Jiu Jitsu Saves Lives

“Jiu Jitsu saves lives!”

If you train Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, you hear this all the time! Often this refers to the practical application of Jiu Jitsu techniques being invaluable for self-defense situations. Most altercations result in grappling, and especially with females we find defense against pinning and grabbing to be of the utmost importance. Jiu Jistu does more than just save lives physically, though. Anyone who has trained for a while can tell you that training in Jiu Jitsu fills voids in their lives that few other things can.

Jiu Jitsu is one of the best forms of therapy for me and many others. It is a practical sport that allows you to go at a pretty high intensity with your techniques, teaching humility while being highly effective in a variety of situations.  Some days you kick ass, other days you get your ass kicked.  In strength and conditioning training or CrossFit, when you get tired, the barbell isn’t there trying to strangle or break your arm. In Jiu Jitsu, however, you have to keep going or submit to your opponent.

Somehow the physical connection of Jiu Jitsu not only teaches us about ourselves, but helps to form strong bonds between people that train together. There are lessons learned on the mats that can’t be explained anywhere else.

As I get older in my sport (I have been a black belt since 2010) I have continually had to adapt my style and strategy to remain competitive. I constantly learn about my body in the now, not “how it used to be”. Having a sport also focuses my other training and gives me greater focus.

I want to be able to teach others how to adapt their training as they evolve and am excited to offer my first Jiu Jitsu specific training camp April 14-15! How great will it be to focus on your training and get expert guidance from world class black belts and professional MMA fighters?!  I am excited to share all the knowledge I have acquired about strategy, tactics, nutrition, strength and conditioning, and mindset from nearly 2 decades on the mat!

I am hosting a retreat less than 90 minutes from NYC on over 160 acres of land where we can train, recover and learn. This seminar will focus on the athlete over 30 and how they can develop their game to not feel like they have to “keep up” with 20-somethings who train 3x/day. It might take 6 months to a year to learn what you can in one weekend away where you can focus and absorb all the knowledge and techniques of professional martial artists. This will be a unique experience like no other. Space is limited to 8 overnight participants. Single day spots are also available.

Let me know how Jiu Jitsu or martial arts has benefited your life, and let me know if you would like to come for an epic weekend of training.

Forever Furry,
John Beneduce


FitHistory- Beowulf pt. 4

#fithistory #beowulf part 4- strategy. While every challenge has to be faced with a similar mental attitude, the strategy and tactics must change for the situation. A great warrior must adapt to his opponent. Life is no different. Problems must be solved using individual methods. Beowulf has 3 epic fights that he uses a different strategy each time. When fighting Grendel he grapples the beast without weapons or armor because he knows weapons cannot hurt him. When he defeats Grendel’s mother he uses a magic sword and cuts off her head. In his last battle with the dragon he goes fully armed and armored since the dragon has its own advantages of claws and scaled armor and fiery breath. Adapt your strategy to your challenge. Use the right tool for the job. If all you have is a hammer, everything is a nail. I’ve seen so many fights where strategy hasn’t been addressed. Every situation must be evaluated and approached with the strategy and tactics necessary to achieve victory. Beowulf on the surface seems like a psychopathic killer, but in reality he is a thoughtful skill based warrior. #belikebeowulf #fithistory#beneducemethod #manimal #sonofodin@historyvikings @history #wisdom#learnfromhistory #vikings #beowulf

FitHistory- Beowulf Part 3

F*ck the haters! #fithistory#beowulf part 3. Anyone who pursues greatness will encounter haters. When you are as bad ass as Beowulf you are bound to have haters. Before he fights Grendel, Beowulf is confronted by his biggest hater unferth who says he has heard of Beowulf losing a swimming race to Brecca and that he isn’t as powerful as he says he is. Beowulf teaches us how to deal with haters when he tells unferth that he has never heard of him being in any battles or competing in anything of merit! Our haters are just envious of our courage to take on challenges in the face of overwhelming odds. Beowulf spins what unferth says is a loss into an epic tale of surviving a storm in the Atlantic Ocean and battling against whale 🐳 beasts for 7 days to finally make it back to shore. Beowulf smiles at unferth and tells him that if he was any good, why was Grendel still terrorizing them. Beowulf recognizes that haters are actually following your story the most, otherwise how would they know so much about you, they want you to fail so they can criticize and make themselves feel better about their lack of prowess, but the truly great rarely put anyone down, they are too busy training hard and accomplishing great deeds. Beowulf puts unferth in his place and keeps on being a total bad ass! Beowulf knows that having haters means you are on the right track and making moves worthy of envy! So when you have haters, smile and realize they are actually signposts of your greatness! #beneducemethod @historyvikings@history #wisdom #lifelessons#hateonhaters #criticsdontcount #manimal#sonofodin

FitHistory- Beowulf pt. 2

When we think of the typical Viking we imagine a hard drinking bunch of hooligans. Think again. When Beowulf comes to fight the monster Grendel he passes up alcohol and tells his warriors to do the same. Normally a guest in a kings hall would feast and party the day of arrival, often after traveling days or weeks at sea. Beowulf is extremely disciplined and wants to be as quick witted and aware as possible. Everyone else drinks and passes out, and this has led them to being easy prey for Grendel when he comes to attack at night. Grendel expects easy pickings again but he is gripped back by a sober, prepared bad ass. Beowulf is also disciplined enough to stick to his strategy. A fighters impulse would be to grab a weapon but he sticks to his strategy of grappling against Grendel and succeeds in defeating him. It is easy to overlook the discipline shown by Beowulf since he is such a hard charging arm ripping skull splitting savage. Look a little deeper and you see a battle hardened. Disciplined hero. This is especially a great lesson for #newyears when people make #resolutions when they are feasting and drinking and the mood strikes them. Beowulf comes to accomplish a great task and has discipline to carry out the mission well after the mood has passed him. Do you have the discipline to stick to your plan after the impulse has left you?

FitHistory- Beowulf Part 1

Beowulf is the ultimate lesson in not giving a f*ck! In literature few heroes have balls as big as Beowulf. Throughout this 5th century tale he fights demons, monsters and dragons without one single concern for his safety and never doubts his ability. At the thought of failure and death he is unmoved. Before he fights the “unbeatable” monster Grendel he not only says “if I lose there will be no funeral for me, nothing will remain” a pretty daunting proposition for a culture that glorified the dead hero through elaborate funeral ceremony. He also strips butt ass naked and says if the beast fights without weapons or armor he will do the same! Add to this that he pulls out the most epic armbar (well, probably a Kimura) of all time by ripping off Grendel’s arm! I like to take a lesson here in facing any challenge with courage and belief in yourself. Even in his final battle where he dies fighting the dragon at 76 years old, he doesn’t hesitate to jump on the dragons back and give it all he has even though he dies in the process. Think of when you face a challenge or goal in the future and be bold in tackling it! Take a lesson from Beowulf and go all in to tackle the tough tasks. There is no half-assing in Beowulf’s approach and that is a lesson we should all take. Go all in! Then no matter the outcome you will have peace of mind with your effort!

Stay tuned for Part 2 …

What A Fucking Year!

What a fucking year! 

This time last year I was going through a terrible Bankruptcy, had lost my house, my business and was barely able to survive. Also about this time last year, I went away by myself for a few days to think about how I fucked up. I thought about what I did wrong… and I realized there were a lot of things I did that were less than optimal. I took the time and consolidated what I had learned from my failures, and also what small successes I had as well. I did manage to win the North American Jiu Jitsu Championships at the end of Nov. 2016, so that did show me there was still some ability for me to comeback.

That made me think- What is my best quality? The more I thought about it, the more I realized it was my ability to survive, and to make a comeback. I put my head down, layed low and just started putting in the basic work: eating better, training smarter, doing less things, but doing them better. I thought about what I could do to help people be healthier and fitter. I struggled most of my life with my weight. I failed gym class every year in High School. Once I started training in 1999 I realized I wasn’t starting from Zero, I was starting from -10. I was never athletic, have terrible genetics and was born with a curved spine (Kyphosis) and femoral anteversion (my feet pointed together. Top it off with the fact that I started my freshman year of college at 265 pounds and 40 percent body fat! This is definitely not the start of most professional athletes stories.

Once I started training in 1999 I knew I never wanted to be fat again. I never wanted to wear a size 44 jeans again. I wanted to see my toes past my belly. I didn’t want to be identified as the John, you know, the fat kid. Since then the road has been filled with a mix of successes and failures. I have always gone for it! If you want to do something, do it, and learn from the outcome. I have been constantly learning about training, nutrition, healing, martial arts, and what we are all capable of.

Over the course of 17 years I have learned more than I can ever commit to the written word. I went from an obese college student to a professional athlete in 4 years. I became a black belt in multiple martial arts. I have trained 1,000’s of athletes. I have owned and operated a number of businesses from a hardware store, to a making the first MMA cardio DVDs to owning one of the busiest gyms in NYC. Even thought I have done so much, and learned from all of it, 2017 has been the steepest learning curve for me.

If you told me at the beginning of 2016 that in 2017 I would once again become a professional MMA athlete I wouldn’t have believed it. If you told me I would fight in Bellator the worlds premier MMA organization I would have said you were fucking delusional. I would have told you I hadn’t fought in a decade, or been 155 pounds in that long. I had my shoulder replaced twice, and my doctor said I would never do a pullup again (even though I was doing muscle ups 2 years after). If you told me I would realize a life long dream of running a weekend training camp, I would have thought that hosting one would be highly unlikely, and to host FOUR successful training camps very far fetched to say the least.

So what have I learned from 2017? I learned that everything starts in your mind. Once I started to believe in myself again, everything started to fall into place. August 2016 was probably one of the lowest, most depressing points in my life. I thought about just dying. I felt the cold blade against my warm skin one day and thought it would be so easy to just stop. Just stop trying. Just stop failing and letting my family and friends down. As I slowly pressed the blade to my throat I thought. Fuck, I will be dead without any assistance soon enough. If you end your story now, that’s it. That is the end of the story. No chance for redemption. No more adventures I thought. I slowly put the blade down. Looked at myself in the mirror and said “I have 50 more years to write this story, lets make it EPIC”

As I look back at 2017 now I realize it was some ride. How many athletes can say that after 10 years they came back and performed at the highest level? How many can say they are still able to compete at the highest levels 17 years after starting their training. How many can say that when they started working out they couldn’t jump rope or do a sit-up or see their feet past their belly? Who can say that 17 years later they were 155 pounds and under 10 percent body fat? I learned a lot about myself in 2017. I made it through a grueling training camp alongside a bunch of 20-something year old athletes. Gave as good as I got. Competed in the biggest show around and was close to victory against a veteran over a decade my junior. I took a concept of a weekend training camp from the ether of my mind and brought it into reality. How fulfilling to take a shot, to make things happen, to bring what is only a thought to fruition in the real world. Yeah, I was afraid to fail. Fear was my Co-pilot on this journey. I didn’t want to fail again, to disappoint people. The real disappoint would have been to play it safe. To not go for it. What story would I tell if all I did this year was work a regular gig, punch the clock and pray for vacation?

So I learned that what I am best at is making a comeback. I am able to put any past failures to the side, put in the hard, painful work and make shit happen. I learned that there is so much fight in me. I learned that we can all be more than we imagined, do more than people say you can. I also learned that I don’t need all the “things” I thought I needed in 2016. Life is not a place you own, or your ego. Life is the stories you make, the connections you keep, the people you touch, the adventures you undertake.

2017 was pretty Bad Ass, but that means that I have to make even better stories in 2018! I would love to hear what you have learned in 2017. What did you accomplish? what did you leave undone? What did you learn about yourself. This is also the perfect time to think about how you can crush 2018, and what you will do to make it memorable. Email me and tell me what you have learned and what you wish to accomplish. If there is any way I can help let me know. The best is yet to come!

Forever Furry,
John Beneduce
Instagram: John_Beneduce