BJJ Mental Models

BJJ Mental Models

Explore the conceptual side of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Black belt brothers Steve & Matt Kwan discuss the mental models, or universal principles, behind the gentle art.... Show More

Episodes

October 18, 2020 105 min

This week on the podcast, we're joined once again by Sergeant Major Seb Lavoie.  Seb shares his expertise on the mindset required to manage conflict.  We also discuss a dozen hypotheticals about getting into a scuffle while waiting in line at the bank teller.

Seb references two books in this episode:

  • On Combat, by Dave Grossman
  • On Killing, by Dave Grossman

  • Mental models discussed in this episode:

  • Mindfulness
    https://bjjmentalmodels.c...
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    This week, Steve and Matt are joined by Olympian and Judo legend Travis Stevens.  Travis shares how he developed the kind of champion's mindset required to succeed at the highest levels.

    Mental models discussed in this episode:

  • Levels of Competition
    https://bjjmentalmodels.com/levels-of-competition/

  • Habits Over Results
    https://bjjmentalmodels.com/habits-over-results/

  • Investing in Loss
    https://bjjmentalmodels.com/investing-in-loss/

  • Dict...
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    This week, Steve and Matt are joined by Cal McDonald to discuss best practices for educating kids.  In addition to being a black belt under Rob Biernacki, Cal is a specialist in creating educational frameworks for children.  Cal shares his knowledge on the topic in a wonderful conversation with implications well beyond teaching children.  This is one of our favorite conversations ever on the podcast.

    Learning strategies discussed:

  • Ef...
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    This week, Steve and Matt are joined by Jon Thomas, the legendary black belt and BJJ instructor.  Steve, Matt, and Jon have a spirited discussion about the best way to integrate new techniques into your game.  We also discuss the limitations of principles and how being dogmatic about them can hinder your development.

    Jon suggests four ways to integrate new techniques:

  • ask your coach
  • watch an instructional
  • watch competition video
  • creativ...
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    September 20, 2020 70 min

    This week, Steve and Matt break down the differences between single and double lever control.  In general, single lever control affords more damage, whereas double lever control affords more control.

    Learn more about this mental model here:
    https://bjjmentalmodels.com/single-vs-double-lever-control/


    Mental models discussed in this episode:

  • Single vs. Double Lever Control
    https://bjjmentalmodels.com/single-vs-double-lever-control/

  • Rotatio...
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    September 13, 2020 114 min

    This week, Steve is once again joined by Rob Biernacki from Island Top Team.  If you follow Rob, you know how passionate he is about respecting expertise and calling out impostors.  We live in a world where identifying expertise is harder - and more important - than ever.  In this episode, we give you the tools to do so.

    When assessing an expert, beware these red flags:

  • Does the expert speak with 100% certainty at all times?
  • Does the ...
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    September 6, 2020 81 min

    This week, Steve and Matt talk about seated guards!  Seated guards are a great way to track and harass your opponent from the bottom.  In this episode, you'll also learn why supine guard is sometimes referred to as Ali-Inoki position - which is a much more dignified nickname than how seated guard is referred to as "buttscooting."


    Mental models discussed in this episode:

  • Inside Channel Control
    https://bjjmentalmodels.com/in...
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    This week, Steve and Matt talk about gi-based open guards!  There are a lot of variations, including spider guard, collar and sleeve, and worm guard.  The sheer number of grip configurations can be overwhelming.  Rather than trying to memorize each variation, we suggest thinking in a concept-based approach.  In this episode, we discuss how.


    Mental models discussed in this episode:

  • Direct vs. Proxy Control
    https://bjjmentalmodels.com/d...
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    This week, Steve and Matt talk about butterfly guard!  Butterfly is a hook-based guard that works in both gi and no-gi, and excels against larger opponents.


    Mental models discussed in this episode:

  • Inside Channel Control
    https://bjjmentalmodels.com/inside-channel-control/

  • Body Tethering
    https://bjjmentalmodels.com/body-tethering/

  • Types of Guard
    https://bjjmentalmodels.com/types-of-guard/

  • Kuzushi
    https://bjjmentalmodels.com/kuzushi/

  • Head Posi...
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    August 16, 2020 67 min

    This week, X gon' give it to ya!  Steve and Matt discuss X guard and its variants.  X guard, while an advanced position and difficult to enter, is an incredibly powerful position that's especially effective against larger opponents.

    There are three primary types of X guard:

  • X guard - best used when you're right underneath your opponent
  • Single leg X guard - best used when controlling the far leg is a challenge
  • Reverse X guar...
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    It's time for another series!  This week, Steve and Matt begin our new five-part Open Guard Series with a concept-based breakdown of the de la Riva guard and reverse de la Riva guard.

    Mental models discussed in this episode:

  • Types of Guard
    https://bjjmentalmodels.com/types-of-guard/

  • Body Tethering
    https://bjjmentalmodels.com/body-tethering/

  • Committed Techniques
    https://bjjmentalmodels.com/committed-techniques/

  • Critical Control Points
    ht...
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    August 2, 2020 68 min

    This week, Steve and Matt discuss the concept of the third place.  It's a sociological concept coined by Ray Oldenburg, who argues that we have three important places in our life:

  • The first place: your home
  • The second place: your work
  • The third place: the anchor to your community.
  • The third place is where we blow off steam, get away from the demands of the first two places, and build relationships.  For most of us, our third place ...

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    July 26, 2020 65 min

    The most important - and also hardest - part of every journey is the first step.  If you can't bring yourself to take the first step, you deny yourself the most important growth opportunities in life.  This week, Steve and Matt talk about the psychology of the first step, and how to overcome the natural fear of starting a new initiative.  And more importantly, we also talk about Final Fantasy VII Remake.

    Mental models discussed ...

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    July 19, 2020 68 min

    This week, Steve and Matt discuss tipping points: the concept that, once you have sufficient leverage or momentum, your desired outcome can no longer be denied.

    We've all experienced tipping points, whether it be on the mats or off.

    In Jiu-Jitsu, tipping points occur when your opponent gains so much leverage that you cannot realistically fight off their attack anymore, and your only recourse is to change your tactics.

    In real life...

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    July 12, 2020 62 min

    What is "the best way" to teach a Jiu-Jitsu class?  Is there even an answer to that question?  This week, Steve and Matt discuss common BJJ teaching methodologies such as concepts-based, toughness-based, and sequence-based.

    Mental models discussed in this episode:

  • Train With Purpose
    https://bjjmentalmodels.com/train-with-purpose/

  • Making Smaller Circles
    https://bjjmentalmodels.com/making-smaller-circles/

  • Predictable Responses
    https...
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    July 5, 2020 70 min

    This week Steve and Matt discuss the concept of surface area, and why it's important to expose as little of your body's surface area as possible.  This strategy is sometimes referred to by the Danaher Death Squad as blading.

    When you're on top, minimizing surface area makes it much harder for your opponent to block your guard passes.

    When you're on bottom, minimizing surface area makes it much harder for your opponent...

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    This week Steve is joined by Rory van Vliet, an Island Top Team black belt under Rob Biernacki, to discuss online education.  Rory is the co-instructor of the BJJ Concepts online academy, the operator behind the RVV BJJ YouTube channel, and the creator of the Guard Retention Formula instructional series alongside Stephan Kesting.  Rory is uniquely qualified to discuss the topic of online education, so if you've ever wanted to s...

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    June 21, 2020 65 min

    This week, Steve and Matt discuss how to get motivated and stay motivated.  It's easy to lose that fire inside and become exhausted through the rigors and routine of everyday life. Every now and then, you need to draw from different sources to become invigorated and motivated again.

    In this episode we talk about four common sources of motivation:

  • Motivation from failure
  • Motivation from regret
  • Motivation from inspiration
  • Motivation f...
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    It's our honor and privilege to be joined this week by Sergeant Major Seb Lavoie.  In addition to a lifetime of experience in the martial arts, Seb is a 19-year veteran of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP) and previously served in the Canadian Armed Forces.  Seb is currently the divisional Sergeant Major for British Columbia, Canada.

    This week Seb joins us to discuss the killing of George Floyd, police use of force, and w...

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    June 8, 2020 49 min

    Fear of time, or chronophobia, is a cause of constant anxiety and stress for many of us.  It's the persistent fear that you're just not doing enough.  This week, Steve and Matt discuss strategies for combating the fear of time.

    Ways to combat the fear of time:

  • Kaizen (continuous improvement)
  • Compartmentalizing
  • Being present
  • Recommended reading if you need help combating the fear of time:
    How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, by ...

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