Top Level Martial Arts
2674 North Haven Blvd
Cuyahoga Falls, Oh 44223

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Update #3

I hope you’re all doing well this morning. It’s been a pretty low key week for me overall. I have a very minor pull in my left quadriceps that I’ve been babying for a week or so. It’s not a major problem; but I find that with age, minor problems quickly become major problems if I don’t address them properly. 

I’ll be 45 soon. So I’m not old by any stretch; but also not young anymore. I work hard to keep up with the 20-somethings. Taking care of my body is a huge part in that process. 

I’m on a bit of a mission to get more parents to interact in the TLMA Parents and Friends Facebook group. I have a little poll up in there but only 2 of you have answered it. If you have a kiddo in classes here, and you’re on FB, join the group and interact. It’s my experience that kids get the most out of jiu-jitsu when their parents play an active role in the process. That’s why I created the parent stripes and it’s why I have the groups. Here’s the link if you don’t have it:

Just make sure to answer the question on who you have in the program. 

Winston Update

Winston is adorable as ever. He loves laying in the sun. Here he is during his 5 minutes of exhaustion between chasing a ball and going for a walk. 

Have you subscribed to the Top Level Jiu-Jitsu YouTube Channel?

This week’s video is a response to an online debate about drop-in fees. For those unaware, it’s very common in BJJ to visit other schools and cross train, especially among competitors.

This Week At Top Level

KID’S CLASSES: We’re still working primarily from the guard this week. Your kiddos will continue working on the sit-up sweep and learn a bit about the guillotine choke as well. Of course they will be working their striking combos and some headlock self defense too. 

ADULT CLASS: In fundamentals we’re working on the guillotine choke. Learning to do it in combination with the sit-up sweep as well as learning the butterfly sweep and how to combo the guillotine up with that as well. Open ranks classes are still focusing on moving from defensive mindset escaping the mount into an offensive mindset. 

OPEN MATS: I highly recommend bringing both gi and nogi to open mats. I understand that many prefer one over the other, but remember this isn’t a gym. This is an academy. It’s a place of learning. Our curriculum includes both and you need to know both to be truly well rounded in jiu-jitsu. Of course you’ll have a preference. But avoiding one because it’s difficult is missing the point of jiu-jitsu entirely. The reason jiu-jitsu builds you up is precisely because it’s so difficult. Don’t avoid discomfort, embrace it. There isn’t a world champion alive that isn’t at least competent in both. Learn the full art, embrace the challenge.


Upcoming Events

Breathing for Sport Performance: Saturday, April 6th 930 to 1130
– With a degree in Exercise Physiology, 40 years in martial arts, and work with many elite athletes in my time; I find I take this skill for granted. I’ve learned and taught many techniques for controlling breathing over the years. Everything from learning to calm yourself to catching your breath, to stopping hyperventilation, and even proper breathing during movement. I’ll present this in a way that applies to jiu-jitsu performance specifically. If you ever find yourself out of breath when you shouldn’t, this is definitely for you. 

The cost is $20 at the door. 

Black and Brown Belt Gathering: The academy will be completely closed on April 19th through the 21st. I will be taking many instructors and team members to Crystal Lake, IL to participate in the annual Black and Brown Belt gathering of the Pedro Sauer Association. Any adult black or brown belts who want to attend are invited to do so. You can register yourself at 

Top Level BJJ Spring Camp 2024:
  Due to popular demand, I have added a single day option for the camp. It still includes the rashguard and swagbag. I still highly recommend taking the time to come to all 3 days, but if you just can’t, you can purchase a single day for $199. 

I need to have all the rashguard orders in at least 4 weeks prior to the camp date on May 17th. That means I need registrations in by April 17th. We have about 12 people currently registered and are hoping to see about 30 to 40 total. You won’t be sorry you came to this event. It’s an immersive 3 day experience. Learn from some of the best in the world and learn in a way that can truly affect your skills. Here’s the link:

People from any school are welcome, so please invite friends. 

Here’s a look at the rashguards. These are made by the same people who make many of the brands you love. They aren’t cheapies. Comfy and durable. 



Richard is one of those guys that just comes in, stays quiet, trains hard, and silently gets better every time I see him. He started training in April of 2021. Since then he has earned blue belt and is a consistent fixture of our mid morning classes. He is a kind and giving person that is a great training partner for everyone. He also single-handedly keeps the finger tape companies in business. LOL. Thanks for being awesome, Rich!


Quote/Story of the Week

“The fool is the precursor to the savior.” – Carl Jung

For those unaware, my degrees are in Nuclear Medicine Technology and Exercise Physiology; my minor was in psychology. I’ve always liked the pursuit of understanding how people think. This quote of Carl Jung, the founder of analytical psychology, always stood out to me, “The fool is the precursor to the savior.”

The teacher in me adores this quote as I see it every day. It applies so well in jiu-jitsu. I often say it a bit differently to people. “The fist step to being really good at something is usually being really bad at it.” 

Just Friday evening a student raised his hand and said, “Bill this movement just doesn’t feel natural. I don’t think I’m doing it right.” My response to him, as it almost always is, was, “Of course it’s not natural. If it was natural, you wouldn’t need me to teach you how to do it.” 

Somewhere a myth developed that correct movements in jiu-jitsu should feel natural. I can honestly tell you that is simply not the case. In fact, you’re going to feel very unsure, very silly, and very “foolish” oftentimes while training jiu-jitsu. 

It’s uncomfortable to feel this way. We don’t like it. We want the movements to feel “natural.” Over time, with practice and hard work, they will feel correct. Your instincts will develop properly and you’ll see that what once was hard now is easy. 

You see, the fool is you now. The savior is also you; only after many long and dedicated hours of training. The space in between the two will inevitably contain failure, discomfort, heartache, and pain. This is how learning happens, how growth happens, and how success happens. 

Get on the mats, be the fool, embrace the suck. Discipline, success, and skill are only attainable if you’re willing to be the fool first. 


Thanks for reading. I hope you are getting as much out of this as I am. I have already had several of you thank me and feel a little more connected to each of you. If you have any comments, gripes, compliments, or complaints, send em’ my way. 

See you on the mats,

Bill Jones- Head Instructor, Professor
Top Level Martial Arts

P.S. Follow Us on Social Media:

 @topleveljiujitsu on Instagram

 @toplevejiujitsu on Tictoc

 Join our Facebook Groups:
PARENTS: TLMA Parents and Friends
ADULTS: TLMA Tips, Tricks, and Training

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