Why You Shouldn’t Teach BJJ to Yourself (When You’re New)

What is the most efficient way to train BJJ? Is training yourself Brazilian Jiu-jitsu an effective way to learn the martial art? Should you teach BJJ to yourself?

In this video I touch on this subject.

Our friend Nate on Youtube sent a message saying that he wants to maximize his time and save money by training with his friend in a basement first before he eventually joins his local 10th Planet BJJ gym.

He’s doing this to sort of bypass the White Belt phase of his training and prepare for his Blue Belt. So he plans to do this by using his friend to teach BJJ to each other.

Why Is Smart Not To Teach BJJ To Yourself

As I share in the video I think this is a bad idea for your BJJ growth. Primarily because I’ve done it.

When I started training Brazilian Jiujitsu.  I started like Nate is thinking about and piecing together moves in my basement with my friends. This was the way I began my Brazilian Jiujitsu experience.

We did this for about a year.

I found a BJJ gym in Louisville where I would eventually train. And when I did eventually step into an actual BJJ program led by an expert. I realized I wasted so much time training myself! I learned more in that 1 day of training than I did in the year of trying to teach BJJ to myself.

In any form of Martial Arts. It’s always a more effective means to growth to learn from someone who has been there before.

If you’re contemplating joining a BJJ gym or training yourself. I hope the video is helpful to you!

Thanks!
-Chewy

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How I Setup Takedowns in BJJ

When you’re going for takedowns in BJJ. What are you looking for? How do you decide which BJJ takedown to use?

Do you have a systematic approach to takedowns? Do you focus on looking for certain grips or adjustments from your opponent, or do you just lock up and cross your fingers that something will happen?

 

My Process for Takedowns in BJJ

In this video I give a little insight into what I’m looking for personally on my feet when I’m going for takedowns. Mainly I talk about how I determine the BJJ takedown I plan to use.

You’ll see, that just like any other position. I observe which grips i can secure and which grips my opponent gives me. From there I choose the best take down for the situation.

But most importantly, there’s a process to it! Just like any other position.

Often times. I see that most people don’t have a smart approach to takedowns in BJJ. They just lock up and move around until someone screws up. But yet on the ground they know exactly where they are going.

Likewise I try to give you some ideas on what you could look for when you’re on the feet in Brazilian Jiujitsu. So when you think about your takedowns. Think about the moves and positions and see if you have a process to everything.

You’ll have to excuse me a bit as I was super hyper in this video. And I’m kind of all over the place. This isn’t that unusual.

Hopefully these ideas will help you with your own Brazilian Jiu-jitsu takedowns. Whether its for training or competition.

Thanks!

-Chewy

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How To Be Aggressive from Full Guard As A BJJ White Belt

Some people are naturally aggressive, while others seem to lack this innate quality.

Our friend Megan who is a BJJ White Belt  says she lacks aggression. In particular she says she lacks being aggressive from her Full Guard and is unable to pull the trigger when she is rolling in her Brazilian Jiu-jitsu gym. And this is a vicious spiral. Because she lacks aggression due to the fact that her guard just gets passed and she gets passed because she is unable to be offensive.

This is a common situation I’ve seen as a Brazilian Jiujitsu coach.

Some White Belts have too much aggression while others don’t seem to have any at all. Personally I was one of the White Belts that had way too much.

Being Technically Aggressive In BJJ

In this video I discuss some of the strategies I used to build aggression off my back. Because as a Wrestler who got into BJJ second. Being aggressive off my back didn’t come naturally in my BJJ training.

On the subject of BJJ aggression I also want to stress that if you don’t naturally have aggression. It’s ok. Many people are overly aggressive because of  negative factors. Things like ignorance to the positions and fear of losing can cause this.

My goal for anyone wanting to develop more aggression would be to do so based on their technical abilities. Rather than blind aggression. Being aggressive in BJJ is great but doing so without the technique to back it up will lead to a road block eventually.

Anyways, I hope this video helps out any of you trying to be more aggressive in BJJ.

Thanks!
-Chewy

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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!
-Chewy

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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.

 

grip fighting series

 

 

 

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.

 

-Chewy

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!
-Chewy

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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!

-Chewy

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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!

Thanks!
-Chewy
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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!

Thanks!
-Chewy

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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.

Thanks guys!
-Chewy

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