Do You Ever Feel Stuck In Your BJJ Progression?

 

BJJ Black belt and all around cool guy Jean Machado just came out with a short and sweet video to help you get over the BJJ plateau you’ve been experiencing.

 

 

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White Belt Woes: How Focus Overcomes The Urge To Quit

 

I was thirty-two years old, sitting at Buddy Guy’s Legends, a Blues bar on Wabash in Chicago, the day I quit playing guitar. I was both a new parent and from the Eastern Time Zone so I found myself there early, around 10:30 p.m. It’s the perfect Chicago Blues bar: dim, a little dirty, tables with uneven legs, beer served mostly in cold bottles and jambalaya offered on a paper plate in a red, plastic holder. On stage the opening act was an older black man with a well-worn guitar.

I’d been playing and singing for about six years and managed to land a regular Friday night gig at a local brewery. I played my heart out, but I was mostly ignored. I practiced until my fingers bled, hoping one day to have the skills to make my audience notice me. Skills like the opener at Buddy Guy’s Legends had in spades.

I found out later he taught Blues theory at a local college. He certainly had the chops. His fingers were a blur of precise note choices. He nailed the bends, had just the right amount of vibrato and never misplayed a string. When he sang, it was like heart break spilled out of his mouth and into your soul through your ears. I was impressed, captivated, moved and — alone. The other thirty odd patrons gave just a passing notice to what I thought was a master class in music. But, to be completely honest, I remember neither his name nor the college at which he taught, so in spite of my admiration I would have forgotten him altogether if he had not also inspired me to quit playing guitar.

I quit because I knew I could play, and practice, and learn, and study, and play some more and no matter what I did, I would never be as good as him. As I watched him ignored by his audience the way I was by mine, I knew the likelihood I would ever reach my musical goals was small. If he couldn’t do it, how could I?

Playing guitar wasn’t going anywhere. It was a waste of my time. I quit.

A similar moment occurred in my jiujitsu life. I was a white-belt rolling with Alvin Robinson, a Royce Gracie black-belt who fought both Nate Diaz and Kenny Florian in the UFC, and has a professional record of 13 and 7. Alvin was a great partner who, over my time as a white-belt, taught me more than he probably realizes. As usual in my rounds with Alvin, I was on the bottom, desperately trying not to be submitted. I was doing great. Still a step behind, but managing to thwart all of Alvin’s submission attempts. Or, so I thought. Suddenly, Alvin went to defcon three, and in about seven seconds I was in an arm bar tighter than a gnat’s ass. I tapped. The timer buzzed. Alvin patted me on the chest, “I saw the time!” he laughed.

I hadn’t been defending Alvin trying to submit me, I’d been defending Alvin graciously trying to teach me how to defend. He could have tapped me out in any seven second period of the round, he just chose to wait until the last seven seconds. Alvin is one year younger than I am. I could practice the rest of my life and Alvin will always be better.

But, I did not quit Jiujitsu.

It’s not that I like Brazilian jiujitsu more than guitar, or martial arts more than music. I love both, but honestly there’s a lot less pain and ER visits for the musician. And, I suppose if I ever find a genie bottle and can wish to either do Jiujitsu like Leandro Lo or sing like Justin Timberlake you’d be more likely to see me on the Tonight show with Jimmy Fallon than on the podium at worlds.

The difference is this: Jiujitsu does things for my life that have nothing to do with how good I am at it. I’m in better shape, more focused, sleeping better, eating better, have more friends and laugh like a giggly schoolgirl through every class. Even the ones I get crushed in. Jiujitsu’s impact on my life has been profoundly positive. Being on the mat brings me joy that sneaks its way into every aspect of my day. Playing music was something I did for others. Jiujitsu is something I do for me.

As a white-belt it’s easy to be discouraged. Often it’s not being smashed under mount and continually tapped that does the discouraging. It’s the confusion. You are getting smashed and submitted, you don’t know why, and you’re pretty sure it’s never going to get better. You feel like you’ll always be the worst guy or girl in the class, so you quit. That’s a mistake.

If you want to train jiujitsu for a long time, you have to learn to control your focus. If you become focused on what you can’t do, the tournaments you didn’t win or the people in class you couldn’t catch, you will never feel good about your training. But, your training isn’t about them. It’s about you. Instead focus on what jiujitsu can do for your life. How does training make you a better person? Do any of the benefits have anything to do with how good you are at it?

What do you get by struggling, even in vain, to improve your jiujitsu? Everything I’ve already mentioned. Fitness, friendship, self-defense skills and a few laughs — some of them at yourself. So, don’t worry about how you stack up against everyone in your class. Run your own race. Be happy that you are better than you were and don’t worry about being better than your partner. Focus on what jiujitsu adds to your life, and keep plugging away. One final thought? You are getting better, whether you realize it or not.

 

About the author: Dan Vigil is a writer and MMA coach who runs The Fighter’s Pen, and is available to write websites and manage blogs for martial arts schools.

 

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Is Sport Jiu-Jitsu BAD For Self-Defense?

 

Usually a BJJ practitioner finds themselves inclining toward the sport aspect of Jiu-Jitsu while others lean toward self-defense. It all depends on what you want to get out of Jiu-Jitsu.

However, could practicing Jiu-Jitsu for sport actually be a hindrance to self-defense?

 

 

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How Often Should a BJJ Competitor Train?

 

In a typical BJJ academy, competitors will often make up fro 10 to 30% of the student body. Then from that small group of competitors, you have to distinguish the pro and regular competitors.

Pro competitors actually make a living from sponsors, teaching seminars and training and BJJ is pretty much all they do. These practitioners are part of the elite of our sport and you will not find them in many academies.

Regular competitors typically compete a few times a year and have regular jobs and families. They are serious about training and competing but they also have a life and obligations.

Multiple time BJJ world and ADCC champion Andre Galvao talks about how often should a BJJ competitor train in order to have results. Galvao is the owner and head instructor of Atos San Diego which has an army of the top BJJ competitors in the world so he is well placed to know what it takes.

“I think a competitor needs to train a lot because you want to have the best result in the tournament, so you need to train at least twice a day in Jitsu. You need to have conditioning as well. Strength and conditioning aside, I think you can do like two to four times a week in conditioning some type of cardio as well. I know people say ‘oh you should like roll a lot to get a better cardio’ but I think like when you do a different type of cardio such as running or bike or maybe even just going to a nice place on the beach and swimming I think you improve your overall cardio.”

Extra cardio

“So I think for competitors, you need to add some type of training that will increase your cardio because it’s really important. You can have all the techniques right but if you don’t have a good conditioning it’s gonna be hard for you to apply the techniques during the fight, especially like under pressure. You have a lot of pressure going on during the tournaments, and a lot of adrenaline so training wise you need to train as much as you can no matter what.”

“I think like a blue belt, purple belt needs to train every single day and then Saturdays, maybe like Sunday off; but in the middle of the week you need to have a break and you need to have a time for yourself as well.”

Avoiding overtraining

“I think is too much sometimes when you’re just on the mat all the time all the time then you can burn so I suggest to have a balance: Maybe going to movie theater, maybe going to the beach, enjoy your girlfriend or your friends and I think it’s part of life as well otherwise you’re gonna be stuck in the gym. You need to get the sunlight as it helps your vitamin D which helps a lot against depression. A lot of people they try really hard and they got super depressed you know so I suggest you to not only work at the gym but when you do a cardio or you do something different you can go outdoors.”

 

 

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Demian Maia Wrestling Study

 

Demian Maia: Wrestling Takedowns

One of the biggest problems that high level Jiu-Jitsu fighters have is that the fight starts standing. Wrestling takedowns is the transition from standing to the ground and Jiu-Jitsu doesn’t put enough emphasis on them. Demian Maia is the best in the game that made the necessary adjustments to be successful in MMA. Watch him execute a series a takedowns on world class fighters.

 

 

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Do You Suck At Jiu-Jitsu? This Post Is For You!

 

Charlie From The Plaza here. I’ve been getting a lot of requests for technique videos, but come on, there are 71k other guys on YouTube how can teach you that stuff. What I want to talk about today is kind of serious: “The Blue Belt Blues” or whatever you want to call them, they’re a real thing. Often unspoken about, it’s important to realize that jiu-jitsu has it’s downs as well as ups. Here’s some advice on how to deal with unproductive times in BJJ training. CRINGE WARNING!

 

 

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Sprained Ankle From BJJ? Follow These Tips To Help With Quicker Recovery!

 

I had an ankle sprain in training a while back. I felt the ankle pop and then pain started. I was not sure of the intensity of the injury. I did a quick assessment which I show in the video.

This is by no means an all-inclusive or completely thorough assessment and should not be a reason to not see a medical professional. These are just a few aspects to look if you injure your ankle in training with a some tips to speed up recovery.

Try these quick steps:
1. Feel around the ankle to look for tender areas as well as any visible deformities in the ankle joint or foot.
2. Next see if you can move the ankle. If its swollen, stiff, and/or sore that is normal. If there is a noticable grinding, instability, the ankle feels out of place, then those are signs that a more serious injury occurred and seeing a medical professional is highly recommended.
3. See if you can stand on the ankle. If you can walk without much pain then thats a good sign as well.

Tips For Recovery:
1. Compression (Ace bandage or ankle brace)
2. Ice (my preference), or heat (I usually incorporate heat after 48 hours).
3. Range of motion for the ankle (Circles, Up and down, Side to side) to help regain motion and get fresh blood in the ankle to promote healing.
4. Elevate the ankle to assist with swelling.

Best of luck and hope this helps!

 

 

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