Learnin’, Burnin’, and Turnin’

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is hard, both mentally and physically.

No doy.

Anyone who has ever stepped on a mat knows this. You get your ass kicked repeatedly with extreme prejudice, and your coordination sucks. Mostly because you simply don’t know what do, and how to process the conceptual framework of bjj.  My observation has been that most people struggle through the end of their white belts until they begin to realize that bjj is a system of movements, and that each submission, sweep, pass, etc. are all based on only a handful of core principles. Once those principles are grasped, learning becomes much more facile.  That’s why a brown/black belt can pick up new moves faster that beginners.  Simply because they realize that what they are learning are simply variations on a theme.

To use another example, it’s like learning how to have sex.  Sure, I was really bad at it when I started, but after a few years, by the time I was nine I really had the swing of things, and by 12 I had pretty much had the entire Kama Sutra at my disposal and command. All by discovering and applying the rules of eroticism. It’s just a matter of practice and mindset.

Now I don’t know if I’m a world class lover/ok bjj player because I understand these concepts, or that I understand these concepts because I’m a world class lover/ok bjj fighter.  I recommend you don’t think about that too hard because it’s a chicken/egg question and the metaphor doesn’t extend that far.

Hey man, I’m just throwing ideas out there. If you want sound logic go read Socrates.

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 askheavytraining@gmail.com.

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!