how to recognize a trailblazer

Recently I got a message on Facebook from someone I’ve known from Jiu-Jitsu for decades. The message said, “Hey, I don’t know if you remember me but you had said a couple of things to me years ago that I never forgot. I’m going through a crisis now and I need some help.” And I said sure, give me a call. So … [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…]

cult and culture

The martial arts classroom is a place of participation, of engagement. It happens both with ourselves and with other people – the training makes that possible. Not to alienate anyone, but if your main way of connecting to another person is through being a professional sports fan – a sidelines observer – it’s pretty limited. By way of … [Read more…]

raise your thermostat, overcome your limitations

Jiu-Jitsu training is designed to raise your thermostat, to help you to overcome your limitations. Your temperature may rise in the classroom, but will your overall understanding of your personal capabilites also increase? The objective of the martial arts is to expand the range of your “self” – not only your self-confidence but your whole self-concept. … [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…]