May 262017

This article was originally posted on MARCH 31, 2016 on

5 Ways For White Belts to Measure Their Progress

by Jerri Tusi


The first six months of training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu can be both rewarding and frustrating. The rewarding aspects of training include getting fit, meeting new people, and learning a new skill and art. The frustrating parts of the early stages of training include being overwhelmed with information, not getting a complete grasp of the fundamentals, issues with conditioning and an inability to execute what you drilled in live rolling situations. If you have felt this way during the early part of your BJJ journey, then that means you are completely normal. Training in BJJ is a very slow grind with many plateaus, especially when you are first starting out. Here are 5 quick ways to measure your progress during the early months of your training so you can gauge your slow and steady progress.

Being able to complete all of the warm-up exercises: This is actually a big accomplishment for many people who aren’t natural athletes or weren’t regularly exercising prior to starting BJJ. Warm-ups at BJJ academies can range from 5 to 20 minutes and include jogging, stretching, body weight exercises, and agility drills. This can be overwhelming for new students who are learning new exercises like gator walks, army crawls, bear crawls, shrimping, and technical stand ups while trying to catch their breath and not wanting to look slow or silly in front of their training partners. Once you can get through all of the warm up exercises, you can challenge yourself by continually refining your form and trying to complete the exercises at a faster pace to improve your conditioning.

Executing techniques drilled in class while rolling: Live rolling in class can be very intimidating for a new white belt. Your playbook is limited and you are going to find yourself playing defense from bad positions including mount and back control. After several weeks, your gas tank and comfort level will improve. Relax and realize it is just training and fun. Try to setup and execute what you drilled in class. It doesn’t have to be a spectacular submission. It can be as simple as recovering half-guard from being mounted or correctly defending against choke. As long as the movements are technical and based on the instruction you received in class, it is all progress.

Getting submitted fewer times by mat bully: At many gyms, there is a student that eats white belts for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. During a five-minute roll, this student will mercilessly tap you ten times and leave you gasping for air and lying in a pool of your own sweat. Over time, the number of times this mat bully will tap you will go down to nine, then eight and so on. Did the bully develop a heart and go easy on you? Nope, your defense just improved.

Attending one additional class: You started with two to three classes per week. After each class, you were tired, sore, and wondering what you got yourself into. It took at least a day or two to recover from your workouts before you could get back on the mats. Over time, your body got stronger from the training and your passion has grown. Taking on one additional class is a 25% to 50% increase in your training capacity. That is a major improvement in both time and dedication and your skills will improve with the increase in time and effort.

Rolling one extra round during open mat: Choosing to attend an additional class is a conscious decision when you are fresh and your mind is clear. Choosing to roll an extra round when you are already drained, beat up, and have the option to relax against the mat is a very difficult mental and physical hurdle to overcome. The ability to decide to go one extra round when you first start training is a sign of both progress and toughness since you pushing pass your normal level of tolerance and testing your limits. It is a noteworthy achievement that shouldn’t be understated as you improve your cardio, become more efficient in your techniques, and build up your confidence on the mats.


Start your journey to a healthier and better life when you set up your free trial at Frequency Martial Arts!

Mar 252017

Ladies, self-defense begins long before an attack happens and the staff at Frequency Martial Arts wants you to know how to protect yourself.  During this 2-hour workshop, you and your friends will learn self-defense techniques that will build your confidence and you will know how to respond when you are faced with threatening situations.  In addition, you will learn evasive techniques and behaviors to help you avoid and escape dangerous situations.

The workshop will be lead by Instructor Michael Donovan, who is a 4th-degree Karate Black Belt, a Brown Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and a USYKA certified Karate instructor.

This is a hands-on class for females 12-years of age or older, so please wear comfortable clothes. Those between 12 and 17 must be accompanied by a parent.

Saturday May 6 from 9:30AM – 11:30AM
Doors Open at 9AM for check-in
Space is reserved for the first 40 participants.


A portion of the fees collected will be donated to the Children’s Home + Aid

Reserve your spot now for only $20.00

Jan 152017

At Frequency Martial Arts, we want you to know the people that are going to help you become a better version of yourself.

In this latest update, we put the spotlight on Ed LeMonnier.

Where are you originally from and what brought you to Central Illinois?

I am from Tinley Park, IL and I came to Normal, IL in 1997 when I transferred to Illinois State University.

Do you have any pets? If so, what are they? I have 2 rescue dogs: Jett and Cabo.

Where do you work? Magic 99.5 where I am on-air and I also sell advertising and promotional partnerships to help businesses grow.

What was the first Album/Tape/CD that you purchased? QUIET RIOT – METAL HEALTH on Cassette 

What was the last movie you watched at home? ICE AGE 2


If you could have ONE season to live in for all 12-months, which would you choose? SUMMER!

What are your three favorite activities to do when you are not training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu? Time with family, Barbecuing and reading.

What charity are you the most passionate about?

The American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life

Which restaurants in Bloomington-Normal make it into your Top 3? DR. McKay’s, CJ’s Restaurant and Caffe Italia

How long have you been training at Frequency Martial Arts and why did you decide on training here?

Ever since it opened -but I’ve been training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu since 2007. Why? I took over the school from the previous owner who was going to close.  Brazilian Jiu Jitsu changed my life and I know it can improve the lives of anyone who steps on the mats.  I couldn’t see the gym and affiliation going away.

What is your favorite jiu jitsu move right now? Butterfly Sweep.

What is your favorite vacation destination? Florida.

Any hobbies or talents that you’d like to share? Build Lego sets with my daughters. 

Jan 122017

As a father of two daughters (soon to be 9 and 6) who have been training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu I know the benefits that they will obtain from not just training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, but training against boys in class.

In the beginning, there is an intimidation factor. This is true for anyone trying something new within a group setting with people who have been doing the activity longer than they have; whether it’s Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Cross-Fit, Gymnastics, Dance, Painting or taking guitar lessons. As they spend more time on the mats, they become more comfortable, the intimidation factor is gone and they can’t imagine not being on the mats.
When it comes to the self-defense aspect, we live in a world filled with bullies and not only will my daughters face on-line and verbal bullies, but I know that the sad reality is that my daughters are more likely to be physically attacked by a male than a female. I want them to be able to remain calm and know that their training will help keep them safe.

Now I could go on and on, but there are plenty of articles on-line that share the benefits girls and women receive from training Brazilian Jiu Jistu .

Continue reading »

Jan 092017

At Frequency Martial Arts, we want you to know the people that are going to help you become a better version of yourself.

In this latest update, we put the spotlight on Doug Kimball.

Where are you originally from and what brought you to Central Illinois?

Born in Minneapolis, have lived in MN, WI, MI, GA, PA, and now – Illinois, thanks to both college and jobs.

Do you have any pets? If so, what are they? Cat and Dog – who more or less tolerate each other.

Where do you work? JDA Software – supply chain provider

What was the first Album/Tape/CD that you purchased? Styx – Serpent

What was the last movie you watched at home?Jason Bourne

At the theatre? The Magnificent 7

If you could have ONE season to live in for all 12-months, which would you choose? Fall

What are your three favorite activities to do when you are not training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu? Reading, working out, time with family

What charity are you the most passionate about?

Special Olympics

Which restaurants in Bloomington-Normal make it into your Top 3? Biaggis, Alexanders, Logans

How long have you been training at Frequency Martial Arts and why did you decide on training here?

Ever since it opened -but was training before it became FMA. Why? Great instructors, flexible times to train, my ability to contribute and learn by teaching.

What is your favorite jiu jitsu move right now? Is tapping a good move? Overall, bow and arrow choke.

What is your favorite vacation destination? Mexico. Any place with a beach and fruity tropical drinks. Where I can take my 100 days of vacation that Mike thinks I have.

Any hobbies or talents that you’d like to share? I can juggle. And, walk and talk while chewing gum.

Jan 072017

Doug Kimball had been down near Belleville, Illinois to visit family during the holidays and he came back with this great article by Mary Cooley in the November 14, 2016 Belleville-News Democrat.

Teen is beginner in jiu-jitsu, but he’s already earned a sponsor

Continue reading »

Jan 022017

If you’re looking to improve your life for the next 365 days and beyond, you could make a few vague resolutions that you may or may not stick to… or you could sign up for jiu-jitsu classes and accomplish all of your New Year’s goals every time you show up to train. If you’ve been asking yourself if now is the time to take that first step and that first roll towards a healthier and happier life, here’s why you should absolutely sign up for BJJ classes in the new year:

You’ll look better.

Think you have to get in shape to do jiu-jitsu? Think again. Jiu-jitsu is a great cardio and strength workout; and whether you’re a couch potato or you’re already in decent shape, your physique is going to change for the better. You’ll probably start noticing changes whether or not you improve your diet, but chances are you’ll soon realize that eating healthier helps you feel better while you train. It’s only a matter of time before the pounds start melting off and reveal a healthier (and sexier) version of you.

Continue reading »

Nov 202016

2016-10-06-18-04-21Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu provides children the first steps they need towards living a safe, productive and healthy life. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu also teaches children about the importance of setting and reaching goals. By starting a child in a specialized martial arts program at a young age, you are guaranteeing the best results during the most critical aspects of their development and life.

The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu training at Frequency Martial Arts will also instill a solid sense of discipline that can provide benefits beyond fitness and self-defense.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Teaches Kids How to Overcome Larger & Stronger Opponents

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu focuses on ground techniques rather than striking. Such training teaches participants to leverage their own body size and the opponent’s to gain the upper hand. It also demonstrates grappling techniques to overcome opponent’s without striking them. This style is especially beneficial to children because it teaches them to overcome opponent’s that are both larger and stronger.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu also gives children a jump start in developing discipline at a young age. The instructors at Frequency Martial Arts will teach children how to defend themselves, but they will also teach them when it’s necessary to defend yourself and when an alternative should be considered. By developing mental strength over one’s own body, participants will naturally become more disciplined in other important areas (such as school).

Safety First

The instructors at Frequency Martial Arts understand the unique needs of children training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. They are careful in their methods and implement the safest conditions for children’s fitness training. Padded equipment ensures that children stay safe even if they fall. All sparring sessions are carefully monitored to ensure every child’s safety. Trainers are also careful to provide plenty of encouragement to children during each session.

Encouraging an environment of teamwork is an important aspect of any Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu regimen and it’s one that participants will find at Frequency Martial Arts. The instructors all teach children to get along and encourage each other throughout their training. Doing so teaches children to respect each other and get along well with others.

Because of this, having your child train Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu at Frequency Martial Arts may very well help develop lifelong relationships as participants continue to train together as they get older.

Call Frequency Martial Arts today at 309-660-6780 to find out more about our Kids Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu program or set up your free introductory class when you fill out the contact form below:

May 212016

Why kids should learn BJJ – by Carter Fisk

There are a lot of reasons why kids should learn BJJ. People often talk about confidence, discipline, bully prevention etc. I think these are all great things for a kid to have and BJJ can certainly give them these things. However, I think the real value in BJJ is something more than those things.

Reason #1 why kids should learn BJJ:  It teaches you how to fail.

I think one reason almost all of my friends are BJJ people is because we know what it’s like to fail on a regular basis. Even as a black belt I rarely go more than a day without tapping. And I wouldn’t want it any other way. BJJ teaches you that losing in the moment does not define who you are. It doesn’t make you a loser. It makes you not fear failure. You fail over and over until suddenly you make leap forward in understanding.

If there’s anything I wish I had known at a younger age, it would be understanding this. Because as I look at my life in BJJ and in business it has been failing until I succeed. I don’t expect anything to work or go smoothly. I just expect that I will keep showing up. And while it took me until my late 30’s or early 40’s to really understand that, I think that a kid who learns BJJ could realize this lesson much sooner.

Continue reading »

May 112016

Frequency Martial Arts 2016 03 29 A

Discover how Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu can benefit your life during this FREE Introduction to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Workshop.
Saturday June 4, 2016 from 9:30a-11a.

If you ever wanted to try learning a Martial Art, but weren’t quite sure where to start or what the difference was between the different styles, then look no further.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has proven time and time again to be the most effective and realistic Martial Art On The Planet. The fact is over 90% of all altercations end up on the ground and if you are not training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu; then you are not truly prepared.

During this FREE workshop, you will have your questions answered, you will be shown Brazilian Jiu Jitsu techniques that you will be able to drill with a friend in a safe and controlled environment while under the watchful eyes of our certified instructors.

Continue reading »