BJJ Brazilian jiu-jitsu

Psychology of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu by Bakari Akil II, Ph.D.

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Psychologyof BJJ

Grappling is a smash-mouth activity. It is a put your beer down and let’s settle this type of martial art. Man vs. man, woman vs. man, child vs. man, it is one of the ultimate ‘prove it’ combat sports. Yet, once you get past the rough and challenging aspect of submission wrestling it’s easy to see that grappling is much more than that. It is also a very cerebral activity.

Psychology is the study of mental processes and behaviors. By studying our psyches we hope to learn how to successfully navigate our world and become more capable in our endeavors. As the goal of theory is explanatory and predictive power, using psychology theories can help us to understand some of the existential questions behind our art and can help us to create better models for training and success. In other instances, it is just plain fun to think about.

The application of psychology to submission wrestling is relatively new and in many cases non-existent, so this book is more of an exploration of what is possible. It covers a broad range of topics and doesn’t hesitate to introduce counterintuitive thought for the reader to ponder and digest.

Psychology of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu” will whet your appetite to see how psychology can be applied to grappling and not just in a generic sports psychology sense.

Through the use of essay, “Psychology of BJJ” talks about what it’s like to be the new guy, problems with warm-ups, success by default, immersive environments, why you can’t always be nice in practice and even asks outright, “Are you happy?”

If that is not enough, it also discusses why you absolutely must not avoid better grapplers, tells you what type of grappler you are and why your team is just as important as your coach. Additionally, “Psychology of BJJ” delves into the unconscious mind and talks about easy ways to improve by taking simple steps you probably never thought about before. It also discusses quirky, but valid, psychological theory, based on new research that can make a difference in your grappling game.

Hey Guys,

Check out my new book. If you like it, will you leave me a review? (Psychology of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu)

Thanks,

Bakari (JiuJitsu365)

How do you get water (or whatever) in your Grappling Class?

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I was reading an old article in the NYTimes about Guy Ritchie training in a Beverly Hill Jiu-Jitsu club. What stood out about the entire article is not the fact that Guy Ritchie has a Black belt in Judo and a Brown belt in Jiujitsu, but that at the end of the training session the writer said that Ritchie and his rolling buddy stood by the water cooler drinking out of a cup.

I had to say that it sounded really refreshing. I would love to sip cold water out a water cooler after a practice. It also made me think about how people get their water where they train. Where I train now its bring your own water (BYOW) or you can buy water out of the machine for ($1 or 1.25/ I don’t know because I always bring my own). I have also trained at a place that had a water fountain. But in the majority of places, I have brought my own water. I absolutely had to.

What about you?

Don’t forget to answer this one too.

Michael Clarke Duncan – A BJJ Man

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I was very sad to hear about Michael Clarke Duncan’s passing today. I heard about his heart attack several weeks back, but I always assumed he would be okay. Not to mention that his family, friends and close ones lost someone dear to them, but he also made a huge impact in our world.

Not just from great films that he starred in, but Duncan is also a cultural icon; especially when it comes to BJJ and MMA. Although the man was a giant among men (6’5 300 lbs), he still loved BJJ (he was a Purple belt) and took the time to learn the art. Here is a man who probably never, ever, EVER, needed to know a ‘lick’ of grappling who respected the art and heralded it. I have seen him many times at UFC events, front and center, and heard about his ventures training with the Gracies and in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

He’s a part of my cultural landscape and I wish him good travels.

Peace!

Michael Clarke Duncan wrestles Tom Arnold below:

Michael Clarke Duncan discusses MMA, NBA, Boxing and tries to avoid looking at Eva Longoria.

Gracie Combatives…

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Yesterday, I went to Gracie Combatives again. It’s probably my fifth time going since they started at my academy a few months ago. It’s a Saturday class so I can’t go every week, but I really appreciate this class. I’ve always been in to the self-defense aspect of BJJ, not because I want to use it on the street, but because of the practicality of it. I love flashy grappling just like the next guy, but I also want to stay grounded in the basics. Gracie Combatives does that for me.

It’s like going to a fundamentals class with all of the sporting element taken out of it. No long warm-ups or six step set-ups based on a trained person’s reaction to your technique. It’s all about responding to a basic human aggression. As I always tell everyone, I do not take BJJ for self-defense. Like Lloyd Irvin says, self-defense is all about the situation and grappling is not always the right play. I take BJJ because I love matching my wits against another person and I have always have been good at martial arts, so BJJ allows me to express my intelligence through my body. I’ve played chess and I have played regulation sports and very little tops BJJ for me.

Anyway, we worked on Knee on Belly to Kimura, Knee on Belly to Mount and mount defense. Then we worked with the gloves from positions. What’s nice about reviewing these type of basic techniques is that I have been using them in class with surprising effectiveness. Moves that we normally eschew in a quest for eight sequence half-guard techniques have been saving my butt in class. That’s why I am loving Gracie Combatives and will keep going.

Peace!

Check out my grappling books on Amazon: Grappling Games: BJJ & Submission WrestlersTapmonster: Ideas about Grappling for BJJ and Submission WrestlersGrappling for Newbies20 Ways to Increase Grappling Skills off the MatThe Lazy Man’s Guide to Grappling and much more.

Coolest Review Ever!!!

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I just happened to check on my book, Tapmonster, this morning at Barnes and Noble and I saw the coolest review that anyone has ever written for one of my books. It absolutely blew me away! I appreciate every good review that I have ever received, but this one was special.

Here it is:

BUY THIS BOOK!!

I don’t ordinarily write reviews, but I am notorious for reading and using reviews to make purchases. This will be my second review ever. That alone should tell you that this book was able to motivate me to actually write this!

Where ever you are at in your grappling game, BUY THIS BOOK! I am currently preparing for my first BJJ tourney, had a horrible class and could not stop thinking about all I had done wrong earlier on the mats. After about 3 hours of tossing and turning. I thought maybe I’ll find a book of some kind, some nugget of wisdom that will rescue the “whatever” BJJ game I had left. I had purchased one of this author’s other books and this one seemed somewhat new.

While I understand that this review seems contrived in that this book ended up being just what I needed, but it truly was. I don’t know if it will rescue my game, but it assuredly got me motivated to get back to work on it!! What ever level in your grappling journey, this book will help you. It will more specifically tell you things that no one ordinarily talks about, on or off the mats. It’s a quick read, but the true take away is that you’re not alone in the feelings, the blood, sweat and tears and just plain difficulty that is the grappling arts! You will not be disappointed with this purchase! And though I haven’t written reviews yet, I have also purchased 20 ways to improve your Grappling, and Grappling for Newbies, both by this author, both highly, highly recommended! Hope this review helps!

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Check out my grappling books on Amazon: Tapmonster: Ideas about Grappling for BJJ and Submission WrestlersGrappling for Newbies20 Ways to Increase Grappling Skills off the MatThe Lazy Man’s Guide to Grappling and much more.

Ryan Hall calmly chokes out a belligerent drunk in a restaurant

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Check out my grappling books on Amazon: Tapmonster: Ideas about Grappling for BJJ and Submission WrestlersGrappling for Newbies20 Ways to Increase Grappling Skills off the MatThe Lazy Man’s Guide to Grappling and much more.

Ryan Hall calmly dispatches an aggressive drunk who interrupts his pizza dinner…

I don’t know which video is better, this or the guy using BJJ in the What-a-burger fight below. [Credit to FightworksPodcast.com for posting the Ryan Hall video on its website.]

*Beware – Language

Tapmonster: Ideas about Grappling for the BJJ and Submission Wrestler

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Hey guys, here’s my latest. You can check out the book at Amazon or Barnes & Noble.

Product Description:

There is nothing in the world like grappling! It is primal and in its very essence it is what life is all about; the chase, fun, struggle and survival. It teaches you how to cope with trying situations; teaches you to always search for options and that you can triumph even when the odds are against you.

This combat art puts you on the Quixotic hunt for the real you, the champ lurking inside. It wants you to find that inner beast that allows you to rip off your shirt, look your opponent in the eye and utter those immortal fighting words made famous by Kimbo Slice, “Run it!” And that is the spirit, in which this book was written.

“Tapmonster” was written for that grappler who is looking for an extra edge and alternative approaches to grappling.

In my decade of grappling, I have used many ideas to increase my skills. And since my inspiration has come from many sources, I did not hesitate to include ideas from academic research, other sports and from the ordinary man on the street in this book. I also know that the best way to learn is from those who do it the best. That is why Tapmonster is also filled with ideas from the champions of our sport.

Tapmonster covers:

-How to deal with FNGs
-The Pump Fake
-The Hands Off Approach
-Snatching and Tripping
-Ambidextrous Thinking
-Shaquille O’Neal and Grappling
-The Importance of Gimmicks
-Belt Chasing
-Grappling Finance
-How the movie Money Ball can help your grappling
-ADCC and BJJ World Champ, Robert Drysdale’s key to training
-What Felipe Costa (BJJ World Champion) says about getting good
-How to use the flipped classroom in the grappling environment
-How does Tito Ortiz’s thoughts on MMA relate to grappling?
-The Power of Love and Hate in Grappling
-What can Arnold Schwarzenegger do for your grappling game?
-What’s the secret behind BJJ World Champ, JT Torres’s smile?
-What made Eddie Bravo so confident that he would whisper, “Are you ready?” into an opponent’s ear?

And much more, so much more! ;-)

Check out my grappling books on Amazon: Tapmonster: Ideas about Grappling for BJJ and Submission WrestlersGrappling for Newbies20 Ways to Increase Grappling Skills off the MatThe Lazy Man’s Guide to Grappling and much more.

Open Mat – De La Riva Style!

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Friday’s class was a nice one. After a short hiatus I was worried how my cardio would stack up, but I did fine. Seems like the Fitocracy kick I am on is keeping me fighting fit. However, nothing beats grappling in class so I was a little winded near the end.

We rolled for an 1hr 20 min for open mat so I will just provide highlights:

I wrestled with one of the newer guys (Dillon) who was promoted to Blue belt last Tuesday. He’s a former wrestler and he has cat like reflexes so I usually just pin him down a lot. I went a little bit harder with him this time since he’s a Blue belt now, but he still weighs at least 80 pounds less than me so I didn’t go gorilla on him.

I also rolled with Jerry, one of the veteran guys, who is also a Blue Belt. I started out with Spider Guard and then I remembered a video I had been watching on Youtube last week and I switched to the De La Riva Guard. I was amazed at how quickly I was able to latch it on. I followed it up with a sweep and then gained side control. From there I went North/South then pulled him up and jumped to his back. He fought me on the Bow and Arrow Choke so I went for an arm-bar from behind and got the tap. —  I surprised myself with that one. First, Jerry is usually super hard to deal with. Second, I don’t know what possessed me to try the De La Riva. Third, I am usually a choke or Kimura type of guy, I hardly ever attempt arm bars.

On another note, we had a Brown Belt (Jason) from one of our affiliates visit. He showed us a cool choke when you are seated and have back control and a bicep crusher for the omoplata and from a guard pass.

Excellent practice!

Check out my grappling books on Amazon: Tapmonster: Ideas about Grappling for BJJ and Submission WrestlersGrappling for Newbies20 Ways to Increase Grappling Skills off the MatThe Lazy Man’s Guide to Grappling and much more.

Time to switch the style up!

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Check out my other blog: Psychology of Jiu-Jitsu

Before I talk about the training session, first let me gush about my new place.

I finally made it to my new BJJ home last Friday and I made it official. I joined JaxBJJ. I really like this place. I started visiting it last month and was able to try it out for a month at a vastly reduced rate. I didn’t want to sign a contract and then be severely disappointed so I wanted to make sure this was the right place.

It is.

Everyone, I mean everyone, speaks to you when you enter the academy. Further, they go beyond that. They actually start conversations with and want to know about you. (It is really important to me that the environment is a friendly one and that I feel comfortable with the people I train with.) Also, there are belts of all types. I have never seen so many blues, purples and brown belts in one place. Every rolling session is like receiving a private session and people have been very eager to share their knowledge as well as ask questions when I do something they haven’t seen.

No egos.

The professor is friendly and won’t hesitate to demonstrate techniques to improve students game, even to the point of pulling students to the side for 20 minutes or so and reviewing technique with them. Also the place is full of people who have been training 2, 3, 4, and 5 years at JaxBJJ and up to 15+ years with Prof. Shealy. It also has a huge kid’s class, which suggests stability to me and not only does it have a lot of guys and gals in their 20s training but also a lot of guys in their 30s, 40s and even 50s. This is cool because it means that it is a safe environment and one that doesn’t burn students out.

Anyway, here’s what happened in class.

Usually the morning class is run like a open-mat but this morning Phil led the warm-ups then Prof. led us through some drills on finishing front chokes from the guard. We then sparred from position, trying to obtain a front choke from guard while the other person tried to pass. After drilling we started doing progressions where the time (rounds) is gradually increased as class goes on and when you switch to a new partner you get in the same position the previous person was in. Sometimes it works out great (you end up in mount), sometimes you end up screwed (your partner has your back.)

For the past month or so I have been working on my butterfly guard and trying to improve my defense to side control. As a consequence my guard has been passed, — a lot. Plus, almost everyone I go up against is a blue belt or higher so there isn’t much wiggle room to play. After being outgunned on the bottom so much I started to feel like a scrub. I think I am going to have to re-think my butterfly training for a bit, because ‘it ain’t working.’

Anyway, I still enjoyed class and look forward to heading back again when my schedule lets up.

Check out my new books, The Lazy Man’s Guide to Grappling and Grappling for Newbies on Amazon.com!