Category Archives: Beyond Sport

43: Adapt and Overcome: Jared Weiner on Brain Injury, Team, Family, and the High and Lows of Philly Streets

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Jared Weiner, a long-time black belt competitor and head instructor of BJJ United, talks to me about his struggle with post concussion syndrome, depression, fear, doubt, drawing strength from his family, his friends, and his team, losing a friend to cancer, his philosophy of training and competing, his evolution as a coach in preparing his students for competition, the darker parts of Philadelphia, uncovering the reality of poverty and desperation, and more.

Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or RSS, and check out our facebook page.

Full Video Interview on YouTube

Jared Weiner Quotes and Photos

Advice to those suffering through post concussion syndrome:

“Don’t be afraid to reach out for help. I was too afraid to reach out. I didn’t want to tell people what I was going through because I’m supposed to be the leader here. I have students looking up to me. I didn’t want them to see me in  my weaker state. You have to throw that bullshit to the side. Maybe my weaker state is a state they need to see so that if they’re going through the same thing, they’re going  to go get the proper help needed. If you smack your head around and you’re not feeling right, go see a doctor, take the rest you need, reach out to the right  people.”

On leading by example:

“It is what it is. I’m not the ‘elite’ jiu jitsu athlete. I’m not the best dude in the world, but I’m on the mat with the guys every day. I try to put myself there with them and help with what I can help with. So maybe it’s important for them to see me in this state too, and see me fight through it, and lead by example in that way. I’m still being a teacher… but in a different form.”

On never quitting in a match:

“You have to finish the fight no matter what. That’s just my mentality. I would never stop a match unless there was a limb hanging off. That’s just what we do. We train hard in here. We fight hard in here. We smack heads in here all the time. Get cuts, bleed, we keep going. That’s what we do.”

One of Jared’s favorite  shots that he talks about in the episode:

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41: Mark Manson on Pick-Up Artists, Monogamy, Materialism, Writing, and Upping the Quality of Your Suffering

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Mark Manson is the author of the well-respected dating book “Models: Attract Women Through Honesty” that espouses honesty, self-discovery, genuine connection with like-minded human beings and… common sense as a way of life and love; we talk about materialism, death, vulnerability, rejection, demographics, self-discovery, writing rituals, etc.

Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or RSS, and check out our facebook page.

Full Audio of Interview on YouTube

Mark Manson Quotes (from Podcast)

On pick-up artist philosophy:

“Women are complex and it’s an adventure getting to know them and understand them. You can never reduce dating to an algorithm: say this, text her this many times, etc.”

On experience:

“The only way more experience with women can be bad is through the ‘paradox of choice’. If you give people two options, and they choose one, generally they will be happy with what they chose. If you give them 100 options and they choose one, then they are more likely to spend a lot of time worrying that maybe the other 99 options were better, that they missed out.”

On monogamy:

“Monogamy works for most people. What doesn’t work for most people is ’till death do us part’.  The majority of people prefer to stay with one partner at one time. What doesn’t work for the majority is being sexually monogamous with one person for 60+ years. Once you take into account the divorce rate and the infidelity rate, you end up with a small slice of the pie of people who stay faithful to one another their entire lives. A lot of people get bummed out by that idea, but this is something we have to be realistic and honest about. That said, people vary a lot.”

On demographics:

“If you want a woman with different values then you need to live a life based on different values. You can’t go spend money at a strip club and expect a girl from Sunday school to show up on a date with you.”

On writing:

“The first draft is for me. The revision is for the readers.”

On “suffering better”:

“We spend most of our lives focusing on gaining more and more positive experiences, but the quality of our lives is actually determined by our ability to handle negative experiences.”

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Full David Foster Wallace Quote

The following is an abridged quote from Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace that I read to close the podcast:

“If, by the virtue of charity or the circumstance of desperation, you ever chance to spend a little time around a Substance-recovery halfway facility, you will acquire many exotic new facts…That certain persons simply will not like you no matter what you do. That you do not have to like a person in order to learn from him/her/it. That loneliness is not a function of solitude. That logical validity is not a guarantee of truth. That it takes effort to pay attention to any one stimulus for more than a few seconds. That boring activities become, perversely, much less boring if you concentrate intently on them. That if enough people in a silent room are drinking coffee it is possible to make out the sound of steam coming off the coffee. That sometimes human beings have to just sit in one place and, like, hurt. That you will become way less concerned with what other people think of you when you realize how seldom they do. That there is such a thing as raw, unalloyed, agendaless kindness. That concentrating intently on anything is very hard work. That the people to be the most frightened of are the people who are the most frightened. That it takes great personal courage to let yourself appear weak. That no single, individual moment is in and of itself unendurable. That other people can often see things about you that you yourself cannot see, even if those people are stupid. That having a lot of money does not immunize people from suffering or fear. That trying to dance sober is a whole different kettle of fish. That, perversely, it is often more fun to want something than to have it. That if you do something nice for somebody in secret, anonymously, without letting the person you did it for know it was you or anybody else know what it was you did or in any way or form trying to get credit for it, it’s almost its own form of intoxicating buzz. That it is permissible to want. That everybody is identical in their unspoken belief that way deep down they are different from everyone else. That there might not be angels, but there are people who might as well be angels.”

40: Rory Miller on Violence, Self Defense, Social Conditioning, and Fear of Death

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Rory Miller has 17 years of experience working in maximum security detentions, booking, and mental health facilities; for 14 months he was an adviser to the Iraqi Corrections System, working in Baghdad; he is the author of several books Meditations on Violence; we talk about self-defense, the false assumptions martial artists make about violence, breaking the “freeze” response, fear of death, fear of embarrassment, how a criminal thinks, Steven Pinker, the decline of violence in the world, the power of violence, human nature, and much more.

Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or RSS, and check out our facebook page.

Full Audio of Interview on YouTube

Rory Miller Quotes (from Podcast)

“One of the problems with martial arts, especially if you want that martial art to make you feel safe for self defense, is that people want answers. People want to feel comfortable having answers. But there is nothing out there that’s an answer to all the bad things that could happen.”

“It’s not uncommon to spend 5, 10, 20 years for a martial artist to study what to do when a bad guy attacks him, and yet spend absolutely no time studying how bad guys actually attack in reality. I only see that in martial arts. There is no way you would ever go to a medical doctor and he would say that he has never bothered to study diseases or injury, he just focused on studying surgical techniques and drugs.”

“No one remembers their training until after the first 3-5 encounters.”

“If someone (who is not dealing with violence as part of their job) had to use serious self-defense skills five or more times, they need to make better lifestyle choices.”

“There are four ways that things get into your head: teaching, training, condition, and play.”

“A lot of times what we are training and what we are conditioning are working against each other, and it’s the conditioning that comes out in a fight first.”

“People who play hard have a huge edge over people who don’t play hard but pretend that they do.”

“Death is an inevitability. The world has a 100% mortality rate. No one gets out alive. A lot of the self and ego that people get defensive over is a wisp of smoke anyway.”

“In infinite universe, everybody is wrong, just accept that. If you can just start there, it gives you a lot of freedom to learn and to make things better, because then you’re not trying to making things right, you’re just trying to make them better.”

“Most of the mistakes that people make in a fight aren’t because they are afraid of dying, but because they’re afraid of looking stupid, they’re afraid of being embarrassed.”

“Everything involved in self-defense is breaking a social taboo. We don’t usually yell at strangers. We definitely don’t hit strangers. Even guys who practice martial arts all the time. We’re hitting friends, people we know, not strangers.”

“I believe everyone is a natural fighter, but we’ve been conditioned not to be.”

“Part of being good is exerting will when nature wants you to be bad, when nature wants you to eat the weak, to say: not today, I don’t need to do that, I’m not going to.”

“Violence works. The rarer it is, the better it works.”

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38: Marco Perazzo and Tim Carpenter

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Marco, Tim, and I talk about birthdays, holidays, the passing of time, the Tim Spriggs article on creontes, Lloyd Irvin, loyalty, mat fees, Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the two-state solution, facebook miscommunication and much more.

Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or RSS, and check out our facebook page.

Quotes

Tim on holidays:

“Every holiday is my favorite holiday.”

Tim on me not liking $40 mat fees:

“Don’t complain about the price, just have more money.”

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33: Marco Perazzo and Tim Carpenter on the Ideal Life, Loss, Expansion of the Universe, Gambling, and the 48 Laws of Power

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Marco and Tim return to talk about the ideal life, challenging yourself, philosophy of Thor, competition, retirement, dealing with loss, fatherhood, battleline strategy game, Philip K. Dick, accelerating expansion of the universe, Big Freeze and Big Crunch, addictions, gambling, 48 laws of power, Wham’s Careless Whisper, etc.

Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or RSS, and check out our facebook page.

Quotes

Marco on the ideal life:

“Where is the fun in the easy life?”

Tim Carpenter on gambling:

“Scared money don’t make money, bro.”

“One of the good things about putting all your money on the table and losing it is that it teaches you that you can lose everything and still come back.”

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30: Brad Court and Tim Carpenter on the Big Bang Theory, Mental Toughness, Steroids, Injury and Health Insurance

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In episode 30, I talk with Brad Court and Tim Carpenter about injury, surgery, health insurance, steroids in combat sports, witch burning, a one-legged wrestler, science, Neil deGrasse Tyson, the Big Bang theory, evolution, Louis CK, God, Kron Gracie, Scotty Nelson, Open Mat Radio, the Save Jiu Jitsu movement, Paramount BJJ, coaching, fear, competition mindset, and more.

Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or RSS, and check out our facebook page.

Quotes

Tim Carpenter showing a bit of skepticism about the overly simplistic theory of the Big Bang:

“The problem with science is that it’s done by people. There’s no way around that. So it’s all got a little bias in there.”

Tim Carpenter on sport jiu jitsu:

“I like berimbolo. I like doing that stuff when I’m training. The problem is: those moves don’t work on an unskilled opponent. You try to do the berimbolo on a white belt, it probably won’t work. It only works on guys that will give you a high level reaction. You can practice berimbolo all you want, but what are you going to do when a guy just punches you in the face. Next thing you know you have a guy in your half guard, and he is biting your cheek.”

Brad on submission-only tournaments:

“A lot of people are afraid to get submitted. I don’t know how else to explain why all these submission-only tournaments are so small.  Because that’s the most prestigious thing to me. If you submit everyone in your weight division, that’s the ultimate.”

Brad on self-defense and street jiu jitsu:

“The problem is there are people starting jiu jitsu with their foundation being berimbolo. The foundation has to be in self defense.”

Brad on cornering Tim’s first fight:

“He said that one of the first things he thought when he was in there is: ‘Why am I doing this?'”

Tim on a part of him wanting to enforce the requirement of fighting for receiving a black belt:

“If I’m ever going to give a black belt out, the person has to go out and get into a fight.”

Tim on giving good book recommendations to Brad:

“All the great things in Brad’s life have come from me.”

Brad on a way to approach competition that removes some of the pressure of winning:

“I try to remind my students and myself is that getting better is more important than winning, especially when you’re at white belt, blue belt, purple belt, brown belt.”

Brad on being realistic, but doing everything with conviction:

“Do everything you do with conviction. If you’re going to shoot a double leg, shoot a double leg, blast through them. Don’t think ‘watch out for the guillotine. That’s different than being over-confident. To me ‘over-confident’ is a guy who didn’t train properly.”

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29: AnnMaria De Mars on Raising Ronda Rousey, Aggressive Judo, Math Education, and the Value of Hard Work

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In episode 29, I talk with AnnMaria De Mars about being the first American to win the Judo World Championship, raising four kids one of whom is Ronda Rousey the current UFC champion,  getting four degrees including a PhD in applied statistics, her book Winning on the Ground, her blog, her grandmother’s advice, the passing of her husband, the absurdity of sport, coaching an elite level athlete, balancing academics and sport, Ronda’s 2007 World Silver and Olympic Bronze and her matches against Edith Bosch, refusing to lose, being a woman in a combat sport, teaching kids math through computer games at 7 Generation Games, math (and hard work) as an important foundation for long-term success in life, and more.

Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or RSS, and check out our facebook page.

Edit: I wrote a blog post with some post-interview takeaways.

Quotes

AnnMaria on the advice her grandmother gave her:

“Do the best you can with everything you were given. She really believed that quote in the Bible: ‘To whom much is given, much is expected.'”

AnnMaria on being asked if she is afraid of death:

“No, I can think of a lot worse things than death. One of the reasons people are afraid of dying is they have regrets. They haven’t done the things they want to do. Because my husband passed away when I was young, that changed the way I thought about things. He was a great guy, worked hard his whole life. There were a lot of things he wanted to do that he never got around to doing because he always thought there would be time later. So now when I want to do something, I do it.  When I look back, I’ve had a lot of accomplishments and experiences in education, academics, I published scientific articles, I wrote a book with Jimmy Pedro Sr, I have wonderful children, so if I died right now I have no regrets. You want to live like you might die tomorrow, because you might die tomorrow.”

AnnMaria on the absurdity of dedicating years of your life to achieving a singular goal like winning a World Championship:

“You have to be smart enough to do it and dumb enough to believe it’s important.”

AnnMaria on what it takes to be successful in judo or in math or in anything:

“You get good at something by doing a lot of it.”

AnnMaria on trash talking:

“Like Dr. Seuss said, ‘Be who you are and say what you mean. Because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind!'”

AnnMaria on what will go on her tombstone:

“I’m smarter than I look.”

YouTube Version

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28: Kayla Harrison on Winning Olympic Gold and Overcoming Trauma

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In episode 28, I talk with Kayla Harrison, first American to win Olympic gold in judo, about her training methods, visualization, competition mindset, Olympic final experience, warm-routine, Eminem and country music, overcoming a past of sexual abuse, PTSD, finding forgiveness, finding strength in judo, being coached by Jimmy Pedro, her Team Force teammates, moving up two weight classes, strength and conditioning, going to college, writing her memoir and also a book on recovering from sexual abuse, new judo rules, serving as the IJF athlete representative, and much more.

Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or RSS, and check out our facebook page.

Quotes

Kayla on the evolution of women’s judo:

“In 26 years (since Ann Marie DeMars became the first American world champion), we’ve seen women’s judo come a long long way. I’m very fortunate that I had pioneers like Ann Marie and Rusty Kanokogi and women like that who paved the way to allow me to pursue my dreams.”

Kayla on what was going on through her mind as she was stepping on the mat at the Olympics:

“I don’t know if I’ll ever forget that day. I was just a psycho. (Lol). I am very big on visualization. Before the Olympics even occurred I visualized that day a thousand time in my mind. I would go over it and over it and over it. And I would tell myself: ‘Kayla Harrison, Olympic Champion. This is my day. This is my purpose.’ And all that day, Jimmy (Pedro) was chirping in my head: ‘Do you want this more? Have you worked harder? No one deserves this more than you. You’re Kayla Harrison, Olympic Champion.’ “

Kayla giving credit for her success to her coaches:

“In order to be a great coach, you can’t be an athlete’s friend. He’s not afraid to make me cry. They are not afraid to light that fire, and tell me when I’m wrong. They are not afraid to push me when I need to be pushed, and pull back when I need to pull back. They don’t really care if I like them. I do, but they don’t really care either way.”

Kayla on whether fear/doubt enters her mind in competition:

“When I was younger I used to be pretty scared. I was more afraid of losing than I was willing to win. And when you’re afraid to lose, you don’t compete,  you don’t show up, you just worry about losing. Through the years, through experience, and just literally competing in every single tournament on the face of the Earth, I started to get into a habit… One of the things I’ve heard before and that I completely agree with is: ‘Success breeds success.’ When I start to win and I get on that roll, I don’t question myself, I don’t doubt myself. If you look at that video of me on the day of the Olympics, every match, even the one I was losing, I was losing my quarterfinal to a girl I’ve never beaten before, at no point did I question myself. I don’t know, I was a psycho. I thought I was going to win, and damned if I wasn’t going to go out there and do it. I trained too hard, worked too long, sacrificed too much, been away from my family too long to lose.”

Kayla talking about losing a match at the 2011 World championships:

Failure is my fuel. If you beat me, I’m going to sleep that night thinking about ripping your arm off.

YouTube Audio-Only Version

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27: Chris Round on Climate Change Science and Policy, Balancing Sport and Study

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In episode 27, I talk with Chris Round about judo, balancing sport and study, the science and policy of climate change, his work at the School for Public and Environmental Affairs (SPEA) at Indiana University, growing up with asperger syndrome, training under Jimmy Pedro, conditioning, groundwork, harai goshi, Team Force, the science of global warming, scientific consensus and public opinion on climate change, Naomi Oreskes, evolution in schools debate, industry funded doubt, China, fossil fuel consumption, the motivation of the scientific community, empathetic messaging, being open to the possibility of being wrong, etc.

Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or RSS, and check out our facebook page.

Quotes

Chris talks about focusing on being prepared:

“If you do everything right leading up to a tournament. You handled your weight correctly. You trained hard. You did everything right. If you go out there and you lose, and you did everything right to get there, then how the hell can you be a loser?”

Chris on balancing judo and study:

“I’ve managed to finally strike a balance through a lot of practice at striking a balance, a lot trial and error.”

Chris’s advice on putting a lot of effort into building a habit of study and training:

“It’s really easy at the end of a long day to say: ‘Alright, I’m taking practice off.’ The first three weeks are key. It’s establishing habits more than anything. First three weeks of a semester or first three weeks of getting back on the horse in training, you have to chuck a lot of mental energy at making sure you go to everything.”

Chris on why climate change is often such a device topic of conversation:

“I think a lot of people fuse (political issues) with their identity and what makes them a good person. And when you attack an idea related to that issue they are not taking it as a rational discussion. They are taking it as: ‘You’re attacking me as a person. You’re attacking my identity.'”

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25: Christine and Drew Vogel on Visiting Japan

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In episode 25, I talk with Drew and Christine Vogel, husband and wife, jiu jitsu black belt and blue belt respectively, about their recent 10 day journey to Japan. We talk about Tokyo, Osaka, David Sedaris, bowing, politeness, drinking with the bosses, work ethic, samurai, octupus donut holes, raw horse meat, Jiro Dreams of Sushi, BJJ, sport jiu jitsu,  how Drew and Christine met, marriage, advice for anyone visiting Japan, and much more.

Subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or RSS, and check out our facebook page.

Quotes

Christine on the past, present, and future of Japanese culture:

“The thing about Japan that is fascinating is the constant parallel between tradition and the future. A zealous, hurried interest in the future: the trains are fast, the people are fast, the food is constantly evolving.”

Drew and Christine on the difference in social interaction between strangers in Japan:

“You’re waiting for that cacophony of beeping and cussing and rage that cities have. People still bump into each other, still smash into each other in subway cars, but they don’t really acknowledge it with their eyes. They just look right past it when it happens. Nothing is taken very personally.”

Christine on the effect of the Internet and the global economy on prevailing mindset in Japan:

“I think the currents are shifting. The Japanese, in the past, have taken an isolationist attitude. I think that’s changed a lot now.”

Christine on architecture in Japan:

“There is something intrinsically balanced and harmonious about the Japanese aesthetic. You can’t get away from it. It’s evident even in the most modern construction… I was never described the immense color, vibrancy of Tokyo. It is New York on top of itself, 20 times over. It’s Blade Runner in the middle of the day. “

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