New-shirts

Shirts for sale!! Shirts for sale!!

Yes thats me channeling my inner Billy Mays (R.I.P), advertising for the new Work Play Obsession t-shirts.  As the first batch of shirts hit the streets I’m taking the opportunity to express the meaning of the name Work Play Obsession and the “why” of the WPO logo. I’m not saying this is what the meaning needs to 100% be for you because it can be slightly different for everyone, but thats the beauty of it. I’m simply helping to guide the conversation in the event you get approached about the meaning of the colors and the design.

Work Play Obsession, Life and Jiu Jitsu.

Work – Many people know that I was introduced to Jiu Jitsu through work, the United States Army, 1st Armored Division to be exact, Old Ironsides. Back then I did not enjoy going to combatives to train, it was WORK and if you’ve ever served then you know that nobody likes mandatory physical training. Warrior ethos, meaning the willingness to close with the enemy, essential attributes for military and law enforcement personnel, mandatory when you put your ass on the line and expect to get home safely. It was not fun, it was gritty, but it was effective and those early lessons stay with me to this day. Note the similarities between the 1st AD patch, http://www.bliss.army.mil/1AD/, and the WPO logo shape and color, this was done intentionally. The triangle in the 1st AD insignia (a pile reversed for you heraldry buffs) carries over as the triangle that is represented in many Jiu Jitsu logos, the three sides representing mind, body, and spirit and the fact that the triangle is always stable regardless of which side is the base.

Play – Jiu Jitsu is fun, plain and simple. Many people refer to it as the game of human chess and often focus on improving their “game”. For most people Jiu Jitsu is also a hobby, something to PLAY when they need to let go of the responsibilities of the real world and seek refuge on the mats. Regardless of what side of the fence you are on, once you begin to work techniques and styles that are not compatible with street self defense you’re playing a game. Embrace it and have fun while you’re doing it.

Obsession – This could be looked at from multiple perspectives and is the area with the widest variance in meaning . My obsession is not necessarily related to the need to train, the endless selfies or the sweaty group photos. Nor is it throwing up the shaka, downing acai bowls or replying “Oss” to almost everything. Obsession for me is bridging the gap between self defense / modern Jiu Jitsu and Defensive Tactics / Combatives because education and training will ultimately lead to lives saved.  Lives saved for those who protect this country and our streets as well as citizens lives saved during routine traffic stops that go south or questioning during a presence patrol that spirals out of control. Obsession however, can also be driven by the desire to live a healthy lifestyle, the confidence to stand up to a bully, or as an outlet to break our youth free from electronics and the SAD that leads to obesity.

Notice how the colors increase blue, red, yellow? Blue – infantry / law enforcement = work, Red – play the game and break out and explore new styles – fun, exciting, joy, beauty, and Yellow – the largest color and the “final stage” when Jiu Jitsu becomes a lifestyle, an element engrained your daily life. Some will call this obsession, you’ll have to explain to them your true meaning.

Work, Play, Obsession, Life and Jiu Jitsu. I would love to hear your thoughts.


“Leave your ego at the door.” Great in theory but not exactly realistic in practice. It would be nice if you strolled into the Jiu Jitsu academy every day, hit every technique, and easily submitted all of your opponents. Your ego would be satisfied by the belief that you were the greatest Jiu Jitsu player ever and all would be right with the world. Unfortunately, that’s just not reality.

So, today, no shit there I was, advanced Gi class training for an upcoming tournament and my guard was getting passed like a hot knife through butter. Was I frustrated, absolutely, did I go Super Saiyan and crush the nearest white belt I could find? No. Besides, what would that prove? Everyone has experienced this level of frustration whether drilling something new or falling for the same old technique your opponent uses day in and day out. The difference for me is how I use that frustration in order to make improvement.

This frustration, like it or not, is the ego disguised by a different name in order to conceal ones weakness. I would however, like to argue that the ego or belief in your identity should not be shunned or demonized. Don’t leave ego at the door, rather welcome it into the gym with open arms and use it as a springboard to improvement. Ego’s bad reputation is built upon the old wives tale that ego = hurting training partners or being overzealous and muscling out of every precarious situation. Unfortunately, this view is misguided and narrow. Wile I agree and have seen some upper belts take out their frustration from a “bad roll” on a lower belt (to prove their self-worth) we should not throw the baby out with the bath water. Encourage your teammates to create focus areas for improvement when their performance does not meet their level of expectation. Review the small details that may be missing or begin to develop / refine new parts to your game, adding tools to your toolbox. Sites like TrappBJJ and Digitsu are perfect resources for Jiu Jitsu instruction / guided techniques.

I like to believe that if you are not getting frustrated in training you are either not training with the right people (cherry picking your opponents) or maybe you are a big fish in a small pond. Challenge yourself through open mats or seek out rolls with the higher belts or the guys you refuse to make eye contact with. No luck there, try signing up for a big competition and testing yourself on a big stage. Ego is good. Ego leads to improvement. Let ego drive you to better yourself not only on the mats but in life and in your career.

 

 

Train so hard that your opponent gives you a backhanded compliment.

If you have trained long enough you’ve probably heard your fair share of praise mixed with criticism. This tactic involves comments made AFTER you get done dominating someone and they are taking a hit to their ego.  The situation normally occurs outside of your normal academy. For example, “Man you’re so strong” or”Hey, how much do you weigh? You’re so heavy.” I have personally been told “Man, you have really good conditioning” or “How old are you?, Man you must kill the Masters division.” I confess, that Masters division one is pretty funny (I’m Masters II) but at the same time its pretty damn weak.

Just the other day one of teammates remarked how someone stated to him that the people at our academy must roll a lot because everyone always has good conditioning,. This was in direct comparison to his academy where they spend a lot of time on technique. What? Huh? Am I supposed to connect the dots that technique and conditioning are mutually exclusive?  Nope. I do not agree. Not at all.

At one particular IBJJF event the guy who I defeated like 13-0 snidely remarked to me “you guys must train a lot for points.” I’ll admit he did a good job defending my submissions despite my numerous attempts.  Ridiculous though considering that I was knee on belly, mount, and on his back as the match ended. I’m a pretty low key guy and would have gladly accepted a “nice match.”

In a sport / martial art where the majority of people love to spit out the phrase “Leave your ego at the door” it should come as no surprise that the backhand compliment is the weapon of choice. Insulting as it is to receive the backhanded compliment, in all actuality it should be gratifying to the recipient. Rather than just come out with a direct compliment of your performance the immediate reaction of your opponent is to make an excuse for their lack of training / proficiency in a particular area. My recommendation, take it all in stride, ignore the “compliment”, or even simply reply with “thank you.” You’ll walk away the bigger person while preventing any unnecessary drama.