Taking the Fight to the Ground: what can kids learn from BJJ ?

Guest Author: Alex Henley

Alex is the owner of Insight Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Bastrop, TX, a professional grappler, husband and father of two teenagers. His bio may be found at this link.  

As a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) school owner and instructor, I have parents coming to me for many reasons. Their kid(s) are getting bullied at school, they’ve got too much energy, or they’re too shy. Some say their kids spend too much time playing video games. Others home-school and want an outlet for socialization. The funny thing is, they all seem to get what they’re looking for from our kid’s BJJ classes!

The obvious benefit of enrolling your child in a martial arts class is self-defense. Not to say that is bad… self-defense is VERY important for kids and adults alike. However, not all self-defense is created equally. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu differs from the other martial arts because it utilizes leverage over strength. This means (and I see this on a regular basis) that a 130 lbs. experienced grappler can maneuver around and submit (tap out) a 210 lbs muscle-bound, inexperienced grappler. Of course the larger person is much stronger and would certainly win in a strength vs strength battle. However, BJJ is about so much more than physical strength.

In fact, it’s rare that an experienced BJJ practitioner must fight for their own safety. As you can imagine, a child who is proficient in BJJ tends to carry himself differently… more confidently. And the people around him most likely know this about him. As we know, the one thing most bullies have in common is that they look for the easy target. If your child doesn’t fit that mold, the chances of him being physically bullied are significantly decreased.

The strengths a child can feel  from practicing BJJ can be felt in many aspects of his/her life. Body and spatial awareness learned from BJJ class is second to none. Not only is she constantly learning how her own body moves safely, she’s also learning how other people’s bodies move in relation to hers, how to deal with close-quarter contact, pain, balance, and so much more… All in a safe environment with expert adult supervision (as well as parents).

Along with these very physical aspects, BJJ also gives your child practical experience dealing gracefully with victory, defeat, respect, self-respect and self-esteem. All of which are critical to the development of healthy future adults.

The benefits of training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu are plentiful, and we’ve really only scratched the surface in this post. If you or your child have any interest in this, please do yourself a favor and go try it out. Most schools offer a free class or free week. If you stay or if you go, I’m sure you won’t regret giving it a shot.

Treat Yourself to the Best. Steak. Ever.

Ever heard of the reverse sear? It’s a cooking technique that is both easy and turns out a perfect steak worthy of a high-end restaurant. The reverse sear method involves first cooking the meat on a very low heat then searing the outside on a hot pan or grill. With a little homework, you can enjoy a fantastic steak dinner in your own home anytime. First you’ll want to start with a nice steak. The ribeye is the king of steaks but there are certainly other great options. For a quick review and good advice see this article from Bon Appétit (link words to http://www.bonappetit.com/test-kitchen/cooking-tips/article/the-5-best-steak-cuts-for-the-grill). If you’re concerned about selecting a lean steak see the link below for information on lean, heart-healthy cuts to consider.

Next will be the preparation and the cooking technique. Both are important but not difficult once you know what to do. First take your steak out of the fridge, out of packaging and place on a plate or baking sheet, sprinkle with salt, pepper, herbs if you like and then cover with a cloth and let it breathe and come to room temperature for 20 minutes. Have a glass of wine. Now comes the reverse sear which can be done with oven + cast iron skillet or oven + grill. Either method produces a beautiful sear on the outside and a perfect medium rare on the inside with all those meat juices sealed in for a memorable dining experience. The cast iron skillet won’t give you grill marks however using a grill will – plus it will add smoky flavor. The choice is yours.

So now for some instructions. With oven + cast iron place the steak on a cooling rack on top of the foil-lined baking sheet. Place steak in oven at 275 degrees until the internal temperature is 125 degrees. Be sure to use a thermometer so you get the temperature spot on. Removing at 125 results in a medium rare steak. Remove the steak from oven and let it rest for 15 minutes. Then follow up with the sear action in a cast iron skillet on high heat, add olive oil, turning every minute to get a crusty, dark brown sear each side. With oven + grill follow the same procedure. After resting, accomplish the sear by placing the steak on a hot grill just long enough to sear, add grill marks to each side and allow the steak to pick up some smoky flavor.

Want to dig deeper with photos and videos? Here are some good resources:

Jess Pryles | How to cook a steak with Reverse Sear method

(link to http://jesspryles.com/how-to-cook-a-steak-with-reverse-sear-method/)

Gordon Ramsay | The One Key Secret to Cooking The Perfect Steak

(link to  http://www.reshareworthy.com/gordon-ramsay-cooks-steak/)

Mayo Clinic | Cuts of beef: A guide to the leanest selections

(link to http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/cuts-of-beef/art-20043833)

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