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3 Tips For Taking It To The Next Level In 09

The Next Level in 09’


We all know what time of year it is, the New Year! It can be a great time, and it can also be stressful. Many times the Holidays affect people’s routine and lifestyle, as our list of things to do increases beyond the norm. Eating habits, workouts, training and focus on Jiu-Jitsu can all be affected in a negative way. Then the inevitable happens, everywhere you turn there is talk about “New Year’s Resolutions”. Ah Yes, resolutions, but do they work? Resolutions are a hotly debated issue. Rather than debate about resolutions, let’s look at this subject in a different way and focus on what does work.


  1. Goal Setting! Goal setting works because goal setting is basically aiming at something. If you want to hit something, including an opponent, you have to aim. Just because you aim doesn’t mean you will instantly or always hit your target. Aiming does mean you have identified your target, it’s in your sights and you are shooting at it. Shoot at something enough times and you will eventually hit it or very close to it. So if you want to hit a target or goal this year, identify your target, keep your eyes on it and keep shooting until you hit it. When choosing a target, be specific! The more specific the target, the more narrow your aim becomes. Don’t just aim to hit an opponent somewhere, hit them on the temple, nose or chin. If your target is to lose weight, pick a specific amount to lose. If your target is to become better at Jiu-Jitsu, narrow your target. I want to get better at open guard, throwing or choking techniques for example. Choose a specific and realistic target and you can hit it in 09’.
  2. Commitment! Commitment equates to repetition, focus and determination. How bad do you want to reach your goal or hit your target? If you are just saying you want this or that because resolutions sound good, then you will most likely fail. If you really want something you will do whatever it takes to get it. You will push yourself. You will do the necessary steps over and over until you achieve it. You will stick to a workable plan. Oh yeah, a plan! Make a plan or ask someone who is good at what you are attempting to help you put a plan together. Plans make commitment easier and workable. How many days a week do you need to train to reach your goal? Plan it out and then figure out what you need to do to train that much. Do you need a training partner who may also want to train with you on those days? Do you need to plan to go right from work to the dojo to make sure you train that night? Once you have a plan, committing to it will be much easier. Repetition is the result of commitment and repetition incrementally moves you toward your target.
  3. PMA! Positive Mental Attitude! The way you think and view life greatly affects your results. Is training and hard work a negative thing or a positive thing? It depends who you ask. Some people view work as bad and some view it as good. That is simply the difference in the ways people view and associate things. Negative thinking will ruin your positive results and give you negative results. You will hear many negative voices, opinions and reports as you are aiming, committing and thinking positively. Choose to shut off and/or ignore negativity that will get in your way. I spent a large part of 08’ with no cable or satellite TV, so I relied solely on the internet for info. Some people would think no TV would be a terrible thing, but it was great. No bad news at 5pm, no overload of violence, bad reports about the economy and doomsday talk on a daily basis. I wasn’t oblivious or ignoring that bad things were happening, but I could easily control how much of it I was exposed to. With the internet, I looked at what I wanted to, got the news I needed and stayed focused on my goals. Amazingly, 08’ was a prosperous year for Complete Jiu-Jitsu, with the help of many people (including Garfield BJJ, Easton MMA and my students), as well as other factors. So while many people have a “Mental Diet” full of negativity and how everything is doomed, others are prospering and moving forward. I’m choosing to move forward, despite the fear based reports that the media is famous for. Look at your mental diet and evaluate what you are feeding your mind. You are what you eat applies to your thinking as well. Most great achievers are also great positive thinkers. 

I’ll end by saying that you can go to the next level in 09’. You can get the Gold at NAGA, lose 20 pounds, quit smoking, start your own business or whatever else you have in your heart to do. It will require more than broadly aiming at it. It will take more than trying harder or just thinking positive thoughts. Not everything is a simple 1, 2, 3, but when you apply the right principles with determination, the results may surprise you. Forget the term “New Year’s Resolution” and honestly think about what you want in 09’. You can apply yourself and your resources to receiving more out of life than what you currently have. That can start this moment, tomorrow, whenever you decide to do something about it or never. It doesn’t have to be January 1st, but there is no better time than right now. Can you do it? YES! Can someone do it for you? NO! Can you start now? YES! There are many things in life that we cannot control or change. Each of us has the ability to change ourselves, maximize what we can accomplish and achieve great things. The choice is yours. I’m choosing to plan and move to the next level in 09’. I hope you do the same. Let the principles you learn and apply in Jiu-Jitsu motivate and help you to make 09’ a great year. I hope these simple principles and ideas help you to move forward. The great thing about Jiu-Jitsu is that we are all a big family and group of friends. This network can help you and you can help them. Work together and let your creativity flow with those you train with. They may have a piece of the puzzle you need and likewise. None of us are doing these things alone. We all train together, grow together and get better together. That’s another reason why Jiu-Jitsu is great. I’m thankful for the Jiu-Jitsu network that I’m a part of. It’s greatly helped me and I hope to give back to others in 09’. Let help each other make 09’ the best year yet for each of us as individuals and as the Garfield BJJ Team.  


Jiu-Jitsu Jon


Phil Whitelock wrote this article.

The Importance of Technique Repetition

Repetition is the key to success in Jiu-Jitsu.  Unfortunately, it is one of the critical areas that many practitioners neglect.

Continual occurrence of fluent technique in any sport will eventually engrain a thoughtless reaction of application for a specific sport.  Basketball players know to keep their shoulders square when they shoot the ball, soccer players know to keep their knee over the ball when they rip a shot and Jiu-Jitsu fighters, well, they’re still learning the benefits of repeated exercises.

If you enter any Judo class, instructors will harp on breakfalls, basic throws and rolls prior to learning the actual technique of the art.  Boxers will also spend large doses of their training shadow boxing prior to starting an actual, technical session.

So where exactly is the repetition in Jiu-Jitsu?

At my academy, the first portion of class is always dedicated to the essence of Jiu-Jitsu, which entails guard passes, armbars, triangles and sweeps to name a few.  These techniques are constantly a foundation of our training and are the first thing we do before moving on to advanced steps.

If students have trouble learning the subtleties of these techniques, we thoroughly go over them to ensure knowledge of the basics before advancing.

Repetition has various benefits and long term gain for an individual, but I’ll cite two reasons why you should concentrate on repetition.  For starters, it cements the techniques into your route memory.  So, when you’re in the heat of the battle, technique isn’t something you need to worry about.  You’ll already have the brain memorization of your movement and your reaction will be swift.

Second, once you constantly perform technique, it allows the practitioner to critique your performance more closely.

Before Carlson Gracie Sr. passed away, I attended a seminar of his.  In the beginning of the seminar, he stated that he doesn’t distinguish between beginning and advanced techniques between belts.  All techniques need to be mastered through repetition.  The only advantage older students had over their younger peers, was that they’ve performed their techniques more often than their counterparts.

Andre Pederneiras also mentioned that before he starts his workout, he’ll go through hundreds of armbars and triangle chokes as his warm-up routine.

So, based upon what we’ve gone over through this message, repetition is the key to technique success.  Before you start working on a new move that your instructor has enthrusted upon you, go back and work on the basics.  Mastering the skill set you already encompass will be more beneficial to you, rather than adding another piece of arsenal to an already demanding fighting base.

The benefits of your repetitive endeavors will repeatedly pay more dividends towards your future success as a Jiu-Jitsu fighter.

Jiu-Jitsu Jon



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