“Gimme Gimme Gimme”

Students who step onto the mat in dojos around the world are often asked to bring an attendance card with them. This practice is more than just a way of keeping track of who is in class. It is also an exercise in discipline, and a metaphor to reinforce the roles we each play in … [Read more…]

The Value of Craft

As a martial arts practitioner, understand the value of being great at your craft. Engage with and commit to whatever it is you’re studying. For people who are into their practice, just the the simple goal to develop a great armlock, for example, is enough. It’s like a Zen koan: the more you look at … [Read more…]

Look: Where Are The Places You Don’t Want To See?

Personally, I reject the notion of “having a game” in Jiu-Jitsu for many reasons. A “game” limits the practitioner’s ability. It tends to funnel the practice to preferred methods of training, which keeps us in a comfort zone. This results in becoming blind to the practice as a whole. That’s why you’ll often see that … [Read more…]

Missing The Mark?

This week in our classroom we’ve been discussing the concept of “forgiveness”. Heavy concept, I know : ) But let me share why I consider it a “black belt trait” and why it applies to our martial arts practice. Forgiveness is sometimes seen as this very intense, demanding , even religious concept. I prefer to … [Read more…]

What Are Your 3 Magic (Jiu-Jitsu) Wishes?

Jiu-Jitsu is often idiosyncratic. It has its own culture, its own language. We can endlessly debate the values of different approaches to training, to teaching, to “art versus sport”. But I think there are a few things we as practitioners can do to elevate the practice for everyone, regardless of where they’re from. So with … [Read more…]

Are You OK?


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…]

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?

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”

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…]