What can Jiu Jitsu do for you?!

I had to steal this because it is well written and conveys my feelings about the art & sport.

Thank you to Stephan Kesting for sharing the thoughts of his friend Ritchie Yip


BJJ is more than just tapping people out.  Jiu Jitsu is a medium for self-development and a method to develop the strongest version of yourself.

Here are the top 10 principles by which living the Jiu Jitsu lifestyle will not only make you a great Jiu Jitsu practitioner but will also make you into a better human being.

1) Take Action.

About 15 years ago, my old instructor Mark said to me, “Ritchie you need to stop studying martial arts and you need to start doing martial arts.”

Jiu Jitsu is all about doing.

With YouTube, there’s an endless stream of information teaching you latest and slickest sweeps and submissions.  There’s so much information it’s almost overwhelming.  The key thing is not to get too entrenched in collecting more and more information but to hit the mats and roll.

For every 5 min clip you watch on YouTube, you should roll for 5 five minute rounds.  The information and technique are critical; however, commonly white belts are top heavy on knowledge and short on reference experience.

What may work in theory needs to be disconfirmed while rolling.

The Jiu Jitsu lifestyle is all about doing.

Turn off your TV, go outside and become the star of your own movie.  Life is not lived on a couch.  Make mistakes.  Do something foolish.  Take an acting class.  Do something that scares you and triumph over that fear.  Your soul will love you for doing it.

I love learning.  I haven’t owned a TV in years.  My home is filled with books.  Learning is only my way of engaging with the world as fully and completely as possible.  The more I know more vibrant the world seems to me.  Go out and experience the world around you!

Fill your brain with knowledge and then fill your heart with experience.  Life has no remote control.  Get up and change it yourself.

2) Discipline

Training regularly and diligently is the core concept to getting better at Jiu Jitsu quickly.  Of course, this takes discipline; but, there’s more to it than that.

We all have certain crutches to help us maintain our positive emotions and to help us conserve our energy.

I have room full of students that I’m happy to roll with because they’re lighter and less experienced than me and I can roll with them I feel skillful, fluid and totally in control.  And of course, I have students that are animals; absolute nightmares to roll with.

In all honestly, it’s crazy to me that even after all these years, I still feel hesitation when I ask them to roll with me.  I know it’s going to be a dog fight; but, I also know that it’s going to make my Jiu Jitsu better.

I’m sure we all have people in our schools that we would rather not roll with.  They’re too tough.  Too challenging.  Too problematic.  It takes discipline to roll with these training partners as often as you can.

Discipline is doing what you should do even if you don’t want to do it.

When you’re living the Jiu Jitsu lifestyle, you’re living with discipline.  You’re getting out into the pouring rain so you can hit the gym.  You’re ordering sliced tomato instead of french fries with your steak.  You’re getting up 2 hours earlier than everyone else to work on your little side business so that one day you can quit your job and live the life of your dreams.

3) Live in the present

Often when we get swept or we get our Guard passed, we become frustrated at ourselves.  We curse ourselves under our breath.  During which time our opponent continues to secure the mount position and starts to set up the arm bar.  Many of us live in the past.  Jiu Jitsu teaches you to live in the now.

When you’re rolling, you’re living in the present.  You’re focused on the task at hand.  You’re free flowing, adaptive and creative.

Living the Jiu Jitsu lifestyle means that you’re living in the present.  Too often we’re living with regrets.  Emotionally scarred from past experiences.  None of that matters now.  Unless you’re Michael J. Fox you probably don’t own a time machine.

Just like Jiu Jitsu, life will beat you down.  You’ll get fired from your job.  You’ll get divorced.  You’ll get into a car accident.  Life happens…

Accept the set back.  Stay focused on the present moment and by doing so you’ll keep a clear head for making decisions and stay centered on finding solutions.

Focus on the present and build an amazing future for yourself.

4) Emotional control

Jiu Jitsu is frustrating.  But that’s okay, it’s supposed to be and that’s why we do it.

The skill that we all learn as we do Jiu Jitsu is to temper our anger and frustration.  If you can’t do that then you’ll never master the art.

I’ve been studying Jiu Jitsu since 1997 and it’s still frustrating to me.  So, what’s the difference?  Well, I just deal with the frustration with more maturity and more acceptance.   No matter what happens on the mats that day, I always feel amazing.  I do my best to focus on the positive and become a source of positivity for my friends, family and students.

The Jiu Jitsu lifestyle teaches you how to live with positivity and strength.  Life is as harsh as it is beautiful.  Loved ones pass away, disasters strike and dreams don’t always come true.  Instead of falling prey to circumstances that are out of our control we can focus on what we can control and live our lives with purpose and fill our thoughts with positivity.

Life is never easy for those who dream.  Learn to manage your frustrations and stay on track.  Consistency is everything.

5) Healthy Boundaries.

Jiu Jitsu is inherently dangerous.  C’mon, it’s basically choking and arm breaking 🙂

With Jiu Jitsu, we all need a sense of personal boundary.  If your training partner is doing something you feel is unsafe; then, intervene and stop them.  Safety starts with you.  You have autonomy and you have the capacity for critical thought; so, use it!

And when you’re living the Jiu Jitsu lifestyle you’re ensuring that you have personal boundaries put in place so that you won’t accept second class behavior from anyone in your life.

Perhaps a spouse spoke to you poorly but you were scared of leaving them.

Maybe your boss is mistreating you but you need the money.

Draw a line in the sand for what is acceptable behavior and except nothing less.  Love and care for yourself and become the hero in your own movie.

6) Trust in Your Own Judgment

Studying martial arts helps you build your BS detector.  Research everything you learn and rate the effectiveness of each technique.  Understand the advantages along with the short comings of each choke, sweep or arm bar.

The most important part of studying Jiu Jitsu is to DO IT!  Get on the mats and roll.  Field test the techniques with your training partners.

Conversely, be open minded and learn from everyone around you.  There’s no need to stand over people wagging your finger screaming, “Who are you to correct me?!!  You’re a white belt!

Accept feedback from your most trusted training partners and make your own judgments.

Living the Jiu Jitsu Lifestyle means that you’re thinking critically and you’re always questioning the information that you’re given.

Now certainly, walking through the world with cynicism and doubt as you assume everyone around you is wrong until evidence is provided that they are right is a rather obnoxious way to live your life.

The key is to temper your questioning with a sense of open mindedness to new ideas all while thinking critically and making up your own judgments.

7) Calmness

It’s easy to find tranquility when you’re sitting in a bubble bath listening to some Phil Collins; but, try and stay calm as some sweaty, hairy 200lb dude has mount on you and is trying to rip your arm off.

Staying calm and engaged will help you to escape from bottom mount.

And as you live the Jiu Jitsu lifestyle, you will walk through the world with ease.

Life is tough.  Divorces occur.  Bankruptcies are filed.  Accidents are had.

Condition yourself to stroll over the constant frustrations and hurdles that live throws at you with strength and courage.

Over time, you will forge a powerful, charismatic personality that will be magnetic to everyone around you.

8) No Big Deal

If you get tapped out, there’s no need to start hammer fisting the floor like some spoiled 3 year old. Conversely, if you Triangle someone, it’s not necessary to do a celebratory jog like you’re Chuck Liddell circa 2006.

Why?  Because you train Jiu Jitsu a lot.  You roll all the time.  Tapping out is just a part of the game and tapping people out is just what happens when you train consistently.  Tapping out or tapping someone else out is no big deal.

This is the attitude when you’re living the Jiu Jitsu lifestyle.  You land a major promotion at work and it’s no big deal because you know you deserve it because you work incredibly hard.  Your girlfriend leaves you for someone who drives Porsche; but, it’s no big deal because you’re an amazing person who can get a new girlfriend immediately.

The Jiu Jitsu lifestyle teaches you that you deserve success because you have an incredible work ethic.  And sometimes life forces you to tap out.  If that happens, no big deal.  Just reset.  Fix your Gi.  And keep going 🙂

9) Positivity

When you train Jiu Jitsu you’re also training yourself for positivity.  Jiu Jitsu is so tough that only way that you can stick with it long term is to focus on the positive.

It’s always surprised me how happy Jiu Jitsu practitioners are.  The path to mastering Jiu Jitsu is too long and arduous for the bitter and the angry; they’ll just quite.

Only when you force yourself to focus on what you did right or focus on what you learned will you develop the mindset of a winner and dominate the art of Jiu Jitsu.

The Jiu Jitsu lifestyle all about generating a purely positive mindset.  Only when you see a win/learn paradigm will you find success.  If you only see win/lose; you’ll be on the losing end of the stick too many times and you’ll just give up.

10) Contribution

When you learn Jiu Jitsu, you learn that you can learn from everyone and that everyone can learn something from you.

Many white belts forget that they can be a great contributor to the class.  Even as a day one beginner you can contribute to the group.

You can lovingly and generously offer someone your arm so that they can perfect their arm bar. You can help your training partner remember details to a technique that they may have forgotten. When you study Jiu Jitsu, you’re studying the art of reciprocity.

By living the Jiu Jitsu lifestyle you’re living a life where you offer immediate value to any company, team or relationship that you’re part of.  Any ought to love the company that you offer them because you’re funny, loyal and smart.  Assume that you’re contributing in any situation and your confidence will be infectious.

I hoped you enjoyed this breakdown of the Jiu Jitsu lifestyle.  Training Jiu Jitsu is simply a personal self-development program.

http://www.grapplearts.com/index.php & http://www.infighting.ca/

Greatest Resource so far…

bjj-roadmapAbout a year ago, while searching for additional online resources, I came across an offer for a free e-book called ‘A Roadmap for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.‘  As a beginner, there was a lot to be learned from this book and I still look back to it from time to time. To get the free download, you have to sign-up for the newsletter using the link below (you can unsubscribe at any time).


The newsletter is really where the resource caught my attention though. I have found over time that the almost daily newsletter and insights provided by Stephan Kesting and all of his guests have helped me to progress and to better my game. Unlike many of the other mailing lists I have subscribed to, Grapplearts is not constantly pushing some sort of hard sell on you.

If you are new to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu or just think that you could better your skills with a few adjustments here and there, check it out. I assure you it will be worth your time.

Honor the Art and Practice Jiu Jitsu

“Honor the art, practice jiu jitsu, avoid fights.” -Helio Gracie

Gracie Philosophy

The application of traditional Gracie Jiu-Jitsu transcends the application of chokes, joint locks, immobilizations, throws, and strikes. Gracie Jiu-Jitsu is a way of life. Beyond the mat, members of the Gracie family live balanced, healthy lives based on the same philosophy that governs their unique self-defense system. Grand Masters Carlos and Helio Gracie believed that the principles of efficiency, patience, and control held the key to success in all aspects of life.


Efficiency, the ability to achieve maximum output with minimum input, is a core principle of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. At the Gracie Academy, we assume that your attacker will always be larger and more athletic than you. Our students quickly learn that the only reliable way to succeed is to exhaust your attacker while conserving your own energy through the use of leverage-based techniques and natural body movements. In life, as in a fight, a student who learns to expend energy efficiently will achieve maximum results with minimal effort. For example:

  • Eating healthily is Gracie Jiu-Jitsu
  • Being honest/respectful to others is Gracie Jiu-Jitsu
  • Being a hardworking/morally correct business person is Gracie Jiu-Jitsu

All of these are examples of ways to achieve maximum results with minimum effort.


Patience is often the key to success in a struggle against a larger opponent. Usually, it is not the person who attacks the most, but the one who exhausts the least who will win. Acting impulsively, aggressively, or without focus wastes energy. Patience also applies to timing. Even a perfectly executed technique will fail if attempted at the wrong time. In life, too, patience and timing enable you to “make your own luck” by calmly watching and waiting until the right moment when you can apply your energy most efficiently.

 Being patient with your friends and loved ones, as well as your enemies, is Gracie Jiu-Jitsu

  • Allowing impulses to pass before acting is Gracie Jiu-Jitsu
  • Taking a deep breath and considering all alternatives before committing is Gracie Jiu-Jitsu

Patience and timing allow you to know when to commit while efficiency ensures that you have sufficient energy to achieve your objective when the time is right for action.


The final objective in a fight is to impose your will on your opponent. Nothing achieves this more quickly than physical domination after which surrender usually follows. Physical domination means controlling your opponent. Without control, you risk losing the fight. In life, control applies not only to a simple contest between you and an opponent, but also to the struggle within yourself. Self-control reflects your personal discipline and is the foundation for every decision you make in life. Without self-control, you risk a lifetime of poor choices that invariably lead to tragic consequences.

Refraining from using drugs or alcohol is Gracie Jiu-Jitsu

  • Choosing healthy, nutritious food over junk food is Gracie Jiu-Jitsu
  • Having the discipline to engage in regular exercise and rest is Gracie Jiu-Jitsu

The Gracie Triangle

The Gracie Triangle, the widely recognized symbol of the Gracie Academy, has evolved over the years. Today, it appears on the storefront of every martial arts school that is committed to teaching the techniques and philosophy of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu in its purest form. The triangle represents the stable base possessed by a Gracie Jiu-jitsu master. Regardless of which side it rests on, the Gracie Triangle always has a strong base. The three sides represent the mind, body, and spirit – the three components of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu mastery. The slight inclination near the top of the triangle forms the letter “G” for Gracie. The two fighters on the inside represent all the practitioners of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu who seek to master themselves in mind, body, and spirit – on and off the mat.