Nothing is stronger than the bond between brothers! In this clip Kim Terra talks about how he and brother Caio started getting into Jiu-Jitsu.
“That’s what happens when you want something that much. You make it happen!”
The advice below assumes you are training at a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu school, but have extra time at home you want to use too. Nothing can replace regular attendance at a real BJJ academy with a qualified instructor. You can’t really learn BJJ practicing it on your own or with a few friends who don’t know what they’re doing either.
Here’s what you can do with extra time away at home to keep improving your BJJ:
Study BJJ instructionals. You can learn a lot from watching videos. There has never been more material available on DVD or streaming online. But don’t get lost in hours of mindless cool moves or collecting techniques you’ll never use. Every technique you want to really learn needs to be backed up with hands-on drilling and sparring.
Analyze BJJ tournament footage. Footage of competition matches is at an all time high too. YouTube and Budovideos On-Demand has hundreds of hours. You can look up matches from the most recent events, or study a specific fighter’s gameplan across events. To get the most out of it, try to figure out what the key moments and techniques were.
Do strength and conditioning training. I’m not here to be your fitness guru, but with a little research you can put together good workout routines to do at home. My main advice is to not get too fancy or silly like trying to do inverted guard spins against a heavy bag. Stick to classic exercises like squats, lunges, push-ups, sprints, etc. As with BJJ, I recommend getting real instruction before doing any workouts where bad form or simple mistakes could harm you.
Stretch and improve your mobility. Learn stretches you can do at home to gain flexibility and correct any posture problems you have from BJJ and your normal life (like sitting at a desk all day). These are especially valuable if you’re also working on your S&C. You could benefit from going to yoga classes to pick up stretches and poses.
Eat healthy. You don’t need to do anything extreme to eat healthier. Eat more fruits and vegetables, don’t eat too much sugar, salt and fat, and make sure you’re getting all your vitamins and minerals. Avoid fad and cure-all diets.
Get good sleep. The important things are often the simple things. Get to bed on time and make sure you’re comfy enough to put in a night’s worth of restful sleep. Your body needs this time to rest and recover.
Build a home gym and have friends come over to train. Convert your garage or basement into a mini-gym. You can buy roll-out mats to put in your garage, or research how to construct your own grappling mats. I’ll leave it up to you to make friends at the academy who want to show up at your place and put in extra reps. Make sure your homeowner’s insurance will cover you in the event of an unfortunate accident!
Regardless of the art, most martial arts have one piece of equipment in common – the mouthguard.
Over the last twelve years I have trained in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Krav Maga, Muay Thai and Karate. Despite the different philosophies, rule sets and training environments one thing was constant: there was always a significant risk of my teeth being knocked out.
No matter how skillful you are or how safe you train, when sparring is involved, there is a risk that an elbow, head, fist, knee or foot will strike your face with enough force to cause permanent damage. I have both seen and (un-intentionally) caused this to happen. It is because of this risk that I am religious with wearing my mouthguard.
Any mouthguard will do, however typically the custom fit – dentist made ones are best. Whilst there will be some cost (often not if you have private health cover), it will be worth paying if the guard helps you to avoid chipped or broken teeth. The pain, hassle and cost of fixing that problem is something that I wouldn’t wish upon anyone.
Once you have a mouthguard, it is important that you maintain it and keep it clean.
After each training session, make sure to rinse it in cold running water and shake it dry. To avoid build-up of grit on the guard, you can brush it with a toothbrush and toothpaste once per week.
Make sure that you have an aerated storage container that is in a separate part of your bag to where your dirty training gear is stored for the trip home – you wouldn’t want any sweat dripping into the container and festering.
Remember, your mouth-guard is something that you are putting in your mouth on a daily basis. Proper maintenance will help to ensure that you stay healthy.
Zachary Phillips – Zimmah Muscle Therapy
by John B. Will
Here’s a little advice for any Blue Belts languishing on the Blue Belt plateau. I am confident these tips will help!
ONE: Develop the habit of paying attention to detail from here on in … as soon as you have the ‘big picture’ or broad-strokes covered off, begin fleshing out the details; the real Jiu-Jitsu resides in understanding nuance. Drilling down is how we unearth the diamonds.
TWO: Ask 5 simple questions for everything you learn … what is our left arm/hand bringing to the technique? Our right arm/hand? Our left leg/foot? Our right leg/foot? And what is the general direction/shape of the technique? By asking and answering these five questions, I have noticed people really begin to take faster ownership of a technique. Using this little formula was how I stepped onto the path of technical Jiu-Jitsu.
THREE: Embrace the suck … there it is! Sometimes training sucks (sometimes life sucks) – it is just important to realize that this is often when the real learning is to be found. Seeking out the suck is the antithesis of being fragile. No one likes the suck …. but it is our response to the suck that brings positive change/immunization, etc.
FOUR: Begin to develop a game after Blue (used to be purple). Developing a game is an important part of developmental strategy. A solid three-pronged approach is to identify, practice and develop – a passing strategy – a guard strategy – a top-game finishing strategy. A highly recommended fourth prong would be to develop a solid takedown plan as well. Don’t worry too much about your first game (or you second or third for that matter) – it’s not set in stone; but it’s a start and a way to begin focusing on what you are doing.
FIVE: Be the training partner everyone wants to roll with! Just that!
Hope this is of help to those here who want to build a better mat. – John B. Will of Red Cat Academy
Finding the right gym can be a challenge for anyone. Finding a place to train that has an instructor who’s training philosophy lines up with yours or that has people that you actually want to be around can be hard. As a teenage girl in a male dominated sport, that can be even harder. Luckily for me, I have been blessed with an amazing gym, instructor and training partners.
I live in a small town, so choosing a gym to train at wasn’t very difficult. I pretty much had two options unless I wanted to drive over an hour away, which wasn’t logical for me.
When I seriously started looking to train I was sixteen. The number of teenage girls who train in Jiu-Jitsu world wide is small. In my hometown that number was non existent until I came along. Now its 1. Because of that, when my now instructor said he would take me on, he was a little wary and so were my parents. There weren’t other girls for me to train with. At the time there wasn’t even other boys for me to train with. It was all men.
For a young girl to start training in a very intimate sport that we didn’t know much about, with a bunch of men, everyone around me was a little timid. Before my first class one other woman joined so when I actually started I wasn’t the only female, just the only kid. Looking back now, I wouldn’t change anything about that.
When I first started everything was brand new to me. The gym, the people, mats, gis, grappling, the entire sport. I was lucky to find an instructor and training partners that were willing to help me find my way in the sport rather than showing the new, young white belt that they were better than her.
Finding the right fit with training partners can make or break a young athlete in this sport, especially a girl. If I would have gone to my first couple classes and had the guys that were there just over powering me and relying on strength and size because they were bigger, my Jiu-Jitsu experience would be a much different one. I have been extremely blessed to train with the people that respect the art of Jiu-Jitsu and understand what it’s really about.
On the flip side the people you train with can also make you. Training with partners that are bigger and strong than me only helps to improve my game. Helio Gracie once said, “Always assume that your opponent is going to be bigger, stronger and faster than you; so that you learn to rely on technique, timing and leverage rather than brute strength.” There is so much truth to that quote.
Everyday I walk into the gym my “opponents” are all bigger and stronger than me. Because of that my game has become so technical. I don’t even have the option to use strength.
I’m so thankful for all of my teammates that are bigger and stronger than me for helping me along the way and I’m so thankful for my coach for developing athlete’s that stay true to the art and respect their training partners and for taking on a young girl in a male dominated sport
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