• Building Resilience in Jiu Jitsu and BJJ Competition

    Shouts and cheers bounced off the high gymnasium ceiling. It was the typical soundtrack of a BJJ competition. I wasn’t enthusiastic, though. I was tired and hungry. 

    Earlier that morning, my match start time had moved up an hour, prompting me to leave New Jersey in a sprint and head for the city to compete in […]

  • What Are We Fighting For Anyway?

    Bodies thrashing, twisted limbs, sweat squishing, desperate gasps for air.

    This is the chaos of live training. It doesn’t sound appealing, and it’s not pleasurable as it’s happening. So why do we continue to fight?

    Most of us can say why we chose this sport. Common reasons include getting into better shape, making new friends, exploring a […]

  • Am I even having fun?

    By Shane McCarthy

    My wife finds herself asking this question ever since she started training: Am I having fun in Jiu Jitsu? Joy. Happiness. Fun. They all describe the endorphins that flood your nervous system when something pleases your brain. Midway through a set of burpees in a gross, humid, 90-something-degree warehouse, with your muscles screaming […]

  • Ode to Masters: What it Has Meant to Me

    By: Emily Kwok

    As I help some of my students in their last week of preparation before the IBJJF Masters Worlds in Vegas next week, I sit and slightly lament my inability to compete this year due to pregnancy, and I also reflect on why I feel this way. It’s not like I haven’t had to […]

  • Training Etiquette 101

    By: Emily Kwok
    “The first condition of understanding a foreign country is to smell it.” – Rudyard Kipling
    We all know the smell of a ripe BJJ gym.

    The smell might give us a clue about the school’s cleanliness, frequency of use, or characters at play. It can tell us a lot, but not everything. A school that’s […]

  • Omoplatas, Arm Bars and Self Love

    By: Alexandra Finfer

    I often hear my coaches and teammates talk about this journey we undertake as Jiu Jitsu practitioners. I didn’t quite understand what this journey was until I earned my blue belt. Like most people after a belt promotion, I started to reflect on my time training. I know I sound like a poster […]

  • What Warriors Are Made Of

    By: Emily Kwok
    2011 – IBJJF No Gi Worlds. Emily Kwok vs. Rachel Demara
    The score was 9-0 with 30 seconds left on the clock. I was clinging to my opponent, both of us on our backs, with the seatbelt grip and one hook in, trying to sink in a choke before the buzzer sounded. I was […]

  • You Are How You Train

    By: Emily Kwok

    It’s incredible how much training can reveal about the self.

    It creeps up on you slowly after your obsession with training wears off a bit. When you are at ease with the notion of deliberate practice, when the hard work is no longer hard work and it just becomes habit. This is the […]

  • Should You Compete?

    By: Emily Kwok
    “Should I compete?”
    I am asked this question a lot.

    I often respond, I’m not sure if you should, but here’s why I do.

    In the beginning it had more to do with curiosity than anything else. There were so few women in jiu jitsu that I just wanted to know how I would fare against […]

  • Happy

    By: Shane McCarthy

    Those who practice Jiu Jitsu know it can be an amazing, yet frustrating martial art. The mental and physical benefits are abundant and life-changing, and the physical beatdown and total frustration of learning such a complex art often wear practitioners down.

    That dynamic is something I’ve been exploring lately. We choose this art as […]