2016 Goals Check In – July


Back in January I blogged about my 2016 Jiu jitsu goals. One of my goals was to check in more often. Due to a hectic work schedule I was not able to train a ton during the past few months but I did get some training and made some progress towards my goals while also setting another short term goal for the upcoming months.

#1 Master the Kimura


The group that attended my Kimura Seminar last April.

On April 10th I had the privilege of teaching a Kimura seminar at 10th Planet Van Nuys. During the seminar I shared what I had been working on for the past few months. During the seminar I focused on teaching how to control the Kimura, how to attack the Kimura from side control, the rolling kimura from 1/2 guard, the Kimura Trap, and how to link the Kimura to my head and arm series.

Kimura Seminar FlyerA majority of the feedback was super positive and since the seminar a few people have hit me up about taking private lessons to learn more. I am already working on an outline for a follow up seminar. I had a lot of fun hyping this seminar and created a few goofy flyers.  My personal favorite was the Brock Lesnar flyer.

#2 Become a Destroyer of Guards

These past few months I spent a lot of time looking at passing the open guard. Passing the open guard can be frustrating…especially against smaller and faster partners. While I haven’t really learned any techniques for passing, I did start to play with different guard passing concepts. I’m still working on learning these concepts so I can’t really go into detail right now, but one concept that has worked well is shifting my weight as I pass. I want to continue to explore this concept further for the next few months.

# 2.a Start Using Leg Locks Again


The group that attended my last leg lock seminar. 

In the beginning of 2016 I knew I needed to make a change. I found myself only going for leg locks and not really trying to expand my game. In the past I have talked about the importance of subtraction innovation and how I took away my leg lock game in order to develop other aspects of my game. This upcoming month we will be focusing on leg locks during Coach Alder’s class. This seems like a good time to brush the dust off my old game and go back to using leg locks. For the next 1-2 months I am going to focus on using my leg lock game to not only attack but also to transition.

#3 I Want to Write at Least Three More Blog Posts Before My Next Check In

This one is pretty self explanatory. Before my next check in October I want to write at least three more blog posts. I’m not sure yet what I’ll write about but by setting the goal here I feel like I have to follow through with it!

Deep Work and Jiu Jitsu


A six hour plane ride was a great time to read a book about working without distractions.

I recently finished reading Cal Newport’s new book Deep Work. In the book Newport argues that to truly be successful in today’s economy people need to have the ability to focus intensely and without distraction. As I read this book I started to think about how the concept of deep work applies to Jiu Jitsu. While jiu jitsu can not be done without distraction, there are ways that applying the concept of deep work to your training habits can affect your progress in jiu jitsu. Below are some ways that Jiu Jitsu players can apply the concept of deep work.

Pick One Thing and Learn Everything About It

On my journey to my brown belt I found that I made my biggest leaps in technique when I focused on one position or submission. In other words I didn’t get distracted by other positions or submissions during my deep work time. Over the past few posts I have talked a lot about my deep dive into learning the Kimura. By diving deeply into the Kimura I have had the opportunity to see the small details of the move that are a difference maker at the higher levels of Jiu jitsu.


A recent 10th Planet Van Nuys seminar I gave about the Kimura.

By picking one thing and learning everything about it you are eliminating distractions by focusing your attention. Chances are that if you choose to focus on the Kimura you will be looking for Kimuras when you roll. You will also be faced with counters and defenses to the Kimura that you will be forced to learn how to defeat. While these situations may be frustrating because you don’t think you are progressing, the truth is you are.

Choose to Drill Instead of Rolling


At 10th Planet Van Nuys we have students who roll and drill.

Rolling is fun. I’d assume that a lot of Jiu Jitsu practitioners started Jiu Jitsu because they wanted to roll. I doubt there are a ton of white belts out there who would pick drilling over rolling. It’s fine but if you want to dig deeper into something in Jiu Jitsu you need to be prepared to drill….a lot.

Rolling all the time will not allow you to deeply look at something because of the quick pace and need to make split second decisions. While rolling many of us act based off of instinct instead of thought. By slowing down the process and deliberately focusing on one thing we give ourselves the time needed to dig deeper and become experts on the thing we are looking at.

Ask Questions


10th Planet Van Nuys students Pasha and Ridge asking Coach Alder questions about Jiu Jitsu.

I read a lot of books about innovation and creative thinking. A recurring theme that I see across almost all of the books that I am reading is to ask questions. All of the books argue that asking questions can lead to break throughs and push your thinking into new and exciting areas. I would agree. A good question can give you direction and lead you down a path that you may have not other wise taken. The same concept applies to Jiu Jitsu. Below are three reasons why I believe that asking questions will help you progress in Jiu Jitsu.

  • Asking questions can speed up the amount of time it takes to learn something. Chances are there is a higher belt in your gym that has already played around with the same concept you are deeply looking at. By asking questions you are tapping into their knowledge base and quickly learning from their mistakes.
  • Asking questions can lead you to outside of the gym resources. For example when I wanted to learn more about the Kimura I did a simple Google Search  for “What is the best kimura dvd?” By asking this simple questions I was introduced to numerous online resources that I used to speed up my learning.
  • Asking questions can lead to breakthroughs. For many Jiu jitsu players somethings are held in high regard because their coach said so. By asking questions about why something is held in high regard, you can start down the path to truly digging deeply into something and learning why it works. By learning why something works you start to not only understand the move, you also start to become better at applying it.

I would encourage you to take a few weeks and deeply look at a an aspect of your game. I guarantee that it will help you improve not only that specific thing but also your all around method for learning Jiu Jitsu.

2016 Goal Check In – April

Back in January I blogged about my 2016 Jiu jitsu goals. One of my goals was to check in more often. In February I posted about my Kimura Aha moments of the month. This month I wanted to check in on the other goal and share some exciting news.

My second goal of the year was to become a destroyer of guards. This past month at 10th Planet Van Nuys has been dedicated to the Z guard. We learned both attacks from the top and bottom. During the month I had a lot of time to play with different passes. I expanded my Z guard passing game to now include a modified version of the cradle pass that Robert Drysdale taught on his cradle series dvd. Learning different attacks from the bottom has also made me more aware of what I need to do on top to pass. While my Z guard passing still has room to grow, I feel more confident in it than I did at the beginning of the month.

My exciting news for the month is that as of 3/31/16 I can now call myself a brown belt in Jiu Jitsu! A brown belt to me is a representation of all of the sweat, tears, and sore backs that I have sustained in jiu jitsu over the years. This was an especially big honor because my brown belt was the first one handed out at 10th Planet Van Nuys. Knowing that I am setting the standard for brown belts in my gym is mind blowing because a few years ago I was the uncoordinated white belt that everyone beat up.  If it wasn’t for my higher ranked training partners helping me out over the years I would have not kept with jiu jitsu. Part of my 2016 goals now include  giving back. I want to try and find those guys who have been around forever and get them their next belt. I want to try and impart as much of my jiu jitsu knowledge as possible to help them reach the same milestone that I did….ohh and a black belt in a few years would nice.🙂