Learning Styles: Understanding how you learn.

All of us know what it’s like to start something new; to be a complete beginner and learn how to do something from scratch. Progress can be slow at times, even frustrating, but we must learn if we hope to become proficient in our chosen area. Martial Arts (Brazilian Jiu-jitsu in particular) has taught me a many great deal of things so far, including how I learn best.

When it comes to learning, the modern consensus is that no two people learn in the same way. We are all different people, so it stands to reason that we will learn differently too. Better understanding how you learn may be the edge you need to help fast track your improvement and progress.  Continue reading

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Respect: The Two-Way Street

Showing and giving respect is something we do so regularly in our social interactions with others that it’s often forgotten, only dwelling beneath the surface of our conscious. We will all have experience with both being respected and being disrespected, giving respect to someone and disrespecting someone.

We, as human beings, are naturally wired for social interactions and who & what we respect is something that has been imprinted on us by life experience. The combination of these two things creates a complex filter which we use to interact with others throughout our lives. Sometimes people desire respect where it is not given and at times it is given where it is not deserved. Respect is a two-way street which will certainly pay to understand a little bit better.

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Competition Mindset: The Do’s & Don’ts

Participating in competition provides a huge opportunity to receive some important  feedback about your Jiu-jitsu. Competing helps to sharpen the blade in a way that not even highly demanding training can; you will find out very quickly what works and what doesn’t.

More importantly, you will also learn a lot about yourself; how you deal with stress, how you deal with winning & losing and how to develop strategy & positive training habits. Competition can offer all of these things to the practitioner who adopts the correct mindset for competing. There are some Do’s & Don’ts for developing a good mindset for competition, this article will take a closer look at some of these and hopefully help you develop a mental edge going into your next competition experience.  Continue reading

The Devil is in the Detail: Paying attention to the small things and being detail oriented.

One of the most important aspects of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is the importance of details. When executing a technique, there a certain number of details you must incorporate to perform the move correctly and efficiently. Being detail oriented can make for slow progress at times, however later progression becomes accelerated as your execution of techniques (once learned) never hits a critical mass of errors that lead to the technique being applied failing.

The phrase: “The Devil is in the Detail” is profoundly true within BJJ for this reason. However, understanding and committing to a Detail Oriented approach can have major benefits for any other aspect of your life too.

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Asking for it versus Taking it: Thoughts on expectations and perceptions of “what you deserve”

We live in an age where social media and ultra fast digital communications have bred a culture of instant gratification, providing instant gratification and superficial satisfaction for those who seek it. Despite how “noble” we may think our disciplines or pursuits are, they are not immune to these pitfalls.

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I want to take some time to hopefully make you reflect on what it is you want. What do you feel like you’re entitled to? Do you feel as if you deserve it? What do you ask for and what do you deserve?  Continue reading

Keep Climbing: Thoughts on Reaching lofty heights and New Horizons.

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“The higher we go, the wider our horizons become- and the bigger the challenge of looking beyond them”

Yuri Milner

When we set ourselves goals, they often are (and should be) ambitious. The person you are currently may not even be able to achieve that goal. This is a good thing; it means you will have to grow as a person to achieve it.

Climbing a mountain provides a good analogy to achieving a goal. From the foot of the mountain, the peak seems so far away. We may not even have a plan yet on how to climb the mountain yet, but we know that somehow we will find a way. I’ve talked before about setting goals and how to find success at reaching those goals, but what about once we’ve reached them? What’s next? From the peak of the mountain, we can see further. Once we reach success with one goal, we can start to set another.  Continue reading

Learn Self Control or Learn to be Controlled.

I’ve talked about discipline here before, but I am a firm believer that this is the cornerstone of achieving anything worthwhile in your life. Before I started Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, I had no self control. I couldn’t control my temper, I was easily frustrated by tasks that I believed I should have been able to do and I would quit or give up and I was lazy.

Since then, I’ve come to realize a few things about myself and about how we should act if we want to get anywhere close to satisfaction- or success- with our lives. One of the most important things I’ve come to learn is that If you can’t learn to control yourself, you will be controlled by others. These others can be people, circumstances, bad or good situations that you find yourself in.  Continue reading

No Trying, Only Doing.

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As a big Star Wars fan, I’ve always noticed the close parallels between the protagonists of  George Lucas’ universe: The Jedi, and practitioners of the Martial Arts. Yoda, the ageing grand master and ever-wise mentor, is of particular interest to me and one of his many classic quotes will form the central idea of this post.

The stoic and philosophical nature of his character has been described by some as “mystical”, however I would argue that is less “mystical” and more “methodical”. For anyone involved in the martial arts, creative arts (or any  discipline really); I think we can all begin to glean some deep understandings from one of my favorite Yoda quotes: “Try not, do or do not. There is no Try.” Continue reading

Stay Alive: Thoughts on dealing with depression.

I recently saw a piece of writing that said “Up to this point, you’ve survived 100% of the challenges you’ve faced in you life. You’re doing pretty well so far.” 

It’s true. The fact that you’re alive to read this, despite the problems you’re facing today, means that you’ve successfully survived everything life has  thrown at you as far.

Having dealt with many teens and students suffering from acute depression post the Christchurch Earthquake, I struggled at first to find ways to make students realize that they still had things to be grateful for. They couldn’t find the way to the light. Having battled throughout my life with depression too, it really upset me that I was not able to show these students a way to overcome it.

The answer was far simpler than I thought… If you’re alive, you’re already doing far better than you thought. None of the problems you’ve encountered so far have been big enough to kill you, which means that either you’re stronger than you think or that the gravity of your problems aren’t actually as heavy as you think. 

The big problem with depression is that it’s not rational. It lurks in the deep egresses of our subconscious and crawls forward like a fog without showing itself to the person suffering from it. To overcome it, we first have to identify it, then we can consciously counter it by dwelling on what we are grateful for and what we have achieved despite it.

So, dwell on what you’re grateful for. 

If you’re reading this, it means you’re alive, so there’s one thing you can be grateful for already. 

If you’re alive, you’ve survived all the adversity you’ve already faced in your life. 

If you’re alive, it means you can still overcome any adversity that you are still yet to face too.