On Suicide in the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Community: One of Those Stories I Wish Nobody Had to Write

I know I am not alone in feeling sad when I hear about someone taking his/her own life; indeed, sad is an understatement. It is extra surreal when I find out the person in question trained. It would be nice if the ...
Valerie Worthington
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This Technique Doesn’t Work

Usually—and I have been guilty of this myself—this thinking is rooted in frustration. After many attempts to learn and apply a technique and failing, you give up on a move. Unfortunately, many fundamental techniqu...
Marshal Carper
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3 Common Pitfalls As You Move Up the Ranks

Over the years, I have seen BJJ students run into many common problems. I am guilty of many of these myself, and now when I work with my students I try to steer them away from making this mistakes as well. My thinkin...
Matt Kirtley
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Ask a Panda: Who Has to Move It, Move It?

Question: I am a purple belt with four stripes. The other day I was rolling with a blue belt when two other purple belts, one with no stripes and one with two, collided with us. I asked them to move, but they said tw...
Valerie Worthington
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Coping with Contradictory Instruction

When you teach jiu-jitsu, you will routinely encounter uncomfortable situations. You might have to discretely tell someone that they need to trim their toenails. You might have to explain why pressing one’s chin into...
Marshal Carper
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Why It’s Good to Be Good at Being Bad at Stuff

A few weeks ago, Princeton BJJ hosted a book discussion group about The Art of Learning: An Inner Journey to Optimal Performance by Josh Waitzkin. In the book, Waitzkin, a chess master and Marcelo Garcia black belt, ...
Valerie Worthington
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Enhance Your Privates

In my early days of training, I was a broke college student. I convinced a few friends to start training around the time that I did, and the four of us would carpool for the hour drive from campus to the closest gym,...
Marshal Carper
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5 Things Every White Belt Must Learn Before Blue Belt

When you first sign up for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu classes, you can feel like you're drinking from a fire hose. Everyday you are bombarded with new techniques, strange movements, unknown terminology, and somehow you're e...
Matt Kirtley
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Open Communication: What Language Learning and Jiu-Jitsu Have in Common

Every time I turn around, our two beloved Boss Pandas are in yet another far-flung locale, bringing with them good will, jiu-jitsu knowledge, and the latest training gear. This month I am getting to follow suit, at le...
Valerie Worthington
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Real Learning is Not All Smiles

Years ago, I read an article about video game development at Valve Software, the makers of Half-Life and Left 4 Dead, that changed how I value the feedback I get as an instructor. In the interview, Valve game develop...
Matt Kirtley
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Please Don’t Make Me Pull Rank

After I had been teaching jiu-jitsu for a while, a twenty-something man started coming to my classes. He had never trained before, but he had somehow decided he knew a lot already—shades of the Dunning-Kruger effect ...
Valerie Worthington
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A Life Well Wasted

  I borrowed the title for this blog post from a video game podcast that faded into inactivity far too soon. Growing up in the 90s and early 2000s, I often encountered a pervasive cultural idea of video games being a...
Marshal Carper
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