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Review: Vanilla Gorilla Journal

Considering I'm going on my twelfth year of training I've tried various methods of logging my training. Everything from my own memory, Google Calendar entries, physical journals, and apps. They all have pros and cons depending on your individual likes and approach, but I recently came across the Vanilla Gorilla Journal almost by accident.


The owner and creator is Nicholas Riley. He and his wife, Taylor started training at the same time. She would journal after each class but found that the spiral journals just weren't quite enough. Nicholas got to work on getting something together. In the process he noticed that taking notes and sweating weren't a good mix. With Taylor's help, they made tweaks based on the needs of the user and ultimately they came up with the Vanilla Gorilla Journal.



I reached out to them on IG and asked if I could get my hands on one and he was all in on the idea. I've been using it for a bit and honestly, I have not found one better.


While there are plenty of free ways you can go about journaling and keeping your thoughts together, there's something about physically writing your thoughts that will deepen your understanding. With that being said, my intention was to give it to a student and have them use it and report back. I thought it would be a cool way of rewarding one of them and building a good habit at the same time.


After receiving it in the mail, I decided to keep it. Call me greedy if you want. I know a good thing when I see it.



In my hands it feels like it's of quality. There's a good weight to it and it's sturdy. You immediately notice that there was care and thought put into the journal. The outside cover is made of fauex-leather and the stitching is impeccable. The pages themselves are made of stone paper, making them a bit thicker, durable, and sweat-proof.


Something else I really liked about the journal was that he included 32 Flow Charts. If you haven't had any experience using these, they are a massive help in terms of mapping out your game in a more visible way. When I did this at Blue Belt it really helped me see where I was technique rich and where most of my deficiencies were.


Even if you don't grab the journal itself, I highly recommend doing a mind map flow chart of some kind for yourself. While it can be time consuming, it will be a huge asset.



The top of each page includes information like the date, instructor, technique, along with a nice quote that keeps you in the right frame of mind.


This really is a well put together item. Even if you're not taking instruction, this is a great tool for instructors to keep track of exactly what they were teaching on any given day. Something I did was, to keep my lessons in the front portion of the book starting on the first available page. Then on the last page, I started keeping notes of the private lessons I was teaching. My hope is that I can revert back to those notes to see what kind of progressions my students have made when they meet with me.


Overall, this is a great tool and honestly the best physical journal that I've come across. I highly recommend it. If you've been on my Instagram page, I've made several entries including them. It's become a staple in my study and instruction habits.


If you're interested, check the product out through this link and use the discount code DFM2099



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Rated 5 out of 5 stars.

When I started getting serious about my BJJ journey I knew I needed a journal that was tough, easy to use and of good quality. I’m not ashamed to admit that I purchased over twenty (20) journals off of Amazon and returned every single one.


It wasn’t until Professor DFM and I had a private lesson that I was introduced to the Vanilla Gorilla journal. It was truly lust at first sight and I was low key distracted by it the entire lesson. Not only was it pleasing aesthetically, it was obviously worthy of a seasoned black belt's time and attention so it had to be legit, right?

After the lesson Professor DFM fielded questions about the journal and…

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