The Martial Arts Mind Podcast

The podcast companion to the Martial Arts Mind blog.
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Now displaying: 2015
Nov 30, 2015

What's it take to become a great instructor?

Does a winning tournament record pave the way for a successful teaching career?

And what's the task for the student when it comes to relating to the instructor?

We welcome Jamie Crowder back to the show, and continue to explore the process of growing into the roles of teacher and student in the martial arts classroom. 

Nov 3, 2015


Leaving behind our preconceptions is one of the hardest things to do when we begin training, but it's also one of the most essential.

It often seems that the tighter we cling to how things are "supposed" to go in the dojo, the more frustrated we feel.

A starting point for the new student is to trust the classroom - and in order for that to happen, the instructor must create a trustworthy environment and culture. 

But it's not always as easy as it seems...

We talk about this and more with Kyoshi Matthew Fremon - a 5th-degree black belt instructor and 25-year student of Ken Shi Kai (a branch of Kyokoshin karate), and a brown belt pursuing his black belt at Brooklyn Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Oct 4, 2015

Many of our Martial Arts Mind conversations touch on the essential topic of the relationship between the student and the teacher, since it's one of the things that really defines a great martial arts experience. 

But when it comes to choosing a model during the early stages of practice, there is another relationship that comes to the fore: the complex interplay between the master and the monster. 

The raging, me-victorious "monster" can triumph in the short-term but is it enough to see real success over a long arc of training? And what are the sacrifices for the student who chooses the path of the calmer, inconspicuous "master"? 

We discuss these and more with Kyoshi Matthew Fremon - a 5th-degree black belt instructor and 25-year student of Ken Shi Kai (a branch of Kyokoshin karate), and a brown belt pursuing his black belt at Brooklyn Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Sep 17, 2015

One of the oft-repeated maxims in the martial arts is "emptying the cup" - if a new student can't put aside their pre-existing concepts, there will be no room for something new to think about.

This idea provides the entry-point for our conversation this week, with some gems from our guest - Master Thai Boxing Instructor Jamie Crowder -  about the right way to learn martial arts as a beginner. 

(And he has the experience to know: Master Crowder has been a martial arts practitioner for nearly 30 years, has taught students all around the world and is largely considered one of the finest Thai Boxing instructors in New York.) 

Learn more about us at the Martial Arts Mind blog and Brooklyn Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Sep 5, 2015

Professor Jin Yung (Renzo Gracie black belt) shared a story with us a few weeks ago about a newer white belt student in his classroom. 

While being guided through a sparring session by one of the black belt instructors, he asked his partner to “go harder” on him - he insisted he could take it. What happened next…well, you’ll need to listen to the podcast. 


So we invited Professor Jin to the show this week to delve a little deeper into how students can actually get the most out of their training, and what instructors need to do in order to foster the right type of training environment.

(You can read more about cooperative training at Brooklyn Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu's website).

Aug 22, 2015

Many practitioners and instructors focus more on what they're practicing than on how they're practicing, but setting up a system for success matters a lot. Professors Dunn and Glick talk to one student of Brooklyn Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu who's seen both sides, and shares his thoughts about sustainable training. 

Most systems just turn on and off. But your body and mind have a lot of switches that have to be flipped with care. We hear that vitamin C is good for us, so we start taking 10,000 units a day, and in the process we train our bodies to throw off huge amounts of vitamin C.

Eventually, we forget or get tired of taking the huge doses but in the meantime, our bodies keep getting rid of huge amounts of vitamin C until it's totally gone. By forgetting about the effect of overdoing, we cause the very thing we were seeking to avoid: a vitamin deficiency and poor health. 

Sometimes in the effort to learn more as fast as possible, new students of Jiu-Jitsu want immediate results without considering the longer arc of their experience. It's easy to forget that both the body and mind need time to adjust...and that there's no way to cram for longterm success.  Before long, they grow tired or bored or get injured, and end up back where they started - unable or unwilling to continue their training. 


When you "turn on" any system, set the controls correctly. Create a sustainable practice. Sometimes even the best-running system needs maintenance to keep it from running itself into the ground. 

For more about sustainable practice, read what Brooklyn BJJ is up to. 

Aug 7, 2015

Part Two of our interview with Susan Guerra!

Susan Guerra is a lifelong martial arts practitioner who holds black belts in multiple styles. She talks with us about her experience as a student (and as a woman) on the mat in pursuit of her Jiu-Jitsu black belt, and some of the long-term benefits she's seen from training over the decades. 

If you enjoy these podcasts, please subscribe through Stitcher or iTunes! And don't forget to leave a comment below!

Aug 3, 2015

Do NOT miss this episode!

We speak this week with Susan Guerra, a lifelong martial arts practitioner who holds black belts in multiple styles. She touches on some of the most vital lessons she's learned over the past three decades of training, with especially acute insights into the experience of what it's like to be a woman in pursuit of a Jiu-Jitsu black belt. 

There was so much great content here we had to split this episode into two look for Part Two of our interview with Susan coming soon!

If you enjoy these podcasts, please subscribe through Stitcher or iTunes!

Jul 25, 2015

In this episode, the Martial Arts Mind is joined by lifelong martial artist and legendary instructor Shihan Mike Vacca for a conversation about the three biggest issues confronting the lifelong Jiu-Jitsu practitioner. The topics range from:

  • proper partnering in the classroom, and what can go wrong
  • the trouble with all-levels classes
  • the role of the student in the culture of the classroom
  • how an instructor's mindset can bring out the best (and the worst) in students
  • and much more!

If you enjoy these podcasts, please review them on the blog or on iTunes. You can always read more about the methods we use here. And don't forget to subscribe!

Jul 9, 2015

In this episode, The Martial Arts Mind is joined by legendary martial arts instructor and educator Kyoshi Thomas Clifford for a discussion about why it's time to update the dominant metaphor for Jiu-Jitsu. Don't miss this one!

And please subscribe to the Martial Arts Mind podcast, now on iTunes and Stitcher!

Jul 3, 2015

For some martial arts students and instructors, self-defense and fighting are interchangeable concepts. What's a responsible approach to understanding "a fight" and its impact on the participants? And what's the role of the instructor when it comes to educating students? In this episode, the Martial Arts Mind explores a few things to watch out for. 

Jul 2, 2015

What are the barriers for an over-40 Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) practitioner? In this episode, The Martial Arts Mind discusses some of the common challenges and issues faced by martial artists over 40...and what martial arts practitioners in their thirties need to be planning for if they want to keep training into their fifties. Included are tips on evaluating your training environment and training mindset for maximal success on (and off) the mat.