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Onna Bugeisha, the Female Martial Artist

Gentle like cotton, sharp as a sword Being a martial artist that happens to be female, I have always marveled at the stories of historical warriors that happened to be female, such as the Onna-Bugeisha (女武芸者) or Female Martial Artists in Japan. As a little girl I wore princess dresses but was concealing at least a few plastic or wooden weapons such as katanas and daggers (I mean, you never know what or who you meet [...]

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Road to black belt: the white fun

This is a series of posts on my personal journey towards being promoted to a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu by Romania’s jiu-jitsu pioneer, Tudor Mihaita. In the 12 years it took to get here, I’ve learned a lot, adjusted my expectations a great number of times, almost quit, got injured, got married, had a child, started teaching, and I am still here, on the mats, at least every other day. If you are a jiu-jitsu practitioner, maybe my [...]

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Medals for sponsored athletes

This weekend two sponsored athletes from Role Bonito won medals at two different events. Robson Ramos (GFTeam Berlin) competed for the first time as purple belt and won the German Cup 2018 (DBJJO) in Master 1 middle weight category, being second on the open class. Alex Fialho (BJJ Akademie Berlin), another purple belt, won the No-Gi superfight of the Kings of Karalis tournament in Cagliari (Sardinia), against Matteo Brodu. Watch Kings of Karalis! (Alex Fialho from 25:00 on)

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BJJ, Fascia, Stretching and Foam Rollers

Nowadays foam rollers are extremely popular. In order to get rid of specific tensions in the body, become more flexible and mobile, many BJJ practitioners foam roll before and after training. But what does actually happen with our bodies or with those areas we foam roll? Additionally, I usually bruise very easily whilst sparring, especially when I haven’t been sparring for a while due to sickness or an injury. During my Yoga teacher training I did not properly train BJJ [...]

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BJJ and Yoga, the Arts of Alignment

Recently, Yoga, or rather Asana, which is the physical aspect of Yoga, has become increasingly popular in the BJJ community. My boyfriend, Alex, and I are in that respect a prime example of this trend as we just graduated from our RYS 200 Hour Yoga Teacher Training Course under Yogacharya Lalit Kumarat Himalaya Yoga Valley, Goa, India. Even though I practiced Yoga before BJJ, it was only after my BJJ-related lower back injury that I started to comprehend and appreciate [...]

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Do you really need endless drills to improve your technique?

I’ve heard, over the years, many coaches and students talk about muscle memory and the benefits of endless repetitions. And I must say I don’t usually agree with them, and not only because I hate endless drilling and think this takes away much of the beauty and pleasure in jiu-jitsu. I should quote a French sport scientist here, Pierre Parlebas, who makes a very important distinction, between psychomotricity and sociomotricity. Brazilian jiu-jitsu is, thus, a sport with sociomotricity, meaning your [...]

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How does BJJ impact teenage boys’ lives

On the 16th of August 2017, Role Bonito published my interview with teenage BJJ girls about how BJJ impacts their lives and those around them. I received various responses in which one request was repeated frequently: whether I could also conduct such an interview with BJJ boys as a small comparative case study. My answer to that request was of course yes! So here it is and let us listen to what these boys from Team Laurien & Alex [...]

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Jiu-Jitsu as a therapy

A few years ago, during a very non-healthy period of my life (hanging out a lot, smoking and drinking, no exercise whatsoever), I started to develop a little insomnia which didn’t worried me at first, I mean… everybody has had a sleep disorder at some point or another, isn’t it? However, after a couple of weeks it escalate to a constant body illness. Panic attacks began to strike me at any given moment of the day forcing me to [...]

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Is BJJ good for self defense?

Is BJJ good for self defense? A critique of the classical BJJ self defense strategy. Before answering this specific question, I must tell you a bit about myself and my experience with martial arts and aggression. I haven’t been in a fight since I was a child, somehow managing to successfully avoid confrontations. I have been picked on, though, but did not fight back, and after more than a decade of various martial arts experience I still think this is one [...]

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BJJ after sexual abuse

Recently, Jiu Jitsu Times revealed the results of their survey regarding sexual abuse in BJJ gyms. At the same time, in the wake of Harvey Weinstein’s exposing, we read countless of accounts of women and men who are survivors of sexual abuse. #MeToo and #IHave movements show how real this problem is and that it not only “can” happen to anyone but unfortunately most likely already has. The first step to solving anything is to acknowledge that there is [...]

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BJJ foreigner in Lisbon

It’s been a couple of years since I moved to Lisbon and one and a half since I started BJJ training at Royce Gracie Portugal, under Hélio Perdigão. I hold my three stripes white belt with proud for many reasons besides mere training, it has been quite a journey. I moved out from Mexico three years ago in order to study, firstly in Madrid and later, due to odd circumstances, here in Lisbon I took the chance to move in [...]

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Rose El Sharouni on creating a platform by and for BJJ Women

In the beginning of September 2017, active competitor Rose El Sharouni received her brown belt from head coach Luiz “Maixinha” Ribeiro (London Fight Factory) at Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Academy Amsterdam affiliated with Checkmat. Off the mats she studies full-time medicine and holds already a Master of Science degree in Sports Sciences. On top of that she makes herself strong for her fellow BJJ ladies by striving with Johanna Tavares to create an online platform as well as organize events [...]

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Grappling with my chronic lower back pain

In February 2017 during the Munich Open in Germany I entered the competition with lower back pain. Many people in my gym suffer from lower back pain too, so I did not pay much attention to it in the beginning. That was over six months ago and the complaints steadily increased. During the fight I realized something was really wrong and visited my doctor soon after. After a MRI scan it became clear: I had a herniated disc. Having a [...]

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Care about getting your purple belt

There is a lot of talk going on about belt promotions in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, which results in a whole range of potential discussion topics. In what follows, I will try to stick to one of the essentials, the time between promotions and, if you stick to it, the time it takes you to reach black belt. There is a lot of pride in the BJJ community when it comes to the effort involved in getting your black belt. While there [...]

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Jiu-jitsu and chess

We often see people comparing jiu-jitsu to chess and if you practice both, the analogies are inevitable. I have no freaking idea what’s on other people’s minds, but I can talk for myself. I haven’t seen published any deep article about this topic and this text won’t fulfill that aim either. These are just a couple of personal ideas about something many of us like and I hope it adds some lights to establish parallels between both sports. Though I’m [...]

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Young Empowered Women Speak

Buzz. Buzz. WhatsApp message. I open the app and see that I received a message from one of the young ladies of my BJJ class, Sarah. It is Monday and 20 minutes to 7 O’Clock. Normally her training would start in 20 minutes on that very day if it had not been summer holiday. Two weeks ago the holiday started. “I am bored”, she writes, “We are somewhere in the middle of nowhere. I wish that I had to [...]

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Why we roll

One of the reasons some people are so attracted to jiu-jitsu is the concept of roll. And by roll I just don’t mean sparring, but rolling. There is a subtle yet very important difference between these two ideas, which has to do with the fact that jiu-jitsu is, after all, a gentle art (“arte suave”). The beauty of jiu-jitsu in general, and of the roll in particular, is that although with potentially dangerous consequences (or submissions, as we all know [...]

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