Here at the frontier, the leaves fall like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians, and you, you are a thousand miles away, there are still two cups at my table.

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~

Saturday, November 30, 2013


When we think of Iaido, we tend to think of a martial art that is on the "fringes." Yes it has a martial history, but the goal is mostly self cultivation and has few applications (like kyudo) in our daily lives. This might be a hasty conclusion.

At Ichijogi, Chris Hellman, the author of The Samurai Mind posted a very good article on the history and background of iaido. An excerpt is below. The full article may be read here. Please pay a visit.

The art of iai seems to be one of the most understood of the Japanese martial arts. It dates from at least the 16th century, and probably before that, and yet it falls into that uncomfortable ground of not being quite one thing or another. Is it for use in combat, or is it primarily a tool for self-discipline?
Of course, the comparatively modern discipline of iaido has as one of its stated aims the refinement of the character of the practitioner, but there is some contention about the whole discipline, based largely on the fact that the principle form of practice involves starting in a kneeling position known as seiza. Given the importance of this position in most forms of iai, it has always been something of a mystery as to how it developed.
There have been all kinds of explanations, some of them quite dubious, as to the origins of iai. For example, it has been explained as a battlefield art. It has also been claimed that there was no time that samurai would have the opportunity to draw their long swords from the waist when seated on tatami, it is essentially of no practical use.

Although iaido (and some more traditional styles as well) are quite far removed from their ostensible purpose, i.e. drawing the sword, cutting down an opponent and returning the sword to its sheath, the direction in which it has developed – as a tool for polishing the self ­– does, in fact, owe something to elements that were an important part of the practice from the start.
Along with the physical practice of wielding the sword, it has a mental component that is vital – one might even say it is the basis of iai.
The ability to influence the opponent, to control him, before coming to blows, is at its heart, as earlier practitioners were keen to point out:
The founder of the Suio ryu, Mima Yoichizaemon Kagenobu wrote in the early 1600s:
The essence of our tradition, and the attainment of an unassailable position, comes from cutting down our opponents while the sword is still in the scabbard, stifling our opponent’s actions and achieving victory through not drawing the sword.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Legacy of the White Eyebrow Monk

Before we get to the White Eyebrow Monk, a personal note. According to my reckoning on, as of today I have worked out in some fashion for 365 consecutive days!
The White Eyebrow Monk is one of my favorite characters in the Kill Bill movies. That character is based upon a character in Chinese movies and martial arts lore. 

My friend over at Dao of Strategy sent me an article about Bak Mei Kung Fu. An excerpt is below. The full article may be read here.

The Forbidden Fist of Bak Mei Kungfu

by Gene Ching

Grandmaster "Fishmonger" Qiang and his Son, Zhong Luo
The most notorious villain of kungfu is Bak Mei. Blamed for the greatest tragedy of kungfu history, legend tells us that Bak Mei was a Wu Dang priest who betrayed the southern Shaolin Temple to Manchu tyrants during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911.) The temple was destroyed, the library burned and the monks killed. Actually, Bak Mei is a nickname that means "white eyebrow." Due to the legendary Bak Mei's nefarious legacy, white eyebrows are now the hallmark of evildoers in countless kungfu movies.

Despite this stigma, Bak Mei kungfu master Zhong Luo remains passionate about his family's art. The son of Bak Mei Grandmaster Mai Yu Qiang, Luo comments on Bak Mei's infamy. "During the Qing, before the war started, all the Shaolin temples collected people from all the different kungfu circles, and created their own tournaments. Basically they created their own little world. So the government got intimidated by all these different martial artists who stuck together - getting bigger and bigger - hundreds of thousands - getting too big. The truth is that during the Qing dynasty, 90 % of the army, the bodyguards and those who worked for the government and the emperor, were all Bak Mei style.

They don't realize that the reason those guys got hired was because they could really fight."

"Unfortunately, a lot of people think Bak Mei is a traitor because they killed all the monks and burned all the temples - thousands dead. After that, the Bak Mei style disappeared for almost a whole century. The people were saying 'Anybody who does Bak Mei, deserves to die.' Their houses got burned down, their wives got killed, their children disappeared. People got revenge almost the whole century." Bak Mei practitioners who fought to preserve their kungfu faced bitter hardships until very recently.<

The Fighting Fishmonger

Today, Bak Mei Grandmaster Mai Yu Qiang is one of the most respected kungfu names in China. But like Bak Mei, Mai Yu Qiang is only a nickname. His real name is Luo Rong Qiang, born in 1938 in Futshan (Buddha Mountain,) Canton. His father, a Hung Gar master, passed away when he was only six, so Grandmaster Luo studied Hung Gar, Praying Mantis and other assorted styles with his eight uncles, each a kungfu master in his own right. In 1957, he began studying Long Ying (dragon form) the first of the two styles that he would eventually master, under Master Jun Gen. Then in 1960, he began his tutelage in Bak Mei, which his great grandfather had brought into his family fighting arts, under Master Lao Siu Leung.

During that time, the Luos were very poor like most of China. Grandmaster Luo cut fish at the wholesale market while his wife cooked for the employees of a big factory. Earning only a few dollars a month made raising two sons and a daughter very difficult, especially since Zhong Luo's brother was a sickly child and required expensive treatments. So in order to make ends meet, Luo resorted to illegal no-holds-barred fights.

Luo organized underground open challenge matches at the market. What's more, he jumped into the ring whenever he could. His son, Zhong Luo, remembers the stories. "If you win, all those wholesale store owners gave a 100 lbs. of rice or a couple chickens or a couple fish, whatever. Those markets were huge, bigger then three Home Depots! All these people from different cities came to pick up fish or rice wholesale, driving little 3-wheel bicycles to market, then to their shops to sell. Every morning, my dad went to market to pick up fish to sell. On and off, he was fighting there about 2 years - sometimes every weekend, sometimes every month, depending on how much injury he got. After that he would teach people to go fight too, and he had a lot of students."

It was there that Grandmaster Luo earned his nickname Mai Yu Qiang (Fishmonger Qiang.) Selling fish for over half a century, he even won competitions for cutting fish. He is so skilled with a filet knife that he can gut a fish in six seconds flat. His son still keeps some of his father's fish cutting awards. Even today, the Chinese press always calls him Mai Yu Qiang, seldom his real name.

But reputation can be double-edged. During the Cultural Revolution of the 60's, the kungfu world suffered as did all of China. By 1972, the Red Guard caught Grandmaster Luo and threw him in prison for disturbing the peace, teaching people how to fight, and having connections to organized crime through his fight organizing. Many of his friends and fellow masters committed suicide in jail.

Master Luo remembers being a little boy and visiting his father in prison in 1973. But incarceration did not break their spirit. In fact, Grandmaster Luo covertly taught his fellow prisoners so that when he was released in 1974, he had even more students - ex-cons - to help him teach.

In 1976, the next political event to influence today's kungfu, China's Open Door Policy, occurred. All across the nation, public kungfu schools opened their doors. Grandmaster Luo's school began in his hometown in Canton, the nucleus of southern kungfu. It was a traditional kungfu school with no fees, just lucky red envelopes for the master during the holidays and the commitment to help out when necessary. Eventually, the school became well equipped with 30 sandbags for striking and dozens of rock buckets for finger jabbing training. Over 100 students were attending each night. By 1980, it was the biggest school in Futshan.

Recently, Grandmaster Luo received two of the highest honors for a kungfu master. During the celebrations for 50th anniversary of China last year, he was invited to Beijing to organize a phenomenal 80 lion performance. Luo is one of China's top martial drummers with over 20 years experience. His drum was amplified to lead all 80 lions in one of the grandest lion dance performances ever held. Furthermore, in Hong Kong, he was invited to play at the opening ceremony for the new airport and the longest bridge in the world. On that historic occasion, there were no lions, just the grandmaster and his drum.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Best Apps to Follow Mixed Martial Arts

We have another guest post from Virginia Cunningham. This time she's letting us know about which apps to use to best follow mixed martial arts. Enjoy.

Best Apps to Have For MMA Fans

In the last decade, mixed martial arts (MMA), mostly under the banner of the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), has seen a rapid increase in popularity.

What began as an unfettered, overly-violent escapade has evolved into a structured and well-regulated athletic sporting event, even giving rise to a completely new wave of fitness and exercise programs.

Throughout its lifespan, the UFC has been one of the most popular items available on pay-per-view; however, viewing these fights can be quite costly (unless a local sports bar offers them free of charge for their guests). And if you want to see the entire fight card live in the ring, it’s probably going to cost you even more, though the experience is usually well worth the price for most fans.

In today’s economy, many are hesitant of dropping upwards of $40 to view an event like the UFC. That means a high volume of the MMA fan base will get their information from the internet, free of charge.

In 2013 as well as for the foreseeable future, that means smartphone apps.

If you’re a UFC fan looking for a way to keep up with your favorite fighter(s), events and exclusives, here are some of the apps you will definitely want to check out:

MMA Torch brings you stats, highlights and news from all the major fight promotion companies, including UFC and Bellator. It also has the distinction of being one of the first MMA apps on the market. In fact, no other MMA-dedicated app can say that they’ve been truly covering UFC since Day One. 

The app itself uses columns to cover each standout fight and fighting organization-- it’s the conventional solution for keeping up with your favorite fighters, reviews and analysis, all in the palm of your hand.

The upfront cost of the app is $1.99, but it gives you access to a forum where other fans (and sometimes, even fighters) will post and comment on their sport. It has a highly active community, so if you’re looking to get involved in the more social aspect of MMA, this app is the way to go.

Brought to you by the leader in MMA information,, users will have access to hourly updates, photo galleries, details for upcoming events and UnderGround and OtherGround forums.

Bleacher Report has quickly become one of the biggest names in sports news and information, with an entire section devoted to MMA. Their app, dubbed “team stream,” will automatically update you on news, articles and notable information about your beloved fighters and fight organizations.

Simply tell Team Stream who you’re interested in hearing about, and they’ll take care of the rest.

This app is an offshoot of their website, Describes as the Associated Press, MMA Style by Bleacher Report, you’ll get tons of information, including major news, rumors and even onsite event reporting.

This one might be a toss-up if you’re comparing it with something like MMA Torch or even Team Stream, but for most, it’s just a matter of preference. If you already frequent the MMA Junkie website, this is probably your better bet, if for only the familiarity factor.


UFC’s own video app has a lot for the MMA fan. Not only can you watch certain live fights, but you’ll also get video highlights, weigh-in reports, press conferences, as well as a library of past fights that you can watch at your leisure.

If you don’t mind watching it on the smaller screen, it’s a great option, especially if you’re not a TV person.

Keeping Your Up-to-Date

While these apps don’t necessarily replace watching the real-deal fight on pay-per-view, they do excel when it comes to giving you the scoop and helping you to stay informed about what’s going on in the world of MMA and the UFC.

It’s true that a lot of them do the same thing, but they all do it well and there is some variation to consider. Try a few out and see which one works for you.

Today’s guest writer is Virginia Cunningham, a freelance writer and MMA enthusiast in Southern California.  With a background in social media marketing and as a writer for HostPapa, she understands the relevance between mobile technology and online marketing. What apps do you use to keep up with MMA? Share your comments below!

Monday, November 18, 2013

Women's Self Defnese, Pre WWII Great Britain

One of the favorite videos of all time here at Cook Ding's Kitchen is a video clip depicting Women's Self Defense in 1947, starring Pat's redoubtable Aunt Mary.

Two other old women's self defense clips that are certainly deserving, but didn't make it to the all time list can be found here and here.

Well, we have a new... old one. Again from pre WWII Britain. Listen to the commentary, it's great.

I like the way she tosses her head after she tosses one of her attackers.


Friday, November 15, 2013

An Introduction to Baguazhang

For the past several months, I have become interested in the circle walking practice of Baguazhang.

Below is an excerpt from an article that appeared at Plum Publishing, which is an excellent introduction to the Internal Chinese Martial Art of Baguazhang. The full article may be read here.

Bagua Explained

NOTE: This is not so much an article as an ongoing process which will expand over time. The Art of Eight Trigram Boxing is deep and wonderful but not intuitively obvious. We hope to aid the dedicated and guide the wandering. Read a little here and there and use what seems to help. Ba Gua Zhang is worth the effort and – while some sections might not seem immediately clear – the art will unlock itself to the persistent.


To many people Ba Gua is the most exotic martial art. It can also be one of the most confusing. Part of this confusion derives from the richness of the style. It came late (1860′s) on the martial scene and folded many of Kung Fu’s best ideas into a very small space. Ba Gua is a miniaturized martial art, almost a nano-art–not that the information is small, but that it is extremely compact. Studying Ba Gua can be like listening to a world famous teacher who is totally fascinating but whose ideas and words come so fast and brilliantly you are dazed rather than enlightened.

I didn’t write the above paragraph as preface a but as a premise. If we use this suggested template of sophistication and compaction we’re going to get along just fine. Ba Gua’s not mystical. It’s not fake.
It’s not “too Asian.” It’s not transcendentally impossible. But it’s also not the “baby steps” approach to Kung Fu training.

At PLUM we are receiving many questions and comments in the vein of, “I don’t want you to send me the Mother Palms unless they have Changes.” “What is Ba Gua San Shou?” “Do you have the Eight Changing Palms or the Sixty-four Changing Palms of the complete XYZ branch?” “I want ONLY the moving changes, not the static changes.”


Before we get any further, let’s establish a vocabulary. As with everything in this article, you may disagree with my usage of certain terms, but it will help to share a code while reading.

PALM: means the whole body
PALM CHANGE: a specific series of actions which reverse your direction on the circle
SIMPLE CHANGE: any of an assortment of actions down to just shifting the feet that perform a change of direction without the choreographed “Palm Changes”
EIGHT MOTHER PALMS: Arm postures held in certain positions while walking the circle or standing
EIGHT CHANGING PALMS: A choreographed series of movements divided unto eight sections including the Single Palm Change and the Double Palm Change. These are performed on both sides. Each of them reverses the directions of the walker through a complex series of moves.
HAND POSITIONS: hand positions in BaGua mean entire postures including the waist and feet
WALKING THE CIRCLE: The basic practice of BaGua is a stylized method of walking in a circle while performing the actions of the styles.
MARCHING: Walking in a straight line while performing self defense series.


(Also “8 Big Palms” also the “Old Palms.”) What is the problem with the Mother Palms? Well, people often see these as very simple minded basics, something like the intermediate stages between circle walking and the really good stuff (The 8 Palm Changes). But the Mother Palms are absolutely crucial to doing one of Ba Gua’s most difficult tasks: actually changing the way one is thinking.

Without going on at length here are some of the training methods connected to the Mother.
Dispelling toxins from the body!
Strengthening certain internal organs
Strengthening the arms
Opening the chest and exercising the waist
Key elemental actions for fighting
Preparation for weapons work
Divorcing the torso from the steps
Bridging between standing practice and the later Palm Changes
Introducing all the elements which will be used in the Changes
Developing the essential BI-dimensional thinking
Feeling animal qualities

Training the mind to control the body through “intent”

The Mother Palms are often associated with the Eight Original Trigrams. They are performed in a circle but while the arms don’t move much they do engage and disengage.

As you walk the circle you change. Let’s say you are walking the Lion in CW direction and want to change to CCW. What do you do with your arms? Herein lies a vocabulary problem.

A. Some teachers let you do whatever you want. This is Mother Palms with no changes.
B. Some teachers use a standard change like Lion change to other Lion (slap hands together, separate them). These are Simple Changes.
C. Some animals have multiple possible Simple Changes.

In my school there are at least three ways to get from Lion CW to Lion CCW. (Really there are almost infinite methods but that’s another story.) So the Eight Palms have three each or 24 changes.

That’s if there are no changes from one animal to another such as Lion to Snake. What would be the combinations there? Well, the combinatorial is, I believe, 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 or 5280 changes.


San Shou can mean miscellaneous or “free” hands so “San Shou” can mean almost anything including Jimmy Woo’s famous fighting system. It can mean partner exercises ranging from a completely choreographed set to a series of exercises that are barely structured. It can also, for instance, denote Ba Gua Applications. But one of the most important and specific meanings is a sort of free form “riff” exercise where all that one has learned can be mixed spontaneously or nearly so.

What do I mean by “nearly so?” Well to sort of jump start the spontaneous (as in Chinese painting, for instance) teachers have created forms with three classical levels of “ad libbing.”
A. A completely choreographed set but hinting at the many ways of bridging.
B. A choreographed set with sections where the student may ad lib.
C. Completely spontaneous mixing of moves.

The first method may introduce another term: Ba Gua Huan Lian Tao Lu or a Ba Gua “Linked” or “Linking” set where the Changing Palms never go back to the other side of the circle and just morph into other moves. The odd thing here is that such a form may not even look like Ba Gua. It may resemble some other style like Lost Track. However, it sure feels like Ba Gua from the inside. (It also shows that Ba Gua need not walk in a circle. A friend of mine was tossed out of a tournament by a well known Chinese teacher of BaGua under the injunction that “Ba Gua is always done in a circle.” Ah.)

The second method is obviously a bridge allowing some spontaneous sections inserted. The third section is obvious.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

The Meaning of Kata

Philosophy practiced is the goal of learning. - Thoreau
A kata is not just a collection of techniques. Today there is particular interest in bunkai, or applications derived from the study of kata. While valuable, there is more to kata than that as well.

A kata is the physical manifestation of the philosophy and strategy; what in another post I might call the Phoenix things, of a particular martial art. The practice of the kata is meant to impress these into your body, for you to understand at a visceral level.

Charles James, a senior Isshinryu practitioner wrote a very nice article on the meaning of kata at one of his excellent blogs, Isshindo Blog. The whole article may be read here. An excerpt may be read below this expert demonstration of a karate kata. Enjoy.

This post on the surface may seem obvious yet I find many have not clue as to the principles involved. People tend to skip over such important things to get to the fun or exciting stuff. Regardless ......

It came to me that what may be the most important change to kata practice, training and teaching is to gear it away form bunkai and focus it directly into teaching and practice of the fundamental principles with emphasis on the physiokinetic, i.e. breathing, posture, Triangle Guard, Centerline, Primary Gate, Spinal Alignment, Axis, Minor Axis, Structure, Heaviness, Relaxation, Wave Energy, Convergence, Centeredness, Triangulation Point, The Dynamic Sphere, Body-Mind, Void, Centripetal Force, Centrifugal Force, Sequential Locking & Sequential Relaxation, Peripheral Vision, Tactile Sensitivity, Rooting.

I don't mean we leave out theory, technique and philosophy but since bunkai as it stands today seems geared more toward dueling or sport the self-defense aspects should focus on these principles that are the essence of all combatives. It makes sense then one can take the appropriate training in self-defense that makes use of the principles as the foundation and then the applications can remain - open-ended.  

It seems to me that to focus on the principles then use them in reality based self-defense would make the kata of martial systems more relevant to modern times especially with all the road blocks one encounters in applying self-defense, i.e. psychological, physical and legal, etc.

Saturday, November 09, 2013

Cultivating a Calm Mind

I've said many times that while I am interested in martial arts for many reasons, the one that rises above the rest is that the study helps me to cultivate a calm mind.

In his excellent Zen Habits blog, Leo Babauta recently had a post about cultivating what he called a flexible mind, which in much in line with what I'm talking about. 

Below is an excerpt. The full article may be read here.

Why Develop Flexible Mind

The root cause of frustration, irritation, anger, sadness is an inflexible mind — one that wants to hold onto the way we wish things were, the ideas we’re comfortable with. When things don’t go this way, we are then frustrated, angry, sad.

So developing a flexible mind is a way to be open to anything, happy with change, prepared for any situation. Think about it: if there’s a major disruption in your life, it’s only a bad thing because you’re holding onto the way you wish things could be, what you’re comfortable with. If you let go of that wish, the change isn’t bad. It’s just different, and in fact it could be good if you embrace it and see the opportunity.

It’s about developing the ability to cope with change, to be flexible, to simplify.

How: Small Practices

You don’t develop flexible mind overnight — your mind isn’t as easy to change as your outfit. You have to develop mental habits with small changes, consistently over time.

Here’s how:
  1. Make a commitment, for one week, to try to let go of what you’re holding onto when you get irritated, frustrated, sad, etc.
  2. Make a list of the things that trigger these emotions — being interrupted, someone cutting you off in traffic, someone being loud when you’re trying to work, people not washing their dishes, etc.
  3. Create reminders for when those triggers happen — paper notes, a bead bracelet, something written on your hand, a sign on your car’s dashboard, etc.
  4. When the trigger happens, pause. Notice the emotion rising. Feel it, but don’t act. Breathe.
  5. Try to see what you’re holding onto — wishing the driver would be more polite, wishing you could do what you were doing without interruptions, wishing other people would be perfect in cleaning up after themselves. These wishes are fantasies — let them go. Be open to the way things are, to changes that have happened. Breathe, open your heart, accept.
  6.  Now respond appropriately, without wishing things were different, with compassion.
Repeat however many times you like during the week, or a minimum of once a day.

Please note that you will not be perfect at this when you start. It’s a difficult skill to learn, because we have emotional patterns that have built up over the years. It’s good enough to become more aware of it, and to attempt this method once a day. Be flexible in your desire to get this exactly right. Practice it when you remember for the rest of the year.

Wednesday, November 06, 2013

Frustrated with your Training?

Do you sometimes become frustrated with your training? It's not uncommon. As our skills improve and we learn more, we become dissatisfied with our own performance.

Below is an excerpt from a post that appeared at the Brazillian Ju Jutsu Mind blog. The full article may be read here.

Before getting to the excerpt, I'd like to share a quote with you:

 “What nobody tells people who are beginners — and I really wish someone had told this to me . . . is that all of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, and it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not.

But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase. They quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know it’s normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story.

It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”-Ira Glass”

Frustration is an Important and Inevitable Part of the Jiu Jitsu Journey.  It is important to recognize that feelings of frustration motivate us to grow. If we experience too little frustration, we wont be motivated to improve – then where would we be?  Frustration is a physiological necessity for us to reach the higher realms of our individual Jiu Jitsu potential.

Frustration is a Sign of Growth.  Frustration not only spurs growth, it is also the byproduct of improvement.  Improving our skills requires us to try new things, be uncomfortable, fail, learn, expand and become more than we were before.  Frustration and discomfort are signs that we are exploring new territories and acquiring new skill sets.  Frustration is a sure sign that we are growing and increasing our abilities.

Confronting Frustration Increases Confidence.  Frustration is a motivating factor.  It can motivate us to quit, or inspire us to improve.  Giving in to frustration will leave us even more dissatisfied in the long run.  That is because working through frustration increases our confidence, while giving up in the face of frustration lowers our self-esteem.   Frustration provides us with an opportunity to gain the confidence that results from feeling deeply and not falling apart.  Feeling frustrated but staying on target for your goal will let you get in touch with the feeling, deep down, that you can and will figure it out.

Ways to Overcome Frustration.  Remembering that frustration is necessary and beneficial can help change our perspective on frustration from an enemy to an ally. Here are some other suggestions for overcoming frustration:

Recommit to Having Fun.  Take the pressure off by reminding yourself that Jiu Jitsu is a fun activity.  It is a form of play.  It is much more than a contest of who won or lost – it is also a creative outlet, a way to get into great shape, a social activity, and much more – all of which can have a very positive impact on our lives.  Take the pressure off. You don’t have to be the best – just having fun is a legitimate reason for doing something.

Want It Bad Enough.  You are responsible for your own inspiration.  Having a strong desire to learn and grow will provide us with the fuel to deal with the inevitable frustration that is associated with learning Jiu Jitsu.  

Lower the Bar.  It sounds strange, but lowering the bar can replace frustration with satisfaction.  Don’t beat yourself up for not training 6 days a week.  Commend yourself for making it 2 days a week.  If you have a family and a career – that is commendable.  If you are home playing video games – less so.  Strive to be your best – but learn to accept your limits are real.  

Focus More on the Journey than The Destination. Focusing on the journey itself can be enough for the pressure and frustration to subside.  Pushing ourselves and striving to be our best can be a good thing, but there is a point at which it can turn on us – and become overwhelming.

The Road is Hard Enough – Adopt a Positive Mindset.  Applaud your progress.  The road to Black Belt (and beyond) is hard enough.  If we continually beat ourselves up along the way it becomes impossible.  We can easily become our own worst critic.  We all make mistakes – there is no need to magnify them.  Focus on what you did well and the areas in which you are improving.

Don’t Compare Yourself to Others.  The natural tendency to compare our selves to others can quickly lead to frustration.  Don’t compare yourself to others.  Compare yourself to where you used to be.  Are you better than you were last month?  Last year?  Better than you were as a white belt?  If the answer is yes, then keep going!  You will soon realize that you really have come a long way. Time to celebrate, not mope.

Conclusion.  Is Jiu Jitsu frustrating you?

You are not alone.  It seems that frustration is a natural and normal part of the Jiu Jitsu learning process.

Frustration is an intense emotion – but on the other side we can often find growth and progress.