Sunday, November 25, 2012

JiujitsuGeeks Podcast / Renzo Gracie

I really don't need to tell you who Renzo Gracie is or what he contributed to MMA or BJJ. If you don't know who he is then today must be your first day studying the art of jiujitsu so congratulations!
I also don't need to mention what a huge honor it was to be able to get a few minutes of Master Renzo's  attention for the podcast. We just finished up a seminar he conducted at Team Mannon BJJ in Blacksburg, Va ( and we already on cloud 9 because of the cool stuff we just learned.
This podcast was recorded in two parts. The first part is a post seminar review with Brian, Aaron, and myself. The second part is the actual interview with Renzo.

A big thanks to Tim Mannon for hosting the Renzo seminar and being very hospitable to all of his guests. Tim treats everybody like matter if he has met you before or not. If you are in Blacksburg and are looking for a place to train, be sure to check him out!



JiujitsuGeeks Podcast / Renzo Gracie

You can find Renzo on the web here..

Brian being very cool! 

Renzo teaching Aaron some finer points of side control

Renzo corrected Chris on something. I think. 
Renzo and his Tim Mannon
Renzo signing E.T.'s poster. We are nerds. 

Renzo and E.T

One last photo with the master.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Is Jiu-Jitsu Really For Everybody?

If you’ve been training for any length of time you’ve undoubtedly heard “jiu-jitsu is for everybody”, “anybody can do jiu-jitsu” or something similar.  And we’d like to believe it.  After all, this fighting system was revised from its Japanese predecessor to utilize body position and leverage to allow a smaller person trained in the art to overcome a stronger, larger opponent.  But is that really the case?  Can anybody really do jiu-jitsu?  At the most basic level, yes.  Pretty much anybody can do it to one degree or another.  The question that instead needs to be asked is:  Can anybody really be successful at jiu-jitsu?  The answer to that isn’t so cut and dry.

To be successful in this sport a combination of mental and physical attributes are needed, arguably the most important of which is resilience.  Let’s face it… if you give up easily at stuff, jiu-jitsu isn’t for you.  It takes years (for most people) to even get decent at jiu-jitsu and much longer than that to earn a black belt.  This doesn’t just apply to long-term jiu-jitsu goals like earning the next belt; we’re faced with tough situations every class where it might be easier to slack off during the last few reps of an exercise or give up on a position during a tough roll.  Hanging in there is what will inevitably separate the person who gets their black belt from the one that made it to a four-stripe blue belt and then faded out.

Another characteristic that goes hand-in-hand with resilience is resolve.  Being able to grit your teeth and bear it when the going gets tough.  It’s what gets you through those times when somebody catches a choke that’s almost all the way on and is squeezing 100%, or when you get mounted 30 seconds into a round against an upper belt or when you’re in bottom side control against somebody way bigger and you’d rather die than keep going.  If you aren’t able to gut through those types of situations you might see some success in bjj, but not as much as you could. 

For the most part Jiu-jitsu is an individual sport, but it requires that you train with a team.  So a good, humble attitude will get you a long way.  This point is pretty simple, don’t be a douche to the people you train with.  If you’re new, know that just because you watch The Ultimate Fighter doesn’t mean that you know jiu-jitsu.  There’s more to it than grabbing on to somebody’s head and squeezing, and frankly if you come in with a bad attitude you will be dealt with.

So far we’ve only discussed mental attributes, but jiu-jitsu is obviously extremely physical so some physical attributes are needed to be successful.  Athletes that train on a high level are never 100% and when you’re training hard in a sport specifically designed to attack your body’s weak spots, you will get injured eventually.  More often than not you’ll just suffer from bumps, bruises, muscle soreness, etc.  To be able to train hard, often, and improve consistently you need to be able take a little discomfort.  If you take two weeks off for a bit of gi burn or one of your ears getting a little puffy than your jiu-jitsu progress will be significantly slower.  So, know your limits and know when to suck it up and train.

Another thing you need is some physical potential.  You don’t have to have “potential” on par with BJ Penn or Andre Galvao.  But the bottom line is that jiu-jitsu is uber-physical and a certain minimum level of strength, speed, flexibility, physical dexterity, coordination and cardiovascular capacity are necessary to make it past white belt.  And even if you don’t meet those minimum requirements when you first come to the academy, you need to have the potential to eventually get to that point.  “That point” isn’t necessarily where you are an exact physical equal with your teammates, but where you can at least hang with them.

This isn’t meant to be an all-inclusive list, it’s intended merely as a deeper look inside one of Brazilian jiu-jitsu’s biggest selling points.  What we’ve seen here is that to enjoy success in jiu-jitsu there are certain requirements that a person must have.  The good part is that all you need is a modicum of these and jiu-jitsu will expand on what you’ve got and give you what you need.  So get on the mats and keep getting better!

Train hard,