Pretty excited that we remained focused enough on the podcast and website to hit 25 episodes. We recently pushed out episode 26, there is another episode in the hopper, and on top of that we have multiple interviews lined up for production. As most of you know, this endeavor has mostly been trial and error, or as they say “building and airplane while in flight”. From photography to recording, and the most humbling post production editing. Along the way we interviewed some interesting people who opened our eyes to other efforts that remain mostly unnoticed. This led me to shift my focus a bit in order to capture some of the impacts Jiu Jitsu practitioners have had on the greater community off the mats vice simply wins, losses, techniques, and training.

So a few items that our future efforts will be focused on:

The role Jiu Jitsu or Martial Arts in general play in maintaining work, life, family balance.

Small business owners growing their product lines and how those products or revenue from those products contribute to the growth of Jiu Jitsu or to the community and our youth.

Full time students or employed athletes looking for sponsors, how they get by and why they sustain the grind despite the difficulty.

So yeah, those are just a few of conversations that we will have on the podcast and on the blog going forward. Of course we will still cover local tournaments, seminars, and MMA events because that’s where the fun is, but highlighting the contributions off the mat and telling the story of how Jiu Jitsu positively changes lives is what the community needs. No infighting over gi / No-Gi, IBJJF / everybody else, real school / Mcdojo etc. more unity and focus on what makes Jiu Jitsu great and why Jiu Jitsu is for everyone.

 

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


“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.

 

 

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.

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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.

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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.

Let me begin by stating that I was wrong. Yes, I made the same mistake that most people make when discussing overtraining vs under / poor recovery and continued to blame my poor Jiu Jitsu performance, lingering soreness, and lack of explosiveness to the former not realizing that few people ever truly over train while the majority of people actual suffer from poor nutrition and lack of sleep or in other words, poor recovery methods.

Many Jiu Jitsu practitioners  in the D.C., Maryland, and Virginia area are gearing up for the IBJJF DC open. This means hard comp training of two – three training sessions a day of Jiu Jitsu drilling and sparring and possibly weight cutting. Add in a gym workout, a normal 9-5, a family, oh and very little sleep and the result is a lot of mental and psychical stress on the body and what most people will refer to as being overtrained.

Overtraining by definition is a physiological state not an action and is impacted by every single type of stressor vice a sole stressor i.e. training or working out too much. Additionally, overtraining leads to a SUSTAINED decrease in physical and mental performance not one bad day or a couple of shitty rolls. One cannot expect to recover from a state of being truly overtrained by simply sleeping in on Sunday and training light for a week, in actuality recovery can take months.

I’m as guilty as the next guy. I can’t recall how many times I have told someone “If I have a bad night of sleep, I know I am overtraining so I take a day or two off.” Man was I completely off (thanks google for setting me straight). Sure, I was fatigued but I wasn’t overtrained and what I needed was a more holistic approach to correcting my deficiencies and getting back to firing on all cylinders.

Salt baths, ice baths, eucalyptus saunas, foam rolling sessions, cupping, dry needling, etc. have all become the “in things” that people perform for recovery and they are not necessarily wrong for seeking out some of these methods. Doing these activities can and will contribute to your recovery however the two key factors to proper recovery are SLEEP and NUTRITION. As intensity and workload increase, the amount of food and sleep must increase as well. When seeking to correction nutritional issues, it is not simply consuming more food but it is seeking out real food (vice a bar) made from healthy ingredients, ingested at the right times paired with adequate fluid which will aid in digestion. Aim for 8-10 hours of quality sleep (yeah right) a night ditching the electronics and television during the evening and replacing them with a podcast (Work Play Obsession, Life and Jiu Jitsu – plug) or even reading a book (gasp).

I’m not a doctor, coach, therapist, trainer, etc. I’m just a Jiu Jitsu guy throwing some ideas on a computer screen. If this has made you curious to seek out more information I refer you to google. There are plenty of articles and recommendations on things that you can do in order to prevent under-recovery as well as programming that will leave you fully prepared for the your next competition. It’s all just a click away.

Until next time – Keep Grinding

no-gi-me

 

The most common excuse that people use when questioned on their lack of Defensive Tactics / Combatives training is “lack of time”. Well, when shit hits the fan and push comes to shove you will literally have the rest of your life to figure it out. I bet you’ll wish you made time.

From a grappling perspective I truly believe that all of the skills required to safely and effectively dominate a hostile encounter can be learned in one year of training. The key then becomes consistent training to retain the skills, grease the groove, and make the movement patterns more proficient. This training can be accomplished with concise, focused training sessions conducted at regular intervals with minimal supervisory instruction. Whether it is at the department, on base, or at a civilian academy all that is required is a partner to train and minimal kit (training weapon, holster, whatever). As my friend John V. pointed out on the Work Play Obsession podcast, episode 21  available on SoundCloud, Blubrry, iTunes, Podbean, Google Play (plug) “It’s not complicated” and he is absolutely correct. People get lost in the structure of Jiu Jitsu and the length of time it takes become competition proficient and move through the ranks however this is not the focus and intent of training for real world operations. I remember seeing a t-shirt that said “You train for the cage, for us the cage is just training” and we must not lose focus on that.

Below are some some of photos of sparring with a sidearm. This is a great training method because it forces both people to not only focus on attacking, it creates the need to also focus on weapons retention. Keep in mind you do not need another military or law enforcement trained person to do this type of training. In fact it is preferable to have an opponent who is going to think and behave more like a criminal in order to give you the most likely reactions. Grab a teammate who is just sitting around shooting the shit and ask them to be a training buddy, chances are they will ask you to learn the stuff you are drilling because its effective and “its not complicated.”

Clinch work in my opinion is the most overlooked portion of grappling training especially in the gi where the stand up is dominated by collar and sleeve grips. The ability to effortlessly flow through post, frame, hook, pummel on and off the wall, and drill clearing the head from an opponents control. All of these elements will not only keep you off the ground but are also crucial to controlling the distance and when done properly will keep you prepared to transition to your side arm if required. Practice this.

All of this training below was conducted in about 15 minutes after a “modern” Jiu Jitsu no-gi class. Food for thought. It’s not that complicated. BRIDGE THE GAP

 

Bridging the gap……

Training “modern” Jiu Jitsu styles for sports and competition often create a false sense of security or a state of active rest while in the closed guard. The most common reaction for experienced Jiu Jitsu practitioners is to establish the sleeve and collar grip and to begin to set up sweeps are attacks. This is NOT wrong, however this is the Jiu Jitsu competition mindset not the rule set we face in real world operations / scenarios which incorporate punches and headbutts. The focus in these scenarios should be maintaining your hostiles position up all the way out or in head control all the way down. There are multiple ways to train and practice the basic punch block series from the guard the key is to practice regularly in order to create muscle memory and make the control positions instinctual.

Experience is something you gain shortly after you need it. Seek out the required training before you need it and get home get home safe.