Why Jigoro Kano Wants You To Be a “Good Citizen”

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Growing up in the martial arts during the 1980s, one of the primary tenets of practice was something they called “good citizenship”. The concept dates back to at least the 1800s, to Mr. Jigoro Kano‘s belief that a practitioner needed to be a useful citizen to society. But today it sounds very outdated, even antiquated.  Even though I was surrounded by the … [Read more…]

Are You OK?

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When I was seventeen I had a job laying tile floors and carpet. There was a subcontractor by the name of Robert who used to come and work with us. He was a hardened ex-Marine, a non-nonsense fellow and an overall fascinating guy. Now on this job, we used these tools with razor-sharp blades to slice the tiles. I … [Read more…]

One (Very Unexpected) Tool For Better Living

There’s something called the “uchi deshi” in Japanese martial arts. This is the live-in student, the one that takes care of the dojo. And at an early point in my martial arts training, I became the uchi deshi at Mr. Miyazaki‘s dojo. I would clean and straighten up around the dojo, making sure it was ready for classes and to receive … [Read more…]

Listen To These Four Words

There’s a really powerful saying that we’d like for you to consider today. It’s a strategy that martial artists have used for centuries, but it’s also more than that. This reminder has been a resource for those of us who want to address the obstacles in our lives directly, even in moments when we’re fearful … [Read more…]

Do Traditional Martial Arts Matter?

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Every week I work in Jiu-Jitsu with Professor Danaher on Saturday afternoons. Before training this week, we spoke about Garry St. Leger, an amazing judoka and true friend of this program. So Mr. Danaher had a lot of great things to say about him, but the one thing that stuck out was when he said, … [Read more…]

Guest Post: “Martial Arts Is Not An Escape”

thomas clifford bbjj martial arts mind

Legendary instructor and educator Kyoshi Thomas Clifford  has been training and teaching in the martial arts for over 25 years. His influence has been felt throughout the United States through his work with national martial arts boards, professional organizations and well-known Jiu-Jitsu associations. As chief instructor at Thomas Clifford Karate Academy, he oversees the daily progress of students … [Read more…]

To Be A “Fanboy”

In the Martial Arts, especially in the Jiu-Jitsu community, some people elevate their enthusiasm beyond just eagerness and excitement. They become “fans”. And sometimes it goes even beyond fandom, into another level of fervor and zeal and hero-worship. Sometimes it’s called “being a fanboy“. Gender aside, Jiu-Jitsu has “fanboys”. I know this…because I have been … [Read more…]

The Power of Setting Limits

I remember that when Jiu-Jitsu first became popular in the U.S., it seemed like “traditional martial arts” became yesterday’s news. I was the worst offender. I left my traditional training behind because I thought that the lessons were antiquated and irrelevant. I thought there was so much freedom in not having to be bound by … [Read more…]