Five Steps to Jiu-Jitsu Expertise

Want to be good at jiu-jitsu? That puts you in illustrious—and sometimes obsessed—company. Thousands of people are striving for the same thing, all over the world. Numerous theories about learning can help explain th...
Valerie Worthington
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You’ll Never Die of Exposure in BJJ, Though You May Want to

The other day I was talking with a student who had recently competed for the first time. He recounted how anxious he was as he waited to compete, how fast he started to experience the adrenaline dump so common for in...
Valerie Worthington
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Don’t Go Wasting Their Precious Time: Helping Coaches Help Us

A friend of mine is a physical therapist. He has years of experience helping people recover from trauma that causes them discomfort and limits their ranges of motion. He has tons of suggestions for strengthening musc...
Valerie Worthington
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Ask a Panda: How to Deal with “Let’s Just Go Light” Guy/Gal

Question I am a male blue belt, 5’10” and 165lbs. I’m not small, but I’m also not the largest person in my gym. I try to be a good training partner, and I want to keep myself safe during training too. I’m sure you’ve ...
Valerie Worthington
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Ask a Panda: Dealing with the Jiu-Jitsu Blahs

Question: I am a brown belt, and I love jiu-jitsu. I am in it for the long haul—there is no question about that—but sometimes I find myself feeling ambivalent. I look at some of my teammates, particularly ones who ha...
Valerie Worthington
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Redefining Respectful Rolling: It Takes Two to Train

Several years ago, I was warming up at an open mat. I was a black belt at the time, and the person nearest me was a large male blue belt, maybe 220lbs. I asked him if he would like to pair up, and he responded by loo...
Valerie Worthington
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Confessions of a Jiu-Jitsu Instructor

Confessions of a Jiu-Jitsu Instructor
At the beginning of my jiu-jitsu journey, I thought my instructors were flawless. I had enough difficulty trying to execute technique, and they could not only execute but also teach, down to the finest details. They ...
Valerie Worthington
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The Modern Martial Artist: What Does Bushido Look Like in the 21st Century?

Earning a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a huge accomplishment, the result of many years of dedication and hard work. Some who have earned one feel like the black belt gives them the platform they need to real...
Valerie Worthington
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Purple Belt Purgatory Part II: Feeling the Itch and Showing the Grit

Question: I recently heard someone call purple belt “purple purgatory,” and it seems to fit. When you were a purple belt, did you start to question everything you do? Now that I'm teaching more, I'm really starting ...
Valerie Worthington
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Women’s Jiu-Jitsu 2.0 Part II: Supporting Women in Leadership Roles in BJJ

In a previous article, I observed that the jiu-jitsu community is moving into what I refer to as Women’s Jiu-Jitsu 2.0, where women not only train but also take on leadership roles in increasing numbers. This is happ...
Valerie Worthington
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Ask a Panda: Purple Belt Purgatory

Part I: Knowing Is Half the Battle and Most of the Problem Question: I recently heard someone call purple belt “purple purgatory,” and it seems to fit. When you were a purple belt, did you start to question everythin...
Valerie Worthington
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Women’s Jiu-Jitsu 2.0: From Participation to Leadership

When I was coming up through the ranks in jiu-jitsu, I was routinely the only woman or one of maybe two or three women in class. I trained with anyone who was willing to train with me: man-mountains, scrawny kids, an...
Valerie Worthington
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