Multiple Motivations

I’ve been training Jiu Jitsu for almost 10 years. Throughout that time, my training has remained relatively consistent and constant. Aside from a few minor injuries (mostly sustained from non-BJJ activities) and some travel, my class attendance has remained steady.  This consistency can be attributed to the multiple boxes BJJ ticks in my life. Some people may be able to sustain long-term dedication with a single motivation. Perhaps they want to be a world champion, or their singular aim is to obtain a black belt. Throughout my life, I have found different reasons to keep going back to Jiu Jitsu. When I take stock of the motivations that draw me into Jiu Jitsu, four stand out.

Knowledge and Technical Understanding

I gravitate towards Jiu Jitsu for the learning and mastery of technique. The thirst for new knowledge is often a great catalyst for training. Having an inclusive space to learn from an instructor and fellow students keeps eager students coming through the door. That thirst for knowledge can be specific. Sometimes I am consumed by solving a problem I see in my BJJ game. Other times that thirst comes with no questions, no focus and no agenda, just an eagerness to learn Jiu Jitsu.

Knowledge and understanding of the art is a powerful motivator.

Mindfulness and Wellbeing

Martin Seligman explains in his PERMA model of happiness the experience of Engagement or Flow. The state of being totally absorbed by a present task where time and self- consciousness seem to cease. Personally, nothing helps me achieve this feeling of flow more than Jiu Jitsu. At the end of a stressful or busy day, Jiu Jitsu allows me to engage and reconnect with myself. It lowers the volume on inner thoughts and expands my awareness beyond my immediate anxieties or worries.


BJJ is a technical and mindful pursuit but it is also a physical one. The fitness and health benefits of Jiu Jitsu are well documented and well observed by anyone who trains Jiu Jitsu.  If I take too many days off, I begin to feel sluggish and unfit. Some nights I go to training just to sweat.


On any given day, I may not be craving knowledge. I may not feel like a workout. I may not be in need of decompression. On those days, I still enjoy spending time with friends and training partners. A Jiu Jitsu academy often becomes a social haven, a close group of likeminded people and a surrogate family. The comradery, the laughs and the social environment are a draw card even when my Jiu Jitsu cravings aren’t present.

When I walk onto the Jiu Jitsu mat, it is rarely for a singular reason. Multiple motivations are always at play and they keep me coming through that door. The more reasons and the more motivations we have to do something, the more likely it is to endure.


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The Right Move at the Wrong Time

When a white belt begins to learn BJJ they will start to build up a small repertoire of moves and submission that they feel comfortable to use in a roll. This may be a favourite choke or a useful sweep. Regardless of what the move may be, the inexperienced BJJ practitioner will narrow their focus and try to employ that move in all situations.  While this action is coming from a good place, a place of excitement for a newly learnt technique, it can also lead them down a dangerous path because the right move at the wrong time is the wrong move. For those who train BJJ this phenomenon will not be a new concept. For example, a favourite among new white belts is the Kimura shoulder lock submission. A move that, when used correctly can cause your opponent to submit due to intense pressure applied to the shoulder. It works brilliantly from a myriad of different positions including full guard and side control. If however you become tunnel visioned and try to force the Kimura into every situation things can go bad. If you find yourself in your opponent’s full guard for example, attempting this move will almost surely end with your opponent transitioning to your back, a terrible position to find yourself. From here, you can be easily controlled and often submitted.

From my fiist class a white belt, and now teaching at Eastside Jiu Jitsu the moments that get me most excited about learning and teaching BJJ are times when its messages can be generalised to everyday situations and mindsets. The concept of rights moves at wrong times is one that I find myself using daily. Take the situation when a family member or friend requires advice. I ask myself is the ‘right’ advice right for this time. I have seen all too often how the right advice, given at the wrong time can be the wrong advice. To be successful at BJJ and to flourish in all areas we need to understand that success is about timing and picking your moments. No one philosophy applies to all situations, no single mindset will see you through every task and there isn’t any golden rule that works all the time.  This is true in life and true in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

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The True Science of Martial Arts – Musashi

The famous Japanese Samurai Miyamoto Musashi once wrote, “The true science of Martial Arts means practicing them in a way that they will be useful at any time, and to teach them in a way that they will be useful in all things”.   Musashi was writing in the 17th century and his Martial Arts of choice was the use of a Katana sword. Nevertheless, the words of this immortal quote ring true in every Jiu Jitsu academy around the world today.

 “Practicing them in a way that they will be useful at any time”

Jiu Jitsu’s boom in popularity can be attributed to many factors. The wide spread appeal of the UFC and other MMA promotions, its low impact training style, and the increasing number of highly skilled instructors and training partners for example, have all contributed to its growth.  Jiu Jitsu’s rise can also be attributed to its usefulness as a self-defence system and martial art.  To train and learn BJJ you only need a safe matted area, its simplicity makes it easy to generalize. While some moves employ the use of the Gi (traditional jacket and pants), all Jiu Jitsu techniques can be applied to real life situations, meaning it will be useful at any time. At Eastside, we endeavour to teach all techniques in such a way that they can be applied to any opponent, in any situation and at any time.


“Teach them in a way that they will be useful in all things”

When you spend time and energy learning martial arts you will learn to apply lessons learned to all areas of your life. As a practitioner becomes more proficient with Jiu Jitsu, they will learn important lessons. They will understand how to remain calm in the face of sever pressure, how to wait for the right opening, how to adapt, how to control their emotions and how to remain humble in all situations. These are lessons that can be easily adapted to all areas of one’s life. Teaching martial arts is more than showing a student an arm bar. The true beauty of Jiu Jitsu is how it can positively affect all areas of life, how it can be useful in all things.  Another Musashi quote simplifies this perfectly, “If you know the way broadly, you will see it in everything”

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Eastside Jiu Jitsu Values Part 3: Humility & Strength

Eastside Jiu Jitsu Values Part 3: Humility & Strength

Our third and fourth values are ones that come hand-in-hand. At Eastside Jiu Jitsu, we believe in the harmonious relationship between Strength and Humility.  There is no doubt that through the training and practice of BJJ ones strength, in many areas, will grow immeasurable. However, without a deep understanding of humility and its importance, that strength will have a ceiling. Most Jiu Jitsu matches and rolls end with one opponent tapping out. In the most tangible display of humility, one opponent will admit defeat rather than suffer further pain or sustain a potential injury. It is only through this act of humility that students of Jiu Jitsu are able to grow their strength. By tapping out, we ensure we are able to roll in the next round or train the following night. Students who insist on fighting out of every submission and who refuse to remain humble seldom last long in a Jiu Jitsu academy.

Humility runs deeper than tapping. When you first walk into a BJJ academy, you will undoubtedly notice moments of great strength. You are watching people fight after all. However, if you watch closely, you will also see moments of humility in almost every interaction in a BJJ academy. There is humility in the way we teach others techniques, when we bow to our lineage, when we greet each person when we enter our academy and when we thank our training partners after an intense sparring session.

Jiu Jitsu, more than any activity highlights our weakness to us in each moment. It holds a mirror up to us and compels us to check our ego, know our place and surrender our will. If you can come out the other side of that process with your head held high then you have truly gained the strength that Jiu Jitsu can offer you.

The late great Carlson Gracie Sn put it best, “Always enter like a kitten and leave like a lion. But NEVER enter like a lion and leave like a kitten. Always be humble”.

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Eastside Jiu Jitsu Values Part 2: Inclusivity

Eastside Jiu Jitsu Values Part 2: Inclusivity

At Eastside Jiu-Jitsu, we truly believe the mantra that “Jiu-Jitsu is for everyone”. We’ve been training BJJ for over 15 years, at the Carlson Gracie Academy and in academies around the world and through that experience; we have come to understand that every person can find their place in Jiu Jitsu.

The inclusive nature of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is twofold. Firstly, it means that everyone can learn Jiu-Jitsu. Secondly, it asserts that everyone can learn through Jiu-Jitsu.

Everyone Can Learn Jiu-Jitsu

In Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, there are no one-size-fits all techniques. While the philosophies and values of Jiu-Jitsu can be taught and used by all, no single technique will work for every person or at every time. Regardless of your weight, age or physical prowess you will need to go on a journey of learning what works for you. On the one hand, this realisation can be frustrating for new white belt. The moves you see your instructors or high-level training partners pull off may not be usable for you. However, on the other hand, this also gives light to Jiu-Jitsus true inclusivity. That being, its ability to adapt its techniques for everyone. Whether you are big or small, tall or short, young or old, flexible or stiff you can learn Jiu-Jitsu and make it your own.

Everyone can learn through Jiu-Jitsu

The lessons each person will learn through their practice or Jiu-Jitsu are even more individualised than the techniques themselves. The training philosophies of Jiu-Jiu, while on face value teach us how to move and operate in a fight; can serve to teach us much greater life lessons. For example, through learning how to escape a disadvantage position we learn how to keep calm under pressure, how to maximise our energy efficiently, how to feel comfortable in moments of distress and how to find an opening when it’s presented. The real life applications of these lessons are clear and expansive.

Each student’s ability to learn through Jiu-Jitsu gives further credence to its inclusivity. It means that even if you have no ambitions of becoming a world champion or never see yourself being a black belt Jiu-Jitsu is still for you.

At Eastside, inclusivity is one of our core-values. It pushes us to create a welcoming environment and compels us to teach the art of Jiu-Jitsu in a way that everyone can understand it, connect to it and learn through it.

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Our Lineage and Why it Matters

Our Lineage and Why it Matters

When people talk about their BJJ training or their academy they will often refer to their lineage. Much like a bible verse they will track, in chronological order the link each student has to the ‘source’ of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. But why is lineage important? Why should we focus on who taught our teachers teacher? At Eastside Jiu Jitsu our lineage is central to what we do because it elevates jiu-jitsu to something greater than ourselves.

Lineage is about respect

When you step onto a Jiu Jitsu tournament mat, you do it alone. Your opponent won’t be thinking about who your instructor is, and even less so who his instructor was. However, when you step on that mat or when you enter your academy for training you are doing so only because of the passion, dedication and hard work of greater people who have come before you. We reference our lineage at every opportunity to pay our respect to those teachers who invested in us and in doing so made us the people we are today.

Lineage serves to preserve the art

As an art form like BJJ grow, they run the risk of being watered down. While progression and innovation is important, with every decade that passes we push further away from the ‘source’ of Jiu Jitsu. While that gap will only continue to grow, recognising an academies lineage can help maintain the ‘quality contro’l of the art form. As we reference the grand-masters who have come before us we in turn recognise the standards they set and adhere to them. Progression in Jiu Jitsu is a slow and agonizing road. Respect and homage to our lineage helps maintain these standards. It ensures the art and standards grow with Jiu Jitsu and do not be a victim of Jiu Jitsu’s expansion.


Lineage keeps us humble, and humility leads to strength

A key component to progression through Jiu Jitsu is the recognition that humility is not weakness but that it leads to great strength and mastery. A common BJJ trope insists that students “leave their ego at the door”. Our lineage and the photos we place on the walls of our academy serve as a further reminder of how far we all have to go on our BJJ journeys. When we look at high hung photos of Carlson Gracie Sr. we have no choice but to check our egos and remain humble.


Our Lineage

Mitsuyo Maeda > Carlos Gracie Sr. > Carlson Gracie Sr. > Carlson Gracie Jnr. > Ben Hall > Raph & Brad

We are proud to be bringing our lineage and our brand of Jiu Jitsu to Murrumbeena, Glen Eira and all of Melbourne.

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East Side Jiu Jitsu is an inclusive, family friendly and community focused Brazilian Jiu Jitsu academy offering a holistic approach to martial arts and self-defence. As a member of the Carlson Gracie Federation, East Side Jiu-Jitsu is proud to be continuing the legacy of Carlson Gracie in Australia.

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