Category Archives: training

A New Beginning

I never thought I would leave.

But I suppose that’s the way things always end up. I made a tough life decision this week to leave some of my BJJ family behind and join a new school. It was nothing personal, but some of my own life decisions had to be made and I’ll be switching schools this week. The benefits seem to outweigh the disadvantages but only time will tell.

R and I are moving on with our lives and it didn’t make sense for us to train at separate schools especially since our time spent together was already limited by our opposing work schedules. If we wanted to train, it meant spending an additional 3 hours apart when we wanted to go train. This way, we’ll see each other more and we get to share in something we’re both passionate about.

I was reading up on some threads on Sherdog and MMA.tv about training and an experienced BJJ practitioner made an interesting point. If you can, you should try to get your black belt from the same instructor who gave you your blue belt. The thing with R’s school is that I can envision myself going all the way to black (hopefully) with the same instructor, and training with the same team.

I’ll never forget my first submission, the fun times, the ridiculous jokes and the great team camaraderie from my old school. They’ll always have a special place in my life – they were the ones that helped me fall in love with BJJ. In some ways six months seems like a short amount of time. But when you’re sweating it out on the same mat with all your other friends, it also seems like an eternity.

Here’s to all the new friends I’ll make, the trials and achievements I’ll find at my new school. Cheers.

Thanks to all my friends who were concerned when I posted about this on other social media sites. Glad to know you guys have got my back. :) *hugs*


Training for Longevity

R trains at a different gym than I do, and I have much respect for his head instructor. I was listening to the Fightworks Podcast (It’s free! Go download it!) the other day on an interview with him and he was talking about ‘training for longevity.’

I knew it wasn’t the first time I had heard that expression. When a visiting black belt came to give a seminar at our school a few weeks back. I know that I plan on training for a long time and being riddled with little injuries here and there makes me frustrated. I’m sitting here blogging with a tweaked knee and sore ribs.

Even before I began to train Brazilian Jiu Jitsu I was a bit of a klutz. Now, little things on the mat seem to get the better of me. For example, I was rolling with T in class earlier this week when he did a simple sweep and I landed at an awkward angle on my right knee. I felt a jarring pain instantly and grimaced with disappointment. I was looking forward to staying after class for open mat and working on the test requirements, and I knew this would force me to sit out for the rest of the day. I left right after class to avoid being asked to roll and explain my cause.

However, I’m sitting here blogging after a second class earlier today where I wore my knee brace and grumbled under my breath as settling into mount brought discomfort to my knees. Of course, we’re working on mount escapes this week.

I can’t help but think that in the long run, I won’t be worried about all these little tweaks as they tend to be inevitable in a sport that’s so physical. Keeping my eye on training for the long-term, I’m learning to sit out when it’s appropriate and take a break when my body needs it. It also means that my training and progress might be a little slower than I want  since I tend to go full tilt when I commit to learning something new. If I want to avoid more injuries, it means being more deliberate with my movements and more aware of my body. Especially when I’m injured.


Mouth guards… and other protective gear.

Class was side mount escapes to guard and an arm bar attack. It was actually a lot of fun, but I realized during the warmup that my cardio’s dropped off the map again and I was pretty gassed by the time we moved on to positional training. FAIL! All my hard work the past few months seems to have really tapered off. I’m a little disappointed in my own progress.

Regardless, I still had a great class yesterday. I paired up with S since we’re the same experience level, and only 20 lbs heavier than me. He’s considerably stronger than I am, and it was only really noticeable after the 4’th time he swept me from side control. It was frustrating to say the least, but I learned a great deal about playing to my advantages, and using my (lack of) weight to a better advantage than my current strategy. Apparently my instructor says I’m trying to be heavy, and I’m really not. :( I’m at least on-par with some of the guys in class, but tend to be lighter than most.

Still fighting off a little whiplash from the O-soto gari class we did earlier in the week and wasn’t sure how hard I was ready to go, but it didn’t matter once we started. We had a few good rounds, and managed to drill the side control escape pretty well. I was on top during one round and caught S’s knee under my chin as he tried to bring it through to get into guard. I heard a pretty loud crack in my mouth and even though all my teeth were intact, my brain was still a little rattled and I’m more than thankful that I didn’t have my tongue between my teeth at that point. I think it’s definitely time to get a mouth guard…

In retrospect, most of the people I train with in class don’t wear mouth guards, at least not until they start to roll. In fact, I think most guys don’t even wear cups – which is kind of to their disadvantage when I’m trying to pass the guard leading with my knee. I feel horrible, but I’ve clipped a few good friends and can’t imagine why wearing a soft cup wouldn’t help. Maybe they just like the pain?!

In other news, Grappler’s Quest is coming to UFC Fan Expo at the end of the month, and R might be competing! Super excited to watch my own coach compete at his level. The provincials we saw a couple weeks ago were pretty amazing, but this should be even more impressive! I’ll definitely be attending and cheering on our team! The most exciting part is getting take home a set of Zebra mats after Grapplers Quest. I finally placed the pre-order in a few weeks ago, and should have a set of mats ready for my place by the first week of May! R and I are throwing a bit of a combined birthday celebration since our birthdays are almost exactly a month apart. We’re having random friends come over and grapple at my place to break in the new mats! I can’t wait… we might even have a playful showdown of my gym vs. his gym. ;)


Full-time training

It’s back to work for me, but I just took a week off to train, eat, sleep and enjoy a bit of a mini vacation at home.

Between training sessions at the gym, I cooked healthy delicious meals, slept in every morning and took afternoon naps when I could. I had originally planned to train twice a day (mornings and evenings) but after developing mat burn on Day 2 of the training regiment, I knew I had to take it a little easier. I purchased a set of wrestling knee pads online, and since they I don’t have them yet I’m not sacrificing the skin on my knees any longer.

Classes have been steady and seeing the classes for the third time, I’m feeling more confident. I’m picking up more than 75% of the class and I really appreciate the constructive criticism on the finer points of my movements. 

With a competition in NYC under two months away, I’m desperately working on my cardio and easing out 0f my hypertrophy phase. It’s time to lean down and start cutting weight. May isn’t going to be pretty as I try to drop 8lbs to make weight at 130lbs.

R’s hurt his knee a few weeks ago so we haven’t spent any time training. He attended an open mat session on the Wednesday and it was fun just flow-rolling for practice. More training sessions are planned for the following week. More on that to come.


That familiar feeling.

Finally headed back to the gym this morning after taking almost an entire week off due to my back injury. I’m probably 90% fully recovered, but since it’s a sensitive issue like my back I’m not taking any chances.

It was great to get started and see the regulars at the gym again. We stretched and chatted a bit before class began. It just felt so good to get back into my gi and tumble around. There were a few new kids in class, but nobody I recognized so I stuck with my friends.

Today’s class was a bear hug escape and mount escapes. I tripled up with A and another white belt I’m unfamiliar with, but he looked huge! I hung around A since he’s much closer to my size and I wasn’t going to try to stress my back by lifting anyone heavy. Another blue belt came in late, so once the numbers were even again, A and I paired up for the remainder of the mount escapes. Our general consensus about mount: it’s probably our least favourite advantageous position. Because I’m usually lighter than my opponent, I feel extremely unstable in mount. Whether my opponent is bridging, or attempting a sweep or escape, my instinct is to hop over into side control instead. It’s something I know I need work on, and perhaps might drill it with R later on this week when I have more time to dedicate to it. After the technique drills, I sat out for the positional training as I didn’t want to risk my back on my first day back.

The day was a little nostalgic since I recall this particular class fairly clearly. I think it was the first BJJ class I *ever* attended at the gym, and it was with the same instructor too! It feels like I’ve been at the gym forever, when really it’s only been around 4 months at least consistently. I still tell people I started in January because I think I attended a total of 3 classes in December. In any case, in a short time I’ve made some great friends and worked hard! It’s going to be a good week in class. I can feel it.


Putting in the hours

In Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers, he speaks of talent and ultimately the dedication and persistence people put forth into developing a skill/habit/character. That magic number: 10,000 hours. As a child, I’d always heard that nothing comes without hard work. Persistence and dedication were the two major ideals that were drilled into our head as kids. As the first born child of conservative first-generation immigrants to Canada this particularly held true for whatever ambitions I had.

Joking that I’m dedicated to ‘putting in the hours’, doing a bit of rough math equates to the following numbers:

Training 5-6 times/week 10 hours week/520 hours a year / 19.3 years. That number is an average which should ‘hopefully’ include competitions once I get to that point! In short, it means that if I can achieve any type of measure of proficiency in BJJ in the next 19 years, I’ll be more than happy. That puts me at an age of…45. I’d be happy if I was still actively training and competing at 45 years of age!

There’s belt stripe testing at the end of the month at the gym, and I’ll be testing for my second stripe. Sort of exciting, and sort of nerve wracking at the same time. R’s going to come over and go over the test requirements next week and put in some extra training. Wish me luck!


A new gym, a new start.

First: A quick re-cap of last week’s training. I hit class 5 times last week, including a special 2 hr class with R at his gym, which always leaves me shaking at the end. I had the chance to roll with some really experienced grapplers and learned to put more of the puzzle together. It’s always a huge win to walk out of class feeling like you finally ‘got’ something. I even put in an extra 2km swim at the pool early on in the week to try to increase my cardio. I dug my ‘Fitness Swimming’ book out of my bookshelf and skimmed a few workouts I’m going to add into my training schedule. We’ll see how well I do with swimming twice a week this week, and class 6x/week with a training session with R squeezed in somewhere. I haven’t really had the chance to lift weights at all this week, but hopefully the new gym (squee!) will be stocked soon.

———-

It’s always exciting to be apart of something new, but even more so when you’re right in the middle of a transitioning phase.

Our gym recently moved into it’s new home, and classes officially move in starting today! With three times the original space we were borrowing, it’s pretty amazing to have the chance to really sprint down the mats and slam down on the mats with nothing in your way. We had an open seminar session/open house event today. Even though I was only there for one no-gi class, it was amazing to see all the friends I’ve made in this short amount of time and have the chance to celebrate with them!

For the instructors and administration staff, it was clearly amazing to watch them beam with pride as our new school officially opens to the public. There were so many new people, I lost track of how many people I tried to introduce myself to this afternoon.

I’m totally stoked because along with the new space, the new schedule came out! There’s additional morning and noon classes! This means that I can finally squeeze in once a day training (at the very least) with a really flexible schedule. I was going around trying to convince my regular lunch class goers to attend the first week of 6:45am classes with me! Some of them honestly didn’t look too impressed/convinced that it would be a good idea, but I’m sure I can coerce them into it. :D

There’s so much to look forward to, including a new fitness/weight lifting area, kids BJJ classes (I’m totally bringing my nephews!), and hopefully some women’s classes in the near future!


When you can’t train…

I’m back on a series of night shifts which really means that I’ll be missing out on training until Wednesday (it’s Monday now). Even then, I’ll have to squeeze in the quick class after my third night shift in a row which is going to be rough. It’s vaguely familiar to a decision I made a few weeks ago. I came off nights, didn’t eat or sleep and showed up to wrestling class… that was *not* pretty.

I can’t wait till we move into our new gym – They’ll be adding a slew of morning and afternoon classes at our new location since it’ll be our gym space exclusively. No more setting up and taking down the mats! It’s all pretty exciting. The photos of the new space look amazing, and the new set of mats come in sometime this week!

Until then, I’m stuck with workouts/drills from home and swimming at the local pool for cardio. My night shift schedule, which is almost the entire month of March consists of coming home, sleeping and waking up midday usually around noon/1pm, working out, food, shower, errands and then back to work for the evening. It’s a pretty constant cycle that doesn’t really allow for any semblance of a social life. My free time during the night shift is spent watching competition footage and BJJ tutorial DVDs. So at least mentally I’m practicing…

Was supposed to have a good training session with R over the weekend, but we got ourselves up to some other fun activities instead! Looks like I’m in for some major ass-kicking this week though… I was even telling him I had to mentally psyche myself up to push my body to train with him. How ridiculous is that? Talk about some sort of emotional masochism.. :P

Anyway, time to set up for another workout with my new toy! I have yet to find the time to go to a shipping yard.. or some other climbing facility and purchase a climbing rope! For now, doing pull-ups and flexed arm hangs are going to have to do… pictures to come!


Active Rest

I finally took some time off to take it easy and let my body heal itself. Unfortunately, I’ve noticed an awkward pattern to my workouts. I have trouble sleeping – and staying asleep if I haven’t sufficiently tired myself out during the day. I’m unsure if this self-induced insomnia is a good thing or if I’m just overtired.. Either way, it’s doing bad things for my circadian rhythm.

Classes have been very technical-based all weekend. We drilled a variety of different takedowns on Sunday and because Monday was a holiday, they hosted a two hour gi choking seminar instead of usual classes. I barely worked up a sweat in either class so I’m looking forward to training with R this weekend and getting my heart rate up.

I’m thinking of going to the gym and hitting up a good workout today with some good cardio and a strong leg/back workout today. If there’s one thing I’m lacking it’s the back strength to maintain and perform pull-ups. I’ve finally installed the hard points in the loft, now to go and purchase a 14′ climbing rope for the rope climb I’m going to install in the loft. Yes, I live in an pretty awesome space.

//

The workout was rough, and didn’t go as smoothly as planned. I was feeling tired after the first 30 minutes on the elliptical, and quit early and headed over to the free weights for some dead lifts. I paced myself through the lifts and my lower back started to spasm on the back extensions so I finished up the last of the back workouts and called it a day. Overall it felt pretty good to lift some weights again even though I was more tired than usual.

Not really looking forward to working nights again. March is a killer month for me as I hit the part of the work schedule that has very few day shifts and plenty of nights. Looks like I’ll be sleeping through most of March!


The Rant.

I dragged myself back to class last night even though I was still feeling my workout from Monday night.

I hadn’t eaten all day since my bowl of oatmeal that morning for breakfast since I was pretty swamped at work. I decided to take a quick nap at home instead of eating (bad idea in retrospect) and ran off to the gym.

It was the gi class first, and I was surprised to see all the new people in class on an early Wednesday night. Actually, I think more than 40% of the class was new – which is awesome! I took a quick glance into the class and spotted B – and made my way over to line up with her. We were the only two girls in the class, and seeing as she’s an experienced Japanese Jiu Jitsu practitioner, I love rolling with her. She kicks my butt on a pretty regular basis and I learn a lot every single time I get a chance to roll with her. Our instructor, K took us through our warmup and drills and I was feeling pretty good. We focused on bear hug escapes and attacking from mount. We both had done the class before, so it was a good review while we joked around after the class.

K was teaching the second no-gi class and our class size instantly doubled! Drats. Space is still a bit of an issue until we move into our new gym (hopefully) in March! Same warmup, same drills, and this time I was pretty gassed. I was breathing hard and chugging water by the second round, and since B had stayed for the second class too, I went to pair up with her again…

 Since the class was larger, and we still had the same amount of new students, K decided it would be a good idea to split up the more experienced students with the new students. There were quite a few more girls, and since we were an uneven number, I was sent to pair up with a relatively new guy, around my size. Oh boy.

rant

Someone should explain this to everyone who comes in. I may be new, but just because you’re some hot shot who thinks it *might* be embarrassing to be tapped out by a girl DOES NOT give you permission to try to muscle me around the mats. We started off by pummeling, and honestly it was me trying to gain underhooks while he shoved me around the mat. I was frustrated, irritated and just didn’t have the patience for his shit.

Look, I work hard in the gym because I love the feeling it gives me. I’m stronger than most girls, but I’m here to learn, not to prove myself that I can handle rolling with the guys. I’m not afraid to learn from you guys because I know you’re naturally better athletes than us females. Still, I deserve respect for coming and working my ass off in class, just as hard as you do, and not have to put up with you going 110% on every single drill. Next time you pull stupid shit like that, I’m going to choke your ass out.

/rant

I knew that my skill wouldn’t hold up to the fact that I was pretty tired already. So, while K was going over the takedown we were about to drill, I tapped B and asked her if I could switch partners with her. I figured: “Fine, if you want to be taught a lesson about what it’s like to roll with a girl, you can deal with B, she’ll show you.” I didn’t swap to ‘hide’ behind my friend, I knew that I wasn’t a good partner for this hot-headed kid, and it would likely end in some sort of injury.

From what I heard from B was that she barely worked up a sweat to defend against the less experienced kid. She told him that she could easily use both her experience in skill and her strength and it wouldn’t help either of them to leran anything in class. He instantly dialed down the intensity after that. Hopefully he’ll approach rolling with a girl in a different manner next time he shows up in class. 

If you haven’t had the chance, read this by BjjGrrl.wordpress.com – She kicks ass and pretty much addresses all the major issues of Do’s and Don’t’s for beginners to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu! Including a great section about ‘Rolling with Girls’. Enjoy!


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