RE: Five Types of Jiu Jitsu People


RE: Five Types of Jiu Jitsu People

by Tony Peranio




Last week an article came out called, “Five Types of Jiu Jitsu People”. After reading the article I thought the author seemed a bit jaded, but I understood that the article was intended to entertain, and not to denigrate all of the practitioners of Jiu Jitsu. I found that the article would make for an interesting read among our audience, so I posted it to our various social media outlets. The article reached more than 20,000 people on Facebook alone. It was “liked” and “shared” more than other articles generally are, and the comments were varied and bountiful.


The purpose of this article is to give our response to the original article, as well as to address the comments that we received after posting it.


To begin, there were in actuality 6 types of Jiu Jitsu practitioner listed, when the article touted that there would only be 5. This was not a problem for me to look past. I doubt that the original blogger was paid for their work. Most bloggers spend their time writing to help others, and because of their love of our sport. That being said, a simple error or two isn’t going to invoke a “fire and brimstone” reaction from myself. We all make mistakes.


Below are some of the comments we received about the original article:


“Well…that was actually 6 and not 5…and there must be other types, because these are all negative, and I have met alot of cool people on the mats who are nothing like any of these “types” 🙂 Oss!” – Jared O.


“Not funny. Where are the descriptions of people who inspire and motivate us? Or the great teachers, the people overcoming physical or mental handicaps? I’d be ashamed to put my name on this piece.” – AJ M.


“Disappointing article, especially for such a positive account to post. So much good and good people in Jiu  Jitsu, is this what you really want to share as a portrayal?” – Alexander H.


Another important fact is that the original blogger did not say that this was an all-encompassing list. Many were ready to pound the drums of war and unleash the hounds of hell because they read the title of the composition wrong. The title insinuates that these are 5 (or 6) different types of Jiu Jitsu practitioner that exist among the totality of practitioners. So let us all bring it down a notch in terms of assuming that the original blogger was saying that we all fit into one or more of the 6 stated categories.


Now I am going to respond to the article in the way that I feel many of you would.


1. The Meathead –

I personally feel cheated if I think someone is taking it easy on me. It’s ok to go with the flow sometimes, but I always want 100% force. I feel I learn a lot from the guys who act with strong force. It becomes my duty to control them, tire them out, then submit them. I would much rather spar with the Meathead, than the lackadaisical.

I doubt anyone uses more force when rolling with children or women. What gym, or gym members would tolerate seeing that happen?


2. The Teacher –

Again the original blogger mentions “sparring with too much force”. Clearly the original blogger has had too many run ins with forceful sparring partners. To me that sounds like poor gym management.

The original blogger shouldn’t be so quick to dismiss people’s advice. Granted, some of it might not be the best advice, but if you make it a habit to be dismissive you may one day miss out on a piece of advice that could have changed your entire game.

If the person is a “Teacher” they more than likely appreciate white belts joining the gym, so that they can help them along in Jiu Jitsu. Some people actually enjoy helping other people. Not all Teachers are crossbred with the Meatheads.



So the original blogger doesn’t like to see people who are just as enthusiastic as they were when they themselves started Jiu Jitsu?

I don’t know anyone that has every Gi you can imagine. Could it be that the JIUJITSU4LIFE Guy is simply not trying to be “The Gross Guy” mentioned below? It appears that the original blogger does not like stinky Gi’s or new smelling Gi’s. Is there perhaps a smell somewhere in the middle that would be pleasing?

I love reading my friend’s posts about Jiu Jitsu! Some of what my friends post, becomes content for this blog. Why be such a downer because of people’s enthusiasm? Would you like to keep Jiu Jitsu all to yourself? Does the enthusiasm of others threaten your own perhaps?


4. The Gross Guy – 

If you think other humans are gross, Jiu Jitsu could be the worst sport for you. You should be thinking about technique, not superfluous superficialities. We are not all supermodels and movie stars. If someone stinks to you, or is gross, simply avoid them.


5. The Just For Show Guy –

Some people have families to attend to. Some people are injured. There are many reason why friends of the gym show up but do not train. It is not because they want to be seen at a gym. It is because they love our sport and more than likely have a relationship of some sort with people at the gym. Perhaps their bond with the gym was established before you showed up there.

You are angry that they fake injuries to avoid rolling hard, but when people roll hard they fall into “The Meathead” or “The Teacher” categories. Which is it? Roll hard? or do not?


6. The Flirty-Flirt –

Saying that girls who come to the gym to flirt with guys is like saying every guy that goes to Yoga smelling good and looking good, is there to pick up girls.

Societal pressure applies a force upon women to always look their best. So now a cute, “made-up” girl comes to the gym and wants to make a desirable impression by not being “The Gross Girl”, and she is in the wrong? Or could this be a classic case of jealousy?


In Conclusion –

This article was in no way, shape or form intended to offend anyone. The audience of White Belt Brazilian Jiu Jitsu demanded a response to the original post. When I wrote this article I tried to put myself in our audiences shoes to speak their unified voice. I’m in no way offended by the original blogger, nor the original blog. More power to all of you I say.

On a personal level, I don’t care about the different types of people in Jiu Jitsu. I welcome them.


I hope you all enjoyed the read!


meTony Peranio WBBJJ


“Meditation and Competition” by Lauren LaCourse


“Meditation and Competition”

by Lauren LaCourse


This last weekend I traveled to Chicago to compete in a tournament put on by the North American Grappling Association. I lost all of my matches and left fairly disappointed in my performance.


Mulling through every detail on the car-ride home, I came away with only one proud accomplishment: I had conquered the fabled “adrenaline dump”. Not a single time during or after one of my matches did I feel completely spent and upon this realization I turned to my boyfriend sitting next to me and proclaimed, “I didn’t even break a sweat!”


As he turned to look back at me I noticed his expression wasn’t nearly as amused as mine was. His brow furrowed as if to say, “And you’re happy about that?”


Which got me thinking, is this something I should be happy about?




Rewind a few months ago, I’m watching a documentary on Keenan Cornelius that Stuart Cooper had just released. As the camera closes in on Keenan, he describes one of the key components necessary to unlock in order to become a good competitor: the mind.


“Technical mistakes are fine ’cause you can fix those, you know? It’s when you beat yourself that it’s a problem. That’s hard to fix. Your mind is much harder to fix than a technical error.” – Keenan Cornelius


And that’s when I knew what I had to work on. In previous competitions, I certainly had the physicality down. But my mind was desperate. In fact, in training so hard and putting so much pressure on myself before those competitions, I had lost a lot of love for jiu jitsu and for myself. So I took a break from competing and decided to focus on training my mentality. I started meditating, I started making an effort to talk positively to myself and others, and I started having fun with jiu jitsu again. So when it came to sign up for the tournament November 1st, I felt my mind was finally ready to compete.


The night before the tournament, I slept like a baby. The day of, I meditated before each match and experienced little to no anxiety. I walked onto the mat in peace and walked off of the mat in peace, even after getting armbarred, kimura’d, and guillotine choked. As disappointed as I was in my physical performance, my mind held strong that I was there to learn and have fun. And so I did.


What I didn’t do, was win any of my matches.


But I thought I had finally figured out the formula?! Shaolin monks are always meditating! I had remained calm and centered and kept focused! My mind was right! I should be a champion now shouldn’t I?!?


No. No I wasn’t. Not even close.




So where did I go wrong?? Turns out, there’s actually a biological answer.


All of us humans have something called a central nervous system (CNS). The CNS is divided into two sub-systems: the autonomic nervous system (ANS) and the somatic nervous system (SNS). The autonomic nervous system controls all of our involuntary functions (i.e. heart rate, digestion, etc.) and is also further subdivided into the parasympathetic nervous system and the sympathetic nervous system.



(If you’re a picture person like myself)


The parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for controlling homeostasis in the body. It decreases the heart rate and enacts a state of calm so that the body can rest, relax, and recover.


The sympathetic nervous system, on the other hand, is responsible for the “fight-or-flight” response in our bodies. It tenses up the muscles and makes the person more alert and aware. It also is responsible for the increase of adrenaline and helps muscles convert energy more quickly.


Both sound great, and both are absolutely necessary, but looking at the two, it’s pretty easy to pick which one you’d rather have working for you in any sort of exercise, training, or competitive situation. And since the two do not work at the same time, you essentially DO have to pick.


So if you’re looking to throw down BJJ style, you don’t want to grapple with the parasympathetic system as your wing man. Sympathetic for the win!




Now, what I did by meditating before each match only worked to deactivate my sympathetic nervous system response. This in turn, allowed me to avoid the “adrenaline dump” and remain calm, but sacrificed my heightened awareness and muscular endurance, which kept me from performing at my prime.


That’s not to say that the parasympathetic nervous system (or meditation) has no place at a competition. In fact, it’s as necessary as its opposite. If our sympathetic nervous ran on high at all times, our body would not be able to recover. Being able to engage the parasympathetic nervous system after each match or competition helps to ensure that we are able restore our body and its ability to perform at an optimal level every time we step on the mats. Research shows that meditation helps engage the parasympathetic nervous system and therefore can help with recovery.


So, whether you meditate or not, being aware of the systems that control our bodies can be a huge help and offer a significant advantage as you approach the stresses of competition and the stresses of life, working to make sure you perform your best at all times.


With much love — as always, Good luck and keep on rollin’.


– Lauren


Email: [email protected]

Facebook: Lauren’s Facebook

Twitter: @LaurenLaCourse

This, and other blogs from Lauren on her Live Journal page.



Female BJJ Bloggers Directory


Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is more and more becoming a sport that women are participating in. It is no longer a sport just for the guys. BJJ is a system of self defense that allows women to feel confident and safe. It is also a tremendously fun and competitive sport that appeals to women and men alike.

I recall an interview with Claudia Gadelha (womens MMA and BJJ Fighter) where she stated that when she was growing up, girls were not allowed to train BJJ where she lived in Brazil. These days women are coming to the sport in droves!

Below is a list of Female BJJ practitioners who blog about their journeys in Jiu Jitsu. I am a man but I still enjoy reading the female perspective of BJJ. Hopefully this list will lead you to some sources of inspiration that you were previously unaware of!

BJJ Grrl

Georgette Oden

Skirt on the Mat

Julia Johansen

Lauren LaCourse

Meg Smitely

Shark Girl BJJ

Shakia Harris


Grappling Girl

Crawl Atop Me And Meet Your Doom

The Last Ronin

Jodie Bear’s Journey

A Grappler’s Heart

Liv Jiu Jitsu


If there is a female BJJ blogger that you want to have added to this list please contact us!


“Hope Looks Like a Fifteen Year-Old” by Lauren LaCourse


“Hope Looks Like a Fifteen Year-Old”

by Lauren LaCourse


For a long time now I’ve wanted to write a blog to empower women. I’ve sat down probably too many times to count, and wrote pages devoted to encouraging and supporting the ladies not only practicing Jiu Jitsu or MMA, but those being challenged in other ways as well. Much to my despair though, as I would look over my finished work, I was left with nothing but paragraphs tinged with misandry and articles carrying a “poor me” undertone. So, I never published them and after a while I digressed. I went about my typical business (sticking to blogs about life as a BJJ wannabe) and my desire to write an empowering blog slowly subsided.


That is, until I met a girl named Autumn Gordon.



(Photo courtesy of Katie J)


I stumbled upon Autumn at the American Grappling Challenge, hosted by the Ohio Combat Sports Academy. I had traveled there with a few of my teammates to compete in their submission-only Jiu Jitsu competition.


When my eyes first settled on Autumn my immediate thought was, “Wow, she’s tiny.” Even in her gi, you could tell that underneath was a girl no more than five feet tall, who couldn’t have weighed more than 110 lbs. My second thought was how fierce she still seemed, even at that stature. She had earbuds in and was practicing her wrestling shots to warm up before she competed. Pretty damn good wrestling shots too.


Luckily I had the opportunity to watch the gi competition, as I had only signed up to compete in no-gi that day. Autumn walked onto the mat unfazed, against a 2-time IBJJF world champion, and armbarred her.


I’m pretty sure I drooled a little.


I watched her compete against the rest of the gi division. She won silver. Then I got to compete against her in the no-gi division. After about five minutes, she armbarred me as well.


Yep. That was definitely drool. Can I get a rag please?!


After we rolled I was able to sit and talk with her.


I think what I love the most about competition, is the opportunity to meet like minded women (and men) and hear their stories. That day Autumn told me some of her story.


She was fifteen years old and had been training for four years. She practiced multiple arts at multiple facilities and had traveled and competed many times before. Her instructors moved her up to compete in the adult divisions to challenge her and develop her technique. It was working. As a teenager she already had some awesome credentials.


But it wasn’t her credentials that impressed me. It was her.


As we sat and chatted I was affected by her bright smile and beaming personality. She talked about her hopes and dreams and how much she loved competing and training. She said that she was aspiring to be the next Ronda Rousey (shoot, she had the armbar down). Her passion was instantly contagious but not overwhelming. She was both humble and inspiring. There was something about her that just absolutely shined.



(Photo courtesy of Katie J)


It was the first time since I started training that I was starstruck. After rolling with Mackenzie Dern and meeting amazing women in BJJ, it was the fifteen year-old girl with already mad skills that left me in awe. And we only knew each other for a single day.




Because I realized that it’s girls like Autumn Gordon that this world needs more of. In an age of hashtag battles crying about feminism, girls like Autumn give me hope. Girls like Autumn are the ones who are empowering.


Articles, blogs and “#YesALLWomen”‘s that demonize our masculine society won’t make things better; and certainly won’t be the cure of it. The cure will be the telling of our stories, the telling of Autumn’s story, and the telling of stories similar to hers. Because with up-and-coming role models like her, we have hope that what’s coming down the road are girls who love themselves, who challenge the status quo, and who inspire other women to do the same.


So, go on ladies (and inspired men). Tell YOUR story.



(Briana Coubrough, Autumn Gordon, Me)


With much love — as always, Good luck and keep on rollin’.


– Lauren


Email: [email protected]

Facebook: Lauren’s Facebook

Twitter: @LaurenLaCourse



“The Creonte”





Some are familiar with the term. Others that are not as deeply involved in the art, may not be aware of the expression. I honestly never even heard the word until someone addressed me as one. Apparently in the ancient times of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (which some still choose to live in) students who left an academy they were training at, to train at another, were labeled as traitors; or “Creontes”. Their reasons for leaving, did not matter.


Jiu Jitsu then, is not what Jiu Jitsu is now. It has evolved, and is more than just a martial art. In today’s world BJJ has become a business for those who choose to open their own academy, a career for those who have what it takes to make it as an athlete, and it has become modernized.


This means that a lot of BJJ practitioners with modern mindsets, are now involved in a martial art, that still has ancient minded people pointing fingers.


What makes someone a traitor exactly? Is there a BJJ Bible somewhere that has an exact definition of “creonte” in it? Where are the lines drawn in terms of being labeled a traitor? Do certain situations exist that make switching academies okay? If I leave one academy to train at another, because I think I will advance myself more at the new one, does that make me a creonte? Think. What if it were the exact same situation, except the roles were reversed? I have an instructor say to me, “Hey, you will only be held back here. I think if you want to achieve great things, you should train at a better academy.” If I choose to leave now, am I a creonte?




At the end of the day everyone will have an opinion, and there will be people standing behind their beliefs on both sides of the topic.


In most common cases, people that switch academies, do so for a handful of different reasons. More specifically, these people that switch, are not involved in the politics of Jiu Jitsu. Jiu Jitsu isn’t their career (for all intensive purposes, this article is not referring to the casual, lower belt, BJJ practitioner). When the topic is addressed these days, it is because the athletes switching, are mainly switching for causes that never existed until now. Now, BJJ is possible to be made into a career.


I have seen people switch academies for many reasons. To list a few common ones; belt promotions, money (which breaks down into a thousand other related reasons), and training partners. Is someone who trains and competes for a living, considered a creonte if they leave? Regardless of the reasoning, an athlete is going to go wherever they feel will best serve their career. Those who understand and respect that, know that one must do what they have to do, in order to accomplish great things. I humbly set forth that this should not make one considered to be a traitor. In fact, in my personal experience, most of the people that I have discussed this with were incredibly supportive. White belts to black, regular practitioners to world class athletes, generally all showed support.


I recently made the biggest decision of my career thus far. I decided to switch over from one well-respected team, to another, at a time that was very questionable. I was at an academy for just under 3 years and became heavily involved in helping them out in multiple areas. Many would say that I was in an ideal situation. I was teaching full time, winning major championships, and training all in one place. So why the change? In my time at Drysdale Jiu Jitsu, I truly grew a lot. I would go so far as to say that I was a completely different person the day that I left, in comparison to the day that I showed up.


I wanted different things. I had new goals and needed bigger hurdles to jump in order to accomplish them. What I wanted didn’t exist in the world I had created for myself in Las Vegas. I began wanting to teach less and to train more. I wanted to travel the world competing, and teaching seminars, but more importantly I wanted to the best in the world at my weight class. Being the competitor that I am, I make sure to celebrate every accomplishment by setting the bar higher for the next goal; and this instance, the formula for doing so was to be found somewhere else. Once I realized this, the decision was made, and the necessary steps were taken.


Shortly after I relocated from Las Vegas to San Diego, and proudly joined Andre Galvao’s team, Atos.


I quickly discovered those who were my supporters, and who were not. Nothing can make a more clearer distinction of who supports you, and who doesn’t, then making a purely selfish decision such as leaving one team for another. It is always nice to have people say kind things to you about your decisions. However it was more enjoyable to see who was there for me, and who wasn’t when the time came. I had a student of mine ask me, “Coach, you won all of these great tournaments and have all of your students here supporting you. Why leave?” I am not sure if he understood it when I explained to him, or if he will later, but I told him the truth. Its not about what I had, it was about what I wanted. Indeed I could have stayed. I would have eventually been promoted, and maybe won a few tournaments, but I knew I would never reach my potential. That is what made it such an easy decision to make.


For me it wasn’t about the color of a belt around my waist, money, or anything else that some may think. It was about my future. I needed to be in an environment that I could thrive in, and make a name for myself in the sport.


I want to tell my kids one day, “You have to let go of the good, if you want to reach out and grab the great in life.”


-The Creonte


Kristian Woodmansee is World, Pan American and European Champion. He is currently the #1 ranked No Gi Brown Belt in the World. You can reach him via Facebook.


(Advice) “So You Want To Be a BJJ Fighter” by Kristian Woodmansee

So you want to be a BJJ Fighter?

by Kristian Woodmansee



So you want to be a BJJ Fighter?  Let me guess. You wish that you could live the Jiu Jitsu lifestyle? You want to train all day, maybe teach a class or two, and compete, and have all of it support you financially. You see guys like Buchecha and Cyborg and want what they have, the best life you could imagine! But how? Many Jiu Jitsu practitioners want nothing more than to get paid to train and compete. However there is a side to this lifestyle that you might not be so familiar with, and it could very well change your mind.




(Photo Courtesy of Mike Calimbas Photography)


There is a reason why only 3% of all students reach the level of black belt. Now imagine how many of those are able to call him or herself a world champion. It takes a particular mindset to hit that kind of level of success in any subject, but all of these athletes have something in common that can’t be bought or acquired. Now you don’t have to be a world champion to turn Jiu Jitsu into a career, but you do have to have the same attributes that it takes to become one. Fail does not exist in the dictionary of success. Hard work and persistence will always pay off. I can promise you that. The problem that remains is that day in and day out, there are many life situations that will either make you, or break you.


The weak minded tend to be easily discouraged.


I won’t lie, there were plenty of times I questioned everything, including myself! I am sure that’s only natural. You will always hear that Jiu Jitsu is a “hills and valleys” type of journey, but no one told me how those hills and valleys would make me feel. That was the hardest thing to deal with. That in itself can be incredibly discouraging and I have witnessed its effect on people. A decent amount of people quit Jiu Jitsu all together.


The struggle exists. The manner of which, is unique to its owner. Some will starve because they can’t afford to eat and compete at an upcoming tournament. Some will lose their most valued relationships in exchange for pursuing their dream. Some will go to multiple tournaments and lose every match, but not continue to put it on the line day in and day out. Some are in their room watching BJJ videos and taking notes, while everyone else is out drinking having a good time. Try going out with a bunch of friends to a restaurant, on a special occasion, and everyone is stuffing themselves with unhealthy food and you have to stay true to your diet in order to make weight for a competition.


Now here is the kicker. None of this is difficult, if it is what you want. This is a job. You have to treat it like one and if you want to be successful, then nothing will get in your way. I promise you this, I have never drank a beer, tasted a piece of food, had a night out with friends, or slept in late and missed a training session, that felt more rewarding then actual success, but that’s just me.




Kristian Woodmansee



Let me get to the point of all this, and I know this may be cliché, but I feel that a quote here will make more sense then my own words. “Don’t ever let somebody tell you, you can’t do something. Not even me, alright? You got a dream, you gotta protect it. People can’t do something themselves, they wanna tell you that you can’t do it. You want something, go get it. Period.” – Will Smith in the Pursuit of Happiness. If this is what you want then nothing and no one can get in between you and it. Actions express priorities, and if it is important to you, you will find a way. The only person that can stop you from accomplishing what you want, is you.


I am not rich financially, and I don’t have a nice car or expensive clothes, but I have acquired things that I am proud of; things that can only be acquired through hard work. I could not be happier with what I have, and not a single day goes by that I wish I were doing something else.


One day I will own my own academy, and have multiple instructional DVDs, and conduct huge seminar tours that I can support a family with. All the while loving every second of it! I never thought 6 years ago when I took my first BJJ class, that I would one day travel to Europe to compete and teach seminars, and my passion for Jiu Jitsu made that happen. I have met amazing people all over the world, and my passion for Jiu Jitsu also made that happen. In the end, all that you need is passion. Passion is the main ingredient for success.


“If you do something you love, you will never work a day in your life.”


Kristian Woodmansee is World, Pan American and European Champion. He is currently the #1 ranked No Gi Brown Belt in the World. You can reach him via Facebook.


FENOM Pearl Weave Gi Review by Lauren LaCourse


FENOM Pearl Weave Gi Review

by Lauren LaCourse


I needed an inexpensive gi,  but not a cheap one. I teach and train anywhere from 4 to 6 days a week, a couple hours each day. That being said, any gi of mine, would have to be durable.   I came across FENOM Kimonos after reading about them in a post from Chelsea Bainbridge-Donner. She’s kind of a BAMF. She trains at ATOS, and is responsible for my all-time favorite BJJ blog ( I figured what is good for the goose, is good for the gander. She had made mention of the FENOM Pearl Weave gi, so I decided to go ahead and order one.


I am 5’7, and weigh anywhere from 140 lbs to 147 lbs, so I purchased the A2 White FENOM. I worried that since the gi was on the larger end of the sizing scale, that it might be too big. When it arrived, it certainly felt that way. Keep in mind, I’ve been rolling around in, and washing the only gi I’ve ever had, nearly every day.


That gi knows me.


Putting on a fresh, never rolled in, crunchy, stiff, new gi was a disappointment to say the least. Recently I have come to terms with the fact that new gis are absolutely awful, especially after having the same effect when putting on my current Atama gi. Nevertheless, I risked washing and drying it a couple of times and headed to the gym. The first roll was terrible. It was scratchy, the stiff collar felt like it had been wrapped in sandpaper as it slid across my neck. If I didn’t forcibly hold my arms down, they may have very well stood straight out the entire night. However, I kept rolling, and kept washing.




(Photo Property of Lauren LaCourse)



After the initial three washes (hot wash/hot dry), the gi didn’t shrink very much. Eventually, it shrank to a perfect fit after a few more of those washes, and I’m now able to wash and dry it after every use!   Now, my final synopsis. After a couple months of rolling, I absolutely, 100 percent, LOVE this gi! It is so soft. It fits perfectly, and I would recommend it to any girl on a budget looking for a quality kimono.   This gi comes in many colors (I’m secretly planning to buy one in every shade). If white is not your thing, you can opt for blue, navy blue, or black. The sizes are specifically contoured for women, with “curvy” options for many of the styles. FENOM is also quick to return emails for customer service, as I first tossed around the idea of returning my initial purchase for a smaller size; to which they promptly replied with an, “of course!”   I am too impatient to wait for a new gi to arrive, so I opted instead to wash and dry my current one until it fit perfectly, and fit perfectly it did.


This FENOM pearl weave gi is so wonderful that I really only have a single complaint. It does tend to pick up a lot of lint. If you are like me, you wash your gi after every roll, so lint should not be an issue. Aside from some lint, this gi is da BOMB. Made for women, by women, and you can certainly tell. I love the way it looks, and I like the way it feels when I teach and roll.


Material – B+
Fit (after shrinking) – A+
Customer Service – A
Durability – A 
Looks – B 
Cost – A+


As always, good luck and keep on rollin’. -Lauren


If you would like Lauren to review your product please contact her via these links:


Email: [email protected]

Facebook: Lauren’s Facebook

Twitter: @LaurenLaCourse



(Advice) “Making the Technique Your Own: The BJJ Notebook” by Aiseop


“Making the Technique Your Own: The BJJ Notebook”

by Aiseop


The best lectures I give my university students are on how to take notes.  Not because they are magnificently inspiring, but rather because learning how to take notes is the best thing a young scholar can do for their academic career.  I tell my students first that a notebook is different than a voice-recorder or a diary or a journal.  That’s obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many students attempt to write word-for-word what a professor says.


A notebook is a blank document in which you write down your thoughts and notes on what you are hearing, reading, watching, or the thing inspired by the touch of a muse.  A notebook is a first draft, a brainstorming document, and an uncensored space where you follow the trails of your thoughts.  A notebook is meant to produce subsequent original texts by you.


In literature classes, the thing to be produced is an essay.  This essay is an original work by the student. If the notebook’s task was rote memorization, then essentially what the student is preparing for is a game of trivial pursuit.  However, the skills college attempts to impart is to create original critical thinkers, people who are able to receive some form of data and make it their own by saying something about it.


If the goal of jiu-jitsu was rote memorization, then all we would be performing are katas until our brains withered away in boredom.  But kata is not the thing; the thing is the game, the in-the-moment application of ways of doing techniques. The thing to be produced is your game.  Before I go further, let me say that there is nothing wrong with having a “technique book,” one in which you write down technique details.  There is nothing wrong with a technique journal or a training diary.  However, a notebook is qualitatively different.


A notebook is the intervention of your mind onto the things you are learning.  The techniques are “worked” upon as they are being annotated in the notebook.  Notebooks look toward the future; diaries and journals look to the past.


A notebook’s entries would look something like this:


Professor X showed us the swivel sweep from closed guard today.  I like it because it seems to be a low risk move.  I’m not sure, though, if I’ll have to modify it as I am one of the smallest in the academy. It seems the move is based on both timing but with a bit of umph. I’ll need to ask him what modifications would be good for me. Next class, I’ll work with John the Giant to drill it.


I’d like to point out a few things about this hypothetical entry.  The first is the necessary memory cue. That is, something to remind you of the event you are annotating. In the above, it is “Professor X,” “swivel sweep”, and “today.”  These three things stamp the entry with a person, a category, and a date.  After this, there is no need to write the details of the technique. If there is something crucial, by all means; however, you are writing about the swivel sweep because there is something about that technique that you found important.  In this day and age, to write the details of the move would be redundant. There are a quite a few free videos online about it, all with different variations.  The point of the notebook is for you to do “added” work upon what you’ve been exposed to.  To think about it more in depth. To take time with it in your mind. To give yourself cues as to when and against whom you think it would work against, and to plan for the future to drill it with various body types.  Moreover, if one is a bit more advanced, one might be able to see connections between that move and follow ups.


For example, “I wonder if I fake a scissor sweep to the opposite side, I can further unbalance my partner, thereby easing the swivel sweep?”


Or, “I notice that my partner can block the sweep with his other arm by posting on the mat, I think I can get an arm-bar from there, but how do I climb high enough to wrap both legs around and behind his elbow?  Must ask Professor if this is viable.”


A notebook merely creates further engagement with your training.  It extends your physical training into the cognitive realm. Football players are notorious for cognitive training, even during the middle of games. You always see various position players with a photograph print out of previous possessions, analyzing formations, talking to coaches, and then instructing their unit on how they will adjust.  They are not memorizing anything about the previous play but rather thinking of future plays.


Ideally, in jiu-jitsu a notebook gets created after class.  After going home, showering.  I don’t recommend “note-taking” or “technique writing” during class.  It feels clunky, and you take valuable time away from yourself and partner of practicing the techniques when you are writing.  Moreover, I find that those notes are generally incomplete and useless.


So, what does one do during class? Here are some practical tips for in-class work that will help you retain the technique but also prime your mind for a notebook entry.




(Record the details you love, in your BJJ notebook)



1. Look at the technique.  Start by simply looking at the technique, the shape of both people, how the two bodies are placed on the mat. Linger for a moment to look at the starting position and absorb this placement. Often times, when we are rolling, we need a visual cue, how our bodies are placed, to realize we are in the “first” position to do the technique.


2. Do it straight through. Do the technique the first time all the way through without thinking. Get a feel without worrying about what you don’t know or understand.


3. Slow down and redo. Slow down the next time so you can begin to feel the various shifts in weight and positions of the technique. Do it a few times. Focus on something different each time you go through it.


4. Do it aloud.  Sometimes you need to speak to yourself as you are applying the technique. An auditory memory cue can often help you organize and expose details that you aren’t conscious of.


5. Feel what you can’t do when applied to you.  When your partner or instructor does the technique to you, note the things you cannot do.  Notice whether you can move your hips, or that your right shoulder is pinned, or that your chin is pressed really tightly against his shoulder.  A technique has two sides to it. What you feel and do when you are applying it, and what you feel and cannot do when it’s applied to you.


6. Notice the parts. Sometimes a technique can be divided into “sentences,” meaning that there are pauses between one part of the technique and another. A sweep might ask you to switch grips and hip position, pause, and then move your leg or hands to execute the sweep. If you can notice these pauses, you can cognitively begin to see the constituent parts of the whole move.


7. Ask questions.  You can, of course, ask, “what if my opponent does x?”  However, a more useful starting question might be, “what is my right foot supposed to be doing right now? Am I on the balls of my feet or heels? Is all my weight on it, or fifty percent, or is it supposed to be light?” I’ve found instructors appreciate questions that show you are interested in the details of the techniques they are showing, as opposed to questions that ask them to possibly show a second or third or fourth technique to cover your hypothetical of a counter to a technique you haven’t even learned yet.


8. Let the technique be itself.  Begin by trusting the literalness of the technique itself. Slow down the rush to apply it to the streets or the doubts that may arise because you are too big and don’t feel comfortable inverting or too small and don’t like being in mount and rather be in knee-on-belly because you get toppled over easily.  The technique does not need to be translated nor does it need to be given contingencies.  It is what it is, do it, try it, experiment with it.


At home, you can then begin the task of letting your mind process what is has experienced. For some, a notebook is that final step in accelerating learning.  If you’re like every other jiu-jiteiro addicted to the art, you are thinking of it anyway. All the time. A notebook is a place where you can store some of the more important and interesting thoughts you have had.


Thank you for reading!


This blog post was written by Aiseop

Twitter: @edrik17


Aiseop has been practicing jiu-jitsu and judo for 7.5 years. He holds a rank of brown belt under Luigi Mondelli of American Top Team. He lives in Connecticut with his two boys, aka future grappling buddies. He is proud to join the WBBJJ team as a blogger.



(Aiseop and son)