Balancing the Family and Jiu Jitsu Training

I don’t want to sum this whole post up in one sentence. You should know where I’m going with this before you even read it.  Family comes first.  That has been the theme for my holiday season, well the entire month of December (as it should be).  Meerkatsu in his post "BJJ Frequency Spousal Happiness Slide" talked about his experience with it. did a poll entitled "To What Extent Does Your Spouse, Boyfriend, Girlfriend, Significant Other Support Your BJJ Training?"  that gives some statistics.  They are both very interesting.  When it comes down to it I love my family more then BJJ.  Yes, its hard to hear that any one could love anything more then BJJ when it comes down to us true addicts.  I made 3 of the 10 classes I would have normally made this month.  When I went to those 3 classes I felt like I was already behind.  Those who are single or don’t have an attachment fill their time with BJJ and I feel like I’m falling further and further behind.  But I don’t know what else I can do.  I usually resort to my Submission Master Grappling Dummy.  But even that is of no use when my 2 and 3 year old join in.  Its a good laugh and we have a great "royal rumble" but I don’t get much training in.  When I try to slip away to watch some videos I have to lock myself in my office.  That doesn’t last long before the wife is knocking wondering why I don’t come spend time with the family while I’m off for the holidays.  As a last resort I use my iPhone apps and watch some videos.  At least they are quick and portable.  I can snatch a moment to watch them now and then.  If only the itch to do instead of just watch would go away until I had time to try them out.  Oh well, I think the balance is tipped heavily in the direction of the family but for good reason.  When my children get bigger we will all go as a family but until then its catch as catch can.

Atama Mundial #5 Gi vs Koral MKM Kimono

I picked up a red Atama Mundial #5 (Size A3) and promised I’d do a post comparing it to my Koral MKM Urban Camo (Size A3).  I haven’t had as much time with the Atama Mundial #5 as I have with my Koral MKM Urban Camo but so far I’m liking it.  Here are some of the key differences I have noticed so far:

  1. The Mundial #5 gi top is longer by a good 2 inches then the MKM.  That keeps it in your belt a little longer while rolling and I have decided I like that.  Its sleeves are about 1/2 inch longer too and have a little more room then the MKM.  I don’t mind that.
  2. The Mundial #5 is a little better quality.  Why I say this is little details are done.  For example: gi-strings Notice how on the red Atama Mundial #5 they have folded over the end and sewn it for the draw string.  On my Koral MKM Urban Camo I did the sewing on the end so it wouldn’t fray over time.  The patches also look like they have better borders for the Atama and are sewn to the gi better.  I have already had to sew part of a patch back on for my Koral.
  3. The Mundial is heavier and not as soft for the gi top.  Notice the difference in the weave of the two from the pictures. koral-mkm-urban-camo-weave atama-mundial-5-weave Don’t ask me what the difference is.  I just know what I feel.  Because I wear a long sleeve rash guard the coarseness doesn’t bother me.  The added weight of the Atama is good for the winter right now.  I wonder if it will be much hotter come summer.
  4. The pants of the Atama are softer and a hair longer then the Koral.  I think they have about the same fit for me and I like them both.  There was one big difference I noted.  The cuff is sewn different.  Notice how the Koral MKM really will last with all those lines of reinforced stitching.  The Atama only has the stitching need to sew on the black strip with their name.  I don’t think this bad just in the long run I expect the Koral pants to out last the Atama. gi-pant-cuffs
  5. For those of us who don’t use the dryer after washing our gis, to extend their life, the Atama gi top takes much longer to dry out.  Like I said it is heavier.  I sat mine out all night in my arid house and it still didn’t dry out by noon the next day.  The Koral MKM dries out over night.  This worries me because I don’t want a stinky gi but I don’t want it to wear out quicker from the dryer.

When all is said and done they are both fine kimonos and have different qualities that make them a top brand.  Over all I like the Atama but think my Koral wins out for now.

Jiu Jitsu For the Not So Happy Holidays

Why is it that December ends up being the "Worst Time of the Year" instead of the "Most Wonderful Time of the Year".  I’ve had to travel for work this month.  I haven’t had to for over 3 years until December.  I’ve had the family all get the flu but me.  I then got sick after they all got better.  All in all, I’ve only got in one BJJ class in 3 weeks!  So much for Jiu Jitsu for the holidays!  If it wasn’t for my DVD’s and Submission Master Grappling Dummy I wouldn’t get to do any BJJ it seems like.  To top it all off I read on about Haydn Clasby.  Can you have a worse holiday?  I donated what I could to help because I can’t imagine how he must feel right now.  His whole life is going to change now and to top it off he won’t be doing BJJ ever again.

I think we get far to stressed this time of year.  My bosses father had a heart attack last week.  The list goes one.  It reminds me of my instructor, Mark Johnson, telling us to slow it down during practice.  He says something to the effect that if you have a guiding spirit during your roll it should be the "spirit of the sloth".  Lets all slow it down this year and enjoy the holidays.  Happy Holidays to everyone reading this.

Tapping out the BJJ Pirates of Plagiarism

I just finished reading a post by Meerkatsu entitled "Gracie Barra Website Piracy Claim" along with one by slideyfoot on 10th Planet plagiarizing his posts.  Even my own instructor has had his site ripped off.  He posted about it in Biting My Blog.  I’ve had a few minor "bites" myself.  Its sad but true the Internet lends it self to plagiarism.  How do you protect yourself or can you protect yourself?  Slideyfoot had a good idea when he said you can report them to Google as a duplicate site.  You can put a copy write on you site.  You can send a cease-and-desist letter.  But what else?  I noticed that the loyal followers of Meerkatsu started e-mailing Gracie Barra about it.  This seems to have helped get it off the site even thought they weren’t willing to just put Meerkatsu’s name on it.  I think that may be the answer.  If you see something that has been plagiarized let the site know you don’t like it.  After all they don’t want their readers ticked at them.  The more people who voice their displeasure the more likely they are to tap out.

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How Does a Technique Get Named in BJJ

I’m a Robert Jordan fan.  I just finished the latest Wheel of Time book.  For those of you who don’t read them I’ll skip to the chase.  In the book Robert Jordan describes sword fights in terms of techniques or forms the opponents employ.  A typical sword fight goes some thing like this: "Tand countered ‘The Wind and the Rain’ with ‘Parting the Silk’ and quickly followed up with ‘Unfolding the Fan’ catching Dalic off guard leaving a bloody slash down his right arm".  Doesn’t that sound cool!  With other names like "Cat Dances on the Wall" and "Lion on the Hill" how can you not feel the technique without even seeing it.  So how do BJJ techniques get named?  They get stupid names like "T-Wrap" and "New York".  Most of the time no one knows the name for a given technique or if they do it has more then one and you can’t be sure you are talking about the same thing until you show it.  Even in "The Karate Kid" and Kung Fu movies they have cool names like  "Crane Kick" and "Dragon Seeks the True Path".  We don’t base Brazilian Jiu Jitsu off of animals, I know, but its the concepts they represent that matters.

I guess until a standard naming convention is agreed upon there will always be this confusion.  What is my contribution to this?  I think I’ll start looking on common low level moves that can be summarized and give them a cool name.  Then I will chain them together to form a sentence like the ones above.  Its worth a try even if I only use them to sort it all out for myself.

Share some cool technique names with me that you have come up with.


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Dreaming of Becoming a Purple Belt

Last night I had a dream.  In that dream I was competing in a BJJ tournament.  It was gi of course.  I have a progress plan that will lead up to no-gi as I posted in No-Gi vs Gi.  Back to the dream,  I won all of my matches and took the gold but only by a hairs breath.  I felt I was a decent blue belt but needed more time to learn after testing myself against other blues.  At the end of the tournament I was awarded my purple belt.  I was very upset!  I knew I didn’t deserve it yet.  I knew I couldn’t live up to it yet.  I was proud that they thought I should wear it but I knew better inside.  This morning as I ponder on my dream I find it very enlightening.  I do feel a sense of accomplishment and a right to have my blue belt.  At the same time I realize I have growth that needs to take place before I can achieve the next level.  I know that when I get that purple belt I’ll feel like a purple belt.  I’ll know its right about the time my instructor does too I think.  I look forward to that day and to all the fun and learning that leads up to it.

Jiu Jitsu is Life and Life is Jiu Jitsu.

Belt Whipping or Hazing in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

I was surfing my usual blogs and came across this post by slideyfoot entitled "Belt Whipping and Promotion Rituals in BJJ".  I agree with him on his stance we can do without such behavior.  I want to go even farther and call it hazing.  When I got my blue belt they gave me a congratulatory throw.  That was fine.  But running the gauntlet and whipping people with belts!  That doesn’t follow the spirit of what Helio Gracie envisioned at all.  In fact belt whipping just seems sadistic. 

I can see how it can become accepted as commented on by Jim later in the post but then you can use that to justify about any torture to be part of the group.  I thing that participating in the class each and every week, going to things like my instructor initiated to celebrate his 40th birthday ("40 and a Day"), participating in tournaments as a team, and many other thing bind us together.  There is a great spirit of comradery at my school.  There are no belt whippings.  When some one is out or missing we ask about them.  We try to help them not only in progressing in BJJ but in there personal life too.  I feel we are a Brotherhood/Sisterhood bound together by a common love for BJJ.  Look at it this way, my family doesn’t whip my brother on this birthday to celebrate it or let him know we love him.

Finding a Way to do Jiu Jitsu On the Road

I haven’t been able to post at all this week.  I’ve been on the road for work.  I had hoped that at least one night this week I’d be able to get in a practice at a school near where I was.  I even scoped out the two school I hoped to visit, Underdog Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Royce Gracie Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.  But as luck would have it things didn’t work out.  I was bummed and feeling Jiu Jitsu withdrawals until a co-work of mine turned me on to Gi Subs 1, a iPhone application that shows gi submissions by  It wasn’t as good as doing it but while I sat on the plane I could go over a whole bunch of new gi submission all for $2.99.  Once again saved by the iPhone and a enterprising Jiu Jitsu teacher.  I got researching and found two No-gi applications for the iPhone by the every popular Grapple Arts.  One is on sweeps and the other on submissions.  They were a dollar more expensive then Gi Subs 1 but its cheap entertainment compared to the $14 the airline wanted to watch one of their movies in flight.  Plus it goes with me know when ever I have my iPhone with me.  After I had my fill of watching submissions on my iPhone I turned to my old stand by GRACIEMAG.  I had the July 2009 issue detailing the 2009 World Championships.  I never get tired of watching or reading about Roger Gracie, not to mention Marcelo Gracia.  All of this combined I survived the business trip hungry but not starving for BJJ.  I might also not may Mundial #5 Atama was waiting for me when I got home.  I’ll have a review on it this next week after I use it in practice.

Jiu Jitsu is Life and Life is Jiu Jitsu