Monthly Archives: January 2013

Jiu Jitsu Knoxville TN: The Family that Campaigns Against Bullying

Gracie Barra: The Family that Campaigns Against Bullying

JANUARY 30, 2013


GB Helps Address Bullying Issue with the Gentle Art of Jiu-Jitsu 

We have all heard tales of bullying. Movies depict them as villains; the bullies getting what they deserve in the end, and the bullied ultimately emerging as the victor. While the romantic treatment of the subject does spark hope to those naïve enough to believe that these things can happen in real life, the number of school shootings, violence, teen suicides, and depression has proven that advocacy has yet to work, or change the way schools react to reports of bullying. Still the numbers rise dramatically.

A Story About A Bullied Kid

I was bullied. I had to transfer to a new school back in ’94, my knee-jerk response was to fit in. Do it quickly, and do it with grace. I failed in doing so. It was a fish-out-of-the-water experience. It is the type where the awkwardness of preadolescence is mixed with the pressure of inculcating oneself with a new micro-culture of a new school. It was a school where everyone knew everybody. Tales of past exploits were shared during lunch time. I had nothing to share, nor did I have the right skill set then to share any of my tales. I talked differently, dressed awkwardly, I didn’t care for the word deodorant, or laugh at mean jokes directed towards women, or even indulge in cigarettes and liquor. My family didn’t have enough money to spare for me to be able to hang out in malls. I was a straight A student who was as boring as a silent flick. Needless to say, I didn’t fit in easily, nor was I successful in doing so for the rest of the 4 years I spent in that high school.

It was right at that moment where I met my very first bully. He had this uncanny gift of coming up with the meanest names to call people. He walked around with a BJJ No Bully Braceletposse and was loud. He was very popular, dressed well, played sports, girls swooned over him, and he was even the class president. He would push me around and call me names. He called me an idiot, and a loser. He could actually rally the entire class to laugh at his jokes at my expense. I believe it is his popularity that drove him to become a bully.

A recent article published in shows that in the United States, bullies and the act of bullying has direct correlation to the popularity of the bully. Social scientists have proven that bullies are what others consider as popular in school. Their network (friend maps) include that the more popular the bully is, the more likely they are to increase the degree of their bullying. The higher a bully’s spot in the school’s hierarchy directly correlates to their aggression. (Source: American Sociological Review)

What happened next was a series of harassment and name calling that lasted for four years.  Name calling became a regular, day-to-day thing. Lunch time wasn’t as relaxing as it should be. It was then that my grades went down. I was more concerned about how to fend off the bullies than focusing on studying for my exams. I was so engrossed into getting accepted by everyone (including my bully). I was busy spending time with the school counselor, which by the way didn’t help since all she said was “try to understand them.” The reports of the bullying didn’t reach the school principal. Nothing was done about my complaints.) I’ve always been seen as the gifted one in the family, where everyone’s hopes are put on my shoulders. I gladly accepted the role, but the bullying didn’t help during those crucial growing up years.  

I descended into a series of depressed states. I missed most of the school days and opted to go somewhere else where no one could bully me. I lost all drive toNo Bullyingstudy and excel. I felt that acceptance and the standardized norm came from my bullies. A bullied kid will typically never tell his parents. I never told them what I had to go through each day. Years after, I told my mom about it. She said she could have done something, but I had doubts back then, even though I did wish my parents knew.

My grades spoke of a bigger issue happening in school. I lashed out at my parents, putting the blame on them as the root cause of the bullying. I stole money from my mom, so I could hang out with the popular kids. As a bullied kid, I became destructive. I wanted to get back at the bullies so much that it filled my mind with thoughts of getting back at them, even with violence.

My grades suffered more. I stopped being the bright intelligent adolescent that my family knew.

I barely survived during those years, but I did. I left it all behind upon getting into college. I left it all behind me, but I had my regrets.  It is probably the resilience of my mind telling myself that surviving a day in a hostile environment is victory. My survival came with a huge price. I paid it by losing my self-worth, losing the confidence that my parents built up for me over the years, the respect of my peers, and respect for myself.

I left it all behind knowing I had missed a lot during those years. The time I spent learning was wasted trying to get the acceptance of my bullies. I could have gained access to guns and resorted to violence, but I didn’t  Either I was raised well enough to know the repercussions of such actions, or the bullying wasn’t that bad. Either way, I am still thankful that I didn’t end up like the guys in the Columbine shooting to lash out on the innocent, to get back at them in a violent way. I could have become a bully myself, but I didn’t. I guess I have God to be thankful for.

Being A Part of The Gracie Barra Family

To stand against bullying means doing something about it. As parents, we are setting our kids up for failure by not equipping them with ways to deal with potential bullying. Sending them out into the world with just hugs and kisses and compassion will not deter the bullies. We need to be there. We need to prepare them.

Luckily, I now belong to a family that campaigns against bullies. I call this family Gracie Barra: an organization that uses the gentle art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to bully-proof kids across the United States. I support the Anti-Bullying Program of Master Carlos Gracie Jr. By promoting self-esteem and discipline, kids can become well-adjusted individuals. By teaching them how to defend themselves when the need arises, we are letting them know that they are not helpless. We are telling the kids that they can do something about it.

One less kid bullied, is a kid that will get to enjoy childhood.


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Jiu Jitsu Knoxville TN, Establish Discipline & Mastery with Drills

Establish Discipline & Mastery with Drill Repetition

JANUARY 28, 2013


 Drills are A Core Training Element of Any Sport

I want you to rank the activities from 1 to 5. 1 being your most enjoyed experience, and the latter being the least. Cardio, circuits, drills, stretching, and sparring. While most BJJ practioners and (especially black belts) will agree, drilling is difficult. It is mind numbing and repetitive, and unbearably boring. Some will definitely fail to appreciate the value of drills, but here’s my personal story.

Back in 2009, I joined my very first No Gi tournament. It was an unforgettable experience, but I lost terribly. Going back to the drawing board (I may lack the physical attributes, or the genetic make up, I am good in reflecting) I wrote a list of things that I was good at, or where the entire disconnect could be found. Cross checking that amount of time I spent in cardio, sparring, vs. the doing the drills. My opponent was able to submit me on his guard. It dawned on to me that it’s a rather simple submission. Passing the guard would have been easy if I only did the drills. Looking back, I only did 30% of the drills in my 6 months of training. Technically speaking, I would have only done less than 2 months of training with the amount of effort exerted.

Ladies and gentlemen, one of the core training values of any sport are drills. Here is what professor Marcio Feitosa has to say about it.

Because having a good escape, proper armbar and good hip throws form all are very complex movements and have very specific components to them, it is impossible to try and do everything perfect at once. Doing drills helps you to break down a complex movement into simple steps that can be learned. When doing a drill make sure you focus on just one component or a small portion of the movement. Once you have completed a drill enough times you’ll be able to perform Jiu-Jitsu techniques automatically and even put several different complex techniques and transitions together.

What Drills Can Do?

Scientifically, it establishes the base memory retention, or muscle memory. Muscle memory is almost, near automatic reaction to a stimuli. The repetitive motion of stroking the queue by pool players creates the muscle memory. Their brains are able to master and perform the shots, with the right amount of force, spin on the balls and dead eye accuracy.

Drills will establish discipline. The point at which drills become boring can be the most challenging and the most fulfilling. It is because at that point, the body has repetitively grown tired with the movements. That is when you tell your head to stop thinking and just push through.

Drills establish mastery. Mastery is the highest form of learning. In Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, your mastery of a move can spell between getting submitted, or submitting someone.

Drills will make help convert fear into confidence. Pulling off a move in a tournament with confidence is a sure fire way to succeed in it!

Remember that most people become tired of drills because they are not breathing right. Learn to pace your breathing. I have seen students go into panic while doing drills. This is because again the breathing is not right.

Everybody should change their mindsets about drills. Here is where learning begins and habits are established! 😀

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Jiu Jitsu Knoxville tn , Jiu jitsu is a life style also is like breathing

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Jiu Jitsu Knoxville TN, Our MINDS can Change our Bodies, but can our Bodies CHANGE our Minds?

Our MINDS can Change our Bodies, but can our Bodies CHANGE our Minds?

I stumbled upon a very inspiring and informative video from from well-known american social psychologist Amy Cuddy. Her research is known to focus on stereotyping and discrimination, emotions, power, nonverbal behavior, and the effects of social stimuli on hormone levels. While her research has focused mostly on stereotypes and social interaction, in this talk the thesis is geared on how the body can change the mind, and how postures can change our hormone levels which directly affect our moods and how, we ultimately, act. It discusses how our bodies can govern our minds and at times vice-versa.

Power posing holds the key to how our bodies can change our minds.

Jiu-Jitsu is no different. We believe that the Gracie Barra system is focused on changing the mind through our bodies. Have you noticed a change in your mood immediately after your first session? Make an inventory of how you were before training, versus how you feel now. Have you been feeling lighter, happier and less stressed? It is because your bodies respond to the posture and movements of the drills. Our bodies have NOW responded to our postures learned in training. The confidence that we get out of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is all because our mind has responded to the work our bodies have received! Our minds respond to the elated feeling of winning a sparring match, or being able to submit our opponents. Without saying, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu provides avenues for our bodies to exercise winning. Exercising power is good for us.

Amy Cuddy’s suggests we exercise the power pose for a couple of minutes a day. In this way, our minds will eventually respond to the changes our bodies have made. It will soon align itself for a better, more confident you!

Jiu Jitsu Knoxville TN, Young hero Rear Naked Choke A Pitbull and saves the day

Now here is one submission most top level Black Belts (or even Red Belts) have never been able to achieve. What is it?

It’s the Rear Naked Choke of a Pit Bull Terrier. Yes, you read that right.

In this video, a little young boy (the practitioner is only aged 9) describes how he chokes a Pit Bull Terrier in order to save a young girl who was being mauled by the dog when they went walking one day.

He explains how he learnt the technique from his local BJJ academy and how it saved the little girl’s life.

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Jiu Jitsu Knoxville Tn, Gracie challenge paved the road for Jiu Jitsu today.

Gracie Family came to states late 70’s paving the BJJ road, The famous gracie challenges would be placed at Gracie Academy attracting people from all different back grounds, Gracie Challenge would consist One on one matches, grappling or MMA until submission or forfeit. Gracie Family faced numerous challenge matches proving efficiency of BJJ . This video shows efficiency of BJJ from young Gracie.

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Jiu Jitsu Knoxville TN, Happy new Years from GBKNOX family

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The Top 5 Benefits of Embarking on the Jiu-Jitsu Journey

As we get ready to kick off the new year, we thought it would be a great idea to reflect on the top five benefits of jiu-jitsu so we can start 2013 with full motivation to keep it playful and make the most of our jiu-jitsu journey’s. If you already train jiu-jitsu, then you could probably produce your own “top five” list of benefits, since the gentle art affects everyone differently. But, if you haven’t embarked on the jiu-jitsu journey yet, then it may be helpful to know what you’re missing out on.

1) Confidence that will help win all of life’s battles.
At it’s core, jiu-jitsu is about problem solving. In each lesson, we present a new seemingly-impossible problem or situation, and then we teach you precisely how to overcome it in the most efficient way possible. After the first lesson, you will be shocked by the magical effectiveness of the techniques, and you will be eager for more. After the first few weeks, your mind will be completely reprogrammed in how it sees challenges on and off the mat. Rather than seeing the problems as difficult problems to overcome, you will see them as techniques waiting to be discovered!

2) Camaraderie and friendships unlike any that you will ever experience.
It’s one thing to shake hands with someone you just met, it’s another thing to be introduced by Rear Naked Choke! The mix of people who train jiu-jitsu is absolutely mind boggling. On any given day, you could be sharing the mat with men and women of all colors, shapes, sizes and socio-economic backgrounds. Your training is guided by pure harmony and respect, without judgement or separation. You will learn and grow as one, and this creates a bond unlike anything you’ve ever experienced. Essentially you become part of a jiu-jitsu family, one that will always be there for you no matter what happens on the outside.

3) Fitness that you enjoy enough to stay committed to.
If your not a treadmill person, then jiu-jitsu is for you. Each and every time you practice jiu-jitsu, you will engage every major muscle group in your body, but because you will remain 100% focused on the technique or task at hand, you will shed pounds without even realizing it. The simple fact that weight loss is a side effect of training jiu-jitsu, and that you will fall in love with SOOO much more than just the fitness benefits means you are far more likely to remain committed for the long haul. Not to mention, once you fall in love with jiu-jitsu, you will start eating healthier (Gracie Diet anyone?) so you will perform better on the mat…once again, weight loss just the side effect!

Weight Loss Warning: If you’re overweight, and you want to do you jiu-jitsu, DO NOT accept this mindset: “I want to learn jiu-jitsu, but I am going to try to lose weight first and then sign up.” Remember, the reason you are overweight to begin with is precisely because you don’t have jiu-jitsu in your life. Here is the right mindset: “I am overweight and I know that the only way to reach my ideal weight is to fall in love with a fun physical activity that I can do for the rest of my life. Although I would be out of my comfort zone at first, I trust that the Gracies are on to something here so I have no excuse not to give it a try. Let’s do this!”

4) Patience that will make you a better mother, brother, friend, lover, etc.
In jiu-jitsu, you don’t make the move you want to make, you make the move your opponent lets you make. This single principle, when applied to everyday life, will have as much positive impact on your relationships, professional and personal, as any other concept you will learn in jiu-jitsu. Jiu-Jitsu is gentle by nature, and practicing the art makes you patient and so compassionate that if you take two weeks off of training, your loved ones will notice a such a difference that they will beg you to get back on the mat. Try it, it’s amazing.

5) Street Readiness that will help you avoid street fights.
If you ask someone why they don’t do jiu-jitsu, there is a 90% chance they will say, “I’m a lover not a fighter.” These people clearly don’t realize the golden rule of martial arts: The more you learn how to fight, the less likely you are to ever get into a fight. People who pick fights are the people with ego problems who feel they have something to prove. Whereas martial artists know what they’re capable and feel no need puff up their egos at the expense of some untrained hot-head in a senseless road-rage incident. The bottom line: If you truly are a lover, learn jiu-jitsu so you can avoid fights, and IF you are physically assaulted, you will have the tools to neutralize the threat without causing any unnecessary harm to the assailant.

So there you have it. The top five benefits of adding jiu-jitsu to your life. For those who train, what would you add to the list? Post your personal benefits on the Gracie Barra TN facebook page. For those who don’t train, what better time to get started than January of 2013! Take advantage of our New Year’s specials below and take control of your life in 2013.

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