If you have been following this page for long enough you will see that we have been closely following chef, author and TV personality Anthony Bourdain’s BJJ white belt journey. In this most recent interview with the Opie and Jimmy Radio Show, Anthony talks living the BJJ lifestyle; including his weight loss and rolling with bigger and younger students.
It is an hour long interview but they start talking BJJ at the very beginning.
Something big is going down this weekend. Super-Heavyweight big. If it isn’t Metamoris 6, it is certainly an event aimed at building the Metamoris 6 card.
Behind the scenes Ralek Gracie and his team have been working on a secret tournament that will take place this weekend in California.
The tournament will work in a round robin format, with each man competing a minimum of four 15 minute matches during the course of the day. While the scoring system has not yet been announced, it is believed that the total number of submissions scored by a grappler in his 4 matches will be weighted higher than winning on points.
The line-up for the tournament is yet to be released, but will consist of grapplers based in the California area, and is open for super-heavyweights only.
While it remains to be seen who will appear in this secret tournament, it is certainly an interesting concept. A round robin tournament with each match to be released online over the course of a few weeks, with the winner getting a big contract with the promotion, it draws striking similarities with the UFC’s flagship show The Ultimate Fighter.
Sources close to the event have stated that the tournament’s winner will likely face Josh Barnett, who is coming off a stunning submission victory of Dean Lister at Metamoris 4.
How To Improve Your Cardio For Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
It can be one of the hardest parts of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu to get used to early on. Whether you are an athletic person or not, when you begin training BJJ, you quickly realize that your cardiovascular endurance is not on the level of the more experienced practitioners in the room. This is perfectly normal.
I was very athletic when started BJJ three years ago. I went to the gym 5 days per week and would do at least 45 minutes of cardio each visit. However when I started rolling, or sparring BJJ, after 20 minutes I was outside hanging over a ledge gasping for air. The cardiovascular drain experienced in Jiu Jitsu cannot be explained until you feel it for yourself.
One of the saddest ways to tap out in BJJ is the “cardio tap”. This is where you tap, not due to a submission hold, but rather lack of cardio. It is always embarrassing and it is never something your coach likes to see.
So how can one improve their cardio for BJJ? This is what Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Legend Marcelo Garcia has to say about the situation:
“I put all of my energy into Jiu Jitsu because I don’t have to do anything (else). I don’t have to lift weights. I don’t have to jog. My energy has to be focused on this if I want to improve on this. If I want to improve on this I don’t want to improve my running or swimming. I want to improve upon Jiu Jitsu so I put all of my energy on that. But, you have to try and reach your limit.”
Essentially Marcelo is saying that if you want to improve your cardio strength for BJJ, do more BJJ, and really give it your best sustained effort!
However some people cannot get to the BJJ gym everyday to practice Jiu Jitsu. If that is your situation, here are some great ways to improve your cardio for BJJ, outside of the academy:
Sprint Walking: Warm your body up by running at a slow-to-medium pace for about 5 minutes. The sprint portions should last between 10-20 seconds, and the walk portion could last between 20 seconds and 2 minutes, depending on your fitness level and the progression of your training session. The walk portions tend to increase as the session unfolds.
Hill Running: Find a steep hill. You probably have one within a half-mile or so of your house, even if you’ve never noticed it. It doesn’t have to be much. Jog to the hill and then run up it as fast as you can. You’ll be warmed up by the time you reach the top. Walk back down the hill and repeat as many times as you can. The great thing about hill sprints is that they dictate the pace of your run. After four repetitions, my heart always feels like it’s going to burst out of my chest. The light jog back to your house is your cool-down.
Stationary Bike or Aerodyne: After a warm-up of 5 minutes start your sprint phase by standing up and pedaling as fast as you can for 30 seconds. Then sit down and pedal for 30 seconds at a slow pace (“walk” phase). There are many different sprint-rest combinations you can try, but generally speaking after 20 minutes of 30/30, your legs will be so exhausted that you can barely walk.
One final note for White Belts: It is very easy to spaz about while rolling which causes an immense energy drain. Look for places and times where you can rest and relax your muscles mid-roll. Sometimes when you pass the guard you can take a few moments to lock in your position, while at the same time relaxing your muscles and breathing. Other times when your guard is passed, there is sometimes a moment or two where you can regather yourself while your opponent thinks about their next move. This latter practice is dangerous against higher belts because they don’t require as much time to ponder their next moves.
Hope you enjoyed the article! Good luck with your cardio and your BJJ journey!
Differences Between Japanese Jiu Jitsu & Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
What’s the difference between Japanese Jiu Jitsu and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu? Japanese Jiu Jitsu was the original samurai art. Some call it the “mother art”. It incorporated everything that they needed to use on the battlefield when the samurai soldiers were fighting. Obviously certain assumptions come along with that; that you are big and strong, that you are wearing armor and that you’re carrying a samurai sword (a katana).
Over the years in Japan the art was passed down from one generation to the next and it was sort of, not watered down, but it was obviously made a bit safer in some ways. As an example, the original “hip throw” wasn’t your back to someone else’s stomach. You would rotate around and it was your back to someone else’s back. You would throw them over the top so that they would land on their neck. The idea on the battlefield was breaking their neck, something you can’t really practice very often.
So there were certain things that were changed and adjusted over the years. But, the interesting thing about Japanese Jiu Jitsu is that it contains so much. There are so many different elements to it in the classes. You might do grappling sometimes, but you also might do kata (synchronized movements, or “forms”). It could be the throws that you see in Judo. It could be Aikido or directional throws. It could be striking, some of which got brought over into Karate. So there are lots of different elements under the umbrella of Japanese Jiu Jitsu.
The main difference between Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Japanese Jiu Jitsu is that Brazilian Jiu Jitsu focuses on one element of that. That element improves it 100 fold. So while someone who does BJJ may not know anything in terms of kata, or may not know any weapons work, or any of the classical stuff. This section here, which is the grappling game, in my opinion they are much better because they focus on it so much more.
If you enjoy this topic check out our article from Bill Jones where he describes his first BJJ class as one coming from a Japanese Jiu Jitsu background!
It is true that a lot of the techniques that we see in BJJ originally came from Japan, but BJJ has actually built on it so much more now. It’s like branches of a tree. When you learn Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, or Gracie Jiu Jitsu, you will see a lot more branches coming out. You become more able to actually react to what the other person is doing. Many times guys with a Japanese Jiu Jitsu background are more aggressive and harder simply because they have to enforce the techniques that they know.
BJJ is generally a more relaxed art; less classical, with less formality. Brazilians are a lot more relaxed in that respect. As a result there is more testing of the art. Where the Japanese mindset is that the instructor will dictate things to you, in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu the instructor says “Okay I’m going to teach this, now let’s try it.” Things are tested by the instructor.
In Japanese Jiu Jitsu the instructor will dictate and you are forced to have respect. That’s the etiquette. In Brazilian Jiu Jitsu the instructor will teach but then work with you. When you see what is going on there the respect for the instructor is implied through practical means.
Grandmaster Helio Gracie was born October 1, 1913 and passed January 29, 2009. He is credited with being one of the founding fathers of our beloved sport of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
Helio was not physically a large man. His lack of an imposing physical stature caused him to make adaptations to the Jiu Jitsu that he had learned from his older brother Carlos. Eventually his adaptations would allow for the smaller person to be able to defeat the larger person. Before Helio Gracie, “size mattered” in terms of combat sports and self-defense.
This “David and Goliath” theme would be revisited in 1993 when the most unimposing of Helio’s sons Royce, would herald the popularization of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in the United States at UFC 1.
(Helio Gracie’s son Royce Gracie fighting at UFC 5)
Thankfully video camera technology was around to chronicle the rise of Gracie Jiu Jitsu, and thankfully it is all available on YouTube for the world to witness. Much of the footage below is quite rare and would probably have gone largely unseen were it not for this age of video sharing. That being said I hope you enjoy!