Happy New Year From Shihan

As we celebrate the Holiday and the the upcoming New Year I have been giving a lot of thought to the word Hope. I thought it fitting to share the dictionary’s definition:

  1. A feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.
  2. A person or thing that may help save someone.
  3. Grounds for believing something good may happen.
  4. A feeling of trust.

We are infinitely grateful to have you by our side in fulfilling this vision the ancient masters had of spreading peace, confidence, and well being to the world through the embodiment of the Martial Arts principles. You are a force for good. Continue to give Hope to the world. You matter!

Wishing you all a Happy Holiday and an Abundant New Year.

Shihan Dunn

Charles’ BBJJ Experience

Over the course of the past year I have spent a significant amount of time training at the Brooklyn Brazilian Jiu Jitsu School and have come to find that it has done nothing but benefit me in a great number of ways. Jiu Jitsu has made me a calmer, more confident and more dedicated person. It’s not only my cardiovascular system that has strengthened by training the martial arts, I have been strengthened mentally as well. At BBJJ you learn that the martial arts aren’t what you see on television. The martial arts are a way of life and a devotion to discipline.

I have on several occasions handed out VIP cards, and recommended different people looking for a new way to challenge and train themselves to BBJJ. BBJJ is different from other martial arts schools, from the phenomenal instructors, to the way they care for each of their students, to the professors amazing talent and eye for technique, BBJJ has everything you could hope for. The Student Creed recited after every class is a constant reminder and guideline to keep the focus on the mat. Those guidelines are truly what the school is about.

Prior to starting my training at BBJJ I was often found in the gym, lifting weights, striving to be stronger and bigger. Now I find myself less often striving at the gym and more often trying to perfect my technique and learn new moves. Jiu Jitsu is now my focus for working out. My stamina has improved and so has my personality on and off the mat. Because of BBJJ I now find myself more goal oriented and less frequently stressing about the smaller things and find myself more often keeping a calm and relaxed persona instead of getting worked up over things that don’t matter. Family and friends notice the change and Jiu Jitsu has done nothing but benefit my life. So I would like to thank my instructors and encourage all new students to take a chance and not give up.


Dealing with Vacations and Breaks!

Whether it’s due to a holiday break, a family vacation or travel for work, there will be times when you won’t be able to get to class. Serious students are often asking us, “what should I be doing in order to keep my practice going if I’m away from the school?”

The truth is that our methodology is unique – BBJJ’s cooperative, proactive learning environment is one-of-a-kind. Our core philosophy is about fostering growth by providing the supportive, non-competitive conditions that allow you to train for the long haul.

So when students ask about “dropping in” to other martial arts schools, our answer is always the same: “don’t”.


There are tons of reasons, including:

  • poor instruction and supervision
  • competitive/arrogant/”macho” training setting
  • unprofessional, unregulated training sessions
  • unhygenic mats and facilities
  • aggressive, uneducated training partners
  • exposure to diseases like staph, MRSA, ringworm, impetigo and mat herpes (if this isn’t enough to dissuade you, you might have mental problems!)
  • risk of injury (your own or others)
  • violation of martial arts protocol
  • dissolution of student-teacher relationship
  • and many more!

Concerned yet? Over the past 20 years of training, we have both seen and heard evidence of all of the above. We’ve watched students and peers who “knew better” or thought they were taking an acceptable risk, only to find their progress physically or mentally disrupted because of one of these circumstances.

The sensible approach is not to put your progress – or your instructors, training partners and dojos – at risk.

You can minimize the chance for injuries, bad experiences and (ugh) diseases from unclean schools or mats by focusing your training energy elsewhere when you’re not at home to train.

Like what?

BBJJ Training Log: Well, you can start with our training log. The BBJJ training log has been designed specifically for you, when you are away from the school. It takes some of the most important solo drills from class and organizes them into an outline so you can still condition your body using martial arts means. These are a selection of the most important developmental skills you can have for longterm success. And the work of practicing them alone is an exercise in self-discipline.

Plus you only need a small area in your hotel room to keep yourself physically connected to the movements you’ve been learning in class.

Gym Workout: Another great idea is to workout in your hotel. If you’re traveling, you’re likely to have a small but functional gym in or nearby where you’re staying. If there isn’t one in your hotel, do some research before you get there and see if you can find one within walking/shuttle/driving distance. Pull-ups, pushups, sit-ups, dips and a treadmill/elliptical can provide a great fitness routine without your even having to use weights.

Use Equipment: Two things you always have room to pack are a jump-rope and a resistance band. Most students already know how to jump rope from the Muay Thai classes here, and it’s something you can do inside or out. 10 minutes on the rope a day and you’re cardio will improve…guaranteed! In addition, a small resistance band can be attached to hotel furniture or trees outside, providing you with opportunities to work the core, upper body and lower body as well.

Bodyweight Exercises: If there isn’t a gym nearby (or time to get there), use yourself as resistance. You’ve seen dozens of pushup and sit-up variations in class (and if you’ve been paying attention, you might just remember them!). With a chair or some well-placed end-tables, you can do a wide variety of squats, dips, sit-ups and pushups.

Run: If all else fails, run. You can always use your time away from the dojo to concentrate on cardio. Every hotel, cruise-ship or vacation place has somewhere to run, even if it means wind-sprints in the hallways. Stairwells are a place for stair-runs or -walks, and even plyometrics for the adventurous (be careful!).

Mental Work is Work: Read. Choose a book related (or even unrelated) to your martial arts journey and study. Even better, bring the message of the week with you. The martial arts is not just about physical improvement, but also about developing mental discipline and emotional strength. Reviewing the lessons of training – and some of the recent tips about the BBJJ philosophy – will keep you connected to the martial arts life. And by the way, you don’t have to be away from home to do this one. Its good practice for all of us each week.

Rest and Recharge: Remember that a little rest is a good thing sometimes. If you’re training as hard as you should be regularly (3 times per week), then a trip out of town for 3 or 4 days can be a chance to rest and recharge. You’ll be reinvigorated when you return.

Above all, plan ahead and be creative. Worse than doing nothing on a vacation or a break is doing something that will set you back in training. You don’t need to take unnecessary risks, or endanger the physical or mental relationships you’ve built so far. Reading and studying may not seem like the best substitutes for being on the mat, but they give you a well-needed perspective on the work you’re doing in our classroom.

Give your body something to do, keep your mind focused and prepare to return to class as soon as you can. That’s the sanest, safest and most sustainable approach to personal and holiday breaks.

Kim’s Muay Thai Kickboxing Experience

Purple Belt
November 2013

It is becoming increasingly harder for me to write these essays. I know that I have worked through a lot of issues, both mental and physical to get to where I am today. I was in a class Monday night, and the professor reminded us to think back to our first class. That thought brought back so much emotion for me. When I thought of that first night in June, 2012, I get emotional. I can’t believe how much I have changed. My body has changed of course, I try to train regularly. My mindset has changed more though.

I stepped onto the mat on that night so long ago to try to lose weight. Yes, I admit, if I made my goal weight I’d probably stop. I did not see myself committing to blue/white belt, much less black belt. I figured six months and I’d hit my goal for weight loss, and I’d be gone. That first night I was overly confident that it was no big deal, I could handle it. How little I knew about myself! I have learned that, yes, I can handle it, but it was more than a big deal. I actually felt worse with myself during that first class. I realized how much I had let my body go physically. I was ashamed. However, because I saw that, I realize now, I saw the fact that I could change. I had the power to make the change, to be my change. My physical body has changed a great deal in the 17 months that I have committed to my training, 11 months past my six month mindset then!

My mental state has been both awakened and calmed at the same time. I handle stress much better, and that makes teaching easier. However, the realization that I, along with my great instructors, am responsible for MY changes has empowered me. I have confidence that I have never felt before. I feel in total control of myself. I have learned to do something people had pointed out that I wasn’t doing before. I have learned to accept and simply say thank you for a sincere compliment. I have been complimented by my professors, instructors, senior classmates, and lower belt classmates. I am proud of each compliment now. I also see that I am a teacher in more ways than one. It is just as gratifying to receive a compliment from a new student as it is to hear one from a parent of a student. I am a calmer person because of the ability to process stress differently, and a happier person, and I want to thank Brooklyn Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for helping me to change me. I am now 100% committed to train as long as my body will let me.

– Kimberly