Do Any Other MMA Academy Staff Members Notice The Prevalence Of ADHD In Kids?


I sure have.


First off, let me start by saying that I am neither parent, nor doctor. What I am is an MMA academy membership consultant in an academy with a thriving kids program.


What I have been noticing far too frequently, is that when discussing our program with the parents, they will at some point become visibly distraught and lower their voices to tell me that their child has ADHD (Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder).


I could understand it being a one time thing, or even a relatively infrequent anomaly. It is almost getting to the point where I feel the need to break the ice with nervous parents by saying:

“Martial arts are great for children with ADHD”.

After finding out their children have this “disorder” they will then tell me that their child is being medicated for it.


This blows my mind.


I hope I am not making any parents who may have ADHD diagnosed children feel uncomfortable, especially due to my ignorance; but children do not want to pay attention to that which is “boring” to them. A pill isn’t going to change that, and if it can, that should be troublesome.


Children are also “hyperactive”. Just because some decline into lazy people, does not mean that those who have a zest and thrill for life (children), should be subjected to medications to destroy their youthful energy.


So what in the world is really going on here?


In 2011, the CDC reported that the prevalence of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder in children ages 4 to 17 years was 11%, with 6.4 million children diagnosed with ADHD and 4.2 million taking psychostimulants.(1)



These findings represent a dramatic increase from more than 30 years ago, when the rate of attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) was estimated at between 3% and 5%.(2)


What is more concerning is that the prevalence of ADHD increased by about 35% just from 2003 to 2011, and there is no indication that this increase leveling out. More than 20% of high school-aged boys have been told they have ADHD!(3)


So we have a real problem here. Medicine isn’t slowing the epidemic rate and someone is making a lot of money selling these drugs. In my opinion, I would rather err on the side of caution that my kids will grow up just fine, practicing martial arts, rather than subjecting them to psychostimulants for perhaps the rest of their lives.


I again admit that this is an unqualified opinion.



1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): data & statistics. New data: medication and behavior treatment. Available at: Accessed July 28, 2015.

2. Miller RG, Palkes HS, Stewart MA. Hyperactive children in suburban elementary schools. Child Psychiatry Hum Dev. 1973;4(2):121-127.

3. Visser SN, Danielson ML, Bitsko RH, et al. Trends in the parent-report of health care provider-diagnosed and medicated attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder: United States, 2003-2011. J Am Acad Child Adolesc Psychiatry. 2014;53(1):34-46.



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It Is Important To Balance Jiu-Jitsu And Life’s Responsibilities


by Brooke George


“We are often at war with ourselves. You have to find that balance between your heart and your mind.” (author unknown) Finding balance in every aspect of your life is something a lot of people struggle with, including myself.


As my favorite sport, and ultimately what I want to spend the rest of my life doing, Jiu-Jitsu takes up a lot of my time. While still being a student, and planning to attend college in the near future, school also takes up a lot of my time. The struggle to find balance between doing what I love, Jiu-Jitsu, and doing what I have to, school, is hard and often stressful at times.


It’s always a battle in my head when I have to miss out on time I could be spending on the mats. When I miss BJJ, it’s usually something school related; band concerts, Business Professionals of America events, National Honors Society meetings and let’s not forget homework. If you include blogging, being a student athletic trainer, and worship band at church, I’m even busier. All of those things combined make me who I am, but that doesn’t make it any easier. My priority is ultimately Jiu-Jitsu, but my priority is also to create the future that I want to live.


I have my heart set on spending the rest of my life doing Jiu-Jitsu; competing, teaching, and ultimately opening my own academy. But I can’t prepare myself for that just by being at the gym. I have to get an education and prepare myself for college in order to continue my education and prepare myself for the rest of my life. That is how I find the balance between my head and heart.


I know that the things I’m doing off the mat now are going to help me be able to spend even more time on the mat in the future. To any student athlete out there struggling to find balance, remember that everything you are doing now, on and off the mat, is helping you to reach all of your future goals. Live for the present, but prepare for the future.





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Families That Train Jiu-Jitsu Together Are Happier Together


by Brooke George


Every Jiu-Jitsu practitioner knows that it’s a time consuming sport. Whether you are a student athlete trying to balance school with Jiu-Jitsu, someone trying to balance a career, or your are a full time athlete, Jiu-Jitsu is a lot of time.


As a teenager, my time is also my family’s time. Whether it’s going to class, seminars, or weekends away for tournaments; it’s together. It’s especially a lot of time when you consider that my dad trains with me! When I started out my parents had to drive me to and from class because I didn’t have my license yet. With my gym being 20 minutes away, it didn’t make sense for them to drop me off and come back. So, during class my dad would sit and watch. Just as I did, he fell in love with it and quickly started joining me on the mat.


After that, BJJ quickly became a family affair. Even my mom, who was very wary at first, has gotten immersed into the Jiu-Jitsu lifestyle. It may not be training and competing, but it’s all the runs she goes on with me while dropping weight for tournaments and the meal prep she helps with. It’s also all the times she goes to class to watch and be a part of it.


My sister has also been a huge support in my Jiu-Jitsu journey. She has been at every tournament cheering me on and documenting it for me. For my last tournament she chose to skip out on her annual President’s Ball in order to come home from college and surprise me by tagging along for the tournament.


With my family all somehow involved with the sport it comes up a lot at my house. We will sit down for dinner and some way or another Jiu-Jitsu will come up. Whether it’s talking about a new technique learned at class, a tournament coming up, or the latest EBI, it all gets discussed around our dinner table.


Grappling doesn’t stay at the gym either. We shortly put in a home gym with mats after we couldn’t get enough time at the gym. But let’s face it, Jiu-Jitsu matches quickly break out in the kitchen any time minor disagreements come up at my house. I guess its just a part of living the Jiu-Jitsu lifestyle, you can’t get away from it!


From the editor: This story is a prime example of how Jiu-Jitsu can bring families together as well as strengthen their bond. BJJ is a great tool to connect with teens who might otherwise experience a disconnect when approaching adulthood. If you have kids who do Jiu-Jitsu, jump in one day and try out an adult class. If you do Jiu-Jitsu, bring in your kids or your loved one! The potential rewards are limitless and invaluable!



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7 Things You Can Do To Improve Your Jiu-Jitsu At Home


The advice below assumes you are training at a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu school, but have extra time at home you want to use too. Nothing can replace regular attendance at a real BJJ academy with a qualified instructor. You can’t really learn BJJ practicing it on your own or with a few friends who don’t know what they’re doing either.


Here’s what you can do with extra time away at home to keep improving your BJJ:


Study BJJ instructionals. You can learn a lot from watching videos. There has never been more material available on DVD or streaming online. But don’t get lost in hours of mindless cool moves or collecting techniques you’ll never use. Every technique you want to really learn needs to be backed up with hands-on drilling and sparring.


Analyze BJJ tournament footage. Footage of competition matches is at an all time high too. YouTube and Budovideos On-Demand has hundreds of hours. You can look up matches from the most recent events, or study a specific fighter’s gameplan across events. To get the most out of it, try to figure out what the key moments and techniques were.


Do strength and conditioning training. I’m not here to be your fitness guru, but with a little research you can put together good workout routines to do at home. My main advice is to not get too fancy or silly like trying to do inverted guard spins against a heavy bag. Stick to classic exercises like squats, lunges, push-ups, sprints, etc. As with BJJ, I recommend getting real instruction before doing any workouts where bad form or simple mistakes could harm you.


Stretch and improve your mobility. Learn stretches you can do at home to gain flexibility and correct any posture problems you have from BJJ and your normal life (like sitting at a desk all day). These are especially valuable if you’re also working on your S&C. You could benefit from going to yoga classes to pick up stretches and poses.


Eat healthy. You don’t need to do anything extreme to eat healthier. Eat more fruits and vegetables, don’t eat too much sugar, salt and fat, and make sure you’re getting all your vitamins and minerals. Avoid fad and cure-all diets.


Get good sleep. The important things are often the simple things. Get to bed on time and make sure you’re comfy enough to put in a night’s worth of restful sleep. Your body needs this time to rest and recover.


Build a home gym and have friends come over to train. Convert your garage or basement into a mini-gym. You can buy roll-out mats to put in your garage, or research how to construct your own grappling mats. I’ll leave it up to you to make friends at the academy who want to show up at your place and put in extra reps. Make sure your homeowner’s insurance will cover you in the event of an unfortunate accident!





How To Keep Your BJJ Mouthguard Clean And Prolong It’s Life


Regardless of the art, most martial arts have one piece of equipment in common – the mouthguard.


Over the last twelve years I have trained in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Krav Maga, Muay Thai and Karate. Despite the different philosophies, rule sets and training environments one thing was constant: there was always a significant risk of my teeth being knocked out.


No matter how skillful you are or how safe you train, when sparring is involved, there is a risk that an elbow, head, fist, knee or foot will strike your face with enough force to cause permanent damage. I have both seen and (un-intentionally) caused this to happen. It is because of this risk that I am religious with wearing my mouthguard.


Any mouthguard will do, however typically the custom fit – dentist made ones are best. Whilst there will be some cost (often not if you have private health cover), it will be worth paying if the guard helps you to avoid chipped or broken teeth. The pain, hassle and cost of fixing that problem is something that I wouldn’t wish upon anyone.


Once you have a mouthguard, it is important that you maintain it and keep it clean.


After each training session, make sure to rinse it in cold running water and shake it dry. To avoid build-up of grit on the guard, you can brush it with a toothbrush and toothpaste once per week.


Make sure that you have an aerated storage container that is in a separate part of your bag to where your dirty training gear is stored for the trip home – you wouldn’t want any sweat dripping into the container and festering.


Remember, your mouth-guard is something that you are putting in your mouth on a daily basis. Proper maintenance will help to ensure that you stay healthy.


Keep training,
Zachary Phillips – Zimmah Muscle Therapy



How To Beat The Blue Belt Blues


by John B. Will


Here’s a little advice for any Blue Belts languishing on the Blue Belt plateau. I am confident these tips will help!


ONE: Develop the habit of paying attention to detail from here on in … as soon as you have the ‘big picture’ or broad-strokes covered off, begin fleshing out the details; the real Jiu-Jitsu resides in understanding nuance. Drilling down is how we unearth the diamonds.


TWO: Ask 5 simple questions for everything you learn … what is our left arm/hand bringing to the technique? Our right arm/hand? Our left leg/foot? Our right leg/foot? And what is the general direction/shape of the technique? By asking and answering these five questions, I have noticed people really begin to take faster ownership of a technique. Using this little formula was how I stepped onto the path of technical Jiu-Jitsu.


THREE: Embrace the suck … there it is! Sometimes training sucks (sometimes life sucks) – it is just important to realize that this is often when the real learning is to be found. Seeking out the suck is the antithesis of being fragile. No one likes the suck …. but it is our response to the suck that brings positive change/immunization, etc.


FOUR: Begin to develop a game after Blue (used to be purple). Developing a game is an important part of developmental strategy. A solid three-pronged approach is to identify, practice and develop – a passing strategy – a guard strategy – a top-game finishing strategy. A highly recommended fourth prong would be to develop a solid takedown plan as well. Don’t worry too much about your first game (or you second or third for that matter) – it’s not set in stone; but it’s a start and a way to begin focusing on what you are doing.


FIVE: Be the training partner everyone wants to roll with! Just that!


Hope this is of help to those here who want to build a better mat. – John B. Will of Red Cat Academy



BJJ Survival: Being A Small Girl In A Small Town


by Brooke George


Finding the right gym can be a challenge for anyone. Finding a place to train that has an instructor who’s training philosophy lines up with yours or that has people that you actually want to be around can be hard. As a teenage girl in a male dominated sport, that can be even harder. Luckily for me, I have been blessed with an amazing gym, instructor and training partners.


I live in a small town, so choosing a gym to train at wasn’t very difficult. I pretty much had two options unless I wanted to drive over an hour away, which wasn’t logical for me.


When I seriously started looking to train I was sixteen. The number of teenage girls who train in Jiu-Jitsu world wide is small. In my hometown that number was non existent until I came along. Now its 1. Because of that, when my now instructor said he would take me on, he was a little wary and so were my parents. There weren’t other girls for me to train with. At the time there wasn’t even other boys for me to train with. It was all men.


For a young girl to start training in a very intimate sport that we didn’t know much about, with a bunch of men, everyone around me was a little timid. Before my first class one other woman joined so when I actually started I wasn’t the only female, just the only kid. Looking back now, I wouldn’t change anything about that.


When I first started everything was brand new to me. The gym, the people, mats, gis, grappling, the entire sport. I was lucky to find an instructor and training partners that were willing to help me find my way in the sport rather than showing the new, young white belt that they were better than her.


Finding the right fit with training partners can make or break a young athlete in this sport, especially a girl. If I would have gone to my first couple classes and had the guys that were there just over powering me and relying on strength and size because they were bigger, my Jiu-Jitsu experience would be a much different one. I have been extremely blessed to train with the people that respect the art of Jiu-Jitsu and understand what it’s really about.


On the flip side the people you train with can also make you. Training with partners that are bigger and strong than me only helps to improve my game. Helio Gracie once said, “Always assume that your opponent is going to be bigger, stronger and faster than you; so that you learn to rely on technique, timing and leverage rather than brute strength.” There is so much truth to that quote.


Everyday I walk into the gym my “opponents” are all bigger and stronger than me. Because of that my game has become so technical. I don’t even have the option to use strength.


I’m so thankful for all of my teammates that are bigger and stronger than me for helping me along the way and I’m so thankful for my coach for developing athlete’s that stay true to the art and respect their training partners and for taking on a young girl in a male dominated sport



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