Been a while! I’m thinking of changing the format for this into shorter “thought posts,” hopefully to be published every week or so. Feel free to give feedback in the comments!
Promotion is a curious word. I wonder if it was a conscious choice to use the word in regards to going up in the ranks.
A quick Google search gives two definitions. The second definition is the raising to a higher position, but it’s the first definition that makes me curious.
Google definitions “promotion”
BJJ is a community, and I’ve always been of the mindset that you can’t roll alone. So if we take this first definition of “promotion,” it’s not just for the sake of the person being promoted – it’s also for the sake of others not getting promoted (giving them encouragement and goals), for the community within the school (to bring people together in recognizing each other’s efforts), and the community outside the school as well (giving others a glimpse into life within the school and even encourage others to join).
Regardless of whether or not “promotion” was a conscious or unconscious choice of words, I think its continued use speaks volumes about the intricacies of the art…
Buying Your First BJJ Gi
So you want to start BJJ. Or maybe you’ve already been training no-gi grappling and you want to start practicing in the gi.
You do a simple Google search and suddenly realize, holy crap, there are a ton of gis to choose from. Single weave, pearl weave, honey-comb — Are we buying bedsheets? Cereal?! — not to mention the prices.
With some gis clocking it at an insane $500, all sorts of doubts start to crop up. “Is it really worth it to buy a gi? What if I decide I only want to practice gi once a week? What if I decide BJJ isn’t for me altogether?” After all, you don’t want to invest a couple hundred bucks on a pile of useless fabric.
There are a ton of instructional videos you can find online, but I wanted to share the 3 channels that I regularly turn to when I have a problem. As a small BJJ player, there are some things that simply don’t work when you’re up against a larger opponent. So here are 3 channels that can help you change that:
How to Defeat the Bigger, Stronger Opponent
Stephen Kesting at Grapplearts has an amazing amount of videos that are not only amusing (Zombies + BJJ?!) but also extremely informative (what-aplata?). But it was his series with Emily Kwok, “How to Defeat the Bigger, Stronger Opponent,” that really started to change how I approached BJJ. They also offer free excerpts from the DVD series on Youtube such as the one below.
I have to admit, at first I thought ConnectionRio was gonna be full of promo vids for training in Brazil, but after I started looking through their instructional videos, I started watching those promo vids too. What I really like about their instructionals is that they’re short and to the point, and repeat the technique many times at the beginning from several different angles, which is perfect for when you’ve already watched the video and just want to refresh your memory. The triangle tweak below is one of my favorites:
So technically neither BJJ Scout nor ConnectionRio above are centered around small BJJ practitioners, but you simply cannot ignore BJJ Scout’s breakdowns — even Sara McMann acknowledged BJJ Scout’s analyses (part 1, part 2) prior to her fight with Ronda Rousey in this article. Watching BJJ Scout’s videos has been a complete game changer for me. I challenge you to watch their videos and not learn something new. Their latest video on “funk rolling” below.
BJJ Hacks produces beautiful videos that go into the minds of some of the most renowned BJJ practitioners — BJJ videos made by BJJ lovers, for BJJ lovers.
Jiu Jitsu Priest houses a ton of videos from competitions around the world, focusing mostly on Japan and Asia. There are also highlights videos that provide commentary on some of the best fights from that particular competition cycle though you have to know Japanese to fully appreciate them.
Post your favorite channels/videos in the comments!