11 Things Every Person Should Master

Adapted from the Basic Goodness blog.

1. Be fearless

Being fearless does not mean being without fear, being fearless means admitting your fears and going beyond them. A courageous person is not in denial of his or her fears, holding up a mask of invulnerability but is willing to face their fears and work on them. They have the courage to do things that frighten them when the situation calls for it. They know that the path towards fearlessness is endless.

2. Be resilient

A person should be flexible and reliable at the same time. If necessary they can start all over again at any given moment. Whatever happens; their house was burnt down, their crop failed, they lost their job: even if they have mourning to do they start all over again. Accept fate but don’t become a victim of it.


3. Live, speak and listen from the heart

Do not hide feelings and intentions. Do not be afraid to be gentle nor afraid to be sad. Be in touch with your emotions and be able to express them. Have the courage to live your dream and the space to listen compassionately.

4. Own your anger

Transform your anger into compassion. You can be angry, strong, decisive and courageous. Your anger serves your presence and the presence of others. It is not a humiliating or destructive type of anger. The latter happens when a person is a slave to their anger, that’s the anger of the coward trying to overcompensate their feelings of inferiority. This is just as sad as a person completely disconnected from their anger. Mature anger, on the other hand, is a big turn on.

5. Make meaning

Try not to become a person of success, try to become a person of value. Einstein said that. I think that’s true and important. If you fill your days with doing something that pays the bills but is essentially meaningless you are wasting your precious life. Yes, even if it pays the bills so handsomely that you can spend 2 months per year on adventurous holidays and eat in fancy restaurants, you are still wasting your life.  A person with values has the balls to travel outside their comfort zone to make a sincere attempt to contribute to mankind. He or she works for the greater good instead of for the sake of protection of their self image and clinging to the illusion of safety.

6. Own your edge

This life is a journey and we all are somewhere on our path. Be honest about where you are at in your development. Don’t pretend to be wiser or more evolved than you actually are. Don’t shrink so that others won’t feel insecure around you. Know your strengths and your weaknesses and do not be ashamed of either. That there is always work to do should be a given. Know where you have your work to do and be willing to listen and learn from those who have done that work.

7. Be vulnerable

A coward is always trying to hide their weak spots, a real person works on them. They are willing and able to reveal themselves even in the midst of pain. They are vulnerable because they want to be vulnerable. By opening up in every moment they are continuously practicing their courage. It’s a way of defeating cowardice.

8. Practice a martial art

When push comes to shove every person should be able to defend themselves, the people they loves, and their honor. Just like we teach our children to swim to prevent them from drowning, a person should know at least enough basic fighting skills so they can throw a punch in case of an emergency. They have spent enough time in a ring or dojo to ensure a deescalating presence. They do not panic, are not easily provoked and have some strength and skills.

9. Have a sense of humor (don’t take yourself so seriously!)

A real person can hold both the utter importance and the utter unimportance of life at the same time. They can see their own failures and flaws and joke about that. Since they know their self-image is just an image they feel no need to defend that image. They can uplift a tense situation with a joke, but they aren’t the immature joker that abuses humor as a tool for escaping intimacy or sabotaging intensity. They have the capacity to light up the room and embrace life.

10. Develop body, mind and spirit

Be devoted to the development of body, mind and spirit. Not to stay ahead of other people, not out of fear of being defeated, but because you have more to offer when you are healthy and present. Taking care of your body makes you fit and strong. Taking care of your mind makes you clever and sharp. Taking care of your spirit makes you wise, warm and compassionate. Know that your body and mind are mortal but that the love you spread during your life remains.

11. Be real

In the end, know that you are just a person. A real person does all these things because that’s what they are: a human being. They have basic human needs and inclinations just like everyone else.  But someone trying to be real is just doing their best to make the most of life and have some fun while doing that. Their sweat is honest. Their heart is open. Their back is straight.


Simple Two Words

Great advice from Martin Rooney, featuring our own Shihan Dunn. Originally distributed by Training for Warriors

As a therapist, a trainer, a martial artist and a coach, I am always “listening”. This has resulted in many of the profound concepts that have helped to shape my own personal philosophy, the TFW System as well as many of the stories, articles, blogs and newsletters that I have shared over the years with my readers.

One great man, (and martial artist for that matter) that offered me one such lesson is Gene Dunn. A past karate world champion and BJJ black belt under Renzo Gracie, Gene trained with our group for years and is even featured on the original TFW DVD. One day when we were training, Gene gave me two words that I believe can change anyone’s life instantly. He was teaching me a bit of his BJJ philosophy and, as we were rolling, would coach me to “Address It”, every time he began to attempt to gain better position or a submission. He would get me looking at everything happening on the mat and make sure I was “Addressing” the situation before it got out of hand.

You see warriors, by addressing a move on the mat before it goes too far makes sure the move isn’t going to happen. Wait too long before addressing anything in life, and there will be a point of disastrous results.

Simple two words…. Big Concept.

Now warriors, what are some areas of your life that you have failed to “Address It?” I am sure that if you think of the classic personal topics like diet, career, physique, finances, you will find areas that you know you could have more. If this is true for you, then start to “Address” the problem. If you are overweight, “Address It” with getting the junk out of your house and start cleaning up the diet tomorrow. If you don’t have the career or money you want, “Address It” by setting goals, reading the book you need to read or going for that interview. If you have been needing to say something to someone in your life and you have not “Addressed It”, the time is now. What are you waiting for?

My mental warrior challenge this week is to use these two words with everything you do this week. I want you to say them in your head when you are about to hold back or let something slide. When the alarm clock rings, say “Address It” to yourself, get up, and shut it off. When you are about to eat a poor breakfast, say it again and so on through out the day. I have used this for some time and it has always lead to results. Life is a battle my friends, and it is going to constantly throw new “submissions” at you. Address them as they appear and you have a much better chance of shutting them down in their tracks and making great progress.

Top 10 Benefits of Training

10 Most Often-Seen Benefits from Training at  Brooklyn Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Brooklyn Vindhya Yoga

We’ve spoken to hundreds of students about the most important part of their training here at BBJJ/BVY. Below are the top ten reasons why people started – and continued – their martial arts and yoga practice with us.

#10 Healthy Lifestyle
Our students enjoy not only the exercise and physical fitness that comes with on-the-mat training, but also a “healthy lifestyle” mentality. Not only do they learn to create healthy habits inside the dojo or yoga classroom, but  then to take those habits into their daily routines. Committed students learn to focus on what will get them closer to their goals, and as a result they make healthier lifestyle choices. Everything from what foods to eat, activities to participate in, books to read and people to spend out time with are part of this process.

#9 Discipline
Time is something we can’t get back. BBJJ/BVY martial artists and yoga practitioners know that the key is to discipline is not to spend time, but rather to invest their time in those areas which are most beneficial. The discipline that comes from being on a regular training schedule and following school protocol will help students become more disciplined with time and priorities outside the school.

#8 Goal Setting
At our schools we focus on Black Belt and Black Mat training. Setting these long-term goals will come with some challenges along the way, but the results are more victories through the process. Any smoker can give up smoking for a day; in order to see real benefit they would need to set a long-term goal like quitting smoking for good. For children, setting longer-term goals for school (like having perfect attendance or consistent on-time homework) will do wonders for their grades.

#7 Focus
The ability to block out distractions and concentrate on one thing at a time is important. It’s especially significant for parents who are managing a career, a home life and taking care of kids.  The training on the mat builds focus as we concentrate on one drill at a time with repetition. This skill will come in handy when things get hectic at home and setting priorities becomes vital.

#6 Stress Relief
It’s unfortunate that out of the 168 hours in a week, adults often will say they don’t have 2 hours to exercise. One could say if we can’t find 2 hours out of 168, then we are shaving a lot more then 2 hours a week from our life. It’s important that we give ourselves the time to enjoy learning a new skill, to improve our health, to surround ourselves with energetic people and to “vent” in a positive manner. Students enjoy the stress relief that comes with leaving work, school and family for just a few hours a week to focus on themselves. In doing so, when they get back to work, school or their families they have more energy and are a nicer person to be around.

#5 Respect
BBJJ and BVY students love the aura of respect that comes with martial arts training and yoga practice. By preserving a traditional atmosphere of humility and courtesy, our dojos start and end with respect. From the beginning of class – where we bow and show respect – to the end – when we offer thanks and compliments on our partners training – there is a sense of community in the training. This is very different from sports environments where there is often yelling, taunting, screaming and insulting opposing players.

#4 Teamwork
Inside and outside our yoga and martial arts classes, we encourage teamwork. We do this through a cooperative work environment that favors community over competition. Training the same techniques together, working with all different ages and abilities and attention to partner work builds a sense of connection among all students.  Students often find themselves in a teaching role with a junior student as often as they are in the learning role. The ability to work as a team together allows all our students to make progress in a much faster time.

#3 Confidence
The way we look, feel, act and think all play a huge role when it comes to confidence. When a student starts to look and feel better as they become more fit, it gives them a burst of energy and confidence. When they learn techniques to defend themselves and their families, they grow in self-reliance and assurance. As a student moves up in rank and must help the newest students to learn, their confidence also increases.

#2 Self-Defense
It is more important than ever that we are able to defend our personal space. And not only from physical harm, but also from verbal attacks. The often-overlooked aspect of prevention can mean the difference between success and failure in a street confrontation. Often times attackers will target those who look weak. The martial arts and yoga give a student confidence and purpose in their life. Because of this they are less likely to be targeted and more likely to be left alone.

#1 Fun
Yoga and the martial arts are a growing practice. As more people train, new techniques are discovered and new postures are created. Because our instructors are also students of their arts, we are committed to constantly developing and refining your classroom. Endless variations, alternatives and permutations are part of the learning environment here at BBJJ/BVY. Overcoming new challenges in a healthy and rewarding way puts our students on the path to mastery,  so they learn something new each day while getting fit, staying safe and enjoying the process.