Sunday, January 26, 2014

I Am Wrong About Tapping.

I consider myself a Jiu-Jitsu scientist, psychologist, practitioner AND “theorist.”  I like to investigate the mental as well as physical aspects that make Jiu-Jitsu functional for MOST human beings.  

My idea being that if we investigate how the mind works (because the mind controls the body) in conjunction with proper body movement AND couple it with the emotional tendencies and habits of everyday men and women- how they are  AND how they should be, we can produce a higher level of Jiu-Jitsu thinking. This includes the areas of decision making, reaction time, angles, leverage, subconscious thought, willpower, strategy, tactics,  body type, learning style, self-esteem,culture, politics, prejudice and attitude.

An example of  Jiu-Jitsu “attitude” could be toward “tapping.”  Many people obsess over being tapped out.  They might have anxiety over going against better people because of it.  Some instructors almost make tapping out to be a personal character flaw or weakness if it is done by a student. 

Tapping causes mental and emotional pain in many practioners and in some cases the thought of "failing" stops them from progressing smoothly.  They fixate on what they “Don’t want.”  They feel that somehow if they tap they will be thought less of and have less respect from their peers. They think "I don’t want to tap" so they will do the same old tired moves they know will work and not try new things because the fear of tapping is too great. This is simply HOW IT IS in the mental thought process in many Jiu-Jitsu schools and it unfortunately slows development.

As a Theorist I try to investigate new ways to create a personal “Paradigm Shift”  (a new way of thought from an earlier belief system) for myself and my students.  In the case of tapping I hold the theory that tapping is a necessary part of training and should in no way be feared or judged by others but should be reveled in as a necessary effect of training.  In this case, I’m out to change MY emotional thoughts and feelings on tapping. 

As a black belt my training should require that many times I PUT MYSELF  in bad positions like the triangle or the arm bar so that I can continuously improve my escapes.  If I feared the tap then in no way would I want to subject myself to such craziness.  The result is that many times starting out, one is tapped by lower belts but over time escapes become instant and effective and one becomes a better practioner for it.   I want to WIN for sure but only thorough proper practice, technique and accepting that sometimes I will not get my desired outcome. In this way I truly become better and get what I desire…the win!

The name of this article is “I am Wrong about Tapping.”  The reason I named it that is because as a theorist I always assume I am wrong about everything. 

This affords me the luxury of not getting my ego involved in trying to justify and protect my position on subjects and allows me to accept new theories that are potentially better.  I look at many new ideas without prejudice and examine them logically to see if they are better than the way I’m doing it now.   

My three measuring parameters are:  Is it safe, is it simple (number of moves involved using proper technique) and can MOST people do it regardless of body type?   If the technique or idea doesn’t fit into MY measuring points I typically abandon them BUT many times I simply shelve them until I'm at a more mature point in my training and then re-evaluate. Because I'm wrong a lot.

I also split parameters up into genre.  Self-Defense, tournament, Gi, No-Gi and MMA when looking at techniques and ideas.  Not everyone focuses on Gi self-defense like I do but I want to know EVERYTHING about Jiu-Jitsu so I categorize my ideas to the genre that I believe they are most effective in.   

I often find too that the established ways are STILL THE BEST WAYS but little tweaks of technique make them more efficient…In effect creating significant progress.  I will also always give you a reason as to WHY this should be done a certain way as well.  Believe it or not I actually use my brain and think about it before teaching it. 

Innovation is highly prized in my school.  I encourage my students to test, try, theorize and investigate at higher levels but they must first have a basis from which to start from.  This is why basics are so important for beginning practioners. You can’t innovate without proper foundation!

The last thing I would like to emphasize is that we all stand on the shoulders of giants.  We MUST learn from others research and then add our own contributions if possible.  We can't know everything.  This why I try to give credit where credit is due.  Great minds help other great minds and people should know they have affected my thinking with their contribution. You weren't born knowing Jiu-Jitsu, you learned it from someone else.

There is still so much more of Jiu-Jitsu to be discovered.  Are you an innovator or will you simply be doomed to mindlessly repeat the same material for the next 40 years without truly looking for a more efficient and better way to express your Jiu-Jitsu? 

It’s up to you.

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Sunday, January 19, 2014

Roy Dean

Roy Dean has been my friend for a number of years and is an instructor who I admire.   

Roy is one of the more well-known Jiu-Jitsu instructors out there, has numerous videos and has some of the best technique I have seen.  For those who don’t know who Roy Dean is, he is a second degree black belt (under Roy Harris) who teaches and lives in Bend Oregon.   Roy recently sent me his newest video “Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: Black Belt Requirements.”  He has no idea I’m writing this review by the way.

I was a bit under the weather the other day so I spent the day in bed sick, watching Roy’s video.   It was a very productive sick day I must say.  I really enjoyed his video and was glad I watched it.   

Roy has a great way of breaking down the technique so that anyone can understand it!  This is what I strive for.  I also love the way Roy applies arm bars, very smooth, I’m almost envious.  I DO want to call B.S. on the title, “Black Belt Requirements. “  These are moves are so awesome and easy that a blue belt can get a lot out of them!

Roy brought me to his school a couple years ago to do a seminar.  He put my wife and I up in one of the nicest hotels we have had the pleasure to be in.  We have always remembered that hotel.  Why am I telling you this?…Because Roy Dean has class…that’s why. =)

Check out Roy at  You will be glad you did.

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Friday, January 3, 2014

The Legacy of Pedro Sauer

I am continuously asked how good of an instructor Professor Pedro Sauer is.  I am often at a loss for words as to how to respond to such a question.  After much thought, I can only come up with one word, “Prodigy.”   

I often liken Professor Sauer to Amadaus Mozart.  Who was the musical genius of his day.  This is Professor Sauer, only, he is a genius of the Gentle Art.   I once saw Professor teach a room with many black belts, who happened to not be in our association and after the class many were telling me that it appeared that they didn’t know Jiu-Jitsu yet.  I simply smiled and said, “Welcome to my world.”   

Professor Sauer,who prefers to be called “Professor” instead of “Master”, comes from the mean streets of Rio.  He says that if you’re a nice guy you fight once a day and if you’re not so nice you fight three or four times a day out on the street.  He was taken on as a student of Helio Gracie after befriending Helio’s son Rickson.   He often speaks of the day when a young Royler Gracie gave a personal no holds barred demonstration to Professor, on Grandmaster’s orders, to show young Pedro how effective Gracie Jiu-Jitsu really is. He went home literally scared knowing that there are people out there in the world “who knew this kind of stuff.” 
Professor made a commitment to the art and spent years being ruthlessly submitted in the Rio Gracie Academy, spending up to eight hours a day on the mat before being molded into the master he is.    Professor gained insights that he went on to use to develop a unique and highly “refined thought process” on how to apply Jiu-Jitsu.  To this day many black belts still don’t understand how deep the depth of Jiu-Jitsu really is.  This becomes obvious in Professor’s teachings.

Professor Sauer, I believe is the person who most represents the idea of using the finest technique in Jiu-Jitsu so that one is able to submit his opponent without trying.  He also advocates taking care of one’s training partner at all times and not be extremely rough.  I think of his Jiu-Jitsu style like a fine hand crafted chair.  It keeps you comfortable during trying times and is built to be passed down from generation to generation.

Professor Sauer’s Jiu-Jitsu is simple though.  It always assumes that you are fighting someone bigger and stronger.  There are no fancy moves that require you to be a phenom. In its simplicity, however, it seeks to innovate and improve.  It works for all body types. It works for the weakest person or the smallest man.  It requires minimum athleticism, meaning it does not require speed or physical ability, only the right defensive or offensive technique choice combined with the right angle and right timing.  It requires the softest touch and is effortless, regardless of what the opponent is doing. 

Professor Sauer is NOT the most famous Gracie Jiu-Jitsu instructor in the world but I often feel his last name should have been Gracie.  I think other than Grandmaster’s children no man has loved Helio Gracie more than Professor Sauer. 

I will probably get in trouble for this but few people realize that Professor Sauer admired and respected Helio Gracie so much that he bought Grandmaster’s furniture after he died.  He had no motive, other then he felt that such Iconic items from the great man could never be simply left to the junkyard.  

I once asked Professor when I was a blue belt what it took to be a black belt.  He said that Helio Gracie told him that he needed to be “more” than perfect.  I, being the stupid individual that I am asked Professor “Were you  more than perfect when you got your black belt?   Professor looked at me like I was a complete idiot and with a sly smile said, “I did not get my black belt because of my good looks my friend.”  I thought to myself…”Uh…..I’ll just be over here if you need me”.  

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