No Joy Without Pain in BJJ

Its a concept we are all familiar with.  How can you understand happiness or joy if you don’t know pain or misery? I was inspired by Georgette’s post "I Cried This Morning" and Ben’s post "A Ass Kicking in the Right Direction" today.  I’ve blogged about "Finding Your Happy Place in Jiu-Jitsu" and my thoughts.  Mark also helped me form my thoughts in his post "The Dip and Jiu-Jitsu".

What does it all boil down to?  Its a constant struggle of ups and downs.  We take the good with the bad and keep going.  Its time to think large (The Small and Large of it in Jiu-Jitsu) and not dwell on the moment that is discouraging us.

This is another reason to keep a Journal.  The old adage "If you forget history your are doomed to repeat it" applies.  If you chronicle your training you can look back and say "hey, I remember what it was like when I couldn’t even do a scissor sweep".  You can see the larger picture and the moment in time that is causing you pain is swallowed up in the greater success you have had over time.

After all anything worth having requires blood, sweat, and tears or else it wouldn’t be worth having because you wouldn’t appreciate it.

Jiu-Jitsu is Life and Life is Jiu-Jitsu

Blue to Purple Belt – Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

So you got your blue belt, Congratulations!  If you are feeling like me you are excited.  The thrill of achievement has you thinking, “what do I need to do now to get my purple belt”.  The simple answer is time and practice.  This isn’t exactly what you wanted to hear but what you expected, isn’t it?  After asking my instructor and other basic research the average blue belt takes 3 years to get a purple belt.  But you are pumped up right now.  You say to yourself, as I do, “but I’m not average”.  The fact that you are out looking for what the requirements are and trying to start working towards your purple belt helps reinforce that.  After all the average time for a white belt to blue belt is 1.5 years and you did it in less, didn’t you?  So you will achieve your purple belt sooner then 3 years.  This is how I plan to do it.  I hope my ideas inspire and help you to pass your purple belt test early.

  1. Keep a Jiu-Jitsu Journal.
  2. Learn the purple belt techniques. (Pedro Sauer Purple Belt Test)
  3. Create a daily drill routine.
  4. Research the greats. (My favorites Roger Gracie, Saulo Ribeiro, and Andre Galvao)
  5. Attend Another Dojo, School, or Academy
  6. Mentor a white belt.
  7. Set Goals.

By clicking on any one of these you will go to the article that gives specifics on what I’ve planned for myself.

Please feel free to add your comments or ask me questions.

How to Keep a Journal for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Judo, MMA, . . .

Keeping a journal for you BJJ, Judo, MMA, or any martial art is a great way to improve your technique, document your progress,  and understand your art.  I’ll talk a little about each of the 3 and give some hopefully helpful ideas to help you start or improve on your own journal. But first some basics on journal writing.

Your journal can be a note book, a digital text file, a blog, or anything you feel the most comfortable with.  Just make sure it is something that you can keep a copy of or that is durable in some fashion.  Why?  Lets say you just received your black belt.  For years you have compiled your knowledge and history of your labors.  It would be a crying shame to lose it all to a hard drive failure or because you left somewhere and it disappeared.

Figure out a recording style you like.  This for you only, after all, so experiment until you are satisfied.  Don’t get discourage when you don’t feel its not formatted correctly.  Try different formats.  In time you will work out a style or system that is pleasing to your thoughts and eyes.

Now what should I write in my journal?  As you start working on it your journal will be come rich with information.  You will start to have ideas and see how you could record information you would like to keep.  Read over your journal often to help you get the big picture.  Don’t be to critical of previous entries, use them in a constructive manner to create a better style in future entries.  Your skills will not only increase in your martial art but in your journaling.

According to a poll conducted on, The Fight Works Podcast,  52% of the 273 people who responded to the poll said they keep a notebook, diary, or journal for Jiu-Jitsu.

Improving Your Technique

The old saying “Those who forget history are doomed to repeat it” still rings true.  The mistakes you made at your last tournament or in your last class need to be recorded so you can set goal to correct them.  You don’t want to keep repeating them.

We can also alter the saying to be “Those who forget the technique may never repeat it”.  In other words, if you went to that great seminar by Andre Galvao but didn’t journal about the new things you learned you might as well have never gone.  You won’t remember that sweet submission, escape, or sweep unless you record it in your journal and ponder on it.

Knowing your history helps you direct the future.

Document Your Progress

My Jiu-Jitsu instructor wrote a excellent post that applies to documenting your progress.  I will summarize it for you and you can read the full post later called “The Dip and Jiu-Jitsu”.  What it boils down to is you have to go through a learning curve on anything.  While you are in the “dip” or learning you become depressed or unhappy about your progress.  When you reach the top you have learned and now you feel like you are on top of the world.  By documenting your progress you understand when you’re in the dip, you can also look back on other times when you were in the dip and remember what it was like to get out of it.  This will help give you strength to go on and succeed.

Seeing your success over time drives you onward to new heights.

Understanding Your Art

Jiu-Jitsu, Judo, MMA, or what ever it may be isn’t just a series of moves to be memorized.  I’ve often heard people say “Jiu-Jitsu is life.  Life is Jiu-Jitsu”.  The philosophy of your chosen art can change your outlook on life as it did for a friend of mine.  He explains it in his post “My name is Miles and I am a meat head”.  Write in your journal what impresses you and how you feel it changes you as you assimilate it into your life.  When you go back and read your journal you might be surprised how over time you have evolved.

Internalizing correct concepts creates a greater whole.

When all is said and done the point of a journal or diary is to help you as a person and practitioner of your chosen martial art to grow, progress, and enjoy it along the way.  I know it does.  That is why I created my blog JiuJitsuMap.com and why I keep a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) journal.

Please share with me your success stories.