Is Jiu Jitsu for You? You Decide

My business partners and I just finished another successful Women’s Grappling Camp over Veterans’ Day weekend, this one hosted by our friends at Charles Gracie BJJ Academy of Reno/Carson City. More on that in a future story, but for now, I want to share about a phenomenon I noticed there that I think has relevance beyond the people I talked to about it..

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The Jiu-Jitsu Salieri: Giving Back to BJJ

If you’ve ever seen the 1984 film Amadeus, you saw Best Actor Oscar winner F. Murray Abraham portray Antonio Salieri, a contemporary of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Mozart is arguably one of the most prolific and influential classical musicians who ever lived. In the movie, he is portrayed as the mouthpiece of God Himself, composing beautiful, brilliant pieces seemingly carelessly, despite regularly engaging in coarse, irreverent behavior..

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Ask a Black Belt: The Roles of the Roll: Benefiting from Training with Lower Belts

Dear Ask a Black Belt,

What strategies do you use when you roll with white belts? Does this change as you go up the ranks? In other words, how can higher belts get more out of the time they spend sparring with white belts? It seems like everyone wants to roll with people better than themselves, so what do you say to those who grumble when paired with people whose skill is lower than theirs?

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Ask a Black Belt: Is It in You?

Dear Ask a Black Belt,

Many times I’ve heard the saying, “A black belt is a white belt who never quit.” But recently I was speaking to someone whose opinion I respect deeply who told me that, in his opinion, not everyone has it in them to become a BJJ black belt. That made me think: are there people who love Jiu Jitsu, train with dedication, train for the right reasons and have all the standard physical and mental faculties who, for whatever reason cannot put it all together to reach a black belt’s skill level? Or can anyone with those same attributes eventually be polished and sharpened into expert practitioners? Thoughts?

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Overcoming Loved Ones’ Resistance to Our Lifestyle Improvements

How many times over the years have we confidently and with great motivation established a New Year’s Resolution (e.g., “This is the year I will finally quit smoking/lose 10 pounds/learn to play the zither!”) only to peter out before Groundhog Day? As January progresses, we slowly but surely begin to avert our eyes in front of Nicorette print ads, change the channel when the Jenny Craig commercial airs, and become accustomed to using that increasingly dusty musical instrument as a doorstop..

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Ask a Black Belt: Warm up in Style

Dear Ask a Black Belt,

Do you have any suggestions for warm-up drills that are flowy and fun? I’m looking for things that encourage movement but (at least mostly) don’t allow submissions. It seems like a lot of the beginner ladies at my academy tend to play really conservative jiu jitsu because they’re scared of being submitted. I would like to incorporate drills that remove that fear and instead encourage people to focus on movement and transitions…

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How to Be Coachable: Advice from Expert Coaches

Much is made of a coach’s ability to lead a team and individual athletes to their optimum performance, whether in a high school context or as part of a professional sports team – or anywhere in between. Coaches are frequently retained or released on the basis of this performance, and in high-powered professional situations, the implications are financial as well as results- and bragging rights-oriented..

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Boys and Big Girls Don’t Cry, Unless They Do

When thinking about this article, the Free to Be You and Me song “It’s All Right to Cry” came immediately to mind. Sung by Rosey Grier, a former defensive tackle for the NY Giants and the LA Rams, “It’s All Right to Cry” has a message clearly suggested by its title. And the choice of Grier to sing the song was probably quite calculated to reach men and boys, signaling that even though men are socialized to cry less than women, sometimes even the biggest and strongest of us do – and it’s okay. (Sure, the production values of the video are decidedly disco-era, and Rosey himself is no spring chicken anymore, but I still wouldn’t want to be the person who pokes fun at him for shedding a tear or two.)

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