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      5 videos that will inspire you to try Brazilian jiu-jitsu

      5 videos that will inspire you to try Brazilian jiu-jitsu

      Man do I hate it when people make the excuse of “being too old” to start something.  I guess at some point you can become too old, but more often than not this phrase gets thrown around unwarranted.  I started training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) 4 years ago at the mature age of 33.  I am now 37 and do not for a minute regret starting in my 30s.  My BJJ journey is primarily about personal development and becoming better than my yesterday self, therefore the age that I start at is of little concern to me.  I do not compete for fame, glory, or medals.  I compete because competition presents me with adversity and challenges, inevitably forcing me to become the best that I can be.  

      Whether it’s BJJ or muay thai, before you  tell yourself lies such as, “it’s too late to start,”  give it some real thought.  Maybe it’s just your perspective that needs to change.

      Here are my top 5 favorite BJJ videos.  I hope they inspire you like they did me:


      1. ROLL:  Jiu Jitsu in SoCal

      They call California the new Mecca of Brazilian jiu-jitsu. I was lucky enough to have travelled to California in 2019 and trained at 3 different schools (a couple of which are mentioned in this documentary).  The crew of Eat Films travels to Southern California to give us a glimpse into the lives of some of the best gyms and practioners of the sport.


      2. Jiu-Jitsu VS the World

      A great documentary about what makes Brazilian jiu-jitsu great.  BJJ is not just a sport or martial art, it's a lifestyle.  Grab some popcorn and enjoy.


      3. Jiu Jitsu Black Belt Exam

      Peter undergoes testing for his black belt.  A rigorous process that will push him physically and mentally.  Will he succeed?


      4. Pure Roling | Jiu Jitsu Explained

      A collection of rolls, narrated by Roy Dean.  I have watched this video over 4 times throughout the years and still learn something new each time.  It is beautifully put together with great music and camera work.  The narration and slow motion cuts really helped me learn.


      5. Grappling God - Marcelo Garcia Highlight

      The Michael Jordan of BJJ.  If you don't know him then watch this!




      You don’t need to win the genetic lottery to succeed

      You don’t need to win the genetic lottery to succeed

      | Talent + Effort = Skill |
      | Skill + Effort = Achievement |

      Why are we always so quick to initially assume a person’s success is due to talent and never hardwork? "He's so talented!" "She's so gifted" "He's a natural." We have all made and heard of these remarks. Perhaps it is so we can excuse our perceived shortcomings by telling ourselves that we were born without talent or natural abilities. And perhaps that gives us an "out" to even try in the first place. I’m sorry to disappoint you (not really), but effort appears twice in the equations that lead to achievement, not talent. Effort plays a much greater role than talent in the achievement of success.

      Equation #1
      Talent + Effort = Skill

      It is true that talent plays a role in skill aquisition. However, you must note that talent only increases the rate at which you learn that skill. Having more talent may get you there faster, but effort will ensure that you actually get there.  Talent without effort is just wasted potential.

      It may take a little longer to do so, but a moderately talented and hardworking individual can often achieve the same level of success as their extremely talented counterpart. As a muay thai coach and Brazilian jiu-jitsu competitor, I have sadly observed many talented fighters to be among the most irresponsible and lazy. Their talent may have allowed them to strive in the early years of their craft, but as time progresses, I often see them fall behind their less talented peers who were willing to work harder. The less talented individual who hammers away at their craft day in and day out for an extended period of time will eventually succeed. As Will Smith once said:

      “I’ve never really viewed myself as particularly talented, where I excel is ridiculous, sickening work ethic. While the other guy is sleeping, I’m working. While the other guys are eating, I’m working. If you don’t dedicate yourself to becoming better every single day, you will never be able to communicate with people the way that you want.”


      Equation #2
      Skill + Effort = Achievement

      Once you have acquired the skill, you will then again need to put in the effort to make something of it. The measure of personal achievement is relative to the individual and corresponds to their relative potential. For example, achievement for an individual who has always lived a sedentary life could simply mean to develop and maintain a healthy lifestyle through exercise and proper nutrition. While achievement for the physically “talented and gifted” athlete could mean becoming a world champion at his chosen sport. Likewise, there is little to no achievement for that same athlete who possesses the talent and skill to be the best, but instead fails to put in the effort and quits before that potential is realized. In all examples, effort must be present in combination with skill for one to achieve something of worth; what constitutes as achievement varies from person to person and almost always exceeds their perceived limitations.

      Do not underestimate the power of EFFORT. We may not be able to change our god given gifts, but we surely can all work a lot harder and smarter with what we have been given. And if we do this day in and day out, eventually, success will just be around the corner.

      Duckworth, A. (2016). Grit: The power of passion and perseverance. Scribner/Simon & Schuster.




      What is the best indicator of success

      What is the best indicator of success

      What do you guys think?  Talent?  Intelligence?  Hard Work?  What about passion or discipline?  No doubt these are all important traits that one must possess in order to be accomplished in their respective field,  but there is something else that plays a more significant role in determining whether one will, or will not succeed: MOTIVATION.  Angela Duckworth calls it GRIT, Daniel H Pink calls it DRIVE, you may call it perseverance or even persistence.  Motivation is absolutely essential to your success.

      There are 3 key elements to motivation according to author Daniel H. Pink, who also refers to it as drive:

      #1. Autonomy - the extent to which you are free to self-direct your own life and well being.  In otherwards, being and feeling in control of your own life.

      #2. Mastery - the process of developing and achieving a high level of competency in a challenging skill or subject.  Continuous learning and growing elevates your motivation level.

      #3. Purpose  - to have a deeper reason or sense of direction for your own existence.  These reasons must be intrinsic in nature for long lasting motivation.

      If you have some more time to invest, I suggest giving DRIVE by Daniel H. Pink a read, or listen to it on audiobook.  An excellent book that has made me look at motivation in a different light.  

      Here's a fantastic video summary:



      Do you feel uninspired?

      Do you feel uninspired?

      There are days where you will feel uninspired, discouraged, and even lost with your training.  But you are not alone.  I have been training most of my life and I can tell you this; I HAVE DAYS WHERE I FEEL THE SAME, and it happens more often to other people than you think.

      The trick is not to beat yourself up about it.  Rather, forgive yourself and understand that you are not alone in your feelings.  The highs and lows are all part of the journey. 



      Staying motivated during the pandemic

      Staying motivated during the pandemic

      When the pandemic first hit last year, the closure of Legacy caught me by surprise.  Competition was what drove and motivated me to train, but with the lack of events, I lost motivation and gained 15 lbs last spring as I had a hard time adjusting. Since then, I did some serious reflecting and now I do not solely depend on competition to stay motivated.  Combat sports is what I love doing and it represents a means to develop my character and grow as a person.  As a result of the lockdown,  I adapted by finding different ways to remain in shape;  Calisthenics, outdoor jogging, a healthy eating plan, and Zoom muay thai classes are helping me stay fit until reopening. I have since lost the extra weight and found renewed motivation to stay on path.  

      Here are 4 steps that helped me stay motivated during the pandemic:

      1. WHY DO YOU TRAIN?

      This is the most important step of them all.  Getting clear on why you train is the first step to finding motivation to push through during the lows.  Most will just glance over this point...but without a clear reason as to why you train, you will not have enough conviction to battle through those periods where you just don’t feel like doing anything.  Grab a pen and start jotting down all the intrinsic and extrinsic reasons why you got into training in the first place.  A good place to start is at the very beginning of your journey.  Try to recall this memory and the feeling you felt when you first fell in love with your sport. What made you start?  Why do you train?  Let's bring our awareness to some of these questions.


      Once you have finished step one it’s time to start viewing your training endeavors as a long term pursuit. TRAINING IS A MARATHON, NOT A SPRINT.  You already know on a deeper level why you train, and now you know that these setbacks are just a small blip in your overall journey. 


      Stop dwelling on the glory days of your training because times have changed.  It is not your fault that you are not performing or training the same as you previously were.  We are in a pandemic after all.  Create new training goals and expectations for yourself.   An example of a new goal can simply be to maintain your fitness level with modified workouts until the time is right to return to your old training regimen.  DON’T FORCE MOTIVATION. We do what we do because we love it, not because we are forced to.


      It is time to accept that we may have a little longer before returning to our old training routine and exercises.  I suggest you modify your training program to better suit the times.  For the martial artist, you can still improve your game in alternative ways.  Consider doing various solo drills, shadowbox, heavy bag work, study professional fights, watch instructionals and fight analysis on YouTube,  listen to fight podcasts,  and/or cross train with other sports and activities.  Examples of sports that can be done alone and can help supplement your martial arts training include yoga, meditation, track and field, CrossFit, powerlifting, weightlifting, calisthenics, and gymnastics.  

      No more excuses. Let's get back to work.


      Don't hesitate to comment below or contact me directly for additional advice and suggestions!