SMP 68: Achieving Mastery In BJJ

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Strength Matters – Episode 68

Thank-you for tuning into the show today. Today we get to talk to a great gent who just happens to be a four time world champ in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Like a true champion, he recently received his black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and he is sponsored by Hayabusa.

He is originally from Indiana, but he is now based in Tennessee. Today we discuss the skill and strength it takes to become a black belt along with the all important mindset.

Fear can stop people from practicing martial arts or any chosen sport. There is also a lot of pressure put on fighters who have their black belts. The intricacies and details between the belts are huge, and there can be a lot of stress for fighters to not make mistakes.

Joel understands the all important mindset issue. He learned from his own experience that if you aren’t having fun, you shouldn’t be doing it. In order to fight nerves and keep himself relaxed he has a routine for each match where he goes through the exact same drill, once he arrives at the venue. This routine culminates with Joel smiling to help keep himself relaxed.

November is a special month for Joel. That is when he received both his brown belt and his black belt. After getting the brown belt, he set his sights on getting the black belt in 2 ½ years. His strategy was to go out and compete and win. After which, he analyzed each match for mistakes and areas he could improve.

Joel’s game style is being the guy on top in a takedown. He believes in having mental focus and not being pre-occupied with the belt system. Joel is in his 40’s, but plans to keep on competing. Because of his age class, he may get matched up with guys who have been black belts for several years. It’s Joel’s plan to keep going and enjoy the game.

Today’s topics include:

  • Skill and strength and what it takes to become a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
  • Mind and fear and how fear can stop people from practicing martial arts or other sports
  • The details of Joel’s journey and where you can hear more about him
  • Why you just might see Joel smiling at his matches, even between rounds
  • How heavy kettlebells improved Joel’s functional strength and made him feel like a gladiator

Links and resources:


Joel’s Facebook Page

Twitter @BlantonJoel

Instagram @Baby_Silverback_Blanton

Strength Matters YouTube Channel

Thank-you to Joel, we wish him the best on his journey. Our advice is if you think you might be interested in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is to just go for it. We have a new YouTube video about a mat warm-up exercise and how to make it more challenging. Feel free to check it out on our YouTube Channel.

We also have a new feature. If you are not subscribed to Strength Matters magazine, you can text us and get a free digital copy.

  • Text 07903571611 in the UK
  • Text 44222 in the US


“If it’s not fun why are you doing it” Joel

“If you don’t get noticed sometimes you have to rattle your own cage” Joel

“It makes me feel like a gladiator” Joel


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Thanks again for your support, we hope you enjoyed the show, and look out for another show next week.

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Showing 2 comments
  • Carlo

    I’m new to BJJ and am looking to increase my knowledge. Thank you very much for the resource links.

    • James Breese

      You’re welcome!

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