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!


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