New Podcast: Episode 19

TRANS/FORMATION Transformation is at the heart of many martial arts “success stories”: practitioners go from bitter to compassionate, from reactive to proactive, from an unhealthy to a balanced lifestyle. Even the origin myths – those legends passed down over decades or even centuries – tell stories of powerful, personal change through martial arts practice. Today’s … [Read more…]

New Podcast: Episode 18

So we’re in a bookstore and we come across a kind of weird, modern self-helpy kind of book, and lo and behold it has a bunch of advice about Jiu-Jitsu in it. Not technical advice but guidance and opinions around choosing a place to train, the right philosophy, and on and on. It takes the … [Read more…]

New Podcast: Episode 17

In this episode we dig into the relationship between freedom and discipline in the martial arts. Although many of us look for more freedom through our training and practice, how we get to it is a big question. Constraints – inside the classroom and inside our heads – determine a lot about how far we can … [Read more…]

The Gauntlet

To my generation, Fabio Gurgel was considered one of the best Jiu-Jitsu practitioners ever, a real pioneer in the early days of Jiu-Jitsu and MMA. Some of you might even know who he is :). A few weeks back, he wrote a long post on Facebook about how he felt that his biggest mistake as a teacher was using … [Read more…]


Keeping a list of goals is still, to me, a worthwhile activity. It makes sense to track what you’re working on. And some of the things that are on there have been on there for years, which I’m fine with – this is a long-term process. But looking at that list recently, I asked myself why … [Read more…]

New Podcast: Episode 16

In this episode we tackle the importance of eliminating complaints, why presenting an “upright bearing” matters, and why we all need someone in our life to hold us accountable. We finish up with a discussion of Sifu Paul Vizzio’s contention that many practitioners go far…but not far enough. ••• Listen on iTunes: Share This:

Not A Pastime

Someone once said that martial arts doesn’t have to be a pastime. It’s not one of those things that you necessarily need to outgrow.It can have a beautiful long arc to it, as long as you’re able to consider mastery as a result of the practice. Close to forty years after my first class, I’m … [Read more…]

Walk Faster

At the end of my lesson with my instructor the other day, I went put all the equipment away. I was walking very slowly because I was fatigued, and he called out to me, “Gene, walk faster!” I responded, “Sifu, I just had a really tough day—I’m really feeling it.” “What do you mean? Everybody’s having … [Read more…]

Mother’s Wisdom

“To search for the old is to understand the new.” – Gichin Funakoshi, founder of Shotokan Karate My mother, an immigrant from Lebanon, taught me, my brother and my sisters good values: humanitarianism, self-control and mindfulness. And while she brought those principles from her home country, she wanted us to be American while reflecting her … [Read more…]