When you think you HAVE to move, you are moving into the misunderstanding.
Your favorite submission is not working as often as you would like.
-Most people attack with their best submission first.
-Most often the submission you attempt first does not work.
-Start attacking all the submissions that are not your favorite.
-Your opponent has no idea that you do not like those submissions.
-Use the submissions that are not your favorite to disguise your favorite.
-Take the submission your opponent gives you.
Over the past month I have come to realize how the most beautiful, most special and the most important people in the world are women, and specifically mothers. My belief is if we treat women with more love and respect we will impact the world in a very positive manner.
When I think about the word “masculine” I think about all the men around the world and how they are all masculine in their own way. I think about men that are practicing martial arts with a fight/self-defense focus, whether it is karate, judo, jiu-jitsu or any other art. These are the most masculine of all. Being born in the Gracie family, I was surrounded by extreme masculinity at a young age. As a result, I feel that my views and opinions of women were a little twisted growing up. Primarily that the man is the boss and then the woman. Growing up I sometimes noticed men doing and saying things to and about women that, today, show me the lack of respect and equality. The woman should stay home cooking and cleaning; today I very much enjoy staying home cooking and cleaning. The man makes money and the woman does not; when my wife has an opportunity to make money, I encourage it. Through every year of my life and to this day, I have heard men mock, lie, tease, belittle, and place themselves above women and I completely understand why. The same way a child bullies another because of insecurities, men bully women. Keep the women down and we will stay on top. Growing up I was a victim of these insecurities and made fun of a few girls in my time. Today I also have to be very aware of jokes that I tell and not unconsciously attack women or anyone negatively for that matter.
This brings me to the talk of how men and sometimes women refer to other women as “housewives” & “stay-at-home moms.” I am not certain, but when I hear the term, “She’s a house wife,” or “A stay-at-home mom,” I feel like it is not said with enough appreciation and with a small amount of judgment. Its almost as if that woman has it easy or that she is not strengthening the image of women by not following a career.
We can agree that, more than ever before, society is accepting that women are equal to men, yet, there are still some who give the impression that this is not true. This, I believe, is largely what causes women, who would otherwise be perfectly happy as a stay-at-home mom, to feel pressured to go find a job with hopes of bringing some significance in the eyes of others. I believe that because we do not uplift the housewife or give it a status symbol, like a model or TV celebrity, many women do not aspire to have this role. Recently, one of my students informed me that, in Japan, when a mother works outside the home, she is asked “Why?” as if they are confused. And when a woman says she is a “stay-at-home mom” people are impressed and give them the utmost respect.
Last month I was fortunate enough to become a father to a beautiful baby girl. What I’ve witnessed so far is unbelievable. Everything from peeing to pooping to crying to more crying to spitting up to farting to runny noses to burping to feeding to bathing to diapers to lack of sleep and most importantly a huge responsibility that brings so much significance and joy to everything that I do. What caught me most off guard since becoming a father is how every time I go to work I feel like I’m on vacation. Keep in mind that my job involves me getting thrown to the ground, arm locked, choked, crushed and more. I believe that most men who have a child quickly realize that there are few things more demanding than caring for a child.
I believe that if we acknowledge the truth, and we treat women with more respect, it will reduce their need to prove their equality, which needs no proving. The truth is we could not be more equal, and women could not be more valuable. A female should grow up feeling so equal that she does what she feels like doing, not what society pressures her into doing. If she wants to work, great! If she wants to manage the home, wonderful! If this could happen, I imagine more women would decide to stay home and dedicate all their time and energy to the home and child because that is a child of the future.
-Men: First thing that we have to do is “keepitplayful,” tap out, and treat every woman like you want your mother, sister or daughter to be treated. If you think one day you would like a wife that will take care of you and your children, start acknowledging that the mother’s job is the most important job in the world. Realize how fortunate you would be if you found a woman that could see the value in taking on the role of a mother 100%. If you already have a “housewife” or “stay-at-home mom,” be extremely grateful that you are able to provide for the family while she stays home and puts her dreams or career on hold. Remember, compared to full-time parenting, any job is a vacation. I say vacation yet I am very aware that the weight that is carried by the one providing is also a big one.
-Stay at home dads: Now that I have a daughter I am beginning to envy you. As much as I love my job, nothing brings me greater joy than looking after my little jiu-jitsu princess. I am happy that you have an arrangement that works for your family. Make sure to teach your children the Gracie bullyproof program from home.
-Working Mothers: Keep up the great work! I am very aware that you have a lot on your plate and your income might be necessary for the household. On a separate note, I understand that, like me, you get so much satisfaction from your job/career that working is like therapy. I am excited for the day when my wife and I feel it is best for her to go back to work.
-Stay-at-home Mothers: Never for one moment feel that what you are doing is not enough, and don’t feel like there is a rush to get back to the work force. I could not ask anything more from my wife than for her to put her career on hold and give all her time and energy to our daughter in her years of infancy.
Being part of the largest martial arts family in history that is primarily male dominated and super masculine I am so grateful to not only have a wife that is so feminine but to now have a daughter that will hopefully one day be a wife and a mother. Everything happens for a reason, I feel like more than ever it is my responsibility to be an example of how to treat women. Everything starts with appreciation and I have never been so appreciative.
To all the mothers around the world, thank you for your love and patience. Happy Mothers Day!
Thank you to my mom for teaching me so much about how to love. Happy Mothers Day!
Thank you to my wife for starting this journey with me, the love you give our daughter is so beautiful and I could not ask for anything more. Happy Mothers Day!
Once you are able to tap a training partner at will, consider catching a submission and leaving a small opening to allow an escape. Allowing your partner to escape will prepare you for the day when someone escapes for real. Not only will you have a plan B in place but you will have rehearsed it many times! #keepitplayful
Tap does not mean you give up.
Not returning to the mat and putting your gi in storage is how you give up.
Keepitplayful and that day may never come.
A JIU-JITSU WEEK FOR RYRON GRACIE
2 hours of Gracieuniversity.com filming
5 hours of group classes
1 private class
Sparring 30 min, one morning, one evening, intensity (7-8)
2 hours of Gracieuniversity.com filming
6-7 group classes
3 private classes
Sparring 30 min., one morning, one evening, intensity (4-5)
Wednesday “Rest day”
2 group classes
8 private classes
Flow with Private class students
Give extra attention to the psychology of the art in private classes.
Thursday (No gi)
5 group classes
2 private classes
Sparring One 45 min. session intensity (8-9)
Friday (No Gi)
2 hours Gracieuniversity.com filming
5 group classes
4 private classes
Sparring 30 min, one morning, one evening, intensity (6-7)
Saturday & Sunday combined
6 group classes
2 private classes
30 min session, sparring intensity (6-7)
Sparring intensity 4-5 is what I would use going against a blue belt
(Notice that I almost never go 100% due to self preservation)
1-3 (sparring with teenagers)
4-5 (sparring with white and blue belt adults)
6-7 (sparring with purple belts)
8-9 (sparring with black belts)
10 (sparring with Rener and Ralek)-Sparring is usually after techniques taught in group classes.-Morning and evening group classes 5 days a week + weekends-30 minutes can be positional sparring more focused making it very valuable-Intensity 10 happens once a month with brothers-Intensity 10 happens when helping a fighter or competitor prepare-Intensity 10 happens when preparing for a competition, which is rare-I teach an average of 25 hours of group classes per week
-I teach in Torrance, CA and Beverly Hills, CA
-Try to do 2 seminar weekends away per month (Friday-Sunday)
-Filming for Gracieuniversity.com 2-3 days per week.
-75% of my sparring is with my students in the group classes
-15% of my sparring is with professional fighters & competitors that want to learn
-I teach 15-20 private classes per week
-10% of sparring is in private classes
-I sleep from 6-7 hours per night
-I try to nap for 1-1.5 hrs everyday
-Eat 3 meals per day sometimes 4 when I start at 6 am
-Do not eat any meat except for fish, once a week, mostly sushi
-Very moderate cheese
-Eggs about 3 times per week
-Never drink milk or beer
-Always drink water and coconut water
-I avoid Gluten whenever possible
-Vegetable juice 3-5 times per week
-Acai roots twice a week
-Jump in the ocean a few times a week
-Work out once a week; body weight push-ups, sit-ups, squats
-Yoga twice a week would be great
-Weekend bike rides are a goal
Thanks to the KeepItPlayful movement I step on the mat week after week.
Thanks to my brother and partner Rener for his tremendous amount of hard work.
Thanks to my amazing wife Victoria for all of her patience and understanding.
“Be prepared that you might tap and that defeat is nothing compared to what you have coming if you do not embrace the KeepItPlayful movement.”
The term KeepItPlayful has taken on a life of its own, with people asking me what it means, what it has to do with Jiu Jitsu and how or if they can use it in their Jiu Jitsu game? You name it I’ve been asked and the truth is KeepItPlayful is not just a phrase it is a movement. I decided the best way to breakdown what it means would be to conduct an interview with this ‘movement’ and let it speak for itself.
Ryron: So, KeepItPlayful, how are you going to revolutionize my jiu-jitsu game?
KeepItPlayful: Have you ever felt like your jiu-jitsu lacks the flow of movement that is necessary to build proper reflexes and understanding?
Ryron: Yes, what does this have to do with the KeepItPlayful movement?
KeepItPlayful: It is the movement dedicated to movement.
Ryron: Huh? What do you mean?
KeepItPlayful: Movement through all the positions and situations that happen in jiu-jitsu sparring. Once the flow starts not only do you learn more but you Jiu-jitsu heads are able to escape everyday life, this is what keeps you coming back to the mat.
Ryron: Don’t people already move through all the positions?
KeepItPlayful: Yes and no, Most people don’t want to move unless it is moving into a position of attack and safe from the attack of others.
Ryron: Okay, so why move into any positions other than a position of attack?
KeepItPlayful: To build familiarity with all positions, of course!
Ryron: Understood. So tell me more about the movement.
KeepItPlayful: The first thing necessary for movement to happen is you have to embrace the KeepItPlayful attitude. Starting with the belief that winning is not the most important thing and losing is not the worst. More important than both is doing everything possible to keep you on the mat for as long as possible. This sounds easier than it is…
Ryron: Isn’t the reason for sparring to battle your partner and see who can win, to see who is better? Isn’t that what makes winning more desirable than losing?
KeepItPlayful: Yes, you do want to fight to win. What you do not want is for winning to be so important that you defeat yourself. One of the ways I see one defeating them self is that your mind makes winning out to be the most important thing and this causes you to advance and attack blindly leading to your own defeat. This small defeat is part of the most serious defeat, which depends on your ability to KeepItPlayful in another way. What I am talking about has to do with the next part of the movement. So for now play the game to win but be prepared that you might tap and that defeat is nothing compared to what you have coming if you do not embrace the KeepItPlayful movement.
Ryron: What else does it mean to KeepItPlayful, the second part of the movement?
KeepItPlayful: The first thing to discuss is how a big part of jiu-jitsu practice today is about avoiding inferior positions and if you happen to find yourself in one you do everything within your power to escape. Why do we fight so hard to avoid and escape inferior positions in practice?
Ryron: So we don’t lose.
KeepItPlayful : Good! The main reason is simple, people seem to believe that if you are in an inferior position you must be inferior to your training partner and someone who is inferior is the loser. So you are correct, the ego does not want to lose. Why is that position established as inferior in the first place? In competition, points are scored against you and you are more open to submissions and/or strikes. So basically, you fight so hard because you are in a position which you have very little knowledge leaving you vulnerable to defeat. This leaves you uncomfortable and fearful of being the loser. What’s ironic is that 99% of the time you are training in a practice environment and whether your opponent scores, lands a submission or a strike, does not matter because it is just practice.
Ryron: I believe people fight hard because they are preparing for war. Whether that is for fun in the academy, competition or a street fight.
KeepItPlayful: Yes, I know you practice to prepare for battle and there will be a day where the outcome matters. This is exactly why you should KeepItPlayful, because one day the outcome will matter. We have to look at what we are doing to make sure we are more prepared. The only way you can be more prepared is through more understanding of the position.
I think it is safe to say that with knowledge comes understanding and then comes comfort. You may find yourself in an unknown and uncomfortable position and you feel like you must escape. The dilemma here is that you are in a position that is unknown and the only way for it to be known is to spend time there. When are you going to spend time there if not in practice? You seem to always be in a hurry to remove yourself from the unknown and surprisingly your desire to be somewhere else is what takes you out of the present moment leaving you vulnerable to points, submissions and strikes, the exact reasons you wanted to get out of that inferior position in the first place. What is interesting is it that, what you think you should do is exactly what your opponent needs you to do to be the victor.
Ryron: You mentioned the ego, why is that? And do you not have an ego yourself?
KeepItPlayful: Yes, I do have one and thanks to my ego I KeepItPlayful. I use my ego in a way that is helping me stay on the mat longer and learn faster. What I am doing is investing a little time everyday to survival strategies. My ego is dedicated to allowing everyone that I spar with to achieve the most advantageous positions, thanks to my ego, I pull mount. Sometimes after I do this I think, “nobody can hold me down” and that is my ego talking. Believe it or not my brother, KeepItReal, sometimes chokes me out and my ego says “Dang!” One would think that after doing this enough one would feel inferior when in a supposed inferior position. Or one could be confident that the understanding of survival is gradually growing and soon enough will far out weigh their opponents offense.
Ryron: Are you suggesting that most of the Jiu-jitsu community is losing touch with what Jiu-jitsu is all about? Possibly losing touch with the principle of survival?
KeepItPlayful: Losing touch insinuates that they had the principle understood at some point or at least have been exposed to it. The principle of survival is synonymous with Jiu jitsu and yet many instructors gear more to teaching how to avoid and quickly escape from inferior positions, not because they do not want to teach you how to survive but rather they do not know any other way to teach. Somewhere along the way from the Grandmasters Carlos and Helio Gracie to our instructors, someone did not carry the torch of teaching survival. The instructors lack the knowledge making it impossible for them to teach you survival.
Ryron: This feels a little disrespectful.
KeepItPlayful: Disrespect is the last thing on my mind. I don’t know who taught you and what you have picked up. Maybe your coach has taught you just how important survival is and you are ready for the day you will be tested. Even if your coach has not taught you survival, it does not make them a bad coach, they simply lacked exposure.
Ryron: How will we know if we are being taught survival?
KeepItPlayful: Simply ask yourself, how often has your coach/instructor explained to you the importance to preparing for the day when escape is not an option and your only option will be survival?
Ryron: That is a good question. What about an offense that is so solid that it keeps your opponent on the run? This would also insure your survival.
KeepItPlayful: Correct, this is a good strategy that will work for a while. If you can guarantee this strategy being effective against everyone on the planet for the rest of your jiu-jitsu career I would say dedicate all your time to training that strategy. Since nobody can guarantee that, you have to train survival also, that is if you plan on staying on the mat through black belt and beyond. If you are learning Jiu-jitsu without learning how to survive, you are not learning Jiu-jitsu!
Ryron: Okay, so for those of us that want to join the KeepItPlayful movement and learn survival, what do we do?
KeepItPlayful: I thought you’d never ask! The next part of the movement is the KeepItPlayful roll. Next time you are rolling or sparring, whether you are the more advanced student or not, allow yourself to end up in the position you find most uncomfortable. To KeepItPlayful when sparring is to bring comfort and understanding to positions through awareness. This is a strategy for anyone who would like to be comfortable where most are uncomfortable.
Use your training partner to help you learn. Observe yourself being defeated. Tell yourself that you are allowing your training partner to show you their favorite techniques, take mental notes. Fight the urge to escape and not be tapped out but instead invite the inferior position and the submission.
If you are the more experienced person, you have someone that you can use to practice your escapes, transitions, submission counters and submission transitions and many other things for when you go against someone more advanced. Trust me, you are going to wish you had more practice in whatever situation you find yourself. Since you have a partner that you should be able to get into any position, remember to be helpful and allow your partner to practice also. You are more experienced so you have to want to help them, and by help I mean help keep them on the mat, do not destroy their egos, allow movement.
As the newer person, get ready to be under full attack. Chances are your training partner is out to show their superiority, and this is great! Put observing and learning what they are attempting over trying not to lose. Do not attempt to overwhelm and defeat them, for two reasons. First, they are better than you. Second, use the opportunity to allow them to show what they like, their strategy. Remember, the only reason you keep losing is because you are being out-smarted and surprised. If you observe them long enough you will see everything coming, the sooner you can see, the sooner you can use techniques to start defending. (Read Sparring with Black belts blog)
Ryron: Invite the submission and let yourself tap?
KeepItPlayful: Absolutely! If there are people out there still able to surprise you and tap you then I suggest you invite the submission once in a while. When sparring, instead of exploding to avoid a submission leave yourself a little available and observe the steps that your training partner takes to achieve the desired choke, armlock, etc, go as far as letting yourself be tapped out. Take the information they gave you and make a small move to defend the next time. What you are doing is building familiarity with positions and submissions, being a scientist! How many times do you think you have to allow and/or observe a submission happen to you before you can defend it with some technique and little to no explosiveness?
Ryron: Depending on the opponent, not too many times. I see how someone can show you their game fairly quickly, isn’t this a little risky?
KeepItPlayful: Exactly! The risk in not taking this approach is doing what most people do. Over time the techniques and natural ability allow you to avoid inferior positions and submissions, it proves to be successful. You are doing very well at your school and advance through the belt system like everyone else. You reach purple, brown or maybe even black belt and one day you come across someone on the mat that stifles your natural ability and technique. For the first time in years you have not only been put in an inferior position but you are stuck and forced to survive. This is why today you can encounter black belts that react like white belts when matched up against other black belts. Why we see black belts getting tapped out with some of the most fundamental techniques or failing to escape a position multiple times. I can almost guarantee they did not invite the position and/or submission when they were beginners. The interesting part is, there is a good chance their opponent did not either. You can hang out in inferior positions against your will with no awareness or you can invite inferior positions and bring awareness with you. The same way the benefits of eating fruits and vegetables are not seen for years, the choice to KeepItPlayful might not give fruit for some time.
Ryron: You spoke earlier about a how a submission is a small defeat compared to what we have coming if we do not embrace the KeepItPlayful movement.
KeepItPlayful: Exactly, This makes getting tapped out look like Disneyland. Fortunately for you, if both the KeepItPlayful attitude and roll are being practiced then you are set up to avoid this defeat.
Ryron: What is this greatest defeat, losing belief in the art?
KeepItPlayful: Even worse than losing belief in the art is losing belief in yourself. When you start your jiu-jitsu journey you are addicted to the process of being given a problem and then taught a solution. You are not concerned with being defeated because you expect it. The uncertainty of how and when you are going to be defeated is actually exciting. Very quickly problems become situations and before you know it you are able to apply much of what you are learning successfully in sparring. You go from being able to defeat 1 or 2 of your training partners to most of them. Then finally you are one of the top jiu-jitsu heads on your mat or in your town, most likely a purple, brown or black belt.
Ryron: Seems like the perfect journey.
KeepItPlayful: Almost perfect, anywhere from blue belt to black belt you can feel like you are one of the best on the mat. You feel this way because you are probably not being defeated anymore. This does not mean you are done being tapped out forever. Before you know it there will be some new student who will out shine you on the mat, someone younger, faster, stronger, or maybe just better. Remember the reason you always return to the mat? The escape, escape from life’s stresses. Now every time you step on the mat you will feel stress when you see that new student. This happening does not mean you are no good, it just means jiu-jitsu is amazing. If you are truly in pursuit of perfection, this is the best thing that can happen to you because being defeated only makes you stronger.
Ryron: This is natural but it is not easy to swallow. Because they went from losing all the time to reaching a point where they did not lose for years, they are vulnerable. I feel that once someone tastes only submissions for years and then all of a sudden they start getting eaten alive it makes sense why they would hang up their gi and start to lose belief in themselves.
KeepItPlayful: This is exactly why it is so important to KeepItPlayful! From the day you start sparring I suggest you KeepItPlayful at least 50% off the time. We KeepItPlayful today because we never know when we will be overwhelmed with technique, power, speed or strength. When the day comes that you meet someone who would have normally eaten you alive you will actually be more likely to weather the storm. Someone might dominate you or even tap you, but they are going to have to work harder than usual. Remember the KeepItPlayful attitude, losing is not the worst thing that can happen to you, but this takes preparation.
Ryron: Why only 50% of the time?
KeepItPlayful: 50% is a minimum, you should dedicate some time to telling yourself that you are not going to allow a submission or a guard pass. The next day you go back to allowing lots of movement. If you feel that you would like to dedicate more time to KeepItPlayful that is only more beneficial.
Ryron: Are there some people that may never need to adopt the KeepItPlayful movement?
KeepItPlayful: Absolutely, people everyday make the decision to do the complete opposite of KeepItPlayful. The question that I always ask is, how much do you enjoy jiu-jitsu and for how many more years would you like to enjoy it? To answer your original question, what is the KeepItPlayful movement? The movement is dedicated to those who choose to create movement on the mat. Everything from escaping or allowing an escape to attacking or allowing an attack, we cannot afford not to be moving. Foresight to see how learning survival will help in competition and street but it may also be the key ingredient to keeping you on the mat and avoiding the greatest defeat. If there is one thing we can all agree on is that we want to stay on the mat for as long as possible. Movement without awareness is wasted movement. What this means is you cannot afford to move and not be aware of what is happening. When you KeepItPlayful you have an awareness of what is happening and have an appreciation for jiu-jitsu whether it is being effective for or against you. This appreciation is very important so you do not beat yourself up when the day comes that you start getting defeated again.
Ryron: Correct me if I am wrong, you do not need an instructor to teach you the most valuable understanding of Jiu-jitsu, survival, all you need is to become a scientist. If you know Jiu-jitsu you know who the greatest scientist of all times is. That would be my grandfather, Grandmaster Helio Gracie. When he was in his 80’s and 90’s I remember times where he would ask people who were 100 lbs heavier and 50/60 years younger to attack him and he would neutralize their offense with ease, this was how he trained himself. One thing I know is that his whole life, but especially as he got older, catching a submission was the least of his worries. Victory for my grandfather was survival, and because he dedicated so much to survival it allowed him to achieve the greatest victory, stepping on the mat everyday of his life.
KeepItPlayful: Having an instructor helps but it is not necessary. As for your grandfather, he did not neutralize his opponents’ offense with ease; it took a lifetime of Keeping it Playful.
Want to join the KeepItPlayful movement?
Next time you step on the mat, make your number one priority movement. Anyone who would like a free KeepItPlayful gi patch (Limit 1 per person) please send a prepaid/stamped envelope to:
3515 Artesia blvd
Torrance, CA 90504