Archive for Health Tips

Top 10 Benefits of Kickboxing as Exercise

Top 10 Benefits of Kickboxing as Exercise

Amazing Benefits of Kickboxing

Original Article: Fitness Republic

Mixed Martial Arts, better known as MMA, has seen a substantial increase in interest over the past few years, thanks in part, to Ronda Rousey and Anderson “The Spider” Silva. This means that different forms of fighting as exercise, like kickboxing, are once more becoming a popular form of fitness.

Learn self-defence, increase your fitness levels and engage your entire body: the benefits of kickboxing are numerous. From your core arms and shoulder to your legs and glutes, kickboxing also strengthens your muscles while increasing your stamina — and gives you a tough cardio workout to boot.

Here, we highlight just a few of the amazing benefits of kickboxing that will make put on your gloves and get into to the ring.

Gives You Confidence

As with any form of exercise, increased strength and performance increases confidence. This is even more true for kickboxing, since learning a form of self defence proves that you can hold your own, giving you a well-deserved confidence boost. Additionally, a rigorous kickboxing session releases endorphins, a natural mood booster that will also improve your self esteem.

Blasts Fat, Fast

“It’s an incredibly efficient workout. Kickboxing alone burns about 750 calories in an hour,” says Sammie Kennedy, CEO and creator of Femme Fitale, Ontario’s women’s-only kickboxing and mixed martial arts program. “Add in jump rope and conditioning drills, and you could burn anywhere from 750 to 900 calories in an hour.”

While you burn calories, you’ll also be speeding up your metabolism and toning your entire body. The benefit of kickboxing is that it is a high-intensity, full-body cardio workout, which is perfect if your aim is to lose weight and get fit.

Tones Your Entire Body

A typical MMA-inspired class combines classic kickboxing movements with drills, circuit training and core exercises for a total-body workout that will leave you feeling sore for days afterwards.

“There’s a large toning component to kickboxing because it forces you to engage all the muscle groups in your body,” says Kennedy.

Front, side and roundhouse kicks work your legs and glutes, while punching and jabbing tones the upper arms, shoulders and chest. Meanwhile, all of these movements, as well as shuffling, ducking and side bends, will engage your core for the entire workout. Engaging your abs will also ultimately improve co-ordination, while the constant movement in kickboxing improves flexibility and reflexes.

Improves Your Co-Ordination

People who suffer from poor hand and eye co-ordination and general movement stability should certainly practice kickboxing. By strengthening your core and improving your reflexes, you’ll drastically improve your balance and sense of stability. The quick kicks and punches in the routine make you focus your energy with precision in each movement.

Boosts Energy Levels

Performing a high-intensity kicking boxing routine might seem like something that would tire you out, but many people find that the opposite is true. Kickboxing often gives people an energy boost, not just because of the natural endorphins (though that of course plays a role!) but also due to the empowering nature of the workout.

This gives your physical and mental energy levels a boost. After your workout and rest period your body will feel refreshed and full of energy.

Prevents Gym Boredom

For people who exercise regularly, one of the biggest problems they face is gym boredom. Running on a treadmill or using an elliptical day in and day out can get very monotonous. Kickboxing has the added benefit of including an exciting and unusual cross-training element to your normal workouts.

Helps You Stand Tall

Most of us sit hunched over our computers for hours every day, and naturally, our posture suffers. A fundamental benefit of kickboxing is that it challenges a variety of muscle groups that are not utilized in every day chores. Once you begin to develop your core, lower back and abdominal muscles your posture and balance will automatically improve.


A great way to relieve mental stress is using the benefits of kicking boxing by releasing all those pent up frustrations with a high-energy routine. Also, considering the high intensity of the sport you will also see that your concentration levels will gradually improving enabling you to focus on stressing less!

Teaches Discipline

Within the benefits of kickboxing lie the fundamentals of every martial art which is discipline. Following instructions, mastering a set movements and learning specific stances and positions requires determination and discipline. As you excel in the routine, you’ll begin to subconsciously apply the elements of discipline to your daily life and manage your every day tasks with greater ease.

The benefits for kickboxing are numerous; it works your body and your mind, while delivering cardio and strength-training results for a total-body workout. Check out some local classes in your area and find out if kickboxing is right for you.

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Women Who Changed Jiu-Jitsu

Women Who Changed Jiu-Jitsu

Some of the Most Important Personalities We Have Had in Our Sport

Original Article: South African Women’s MMA

Jiu jitsu, as a martial art can be traced back hundreds of years throughout India, China and Japan, and although there is a link between the techniques we see in modern day Brazilian jiu jitsu and the oriental styles of past centuries, the cultures from which they evolved were as far apart physically as they were ideologically. In Brazil, there were no ulterior motives to jiu jitsu, during the 1920s the Gracie family would place regular challenges on newspapers against all other combat styles to test their efficiency against them, to fight, to prove they were better at fighting, the ultimate macho behaviour, this was the latin way not the bushido.

There were a few women, seen in sporadic self defence class videos during the 1930s and 1940s, but none that were allowed to follow through a career in jiu jitsu. A testament of this is the fact that jiu jitsu became a regulated Brazilian sport in 1970, but it took over 15 years for it to open a women’s division. It ultimately happened thanks to the valiant efforts of one very special kind of lady, a lady named Yvone Duarte.

This article here presented, depicts some of the most important personalities we have had in our sport, women Like Yvone, who helped cement jiu jitsu as a leading combat sport, a sport that breaks away from taboos, fears and limitations.

Yvone Duarte

BJJ Yvone

Raised in an all changing decade, Yvone carried with her the free spirit of the 1970′s. Sister to one of the best fighters of the 80′s decade (Pascoal Duarte), Yvone became obsessed with jiu jitsu training alongside her brother at the Osvaldo Alves academy. Though it is often said that Yvone’s greatest achievement in jiu jitsu was that of becoming the first woman to be awarded with a black belt (1990), her contribution to the sport vastly superseded this achievement. Coming from a competitive sporting background, she believed in testing herself, it was this drive that got her knocking on everyone’ door, requesting a female division in the sport. Through her brother’s connections, Duarte managed to convince the Rio de Janeiro federation (FJJERJ) to open the first female division, and the first competition (held in 1985), a competition won by Yvone.

Yvone would not stop here, she was also a pioneer coach, opening her own grappling academy in the late 1980′s, becoming in the process the first woman to open a BJJ academy. She also helped establish the federation of jiu jitsu in Brasilia, capital city of Brazil.

Rosângela Conceição

BJJ Rosa
Rosângela Conceição, commonly known as ‘Zanza’ may not be a well known name to most jiu jitsu fans, but she will forever be part of the history of this sport having earned its first female world title (1998). Prior to her world title, Zanza was a well known judo figure. Her relationship with jiu jitsu came through judo. Seeking to improve her ground work for the Olympic sport, she started training BJJ with the Gama Filho team (currently called GFTeam). Strong and athletic, Rosângela quickly made a name for herself in the sport, conquering the epic ‘Mundial’ gold as a purple belt in an ‘all belts combined’ category.

Unfortunately for our sport, Rosângela Conceição would favor judo over jiu jitsu throughout most of her career, eventually competing for her country at the 2000 Summer Olympics. Always seeking different thrills, in 2003 Conceição started wrestling, quickly becoming one of the top wrestlers in South America. In 2007 Rosângela did the unthinkable, winning the first Pan American medal for Brazil in the sport. She would also compete for her country at the Beijing Olympics in wrestling, having become in the process the most accomplished female wrestler in the history of Brasil.

Leka Vieira

Bjj Leka
With an impeccable work ethic, Leka ruled the sport by example during her heyday (the late 1990′s and early 2000′s). Born in a place with very few ties to jiu jitsu, the little girl from Minas Gerais became the first female BJJ star, a status that allowed her to move to the United States in 2001 where she helped inspire many more American women, including her student Cindy Omatsu who was the first female outside of Brazil to receive a black belt.

In the process of awarding Omatsu with her black belt, Leka became herself the first woman to award a black belt (the grade was given in partnership with Rigan Machado). Cursed with some bad injuries over the years, Leka’s career was stopped short, but even with a shorter career than most in the sport, Vieira made history and is one of the biggest names in jiu jitsu.

Leticia Ribeiro

BJJ Leticia
A similar breed of fighter as the aforementioned Leka, Leticia Ribeiro became the face of women’s competitive jiu jitsu for the most part of 10 years.

During the 2000′s decade, Letica managed to achieve a smooth transition between competition and coaching, reaching the best of both worlds. Ribeiro’s female jiu jitsu camp is arguably the best training environment for women around the world, being sought by many of today’s competitors, people such as Bia Mesquita, Michelle Tavares, Mackenzie DernPenny Thomas and many others.

Kyra Gracie

BJJ Kyra
How could there be a list of important jiu jitsu personalities without there being a member of the Gracie family? But don’t be fooled, Kyra’s last name did not earn her numerous accolades, talent and hard work did.

Though Kyra was born with the last name Gracie, becoming a professional athlete in jiu jitsu was not as easy as it may be suggested. Coming from that same long line of latin men we mentioned on the first paragraph of this piece, Kyra had to break the taboos within her own household before she became jiu jitsu’s most recognizable female figure.

Having an impressive competitive record, the Gracie family name, great looks and a charismatic personality, Kyra ticked all the right boxes to become an ambassador of the sport on many different levels, but especially in mainstream media, where she helped raise awareness not only to the female division of jiu jitsu, but to the sport itself.

Hannette Staack

Bjj Hannette
Born in the remote Brazilian state of Maranhão and coming from humble background, Hannette became an example to all young competitors, making a statement for blue collar hard work and a modest demeanor. A true expert in ‘no nonsense’ jiu jitsu, Staack is recognized as one of the legends in the sport and an advocate of the jiu jitsu basics, which earned her 7 world titles in the sport and 3 ADCC titles.

The Brazil 021 team, which Staack co-founded is also well known for it’s work with impoverished areas of Rio de Janeiro.

Michelle Nicolini

BJJ Michelle
Her talent was discovered by Robert Drysdale, but she truly developed into one of jiu jitsu’s most formidable fighters training under Rodrigo Cavaca’s guidance, winning sequential titles from 2010 to 2014 (the last one no longer training with Cavaca).

Michelle Nicoloni is not only a world title record holder in the female division (a staggering 8 titles), but she won most of those by submission, being one of the sports most accurate finishers. Nicolini also became a synonym of creativity, having developed several position changes from the guard, these were the elements that truly set Nicolini ahead of the pack.

Gabi Garcia

BJJ Gabi
Gabrielle Garcia is currently to women’s jiu jisu what Aleksandr Karelin was to greco-roman wrestling in the 1990′s. A true juggernaut in the women’s open weight division being 6’2″ and over 100kg (221lbs), Garcia had the size advantage but it was her highly commendable work ethic that got Gabi where she is. Gabrielle cleaned out consecutive open weight divisions for years, being arguably the biggest star of the Alliance academy, no small deed in itself considering Alliance is the most successful jiu jitsu academy in the history of the sport.

Laurence Cousin

BJJ Laurance
Another inspiring figure of the sport is Laurence Cousin, the first female European black belt was also the second non Brazilian to win a world title at the black belt division (2007), the first being BJ Penn.

Cousin dedicated her life to martial arts, being a black belt also in Aikido by the age of 18, but it was in jiu jitsu that she found her true calling, still competing very regularly 7 years after winning her world title.


If jiu jitsu in Brazil was built on the backs of unbreakable men who saw jiu jitsu as the ultimate way to test themselves, jiu jitsu women seem to have followed the same path by continuously breaking barriers and molds through their perseverance and technical ability. An example of women perseverance and ability to lead in this sport came through in the highly debated and controversial ‘head gear ban’ imposed by IBJJF (International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation). This rule, which left a large portion of Muslim women outside the sport’s main tournaments due to their ‘hijab’ custom, was changed in 2014 after Caroline de Lazzer led a movement that pressed for IBJJF to allow headgear in competitions. This was an important step for jiu jitsu, considering it is such a big sport in the UAE.

Women like the ones represented on this piece have proven time and again, that in jiu jitsu there are no ‘weaker sexes’, just one very powerful martial art

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Think performance, not weight class

Think performance, not weight class

One big mistake many people make when training for jiu-jitsu is trying to remain in a certain weight class.

One big mistake many people make when training for jiu-jitsu is starving themselves because they want to remain in a certain weight class. However, the most important aspect of competing is your performance, and it’s most important to tailor your diet to ensure that you do well when you compete. Eat a balanced meal of proteins and carbs before and after training so that you replenish any nutrients you’ve lost. You can raise or lower the amount of carbs you’re eating based on whether you’re trying to gain weight or lose it. Just keep your protein intake up, as you need it to support extreme workouts.

Brazilian jiu-jitsu is one of the world’s most difficult and demanding martial arts. It’s no surprise that it takes a strict and comprehensive regimen to train for it. Here is the complete list of nutrition tips for your training.
Eat three square meals a day
A famous diet created by jiu-jitsu experts is called the Gracie diet, and it relies on eating three well-balanced meals per day. The meals consist of vegetables, meat or seafood, fats, starches, sweet fruits, raw bananas and milk.
The Gracie diet was developed to help Brazilian jiu-jitsu fighters get enough nutrients to replenish spent nutrients and to maintain weight. You can find advice online for adjusting it while you attempt to change weight classes.
Drink water
Drinking water is important for anyone in the world but particularly for Brazilian jiu-jitsu competitors who train hard and sweat copiously.
To stay properly hydrated, drink regular water and not sports drinks throughout the day. Try to drink about a gallon of water a day when training (three-and-a-half to four litres), and you’ll be sure to not only replenish what you lose but give your body an ample supply so it can function at its best.
Eat only lean protein
Protein is the key to rebuilding muscles after you train, but you don’t want to eat greasy, fatty protein like burgers or bacon that can slow you down and add pounds on.
Instead, when you go for protein, choose only lean choices like chicken breast, tofu, or fish, so that you resupply your muscles without putting any strain on your heart or body weight.

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Yoga & Jiu-Jitsu: A Natural Symbiosis

Yoga & Jiu-Jitsu: A Natural Symbiosis

It almost seems as if the arts of yoga & jiu-jitsu were designed to complement each other

Original article courtesy of Jiu Jitsu Brotherhood 

There are so many similarities and mirrored truths between the two of them. It’s not surprising that they both have roots which are entwined with buddhism and ancient india.
Besides having been proven to alleviate depression, high blood-pressure and a host of other physical ailments, yoga will also help your bjj is many specific ways, several of which I have outlined below:

Jiu jitsu often causes poor posture and and skeletomuscular imbalances. The upper back is often rounded as you are holding onto your opponent, the hip flexors and psoas are usually tightened because the knees are tucked up towards the chest, and as for the neck and shoulders.

Regular practise of the various asanas and vinyasas is the best remedy I’ve found for this imbalanced state, due to their twofold effect of lengthening and opening the body. As an added bonus, many of your submissions will also improve. Very often your effectiveness with these movements is hampered by the imbalances mentioned previously, and you can see how addressing those with yoga will allow you to generate more power. Regular and consistent practice can also help with back pain.

Although you can get away without being flexible in jiu jitsu, it’s an attribute that’s unquestionably beneficial. The greater the range of motion in your joints, the more options you will have in each position. In fact, some parts of jiu jitsu will be completely inaccessible to you until you develop the required suppleness, the rubber guard being a good example.

My first coach used to say ‘One of the best things a fighter can have is balance’. Over the years I came to understand just how true that was.Yoga is exceptional for developing balance. Many of the standing asanas are done unilaterally (on one leg), which not only improves stability but sport-specific strength as well.I’ve seen professional athletes challenged by the most simple of these postures. Mastering them will massively improve your top game by making you far harder to sweep. It’ll also improve throws and takedowns.

One of the most valuable ways this is achieved is through breath control. Not only will the vinyasas teach you to coordinate your movement and breathing, but yogic techniques such as pranayama will enable you to engage your diaphragm and utilise your lungs to their full capacity. This will greatly improve your stamina during rolling.

Besides all the numerous physical benefits, yoga has extensive, positive mental effects. Some of the more challenging asanas require immense concentration, and sychronizing the movement and breathing during vinyanasa cultivates a certain focus and stillness of the mind which is invaluable during the heat of a a difficult sparring match. I’ve also noticed that memorising the sanskrit names of the various asanas as well as their correct alignments has much overlap with learning bjj techniques.

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Can Jiu Jitsu Help With Mental Illness?

Can Jiu Jitsu Help With Mental Illness?

According to One Expert, The Answer is a Resounding ‘YES’ – Jiu Jitsu Helps Mental Illness

Original article courtesy of Jiu-Jitsu Times by Averi Clements

When you live with mental illness, your greatest opponent on the mat isn’t the person you’re rolling with. Instead, you find yourself grappling with your own mind… and it’s a fight you won’t always win. The National Alliance on Mental Illness estimates that nearly 19 percent of U.S. adults experience mental illness in a given year. For 1 in 25 adults in the United States, that illness will “substantially interfere” with daily life and activities, according to the National Institute of Mental Health.

Basically, you’re not alone. Not even close.

Those of us who do jiu-jitsu know just how much this sport can help in the fight against illnesses like depression or anxiety. What might be a bit harder to understand, though, is why it helps so much. Sure, we’ve all heard about how exercise releases endorphins— a.k.a. the “happy hormones”— but let’s be honest: if brief spurts of happiness were all it took to get better, mood disorders wouldn’t be the third most common cause of hospitalization in this country.

As a clinical therapist and a black belt in jiu-jitsu, Durango Martial Arts Academy professor Nick Maez knows a thing or two about mental illness, BJJ, and how the two are connected. Whether on the mats or in therapy, he’s dedicated his life to helping people. He once worked as a case manager, but these days, he focuses on an integrated health model concentrated on how people can make their physical and mental health work with and for each other.

The idea behind integrated health care is that a healthy mind equals a healthy body and vice versa. Maez explains that a common situation seen in mental illnesses is that the patient’s neurons aren’t firing properly, creating a sort of “dead zone” in the brain. But when we get physically active, our brain has no choice but to start firing those neurons. “You see it a lot with people who work in computer-based jobs,” he says. “They’re brilliant. Their brains are great, but because they sit at a desk all day, their bodies suffer from things like inflammation, and as a result, their brains get cloudy. Eventually, they have to get up and move.”

While most experts in the mental health field will tell you that exercise is crucial to a healthy mind, it’s rare to find one who knows just how much the art of jiu-jitsu can do for the brain. But Maez was so curious about it that he did his grad school project at the University of Denver on the link between jiu-jitsu and mental health. Since then, he’s learned quite a bit about how our time on the mats can help us cope with whatever life throws us.

One of the most prominent ways jiu-jitsu assists in helping us stay mentally healthy, says Maez, is in the way it teaches us to survive under pressure. “If someone is smashing you in side control, you learn how to shrimp out and get them back in your guard. Juxtapose that with life situations like financial struggles or marital problems, and it’s the same idea. You’re dealing with both internal and external pressure, and you have to learn how to survive under that,” he explains.

As anyone who has ever rolled can tell you, jiu-jitsu also has a special way of helping us learn to be comfortable in uncomfortable situations. According to Maez, such an important lesson is crucial for people who live with disorders such as social anxiety. “Jiu-jitsu also teaches a lot of communication skills. People [with social anxiety] don’t want to go there, but jiu-jitsu teaches you how to flow. You learn new positions, you learn that sometimes you have to go to places you don’t want to go. It teaches you to be a flexible thinker.”

“With diagnoses like depression, anxiety, or PTSD—the ones that rule the mental health world— you’re going to find that your mind isn’t in the present. It’s often in the past or in the future,” he continues. “You’re re-living or anticipating some kind of event that takes you out of the now. But in jiu-jitsu, you can’t be ‘somewhere else,’ or you’re going to get choked or armbarred. You have to be fully in the present.” By training our minds to concentrate on the right now, jiu-jitsu can help us stay focused on what’s happening in our lives today rather than last year or next year.

That doesn’t mean that we should only think about the present, though. Whether you attend jiu-jitsu, traditional therapy, or both, you’ll notice that goal-setting is an important part of getting better. Unfortunately, our own doubts are often the things holding us back from achieving what we want. “I think of exercise like therapy,” says Maez. “If you’re 40 pounds overweight and you walk into a gym and judge yourself or get scared, you won’t succeed.”

The key to ensuring that your mental health is getting the most out of your gym routine, he says, is to create an internal dialogue with yourself and stop worrying about critics. “You need to say to yourself, ‘I’m here for my goals. This is my journey. However I need to get there is personal.’ In jiu-jitsu, in therapy, in whatever, don’t be afraid to ask for support. Ask for private lessons at the gym. Ask for more homework in therapy. You have to be as open as you can to the experience. There’s so much growth in vulnerability.”

Although team sports are great for the social aspects of mental health, Maez — who has also played football and baseball— insists that part of the reason jiu-jitsu is so good for our minds has to do with its individual nature. “The mats don’t lie,” he says, explaining that it’s easy to point the finger in team sports and blame others on things that went wrong. Jiu-jitsu, however, creates introspection. “If you mess up in a competition, you can’t blame your teammates; you have only yourself to blame. But that’s good, because it makes you look inside and be honest with yourself if you want to get better.”

Maez connects this with the roadblocks that many people experience in therapy. “A lot of people look back on past experiences and blame their parents or their spouse for their problems when they should be learning from them and asking themselves, ‘How can I change this now to be a better person tomorrow?’” When we’re forced to constructively criticize ourselves on the mats, we learn to do the same throughout other aspects of our lives. And oftentimes, recognizing our own shortcomings instead of blaming others is an important step in breaking away from the mental illnesses that hold us back.

All of this sounds just fine, but it doesn’t do us any good if our mental illnesses are holding us back from getting to jiu-jitsu class in the first place. How are we supposed to reap these benefits if our depression won’t allow us to get out of bed or our anxiety is keeping us from live rolling in front of our teammates?

“I’m a big advocate of there being two truths. For example, in this case, the truths are, ‘I want to go to class’ and ‘I don’t want to go to class.’ So you have to think, ‘How do I walk that middle path? How do I find that balance?’” Maez encourages those of us who battle with our minds to “act opposite” of what our illness is telling us to do. “If you have depression, you can probably tell what thoughts are coming from you and what thoughts are coming from your depression. So if you feel like your depression is telling you to stay home, but you have the tiniest desire to go to class, get up and go.”

Not only will going to BJJ help you get all the benefits that it offers, but getting in the habit of doing the opposite of what your mental illness is encouraging you to do can help you reclaim your life. When your illness has you stuck in an emotional pit, being able to stand up to it in such a way can act as the first step up onto the ladder that will lead you out of the darkness.

Your jiu-jitsu obsession can be a great sidekick in your fight towards better mental health if you allow it to be. I’m a staunch advocate for adding traditional therapy to your self-care plan as well, but if you can’t, it’s important to be aware of all the ways your time wearing your gi or rashguard can help you stay healthy inside and out.

“Research shows that a healthy mind and a healthy body go hand-in-hand,” says Maez. “When you do jiu-jitsu, you’re working towards both at the same time.”

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7 mindset tips to improve your Jiu-Jitsu from white belt to black belt

7 mindset tips to improve your Jiu-Jitsu from white belt to black belt

Use These Tips to Improve Your Jiu-Jitsu

Original article courtesy of GracieMag by Graciemag Newsroom serves up seven lessons for practitioners of any age or level. Stick to the seven and to improve your Jiu-Jitsu right away.

1. Consistency means not making haste: Use your mind, not your body’s strength. After all, it’s better to practice Jiu-Jitsu three times a week for an entire lifetime than seven days a week for three years and then quit. Balance is an important ally in your evolution as a practitioner. Don’t overuse your muscles and ligaments and you’ll go far!

2. The most important muscle: The most important muscle for anyone who does Jiu-Jitsu is the heart, the endless desire to tap out but be back the next day to learn some more. Another vital part of our body is the ear. Keep your ears well trained to listen for and respect the pointers from all your companions at the academy, especially those older and higher ranked than you but also rookies and white belts.

3. There’s always a way out: If your game has reached a plateau at the academy, that doesn’t mean it’s time to make a stink about it or think the gentle art’s not for you. All black belts have been through that and persevered until they reached a solution.

4. The path to fighting on automatic pilot: repetitions: It’s the greatest Jiu-Jitsu lesson, cultivated as much by your instructor as by the superstar Rodrigo Minotauro: you only get the finish on automatic pilot if you repeat the position ten, 50 times. Invest time in creating a solid foundation by repeating basic moves during warm-up. With the basics firmly entrenched, you’ll be able to build solid Jiu-Jitsu with no openings.

5. Believe in yourself until it transforms you: To improve, you need to be the first person who believes you can do it. Trust in the art, believe in your efforts, turn Jiu-Jitsu into your conviction, and the changes will occur quicker than you’d ever thought possible. Don’t think before going to training, just stick your gi in your backpack and head to the academy.

6. Flood your body with health: You can never have too much fruit, fresh water and pure air. Cut the stuff you KNOW is bad for you. Take good care of the instrument that is your body. Only thus will you be able to age and still do the same activities you enjoyed in your youth.

7. Nourish your hobby with good reading!: Want to find out more about the gentle art and have fun with some intelligent, interesting and at the same time laid-back reading? GRACIEMAG’s the magazine for you, the Jiu-Jitsu practitioner. Subscribe to GRACIEMAG for a special price by clicking here.

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5 Ways Jiu Jitsu Will Help You Live a Longer and Happier Life

5 Ways Jiu Jitsu Will Help You Live a Longer and Happier Life

Incorporate These to Live a Longer and Happier Life

Original article courtesy of GracieMag by Ivan Trindade

We all know how powerful Jiu-Jitsu is for changing anyone’s life. The gentle art is an awesome tool to help one abandon unhealthy habits and work on a cleaner lifestyle. On GRACIEMAG #151, we dove into the actual ways BJJ can help you live a longer and happier life.

Here’s what we came up with after we searched the wisdom of Master Carlos Gracie Jr.

1. Philosophy: We all age (if we are lucky). There’s no pointing in fighting the passage of time. What we have to do is adapt our lifestyle to each stage of life. Our body will tell us what we are capable of doing and what we are not capable. once we do that, we can achieve a state of mind where we search for pleasure without incurring in hedonism. What you have to seek is satisfaction.

2. Sleep: Sleeping is rebooting your vitality. The more active you are, the greater is your need for rest. Master Carlos Gracie Jr. is know for not allowing himself to sleep less than 8 hours a night. The lack of sleep is the entry way for illness, bad performance and a shorter life.

3. Breathing: Anxious, tense, jumpy people breath like they are constantly drowning. On the other hand, people who project confidence breath in a calm and constant rhythm. Master Carlos Gracie Jr. performs a breathing warmup prior to every roll. It consists of a series of perfectly paced breaths that compress the diaphragm followed by a long intake of air to fill up the lungs.

4. Nourishment: It is simply impossible to be healthy if you don’t mind what you put inside your body. Master Carlos is a fine example of how the wholesome attitude promoted by the gentle art can influence our entire lives. he likes to choose and prepare everything he will intake. Also, he learned how to read the signs his body is sending. You need to know when your organism is telling you it is satisfied, full, hungry, thirsty, etc.

5. Exercise: Looking good is great, but not enough to stimulate you to have a continuous routine of physical activities. The true incentive, according to Master Carlos, needs to come from how you feel on the inside and not how you look in the mirror. As you get older, you will fell more and more the results of your choices. So, if you haven’t started to live a healthy lifestyle yet, do it asap.

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Never Give Up: 10 Ways to Keep Your Gas Tank Full for Jiu-Jitsu

Never Give Up: 10 Ways to Keep Your Gas Tank Full for Jiu-Jitsu

Never Give Up: 10 Ways to Keep Your Gas Tank Full for Jiu-Jitsu

Original article courtesy of GracieMag by Ivan Trindade

Let’s just hope Marcelo Garcia doesn’t hear us, but here are ten awesome off-the-mat activities to keep your gas tank full.

We went after some of the best in the business and they shared with us how they complement their routine of training.

Here is the list:

1. Swimming: Put that bathing suit on and jump in. Swimming is great to increase your cardio and also one of the best all-body activities. Another great feature is the virtual no impact environment provided by the water.

2. Jumping: Exercises that include jumping are great for the cardio aspect of your training and also increases the muscular strength of your legs and you know there’s no guard without strong legs.

3. Gi bars: What about strengthening your upper body and also making your grips stronger at the same time? That’s the package offered by the gi bars. Use different grips to the gi and practice actual fight situations.

4. Rope climbing: Again, work your grip strength, but also your cardio and core. If you keep your legs perpendicular to your upper body, you will also work your abdomen muscles.

5. Running on the sand: The soft and irregular surface increases the effort of each step, which is great for the cardio. Also, the reduced impact puts less stress on your joints and muscles. Mix short and fast runs with resistance exercises where a partner holds you back as you move forward.

6. Stairs: A classic among Jiu-Jitsu competitors, climbing stairs is one of the best cardio efforts you can add to your routine. Breath right, find your rhythm and rest properly between climbs to have an even better performance.

7. Leg press: Making your legs stronger is vital for a strong guard game. When you are able to mix great technique with the strength of your legs, you’ll be able to create a lot more problems for the passer. So, don’t skip leg day.

8. Boxing pads: The classic boxing training method will increase your speed and improve your reflex, while also working on a better cardio. Remember that if you react faster, you’ll be able to use less energy to defend and attack.

9. Rubber bands: A simple tool with multiple uses. The rubber band is ideal for resistance exercises even when you are not in the gym.

10. Chains: As you lift a chain from the ground it gets heavier. This increase in effort will help you deal with those moments in a fight when there’s no rest in sight and giving up is not an option.

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3 Tips for Maximizing Your BJJ Training When Life Gets in the Way

3 Tips for Maximizing Your BJJ Training When Life Gets in the Way

3 Tips for Maximizing Your BJJ Training When Life Gets in the Way

Original article courtesy of BreakingMuscle by Samuel Spiegelman

As the sport of Brazilan Jiu Jitsu grows there are going to be more opportunities to train full time, but the majority of students must try to balance work, school, family, and training. Everyone wants to train like they are getting ready for the black belt division at the Mundials, but thinking like this can lead to injury and over-training.

It is not easy to balance all the elements in our lives. That does not mean you should not train hard, but in order to improve you need to train consistently. When training time is limited your goal is to get as much as you can out of every training session. The key to getting the most out of each session is actually what goes on when you’re not at the academy, dojo, or gym. If you have not recovered from a previous training session your current one will suffer. To improve your recovery (and your training) you need to focus on nutrition, mobility, and sleep.

Tip #1: Nutrition

If you ask the average Brazilian Jiu Jitsu student what their diet looks like you will get some scary responses. Some students eat very little, thinking starving themselves will help them drop weight for a tournament. Others eat everything, thinking they are going to burn off the extra calories.

Your number one priority when it comes to nutrition for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is performance. You will submit no one if you are not able to perform. One of the hardest things is trying to balance performance and weight. Eat too much and you may not make weight for a tournament. Eat too little and you will not be able to perform your best. To make up for this people cut out food groups – fats and carbohydrates are the two most common. The problem with this is that carbohydrates are needed to replenish glycogen and fats are needed for healthy hormone production. Cutting any of them out completely will not help your performance. You can find all different types of calorie calculators on the Internet, but the average person does not have time to weigh and measure every drop of food he or she eats. A simpler way to keep your nutrition in order is to match your activity to your food. On the days you train hard eat more, on the days you don’t eat less.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training sessions can be as hard on someone’s body as a killer session in the weight room. It’s one of the few sports that is a mix of anaerobic and aerobic. There are periods when you are sprinting and there are others when you are jogging. There are positions that look similar to strength training movements. Framing away from side control to get your guard back looks similar to an incline press. The physical demands of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu are enough to deplete glycogen and damage muscle tissue. Most people understand that after a weight training session they need to have some type of recovery drink or meal. Yet after a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training session few people take the time for a recovery shake.

You will find all types of recovery drinks out there with various ratios of protein to carb. Do not worry about ratios at first. Just get some protein and carbohydrates in your system within an hour of your training session. A scoop of whey and a banana works great, or some lean protein and white rice or sweet potato. An hour or so later eat again – some more protein and carbs. If you are trying to drop body fat, then eat fewer carbs in your second recovery meal. If you want to gain weight, you should eat more carbs. Try to limit fat during the two post workout meals. Fat tends to slow absorption after you workout and we want to get nutrients back in the body fast.

Tip #2: Mobility

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu can place your body in some strange positions. On top of that repeating the same movements over and over again creates asymmetries that will eventually lead to injuries. The concept of mobility goes beyond increasing range of motion. Mobility is an amazing tool for recovery and injury prevention. When time is limited, mobility work tends to get pushed aside. I would argue mobility is just as important as your nutrition. Spend fifteen to twenty minutes every day on mobility work.

Mobility work can be done at home, before class, or after training. It does not need to be done all at once. When time is limited try this routine:

Before Class:
Foam roll the thoracic spine, lumbar spine, latissimus dorsi, quadriceps, and hamstrings. Spend 1 to 2 minutes foam rolling each area.

After Class:
This is a great time to perform mobility exercises that look similar to stretches. Using a Jump Stretch band focus on the hips and shoulders. For the hips, attach your band to a stable surface at the level of your hip. Step through the band with one leg and raise the band until it is at the height of your hip. Step back with the leg that you placed through the band and drop your back knee to the ground. This position will look similar to a lunge. Spend 3-5 minutes holding this position on each hip.

For the shoulders attach the band to something so it is located above your head. Facing away from the band reach back and place your elbow so it is resting on the bottom of the band. Reach back and grab the band with the same hand slowly start to stretch your shoulder. Spend 3-5 minutes on each shoulder.

For the knees, door handle squats work great. Use a door handle or anything that can support your weight. Drop to the bottom of a squat keeping your hands on the door handle and hold that position for 3-5 minutes.

If doing mobility before or after class is not an option, then do it in the morning before work or at night before bed.

Tip #3: Sleep

The cheapest and easiest thing you can do to improve your recovery is sleep. Since the majority of students work or go to school, the bulk of their training takes place at night. Training at night can cause some to have trouble sleeping. Sleep is essential for proper recovery. Without proper sleep, performance and health will suffer. Studies have shown that after one night with less than four hours of sleep, blood sugar levels are elevated the following day. Studies have been done on basketball players showing a decrease in free throw percentage after a night of limited sleep.

To improve your sleep, first look at your nutrition. If you just got done training your post workout shake should contain some carbohydrates. The carbohydrates will spike insulin and lower cortisol. High cortisol at night will keep you awake. Second, take some high quality magnesium. Magnesium calms down the nervous system allowing for better sleep and recovery. Make sure the magnesium you purchase is chelated.


In every Brazilian Jiu Jitsu class you can find students of all different ages, skill levels, and professions. Some work full time, and others train full time. The amazing thing is that everyone trains together. Some students do not have the ability to train every day. Some, if they can, train twice a day and need to get everything they can out of each training session. Nutrition should be taken seriously, mobility should be done everyday, and sleep must be a priority – for all of these athletes. As you get older and life gets busier, what you do outside of the gym becomes just as important as what you do inside of the gym.

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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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