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!

Fight Classics: Marcelo Garcia vs Kron Gracie (ADCC 2009)

In classes at the St. Albert Dojo, Professor Tyson can often be heard speaking about “splitting the focus”. This is a common concept in martial arts, but is especially important in Jiu-Jitsu. In any roll or tournament match, you must consistently try to improve your position, submit or otherwise threaten their opponent from every position. The reason is that if you and your opponent are easily matched and they are trying to pass your guard, they will likely be successful if they can dedicate 100% of their energy and focus to that task. If you threaten with a sweep or submission, they will be forced to split their focus between passing your guard and defending themselves, doing neither to the best of their ability. The idea be applied to any situation, offensive or defensive. At the elite level, this match between Marcelo Garcia and Kron Gracie is perhaps one of the best examples of this concept in action. Even though Marcelo spends the majority of the fight in the bottom position, Kron never gets a chance to fully apply himself to a pass or submission attempt because Marcelo doesn’t give him an inch of breathing room. There is never a time in the course of the 14-minute match where he isn’t working a sweep, takedown, pass or submission. Kron displays excellent base, posture and threatens with attacks of his own, and ultimately the match ends in a spectacular submission. Watch and see for yourself, and see you in class tomorrow!

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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!

Why BJJ for Women is So Important

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“Woman must not depend upon the protection of man, but must be taught to protect herself.” – Susan B. Anthony

I started training in martial arts about fifteen years ago, and right from the beginning self-defense has been a priority for me. Not only is it comforting to know that I can defend myself and my family if necessary, the training is also fun and interesting to me. That said, I know that odds are on my side that I’m not going to have to use it. According to Statistics Canada, in all reported cases of violent crime against men, 84% of attackers were acquaintances of the victim and nearly all were involved in some form of criminal relationship or activity. There are still many benefits for men to train their self-defense, and it’s not that random attacks are completely unheard of. The world can absolutely be a dangerous place but the average law-abiding man, it would seem, doesn’t have as much to worry about if they don’t go looking for trouble.

The statistics of violence against women tell a different, darker story. In the majority of cases of violence against women the attackers were not strangers or acquaintances known from criminal activity, but family members or intimate partners – current and former. One study found that half of Canadian women had experienced physical or sexual violence since the age of 16, and 67% of Canadians said they personally knew at least one woman who had been a victim of violence. These statistics cover extreme examples, but they don’t even touch on the countless everyday encounters that aren’t ‘attacks’ per-say but violate personal space or comfort in public. Faced with these truths, self-defense training becomes much less hypothetical.

Not only am I a strong believer in self-defense training for women in general, but particularly in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, a martial art that not only provides tools for dealing with a larger, stronger attacker but also provides options for control, de-escalation and scaling. Very few martial arts have been tested in as many real-life situations across all walks of life, and keep things simple to maximize training time. At Arashi-Do Martial Arts, we follow the teachings of Mestre Sylvio Behring, an 8th degree black belt and one of the world’s foremost experts on self-defense. While we also love the sport of Jiu-Jitsu, self-defense is and will always continue to be a mainstay in our classes. Try 30 days of classes free with no obligation, and see for yourself what kind of impact Jiu-Jitsu can have on your life.

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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.

Great Read for All BJJ Students – 3 Tips for Smoother Sailing on Your Way to Black Belt

A black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a long, difficult journey. It can be incredibly joyous and rewarding as well as infuriating at times, and progress is rarely a straight line. In this article Professor Tyson wrote for http://www.agatsuapparel.com, he outlines 3 things you can do to make things a little easier on yourself. Check it out!

3 Tips for Smoother Sailing on Your Way to Black Belt

http://agatsuapparel.com/blogs/news/3-tips-for-smoother-sailing-on-your-way-to-black-belt

 

3 Exercises for Hip Mobility and Health

Training in BJJ week in, week out can take a toll on the body in general, but the hips often get the worst of it since they’re at the center of almost every technique we practice. There’s a good reason for that, but we still need to take extra steps to make sure they stay mobile and healthy:

Keep Rollin’… 

Primarily your hip flexibility is determined by how lose a group of muscles known as the IT Band are. The IT Band is notoriously tight, and that can make your hip movements restricted. After each work out or training session, you can use a foam roller (fairly cheap on sites such as amazon) to stretch out and loosen the IT Band. Simply lie on the foam roller, and move down the roller on the outer side of your leg from knee to hip. You should feel the strain and to begin with the first few rolling sessions will be painful. After time the rolling will get easier, and your hips will begin to loosen and you’ll start to feel and notice the benefits.

Just Keep Swinging

Leg swings are also a great way to promote hip flexibility as well as improving control, accuracy and range of your kicking. The exercise is also just as simple and easy to perform as it sounds. Simply swing your legs. Swing to begin with but as you start to feel comfortable instead of swinging, begin to lift, to gain more control over the movement. Swings can be made both to the front and the side. It’s the movement towards the sides that really makes the difference in your hip flexors, so concentrate on this for optimum results.

The Amazing Spiderman

Lastly we’ve got spider-mans. No not that kind of spider-man. This exercise not only helps mobility in the hips, but also works the abs, so is a welcome addition to the normal strength and conditioning circuit. To do the spider-man, take a press up position. From here move your knee to your elbow, mimicking the movement of spider-man climbing a wall. You should move the knee wide of the elbow to make the most out of this exercise. When you feel more confident, try moving your knee to the opposite elbow to work in a twist to the movement. This will work the inside of the hip muscle group as well as the lower two abs, making it a truly awesome conditioning move. Not only will your hip flexibility be improved, but you’ll have a head start if you’re ever bitten by a radioactive spider.

Conditioning of the hips should be done on a regular basis, if you don’t stretch regularly or get slack on the circuits; you’ll find that the hip seizes up incredibly quickly. Work this exercises twice a week and you’ll find you all round game improves dramatically.

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