The Four Stages of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Your progress in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu can be roughly measured by your development in these four stages: Survival Defense Control Offense Like you can see in the diagram above, these stages are built one on top of th...
Matt Kirtley
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Distilling Technique Down to Concepts

All triangle choke entries involve one of two mechanics: You either pin the arm close to the body to enter the triangle position, or you extend the arm away from the body so that you can thread your leg out of the ga...
Marshal Carper
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Ask a Panda: How do I stop overthinking?

Question: Could you do a post on “pulling the trigger” when rolling? The most common feedback I’ve gotten (across multiple gyms) is that I think too much. I especially get told this when I roll with higher belts. For...
Valerie Worthington
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How to Maximize Learning Potential Every Class

As you progress in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, the burden of responsibility for your improvements shifts away from your instructor and onto you. It makes sense that a beginner should look to their teacher for guidance, but ...
Matt Kirtley
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Mastering the “When” of Technique

  When I was new to jiu-jitsu, a wide-eyed and bushy-tailed white belt, I struggled to grasp the idea of when to use a particular technique. I thought that if I mastered the series of steps that made up executing a mo...
Marshal Carper
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Parallels Between BJJ and Magic: The Gathering

It’s no secret that many in the Panda Nation are big Magic: The Gathering players, including Nelson, Hillary, Reilly, and myself. The fantasy card game comes up almost every time we are on a podcast, and MTG terminol...
Matt Kirtley
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Ask a Panda: Significant Others Are People Too

Question: I have been training jiu-jitsu for a while (I am a blue belt), since long before I met my current boyfriend. He is a black belt and runs an academy, and since we have been together, I have taken on an unint...
Valerie Worthington
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Chasing the Good Ol’ Days Magic

10 years ago, the jiu-jitsu scene in Pittsburgh was radically different. Where most cities—like New York or San Diego or Seattle—had attracted multiple black belts and sprouted thriving jiu-jitsu cultures, Pittsburgh...
Marshal Carper
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The "Thinking 99 Moves Ahead" Myth

After being trounced by upper belts, beginners often make remarks like "You were setting me up the whole time" and "You were thinking 99 moves ahead." While those have a hint of truth to them, the reality is differen...
Matt Kirtley
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Say, Say, Say: Talk It Out

Even after all the time I have spent in the jiu-jitsu world, I still find myself surprised sometimes at the things we do and do not say to our instructors and training partners. Often, we say things that can be unhel...
Valerie Worthington
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Pros and Cons of Gym Hopping

Over the course of the last ten years, jiu-jitsu schools and individual jiu-jiteiros have largely accepted that cross-training is a good thing. An instructor who salts the earth for students who dare visit a neighbor...
Marshal Carper
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The Right and Wrong Way to Think About Belts

In the drama filled world of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, few topics create more drama than belt ranks and promotions. Let’s talk about the good and bad aspects of belts, starting with the negatives:MISTAKE #1: Focusing on b...
Matt Kirtley
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