What is a “Dick Move” in BJJ Training?

What is a ” dick move ” in BJJ? Where is the dividing line between using a perfectly acceptable Brazilian Jiu-jitsu technique and doing something that makes you a jerk, possibly injures someone, or just makes people not want to roll with you?

Before I dive into any more information. Let me say that if you are in question about whether or not you’re using a “dick move” or being a jerk in BJJ. . You probably are.

In the video I share, what I feel, are the 2 biggest determining factors.

Dick Move in BJJ Video 

Those 2 things being. . .

1. The origin of the technique within. What sort of place did this technique come from in you? What kind of emotions fueled it?

2. The intent or objective of this BJJ technique or move. What is the point and what are you trying to achieve?

There are some techniques that are inherently not cool to use. But for the most part. I believe if you are coming from a cool, collected place mentally when you’re rolling. You’ll be less likely to do something someone would consider a “dick” move.


When Used A Dick Move

From my own experience. I did dick moves all the time as a younger practitioner because I was afraid to lose, or because I would get frustrated.

And as I share in the video. You can take a BJJ technique or adjustment that is perfectly fine and change it into something negative just by the mental state in which it was executed.

I go into more detail in the video, plus I talk about the absolute most important thing to consider when you’re rolling in BJJ.

This is especially good for BJJ White Belts who are learning the ropes and trying to figure out what is ok and what’s not.

I hope the video helps!

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Grip Fighting Changed My BJJ Game

Mash the person who taught my more grip fighting

Mash in the center

BJJ has a funny way of bringing people into your life that sometimes change your game in ways you never anticipated. I had one such situation in 2011. I had the pleasure of meeting a person who would become a friend and great training partner.

Mash, which is short for Mashashi Takahashi, was a Purple Belt in BJJ and a Black Belt in Judo. He also competed in Judo in college back in Japan. He was visiting Louisville for about a year and while he was here he became a fixture in the gym.

We trained together, competed together and partied together. He was hilarious in the last respect.


Grip Fighting is the Nuts and Bolts

One of the things that stuck out about his stand up style compared to mine (and most of the gyms) which had more of a wrestling / BJJ element to it. Was the hand fighting for grips. This led to me having him teach Judo classes with an emphasis on the grip fighting techniques he used. These classes had a profound effect on me and sent me on a road of being kind of obsessed with grip fighting at times.

I know it’s a weird thing to obsess over. Especially with all the cool stuff in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu like submissions. I mean it’s not sexy and doesn’t make you go OOOOOooo. . . . ahhhhhh. But dominating grips and being able to dominate the BJJ grip fighting is huge.

When you think about it. Grip fighting in BJJ is a core element to everything! And yet many times it goes overlooked or just isn’t focused on much. Even though a technique begins with “grab this and grab that.”

I compared to a car. When you look at a car. You notice the color of the paint. The styling of the panels. The way the lights look. All that stuff. But you probably don’t even think about all the nuts and bolts that hold the thing together. Grips are the nuts and bolts to your BJJ game.


They Couldn’t Get Grips on my Students

This grip fighting focus spilled over into my BJJ competition game almost immediately. And as I started to fight more aggressively for grips in my Jiu-jitsu matches. My wins, and more importantly the way I won, shot up. And when I’m talking about BJJ grip fighting. I’m not just talking about the feet and doing takedowns. I’m also talking about the ground. Even submissions start with grips first.

This whole grip fighting focus came to head about a year later.

I realized I was competing against a Judo Black Belt in a BJJ competition. And I was dominating the grips. I was even able to score a throw! Which I’m not going to lie, I was pretty happy about.

He was better at throwing than I was. But I had dominated grips.

Soon after this. I was coaching my guys at a local tournament. We had so many people on the mats that I was rushing around like crazy. Then all of a sudden I felt it. My stomach start to almost cramp up. I had forgotten to use the bathroom for several hours. I rushed to the bathroom to get rid of the water I had been holding.While I was using the restroom. I overheard some people from another team talking in the locker room which was attached to the bathroom. Their conversation went something like this.

BJJ Player 1: Did you go against anyone from Derby City?

BJJ Player 2: Yeah. . . they’re so rough!

BJJ Player 1: Yeah! And I couldn’t get any grips on them!

When I heard this. I must have been grinning ear to ear. Probably inappropriate for a bathroom setting.

This is honestly why I created the Get A Grip video series. To help educate beginners on the importance and the how tos of grip fighting. Because if you can keep the grips your opponent needs off. Then they will be unable to use the techniques they want.

And I’ve seen first hand, both through myself and my students, how much of a difference being more focused on grips can make in someones BJJ game. And I can say 100% that focusing more on grip fighting changed my game fundamentally.

If you’re not already focused on Bjj grip fighting. Then you should be. If you’re a beginner and you’d like to shorten the learning curve for your grip fighting Bjj abilities.

Check out the Get a Grip series I created.


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Sadly, Mash (although he wanted to stay) had to leave the gym. But he’s still one of our team. And always will be! He even sports our patches. It always makes me happy that when people train here they enjoy the coaching and the experience enough to want to be a part of it even when they leave.



Mash sporting Derby City patches at his home gym in Japan!

BJJ White Belt

Don’t Play Catch Up As A BJJ White Belt

How can you catch up to the people in front of you as a BJJ White Belt? How do you stick it out in training when you get frustrating because nothing is working?

These are the questions our friend Jeff asked concerning his BJJ training.

He’s being doing Brazilian Jiu-jitsu for about 2 months and says everyone in his gym is either a 2 stripe white belt or above, and no matter what he does, he just continues to get smashed.


Part of the Process as a BJJ White Belt

Getting smashed into the mat as a BJJ White Belt in Brazilian Jiu jitsu is one of the most frustrating things in BJJ. But it’s something we all go through, it’s part of the process.

BJJ is often fun at first because of how new it is. But overtime it can become aggravating when you don’t feel like you’re making progress. You just feel stuck.



Having an “A-HA” Moment

In the video I share a story from my personal BJJ journey about how I got beat on for nearly 6 months of my BJJ training. Then eventually things started to “click” and I started to make noticeable progress. I had what I call an “A-HA” moment in BJJ. It’s that moment in your Brazilian Jiu-jitsu training where things just seem to come together.

This moment turned Brazilian Jiu-jitsu into something completely different for me.

If you’re someone who is experiencing a rough patch in BJJ. Even if you’re not a BJJ White Belt. Maybe you’re a higher level belt. Watch the video and see if you’re able to take some of the advice and apply to your situation and avoid getting frustrated, or at least have a way to work through it. Because if you can work through it. Those moments where everything clicks are ahead.

Thanks for watching! I hope the video helps!

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2 Non-BJJ Books For BJJ Training

2 Non-BJJ Books For BJJ Training


Recently I was asked about what books I would recommend for BJJ training, Martial Arts and life. While I feel unqualified to touch on “life” I do feel plenty qualified to talk about BJJ training.

I also took this question to be non-BJJ books.

Taking Ideas from Non BJJ Sources

Being able to draw parallels to BJJ through other non BJJ sources is important for the overall mindset of someone training Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. I think this because if you can find other sources of information or input it helps you get outside of box and ensure that you’re no being restricted.

Think of it as learning Brazilian Jiu Jitsu techniques from multiple sources. Your coach, training partners, seminars, drop ins at other gyms, youtube, dvd, etc. All of these areas have their contribution to your training and learning. Not being restricted to one in particular is helpful to your growth.

Using 2 Non Bjj Books for Bjj Training

In the video I talk about 2 books that have had a big impact on my BJJ training.

The first is Talent is Overrated by Geoff Colvin. I first read this book back in 2010 when I started teaching and training Brazilian Jiu-jitsu full-time.

With the ample time I had to train. The lesson of deliberate practice in this book helped me direct my training properly so that I was able to train effectively.

The second book recommendation I share in the video is The War of Art by Steven Pressfield.

It’s a very short read but packed with all sorts of thought provoking ideas. One such idea is adopting the lunch pail mentality to your creative endeavors. Basically embracing the grind.

Adopting these two ideas, deliberate training and being able to grind it out, made a huge impact on my game.

So to my buddy Luis, and anyone who is looking for some non-BJJ books to inspire their BJJ training. I hope these recommendations help!


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10 BJJ Solo Drills W/ Heavy Bag ( Top Pressure )

solo BJJ drills

10 BJJ Solo Drills W/ Heavy Bag (Top Pressure And Movement)

In this video I show 10 BJJ solo drills you can do with an old heavy bag you might have laying around. The BJJ solo drills in this video will help develop better top pressure and movement from top positions.

I shared in a recent video that I think grappling dummies are a potential waste of time and money. Not because they’re not a good tool. But because most people lack the discipline and drive to do use them much at home.

After I made the video a bunch of you sent me messages saying that you have grappling dummies or do solo drills a great deal from your home. Either because it’s supplemental BJJ training or because there isn’t a Brazilian Jiu-jitsu school close by.

So to help out with your BJJ training I did another set of BJJ solo drills you can do. Many of these are similar to the various drills I’ve done before. But the purpose isn’t just the drills themselves but getting you to think about how you can use a old heavy bag you might have. You can be creative and get something out of a simple tool.


How To Use These BJJ Solo Drills

When you do the drills, if you’re looking for a good workout. Do each drill for 30-45 seconds a piece. Then transition to the next drill with no rest. Do this for a full pass through and repeat for 2-3 rounds.

It’s guaranteed to get you sweating and you’ll be developing good movement for top positions in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu.

In our gym we also use old heavy bags that have broken for MMA fighters to beat on and punch like ground and pound. But you can also use them for your Brazilian Jiu jitsu training in the form of these solo drills.

So if you’re looking for solo BJJ drills you can do from home. This is a cheaper option than a grappling dummy. Check out the video and I hope it helps!

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motivation for bjj

Lacking Motivation For BJJ Training

Recently I got a message from Barbaro who says they’re lacking motivation for BJJ training sessions.

After 13+ years (at the time of filming this) I can totally understand the need for a motivational boost from time to time.

As much fun as BJJ is, and as passionate as I am about it, even I find myself lacking motivation for BJJ training.  It’s just natural. If you do something for long enough you’ll get stuck in a rut at some point and we all require a little boost to get ourselves through it.

Motivation For BJJ Training

In this video I try to give some tips that have helped me with motivation for BJJ.

The biggest thing that has helped me stay motivated for BJJ is to abandon the need motivation. Instead, just think of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu as something you do, rather than something you need to be motivated to do. I mean it’s amazing, you shouldn’t need that much motivation, right?

In the book The War of Art by Steven Pressfield. He talks about adopting the “lunch pail” mentality to our creative endeavors which I believe is a great idea. Instead of waiting for the motivation or the spark to excite you. You just show up and do what you need to do, just like you would with a job.

Think about work or a job you didn’t necessarily like. Although you didn’t LOVE it. You showed up anyway and did what you were supposed to do. The same is true for your creative efforts. You just gotta do it sometimes, even if you don’t feel “motivated.”

It’s not sexy but it’s a smart approach. Motivation is such a weird thing to pin down. So relying on it alone for help with your training isn’t smart.

I also share some other ideas that have helped me with motivation for my Brazilian Jiu jitsu training and I hope that they help you with your training.

As always if you have any questions, shoot them over to me!





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Escapes From Side Control

Get Better At Escapes From Side Control And Mount

I recently received a question from a BJJ White Belt. He asked how he can get better at escapes from side control and mount.

I’m pretty sure that this is the number 1 BJJ related question I get from white belts in the beginning. Because being stuck under someone’s pressure sucks and they lack the skills to be effective and escape. In turn many white belts spend a lot of time in bad positions like side control and mount.

In this video I give 4 tips that a white belt in Brazilian jiu jitsu (or anyone really) can use to improve escapes from side control or other bad positions.

The tips are (starting with simplest to more in-depth)
1. Learn to take a deep breath when you find yourself in bad positions during BJJ rolling. This will help calm your mind and allow you to think more clearly. Along with keeping a steady flow of oxygen coming to the muscles. When people get in bad spots, often they breathe very sporadically.

2. Focus on using the Brazilian Jiu-jitsu techniques you’ve learned rather than just pushing and shoving with no rhyme or reason as to what your doing. You have to avoid panic and make sure to focus on the techniques you’ve practiced.

3. If open mat or extra free mat time is available. Have a partner attack you in your worst position. The single best way to improve your ability to escape bad positions is spend more time in those position. Practice is what you need.

4.If time is not available or just another way to do it. Find someone you can beat and let them put you in the worst positions possible. Because you can beat them, you’ll be more relaxed and able to practice in a less stressful way.

As I share in this video. All of these tips have had a big impact on my BJJ escape game so I hope they help you as well if you’re struggling with escapes from side control and mount.

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BJJ Kumite Minute-by-Minute

So yesterday I fulfilled my childhood dream of winning the Kumite. While I hadn’t planned on it being the BJJ Kumite I suppose it will have to do. Considering the fact that the real Kumite from Bloodsport was all bullshit. Fun side note. I used to watch Bloodsport all the time as a kid and I believe it’s influence probably had something to do with me being in the position that I’m in now. I’m not even joking.


Yesterday while at the BJJ Kumite in Murfreesboro Tennessee I decided to keep a sort of minute by minute journal. It catalogs some of the happenings at the tournament, along with some of the weird stuff that floats through my head on the day of competition.


I’m not sure how you are during a competition. But for me at least, when I’m competing my mind has no concept of what’s after the match. Like, on a normal day you can say, “It’s Monday and I’ll do this today and then this on Tuesday and then this on Wednesday.”


When I compete there is no next day. My mind has such laser focus on the immediate, the now, rather than planning for what’s next. Which is how most of us live our lives, right? We are always planning for what’s next. The elimination of what’s next and being in the high stress environment is a interesting mixture.


With that said, let’s move on. Below are all the ramblings from yesterday. The only thing I’ve altered is the spelling and made sure the times had am or pm next to them.


BJJ Kumite Minute-by-Minute (sort of)


10am – We arrive at the venue after having some difficulty finding it. The tournament is taking place behind an ice cream store in a former clothing store. Imagine an abandoned Banana Republic and you have an idea of what it looks like.bjj kumite venue


As soon as I arrive I being my customary mingling with other competitors and teammates. This is one of the best parts. Seeing old friends.


10:13am – A short rules meeting happens and then the coaches go over arrangement of brackets together.


The time limit is 5 minutes no points and then 5 minutes points. A fault of mine is that I get going and forget to keep track of points. I sort of blank out and get involved with the roll. One of my most recent BJJ tournaments saw me dominate a guy but because I was transitioning too fast from place to place in search of the finish, I lost on points.


So I’ll just go out and try to fire off early like normal.


10:15am – Battle crap #1.


I had debated on whether or not to include this as part of the blog post. But I’ve had newcomers who think there is something wrong with them when they compete for their first time. I call them battle craps because you can read about ancient warriors lining up in formation staring across the battlefield at the enemy as they prepare for battle. And they would have to. . . well. . . you know.


10:20am – Rules meeting. Nothing unusual. justin


10:25am – I go back to the car to grab snacks, my gi and mobility equipment. Although it’s funny. My body is already preparing for the fight and I don’t feel any of my nagging injuries like my finger and pulled muscle in my back. Everything feels great. Maybe I won’t need the mobility equipment.


10:30am – Purple belts begin. My student and friend both lose their first matches. Bummer.


10:50am – I locate a source of energy. Energy for my electronically devices I have become a slave to.


11:03am – I meditate for 15 minutes to calm my nerves and remember how meaningless this whole thing is on the grand scheme of things.


It’s weird. It’s like a left over ritual from our tribal past where we as humans would pit our champions against one another to see who was the strongest.


It solves nothing, and is meaningless to most, but it’s a hell of a lot of fun and meaningful to those who take part.


This might seem like a weird mindset to take into a match but it’s helpful for me. When I was younger I was too wrapped up in the idea that I had to win. It would hamstring me from being myself on the mat. If you’ve compete, you know what I mean when I say not myself. When I was younger I would roll great in the gym and just flounder in tournaments. I would still win but it was not me. I was so worried about winning and losing that it was hard to really go for it.


By accepting the futility of the whole thing. It allows me to perform so much better. In the end, this shit doesn’t matter. So I might as well go out there, execute my style, attempt to be exciting and enjoy myself.


11:30am – Chad is informed he can’t wear his grey Gi so he borrows one from our teammate Kenny. This gi rule seems weird since this is a spectator event with IBJJF rules and ADCC time format. I figured a grey gi would be nice and flashy to stand out for the crowd.


I arrange to wear the Gi after Chad is done because I took my grey Gi with me as well.


New preparation maxim. Always bring an extra white Gi in case people are sticklers for Gi colors.


Maybe the sweat of 3 men combined into 1 Gi will give me an advantage against my opponent. A sort of biological attack designed to sting the nostrils to accompany the physical barrage of techniques.


11:39am – I find a better bathroom inside the mall right next to a cold water fountain. As I was walking out of the venue area my girlfriend feeds me a spoonful of “lemon cookie Italian ice cream.”


Water source located, post competition cheat food has been decided upon.


11:45am – Battle Crap #2
If you’re ever backed up and prune juice won’t do the trick. Just compete. End of problem.


12:41pm – My buddy Clay Mayfield put on a heck of show winning by submission.


12:55pm – Battle Crap # 3 this is usually my lucky number ever since my days in MMA.front lobby


When leaving the venue area you experience a strange contrast.


You walk through a door to Lil Mikey’s ice cream. Which is brightly lit with white walls and floors. Sprinkled with sharp colors to break up the blankness. Large windows allow sunlight to rush in which only furthers the brightness of the room as it banks off the white walls and floors.


When entering the main section of the mall you’re blasted with the smells of pizza and cinnamon rolls belching from the food court area.


As I pass consumers smiling with their purchases in hand. They look so relaxed and carefree. I can’t help but think that not even 200 feet away there are 2 dozen guys who are on edge mentally as they prepare for battle in attempt to rip each other’s limbs and neck off.


Then there’s the venue. When you walk back to the abandoned Banana Republic (or whatever store it used to be) it’s dimly lit and you can feel the energy and emotions inside the room. Not to mention the smell of victory and defeat. Which has a resemblance to body odor, mats and coconut water.
 bjj kumite venue
Anyone who has competed for long enough probably knows the feeling I’m talking about. Tournaments give off a certain feel to them. Whether it’s the Pans or a local tournament. They all have a similar vibe. It seems to hit you as soon as you walk inside.


Just an observation.


1:25pm – Chad wins 2 matches by submission against Clay. I was hoping that would be the finals. Those two are so exciting and go for the finish. It would have been a fun one to watch.


During the match Chad messed up his foot. Not sure how bad it is, but we’ll try and tape it up.Chad wins bjj kumite match


1:40pm – So his food is pretty bad. While we were taping it. Just touching it caused him to wince in pain. He insisted that he wanted to compete (which doesn’t surprise me, he’s no punk bitch). I make sure to tell him to tap if he feels anything or if the guys starts tugging on his foot.


In his 3rd match his opponent goes for the injured foot and Chad tapped. I’m probably bias but I think Chad wins that match if he wasn’t injured. But. . . thems the breaks.


1:58pm – It’s about an hour out from the start of the black belts. I’m going to stop writing and start listening to music to zone in and focus on my match.


4:53pm – Alright, so it’s all over. I’m sitting in the mall enjoying the air conditioning as my body is still trying to cool off. Passerby are looking at me curiously as I’m sure I give off the appearance of someone who just took a dunk in a pool. chewy wins bjj kumite


I was fortunate to get a bye first round. During the second round I faced my good friend Jordan Sullivan. The match match was short. Which I’m happy about. I really didn’t relish having to face my friend so early.


In the finals I faced Pedro Palhares. He gave me a hell of a fight. A scrappy kid for sure. Both of us came right at one another from the start. No feeling out process needed. I was able to secure the win via controlling the stand up and pressure passing.


One side rant. I really hate how BJJ competitors hug the line of bounds. For me the wrestling mentality of taking the center and fighting for the center is still important.


Where as in BJJ competitors just back up and skirt the boundary. It makes it difficult to go for takedowns and really get a good match going because you’re constantly having to recenter. Let just stay in the center and fight this thing out. It’s what were here to do!


I’m happy to have put on a good performance for myself , my students and my team. In the end I compete to test myself and lead from the front with my students. I’m also really happy about his giant acai bowl they gave me after I won.  It was also really good to have my longtime friend and coach Kyle at my corner. My purple belt Justin knows my game and gave some helpful tips during the match.


The win is less important than the performance for me. I can still perform well and lose. I can also perform poorly and win.


When I walk off the mat I want to know that I had no hesitation and played my game well.


5:30pm – We arrive at the closest burger place. Smash burger is a decent chain for a burger.


My purple belt Justin and I have been holding down the post competition burger tradition together since 2012.burger after bjj kumite


I have to drive so I opt for a milkshake in lieu of a beer. A successful end to the BJJ Kumite.

Simple Grip To Rear Naked Choke A Muscular Person

Simple Grip To Rear Naked Choke A Muscular Person

Getting a rear naked choke on a muscular person can be really difficult at times. Large shoulder and trap muscles, a thick neck and big chest create obstacles for our hands to work through in search of the rear naked choke.

In this video I show a chin strap grip that I like to use to get the choke from back mount. Most people already know the forearm across the face and lifting up to get the choke, and it works very well.

But, as we all know, in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu there is more than one way to get the job done. This grip variation is a perfect example of that. It’s also not a very common one so it will give you the chance to have a trick up your sleeve if you use it correctly.



Why I Started Using The Chin Strap Grip

I originally started using this chin strap grip to get the rear naked choke when I was rolling with a big blue belt meat head who weight 260-270+.

He was rolling really rough with some of the smaller guys in class and my instructor asked me to roll with him to get him away from the smaller guys. I was a purple belt at the time.

When we started rolling he was going on and on about how he couldn’t be choke from his back. So it struck a chord with me and I was bound and determined to get the rear naked choke on him.

During the roll I was initially frustrated with trying to get the choke. When I would pry across the face with my forearm he would either just force his neck down or grab my hands. And when I tried to slide my hand under his neck. His muscles acted as a wall that got in my way.

But I still had the back position.

Eventually things clicked and my palm ended up on the bottom of his chin. He couldn’t remove the grip and I was able to make just enough space to slide in the rear naked choke.

Afterwards we continued to roll and I used the same grip technique 5 times, over and over, to hit the rear naked choke.

It was one of those moments where you realize that if you mentally commit and go all in to do something on the mat in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. Your body will find a way to make it happen.

I hope this technique is useful for you!


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Don't Remember Everything As A BJJ White Belt

Stop Thinking About Techniques As A BJJ White Belt

Stop Thinking About Techniques As A BJJ White Belt

Recently one of my BJJ White Belts asked for tips on remembering techniques when he rolled. He said that there is so much stuff going on, and he can’t remember techniques when he rolls. He just brain farts.

In this video I share an analogy about how BJJ is like music in a way and I explain how it’s a little different than what you might expect. And you should NOT try SO HARD to remember techniques.

Don’t Memorize Everything As A BJJ White Belt

Many people who are new to BJJ start by trying to develop the ability to consciously memorize techniques during rolling. When in fact, it doesn’t happen like that. We call it muscle memory for a reason.

More often than not. Your body will figure out how to put it all together well before you can consciously think about what exactly you’re doing. This is why someone can execute a technique without being able to appropriately break it down and teach it to someone else.

If you do end up being able to consciously think about the techniques when you roll, it’s usually an afterthought. The move has already started and it’s just a fleeting thought in your brain.

In most cases, if you have to think about the technique you plan to use too much. It’s too late and your opportunity will be lost..

Saulo Riberio has a great quote, “If you think, you are late. If you are late, you use strength. If you use strength, you tire. If you tire, you die.”

I think what he is touching on is the importance of your body executing techniques in BJJ intuitively. Without having to remember techniques.

In my opinion this intuitive ability is developed through mat time and drilling.

You’ll know you are starting to develop this ability when you begin going off of “feel” opposed to thought.

Also, if you’re new to BJJ. Be ready for the occasional “Aha” moments that will occur from time to time. Where things seem to fall into place.

I share in the video that doing BJJ is like playing an instrument.

As a musician feels the music and knows exactly which chords to pluck just off instinct. The more your abilities in BJJ develop. You’ll find yourself doing things, not because you thought about them, but because they felt right.

So stop stop trying remember techniques as a BJJ White Belt. Remember what you can and be sure to drill your techniques a lot, and let your body do the rest. Muscle memory goes a long way, don’t let the mind get in the way.

Hope the video is helpful!

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