Thursday, March 20, 2014

Every Life Lesson I've Learned From Martial Arts

My Jiu Jitsu master Rubens Charles "Cobrinha" explained to me, to be a good martial artist, figure out what's bothering you, then figure out a good way to prevent it or stop it. 
Me: I can't submit this guy because he's grabbing my pants professor.
Cobrinha: What's bothering you?
Me: The grip he has on my pants.
Cobrinha: Break the grip off. Then you can submit him. 
I was looking for some trick, a way to bypass the problem. He said take the time to address the leakage, plug it up, then go back to your original course of action. If it's not bothering you, then ignore it and go for it. 
What can I control? What's actionable? If it's not actionable, don't waste your time worrying about it. You need to conserve mental stamina. Decision fatigue is real (it's why it's easy to eat a healthy breakfast but hard to eat a healthy dinner), and if you waste all your decision powers over things you can't control, or things that won't matter or generally waste your time, then you won't have anything left by the time you get to the real decisions. 
There is no procrastination, you're deciding not to decide and that still drains you and drains time. 
They will resist, your mind will resist. When I was new to Jiu Jitsu, I told a higher belt I was having a hard time with a move. He asked why, I said my opponent wouldn't let me do it. 
He said, "of course he wouldn't let you. It's a fucking fight. You have to fight for it."

Read the rest: Jedi Mind Body Control

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Monday, February 3, 2014

Hacking Jiu Jitsu: 10 Questions To Improve Learning Curve

Get good at Jiu Jitsu quickly. No secret techniques, just lots of shortcuts and hacks.

With learning Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, there are so many variables to consider, but they aren't all evenly scaled and they aren't all of equal importance. When trying to improve and shorten your learning curve, you may need to take into account recovery and supplementation, of if you're getting quality sleep. But beyond that, you have to ask yourself the important questions to make your time effective and to organize your training to increase learning speed.

The important things to ask are, what attributes do you have and are you doing the right things for your attributes. Or do you override your attributes for preference? Do you insist on doing things that have a low success ratio?

Ask yourself these 10 key questions and design your game and drilling schedule accordingly and save yourself years of frustration:

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Sleep: The Undervalued Tool

How To Sleep As Well As Kron Gracie

20 Different hacks, strategies, and methods you can use to improve recovery or get the rest you need before competing.

And sometimes even be able to sleep at the venue. 

In no particular order:

1. Get F.Lux for your computer. 

A location based program that'll dim your computer based on the time of day. You'll still be able to see everything clearly, just the color waves will change. Meaning in the mornings the color will look more like outdoor light, at night, it will look like indoor light. More blue waves in the morning (because they wake you up), more red waves (much less stimulating than blue waves and shouldn't interrupt sleep hormone production as much) at night.

It's already shown positive results in helping people fall asleep naturally. There's an app version (Twilight for Droid) for your phone and tablets. You can of course control the settings or turn it off at any time.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

The Attacks Of Kron Gracie: The Three Prong Approach

Win Or Lose, Kron Gracie Will Try To Finish You

Kron Gracie is the most famous and most popular black belt competitor to have never won a World Title at black belt.

It has been said that he has no style and no discernible guard. That he relies only on basics.

Though his style is not the most common of styles, it is as rich and complex as any of the other black belt competitor's out there. And being the son of Rickson Gracie, of course this adds to his mystique, that he must know secrets the rest of us do not. He's basically the son of a Jiu Jitsu god.

In studying film on Kron Gracie, there are patterns, and guards he plays, and favorite attacks. In the end he has used many different submissions to finish his opponents, usually they come in the form of armbar or choke. Often times he leads with the same few moves, and based on the reactions of his opponents, he will respond accordingly, to whatever is the quickest path to the finish. As opposed to the quickest path to points, to top position, to the back, to mount, to sweep, to your favorite guard, etc.

Why? Because he's probably also one of the most confident grapplers, whatever position he's in, he believes he'll be alright. The rest of us, outside of our comfort zones, panic sets in. So we scramble or play to bring the fight back to our key positions.

Instead of chaining typical moves, he likes to chain submission attempts and chains sweeps or takedowns based on the opponent's reactions to his submission flurries.

It would be impossible to explain his whole game, especially when it's always evolving but he does rely heavily on his 3 prong attack (similar to the triangle offense used by Phil Jackson and executed to perfection by Michael Jordan). It's like in chess, the masters use the same opening moves, after that is when chaos ensues.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Crucial Moments: UFC 168 Breaking Down Ronda Rousey Vs Miesha Tate

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Is Magic!

When Royce Gracie submitted Dan Severn with the triangle choke (choking an opponent with your legs), that's what everyone said. That it was magic. Weird mystical chi attacks do exist and only the Gracies knew how!

It was the first time American audiences along with most of the world had ever seen a triangle choke. Not only that, but we saw a fighter seemingly turn around a losing fight with something we couldn't figure out. One second "The Beast" is winning, next second he's tapping out to the guy on bottom. Knockouts we understood, but this? This was just strange. If this weak skinny guy could do this to this giant man, we all stood a chance in a fight.

Crucial Moments

There's a business book I read (and highly recommend) called Crucial Conversations. The premise is, in every talk and conversation there is a crucial moment that will dictate how it will turn out. If stakes are high, those moments matter. Malcolm Gladwell called it "The Tipping Point," where maybe an idea or a business tips from something good to great. In the documentary Choke, Rickson talked about how he believed in every fight, your opponent will eventually make a mistake, and it is your job to capitalize on it.

That was the magic of Jiu Jitsu. Up until Dan Severn, Royce Gracie had steamrolled through every opponent. He had difficulty with Kimo Leopoldo and it looked scary initially, but in reality he was never in big danger. It lasted a little over 4 minutes and Leopoldo was really just trying to keep Gracie off of him and not get submitted.

With Severn, it was over 15 minutes of Gracie getting his ass kicked. Then a crucial moment presented itself in the fight, and all the years of Jiu Jitsu training culminated to Royce seizing this one opportunity. Jiu Jitsu wasn't necessarily to dominate every opponent, Jiu Jitsu was to keep you safe and in the fight long enough to seize any mistakes your opponent might give you. That was and still is the beauty of Jiu Jitsu, and is the reason we all train. You wait and survive and take what your opponent gives you. The guard is literally "a guard," a shield. It's the most unique thing about Brazilian (Gracie) Jiu Jitsu.

Enter Miesha Tate and Ronda Rousey...

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Breaking Down Roger Gracie's Guard

Thinking About Roger's Guard

There's actually nothing magical about it. Roger does several things really well, one of his biggest strengths and sometimes weakness is his patience.

There's a movie called Unforgiven with Clint Eastwood and Gene Hackman. In one classic scene, Gene Hackman is explaining to a writer, what makes a good gunslinger. It's not the fastest shooter, it's the guy who takes his gun out, takes his time to aim, and commits to shooting. Many fast shooters would pull their guns out and miss. That's when guys like Clint and Gene's character would shoot them dead. They won't miss. (If you haven't seen this movie, you are missing out and I urge you to own this movie! It's that good with lots of life lessons us BJJ'ers need.)

He's Not Slow!

Often times Roger gets mislabeled as slow, or that he has this slow game. He's not slow, he's making sure he has what he needs before he moves on. He's doing it as quickly as possible but he makes sure he takes the time to do it right. Roger will scramble, explode, and frantically escape submissions. Same can be said with other guys. I've never seen a slow Rickson match, same with Kron. There are moments in between where they take the time to see what's going on and what they have, and once they secure a position, they do things step by step, making sure not to skip over anything.

So let's break it down...

Monday, December 9, 2013

The Problem With Training For MMA

In all other sports, conditioning is about injury prevention. As a strength coach, the amount of players you keep off the injured list is how you get paid.

In MMA more fighters are hurt during training camp than they are during the fight. They even state their training camps are way tougher than the fight itself. I've watched conditioning for athletes in other sports, usually it's boring. In MMA its like, they have to keep the conditioning exciting or something.

Something's gotta change.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

All The Stuff I Take

How to prepare your body to compete with the big boys.

I often get asked about what I eat and what I take and what I use.

So here they are with explanations and links to where you can get them:

Wholefoods, Trader Joe's, or Farmer's Market

Pasture raised organic eggs - I either buy Vital Farms from Wholefoods or I buy them from the farmer's market. Since eggs are something I eat daily, it is that much more important that they are of the highest quality.

Paleo bread - We make our own paleo bread at home but sometimes we buy the ones from Julian's Bakery, which are also available at Wholefoods.

Grassfed Butter - I either buy Kerry Gold's Unsalted Butter from Trader Joes or Kalona SuperNatural Grassfed Butter from Wholefoods. Or I pick up butter from a stand at the farmer's market. I also add butter to my coffee using the Bulletproof protocol.

Grassfed Ghee - I order it from Pure Indian Foods on Amazon. It's nice because you can use it on high heats. I also use organic coconut oil often, which is available everywhere, along with grassfed butter, and occasionally I will use olive oil (it has a very low smoke point so it's hard to cook with, without it going rancid. Then it will just do your body more harm than good), duck fat and tallow from Fatworks, or MCT oil. I use no other cooking oils for many health reasons.

MCT Oil - I use the NOW Foods brand. I use it occasionally for cooking, I add it to my coffee per the Bulletproof protocol, and I sometimes just drink it straight up. It's a good thermogenic, and like fish oils, almonds, and other good fats, it's brain food.

Upgraded Self Store

I buy a few products from this store and I find them to be of the highest quality.

Coffee - It's great tasting, low mycotoxin, single origin, and organic. I drink coffee every day, if it's something I am constantly in contact with, then it better do my body no harm. So this is why I go here for my coffee. You can read more about it here: For Coffee Drinkers.

- If you want to try to make this, you will need a coffee grinder, a percolator, and a hand blender.

Protein - I buy both the grassfed collagen and whey protein from this site. Compared to the prices of grassfed proteins elsewhere, it's not only the best but also the most affordable. Collagen is helpful for joint repair, which is something grapplers need.


As many of you know, I feel most people don't need to be on many supplements other than fish oils and possibly Vitamin D. Diet should be able to take care of the rest. But for high performance athletes, you may benefit from a few others.

Fish oils - This is the only one I feel nearly everyone should be on (unless they have a medical reason they shouldn't be). The two I recommend: Nordic Naturals and Nutrigold, both of which are in the triglyceride form. You can read more about it in my fish oils article.

Vitamin D3 - This is especially important for those people who don't get consistent sunshine daily. Basically anyone indoors during the day. It affects nearly everything from mood, memory, recovery, muscle growth, testosterone, etc. Nutrigold is the brand I like.

BCAA - It helps with recovery, for me it's especially good after a hard session of BJJ sparring, especially at my age. It's also good for weight maintenance, and muscle growth, and testosterone. I use the Muscle Pharm BCAA 3:1:2. It works best though if you take it before and after.

Shroom Tech - I found this to be especially helpful before a tournament, or a really hard sparring session. It's good for intense work outs where you will be using a lot of ATP. I get the ones made by Onnit Labs. It's popular among BJJ'ers and MMA fighters right now, and is often mentioned by Dave Asprey from Bulletproof Exec and Joe Rogan.

Skin Defense/Armor

Futuro Infinity Active Knit Knee Stabilizer - Don't waste your money on anything else. Really. You will just end up buying more and more knee pads, and keep jacking your knee up. I've got nearly every training partner I train with on these things. It's breathable and is made with anti-microbial material. It literally will not slip no matter how hard you train. Not bulky and doesn't get in the way. Patella gel ring provides cushioning comfort and targeted compression. Strong side stabilizers provide added support and keep support in place with silicone beads. Good for impact and stability and you lose no range of motion. Your training partners won't even know you're wearing anything.

Posture Shirt - Not only to protect the skin but I use posture shirts to align my shoulders, neck, and back for maximum strength production while training, but also to prevent injury. Especially when doing any combative arts, your shoulders and neck are always getting banged up. A lot of injuries are caused my joint misalignment. Training with these on and training without them underneath my gi is like night and day. The best by far are by Intelliskin. You will never be able to go back to rash guards again.

Acidophilus - Among fighters, one of the tricks to prevent ring worm is by taking acidophilus. I take it before every class and also shower afterwards with tea tree oil soap. The brand I trust is from NOW. I have not gotten ring worm since. Most of all it's a probiotic and helps with not only digestion but immunity. Especially good if you had to go on a round of antibiotics.

Tea Tree Oil - I buy a giant thing from Dr. Bronner. Everything from them is organic, non-GMO, and fair-trade. Tea tree oil is the most natural sanitizing soap, and it's also good for the skin. I recommend getting shampoos, hand sanitizers, and disinfectants that rely on tea tree oil.


Standing Desk - Probably nothing has helped me get over all the dings and aches of training like a standing desk has. Just not sitting or slouching or leaning forward when I use my computer finally gave my body an opportunity to heal. My neck and shoulders have never felt better. This is a lifehack that will give you the most bang for your dollar.

Anti-Fatigue Mat - If you do get the standing desk, or you build your own, get one of these mats and stand on it barefoot or in socks. May take a week to get used to but you will be thanking me.

Foam Rollers - I mostly use The Grid, and The Rumble Roller. With all the injuries from sparring and intense training, its something I use daily and rely on more and more as I get older.

Massagers - I use two kinds. The Gurin Massage Roller, and The Massage Cane for hard to reach places. Trust me, for places on your calves and back, it will be worth it.

Massage Balls - I also use Jill Miller's Alpha Ball, or you can put high bouncy balls in a sock and use that to roll out knots. You can also buy giant rubber tennis balls for dogs and use it against a wall or the floor. I use the ones from Zanies. Not that great for dogs but good for massages. Kelly Starrett from Mobility Wod/Supple Leopard uses similar devices, you can also use lacrosse balls.

Kettlebells - There are many good ones but for convenience at home, I use adjustable ones. It's cheaper than buying a whole set and takes up less space. I'm interested in the conditioning and not the sport of kettlebell.

Shoes - I own some Converse, some wrestling shoes, sambo shoes, some 5-fingers from Vibrams, some minimalist shoes from Merril, but the ones I use most often are The New Balance Minimus. They also have Minimus for women. That also means you have to change the way you run.

High Tech Nerd Stuff

These are things I do to make sure I am optimal in every way. Part of my attempt to quantify myself.

The Fibit - It tracks how much I've moved, and how well I've slept. Very important if you need to track your progress before an event or a tournament.

Omron Body Composition Scale - To check your weight, your muscle, your body fat, your biological age, this is the one I trust. Leading up to weigh ins before a tournament, I want to check if the weight I dropped also happened to be muscle weight or just fat.

Wake Up Light - I use this to reprogram my sleep, and wake up without spiking my stress hormones with a loud alarm. It wakes you naturally, as if it was the sun itself rising. You feel more rested and it was crucial when I wanted to reprogram myself to wake up earlier.

Insidetracker - This company is used by many professional athletes, their trainers, and many sports teams as well. It's to analyze the inner you, to see how optimized you (from stress levels, metabolism, to testosterone) are and it will also analyze ways to help you get there. You can read more here: Value Of Biomarkers.

- If you use promo code: ALLOUT20, you will get 10% off.

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