bjj, competition, improvement, matchups

Mail Day!

It’s Mail Day! Let’s answer some questions.  As always, if you have any questions you want answered, write me at

Greg from Albany writes:

What is your favorite Mythological Creature and why?

Thanks for writing Greg.  I’m going with Minotaur. Six pack abs, natural sense of rage; it’s the perfect combination of power and sexual charisma.  Here’s a ranking of my top players in the mythological game, from first to worst:

  1. Minotaur
  2. Centaur
  3. Genies
  4. Unicorn
  5. Medusa
  6. Jesus
  7. Pegasus
  8. Bigfoot
  9. Hydra
  10. Giant

Jeff, from West Chester asks:

Two part question. If Hitler’s preserved brain was transfered into a grizzly bear, would you volunteer to fight him to the death?  Do you think you would win?

Thanks for writing, Jeff!  My question to you is when, temporally speaking, would this fight take place?  If it was 1937 I think I would step up to the plate.  In 2014 Hitler’s just fighting for pride, which makes him more dangerous.  I like to think that this fight would take place in 2099 AD, where me and Hitler-Grizzly are fighting to amuse our corporate overlords at their Christmas party.

Anyway, I think I would have a fighting chance.  Because Hitler has the mind of a man, in the body of a bear.  He wouldn’t know how to use the patented bear moves (mauling, biting,  rearing up to terrifying heights, etc) that makes bears so dangerous.  He wouldn’t maximize his built in advantages as a bear.  Conversely, if you put a bear’s mind in Hitler’s body, he’d flail around, not knowing how to use a man’s body.

I think I could conceivably get behind him, take his back and choke him out before he could figure out how to shake me off.  Then it’s bear steaks for everybody.

Troy from Hoboken NJ writes:

My girlfriend says I spend too much time at Jiu Jitsu.  It’s becoming a larger issue than it should be, leaking into other aspects of our relationship.  I’d like to strike up a compromise with her, without losing any mat time.  What should I do.

Thanks for writing Troy.  Troy!  What a name.  Anyway, you’ve got a real problem on your hands.  You can save it though! Here are a few techniques:

Basic:Most arguments in relationships, especially boyfriend-girlfriend relationships, are invisible struggles to seize and maintain the moral high ground.  You’ve already seized this position because your girlfriend is asking you to change something about yourself. All you have to do is hold down the fort. The most basic defense that you can muster is that she should love you for you, and that trying to change you into something you’re not, or  to make you do something you don’t want to do, would violate the most basic of all relationship principals.  Say something to that effect and watch the waves of guilt crash down all around her!

Intermediate:  To try something a little more advanced, let her know that the time spent at the gym is a wholesome, bettering, activity, and it’s not like you are spending your nights and weekends drinking and fucking around with your friends and other women.  You’re an athlete, god damn it.  This really only works if A) you are not currently spending your nights and weekends drinking and fucking around with other women and B) your girlfriend values fitness and comraderie.  If she genuinely wants you around so you can watch her while she watches her 5th episode of Chopped, I would stick to the basics.

Advanced:  Compromise, skip a bunch of classes, and be miserable.  So miserable that she “allows” you to go back to your normal schedule.  This is a shrewd high risk strategy.  It involves you seemingly conceding your moral position to her, only for your girlfriend to realize later that she’s the one who’s wrong.  It’s like a double switch ending to a movie where it turns out she’s Kaiser Soze where all along she thought she was Katherine Heigle in 27 dresses.

The risk is that your girlfriend may not care you’re miserable and it turns out you’re dating a monster.  Or you act too insufferable and she breaks up with you because she thinks you’re a monster.  Or maybe you’re just meant for each other because you are both awful people!  Good luck!


That’s everything in the mail bag!  If you have a question you want answered, send it in at



adversity, bjj, competition, strategy, triumph


Let’s just take a five minute break from Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and talk about my second favorite thing: Reality Television. While it’s not my favorite, the Bachelor is definitely the show that provokes the strongest reactions from me.  It simultaneously captivates and enrages, which is a rare quality in anything.

And like any competition, you have to know the rules.  If you ever get shanghaied onto The Bachelor, stick to these rules and you’ll be fine.  Who knows, you may just win and find yourself in a contractually obligated marriage! So please, accept this rose.


Let’s just keep it real and talk about race.  If ABC could cast walking clumps of cream cheese it would. They don’t even bother hiding it anymore.  I wish we could take racism, put it on a rocket ship and shoot it into space, but I can’t do that.  “But current bachelor Juan Pablo is Hispanic,” people say.  Juan Pablo has blond hair, blue eyes, and is about as ethnically threatening as a Chi Chi’s Restaurant.  Worse than descriminating against minorities, The Bachelor ignores or minimizes any thing non-white or mainstream.  OH IT MAKES ME SO MAD BUT I LOVE IT ANYWAY. 


If you are cast to be on the Bachelor, take a moment and write down all the positive feminist ideals you can think on a note pad.  Then slowly cross them out with lipstick.  And then light them on fire.  Then bury them in the ground, salt the earth, and sell your house to bunch of bikers who’ll cook crank in your kitchen.

Because nothing kills the Bachelor’s boner faster than feminism.


This is the most important rule. You have to  love the bachelor immediately, but not really know him.  And you have to convince him, and all of the women in the house its love at first site. All of this accomplished through a series of contrived encounters and interactions, in front of your bitter rivals.  Like a cross between Downtown Abbey and a North Korean Propaganda event. And if at any moment you falter in the illusion the other contestants will turn on you and be devoured. They will smell your fear.  

Its like some sort of group delusion everyone has to buy into, lest the curtain falls and all are forced to be witness to the hideous beast.  Are you prepared for that?  I’m not. Are you?

That about covers it.  Three simple rules to love and happiness that fucking moron could follow.

bjj, competition

BJJ Will Never Be in the Olympics (Deal With It)

Every time the Olympics roll around, there are always dumb ass pictures and memes (meems? me mes?) that pop up advocating for Jiu Jitsu to in the next Olympics.  I’m sorry to say, this will never, never happen.  There are a variety of reasons, but I think we can break it down into three main points.  A) Do not underestimate how stupid the International Olympic Committee is, B) Jiu Jitsu is boring, and C) BJJ doesn’t need to be added.

This is a long post, if you need to use the bathroom do it now. 

The IOC is a Joke

If you want to get a nice rich spoonful of Old White Dude corruption, take a look at the hideous beast that the International Olympic Committee (the IOC) is.  The IOC was a cunt hair away from chopping wrestling from the 2020 Olympics.  WRESTLING.  Jesus.  The IOC does a periodical audit of their programs to make sure that their offerings are au currant and reflect the competitive nature of sport.  Which logically, is why wresting was cut and sports like say, the Modern Pentathlon were kept in.

In case you’re not a Mod Pent (my pet name for it) superfan, the Modern Pentathlon is an event that features fencing, swimming, cross-country racing, air pistol shooting and FUCKING HORSE JUMPING.  It sounds amazing, right?  But not really an Olympic caliber sport.  Unless you are Juan Antonio Samaranch, the Vice President of the Modern Pentathlon Union who also sits on the IOC.  I guess that would be a conflict of interest, being an executive in the governing body of a sport which you ultimately have to decide the fate of for Olympic Consideration.   Wrestling, being a sport full of scrappy retards, doesn’t have the same international Illuminatti style proponent that the Mod Pent has.  And if wrestling doesn’t have a powerful champion, BJJ sure as hell doesn’t.

(Bonus Fact:  Juan Antonio’s father was also on the IOC at one point, and at one time was a ranking party member during Spain’s Fascist regime under Franco.  FUN!)

Let’s not even get started on Sochi (even money that a pack of rabid dogs takes over the Olympic Village).  Or the Salt Lake bribery scandal.  Or the $4 million that the IOC spent on itself for entertainment purposes during Nagano.

My point is, the IOC is not known for making clear, logical decisions based on the spirit of sport and competition.  Don’t expect BJJ to be an exception.

BJJ is Boring

Oh my god BJJ can be boring.  Search your heart and you’ll know it to be true.  We can appreciate it as fans, but it doesn’t have the explosive throws of judo, the clear cut competitive drama of track races, or the appeal of child exploitation gymnastics offers.

Take a step back and imagine you’re a casual fan, sitting in your underwear watching BJJ on TV while eating a hotdog between reruns of Ice Road Truckers.  Two guys sit on their buts and grab each other’s legs for 10 minutes. Let’s watch somebody ride out a 1-0 advantage win.  Riveting.  Aint nobody got time for that.

Plus, BJJ’s kissing cousin, Judo, had record low ratings and international participation in 2012.  I can’t imagine the IOC is keen to put another sport on the docket that is very similar in structure.  Not to mention, only a handful of countries have enough high level talent to field a team that wouldn’t result in a blood bath.

We Don’t Need the Olympics

I feel this is the most important point.  There are way more interesting formats,  like Metamoris, Abu Dhabi, the Worlds, than what the Olympics could cook up. Here’s a thought experiment.  What would you rather see, Roger Gracie go 10 minutes with Buchecha, or Keenan Cornelious fight some rando from Ghana?

The Olympics are great, no doubt about it.  But they are like an aloof, WASPy father who reads the Wall Street in his study all day long and only puts it down long enough to light his pipe and let you know his disapproval.  There’s a certain grandeur, definitely, but certainly not what a growing sport needs.  I’d rather be a young punk than an old fuddy duddy any day.



adversity, competition, disgusting, Inspirational Monday, nutrition, strategy

Advice Time

Sometimes people ask me for advice about Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.  Since I’m a post modern semi millenial, I’m going to start a semi-regular advice column where I answer people’s  questions with the unblinking honesty and laser precision they have come to expect.

Have a question you need answered?  Leave it in the comments or email

Without further ado.

Long time reader, first time question!  I’m new to bjj and nervous about competing.  How do I mentally prepare for my first competition?

Good question!  Being nervous is part of the game.  A good way to get in the right headspace and fight those butterlies is to close your eyes and visualize success.  So let’s try it together.  Close your eyes… what do you see?  What you SHOULD be seeing is a flaming skull, floating in the darkness, laughing into the void.  Laughing at all your hopes and dreams and at all the aspirations that came before you and shall come after. You should see this every time you close your eyes, actually.  Just open yourself up to the darkness, man, and those jitters will fade in no time!

What supplements do you take?

Good question!  Just lots of organ meat and diet coke for me!

Hi!  I’m a blue belt who feels like I’ve really plateaued in my training.  The white belts are catching up to me, and the high belts keep smashing me.  How can I break through? 

Good question!  Like any sport, plateaus are inevitable and can be tricky to break out of. Whenever I’m stuck in a plateau there’s a little exercise I like to do.  After my drive home I shut the car off and just sit quietly in the driveway.  I start whispering “what am I doing?  what the fuck am I doing?” again and again under my breath.  After a few times, I  get to a state where I can really have a cathartic experience and weep and weep and weep.


After a few years of this I feel completely blank, an empty vessel ready to learn again and break through my plateau.

If you don’t have a car, doing this in front of a mirror works too!

Love your website! I feel like I’m ready for a belt promotion.  Should I talk to my instructor about it?

Good question!  NO.  Do not do that.  If anyone else gets promoted ahead of you, just stare at him/her sideways with as much sadness as you can muster, and mutter sotto voce “horseshit” every time anyone has any success.  They’ll take notice and give you what you deserve!

I feel like my gym is too dirty, and the instructors won’t enforce any sort of standards.  What should I do?

Good question! I feel like if you have approached your instructor without results, a more indirect approach is called for.  Phase one: Seek out and roll with the dirtiest, scuzziest dudes at your gym. The really filthy pigs who hate detergent.  Once you contract ring worm and god knows what else (and you will),  that’s when phase two starts.  Cultivate your filth.  Sit in a dark, wet, warm room for a couple weeks as still as possible.  Once your body is completely overtaken, show back up at class.  Once class has started take you gi off and make all bear witness to your festering body boiling with fungus and rot. You will be a horror show. They’ll get the picture and clean up their act.  It’s the Jiu Jitsu sanitation protest equivalent of that monk who burned himself alive in demonstration against Vietnam.  Which is fitting, because you and all of your possessions will probably have to be incinerated to protect the public health.


Those are all the questions for now.  Glad to help, and hope to hear from you!

bjj, competition

Biting in BJJ. Yes Please.

Should biting be allowed in Jiu Jitsu?  Of course.  You’re not a moron and realize that the rules should be changed to allow for biting.  Effective midnight, May 1, 2013, the following rules go into effect regarding biting at all IBJJF tournaments:

  • Athletes may bite the following areas on the opponent’s body without penalty: fingers, toes, hair/head; nose; throat; butt cheeks; inner thighs; forearms; and stomach.
  • Any bite to the above areas is a legal submission attempt and any match ended through biting will be considered a victory.
  • If an athlete draws blood through biting but does not achieve a submission, an advantage will be awarded to the biter.
  • Any brown or black belts submitting to a bite attack will be ritualistically consumed by the referee and table crew. The heart shall be preserved and offered as sacrifice to ensure next year’s crops and fertility of the women.
  • Biting to the neck is allowable only if the following conditions are met:  the bite appears to a playful nibble; there is chemistry between the two opponents; small laughs and/or breathy sighs are emitted from the defending party.  The referee reserves the right to allow love to be made on the mat post tournament.
  • When two opponents achieve mutual biting positions and no progress is made the referee reserves the right to assess each opponent  a lack of aggression warning.
  • Any person competing who is deemed by IBJJF tournament as “having the hunger” and craving the taste of flesh will be summarily disqualified.

So there you have it! Have fun and be safe.

bjj, competition

Tournaments in Crazy Town

This weekend, I refereed a bjj tournament that ran as part of  the MMA & Sports Expo in Atlantic City.  It was a great chance for white and blue belts to get some matches in.  John, who runs our club, organized the tournament, and it was a well run, organized experience.

With that out of the way, let’s talk a little bit about the expo. When I think of mixed martial arts (MMA) I think of judo, muay thai, bjj, stupid t-shirts, and testosterone smoothies. Apparently, my definition of MMA is different from those who organized the expo.  Strong man contests, arm wrestling, washed up professional wrestlers, and Rex Kwan Do types were what we got.

Now, I think it would be unfair and reductionist to label a lot of the people in attendance as “fringe types”.  But watching a dude with a huge potbelly and an American flag karate belt show a toothless woman how to disarm a person holding a pistol, it’s hard not to. There was a person demonstrating the “Dim Mak” for Christ’s sake.

Now…do people see BJJ as a “fringe” sport?  From out outsider’s perspective, I guess it may be.  If you were to walk into the expo yesterday, and checked off what you saw, it would be easy to lump in a group of people wearing karate type uniforms and wrestling around with each other with everything else going on there.  I wonder if I’m too close to BJJ to really see how other people see it.

When I got home, I went over my neighbor’s house to drink some beers sit by the fire pit. I would describe my neighbors as “hip and aesthetically sophisticated”.  They’re awesome.  But sometimes I get the feeling when I talk about my involvement in bjj, they imagine me karate chopping a sheet of ice, or mystically weaving my hands in the air.

I mean, ultimately I don’t really care.  But I would like to see the sport grow, reaching out to a broad audience of folks.  I wonder if the very nature of martial arts and the associations with it are naturally limiting.

As a final note, arm wrestling is not nearly as fun to watch as it is portrayed in Over the Top.

A po-wem, competition, fat people


If I could do anything

anything at all,

and be anyone,

anyone at all,

I would be a sumo wrestler in Japan.

Languid and stately

in seemingly eternal repose,

everything they do

is on their own time,

And I find that appealing.

But then suddenly

an eruption occurs

of slapping and pulling

a lift and a crash

but then it’s over.

Like a truck rumbling on the interstate

and shaking your house.

Sudden, alarming, and well past

before you know what happened.