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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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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Being too nice is slowing your progress.

One of the truly unique things about Brazilian Jiu-jitsu is the connections we make on the mat; after any stretch of time training at a gym, you are bound to make friends out of your training partners. You experience various challenges together, develop your skills together and, most importantly, make friends for life. I’d like to think that many of us are conscientious training partners; striving to reach our goals alongside our friends and training partners.

I was asked an interesting question recently by a friend who doesn’t train (often naive eyes can present us with new ways of looking at a question we have taken for granted.): Don’t you find it difficult sparring with your friends when you know some techniques hurt them?

My immediate response was simple: I don’t use techniques that hurt my training partners. The more I thought about this question however, the more I started to look at it from different angles… Continue reading

Swimming with the Current: Thoughts on style, changing & innovating

One of my favorite quotes is by Thomas Jefferson:

“In matters of style, swim with the current; on matters of principle, stand like a rock”

I have primarily concerned myself with the second half of this quote and the emphasis placed by Jefferson on not compromising ourselves for the sake of others. As an innovator and agent of change himself, Jefferson’s quote is a perfect fit for the concept I’ve been thinking about recently.

Recently, I turned my attention to the first half of the quote: “In matters of style, swim with the current.” We live in a rapidly changing world that demands that we are able to adapt, change and innovate. To keep our head above water, we have to learn to swim with the current: adapt, innovate and change to survive.

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Pulling the Trigger: When to stay, when to go & seizing opportunity. A Discussion on Timing.

We are all told to seize the moment, but what does it take to make that happen? How do we perfect our ability to make the most out of the opportunities life offers us? Whether it’s applying for that dream job, finding the courage to talk to someone new for the first time, executing a technique or running the perfect line, it comes down to something simple. TimingContinue reading

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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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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