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.

My Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Blue Belt Testing Experience

Saturday, July 11th 2009 I passed my blue belt test at Unified Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu – Pedro Sauer Team.  The test lasted 3 hours in the heat of July.  Shawn Weaver and James Gardner, black belts, conducted the test.  There were 12 of us taking the test that day.  The test consisted of 88 techniques.  We divided up into 2 lines of 6, each with a partner.  Shawn would then ask us to do a technique from the list.  He would demonstrate the starting position of the technique with James.  We would all then begin doing the technique we thought he wanted.  He and James would then walk around observing and in some cases instructing.  He would then stop all of us and demonstrate the technique on James that he expected to have seen.  He would point out the finer points and the street application of the technique.  After the test was finished we paid our testing fee of $50 and waited for the results.  Shawn and James came out with belts and we lined up.  The belts were awarded for those who passed and each was given a congratulatory throw.  All 12 of us passed.  Shawn spoke to the group after the test and said he had been looking at our “movements”.  That is how he decided if we understood enough to pass.

My Tips for a successful test:

  1. Have your testing fee in cash.  Waiting after a long hot test for someone to write a check can be aggravating.
  2. Come and warm up ahead of time.  I came a 1/2 early and was invited to join the class in progress.  I took the time to warm up and get ready for the test.
  3. Try to be towards the front of the class during the test.  You don’t want to keep repeating the technique over and over.  You want them to see you right off and “check you off”.
  4. Know the names of the techniques on the test.  It shows you have studied them.  It is impressive when you are the first and only one to know what you are doing right off while the others mill around unsure.  Even if you do a different variation of what they wanted it still says you are skilled and ready to pass as you show them you can do both.
  5. Don’t show off.  Just do what they ask and ask questions only as needed.  Your knowledge and skill will show forth in your technique.
  6. Relax and let your muscles do what you have trained them for. Don’t think just do what you have been doing.

 

Stock Tips – The Butcher of the Pigs and Sheep.

Yes, I was a pig. Greed over came me and I took a tip without even doing the slightest fundamental or technical analysis. Tips can be useful but they should be taken with a grain of salt. When the red flags start flying don’t trust others trust your own experience. For instance, my online broker account gave the day of the earnings announcement for the stock. I had bought options that would expire before then. Why didn’t I sell if I was playing the earnings? I let the tipsters talk me into believing it would be earlier. The book Trading for a Living by Dr. Alexander Elder told me the same advice I’m sharing with you. But did I listen? Nope. It is so easy to get swept up in the feeling of security from the tipster. You feel the easy money coming and greed overtakes you. I’ve learned from this and I hope that this post helps you stiffen your resolve to scrutinize a tip heavily before acting on it.