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What Happens To You When You Begin Training

Everyone who starts Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has a similar experience of being dominated by a training partner. It is often that experience that allows them to not only see some of the benefits of training, but also what they can achieve through hard work. The process of transforming the untrained into the skilled is the summation of countless small details. Here is what happens to you when you start to train.     Your physiology will change. You can look at grappling as a type of strength training. The resistance provided by your partner will make you body stronger and your body's energy systems more efficient at providing fuel for training. Your muscular endurance will increase allowing you to perform more...

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Jiu-Jitsu Curriculum

Brazilian jiu-jitsu is one of very few martial arts with a belt system that does not have a universal curriculum. There are a ton of schools that have curricula, and implement lesson plans with great detail. But if I said "In my school at blue belt you need to know sweep'X'" it is possible there are legitimate blue belts from lots of other schools that don't know that sweep. Regardless, being familiar with a technique that you cannot apply does not even mean much because it is application, not memorization that is primarily valued. So, it is not only possible that a blue belt might not be able to use the sweep, they might also not even play the type...

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Culture Over Coach

When looking for a place to study jiu-jitsu there are several variables a person should consider. One of the more common is who is the head instructor as they are, what is thought to be, the guide for the student on their journey. But the truth is a new white belt is going to spend far less training time with the head instructor than with the rest of the student body as a whole. The head instructor is responsible for crafting the school culture, but it ends up taking on a life of its own. Therefore, looking at the culture of the school and the types of students who train there can be more important than the head instructor himself....

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Mindset Periodization for Recreational Grapplers

In a previous blog I spoke of the benefits of using periodization when training technique to maximize growth.  It is limiting to train the same techniques ad infinitum.  This is not only true for physical techniques, but also for the mindset you use in training; and this becomes especially important for recreational grapplers.   What do you want to get out of training?  Regardless of your specific goal everyone has the goal of improvement.  If you grapple for recreation the dichotomy you must face is that the training that helps you improve the most is often the least recreational.   Improvement requires getting out of your comfort zone and training with people who challenge you.  You often hear the expression,...

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Unintended Consequences

A little while back I was listening to famed philosopher and neuroscientist Sam Harris's podcast Waking Up where he was interviewing David Krakuer of the Sante Fe Institute (a research institute dedicated to the study of complex adaptive systems). David made the point that when new technologies are developed the benefits are often obvious, but that the costs can be obscure.  He used self-driving cars as an example. Self-driving cars will reduce traffic accidents and fatalities.  But something I had not thought of is that they will also reduce our mental map making ability and navigation skills. This got me thinking of the unintended consequences of using periodization to focus on a specific part of a grappling game.       I personally...

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