Category: motivation


About two weeks ago while I was at work, I had one of those “This Sucks!” moments.  I was climbing up a ladder, got about three rungs up and all of the sudden my ladder slid one way, I went the other.    I’m still not sure how it happend because it happend so fast, but the next thing I knew I fell to the ground  got my foot twisted up in the ladder, and heard a loud pop come from my knee!

Funny thing was that at first it didn’t hurt at all.  In fact I thought I was fine and the pop that I had  heard I attributed it to me hitting the ground.  About fifteen minutes later I knew I was cooked.  I could hardly walk and my knee swelled right up.  Fast forward to today and I’m out of work and out of training for the next couple of months.

Well I maybe down, but I’m not out.  These are the seven things I’ve been doing since I’ve been sitting around healing:



I maybe  limited on what I can do physically right now, but I can still get a lot out of watching BJJ tournament footage from Youtube.  I’ve said it on here before and it bears repeating, but watching tournament footage containing the top BJJ competitors  is a great way to not only learn  but keep your head in the game.  When you analyze a match its almost like you are actually competing.  Also, I’ve lost count on how many solid tweaks I’ve added to my game by viewing a match and intently scrutinizing  what a competitor is doing in a certain situation.



In line with the whole Youtube theme would also be reading about BJJ.  Picking the brains of some of BJJ top guys like Marcelo Garcia, Dave Camarillo, Saulo Ribeiro and whole host of other notable BJJ Black Belts is never a bad thing. I personally get a lot more out of theory then pictures of techniques.  Jiu Jitsu University by Saulo Ribeiro is a great example of this.  After I read his book it changed not only the way I think about BJJ but how I went about training.



This another thing I hammer home to people in BJJ, but drilling the moves in your head goes a long way.  Marcelo Garcia said once in an interview that when he wasn’t training at his academy he was training in his mind. This habit started when he first got into BJJ and couldn’t train as often as he wanted do to the distance to his then school.  He would sit at his home and drill the moves he had learned that day in class over and over again in his head.  The psychology of this has been proven over and over again through many sports studies  with athletes showing notable gains just from imagining themselves practicing.  If its good enough for Marcelo Garcia, then its good enough for me!



Until I get the ok from the doctor to start back to work  and then to training, the least I can do is use the other appendages that do work right now.  I’ve seen it a hundred times before in training.  A guy gets an injury and takes himself completely out of training, then one of two things happen; either he takes so much time off that he never comes back, or he comes back and is depressed on how far ahead him everyone else is now, which makes training miserable.

I once tore a muscle in my chest which made it almost impossible to effectively use my right arm without being in pain. Instead of staying out training I decided to use just my left arm and grip my belt with my right hand, making sure to stop if I felt any serious pain in my chest.  Having the use of only my legs and left arm really enriched my game because of  the ingenuity it forced on me because of the self imposed limitation.

Dont get me wrong, I realize that this totally dependent on how severe your injury is.  In my case I have to be careful of bending the knee or twisting in in anyway, so even drilling moves is out for me now, but I can still come up with a few Jiu-Jitsu related things to work on with the body parts that are not broken on



I know that some are going to disagree with this one but if you cant train at your school you can at least watch the classes.   Believe me I know this can stink on ice.   Sometimes theres nothing worse than sitting on the side lines watching everyone else have fun training and learning, but for my money it keeps you in the mix of everything.  Its shows your instructor that you have commitment.  Even better than watching DVDs is watching your instructor go over moves, and unlike a DVD you can ask your instructor about the move if you think you missed some kind of detail.



When you do get a idea of when you can return to full training make sure you have a plan of action when you finally hit the mats.  Try to figure out how hard you can train, what position you should work on first, what area of your training will put the least amount of strain on the injury in question, what people in your school you should and should not train with, etc…

Its pays to have a good plan of attack when you do return to make sure that you dont re-injure yourself and that you can start to make up for lost time on the mat.



The most important thing to do when injury takes you out of play is not to stress about it.  I know this can be difficult, injuries require time to fully recover and being impatient and sitting around stressing about it can make your recovery take even longer.    Stress effects the immune system and that in turn effects the healing process.

Stressing about not training has led many to return too soon to the mats only to worsen an already problemed area of your body, which keeps you out even longer!


Hopefully within the month (doctor and god willing) I’ll be back to work and on the mat again, but until that time at least I have some tools to keep me engaged and not sitting around going batty!…LOL




This earth is the distant star we must find a way to reach……Nathaniel Branden

One thing in life  Ive always found kind of fascinating is that people who are unhappy always seem to be waiting for something to come along and change their lives for them.  Whether its something small like getting a better car or something heavy like getting out of a bad marriage, people want some kind of magic to come along and whisk their problems away.

A lot of that kind of thinking comes from not believing you have it in you to make the changes you want, doubting that your strong enough, smart enough, and all the other short comings you let your mind sell you in order not to take the appropriate action to bring about real change.

The truth is that we all are strong enough to accomplish  anything we want, its developing the mindset thats the real challenge. Its a habitual form of defeatist thinking that you have already cultivated negatively so all you really have to do is start creating a healthier habit of positive thinking.

I’m a typical example of this.  A couple of years ago I knew literally nothing about computers, and even less about Apple computers.  I had always wanted to buy a Mac but told myself it was too big a learning curve. So I kept up the illusion in my head that I would need someone or something to help me if I was ever going to learn about Mac’s.

Then, one day, I decided to get an old Mac off ebay and see what I could do with it. I figured it was cheap, and the worst that could happen was that I didn’t use it. After I received it I loved it, and that motivated me to go further into learning everything I could about Mac’s and how they operated.  Now I can repair my own Macs from software to hardware, from iPhone to iPad, and no one showed me how to do it, I took the onus upon myself to learn everything I could so I was self sufficient in my effort.

Small accomplishments can empower you even further  to do things you thought were impossible before. Thats how I felt after I came to a point when I was repairing my own computers, it was small but rewarding. Like the Nathaniel Branden quote above, its the person inside you should be seeking help from and not some outside force that you hope will save the day.  Coming to this realization will immensely benefit you in the long run and create a life that you don’t have to wait to live.

Illness v.s.motivation………

And as pale sickness does invade, Your frailer part, the breaches made, In that fair lodging still more clear, Make the bright guest, your soul, appear.



Having had a nice bought of pneumonia recently has given me a good taste of not being able to do anything other than lay around, suffer and think.  Now let me qualify that.  I know a temporary illness is not real suffering but more a minuscule, bitter taste of discomfort. Be that as it may, its given me time to reflect even more on things I want to do.

You can read all the motivational books in the world. You can scour over all the philosophical and spiritual scrolls  there are, but none of these will break you down more mentality than an injury or illness. When we go through our 9-5 lives its very hard to fit in any real time to analyze what you want, what you’ve done or where you want to go in life.  Living at the speed of light gives you a false sense of immortality. It makes you feel invulnerable to time. Those illusions come crashing down when an illness immobilizes you from that world. You go from high octane to dead stop and now you have all the time in the world to just sit and think, and that can break a lot of people.

Personally I think that this is a good thing. Its forced attrition. It makes you face yourself and what is wrong and right in your life. It makes you come to grips with the fact that life can end at anytime, that you should always be thankful for what you have and gives you the time to retool your life. Don’t get me wrong, this is not a pleasurable thing to go through, the stress of  illness coupled with the stress of an analytical mind is brutal, but  it is sometimes necessary for real change to start.

Ive read everything from authors like Thomas Merton to Anthony Robbins, from Eckhart Tolle to Eknath Easwaran and although I got a lot out of the literary works of these people, nothing caused the real change in my life like being laid up from illness.

There was a time in my life when I had a dead end job and a bad living situation to boot. I wanted out but was caught up in the routine of it all. Then I got sick with a virus that affected my inner ear. If you never had vertigo before than you can’t relate to how bad it can be. I was stuck in bed for a week not being able to move an inch of my body.  After this I had to rehabilitate my balance system for the next year. It was in this time that I was really able to see where I was in my life  and how bad things really were. What followed was nothing short of miraculous. I did a 180 degree turn around. I quit my job and left the place where I was living. I don’t think this would have happened so quickly if I hadn’t been forced by illness to face where I was at that time. It really motivated me to change things, but the motivation came from the core of me  and not the surface which is why a lot of us fail at change.

I hope that you don’t have to go through any kind of injury or illness to make the changes you need to in your life , but know that if you do, you will come out stronger because of it and possibly move towards the things you want out of life.


Be all that you can be…


I remember when I was young there always seemed to be some kind of military recruiting commercial on.  One I think everyone remembers was from the U.S. Army that always ended with “Be all you can be”.  The actual slogan was created by an ingenious advertising executive named  E.N.J. Carter who garnered  an ‘Outstanding Civil Servant Award’ for his efforts. The slogan went on to serve as the recruiting banner for over twenty years until it was eventually replaced by the next slogan which was “Army of One.”

“Be all that you can be” was the second longest running recruitment slogan in Army history and you have to ask yourself why?  I think that almost everyone on the planet starts out with the desire to be the best they can be. You don’t hear too many people say “I want to be the least I can be!”   A slogan like “Be all that you can be” strikes a cord  inside all of us, a drive to succeed at what we dream of doing. Its a search that most people end up not following through on for a multitude of reasons, but the desire is always there. Its not about perfection but more about striving to excel.

When they were coming up for ideas for “Be all you can be” they weren’t thinking about personal growth , they were trying to come up with something that would get the youth excited about joining the military. Inadvertently they strongly appealed to something more then just some male bravado. They struck a cord with a longing in the human condition to become a better person.

How many times have you thought that your not reaching your full potential? Maybe you thought you could be a better employee, parent, friend, painter, etc.. Thats what life is I think , striving to be the best person you can be. This is a personal best for everyone, its not about being better than the person next to you, its about being the best for the people around you.




Now I don’t know how people feel about my blog and in a lot of ways I don’t really care. Don’t get me wrong, I genuinely do hope that people do get something from reading my posts.  Whether its from the motivation and inspiration side of things to Brazilian jiu jitsu, I do hope that something I write helps someone along the line.

Having said that someone recently brought it to my attention, in a very nice way, that they believed my  blog was a little  all over the map. This person believes that  I should start a separate blog for the inspirational side of life and one for the martial art side . I could not disagree more.

For me, motivation, inspiration and Brazilian jiu jitsu are all parts of the same world. I think the problem is that people think of Jiu jitsu as something you beat people up with. A mindless street fighting martial art that you use to to destroy your opponent with.

Now I won’t deny that Brzilian jiu jitsu was tried and tested for street fighting and is the martial art that gave birth to MMA, but mindless its not and I don’t believe you could find more art in a lot of other martial arts out there. My friend Matt I think summed it up best for me when he said to me that Brazilian jiu jitsu was my “Zen”. No truer statement could have ever been said to me.

When Im on the mat training with someone my thoughts of the outside world cease. I’m not thinking about work. I’m not thinking about bills. I’m not thinking of anything that has to do with the 9-5 world. I’m centered on my match. I’m aiming for perfection in technique that I know I cannot achieve but enjoy undertaking.

This, I believe goes hand in hand with life. You strive to be the best you can be  (perfection) but know your always a work in progress. To get to that goal you need motivation and inspiration.  Life has a way of handing you defeats and you need something to drive your will to keep going.

Like an artist with a canvas that needs inspiration to paint, in jiu jitsu you need inspiration to carry on at  times  when your game is just not up to par and you feel like you can’t do anything right.

I do hope that things I post here have ,at the least, lifted your spirit, but I will continue to post the best of both worlds, or as I see is, the same world.

“Our greatest glory is not in never falling but in rising every time we fall”- Confucious

I always liked the saying “It aint over till its over” which really means its not over until you quit. This video shows you why you should never lose heart when things get turned upside down in your life and a failure seems like the end of the world.


There is an old Japanese story  I really enjoy about a samurai and his lover that goes like this;

There was a young samurai and his fiancé who were deeply in love. One day his fiancé was walking through the forest when she was attacked and seriously mauled by a man-eating tiger. No matter what the young samurai did, nothing could save her… and she died

From the depths of his sorrow he vowed to revenge his beloved, by seeking out the tiger and killing it.

So he took his bow and arrow and sought out into the forest, month after month in search of the man-eating beast. Searching daily in the forest, the samurai finally saw a sleeping tiger in the distance and concluded that this must be the tiger responsible for the death of his lover!

He drew his bow, took careful aim and released the arrow which found its mark and pierced the tigers body deeply.  Drawing and mounting another arrow he slowly approached the motionless creature to confirm the kill… only to find his arrow stuck deeply into a striped colored stone which happened to resemble that of a sleeping tiger.

After this, everyone in the village began to talk about how strong he was, because he could pierce a stone with his arrow, and people became determined to test him. However, regardless of how many times he attempted to repeat the undertaking his arrows kept bouncing off the rock.

This was because he now realized that his target is only a stone. In the past his resolve had been so profound that he was actually able to physically pierce a stone with his arrow. However, now under different circumstances, he was unable to repeat the same feat.

This story is the origin of the japanese saying ” A strong will can even pierce stone.”

Will (without getting into semantics) is really just another way of saying motivation. If you are not strongly motivated to say, make money, chances are you won’t succeed at it.

The idea is to try develop the same kind of focus and resolve the samurai had but into constructive goals that you want to accomplish. I know how difficult this can be to develop, but once you start to create this kind of drive within yourself your world holds no bounds.


Up early today so I thought I’d post some motivation for your day and mine too.

Yet another good nike commercial to get you moving…

The above title to this post is a Ralph Waldo Emerson quote, and one you should take note of.  We live in a high-octane society. In most industrialized cultures, speed is the name of the game. We want our gas to get pumped faster, we want our internet faster. God forbid you wait on a fast food line longer than three minutes.  We explode if someone dares drive slow in the fast lane. This is a kind of worldly sickness that all of us experience to one degree or another.

The stress this ‘speed of life’ causes can impede your focus in many important areas of your life.  For example, if you want to get your black belt in judo, you have to learn the basics, repeating them a thousand times until they are second nature. Now throw in the impatience of  instant gratification and within a day you will probably quit. You start believing that judo is too hard because you’re not good at it yet and  move onto the next sport you might like. Then the cycle starts all over again.

Slowing down is an art in today’s society, and in some cases a risk. The mentality of ‘move it or lose it’ might get you run over! There are plenty of books on the subject of slowing down your mind and your life that are at your disposal, just make sure you make the time to read them.

The Point is to try to slow down long enough to enjoy life and the things you want to accomplish.

This is a fantastic commercial from nike.  Shows the true road to being a success when you are not born gifted . I love this commercial because I have seen this type of thing happen in Bjj a million times before.

A guy would join, have no athletic ability at all and get killed by everyone in class. Fast forward to a year later and the same guy whose now been training more than anyone in class is now beating everyone.

This applies to every sport or field of endeavor….Keep moving forward and practice at anything and eventually you will get results you want and usually more than you hoped for.


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