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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BJJ Pet Peeves

Training jiu-jitsu makes me happy, and generally being around jiu-jitsu people makes me happy. Of course, sometimes people do silly things, and jiu-jitsu people (present company included) are no exception. Over the ye...
Valerie Worthington
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The Bully Factor

These days, a good bit of my professional life is spent off the mat. I go to client meetings with construction contractors, lawyers, designers, and so on. And it seems like 1 out of 5 meetings involve someone strikin...
Marshal Carper
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How to Evaluate a New Technique

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has hundreds of techniques, if not thousands, and new variations are being developed all the time. Especially in the internet age, we are all struggling to keep up with the hot new moves, let alon...
Matt Kirtley
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Sartorial Choices in Jiu-Jitsu

I have made many changes in my life because of my participation in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. I have quit jobs, moved across the U.S. and back, traveled widely, and revised my life priorities. With all this, though, the mos...
Valerie Worthington
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A Jiu-Jitsu Journey Without Gold Medals

Many jiu-jiteiros begin training with aspirations of being a world champion, and I was no exception. So many of our heroes in the sport have incredible competition stories, and perhaps since we aspire to someday acqui...
Marshal Carper
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A Visual Guide to Hand-to-Hand Grips in BJJ

A reader of the Inverted Gear blog recently asked me if I could do a series of posts that define BJJ terms, much like a visual dictionary. With the aid of my hand model Nelson and the power of GIFs, let's look at the...
Matt Kirtley
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