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 ….

Sunday, September 17, 2017


By design ...

I think of the design-process as a kind of predictive instrument. When I designed my home for example, I was in a way, trying to predict how I was going to live - which way I was going to turn when I came downstairs in the morning, etc. In designing a class, I am predicting how i want that class to unfold. I imagine how I want the end-result to be - and then reverse engineer back through a design-process that will gives me what outcome I want. 

In an effort to design our lives - we can predict - mentally wind time backward a bit - and jump-start design-engine into life. This has worked for me at least - in loads of areas. 

I think design - along with ‘organisational models’ should be taught in school - as basic subjects. Math, chemistry and physics are interesting - but design and organisational skills gets stuff done. - JBW

Monday, August 28, 2017


Speculation …

Every time we make a decision in life, we are speculating. Decisions are in a way, speculative choices. Speculation is a bet on the future; on how we think the future might unfold. Throughout the course of my life, I have been accused of being too speculative - of taking too many risks - of wandering too far from the beaten path (thanks in part to some unusual people who understood the value and learning that lies beyond the well-trodden path). Taking risks, as it turns out, is something that we can ‘normalise’ pretty quickly; and doing so, open ourselves up to possibility and adventure …

Friday, August 25, 2017


Fight IQ - LIFE IQ

Ever since I was 17 years old, I instinctively understood that a holistic approach to martial arts training was the way of the future. A balanced blend of kicking, striking, clinch work, takedown, ground control and submissions has always appealed to me. I have to admit though, I was not only drawn to this wholistic approach because of it’s obvious efficacy - but rather for a much simpler and somewhat obvious reason … it was more ‘interesting’, more exciting, there was much more to learn, more to sample, more to keep me interested and motivated. In short, I abhored boredom.

I believe in the power of congruence. I want to approach my martial arts training the same way I approach the bigger puzzle that we call ‘life’. In life, I want to know a lot about a few things but also a little about a lot of things. This approach allows us to make better decisions and to be highly adaptable - but again, it also keeps us from becoming bored. 

A driving fundamental of why human beings are so successful on the planet is our ability to adapt. Our diversity, our ability to re-create how we interact with the environment, is what makes us special. So to not embrace this fundamental on a personal level, would be in my view, a wasted opportunity.

Read something you would not normally read, watch a movie you might not ordinarily watch, talk to someone you might not ordinarily talk to; travel, learn, experiment, broaden your outlook; learn another language, eat something you’ve never eaten before … this is living life beyond the scope of the ordinary. 

Be a renaissance man - or woman.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017


Choices ...

Consequences continually unfold - as a result of both action or inaction. Choosing not to act, is of course, in itself an action off sorts. Making choices is integral to being alive - a bold life unfolds from the habit of making bold choices. Sometimes - frightening choices. - JBW

Thursday, August 10, 2017


Looking Good and Going Nowhere - Embrace the Wobble.

This is one of my favourites. I heard it from author, Robert Kiyosaki some 30 years ago. I am actually quite surprised at how much he said, that stuck with me. he was an excellent instructor/communicator! One of the best!

He was all about being okay with making mistakes. We all learn like heat-seeking missiles, he said. We launch in a random direction, and make a series of ever-decreasing adjustments, until we home in on the target/goal. The missile keeps asking ‘hotter or colder’ and adjusts accordingly. We need to embrace the information to zero in on what we want. 

When a kid learns to ride a bike, the are okay with wobbling, falling off, crashing into things, etc. They adjust very quickly, and are soon riding down mountain trails. 

When I went to school, mistakes were discouraged. we were only rewarded for ‘wins’ - not ‘losses’ -= and so many of us developed an aversion to losing/experimenting, etc. yikes! Luckily for me, I quickly ‘recovered’ when I left school - and learned to embrace the /losing/falling/failing side of the learning equation. 

It’s easy to  keep ’looking good’ - to stay well within our limitations - to limit our ‘wobbles’ - it’s just that in playing that way, we won’t get anywhere. hence the saying - Looking Good and Going Nowhere!

Embrace the wobble! - JBW

Tuesday, August 08, 2017


Change ... and Choice.

When I started BJJ - there was no internet!
When the first UFC kicked off - people didn’t know what a website was! By the time the 10th UFC was aired - we still hadn’t heard of e-mail!
Things have changed, evolved and morphed at a rapidly increasing rate over the past two decades. The ability to adapt, and keep up (even get ahead of) changes in the world around us, becomes more and more relevant every day. I have talked to people who have started a four year course at University, only to realise, as they neared the end of their course, that the filed was no longer relevant! Yikes!
In many ways, it’s as if we are all running in a marathon … it takes effort just to keep up with the pack; let alone get out in front … that requires something special.
Personally, I like a rapidly changing environment … I feel I am up for it. To thrive in that kind of environment is both stimulating and challenging - but it does take energy and at times, an effort of will.
But after any race - we need rest. And I do believe very strongly in the importance of rest and rejuvenation. For me that takes the form of watching a movie, reading a book, getting out in the wilds and doing some hiking with a pack on my back, etc.
Wishing everyone a great week ahead … do something different this week. read something you wouldn’t normally read - watch a movie you would normally think of watching - try a new technique on the mat - eat a new kind of food - have a chat with someone you don’t know - get yourself a digital wallet and buy a part of a Bitcoin! Change happens ... we can ignore it - adapt to it - even revel in it. Those are our choices. - JBW

Monday, August 07, 2017


The problem with Soda Pop

So very often in life, Shiny Objects pull us off-mission.
We set out to do something, spot some other thing out of the corner of our eye, become distracted from our original intention (sometimes permanently so) … and wonder why we are not making progress.

Now I am not one obsessed with ‘goals’ and the acquisition of such … but I do, tend to ‘see things through’ once I have started. If we want to get something done, and it is important to us to get that thing done … we should resist the pull and allure of random ’shiny objects. 

Shiny Objects Distract Again … Plans on Pause. The problem with Soda Pop.

Thursday, August 03, 2017


Average Joe

The famous, the wealthy, the elite … or the common man all have much in common. 
They each have only 24 hours in their day. The can pretty much all eat healthy food. They all have a roof over their head. In short, there are more similarities than differences between between an extraordinarily wealthy person and a person who earns an average wage. 

Happiness is happiness, for the rich or average like. Both the rich and the average can choose to be healthy, they can both read the same books, watch the same tv shows, sleep in similar beds. 

Many average people bemoan the wealthy and spend time wishing they had access to wealth … when in reality, most of the great things we can experience in life are available to most of us. 

Warren Buffet (worlds greatest investor) still drives the same car he has 20 years ago; lives in an average house in an average neighbourhood and by all accounts, buys breakfast at Mcdonalds most mornings. He dresses in normal clothes and speaks like an average man. he is, by all outward appearances, very average in his appetites … he just likes (and excels) at a particular kind of game that makes him a lot of money (the business game)

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