“It’s Never The Victim’s Fault” – Gracie Breakdown


“In recognition of sexual assault awareness month, we wanted to address the damaging impact of “victim blaming” and the misconceptions regarding women’s self-defense. Many people wrongly believe that a survivor of sexual assault may be to blame based on what they were wearing, drinking or doing prior to the assault. It’s not true, and the insinuation is much more damaging than many realize. It’s never the victim’s fault. It is a man’s responsibility to respect women and their boundaries. But until this day comes, we encourage women to learn self defense; not because it’s their responsibility, but because it’s their reality.” – Rener and Ryron Gracie




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Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Is The Best Sport For A Family To Do Together


by Brooke George


The bond between a father and daughter is irreplaceable. This has become even more evident to me with starting Jiu-Jitsu. My dad has been with me every step, choke, and arm bar along the way.


I started off BJJ alone, but it didn’t take long for my dad to join me. After watching a couple classes he quickly joined in on the fun. Having my dad on the mat with me has changed a lot of things about our relationship. From him being my live in training partner to supporting me at every competition, he is always there for me.


Having good training partners at the gym is awesome. Having a good live in training partner is even better. When my dad and I leave the gym, Jiu-Jitsu doesn’t stop. The whole ride home we are talking about the new moves we learned and we are dissecting every roll we had. This has helped me in developing my game and has helped me remember things I would have forgotten by talking back over them.


Drilling doesn’t stop either. It didn’t take long for us to turn our spare bedroom into a mini gym with mats. Now whenever we want to practice drills or we want to settle an argument by rolling, we don’t have to get carpet burn in the basement. We can just go into our gym.


Having your dad in your corner during your matches is something special too. When he is involved in the sport and understands what is going on it is even better. I love knowing that win or lose my dad will be there afterwords to give me a hug and tell me how proud he is of me.


The support my dad has had for me through my entire Jiu-Jitsu journey has been incredible. It has strengthened our relationship and has given us another thing that we both love doing together. I wouldn’t trade anything for having my dad there to choke me and help make me a better athlete!





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United Overbooking: How To Properly Restrain Someone (BJJ Tips)


United Airlines forcibly removed a 69-year-old doctor from a seat after he had already boarded the plane. The security officials at O’Hare grabbed Dr. Dao and pulled him onto the floor and dragged him away. This move is safe for fellow passengers and not safe for the guy trying to be restrained. So in this video, Jerry Liu brings in Mr. Rob Watt, a no-gi jiu jitsu trained grappling guy to talk about tips for both law enforcement and victims of law enforcement abuse. Hope you enjoy our little exploration into self-defense and grappling. To O’Hare security, please take some jiu jitsu lessons.




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This Video Proves There Is No One Right Way To Do A Technique


This video not only contains two incredibly solid ways to do the Over Under Pass. But it proves as well is that there is no one “correct” way to do a move.


Inevitably you will come across someone who will say, “I learned this move differently before.”


Now you can refer them to this video where the best BJJ guy in the world and the best Judo coach in the world teach the exact same move, completely differently.




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30 Years In BJJ, A Reflection.


by John B. Will


This is the year of my 60th lap around the sun we call sol …. it is also my 30th year in BJJ. For exactly half of my life, I have been frolicking on the BJJ playground – and have unearthed my share of both trinkets and treasures alike.


As someone who has foraged high and low, far and wide on this spinning marble, in an effort to carve out a meaningful and fulfilling life for myself, I find it very difficult to separate my approach to my martial arts practice time from the way in which I live my life. Like a long-lasting marriage of sorts, my understanding of BJJ and my understanding of life are intricately inter-woven.


Here are a couple of things I have learned from the mat, that I have brought to bear in my life off the mat – my hope being that some of which, may incite you to pause and ponder a little … Going Deep builds understanding – Going broad build adaptability:


This is a hat-tip to Miyamoto Musashi’s wonderful line “Rat’s Head – Ox’s neck”. When we drill deep on a particular subject (or go after a technique with intent) we do so at the cost of learning about or seeing other possibilities – but we get stuff done! When we Go broad; taking a generalist approach, we can flitter from here to there without achieving much – but we get the lay-of-the-land and build adaptability. The trick is to embody both.


Focus on process rather than Goals:


Maintaining focus and attention on a goal rarely achieves anything; instead, reverse engineer a series of steps, backtracking from that desired goal to wherever our position and circumstance in the now. Then, putting all of our intention on the step immediately before us (rather than on the goal) we move forward, little by little – but inexorably so. In remaining wedded to the process, we may also decide on a better goal than the one originally sought, on the way there.


Settling for the Good-Enough binds us to mediocrity:


The Good-enough-to-get-by attitude will bind us to mediocrity much more securely than will our circumstances. When we raise-the-bar with regard to the standards we apply to ourselves, we greatly improve our potential for improvement.


Ironically, we all have standards when it comes to occupation like Engineering, brain Surgery, etc … why not allies those same exacting standards to our own humble pursuits.


What’s the worst that can Happen? … A question worth asking:


This is about risk. Taking risks, provided they are not so great that the price of failure is death; opens us up to extraordinary learning opportunities. An extraordinary life is a result of taking extraordinary action; not by always making the ordinary (safe) choice. Risk-taking also helps build our emotional and physical immune system .. it is how we shift from the fragile-state to the robust-state.


Problem Solving is often done via a series incremental improvements:


Many problems that we face, evolved over time, ie. we gained 30 extra kilograms over two years of bad eating habits; we found ourselves in deep financial debt after a series of bad fiscal decisions, etc. In looking for a single, easy solution to such problems, even though our instinct clamors for such a thing, we deny ourselves of the real solution – which is this: improve our situation by 5% – rinse and repeat!


There is much, much more to everything than that which we initially perceive:


As soon as we think we know something, we close our mind to the possibility that there may be much, more more to that thing than what we could ever have imagined. it seems to be a part of human nature that we accept the broad-strokes as final draft. For our survival as a species, it has been necessary for us to make snap judgements and make quick decisions based on the judgments – but this is not how extraordinary things are accomplished. Mindful and deep exploration is how great things are discovered.


Leverage is about extracting maximum value from minimal effort:


Our time is precious; the most precious resource we have; not to maximize the value we extract from the things we pursue in that time, is to not understand how leverage works. Leverage is essentially about moving a lot with a little – to twist it a little, to reap the biggest result from the smallest effort. This concept is at play in every cranny of our lives; we ignore it to our peril.


Best wishes all … I can only hope you all enjoy your mat-time at least as much as I have done thus far. – John B. Will of Red Cat Academy




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The Ties That Bind In BJJ: Respect


by Brooke George


When people ask me about Jiu-Jitsu tournaments my first response is often about the respect level. It’s hard to get someone who has never experienced Jiu-Jitsu or that has never been to a tournament to understand what that is like. Most people are much more familiar with MMA than they are BJJ, but they know the two can be related. They often think that practitioners look at Jiu-Jitsu matches and opponents how many of the publicized MMA fighters do, which is full of ego and anger, but that’s not true.


Respecting your opponent is heavily preached in the Jiu-Jitsu world. That’s one reason tournaments can be so fun. You can go to tournaments and actually make friends with the other competitors. I have experienced this first hand. I talked to and warmed up with another girl I had never met before at my first tournament and we still stay in touch now.


The respect that Jiu-Jitsu athletes have for each other on the sidelines is carried onto the mats during competition. All matches start with some sort of handshake or bow. After that the actual match begins. Once the match is over you often see opponent’s picking each other up. You don’t see that in many other sports so it is a surprise to many that it is so common in such a physical sport.


Everyone that has ever been on the mat knows what it takes to be there. They know the dedication and hard work that you have to put into it. That is one of the many reasons I believe Jiu-Jitsu practitioners respect each other so much.


The respect between athletes is one of many reasons I love this sport. I love the sense of community there is between everyone that practices this art. Jiu-Jitsu is universal. No matter where you are at, where you are from, what you look like, or what language you speak, if you practice Jiu-Jitsu you can find this respect and find this sense of community.





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Family MATters


by Brigitte Cave
Ian Jiu-Jitsu, MMA & BJJ Seychelles


If there’s one thing most BJJ practitioners can agree on, it’s that our training partners and coaches most probably started off as strangers, and somehow ended up as family. We spend hours on the mats rolling around in each other’s sweat, and we very quickly realize that sweat can be just as thick as blood.



But what happens when you start training with a family member? Better yet, what happens when you start training with your dad? After a lot of nagging from my side, I finally got to find out; my dad, close to 50 at the time, officially joined BJJ with me. I promise you, it has been one heck of an experience.


During our first free roll, I used the limited technique I picked up in earlier classes to submit him. Repeatedly.


We realize that technique means everything, and strength isn’t all it’s so widely praised to be.


Naively, I think “Well this is more fun than I expected!”


I should have known better. You see I hadn’t reckoned he’d stick with it, or that he’d eventually learn technique. So I enjoyed my days in BJJ sunshine: we rolled, he tapped, the cycle repeated, until one fateful day. Our roll began like any other: stand up, greet, takedown, except this time I was on the receiving end of said take down, and suddenly all hell broke loose. Having 135 kilograms of weight shoved onto your stomach from side control brings about an interesting response; you squirm, you wriggle, you forget that you ever learned how to shrimp, and then you get tired. Here he saw his chance and a few seconds later I with great horror realized I was in a ‘tap now, or forever lose your teeth’ choking situation. The tables had turned.


In the spirit of BJJ, we laughed, got up, and went on with our training, but somehow our dynamic had changed; I knew I would have to fight for every advantage I could get when from now on.


Two years later, we’re still going strong. Disagreements are settled on the mats, my dad has discovered the wonders of BJJ videos on Instagram, he’s lost over 15 kilograms, we’re both fitter and stronger than ever, and if you mess with one of us, you mess with both of us.


Now my dad gets to wake up every morning with a new ache in a new muscle, and I get to annoy him by not having any pains at all (that darn 33 year age gap, he’d say). He gets to wake me up at 5 in the morning to go jogging on off days, and tell me I can’t complain because he’s 50 and he’s doing it, and I get to tell all my friends that my dad trains martial arts, so they better watch themselves. I’m always thankful that my dad came to that first training session, and he never stopped coming after that.



There’s so much I have to tell; how we got the nicknames Papa and Baby Buffalo, how we listen Portuguese music we don’t understand, how we exasperate my mom with our endless talks of kimuras, triangles, and omoplatas, of our designs for LED decorated gis (because you CAN look like a traffic light, roll, and electrocute both yourself and your partner all at once), of the various injuries we (and by ‘we’ I mean ‘he’) experienced, of our plans to compete, and visit Brazil, but those are all stories for another time.



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Whatever Jiu-Jitsu Breaks, It Fixes In Other Ways.


by Brooke George


Since I started Jiu-Jitsu, many things about my life have changed. From broken toes becoming the norm, learning a little bit of Portuguese, changes to my health, free time, and shopping habits… One can definitely say that Jiu-Jitsu has changed my life.


Before I stepped onto the mats I was an athlete in other sports, but I didn’t care about my body the way BJJ has lead me to do. This sport has helped me see the amazing things that my body is capable of.


Because of this I have begun to eat much more healthy in order to fuel my body to work more efficiently. I enjoy running more now to help improve my cardio and also doing yoga to improve my flexibility.


Along with the positive changes in my health, there are some “negative” ones that come too.


Broken toes are something I have constantly. It seems as soon as one heals, another one breaks, and there isn’t enough tape to keep them together. A broken nose is also an injury I’ve had to deal with, but luckily it healed fast.


My free time looks different than it used to as well. For instance, three days a week I’m at the gym and on the mats. The other four days I’m doing some sort of other physical activity like hitting the heavy bag, running, or yoga (to keep improving my BJJ); with an occasional rest day thrown in there somewhere.


Besides being more physically active since I joined a BJJ academy, I also watch different things. Instead of watching college basketball, its the latest Eddie Bravo Invitational; or instead of hosting movie nights, it’s fight nights to watch the latest UFC. When I surf through YouTube I find myself having to do google translations of Portuguese in order to actually understand what they are saying in the videos that I watch.


I love shopping. Since I joined Jiu-Jitsu my shopping habits have drastically changed. Instead of buying new jeans and dresses, I’m saving up to buy a new gi, rash guard, or spats (because lets be real, you can never have enough)! If I’m not buying new clothing for Jiu-Jitsu, I’m saving up for the next seminar, buying the latest issue of JiuJitsuMag, or paying gym fees.


All of these changes that have come about in my life since stepping onto the mats have had a positive impact, except for draining my bank account and some minor bone breaks…but I wouldn’t change anything about it!


Sometimes it’s just a part of this sport. I love this sport and I love this lifestyle!





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Royler Gracie Explains How The Gracie Diet Extends Life And Mat Time


“How you gonna be a world champion without being healthy?” – Royler Gracie


BJJ Legend Royler Gracie explains the benefits of the Gracie diet. It isn’t only about what you eat, but what combinations of food that you eat.


Royler’s father Helio Gracie created the diet, lived to be 95 years old, and was sick only one time.




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How To Mentally Prepare For The ‘Hard Class’


by Zachary Phillips


Every serious martial arts gym has at least one ‘hard class’. That night of the week where your coach decides conditioning for competition (or conflict) is in order.


It’s reputation precedes itself. It is talked about in hushed tones and whispered about in the locker room after class. Some are curious, most fearful.


You probably have heard the horror stories. Participants vomiting with exertion, 100’s of push ups and endless rounds of hard sparing. It seems like hell.


So you rationalize to yourself that you are not ready, that you are not fit enough or skilled enough. You come up with whatever excuse in the book as to why you should avoid it and that is exactly what you are doing.


These feelings are normal. It is understandable that there is some fear or apprehension around the unknown. Nobody wants to be hurt or feel embarrassed, particularly in front of their friends. This class presents a real risk that you may fail, and that is scary.


However, if you do turn up and attempt the class, you are victorious. Regardless of your performance on the night, you can claim a victory over your fear. You have attempted something that most people won’t and you survived. You are stronger for it.


In these classes, you will be pushed harder then you have ever been before. You will feel like breaking down and giving up. But if you trust your coach, and they are competent, they will push you beyond your own limits and take you to the edge of your ability.


In battling your body, you are also taming your mind. It will be screaming to stop, pleading with you to tap out and quit. But these classes will teach you something vital. That that voice is a liar. You can and have gone beyond your perceived limits. You have continued despite your inner protests. You will learn that you are stronger then you think you are.


This level of pressure is exactly what you need if you are ever planning on competing. You will find that the ‘hard class’ is actually harder than the competition. Your sparring sessions in the gym are more challenging and forceful than they are on the competition floor. You will realize that becoming acclimated to stress and pressure has tremendous benefits to your performance.


Finally, if you are training your martial art for self-defense, this class is a must. A violent altercation is one of the most confronting, stress inducing and emotionally confusing events that most people will ever face. Compared to a real fight, the ‘hard class’ is just child’s play. You would be doing yourself a disservice to believe that you are emotionally ready to defend yourself on the street, if you are not emotionally ready to participate in the ‘hard class’.


(Zachary Phillips, photo by John Donehue)


To see more of Zachary’s blogs check out his academy page by clicking here.



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