Posts Tagged ‘knightbjj.com’

Knife defenses, and fighting with a knife in general, are voodoo sciences. It is very difficult to train, with any sense of realism, how to defend against a knife wielding attacker. The reason that Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is such a practical, powerful and useful martial art is due to how realistically the techniques can be applied in training. Striking arts cannot be trained as realistically as grappling arts. Weapons arts have to be trained even less realistically.

I am NOT saying any of this to insinuate that training in weapons or weapons defenses is a waste of time. Just the opposite: we have to exercise extreme discretion in how we train against weapons. Because there are so many variables to a weapon attack that must be estimated in practice, some practitioners tend to take a bit too much license in making up ways to defend and disarm an attacker. I have seen some dangerously ignorant approaches taken in this regard. Many disarms you might see floating around martial arts schools or videos online might feature an “attacker” leaving his weapon hand floating in space while the defender makes an elaborate series of strikes before stripping the knife away.

As I say in the video, statistically (for what that’s worth) most people who will stab you won’t reveal the knife until it is inside you. Don’t watch movies or most martial arts techniques to learn anything about knife attacks, watch prison videos. Survivors of knife fights go to the hospital; losers to the morgue. I do my best to research and pressure test everything I ever show or teach, and knife stuff is the hardest even though I have access to some of the most brilliant minds on the subject in the world.

Without further ado, here is a video of what I feel to be a realistic defense in to a potentially realistic knife attack. I hope you enjoy.

I have tried having the conversation/debate/argument about Sport and Self-Defense for BJJ, and I have arrived at this: It is all good. Train it all. The sport can enhance the self-defense and vice versa.

Oddly, this isn’t always a popular opinion, because the self-defense purists argue that the sport is a corruption of the original intention of the Gracie family martial art. I totally understand this viewpoint, because if I were to call boxing or wrestling or judo a complete martial art, I would be very sorely mistaken. Sport BJJ is just that though – it is a rule-based and structured sport in which many techniques are adapted and applied in a competitive environment in order to determine who can best apply their art in that setting. I don’t know any serious competitors that think what they are doing is a complete representation of the totality of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

However, there are many sport competitors who neither see the need or value of practicing the more martial aspects of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. They are content with training only for sport, and don’t care about the self-defense. This is perfectly OK! If I only want to box, and have no aptitude or interest in grappling or weapons training or whathaveyou, then fine! Let me box. However, if you are like me, you enjoy the entire art and see the value of sport jiu-jitsu in building attributes that enhance your ability to apply all techniques, such as timing, sensitivity, reflexes, athleticism, etc.

So what is the real problem here? It is when one side of the “argument” makes the assumption that the other views their version as the true and only way to train. Competitors thinking the self-defense is impractical or a waste of time are as bad as self-defense practitioners who train in a vacuum and never pressure test their abilities in a competitive environment. Personally, I believe these two myopic groups have the loudest voices (or keyboard strokes) in the debate, which is very unfortunate because it makes it seem as if they are representatives of BJJ…and they are not. These loud voices of opposition and critics of other practitioners should be marginalized and minimized. When we focus too much on the criticism of others, we take the attention off of our own progress.

I will leave you with this quote from Theodore Roosevelt:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

I have a new site up at KnightBJJ.com! Check it out to see technique videos and info, stuff about training and other jiu-jitsu related issues. I hope you like it!

KnightBJJ.com

These are a couple of favorite high percentage finishes off the arm drag. Enjoy!

A technique I have had a lot of success hitting lately.

Triumph

There’s always that question, particularly in Jiu-Jitsu, of whether the belt someone is awarded is legitimate. This question isn’t asked the same way in other arts because the criteria are different and in Jiu-Jitsu there is more of a hang up on who can tap who. Is it all about that? If you get that purple belt, should you be able to tap any blue belt? If you are a brown belt and can tap a black belt, do you automatically deserve your black? Does it depend on size or strength combined with technique? Is there a simpler answer?

Technique conquers all. I believe that. But the technique doesn’t guarantee victory. All things being equal, equal technique and experience, the bigger or stronger or faster opponent will typically come out on top. You shouldn’t be expected to best a 250 pound athlete of a purple belt if you are a 150 pound purple belt. So the performance basis of any martial art, Jiu-Jitsu included has a cap on it.

Furthermore, shouldn’t the “art” aspect be considered? The philosophy. The principles behind the technique and the knowledge you gain are benefits of the study and practice that potentially carry on further than even the techniques themselves. Just as in yoga, self-study or self-reflection is a premise of the journey, Jiu-Jitsu likewise should be approached with concern toward the character development of the practitioner. This hits closer to the heart of the questions posed in the beginning.

Here is what I have surmised as one of the most important considerations in progression in Jiu-Jitsu: it’s not a matter of are you better than anyone else, it is whether you are better than the you the you were. Can you tap the yesterday you? The last week or last month you? Do you have a more refined lens or approach to training than the previous you?

Can Buchecha tap Relson Gracie? I’m gonna say most likely. Maybe not, but I’d put my money on Buchecha. So why not give Buchecha the red belt? Let’s pose a different question. Who can teach the most people a deeper understanding and appreciation of Jiu-jitsu? Who can show someone the most versatile of movements for a multitude of situations to the most diverse individuals with varied levels of physical ability? Now my money goes on Relson.

So again, Jiu-Jitsu wins, because it’s not about just a few criteria. A true professor in my estimation, watches students closely and insightfully, considering many aspects of their ability and character. I understand that there are schools and teachers who only award rank based on performance in fights or tournaments. “You got a gold medal? Here’s your next stripe.” “You got a rear naked in your mma fight? Here’s your brown belt.” Sad to see.

I’d rather put a stripe on the belt of the kid who looked the bully in the eye for the first time in his academic life than on the belt of the kid who was already an athlete in five other sports and is now tearing up all the grappling tournaments. That guy who could barely tie his shoes because he was so overweight and now can roll for half an hour – that’s the guy I admire. Again, I admit, I love watching uber talented athletes do miraculous things on the mat or in the ring, but they are not half of the hero as the woman who stopped the sexual assault that was about to happen to her.

So while you have to be able to perform the techniques with understanding and appropriate proficiency, and you should be able to defend yourself easily with these techniques against your physical equal of an opponent, these are but partial criteria in considering ranking qualifications in Jiu-Jitsu. Personal growth and development, and as Grandmaster Helio said, the triumph of human intelligence over brute strength, these all should be considerations in determining rank.

This isn’t always the case. And these are my opinions. And these are my convictions.

20131025-151524.jpg

Sometimes I want to shout at people, “Do you know how lucky you are?!” This is for several reasons, but as it applies here, about having a place and ability to train.

Not to sound like the curmudgeon old man saying “back in my day…” but really, that’s how I feel sometimes. Having traveled all over the country to train with anyone and everyone I could when first starting BJJ, I cannot imagine what it would have been like to have a huge academy with multiple black belts where Royce Gracie comes to visit! Yet, that is what our students have now at the academy where I and other Jiu-Jitsu brethren teach. Crazy.

But, other days I get it. If you don’t know anything about martial arts, and you hear that there is a black belt on every corner (in Karate or TKD or whathaveyou), you may not see the value. Or you may hear the price tag and think, “but I can join the health club down the road for like $40 a month! Why pay $100 or more for BJJ?” If you teach or even train at an academy that is worth anything at all, you feel my frustration with people for not understanding or appreciating what they have near them. So I will offer some ideas I have heard and come up with on my own over the years to combat ignorance.

First, let me address the price tag. For those who argue that lessons cost too much…compared to what? Seriously? If you haven’t trained, don’t know the benefits, you have no basis of comparison and therefore no grounds on which to argue. Second, look at what you currently spend your money on. If you skip a few fast food trips, cut out the overpriced coffee, get rid of an indulgent unhealthy habit or two, then you will easily come up with the $4 a day it takes to pay for BJJ training. I said $4 a day! Additionally, by cutting out those costly bad habits you doubly improve your health consciousness when you consider that you’ve replaced an unhealthy habit for a healthy lifestyle choice.

Next, the difference between training Jiu-Jitsu and training at McDojo’s Martial Arts Emporium down the road with their 50 black belts. Black belts are not easily acquired in BJJ. You can go into most Karate and Tae Kwon Do schools and sign a contract virtually guaranteeing you a black belt at the end of a length of time. Show up, memorize some forms and terminology, never having to test out your skills in any realistic capacity, you can still get a black belt…when you’re about 12 years old or younger.

I have never taken a test for a single belt or even stripe under Royce Gracie. If he felt like I had improved since last he saw me, he would tell me to put a stripe on my belt. Sometimes this would be a while. I never know when the rank is coming, so I am concerned only with training and improving for the sake of the art and my own benefit. I don’t disagree with those instructors who conduct tests for their students. I even see some value in it. Regardless or testing or not, you are guaranteed that you will have to improve, stay fit and able, and be sure you can make the techniques actually work. This makes Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (particularly Gracie Jiu-Jitsu) one of the most realistic martial arts out there. I would say the most realistic, but I will concede that there are others possibly. The proof, as they say, is in the pudding.

What’s more, you may find those saying they are not very concerned with self-defense, that they stay fit and healthy on their own, and that they have other hobbies. That is all well and good. But, my friend, have you even tried Jiu-Jitsu? For so many, it is a lifestyle that makes you want to move and learn and eat well and live better in every conceivable way! Why not try something that has those potential effects? And you may need to remind these people of the idea that, while there may be no good reason in the world to fight, there is every reason in the world to know how to fight! Oh, you have a gun for self-defense you say? You got it on you right now? At every second of every day? Because that is how often I have my Jiu-Jitsu with me.

BJJ may not be for everyone (I believe everyone can benefit from it however), so I don’t go out proselytizing all over the place. But I do speak my mind and share my knowledge and passion where those seeking more information may find me. I hope the aforementioned ideas might help you convince someone to give training a chance too.

A little while back, Dan Faggella, talented BJJ competitor and instructor, writer and all around nice guy, interviewed me for his site, ScienceofSkill.com. The interview was well delivered and well written. I’m reposting it here for anyone interested. If you want to read some great interviews and hear brilliant insight into the game, check out Dan online!

The interview:
Interview with Royce Gracie Blackbelt, Eli Knight

Eli Knight, Black Belt and 17 Year Veteran under legendary Royce Gracie

Eli Knight is a Black Belt under Royce Gracie and a 17 year veteran in the sport of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Eli also runs the popular BJJ blog “Knight Brazilian Jiu Jitsu”

I managed to snag Eli for an Interview. Eli has an incredible passion for BJJ and a deep, spiritual connection as probably anyone who has been around Royce Gracie for 17 years would. I was very happy to get an interview with him, he’s a great guy and an awesome voice for the BJJ world.

Interview

Me- “Why did you choose to start a BJJ Blog?”

Eli- “My primary reason for blogging is to give my students and other readers insight into more than can be discussed in a class or lesson about jiu-jitsu or martial arts in general.”

Me- “What is your blog about?”

Eli- “My blog is a place I can share personal experience or accumulated knowledge about techniques, history and philosophy of Brazilian jiu-jitsu.”

Eli-”It is also a place where I can write things I try to find resources for online or elsewhere and I have a hard time, such as accredited and respectable sources of information regarding politics and controversy in the community and hopefully voice how silly some of these things are.”

Me- “What do you hope your readers get out of your blog?”

Eli- “I hope that people who read what I post see that jiu-jitsu is more than a martial art, more than a sport, more than a philosophy; although it is all of these, too. Jiu-Jitsu is a lifestyle as well as a vehicle for self-development. Training has expanded my awareness and understanding of the workings of life.”

Eli has a deep place in his heart and soul for jiu jitsu. For him, it is more than a sport. He aims to open and inspire his readers and potentially fill any voids that they are facing in their lives.

Check Out Eli Teaching Omo Plata Sweep to Mono Plata on his Youtube Channel:

Eli- “[Brazilian Jiu Jitsu] is therapy, religion, balance, humility, and sustenance for my spirit. When we train, when we roll, we are communicating on a higher frequency than most ever get to, and at the highest level I believe this becomes communion. So what higher calling is there than to share that with others?”

So happy to have had the chance to catch up with someone who truly loves and promotes the sport of BJJ at such a deep level. Looking forward to catching back with with Eli.

Be sure to check out Eli on the Interweb.
Footlocks for days,
-Coach Daniel Faggella

Thanks again to Dan for the awesome interview. Make sure you check him out online – we need more voice of positive influence and perspective in the BJJ community!

That’s what we want, right? I know that when I started taking Tae Kwon Do when I was a teenager, I wanted to be able to do flying, twisting, tornado dragon kicks like I saw in the movies. No one wants to wait and spend the required necessary time establishing a base and developing coordination and the bodily awareness it takes to pull off amazing athletic endeavors. We have to be patient. And maybe sometime amid that trial of patience, we lose interest before we achieve our goals and we quit. Most people quit. More quit than stick with it.

You start certain martial arts and you have to spend so much time learning the mechanics of standing, blocking, punching, kicking, etc. before you ever learn an application that can be considered even remotely practical or useful. Many martial arts, traditionally speaking, seem to me to have similar problems as the modern education system in that you learn for the test and not for real-world application. Jiu-Jitsu on the other hand, was such a refreshing change of pace for me when I came to it. I learned immediately the most efficient, practical means of common scenarios one might encounter in a real fight. Of course, even these techniques, simple as they are, still require repetition and training. However, the application was apparent and the gratification of feeling like I did something was much more immediate.

I don’t discount the virtue of learning proper alignment and misalignment, base, structural principles and body awareness training on their own. Actually, I think these are the most important benefits that the majority of us can attain from studying any martial art or physical work. I only write this to expound on how beautiful it is that Jiu-Jitsu practice builds these attributes in you as you practice the techniques, rather than having to establish them as a prerequisite to training. The principle work is built beneath the surface of the movements, and it reveals itself along the journey. It is like walking into an art class and either being told to master one paint stroke before you are allowed to paint a picture versus being given a canvas and being shown how to paint a complete composition, then discovering afterward how you learned to improve your strokes along the way.

It’s foolish to expect instant gratification from something as complex as martial arts, especially considering that much of martial arts training is learning how to move in ways that are oftentimes counterintuitive or counter instinctive. But from what I have experienced, Jiu-Jitsu offers a more easily digestible process of development. In our fast-food, I-want-it-yesterday, instant gratification culture, it is nice to come across something like Jiu-Jitsu. The most gratifying thing in the world is not just getting immediate results, but also learning that those results carried with them layers of further-reaching results that continue on for the rest of your life in every aspect.