Thursday, December 29, 2011

398 flighthours sparring video

Shot a video of some training from tuesday. Most of my sparring is "silent coaching", where I do something specific in order to help my training partner improve in an area of their game, that is lacking. I rarely just go for the kill myself, maybe a result of not having many guys to train with that are much better than me.

First round is with one of my young guys, who are competing in juvenile. I am taking a few of them to the European Open in a month, and is expecting them to do really well. Last year, we got a silver medal in that age division, so we are going for the gold this time :)

With the strong focus on wrestling, I have had on my kids team, they usually end up on top in the competitions. Therefore, I need them to train a lot of defense against the different guard attacks, they will be exposed to. So in the first round, you will see me do a lot of different attacks and positions, so he can practice keeping his base and defending, while setting up his passes.

Guy in second round has a killer underhook against deep halfguard, so I made sure to get caught in that to practice defending it and also let him get even better at it. Besides that, he just recently moved up to blue belt division and needs to work his "plan B", so I usually roll a little extra hard with him.

Third round is against a heavyweight guy, who has a really good guard. It is so difficult to pass, that he doesn't get to train his bottom game escapes so much. To make sure, he gets a chance to do that, I am more aggressive in passing his guard and putting some pressure on him from top.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

About listening to my body and respecting, what it says.

If there is one thing, I have come to a conclusion about through out the years of training, it is, that when my body is trying tell me something, it is for a reason, and I shouldn't ignore it.

Six years ago, I got a herniated disc in my lower back after a deadlift 1 rep max test. Since then, I haven't done any lower body training because of pain in my leg. I have tried physiotherapy and all sorts of other weird stuff, but nothing really helped, and eventually, I just designed my life and training around the injury, not stressing it too much. A lot of situations in Jiu Jitsu, I just skip if I get there and if I have been standing up for about ten minutes, I always find a place to sit down, not even thinking about it.

I haven't really done any serious rehab training for my lower back since the injury. The first many years, I didn't even know what had happened. Since the pain was in my hip area, many doctors and physiotherapists failed to diagnose me. An MRI scan a few years back finally did the job, and it was nice to find out what was actually the problem.

Now, about a month ago, I re-injured my lower back. It was pretty bad, as I couldn't stand up for a full day. When that happened, I realized, that my body was trying to tell me something. It told me loud and clearly, that I shouldn't ignore my disc injury anymore, and it was now time to do something serious about it. There was no doubt about the message, and I completely got it.

The last month, I have been strengthening my lower back with a serious training programme and it seem to have done wonders. Not only is the injury gone, I feel like my back is even stronger now, than it was before. Since I herniated my disc six years ago, I have not been able to do any form of squat or deadlift. Even with the bar only and no weights on, I would be looking at a good week of nerve pain down my leg after a few sets.

I am thrilled to write, that last week, I managed to do deadlifts for the first time in six years, and I have had no pain from it at all. I am moving slowly and is currently lifting 70 kg and doing some hurdle jumps. It feels great to finally be able to do some leg training again.

Once again, I am reminded, that I should respect my body and obey to whatever it is telling me to do. I recommend you do the same :)

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Ten quick tips for you, who is practicing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

I am trying to organize a ton of notes for my upcoming book, The BJJ Globetrotter, on which I am writing like a maniac at the moment. It is containing a lot of my thoughts and philosophy on Jiu Jitsu, and looking at the notes, I decided to quickly boil some of them down for a blogpost.

So here are ten quick tips to make your training and life easier:
1) Don't worry about getting good. There is always someone out there, who will kick your ass anyway, no matter how "good" you get. Just enjoy the daily training, that’s the real value of Jiu Jitsu.

2) The number one factor to really learn Jiu Jitsu is time. Talent and hard work will get you nowhere without time, and there are no shortcuts. Everyone has periods, where they feel like they have stopped improving or are getting worse. Frustrations like that, are a part of the journey and they will pass. Stick with it and eventually you will be a black belt too, it’s just that simple.

3) Don't try to learn too many things at once. Focus on really learning a few things, maybe only four or five a year. Make a commitment to yourself to always go for these in sparring, and with time, you will end up with a handful of solid a-game moves, that you can pull off against almost anyone. As a beginner, trying to learn a hundred moves off YouTube is a classic mistake. Pick out a few basic things, that you have been taught in person instead.

4) Trust experience. The advantage of having a more experienced teacher is, that he made all the mistakes for you in the past. Even though something might initially not make sense or seem to work for you, trust what he tells you, keep trying and it will pay off in the end.

5) Don’t worry about the color of your belt and number of little tape stripes on it. It really doesn’t make sense to try and sharply divide the skill level of individual athletes into so many categories. Imagine a ranking system like that in any other sport, like maybe tennis, golf or basketball? Measuring your expectations of performance against who ever you clap hands with, through these nonsense visual indicators is impossible. Despite being a cute idea, belts symbolize many other things, than just how you are “supposed” to do in sparring and competition. We are each on own our own journey, and you can confidently be proud of where ever you have personally gotten to. It is normal for many people to feel, that they don’t deserve a promotion, but you have to trust your instructor on that. He probably trained a lot longer than you, and most likely knows better. There will be plenty of time to mature in your belt, and it is a part of it.

6) Compete, even though your brain tries to convince you not to. You will lose and you will suck, but it is an important and non-avoidable part of competing, that pays off in the long run. For us normal people, it takes everything from 20-40 matches to start getting a hang of competing. Everything up until that point is full of nerves, irrational thoughts and lots of bad results. And don't wait till you feel “ready” to compete. No matter how ready and prepared you might think you are, there is still a very good chance, that you will lose anyway. Just jump in the deep water as early as possible and learn how to swim there, instead of spending all your time practicing on land. The experience - no matter the result - is worth way more, than giving in to your natural fear of failing. You will agree, when you've done it.

7) Train with everyone. There isn't one correct way to do Jiu Jitsu and you might have ten different black belts show you ten ways to do the same technique, before you settle on how it works best for you. Also, the people in that other gym in town have similar interests as you, and could very likely become great friends and training partners. Why not pay them a visit next week? Jiu Jitsu politics makes zero sense, except for those, who are worried about losing money or status in a fantasy hierarchy, which basically only exists in their own heads. In the real world, where most of us lives, grown ups should be allowed to play with any other grown ups they like. Especially, if they pay for it.

8) Jiu Jitsu is a fantastic vehicle for social life and traveling. With this sport, you posses a special key to experience other worlds. You can walk into any academy on the planet and you will have an instant network of local friends. That is a bulletproof recipe for lifetime experiences, memories and friendships. Do it.

9) The final answer, on wether you should train gi or no-gi is here. Just do whatever you enjoy most.

10) If you come by a waterfall, always do a cool Kung Fu pose under it. It will improve your balance and sweep defense.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Back injury rehab exercises

Someone commented on one of my recent posts about my back injury, asking about what exercises I used for the rehab. Since my new handy GoPro camera is always at hand in the gym, I brought it downstairs to our CrossFit gym today and filmed my routine.

I tried to remember all the exercises, I have been doing since I got the injury, but probably missed one or two. In the video, I show all of them, but during the last few weeks, it has of course been a progression, starting with the easy ones, building up strength to be able to do the hard ones.

My back feels really good now, and I have started to roll again. Still only sparring with the 15-16 year old boys that don't have the weight to push my back too much, but they are giving me a serious run for my money.

Maybe you can use some of it too, maybe not. At least it is here for my own future reference, if I get back pain again :)

Friday, December 9, 2011

Quick update: Back on the mats!

I visited my physio today and he was surprised, how fast I had healed up. Rolled a little bit with the teens wednesday and today with some adults, just making sure I didn't have any heavy loads on my lower back. It went fine, and I am psyched to work my way back up to high intensity training again.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Rehabbing like a boss, will roll tomorrow.

I've been really consistent with the rehab training for my back this time, doing it twice a day since I got the injury last friday. There is a great improvement, and I plan on trying to slowroll a little tomorrow. I'll probably start out by rolling with the kids and teens first, before I move on to the adults next week. It is such a privilege to have high level technical sparring partners in all ages and sizes to chose from, when I am injured :)

Was working on some technique for an hour today, and back didn't complain at all, so I am very pleased. I think my mental focus on fixing this injury has really made a difference to me. Instead of seeing the injury as an annoying thing keeping me from training, I have chosen to look it as a challenge. Like a competition, I am trying to win and I will work every day to improve whatever it takes to succeed. In some way, it has actually been exciting to try and fix myself. I must say I am a little surprised, that I feel this way about having an injury, but I will definitely keep this mindset for next time something happens. Makes it a little less boring to be sidelined from sparring.

Hopefully, I will have enough time to get up in gear before the European Open in Portugal in January. Just bought the plane ticket today!