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Best Martial Arts for Women’s Self-Defense

self-defense women

 

Original Article: Mmalife.com

When it comes to self-defense, men have a variety of martial arts to turn to because men, in general, have more muscle mass and are bigger. But for women, there is only one martial art worth learning (first) for self defense purposes. That is brazilian jiu jitsu (BJJ).
No other martial art will give as big of a return ratio in terms of time spent learning to real-life effectiveness. That is, other martial arts are also effective, but will take longer to get to the same level of effectiveness in jiu-jitsu when it comes to saving your life in a real-world confrontation.

So why is BJJ such a good martial art for womens’ self-defense? Here are the 3 reasons why.

The Size Of The Assailant Doesn’t Matter (Much)

If the assailant does not train BJJ, then the size of the assailant is almost negligible after 1-2 years of consistently training. Jiu jitsu was made with the small person in mind. Helio Gracie, one of the fathers of modern BJJ, was himself quite small. So he designed the art to fit his purpose.

There Is No “Puncher’s Chance” With Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

There’s something called a “puncher’s chance” in striking. That is, striking has an element of luck in it that anyone can get knocked out at anytime with a lucky punch (or kick). It is not always the most technically skilled person that wins the fight—this has been proven countless times in boxing, kickboxing, muay thai, and MMA events. Sometimes, the less skilled fighter wins with a lucky strike, be it a punch of a kick. When it comes to grappling, luck is taken out of the equation. Sometimes, you can make up for technique with strength. However, when you are against an assailant that has no grappling training, you can easily neutralize the strength of your opponent with some time spent training BJJ.

It Doesn’t Take Strength To Render An Assailant Unconscious (Or Subdue Them)

The one really great thing about BJJ is that you can render someone unconscious, break a limb, or subdue someone no matter how small or “weak” you are. With striking, you need a certain amount of force in order to render someone unconscious or knock them down. The formula for the amount of applied force is mass multiplied by acceleration. Thus, how much big you are (mass) is a variable when it comes to the amount of force you can apply on an assailant. Even with other grappling arts (such as wrestling or judo), there is a lot of strength required. If you have ever tried to take someone down, you will know that a certain amount of explosive force is required to succeed. But with BJJ, strength is rarely the determining factor if an experienced practitioner is going against someone without any grappling experience. People without BJJ experience will not know how to defend against submissions or use their body weight to keep someone on the ground. That is, you can easily get yourself in a position to apply a submission to end the assault very quickly.

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How anxiety almost ruined BJJ for me and what I did to stop it

 

Original Article: Gi

Life has a tendency of keeping us on our toes. A few months ago, I wrote an article about how to deal with panic attacks while training BJJ, but little did I know that a major mental health episode was lurking around the corner.

The thing about mental health issues is that there really isn’t a cure just remissions. I spent most of my teens on medication after being diagnosed with panic disorder, generalized anxiety disorder, and depression, but eventually all my symptoms disappeared. For 8 years I was completely symptom-free, but the last two months have brought my struggles back with a vengeance.

My identity had in some respects been constructed around the fact that I had “recovered” from my mental issues, I felt invincible at times, immune to anxiety and depression. I would later learn that relapses are quite common and unpredictable, the weird thing about anxiety is the symptoms aren’t always the same and this is how my descent into a mental health crisis began.

The last year has been quite stressful for me. There were some issues in my personal life and I went self-employed to launch grapplinginsider.com and I felt like I was handling myself well. No matter how stressed I was I could always find solace on the mats and I used jiu-jitsu as a distraction for what was going on in my mind.

It all started with a niggling neck pain. A sore neck is nothing out of the ordinary in BJJ, so I just continued to train through it. Eventually, the pain worsened and it was joined by some intense vertigo and dizziness. One night I had to leave the gym mid-session and quite honestly I was certain I was about to die.

I ended up in A&E and was diagnosed with Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, given some medicine and I was happy enough to know that this illness would only be temporary. Over the next few days, the symptoms got worse. I ended up in A & E twice more, on the final occasion I was violently sick and I was so dizzy I couldn’t stand. I was sure that I had a brain tumor, a heart condition, or something that was imminently going to kill me.

After all my tests came back negative, my doctor told me that she thought it was anxiety. I was shocked, I have been symptom-free for years, trained a lot and competed without any anxiety, so I couldn’t and wouldn’t believe the diagnosis. I spent the next few weeks trying to ease myself back into BJJ and take the anti-vertigo medicine I had previously been prescribed, but it seemed like every time I got onto the mats the symptoms got worse.

Eventually, I realized that my symptoms were all being caused by the fight or flight response. My neck muscles were seizing up due to stress and that was competing a vicious cycle of anxiety reinforcing my physical symptoms and me becoming hyper-aware of every bodily sensation to the point of obsession.

Explaining anxiety to someone who has never suffered it is difficult. For me its a dark specter that lingers in the periphery and feeds off every vulnerability I have. Anxiety catches every doubt I have and before I can dismiss them, it exasperates it.

The hardest part of my mental health crisis was not being able to train as much, or as hard as I would like and when your only form of income is writing about something you love, but can’t do it gets hard. I am pleased to say I am over the worst of this episode, but I know I’m not alone 1-2 percent of the population suffer from panic attacks and I hope I can give you some advice on how I have gotten better.

The first thing my gp did was offer me an antidepressant, but I declined. I have previous experience with them and I’ve honestly never found them helpful and there is some debate about how effective they are for treating anxiety. The gold standard of treatment for anxiety is cognitive behavioral therapy and while the waiting lists are long in the UK, the beautiful thing is that its effective to do it yourself. I found this book really helpful for helping me to understand/implement CBT principles.

At the time of my mental health crisis I was also consuming a lot of caffeine and by a lot, I mean A LOT. On an average day I was probably having two Monster Zeros and a coffee or two. In hindsight I can see how I was priming myself for an anxiety attack. I have cut caffeine out completely and while I miss coffee dearly, it isn’t worth the anxiety.

I have become a supplement nerd. I always dabbled in supplements, but since this episode I have really invested time and research into sorting out a good stack to help my body and mind. I tried CBD oil, but it made my anxiety worse, I’m guessing my endocannabinoid system just doesn’t work right as I know others who swear by it. My life saver has been Ashwagandha which has been scientifically proven to reduce anxiety.

Annoyingly doctors will likely push you to try anti depressants instead of cleaning up your diet and telling you to exercise more. I will say that during my crisis diazepam was a life saver and helped to turn off my nervous system when it was in complete free fall. It gave me the room to start working on myself without dealing with constant panic.

Getting back into jiu jitsu helped and I wouldn’t have been able to do it without the understanding of my coaches and my teammates. If you are struggling talk to your teammates and you’ll be surprised by how many struggle too, or those who will just support you anyway.

Recovery from a mental health crisis isn’t linear and you will struggle at times, but it is completely doable. The prognosis for anxiety disorders is incredibly high and you are not alone in going through it.

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White to Blue Belt, the most important step

gracie-bjj

 

Original Article: BJJFanatics

We all know that bjj is one of the most difficult martial arts and that the learning curve is extremely high. Bjj has the highest dropout rate of any martial art and this is not very surprising. There is no preconceived notion of how to grapple, but almost everyone has a preconceived notion of how to punch and kick.

That being said, learning bjj is like learning how to swim. The most important belt in bjj is white, and the biggest step is getting to your blue belt. Why is this? When you’re a white belt, for the most part, you have no idea what to do, so all the information you are receiving is new. You have to build a foundation, learn what bjj is, and you will get in shape as you struggle and tap out.

Building a Foundation

White to blue belt is the biggest step because this is the time where you will learn the fundamentals and build a foundation to grow upon. Since most of us who start bjj have no prior grappling experience, everything we learn is laying down a foundation to build on.

This foundation will also help you develop the skills necessary to learn self-defense. As Joe Rogan says, in bjj “A blue belt is a dangerous person on the street and knows more than 99% of the people in the world.” Building a foundation is going to allow you to progress in your future bjj journey. Check out this article on escapes here to help you build upon your escapes.

Learning what BJJ is

An enormous part of white to blue is learning what bjj is . What do we mean by this? When you start bjj, most of us assume there will be punches and kicks, but we soon find out that the sparring, for the most part, doesn’t incorporate punches or kicks. We also find out that a lot of academies start sparring from the knees and the objectives are either to pass, sweep, or submit your opponent.

This is why white to blue is so important, we learn the way bjj classes function, how sparring works, and what your objectives should be. Starting bjj is always intimidating, that’s why so many people stop. It is extremely difficult and can discourage people.

Getting in Shape and Tapping Out

Getting in shape and tapping out are perhaps the most important parts of the journey from white to blue belt. Rolling as a white belt and being at the bottom of the food chain is when you will exert massive amounts of energy rolling. This is because you won’t know what to do so you will put 100% effort into everything you do.

You will also tap out more than ever and learn from it. You will get beat up, hurt, and tired beyond belief but it will grow you and help you progress in your bjj journey. The more you tap the more you learn. Check out this article on the importance of grips to help you build a foundation.

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15 Tips For Being The Best Jiu-Jitsu Parent

15 Tips For Being The Best Jiu-Jitsu Parent

15 Tips For Being The Best Jiu-Jitsu Parent

Original Article: jiujitsumag.com

Being a good jiu-jitsu parent will help your kids get the most out of their jiu-jitsu, in both the short-term and for the rest of their lives. This list shares many of the things found to be the best for kids, not only in jiu-jitsu but in any new endeavor they take on.

01 Be encouraging
02 Stay calm
03 Don’t fret over bumps and bruises
04 Help your kids be prepared
05 Let the instructor do the coaching
06 Lead by example
07 Help them avoid junk food, encourage a healthy diet
08 Remember your commitments to them
09 Don’t push too hard
10 If you have a complaint, bring it to the instructor, don’t burden your child with it
11 Focus on the positives
12 At tournaments remember it’s about them, not you
13 Don’t argue with the referees
14 Don’t do anything that would make your kid not want to go to jiu-jitsu class
15 Jiu-jitsu for kids should be fun, don’t forget that!

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A Guide For The Novice: Competing In Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

A Guide For The Novice: Competing In Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

A Beginner’s Guide for Competing in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Original Article: breakingmuscle.com

Competition can be a big part of the grappling experience for practitioners who are so inclined. The conventional wisdom is that competition helps expedite progress and enables practitioners to test what they think they know in a martial arts competition, first time competing in grappling, competing in BJJ more realistic environment, under duress. For the first-time competitor, the experience can be daunting. The stimuli fly fast and furiously; the noise of the audience, the referee’s instructions, your coach’s voice, and your own nerves are all elements to deal with over and above the matter at hand, which is trying to grapple well, at a heightened intensity level, against a likely unknown adversary.

I’ve heard it said the ability to compete well is a skill in itself, and as with grappling technique, it’s a skill we can work at. For those of us at the beginning of our competition journey, here is a non-exhaustive list of suggestions that might help the novice competing in brazilian jiu-jitsu have a more enjoyable experience.

Keep it business as usual:
Right before a competition is probably not the best time to alter your usual training routine radically. On game day, try to do what you normally do before you train. Stretch, warm up, eat, listen to music, etc, the way you have in the time leading up to the competition. This has two benefits. First, it helps you feel it’s just another day, which may help calm your nerves. Second, it ensures your body won’t react adversely to a new smoothie or bar you decided to try (though any butterflies in your stomach may wreak their own havoc).

Weigh in ahead of time:
Competitors are grouped according to experience level and weight. In many tournaments, if you are too heavy, you are automatically disqualified. So make sure you are “on weight” BEFORE you have to weigh in officially. There are usually scales available for this, so you can find out if you are where you need to be or if you have to do a little running to sweat off some ounces.

Double up:
Bring two sets of gear. If you are competing in a gi tournament, bring two gis and two sets of whatever you wear under your gi. Many tournaments measure the fit of the gi to make sure it meets regulations. If your gi does not, you will not be allowed to wear it in competition and may be disqualified. Bring a second set of gear so you don’t have to run around asking your friends if they have a loaner for you.

Arrive early:
Especially if you have never been to the competition venue before, arrive a couple hours before your scheduled competition time. While it is unlikely the tournament will be running early, arriving with some time to spare will give you the opportunity to case the joint and develop some familiarity with the goings-on, identify a place to warm up, and, if you’re me, use the bathroom at least a baker’s dozen times.

Have a game plan:
Chances are, if you are competing, you have had some strategy sessions with your coach prior to competition day, both in terms of what your plan is for your matches and in terms of how you will work together. Touch base with your coach to make sure you are still on the same page.

Choose your state of arousal:
Apparently, anxiety and excitement register similarly in the body on a physiological level. It is our mindset that gives them an emotional association. Thus, to some extent, you can choose whether you are going to be excited or nervous to compete. Whenever I feel nerves creeping in, I have taken to making myself smile. It sounds crazy, but it actually works—it makes me feel more eager and fortunate that I get to compete, rather than scared and subdued.

As I mentioned, this is a non-exhaustive list. World class competitors are likely to have developed their own personal routines over time; as you become more experienced as a competitor, you, too, can create your own strategies. And if you have the opportunity to learn from any of the best about how they prepare for game day, do it!

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