Our Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu school in San Clemente usually hosts a couple of In-House tournaments for our students every year. This year, we ran one specifically for kids.
There are many reasons why we host these In-House tournaments, particularly when they are for children. One of the most important reasons is motivation.
Although our students are motivated by the goal of achieving their next rank or earning stripes on their belts after successfully completing their character development homework or passing their monthly tests, nothing motivates them more than the possibility of earning a gold medal or a trophy.
Human beings need motivation to accomplish goals. Some have more self-motivation than others, but all of them will try harder for the right external motivation. In this case, a gold medal.
Competitors have a purpose. They want to win, and for that, they will focus more, try harder during practice, take care of their bodies, and go as hard as they can at their matches during the competition.
In our school in San Clemente, we notice that most of the parents don’t know how their child will react during a solo sport such as a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu competition. That’s one of the reasons we like to motivate them to sign their children up for a tournament because we know their children will most likely exceed their expectations.
During regular martial arts classes, children are not always motivated. Sometimes they are not in the mood. So, if the parents have been watching their children during practice, they don’t know their real potential. But when they watch their children competing, they get a glance of that potential.
We can go on and on about the benefits of having children compete in martial arts. They become more focused and more determined. They become physically and mentally strong. But above all, they come back to practice a better student than before.
So, congratulation to all of our young competitors!
The hope of earning the black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu prioritizes itself each time one steps on the mat. Some practitioners discover it sooner than others. For Micah Gregory-Kai Ohlen, a brown belt under Sensei Paulo Guillobel, the end of the road to black is near, yet his journey in jiu-jitsu is far from over.
“I’m just trying to be a black belt already in my mind,” says Ohlen.
Sitting across from him at a local açai bowl establishment a few blocks down from Guillobel Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in San Clemente, CA, he reflects on his roots growing up in Kauai, recent recognition in his career and the battle for the black belt.
“Jiu-jitsu has to be the centerpiece of my life… It’s truly a vehicle to the success in anything I do,” says Ohlen.
Micah Gregory-Kai Ohlen, top, Paulo Guillobel (Brandon Drey)
“You don’t choose how you’re brought into the world, you have to navigate through whatever crappy situation you’re put in.”
– Micah Gregory-Kai Ohlen
He began training jiu-jitsu in high school on the island of Kauai with a group of friends.
He says, “In high school, everyone’s a tough guy. There were a lot of fights, especially for me growing up there with no Hawaiian blood.”
The need for self-defense introduced him to the world of martial arts.In addition to learning the art, he discovered the thrill of mounting his opponent correctly.
“And then choking them is the cherry on top,” he says.
By the time Ohlen completed high school, his level, and skill in soccer brought him to the mainland to play for Santa Barbara City College. At first, he dreamed of becoming a professional soccer player, unfortunately, the price to play is as high as the risk for injury.
“I realized that playing soccer was a privilege and it required you to have money. So, I had to work and think about other things,” he says.
Specifically, his academics.
Ohlen began taking advanced courses in sports medicine, finishing with the highest grade in his class. He also became a teacher’s assistant, where he realized his love for educating the future.
Soon thereafter, he transferred to Cal State Fullerton and graduated as the class valedictorian.
“One of the best days of my life,” he says.
Throughout finishing his Bachelor of Science in athletic training, Ohlen never forgot about Jiu Jitsu.
Training with other instructors and schools before joining Paulo Guillobel’s team as a blue belt in 2014, Ohlen testifies, “the academy itself is the most welcoming, warmest and friendliest group of people you can be around.”
He says, “The message is you always want to leave feeling better than you came in and I think that’s what really sets it apart from other ones.”
Prior to the açai-bowl fueled conversation, Ohlen and Guillobel briefly met at the dojo.
“It’s very important that we keep motivating him to become a black belt,” says Guillobel. “By making him better, he becomes a better person to train with.”
Guillobel’s theory in jiu-jitsu is to always be a student. Challenging them to become better practitioners of the martial art strengthens their character, physically and mentally. He believes in the potential in everyone, however, “it’s all about seeing how we are going to explore this potential that matters the most.”
Regarding Ohlen, Sensei Paulo deems the young, athletic brown belt respectful, professional and talented.
“That’s what happens at this part of his martial-art journey,” he says. “We help him, he helps us. Iron sharpens iron. We all become a challenge to ourselves and each other.”
Back at the restaurant, Ohlen finishes up the last few bites of his bowl.
“I look up to Sensei Paulo a lot,” he says. “I definitely look at him as a major mentor to me. He is someone that makes you work for respect and makes you work for recognition.”
As far as jiu-jitsu goes, Ohlen pinpoints the quality of Guillobel’s instruction.
“I think the thing that sets Sensei Paulo apart is that his jiu-jitsu has simplified and refined my jiu-jitsu,” he says. “He is a very disciplined guy and I think he is somebody that exemplifies a martial artist.”
It is no mystery that the higher belt one gets in any martial art, the tougher the instructors and training become. Ohlen accredits his best defenses and submissions to Guillobel, primarily because Guillobel uses them on Ohlen, himself.
“I know I can defend the mount a helluva lot better than I ever could, thanks to him,” says Ohlen. “So, thanks, Paulo.”
Paulo Guillobel, left, Micah Ohlen (Brandon Drey)
The recognition and respect Ohlen receives from Guillobel on and off the mat transcends into his career.
At the beginning of 2019, Ohlen was honored several awards from the Capistrano Unified School District, the state of California and the nation. Beginning with the Safe Sports School Award, Ohlen nominated San Juan Hills High School and won first place for the national award.
Coupled with the prestigious award, the CUSD nominated him for the Extra Miler Award in recognition of going above and beyond for his service. Displaying leadership and genuine care, Ohlen counsels students, parents and other instructors/teachers on how to prevent injury from occurring and the progression of restoring students who were injured.
“I believe that a kid that’s fourteen years old that breaks his wrist should be treated the same as a varsity player,” he says. “These kids need to be taken care of by a medical professional because there are other schools that have part-time trainers and the kids are getting part-time care.”
The praise didn’t stop there.
In February, State Sen. Patricia Bates of Laguna Niguel, made a resolution of San Juan Hills High School, recognizing their accomplishments with the National Athletic Trainers’ Association for their recent Safe Sports School Award.
Then, Ohlen was nominated as a Top 25 Employee in Orange County, making his way into the top ten and earning Athletic Trainer of the Year.
“January and February were jam-packed,” he says. “It was cool.”
Ohlen hopes the recent recognition will “opens doors not just for myself, but for all athletic trainers.” he says.
This community-minded mentality roots back to his upbringing on Kauai.
He says, “In Hawaii, aloha to most people means hi and bye, but the real word means ‘I share breath with you.’ So, alo means to share and ha means breath. When you show someone aloha, it’s like, I give you something, in jiu-jitsu or I give you advice, I don’t expect anything in return. I’m helping you because I can and I will.”
In each encounter and experience, Ohlen accredits his philosophy of life to Hawaiian culture and jiu-jitsu.
“At the end of the day, jiu-jitsu sells itself,” he says. “It’s a lifestyle. It’s the way you carry yourself. It’s the way you treat people. It’s all the principles jiu-jitsu stands for and it’s something you never stop learning too.”
As he continues toward his goal of earning the black belt in jiu-jitsu, he focuses on the fundamentals and principles of the martial art.
“I try to always put everybody before myself and I think that is a difference between a brown and a black belt,” he says. “Once you get that belt, it’s a lot of responsibility around your waist. Everywhere you go, you’re going to be a black belt and you’ve got to prove it.”
He plans to teach jiu-jitsu in the future while pursuing to become a firefighter.
“What is the best martial arts school near me?” This is a question many people have when looking for a martial art school.
The truth is, no one has the proper data to tell you exactly what is the best martial arts school in the world. What we do know is that Guillobel Brazilian Jiu Jitsu School has been voted by San Clementians the best martial arts school in San Clemente for the last five years.
Every Year since 2005, the number one San Clemente’s local newspaper, SC Times (San Clemente Times), has been giving to all the top local businesses of each category an award which they call the Best of San Clemente People’s Choice Ole Award.
For example, Guillobel Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu was running in two categories, Best Martial Arts Studios and Kids Summer Camp.
Basically, SC Times opens a chance for its readers to go online and vote for their favorite businesses in San Clemente.
Last Year (2018), they ran their 13th Annual Best of San Clemente People’s Choice Ole Award, and Guillobel Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu won on both categories.
After winning the award for the fifth time, we got a call from an SC Times reporter asking us how we do it, how we win every time even though San Clemente has two big martial arts school franchises competing against us?
It’s always hard to pinpoint one thing that we do that set us apart. First, because we don’t know what other martial arts schools in the area are doing (or not doing). Second, because we believe it is a combination of things.
It could’ve been because we have over 25 years of experience teaching martial arts. When it comes to martial arts, the experience is one of the most important qualities. It means we’ve made a lot of mistakes in the past that we don’t make anymore, while less experienced instructors are still trying to figure it out.
Or because we consider all of our students our second family. One word that we hear a lot in our students’ testimonials is “compassion.” We believe the passion we have for teaching martial arts and the gratitude we have to our students for choosing us radiates back to them and their families.
Maybe because our mission is to teach more than martial arts. We like to share with our students the life skills and character development principles that a good martial arts program can offer. By helping our students in this way, we are not only helping them and their families, but we’re also helping our community and the world.
It could’ve been because of all of these reasons or other reasons that we didn’t mention here. Meanwhile, our motto is the “Pursuit of Excellence,” therefore, we’ll keep on trying to improve even more so we can win again next year.
Sometimes people may question whether Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu works for self-defense.
They see two people rolling on the ground and wonder what happened to punches and kicks? It usually happens when they only see the ground training, which is just a part of Jiu-Jitsu.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) is much more than only ground fighting, although the ground fight is what makes Jiu-Jitsu unique from any other martial art style in the world.
Of course, there are Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu schools that only focus on one part of the style, such as the ground “game” for competition. That’s probably one of the reasons why people get confused when they watch a class in one of these schools. They don’t see the connection between BJJ and self-defense.
A complete Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu curriculum teaches Jiu-Jitsu as a form of self-defense and also prepares its students for BJJ competitions and Mixed Martial Arts – MMA fights if that is one of the students’ priorities.
The Jiu-Jitsu self-defense focuses 100% on defending from any kind of physical attacks. That’s why you don’t see professional BJJ schools teaching strikes as much as they teach how to defend from them.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu explores an array of self-defense situations that are beyond punching and kicking. There are defenses against knives, guns, chokes, an enormous variety of ways of grabbing and so forth.
Also, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is the only martial art specialized at fighting on the ground, and real-life events prove that 9 out of 10 fights go to the ground.
A little-Known Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Story
Back in the days, when Grand Master Carlos and Helio Gracie were trying to make Jiu-Jitsu popular in Brazil, they challenged every possible martial art style to prove that Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu was superior.
Practitioners of other styles that accepted the challenge ended up losing, except by Kimura, a much heavier and younger Japanese who was considered by many the greatest Japanese Jiu-Jitsu fighter of all time.
When some members of the Gracie family came to the USA, they did the same. They called it the “Gracie Challenge.”
The Team Guillobel Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu San Clemente has been pretty busy lately.
In August, Sensei Guillobel and some of the Guillobel Team members were invited by one of the San Clemente Youth League Football coaches, Chris Culbertson, to share some Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu techniques to help their young football players improve their game.
Our team showed them how to have a strong and stable base on their feet, how to divert blocks and pushes, and how to take advantage of their opponents’ lack of balance.
We believe that Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fundamentals can be applied in football, giving martial art students a little edge over their other Football teammates.
Also, in August, we took four students to compete in the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu World Masters championship. James Letchford, Tony Amiglio, Michael Cobb and Prince Bustos.
James won the blue belt heavyweight division, which is a very competitive division, and Tony Amiglio took third at purple belt feather. So, we got two podiums out of four.
In September, our martial arts school sponsored the SC Open Skateboard Contest which is an annual event in San Clemente, CA.
Skateboarding is a big part of our community, and the City of San Clemente and the Friends of San Clemente Foundation have been putting a great effort to improve our city’s facilities to accommodate all the residents that are passionate about skateboarding. So, we decided to support them. A big thanks to Stephany Aguilar for organizing the SC Open.
We had a booth at the event where the crowd could try Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for the first time and even get a little private class with our Sensei Guillobel. At one point during this event, a good number of teenagers and some younger kids started to challenge one another for a grappling match under Sensei Guillobel’s supervision. It was fun to watch. We also had four of our students competing at this event.
Finally, Sensei Bernardo Magalhaes, who represents Ribeiro Jiu-Jitsu in Australia, gave a seminar where he shared some of his favorite Jiu-Jitsu and wrestling techniques, and some of his experience competing in BJJ and MMA.
Preparing a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu demonstration with twenty-one kids, one teenager, and two adults is not an easy thing to do, but yet, every year Guillobel Brazilian Jiu-jitsu School does just that.
The preparation takes a few weeks. Our Demo Team has kids from 4 to 17 years old, most of them belong to our Black Belt Club program and some from our Little Ninjas Program.
During the rehearsal classes for the demonstration, parents excitedly watch their children going through the process of learning the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu techniques they will perform, memorizing the order of their presentation and getting familiar with their teammates in their groups.
Some of these kids have never performed anything on stage before. The stakes are high. They’ll perform in front of a lot of people at the City’s biggest summer event, the San Clemente Ocean Festival.
It’s hard for anyone to predict how the demonstration will turn out. Anyone but our instructors. They’ve seen it happen many times before. They know that when the time comes, the kids will give their very best.
At Guillobel Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, we understand that when we give our students a purpose, they will be more motivated, and they will work hard to achieve it.
The Demonstration day comes and with it the expectations of a beautiful performance. Is my kid going to step up to the occasion or will she forget everything? The parents can’t stop thinking.
They finally come to the stage; the moment has arrived. The music begins, and the first group starts their first moves. The crowd applauds, and the kids perform one move after another, almost flawlessly.
In the end, they all put on a great show for the city of San Clemente, and one more time the parents leave the Ocean Festival proud of their children. And so did we.
At Guillobel Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu San Clemente, the rank promotion has more benefits than meets the eye.
Usually, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Schools promote their student in recognition of their hard work and their improvement. They get their new ranks randomly when the head instructor remembers that individual students have been doing a good job.
The instructor calls up the students to the front of the class and promotes them to their new Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu rank. People clap their hands, and that is the end of the story. Nothing wrong with that.
At Guillobel Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu San Clemente we provide our students a little more than that.
One of the differences is that we announce our Rank Promotion day ahead of time, so the students can push themselves harder to get ready for it. Only the students that are ready will advance to their next rank. We call it The Rank Promotion Ceremony.
Besides the universal benefits all Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Schools provide, what other benefits can our students get from our Rank Promotion System?
In the case of our young students, they will know when to prepare for their Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu test, which is a way to make sure they are retaining more of their instruction. Also, it’s an opportunity to gather the families and the students together in a spirit of celebration and camaraderie.
When we promote our students to new ranks, we also give them achievement awards. It becomes an event they look forward to participating. At the end of their promotion, they leave very proud of their achievements and are motivated to come back to continue their education.
For the adult students, our Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Adult Rank Promotion Day is one of the most important days of their year.
They get promoted to their new Guillobel Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu ranks along with many of their teammates, and in front of their families and friends too. It’s a moment they will remember forever.
It’s almost like our adult students at that moment became kids again. They smile, they clap, they hug and high five each other. Also, when they get their black belts, they cry. Priceless!!!
Where else would you get such a feeling? Brazilian Jiu-jitsu will surely give you that if you put time into it.
So, to summarize the top benefits from our Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Rank Promotion:
Students get recognition from instructors, family members, and their peers.
Students get rewarded for their hard work and perseverance
If you practice martial arts in San Clemente or in any other martial arts school in the world, competing (with proper guidance) can extremely amplify some of your important life skills.
It’s a unanimous opinion among martial arts instructors that when students compete, they improve their martial art abilities at a much faster pace.
But, is your martial art ability the only thing you will improve with competing?
The answer to this question is no. Martial art competitors will improve physically as well as mentally.
Let’s start with the fact that martial art competitors have to overcome fear and anxiety every time they compete. Who doesn’t want to learn how to overcome fear and anxiety?
Martial arts is a solo sport, where one person competes against another person. There is no team playing, thus, when you lose there is no one to blame but yourself.
According to Napoleon Hill, who spent more than twenty years studying highly successful people and wrote many best-selling books, such as “The Law of Success”, taking responsibility for your actions is a key trait to success.
Another important trait you can improve by competing is your focus. Many people have trouble focusing on important things today, and it’s just getting worse.
It’s like our society is trying to make it harder for its citizens to focus, by creating things like multiple TV channels, smartphones, video games, and social media.
According to CNN, a new Nielsen Company audience report reveals that adults in the United States devoted about 10 hours and 39 minutes each day to consuming media during the first quarter of 2016.
The report, which was released in 2016, included how much time we spend daily using our tablets, smartphones, personal computers, multimedia devices, video games, radios, DVDs, DVRs, and TVs. Also, according to Statista, 135 minutes were spent on Social Media alone in 2017.
The question is, how can anyone focus with so many distractions? The answer is finding activities that consistently work on improving our focus.
Pretty soon, the ability to focus will be a differentiator. More businesses, colleges, and universities will be looking for people who can focus and finish their tasks.
At Guillobel Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu School we “go big or go home”.
This month I decided to celebrate my birthday, inviting all my martial art students, good friends, and family members to a Brazilian BBQ at San Gorgonio Park here in San Clemente, CA.
There’s nothing better than celebrating our birthdays with people we like.
Alex, our BBQ master
Also, it was a great way to gather a good number of my martial art students together so they can get to know their teammates a little better.
One of our goals in Guillobel Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu School is to create a community of great people that support each other and our local community, with a common passion, Jiu-Jitsu.
It was amazing! More than 100 people showed up for this event, including kids, parents, siblings, wives, husbands, girlfriends, boyfriends, and even grandparents of our students. Even Sensei Saulo Ribeiro showed up.
During the event, our students had a chance to try an authentic Brazilian BBQ and, according to the feedback I’ve got, they loved it.
But we also had other foods. Many of our students brought delicious side dishes that added to the feast.
The food was good, the conversation was good, but playing soccer with some of the young students was awesome. Unfortunately, my team lost.
We even had a push challenge. Sensei Saulo challenged one of our young adult students for a pushup contest. We caught all on video and you can watch the video down below.
In Conclusion, we all had an amazing time. It’s good to hang out with our martial art family outside the Dojo and get to meet their families. Next month we’ll get together again. Stay tuned.
Research shows that successful people in all areas have many things in common and one of them is goal setting.
If you ask a professional athlete or a successful entrepreneur, the majority will say that they set goals yearly, weekly, and some of them even daily. Why?
The main reason is that it’s very difficult to analyze your performance if you don’t have something to compare too. For example, Michael Phelps probably, at some, point set a goal to become an Olympic champion, and he used that as a target to guide the way he was going to prepare himself to achieve it.
So, how important is it for a child to learn how to set goals? I would say VERY IMPORTANT, don’t you think?
What activities do you know that will help your children improve their goal setting skills?
I know the one that can definitely help, martial arts, but how?
Setting goals is a habit and like any habit, it can be developed. At Guillobel Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu martial arts school we have many ways to instill this habit in our young students. Below are some examples.
Setting Daily Goals
At our martial art school, in every class, we award students that do well in performing and perfecting their techniques, training with their partner, and being a role model during class. This way, the students learn to have a daily goal to be achieved.
I can’t tell you how hard the kids try to achieve those goals. It really means a lot to them.
Setting Weekly Goals
We give our students “life-skills homework” with weekly chores that they have to complete in order to earn their “life-skill stripes”. We even have homework especially designed to teach goal setting. At our martial art school, we really take our students’ character development seriously.
Setting Monthly Goals
There are a couple different goals we have our young students set for each month.
One is to learn a variety of techniques and demonstrate them at the end of each month so they can earn their new rank (belt).
Another one is our martial art “Student of the Month” award, which is given to the students of each program that demonstrate what we call “black belt attitude” during the month.
Setting Goals to Improve Their Ranking
The belt system in our martial art school is a great way to instill short-term and long-term goal setting in our students.
This system allows the student to set a short-term goal to attain the next belt rank and also to set a long-term goal to attain their black belt. By setting and achieving these goals, the child feels more motivated to set new goals that can also be achieved, thus, creating the habit of setting and achieving goals.
Setting Goals to Win Tournaments
Our students also compete in many tournaments and setting goals to excel in tournaments is another great way to learn how to set goals.
Our instructors don’t force any student to compete because the REAL competition in martial arts is with ourselves. Instead, we try to create an interest and desire so that the ones who would like to compete are motivated and properly guided.
In conclusion, the habit of setting goals is a must for achieving success of any kind, and it’s our responsibility as parents to help our children develop this important life skill.