2022 Jiu Jitsu Leadership Cohort

2022 Jiu Jitsu Leadership Cohort

2022 Jiu Jitsu Leadership Cohort


We have officially launched our Jiu Jitsu Leadership Cohort for Assistant Coaches at Team Passos HQ in partnership with DreamRoot Leadership Institute!

A group of people sitting on the floor forming a circle and discussing

This cohort provides a solid foundation for participants to learn how to facilitate world-class jiu jitsu programs and effectively lead others on and off the mat. In addition to equipping and multiplying coaches at Team Passos, this cohort is also a beta program for DreamRoot. They will soon offer the training program to underserved communities around the world (learn more here).

Over the next 4-months, participants will receive tailored instruction and hands-on experience in how to facilitate classes as an Assistant Coach while developing their leadership skills. Cohort participants also benefit from personal coaching sessions and additional resources throughout the program.

With the mission of the academy being to transform people’s lives through the art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, one student at a time, so they can achieve more, our coaches carry a large leadership responsibility and influence for impacting positive change.

The goal of the cohort is to equip and empower others to fulfill their leadership calling. This program emphasizes the continued development of the participants’ leadership journey. This cohort is not about accumulating more information. Rather, we at Team Passos are seeking transformation in the way we act in our families, workplaces, schools and at the academy; where we further become the leader each of us are called to be. We measure transformation less on “doing” and rather on our perspective and thought processes, which then effects our decisions, actions, and behaviors.

We believe this Assistant Coaches’ training will have a tremendous impact on each program, student, and the academy as whole. We are always working to take your experience at Team Passos to the next level. Continually equipping and developing our coaches is just one way we ensure you gain world-class jiu jitsu instruction and training experience.

Be sure to give a shout out to the cohort participants assisting in class when you see them!

“Jiu Jitsu is just a tool. The academy is just a platform. Remember: it’s always about people” – Tony Passos

Narrowing the Performance Gap

Narrowing the Performance Gap

 Narrowing the Performance Gap  

Cheers to the first Monday of the year! Ringing in the New Year is a great opportunity to reflect, hit the reset button, and set an annual focus. We are not referring to a New Year’s resolution.  

And while we are a huge fan of goal setting, let’s view our goals from the angle of where we are today, where we want to be, and what it will take to get there; that’s what we call narrowing the performance gap.  

This begins with vision and is finished by a consistent execution of an intentionally crafted routine.   


We must become clear on where we are going in order to gauge progress, make course corrections and celebrate milestones along the journey, and to realize when we have arrived. Rather than focusing on what we want to do or have, it is important be clear on who we want to become. Who we are determines where we are headed.  

Knowing what kind of person you feel called to be and understanding your deeper purpose will guide your goals, and help you align your actions and decisions to your values and priorities. Without this vision, you will be directionless and inevitably waste our time, energy, and potential on seemingly “good” activities at best and become totally derailed at worse.  

Through this clarity of vision, you will be able to assess where you are now and how to narrow the performance gap to where you would like to be. The performance gap informs your goal setting.  

Check out our blog about setting goals in your BJJ training. 

Execute an intentional routine 

Once you’ve identified a goal or three, identify the strategy needed to make it a reality and build a routine that will set you up for achieving them. The key is having a deliberate approach, backed by a solid routine. A healthy and balanced routine provides the structure needed for each of us to develop and be our best. It is your daily, weekly, monthly, and even annual routine that facilitates you to achieve your desired goals and sustains your success. It provides a Lacking this will lead to frustration and unfulfilled potential.   

High performers stick to the basics. They develop, refine, and execute a fundamental routine that positions them for success. They then commit to walking out that routine with a level of focus and excellence. Instead of becoming bored with routine and monotony, and subsequently veering off course to chase the next fleeting idea, high performers commit to implementing an intentionally crafted routine to achieve their vision, periodically evaluating for opportunities to adjust and fine-tune.   

This is the same approach we take when drilling in class. Even after having learned a new technique, we rep it over and over. The reason for this goes beyond just developing the skill of applying the technique effectively during a roll. The more we repeat the same technique, the deeper we will understand the position. As the technique becomes second nature to us, we are then able refine it, explore various angles, and build upon it. This routine of repeating the same drills over and over deepens our understanding the position and ultimately the art of jiu jitsu. And this is what allows us to progress in our jiu jitsu journey.

Repping a well-crafted routine that is critical to our development and performance so that we can achieve our goals and dreams on and off the mats. Rather than wearing ourselves out by trying to control the outcome, focus on the process. Put into practice what you know to do and commit to consistently walking out your responsibility.  

As you build a routine around the person you want to become, pay attention to how you allot your time. Time is our most precious resource. How we invest, or waste, time reveals our priorities. Be intentional with your day by prioritizing your time in a way that builds foundational habits that lead you to becoming the person you feel called to and to live in your deeper purpose.  

Here are some practical tips that lead to higher performance:  

  • Designate specific days that you consistently train. If you miss a day, focus on getting back into the rhythm of your set training routine. 
  • Make healthy eating and getting adequate sleep non-negotiable. Manage your water intake to be able to perform your best on the mat (and in life). Fun fact, did you know that sleep is most directly tied to vitality?  
  • Know who and what empowers you to perform at your highest level and prioritize them.   
  • Embrace and honor your human limitations. Design a realistic schedule that keeps your bucket full. Creating rhythms of work, play, and rest. Commit to taking a day off once a week, make space to reflect and process, connect with your teammates, and do things just because you enjoy them.  

As we roll into this New Year, let’s focus on narrowing our performance gap between where we are today, and who we want to become. Let’s continue to stretch ourselves outside of our comfort zone and put into practice what we know to do. Start by clarifying your vision, setting goals, and building a routine; a routine where every piece of your day is designed to help you be your best and perform at your highest level. Then, check in with yourself regularly. Take time to reflect, process, and make any adjustments daily, quarterly, and annually.  

You will experience exponential grow as you execute a routine that builds upon your cumulated successes from the days and weeks before. Rather than a destination to arrive at or a task to perform, embrace the process, with all its joys, trials, and everything in between. We are here for you at the academy as we walk alongside you in this journey together.  

What is one thing you can start doing immediately that will get you further on the path of who you want to become? 

And, while we’re at it, choose one thing you should stop doing immediately that would help you perform at your best.    


Adult Virtual Class 6/2 – Putting It All Together

Adult Virtual Class 6/2 – Putting It All Together

Adult Virtual Class 6/2 – Putting It All Together

This week in class we studied a match from Professor Bruno Frazatto at the 2008 World Championship.  Professor Bruno is a world-class Jiu Jitsu player with a dynamic style. For this reason, his match is a great example of applying different strategies to efficiently control and submit his opponent.

Many of the strategies we studied in this match are directly relevant to the concepts and techniques we’ve been learning during our online classes. The GAP concept was clear to see as Prof. Bruno continually controlled the space between him and his opponent with his grips, angles, and positional control. Another concept we saw him applying was the idea of changing levels; from the bottom, he switched between controlling his opponent’s arms to controlling the legs, and from the top, he transitioned from standing to knees on the ground and vice versa to “change the rules” and force his opponent’s hand. We also saw great use of the half guard or “half-pass” position when Prof. Bruno swept his opponent and locked him down to maintain top control.

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Does Training Jiu Jitsu Get Easier?

Does Training Jiu Jitsu Get Easier?

A match of two Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu athletesDoes Training Jiu Jitsu Get Easier?

It is challenging to train Jiu Jitsu. Those of us who have trained Jiu Jitsu for any amount of time know that training gives us a beating both physically and emotionally. It is important to understand, especially for those who are just beginning their Jiu Jitsu journey, that training does not get any easier. And this is the beauty of the art of Jiu Jitsu.

Often, we think if we train a little longer, learn a little more, or overcome an obstacle Jiu Jitsu will become less challenging. This could not be further from the truth. It becomes more challenging. Let me explain. The more we train, the better we become. As our knowledge and ability increases, the art of Jiu Jitsu demands more from us.  There should not be a time that we plateau.  Our goal is to continually push past previous limits and not remain in our comfort zone.  To expect Jiu Jitsu to become easier sets us up for discouragement and frustration.  By embracing and overcoming each new challenge we continually progress which becomes a source of encouragement.

Jiu Jitsu is a complex art. There is more to it than may initially be apparent. Much goes on under the surface and behind the scenes.  Time and experience will reveal these undercurrents and give you the ability to see the details and complexity of a match.  One of the fascinating aspects of Jiu Jitsu is the more you progress through training the more you appreciate the art.

When you attend class and train consistently you will progress and improve. Your training partners will also be improving. In this environment the margin of error becomes smaller so you must become more precise. The smallest opening can give your opponent the advantage.  Simply a grip misplacement could cost you the position. As both you and your opponent improve you are required to think and act faster. As you grow you will recognize and react to small mistakes made by your opponent.  You are able to focus on the details of each position and have a deeper understanding of the art.  While it does not get easier you will appreciate and enjoy the training even more.

The misaligned expectation that Jiu Jitsu will get easier leads to disillusionment when it does not become a reality. This is usually when people quit in their Jiu Jitsu journey. They give up on their training and forfeit their own development process. Too often I hear students second guessing themselves and their abilities. They think that they should have attained a certain level of expertise within a predetermined timeline and become frustrated. They compare themselves to others, put pressure on themselves to perform a certain way or burden themselves with unrealistic expectations.

Again, it is not easy to train Jiu Jitsu.  Easy should never be the goal of our training.  It is about improving, growing, learning and having fun. It is about living a lifestyle that is fit and prepared mentally, physically and emotionally.  It keeps you engaged in your own development and progression. One of the incredible aspects of Jiu Jitsu is that there is always more to learn. And this brings new challenges that further our growth and keeps the journey exciting.  The need to continually learn and improve should not discourage you.  Rather, it should excite and encourage you.  This is what personally excites me the most. Why? Because it pushes me to higher levels. I can see a correlation between my Jiu Jitsu growth and my personal growth.

Understanding the challenges of Jiu Jitsu, let’s be gracious toward ourselves and take off the pressure to perform.  Jiu Jitsu has so much to offer. It is a rich source of personal transformation.  Jiu Jitsu can build our confidence, strengthen our character and keep us in shape.  It is an opportunity to be part of a caring community.  It is such a beautiful and fun art. Let’s enjoy the journey.

– Professor Tony Passos

Gain Emotional Development, Not Just Technique

Gain Emotional Development, Not Just Technique

Two young Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu athletes talking to an older athleteThe most important responsibility we, as Coaches, assume while instructing our kids in the art of Jiu Jitsu, is not providing technical tips to promote flawless performances. The most important mission for us is to help our kids attain a level of emotional maturity and strength of character that will serve as a foundation that lead to a healthy and successful life. We believe the sport of Jiu Jitsu promotes mind, body, and emotional health. And at the academy, we provide a place for that in a safe and supportive environment. Our Kids’ Zoo-Jitsu program is intentionally designed to facilitate the growth of emotional and physical fitness and strong values. Working alongside our students, we help them grow from within and develop the abilities necessary to excel.  Life promises to present challenges. So our program exposes students to constructive challenges, teaching them how to overcome them with the help and support of our coaches. This prepares the children for the time they when they must confront problems on their own.

Jiu Jitsu is both a strategic thinking game and a physical sport, which requires students to exert themselves both physically and mentally, mind and body working together in tandem, to succeed. Students must constantly learn and push themselves past their limits to achieve the desired outcome. At times, a child may be trying his or her best and is emotionally invested in the activity, but the efforts just aren’t yielding the results for which they are aiming. This can be emotionally frustrating for the student. But if he or she is able to persevere and crack the barrier that is holding him or her back through more intense learning and hard work, the result will be an unmatched satisfaction that builds confidence.

Now don’t get me wrong, our objective here at the academy is still to help kids learn how to effectively execute world-class Jiu Jitsu. This standard of excellence remains. But it is the child’s emotional development that is key to his or her success in Jiu Jitsu, and in life. If kids are unable to deal with their emotions on the mat, their progress will be stunted. People are perpetually faced with new challenges   in life, and these challenges will become more complex and more competitive, just as they will as one progresses on the mats in Jiu Jitsu. Our children will need to be prepared to face them head on.  The question, then, is: “Are we giving our young people opportunities to take part in activities that will prepare them physically and emotionally for life?”

This question is addressed by Clayton Christenson in his book (which I highly recommend, and which is available on Amazon here) How Will You Measure Your Life? He speaks about the value of allowing our kids, and ourselves, to engage in activities that present us with challenging experiences, to position us to be able to navigate and solve them before we are forced to face them in life. The author goes on to suggest that putting our kids in tight situations is like offering them a “course in life” where they will have the opportunity to hone their abilities to perform under pressure and develop leadership skills and accountability.

One of several ways we work with our students to help them develop emotionally is to give them room to explore escaping from a vulnerable position or to implement a technique. We don’t always immediately jump in to fix a technical error unless they are in a dangerous position. This allows the students to learn from their own mistakes and to face and overcome momentary defeat and the disappointment of not performing as well as they would have liked. This is not an easy approach in the moment as it often entails children dealing with hurt feelings and discouragement, where they may even cry. But it is part of the learning process and will help to make them stronger. Further, to immediately intervene and coach a child on what they need to do technically to win a match can reinforce a performance-based mindset. It is not helpful to the students if we communicate to them that the most valued component of the game is to come out on top, rather than to embrace the learning process.

This is a difficult route to take as a coach or parent because it is hard to see someone we love struggling as they wrestle through challenges. Our initial reaction may be that we become so focused on how the child is rolling and on what they need to do immediately to win the match, that we jump in and offer solutions the instant they are struggling, with the intent to be helpful or avoid hard feelings. However, we are not protecting our children by doing this. Instead, we may be forfeiting an opportunity to build their confidence and to increase their technical ability through leaning to deal with tough emotions. When we focus on the development of their emotions, integrity, and character, by default the techniques will come. We view this as an opportunity to teach them not only the mechanics of the sport of Jiu Jitsu but also to gain confidence and self-esteem through learning and hard work.

In speaking with students after defeats or poor performances, we praise them for trying their best, teach them that losing is part of the learning process and part of the game, encourage respect for their teammates and their coaches and encourage continued hard work and perseverence. From there we address the technical aspect. Christensen also mentions in his book that “when you aim to achieve great things, it is inevitable that sometimes you are not going to make it.” He councils us to urge our children to pick themselves up and try again, telling them that if they are not occasionally failing, then they are not aiming high enough. Christensen goes on to say that we should be celebrating failure just as much as we celebrate success, if it is the result of striving for an out-of-reach goal. Bouncing back from temporary setbacks is one of the biggest motivators I have seen to make students rise above themselves.

We measure the success of our Jiu Jitsu program by observing the degree of improvement from when the child first entered our academy. Some students have an abundance of knowledge about Jiu Jitsu and are more athletically endowed; therefore, they tend to be better at Jiu Jitsu. But the true measure of success is how willing they are to learn and put in the work to improve. I have seen many students overcome and become the top in the class through persistence on the mat.

That is why we say: “it’s not about Jiu Jitsu”. It is about the personal development and transformation of each student. Equipping our students with the experiences they need to learn to persevere through challenges, to have the ability to deal with pressure, and to be prepared to navigate tough moments in life is our mission. One of the most important jobs we have is how we raise our children, and by ours, I mean the entire generation that is coming up behind us. To miss investing in our children, our future, is to fail.

– Professor Tony Passos

Learn Something New

Learn Something New

Choose to put yourself in a situation that you know you are not yet competent in. Try a technique that you are not use to. Focus on just one. It will be uncomfortable initially You may “fail” at first. But in the end, sooner than you think, you will have gained a new competence and build a new habit .

– Professor Tony Passos