Totowa MMA: A look inside NJ United Mixed Martial Arts Academy

The True Spirit of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu . . . Demonstrated by Red Pandas?!

Sure, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu CAN be a brutal art. But that’s definitely not what it has to be.

If you bring up Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu or “submission wrestling” at the water cooler, your listeners are going to have many different (and many false) impressions of what you’re talking about. They could imagine something like this suplex to flying armbar by Demetrius Johnson. But what you could be trying to communicate is something along the lines of how these red pandas here and here are play-fighting.

I’m not interested in giving you a list of bullet-points as to why you should take up BJJ. Instead, I think that the red pandas above demonstrate the spirit of the art more accurately than what Demetrius Johnson is doing here (which, don’t get me wrong, is some really awesome jits).

Hey, even Demetrius Johnson has to train like a red panda to get good! Always train for health and longevity!

Do these red pandas know the technical ins and outs of BJJ? Of course not. But what they do know is how to train effectively and properly without even communicating anything like “Hello, fellow red panda, care to have an effective and proper training session?” Are these critters trying to do moves they saw in an instruction manual or on youtube? No, but if you’ve been training for a short while, you’ll see strong elements of actual jiu-jitsu in their takedowns, sweeps, reversals, and quasi-submissions. Well then, how is that possible?

It’s possible because they’re at play. In their own way, without using language, they’re trying to figure out what grips, holds, and ways of rolling, pushing, and pulling will work in their favor. You’ll even notice that these animals will even give up superior positions for a chance to repeat the means that got them there . . . or maybe to give their training partners a chance to practice their move of choice?

Oddly enough, you’re likely to learn more about true Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training by watching red pandas fight than by watching a John Wick movie.

So what’s the takeaway from all this? Train with partners who are red pandas at heart. Train with people willing and able to have a technique-centered, physical conversation of sorts with you. Train with Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu partners and instructors who can help you improve by letting you experiment with what grips and positions you should be using, and when.

Once this is established, then you’ll be prepared to do more of the Demetrius Johnson-level stuff later in your career (if that’s even your goal, of course!).

After all, if a red panda can live that lifestyle, why can’t you? It’s at least 8,000% better than running on a treadmill, I promise. 😛

JJ Mike

Come train at NJ United Mixed Martial Arts and take advantage of our 7-day free trial offer! Whether you’re an aspiring competitor or casual student, you will benefit from training in our friendly, professional, and ego-free environment. Call us at 973-638-1570 to schedule your first class, and visit us on the web at for more info.

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