Posts Tagged ‘Living Jiu-Jitsu’

Check out this technique that has gotten me out of many a difficult knee-on-belly situation. I hope you like it.

Flow-and-Style-Workshop

 

Sunday, June 1st, 2014 the workshop that I have been wanting to do for years is finally coming to fruition. I can’t guarantee that your jiu-jitsu will rise to another level, but what I am sharing is the collection of what I consider to be the drills, insights and advice that has had the most impact in my jiu-jitsu life. Whether you are just starting out in the art or are a seasoned practitioner, the information in this workshop will benefit you, help you thrive or just get that plateau you might be on.

Date: Sunday, June 1st, 2014
Time: 1:00 – 3:00pm
Cost: $45
Instructor: Eli Knight

Register: Call: 270.519.3160 | Email: eliknight173@gmail.com | Come by Three Rivers Martial Arts Academy

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Many refer to Jiu-Jitsu training as therapeutic. The therapy comes from enjoying the moment by being completely involved on the mat. We live in a culture that conditions us to multitasking, pulling our minds in a million directions at once. It is wonderful then to have a place and time that forces you to be completely present in the moment as Jiu-Jitsu does.

Once you get into the roll, you exist outside of your hectic life, focused and immersed into the task at hand. You realize, in that special moment, that nothing exists before or after, and therefore worries and regrets do you no good whatsoever. This is Zen. This is living Jiu-Jitsu.

And as much as it is wonderful to share epiphanies and explain metaphors for life from Jiu-Jitsu, there is no substitute for sweat. The purest benefit comes from the rolling. Drilling, repetition, detail work, instruction are all necessary to training and improving, but the true philosophy of Jiu-Jitsu comes from the mat time, the rolling. That’s where the therapy and wisdom come from.

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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.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the concept of “Never Leave The Mat.” I say concept because even though my mind has been on this, the phrase didn’t come to fruition until I saw this video recently (come back and read after watching or watch it after reading)

And then it clicked. This is what I’ve been trying to put into words. I’ve touched on it and caught many multifaceted glimpses into the nature of this statement, but that phrase sums it up nicely. Just as Mr. Jepsen embodies this ideal of “never leaving the playground” so have I been proselytizing the notion of never leaving the mat, just without the expression of it in so many words. Simply put, wherever it is that you go to find yourself, never leave that place…at least not principally. Couple this idea with that of self-exploration within your immediate sphere of influence.

This is maybe the inverse of that idea of “Leave It All On The Mat” which is a concept I’m sure you’re familiar with if you have been training jiu-jitsu for any length of time. Typically that idea refers to the notion of putting everything you’ve got into the effort you expend during training, exhausting yourself as if your jiu-jitsu game grows like a fatigued muscle after a hard weightlifting session. Rather, the idea of “Never Leave The Mat” refers to taking the benefit and revelation and the epiphanous moments you experience in that sacred space, performing that sacred activity, with you along the journeys of everyday life.

This is also different than just saying “find your happy place.” My happiest place is with my daughter. However, I have a certain particular role or set of roles that I have to play when I’m with my daughter that may or may not be the best for the rest of my life. But jiu-jitsu to me brings about a clarity and focus and pervasive calmness that translates into other areas of my life including the type of father that I am. My daughter should benefit from my training jiu-jitsu because training makes me patient, compassionate, energized and happy.

I see so many people who train various styles (and depending on where I could even include jiu-jitsu when trained poorly) who walk around with hostility and anger, because they only want to fight or win. Why train if you’re not better for doing so? Or if you’re only finding that sensation of clarity and purpose and beauty when you are on the mat and you’re not able to recreate that off the mat then keep at it. Remember it. Recollect it. Train until you can reach that satori moment, and then train until you can’t forget it.

The idea of Living Jiu-Jitsu pertains mostly to the idea of an organic, ever-evolving, always applicable concept by which we as individuals can grow and benefit.

Helio Gracie modified traditional jiu-jitsu, but more importantly he made it modifiable. Recognizing his physical shortcomings, he changed athletic aspects of the movements, making it something he could do regardless of his limitations. This drawing back to the core essence of the movements and technical properties of jiu-jitsu unearthed defunct brilliance that launched a revolution of martial arts and human movement.

This is what I mean by Living Jiu-Jitsu: this magical, alchemical process of human refinement that people of all backgrounds and abilities can apply to their lives. A true martial artist strives for perfection of the technique, not simply for desire for improved fighting ability, but because of his or her recognition that these techniques translate into all aspects of life. Jiu-Jitsu focuses on efficiency, and the true jiu-jitsu practitioner aims to apply means of technical efficiency to all of life, not so that life will be easier, but that the artist’s life might achieve more discovery and mastery over the beauty and virtue at the heart of a life well-lived.

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