basic defense and avoidance first.

So what positions or actions should a white belt work on avoiding? The priorities would be getting swept and being pulled into closed guard, which means they should practice maintaining good posture. Fresh, raw beginners should try to stay on top as often as possible, because guard usage is something that may take a lot longer to develop than playing on top. So in the meantime, the top game is something that would come more naturally and will help many beginners hang in there with the others until their guard game improves. That’s why learning to keep your base low and wide is one of the most important rules to keep in mind when you begin training. This will minimize the amount of times you can be swept and the amount of time you needlessly spend being forced to play guard. Once you begin developing proper guard technique, then you can begin to apply those skills as well.

Another basic trick avoids being sucked into closed guard. Very often, beginners stay on their knees rather than standing up to pass open guard. One very easy thing to do is to keep one knee up. Everyone, not just beginners, should make it an instinct to use their raised knee as a type of shield from not only blocking the closed guard, but also starting a proper pass, like a knee-slice. Obviously it’s important to learn how to open the closed guard as well, but avoiding such a difficult position (until proper escapes are learned) should be a priority for raw beginners.




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Topics: Training Hints and Tips

Can You Determine Personality In Rolling?

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Mar 12, 2015 1:00:00 PM



We’re going to get deep with this blog. It will involve us diving into the depths of human behavior and it’s connection to jiu-jitsu, especially when we roll. The thought has maybe dawned upon you when describing friends and acquaintances to others: when describing that person, you realize that your description of him or her was very similar to their style of rolling. Perhaps that person doesn’t like to take chances and will play a super safe game. Oddly enough, this kind of outlook is something that person may subconsciously follow outside of the academy as well. Any sort of commitment with a level of risk (even minimal) they won’t do, or at least won’t do alone. The list can continue, but what is curious is whether there is truly a consistent correlation between personality and rolling. Try and keep an open eye for this connection at your gym. It can be a fun mental exercise in the academy and it’s an interesting exercise to do since you know the personality and rolling style of your teammates. 

So what are the different types of jiu-jitsu styles? This is important to know for this exercise as a guideline. There are many styles to play on the mat, so it’s best to mention the most obvious and common games. The two that standout the most are the ‘tight’ game player and the ‘loose’ game player.

The ‘tight’ game is for guys that like to close any space between them and their opponent as soon as possible. They like staying on top and clenching down tightly on their opponent. They like to take their time. Everything is slow and methodical - they will only explode if they really need to. To pass guard, for example, they probably prefer to neutralize the legs by clamping them together to the ground. You won’t usually see these guys preferring to pull guard either - they would go for the takedown and play a top-centric game. 

So how does this connect to personality? Perhaps it would be interesting to observe and see if these people tend to be more stubborn? That they prefer to have their way? By looking at their jiu-jitsu, they don’t like to give up an inch or even try to trick you. They can be somewhat predictable, but very forceful, in their game. 

The ‘loose’ game type is usually favored by the smaller practitioner who likes to surf and move around the guard. They look for the catch submission and try to surprise you. When Bruce Lee said, “be water, my friend”, these competitors heard him well. We’ve all run into players like this, whether it’s someone at your academy or an opponent in a tournament, they know how to move and flow. 

What personality traits can we possibly connect with this game? These would be the energetic and easy-going types. They go with the flow and take life as it comes, same as their rolls. They hunt for the submission that is available and they don’t so much mind crushing you in the process. Next time you’re at the academy, observe and keep an open mind about personality and rolling type.




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Topics: Training Hints and Tips, BJJ in Everyday Life

Two Ways to Convince Your Friends to Start Training BJJ

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Feb 26, 2015 12:00:00 PM



When someone is looking for a new physical activity in which to participate, jiu-jitsu is usually not their first thought. At this point, unless you want to be an MMA fighter, most people do not seek out jiu-jitsu first. Usually they need to be referred by a friend or they have had previous martial arts experience and developed a deeper interest. It’s unfortunate but it’s true - jiu-jitsu is not a sport that anyone can just see on television. MMA is the closest widely televised sport that you can find in relation to jiu-jitsu. Even then, people can’t fully understand what BJJ truly is because what they see in MMA is not the pure form of the sport.

Think about how you started jiu-jitsu – it probably falls under the two scenarios previously mentioned. Since referral seems to be the most popular form of spreading BJJ, here are some powerful and practical reasons to sway the skeptics.


  1.       You can lose weight in a more exciting way than just running on a treadmill.


Usually, adults who are looking to get into a new sport or activity do it for health reasons and/or boredom. They finally looked in the mirror and realized that all those hours at work aren’t really doing much for their body, or they are feeling the impact of being out of shape.

Naturally, their first thought will be to join a gym to run on a treadmill and lift some weights. But as jiu-jitsu folk, we all know that might not take them very far, especially if they have not really done vigorous exercise in the past. Jiu-Jitsu would be a far better alternative because they will get a full body workout and stave off boredom with the mental challenge. Those two reasons alone should peak a person’s interest in our sport.


  1.       Learn how to defend yourself.


A lot of people who see jiu-jitsu for the first time are skeptical about its self-defense aspects. Doubts usually fill their minds: “if you can’t punch or kick, how can you really defend yourself?” or “you don’t wear kimonos on the street.” Considering that they have little martial arts experience, these are valid initial concerns. But usually the best counter-argument you can give for this is to explain that jiu-jitsu really kicks-in when you are initially attacked, not when you are attacking someone. You shouldn’t be attacking anyone anyway! And how do attacks usually start? They usually come as a surprise. If it is a surprise, it will usually come as either a hit or a tackle. If you are struck by a surprise attack then there isn’t a martial art on earth that can really save you from that moment. But if you’re tackled by surprise, you’ll most likely end-up on the ground, or even still be standing.

Either way, as soon as contact is made, your jiu-jitsu will kick-in. Beginners will realize this after they do their first class. They will understand that jiu-jitsu will allow them to neutralize an attack and control their opponent. If you’re in a fight and someone puts up their hands for a boxing match, even if you don’t know boxing you are able to move around, back away, and avoid the situation a lot easier. When you’re tackled to the ground, you can’t run and you can’t move much either. This is where your jiu-jitsu comes into play. This is jiu-jitsu at its most basic form – defending against an attacking opponent. 




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Topics: Training Hints and Tips, BJJ in Everyday Life

How Often Should You Compete?

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Feb 19, 2015 12:00:00 PM



Competition in BJJ is one of the main drivers of the sport and industry. It is an essential part of the culture that has developed around our sport.

Outside of the obvious part of competing to test your skills, tournaments provide several important facets to the sport: opportunities for socializing and building chemistry with your teammates, spectating, checking out products that would not be readily available elsewhere, and most importantly, they are also great for supporting the growing BJJ industry. Tournaments, academies, and gear companies help fuel the growth of BJJ.

The biggest question associated with tournaments is how often one should compete. Thought processes range from one extreme to the other, such as “it is not necessary to ever compete in your life” or “perhaps once is good, just to know what it feels like,” to “if you don’t compete you’ll never get your next belt.” So, what is the truth of the matter?

At its base, the importance of tournaments is that you can test your skills at a level of intensity that cannot be fully replicated in any academy. The best simulation you can do at your academy is perhaps hold ‘shark tank’ sessions, but that will mostly just push your cardio. Competition challenges far more than just your mechanical skill, as it also challenges your mental state. When competing, most people feel a large amount of pressure. Whether it’s pressure because they don’t want to disappoint their instructor/teammates or they just have too much pride to risk losing, training hard at the gym can never mimic this feeling.

Is it really a big deal to never experience this mental challenge and still be good at jiu-jitsu? Yes and no. If you can go into a gym and dominate but then go into a tournament and crumble because you can’t deal with the pressure, then you’re not a very good martial artist (at least on the competition side). Maybe you’re just a good athlete, but not a good martial artist. BJJ and martial arts in general are more than just a lifestyle, it’s being able to overcome both physical and mental barriers. At its heart, jiu-jitsu is an art of self-defense. If you can’t keep it together in a tournament, how are you going to stay cool on the street if you get attacked?

Competing in tournaments is the most pressure you can put on yourself mentally without actually going and testing yourself in a street fight - which would be a bad idea of course. So, the question remains: how often should you compete? It is different for everyone, but you should compete enough times to where you feel that the pressure of competition has subsided to a point where you can perform just as well on the mats as you do in the gym. There is no harm in competing more often than that, but not everyone can manage that in their busy lives. The main thing is that you were able to conquer the pressure and know that you can utilize the skills you have developed even under the intense circumstances of competition. 



Pick up a few sneaky techniques to use at your next tournament here: 3 Sneaky Attacks



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Topics: Training Hints and Tips, Tournament/Competition Tips

How Yoga Can Help Your BJJ

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Feb 12, 2015 10:30:00 AM




The benefits of yoga are well known to all. You can develop flexibility, stabilize your muscles, control your breath and more. But how exactly do these benefits translate into helping your jiu-jitsu game? 

Flexibility in itself is a huge benefit in BJJ. A lot of jiu-jitsu athletes focus on developing strength and explosiveness, which is important, but often this kind of training is overdone and can leave the practitioner quite stiff. This stiffness makes it much harder to escape submissions and stay in uncomfortable positions. Regardless of what level your jiu-jitsu, there will always be someone that will put you in a bad position. For example, being caught in something like a kimura or americana can really test your flexibility. Often, more flexibility would give you a few extra seconds to execute the necessary escape. 

Developing this kind of flexibility doesn’t happen overnight. Just like technique in jiu-jitsu, flexibility in yoga takes a lot of focus and hard work. But once you develop this, you will feel the gradual improvement in your jiu-jitsu game. Not only will you be able to resist submissions a lot more easily, you will feel your mobility improve. You will become more agile because along with this flexibility, you will also develop strength - a type of yoga-specific strength that will help every facet of your game.

For those of you who have never done yoga before but have seen it, those awkward looking positions are no joke. Holding them for several minutes will develop both your flexibility and muscle stability. In jiu-jitsu, we often must hold awkward positions for an extended period of time. This includes submissions like lapel chokes and triangles. Yoga will help with all of these positions. The more intense the positions you do in yoga, the more intensely you will be able to hold positions in BJJ. It will all come gradually but naturally. 

Now, one thing that people really overlook in yoga is the mastery of breath control. In fact, that is the biggest focus in yoga, more than flexibility. Breathing is seen as the root of all the other benefits of yoga. Without proper breathing, you will not be able to concentrate, go deeply into your stretches, or hold the awkward positions. 

There are several different breaths that are used in yoga. Proper breathing also helps control your heart rate and will slow down the rate of how you tire. The same thing applies to jiu-jitsu, especially in tournaments. The athletes that can better manage their breathing will find themselves tiring much later into the tournament or the match than those who do not. As you train more in yoga, your breath control will become more natural and you won’t even have to think about it – which is the goal. 

Rickson Gracie is the most popular example in BJJ of an athlete that combines his yoga practice with jiu-jitsu. The most famous technique that he uses is when he exhales completely and is able to move his stomach around beneath his abs - you can actually see it happening. This is only one of many things that Rickson can do to show his mastery of strategic breathing. However, you don’t have to be Rickson to learn how to control your breath. Try committing to yoga for a period of time and see what it does for you and your game.




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