What a black belt used to mean, matters less, far less, than what you make your black belt –or your quest to earn your black belt –mean today.

(Some of) The Rules:

  1. There’s no hurry. A black belt earned as fast as you can earn it isn’t something to brag about, it’s a statement of impatience, of confusion about the potential of the training to deeply and permanently empower you and those around you. Your black belt isn’t fast food, it’s the slow food movement, where the process of finding, preparing, and savoring your food, enjoying the company you’re eating it with, and paying close attention to the details, the celebration of living it, is far more important than hurrying through it all. Join the slow belt movement.
  2. Being a “great martial artist” is nearly, if not completely, a monumental waste of your time. Being a martial artist is a very small slice of the pie of your potential; it is easy to be a great martial artist and/or to be a “master” of the martial arts, look how many of of them there are. The challenge isn’t to be a great martial artist, the hardest work is to be a connected, compassionate, engaged, forgiving, participative human being. You learn the martial arts so that you may take what you practice so diligently on the mats –and then apply it to things that genuinely matter in the world.
  3. The higher your rank, the greater your responsibility to lead –and to follow; to both respect tradition and to innovate, to hold onto and to let go of. The higher your rank, the more connected you should be; a peace-maker, a change-maker, a creator, a supporter, a fountain of enthusiasm and patience and drive. The higher your rank, the more you should feel the value, the deep spiritual value, of being engaged with others, with seeking out and solving problems, with joining forces to do, with many, what might never be done alone. The higher your rank the more you respect the novice, the process, the conflict, the hardships, and the simple pleasure of stepping on the mat, working on yourself, helping those around you, and finding meaning in the effort.


Because we haven’t put ourselves through all of this training, all these hours on the mat, talked all this talk about “the journey” and being “warriors” and about our “philosophy,” to be self-absorbed, superficial, disconnected, ego-maniacs. Because we haven’t done all of this training not to have it ground us, to have it really mean something more than just our ability to fight or perform handsome routines or make money in our schools. Because we have to be smart enough to look beyond the reward, the name of our style, our political affiliations, our desires to line our own nests, our petty conflicts, and our need to look and feel important and valuable. We haven’t done all of this training, dedicated all of this time, and put in all this practice to be any less than we’re capable of –and we’re capable of a lot, despite the fact that we so rarely see people take their practice to that place.

- Tom Callos

5 Ways to Counter & Defend the Berimbolo

berimbolo defense

Don’t escape the berimbolo, accept the berimbolo, be one with the berimbolo.

Let’s keep this concise.  Whether you like the inverted game, 50/50 positions, double guard pulling, or berimbolos, you can’t just turn your head away, plug your ears, and scream, “lalalalalalalalalalala” and hope these strategies go away.

They won’t.

I wouldn’t hold my breath.  Because, more than likely, someone is eventually going to use them against you to sweep you off your feet and take your breath away.  Pun intended.  So, in the spirit of keeping things concise.

If you don’t personally want to employ these tactics, then simply abstain.

But, do yourself the service of at least understanding how they work and having some go to rebuttal techniques and strategies, so that when these punk ass inverted dudes try them you can win the transition and laugh in their face.  Then you can tell them how Royce Gracie would never berimbolo, “cuz he keep it real yo.”  Furthermore, you can go back to rubber guarding them to their death or using the good old patented gracie jiu-jitsu techniques that pass the Helio filter.

I kid.

5 Ways to Defend and Counter Berimbolo Attacks

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Once you’ve wrestled, everything else in life is easy.

- Dan Gable

Wartape Promotional Giveaway Social Media Contest

war tape athletic tape

Keep Your Hands Healthy!

This contest is over. If you would like to participate in future contests, join the email newsletter.

Wartape Social Media Contest Giveaway

Hey guys, let’s make this concise.  Because, as beautiful as my words are, you are here for one thing and one thing only: to get your hands on some great athletic tape for your bjj fingers.  I have teamed up with Wartape to create a social media contest to create some buzz in the bjj community for one of their products before the launch of their new beautiful website.  Specifically speaking, we want to create some buzz about their half inch tape product.

The tape is GREAT for your fingers.  My instructor uses it every day twice a day and he says it’s the only thing keeping his hands healthy.  Lots of years of spider guard can wreck havoc  on those finger joints!

However, rather than selling you on why this product is great.  We want to get the tape in and around your fingers so you can be the judge.

We will be giving away twenty-four rolls to twelve lucky winners.  You may enter more than once, AND you can enter on more than one social network (if you’d like).

You can enter via Facebook, Instagram, and/or Twitter.

Check out the details below and make sure to read the entire post…

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Liars Producing Fake Hemp Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Gis

Hemp BJJ gis 101: Hemp basics.

Chris Odell owner of Datsusara goes over some basics of hemp to try to educate consumers about the industry and the textile itself.

What is Hemp?

It is an industrial version of cannibus that has less than one percent THC (the active chemical compound that is responsible for the hallucinogenic side effects  of smoking marijuana).  However, some countries are diluting the textile definition of hemp such as Pakistan where they have something they call a “hemp weave” which is actually 80% cotton and only 20% polyester.  They might not be intentionally diluting the term, but, regardless, it adds to the confusion of what hemp textiles really are.

Functional Benefits of a Hemp Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Gi

  • Hemp jiu-jitsu gis are environmentally friendly.
  • Hemp jiu-jitsu gis are stronger than cotton (between 2 – 8x stronger).
  • Hemp jiu-jitsu gis are breathable.
  • Hemp jiu-jitsu gis naturally wicks moisture away.
  • Hemp jiu-jitsu gis keep you cooler compared to cotton gis.
  • Hemp jiu-jitsu gis are naturally anti-bacterial (goodbye: ring worm, staph, & mold)
  • Hemp jiu-jitsu gis generally keep a fresher smell throughout its life cycle. (Click here if you have smelly gi)Continue Reading
competition anxiety

Almost everyone I know has experienced competition anxiety in one form or another.

Dealing with Competition Anxiety

For myself, most of my training partners, and most people I’ve encountered online, the competition jitters is a phenomena that can greatly impact performance.  In fact, I’ll let you guys in on a little secret that few people know.  I competed for the first time ever as a fresh blue belt.  I was so nervous before my first match that I could not breathe well, my heart rate was through the roof, and I went to great lengths to avoid talking to people.  All of this was happening even HOURS before my first match.


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