Fighting

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)

In MMA, does a smile (at the face-off) mean you will lose?

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According to a study conducted by Michael Kraus and David Chen (via BPS Research Digest), MMA fighters who smile at the “pre fight” matchups are “more likely” to lose their fight.

Coders for the study were asked to assess whether fighters were smiling during their pre fight matchups (without knowing the fighters or the outcome of the bout). Then the researchers studied UFC statistics and found that the smiling fighters were more likely to lose their fights. The results were not major, but enough to question if the findings have merit.

According to the BPS Research Digest, fighters who bared their teeth were “more likely” to be:

1) “Knocked down”

2) Wrestled to the mat; and

3) Hit more times

The fighters who hadn’t smiled were “more likely” to “excel and dominate” according to the BPS Digest article.

The article also stated that people who bet on fights tend to favor the non-smiling fighter as well. The researchers posit that smiling is a cue to the other fighter that you are submissive, lack aggressiveness and lack hostility.

I find this very interesting and wonder if it also applies to BJJ and submission grappling by default.

What are your thoughts?

BPS Article: Smiling Fighters are More Likely to Lose

Check out my grappling books on Amazon: Grappling 101: How to Avoid being Bullied on the Mat,  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.

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.

Putting in Work! (Summertime Jiu-jitsu)

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I’ve been quietly ‘putting in work’ at my academy. It’s summertime and I don’t teach at the college during the summer, so I’m averaging three times a week. I am really enjoying being able to go as much as I have.

Today, we worked on half guard escapes, sweeps and submissions. It felt like a mini-seminar and I liked the way Prof taught the class. There were not that many black and brown belts today so when the professor left class I ended up being the senior student. I ran rounds and kept an eye out to make sure every one stayed calm.

There was a relative new guy today and so I tried to keep an eye on him. I rolled with him first and asked him to roll at 50 percent. In my roll with him I pulled guard and and he leaned into my chest. I pushed him to the side and put him in a head and arm triangle and he said, “Hey, that’s not 50 percent. You’re strong.” When I pushed him to the side I did it slowly and barely used strength, but I went ahead and let him go. When I say 50 percent I usually mean speed, as I try not to use strength. Yet, I can see how he could see it differently. He stayed calm until I swept him and put him in side control. That’s when he started ‘bucking.’ I had to start using a clamp defense so he wouldn’t hurt me or hurt himself. Finally, I just slowed it down and started to give pointers so he wouldn’t go ballistic from being controlled.

I also had a roll with Jeff. Jeff is about 6’3 or 6’4 and 250 pounds and he is solid. As a White belt he was easy to control, but now that he is a Blue belt controlling him is a chore. I can no longer trade positions with him because when he gets in mount it feels like a truck is on my chest. When I had him in mount, today, he just grabbed me and rolled me over even though I had him grape-vined. Holy Sh@$! I shrimped and made space and then swept him. After that I held him in side control where I could be safe until the buzzer sounded. Whatever!

Everything else was pretty uneventful.

Until next time!

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.

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.