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6 Tips to Master Your Internal Dialogue

internal dialogue

ORIGINAL ARTICLE: CHOPRA

Perhaps you’re familiar with the expression, you create your reality. It’s a popular and catchy phrase frequently used in the Human Potential Movement that refers to the way our mind, through attention and intention, structures our experiences and perceives our reality. Dr. David Simon once said, “Reality is a selective act of attention and interpretation.” According to this view, our attention is what we put our mental focus on—but it is during the interpretation that the intellect analyzes and derives meaning. This interpretation takes place in the form of internal dialogue.

But just what is internal dialogue? Put simply, internal dialogue is the conversation our ego is having with itself. It’s the sub-textual voice that applies logic, reasoning, and beliefs to situations, people, and events. It also serves as a filter for those experiences and colors the way in which we see the world. As such, the internal dialogue plays a vital role in deriving meaning from our life and reality. When our internal dialogue is dark, negative, and dismal, we see a world filtered through those qualities. Conversely, when we have positive, uplifting, and optimistic internal dialogue, we perceive those states as the backdrop of our life.

What follows are six steps that can help you to master your internal dialogue and shape your life into one of happiness and fulfillment.

1. Spend Time in Silence

Meditation is one of the first and most fundamental steps in mastering our internal dialogue. We typically have anywhere between 60,000 to 80,000 thoughts each day and quieting our turbulent mental environment creates the blank canvas upon which to paint a positive internal conversation. When the mind is still it becomes a fertile field that is receptive to the seeds we plant there.

In addition, meditation cultivates our witnessing awareness and helps us pay attention to our mental commentary and its contents. Until we have the clarity of mind brought on by meditation, it becomes very difficult to override our tendency for rote intellectual repetition with positive internal dialogue.

2. Cultivate Gratitude

Gratitude is a powerful mental state that causes a palpable transformation in our internal landscape. When we put our attention on those things we can be grateful for, it automatically shifts us out of a negative mentality. Just by simply repeating the statement, I am so grateful for _____, we create positive momentum in our internal dialogue. Focusing on what’s good or uplifting in your life also conditions you to stay vigilant in looking for more of the same gratitude-worthy experiences to come into your life—or as the saying goes, where attention goes, energy flows.

3. Actively Avoid Negativity

There’s no doubt that negativity is widespread in our modern world. Wherever we look, there seems to be no end to it. This, in part, is due to our brain’s negativity bias—an actual tendency to notice negative situations and events more easily than positive ones. We inherited this neurological artifact from our ancient ancestors who, due to their constant survival mentality, had to always be on the lookout for danger or anything that would put their lives at risk. A beautiful sunset or a good meal was overshadowed by the more pressing needs of safety and shelter. We still carry this tendency within our nervous system and it often inhibits our ability to see the good in the world, even when it’s right in front of us. Therefore, we have to commit ourselves to turning away from negativity as often as we can.

Negative energy can be contagious and pollute the internal dialogue with fear, anger, and other dense mental states. While we can’t avoid all negativity, being consciously aware of refocusing our attention away from the negative and toward the good can have a powerful effect on our internal dialogue.

4. Harness the Power of Affirmations

“’I AM’ are two of the most powerful words, for what you put after them shapes your reality.” – Unknown

Affirmations are strong, positive self-talk statements that can help to reprogram your subconscious mind and internal dialogue toward a more constructive mental environment. To “affirm” means to make firm that which you wish to be true or experience. Affirmations help us replace our old, stale, or obsolete mental commentary with new and more inspiring ideas. With regular practice, affirmations can help to focus your internal dialogue upon your intentions and keep your attention on what you want rather than what you don’t.

 

5. Practice Impeccable Speech and Behavior

Your speech and behavior are natural outcroppings of your internal dialogue. In a similar way, your actions and speech reinforce your internal dialogue. Therefore, when you consciously choose to practice impeccable speech and behavior, your internal dialogue will automatically become more positive and refined. Being impeccable means behaving in accordance with the highest standards of propriety. In essence, it means being unimpeachable and without fault. This can be a tall order and while none of us are perfect, we can continually aspire to carry the spirit of impeccability within us, refraining from anything that could be potentially considered hurtful to others.

To quote Jesus Christ in the Gospel of Matthew, “It’s not what goes into your mouth that defiles you; you are defiled by the words that come out of your mouth.” Remembering this can go a long way in maintaining the impeccability of your internal dialogue.

6. Remember Your True Nature

When we get swept up in the ego’s hype and melodrama, it becomes very easy to lose ourselves and forget our true nature as an unbounded spirit. We feel localized in the heavy, object referral world of positions and possessions, roles and titles. However, this is not who we really are. When we identify with our true selves, pure awareness, or pure consciousness, we have the instant recognition that we are free from limitations, that we have spontaneous knowing, and that we exist in a state of complete fulfilment.

As we are reminded in the Bhagavad Gita: “Fire cannot burn it, water cannot wet it, wind cannot dry it, weapons cannot shatter it; it is eternal, it was never born and will never die.” That is our true nature, and when we remember this, our internal dialogue shifts to become a reflection of that knowingness.

The Sanskrit Sutra Sat Chit Ananda as described in Deepak Chopra’s book, The Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire captures the essence of this idea—truth, consciousness, bliss; my inner dialogue reflects the fire of my soul.

Make an effort to incorporate these tools into your life to keep your internal dialogue positive and uplifting. Practicing them regularly will open the door for you to create the reality you wish to experience.


Discover Deepak Chopra’s practices and tools to help you feel positive and inspired every day at Seduction of Spirit, our six-day meditation and yoga retreat. Learn More.

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Competing: Pros and Cons

Competing: Pros and Cons

Original Article: BJJSTYLE

Competition plays a major role in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Pick up any BJJ magazine or surf the web and you’ll find competitions and successful competitors highlighted.
Walk into almost any BJJ academy and immediately see medals, trophies, and pictures from tournaments on display. There are a number of regional, national and international organizations and tournament circuits now making regular competition accessible and a real option for athletes around the world at all belt levels. These organizations and tournaments are popular in the BJJ community, as they provide points of reference – sometimes even including ranking systems, rallying points for teams and the opportunity for notoriety for both athletes and teams based on positive performances.

Competitions also serve as a platform to display and discover new techniques and strategies to the larger BJJ world outside of the athletes’ individual training circles.

As an instructor, I often use competition footage to make points or bring ‘real world’ perspective to lessons covered on our mat. Due to that practice and the focus of much of the BJJ media on competition, some of my students have asked me for guidance in terms of if or when to compete. To their surprise, I offered advice both encouraging and discouraging competing that I would like to share.

Reasons to compete

One of the main reasons why athletes should compete is the reward of benefitting greatly from the process of preparing for competition. That process includes paying greater attention to technical details during class and in positions, often more mat time over-all, some focus on “areas of weakness” and a self-imposed, over-all “higher personal standard” being applied to training sessions.

These individual benefits would be substantial but – taken as a whole – they provide a compelling argument for competing to improve our BJJ regardless of the results achieved.

Competition expands our BJJ experience. As athletes, we train at our local academies or with our regular training partners. There is a level of comfort there over time as trust is developed and friendships often established. Competition allows us to be exposed to “strangers” who may or may not have similar views, coaching approaches or styles to us. This stimulation can be a positive thing as it can challenge us to think about our own BJJ and grow in our understanding of BJJ. Beyond that, competitions can serve to introduce us to others in the BJJ community that we otherwise would not meet, providing us with the opportunity to make new friends in the community. All in all, tournaments can really help enrich our personal journeys by enlarging our scope and perspective of the community.

Competition helps us develop the skill to process adversity in a positive way. Even Buchecha and Gabi Garcia, the current Mundial open division champions, have lost matches – so it stands to reason that we, if we compete, will lose matches as well. No one is unbeatable, so competing puts us all in the position to deal with losing. Derek Kaivani, black belt and co-owner of Lucas Lepri BJJ and Fitness, says that this opportunity for personal growth is the “most valuable thing we get from competition as it is a life-skill that goes way beyond the mat in its ability to generate success in our lives”. Tournament victories are fantastic and we compete to win, but losses should be valued as well as they can improve us both on the mat and in the game of life if we allow them to. The by-product of honing this skill is that it takes needless anxiety out of competing and that makes us more capable of producing our best in the stressful situations that competitions often represent.

The last reason to consider competing is that it is often FUN! Some consider the actual matches fun, while others enjoy the preparation and yet others savor the “glory” that comes post-competition. Competing also brings teams together in a unique way that helps “jump-start” friendships, which also helps everyone have a good time. When I look back at 20 years of BJJ, most of the BEST times I have had have tournaments center-stage. Whether I was competing at regional or international tournaments or I was coaching/cornering a teammate, I have fond memories of great times full of humor, excitement, and camaraderie. Wherever we find the fun individually, the point remains that tournaments are often a great source of it for everyone involved!

Reasons not to compete

The first reason why competition may not be a good idea for us is if there is some physical reason we cannot compete. This may sound like common sense to most of us but it needs to be covered. I am not talking about “discomfort” here but real injury or a physical condition that prohibits us from safely competing. If a doctor says we cannot compete, we should not compete. No prize, medal or amount of prestige is worth potentially risking our health. Once we cross this line, we are taking something that should be positive and making it harmful and negative.

Related to this point is the inability to properly prepare. Reasons can be family obligations, work, an injury, etc that prevent us from training or dieting in a way that will support our reasonable preparation. Also, in this category is competing before having enough mat-time to safely participate. To this end, I tell students to have at least 6 solid months of training before even considering entering a tournament.

While most of us can safely compete in tournaments physically, many of us do not have the skill I eluded to earlier: the skill to process competition in a positive way. I have a saying that I repeat during competitions season, “If you are not ready to lose, you are not ready to compete”. It is NOT a defeatist mentality, it is simply looking realistically at the possible outcomes of competition and making sure we are prepared for the worst. When we push towards the best and yet are prepared to deal with the worst, we free ourselves from allowing the worst to have a fatal impact on us. Every academy has at least one example of the talented BJJer who competed, lost and then was never the same. That person was not prepared for the worst. If the choice is between potentially quitting BJJ and not competing, I will always push that athlete not to compete, at least until they are READY to process any potential outcome in a better way.

Some BJJ athletes simply do not have the desire to compete. This is NOT referring to the athlete who says they do not have the urge to compete BUT they SMASH every training partner they can get their hands on and keep score during all sparring sessions – that person is simply fooling themselves. The person who has no genuine desire to compete does not treat teammates like the enemy and can often be an AWESOME training partner and teammate as there is not any ego involved in their training. This is not to say that they approach training with any less intensity or have any less love for the sport. This athlete simply has a different view of BJJ or different personal goals. BJJ is so much more than the competition so we must be open to those of us who embrace the elements of teamwork, technical growth, and the overall lifestyle in a way that does not manifest itself in a combative way.

All things considered, I believe competition can be a great tool to both improve our BJJ games and to add layers to our BJJ experience. When my students ask me about whether to compete, I encourage them to do so if they can have a genuine desire and are willing to prepare. I also make sure my students understand that tournaments are to be used to help them reach their BJJ goals and not to elevate their standing in my eyes. Competition can help spur growth but is not a REQUIREMENT for advancement. In short, use tournaments to get better and have fun – do not allow tournaments, or anything, to sour you on BJJ or derail your BJJ journey. See you on the mat!

Don’t forget to check out Gracie’s new online instructional website, Roger Gracie TV.

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Your Bjj New Year’s Resolutions

Your Bjj New Year’s Resolutions

Original Article: Gracie Barra

After the holidays have passed – and with it all of the rich foods, Christmas desserts, drinks and sleeping off the big meals on the couch, it is time to think about getting back to bjj training. The media is filled with features on health and diet advice for those who have made a “New Year’s Resolution” to quit smoking, stop drinking alcohol and/or go on the dreaded celery and carrot stick diet.
As practitioners of bjj, we can use the start of the year to embark on some new training goals to add some fresh motivation to our training.

Training Layoffs

If you have been absent from the academy for any reason, this is a good chance to get the kimono out again and get back on the mat. Start back slowly and allow yourself enough time to “get the rust out” and restore some of your previous conditioning before returning to the intensity of training that you may formerly have enjoyed.
One of the biggest sources of frustration for those returning after a layoff is expecting to resume training at the same level and intensity from which they left off.
Attaching an unrealistic time schedule to your return to full speed will likely end in frustration. You have to allow your body to adjust to training again. Go slowly at first and build your intensity and frequency gradually. Before you know it, you will be back rolling at your previous levels.

Check the conditioning blog here!

Concentrated Learning

For those of you who have not been absent from the mats, you can use the start of a new year as a time to begin a new area of study in your jiu-jitsu.

I pose the question:

What area of jiu-jitsu – if concentrated on for the next 8 weeks – would cause the greatest improvement in your bjj game?
I have successfully used this concentrated approach to training to radically improve several different areas of my bjj game. It might be working from a new DVD set that has been released on guard passing, arm triangles, positional escapes or whatever you have identified in your own game.
Over a period of weeks, this becomes my focus in training and I can raise my level in that concentrated area beyond anything that would have been possible by just showing up at the academy and training normally.

This year have decided to focus my bjj New Years resolution on butterfly guard.

I have some techniques that I have employed for years, seen some moves that I would like to try to integrate, and need a new challenge in my game. I would also like to tie the different isolated techniques into more of a system, where one technique flows into another and I develop combinations.
Two months of concentrated drilling and positional sparring, YouTube research and experimentation with your training partners (try to enlist them in your campaign ass well) will stretch my butterfly guard proficiency to previously unreached levels.

So, what is your bjj New Year’s Resolution?

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Jiu-Jitsu and Holiday Season

Jiu-Jitsu and Holiday Season

Original Article: BJJFanatics

The holiday season is finally upon us.  If you celebrate Thanksgiving, this week will be filled with family, feasts and for some of us, missed training.  As amazing as the anticipation of the holiday season can seem with its lure of time off from work, from school, and from our normal routine, we must be careful that we don’t derail the progress we’ve made by straying too far from the routine and lifestyle we follow throughout the rest of the year.  Here are just a few ways that training jiu-jitsu can help ensure that your holiday season is the best it possibly can be this year!  By applying a few of the aspects of the BJJ lifestyle you follow year-round can make the holidays more festive and healthy for you.

Jiu-Jitsu and Holiday Stress

There are so many causes of stress during the holiday season.  First off, the changing of seasons and the onset of the cooler weather tends to force people to be indoors much more which can lead to periods of relative inactivity compared to the rest of the year.  In addition, the shorter days, especially if you’re in the part of the world where daylight savings time brings utter darkness by dinner time, the lack of sunshine can be very depressing and can actually lead to conditions like Vitamin D deficiency and seasonal depression.

As wonderful as our families may be, the annual social gatherings filled with people you don’t see the rest of the year can be stressful in itself.  Holiday classic films like Planes, Trains, and Automobiles and Christmas Vacation come to life for many of us as we spend extra time planning, traveling and visiting with as many family members as we can during this special time.  Even if you enjoy this process, it is still stressful.  It is still a change to your normal routine and can impact your health and well being.

How can jiu-jitsu help us during these hectic festivities?  Science has long shown that physical activity of any kind can help relieve stress by helping to release excess energy and release endorphins.  BJJ can also do so much more because of the community that surrounds you at your academy.  Chances are you have friends and peers who also train.  Being around those folks can help fight off the winter time blues and give you a welcome break from the Aunt Marthas of the world.

With that said, it’s important to try to be as consistent in your training as you possibly can.  Your instructors and coaches have families and responsibilities too, so there is a good chance that your academy may be closed during some of the holiday season more than usual.  Do you best to get in training while the gym is open.  Rearrange your schedule if Thursday (Thanksgiving) is a typical day you plan to train and your gym is closed.  Some academies also offer Open Mats in lieu of regular classes during this time.  This can be a great way to squeeze in an extra hour or so of training when your gym was supposed to be closed.

So what do you do if your gym is closed or you’re traveling for the holiday season?  If you’re planning to travel, it’s always to see if there are other gyms in the area that you might be able to check out.  Most BJJ academies are amazingly hospitable and if they’re having classes or open mats, will welcome you.  But let’s say you’ve tried that and there is no one open in the vicinity where you find yourself.  What can you do?  Anything you want, do another physical activity of any kind to keep yourself moving.  Yoga and BJJ-related body exercises (shrimps, bridges, etc.) are something you can do anytime with limited space.  A short weight training circuit can do wonders for your stress level even if you have to utilize the limited options at a hotel fitness center.  Twenty minutes is all you need to make sure the rest of your day is festive.

Jiu-Jitsu and Holiday Overeating

Coupled with the stress that the holiday season can bring, the prevalence of huge feasts can be a daunting obstacle to your jiu-jitsu goals.  Whether it’s the potluck buffet at work or the holiday dinner with relatives, the chances of overeating are high this time of year.  You just spent 6 hours in the car listening to Christmas Carols on your way to your relative’s house.  What better way to numb your suffering but through a pile of mashed potatoes and half a pumpkin pie.

Sticking as closely to your jiu-jitsu training schedule can help with these holiday binges by helping to burn off some of the calories you may be consuming.  It has also been shown that physical activity can sometimes curb one’s appetite and help minimize the amount that you eat.  If you are lucky enough to be able to train on the morning of Thanksgiving, for instance, there can be a truly satisfying feeling having just rolled for an hour or two before sitting down to dinner.

What are some other things you can do to help control yourself and possibly minimize the damage should you veer off course?

DRINK LOTS OF WATER

This is one of the main tips that Tom DeBlass gives out when giving someone any type of nutritional advice.  He has stated in the past that he’s seen dozens of people lose upwards of 10 lbs of weight making no changes to their nutritional approach except adding one gallon of water intake to their daily plan.

DON’T LET YOURSELF GET HUNGRY

When you’re rushing around and dealing with the hectic holiday season, it’s easy to skip meals or go long periods without eating.  This makes us prime targets for binge eating and will make even the toughest, most disciplined athlete weak in the face of that cookie and dessert table.  Plan in advance and have plenty of healthy snacks available.  Protein and healthy fats can be some of the best items to snack on.  Eggs, nuts, greek yogurt, and low-fat cheeses can be quick snacks that will give you a few hundred calories to keep you satiated and possibly save you a few thousand calories of mindless binge eating later.

The Holiday Season and BJJ Community

The holiday season is predicated on the importance of gathering together with your friends and families and enjoying quality time.  This goes for your jiu-jitsu family as well.  Perhaps your school plans holiday get-togethers.  Do you best to support and get everyone involved in these events.  We cannot be successful without our teammates and this time of year can be a great time to acknowledge them.

Jiu Jitsu can be a life-changing art that can inform your life year round, especially during the holidays.  It will help you stay calm under pressure, burn off some stress and extra calories.  By staying consistent you will eliminate the holiday layoff and the challenging return that can sometimes follow.  You will also get a jump on those New Years resolutions and be way ahead of the competition!

BJJ instructionals can be great gifts for your friends and family members who train or even for yourself.

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Training with a Full-Time Job and a Family…Is it Possible?

Training with a Full-Time Job and a Family…Is it Possible?

Original Article: RollBliss

A HUGE contributing factor towards why people stop doing or participating in whatever hobby or extracurricular activity their currently in to, in my non-scientific and purely anecdotal experience, revolves around commitment issues.

To be more specific: TIME COMMITMENT!

It’s very difficult to fully receive the benefits and/or complete enjoyment of any given activity without putting in some time and dedication. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is no different! In fact – time, dedication, devotion, and money are all required (again, in my opinion) by the jiu-jitsu practitioner in order to progress in skill and ability.

As a married man with three young children and a full-time corporate job, I’ll often get asked: “How on Earth do you find the TIME to still train jiu-jitsu?!” It’s a valid question! Anyone who begins training understands that not only is time and commitment required to get better at jiu-jitsu but, also, it’s a very addicting activity that intoxicates the practitioner to the point of obsession where the desire to train isn’t difficult to obtain but finding the time to train sometimes is.

It’s all about balance

For some, there doesn’t seem to be enough time in the day for one to set aside for training BJJ. For others, their training gets in the way between themselves and a functioning social life outside of the mats. I’m definitely not here to judge anyone’s priorities but, again, as a married man and father of 3, I find that there is a way to balance life and jiu-jitsu.

I’m fortunate that I have an understanding wife who is on board with me budgeting time throughout the week towards training BJJ. Ideally, I train 3 nights during the week and then the Saturday morning class offered at the school I’m a member of. Each class is roughly one hour of instruction and then roughly an extra hour of open-mat styled rolling or situational drilling.

You don’t have to be great at math to figure out that I spend a lot of time during the week on the mats!

Personally, I benefit from my school having a training schedule that fits with my life’s schedule. I’m able to make the 7 pm class because my wife and little ones are all getting ready for bed around that time so my wife isn’t too overwhelmed with our kiddos while I’m away training.

During the Saturday morning classes, I’m able to bring my older kiddos with me (if need be) to help give my wife a break and they’re old enough to sit in the waiting area and entertain themselves with technology or playing with the other kids who come with their parents too.

Even though I’m fortunate that my life and training schedule line up reasonably well, I still have to always be mindful of keeping a healthy balance. If my wife and kids require something from me that isn’t part of our “usual” schedule, I  prioritize them over my training. It’s easy for me as Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is just a hobby for me and I’m not a professional competitor with no aspirations to become one either!

Balancing work life too

Much like my personal life’s schedule, my work schedule lines up great too with my training schedule. My usual work hours are the standard 8-5 corporate schedule and training for me starts at 7 pm. There are lunch classes offered throughout the week that I’ll sometimes frequent but, more times than not, I stick to the usual evening classes.

Most BJJ schools tend to make a training schedule that fits the “average” person’s life schedule, so you probably benefit from that too at your school! It makes sense as a business to accommodate your members as best as possible so unless you have a really awkward life/work schedule, you’ll probably be able to find a school that offers training during times that you have free.

Since I desire to keep my current position with the company I work for, I always make sure I don’t let my training affect my work life. Aside from the swollen ears, eyes, and fingers, my training rarely mixes with my work (except for the times I may daydream about choking certain coworkers as a means of conflict resolution)!

In a perfect world, training or competing in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu would be my work and I’d get paid to practice, teach, or showcase the beautiful art. Until then, I balance work with my training like I balance my personal life with my training.

Wrap up

I’ll admit though – there have been many times where I’m tempted to neglect a lunchtime conference call because I’ve got the itch to train at a lunch class. I’ve also genuinely considered skipping out on “Meet the Teacher Night” at my children’s school because I’d rather be on the mats with my buddies…  but it all boils down to what I’ve been emphasizing this entire article: life is all about balancing the things you enjoy with the things you’re obligated to do in order to maintain your desired lifestyle!

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Here’s How BJJ Strengthens Both Your Body And Mind

Here’s How BJJ Strengthens Both Your Body And Mind

Original Article: Evolve Daily

Martial arts is both physical and mental. In fact, there is almost an equal importance between the two when training to become a martial artist. The way the body moves fluidly to execute techniques, it requires great coordination and presence. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, in particular, serves as a prime example of this concept.

Referred to by many as ‘the gentle art’, BJJ focuses on grappling and ground techniques. It basically promotes the concept that anyone of any size can defend themselves against bigger, heavier opponents by utilizing sound technique and leverage.

It is a martial art that requires not only a lot of physical strength but also the mental capacity to make quick decisions in given situations. Because it requires a lot of intelligence to practice, some say BJJ is the closest martial arts gets to chess.

BJJ is such a great physical and mental workout. Practicing the discipline every day will quickly enhance both areas. For those looking to train both the mind and the body, BJJ is a great system to practice.

There are loads of benefits that you can pick up from training in BJJ. Today, Evolve Daily shares four ways Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is good for the mind and body.

1. It Fortifies the Mind

BJJ is about performing techniques intelligently and strategically, adapting to situations and making transitions depending on how opponents respond. It’s comparison to chess in this regard is truly warranted. Sometimes opponents are able to swing the advantage in their favor, so your next move needs to be executed with intelligence.

You might initiate the grappling exchange by attempting a sweep and transitioning into a leg switch, but if your opponent anticipates it and instead puts you on defense, you’re going to have to adjust and change strategy. BJJ forces you to think several moves ahead, but also challenges you to keep your strategy flexible because anything can happen.

This constant strategizing and plotting exercises the mind immensely. By engaging the mind to deal quickly with the fast-changing tide and momentum of scrambles, it trains our mental strength. With a mind that grows stronger every day, techniques become easier to execute and we are soon able to be more creative with how we use them.

2. It Strengthens the Body

While training and sharpening the mind is one of the most important aspects of BJJ, there is no doubt about the fact that you must also strengthen and train the body. It may not appear so on the surface, but BJJ is one of the most intense workouts you will ever experience.

A prevalent theme in BJJ is that the smaller and weaker man will gain the ability to overpower a larger opponent by executing proper techniques and using leverage. Performing sweeps and locks utilize leverage and technique to overpower larger foes. In this case, it is usually the quicker thinker that gains the advantage.

However, when two practitioners are equally intelligent, then it will come down to who is stronger. The bottom line is that strength isn’t the most important thing in BJJ, but when it comes down to it, sometimes strength will come in handy. Which is why physical development and strength training are both crucial when it comes to practicing BJJ.

3. Improves Flexibility

One of the most significant ways BJJ affects the physicality of a practitioner is that it improves flexibility. Flexibility, of course, is an important trait in martial arts, especially in grappling where one must be limber for the body to adapt to any situation.

Although matches begin standing up, BJJ always ends up on the mat the majority of the time. While all martial arts require practitioners to be flexible, your success in BJJ is dependent on it. By performing many drills, stretches, and exercises in BJJ, you are able to train your body to become more flexible and limber.

Basically the more you are able to stretch, the more techniques and combinations you can execute.

Improving flexibility also makes you a better athlete. This will greatly impact your performance in other martial arts disciplines such as boxing or Muay Thai. Enhanced flexibility is important in any physical sport.

4. Enhances Problem-Solving Skills

Last but certainly not the least, BJJ enhances problem-solving skills.

Because BJJ puts practitioners in many situations where they have to overcome mental and physical obstacles, at times it resembles a very tricky puzzle. How to maneuver opponents and put them in certain positions so that you can take advantage of them, this is what often goes through your mind when rolling.

BJJ definitely makes people better problem solvers. This permeates in real life, as it trains us to think multiple steps ahead of situations in order to find viable solutions. Problem-solving is a major component in BJJ and training this skill surely improves the mind overall.

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The Workout to Burn Off Belly Fat

The Workout to Burn Off Belly Fat

Original Article: Men’s Journal

“You can rip out ab exercises all day long in the gym, but without the right combination of high-intensity fat-burning cardio along with specific abdominal-strengthening exercises that build your abs rather than break the tissue down, you won’t ever show off the results of your efforts,” says Liz Lowe, C.S.C.S., owner of Scorch Fitness, a high-intensity interval training gym in Sarasota, Florida.

Spot training doesn’t work, but this workout does. It’ll burn off the layer of fat hiding your chiseled “show” muscles, strengthen your core, and build muscle density so your abs really “pop,” Lowe says. “Strength exercises such as the front squat, overhead plate walking lunge, Bulgarian and counterbalance squats will work to build deeper core muscles since your abdominal wall is being used to stabilize your entire body during each exercise,” she explains. “The Russian twist, suspension trainer crunch, and decline crunch act as fine-tuning exercises, giving your abdominal wall the shape you want.” What’s more: You’re continuously moving in this workout, so it sky-rockets your heart rate, scorches calories, and burns fat long after the workout is over.

Prescription: This workout can be done 2-3x per week max since muscle recovery is extremely important with any muscle-building and fat-burning routine.

The Belly Fat Elimination Workout

Directions: Complete three rounds of each group of superset exercises. Take no rest until all three rounds are completed, then use the prescribed time to recover before the next superset.

Superset 1
1a. Heavy Front Squats x 6-8 reps
1b. Single-Arm Kettlebell Swing x 10 reps each arm

60 seconds rest

Superset 2
2a. Dumbbell Plyometric Step Up (on a box) x 10 reps each leg
2b. Overhead Plate Walking Lunge x 10 reps each leg

60 seconds rest

Superset 3
3a. Dumbbell Bulgarian Split Squat (dumbbells in front position) x 8 reps each leg
3b. Jump Rope x 45 seconds

60 seconds rest

Superset 4
4a. Plate Counterbalance Squat x 12 reps (As you lower into the squat, your arms should simultaneously raise. Once your thighs are slightly below parallel, the plate should be extended in front of the eyes. Push through your heels and return to the starting position.)
4b. Medicine Ball Russian Twist x 15 reps each side

60 seconds rest

Superset 5
5a. Rope Slams x 30 reps
5b. Suspension Trainer Oblique Crunch x 15 reps per side (Start in a suspended plank position with your feet in the TRX straps (toes pointed down) and your shoulders directly over your hands. Bend both knees at the same time, drawing them together toward your left elbow. Extend both legs straight to return to the plank position. Draw both knees toward your right elbow. Extend both legs straight and return to plank position for one rep.)

60 seconds rest

Superset 6
6a. Decline Weighted Sit Up x 12 reps
6b. Treadmill Sprints x 50 steps (The treadmill is OFF. To move the tread, push off the tops of your feet.)

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Adulting and BJJ: 8 Ways to Impact Your Training When You Have Limited Time

Adulting and BJJ: 8 Ways to Impact Your Training When You Have Limited Time

Original Article: Princeton Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

For most practitioners of BJJ there comes a time in life when shit gets real. After many years of putting your BJJ before everything in your life other than making some sort of paycheck to cover the most basic expenses (in this order): tuition, online training resources, training gear, tournament fees, ramen noodles and cell phone fees, we start to feel like maybe we are missing out on something.

Oh, I don’t know, friendships, romantic relationships, career advancement, family planning, home ownership, financial planning (what’s that? you mean I can’t just clean mats to train for the rest of my life?) suddenly start to feel like they might matter too.

But what then of your precious training time? How on earth will you get better at BJJ if you have to devote time to your long-term existence and success?

It’s a careful balance when you have to consider shifting your priorities. The first and most important battle is admitting to yourself that something else may become more important than BJJ. Now I firmly believe that everyone has a right to be a little selfish in their life because our selfish needs are what makes life worth living. Without our personal ambitions, we may be living for other people vs. living for ourselves. But moving on from the familiar rhythm of training day in and out and regimenting your entire life around your gym schedule is a very scary thing for many people because you feel like you may be lost without training, or you may feel like it means that you don’t love BJJ as much as the next person.

So before you begin to feel guilty about all the time you won’t be able to dedicate to training anymore, remember that your relationship to Jiu Jitsu is 100% yours. You practice for your own reasons, so don’t let anyone else’s goals or routine make you feel inadequate about yours.

Here are some ways to think about your training and exercise your passion when you are constricted for physical time on the mats:

1. Quality, not quantity. When you consider the hours you can actually train per week, no matter how minimal, seek out the best way to spend those hours. If you only have 2 hours a week to train, look at your gym schedule and zero in on the classes where you really jive with the teacher or you have access to the most helpful training partners. Don’t just go to any class on the schedule. Make your time special and make it matter.

Another scenario is that perhaps you don’t have a lot of good schools around you. If you know that there is a good school further away, it may be worth your time to train 2 times a week at a really good school vs 4 x a week at a low caliber meathead club.

2. Put effort into what you train and with who. I often hear the complaint, ‘I’m a brown belt and the school I go to only have white belts and 2-3 blue belts. They don’t push me hard enough.’ This is bullshit (most of the time). Be accountable for your own training and think about what you need to get better. We don’t walk into a clothing store and say, ‘Dress me, I’m here!’ You go pick out the things you like. If you want to work on sweeps, pick out techniques you want to work on and then just hit them on everyone you can. You’re lucky to have another body in the room. It’s up to you to make use of them. It’s also your responsibility to help make them better and mold them into the training partners you’d like them to be. The overall outcome is that you can get what you need out of whoever is breathing and moving around with you. If you have the opportunity to travel to a different gym from time to time where they have more belts at your level, go test yourself out. Take ownership of your practice, everyone is useful in some way.

3. Watch BJJ. A lot of it. If you can’t get on the mats a ton, watch a lot of matches on the internet. Enroll in an online academy. There are so many online resources now. If you’re a visual learner, watching matches may help you emulate movements on the mats. MGInAction has an ‘inaction’ feature where you can watch Marcelo Garcia hit particular techniques in live training over and over again from varying entries. I loaded up a whole bunch of these once and mysteriously found myself trying to hit these moves in sparring a week later. It gave me more motivation to study the techniques more closely. Sites like the Grapplers Guide give you the ability to build flowcharts and link videos. There are a ton of great tools out there to help you methodically piece together your game or help you think about how to push your studies forward.

Alternately, go support a teammate at a local tournament. Watching tournament matches is a great way to see what is trending.

4. Go to a BJJ camp or retreat and consolidate your learning. If you can’t go to class 5 x a week, how about dedicating 2-3 days to training 1-2 x a year? There are some incredible camps and seminars that are being marketed these days with stellar instructor lineups. Find a camp or a seminar series with a solid reputation and in 2-3 days you will probably take in enough technique to keep you going for 6 months or more. This is especially helpful if you are an instructor yourself and you don’t have the option of being a student much because you have to be the responsible leader on the mats most of the time. Going to a camp or seminar allows you to take everything in and be a student again.

5. Stick your nose in a book. Read a BJJ book. Read an autobiography about a fighter your admire. Read about performance psychology. Reading or listening to an audiobook can greatly influence how you think about training. This in effect can affect your physical time on the mats. Perhaps you begin to drill more efficiently or implement routines that you learned about in your exploration.

6. Grab a grappling dummy. For some people, drilling is super effective. Building muscle memory helps you take the thinking out of execution in the moment. If you need hours but don’t have bodies and time, grab a dummy and put in some reps each day on your own time.

7. Create feedback loops. Film your training. You can study your footage and critique your strengths and weaknesses. Then when you get on the mats you can specifically ask your partners to set up training situations that will address your problems.

8. Invest in a periodic private lesson. I see some students on a regular basis and others on a more periodic basis. Working with your teacher or another teacher you enjoy can be a great investment in time and money. They can help you troubleshoot areas you are getting stuck in, or teach you a stylistic series of movements that you’ve never seen before. Either way, you are getting personalized attention for a full hour (typically). This is a big bang for your buck.

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A Few Words On Belt Promotions

A Few Words On Belt Promotions

Original Article: https://graciebarra.com

I read a social media post by Prof. Brent Littel who is a GB black belt that I thought was worth sharing with the GB blog readers. Prof. Brent teaches some classes at Gracie Barra HQ in Irvine, California and has a frank and refreshing perspective on belt promotions.

“A little bjj rant during this promotion season:

Promotions are simultaneously the happiest and most frustrating events for professors.  They are the happiest when seeing the joy in the students who advance. They are the most frustrating when listening to the resentments from those who do not.

So here is a little note to all who do not get that promotion this time: ranks are not objective.  Winning this or that title doesn’t guarantee promotion. Also, beating this or that guy in the gym doesn’t. And, being better than the guys who did get promoted doesn’t guarantee either.

Why? Well, people have different potentials.  Some come in young. Some come in strong.  Some come in with experience, and others come with poise.   A persons rank is reflective of their skill in relation to their potential.  It is not a comparison of skill between two different people.

Thus, when you are held at a rank, it’s not because we do not see your accomplishment. It’s because we see you can accomplish so much more at that rank. So, don’t compare yourself to the guy next to you; compare yourself to the person you can become.  We all are on our own unique journey.”

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Hygiene Guide for Jiu Jitsu Athletes

Hygiene Guide for Jiu Jitsu Athletes

Original Article: www.gbgardengrove.com

While addressing hygiene issues might stink, it’s a crucial part of safety in martial arts. Here are several guidelines to keep our academy sanitary and members healthy:

Wash all equipment after every class. This includes, but is not limited to your kimono, rash guard, shorts, and other protective gear. Besides the obvious benefit of eliminating odor, this can help prevent dangerous infections like staph. Make sure this becomes as natural to you as your martial arts techniques because this is the first and most important hygiene training rule!

  1. Ensure fingernails and toenails are trimmed short before each class.
  2. Shower and use deodorant before and after training. Jiu Jitsu hygiene products like Defense Soap are sold on the web and possible local MMA/BJJ stores like On The Mat in Huntington Beach and Budo Videos in Fountain Valley
  3. Brush your teeth and use mouthwash before training to eliminate bad breath.
  4. Experience, the more likely you are to acquire and keep high-quality training partners!
  5. Treat dandruff with products like Neutrogena T/Gel Therapeutic Shampoo.
  6. Cover cuts and scratches before training.
  7. Never train if you are sick with common communicable sicknesses such as the cold or flu.
  8. Skin issues are a common but serious part of any martial art. It is especially important in grappling arts like BJJ to be able to recognize issues like staph and MRSA and consult your physician for further assistance.
  9. If you suspect a staph infection, get medical attention immediately. These fast-spreading illnesses can actually be fatal if ignored.
  10. If you suspect ringworm, consult a doctor right away. As with all grappling infections, wait to confirm it is completely gone, even after your symptoms appear to subside before resuming training.
  11. Wear compression shorts or Under Armour-style athletic underwear. Boxers and briefs are not only uncomfortable to train in, but they aren’t designed for this kind of activity.
  12. Take everything you brought to the gym with you home when you leave. Leaving these around causes odor and fosters bacteria growth.
  13. Put on footwear when you’re not on the mat. This is absolutely necessary if you have to use the restroom before, during or after any training session.

This simple guide is very effective, but is by no means a “master list”. If you want to go the extra mile in self-care, that’s great! You can never be too clean and your gym will definitely notice your effort.

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