BJJ: A Physical and Mental Workout

I have been doing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for nearly a whole year now and I obtained my second stripe on my white belt last Friday; I was extremely happy that I managed to get it as well, but I know there is a long way to go. I want BJJ to continue to be a part of my life for a long time to come. It has been extremely beneficial for me both physically and mentally, plus my training partners are some of the nicest people I have ever met; the ego is checked out at the door at where I train.

When I wanted to start training BJJ there were plenty of people from family and friends who asked me “why do you want to do it?“. As a UFC fan I really appreciated the ground and submission game at play and listening to the Joe Rogan Experience podcast with the likes of Joe and Eddie talk about BJJ, how it changed and made their lives better; I thought why not give it a shot and what do I have to lose. While I was in high school I was fairly active so I was keeping fit, but as soon as I started university and began working full time, my physical activity essentially became non-existent. The only real exercise I ever did before starting BJJ was walking to and from work.

Starting BJJ was an eye opening experience. I knew I was out of shape, but I didn’t know I was that out of shape. My cardio was really bad. I had problems lasting more than a couple consecutive 5 minutes rolls at a time. So from the get go I knew BJJ was going to help get my cardio to where it should ideally be for someone my age. My cardio has gotten significantly better but personally it is not where I want it to be. I don’t gas as early but I still gas before the end of my session, something that I personally want to change in the coming year.

Learning all the various positions, submissions, etc. is extremely satisfying. Knowing that if I get into a street fight and it goes to the ground I can defend myself if they have a jacket (Gi) or they just have a shirt on (no Gi). I don’t need to physically hurt them either which is a bonus, I can painlessly subdue them while making sure I am safe. I don’t plan on getting into any fights anytime soon but if something does happen or I need to help someone, I am at least more prepared than before.

One thing that I really did not know was how much of a mental game BJJ is. Joe Rogan and others I kept hearing say that BJJ is like a physical chess match where you have to be multiple moves ahead of your opponent to beat them. I can for a fact verify this. If you clock off mentally for a split second there goes your full mount or your closed guard; you could even fall into someone’s triangle choke. You have to be on the ball and always thinking about your next move. I love this about BJJ. I have submitted people who are physically larger than me but I have also been submitted by people who are physically smaller than me. It really does feel like a physical chess match. At no point can you not be prepared.

Some days I feel really good because I didn’t get submitted or performed successfully a submission on someone, but other days I feel really bad. I either got submitted a crazy amount or I just did not have a good session. What I learn from this is that I need to continue to improve; I never take it too personally. I don’t dwell on the success or the failures for very long because I found that in BJJ your performance can change from roll to roll and session to session. Never take anything for granted because it can be taken from you so quickly. Your ego should never get the better of you and you should never feel bad when you get rolled by someone else.

Overall I feel that BJJ has made a positive impact on my life. Physically I have never felt better. Being a very competitive person it allows me to vent and release my competitive nature, otherwise I would have to do it while playing video games. Mentally it has allowed me to be both humbled when getting destroyed by people physically smaller than me and it has shown me that I have so much to learn (something that I really love doing). With every roll and session I learn new and little improvements that get added to your list of moves and positions.

After every BJJ session I come home physically exhausted and mentally drained, and I love every part of it.

Please Websites Stop Doing This

I generally don’t rant too much, and if I do I definitely don’t do it on the net. But it has gotten to the point where it has really started to annoy me and most people I talk to say the same thing. So I decided to make this little post about the latest annoying trend on the Internet. Videos that automatically play with or without sound (primarily with sound).

Many sites are doing this now. If you go to a site that has any videos you may notice that the video starts to play automatically at full volume, if you continue to scroll through the page and the video is still at the top of the page all you can hear is the video’s audio, or the video player shrinks and moves somewhere else into view and continues to play. Who in their right mind thought that it was ok to have videos automatically play (with audio)? When did this practice become standard? Does no one think of the consumer of the content? There is nothing worse (when visiting a website) than getting unwanted material/content thrown in their face without your consent, it hurts the eyes and the ears.

I have two main problems with this new trend:

  1. Will someone think of my bandwidth – when I’m on my home network I’m not too concerned about my bandwidth because I am on an “unlimited” plan (thanks TPG). But when I am on my mobile I am on a pre-paid (pay as you go) “plan”. I don’t need to be excessively charged for videos that automatically start streaming.
  2. “Ow my freakin’ ears” – that awkward and frustrating moment when you visit a page, you start scrolling down, while unknowingly to you a video somewhere on the page starts to play and the only thing you can do is hear it. You start to hunt where on the page the annoying video is playing from. It is absolutely rude and obnoxious to play a video with the audio on without the individual’s consent.

The only social media platform that I am a part of, LinkedIn, will start to have this feature as well. However to their credit the audio will be off which covers my second point above, but it will still chew up bandwidth if left playing I assume [1]. So if you produce content on the internet and have a website that contains videos, please for the love of God I beg you do not have videos automatically play. If you truly must (I don’t see why you would though) have videos automatically playing then at least have it muted.

I can see in the near future extensions for browsers that block automatically playing videos, just like individuals creating extensions to block invasive ads on web pages. If the content providers don’t change to be more conscious and consumer friendly then the consumers will take their browsing experiences into their own hands just like they have with ads and ad blockers.

Abandoning Most Social Media Platforms

I am a millennial, and like most millennials you would expect me to have a Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, Google+ and who knows what other social media account on whatever platform. And you would be right about three months ago, but now you would be completely wrong. Currently I have abandoned nearly all social media platforms. I only have a LinkedIn account for professional purposes, Google Hangouts (no Google+ account anymore) and Facebook Messenger (do not have an active Facebook account).

Since closing and abandoning the majority of the social media platforms I have never felt better. I have been sleeping better, staying focused more, getting distracted less, and have overall felt less overwhelmed. Plus I reckon if I didn’t abandon all those social media platforms I probably wouldn’t have started this blog, played around with a number of different programming languages and technologies, and even start a number of small side projects (finishing them though is another story unfortunately).

What led me to close my social media accounts? One of the most annoying things I have found with social media is the lack of face to face social skills among people my age. I would go out to dinner or events with family, friends, etc. and some people would just be on their phones; now I don’t go out with those people anymore. I’d try and start a conversation but they would just not be interested. I’d ask what they are doing and they would respond with comments like “Scrolling through Facebook”, “Checking out what people are tweeting”, or “Fixing myself up for a new selfie I’m going to post online”. This type of behaviour made me decide to close my account, but it was not the only reason. I wanted to get away from all the annoying, in your face, and know-it-all posts, messages, and pictures. I could have blocked, unfollowed, unfriended, etc. the individuals who post the content but why bother when I would nearly have to do it to half my “friends” lists. Another reason why I chose to close my accounts is because I would constantly be replying to peoples messages, posts and pictures. I felt like I had an obligation to reply back, and now I don’t need to worry about it 🙂 Do I miss the hilarious Facebook posts from comedic pages? Absolutely. Is it sometimes difficult to co-ordinate events when you cannot reply to a Facebook Event or Group? Yep. But I have learnt how to manage all of that now.

At first I found it hard and had withdrawal like symptoms. I would constantly be checking my phone for no reason for example. Habits I had formed over time based on social media I never knew I had or were doing was obvious now to me. After about two weeks that all died down and I no longer had the social media monkey on my back. So I think going forward, I will most likely not be going back to those platforms, as I see no real reason to. Nothing that they offered I realised I needed. I still find ways to communicate with my friends, I don’t miss out on any social events, and best of all my health and the amount of time I have now allows me to try and do new things.

So if you really are hooked on social media platforms, maybe you need to have a think about why you use those services and if you really need them. Maybe even consider what you are doing when using the services and when you are using them? Are you browsing Facebook/Twitter/Instagram when you are going out to eat with friends instead of conversing with the people you are out with? If so, maybe you need to dial back your social media usage a little. Try going a week or two without social media, maybe your life will change for the better. I know mine has.

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