Refresh Yourself To Focus On The Fight


by Brooke George


A new adventure awaits Friday as I step on an airplane and head to Florida. This years two week family vacation is doubling as a camp. When I get back I will have just a few days before my next Jiu-Jitsu tournament in Chicago, Illinois, where I will be competing for the second time. I’m looking forward to getting on the mats again for competition and testing myself to see how much I’ve improved in the last four months.


I am going to use this time on the beach to refresh, get focused, and train! I am looking forward to time away from all distractions to be able to make myself my number one priority. I am lucky enough to have a live in training partner and a family that is very supportive of my goals. That training partner is my dad who will also be going on vacation with me. Not only is my dad my sparing partner, but my mom and sister both workout with me and help motivate me. Although I will be away from my gym, as my family and I are preparing to leave, we have out workouts planned out together. This includes morning runs on the beach, drilling by the pool, and lots of other cardio and weight lifting. Not every family is willing to wake up early on vacation to get a work out in, or two, but my family is and I can’t thank them enough for that.


Their support from workouts transfer to the kitchen as well. Normally vacations are the time to eat what you want and not have it matter. I’ve heard it said before that “vacation calories don’t count.” Well that’s just not true. This vacation I’ll be eating my “camp diet” which consists mostly of lots of fruit, vegetables, and lean meats. There isn’t any room for dessert when getting healthy and staying at my weight. That means there is lots of meal prep taking place and it would be much harder without my family doing it alongside me.


This time to focus on training will give me the perfect opportunity to ensure that I’m in the best shape I can possibly be and that I won’t have any troubles making weight. Having two weeks no distraction I will have the perfect to get my mind right and get focused. I will use morning mediation as well as writing down my goals to make sure I am as mentally prepared as I can possibly be, because mental preparation and toughness is just as important as the physical side.




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How To Stop Bigger, Stronger Opponents From Beating You Every Time


It is a timeless situation in Jiu-Jitsu, “I am getting smashed by bigger people, and it is not fun.”


It seems like no matter how big you are you always have people larger than you at your BJJ academy. If this is not an issue for you, I recommend reading anyway so that you can walk a mile in someone else’s shoes (or grapple a few rounds in someone else’s wrestling shoes).


What people want to know is, is there a particular technique that I can use to beat a bigger person every time? Yes, and no.


Jiu-Jitsu was developed to give a smaller, weaker person a chance to defend against and even subdue a large aggressive attacker. Good Jiu-Jitsu techniques achieve this through positioning and leverage, and they should work on a bigger, stronger opponent. That means you have the entire breadth of Jiu-Jitsu to look to for answers.


There isn’t a single move, or even a specific series of moves, that will let you easily defeat every single Bigger/Stronger opponent. There are however plenty of resources and tips that will 100% increase your chances of success!


Because of Google and YouTube (and other sources of course) you can simply query how to use BJJ against a bigger opponent and a wealth of videos and concepts will emerge. This is certainly a great place to begin. Some of my favorites are below:






So learning new techniques is helpful, especially early on in your training, but what do you do when you have some skills and are still getting smashed by bigger or stronger people?


Being big and strong is its own advantage and beginners struggle with this problem the most. When you are starting out you want solutions right away, and not getting them can lead to frustration, and possibly quitting. Always remember that BJJ as we know it was mostly designed by a very small, frail Helio Gracie who stuck with the techniques long enough to be able to boast he could beat any man or he’d give him $10,000.00.


The three basic tenets that will help you overcome this common hurdle are to:


– Go to class regularly
– Pay attention to your instructor
– Spar a lot (especially with big guys, if they are the problem)


Stick with BJJ for at least 6-12 months, even if you don’t feel like you’re getting better. It may even take longer. But one day, you’ll know enough techniques and do them well enough that you won’t be worrying about this any more.


You probably wanted something quicker and easier, but outside of footlocking them every time, believe me all you really have to do is keep showing up!!


WIN A FREE FUJI ELEMENTAL GI!! Follow the instructions and click the contest image!


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The Problem With Expectations In BJJ


In this video the folks at great grappling discuss the slippery slope of having expectations with BJJ. Things do not always go as planned and when things go awry it can have a negative emotional effect on the practitioner.


Perhaps it is more beneficial to operate with an agenda, rather than expectations. This is a great video for BJJ that applies to life in general.





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[REVIEW] FUJI SPORTS New Elemental Gi/Kimono


The freshest gi of 2017 has just been released and it is ready to keep you cool this summer and as you will see, will keep your weight lower during competition.

Ladies and gentlemen, the Fuji Elemental.


(Elemental: related to or embodying the powers of nature.)

The Fuji Elemental gi the most exciting release for Fuji Sports and BJJ competitors around the globe.

It is extremely lightweight and the stitching and embroidery are the epitome of classy. You will notice the absence of any gaudy patches on this gi, which I like because I don’t like to compete feeling as if I look like a NASCAR race car.

Here are the details provided by


el·e·men·tal /ˌeləˈmen(t)l/: related to or embodying the powers of nature.

Become a force of nature in the FUJI Sports Elemental gi. Designed for training and competition, this uniform combines durability and subtle style for a classic look that will give you years of use. 
– Light pearl weave jacket with reinforced seams
– Rubber collar with a cotton/poly blend for stiffness and shorter drying time
– Reinforced cotton blend pants
– Bungee cord drawstring
– Muted decoration for a classic look
– Elemental definition on inside taping



(The first thing you will notice when you try this gi on is the remarkably light weight)


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It is a timeless struggle to find the perfect kimono. Choosing a new gi is a long term commitment. The last thing you want to do is spend $100.00 or more on a kimono that is going to tear and begin to fall apart the moment someone grabs a strong grip on your gi. Fuji has been producing the most durable Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu gis much longer than the competition…


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…and the result is clear.


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Notice the difference in weaves in the photo above. One is soft and smooth while the other is deeply perforated and rough. Which would you rather wear daily?


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It was a cool Easter egg to find the embroidery on the inside of the sleeves, pants and skirt.




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..Inescapable character of a force of nature..


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Again, all of the logo embroidery is done with taste and subtlety. The skirt split is reinforced with extra stitching and a slightly different material for a unique look.


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Fuji logo embroidery on the back of the skirt.


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Elemental: Earth, Air, Fire and Water. The essence of everything in existence. When combined, become the perfected 5th element.


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The gi on the above left was my favorite gi to wear prior to the elemental. It is a soft gi and is also very light, but it is not shockingly light. To prove that I wasn’t crazy or was simply hoping that this gi was a lighter gi, I decided to weigh them.


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Here are the results! I invite anyone to perform the same test! When you are weighing in for competitions every little bit helps!

I made a quick video of my teammate Logan wearing the white one. Check it out below!




I seriously have only one qualm about this gi. I love black gis the best and there is no black option available (at least at the time of the writing of this review). However on the bright side (no pun intended) I have been wearing the white one, and have been quite enjoying the way I look in white now. I almost feel like I can release my Kron Gracie spirit totem when wearing it.


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DISCLAIMER: I am sponsored by Fuji Sports. They sent me two of these gis for free to review. That being said, there is no way that I would be dishonest with my White Belt BJJ followers. Fuji was my first pick to work for BECAUSE of their innovative products like this one.


Getting Into The Mindset Of Competition


by Brooke George


As I’m 5 weeks out from my next tournament I’m beginning to get into my competition mindset and routine. My diet plan has changed, my workout schedule has changed, and my mindset has definitely changed. Mindset is huge in combat sports. If your mind is in the wrong place before and especially during a match, you won’t be able to compete to the best of your ability. As Lao Tzu once said, ” The best fighter is never angry.” I wholeheartedly agree with that.


Every time I begin to prepare for a tournament I have something on my mind. Whether it be new goals or new technique I want to try and improve on there is something go on in my mind. As important as nutrition and hitting the gym hard is, its also important to get my mind right and get my focus set. For me that means a day off. I make sure I take a day to spend with family and friends and just relax. As summer is approaching my family and I will spend a day out on the water where we can all de-stress and make sure we don’t lose focus.


Right before a match I have things going through my head too. For me, it tends to be sizing up my opponent and going over my game plan. As I’m looking at my opponent I can’t let myself get mad at her. I have to keep calm and keep myself composed. I can’t look at them like an enemy, because they are not. They are just another competitor.


During matches if I know I’m losing I can’t let myself become upset or frustrated. If I let my opponent get into my head or I get into my own head frustration takes over and technique goes out the window. Winning a match all starts in your mindset.


Keeping your focus and your mind right through the whole tournament process will make it a much more enjoyable experience and will help you to stay focused on your goals.




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3 Fixes For Sore Fingers In BJJ


Sore fingers are a very common problem for BJJ practitioners – in this video Stephan Kesting of show you 3 fixes to stop your fingers from hurting.





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Does BJJ Work Against A Knife Attack?


In this video Nick Drossos is testing if grappling or BJJ work against a knife. I’ve often wondered the feasibility of this one myself!





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Why It Is Important To Wear A Rashguard When Training BJJ


The rash guard is a staple in no-gi grappling but it’s benefits of use with the gi is often debated. Someone people feel less restricted without a rash guard, and absolutely refuse to wear one while rolling in the gi. I am of the belief that the benefits of wearing a rash guard whenever you are rolling far out weigh the freedom you feel without it.


There are several reasons why I advocate the use of a rash guard under the gi.


Muscle Compression can help prevent injury. There have been several studies on how wearing a rash guard after rolling can speed up injury recovery due to the compression of the muscles. Just as there are compression braces that reduce injuries of the knees and ankles, rash guards may also reduce the occurrence of minor acute injuries.


Reduce the spread of bacteria. In the gi, it is common practice to open the gi in order to destabilize your opponent, setup for gi chokes, or to use as leverage for a pass. Additionally, during intense rolling, the gi will naturally open, exposing your opponent’s chest. This exposes as much as 40% more skin surface area and increases the change of bacteria exchange exponentially.


Wick away moisture for better grips. I find myself resetting my gi and tieing my belt every 10 minutes of rolling (or every other round). The more I roll, the more sweat accumulates, increasing the chances of me transferring that sweat to my hands in between rounds. Next thing I know, I try to take advantage of my opponent placing their palm on the ground, and as soon as I grab their wrist for the Kimura, they slip right out. Sure being sweaty can work to our benefit but we touch our bodies just as much as our opponent’s. Wearing a rash guard, will help to alleviate some of that sweat transfer.


Prevents mat burn. This is one of the original purposes of wearing a rash guard. When rolling no-gi, skin contact on your typical BJJ mat can cause friction scars. For people like myself, who has had several surgeries, the likely hood of mat burn is pretty high. Though the gi provides a barrier between the mat and your skin, it can worsen friction from rolling. The weave patterns on gi’s are designed to be strong and allow for griping, but it also creates a lot of friction. This is especially true for elbow passes or any other movements that require you to plant part of your arm on the mat. Wearing a rash guard can divert some of that friction to the rash guard, or even displace it all together, as it’s surface is a lot smoother than your skin.


Difference between a rashguard and a Compression shirt?


With that said, rash guards and compression shirts are not the same. In fact, all rash guards are not created equal. Typical compression shirts are made of 4 panels and are not designed for constant contact. As a result, the movements are restricted, and the shirt is more likely to ride up over your abdominal while rolling. Good rash guards are made from a minimum of 6 panels. The stitching is very durable and is built to resist sleeve pulls and stretching.


Unfortunately, IBJJF and Naga do not allow a rash guard under the gi for competitions.






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7 Highly Effective Habits For Jiu-Jitsu Newbs


by Mark Munster
Evolve Academy Gaithersburg, MD


“Empty your mind. Be formless, shapeless – like water. You put water into a cup, it becomes the cup. You put water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle. You put it in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Be like water my friend.”– Bruce Lee





You’ve probably heard the expression before.  Meaning, there is so much coming at you, you can’t possibly absorb it all. But the best possible way to absorb water when you’re starting your Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) journey? Be a sponge.

As you start out, you’ll be exposed to many new things:

  • Unique body movements
  • Wearing a heavy Gi or a rash guard for the first time
  • “Grips”
  • Unique positions (e.g., the Guard and it’s many, many variations)
  • Basic and advanced techniques (all of which will seem advanced at the beginning)
  • Different instructors and instruction methods
  • BJJ theories and application (i.e., sport vs. self-defense)
  • A myriad of different body movements (e.g., shrimping, bridging)
  • Joint pain
  • Being choked
  • Taped fingers and other body parts
  • Different training partners (all shapes, sizes, and……smells)
  • Physical and mental stimulus
  • Aches and pains (hello mat burn)

And that’s just inside the Academy!


By the way, ALL of this is GOOD STUFF!

But the journey within and around these things is like floating around the ocean without navigation. It can feel like you’re drowning while you’re just trying to doggy paddle around the sharks.







In order to make the beginning of your journey more productive and give it structure, I decided to share a VERY POWERFUL resource I’ve found successful in tackling my personal and professional life, and correlate it to BJJ.


The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People has basic, clear advice for people to implement in their lives. A framework for personal effectiveness.

It focuses on 7 primary habits you can develop to have effective human interaction.  One of the more popular phrases people use such as “Win-Win” stems from the writings in this book. (Editor’s Note: People misuse “Win-Win” all the time. Keep reading).

I decided to review the 7 habits and correlate them to the Jiu-Jitsu journey. There are a lot of details behind each habit, so visit the link above to learn more.

  1. Be Proactive – We’re in charge. We chooseExcuses the scripts by which to live our lives. This means not blaming your surroundings, genetics, job, or dog for reasons you’re not able to train, or get better from training. You control your journey. Don’t fall into the trap that life happens to you – YOU make it happen. A solid article related to this habit was recently published at White Belt BJJ.
  2. Begin with the End in Mind – Start with a clear destination in mind (set goals). All things are created twice: a mental creSlogan_BCAation and a physical creation. In BJJ, your goals should be to improve yourself everyday. Being a certain belt doesn’t mean the end of your journey. You should be learning and setting goals in a continual loop. Have you ever heard when someone gets their black belt, they say that they are just now beginning to learn? That’s your mindset. In BJJ, there is no end, only milestones of achievement.
  3. Put First Things First – Make training a priority. Responsibilities and your life will get in the way of even the most organized person. Make it a priowhite belt shrimprity to train. If you can’t train, you should be thinking about problems and how to solve them. Do your research by reading books or watching videos. Also, contextually, it could mean focusing the majority of your training on the Jiu-Jitsu building blocks and less on the esoteric or advanced movements. The old axiom, “you need to walk before you can run” will serve you well in the long run.
  4. Think Win-Win – Just to clarify, a “Win-Win” is when both people win. In business, this means agreements or solutions are mutually beneficial and satisfying to both parties.  When you train, it should be a mutually beneficial experience for you and your training partner.  HOWEVER, I AM NOT ADVOCATING A 100% WIN-WIN MINDSET!  I think for competition purposes, we need to adopt a “Win-Lose” mindset as well. Clearly, if you compete, your goal is not to make your opponent look good. Also, in a self-defense scenario, if negotiations fail, you MUST win to survive. That’s your mindset. In the Academy, you should find training partners that share this perspective. (Note: There are 4 other scenarios of winning and losing, but these are the most applicable to BJJ).
  5. Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood – In BJJ, you should do what you can to understand the art you are studying.  Use a notebook to capture notes, review them, and come back to the next class with a deeper understanding.  When you improve your understanding, you’ll be able to ask more insightful questions that are more meaningful to developing your understanding of BJJ.
  6. Synergize – This is the “two heads are better than one” idea. You should use the Academy and your training partners to create synergies. Like a laboratory, you should be dissecting, hypothesizing, and testing out theories to make them part of your learning. Some great resources for this I’ve found are the Creative Jiu Jitsu Facebook Group, and White Belt BJJ.
  7. Sharpen the Saw – To be effective, we must devote the time to renewing ourselves physically, spiritually, mentally, and socially. This means making the most out of your time outside the Academy to renew your spirits and energies for BJJ. Pursue other interests, spend time with friends and family, read a book, watch TV, anything that will help you sharpen your saw.


Building habits takes time, patience, and practice. Being open to new things means you need to create the mindset of absorbing everything, keeping what is useful and discarding the rest. Being in a self-reflective state at all times will improve your on and off the mat flow. Like water.  But before you can be like water, be like the sponge.






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