Success through failure

Wednesday mornings is the day that I do kung fu with Sifu Vizzio. Yesterday we were working on a six-punch combination and a four-kick combination. And he was asking me every time I threw the cross to duck under his cross and come back with a hook. But every time he threw the cross, I … [Read more…]

martial arts paradigm shift

In ’94, when I was competing for a spot on the Pan-American Olympic karate team, I was going against the heavyweight national champion from the rival organization. During a heated match, he fell and broke his neck and is to this day paralyzed for life. That event totally spun me around. It was what Stephen Covey calls a “paradigm shift” – a moment when … [Read more…]

Chop wood and carry water

There’s an old Zen saying that the way to enlightenment is to chop wood and carry water. In other words, there’s no secret or magic to it – it’s just hard work in the service of others. Do you know what you do once you become enlightened? You chop wood and you carry water. That’s … [Read more…]

Our essential humanity

I had dinner on Saturday night with someone who trains Jiu-Jitsu very seriously at another school in this area. Or rather, he said he had been training. I asked, “Why aren’t you training now?” And he said “I can’t – I tore my A.C.L.” In class, I asked? “No,” he said, “not in class.” He continued.”I was … [Read more…]

the fear of falling

Studies have shown that two of the major fears modern people share are the fear of public speaking and the fear of falling. There are a few others on the list, like fear of heights and fear of death, but there’s something that’s really hardwired into us when it comes to either getting up in … [Read more…]

roots of practice

It’s no secret that we’ve been working very diligently to change the perception of Jiu-Jitsu for the practitioner. We’re beginning at home, as it should be, with all the students in our schools. The goal is for practitioners to see themselves not just as Jiu-Jitsu athletes playing a sport, but as participants in the physical, … [Read more…]

quitting jiu-jitsu

Many people leave their training for many different reasons – they were embarrassed rather than mentored, they got edged out by an antagonistic environment, they’re matched with a teacher who cares more about what they can do for him than what he can do for them.  To quit something that’s good for you, like Jiu-Jitsu … [Read more…]

being late to class

The other day I was going to judo and I got stuck in traffic. I was twenty minutes late and inside I was appalled – there is no worse feeling than being late to class. One part of me would rather go to the movies than walk into the dojo late but the other part … [Read more…]