How to Get the Most Out of Your Martial Arts Training

Here’s Coach Charles Martinez discussing the effective mindset of learning martial arts techniques. How you learn can be as important as what you learn, take two minutes and listen to some advice about how to get the most out of your training.


Coach Charles Martinez:
Hey, this is Coach Charles Martinez from The Arena, and today I wanted to talk briefly about how to get the most out of your learning. Now, sometimes in a class setting, maybe there’s multiple things being taught. They might not all specifically apply to you in your game right now. But in a class, I feel like when I’m teaching, I usually feel like I’m teaching to the middle of the room. Some of the technique is above the head of a new person, but it’s a little too simple for the advanced person. As you’re learning things, maybe you could be attracted to certain technique more than others, and maybe that’s… It could be a body type, it could be where your skill level is currently, so when you’re taking in information, this is kind of the information age for martial arts. Everything is out there. Fundamentals are fundamentals across the board, but then after you learn basic fundamentals, you want to start developing your own game.

There’s this Bruce Lee saying of, “Absorb what is useful, reject what is useless, and then add what’s specifically your own.” I think that’s important, but first… You don’t know at first what’s going to be the most useful for you. So when you’re taking in information, try and take it all in. Maybe there’s a piece today that you can apply today. Maybe the bare bones of what’s being taught today is important for your fundamentals of your game. Maybe one of the moves, or one of the versions of the move, just doesn’t make sense to you; you just don’t get it. And that’s fine. Maybe it’s not applicable to you today, but it could be. It could be as you get older, whereas maybe you have an injury, or maybe there’s an easier way of doing it. When you’re young, you have the tendency of behaving one way. When you’re older, maybe you find a path of least resistance a little bit easier. So the technique often is taught across the board, to everyone in the room, regardless of tall, short.

A good coach, as you start to develop, if you’re training specifically for yourself, you can start to tailor and decide what’s best for your body type, and your game, etc. But first you have to have the basis to build that on top of. Sometimes the technique is just not for you; maybe it’s just not for you ever, maybe it’s just not for you right now. I think when you have that mentality as you’re learning technique, it will be a lot easier to develop what is your own, but also have an open mind of other technique that could be applicable down the line, or it could be applicable against a different opponent, or a different body type. I think once you have that, you can draw something useful out of all technique, rather than being like, “I like this. I don’t like that.” Maybe you don’t like it right now because you don’t understand it right now, but down the line, you might be able to really draw something from it that benefits your game. That’s your tip.

Elite Wrestling Coach Ricky Lundell Teaching at The Arena

Elite Wrestler and Jiu Jitsu Black Belt Ricky Lundell came in a while back to work with our MMA fight team. We are always looking to expose our members to the highest level of instruction and positive people. 1% better every day!


Coach Charles Martinez:
Today, we have Ricky Lundell coming in to work with the fight team. Ricky’s a super high level wrestler, a super high level Jiu Jitsu guy. He’s been training his whole life. He was a really early black belt. Then, he went and wrestled under Cael Sanderson, who was probably the greatest college wrestler of all time.


In addition to all that, Ricky just has a great mentality for teaching. And I’m always trying to expose the guys to people that can expand their mind and open their eyes about training with a purpose, and trying to improve themselves in small increments, and kind of accepting that every day you got to try and get a little bit better. And I think Ricky kind of embodies that. So, it’s great to have him come in here, show his take on very small details. And he’s just really, really good instructor, and that’s the kind of people we’re trying to bring in here.

BJJ Black Belt Stops Burglar with Triangle Choke

The Arena’s Sergio Hernandez, a Jiu Jitsu black belt under Baret Yoshida, describes his encounter with a burglar who was trying to rob his dad’s house. With a cool head and an in depth knowledge of grappling, Sergio subdued the criminal and waited for the police to show up.


Can you let go of my neck please?

Sergio Hernandez:
What? Don’t (beep) move.

I’m not.

Sergio Hernandez:
I’m going to put you to sleep, dog. Either that or I’m going to break your (beep) arm if you try to move.

Me and my dad were coming back from running an errand, and I think that burglar had been staking out our house or something. When we showed up, he was in my dad’s house. My dad didn’t notice that he was inside the house. As my dad came back outside, he tried to jump out the back window, and I happened to be in the backyard, and so that’s when I ran into him, but I didn’t notice that the window was open. I just assumed that he was either somebody that was on drugs and that was lost or that he actually had considered breaking into our house, but he hadn’t done it yet. He said he was running from a dog and if he could go out through the back, so I was like, “Yeah, go ahead, man.” So he jumped through the back fence and then a minute later I noticed that he had actually already been inside the house and made a mess in there, and I didn’t know if he had hurt my dad or anything. I jumped the fence, chased him through the alley for about a block, finally caught up to him.

He turned around and faced me, and at that point, I wasn’t sure if he was going to have a weapon or a gun or he was just ready to fight me, but I think he was so gassed out that he didn’t want to fight so he just wanted to talk about it. And so I grabbed him by the shirt and I was like, “Hey man, let’s go talk to my dad and let’s find out exactly what happened.” I took him back to my dad, and my dad had no idea what was going on and I said, “Hey dad, I think this guy just broke into your house.” We checked out the window and, sure enough, he had messed up the window and made a mess in the house.

Finally, my dad asked him, “Well, how old are you, man?” The kid was like, “I’m 21 years old.” And then that’s when my dad was like, “Well, you’re going to have to go to jail, dude.” And that’s when he lost his temper and just started going crazy. And I was able to control him using the Jiu Jitsu that I learned from Baret, so thank God for that. I was able to keep calm about it.

I don’t know how it happened, but immediately I came here, I grabbed him by the arm here, and he fell on his face, but he came to his side, and so I came to this position here. I told him to stop moving or I was going to break his arm, and then he kept trying to get out of it. So he came here and he started to… If you come to your knees and then try to stand up a little bit. I got to this position and then he tried to stand up. So this is where I considered either going here with the arm break. But as he was standing, I’ve seen videos of people getting their heads slammed in the back of the other head. If you could stand up and show how that one… And then he would slam me, and that was dangerous.

And so as he was on his knees and I seen him stand up, I grabbed his leg here. That’s when we got to this position here. But he turned that way slightly, and so I held this position, and I think this is the safer position because his teeth would have been in my stomach and he could have bit me. And also I didn’t want him to bring his weight on top of me to finish the triangle to get the better angle because I would be on my back and he’d be able to punch me. And if you were to get here, he could have bitten me or something and that would’ve been super dangerous.

So I was comfortable in this position. I feel I could have broken the arm there, and then at some point I did squeeze it and I could tell that he was choking. I just wanted to make sure that if I had to finish the triangle I could have still finished it at this angle, and then I was controlling his wrist so he wouldn’t be able to punch me.

So I started doing Jiu Jitsu about 14 years ago and thankfully I was able to be calm enough to hold that triangle position. So the neighbor filmed it and then I was like, “Oh dude, did you get that?” And he’s like, “Yeah.” And I was like, “Send it to me because I want to post it on my Instagram.” I didn’t really think much about it, but I love to record all my matches. And this one just happened to be out in public, and so I posted it. I didn’t even get a chance to take a shower, just had to go straight to work because I was late for a tattoo appointment that I had. Maybe 45 minutes later the media shows up to the tattoo shop and it was like, “Dude, do you see what’s happening to your video? Everyone’s watching it. Could we do a story on you?” I check my Instagram and it was so many people were checking it out and then it was getting shared by other people.

I do feel a little bit strange because of all the attention that I was getting based on someone’s downfall basically. But on the other hand, I’m happy that we’re able to promote Jiu Jitsu, and that we’re able to promote people learning how to defend themselves. I train here at The Arena, and this is where my martial arts family is at. And I hope more people, if they don’t come here to The Arena, that they find their local gym and they’re able to learn how to defend themselves and feel confident and not have to be scared when they’re out in the world.

Arena Jiu Jitsu Student on Skateboarding, Guitar Playing and Art

Trevon Rogers, a blue belt under Baret Yoshida, talks about growing up skateboarding and creating in various arts, and how he views Jiu Jitsu tying into all of it.


Trevon Rogers:
Skateboarding, that was actually the gateway drug to kind of everything.

Started like at fifth grade, use to lurk around like after school program and some kids are playing in the yard with their skateboards. I was like, “Hey, like, what is that?” And I rode it for the first time and I was hooked. I believe I begged my mom for a year to get a skateboard and then after that I’ve been skating for like 10 plus years now. It’s super fun.

My name’s Trevon Rogers. I’ve been training with The Arena for just about two years. How I actually got here was through getting tattooed by Sergio Hernandez. It was literally all he talked about and I was like, “Man, what’s this all about man?” And I just pulled up one time for a No Gi class. It’s really expanded my mind to just learning life lessons and it’s a lot of fun.

How I think about jiu jitsu in relation to skateboarding is kind of like your opponent’s the skateboard, got make it do a bunch of tricks, foot placement, how you move your body. Honestly, like the moves are very complimentary.

Guitar playing was actually my mother’s efforts to keep me out of the neighborhood we lived in. So she got me a guitar and I’ve been playing for like 10 years and it’s just all fun. Literally like all these things I do, they kind of feel the same. I’m thinking the same way in jiu jitsu as painting or skating in the same manner as how I would maybe approach a role. It’s all free, man.

Baret Yoshida Armbar Drill Using a Baseball Bat

Check out this cool drill Jiu Jitsu Coach Baret Yoshida does at home to practice armbars using a baseball bat. Play around and figure out some other ways to practice submissions.


Coach Baret Yoshida:
So this technique is the arm bar, so using the bat. I’m going to use the short end facing me this time. And what I do, I bring one leg, one foot under the fat part of the bat, and I bring the other leg over here. Okay?

And, you’re going to kick with the bottom leg while you pull with the top leg here, okay? And I’m going to grab the short end of the bat like I’m doing an arm bar. I’m going to go over the side of my hip here, so I could go to my right side here, or I could even push it over to my left side here. So when you do this, you want to make sure you keep both your knees bent, and pulling your heels in, and you want to drive your hips into this.

Very, very similar to doing an actual arm bar, so you can feel that, so I get my foot under the fat part, and I bring my leg over. Both hands are going to grab that handle like so, and start prying it over your hip here just like an arm bar. Wrap your feet through, pull your knees in, and drive your hips up, so that was the arm bar.

Mario Esquivies’ Evolution of the Robin Lock Submission

Mario Esquivies has been training Jiu Jitsu at The Arena under Baret Yoshida for five years now. He is an avid competitor and is know in the gym for his unique submission, the Robin lock. In this video he talks about his time training here and how Baret helped him develop and fine tune the Robin lock.


Mario Esquivies:
My name is Mario Esquivies and I’m 25 years old and I’ve been training at The Arena under Baret for five years now. My father he used to do martial arts, and he actually introduced me into martial arts and eventually I found my way into the arena. I was always looking for a more complete program like that they have boxing, jiu-jitsu, wrestling and all that stuff. I found everything that I needed here. I came in at the same time when Baret was coming in and I started training with him and immediately I fell in love with his class.



One of the main things that I like about Baret is that he’s my same size and then whenever I see him roll with bigger people and the way that he is just able to control them and just able to submit them, that’s really what drew me a lot. Cause I know that whenever he teaches something he has to use the proper technique, otherwise, it’s not going to work. And with him it works.



So the Robin lock is pretty much a straight on key lock and the turtle position is the main attack that I usually catch it from, but I have different variations now, and Baret was actually the one that saw me hit it a couple times, especially in a couple of tournaments. And then from there he was actually the one that started telling me, “Okay like maybe try positioning your hands this way and maybe try arching your back this way”. And then eventually it’s just been my staple move. It’s won me a lot of tournaments and it’s obviously evolved under Baret’s guidance really well.



Baret Yoshida:
He was always into Kimuras. He just started finding different trigger points and I gave him some ideas maybe and he just went with it and developed his whole style from that.


He’ll shoot almost like a fake shot and guys will try to counter him and that’s like the opening for his Robin lock, and he’ll like wrap up their arm and he’ll twist was all kinds of ways and even guys know it’s coming and he still gets guys.



Mario Esquivies:
I like to compete at least once every month. It really gives me like a goal to strive for. One of the main tournaments that I’ve won, I actually just won it recently again, is Jiu-Jitsu League Worlds. I actually was able to win all my matches via submission via the Robin lock and it’s another one coming up next week. Actually, it’s SJJIF World, so I’m preparing myself for that one as well. I usually try to be in here twice a day, about five times a week if I can. I’m really excited for and I’m feeling pretty good, pretty confident. I always feel pretty confident after I put on a good camp.

Life-Time Member Shares His Passion of Training at The Arena

The Arena’s “Life-time Member” JoJo Agorrilla has earned himself the title with all its benefits by sharing his martial arts passion with his friends and colleagues and referring them to join our family. Check out what he has to say.


JoJo Agorrilla:
My name is JoJo Agorrilla. I’ve been training here since October 2013, since I first got stationed back here in San Diego. I’ve trained at numerous MMA gyms here in San Diego, but this is the best one that fits for me, not just for my MMA, Jiu Jitsu, wrestling, all of it, all in one.

The Arena has a great referral program. I’ve referred many, many people here. That’s assisted me and helped me getting my lifetime membership here, where I don’t have to pay, and I just get to train for free. The vibe of the gym here is amazing.

Training with the people that I get to train with, not just the instructors, but my other teammates, whether it be BJJ, MMA wrestling, they’re all here to help. There’s no egos in here, because if you do it, you get checked real quick, and I mean that in a good way for you to learn, so that anybody from the entry-level, who’s a first time ever stepping onto the mats, gets to learn something rather than just being intimidated by someone who knows a little bit more. They’re sharing the knowledge and making all of us better as a team and as a group.

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