REFLEX JIU JITSU
310 Mill St, Danville PA
KIDS: 11AM-12PM // ADULTS: 12PM-2PM
Saturday, June 3rd 2017
MEMBERS: $35 // NON-MEMBERS: $45
REFLEX JIU JITSU
310 Mill St, Danville PA
KIDS: 11AM-12PM // ADULTS: 12PM-2PM
Saturday, June 3rd 2017
MEMBERS: $35 // NON-MEMBERS: $45
One of the very first things you ever learn in life is how to share. From the moment we first learn about possessions and ownership as a toddler, we are taught that the polite and ethical thing to do is to share those things. This holds true throughout your entire life and it is true for both material possessions and knowledge alike. I feel like the most beautiful things in life are the things that we should be sharing the most. Martial arts are beautiful. Share them.
If you are reading this and you haven’t got into martial arts yet, I would suggest you do so. You can find a lot of things out about yourself through martial arts. With the right attitude and perspective, you can really see the beauty. If you are already a martial artist, then you know exactly what I’m talking about.
I haven’t met many people who are currently doing Jiu Jitsu or any other form of martial art that don’t love it. This is true for students and instructors. It really is something that you need to experience for yourself to understand. I have been training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu as my chosen art for over 13 years. Before that I had practiced other forms since the age of 13. In all those years, I have noticed one thing for sure. No matter the capacity in which you learn or train, you always feel the need to let others know exactly what they are missing.
I personally have a long history of trying to share martial arts with the people I know and meet. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always turn out as I expect. What do I expect exactly? Well, what I always imagine is that I will tell my close friend, who I am positive will absolutely fall head over heels in love with BJJ just as I did 13 years ago. Nope, this almost never goes this way. More often than not, I get a quick shrug and a blatant “nah, not interested”.
But, every once and again, I get someone hooked. Most recently I found my sharing rewarded with the most unlikely candidate in my life. My wife. Knowing my wife as well as I’d like to think I know her, I never in a million years would think that she would even like Jiu Jitsu, let alone love it. Well, guess what? She is now training with me here at my academy about three or four times a week! This makes me extremely happy. It makes me so happy because she has found the same beauty in martial arts that I found so many years ago at the age of 13. She found this beauty because of my tendency to share. I rock! Hahaha!
Of all those times that I have shared with no success, those few times that I have actually persuaded someone have all been worth it. This will most likely hold true for you as well. Remember, the percentage of people who actually train and practice martial arts is low relative to the general population. The thing about that fact is, the people who actually train and practice martial arts are the most awesome, cool, and amazing people around! They know the beauty of martial arts and you can only martialhope that they might try to share it with you.
We love Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, that is no secret. In fact, we love Jiu Jitsu so much that myself and the instructors here at Reflex dedicate pretty much most of our time to the art. In some cases, we train up to ten or more times every week. The big question is, how do we stay motivated for that much training? An even better question would be, how can you stay motivated considering your hectic lifestyle and trying to fit your Jiu Jitsu training in around that busy schedule?
You know that you love Jiu Jitsu and you are into the training. Who wouldn’t be into it, right? BJJ is fun, effective, and a great form of exercise. We need to take a quick look at exactly what brought you to the academy in the first place. Were you looking for an effective martial art to defend yourself? Maybe you wanted to pick up a new hobby? You quite simply could have been looking for a new and fun way to shed some extra pounds and get yourself moving? It doesn’t matter really what your reason for starting is, or will be, it just matters that you understand why you personally got started.
Now that you have thought about what exactly got you started, you may have realized that you currently train for a completely different reason. You may now have a whole bunch of reasons. This is common in Jiu Jitsu because of the nature of the art. Once you dive deep into it, all the coolness and amazing aspects open up and you can become quite delighted. That’s exactly what happened to me. I started training because I liked the effectiveness of BJJ and I continue to this day (13 years later) because of the complexity and the science of the art.
So, you know why you started and you know why you stayed. If you haven’t started yet, you know what you can look forward to. What we really need to understand at this point, is that it takes a very, very long time to achieve a black belt in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu relative to other martial arts. This in itself can be the main motivator for many. Along this long journey, you need to understand that things change in your training and in your life. As things change, you might find it difficult to keep your training consistent. In this case, it is very important to stop, take a look at the situation, put things into perspective, and evaluate your priorities. This leads to the next point on motivation…
In times of change and turmoil, it can be tempting to leave the academy for a while to sort out those tough times. I have to say, I have done this. I have stopped my training and left the art because of some tough personal times. In retrospect, it was the worst decision I have ever made in terms of my training. In my opinion, what I should have done and what I feel most people should do in this type of situation, is slow the training down a bit. If you are getting in a solid four to five days of training a week, cut it in half for a while. Even if you have to cut back to one day a week or even just a few days a month, it is so much better than leaving all together. Your love for the art will bring you back, this is true, trust me. The comeback is way tougher after stopping than it is after slowing down. This is one of the best ways to stay motivated and keep yourself training.
Even if things going great in your life and there is no turmoil, your training has the chance of feeling stagnate. Anything you do over a long period of time runs the chance of feeling repetitive. Jiu Jitsu does have a large amount of techniques and many different moves and transitions but that doesn’t mean you can experience times of repetitiveness. If this happens, there are a few things you can do. First, check out some of the other classes your academy has to offer. If you’re a beginner, think about stepping into an all levels or advanced class. The same holds true if you are a blue belt or above. You could go to a few basics classes or beginner classes. You can always use a touch up on your self defense and your basics. It’s always best to consult with your instructor though.
I would also suggest traveling a bit and cross training at other academies. This can really open up your prospective on new people to train with and experience alternate styles of Jiu Jitsu and opponents. Most schools are very open to training across the board and it can be an amazing experience and a great way to keep you motivated. Another great way to experience new things is to compete. This isn’t for everyone but you should definitely give it a try once or twice.
With all the things we’ve mentioned above, just remember that what motivates you is not the same as what motivates your training partners. It’s important that we understand this because one of the best ways to stay motivated is to help motivate everyone else. It’s hard to lose interest and slow your training down when you are constantly giving everyone else reasons to stay and train. Understand your teammates, know what they are looking to achieve, and help them reach their goals. I know that when you do this, you can expect the very same from everyone you are learning Jiu Jitsu with every day.
When you think of the word scientist, let alone naming a specific scientist, there is only one person that comes to most people’s mind. That’s right, Albert Einstein. Most of us have a general idea of what Einstein did for the world of physics. You know, the basics… advancements in thermodynamics, quantum theory, and of course his general theory of relativity. But how does all of this have any relevance in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu? Albert Einstein also made the connection between space and time, one of the most important discoveries in physics… and Jiu Jitsu.
First we will need to do a few things… We should all approach this with an open mind and the will to dig a little deeper beyond how we already comprehend Jiu Jitsu. This means making our own discoveries and developing our own theories. We should always be expanding our BJJ horizons… all of us. In this example, we are addressing a commonly discussed subject within Jiu Jitsu: Space. What space means relevant to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and how we tend to commonly look at the subject.
Every time I have ever been involved in a discussion about space, it comes down to a very basic premise. When you are in an offensive position you want to leave no space between you and your opponent. When you are in a defensive position, you want to create space between you and your opponent. This makes sense when you think about bridging to escape from bottom side control (creating space), or when you have someone mounted and you are trying to apply a shoulder or arm lock (Leave no space). We can get much deeper about the subject, and we will.
As I mentioned, Einstein connected space and time in physics. I would like to do the same pertaining to Jiu Jitsu. The time portion of the equation is often overlooked when talking about space in Jiu Jitsu. One of the most important and advanced theories in BJJ is the concept of timing and sensitivity.
In Jiu Jitsu we should always be using our opponent’s weight, momentum, and movements against them. We use sensitivity to feel where our opponent will go and when they will go there. Timing is utilized to act on these movements offensively or defensively. We use sensitivity to calculate our timing and our timing to execute actions. That is timing and sensitivity.
Both of these should always be present and both are constantly utilized. This means that there is never a period while training Jiu Jitsu, that timing and sensitivity are not relevant. Combine this with space and this is Jiu Jitsu spacetime.
We must always be advancing forward. This means that the space time between you and your opponent is nothing without the time portion. I can create space in an attempt to escape from the bottom, but if I let that space become stagnant, I will lose any progress I have made in advancing. We are constantly using movements, both subtle and pronounced. We should always be reacting in some way to everything that is happening on the mat while we train. Our individual motives at any given moment are always in constant change. From this perspective, the space and time are intertwined in the never-ending flow of an active sparring session.
In the artistic world, there is positive space and negative space. Positive space is the subject of the piece. It could be a face, a building, or any other object. It is the thing that your attention is to be drawn to. The negative space is all the space around those focal objects; think of paintings, videos, or photo’s. In a painting of an apple on a table in a room, the apple and possibly the table would be the positive space and everything else in the background would be the negative space. I’ll keep it simple and say that in relation to Jiu Jitsu, positive space is the occupied space and negative space is the unoccupied space within the confines of the sparring match.
I first read about this concept of positive and negative space in Jiu Jitsu from a post on Reddit. As I was preparing for private lesson a few days ago, the student I was preparing for, sent me a link to this Reddit post. She was very interested in learning about space and the theories that would go along with it. If you are interested in this post, I would encourage you to check it out here.
Simply put, this post explains how we are to address positive and negative space. If a negative space exists, there is then the opportunity to occupy this space and convert it into positive space. As the original poster mentions, this is not necessarily good or bad. It is the control of said space that is important. The control… this is the common denominator that connects positive and negative space in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. This control combined with the timing and sensitivity that we discussed earlier is, at a basic level, the Jiu Jitsu spacetime I have been talking about. Let’s just take a closer look at the common controls in both positive and negative spacetime.
In all of the situations above there are two main points to be looked at. First, is the need for some type of control in any of them. This can be something as simple as grips and hooks, or as tight as hip pressure on the top. All forms of control. The second point is motive, we briefly mentioned earlier that the positive and negative space will constantly be changing. This constant change in space time will also cause a constant change in motive. Basically, if you are passing the guard, your motive at that moment is to get passed your opponent’s legs. If you are playing your guard, your motive will be to sweep or submit. All the while you will be controlling positive or negative space dependent on your situation, movement, timing, and controls gained or lost.
I am not a scientist, well, in the traditional sense of the word anyway. I would like to think of myself as a person that conducts research and experiments. I just do it in the world of BJJ. I am obviously not a scientist in the literal manner that Albert Einstein was a scientist. With that being said, I am about to make an attempt at relating antimatter to the spacetime of Jiu Jitsu. Antimatter was not discovered by Einstein, it was first introduced as a concept of physics in 1928 by Paul Dirac. At any rate, let’s get silly and introduce it to Jiu Jitsu.
I am really going to go out on a limb here and make some crazy connections. Antimatter is the matter, negative matter, so to say, that connects all positive matter. Remember, I am not a scientist. Basically, all the negative space you see in the universe is occupied by this antimatter. This is true; therefore, it is also true in Jiu Jitsu, right? Yeah… that’s right… I think. Anyway, I would like to attribute value to the antimatter in Jiu Jitsu in the form of all the stuff we can’t see. Negative space is in effect occupied by our controls, our timing, our sensitivity, and our motives. That is the antimatter in Jiu Jitsu.
Now that we have established the antimatter, how do we maintain it? This brings us back to our common denominator. Control. Losing control of your space time is bad, whether the space time you control is positive space or negative space. Those controls will lead you to a dominate position and ultimately to a submission finish, if all goes according to plan. We are throwing the common concept that holding an offensive position as positive space is the only form of control. We must maintain our control in both positive space and negative space. With that unbiased control, we will be able to advance through the progression of offense and defense, eventually gaining a dominate position and finishing the fight with a successful submission attempt. This has absolutely nothing to do with positive or negative space. It has everything to do with the control and motive of that space… or should I say spacetime?
Albert Einstein was known as what’s called a theoretical physicist. These are scientists that spend a lot of time developing theories through mathematical calculations and deep thought processes. These theories are often tested through experimentation done by experimental physicists. We have just engaged in theoretical Jiu Jitsu. What we need to do now is head out to the mat and start conducting some experimental Jiu Jitsu tests.
We need to test our theories with experimentation. The academy is our laboratory and all the tools are right there connected to your body. Be a scientist. Take these theories and think about them as you roll at your next class. What does positive and negative space mean to you? How will you connect your space and time on the mat? How will your motives dictate the control of your positive or negative space? How far will you take your theories in experimentation? Albert Einstein connected time and space through theoretical physics. We can do the same with our Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training. Who knows, maybe there will be a Nobel prize for advancements in Jiu Jitsu physics? We can dream, right?
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has grown tremendous amounts since I began my journey in 2004. Back then the art was catching on but it still hadn’t become very popular. I remember thinking, after just a few weeks in, that achieving a blue belt seemed almost unattainable. Every time I met and trained with a blue belt at that time I was always in awe, never mind a purple belt or brown belt… let’s not even mention a black belt! In the early 2000s there weren’t that many black belts, especially in my area of northeastern and central Pennsylvania.
Fast forward about twelve years later and it seems like every single person I meet is wearing a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt. I say wearing as opposed to earned purposefully, but that is another subject for another time. Anyway, my point is, the popularity of Jiu Jitsu has grown an amazing amount since I have started. There are academies in most cities and towns, tournaments are pretty easy to find within a short distance, there are more blue belts in the world than there are most animals on the endangered species list, and the information out there is in abundance.
If you go to YouTube and do a quick search, you are sure to find an overwhelming amount of technique and competition videos for your immediate enjoyment. In these videos, Jiu Jitsu looks amazing and exciting, and it is amazing and exciting! You will see fast action and high flying submissions, sweeps, and other techniques. The internet is flooded with things like De la Riva guard, Berimbolo sweeps, Flying armlocks and shoulder locks, Worm guard, Donkey guard, and any other cleverly named guard you can possibly imagine.
This stuff is very fun to watch and it is what has built the popularity of the art that I fell in love with back in 2004. I think for most people it should stop right there in watching for entertainment. If a brand new white belt who just started martial arts last week watches these videos and decides that his new move be the donkey guard, what do you think will happen? Ok, so first, let me explain a little bit about Brazilian Jiu Jitsu…
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu was designed to work for everyone. This includes women, children, and men of any and all body types and or sizes. In able for this to hold true and be an accurate statement, there needs to be a few basic and core elements to the catalog of movements and techniques in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Those core elements do in fact exist.
The thing with all of the fancy moves you’ll find on YouTube is that they require a very deep understanding of these core Jiu Jitsu elements. If you attempt these advanced movements without a concise understanding of the basics, you will most likely fail at your attempts. Worse yet, you may likely never gain a true understanding of Jiu Jitsu. Let’s take a closer look at what these core elements of Jiu Jitsu are.
There is a very specific way that you should be moving while practicing. The most important basic element of this movement is in your hips. If you don’t understand this important hip movement, you will have trouble performing more advanced movements.
One of the things BJJ practitioners talk about the most is “flow”. This is simply the act of letting the match dictate your movements. Many beginners tend to force things when learning. The flow is a tough one to get but you should definitely be on the way to developing this flow before attempting many advanced techniques as they rely heavily on it.
This is very related to the flow. It is in fact what develops a good flow. Timing and sensitivity is simply having the ability to feel and react to your opponent. Then being able to make the right decisions based on this feel. Again, all advanced techniques rely on this for success.
If you attempt some type of technique on an opponent and you don’t understand how to properly control them, you will get yourself into trouble. If you attempt and advanced technique and you don’t properly understand how to submit your opponent, you will get yourself into trouble.
The last of these basic elements is escaping. At the end of the day, you will make mistakes. You will make a lot of mistakes. When you do make these mistakes, you will want to know how to correct them. Mistakes lead to very bad positions and bad positions need the ability to escape. That should be pretty straight forward, right?
It takes a long time to get a blue belt in BJJ compared to other martial arts. It takes a really long time to get a black belt in BJJ compared to other martial arts. Trust me, there is no need to rush it. You will have plenty of time to learn the cool stuff and popular stuff. In fact, in many cases, you will pick up on a lot of the advanced techniques without even knowing it. In the end you will need the basics to do so though. So just sit back, relax and learn some basics.
I think that, as long as you are a member of a good gym with good instructors, you can have them help you with some of the more advanced stuff earlier on in your career. It’s important though that your instructor guides you on this path though. Don’t take it upon yourself to try and understand these moves. The one thing that I will do in my gym is answer any questions a student has about more advanced stuff by giving them the core basics they need to understand the advanced technique in question. This is the best way to learn the cool stuff… by understanding the basics that go with it.