#131 Blessings In Disguise

Today I woke up feeling great after the first 8 hours of sleep all week. Usually I manage with 4-6 hours a night, sometimes less. Nevertheless as I started going about my day, coffee, etc I started to feel a tightness in the left side of my back. I sat down on a chair and tried to twist and stretch it but rather than that chiropractic-esque pop that often provides relief, it tightened up even more.

No big deal, I started watching the IBJJF Pan Championships on Flo Grappling in Kissimmee Florida before heading off to teach a private lesson. I felt my back strain a couple times during the lesson but continued about my business. Next was Open Mat where I was able to perform some corrective exercises which provided enough relief to spar.

I felt it constantly during sparring but modified my strategy and positions to protect it which allowed me to work different aspects of my game. When I got done and started to cool down it was really seizing, just as I was about to start my lower body workout.

Just like my Jiu Jitsu training, I modified the exercises to still follow the plan without making my back worse. Not only did I complete my scheduled lifts for that day but felt significantly better than when I started which got me thinking.

Oftentimes, we look at these obstacles that come up in life and immediately adopt a “poor me” frame of mind which can get us out of doing things, like showing up to class, eating healthy or working out. But when we are able to see the positive aspect of the challenge or opportunity being presented to us, not only will it result in significant growth also come with a rewarding feeling.

#130 PREDICTABLY UNPREDICTABLE

Preparing to roll and rocking some cornrows🤙

Perspective: An important aspect of fighting is the element of surprise. My thought is that one should:

Learn how to fight as much as how to hide.

Be as comfortable on bottom as on top.

Stand up but understand when to go to the ground.

Know when to take risk and when to be conservative.

The art of war is deception, be formless, keep them guessing, “it is not the critic who counts” 💯

Also… FREEDOM 🇺🇸

#129 Name Day

First of all, I am overwhelmed with gratitude for the fact that people showed so much love for me on my birthday let alone that they even remembered throughout what has been a trying year for many.

A long time ago, a mentor asked me, what the most powerful force in the world was, to which I responded with some naive answer. His answer was “love”.

At first, a valentines heart and romance may come to mind but what he is really referring to is true love. Love for your craft, love for people, love for yourself. The feeling you get when you get your first pet and you will do anything for that pet. That is love.

Love is pain. Love means you will sacrifice your life and undergo extreme circumstances if there is a payoff towards that which you love. Family, career, country.

As a young man, it took me a long time to understand this. But now I see through the lens of Jiu Jitsu, friendships, family and business, love is willingness to pay any amount whether it is sleepless nights, burning muscles or in some cases one’s life.

Receiving so much love yesterday from all over the world fueled me to share this message. The love you wish to feel will only come as a result of your effort and what you give to the rest of the world. There is no limit to what you can give, as you will discover, then you will truly understand the power you wield.

#128 Smile.

Have you ever noticed that the strong have little to hide?

What I mean by that is they lack the need to show “how tough they are” because they are.

In fact, they can often display quite the opposite with beaming smiles, goofiness and silly behavior.

Some of the most dangerous people we know are this way. An example that many Jiu Jitsu students and competitors can relate to is the “tough looking” guy at BJJ tournaments covered in tattoos with his head shaved, walking around glaring at the other competitors, smacking his face and jumping around only to get decimated in the first match by some little jiu jitsu nerd.

That is not to say that there aren’t tough guys out there covered in tattoos with shaved heads.. There probably are. But looks can be deceiving, often times the Navy Seal in the bar with you might look and act like a homeless person when he is really just comfortable with himself and has nothing to prove.

So smile, because if you are strong, you don’t need to show anyone. Real recognize real. And the world needs more smiles!

#127 You are great.

We all have our moments of brilliance.

We also have moments where we are downright foolish.

The key is…

Those moments won’t define you. Better days are always ahead for those who possess the right mentality. The champion mentality.

There will always be those who remember you for the bad, just as those who remember you for the good. But they don’t matter, none of it matters.

Understand that accidents happen, we all make mistakes, perfection doesn’t exist. The champion simply owns it and moves on.

You can have a world championship performance one day and a humiliating loss the next.

Just remember, the rewards are for those who constantly seek. There is always a rainbow after every storm.

Keep chasing.

#127 Monday

It’s Monday here in the US of A!

Somewhere in the world people are sleeping as some are waking up.

Some are struggling and some are having the best day of their lives.

Some are slaving away while some are out of work.

Some are studying hard to educate themselves, some are wasting their years away.

Some are enjoying good health while some take their last breath.

Some are abusing themselves and others while some are being abused.

Some are getting on a plane while some have never imagined being in the sky.

Some are buying their first house, some are losing theirs.

Some are living peacefully while others are enduring the violent and bloody measures of war.

It’s just another day. Life has to have balance. Be grateful. Try to understand others. Pay it forward. Someone always has it worse and no one will work for your dreams. You can have everything and lose it all but as long as you can breathe there is a chance. Have a blessed day!

#126 Train the mind to conquer the body

This weekend I helped my brother move to Austin. If you’ve ever moved an entire house, you know it is a challenge. Navigating large awkwardly shaped pieces of furniture (seemingly designed in the least ergonomic fashion) through doors, up and down stairs and into a u-haul is something everyone should experience.

You will quickly become familiar with heavy breathing, calluses, burning shoulders and forearms… If all goes well that is. If not you can easily get hurt picking something up or having something fall on you. It is an opportunity for the modern man to be exposed to the harsh realities of nature.

Life is not only hard, it demands a lot from everyone of us. Our salvation is to develop resilience daily and train our mind to continue when our bodies grow weary. That is the essence of fighting spirit.

#125 Bruised ego or bruised body?

With everything going on surrounding the riots, BLM, defund the police movement and law enforcement along there is an argument for law enforcement to become more capable physically as well as in hand to hand combat to prevent escalation and consequently the use of force.

While many of us are not in favor of actually defunding the police like hypocrites Alyssa Milano and the clowns from Minneapolis city council have shown, it doesn’t take a genius to spot the need for our heroes in blue to be better trained. Tim Kennedy gave this great analogy on the Joe Rogan podcast last month stating that defunding an underperforming school is not the solution.

With that said there are two things getting in the way of our police officers developing their Jiu Jitsu and many of you, particularly those in law enforcement who are interested, will be glad to know that you have a home at our Jiu Jitsu academy and gym in La Quinta, California.

1. Cops are typically cheap when it comes to investing in themselves (gym, nutrition, self defense, etc)

2. They have a large ego that prevents them from being “the white belt” in class.

What is comforting to know is that while working alongside Tim Kennedy as a Jiu Jitsu instructor for Austin PD SWAT which was an incredible experience and out of the 30 or so officers we worked with I was met with nothing but gratitude, humility and eagerness to learn.

We can all relate to having an ego, an ego is not all bad, with no sense of pride we would be spineless. The key is learning to control it as Ryan Holiday points out in his book Ego is the Enemy. As humans we all have a desire to be great or feel important and respected in some way and it can be valuable to us and others but we must understand that in order to achieve our own greatness we must expose ourselves and our weaknesses with the chief aim of making them better. “Get out of your comfort zone” as it is simply put. Only then are we capable of truly unlocking new heights for ourselves, rather than protecting our ego from reality.

Steve and I and Tim Kennedy with Austin PD SWAT.

#124 Finding Our Why

Every journey comes with it’s bumps in the road. It can cause us to lose our sense of direction and often our motivation as a result.

For some it’s as simple as reminding yourself of why you started the journey. Some will need to dig deeper to uncover the meaning of “why they want to lose fifteen pounds or learn Jiu Jitsu”.

“Life is never made unbearable by circumstances, but only by lack of meaning and purpose.” -Viktor Frankl

#123 Psychology of Jiu Jitsu

While it’s well understood through the BJJ (Brazilian Jiu Jitsu) community, that Jiu Jitsu has a positive effect one’s mood I wanted to look further and find some sort of psychological backing as to why that is.

It is quite well known that exercise releases endorphins that are natural mood enhancers, one of the reasons many therapists will advocate or prescribe exercise for patients suffering from depression.

Also well documented are the benefits of meditation which are included in Jiu Jitsu practice as a lifelong practitioner and psychologist describes.

Clinical psychologist Jordan Peterson also speaks to the benefits of Martial Arts to individuals and particularly youth. Obviously due to the strength and empowerment that is attained as well as the moral lessons that one learns for life such as hard work, practice, taking risk, being resilient along with others.