Thursday, January 18, 2018


Ritualistic Combat

When engage in the competitive environment, we do so to reap the benefits - but we need to do so in a way where we inflict and receive the least amount of actual/real damage. That way we keep doing it - and  everyone benefits. So … look after each other. We need training partners to do what we do. Alternatively ….

Tuesday, January 16, 2018


the Grind …

We all have parts of our work we like, parts we love and perhaps some other parts we don’t like so much. 

Who cares! Suck it up! We need to take the grind with the glory. Everyone wants the ‘fairy story’ - what we get though is part fairy story, part real story and sometimes, part nightmare. Not everything is in our control. 

My own experience has taught me that we can often start by accepting the grind - for some kind of pay-off; then we learn to like the grind - then we learn to love the grind - and finally, we just don’t see the grind all. it’s all just moments; each paving the way for the next, leading us into our future. 

Previous generations were way, way better at embracing the grind than most people nowadays. There is a whole generation being raised with a sense of entitlement. Yikes. As Clint Eastwood said in his great movie ‘Unforgiven’ - ‘Deserve has got nothin’ to do with it’! Love that. - JBW

Thursday, January 11, 2018


Celebrate the Different

One of my favourite quotes - from german philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer - "All truth passes through three stages. First, it is ridiculed. Second, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident." - and Ghandi said a similar thing - "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win".

I recall when I was trying my best to cobbled together 'stand-up', takedowns and groundwork back in the early 80's ... to be it was self-evident but the martial arts community did not agree. Howe times change.

The majority of people like their world-view 'set in stone' - most people will reflexively argue for the world-view - and most people don't like things coming out of left field. As the prodginy of a long line of ancestors who abhorred risk ... it seems we have a reflexive distrust of anything 'new'.

I applaud and celebrate the outlier ... these are the people make changes in the world.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018


What can you Bring?

Something strange that I have noticed … perhaps it is also obvious to most everyone else … I remain uncertain - but here it is …

If someone is taller or shorter than us … we don’t begrudge them; if they posses lungs with greater or lesser capacity than ours own … we couldn’t care a hoot; if someone has bigger or smaller ears … no big deal … however …

If someone demonstrates a greater intelligence … i.e: a more organised brain or more creative mind … things sometimes unfold a little differently.

Perhaps we should keep the following in mind; we are all more and less successful/adaptable in different ways … we are perhaps all intelligent in subtely different ways. 

I don’t think we should worry too much about others being stronger, weaker, shorter, taller, darker, lighter, etc. instead, judge (if we must) on what others bring to the table. What do they contribute to the world, for their being in it? 

Sunday, January 07, 2018


A rudder through life …

Sometimes the ocean is a dead-flat calm. Sometimes it’s choppy. And sometimes, the waves take us high and other times they take us low. We have little control of the ‘vertical’ interruptions that take place on our travels …

Our rudder though, keeps us constantly moving in a certain direction, in spite of those wonderful ’peaks’ or dismal ’troughs’.

Our rudder keeps us moving in a certain direction. We built it with the habits we form. We maintain it by re-enforcing those good habits and scraping off the ones that push us off course. 

My own rudder was forged from materials gathered on a special landscape. See you all there this week … the journey continues, as always, in 2018! 

Saturday, December 23, 2017



Life involves risk - there is no denying that.
We take a risk when we drive a car, when we cross the road, when we play sport or begin a relationship. Risk is a part of life.
However ... Smart people calculate carefully before taking risks. 

All of us come from a long, unbroken line of risk-adverse ancestors. The majority of our ancestors were not up for taking risks - particularly unnecessary risks - if they had been, most would have been killed or would have died before they had the chance to procreate - and we wouldn’t be here. Risk it for the biskit ... sure - but think it through first. Darwinian forces are real things.

Live an adventurous life by all means - but manage the risks when you can.

Saturday, December 16, 2017


Meaningful Training

I want my training to mean something.
In life - we have a choice - everything we do is meaningless … alternatively, everything we do really matters. 

Choose the first - and you are freed from responsibility. But the price is that you live a meaningless life.

Choose the latter and you realise you are paying a price for every decision - and there are consequences - both good and bad. But, you live a meaningful life.

I choose the meaningful journey. My training is very meaningful to me … I extract great value from it. I love trying to solve the puzzles, I love the way it re-orients my thinking, I love seeing new things from new angles, I love designing and constructing more powerful teaching models that help others have a more powerful and meaningful learning experience, I love pulling things apart to better understand how they work, I love the discovery, the challenge - and I really love the way that the discoveries we make on one landscape can be used in many other aspects of our lives. I thrive on that!

Yes - I choose the meaningful journey.

Thursday, December 14, 2017


Re-calibrating Habits

The habits that served us last year may well no longer serve in the present. I have certain habits that served me well 30 years ago, but right now, are not as useful as they may seem. The habits of childhood, may not serve us well  as teenagers. The habits of the teenager may not serve us well as young adults. The habits of adulthood may not serve us well as we mature (gracefully). Habits need re-calibrating as our lives develop and change. - JBW

Sunday, December 10, 2017



As my life evolved through my 40’s and 50’s, I began to find many effective ways to transpose the skills and understanding I had developed through training, in other areas of my life. I was pretty easily able to use many strategies I had come to understand in training to square away many other ‘bothersome’ aspects of my life – things that were mostly tiresome and uninteresting to me (eg: becoming financially independent, growing organic produce inn my backyard, designing and building my house, etc). 

So with relatively little effort, I designed my life using strategic thinking that I had developed through training; which was a boon, as it allowed me to stay mostly focused on the things I loved doing. 

The reasons that I now have for continuing my efforts on the martial path are vastly different from those that drove me as a teenager or young adult. 
I am now interested in guiding other people toward similar experiences. 

I feel I have enough life-experience, both on and off of the martial arts landscape, that I can confidently assist others in the their own journey’s of ‘becoming’ more capable and joyful human beings. 

Of course, the martial arts and non-martial arts aspects of my life have become somewhat entangled; and it is difficult, if not impossible to separate them out; nor would I want to if I could; for they are both woven into a tapestry of discovery, strategy, exploration and play. - JBW

Saturday, November 18, 2017


What are we doing on the mat?

One of the main things I try to achieve on the mat, is to teach people to develop ‘tools’ that can help us to better navigate and shape the world we live in.

These can be simple tools like learning to ‘pay attention’ and ‘learning to notice’ - they can be tools like learning how to problem solve, see things from new perspectives and building robust physical and emotional immune systems.

Humans are tool-seekers and tool-makers. BJJ training is certainly a sufficiently complex landscape upon which we can gather and construct a very valuable set of tools. 

here’s the trick though - that only a few seem to be able to do - learn to use the tools we acquire and develop, in other areas and aspects of ur lives. To coax others to this endeavour, is a very important part of my work.

Thursday, November 16, 2017


becoming more authentic

In an effort to be authentic, we should try to say what we mean and think as clearly as we can. This is very different from saying things in an effort to get what we want. 

Speech is a tool; one we learn to wield - we can wield the tool in an effort to shape the world into something - alternatively we can use the tool to try to express thought. These are two different things. Both are important - but the latter is more authentic. - JBW

Wednesday, November 15, 2017


Noticing and modelling ...

Through our training - we construct and hone a set of tools by which we can organise and better navigate our world. Through training we develop and hone our ‘noticing’ skills; at first we ‘notice’ on the mat; we notice others; we notice successful behaviours; we learn to model them - and then, we open up to the possibility of learning to ‘notice’ and ‘pay attention’ to the successful strategies that other people employ in different environments. And so we move beyond the ordinary.

Monday, November 13, 2017


Some Fiscal Basics …

My son Felix finished school today - his last day! We are both happy about that .... I have a lot to teach him myself, and now we'll have more time. This is one of the lessons I am teacxhing him this week ...

How to be poor - spend more than what we earn.
How to get by - spend all we earn - but that’s all.
How to begin the rise - save some money.

But if you want to become financially independent - invest some of those savings. Start small; over time, returns on investments can be re-invested and will produce even more returns, etc. The snowball will grow - but only over time. 

What matters is not necessarily how much money you MAKE - what matters is how much you get to KEEP. Living beyond our means is the habit of the stupid!

Thursday, November 09, 2017


Convincing others ...

If we want convince others to adopt our own world-view - the best way is to act well and live well. I don’t understand why more so-called ‘religious’ people don’t understand this …. if they did, they might convert a few more.

Quoting versus from the bible or the Quran - or worse, yelling stridently from atop a soapbox - accomplishes nothing. Well, it often does accomplish one thing … the making of a few more enemies.

Just live well! Make the world a better place through our actions, through our behaviour. With or without religion … just act well!

And so once again I refer back to that ancient Latin saying … ‘Acta, non verba!’ People’s actions tell us all we need to know about them. Remember - no one gets out alive! Live well!

Tuesday, November 07, 2017


The morphing of character

I began my own martial arts journey as a means of coping with bullying. I wanted to banish that part of me that had been the victim of bullying; and I knew if I could shape myself into some kind of teenage superhero, that ‘scared child’ would fade into distant memory. 
This motivation probably lasted for quite some time; the idea of shaping myself into something ‘more’, something ‘better’, something ‘capable’ motivated me to train in a variety of martial arts styles through my late teens and 20’s. 
Somehow though, over time, the motivations morphed and evolved. The ‘adventure’ of it all took over. My Superman character slowly but surely morphed into more of an Indiana Jones character as I began to find more and more joy in the discovery and adventure of it all. 

Tuesday, October 24, 2017


365 from now …

Looking forward 365 days from now - 365 revolutions of this spinning marble we call earth - what will you have done, seen, experienced, learned, become?

A better or lesser version of yourself awaits, 365 from now. Hopefully. 

A common catch-cry of martial arts propaganda is as follows - Martial Arts will Change your Life! This may well be true - but your life can be changed for the better, or for the worse. I’ve seen people’s lives unfold in both ways.

365 from now … how will you be situated? Will you have learned to love more deeply, see more clearly, understand more fully? An effort of will could see it so. I wish you all the very best on your next 365.

Saturday, October 21, 2017


Risk it ... for the Biscuit

Failure in the natural world - say, 10,000 years ago …. (to a lesser extent perhaps even 100 years ago) would often result in outcomes like ‘death’ - or ‘tribal ostracism’, etc.

This is not the case today however; we can try - fail - and probably, not die! But we are still, to a large extent, controlled and dominated by that ancient hard-wiring! 

As my boy Felix is fond of saying ‘You gotta risk it for the biscuit!’ - see T-shirt pic! it is an easy thing to say - but inherently difficult to do. We still don’t like to fail - and especially, we don’t like to fail in from of friends and peers.  I say - care not! Most people have their own issues to deal with - they don’t care as much about our successes or failures as we might think they do. So there you have it … Risk it - for the Biscuit!

Wednesday, October 18, 2017


Contrasts ....

Something I have come to realise my friends ... and it is this: we need to experience cold to fully appreciate warmth - we need to experience poverty to fully appreciate financial security - we need to experience discomfort to fully appreciate comfort - we need to experience a loss to fully appreciate a win.

A simple meal is more fully appreciated by a person who has been really hungry - the mostly lavish of meals is not as appreciated by someone who eats well regularly.

Without struggle and hardship - how would we know joy?

Monday, October 16, 2017


The Heart Wins!

When I was a kid, I was promised that if I worked hard, got a good education, I would succeed in life. As I looked around, I saw exactly that; engineers, doctors, plumbers, they all had jobs .. they were all getting paid. It all seemed so reasonable. The only thing was …. didn’t like the idea of going to University, getting a degree and entering the job market! As it turns out, I am glad I ignored everyones advice … and followed my own heart.

The tools we needed 30 years ago, were a very different set than those needed today. If we rely on the school-system to provide us with the tools we need to succeed in life, we may be setting ourselves up for disappointment.

I have made many, many decisions in my life that were as far from sensible as a decision could be … and most of them, have worked out very well for me. My inner-voice, as it turned out, was worth listening to. 

As someone once told me “one of the most important distinctions we should learn to make is the distinction between fact and opinion” (Robert Kiyosaki) My own opinion is that this is a very useful piece of advice. 

Sometimes the opinions of others are worth listening to, and sometimes they are not. Whenever you think you need to choose between heart and mind - remember this - the heart (in this sense) actually resides in the mind. It may be worth listening carefully …. JBW

Tuesday, October 10, 2017


Some things ...

There are things that people cannot take from you … your integrity, your humility, your authenticity. No … these things cannot be taken from us …. these things, for any that way inclined, need to be given away freely. 

Monday, October 09, 2017


Not quite right …

Just the right brand of insanity is what is needed for awesome living. Well, I say that, because if ‘sane’ = ‘normal’ which = ‘sample falling into the middle part of the bell-curve of human behaviour’ … then I do not wish to be fully nor ‘appropriately’ sane. And I wouldn’t wish it so upon anyone else either.

I celebrate the differences between us - the fact that were all see the sunrise differently, think about things differently, experience differently, etc. 

‘Normal’ is that label that pigeon-holes for convenience … but convenient for whom? And to what end?

Celebrate the differences between people, I say. Those differences create tensions, divergent beliefs, varying opinions and unique perspectives … the juxtaposition of this thought upon that gives rise to the infinitely complex fabric of humanity. The differences between us are what makes the ride all that more interesting … JBW

Saturday, October 07, 2017


When Shit Goes South

Plans have a way of laughing in our faces. We have accidents, bump into unforeseen events, get sick … trip over our feet. We are awesome stumblers - but we are equally awesome ‘recoverers’. 

The toddler toddles - then walks, then runs, then leaps … next thing you know the toddler is dancing on the high-wire. Our stumbles and lurchings are highly instructive. We are adaptive machines who learn by making errors and making adjustments. 

As the old saying goes - ‘pressure makes diamonds’


Tuesday, October 03, 2017


Back on the horse ...

When the vagaries of life have shunted you off-mission - get back on track as soon as you can - this is exactly how great gains are made. 

I am always impressed by people who find a way to get back on the horse after being bucked off for this or that reason. Call it resilience - fortitude or just plain stubbornness … but this habit is one of the ones that can make a huge difference in our lives.

Sunday, October 01, 2017


At the heart of it ...

A teacher - at the heart of it, needs to always be a student. Great teaching is driven by just the right blend of understanding, skill, passion and communication - and to embrace such an undertaking for any meaningful length of time requires a sustained effort - and such an effort is only sustainable if we are constantly imbued with curiosity ourselves. - JBW

Monday, September 25, 2017


Whats the math on …

When I went to school, I always found math difficult. My dad used to try to explain it to me - it was easy for him - but my mind struggled. 

Later in life though, I saw the math in many things. It’s strange how we all develop in different areas, at different stages of our lives. Some of us have to ‘experience’ before understanding - others are adept at learning by rote - others still come to things effortlessly at certain times - for inexplicable reasons. 

There is math at the foundation of all things. I wonder if the math teachers I knew - are aware of this fact? Perhaps.

We look around and geometry in everything … the rectangular shape of the screen you are looking at now - the concentric circles formed as we drop a pebble in the pond - the 90 degree spin as we transition to an armbar from the mount …

Numbers not only play a role … they are elegant, and wonderful. Imagine a world in which we did not see numbers … hard, if not impossible to do. 

Embracing the math of life … requires an excursion down the rabbit-hole ….

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