08:Don't Panic. Enjoy the Ride. With Professor Gustavo Gasperin 

Digging in with multiple-time Brazilian Jiu Jitsu world champion Professor Gustavo Gasperin about learning and deploying skills under pressure, the importance of mindset, and choosing to relax instead of panic.  

Many non-crucial details of emergency medical cases, like when a case happened or the age or gender of the patient, have been changed randomly to preserve patient confidentiality. As always with the Emergency Mind Podcast, the goal is not to provide medical advice or commentary on medical care, but to explore best practices and ways that we can all improve how we think during an emergency and apply knowledge under pressure. Additionally, the views expressed on the podcast are personal views and do not represent the views of the employers or organizations at which we work.

01:00—For more about Professor Gustavo Gasperin, and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) in general, check out his excellent online BJJ community MMA LEECH at www.mmaleech.com. You can also find MMA LEECH on YouTube here, and on Instagram here. Details of Prof Gustavo’s training and successes in BJJ tournaments can be found here. If you’re in LA, Prof Gustavo teaches at UPRISE MMA and Dynamix Martial Arts. Enjoy!

02:20—Prof Gustavo’s conversation on The Next Level Guy podcast is here. It is interesting, heartfelt, and definitely worth a listen.


05:30—“First part is learning, second part is trying the move.” This is going to form the beginning of a structure about how to learn something that Prof. Gustavo is going to explore throughout this conversation. It has a lot in common with what Dr. Austin talks about in Episode 05.


05:45—I have extremely limited personal experience with a Jiu Jitsu dummy, but the basic idea is a person-shaped punching bag that one could practice certain moves on. I also really like this video on BJJ solo drills with a heavy bag from excellent folks at Chewjitsu.


07:00—Here again we see the arc of gradual progression from theory to practice to practice under pressure to live drills that multiple guests on the podcast have advocated for. Inherent in this idea is that failure in controlled settings is part of training and the idea is to set up a space where a learner can apply stress and achieve failure in a controlled setting.


09:30—“The way you learn a technique is an idea, but you still have to adapt the technique to different opponents.” This idea is one of the core priniciples of The Emergency Mind – there is a large difference between “knowing” a thing, and being able to bring that knowledge to the exact moment where and when it is needed. 


14:45—“I was spending so much time on the mat that I had to figure something out…if this did not work, it’s not like I could just abandon everything and quit.” I love the way Prof Gustavo describes this because there is so much depth here. You can see deeply the commitment he has made to his art as well as the pragmatic approach to training with difficult things. He has committed to being better at Jiu Jitsu – he’s putting in the hours and dedicated himself to improving. At the same time, he recognizes things are going to be challenging. When he hits those difficult patches, he relies on his commitment to keep moving and get through them. It’s a great reminder for all of us when things get rough – what are we going to do, give up and quit everything? No, great, then I guess the only other option is to figure out a way through.

15:10—Implicit in what Prof Gustavo is talking about here is the idea of making sure you’re engaging in training that you care deeply about, so that you’re never in a situation where you’re just looking at the clock hoping the time runs out. Similarly, in Episode 03, Dr. Austin reads a quote at the end from The Warrior Mindset (almost exactly at 1:00:00) which talks about designing multidimensional training that engages not only the body but also the mind and the emotions.


15:25—“It doesn't matter if it's not working. You still have to, you know, find a way. Find a way to make it work.” I love this. So true in both Jiu Jitsu, and emergency medicine. Part of our job in training ourselves is to develop the perseverance and indomitable spirit it takes to find a way to succeed, no matter the situation. Dynamix Martial Arts, one of the places where Prof Gustavo trains in LA recently highlighted this section as well.   

19:00—Thank you mom.


26:10—The idea that cross-pollinating concepts from martial arts and other fields with emergency medicine will lead to deep understanding and advancement of performance under pressure is at the very heart of The Emergency Mind Podcast. There’s a concept from another Brazilian martial art, Capoeira, which talks also about the idea of constantly learning and improving your art: “Sou disípulo que aprende, Sou mestre que dá lição,” I am a student who learns, I am a master who teaches.


26:35—I strongly recommend reading John Danaher’s Jiu Jitsu analysis – even if you don’t practice Jiu Jitsu, it is a master class in how to deeply understand and master the concepts and ideas behind a skill. His interview with Joe Rogan can be found here, and his Instagram (which is FULL of knowledge) can be found here. Danaher’s level of understanding of his art, and his ability to communicate it, is something I aspire to.


32:23—The process that Prof Gustavo describes here – learning to calm the mind and realize that relaxed concentration (to borrow from The Inner Game of Tennis) yields better results—starts with coming to terms with the reality of the situation, which is that sometimes things work and sometimes they don’t. As I’ve written about in Forge (here), perfection of performance can be our goal, but perfection of outcome—which is beyond our control—cannot.


37:00—Dr. Sajed’s description of reverse-visualization and mentally exploring alternatives to specific actions in a case in Episode 07 can be found around 34:30.


38:50—Prof Gustavo’s article, “Top 10 BJJ White Belt Tips,” can be found here. Tip number 10, which we talk about here, is “Don’t let your emotions take over, especially when you are in a bad position.”


42:10—Talking about maintaining calm within a difficult position, Prof Gustavo highlights two distinct ideas here – one is that the more experience you get, the less likely you are to end up in deeply bad positions. This occurs from having been in bad positions before and therefore having a better sense of what’s coming and being able to avoid progression of a difficult situation. The second is a better sense of calm when already in a difficult position. In this case, Prof Gustavo describes knowledge and experience being helpful in finding escape routes and movements which are not obvious to a beginner. In both cases, panic shuts down the mind and closes off options.