Stick to the path: 3 thoughts on following your path.

We all walk a path that has been paved by our past choices and actions. We either walk this path with intention, having paved it with purpose, or we walk a path unintentionally, forced to because of causes we had no control over. Regardless, there is nothing to be gained by not seeing your path to its destination. Today I had three short thoughts about the paths that we walk…

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Sometimes the path to your goal is paved. At times, you won’t see where it leads and at times the finish will not be in sight.

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Let’s Talk.

The main goal behind Articulate is to build a community; one were we can communicate openly and articulate our ideas openly with each other. I want to encourage you, the reader, to get in touch. I love exchanging ideas with people, whether it be about arts, martial arts, sports of any description, philosophy… There is so much value in learning from others by seeing their point of view and exploring new ideas together.

Let’s talk about what’s on your mind, have you got any questions you want to ask or stories you want to share? Feel free to message Articulate any time and I’ll be sure to get back to you.

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Jiu-Jitsu as a Conversation.

I am constantly thinking of ways to describe Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to people who ask me about it. The good old “Jiu-jitsu is a grappling art that emphasized leverage and technique to employ arm locks, leg locks and chokes to neutralize an opponent.” doesn’t always do it justice in my opinion. There is so much more to the art than just the physical act of submitting our opponent. The near-infinite nature of sparring with another trained practitioner, the mental focus & discipline required to develop, adapt and execute a strategy during sparring… The range that Jiu-jitsu- and indeed the larger realm of grappling- seems to stretch away endlessly. It’s almost as if it were a language. This is another way in which I like to explain Jiu-jitsu; as a language and, more specifically, like a conversation. Continue reading

An Interview with George Miller from Banua Projects

I had the pleasure of meeting George Miller at the NZ Grappler Gi Nationals last month. For those who don’t know George, he is a talented blue belt and great guy; he fought his way to a podium finish on the day and displayed some amazing, creative and fresh technique. I got talking to George towards the end of the day and found out a little bit about an initiative he runs in Wellington called the Banua Projects. George and I discussed the Banua Projects in an interview this week.

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The Triangle Concept: The Three Principals of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

The triangle is omnipresent in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Many canonical gyms in the Gracie lineage and others use the triangle in their logo, one of the most well known chokes employs a triangular shape to strangle one’s opponent, or the structural strength of the triangular shape… The list goes on.

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Renzo Gracie demonstrates the iconic Triangle Choke. Arguably one of the most technical submissions to apply, the Triangle requires the practitioner to arrange their limbs into a triangular shape to strangle an opponent, cutting off their flow of blood to the brain. 

Recently, I have been percolating on another possible interpretation of the ever-present Triangle in Jiu-jitsu. In my mind I imagined a triangle; where the three points reflected Three Core Principals in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and indeed grappling as a whole. Those three principals were: Movement, Breathing and Technique. In this post, I will meditate on why I saw this trio of principals as the three main points of the triangle that is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.  Continue reading

Learning to let go.

We’ve all heard it before, we may even have done it ourselves: “It’s all because of x” or “If only I had done x instead…” hindsight has a way of playing with us that is neither constructive nor positive. It can drag us into a mire of regret and essentially confirm a narrative in our mind that reinforces the fixed mindset, rather than allowing us to move on and develop a growth mindset. Continue reading

Siyathakatha by Dominowe is blowing my mind.

Firstly, I’d like to say that I’m in no way a musical aficionado, but I do know how music makes me feel. I’m a big fan of listening to an album from start to finish (and I actually rank my favorite musicians in relation to my favorite albums of theirs, not just single songs.); following a building motif or story  threaded together by the artists’ performance across an entire album. Siyathaktha does this for me in a big way. I stumbled across Dominowe’s debut album earlier this year and it’s become a go-to for helping me to  channel a state of flow. These are some of my thoughts on the album as a whole.

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Dominowe’s solo debut album Siyathakatha looms heavy with a sound that is distinctly South African and powerful in it’s measure and pace.

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The Art of Finishing what you Start.

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When you start down a path, making sure you reach the end is a sign of self-respect.

“Never leave a job half done.” My grandfather told me that as a boy. I haven’t forgotten those words, even if at times I have failed to act on them. He had been sitting, watching me finish a simple drawing one afternoon before I had decided to wander off before it was complete. In his way, he didn’t say anything at the time, but waited instead until I came back to sit down with him for lunch.

“You know that drawing you were doing before?” In my mind I was anticipating some sort of compliment or critique.

“You didn’t finish it…” He stated objectively. “Never leave a job half done.”

As a boy I didn’t think much about it until after his passing. Today, the more I reflect on the sentiment of his words, the more profoundly his advice affects me.

The more I think about it, the more it seems like everything he said to me had some intentionally deeper meaning he had planned and percolated on before he brought his words, or actions, into the world.

We, as individuals, are not just responsible for our choices or the paths we decide to walk down, but also for making sure we finish what we start.

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Rickson Gracie on Brazilian Jiu-jitsu

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Rickson Gracie is one of the most well renowned practitioners of the martial art. He has some of the most insightful, philosophic views on the art and how it informs our lives on and off the mats.

Jiu-Jitsu puts you completely in the moment, where you must have complete focus on finding a solution to a problem. This trains the mind to build that focus, to increase you awareness, your capacity to solve problems.

Listening: Your greatest tool for learning

 

This week I have been thinking a lot about how we learn. Often we leave school or formal education thinking that we already know everything we will need to get by. The reality of things is so far from this. My greatest experiences of learning have mainly occurred in the years since I left formal education.

More specifically, most of my learning experiences have involved Brazilian Jiu Jitsu; through that lens I have learnt more about myself, others and the nature of the world. I am mainly a kinesthetic learner: meaning I learn in a tactile way, by doing and physically working on something rather than listening. I can work out details, understand techniques and grasp concepts far quicker by doing them or have them done to me. I have tried to extend my ability to learn in other ways, as it is sometimes not enough just to rely on the one dimension of learning to carry me through (especially if mastery of the art is the goal). I have focused on developing my ability to Listen. Continue reading