Tag Archives: rolling reflections

Jiujitsu and trash talk

In basketball, some would argue that the game’s greatest players are also the greatest mouths. Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Gary Payton aside from being hall of famers (at least the first two) are also infamous for getting into their opponents head and beating them with smack talk. The bragging, making fun of your opponents, to some extent humiliation are all considered part of the game. If it is somehow acceptable on the hard wood, I wonder if it has a place on the mats.

The mental aspect is a huge part of the jiujitsu game, just like in basketball. The body may have been trained or program to move without thought, but we can safely say that it takes a toll in our mind just as much in our bodies. As we roll, we continually engage our mind in solving puzzles with our bodies -our limbs acting as the interlocked puzzle pieces. A slip in our focus can be the difference between a pass, a sweep, a lock, a choke, a win or a loss. No wonder, top level BJJ competitors often talked about the mindset they need to have whenever they step on the mats. Trash talking can be used against your opponent’s mind in the same way you use an effective move or technique on his (or her) body. Trash talking at first glance, does not seem to fit with jiujitsu though. Why? The quick answer, Jiujitsu is a martial art where respect should be of utmost importance. Looking at it on another angle, Jiujitsu is a form of self defense, in the streets there are no rules. Your attacker is trying to dominate you physically and mentally, and I’m sure they wouldn’t have any problem taunting you verbally.

In our gym, we do engage in bit of trash talk, there are no written rules, but we sort of follow an unspoken one. We keep it within the techniques I.e. “your guard sucks”, “now that sweep(I just did) was beautiful” -definitely no fat momma jokes. We have fun doing this to each other, I wouldn’t know how others would feel about that. We’re a tight group and basically friends with each other that’s why we get away with such.

I am very torn on this, a part of me sees trash talking as disgusting and just doesn’t seem to belong in our Jiujitsu. Another part of me, thinks just the opposite, that maybe we should train with it, learn to deal with it. While my two personas are arguing on that matter, a third one tries to find the middle ground for both argument. I wouldn’t know how to implement an environment where mind games and trash talk are ok yet at the same time ensures that utmost respect is given to everyone, if possible, that would be perfect.

How would you feel if somebody starts talking to you during your tournament match? Would you feel that such shouldn’t be allowed or something that we should accept and prepare for?



Filed under Brazilian Jiujitsu

Late post. Silver and blue.

I am no longer a mat noob! White belts please start referring to me as sensei. Hahahaha! Just kidding, I just wanted to share my joy for being promoted to blue belt. Sorry for the late post, this happened last december at our team’s last general assembly for the year 2012. I’ve always imagined myself bragging about it immediately but I guess i couldn’t find the words for it. I am actually forcing myself to type this, just get it done with. Please don’t get me wrong though I’m so fucking proud of it. 🙂

Another thing to be proud – I won silver (in other words I lost the final match, but let’s keep it positive) at the ADCC Asia Pacific Trials 2012 held here in the Philippines. Check out the links listed below for my matches.

First ever competition match where I wanted to play on top, this was a big improvement for a guard player like me.

I was hitting that sweep quite a lot weeks prior the comp.


I don’t exactly remember it but somewhere along my BJJ journey, I said to myself that I should start learning something deeper from this art. It is a martial art after all and I’ve heard countless stories of wisdom emerging such scenarios ( it even comes with a long white beard). If there is one thing I can share about my journey so far it would be two simple words: “SHOW UP”.

And that is my white to blue belt lesson. Improving your skills; technique speed, strength, timing are all very important but before all the hoopla you need to show up. Keep showing up, and your cardio improves, keep showing up and your techniques improve, keep showing up and you improve. The first step to every achievement is showing up, be it in the mats, the office or life in general.

Show up!

P.S. I also added two new blogs on my list:

Andrew’s, this guy is a killer in the Philippine Competition scene and a great person on and off the mats.

Omai’s, a lover of mountains and waves, an amazing person starting out her BJJ journey.

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How do you make Jiu-jitsu special?

I finally made it back on the mats after a week of hiatus due to colds, work and various reasons. I could have trained once or twice last week but grappling with your nose dripping isn’t exactly ideal. It felt such a long week. Jiu-jitsu has been keeping me sane, another day off would have killed me.

During training, a teammate asked how long I’ve been training. I quickly replied that I’ve been training as long as him, he then responded “but I spent time off from Jujitsu”. I explained to him that we both went through that phase: training for two months, wouldn’t show up for a half a year, train a month, and then off again for another month. It was cycle of slacking off. He asked one more time, “Why did we ever stop?” Maybe it was rhetoric but I tried to mumble a few words: Basketball games and practices, 5K run, work overtime, just being plain lazy. “Yeah that’s it!” he replied as we moved on to the next drill.

I found a simpler answer today, “I stopped because I did not make Jiu-jitsu feel special”. Replace Jiu-jitsu with a name and that line could probably answer thousands of couple relationship asking the same question “Why did we ever stop?” Mat time was easily replaced with an hour or two of shooting hoops, watching TV and sometimes getting a bigger beer belly. Jiu-jitsu was just another thing, another sport, just another after work activity back then.

“This time I’ll be better”

How do I make feel Jiu-jitsu special? I prioritize. Jiu-jitsu training now goes on top of the “extra curricular” list. I stopped drinking. I decided to minimize competitive (very low standard) basketball and fun run. Don’t get me wrong, cross training is good for me and my grappling game but I make it a point to use it as a complement and never as a substitute.

Keep it special. You won’t go wrong with that.

P.S. I got that “make her feel special” quote after watching this WongFu video 😀


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Filed under Brazilian Jiujitsu