Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Smarter not Harder!

I recently read a post on Facebook from ECU Purple Belt Jeff Schneider:
Sore and it's only Tuesday... I got ran over by some ECU jits last night, time to buckle up and train harder.”

While I’m far from one of the world’s foremost experts on Jiu-Jitsu – I’m a Purple Belt too, I’ve had the privilege of training with some of them. Also, I bring my experiences in fields ranging from auto mechanics to philosophy to law, and beyond.
Somewhere along the line, I was taught the phrase, “Work smarter, not harder.”
I thought that phrase applied beautifully to Jeff’s problem. So I posted:
Jeff, maybe it's time to train SMARTER? I watched you go harder and harder last night and you kept making the same mistakes. Going harder works against lower-level guys, but higher-level ECU guys are able to capitalize on the mistakes, no matter how hard you go.”

“No Easy Rolls” has become the unofficial motto of ECU. Every healthy body trains hard every time they walk into the building. The only to way to advance at ECU is to learn that if you train at an ECU school you have to pay attention to both the mental and physical parts of the game.
I sent a draft of this post to JoJo to find out if I was on the right track. JoJo responded with a great message:
“Strength fades as you get older, but technique will stay with you until you get old! So I say work on your technique and timing, and it will serve you better.”

Hopefully, everyone who reads this will see the wisdom of JoJo’s statement. Rather than kill ourselves trying to train harder and harder, let’s train smarter, and focus on technique and timing.
Thanks again for reading the ECUBJJ and MMA blog. Part II of the Jared Weiner seminar is coming soon, and several ECU competitors will be competing at the Abu Dhabi US Trials so we should have interesting stories from the prestigious competition.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

“Mean, Nasty, and Slow! (Jared Weiner Seminar Part 1)

On Saturday January 15, ECU hosted BJJ United founder Jared Weiner for a seminar. JoJo credits Jared for inspiring him to open ECU. Having trained with Jared in the past, I knew this was a seminar that I couldn’t miss.

I wasn’t disappointed.

We opened with an extremely slick takedown. I could see the its effectiveness immediately – especially for ECU students.

Jared then expounded upon what will happen after the takedown. He explained how to pass the guard after the takedown, and then moving to a submission. As Jared demonstrated each technique in the series, I was ecstatic. Everything he taught seemed ideally suited to my game. Jared's techniques emphasized positioning, pressure, and patience.

After the seminar, I told Jared, how much I enjoyed the seminar, and how well the first portion fit my game so well, especially his motto of mean, nasty and slow.

Jared, just smiled and said, "Mean, nasty, and slow, that way they'll remember you."

Yesterday's seminar was great, and I have a lot more to say about it. In fact, I may even need to bring in a guest writer or two to cover it all.

I want to especially thank JoJo and Jared for putting together such a great afternoon.

As always, thank you for reading the ECU BJJ and MMA blog.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


First and foremost, I’d like to apologize for not posting for a while. A couple of weeks ago, I was on fire and posted six in a two-week span.

Lately, however, I feel that every new post I try to put together has, “something missing”. I know the ideas are solid, but I feel they need a little more time to brew.

To put it simply, I’ve found myself in a rut (Hopefully, I’ll eventually get the other posts written to my satisfaction, and you’ll see many new posts).

While I struggled with that, I realized that writing and Jiu-Jitsu have a lot in common – at least for me. Sometimes writing comes easy. Other times, I hate what I write.

My BJJ game is much the same way. Sometimes everything comes easy – I’ll rip through guards if I’m on top, or easily sweep my opponents if I’m on the bottom. Other times I find myself in a BJJ rut. I’ll go a week or more without even passing any of my opponents’ guards – maybe even getting swept and/or submitted.

I guess the best way to phrase is it, “RUTS HAPPEN”.

When things are going good, it’s easy to write and/or train, but I’ll admit that the easy days are few and far between - at least when it comes to training at ECU. If you show up at an advanced class at ECU, you'd better be prepared for some of the most-intense training on the East Coast. When things get tough, we need to keep going. It’s a fact that because I keep writing/training, I’ve become a better writer, and an ECUBJJ Purple Belt.

I thank everyone for reading. Comments and suggestions are still welcome.

I wish you well.

PS: If anyone reading this still has a chance to attend the Jared Weiner seminar on Saturday January 15, I suggest you sign up now. Size is limited to twenty. I made sure I was one of the first five.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011


Nowadays, we think of a cornerstone as a decorative, or commemorative stone placed somewhere visible on a masonry building. However, that wasn’t always the case. Historically, the cornerstone was the “foundation stone” – the first stone laid, from which all of the other stones would be referenced.

Thinking about how I’d like to grow my game in 2011, I naturally came upon the “building” analogy, and I immediately thought of the most important part of a building – the foundation. Naturally, thinking about the foundation led me to think about cornerstones.

My most important cornerstone has always been consistency. I touched on this subject a few posts ago, and I’ll repeat JoJo’s thoughts about consistency again at the end of the post.


A couple of posts ago, I wrote quite a bit about my friend Peter Simone (Wanderlei Silva Fight Team member, Wand Fight Team children’s BJJ/MMA Instructor, undefeated MMA fighter, BJJ Brown Belt and ECU Brother). If you were bored by that, I’m afraid I’ll have to bore you again.

I remember training with Peter very early in my BJJ career. Peter was watching as I attempted to drill a technique, and failed (remember I was severely over-weight, and this was probably only my second or third attempt at something athletic in the previous six months). After trying several times, I finally said, “I can’t do it.”

In his calm, soften-spoken – yet somehow forceful way, Peter said, “What kind of attitude is that? If you think like that you never will.”

Feeling embarrassed, I amended my statement to, “I can’t do it – YET.”

Peter just nodded, and I kept trying. Eventually, I managed a technique that I thought was well past my abilities.

I hadn’t thought about that particular evening until Peter came back to visit ECU for the holidays. I realized that it was one of the turning points of my BJJ career.

Obviously, if we’re dealing with injuries or physical limitations, we’d all be smart to listen to our bodies/medical professionals, but sometimes (and in my case it often is), it’s our fears that limit us more than anything.

I hope that the followers of this blog will make the same connection that I have.

On to the next cornerstone. A few weeks ago, I quoted ECU Queens Professor Rob G. and his most important advice, for me personally at any rate (If you don’t remember, you’ll have to either search the Blog archives, or read a few more lines). At the time, I wrote that this statement would be the cornerstone of the next steps in my BJJ career. Now, I think that I’ll have to amend that statement and make it four cornerstones:

Rob G.: “Open up your game and have fun!”

JoJo: “Keep training! Every time you come here you get better.”

Peter Simone: “If you think like that you never will.”

Me: “I can’t do it – YET! But I will.”

Wait, make that FIVE cornerstones! I’m forgetting the most important of all – my ECU Family.

So now I have FIVE corners covered for 2011. I’m sure JoJo and the rest of my ECU family will come up with, at least, one or two more somewhere along the line. Who knows, I might even end up with so many cornerstones, that I’ll have to build an octagon for 2011?

I apologize for being a little more long-winded than normal, but I thought this was a cool topic.

Thanks for reading, and if any of my readers have their own ideas for other “cornerstones” please let me know.

Saturday, January 1, 2011


Stolen from JoJo’s Facebook:
“From the bottom of my heart I wanna say Thank you and merry Xmas to all my friends and family! Looking back 2010 is a great year, with the birth of my daughter and the birth of Ecubjj I have plenty to be thankful for! Let's do it bigger for 2011! Can't wait! ECUBJJ is gonna make a big noise 2011!!!”
As I was leaving the Christmas Eve open mat, I said to JoJo, “It’s been a great 2010, and 2011 will be even better.
JoJo’s response was, “Wait until you see what I have planned for 2011.”
I can’t wait!

Happy New Year!

Yesterday, ECU hosted a New Year’s Eve Open Mat from 12PM to 6PM. Since I’ve never been a morning person, I arrived around 2 PM – just as the first wave of ECU warriors were leaving.

Fortunately, there were still some students ready to play. We managed several rounds of sparring, and I was pleased to see how far my training partners had progressed.

Even after that group left, I stuck around knowing that some great friends of mine were on the way. Instead of sparring, we decided to drill some techniques.

Eventually, I had to leave. Three and a half hours is enough for me, but I left knowing that I ended my BJJ year of 2010 right.

Special Announcement!


Professor Robert Gutierezz has established the latest branch of the ECU family tree in Queens, NY.

“Rob G.” is a great instructor. I’ve had the honor to attend two of Professor Gutierrez’ seminars, and interview him. Based on that knowledge, I say with confidence that anyone who trains with “Rob G” is headed in the right direction.

While Professor Gutierrez’ technique is impeccable, it’s his understanding of the mental aspect of BJJ that impresses me the most.

That was # 24.

Coming up next are JoJo's plans for 2011 and my twenty-fifth post.

Comments and suggestions are always welcome.