Podcast 001 – Robbie Singh

This originally wasn’t going to be a podcast of sorts, but it went so well that I thought may as well release the interview. Robbie works as a Senior Behavioral Analysist, specializing in working with children with autism, teaching and giving them skills to improve their lives and to allow them to become more independent. and is an instructor at Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Burwood, he has a black belt under 3rd Degree Black Belt Professor David Krstic. We cover:

  • Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu vs Gracie Jiu-Jitsu.
  • How he got into Jiu-Jitsu.
  • The difference between most martial arts and Jiu-Jitsu, the effectiveness of each against more athletic or stronger opponents.
  • How Jiu-Jitsu has not only helped him lose weight but also changed his mentality.
  • How JJ checks your ego.
  • The common mistakes he sees students do.
  • His role models that have helped shape his life.
  • The humble beginnings of his family.
  • His connection with Rener Gracie and the contagious (R)energy he brings.
  • His ‘a-ha’ realization of the effectiveness of Jiu-Jitsu.
  • His long-term goals for the club and himself.
  • Turning negative events into positive outcomes.
  • The importance of culture in clubs.
  • Increasing awareness of Jiu-Jitsu to Australia.
  • Books he read before using Gracie University to learn techniques and the Gracie philosophy.
  • His favourite techniques, to show when demonstrating, to use and most used.
  • Not listening to negativity and learning to listen to constructive criticism.
  • Loving Jiu-jitsu even when you are getting submitted.
  • The mindset change once you start jiu-jitsu. And the contagious positive effects of it.
  • Getting parents down to the academy, and how his mum was his first women empowered student.
  • The effect of advertising the culture of the club on social media.
  • And a little gift from Robbie to the listeners.

Unfortunately being a rookie in the audio world the sound quality is not the best, I am open to suggestions as to how to improve the quality of the podcasts. I am also looking for others to interview. 

Shout out and thank you to Robbie for taking time out of his day to come on and share his knowledge and experiences. You can follow him at:

Facebook: Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Burwood

Instagram: Gracieburwood

Website: graciejiujitsuburwood.com.au

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See you on the mats.

Take the advice, but don’t listen to them

I have recently applied for an intermission from my course, I suppose to try something different other than being a student, but not only that, to experience other things. Other jobs, places, cultures, languages, to try my hand at building something I can be proud of. By doing something that I was not told to do, rather something I wanted to do. During this process of thinking about what I should do, fear setting and talking with friends, family and work colleagues, a large portion of them have told me that I should attempt to finish my studies. “It’s only two more years, you could do that.” I can see where they are coming from, give myself better options down the track, more options for work, for career goals, more money. I understand that they all want to help, however, if I am not putting in my best work, why should I continue? If I am not giving it my all, my 100% at something I feel as though I am cheating myself. Yes, I could try to give my all, but having been “trying” last year I know myself and I would not give it this year. I would fail subjects that I would normally easily pass, I learnt from my mistakes of my first tertiary course out of high school. If I continued and failed or barely passed I would have shown that I learnt nothing from my year and a half at Monash. Do not continue with something if you cannot give your all. I am not sure if I will find the drive again from taking this year off, or if I try my hand at something else altogether. However, I know that I have zero drive as of now for studying. I will not preach something that I myself do not follow.

If you too are thinking of changing something in your life, I recommend tuning out the white noise of 99% of people that will give you their input on how you should live your life. It is your life, if you do not want to stay in something you do not enjoy or like, the simple answer is don’t. There will be a plethora of people in your life telling you that you have made the wrong decision, that you should do this or that, it’s only two years. It is surprising how little that is, in the grand scheme of things, it’s nothing. But a year is even less, if you feel that you need a year off. Take it. It is only one year, it is not like a year is going to make a big impact if you do go back to studying. Who knows, you may find something that you enjoy, even more, you may find someone that will change your life, you may experience something that you never would have experienced if you didn’t take the year off. There are pros and cons of every decision you make. If you look at each choice in the light that it is a win, then all decisions you make are wins, as long as you make some form of gain, which you will, because there are always takeaways from everything.

When I was younger, I really cared about what people said about me, what I should do and how I should do it. I would often listen to my fathers every word, now this is no fault of his and I love him all the same. I understand that he tried to guide my lost soul to something that would bring me some form of success. He knew that I could be good at whatever I wanted to be good at. However, no matter how hard he tried to lead me to what he felt was right for me, subconsciously I must’ve known that whatever it was just wasn’t for me. Many others have pointed me in directions that I felt weren’t what I truly wanted to become, even now many tell me I should do this and that. I don’t even know what I want to do, but I do know what I don’t want to do. That is enough for me to make a decision. I know that I have a lot of time to find what I want to do, and I have experienced a lot of things that have taught me, I am grateful for having the chance to do what I have. But, now having the consciousness of knowing what I don’t want to do has given me some form of guidance, not from someone else, but from myself.

Being able to drown out the noise is difficult at first, everyone making you unsure of yourself. I second guessed myself, and I am not going to blame anyone for it since it is ultimately me who makes the decision. I will say that if people are giving you second thoughts, do not listen to them. They may say that they made the same mistake you did (which doesn’t make sense because you haven’t made their mistake), but really, they don’t know you. If you find it hard, reach out to friends and family who will say yes go you, carve your own journey and path. I really do feel that anyone can follow their dreams, the current world we live in allows for it. You can do anything now with the internet, having so much information out there. If you really want to learn something or do something there is not a whole lot stopping you. I look up to people that have carved their own path, and many others have before them and others will after you.

On that, there is always someone who has done something similar to what you want to achieve. Others have walked in front of you, and if you can find them, learn from them, take as much as you can from their experiences and add their tools to your belt. Don’t feel like you can or have to go it alone, it is not only more difficult and draining, but it’s stupid. Why would you put all the pressure of learning how to do something on you, when you could learn tricks or skills that would further your progress that much smoother and quicker. I will say though that some things cannot be taught, mistakes and experiences that you have to go through and stumble on your own. The others, however, learn them. Like in BJJ, you have to sometimes have a higher belt see what you are doing incorrect and inform you of a better or more precise way to perform the technique.

Stumbling is a part of learning, BJJ, and life. To become what you envision for yourself, you have to keep correcting course and learning from your own mistakes. So, people may tell you that they have to lead you to water, but they ultimately cannot make you drink. And they are correct, your life should only be governed by you and your values, you have to tune outside noise out, and continue on the path that you want to take. Do not let people make decisions for you, because you are not them, and they are not you. Let them sort themselves out first before instructing you what to do. Use it as a chip on your shoulder to make sure that you prove them wrong, you will not make the same mistakes they made, you will succeed under your own metrics, not theirs. Who knows, by following your metrics you might find the thing you are looking for. Take the chance, make your path.

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See you on the mats.

I got my first stripe! So did she!

This past week I received my first stripe, my partner joined the one stripe club not long after, the first of many. It has been nice going in as much as we possibly can, and the hard work has paid off, both of us only starting just over a month ago. The journey so far has been unending fun, with taking every class as it comes and trying to make the most out of the time there, learning asking questions, getting tips from our rolling partners. It has been great seeing her grow and prosper, she listens intensely and is always asking questions, more than me, funny enough! The process of learning BJJ has been fun and you can always pick something up when you are repeating a class. I have made a few friends and using my own tips have connected with them well and have maximized my learning, asking questions and focusing on the little things. My training partners have been amazing at helping me learn and have been able to answer most of my questions when I have needed a better understanding of the move. Obviously, when they can’t, Robbie has been there to help.

Since I had a few double up classes, I was able to train and help teach my SO(significant other), it was a new experience which was fun and challenging. I want her to be the best that she can, however at times had to pull myself up on going too fast and slowing it down for her. I still need to work on being clear and concise in teaching, as I would often rush the explanation on the topic and my SO would not fully understand the move or section of the technique. Luckily, she learns in a similar way to me, which is by doing it and then drilling it, so I don’t have to change my teaching style too much. I know I have a long way to go but I thought I would give an update and put my thoughts out. Thanks for reading.

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See you on the mats.

My tips for beginners of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Thought I would share some tips that have helped me in starting out.

  • Leave your ego at the door.

This is a must, you are the littlest fish in a very large pond. If you want people to help you out, don’t be a douche bag and think you don’t need help. I assure you, you need all the help you can get. And plus, why do you want to be known as the dick new guy? So, if this is a hard thing for you to do, you might find it hard finding good training partners who will gladly answer your questions.

  • Ask questions, lots of questions.

Now you have left your ego at the door, you can feel as stupid as you please. Ask, ask and ask some more. There are always little things that you may have missed, or small tips that can be passed down to you from the more experienced students. Also in asking questions, you don’t look like a dick-know-it-all, so effectively in a roundabout way you reduce the effect of your ego.

  • Be a sponge.

Even if ask all those questions, you must still absorb the information that you will be receiving, I find it easier when the technique is performed on me, but everyone will have different ways of learning and absorbing information. So, for example you might like your partner to mirror the move and you follow along with them, or maybe you can get enough from just watching and drilling.

Adding to that, really pay attention to your coach/instructor. They have the most knowledge in the room, so pay attention to what they say and do, ask them a question if you don’t understand how they did something. If you are having trouble while drilling the move ask them for some extra help.

  • Go at your pace.

Just because you see someone else nailing the takedown or the armbar, doesn’t mean you need to match them. Most of the time you will miss key steps and little things like foot and hand placement, and you will have the chance to learn bad habits to make the technique work. If, however you get a move down quickly that’s fine to. But do not try to match someone else’s learning ability.

  • Have fun.

You don’t want training to become a chore, so have fun, crack jokes, laugh and don’t take it too seriously. Learn and prosper and help others do the same.

  • Interact with the other students.

Well you have to do this one, since you can’t train by yourself! Ask them questions, what they do, how they got into jiu-jitsu, etc. because most of the time you might find out that you share a few interests. Boom! New friend.

  • Bring a mate along!

Since sharing is caring, why not bring a friend or someone from your family. I believe Jiu-jitsu is for everyone. There is no shape or size you have to be, you don’t have to be a super athlete or a freak who is into hurting people. You can be past your prime or shy, everyone can gain something from it. Share the love of the BJJ family, because it’s too good not to share.

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See you on the mats.

My first 7 classes

My first 7 classes have been life changing and amazing, with great people helping make each class enjoyable and allowing me to go at my own pace. I try to ask as many questions as I can, and am not afraid of looking like an idiot, as everyone that teaches you was once were you are. I have made a few good connections with some there, however I will say that when looking for a partner I have been the one to initiate the contact on some occasions. I am not sure if they would rather just drill the move compared to teaching it to me as a new student, where I will stop and ask questions. Of course, once we get into the swing of class everything is fine.

Like everywhere in life some are slightly better teachers than others, of course I do not hold any bad feelings to anyone as we are all in this journey together, learning and teaching one another. I like this system as most of the time I can see when they themselves don’t quite have the technique down and make their own adjustments. This of course comes to the point that you can grasp a better understanding of the move when you are teaching it to someone else, as you must explain the technique to someone with no prior knowledge, in turn allowing you to think about how you perform the technique.

Maddie and myself have bought 15 1m x 1m mats and have been cleaning and trying to figure out where to put them. I am looking forward to practicing with her and will post any tips I find with rolling with your partner/significant other.

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Starting New things

Recently I started Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and I have absolutely loved it, classes are fun and challenging and they have inspired me to start a blog (along with some other factors).

Why start a blog?

To get my thoughts out onto paper (screen). But also, to share my experiences and thoughts about subjects that I enjoy doing and ones that interest me. Topics may include, Jiu-Jitsu, books I am reading, gym, study habits, diet etc.

What got me into BJJ?

Well let’s start with my first look at BJJ, my first contact with the world of BJJ was during one of the first UFC’s I ever watched. I couldn’t tell you the date or the fighters, or anything about the fight. I was just puzzled by how someone could get taken down so easily, then give up an arm to be taken home with the winner. Luckily Joe Rogan was commentating and mentioned how the other fighter had superior Jiu-jitsu, so this stuck in my head.

Coming from the traditional martial arts background of Tae kwon do, where I learnt how to defend against such attacks, this made the loser look like he had never trained. Which of course I knew that he had trained for several years longer than I have. Which made me think about if my martial art was ineffective, I then moved to Muy-Thai and realized that I had much to learn. Due to many reasons, I stopped training all together and have not gone back since.

It has taken me this long to act on starting training due to many things I thought were ‘good reasons excuses’ but ultimately it was up to me to steer my ship to the course I wanted (thanks Jocko for the kick in the arse). I will say the few factors that convinced me to start, one was listening to Joe Rogan, who then had two on, Jocko Willink, as a guest, and third was my current partner. The latter of whom I have convinced to start with me.

What do I aspire to do with BJJ?

My first goal as always is to just learn about the sport, I will not place any other goals or give any maybe I want/will do that/this at this point in time. So, I will aim to be a sponge for as long as I can.

Where do I train?

I train at Gracie Jiu-jitsu Burwood. Website: https://graciejiujitsuburwood.com.au/

My first lesson.

My first lesson was on the 30th of January 2018, once Robbie had given me a little demo, I was partnered with a blue belt who was good at teaching a new student. I noticed that the class is very informal, almost a complete opposite of other disciplines I have learnt. Lots of students were conversing but complete undivided attention was given to Robbie when he would show us a variation of the technique. Shrimp escape and body fold take-down were the techniques of the day.

I also found the curriculum is not a daunting task when it is broken up into the 23 classes, that can be done in any order, in any time. Which as a beginner made it more welcoming, overall most of the students are polite and kind and are happy that they can share something like jiu-jitsu with someone else.

Getting your significant other to join you.

Well to be honest I almost convinced her not to go. I got home after my first lesson and I didn’t shut up about how much fun I had and how much fun she is going to have. She got a little discouraged when I said that she should go in and try to learn as much as she can and that she would have to check her ego at the door, I forgot to check mine, this caused her to doubt herself. I noticed my lack of judgement and promptly apologized. Luckily, she proved me wrong and has been awesome.

Before that however, giving her the reason why she should start is the most important piece of information you can give her. Letting her know how she could benefit from it. Try either of these:

  1. Indirect approach:

You: “Have you ever thought about what you would do if someone grabbed you from behind?”

Her: “No, I have not.”

You: “Would you ever consider learning a martial art to prepare you for a situation like that?”

Her: “Well now that you mention it, I could learn something that would help me.”

  1. Direct approach:

You: “Hey these are some benefits of doing a martial art: good for fitness, self-confidence, knowing how to defend yourself, new friends, (anything else you can add). Would you come to one lesson with me and if you don’t like it I won’t mention you doing a martial art again.”

Her: “Okay, I will come.”

In the direct approach, be sure to not be overly aggressive, that’s why I would suggest the indirect approach. No need to give her the spark for the BJJ flame with a flamethrower. Of course, I would suggest you make your own version that would suit your need. Could be to get your child or friend into it.

Boom! You got her in for one lesson. So now what, first let your coach/instructor know and they will put her with a good training partner and now stop worrying about it because it is out of your hands. The worst thing you could do now is constantly check in on her during the class. Hopefully she has fun, learns something new and the BJJ flame within her is set a light.

On the Path

I know I do not have much experience yet, but I will post as much as I can. And if I am able to help one person out with any subject I post about then that’s a bonus. Please follow and leave a comment for any questions and feedback.