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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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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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October Health Tips: 7 reasons why Jiu-Jitsu really helps kids deal with bullying

October Health Tips: 7 reasons why Jiu-Jitsu really helps kids deal with bullying

7 reasons why Jiu-Jitsu really helps kids deal with bullying

 Original article courtesy of GracieMag

Bullying is a real problem in our society today. Left unaddressed, it can lead to serious consequences and sometimes, unfortunately, tragedies. It’s well known that Jiu-Jitsu can be a tool to help kids stand up to bullies, but how? Here are 7 reasons why the gentle art actually helps kids to deal with abusive colleagues.

 1) Self-confidence repels cowards

A bully is a coward. He or she identifies those who lack self-confidence and prey on it. Jiu-Jitsu gives kids the self-confidence to stand up for themselves at the moment of the first approach, usually a verbal one. Once you know that you can defend yourself, you will let the bully know right away and they will usually back off.

2) An antidote to fear and insecurity

There are two main ingredients to bullying: fear and insecurity. The fearful is usually the victim and the insecure is usually the aggressor that seeks confrontation to hide their own feeling of weakness. The gentle art will teach kids to defend themselves when necessary and help them deal with fear. At the same time, it will address insecurity and help that aggressive kid to be more confident, polite and respectful.

3) Respect for differences  

There’s no room for prejudice on the mat. As you have to actually prove yourself against all sorts of people, you quickly realize that we are all equal in our shortcomings and potentials. The difference lies on how much work we put in to neutralize one and boost the other. This notion will most likely accompany the child outside the academy as well.

Stop Bullying

4) The bonds of friendship

Bullies go after kids who have trouble making connections, feel different and don’t relate well o the group. Jiu-Jitsu will work as a mediator and help the child make friends. Being a contact sport, the gentle art is a channel to make everyone fit into the group. If you don’t fear the group, being part of it becomes much easier.

5) Self-esteem balance

Having low self-esteem is the gateway to an isolated, fearful and unhappy life. On the other hand, too much of it can turn you into a cocky obnoxious person, child or adult. Jiu-Jitsu will quickly give that issue the balance it needs so much. As kids win and lose, as we all do on the mats, they learn that it’s your actions that prove your value, instead of what you or others think of yourself.

6) Help for the parents 

Nothing can replace a good upbringing by the kids parents. If a child receives the right values, he or she is on the right track to be a good person. Jiu-Jitsu will help with that, as it teaches the value of hard work, respect for others and the right way to deal with victory and defeat, pleasure and pain, reward and punishment.

7) Pressure release

Life is full of stressful moments for kids and adults alike. We all have to deal with little unpleasantness on a daily basis. Once again, Jiu-Jitsu will teach you how to deal with those less than peaceful moments of life. On the mat, the number one lesson you learn is how to deal with discomfort.

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June Health Tips : The Correct Time to Drink Water

June Health Tips : The Correct Time to Drink Water

June Health Tips : The Correct Time to Drink Water

The June health tips keep you hydrated and more!

Here are the June Health Tips you can easily incorporate into your lifestyle. Every small positive change makes a difference!

You know drinking enough water to stay hydrated is vital for good health. But did you know that there is a correct time to drink water to maximize its effectiveness on the human body? Here are some tips to help maximize your health by drinking water:

drink water

 

 

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March Health Tips

March Health Tips

March Health Tips:

8 Stretches to Energize Your Morning

Here are a few tips you can easily incorporate into your lifestyle. Every small positive change makes a difference!

With the arrival of March we can see a few signs of spring – including the March Health Tips! Longer days and maybe (cross your fingers) warmer temperatures. Still, you may need inspiration to help get you out of bed in the morning.

Stretching is a fantastic way to get the blood flowing and begin your day. Try these 9 stretches from SparkPeople:

 

february health tips

 

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