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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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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Meet the Pandas – Biomechanical Jiu-Jitsu with Nerd Power – Matt ‘Aesopian’ Kirtley

In this series, we shine light on the many members of the Panda Nation. Last episode we spoke to David Phimsipasom of Maximum Athletics. Now, we focus on black belt Matt ‘Aesopian’ Kirtley: computer wizard, walking B...
Daniel Bertina
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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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Answers to 5 Common White Belt Questions

Starting Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu can be a bewildering and socially awkward experience. You are dropped into a new culture with all its own rules and traditions. To ease some of that tension, I have written answers to a f...
Matt Kirtley
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5 Tips for New Instructors

While at the BJJ Globetrotters USA Camp in Maine this past weekend, I talked with a brown belt who was anxious about teaching at a school he was going to visit as he continued his trip through America. He had only ta...
Matt Kirtley
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