In celebration of the IBJJF D.C. Open taking place on Sept 9th we are doing a WPO t-shirt giveaway. Two lucky winners will be handed on of our grey Work Play Obsession t-shirts just for supporting the site. All you have to do is comment on this post with your Name, Academy, how long you have been training, and T-shirt size and you’ll be entered to win. We will announce the winners here on the website and on the Work Play Obsession Instagram page this Friday Sept 8th. Also to make it super easy we will be available at the D.C. Open to deliver the goods right into your hands. If you can’t make the D.C. Open of course we will mail the shirt to you free of charge. Its our effort to meet you guys and bring the Jiu Jitsu community once step closer

Fun and Games for everyone! Last night I made the trek to Dominion BJJ in Manasses Virginia to participate in a night of Cosmic Rolling. Most people, like me,  have never heard of cosmic rolling and could not understand who would come up with such a thing or why. Well I have news for you, it is a real thing and it is as fun as it sounds. Recall back to your days of youth and going out with your friends to cosmic bowling. Blacklights, music, fun times, and making new friends. This is exactly the same just replace bowling with Jiu Jitsu and beer with fancy waters.

The pictures do not do this event justice. In my defense I have never tried to capture an event like this and I am a self taught amatuer photographer soooo good enough.  I think somewhere between 30-40 people stepped on the mat to roll at some point and people were continuously coming and going throughout the event. Multiple academies from Maryland and Virginia as well as every size, skill level, and gender were represented. I think I maybe witnessed 2 or 3 rolls that I would have considered a little much for an open mat but thats just me and thats just my opinion. I didn’t have the opportunity to roll with everyone but as usual I was impressed by the level of skill present in the DMV.

A big thank you to Dominion BJJ – Black Belt Bill Nagle and Purple Belt Michelle Welti – for opening up the academy and welcoming everyone to a night of fun and camaraderie. Jiu Jitsu is often seen as academy vs academy, style vs style and people often do not take advantage of the opportunity to meet fellow practitioners and to contribute to its growth. Personally I think this is one of the negative aspects of what we do.

Don’t limit yourself.

Train as many places as possible (meaning open mats) and meet as many people as possible. You will be happy that you did.

 

 

Our mission statement clearly focuses on bridging the gap between competitive, sport jiu jitsu and Combatives / Defensive Tactics for Military and Law Enforcement professionals.  The focus of training for these groups are not mutually exclusive and should be synchronized to create a well rounded training program. The fault lies in academies that focus solely on one focus area at the expense of the other, most often in the name of advertising. School X wants to be the best at “Street self defense” and minimizes competition techniques while, school Y wants to have the most medals (for advertising) training mostly for competition rulesets. Either way both academies limit their students abilities while restricted their mental perspective to their ruleset.

This is where combative programs must different if they wish to be successful. Successful here does not mean monetarily rather, building confident, effective officers and soldiers. Think about that brand new first week student that begins to spar with experienced grapplers. I’ve seen people get frustrated and sometimes lose their cool because the new guy is labeled as bat shit crazy.  No, the guy is untrained and guess what? That guy on the street is more than likely untrained as well and definitely will be bat shit crazy. When shit hits the fan there won’t be any time to “keeping it playful.” Front time to time you should make an effort to grab the newer, inexperienced guy and try playing only from closed guard or focus on techniques that are more applicable to the streets.

Combatives programs must train for the unexpected; guns, knives, multiple attackers, confined spaces (elevator, car), limited mobility, and the list goes on and on. However, just because combatives and defensive tactics programs are designed for military and law enforcement personnel the mindset and training scenarios are extremely beneficial for the civilian as well. Everyone who trains is not only training for the confidence to protect themselves but also to protect their family, their neighbors, and even strangers under certain conditions. Mass shootings and random acts of violence are increasingly on the rise and possessing the skills to be an asset during one of these scenarios is invaluable.

Attempt to identify gaps in your training and address them in order to become more well rounded. Reach out to your instructors and question your teammates. You are the customer and your voice should be heard. Fact – people who train in martial arts are not shy about letting people know. Fact – people are inherently like sheep. This means that because you train Jiu Jitsu you are the sheepdog, like it or not. When something goes bad you will be the one people will turn to for safety and they don’t want to hear that you have only trained for IBJJF or submission only tournaments or are a guard puller. Ask for your training partners to assist you and walk through different what if scenarios. Sure we can’t be prepared for everything or the unknown but by expanding your mind the area of the unknown become smaller.

Keep Grinding

 

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.

Oh, the old Scissor Sweep….. Basic yet effective at all levels of competition from white belt to black belt. Because the Scissor Sweep is such a common Jiu Jitsu technique it also serves as a great example for highlighting the gap between training for competition & “commercial” martial arts scenarios vice training for real world operations.

Consider the common setup for the scissor sweep – collar and sleeve in the gi, wrist and head control no-gi (see photos above). There are examples of no-gi set ups with two on one grips on the controlled arm however this is less common in most Jiu Jitsu programs and  regardless still serves our point.Screen Shot 2017-07-26 at 7.10.00 PM

From a Defensive Tactics / Combatives standpoint I have two major problems in both of these set ups which I must address.

Screen Shot 2017-07-26 at 7.13.16 PM

Despite the highly effective control set up of both positions described above the hostile / attacker / top guy still has one free arm available to either A) rain down strikes on the bottom guy or B) attempt to take control of the sidearm or taser.

The second problem is more of an issue of weapon awareness, mental preparation or a combat mindset that training for real world operations would emphasize. Follow me here….Most grapplers training for sport or unarmed grappling will consistently set up their attacks / sweeps to their dominate side. Under this set up the dominant leg would be on the top / shin to midline. This particular body position and grip set up exposes your weapon side to your opponents arm that is not being controlled. It’s a tactical mindset and awareness that is simply not considered outside of military / LEO channels.

How do we BRIDGE THE GAP? In a real world situation you must control both arms at the wrist / forearm vice collar and sleeve or wrist and head. The remainder of the details remain the same! Its not a major detail but it IS a significant detail. Control of both arms prevents the bad guy from throwing strikes or attempting to gain control of your side arm. Train to keep your sidearm protected and unexposed to the bad guys at all cost.

Screen Shot 2017-07-27 at 10.01.49 PM

Try this simple adjustment the next time that your drill. Your mindset for the streets must not be the same mindset as for the gym.

Train hard, bridge the gap, and get home safe.