Faixa Rua/Roll Supreme banner

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Training both sides

This is something that comes up a lot when I'm teaching, and it's an important issue for drilling. Should you train everything both sides or not?

I definitely believe not.

Now, some things you do have to train both sides. If you can't bridge and shrimp escape both sides you are in big trouble. Same goes for any escape, especially when it comes to submissions. Generally, escape options are highly limited from any position (because so much of your body/movement is being controlled) so you should know them all well from both sides.

...but in attacking positions you always have a wide range of options and variations on them all. So if you're in a position where you're in control you should do what feels natural. That might mean you do drill something both sides, but if you find you really suck at something on one side, or you know you would never do it that side, spend the time drilling it on the good side. Why waste 50% of your time training below par?

If you're novice enough that when you drill something one side you just can't get it, but the other side you're ok, then getting really good on one side and rubbish on the other is definitely going to benefit you more than being ok on one side and still rubbish on the other.

If you're more experienced, so you can do a movement both sides but it feels much more natural on one, then as long as you have good attacking options from each position both sides, it doesn't have to be the same one. When you are fighting hard you will attack with what is natural to you.

By the time you get to an advanced level, you will pretty much be able to do everything both sides with relative ease as far as drilling goes, or at worst not take long to get the hang of it... but you'll still attack what is natural when fighting hard :)

Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Tough times

What's happening dudes? So I've had a long time between blogs again, apologies! My training has been terrible for the last two months; I had my knee surgery (3 weeks out) then it was the quieter xmas/ny period and I also had a cold so barely trained, then as soon as I got back to full training I had an infection in an ingrowing hair... nightmare. It's over with now though, so all good.

I stayed off blogging during this time because I get really frustrated easily when I can't train properly (ask my wife, haha). As it's my job I have to teach no matter what, but just teaching isn't enough to replace the desire to roll, and can make things worse. So I avoided writing about jiu-jitsu as it would have only increased the frustration at having been off proper training for so long... 3 weeks off after surgery I could just about cope with (as I knew it was coming up ahead of time) but almost 2 months is unbearable.

Tough times are really what jiu-jitsu is all about though, if it's not tough something isn't right. If you leave training feeling fresh then you probably haven't improved much; you either haven't done enough training, you haven't rolled with the right people, you haven't put yourself in bad positions during sparring... or maybe all three. You always have to try to push yourself, both physically and mentally, every session. If you always pick sparring partners who you know you can dominate you'll gain nothing, if you sit out rounds you're limiting your growth, if it's the last round and you're tired, your grip is dead and the only partner left is a higher belt the last thing you should do is not roll.

Competition is probably the toughest part of jiu-jitsu, because everything is magnified. If you tap you do it in front of potentially hundreds of people. When you lose you don't just restart and try again or move on to the next opponent, you go home. You might have trained specifically for the comp for weeks or months, dieted to make weight, driven hundreds of miles or more to the competition... and you face the prospect of losing in 10 or 20 seconds. It's a tough thing to do, so why do it? Because it's tough! It makes you stronger mentally, dealing with the nerves in the build up, having to face unknown opponents, dealing with the losses and disappointments.

Overcoming adversity will only improve your jiu-jitsu, and in life in general will make you a much stronger person. So the next time you feel like taking the easy option in something, take a moment to reconsider and think about which choice will really be the best in the long term.

Back to more regular blogs now, so check back soon :)

Thursday, 2 January 2014

So it's the new year and all that

I guess this is the time for looking back at the year which has just finished and planning for the new one yeah? Well, ok then...

So to review 2013, it was pretty awesome all round really. Two big things happened in my jiu-jitsu life; I got promoted to black belt and found out I would be running my own academy in 2014. The black belt was obviously a good feeling, but not due to the belt... just because it means Braulio is happy for me to represent him as a black belt, and I now get to fight the toughest guys in competition. Getting to run my own academy is awesome and something I have always hoped for since I started teaching full-time. I've always enjoyed the teaching side of jiu-jitsu and put more effort into it than my own competitive career, so to take charge of an academy is something I can't wait to do.

My own competition success was as minimal as it gets, just one silver medal, but I was sidelined a lot of the time through injury and hope to make amends for this in the coming year. However, as an academy, our competition success was absolutely immense. Our students won a total of 212 medals (74 gold) and we had 111 different medal winners (52 champions!) - only including adult grappling competitions. Most amazingly was that our overall top medal winner was a 16 year old girl who won 5 adult competitions, plus took 2 silvers and a bronze. Unreal performance for someone who is only barely in the juvenile division.

I've also seen a lot of my most committed students win medals and my classes have all grown and developed amazingly throughout the year. As much as the style I teach (a small amount of techniques each class with lots of tough sparring, as I was taught) must definitely put some people off, it is working well in the long-term... producing medal winners, tough fighters and breeding a great sense of team spirit and pride.

On the issue of not competing much due to injury, I had surgery on my knee a few months ago and it seems to have healed fairly well (although I have had some soreness the last few days). Hopefully it's all good long-term and my training won't be as fractured going forward.

Outside my jiu-jitsu life I had many great moments... I have seen my son grow and develop at a great rate, starting school and getting on really well. He's also done his first jiu-jitsu lesson which I hope will be something he will love as much as I do. I also celebrated my 5th wedding anniversary and 10th year of knowing my wife... still loving every day too. I feel lucky that all I do with my time is spend it with my family or train jiu-jitsu, it surely doesn't get better?

So, the year ahead... straight away I can tell you I don't do new year's resolutions. Goals can be set at any time, and setting goals means nothing, achieving goals is what is important. I made some of these a while back before my surgery and that's still my current set of goals, with the addition now of some involving running my own academy (usual stuff; produce good fighters, have students win a lot of medals, grow the student base etc).

But about goals/resolutions in general... I have a few which I always live by;

- don't be an asshole, unless it's necessary
- treat people kindly, unless they don't deserve it
- improve myself in everything I do
- always look to learn and experience new things

And that's it.

Now, there's nothing wrong with setting goals, but if you want to then make sure you do the important part and actually try to achieve them. Setting goals accomplishes nothing.