Tag Archives: martial arts

Community Service: Making & Giving Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches

As we enter this season of giving, many of us search for ways to engage actively in giving. How can we truly participate in this process? We can donate food and toys, we can give money to charitable organizations; there are so many choices! As altruistic and generous as the act of donating is, as a parent I look for ways that my family can work together to share what we have with others in a meaningful way. I want to put the food or toys in the hands of those that need them. But how can a family with young children do this? How can a jiu jitsu school with over 100 students ranging from age 4 to 60+ do this?
One way is to host a PBJ event: a simple and easy way to engage your family and community in an act of giving that puts food in the hands of those who need it most!
Step One: Gather your people! Advertise! Shout it from the rooftops! Tell your students and friends to tell THEIR people! All are welcome and the more hands on deck, the better.
Step Two: Gather the goods! Your basic requests are bread, peanut butter, and jelly. Bread is the limiting factor so it’s best to ask people to bring at LEAST two loaves of bread each, along with a jar of peanut butter and a jar of jelly. Some items to consider: plastic knives, plastic sandwich bags, and paper bags to put sandwiches in. You can request these from participants, you can ask for donations from local stores or companies (grocery stores are great for these types of donations!), or you can provide them yourself.
Step Three: Market, market, market! Social media, local community boards, coffee shops…get the word out! Because this kind of event has no age limit, encourage families to come. Tell them to bring their friends. Local Girl/Boy Scout troops may need a service project and this is perfect!
Step Four: Sling sammys! Set up tables or just lay tablecloths on your floor space. You’ll want each sandwich to go into a plastic bag and then 6-7 sandwiches to go into a brown paper bag. Offer wet wipes so people can wipe peanut butter and jelly off their hands. At about half way through the allotted time, encourage people not to open new jars of peanut butter and jelly until the open jars are empty. Unopened jars can be donated to local food banks, but opened jars need to go home with participants or tossed.
Step Five: Distribute! Go to a local area with a large homeless community. Often, this is near shelters, soup kitchens or other resources. Pack the brown bags full of sandwiches into bigger bags and encourage your participants to walk around and offer sandwiches to anyone who might want some. People may approach you and ask what you have. Offer a smile, dignity, and respect. They are appreciated just as much as food.
Step Six: Regroup! Ask your participants what they thought. How did they feel? Did they notice anything in particular? How would they do it differently next time? You may have heard people asking for certain items as they received the sandwiches…maybe you can do a drive to collect those items next time?
A PB&J event is a unique way to get into the community and give people a way to get to bed with food in their belly and wake up to food for breakfast. You will not walk away from it unaffected by the people you’ve served and it will offer you a jumping off point to talk to participants of all ages about gratitude, perspective, and mutual respect. Participating in this kind of event should leave everyone with a sense of pride in their ability to serve those who need it most, but also questioning how they can help more.

Black Belt Promotion in El Dorado Hills: Sean Gonsolin

Here are some words from Sean after his promotion to black belt. “I was first introduced to BJJ in 2008 by a blue belt neighbor who showed me some BJJ in exchange for me helping him with his boxing. I ended up starting about a year later in late 2009, and started competing 3 months later. I met Allicia when I was a white belt. And we tried to be each other’s training buddy and motivator. The main reason i train Jiu-jitsu is for the self defense application; particularly with regards to controlling and understanding movement and body mechanics. My ultimate goal with BJJ is always longevity, to train for life.”

Black belts in attendance were (from left to right) Eliot Kelly, Julio Veliz, Marcus Boness, Sean Gonsolin, Marcos Torregrosa, Borston Marc, Jerel Tengan.

 

Black Belt Promotion in El Dorado Hills: Aaron Martinez

Congrats Aaron on the black belt promotion! This was a special occasion for Aaron to visit his original academy at Claudio França Santa Cruz where he was promoted from white belt to black belt from 6th degree Claudio França. A school with 22 years of tradition in the greater Santa Cruz area.

~ December 9th 2017 ~

Since moving to El Dorado Hills, Aaron has shared his jiujitsu experience with everyone! He has competed across the pacific in Japan, coached the kids & adults in tournaments, and started a blog called bjjdad.com He is a family man who organizes his schedule to balance training, competition, and family time. As a coach, he’s coined many training adages including “keep your intensity within technical ability.” Helping students better understand the progression and journey of learning jiujitsu. The knowledge he is able to share and convey in his teaching and coaching is a reflection of his dedication to learn and understand not just jiujitsu but also people. This practice to understand people and his students makes him a great team player, always willing to give and help without asking for anything in return. Thank you for sharing your passion with us! Congratulations!

Here is a copy of his post from his social media account: “I just wanted to thank everyone for helping me along my journey to Black Belt. When I began training Jiu-Jitsu, my goal was not to become a Black Belt; it was simply to learn Jiu-Jitsu and roll around on the mat. Not too long after I began, I fell in love with competing and really challenging myself mentally and physically. I noticed after a few years how my life was healthier in all areas. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has certainly changed my life and has made me better and more peaceful person. Thank you @dougefreshrn for introducing me to the Art and holding my hand through the first few months. Thank you Master Claudio and @nathanmendelsohnbjj for helping me develop a solid foundation and training for 9 years. Thank you @eliotkelly and @edhjiujitsu for continuing my development and pushing me past my limits, and being such a great friend. Thank you @yemasojj for the serious knowledge and precision, and to the rest of @sacramentobjj for having me as part of the team. Thank you to @horsepowerandbarbells at @pdeliverance & @gymjonessalvation for kicking my but in the gym.”

“And thank you to all my friends, teammates, Instructors, students, and family over the years for all your support and encouragement. Just too many to name, but thank you!”

 

Jiu Jitsu is more than learning technique it’s discovering what works for you

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is an interesting blend of learning and training. Students can go online and login to a training website to study movements and techniques. Students can also watch jiujitsu on flograppling, youtube and instagram to learn from their favorite athletes or coaches.

The most important element of bridging the gap from learning a variety of techniques and drilling them methodically to successfully executing them in practice or competition exists in self awareness.

Self awareness for your own personal style of jiujitsu. This comes from multiple places.

  1. Personality
  2. Body type
  3. Athletic ability
  4. Mobility / flexibility

There are universal concepts in jiu-jitsu that exist as a result of human mechanics and physics, but there also exists efficient movements that make a difference in how you are able to move efficiently. While your initial pursuit of jiujitsu might exist in learning the fundamental concepts and the basic understanding of different positions and movements, there will eventually be a need to practice what works best for your body.

At EDH Jiu Jitsu we have a weekly question and answer class that allows students to better understand those unique positions under some guidance from an instructor. While discovering what works for you is an individual development, it is very helpful to have a coach or training partner to ask and think about specific positions. The Q&A class allows the students to ask those questions and from there drill them. In the drilling process more questions may arise and it’s acceptable to ask more questions based on the feedback you receive from your drilling.

Ultimately, what jiu-jitsu is striving for is a higher, enlightened level of awareness. An awareness of the dangers of specific positions and what prevents their execution. An awareness of where your strengths are and how you can bring the “game” back to that position to better control the match. An awareness of the style of jiujitsu you play and the need to embrace that style when you are rolling or in competition.

Therefore, strive for awareness. Take the time to ask questions on the mat. Something to keep in mind when taking steps to better awarenss is the THREE R’s. Something we emphasize at El Dorado Hills Jiu Jitsu.

  • Reflect
  • Review
  • Refine

Reflect on your previous performances and ask questions. Review the adjustments with a training parter or a coach. Refine the adjustments while you are rolling and drilling. This process loops back to the beginning as you refine your technique you should be reflecting on the movements and thinking about the strengths and weakness of the position.

Make Progress

Eliot Kelly

 

BJJ Tour: US Open Results from El dorado Hills Jiu Jitsu Competitors

The 21st US Open took place at the Cow Palace in San Francisco this weekend. El Dorado Hills Jiu Jitsu had multiple competitors from kids to adults, white belts to brown belts in action on the mats. The tournament was a great event to measure everyones progress from the beginning of the year and set some new markers going into 2018. The US Open, along with the BJJ Tour, is a great and professional tournament organization that has been dedicated to improving and enhancing jiujitsu viewership and competition from the beginning of jiujitsu in the United States.

Kids Jiu Jitsu Competitor Results

  • Slater – Godl
  • Ian – Bronze
  • Mateo – Silver
  • Mia – Bronze

Adult Jiu Jitsu Competitor Results

  • Dave – Competitor
  • Mark – Competitor
  • Coach Kunk – Gold
  • Aaron – Silver
  • Jarrod – Gold
  • Ryan – Competitor

Effortless Jiu Jitsu

I usually listen to some type of podcast in the morning to get through my drive to the dojo or to teach Japanese. All the stuff I listen to is great, but this morning podcast with Tim Ferris was incredible. His interview with Terry Laughlin was profound in its simplicity as well as concise details to understand technical mastery.

The most important idea that I was drawn to, “effortlessness.” Terry comes from a background in coaching swimming, and explains the mastery of swimming in effortlessness. This idea applies directly to the study of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and the many grappling arts and martial arts. While conditioning and strength are important factors, true mastery and efficiency comes as a result of using proper technique at the correct moment. All this is really easy to say and understand, but can be very difficult to actually execute. More importantly, it is very difficult to evaluate your efficiency.

In jiu-jitsu you often hear instructors train their students to “relax, slow-down, breathe, use their technique, etc.” All great reminders to help the student understand the importance of training to use their technique. The explanation of things feeling “effortless” is one that I haven’t heard in a long time. (My initial attraction to jiujitsu was in seeking to better understand the martial art while being in an ‘effortless’ state) I think this is a perfect form of assessment. “What was your effort today?” Not in the sense of how hard did you try, but how hard were you forced to work?

Continue reading the rest of the blog at EliotKelly.com

Time Management leads to Peak Performance

By Aaron Martinez

 Ironically, I’ve been trying to find the time to complete this piece for over a month now, and that ended up being a good thing. I realized the entire point of Time Management was to find organized amounts of time to complete and maintain the priorities in your life. My schedule is a complete mess and my goals rarely coincided together in a convenient pattern. I bet most other responsible people can relate to this. Especially in BJJ there is a constant struggle with your daily life of work, school, family, and routine; constantly getting in the way of your time on the mat.

Prioritize

The first step to organizing your time and deciding when you have the time to train consistently will completely depend on your schedule. Since I started training I have gone through three completely different careers, and with each one a distinctly different schedule to train.

When I first started, it was simple. I worked at a desk in a bank and we did not have kids yet. So, every night after work and on the weekends I was free to train. My training schedule was only limited to what my White Belt level conditioning would allow. I trained every other day.

A few years I earned my Blue Belt, I was laid off and had a completely open schedule to train. My friends teased me, calling me the professional Blue Belt. I trained as much as possible, at least once if not two times a day. I eventually started a small Pest Control business and was able to make my own schedule. I’d schedule work during the day and went back to training at night and on the weekend. Not too long after that we had our first daughter, and for the first time training was not the priority it had been since I started. Training and work now conflicted with helping my wife with the baby, and I had to clearly state my top priorities to myself: 1. Family 2. Work 3. BJJ. I gave up going out drinking with my buddies or making the trip to see a ball game. I had my priorities and I struggled to find time for just those three.

Schedule

I clearly defined my top priorities, and now I had to develop a schedule that would allow me to accomplish my long term goals while maintaining my day to day life as Family man, business owner, and BJJ Practitioner. I’d wake up before 5am and work until the morning classes started. After the morning class I’d work until my wife had to go to her job, and I’d come home and take care of my daughter until bedtime. It was different than before, but I was able to nurture all three Priorities on a daily basis as a result of my schedule.

After earning my Purple Belt my other daughter was born, which altered my schedule again. In addition to my three priorities I had to make sure the schedule made sense. I didn’t want to just take care of my daughters. I wanted to be as present as possible with my attention and awareness. I couldn’t just kill myself at work and on the mats, and then expect to be the best father I could be. I also wanted to make as much money as possible, while still progressing at Jiu-Jitsu. So, the schedule took more thought and planning. I had to make sure there were blocks of time to rest and recover.

Organizing and Optimizing

Once again my belt changed and once again my schedule changed. At Brown belt I knew I had to take training and competing more seriously than I had in the past. I wanted to incorporate weight training into my schedule. Going to a gym was out of the question. My schedule had no time for it. I bought some equipment and found a trainer who designed fitness programs remotely. Is this the best way to work with a trainer? Of course not, but this was not one of my Priorities. I wanted to weight train to help with my priority of being a BJJ practitioner. I had to Optimize the time I had available. Instead of spending 30 minutes driving to a gym and 30 minutes driving back, I could spend that hour working out at home.

My BJJ training schedule was also organized in a manner that allowed for heavy competition training, followed by drilling the next day.  This allowed for recovery, but also kept me on the Mat every day. When I was at work I wanted to focus on work, and it was the same for my time with my family. I made sure I got everything I needed by training at least six days a week. And when a competition was around the corner I would change my schedule accordingly. I’d take a little less work and get a little more help from the in-laws to allow more training.

BJJ as a Priority

The reason I always made BJJ such a high priority behind Family and Work, was that it encompasses so much life into one activity. The physical fitness is obvious, but also the social aspect, and the mental health benefits that come along with training. Training BJJ has helped me prioritize my life, learn to create schedules, and organize time better. I didn’t learn to do all of this to train BJJ. Training BJJ helped me develop this to have a better life

Letting go of the rest

Trying to find the time to write this reaffirmed what I had come up with in the past. There are things that you want to do that aren’t priorities, and that will not get done or will take longer than anticipated. And that is okay. You have to be okay with taking care of your priorities and doing your best to accomplish the rest.

There will also be emergencies and roadblocks that will keep you from maintaining your priorities temporarily, and that is also something you have to be okay with. If you injure your back right before Worlds, there is nothing you can do. Use that time to nurture your other priorities. Spend as much time with the family and when you are healed you have even more attention you can focus on BJJ.

Conclusion

Everyone’s schedule is unique and their priorities might be completely different. If you are finding it difficult to accomplish the things you want out of life, it usually is a matter of managing your time as efficiently as possible.

Comparing a Martial Art like Jiu-Jitsu or Wrestling with Downhill Skiing

I have the opportunity to teach private lessons in jiu-jitsu and wrestling a few times a week. While working with a student who volunteers as a downhill ski instructor, we found some common ground between skiing, brazilian jiujitsu, and judo / wrestling throws.

2017 NoGi Pans IBJJF in New York Eliot Kelly v Jackson Sousa

Through some observation and discussion, we found that the throwing motion in judo or wrestling , the movement in guard retention for jiu-jitsu, and downhill skiing to cross gates all share the same concept of rotating the body. In fact rotation is a very common movement pattern in humans, but our lifestyle of sitting in a car, at a desk, on a couch, and repeat has diminished our rotation ability over the years. The movement is quite simple, where the upper body rotates in one direction while the lower body rotates in another. As a result the body is able to pre-load and powerfully whip through to execute the movement.

Pre-Loading:

This is split second before the load is carried. In this part of the movement the body is getting close to full rotation with the legs and hips facing one way and the chest and shoulders facing another direction. In the hip throw, this would be the entry, with the body rotating at the spine. In downhill skiing a similar effect is desired. The skier maintains the chest and shoulders down hill and allows the lower body to rotate in the desired direction. This is the pre-loading phase for downhill skiing as well.

Loading:

Loading takes place in the split instant of action where rotation becomes undone. In a throw the load happens in the split second  the body goes to untwist and the opponents body goes flying. In downhill skiing, this loading happens the split-second transition from one direction to another, cutting around the gate. The more dynamic the rotation combines with the whipping of the body to unwind the rotation, results in more power being generated.

Promoting & Regaining Rotation:

Using Stick Mobility in Finland

I’m no physical therapist, but I am very movement curious. I’ve recently started using Stick Mobility to work on my rotation and have noticed some quick short term gains. However, I think routine stretching that involves rotation is a good start. I also enjoy doing yoga and other activities that promote rotation; playing catch, hitting  a baseball, tennis, racquet ball. Yoga is also a gentle practice that will promote rotation, but all these things need to be done consistently. While playing sports or martial arts are a great way to maintain rotation, it is also a good idea to promote healthy rotation by using Stick Mobility or doing Yoga on a consistent basis.

Eliot Kelly 

Reflection from IBJJF Pans NoGi

A week after the ADCC, I found myself on the east coast getting tuned up for the IBJJF Pan NoGi Championships in NYC. A BIG THANK YOU to the Armor Kimono guys who have been sponsoring my Gi and some NoGi Jiu Jitsu.

I had one match in the division. Jackson Sousa of Checkmat in the finals. He had also just come from the ADCC tournament with a third place finish. I lost the match 2-0 on points from a sweep. Here are some take aways from the match:

  1. Scoring first sets the pace of the match. (especially when the referees only call double penalty)
  2. Use forward pressure but don’t reach forward to assert that pressure
  3. Pressure works with time. So start using it from the beginning

 

This was my third time facing Jackson in competition. The first two I lost in the gi, one by points and one by submission. This was our first nogi match, but was the closest match we shared. Although I didn’t win, I was able to close the margin, and “improve” from my previous matches. Jackson is a class act, and went on to win the open class later in the afternoon. Congratulations!

In the open class, my first opponent lost his temper when I asked the referee for him to take the grease out of his hair. He gave me the double birdie, and was disqualified.

In my second match, I faced Diego from ZR team. He had a super sticky guard and although people told me I was the aggressor on top pushing for the pass, he won the referee decision 0-0 after 10 minutes. I realize that the guard player is not obligated to stand up, but I find it ironic that the top player is obligated to try and pass but the guard player can defend and counter attack, make no attempt to sweep, and still not be penalized. I don’t questions referee decisions anymore, but I do think there is a need to better define the “lute” call and reward the athlete that is forcing the action in a match. Otherwise the defensive athlete, playing a safe game and conserving energy, is being rewarded for doing nothing. In my opinion, the athlete that is progressing forward, forcing the action to score or submit should be rewarded.

Eliot Kelly 

Coaching Kids Life Skills Through Martial Arts Skills

Youth sports is intended to have many practical applications. The strongest expectation from youth sports is the ability to learn not only the skills necessary to succeed in play, but also critical life skills that apply to the life outside of the sport. Some of these life skills are; leadership, manners, eq, decision making, ability to digest information, collaboration, communication, etc. While these are skills that parent’s assume their children will acquire when they enroll their children in sports, science has proven that not to be the case.

In fact, coaching for the sake of becoming a better athlete looks different than coaching for the sake of becoming a person with strong life skills. Studies, led by Dr. Daniel Gold have shown that athletes who grew up in an environment where the coach emphasized the acquisition of the life skills along with the acquisition of technical skills required in the sport were the only athletes who actually developed the ability to apply the lessons from their sport to their life outside of the sport.

This is an insightful break through. The valuable life skills are not ACQUIRED merely through the practice of sport. They are intentionally DEVELOPED through the curriculum, and lesson plans designed by the coach. Dr. Shimizu and Dr. Shibamoto have also been leading scholars in the field of applied sports psychology. Some of their research has reinforced the research by Dr. Gold.

There is one more key critical factor in understanding the value of coaching sports skills through life skills. Studies have found that athletes coached in life skills perform better than athletes who have only been coached in their athletic skills. While there is no certainty or little value in learning practical life skills through the practice and learning of sport, there is great value in being coached by someone who truly embraces the idea of coaching life skills through the means of sport. Therefore, it’s essential that as parents we seek out sports clubs and teams that emphasize these life skills in their lessons above anything else and remember that the practical skills we hope our children to acquire through sport only happens where there exists a conscious minded program that emphasizes these things.

Eliot Kelly