The Power of Hearing and Being Heard

I got to travel quite a bit this summer, seeing and training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu with old friends and learning the styles and personalities of new friends. All of this has been for the stated purpose of discussing Training Wheels, the book I wrote about my jiu-jitsu adventures throughout the United States.

Don’t get me wrong. I still intend to hawk my book (see cleverly embedded link above), but the more of these book signing/open mat/discussion events I do, the more I observe how powerful the “discussion” part is. I have realized that those of us who train love to 1) learn jiu-jitsu (practice techniques), 2) train jiu-jitsu (roll), and 3) talk about jiu-jitsu (strategy and detail, of course, but also the effects of BJJ in our lives, the so-called “BJJ lifestyle” issues). In any jiu-jitsu class or training session, we usually get to cover the first two under the guidance of our teachers and on a regular basis. The expertise and the consistency help us improve at jiu-jitsu.

What about the third, though? Many of us stick around after class and chat with each other or reach out to our instructors for private conversations about our training, relationships, and responsibilities off the mat as well as on. Yet just as many of us probably do not, maybe because we think we are the only ones who have those kinds of questions and issues. Even those of us who have found people we feel comfortable sharing with probably do not get to on a regular, structured basis.

I am not talking about therapy. I am talking about all the Stuff we think about related to training: How to train well and effectively—particularly with members of the opposite sex, how to deal with injury, how to survive and thrive in a world where—shockingly—not everyone trains. Many of us allow jiu-jitsu to take over our lives, so it is not surprising we would want to think about its broader effect the same way we think about and apply technique.

I have been gratified to see people of all belt levels and life experiences share their opinions at these events and hear other people’s. I have found myself walking down memory lane and being reminded, yet again, that I always have more to learn. There is something about being in the company of my fellow jiu-jitsu-heads that is satisfying and comforting in a way nothing else is.

So it will come as no surprise that I am excited that my next two events are coming up fast! Here’s what I am up to:

This Saturday, September 17, 2016, I will be heading to Revolution BJJ in Richmond, VA, 2-4pm.

The following Sunday, September 25, 2016, I will drive to Ludlow, MA, where Team Link will be hosting me, 12-2pm.

In both places, I will get to see some dear old friends and make some new ones. If you are in the area, please come join us for training and insightful and sometimes hilarious discussion. Make sure to nurture the more reflective aspect of your training. It is rewarding in and of itself, and it can also have a direct effect on our capacity for learning and applying technique.

Do you have questions about striking a balance between your athletic activities and your “normal” life? How to manage relationships and responsibilities as you pursue your athletic goals? How to set those goals and create effective strategies for meeting them? Contact me at to learn more about how we can work on those issues together.