Thursday, November 24, 2016

Catching up to business

The last few weeks have been a wild ride. I published the podcast (Work Play Obsession, Life and Jiu Jitsu) and I've conducted multiple interviews to support future episodes. I am pretty excited that we are live on iTunes, Google Play Music, Sound Cloud, and Stitcher. If you haven't had the opportunity to download an episode head on over to your choice of podcast service and have a listen. We'd really appreciate your rating and review in order to help improve the show.

So what have we done? Currently, we have produced 6 episodes ranging from training and competition, to self defense and hand to hand combat. I think the wildest episode was our coverage of the UFC 205 viewing party where we discussed why people train, what they look for in a gym, and what keeps them hooked on Jiu Jitsu. Pretty good stuff for the jump.

And where are we going? Interviews are lined up with law enforcement officers and soldiers who will recount their real world life or death scenarios and how realistic "fight" training and Jiu Jitsu  impacted getting them home safely.

Finally, stay tuned here and subscribe to the podcast to be entered into our first promotion. Details and deadlines will be released shortly but trust me you will not want to miss out on this freebie opportunity.

Until then, keep grinding.

Monday, November 7, 2016

Work Play Obsession Podcast Launch

iTunes officially launched the podcast today! Work Play Obsession, Life and Jiu Jitsu. I know the podcast is not perfect yet but I'm satisfied with the current product. We all know that there are thousands of podcasts out there but we never stop to think about all of the podcasts that were dreamed of or discussed amongst friends but never ended up being produced. It's like a cousin to "paralysis by analysis", not taking action for fear the product is not perfect. I have no problem taking constructive criticism and I know the podcast will only improve through the advice of my friends.  The podcast is available on iTunes and SoundCloud. Work Play Obsession, Life and Jiu Jitsu Editing has been the biggest challenge by far. Because I want to be able to record, edit, and produce from mobile platforms I'm working on phones, iPads, and a MacBook Pro with multiple applications and software. This makes saving and converting files very dicey. I think once I figure out how to streamline this part of the process I will greatly reduce the time between releases.  Tomorrow my interview with JP should launch. Pretty excited about the interview we put together so please take a listen and download. JP is a great guy and an awesome instructor and as a bonus you get to hear him make a little beat. Brazilian Funk.   

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Most Wonderful Time of The Year

It's the most wonderful time of the year!!! No, I'm not talking about Thanksgiving, Black Friday, or Christmas, I'm talking about promotions!!!
It is pretty common for most academies to conduct promotion ceremonies during the Christmas holiday period, sometimes coinciding with the holiday party or a holiday open mat. This tradition is fairly common knowledge even among the not so dedicated academy members and that can present an issue. 
I'm sure everyone can name a guy or two who is probably getting amped up and prepping to make the holiday training run. The guy who trained once a week or once every other week during the year and is about to come into the gym and go H-A-M on every roll (well at least for the first minute or two of every roll). Heaven forbid this guy is a white belt and there are some people who have been promoted to blue belt in his abscence.  I guarantee there will be some Hulk smash, bull in the China shop going on as this guy tries to prove that he deserves a promotion despite his inability to attend classes regularly. It gets even worse if he catches the  instructor glancing in his direction. It's full on 100% crazy man Torreando to side control to Kimura. 
For some reason people think that if they make a big splash around this time of year they will get a promotion. This is not only ridiculous it's dangerous. People who have been working hard all year long end up getting hurt and the guy ends up with a shitty reputation. Anyone who has trained can see clearly through this behavior and it's not a good look. 
Do not get me wrong, I absolutely believe in recognizing those who deserve to be promoted, I'm no hater. Hell, I've been promoted at Christmas parties! I just don't like to see people try to circumvent the hard work and dedication of other academy members. 
The bottom line is not to concern yourself with promotion. Put in the work, and enjoy the journey and enjoy the holidays. If you receive a promotion be proud. Recognize you earned it! W
Worst case scenario,you can always go to that school where you can promote yourself. Straight blue to black belt!! 

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Tom DeBlass Seminar

I wasn't planning to post today because I'm pretty wrapped up in Halloween events and getting ready for a party. Shortly after walking out of the Tom DeBlass seminar I knew I had to put thoughts on paper. Noel Smith academy in Glen Burnie, Maryland hosted Tom DeBlass for a two hour seminar at their academy today. When someone mentions the name Tom Deblass and seminar in the same sentence usually you see a whole lot of this:

What  I was most impressed with was not the level of sophistication of the techniques we learned but much of Tom's philosophy towards grappling, competing, and life in general. I definitely walked away with a lot of little gems and as Tom put it "things that I could use right away."

I would be lying if I said that I wasn't looking forward to learning from Tom's application of the leg lock game and sure enough the seminar did not disappoint. What was interesting though, was the fact that he addressed the game as a whole not just, enter into a leg lock set up position, drill reverse heel hooks, wash, rinse, repeat. We trained half guard, Z Guard, X guard and principles that make whatever techniques you are already using from those positions more effective.

Aside from the multiple tips to make my backstep and top half guard more effective the tips on Z Guard / Knee shield left me like ol Jackie Chan here:

Why am I fighting till the death for the underhook? Why wasnt I making these obvious adjustments? Why hadn't I thought of that sequence? Why Why Why? I guess thats just the beauty of Jiu Jitsu. You never stop learning and there is always someone who approaches the game from a different perspective and you can probably learn something from them.

One twist I appreciated at the end was open and question and answer portion that Tom offered up to the group. A lot of seminars close with rolling where everyone wants to see how they stack up against a world class grappler and who knows if they truly get anything out of it besides "man the pressure, he's so heavy" or "his technique is so good."  Yup, no shit, and no shit.  Here are a few of the gems from the question and answer:

    If you care, you panic, if you panic, you get tired

If you are tired that means your opponent is exhausted

With regards to competitions "do them all" 

Set goals for your training, for example, if you get submitted often by armbars then set a goal not to get submitted by armbar. You may get submitted by triangle but that means you defended the armbar

There was one action that drove all of the concepts regarding principles and basics home more than most of the events of the seminar. Tom did a technique and afterwards stated "I have no idea what I just did." He was simply using the basic principles of Jiu Jitsu and moving his body with fundamental technique and ended up in a dominant position. Pretty damn legit. 

While we all know that the principles will win the day who doesn't love a little bit of this?

   Tom DeBlass and Gary Gjoni

or a little bit of that?

Tom DeBlass and Gary Gjoni

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Using Video to Improve Your Game

No, I am not talking about scouring YouTube and copying all of the techniques you see your favorite grappler doing. While I too am guilty of being a YouTube whore, thanks Keenan, Romulo, Leandro Lo, and Robson Moura, I am specifically talking about shooting video of yourself while rolling and analyzing that video at a later date. Most of us make so many big mistakes during live Jiu Jitsu training that we do not realize many of the smaller mistakes that we commit. Of course you recognize the one that gives up your back or the incorrect arm placement that results in a triangle, armbar, or omoplata but what about the other things like active toes, good grips or the positioning / utilization of parts of your body that aren't engaged with the immediate threat?

My recommendation is to try video. Record a round and don't be afraid to actually watch it 5-10 times minimum. Most cellphones nowadays are pretty capable at shooting decent video, you don't have to be a photo / video nerd (guilty) to have access to quality video. Always check with your instructor and request to film some rounds of your training. A tripod is always a nice little bonus but the ideal situation is to have an observer record for you. If there is not a person available to do this, simply prop your phone on a flip flop or water bottle or a "rock or something".

I also recommend training with people at or above your skill level in order to bring out those mistakes that come out under pressure. The only other advice I would throw out there is to try to break up all of your files by round or by any submissions that may occur during a round. This way you end up with nice little clips that you can either keep the highlights of and discard the rest or send to your friends for their own analysis or trash talking. One final word is trash talking is cool among friends but don't be a d-bag. If you do roll with people you can dominate, forget the camera is on and roll with respect and with the purpose of learning and teaching. Be just as humble in victory as you are in defeat. You can always share that video with your training partner and let them use it as their visual training aid and don't post it to YouTube, FB, or WorldStar claiming you are the next Gary Tonon or Jiu Jitsu world champion .

I found this old video of training with JP and although its only a 30 second scramble after a pass (the middle clip of a 5 minute round) I immediately spotted multiple mistakes that I would have not noticed without video analysis. I will be honest, on the day of this class I was pretty happy with this exchange. I think I managed to escape 2 or 3 situations where I was in trouble and survived just a little bit longer. But on further review, there where moments where I had legs or arms not even committed to the fight, just flailing in the air. There was some terrible shrimping going and a complete absence of active toes where I could have been driving forward. Just being able to recognize these mistakes, in my mind, indicates growth and that is a victory.