Entries by Dion Mendel

What is persistence?

You’re at home. Training starts soon but you’re warm, the couch is comfy and Home and Away will be starting soon. Plus there’s a bag of crisps in the cupboard and beer in the fridge. For most people, this is the start to a good night. You’ve got a Netflix subscription that isn’t going to […]

How to remember

There is lots to learn in jiu-jitsu. You will forget more than you remember. This is okay because your goal is to absorb what is useful and discard what is not. But how can you improve your memory of what is useful to you?


I was 29 years old with 8 years of martial arts experience when I walked into a BJJ gym for the first time. A 16 year old girl beat the tar out of me and I knew that BJJ was something that I desperately wanted to learn. That girl became one of my main training […]

On teaching submission defence

The goal of BJJ is to submit your opponent. The counterpoint of that is to not get submitted yourself. How do I go about teaching submission defence? Surprisingly, I don’t teach submission defence in class. There are only a small number of contact hours with athletes each week. We must focus on the areas that […]

How tough are you?

Long before I had ever heard of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, I had trained for eight years in traditional martial arts. My training averaged between 12-15 hours per week. How tough was I?

I learnt the answer one late afternoon, alone in an isolated area being followed by a scary guy about 25kgs heavier than me.

Is it a draw or a double loss?

In a jiu-jitsu roll, you win when your opponent taps. If neither of you tap, is it a draw or is it a double loss? One of our members wrote an interesting analysis of BJJ from a game design perspective. One point he made is that draws give beginners a middle ground between losing and […]

Why BJJ gets you hooked

One of our members works as a computer game designer. He’s performed an analysis of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu from a game designer’s perspective to show why it is that we find BJJ to be so addictive. Full video is below. A written version can also be found on medium.

Getting better at BJJ (intermediate)

There’s a simple formula for a beginner to get better at jiu-jitsu. Show up, train, roll and get enough sleep. A beginner needs general physical conditioning, knowledge and experience applying that knowledge on the mat. The beginning formula gives them this.

Sooner or later their improvement slows down. Why? What causes this slowdown?