The 5 Factors In Who Wins A Match

A  few black belt friends of mine talk very highly of conditioning.  When they talk about getting better, they often talk about getting in better shape.  In this post I am respectfully disagreeing with them!

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Interview With BJJ Legends Magazine: Machado Stories

BJJ Legends: Thanks for meeting with us. Tell us a little bit about yourself.

Ryan: I am a black belt under Rigan and Roger Machado and I started training Jiu-Jitsu in 1994, just after the UFCs began. Before that I had been training Kung Fu for 7 years, earning a black sash. I opened my school, East West Martial Arts, in 1997. I have been running the school full time for over 10 years now.

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Is Becoming A Champion MMA Fighter the Pinnacle Of Martial Arts Achievement?

Royce Gracie

The Good

I have mixed feelings about mixed martial arts (MMA).  One one hand, it keeps the martial arts honest.  Before Royce Gracie fought in the first UFC, most martial artists would tell you that their system was the best.  If you opened up Black Belt magazine, every month there would be one article that would compare two styles.  “Tae Kwon Do vs. Shotokan: Which is better?”  Open up the magazine, and in one set of photos, the Tae Kwon Do guy wins.  In the other set of photos, the Shotokan guy wins.

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The Highest Purpose of the Martial Arts

I train in the martial arts for many reasons.  It keeps me in shape, I improve my ability to defend myself, it is mental chess, it builds my confidence, I make friends, it is fun, and it’s my livelihood.

No Mind: Mushin

But there is a deeper reason why I practice martial arts.  There is something interesting that happens to me when I train.  It is this state of being where I am not thinking, and I feel totally alive.  Japanese  martial artists refer to it as mushin.  It means “no mind” in Japanese.  In some sports they refer to it as “the flow” or “being in the groove.”

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Should BJJ Be An Olympic Sport?

judo olympics

The CBJJ and IBJJF (the 2 largest Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu organizations) have made it their goal to get Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu into the Olympics.  They stand to make a lot of money if this happens, and I don’t have a problem with that.  Is this a good or a bad thing?

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Miyamoto Musashi and Seijuro Sensei


Miyamoto Musashi is said to be the greatest swordsman in the history of Japan.  He is the author of “The Book of 5 Rings,” a book on strategy, tactics, and philosophy that is still studied today.

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How to Meditate (2 techniques)

When you sit to meditate, you can use several different poses.  You can sit on a chair with your back away from the back of the seat.  You can sit in a kneeling position, with your shins on the floor (called “seiza” in Japanese).  You can sit with your legs crossed.  For the flexible, you can sit with one leg across your opposite thigh (half lotus from hatha yoga).  For the extremely flexible, you can bring each foot to each opposite thigh (full lotus posture). Continue reading How to Meditate (2 techniques) →

Can Martial Arts Training Make You More Peaceful?

” There is nothing so gentle as real strength.  The man who is at peace with himself is less likely to war with others.”

Years ago I heard an instructor that I was training under give a sales presentation to a single mother for her son and her to train in martial arts.  My instructor said that martial arts training helps people to become peaceful.  He was about to go into the reasons why, she cut him off and honestly but politely said,  “I’m sorry, but that doesn’t make sense.  I have been in anti-war demonstrations, and I just cannot see how learning punching and kicking does this!”

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One Secret to Increasing Your Defense 100%

John Machado told me to not be a master of kamikaze escapes.  Don’t let your arm get caught and accomplish a daring escape.  Remember that BJJ is not a sport- it is a form of self defense.  A joint lock on the street would not be done slow with control as the joint reached it’s limit.  It would be done quickly, like a punch.  There would be not time to do a fancy escape.

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Mas Oyama

Mas Oyama (1923-1994): founder of Kyokushin karate, is one of the toughest martial artist of all time.


“Karate, properly viewed, is a way of perfecting character.”

Oyama, was born Yong-I Choi, on July 27, 1923, in the tiny village of Wa-Ryongri Yong-chi Myonchul Na Do, in Southern Korea. His family, considered aristocrats, belonged to the Yangban-clan. His father, Sun Hyang, was the mayor of Kinje, a town near the village where Yong-I Choi was born. As a young child, nine years of age, Oyama began studying Southern Chinese Kempo under the instruction of Mr. Yi, an employee on the estate owned by Oyama’s father. Oyama was also an avid reader and was deeply affected and moved after reading the biography of Otto von Bismark (1815-1898) the Prussian Chancellor (1871-1890) of the German empire. Bismark, Oyama read, was instrumental in unifying Germany in a span of only two to three years, making it a nation powerful enough to control most of Europe.

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