• The Mind of a BJJ Black Belt: Jeff Humphrey

    White belt Jeff Humphrey, 46, 145 pounds, was perplexed. He had obtained a copy of Saulo Ribiero’s Jiu-Jistsu University hoping to elucidate some of the game’s mysteries, but nothing about the book made sense. 

    “I couldn’t understand the text, couldn’t understand the pictures, and it really ticked me off,” he says. “I mean I was really […]

  • The Struggle of Being a BJJ Student

    Learning Brazilian Jiu Jitsu can feel like stepping into quicksand. Every move you make only pulls you in deeper. Perhaps that’s why it’s continued to hold my interest after all these years. It wasn’t a planned affair and I had no expectations for it when I began as a BJJ student, but here I am […]

  • The Mind of a BJJ Black Belt: Cindy Fink

    The first thing you notice is the unrelenting attack. Constant pressure. Ceaseless adjustments to the position. You’re out of options. Your limbs have been straightjacketed, your torso locked or twisted into an angle that renders it useless. 

    Only now do you realize that the end is near, though the endgame started much earlier. Often, there’s one […]

  • The Mind of a BJJ Black Belt: Mike Pandolfini

    Spend any amount of time training with Mike Pandolfini, and you’re sure to hear this phrase: The martial arts journey. For Mike, and those he coaches, these aren’t buzz words. They’re a way of life. In the cage, on the mats, wearing boxing or MMA gloves, a gi, or a rash guard, Mike personifies this […]

  • 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 […]