So 2020 started off like any other year. Transitioning into another year of BJJ just like any other. I found a group of BJJ academies owners on FB that were wanting to help and contribute to the betterment of all BJJ school owners. I personally got a new look on the school as a business and an owner. I started feeling much better about how the school was going but at the same time got some great ideas and motivation about the future. I had composed a plan to kick start a few new Jiujitsu classes and even a new beginners program. I spent a bit of money on new gear as well started new ad campaigns. I was gearing up to make a big push to grow the school. Then BAM... Covid-19. A straight kick to junk. In March it really started to sink in in our area how this was effecting our community. Jiujitsu class attendance in March began to decline. The fear of the virus spread much faster than the virus itself. I tried to remain open as long as possible. Mid March Governor Abbott announced the closing of all Martial Arts schools. Reluctantly I closed my doors unsure of the future of my little business. 1week. 2weeks. 4weeks go by so yeah, now I'm freakin out. To try and mitigate a mass cancellation of contracts, I shut down my billing of all our students. A few dedicated students as to keep paying and believe me I will be eternally grateful for that. So bills start piling up, landlord wants their money and now its been a month and half since any money has come in. Goernment says help is on the way. PPP/SBA loans for small businesses. HA... what a joke. Millions get sent out to large businesses while I see people I know shutting their lifes work down. A scary thought but doom and gloom is all we could see. My application for a loan comes back OUT OF FUNDS... Wow, within less than a week they were out of funds, we slowly find that some larger corporations ravaged the funds screwing all the little guys waiting on the help. New phrases hitting the scene, stay at home, essential jobs, essential workers, wear a mask. WTF. Life as we know it was changing right before our eyes. Not just for myself but for everyone. Stay 6 feet away. Social distancing. Wear a mask. For how long? We dont even know. For Jiujitsu, social distancing is impossible. May 1st is around the corner and the stay home order is to be lifted. Will my little piece of the American dream survive? Time will tell. We are optimistic and hopeful, but also pragmatic. The future is definitely uncertain. 27 million people out of work. A virus that kills the weakest of us. Misinformation and mass hype and hysteria. Fear generated out of fact or fiction? Whats the end game? The economy is in the tank. Jiujitsu has been the the better part of life. WILL MY BUSINESS SURVIVE THIS?
Last month I had a conversation with a parent about their children and their belt ranks. I new where this was going so I tried to be political with my responses. I Tried to make her see the bigger picture of Martial Arts in general. The parents response was expected. I had already had it in my mind to make a change and this pushed me to speed up my process.
Jiujitsu is very difficult when it comes to ranking. With adults and kids. With adults, stripe or belt someone "Too Soon" and people get offended. Hold back awhile and people say your sand bagging? You cant win...
I have been very traditional, I guess, when it came to belts, stripes and ranking up. But, with the kids this has proven to be a terrible idea. Adults , for the most part, can and do understand the wait. You do however see those fall to the "BLUE BELT BLUES" as I call it. This is when an adult gets their blue belt then quits. Believe it or not, its a bigger issue than you think.
With the kids, this traditional thinking has lead to a lot of turn over. I believe kids as well as parents, want to see some visible progressive reward ie.. stripes, belts, certificates etc... So, along with the IBJJF Davis Martial Arts is making changes as well.
After some long thought out debates between my traditional self and business self we are adopting a new belt system. Davis Martial Arts originally had only 5 belts for kids with each belt requiring 4 stripes. Starting in April we will be transitioning to a 10 belt system. Loosely based on IBJJF recommendations.
White to white with a black stripe. Gray to gray with a black stripe and so on. This will hopefully alleviate some of the early withdrawls of kids from our program.
Along with a new belting system we are implementing a testing program that kicks off in April as well. Kids will now be required to perform certain techniques, drills, grips etc.. upon command.
For myself this has been a long road and difficult decision to make. I do believe it will be a benefit the kids as well as the parents.
Davis Martial Arts believes that testing can be beneficial for kids. Belt testing teaches students to set and reach goals, a valuable skill in everyday life. Belt testing also teaches that with training and practicing students are rewarded with being able to demonstrate their techniques with their best effort and ability enabling them to progress forward with their goals. New belts are now earned and not just awarded.
Setting goals and achieving them. Finding out that hardwork and effort can be rewarded. Building self confidence thru achievements. All important in developing young peoples minds, bodies and attitudes for the future.
I am sure, as long as there are men and women who train together at an academy, these observations and questions will arise. Exactly how do I roll with a woman? Its a valid question. One that's not easily answered.
The reason this is somewhat a controversial or heated argument is that people are all different. We are all looking or striving for different goals. Jiujitsu isn't any different. When you place two people head to head and ask them to try and TAP each other its inevitable what going to happen. A battle of wills. We ask our students to "Leave Your Ego at the Door"... This is something hard for the newer people to do seeing as they are limited on mat time and technical skill.
Generally speaking, a whitebelt will use what they have in the beginning to accomplish the goals we set forth (GET THE TAP). Most of the time what they have is what they come in with, strength, size, flexibility and so on. Without proper technique, they tend to fall back on these attributes which got them thru life up to this point.
On one hand you want partners to be able to work together and feed off each other. To follow directions and accept knowledge from the instructors and other students around them. To learn and grow together. On the other hand, Jiujitsu is about personal growth and understanding. Finding your own game to play. Setting goals and working toward them. The ego can play an important roll with your growth in Jiujitsu.
The EGO is a tough nut. We ask partners to be comfortable on bottom and relax. Let your partner work technique. Train as if you are the smaller person. Tell them that losing is part of learning. We ask all of this when we have been taught our entire lives that winning is the ultimate goal. Controversial to say the least.
So, how do I roll with a woman? Well, not all women are the same. You have some that train defensive, for self defense purposes. You have some that are aggressive and look for the kill. As a student (man or woman) you must always assess the situation. You try and let your technique run the match. On average, most men can smash most women. But is that the goal? When you find yourself with a smaller partner, look to work a defensive game. Don't run away from training with women because you feel you will not get a good roll. Far from it. Because they want push you. Escape bottom. Put yourself in compromising situations. Work out of side control, mount, back control. Try not to use strength. Try not to use your size. This is an excellent opportunity to work defense with a partner that's not going to crush the life out of you. Or maybe they will depending on the partner. I can attest to the fact that you can learn a tremendous amount from rolling with women and smaller partners.
When I am rolling with any partner, including women, I assess the situation. Partners size. My size. Partners strength. My strength. Partners skill, my skill. I then roll accordingly. As the instructor, I put myself in the losing situation most of the time for the betterment of the student. Allowing them an opportunity to work out of a difficult situation or attempt sweeps and submissions in order to learn. This can be difficult not only to do at times, but for me personally with an EGO that tells me to win.
Ego can be a Jiujitsu career killer. Many women and men have turned away from Jiujitsu due to this. I hate to see anyone leave Jiujitsu because they feel they are being smashed, bullied or ignored.
The essence of Jiujitsu is to teach the smaller, weaker person the ability to overcome the larger stronger person with leverage and technique.
Its been a little while since I have written anything here. Why??? I am not completely sure. But I felt like I needed to start it up again.
I have hit more seminars here in the last 3 months than I had been to in over 5 years. The one thing that I have been seeing as I grow in this Art, is that I love those guys that talk more conceptually about Jiujitsu rather than just try and teach more of the same watered down techniques we have all seen a 1000 times. Yeah, techniques are generally cool and all (for the white or blue belts in attendance) , but an idea or concept can spawn a barrage of techniques, positions, and complete new GAMES...
I know some people are thrown off by the conceptual ideas in Jiujitsu. They generally want to see something NEW. Something COOL. I was the same. However, now that that I have been training for as long as I have, (17 years), an idea is a pot of gold for me.
I have had the pleasure of training with Carlos Machado, Mario Sperry and Mike Fowler. Seeing very different experts in their own rights, at their games. Being able to ask a question that pushes beyond the aspect of the technique. Being able to visualize and materialize a thought into my own Jiujitsu game has been eye opening for me.
I had felt in the past that seminars were not for me. That they were stagnated repetition of the same ole tired techniques passed down and around. No real value to me. My opinion and attitude has been changed for sure. Not sure if its something to do with myself and my own mind or just the fact that I have had the opportunities to train with some high quality instructors.
The question stills remains...to seminar or not to seminar???
In the end, I have learned quite a bit about Jiujitsu and myself in the last months. So for now I will be attending seminars on a regular basis.
My suggestions and advice to anyone attending a seminar is this:
*BE RESEPTIVE TO NEW IDEAS
*BRING A TRAINING PARTNER
*LEAVE YOUR EGO AT THE DOOR
DAVIS MARTIAL ARTS ACADEMY
I have been asked before....Why Jiujitsu?
Why not Kung Fu, Karate, Tae Kwon Do, Judo and the list goes on? Why not these other Martial Arts? What makes Jiujitsu so much better, at least in my mind, than these others.
For me its been something that I have thought about for a long time. Why do I love Jiujitsu so much??? I have trained in other Martial Arts and even competed in other sports, but for some reason, Jiujitsu has become my lifes passion. I dream about it, constantly trying to reinact moments in my head from previous sparring sessions trying to assess where I went wrong and right. Imaging drills and techniques to try in the next class. Seeing myself practicing a technique. Trying to work out the subtle details in my head on how to most efficiently accomplish a sweep or submission. The grip details in a certain situation. Hip position, all the smallest of details, every aspect and angle.
"Jiujitsu is for everyone and anyone." You have probably seen or heard this I'm sure. But, do you believe it? I do. Now, Jiujitsu is for anyone and everyone, but everyone may not be for Jiujitsu. What I mean is, some people do not have the fortitude to stick with it. The mind set to let go of theur ego and allow themselves to learn new ideas, techniques, or drills from someone else, anyone else. Jiujitsu is a grinding struggle. To get to a point where the techniques and movements become more effortless, takes time. People today are into the right now of everything. Instant gratification. For these types, you see them fade out and leave. Jiujitsu is like any other art form, if you want to be good and play a symphony, you have to put in the work.
Kids can benefit tremendously from Jiujitsu. The discipline it takes to train long and hard to get good, is a testament to their character. The self-defense aspect can always come into play when dealing with children and school yard bullies. The character building values instilled in a Jiujitsu practitioner revolves around our main goal, THE TAP. The tap allows everyone involved in Jiujitsu to explore and train either at a high or low intensity. The tap allows everyone, the ability to render mercy upon his/her opponent. Jiujitsu teaches children that strength, speed, and size is not all that is needed to defend yourself. Children have a lot to gain from as they find that in difficult situations one can still rise and be victorious if you have the will to do so. They learn that quitting is not an option. That winning and losing are an everyday part of life That even in defeat, the experience you gain is a life lesson.
Women can gain enormous benefits from Jiujitsu as well. To see themselves in a different light. To be recognized for their skill on the mats and be seen as equals if not superiors to their peers. They find a power within themselves beyond strength, HEART. Women can look at themselves and be proud, by not how they look, but how they carry themselves on the mats. True strength and bonds between the women themselves and other students grows along with life long friendships. Women develop skills to defend themselves gaining a certain confidence that allows them not to become a victim. The empowering affects of Jiujitsu allow you a sense of freedom that is very difficult for me to explain.
I can go on and on. Jiujitsu has been one of the biggest influences in my life. I want everyone to have the positive experiences I have had thru Jiujitsu. Friends that spanned over a decade. A bond between you, your students, and others within the Jiujitsu community. I tell my students all the time I plan on training until the day I die. Hopefully I can keep that promise. If this hasn't answered your question. If you truly want to know "Why Jiujitsu?" Go to a local school and train, even if its just for awhile. Find out for yourself (why Jiujitsu?) is for you.
I would like to invite everyone to welcome in the new year 2017, at Davis Martial Arts. January 2nd 10-?? This will be an open mat session. Some snacks and drinks will be provided but if you want to bring something also, feel free. EVERYONE is invited. Kids parents EVERYONE. This not only brings another year to a close but also signifies a complete year at the new location. I would like to thank each and every student for their dedication hardwork and comittment to the growth of the school. Without you guys none of this would have been possible. Thank you to all the parents for their effort and getting the kids to class and keeping them focused. Jiujitsu is a tough sport and even tougher Martial Art. 3%ers all of you.
We as a school have made alot strives forward in an effort to better the school and grow our numbers. 2016 was definitely a learning experience and I know 2017 will be a break out year for us. Up is the only direction I am looking. With each new student we receive into the family, the better our training gets. Our goal is give you guys the best training we can provide, in a safe fun environment.
Training you guys and gals is one of the most rewarding experiences. Watching each of you grow and learn is a pleasure in itself. Not only have we grown as school, but I have personally grown as an instructor. Working with the kids and training brand new adult students has been very rewarding. i have leraned alot. Once again, THANK YOU!!!
A special thanks needs to go out to 3 people. 1st of course is to my better half, Sarah Davis for allowing me the opportunity to take on the venture and keep a dream going. 2nd is Ugo Arimo for being a good friend and pushing me this whole time and for finding our current location. Last but never least is my man Jacob Allphin. He has been a steady rock by my side and has really been a big influence on the school and me personally. His dedication and loyalty has been an example to follow. He has taken the morning program and ran with it, never looking back. He is an awesome competitor, training partner and instructor.
Once again to each and every parent, student and visitor friend and family alike... Thank You All. And to 2017,get ready because Here We Come!!!
One of the main things people need to remember in Jiujitsu is HYGIENE. A clean gi and person are crucial to A desirable environment for healthy training.
Keeping Your Gi Clean! This is must. A clean gi could be the difference between you getting called out or stuck out on training sessions. Coming to class with a clean gi is not only for your benefit, but a benefit for your training partners as well. There is nothing macho about getting your head stuck in a guys gi and he smells like corn chips booty. DONT BE THE STINKING Gi GUY/GAL! Yes ladies, this could be you too. Dont over do it on the cologne or perfume either. If you wrap a turd in a pretty box with bow, its still just a turd in a box. Words of wisdom right there.
No Shoes On The Mat! This is or at least should be a top rule and priority at the gym. Keeping the floors clean and sweep is a definite must at Davis Martial Arts in Humble Texas. Walking outside or in the rest room and then stepping onto the mat with shoes, shocks, or even bare feet is no no. Who wants that stuff grinding into their skin and face. Not this guy...So don't do it!!! Gotta take care of the money maker.
Cut Your Nails. Guys, we have all seen them. Those eagle claw toe nails and finger nails. Trim those bad boys! Man, it sucks to get finger jabbed anywhere with a long nail. Especially to the eye and even the mouth. Cuts from a toe nail can very painful and even lead to infections if not treated properly. If the nails are past the tips of your fingers, please voluntarily clip them PLEASE!!!!. Try explaining to your significant other on how you got those scratches on your neck. Jiujitsu+neck scratches=Domestic problems. Thanks for nothing Ahole. You don't want to be the cause of any of this do you? Or do you? Huh????
Last but not least. As Anthony always says, Soap is Your Friend. Make sure you yourself are clean. A long sweaty day of work, old stinky wet boots, or just a lack of giving a DARN can cause a fuss at the school. Dont think I want call you out either. Dont be afraid to call me out too. Like an old coach used to tell me "Always Bat 1000, dress out, do what the coaches say and shower." He was old and a little crazy but the words stuck with me anyway.
All in all, most people respect the gym and the rules. Most people try be hygienic. Just be watchful and let people know the dangers behind all this such as infections, ring worm, Staph etc... Take care of yourself and your school, and your Jiujitsu training experience will be all that you want it to be and more. Bat A 1000 haha....
Davis Martial Arts Academy
Thanks to Eddie Avelar and the whole family at Grouddwellers BJJ, the "FREAK BROS." put on excellent display this past weekend. With almost 40 in attendance, Geo and Richie Martinez came in to Houston and laid down some knowledge on all who were there to listen and learn.
The "Freak Bros." as they are known, are well versed Jiujitsu competitors and instructors. Running their own 10th Planet school out of San Diego, at San Diego Combat Academy. Also competeing at the highest levels in Jiujitsu out there today. I was hoping for a good seminar, and it was delivered.
Being a Blackbelt in Jiujitsu myself doesn't mean you know it all and stop the growing process. You have to practice what you preach, EMPTY YOUR CUP. I am not the biggest no gi guy but, I am always willing to learn. I felt this was a great opportunity to expand my no gi game and get some pointers from a couple guys that spend their entire time life out of the gi.
The seminar started off strong with Richie aka("Boogeyman") showing some guard passing into side mount. He explained some very good control points and methods along with some nice transitions. His style of teaching and ideas were easy to follow and understand. Adding the transitions from position to submission were very well thought out and expressed in his teachings. Lots of good information and details. His concepts and details on reverse side mount(Twister side control) were awesome.
Next up was Geo aka(Freakhhazoid) which lead into some sneaky guard attacks. His smaller size seemed to lead to some interesting conclusions on attacking in the guard. His ideas and setups from butterfly and his "MOTH" guard were great concepts. Moving into the x-guard sweeps and attacks. He finished off his session with a heel hook counter and concept that is going be extremely helpful in the future.
After it was all said and done, 3 hours of teaching and a lot of rolling after, the guys put on an excellent seminar. I learned a lot and took away some very interesting ideas and techniques to try in class at Davis Martial Arts Academy. They stayed and rolled with all who wanted and asked for the opportunity, not shying away from anyone.
Very humble and knowledgeable guys. I was somewhat skeptical in the beginning because I had seen them compete and knew how flexible they were. This worried me because I didn't want to spend 3 hours trying to bend myself into a pretzel and not getting anything out of the seminar. Far from it. This was solid techniques each and everyone from beginner to experts could learn and benefit from. To say the least, I got my moneys worth.
In conclusion, never judge a book by its cover. Always be willing to listen and learn. Take every opportunity out there to improve yourself and your Jiujitsu. Only one life. Live it. Experience the world of Jiujitsu and all it has to offer. Don't be the guy that gets his Blackbelt and is done learning. You only hurt yourself and your students. Keep training...
Davis Martial Arts Academy
Owner and head instructor of Davis Martial Arts Academy in Humble Texas