Gi vs No-Gi… Do You Need Both?

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At Arashi-Do St. Albert we have several classes in the gi during the week, both mixed and ladies only. Fridays we do submission wrestling in the evening with no gi. One of the more common questions I get from perspective members is what the difference is between gi and no-gi (besides the obvious) and why one might choose one or the other.

  1. Self-Defense – Jiu-Jitsu has grown in leaps and bounds in recent years as a sport, but at its core it is a real world self-defense martial art forged in street fighting and vale tudo first and foremost. This was the first and most important reason for training both with and without the gi. Since we generally not choose the time, place and opponent for a self-defense situation, we never know what kind of clothes they’ll be wearing or if the clothes they may be wearing are strong and durable enough to be used the way a gi might be. Gi’s are essentially designed to simulate normal clothing but also be durable enough to withstand day to day training where normal clothes may survive being used to throw or choke once or twice in a single fight. If your self defense is based purely on being able to grab clothing, you’ll be at a disadvantage against a person wearing light or no clothing so no-gi experience and techniques will be needed.
  2. Sport – When both opponents are wearing a gi, there is a great deal of added friction between them as well as a great deal of different reliable grips available. This generally makes it easier to pin an opponent in a position as well as set up submissions, and as a result it’s much more difficult to simply explode out of something. This sharpens up the defenses and escapes and requires them to be technical. On the flip side, the lack of friction in no-gi makes it much easier to escape so your attacks need to be much tighter and better set up. People who do both will typically have more well-rounded games as a result.
  3. Fitness – The friction and grips of the gi serve another purpose as well – to slow the game down. This means that both fighters will typically spend longer in a given position than they would in no-gi, so you must develop the strength and muscular endurance to maintain your frames, holds and grips. No-gi on the other hand is much faster paced, so it will demand a higher level of explosiveness and aerobic fitness. Training in both will yield the best results for overall jiu-jitsu conditioning.

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Some Helpful Tips for New Years Resolutions

It’s that time of year again! On and around January 1st, many peoples’ thoughts will turn to what kind of 2018 they want to have and what positive choices they can make in order to improve their chances. In his article, “The Psychology of New Years’ Resolutions”, Professor of Behavioral Addiction Mark Griffiths lays out the following helpful tips:

Be realistic. You need to begin by making resolutions that you can keep and that are practical. If you want to reduce your alcohol intake because you tend to drink alcohol every day, don’t immediately go teetotal. Try to cut out alcohol every other day or have a drink once every three days. Also, breaking up the longer-term goal into more manageable short-term goals can be beneficial and more rewarding. The same principle can be applied to exercise or eating more healthily.

Do one thing at a time. One of the easiest routes to failure is to have too many resolutions. If you want to be fitter and healthier, do just one thing at a time. Give up drinking. Give up smoking. Join a gym. Eat more healthily. But don’t do them all at once, just choose one and do your best to stick to it. Once you have got one thing under your control, you can begin a second resolution.

Be SMART. Anyone working in a job that includes setting goals will know that goals should be SMART, that is, specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-bound. Resolutions shouldn’t be any different. Cutting down alcohol drinking is an admirable goal, but it’s not SMART. Drinking no more than two units of alcohol every other day for one month is a SMART resolution. Connecting the resolution to a specific goal can also be motivating, for example, dropping a dress size or losing two inches off your waistline in time for the next summer holiday.

Tell someone your resolution. Letting family and friends know that you have a New Year’s resolution that you really want to keep will act as both a safety barrier and a face-saver. If you really want to cut down smoking or drinking, real friends won’t put temptation in your way and can help monitor your behaviour. Don’t be afraid to ask for help and support from those around you.

Change your behaviour with others. Trying to change habits on your own can be difficult. For instance, if you and your partner both smoke, drink and eat unhealthily, it is really hard for one partner to change their behaviour if the other is still engaged in the same old bad habits. By having the same resolution, such as going on a diet, the chances of success will improve.

The full article can be found at https://theconversation.com/the-psychology-of-new-years-resolutions-51847 .

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Is getting in great shape, or learning a martial art your resolution this year? Come and check out our Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu programs in St. Albert for ages 5 and up! E-mail us at tlarone@arashido.com or give us a call at 780-217-0059 for more information.

The Benefits of Competition for Kids

Competition has been an integral part of Jiu-Jitsu since the beginning, and whether you compete in Gi, No-Gi, MMA or any other form it is the foundation on which the scientific process of Jiu-Jitsu is built. When it comes to kids’ classes, I’ve always thought of it also as a way for them to prepare emotionally and psychologically for self-defense and other aspects of their lives. You can train hard in the dojo day in, day out, learn the techniques and become a better athlete, but in the place you know surrounded by your friends, teammates and family you’re always going to be somewhat comfortable. At a tournament, competing against other people you may not know in an unfamiliar environment can be overwhelming. You’re more tense and less efficient than normal because of the adrenaline, you’re nervous because of the unknown opponents and their capabilities, and you don’t want to lose. You may even be afraid, and feel as though you don’t remember anything. Despite all of that, you step on the mats and fight nonetheless. This is exactly the kind of cocktail of emotional and physical symptoms that occur in a real-world self-defense situation, and tournaments offer a safe (and fun!) way to practice your ability to perform better in that state.

Inevitably, tournaments will also provide opportunities to deal with the concept of winning and losing. All sports do this to some extent, of course, but there’s something a bit more primal, and more visceral about winning or losing in martial arts. The thing is, jiu-jitsu is so infinitely variable that it’s pretty much impossible to go undefeated for long. Not only do I not personally know any undefeated jiu-jitsu fighters, I don’t even know OF any. The first few tournaments a kid does can be an emotional struggle one way or the other, but over time they begin to be able to approach their wins and losses more objectively, extracting lessons from them about what needs to be worked on to push to the next level. This is an essential skill for long-term success not only in jiu-jitsu but life in general. In relationships, business, financial and family matters, being able to view successes and failures as potential lessons and opportunities to grow is a great lesson for a child, and jiu-jitsu makes an excellent teacher.

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“King of the Mat” Drilling – The What and Why

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Deighton proudly showing off his “King of the Mat” belt along with fellow contender and brother Nixon

Many different drills and training methods go into a well-rounded education in Jiu-Jitsu, and one of the most common and productive methods is the “King of the Mat” drill. At Arashi-Do St. Albert we use the format quite often, sometimes even officially for the chance to win the championship belt for the day and take some pictures with it.

The basic idea is to take an objective that is relevant to what the class has been working on. If the last few lessons have been on bear hug escapes, the objective may be to escape a fully locked in bear hug. If a tournament is coming up, the objective may be escaping mount, getting a particular takedown or something else the class in general has been struggling with. The class is then split up into groups and take turns trying to complete the objective. In the example of the bear hug, one student bear hugs the other and if they manage to hold on for ten seconds they win but if the other escapes, they win. Each time, the winner stays in the middle as acting King, and tries to stay in as long as they can.

This drill works well for a few reasons:

  1. The matches tend to be short, but high intensity. If two students know they’re going to be doing something for a while then they will pace themselves but if they know they have less than a minute to make something happen they’ll really go for it.
  2. There are always going to be differences in ability and size in any given class, but every student has different skills that they’re particularly good at. Since King of the Mat usually sets very tight objectives and those objectives are different each time, all students get their chance to shine when it comes around to their specialty.
  3. The process is self-regulating for all abilities. If there are multiple kings on the mat that are rotating through opponents, the student that is more athletic or more highly skilled will remain in the middle having to fight fresh opponents every minute until they lose, so everyone tends to get the workout that’s right for them by the end of the class.

King of the Mat can be a tough drill both physically and psychologically, but it’s also a lot of fun and is an excellent way to make great improvements on a particular technique in a short period of time. Don’t be afraid to take chances and lose in class, at the end of the day everyone is on the same team, and training partners that push you to be better are one of the greatest gifts you can have on the mats.

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Give us a call at 780-217-0059 or send us an e-mail at tlarone@arashido.com for more information on joining our team and see the life-changing benefits of training in jiu-jitsu for yourself!

Great Day at Spar Wars for ADMA St. Albert!!!

This weekend was Arashi-Do Martial Arts’ in-house tournament ‘Spar Wars’. In-house tournaments are usually humble affairs, but not when your organization spans 17 dojos in 11 cities! There were a ton of kids, all the divisions were packed with talent and very competitive, and while St. Albert is the newest member of the Arashi-Do family we could not be prouder of both our competitor turnout and their efforts. We brought a team of six mini monkeys and three juniors, and took home nine medals including six golds! Honorable mention as well to Pablo, who divides his time between St. Albert and the south location and took home some nice hardware himself. Even the students who didn’t come out with the results they were hoping for demonstrated great technique and fought their hearts out right to the bell. No one stays undefeated in Jiu-Jitsu and at the end of the day it is these qualities that determine long term success, not any one particular medal or tournament. Check out some of the pictures from the tournament here, and look for more to come on the Arashi-Do St. Albert Facebook page. In-house events like these are a great place to gain experience for those looking to compete in major tournaments like Mind Body Soul, and also provide opportunities to connect with our amazing community within the Arashi-Do network. We can’t wait to come back next time with an even bigger team!

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Give us a call at 780-217-0059 or send us an e-mail at tlarone@arashido.com for more information on joining our team and see the life-changing benefits of training in jiu-jitsu for yourself!

Arashi-Do Behring Symposium Oct 2017

Our school represented well at a whirlwind of a grading this weekend with the head of our organization, 8th degree black belt Mestre Sylvio Behring! It began with the instructor symposium, where Professor Tyson was awarded the first degree on his black belt, which represents four years of dedication and hard work on the mats since he first received his black belt in 2013.

Then came the Juniors grading, where nine of our Junior BJJ students showed their skills for Mestre Behring and earned their Gray/White belts.

Finally, Mike and Stephanie did a fantastic job in the adult grading, earning their first stripes and taking the first big step toward blue belt!

In and amongst the gradings were also several packed seminars in which Mestre Behring’s immense knowledge was on full display for us, as it is every April and October. It truly can’t be overstated how special these events are and we can’t wait for the next one when we’ll be bringing an even bigger group. OSS!

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Give us a call at 780-217-0059 or send us an e-mail at tlarone@arashido.com for more information on joining our team and see the life-changing benefits of training in jiu-jitsu for yourself!

The Benefit of Womens Classes in BJJ

I’ve gotten a lot of questions about this recently so I thought I’d write a quick article about the difference between a standard mixed class and the womens class from my perspective.

There’s a myth out there that the reason for womens’ classes are that different techniques are taught to men and women. This is a pretty widespread one and I think it has a lot to do with the idea of using strength and speed in BJJ versus technique. It may seem obvious to some but the fact is that even if you are fast and strong, it’s still important to be as efficient as possible. There’s always someone faster and stronger out there. Different techniques may be more or less useful depending on whether you are tall, short, light, heavy, flexible etc. but those differences exist in men just as they do in women. If as an instructor I feel that a certain technique is the best answer for a certain situation, I’ll teach it to everyone. If for some biomechanical reason it doesn’t work as well for someone, male or female, I’ll adapt the technique or teach them a different one.

Now in my experience, the big difference in womens classes is the natural direction that the class takes. Once you’ve been teaching for a while you start to realize that if you plan an hour of material for an hour of class time you’re not going to get through it all. Depending on what questions are asked, what difficulties people have or perhaps what they pick up faster than you thought, the class tends to unfold in a different way every time. That’s why more experienced instructors will tend to have a general concept for the class with a few techniques they want to cover for sure and then see where the flow of the class goes.

For self defense especially, women do tend to face different dangers and challenges than men do so even if the techniques are the same, the context of a different situation changes how I teach them. These questions about different cases may not get asked in a mixed setting or if they do there may not be as much time spent on them as in the womens’ classes. For example, I teach the same grip breaks to everyone but in one womens class we discussed the topic in detail of being pulled somewhere and having to make a decision of whether to stay connected and buy time or to break the grip right away if a quick escape to a crowded area in the other direction is possible.

Both classes cover both self defense and sport, but many women, experienced or not have found benefits in coming to both mixed and womens only classes to round out their knowledge.

 

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