LeLeoCode MMASF #2 and FFBJJ State Tournament

Well we're back and we had the most amazing time at both LeLeo Code's MMASF #2 and FFBJJ's State Tournament this past weekend. It was one of our first experiences as a vendor in larger tournaments and one of your first experiences to see us. We're humbled by all the positive feedback we've received and thank everyone for supporting us! We'll be seeing you again real soon. In the meantime, check out some photos from the tournaments.

Follow us on Facebook, twitter, and the interwebs in general to stay up to date on our upcoming plans. You'll definitely be hearing from us very soon. Until then, get a grip and just roll with it.

On Competition

At the heart of BJJ is the desire to fulfill one fundamental, animalistic urge: the insatiable hunger for competition. Nothing ignites fire in the eyes of a BJJ student as much standing on the precipice of a tough match; that moment stoking the fire in their belly until it spills over into the tumultuous, roiling sea of gi, blood, and sweat as they leave everything on the mat.

But is competition always appropriate? Is it always necessary to reach deep within ourselves to extract our subconscious desire for battle and triumph every day in our sport? It turns out that yes, it is. Unfortunately many students of this great way of life are misdirecting this competitive urge, this natural desire to overcome all obstacles. "But that's the entire purpose of the BJJ journey!" you might say, if you had searched your soul even that far. This is true, but let us mark the distinction between internal competition and external.

How many legendary fights have we seen where two of the world's greatest have stared each other down with such intense fervor and apparent hatred you thought they'd both spontaneously combust? And at the end of the fight, running on fumes and decrepit both mentally and physically, they embrace like age old friends. This is competition at its most pure. When these two competitors were staring each other down, their eyes weren't burning with intense hatred at the other man. All they could see was a shadow of themselves; a composite of all their greatest fears, weaknesses, and base desires. When you compete, you don't destroy another person. You destroy your lesser self. Whether or not a conscious understanding of this principle exists in these heroes is beside the point; they are living examples of one of the greatest truths of sport.

So where did we go wrong in our desire for competition? When we started directing it externally. We went wrong when we separated ourselves from others in our sport based on arbitrary criteria such as where our competition came from our where they train. Sound familiar? Instead of using our inner base desires for competition to challenge ourselves and outgrow our own fears and insecurities, we lash outward at those we view as different than us. We've seen this in all areas of life, not just BJJ, and its effects are derogatory and damaging at best.

Imagine if we took our angst and drive to excel and directed it towards expanding the reach and scope of the sport. Imagine if, instead of entrenching ourselves in petty rivalries between schools that share the same goals, we reached out to the community and the to world, sharing the reality of our passion. If BJJ is truly a way of life, as all schools can agree, then shouldn't this way of life include understanding and harmony, and not pig-headedness and dissonance? Maybe a better way of life would involve a shift in our competitive drive: away from each other and towards a better future for our sport.

Success in BJJ

Today I need to talk about the difference between BJJ of the ego and BJJ of the soul. Far too many of you two-bit punks are obsessed with feeding your egos in this sport that was born of soul-seeking and faith in self-discovery. Let’s all update our facebooks with quips about how badass we are and how dedicated we are! Dedicated to what? Egoism and thinking we’re better than people who don’t train and “couldn’t understand the sacrifice?” Well guess what you shallow pricks, it’s time to dig a little deeper and realize the true purpose and nature of BJJ.

Precious few people in the world realize or even care about the difference between their soul and their ego. It's gone under the guise of different terms: the present self versus the future self, the conscious versus unconscious selves, etc. Well it turns out that it's an important distinction. This distinction lies in your perception of the moments in your life; each and every moment can either be focused to shape the future you or the present you. Or, once you find the right balance, it can do both.

If you are a BJJ practitioner of the ego, you get a hard-on at the thought of a belt promotion. You might like to post photos of yourself, grip in artificially flexed grip, with some blackbelt you met at a tournament, wishing deep down without even knowing it that someone on your Twitter account will think you're a real badass. Everything you practice BJJ for is the future: one day I'll achieve this, one day I'll be better than I was. Well to the true practitioners, the practitioners of the soul, this distinction is arbitrary and meaningless. Why?

Because every single training session serves two purposes. The most obvious is realizing that roadmap to success: next time, I'll pull off that submission. Next time, I won't give up that position so easily. That's all well and good, but will it really lead to long-term success? Maybe, but not without realizing the more important aspect of training: getting in touch with your animalistic side. This is the BJJ of the soul; you let your subconscious take over and make your decisions for you. This is living for the path.

This freedom of letting your body take over and forgetting what's going on in your mind is true success in BJJ. Getting in touch with this side of yourself, your soul, is the goal of BJJ. You reconcile these rote movements you've been committing to conscious memory with your subconscious mind; you reconcile your ego and your soul.

You've probably seen a framed poster on the wall of your gym with a picture of Helio Gracie. Maybe it featured a quote about living for the path, not the destination. Maybe he knew something we didn't.

You'll find your soul on the path. You'll find your ego waiting for you at the destination. But you'll only reach that destination when you've reconciled both. Only once you've found true glory in your path will there be a destination. Then, and only then, can you consider your journey complete. Have fun sprinting along your winding path, searching desperately for the end. You might find some of us sauntering slowly along, enjoying the scenery.

Strength Training: Part 1

Is there such a thing as too much strength in BJJ? Some say you can become stiff, inflexible, start “muscling” too much. We say bullshit. Get your swole on. But you can do it in a way to increase flexibility, strength, and general badassery at the same time. For some options to improve your game, your confidence, and overall jacked-ness, read on…

1) Good old-fashioned picking iron up and putting it down

Back in the day, if you wanted to get strong, you’d lift some weights, eat some food, sleep, repeat. You didn’t need the latest tips for bulging biceps or the sickest wheels; all you needed was fire in your belly and hunger in your heart. So if you want to keep it simple while getting strong, focus on a handful of movements: the squat, the deadlift, and the bench press.

Don't worry, his face looks like this all the time.
We’re going to assume at this point you either know, or can learn, how to perform those lifts on your own (plus I don’t feel like typing up a massive explanation, it’ll take months). Great, so you know the lifts - but what’s the plan? One of the best, most well respected plans out there is a program designed by Bill Starr and modified by some random guy on the internet. You know it’s great because randomly modified things you find on the internet are never bad at all. Seriously though, it’s simple - if you can handle basic math - and the results are outstanding. For getting big or getting lean, check it out: Bill Starr's (Madcow) 5x5.

Plus, Bill Starr could strictly press 350 pounds over his head... that’s a puny middleweight competitor in each hand.

2) Powerlifting minus the gut and man-boobs

What do you think of when you think powerlifting? That’s right - massively built yet still obese men with handlebar mustaches covered in chalk bench pressing a bar with 1000 pounds about 2”. But what if I told you that you can powerlift without frightening children and risking coronary heart disease? Well you can!

His colon may or may not have remained intact following this lift.
There are plenty of good beginner programs out there that focus on big strength gains but couldn’t give a shit less about size. Sound like a good idea for a BJJ dude? Of course it is. But where do you begin? We can begin with something simple like Jim Wendler's 5/3/1. It’s a progression program in the same vein as the 5x5 but with a little more hardcore grittiness. You lift heavier and harder but reduce your volume a bit. It’s also great because of the freedom on assistance lifts - you can pick and choose your favorite lifts (or, if you’re a real animal, your least favorite). So sack up, crack some ammonia amps, and get lifting.

3) Crossfit – not as lame as initially thought

This shouldn’t be new to anyone who trains BJJ and has even a cursory interest in fitness (especially with a new crossfit gym popping up on every corner). It’s all the rage with everyone these days, from strength training gurus to middle-aged middle managers to slightly hungover college freshmen. But what is it?

For someone with no real knowledge of what actually goes on in a crossfit gym, it’s best described as Tony Horton’s P90X having an incestual relationship with competitive olympic lifting. You’ll work on your snatch, clean and jerk, and all that jazz but with a focus on minimal rest times and extra dynamic movements. There’s so much more to it than all this though, so click here for some more info by people who actually know what they're talking about.

Get your girlfriend into crossfit and you won't have to lug your own beer kegs around anymore.
So basically, if you like dynamic movements with an extra focus on muscular endurance and conditioning (and you should), crossfit might be the way to go.

4) I don’t want to look big and gross, I just want to tone.

Kill yourself.

These are just a few options to get you started if you’re tired of being thrown around like a prepubescent pocket-protecting Poindexter on the first day of middle school. Your strength will go up, your confidence will go up, and your points on the mat will follow (unless your technique sucks, in which case stop reading and go train). Now go get your hands on some iron and start pumping. And if you need something breathable and sexy to wear while doing it, you know where to go.