Increasing Your Lung Capacity and Breathing for Better BJJ


Your ability to breath in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu makes all the difference.  I know that when I cannot get enough oxygen I start feeling that claustrophobic feeling.  You know what I’m talking about.  You have been rolling for a while and you are breathing heavy.  The next thing you know you are on the bottom in North South  or some other position. Your face is covered or some big dude sitting on your stomach.  For those of us who cannot escape quick enough extra lung capacity sure comes in handy.  I have been thinking about how to expand or increase my lung capacity and I thought I would share my finding on my blog.

If anyone can get a huge lung full of air its got to be a Free Diver.  That is where I started by search.  I learned about breathing resistance exercisers.  They are simple devices that create resistance for you to breath against.  Swimming does this too.  Its like lifting weights for your lungs.  It helps increase your lung capacity as you flex those lungs. 

I had once seen a video with Rickson Gracie doing some Yoga.  He did some amazing things with his stomach in that video so I looked to Yoga next.  Can you think of a better exercise system that involves contortion and breathing?  I found a excellent article at – “Breath Control” about Yoga and how studies have been done at the University of California.  It not only increases your flexibility and endurance but lung capacity also.   Maybe I will even look into Stephen’s DVD “Yoga for Martial Arts DVD by Stephan Kesting”. But for now the wife has a good number of Yoga videos and it might be easier to start there.

I will record on my blog how it goes and what it does for me.  Stay tuned for updates.

Jiu-Jitsu is Life and Life is Jiu-Jitsu

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in Your Dreams

I have heard it said that you are truly fluent in a foreign language when your dreams are in that language.

After I started BJJ I spent a lot of time thinking about it and trying to perfect my technique.  The funny thing was I didn’t dream about it very often.  Now that I have had to stop training at the dojo, I find I am dreaming about it more.

Case in point: Last night I dream I was in front of a large public building that had a open forum area.  A man was acting very strangely and began to get violent.  He came by me dragging what looked like a another man he had accosted.  Without thinking about it I hoped on his exposed back.  I got one hook in and my arms in place for a Rear Naked Choke.  My weight pulled him down and he let go of the other guy and tried to get ahold of me.  I was having trouble getting the second hook in but I was still able to cinch the choke tighter.  Then my wife woke me up for work. D’oh!

My dreams seem to point in the fact I feel confident enough to use BJJ in a elevated situation but that my confidence is not rock solid.  In most of my dreams I just can not finish.

I would be interested to hear about others Jiu-Jitsu dreams and their thoughts on them.  How often do you dream about BJJ?

Jiu-Jitsu is Life and Life is Jiu-Jitsu

My Eulogy for my friend Chris Anderson

Chris I had good times going over BJJ techniques with you on Magic Monday.  Your inviting smile always cheered me.  You showed me concern, friendship, compassion, acceptance, and brotherhood.  I knew you would win every time we rolled but I also knew it would be great fun and looked forward to it.  You were another of my Jiu-Jitsu family that make the dojo home.  I told all of my BJJ family that day in class after Miles’s death that I would be there if anyone needed a shoulder to cry on or cheering up.  How I wish you had taken me up on it instead of choosing to take your life.  I will miss you greatly.  I’ll miss your fuzzy head after one of your buzz hair cuts and your funny little goatee.  I’ll miss chatting with you after class and the distinct sound of your voice.  I hurt, Chris.  I hurt.

Its good bye for now and rest.  I will see you again and maybe then you can help me understand.  I won’t forget you Chris.

Rest in peace, Chris.

Jiu-Jitsu is Life and Life is Jiu-Jitsu

Jiu-Jitsu On the Brain by Mark Johnson

I opened my e-mail and there was my instructor, Mark Johnson of West Side Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu!  Holy Cow!  I’ve been away from BJJ for a while but I didn’t think it was long enough for him to write a book!  I of course will be getting the book and writing a review.  Mark has been a great mentor to me and I enjoy our friendship.  I can’t wait to read his perspective along with other stories I’m sure he has included.  Now Mark you need to publish the kids Jiu-Jitsu book you were working on.

Jiu-Jitsu is Life and Life is Jiu-Jitsu

Ralphie Uses the Mount to Beat the Tar out of Scut Farkus


I’ve never been one to start putting up the Christmas decorations before Thanksgiving but this year we wanted to feel more festive.  We looked in our collection of decorations.  There was nothing for Thanksgiving.  We had a few pictures the kids had done at school but it was not enough.  So this year we broke with tradition and put the Christmas stuff up early.  We followed it up with watching The Christmas Story. Once again I keep seeing BJJ every where I go.  After all these years I did not notice until today that Ralphie put Scut Farkus in the mount before beating the tar out of him.  Scut of course did no know any escapes and just got wailed on.  It just goes to show you how a solid principle like gaining and maintaining mount is universal in its application.  Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu may not be the original author of the mount but its where I learned it.  It is also where I learned to make very good use of it in self defense just like Ralphie.  Keep swinging Ralphie!

Jiu-Jitsu is Life and Life is Jiu-Jitsu.

Advanced Brazilian Jiujitsu Techniques by Marcelo Garcia

My copy of Advanced Brazilian Jiujitsu Techniques is in the mail!  Years ago I bought, The X-Guard: For Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, No Gi Grappling, and Mixed Martial Arts, it was the first book I had by Marcelo.  I found the full color pictures and step by step examples very helpful, not to mention the X-Guard itself!  I am hoping this new book will be just as good or better.  I will be sure to do a review when it arrives.  He could not have timed it better.  It is like getting a early Christmas present.  Smile

Jiu-Jitsu is Life and Life is Jiu-Jitsu

MMA Fighter Uses BJJ Rear Naked Choke to Stop Robbery

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in action on the street

Brent Alvarez is a MMA fighter with a (2-2-0) record according to  But I think he had his best fight yet when he bagged a bad guy.  I always like to see BJJ in action.  This isn’t the first video I’ve seen of the Rear Naked Choke in action on the street.  I don’t think it will be the last.  Those of you who watch the MMA fights or practice Jiu-Jitsu know what he could have done to the guy once he had control.  He showed in my opinion what discipline BJJ teaches by not hurting the robber.  He also reiterated what I and other have said that Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu can be a gentle art.  He didn’t have to throw any punches or kicks.  He got to back control and neutralized any threat the thief could be to others or himself.  Well done, Brent!  Thank you for showing the world the power and effectiveness of BJJ while taking another criminal off the street.

Jiu-Jitsu is Life and Life is Jiu-Jitsu

Is a Submission Master Really Worth the Price?

“Do you really like your Submission Master Grappling Dummy?” is the first question I get followed by “Is it really worth the price?”.  To which I always answer “YES!”.  I know its expensive but so is that latest gadget or fashionable thing you want.  It all comes down to where you spend your time and money.  I am getting zero time at the gym or BJJ class because the economy has me hard up (See How has the Economy Affected your Jiu-Jitsu).  My Submission Master is paid for.  I can roll with him anytime.  He never complains and I never feel guilty about taking my time figuring out a choke on him.  Yes, he isn’t a 100% swap for a real training partner but he does an excellent job helping me practice my chokes, sweeps, and escapes for the most part.  He has real body mass (70 lbs.) and volume.  He holds a basic in guard posture.  Although resetting him each time can be a little tiring I get a work out while practicing.  If I don’t want to reset then its up to me to come up with combos that do it for me.  I have a good time tapping out my Submission Master.  I’m glad I bought him.

The makers of Submission Master did not pay me or give me anything to say this.  I don’t even know who they are.

Jiu-Jitsu is Life and Life is Jiu-Jitsu

How has the Economy Affected Your Jiu-Jitsu?


As you already know I have had to take a break from BJJ for financial reasons (See my post: “Training at Home When You Have No Other Choice”).  Its more important to pay the bills and support my family then tap people out with Triangles.

The price of everything seems to be going up these days.  I thought I read something on The FightWorks PodCast about the average cost of classes being $100.  Where I practice is below that.  As I remember the survey done on FightWorksPodCast was some time ago.  I could not find it on their site.  I wonder what the average is now with the economy in a wreck?  For me my classes were part of my “discretionary spending” fund.  That has now dried up with adding a mini-van to the family and soaring food costs.  What “cut backs” have you had to make?  Has the cost of your classes gone up?  Maybe you can still afford classes but nothing else.  I mean no new gi or rash guard.  What you have will just have to do.  Maybe it means no seminars or tournaments.  Let me know, I’m curious to hear what others are going through in this economy with their Jiu-Jitsu training.

Jiu-Jitsu is Life and Life is Jiu-Jitsu

How to Keep a Audio Journal for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Smart phones have become the mainstream.  I’ve found my iPhone is only as limited as my imagination.  I can find new and productive uses for it all the time.  The other day I realized how handy the Voice Memos application is that is standard on it.  To often thoughts come to me and I am no where near my computer or pad and pencil.  But I always have my iPhone with me.  Thus began my audio journaling.  I found it easy to quickly record my thoughts on a voice memo.  It was great because when the thoughts strike me if I don’t record them some how I lose 75% of them.  Its just to busy a world and my memory too over crowded as it is to keep everything in.  Now that I had my audio journal going I came across the problem of “How do I index them so I can find the one I want?”  This lead me to transcription and How to Transcribe iPhone Voice Memos with Dragon Naturally Speaking along  with a free way iPhone m4a Transcribing (Switch Audio Converter and Express Scribe Transcription).  Either way works nicely.  In the end I have the audio recording and a transcript of it that is searchable.  I edit the transcriptions to fill in the gaps and clear up what is said on the audio.  I then reference the audio records that make up the transcript.  All in all I really find it easier and more enjoyable then typing my thoughts up after the fact or at the end of the day.  Please see my first post on journaling at: How to Keep a Journal for BJJ.

Jiu-Jitsu is Life and Life is Jiu-Jitsu