The Totem Nutrition Podcast: Episode 004 Interview with Jorge Merlos

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This episode is also available on iTunes and YouTube.


Who is Jorge?

Jorge is an avid athlete who has sets his sights on mastering his inner being via martial arts. He recently found his passion for the Djembe (jem-bey) drum, and is a self defense instructor/fitness professional based in the Los Angeles area. He has a degree in Psychology from the University of Oregon, and uses holistic methods/practices to help improve his own health and the health of his clients.

In this episode, Jorge and Leah discuss why it's important for everyone (especially women) to learn self defense, how to be tactical when in a self defense situation, Jorge's experience being assaulted with a baseball bat, how to control your inner state of breathing via breathing, leveraging stress to be beneficial, protecting those we love, emotionally protecting ourselves with boundaries, scheduling fun, and how to USE DAT BOOTY. Connect with Jorge on Instagram and on his website


Key Takeaways From Our Interview With Jorge

Knowing how to effectively defend yourself is an important part of being a human.  

"Everyone should know how to defend themselves."

"I try to empower people, women especially, to knowing that they can defend themselves."

"It’s empowering to know how to defend yourself if someone wants to act crazy."

"You are powerful enough to defend yourself no matter the size of the person in front of you."

"A self defense scenario is all about seconds. Get out as fast as possible. The longer you stay in the more likelihood of severe damage."

To excel in self defense, you must learn to control your inner state of being, even when you're stressed or scared. 

"What you train habitually will be your default in a self defense situation."

"We get our heart rates up, we’re tired, and we’re this and this. We gotta breathe. Breathe. Breathe. Because we’re going to freeze up. In a tense situation, your body is going to naturally go into fight or flight mode, which is normal, and people will just lock up. What we have to do is train ourselves to be present during stimulus like that. And also get out of that mode. You’re going to freeze and your heart will start pumping. You’ll get those physiological effects whether you’re Bruce Lee or a UFC fighter. The difference between those people and you is that they’re able to breathe through those situations due to exposure."

"One thing that I would encourage people to do is to utilize some form of breath work."

"Learning that type of internal control is absolutely pivotal."

"When you get into these stressful environments, you’re going to be tired. Return to your breath and mentally you start to say, 'It’s ok. It’s ok.'"

"If you can’t breathe during a stressful situation, you tense up, and if you tense up, your body cannot move."

Stress, and learning how to handle it, is important and necessary to our development and growth. 

"We do seek that positive stress -- that’s what exercise is!"

"Eustress, or positive stress, contrary to distress, the bad stress we most commonly associate with stress, is necessary for our growth and development."

"Our bodies are adaptable machines. Where if you don’t give it anything that pushes it forward, it’s gonna do the bare minimum."

"Stress isn’t always bad for us. It’s our reaction to it that matters." 

"We look at the distress as overwhelming. And it is overwhelming, because we don’t have the tools, nor do we practice the tools to actually work through it. "

On mindset, habits, boundaries, and movement. 

"Creating boundaries is something we definitely need to do."

"You have to help yourself before you even begin to help anyone else."

"We gotta improve how we take care of ourselves. "

"You can only change your behavior when you’re aware of it."

"It’s never too late to start."

"When it comes to changing your mindset, you have to start with a desire. Once the desire is there, the actions will take place."

"We out here trying to build that booty, but do you know how to use it?" \

"There are muscle groups that we don’t use as much as we should because we’re not thinking about or because we’re sedentary."

Links Mentioned

National Institute of Justice Research

Wim Hof Method

Moment App