Positive Self-Control

Besides being creatures of habit, we are all emotional beings. Most of the actions you take are based on your emotions.

So how do we learn to make better decisions? On the mat and off, the key is to learn to control your emotions so they don’t control you.

One of the greatest benefits you’ll see from Martial Arts training is what we call “positive self-control” when it comes to your emotions. Rather than just reacting all the time, you can learn to do three important things:

First, assess…

Then respond…

Then reset.

When you train yourself in this way, you begin to understand that there are ways that you can influence your own emotions, putting you in the driver seat.

This is a very empowering experience, one that is directly in line with the principles of Jiu-Jitsu: efficiency, effectiveness, creativity and consideration.

If you’ve ever lost control of your emotions, this usually means you’ve grown mad, sad or upset over something that’s happened to you. You’ve allowed your emotions to be in the driver’s seat, when they’d do much better as a passenger. With consistent training and practice, you can and will gain control over your emotions; and this will allow you to excel in your training and your life.

Franklin D. Roosevelt, stricken with polio at age 39, became president at the height of the Great Depression, and helped the American people regain their faith in themselves. He wrote,  “We are not prisoners of fate, but only prisoners of our own minds.”

What are you a “prisoner” of? What are you doing to change it?

The things you focus on day in and day out have a significant influence on your attitude. Your daily habits can have a positive or a negative impact on your thoughts and emotions. The more you direct your focus and thinking patterns, the better control you will have over your emotions.

Martial arts training puts us directly in front of ourselves. We’re reminded about both our strengths and our shortcomings on a regular basis – a personal inventory that many people lack the courage to consider. As modern warriors, we have to consider the physical, mental and emotional habits we’re building as we work towards black belt.

Thoughts lead to feelings, your feelings lead to your actions, and your actions always determine your results.

Improve your thinking and you will improve your life.


Habit of Self-Belief

Belief is the knowledge that we can do something. It’s an inner feeling that we can accomplish the things we desire to do…and decide to achieve.

One of the truly great things about the goal of Black Belt is that it re-invests us in ourselves: it asks us to commit to self-belief. When you believe in yourself, you gain power and your eyes open to opportunities that lead to greatness.

To achieve high levels of success in any field, you must believe you can do it. Surrounding yourself with a powerful support team – your family, your friends, your instructors, your bosses – helps to build this feeling of belief and possibility.

Your thoughts can be positive and filled with belief, or they can be negative and filled with disbelief. If you’re not building the habit of self-belief through positive, proactive activities, you can slip into self-doubt and “stinking thinking”.

Either way, your mind will convince you to succeed and achieve, or to fail and give up.

Have confidence in yourself and your ability to become more and achieve more than you already have. Confidence and self-belief are like muscles that have to be exercised and used to become stronger.

“Believe you can and you are halfway there.”
— Theodore Roosevelt

Fill your mind with thoughts of success and victory – work to eliminate thoughts of failure and defeat. Surround yourself with people that support and encourage you to go for it, and dump the naysayers that fill your mind with fear and doubt.

See it, believe it…and you’ll make the change a reality.

A Special Stranger Danger

We love taking the practice outside the dojo, especially when we’re helping kids learn how to stay safe. Our afternoon with Healthy Living Ministries was great – and here is what they had to say about the class:


Good day to you Professor Noto…We really had a great time in the Stranger Danger Class on Friday; in fact I learned some important life saving skills for myself…Thank You!…..The Children could not stop talking about their new experience…Please count us in for the next class…Our Youth will participate in the “Stranger Danger” class.

Rev. S. Jordon
Friends Healing Network for Healthy Living Ministries, Inc.

Habit of Taking Action

To achieve your best in any area of your life, you must take action… and plenty of it. If you didn’t realize this already, you wouldn’t be training in the Martial Arts – you’d be thinking about training in the Martial Arts!

Most people think before they act, and usually that’s a good thing. We know that preparation and planning are essential to success. But some people think and think and think, and never act. They fail to launch their plan into action. Sometimes it’s because they fear failure, other times they are waiting for everything to be exactly right to get started and sometimes they are just plain lazy.

*** Take Action Today Not Tomorrow! ***
People who accomplish things in this life tend to be “action oriented”. In other words,  they don’t wait…they create.
Once you decide you want to achieve or attain something, take action. If you want to be an expert or gain experience for yourself, you’ve got to be willing to be a beginner – and to start from wherever you are. Take action today and tomorrow…but don’t wait until tomorrow to get started.

Almost everyone has something they wished they’d gotten started on sooner. Maybe it was to start training in the Martial Arts sooner, maybe it was to start a diet sooner or start saving money sooner. Maybe it was an art project, or spending time with their family or starting a business. If that describes you, realize you are not alone.

Learn from your past: repeat what works and change what doesn’t. If you have a tendency to procrastinate or avoid taking action, do something – anything – to break the habit. You’ve got too much to offer to be held back by such a limited belief system.

Change your approach and take action today, not tomorrow!
It’s never too late to start, and the sooner you start…the sooner you can start to see progress, results and changes.

Tyler’s Thai Kickboxing Essay

Tyler – age 15
The most significant change I’ve experienced since beginning the Muay Thai program at Brooklyn Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is self-control and my overall physical shape. The improvement in my self-control came thru the intense workout at BBJJ provides and the constant help you can get from any of the instructors. Physically since I joined BBJJ I have lost close to 40 pounds and my endurance in any physical activity has gone from lasting a few minutes to an hour without stop. It has affected myself and those around me by making me more active with my family and my friends, being able to spend more time running and playing instead of sitting under a tree resting while everyone played without me. Personally its help me with my self-esteem as well knowing that I’ve slimmed down and gotten both stronger physically and mentally.
Tyler is standing to the left of Professor Glick

Vacation Form

If you are planning on taking a time off – for two days or for two months – we’d like to know about it!

Our recommendation to all students is that if you are planning on missing days, put in some extra time and work by doubling-up on classes. For example, if you’re going to be out for two weeks, try to get in two extra classes the week before you leave and two extra classes the week you get back. That way, you will have done the work for the weeks you’ll miss. It will also keep your progress on track.

If for some reason you cannot get some extra classes in, then we ask you to please download and fill out a Vacation Form. In order to properly credit any time missed, return it to the Program Director, and it will ensure that your time will be credited back to you accurately.

See you on the mat!

The Staff of Brooklyn Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu



By Professor Josh Skyer

We love summer and we love training in the summer: nothing beats a great martial arts class after a hot summer day: stepping into a clean, air-conditioned Dojo, putting on a clean uniform and letting the stress of the dog days disappear.  Here are some black belt tips to keep your martial arts training intact during the summer months:

1. DON’T LET THE WARM WEATHER KNOCK YOU OFF TRACK – Progress comes with consistency. It’s tempting to let a day at the beach, or a long weekend distract you from your martial arts goals. Fight it! We talk about self-discipline; what that means for most adults is hitting the mute button on that little voice in your head telling you that it’s OK to skip class.

2. WEAR A CLEAN UNIFORM – This holds true regardless of season.  This might mean getting a second or third gi, especially if you’re training more than twice a week. Of course, never wear a gi or thai boxing uniform that hasn’t been washed. This actually might be illegal in some states, and if it isn’t then it should be.

3. DON’T DROWN YOUR TRAINING PARTNER…BRING A TOWEL – Sweat management is a necessity during warmer weather.  Bring a small towel to class and use it.  Getting caught in a rainstorm on your way to class is not a big deal.  Getting caught in a rainstorm while on the bottom of the mount IS!

4. ALWAYS WEAR A T-SHIRT OR RASHGUARD UNDER YOUR GI –  It will add an extra sweat-absorbing layer.  If you partner taps out because of a triangle you will most likely get a high five or “good job”.  If your partner taps out because they are choking on your sweat or your chest hair you will not get a high five.

5. TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR PERSONAL HYGIENE – Take a shower after class, every time. This is common sense for most people, but it bears repeating anyway. A really wise man once said that a good training partner showers after every class, but a great training partner showers before class.

6. HYDRATE – Drink water all day.  Start first thing in the morning. Coffee, sports drinks, alcohol and soda all LEECH water from your body. It’s important to hydrate before, during, and after class.  Also be extra careful about eating salty foods on training days, which can also draw water from the body.

7. BE A GOODFINDER – Yes, it’s hot out. Yes, there is traffic. Yes, you had to stand up on the train and didn’t get a seat. Yes, your boss is a mean person. Yes, your therapist likes to blame all your problems on your parents. But NO, you don’t have the right to complain in the dojo. Your training hall is supposed to be a positive place, a sanctuary. If you can’t say anything positive,don’t say anything at all. JUST TRAIN.  If you don’t feel better after class, we’ll be happy to refund you your misery.

Have a sustainable practice! The martial arts is the best year-round activity there is for fitness, focus and self-improvement. Commit to the process of getting better by following these tips…and by encouraging others to do the same.

Train hard – there is no substitute!

Eating for tendon health

Support your connective tissues’ health with a nutrient-rich, low-inflammation diet.

  • Eat plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables.
  • Eat enough protein, which provides the “building blocks” of tissue repair.
  • Limit inflammatory foods (such as processed foods and sugar) as well as any foods to which you know you’re intolerant.

Work out smart

  • Try a safety bar squat or a cross arm (“genie”) front squat instead of regular barbell back squats to decrease elbow stress.
  • Do fewer isolation exercises for biceps and triceps. Instead, focus on compound exercises where the load is higher and the stress is distributed over more than one joint.
  • If it hurts, avoid it. Find an alternative.
  • Vary your movements and loading. Take a day off between intense workouts. Build in recovery days each week with easy movement and mobility work. Have a diverse roster of activities instead of doing the same handful of things over and over.
  • You can use an elbow band if you find it comfortable during workouts.
  • Try lifting straps to decrease the amount of gripping necessary for heavy lifts, like this.
  • Look at overall upper body mobility. A tight posterior shoulder capsule may contribute to elbow pain.
  • Build a solid foundation and mechanics before you increase the speed or resistance at which you do something. Remember that connective tissues take a long time to build and heal.

Live smart

  • Check your computer workstation. If your hands are always in pain, change the setup.
  • Engage in rehab with pain free strengthening exercises (wrist curls, reverse wrist curls, elbow flexion, elbow extension, forearm pronation/supination).
  • Return to full-strength activities gradually. You may need as much as a year of rehab exercises.

Eat smart

Try the following foods and/or supplements that help to moderate inflammation and promote tissue healing:

  • Foods/supplements rich in omega-3 fats:
    Algae oil, flax, chia, hemp, walnuts, leafy greens, fish, fish and marine oils (e.g. krill and algae)
  • Foods/supplements rich in flavanoids:
    Turmeric, garlic, pineapple, tea, berries, cocoa
  • Foods rich in vitamin C:
    Guava, red bell pepper, broccoli, green bell peppers, strawberries, grapefruit, kohlrabi, papaya, Brussels sprouts, kiwi, mango, oranges
  • Foods rich in vitamin A:
    Carrots, pumpkin, sweet potato, spinach, collards, kale, watercress, beets, winter squash, tomatoes, dried apricots, mango
  • Foods rich in zinc:
    Mushrooms, spinach, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, green peas, baked beans, cashews, whole grains, oysters, chicken, crab, lamb, beef, pork, turkey, lobster, wheat germ, watermelon seeds
  • Foods rich in copper:
    Mushrooms, green leafy vegetables, barley, soybeans, tempeh, sunflower seeds, navy beans, garbanzo beans, cashews, molasses, beef liver, oysters, lobster, crab, chocolate, cocoa powder.
  • Amino acids:
    Supplementing with arginine (7 grams, 2x/day), HMB (1.5 grams, 2x/day), and glutamine (7 grams, 2x/day) might assist in collagen deposition and injury healing.

Also, try keeping a food journal as well as tracking your pain / inflammation symptoms.

See if you notice any correlations. When is your pain better or worse? Do particular foods seem to make a difference?

Many people find that when they remove inflammatory foods, and/or foods to which their body reacts, they have less joint pain.