A Way With Words: John Danaher and the Transmission of Knowledge

John Danaher is arguably one of the best Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu coaches in the world. He’s known for his incredible insights in BJJ and martial arts in general. He has a philosophy degree, which adds a feather to his cap to me. Danaher’s teaching method is something that martial arts coaches and academics alike should study. … Continue reading A Way With Words: John Danaher and the Transmission of Knowledge

A Judoka walks into a Wrestling room…

In my last post, I discussed several elements and techniques that translated from Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu into Wrestling. I would be remiss if I didn't also discuss some of the similarities between Wrestling and Judo. These two arts share similar rule-sets and have arguably borrowed from each other through the last century. The parallels between them … Continue reading A Judoka walks into a Wrestling room…

A Jiu-Jiteiro walks into a Wrestling room…

While helping coach wrestling at my local high school for five seasons, I also trained Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in the off-season. It was a whirlwind of techniques and rule-sets, with each system using various leverage points. There were similarities and differences between the systems, but I tried to focus on what united them. They were both … Continue reading A Jiu-Jiteiro walks into a Wrestling room…

How does Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fair against multiple attackers?

A question on Quora made me think critically about Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and how it may fair in a fight against multiple attackers. I think one of the common misconceptions of BJJ is that it is seen as a sport or grappling-only art in recent years. While that is true in many cases, BJJ is often … Continue reading How does Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fair against multiple attackers?

Readings: Thinking, Fast and Slow (and What That Means for Martial Artists).

Daniel Kahneman is a Nobel Prize winner in Economic Sciences (decision making) and a former professor of psychology at Princeton University. His 2011 book, “Thinking, Fast and Slow,” is still a popular book for people trying to figure out how our cognitive selves operate. Though he is intelligent and highly educated, he can take the … Continue reading Readings: Thinking, Fast and Slow (and What That Means for Martial Artists).

Fighting Without Fighting: 3 Details You Should Know.

I’ve had young guys come in the gym trying to exert their physical dominance or display their machismo. You might say they are looking for a fight. One day, you realize the muscles weaken, the speed slows, and the hairline recedes. You can’t be the young lion forever. But, if you train correctly and focus … Continue reading Fighting Without Fighting: 3 Details You Should Know.

Moving Mountains: The Meaning of Kuzushi

If you ever spend much time training in Japanese-based martial arts, you might hear the word “Kuzushi.” I recently had a revelation about this interesting term. On a coaches’ forum, longtime Judo coach Richard Riehle posted that one of his favorite kanji in Judo was 崩し or “kuzushi.” He noted that these are the characters … Continue reading Moving Mountains: The Meaning of Kuzushi

Why Complicate Teaching?: What I Learned from my Students.

Due to having back surgery, I have had to let a few upper-level students teach my classes. Usually, I hate relinquishing control, but in this case, I didn’t have a choice.  After class one night, one of my assistants messaged me. He had a revelation about teaching while filling in for me, one which is … Continue reading Why Complicate Teaching?: What I Learned from my Students.

You Only Live Once (Chasing the Will-o’-the-Wisp)

Sitting in a political philosophy class in college, my professor noticed many students on their phones, texting or surfing social media. We then took a detour from Plato and Aristotle for the rest of the period. Instead of political theory, we discussed something more permanent, yet forever fleeting. That class was the first time I … Continue reading You Only Live Once (Chasing the Will-o’-the-Wisp)

How to Be Happy Despite Fate’s Fickle Ways.

I received some pretty rough news. I have a herniated disc and a possible fractured vertebra. The degenerated discs in my lower back are likely due to years of training, competing, and rough-housing with big boys on the mat. The fractured vertebra came from a recent “Hey, y’all, watch this,” moments. I don’t know how … Continue reading How to Be Happy Despite Fate’s Fickle Ways.

Readings: Man’s Search For Meaning (Suffering and Success)

In many ways, Viktor Frankl’s “Man’s Search For Meaning” is a memoir and a treatise on human tenacity. In one way, it tells of Frankl’s hardships in the Nazi imprisonment camps, Auschwitz being the worst. In another manner, the book gives us insight into how we can endure in the hardest of times and the … Continue reading Readings: Man’s Search For Meaning (Suffering and Success)

What Mortal Kombat Taught Me About Knowledge

Philosophy from a video game. “Finish him,” was the famous phrase heard on Mortal Kombat 3 when it came time to obliterate your opponent. You might remember the drunken wobble Raiden does just before Sub-Zero uppercuts him into oblivion. Good times. As a kid, another part of the game always stood out: the opening credits. … Continue reading What Mortal Kombat Taught Me About Knowledge

2 Reasons to Improve Your Body Language

How many times have you seen the memes on social media displaying how nature differentiates apex predators? There’s one with a black snake that looks like a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt. Then there’s one (see inset) about people with cauliflower ears. These memes make for an interesting discussion. What about your appearance indicates you know … Continue reading 2 Reasons to Improve Your Body Language

How You Can Learn Empathy from a Book About War

Sun Tzu and Spying on the Enemy In a webinar on Tactical Communication put on by the Verbal Judo Institute, the instructor often cited Sun Tzu’s Art of War. In Verbal Judo, one of the key parts of de-escalation and tactical communication is empathy. Several definitions are floating around, but in essence, empathy is the … Continue reading How You Can Learn Empathy from a Book About War

Readings: The Tipping Point (Changing Your Environment, part 2)

In my last post, I mentioned James Clear’s book, Atomic Habits. Before reading that book, I read Malcolm Gladwell’s book, The Tipping Point. The two books were written over 15 years apart, but they both discuss elements of our environment and how those elements shape who we are and how we can change, for better … Continue reading Readings: The Tipping Point (Changing Your Environment, part 2)

Persevering with Patience (Perspective for a Pandemic)

Amid the mire of COVID-19 (the Corona Virus), I have been soul-searching for what matters most in life. Judging by the pilfering of the bread aisle and toilet paper from grocery stores, it would seem that many think bathroom visits and toast are essential to human prosperity. The world is watching, waiting to see what … Continue reading Persevering with Patience (Perspective for a Pandemic)

Readings: The Obstacle is the Way – The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph

Continuing with a previous post about failure and how it can lead to successes, I want to discuss a book I am reading. For Christmas, I received Ryan Holiday’s “The Obstacle is the Way: The Timeless Are of Turning Trials into Triumph.” I have been a follower of Holiday’s blog, The Daily Stoic, and I’ve … Continue reading Readings: The Obstacle is the Way – The Timeless Art of Turning Trials into Triumph