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!


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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.


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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!

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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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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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Fix BJJ Shoulder Injury With A Stronger Back

Fix BJJ Shoulder Injury With A Stronger Back

Would you like some exercises to prevent having bad shoulders and shoulder injuries in BJJ? Are you shoulders and back muscles ever jacked up after training BJJ? Do you experience pain in the upper back as well from BJJ training?

If so you should watch this video.

Inside the video I work with one of my purple belts who also happens to be a physical therapist. He understands how the body works and just as importantly understands what it’s like to be a BJJ practitioner.

He’s suffered injuries in BJJ just like the rest of and finds ways to treat them and work around them.

He’s also be incredibly helpful for my Brazilian Jiu-jitsu training. Over the years I’ve consulted with him to get guidance on how to recover from various problems I’ve had.

I’ll apologize first off. I know the video is rather long. But there are just so many nuggets of information that will help you if you’re experiencing problems with your shoulder or back muscles as a result of BJJ training. It was really hard to cut this down anymore.

So if you’d like to learn some ways to prevent injury and help correct imbalances in the shoulders and back muscles in BJJ. Then watch this video and check it out.

In this shoulder injury prevention video we cover. . .

-Strengthening the back to help fight against overly tight pecs.
-Learning how to perform exercises with proper form
– Various rows to build up different areas of the back
-Rotator Cuff strengthening Exercises.

Most importantly, these exercises will help prevent the injury before it happens. As they say, an ounce of prevention is worth more than a pounds of cure. But if there is something that is injured. These exercises are great for recovery to help fix bad shoulders as well.

Hope the exercises in this video are useful and I hope they help you avoid shoulder injury!





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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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Roll Longer As A BJJ White Belt With These Simple Tips

Roll Longer As A BJJ White Belt With These Simple Tips
White belt bjj spaz days

How to roll longer as a BJJ White Belt is something that I get asked all the time. Both from my students and from my Chewjitsu group online.

I remember this being an issue for me. Even though I was a young wrestler, I still struggled with being able to roll for a long period of time. I found that I just gassed out so quickly and it was frustrating.

One of the reason I had such a problem when I tried to roll longer as a BJJ White Belt was that I didn’t breathe correctly. It was really bad at times.

So bad in fact, that one of the commands my coach had drilled into my head for competitions was, “BREATHE!”

Yeah, that’s right. Not only did I drill my techniques but I also had to drill my breathing. When he yelled breathe. I would take a very deliberate breath. A big inhale, followed by 3 quick exhales.

In addition to breathing. Another thing that someone who wants to roll longer as a BJJ White Belt should do is to be more conscious of when they are using energy. Often I’ll see white belts being very tense and using LOADS of energy, yet nothing is happening.

Learning when you can conserve energy and when you need to expend it is one of the cornerstones to becoming more efficient. If you’re a BJJ white belt. You can simply think about the positions you tense up in and focus on relaxing in them to some degree.

In this video I share some details on both of these tips.

If you’re trying to roll longer as a BJJ white belt. Listen to the tips and give them a try!






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Tips For Grappling After 30 ( I Feel Better At 31 Than 28 )

Tips For Grappling After 30 ( I Feel Better At 31 Than 28 )

Getting old and grappling after 30 years old is something I’ve discovered isn’t as bad as I was expecting. Eventually my body will break down as it ages. And hard rolling will be out of the question.

But for now, I’ve found several ways to lessen the frequency of injuries and stay healthy on the mat. Even though I’m now 30+ years old. I can honestly say I feel better than I did at 28.

In this video I discuss some of the issues I started having in my late 20s. Everyone tells you that as you get older you will just feel your body more. And this was the case for me.

In the video I share some of the simple things I started doing after I noticed my body felt worse and worse when I was around 28 years old.


The Secret To Grappling After 30

Making routine maintenance a part of my routine has been my secret to feeling better and healthier as I’m becoming older and grappling after 30.

Some of the benefits I’ve received by staying on top of my maintenance work is . . .

  • In general I feel less stiff and take less time to warm up.
  • By respecting my body’s needs. I perform better when I train hard.
  • I’m injured less and on the mat more.

Some of the different things I do to relax and repair my body are. . .

  • Stretching and deep breathing.
  • A more relax, yin, style yoga.
  • Myofascial release. Foam rolling, lacrosse ball work, etc.
  • Corrective exercises.
  • Believe it or not, walks. On my off days I like to go for a nice walk or hike.
  • Laying in my hammock. You might be rolling your eyes. But a lot of us don’t give ourselves proper time to rest. Even when we rest we feel like we’re being lazy or aren’t making progress. I know that’s a problem for me. Giving myself the mental OK that it’s ok to rest goes a long way.

Start At Any Age

No matter what age you are. If you take the idea that you are a high performance machine and work on developing a routine for your maintenance. I promise, you’ll feel and perform better when you’re on the mats.

Here’s the Attack The Back post if you’re interested in hearing more about my take on grappling after 30 and beyond.

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