Archive for the ‘Gracie Bullyproof’ Category

As a dad, I think like most dads, I want to pass something onto my kids. Being uniquely unqualified at everything I’ve ever done in my life, I’ve figured out that I can kind of, sort of, teach Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to my kids. It started with a couple of at-home roll-out mats and the Gracie Bullyproof discs.

1-Year(ish) Later

I helped restart the kids BJJ program for my MMA Team, Chimera Mixed Martial Arts. After a few months, Gracie Barra Seattle held an in-house kids tournament. This looked like a good opportunity to allow our kids to participate and ease into the BJJ tournament scene. I learned a lot from these kids and I hope they learned something, too.

It’s Not All About Me

It’s not about me, what I’ve taught these kids, or how well I’ve taught them. They’re on the mats, not me. Anything I’m trying to teach them ends when they shake hands and the ref says it’s time to compete.

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That being said, being the coach of multiple competitors is extremely stressful. You want the other coach’s and Professor’s to notice your hard work. I wanted my coach to notice mine, anyway. Sometimes that’s made palpable by a gold medal. Sometimes it’s not.

If I lose as a competitor, it’s okay. I learned something. I physically learned what did and did not work. I can say, “I have work to do.” I can pretend I don’t care, lick my wounds, eat some ice cream, and attack it on Monday. I know what my coach is teaching me works. I’ve seen it work.

If my team loses, it’s tough. It’s not okay. I am emotionally and physically invested in multiple fighters who trust me and that what I’m trying to teach will work for them. If it doesn’t work out, then it becomes, “What did I do wrong? Is my system broken? Do I need to scrap it? Should I even be teaching these kids?”

The stress of a coach far outweighs the stress of a competitor.

It’s Okay To Lose

Not wanting to lose as a coach is understandable. Just as if I was competing, I have to try my hardest and hope for the best. I’m not a professional athlete, and I don’t train as if I was. I’m also not training professional athletes. I’m trying to teach kids to roll.

It’s not the end of the world if my kids lose. Children want reassurance. They want attention. They want love. I think I’ve learned that it’s very important to let them know that no matter what happens, win or lose, that they did an incredible job.

It’s Okay To Cry

Kids are little people. Just like people, kids have emotions and feelings. Crazy, huh? Who would’ve thought it? The problem is kids aren’t hardened by life. They haven’t figured out how to deal with their feelings. Extreme joy, disappointment, lost, bewilderment, confidence, embarrassed, frightened, angry, confused, ecstatic, hysterical, sad, or frustrated – these are just a few of the emotions you can expect to deal with. YOU will be dealing with them because these children don’t know how to. They’re going to cry. Odds are, it won’t be because they lost. It will be because they don’t understand how to cage their emotions. Be their outlet. Give them a hug. Tell them its okay to let it out and when they’re finished crying, talk to them about it.

My wife said something incredibly smart to me. She told me that when someone is crying it’s our natural tendency to inject ourselves into it. We want to help. What can I do to make you feel better? Instead of interjecting ourselves into it, let them have their moment and cry it out. Let them breathe. When they want to talk about it, they will. Be ready for it when they do.

Teach Them At Home

I have a rhythm when I teach. I’ll usually pair the kids up after class and have them drill or do some positional sparring. After about 3 minutes or so, I’ll stop them and give them each a critique and a compliment. “Hey, you could do a little bit better at hitting that sweep by under hooking the arm. You did that Americana really well. I liked the way you kept your head down, keep it up!” That seems to work great. The kids like that they got a little positive reinforcement and then, for the most part, try a little harder at whatever they needed to work on. The emotions on the mat at a tournament are way too high for that kind of teaching. It needs to be all positive reinforcement. If you want them to work on something, make a note and talk about it in class, on your home turf, after the emotions have settled.

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Drill To Win, Flow To Drill

There’s no doubt about it. You have to develop muscle memory to consistently hit that technique you’re looking for. That goes for kids, too. They have to drill, drill, drill! However, there’s more to it than that. You have to flow.

Your drills have to incorporate a repeatable pattern. For example, starting from the guard, they have to pass the guard, get side control, slide to mount, establish control, and finish with an arm bar. You have to help them put the pieces of the puzzle together, just like you would at home.

They may recognize the different techniques, or even know them perfectly, but because you teach them doesn’t mean they will know when to use them. You may teach them how to pass the guard, and you may teach them side control. However, if you don’t teach them how to pass the guard and flow into side control, they won’t. Kids will do exactly what you teach. If you teach them individual techniques, they will be do individual techniques with very little flow.

Teach a flow and when they get stuck in someone’s guard, you’ll see them pass it, establish side control, slide to mount, establish control and then finish with an arm bar.

You Want Them All To Win

I was chatting with one of the other team’s coaches and he said something to me, almost in passing, “Man, you want them all to win.” I looked around and I saw these kids. All of them, not just mine. Not just my team but all the kids in the room. He was right. These are the kids of our future. They will be taking care of us the rest of our lives. I saw my own futures past in their faces and he was right. I wanted them ALL TO WIN.

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Medals Aren’t The Real Trophy

I took 7 kids from our team to compete. 3 finished first in their division. 1 finished second. The others were in last. Statistically, that looks pretty good, I think. I don’t really have a baseline to compare it to, since it was my first kids tournament coaching. One of my daughters took 2nd, and the other last. I am equally proud of them. Not because of how well they did on the mat. Not because I could see that what I had taught them was sticking. I was proud because they had the courage to go out there, do something new, and face a challenge that most people will never understand. They both got a piece of shiny medal to hang on their walls, but the real trophy was watching them learn to be fearless.

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There are plenty of iOS Jiu Jitsu apps out there. Want to learn NoGi Jiu Jitsu? There’s an app for that. Want to learn the Spider-Guard? There’s an app for that. However, a lot of apps are technique oriented. You don’t get the bigger picture. The Gracie360 app gives you more of a lifestyle look into Gracie Jiu Jitsu.

Mobotory, the company who publishes the Gracie360 app, promotes the app on their website, “The official Gracie Jiu-Jitsu App. Discover the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu pioneered by the Gracie family, find new recipes from the Gracie Diet, watch videos with breakdowns from the latest UFC fights, learn new moves and more. Available at the iTunes App Store.” Sounds great! Lets check it out!

When you first open the app you come to the main screen. It’s clean and crisp. A nice news feed scrolls across the top, clearly defined links, all the aesthetics the eye could possibly want. Upon closer examination, however, the news feed isn’t actually publishing any new news. Just ads for you to check out their GracieKids and GracieDiet website. Shame on you, Gracie360!

The Quick Lessons category has promise, providing MMA Breakdowns, Gracie Philosophy, and One Minute Moves. The MMA Breakdowns are good. Really good. The Gracie brothers do a great job dissecting techniques that UFC fans will love! The One Minute Lessons and Gracie Philosophy are great too. The Gracie’s really know their stuff. Their smart, energetic, charismatic, and articulate. I can’t recommend their training material enough! The breakdowns are old, though. It’s starting to look like the app isn’t updated. I know the brothers have done more breakdowns. I’ve seen them on their website and in their monthly e-mails.

Moving to News and Seminars, again, not updated. What’s going on here, guys? Where are the updated seminars you just released via e-mail? I see them on your website. Why don’t you have them linked? And why are seminars from February still listed? Even the store seems out of date. You can find items on the app that are no longer available on the website? So can I, or can I not, buy a pair of Jiu Jitsu rank shorts from the Gracie’s? I don’t know. Someone please tell me!!

The Gracie Timeline is probably the best part about this app. It provides you with an easy to read background of the Gracie family. Well worth the download and read, if just for that simple piece.

Again, though, the more I move through this app the more it feels like it’s been ignored. It’s a brand new app! I don’t get it. Where are the promised updates? IF the Gracie’s want to make this an app that people are going to want to download and enjoy, it’s got to become relevant to the user. As it stands right now it’s simply not functional. The thing that really separates the Gracie brothers from the rest of the pack is their recognition and adoption of the utility of the internet. With the creation of Gracie University they really brought Jiu Jitsu into a modern world. Gracie University is the trunk of their digital tree. Everything else has to branch from there.

For the Gracie360 app to be relevant it has to link back to Gracie University. Users should be able to access their individual accounts and watch techniques they’ve purchased on the web on their mobile devices. The news feed should provide news, not ads. The News and Seminars section should be updated! You know where a good place to advertise your latest updates would be? Yup, in the news feed across the top of the home screen. The store should be interlinked and new products should be available while old ones gracefully exit. These are common sense applications of a digital product in an age where users demand more!

Overall, I give the app a 3 out of 5 stars. It has potential to be a really useful training tool and provides enough unique material that it’s worth the free download. Just remember, you’re getting what you pay for.

Check out Gracie University and the Gracie360 app!

That’s right!  I said it.  A Zombie Apocalypse is coming!!  Or, at least the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) think we need to be prepared for one.  Check it out here:

Get A Kit, Make A Plan, Be Prepared. emergency.cdc.gov
In keeping with the CDC’s mindset on this, here are some helpful reminders and Gracie Combative’s techniques you can use in order to prevent becoming the next tasty morsel on a Zombie’s dinning out experience.
  1. Zombies gotta eat!  Create separation.  Maintaining the distance is one of the first self-defense techniques you’re taught in Gracie Jiu Jitsu.  Proper footwork and double-arms distance will keep your brains in your cranium and out of a Zombies mouth.
  2. If a Zombie bites you, you become the Zombie.  We all know this.  Watch any Zombie movie and there is always at least one person who get’s bit.  And then usually dragged through the entire movie and who later becomes the Zombie who gets the unsuspecting B-list actor when their guard is down.  Again, I can’t stress this enough, DON’T GET BIT!  That said, traditional arm lock techniques go out the window.  You’re simply not going to put your leg over their mouth and expect not to get bit.  Take advantage of their back at all times.  The rear naked choke is key here, folks!  Look, if decapitating a Zombie works, than cutting off their blood flow to the brain will work too!
  3. Zombies are, well, Zombies.  Their small motor reflexes are gone.  They’re slow, and even predictable in their movements.  Use speed and dexterity to your advantage on this one.  Again, TAKE THE BACK and stay away from their mouths!  If you can get their back, do a rear leg take down, standup in base, and create separation.
  4. No one is coming to save you.  You’re on your own.  Rorion and Rener talk about “street readiness”.  I’m talking about “Zombie Readiness”.  Gracie Bullyproof rule #1 is to avoid the fight at all costs.  That’s also rule #1 when it comes to Zombies.  Avoid the Zombie at all costs.  Standup in base.  Create Separation.  Get away.

You never know what can happen.  Be prepared.  Follow the CDC’s instructions and then go check out www.gracieacademy.com and you might stand a chance when the big guy with oozing green skin knocks on your door.

That’s right, folks.  My oldest daughter, Laya, is a white/yellow belt under the Gracie Academy.  She’s progressing farther along than I am!  Check her white/yellow test video out!

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