When we find ourselves in a place of great physical and emotional weakness, with our backs against the wall, can our training actually revive us? Our guests this week argue that it can…and it has.
This episode delves deeply into a personal story of addiction and recovery, and how the process we all undergo as Jiu-Jitsu practitioners can rekindle our ability to connect with one another, to learn more about ourselves and to push through even our darkest challenges.
Rosanna Scimeca has been a Jiu-Jitsu practitioner for over 20 years, and in this episode she shares with Shihan Gene Dunn and guest Jessica Stone how Jiu-Jitsu training grew into an “almost spiritual practice” to support her recovery and transition away from drugs and into a healthier lifestyle.
We also zero in on some of the challenges women face in Jiu-Jitsu; the need to directly contend with our physical shortcomings in the training; the perceptual difference between Jiu-Jitsu sparring and striking, and many more topics.
One of the more intimate and layered conversations we’ve had in recent memory, we left this exchange better for having had it, thinking more deeply about our own relationship with training, and how the martial arts holds a promise for each of us.
Our hope is that it does the same for you.
When we run self-defense classes at our schools, they’re not just about “survival strategies”. They’re about success. And the best expression of that is when people are empowered enough to proactively take control of their safety. Of course it’s important to know tactics and techniques. But in many cases, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
That’s where our guest today comes in. Shihan Michelle Gay is a 5th Degree black belt, 6-Time Women’s full-contact knock-down Karate champion and a Certified Laban Movement Analyst. She has her own dojo - Ken Wa Kan - on Manhattan’s Upper West Side, and is the pioneer behind “Safe and Sound”, a self-defense seminar series like no others.
"Safe and Sound" is a completely different take on self-defense. It’s about preventing dangerous situations from happening before they get started. The focus is on a set of awareness strategies for both men and women, emphasizing the pre-conditions of aggression: what they are, how to identify them and how to avoid them.
Our discussion zeros in on some of the key points of the seminar, with solid takeaways for violence prevention, and on the importance of learning to communicate more effectively whoever (and wherever) you are. There are some real mind-blowers in here.
We sincerely hope you enjoy the exchange.
Check out “Safe and Sound” here: http://safeandsoundseminar.com/
Transformation is at the heart of many martial arts “success stories”: practitioners go from bitter to compassionate, from reactive to proactive, from an unhealthy to a balanced lifestyle. Even the origin myths - those legends passed down over decades or even centuries - tell stories of powerful, personal change through martial arts practice.
Today’s podcast is a conversation with two students from our dojos - Tara and Nick - who understand transformation in a deeply personal way. As transgender practitioners, they bring a set of distinct experiences to their training. We talk about some of the obstacles they’ve faced (and overcome), what makes their journeys unique as well as what unites them with all martial arts practitioners. And we talk about the universal appeal of a positive, open, inclusive community of martial artists, and the hope that great training provides.
Yes, it’s a lot to cover. But we’ve been waiting to have this conversation. Honest, intimate and personally meaningful, it’s exactly the dialogue we were hoping it would be.
So we're in a bookstore and we come across a kind of weird, modern self-helpy kind of book, and lo and behold it has a bunch of advice about Jiu-Jitsu in it. Not technical advice but guidance and opinions around choosing a place to train, the right philosophy, and on and on. It takes the standard line about finding the right "gym", the gold-medal instructor and many of the other commonly-accepted tropes about doing "serious" Jiu-Jitsu training. And so we're off to the races...
In this episode, we take a look at what's so appealing about the hyper-aggressive vision of Jiu-Jitsu (and modern martial arts) as just another "extreme sport" and what it leaves OUT of the discussion at the end of the day. From choosing training partners, making meaning from your training, creating space for an alternative perception of what it means to be a practitioner - we tackle it all this week.
What’s the relationship between freedom and discipline in the martial arts? How much is too much? And how does your mindset determine your experience in training? In this episode, Gene Dunn and Brian Glick (of Brooklyn BJJ, and 3rd degree Black Belts under John Danaher/Renzo Gracie) look at how constraints operate in the martial arts - why they matter and how they work - and what we as practitioners need to look for (and look out for).
The Martial Arts Mind is BACK!
In this episode, Brian Glick and Gene Dunn (3rd degree Jiu-Jitsu Black Belts under John Danaher and Renzo Gracie) start with an analysis of one of the Martial Arts Mind’s recent posts, “Walk Faster”. Drawing on personal work with their own teachers, they discuss Sifu Paul Vizzio's contention that many practitioners go far…but not far enough. They delve into the importance of eliminating complaints, why presenting an “upright bearing” matters, and why we all need someone in our life to hold us accountable.