Jiu-jitsu position
Century Martial Arts

How Jiu Jitsu can tame the ego when people test your anger

Have you ever been driving, say 33 in a 35-mph zone, minding your own business, windows down on an evening with a nice breeze, when suddenly some punk races by you out of nowhere? He beeps the horn as he cuts you off while giving YOU the bird! The bird… that middle finger of a hand that some extend singularly as, let's say, a gesture lacking in kindness… and others who have the knuckle dexterity might flip you half a bird, which I must say I always marveled at. If that half-bird could speak, it would say, "You're such a piece of garbage that I can't even muster the energy to properly and fully tell you to go F yourself." This is such aggressive, yet almost joyful behavior on their part, as if this maneuver is guaranteed to come with no consequences.
Fast car speed

Samuele Errico Piccarini

If you, dear reader, have not had this experience, I would be surprised. I sure have. And what a different momentary experience in brain chemistry you are both having. At the very least, he feels differently than anyone who is coasting responsibly, driving below the speed limit. And while we know that in this moment, his ego is taking him on an adrenaline ride, we wonder… Is he angry? Is he sad? He can't be happy, even if he does seem to get a sadistic thrill out of cutting people off. Speeding can be a thrill… but why the insult?

How quickly the innocent in this situation can be drawn into something so unpleasant, where they feel like yelling, "Watch it! Whatchu doing man? You didn't see me back there!?" Normally, this reaction does not happen and, thankfully, people just mostly do not have the desire to give chase. Typically, you are just startled; you were surprised and insulted all in 3 seconds, and by the time you process it, it's over. Still, some do-follow, actually giving chase… and that never ends well.



Now, consider what would happen if you bumped shoulders with this same individual on the street. There would be an exchange of "Oh, I'm sorry there bud," or something like that. Light skin-to-skin interactions very rarely come with such aggression, and the reason is obvious… fear and respect coupled with the lack of adrenaline.

When someone trains in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, they grow accustomed to adrenaline. This is good behind the wheel of a car. While everyone has a set point to where one might lose one's temper, by training Jiu-Jitsu regularly, you will have a longer threshold of patience… even longer if you are on your way home from training Jiu-Jitsu. If this is the case, you've already had your adrenaline dump; it was left on the mat, where it should be! You would look at this person as a silly danger; and feel thankful that he passed by. This is the power of Jiu-Jitsu.



I personally have driven a lot in my life, and on the regular, I have yelled back. Although I was never the initiator, I have yelled back in what I incorrectly labeled as righteousness to myself, only to realize shortly thereafter, my own fault; knowing I could have done better.

There are situations where you might reencounter this person, and here is what to do, if you can. If that person goes straight, you slow down, take the next turn if you can, whether or not you are headed that way. Keep in mind that a quick u-turn puts you right back on course, with the aggressive driver out of sight. This is a choice you must train your ego to make. It's not easy, particularly when you know for sure that the other driver is in the wrong. If you train Jiu-Jitsu, trust me, you will feel less compelled to respond. I'm not telling you that BJJ is an anti-road-rage pill but, it will put you in the most practical mindset for this type of situation. And hopefully, you will do the most appropriate thing, which is NOTHING.

Growing up in the Bronx, I experienced no shortage of aggression. When I was a bouncer, there was an abundance of aggression. And I can tell you first hand, often the best response to a verbal assault is nothing. And while doing nothing is hard to do, you have still made a choice. Rarely have I seen violence take place, and someone say, "Well, I'm sure glad that turned violent." Are there jerks and aggressors in the street who train Jiu-Jitsu? Yes, there are more today than ever, but not that many aggressors. Jiu-Jitsu clamps down a lot on the ego, and the more you train, the more you will lose the desire to respond to aggressive behavior from others. You will also develop a longer interval of time for your anger mechanism to kick in, due to your regular doses of mat adrenaline. You might even see aggressive actions coming before one makes a move, just like on the mat.

Female Jiu-jitsu practitioners


When I was in the early stages of my Jiu-Jitsu training, I had the benefit of being one of the few Americans on a mat with the first wave of Carlson Gracie students to come to the United States. These were rough guys; very passionate and aggressive, but they had a calmness to them. They would train life or death on the mat, but then I would see them in social settings, always behaving like cool and calm gentlemen. Jiu-Jitsu created that.

Jiu-jitsu team

Ricardo Liborio

When you know your capability, most often, there is a lack of a desire to use it. You generally know the outcome in situations of conflict, and this puts your ego in check. The other person often does not have this benefit, and he is most likely misjudging his abilities. Most importantly, he almost certainly does not have Jiu-Jitsu training. We train for self-defense, among other reasons. In the street, aggression is an offensive move, and you rarely see Jiu-Jitsu used offensively for no gain. Call it the gentle art if you want, but it can rip your arm off and put you to sleep… it's not gentle. Jiu-Jitsu is attitude first. It is the first thing we control. And your attitude is linked with your ego. Roughly speaking, the higher you go in Jiu-Jitsu, the more appropriate your ego generally is. So, when the next fool cuts you off and flips you the bird, just try your best to use your emotional Jiu-Jitsu and make that quick right or left turn and let 'em by.

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Two-Time Black Belt Hall of Famer Hayward Nishioka has been campaigning for judo in the United States to harvest more shodans (1st degree black belts) Shodan literally means student. It's analogous to being a freshman in college. It's not the end but the beginning according to Jigoro Kano, the Founder of Judo.

A very dear friend and sensei of mine the late Allen Johnson, may he rest in peace made a home at Emerald City Judo. In Redmond, Washington.

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Competitive Edge Karate
Photo Courtesy: Jackson Rudolph

Team Competitive Edge, coached by Jackson Rudolph, Reid Presley, and Cole Presley, has become one of the premier teams in the sport in recent years. The team consistently takes home individual overall grand championships and they are the reigning U.S. Open ISKA Team Demonstration World Champions. Moving into the 2022 tournament season, they have made a huge move to deepen their roster and add seven junior competitors to the team. The new additions range from proven champions bringing their talents to the squad, some skilled workhorses who have previously joined the team for the Team Demo division, and some promising young stars who will be making their debut in the black belt division this year. Keep reading to learn more about each of the new additions (ordered alphabetically).

Gavin Bodiford

Gavin Bodiford

Photo Courtesy: Kellie Austin Bodiford via Facebook

Bodiford is twelve years old and hails from Lebanon, Tennessee, a product of Premier Martial Arts Lebanon (formerly known as Success Martial Arts Center), where the Competitive Edge coaches have all earned black belts. He has five years of martial arts experience and was the 2020-2021 ProMAC Southern Region Champion in four divisions. He also finished the 2021 NASKA season in the top ten for creative, musical, and extreme forms and weapons. Bodiford is one of the competitors who has stepped up for Competitive Edge in the past, joining the demonstration team to help them secure the 2021 U.S. Open ISKA World Championship.

Riley Claire Carlisle

RC Carlisle

Photo Courtesy: Mallory Parker Carlisle

Carlisle (pictured with coach Sammy Smith) is a 10-year-old rising star from Starkville, Mississippi who has been training for four years. In the underbelt division, she has won grand championships at the Battle of Atlanta and numerous regional events. She holds multiple divisional and grand championship titles from the ProMAC circuit, and has amassed over ninety divisional wins in recent years. She is moving into the black belt division in 2022 and looks to continue her winning ways.

Kodi Molina

Kodi Molina

Photo Courtesy: Priscilla Molina via Facebook

Molina is a 13-year-old world champion from San Antonio, Texas with 10 years of martial arts training under her belt. She has won many grand championship titles on the NASKA circuit, and has claimed world championships from NASKA, ISKA, ATA, and WKC. At the 2021 U.S. Open, she became the reigning ISKA world champion in 13 and under girls creative/musical/extreme weapons. She is a versatile competitor who can win with extreme bo or kama routines, performs beautiful traditional forms, and is a solid point fighter as well. She is an active member of her community and participates in a variety of leadership programs, making her a great role model for younger members of the team.

Michael Molina

Michael Molina

Photo Courtesy: Michael Molina via Instagram

"Super Bomb" is the 9-year-old brother of Kodi, who is a world champion in his own right. In his seven years of experience, he has already won a variety of titles across multiple leagues, including NASKA overall grand championships at the 2021 Battle of Atlanta and AmeriKick Internationals. Since he began training at the age of two, his regimen has included strength, speed, agility, and conditioning training at "Rojo Dojo", where a number of world champions and national contenders gather to train. He is known for his incredible performance ability, always putting on a show when he graces the stage.

Gavin Richmond

Gavin Richmond

Photo Courtesy: Bobby Benavides

Richmond is yet another world champion being added to the Competitive Edge roster. The 13-year-old from San Antonio has been training for five years and has accumulated several grand championship titles, including wins at prestigious events like the Diamond Nationals and U.S. Open. The young star is a well-rounded athlete, not only because he competes in a variety of divisions at sport karate tournaments, but he also finished in 7th place in the pentathlon at the 2021 AAU Junior Olympics which included the high jump, long jump, 100m hurdles, 1500m run, and shot put, resulting in him being named an All-American. He is currently recovering from a knee injury, but his high-flying routines will be back on the mat soon.

Madalynn Wiersma

Madalynn Wiersma

Photo Courtesy: Gabrielle Dunn

Wiersma (pictured with coach Gabrielle Dunn) is another rising star moving up from the underbelt division who is expected to make waves in the black belt division. She first moved up into the black belt ring at the WKC world championships, where she won her first world title. The 9-year-old Georgia native was the 2021 Underbelt Competitor of the Year for ProMAC and she secured underbelt grand championships at the Battle of Atlanta and U.S. Open this past year.

Elijah Williams

Williams is a 16 year old from Lebanon, Tennessee who trains at Premier Martial Arts Lebanon. His eight years of martial arts training has culminated in black belts in Tang Soo Do and Tae Kwon Do. He is on an upward trend as a competitor as he has started breaking into the top four in his divisions, which are some of the most stacked on the NASKA circuit. Williams has been a great asset to Competitive Edge in the past, stepping up to fill in for team demonstration, such as in the world championship effort at the 2021 U.S. Open.

The Competitive Edge coaching staff told Black Belt that they are thrilled to take their roster to another level with these moves. They believe that these new players will create the perfect storm to win more overall grand championships now, strengthen the team demo, and build a great foundation for the future of the program.

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cdn.vox-cdn.com Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC
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