BJJ is more than just tapping people out.

And practitioners of the Jiu Jitsu lifestyle do more than just train Brazilian Jiu Jitsu everyday and live a healthy lifestyle.

When you’re living the Jiu Jitsu lifestyle, Jiu Jitsu becomes a vehicle for self development and medium for making you into the strongest version of yourself.

Here is the top 10 principles where living the Jiu Jitsu lifestyle will not only make you a great Jiu Jitsu practitioner but will also make you into a better human being.

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The Jiu Jitsu Lifestyle

1) Take action.

About 15 years ago, my old instructor Mark said to me, “Ritchie you need to stop studying martial arts and you need to start doing martial arts.”

Jiu Jitsu is all about doing.

With Youtube, there’s an endless stream of information teaching you latest and slickest sweeps and submissions. There’s so much information it’s almost overwhelming. The key thing is not to entrenched in collecting more and more information but to hit the mats and roll. For every 5 min clip you watch on Youtube, you should spend 25 minutes training. Information and technique are critical; however, white belts are typically top heavy on knowledge and short on reference experience.

What may work in theory needs to be confirmed or disconfirmed in reality. Step away from your laptop and step onto the mats and train.

The Jiu Jitsu lifestyle is all about doing.

Turn off your TV, throw away your Xbox, go outside and become the star of your own movie. Life is not lived on a couch. Make mistakes. Do something foolish. Take an acting class. Do something that scares you and triumph over that fear. Your soul will love you for doing it.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love spending quiet afternoons at home; but, I use that time to recharge, read and learn.

I love learning. My home is filled with books. But, learning is only my way of engaging with the world as fully and completely as possible. The more I know more vibrant the world seems to me.

Fill your brain with knowledge and then fill your heart with experience. Life has no remote control. Get up and change it yourself.


2) Discipline

Training regularly and diligently is the key to getting better at Jiu Jitsu quickly. Of course, this takes discipline; but, there’s more to it than that.

We all have certain crutches that help us maintain our positive emotions and to help us conserve our energy.

I have room full of students that I’m happy to roll with because they’re lighter and less experienced than me and I can roll with them I feel skillful, fluid and totally in control. And of course, I have students that are animals. They’re nightmares to roll with. I know it’s going to be a dog fight; but, I also know that it’s going to make my Jiu Jitsu better.

I’m sure we all have people in our schools that we would rather not roll with. They’re too tough. Too challenging. Too problematic. It takes discipline to roll with these training partners and it’s all too easy to avoid them.

Discipline is doing what you need to do even if you don’t want to do it. Get out there and roll with the toughest training partners that you can find. They will sharpen your sword and you will sharpen theirs.

When you’re living the Jiu Jitsu lifestyle, you’re living life with discipline. You’re getting out into the pouring rain so you can hit the gym. You’re ordering sliced tomato instead of french fries with your steak. You’re getting up 2 hours earlier than everyone else to work on your little side business so you can quite your crummy job one day and live the life of your dreams.


3) Live in the present

Often when we get swept or we get our Guard passed, we become frustrated at ourselves. We curse ourselves under our breath. During which time our opponent continues to secure the mount position and starts to set up the arm bar. Many of us live in the past. Jiu Jitsu teaches you to live in the now.

When you’re rolling, you’re living in the present. You’re focused on the task at hand. You’re free flowing, adaptive and creative.

Living the Jiu Jitsu lifestyle means that you’re living in the present. Too often we’re living with past regrets. And many of us are emotionally scared from past experiences. But, the funny thing is, none of that matters now. And unless you’re Michael J. Fox you probably don’t own a time machine; so, you can’t change the past even if you wanted to.

Just like Jiu Jitsu, life will beat you down. You’ll get fired from your job. You’ll get divorced. You’ll get into a car accident. Life happens…

Accept the set back. Stay focused on the present moment and by doing so you’ll keep a clear head for making quick decisions and you’ll stay centred on finding solutions.

Focus on the present and build an amazing future for yourself.

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4) Emotional control

Jiu Jitsu is frustrating. But that’s okay, it’s supposed to be and that’s why we do it. The skill that we all learn as we do Jiu Jitsu is to temper our anger and frustration. If you can’t do that then you’ll never master the art. I’ve been studying Jiu Jitsu since 1997 and it’s still frustrating to me.

So, what’s the difference? Well, I just deal with the frustration with more maturity and more acceptance. No matter what happens on the mats that day, I always feel amazing. I do my best to focus on the positive and become a source of positivity for my friends, family and students.

The Jiu Jitsu lifestyle teaches you how to live with positivity and strength. Life is as harsh as it is beautiful. Loved ones pass away, disasters strike and dreams don’t always come true. instead of falling prey to circumstances that are out of our control we focus on what we can control and live our lives with purpose and fill our thoughts with positivity.

Life is never easy for those who dream. Learn to manage your frustrations and stay on track. Consistency is everything.


5) Healthy Boundaries.

Jiu Jitsu is inherently dangerous. C’mon, it’s basically choking and arm breaking 🙂

With Jiu Jitsu, we all need a sense of personal boundary. If your training partner is doing something you feel is unsafe and is recklessly endangering you; then, intervene and stop them. Safety starts with you. You have autonomy and you have the capacity for critical thought; so, use it!

And when you’re living the Jiu Jitsu lifestyle you’re ensuring that you have personal boundaries put in place so that you won’t except second class behaviour from anyone in your life. Perhaps a spouse spoke to you poorly but you were scared of leaving them. Maybe your boss is mistreating you but you need the money. Draw a line in the sand for what is exceptable behaviour and except nothing less. Love and care for yourself and become the hero in your own movie.

6) Trust in Your Own Judgement

Studying martial arts helps you build your BS detector. Research everything you learn and rate the effectiveness of each technique. Understand the advantages along with the disadvantages of each choke, sweep or arm bar. The most important part of studying Jiu Jitsu is to DO IT! Get on the mats and roll.

Field test the techniques with your training partners and figure out what works best for you.

Conversely, be open minded and learn from everyone around you. There’s no need to stand over people wagging your finger screaming, “Who are you to correct me?!! You’re a white belt!”

Accept feedback from your most trusted training partners and make your own judgements.

Living the Jiu Jitsu Lifestyle means that you’re thinking critically and you’re always questioning the information that you’re given.

Now certainly, walking through the world with cynicism and doubt as you assume everyone around you is wrong until evidence is provided that they are right is a rather obnoxious way to live your life. The key is to temper your questioning with a sense of open mindedness to new ideas all while thinking critically and making up your own mind.

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7) Calmness

It’s easy to find tranquility when you’re sitting in a bubble bath listening to some Phil Collins; but, try and stay calm as some sweaty, hairy 200 lb dude has mount on you and is trying to rip your arm off.

Staying calm and engaged will help you to escape from bottom mount. And as you live the Jiu Jitsu lifestyle, you will walk through the world with a sense of ease.

Life is tough. Divorces occur. Bankruptcies are filed. Accidents are had.

Condition yourself to stroll over the constant frustrations and hurdles that live throws at you with strength and courage. Over time, you will forge a powerful, charismatic personality that will be magnetic to everyone around you.


8) No Big Deal

If you get tapped out, there’s no need to start hammer fisting the floor like some spoiled 3 year old. Conversely, if you Triangle someone, it’s not necessary to run around screaming like you’re Chuck Liddell circa 2006. Why? Because you train Jiu Jitsu a lot and you roll all the time.

Tapping out is just apart of the game and tapping people out is just what happens when you train consistently. Tapping out or tapping someone else out is no big deal.

This is the attitude when you’re living the JIu Jitsu lifestyle. When you land a major promotion at work and it’s no big deal because you know you deserve it because you work incredibly hard. Your girlfriend leaves you for someone who drives Porsche; but, it’s no big deal because you’re an amazing person who can get a new girlfriend immediately.

The Jiu Jitsu lifestyle teaches you that you deserve success because you have an incredible work ethic. And sometimes life forces you to tap out. If that happens, no big deal. Just reset. Fix your Gi. And keep going 🙂

9) Positivity

When you train Jiu Jitsu you’re also training yourself for positivity. Jiu Jitsu is so tough that only way that you can stick with it long term is to focus on the positive. It’s always surprised me how happy Jiu Jitsu practitioners are. The path to mastering Jiu Jitsu is too long and arduous for the bitter and the angry to succeed; they’ll just quite. Only when you force yourself to focus on what you did right or focus on what you learned will you develop the mindset of a winner and dominate the art of Jiu Jitsu.

The Jiu Jitsu lifestyle all about generating a purely positive mindset. Only when you see a win/learn paradigm will you find success. If you only see win/lose; you’ll be on the losing end of the stick too many times and you’ll just give up.

10) Contribution

When you learn Jiu Jitsu, you learn that you can learn from everyone and that everyone can learn something from you. Many white belts forget that they can be a great contributor to the class. Even as a day one beginner you can contribute to the group. You can lovingly and generously offer someone your arm so that they can perfect their arm bar. You can help your training partner remember details to a technique that they may have forgotten. When you study Jiu Jitsu, you’re studying the art of giving.

By living the Jiu Jitsu lifestyle you’re living a life where you offer immediate value to any company, team or relationship that you’re part of. Anyone ought to love the companionship that you offer them because you’re funny, loyal and smart. Assume that you’re immediately contributing in any situation and your confidence will be infectious.

I hoped you enjoyed my breakdown of the Jiu Jitsu lifestyle. Training Jiu Jitsu is simply my way of becoming a better person.



As a bonus to today’s blog, I thought I’d also throw in a video of me going on a rant about how tired, stressed out and overwhelmed I sometimes feel.

This video was filmed shortly after the opening of my second school.  I was so tired I could literally cry.  I made it through and we got the school open in time.  Ultimately, I owe it all to Jiu Jitsu and all the things Jiu Jitsu has taught me about perseverance and inner strength.

Enjoy 🙂







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