Since reading the BJJ Globetrotter, my goal has been to travel and train as much as possible. Some would say I’m living the BJJ dream. To most, that dream has to be attained one vacation at a time. Unfortunately, 90% of practitioners are unable to give up the daily grind to train three times a day in between eating acai and relaxing on the beach.
But recently I had the pleasure of doing just that for the first time in three years. Ten days of my life were solely dedicated to jiu-jitsu and living the lifestyle. Myself and five other BJJ enthusiasts from Perth, Western Australia, traveled to San Diego, where we fully immersed ourselves in the culture that is the San Diego jiu-jitsu scene. We woke up early, we trained, we had breakfast, we relaxed, we trained at lunch time, we ate, we relaxed, we returned to the academy again for the evening class, then we slept, and we repeated. We had no other responsibilities other than trying to keep each other accountable and making each class, which was done for the best part of the trip barring a couple of small injuries.
When we were planning the trip we had one particular academy in mind. However, without prior knowledge of the scene in its entirety, we were surprised by how welcoming everyone in San Diego was when they heard our accents and that we had come out specifically to train. The invites came thick and fast to attend classes and open mats across the city, most of which we managed to get too.
So what happened when the vacation came to an end? What happened when we returned to reality? What happened when we had to go back to the daily grind with no beaches, consistent training, or acai bowls?
I can only speak for myself in this situation, but I was happy to be home with my wife and with my two children. However, I woke up the day after returning and realised I wasn’t going to get to train two or three times that day or even that week unless it was fighting for the double-unders when hugging my wife or sizing up a Ko soto-gari on my eldest daughter. The closest thing I was going to get that matched my freshly made acai bowl from the Pacific beaches was drinking a smoothie while looking at photos and telling stories of my trip. The only accents I would hear would be my own while recreating a scene to my children of one of the Brazilian professors telling me what I was doing wrong in my technique. (The sounds of their laughter at my stupidity were well worth the poor attempt at the accent).
For the first time I truly understood what it meant to have an addiction to BJJ. I started to get frustrated and angry with little things that would not normally bother me. It wasn’t until a week after I returned that I realised it was because I was literally coming down from a ten-day BJJ binge. I was high on a drug and then it stopped cold turkey. I couldn’t believe the effect that trip had on me during and after.
Does this mean I would not do the trip again? Absolutely not! I actually plan on arranging more of these trips in the future and encourage anyone with a passion for both jiu-jitsu and travelling to do the same. The experiences and the lessons I picked up in those 10 days are etched into my memory forever. The skills I learnt on the mat are sure to improve my jiu-jitsu game tenfold and getting to train with so many different people and learn through many different styles of instruction has opened my eyes to the wider world of the jiu-jitsu community, a community that I cannot wait to explore further. If you ask me if you should travel specifically for training, my answer is simple: yes, but beware! It may take some time to return to reality of normality.
Original article written by Luke Docherty and appears @ Jiu Jitsu Times
By: Keeling Taylor, BJJ & Judo Black Belt
Every person who has ever stepped onto a jiu jitsu mat has tasted the bitter flavor of defeat. There isn’t a single person who has escaped the need to tap. It’s just part of the game. For some people it’s no big deal…tap and keep rolling, but for others tapping is a huge blow to their ego. Why? Let’s examine what the tap means and figure out how getting tapped actually makes your jiu jitsu better.
What does the tap mean? For most martial arts, speaking more specifically to the striking based arts, there is only one signifier that you have beat your opponent. That is that they are lying on the mat, having been knocked unconscious. This leaves little room for speculation about who is the victor. But jiu jitsu is different because we get the opportunity to demonstrate that our opponent has compromised our position and threatened us gravely enough to warrant an act of capitulation — the tap. But what does the tap really mean?
Some players view the tap as a definitive expression that your opponent is better than you. We all know the guy that will let himself be hurt avoiding the tap or will hurt his training partner in pursuit of a tap. He is 100% convinced that tapping to a training partner is saying that the training partner is better than him — that’s why he works so hard to tap everyone he rolls with. His ego depends on it. His perception of his place in the hierarchy of the school depends on it. But what if he taps? Is he not as good as his training partner? Will his coach think less of him? Will he become the butt of a joke among the people he trains with? The answers to those questions are resoundingly no, no, and NO!
Tapping is a great way to learn. If we avoid rolling with people who are able to catch us then we are also avoiding the chance that we can be put in a compromising position. That’s a good thing right? Sure, if you want to pretend that you’re the best player to ever don a gi and grace a jiu jitsu tatame. But let me tell you a secret…everyone gets tapped. Let me repeat that again — EVERYONE GETS TAPPED. Marcelo Garcia got tapped by Robert Drysdale. Buchecha got caught by Roger Gracie. Dean Lister by Josh Barnett, Joao Miyao armbarred by Keenan Cornelius, Andre Galvão choked by Rodolfo Vieira, and the list goes ever on. If these legends avoided testing themselves against dangerous opponents then their legendary status would be questionable.
So how does losing make you better? The answer is simple — it gives you things to work on. It helps you to tighten up the holes, to address your tendencies (they become obvious, predictable, and exploitable over time), and to help you always remember that the goal is to continually develop your jiu jitsu over time. This means you expand your understanding of the theories of movement, the ability to comprehend new positions and movement patterns, to apply your previous understanding to situations that you’ve never faced before. Playing jiu jitsu is just problem solving with your body. You take the tools you have and your ability to use them and you make the best of a complex situation. Sometimes we are unable to deal with the problems that our opponent creates for us. This isn’t a grand reflection on how bad you are at jiu jitsu, but rather a superb example of how well jiu jitsu works. A stronger guy can lose to a weaker one, a larger player can be beaten by a smaller player, and a younger person can suffer a loss to an older one. Jiu jitsu works, ask any person who has ever trained.
Where does this leave us? If you understand that a tap is a sign of a new lesson to be learned, then every training session is just a bunch of little lessons. Each time we are able to catch our opponent, we are (1) showing them that the techniques we used work against a resisting player and (2) highlighting the lesson for them. When we get tapped the same applies. Tapping is a good thing when you keep these in mind. Think of it like getting your test back from your teacher with highlighter all over it, you know exactly which questions you need to work on. Losing might hurt your ego but if you tap you can always keep rolling and fix the issue that got you there.
Dealing with the ego is another matter. We all want to believe that we are good at what we do. We also need to understand that our ego often doesn’t have your best interest in mind, but rather has its best interest in mind. It’s a powerful mechanism with self-preserving tendencies. It doesn’t want to lose and when it does, it makes you feel bad and gives you a list of reasons why you did, creating justifications why you feel bad. Just remember that you aren’t your ego and that your ability to keep that present in your mind will keep you on the right track to learn and grow, not only in jiu jitsu but also in life.
Great coaches will tell you the same thing. I’ve heard it from my coaches and from some of the best players in the world. What they say will help you to stay healthy, happy, and keep you coming back to the thing that brought your here in the first place — your love of jiu jitsu:
Tap early and tap often.
Guest Post – Evolve MMA
It’s that time of the year.
For many, the holiday period is a time of indulgence; food, family, friends, and relaxation are hopefully all features of your holidays.
However, the beginning of a new year should also be a time of reflection and planning. After all, the calendar has conveniently broken down our lives into large chunks that we call years, and we should look at these years as opportunities to continuously improve ourselves, our lives, and the lives of those people around us.
Many people strive to achieve their goals by setting their New Year’s Resolutions. This strategy is fine when it works, but it fails more often than they succeed.
The reason is simple. Many people look at their desired outcomes, such as self-improvement, increased happiness, improved physical ability, and weight loss, however these ‘resolutions’ lack strategic planning and methodology.
The reason why starting Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu should (BJJ) be your New Year’s Resolution in 2018 is that it is a realistic pathway to achieving many of your desired outcomes in the new year.
No, this isn’t some unrealistic statement that has just been thrown out there carelessly.
Instead, starting BJJ truly is the ultimate way for you to achieve your goals in 2018.
Let’s begin by breaking down traditional New Year’s Resolutions to understand why they (often) don’t work.
As a fact, New Year’s Resolutions don’t last.
To make a permanent impact, individuals need to change their behavior and form new and improved habits that replace the old and bad from before.
This is why starting BJJ should be your New Year’s Resolution for 2018.
In a way, BJJ acts as a ‘glue’ to help you stick to all of your desired goals in 2018. You might have four or five desired outcomes in the new year, which already makes it difficult to proceed. However, the simple task of beginning BJJ class can help you achieve many of these objectives through lifestyle changes.
If your resolution is to ‘stay fit and healthy’, Starting Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is one of the best ways to ‘stay fit and healthy’. The physical effort required in BJJ class will help develop your fitness and improve your physique. People who train BJJ notice dramatic improvements in their cardio and physical ability, but also become increasingly aware of the importance of a healthy body.
It’s for this reason that many who train BJJ naturally take on a healthier lifestyle.
If you start training BJJ and enjoy it in the same way that the many thousands of people around the world do, you will immediately start to consider lifestyle changes to improve your performance on the mat. In effect, these positive changes will flow through into your daily life, as well. It is likely you will experience renewed energy, confidence, and self-awareness just by beginning Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
At the very core, it is a poor idea to begin a journey without a goal in mind.
For example, starting your car and trying to guess the best route to your destination might be fun, but it isn’t effective or efficient. Alternatively, researching and planning the best route before you turn the keys and start the engine will ensure you make it to the destination.
Knowing the destination isn’t good enough. You must also know how to get there.
To put this in perspective, the three most popular New Year’s Resolutions are:
- Stay fit and healthy
- Lose weight
- Enjoy life to the fullest
Now, while all of these resolutions are incredibly important for the majority of people, they do not last.
Well, people sometimes plan to ‘stay fit and healthy’ by going for a run or buying a new treadmill. After a month or two, the treadmill is already collecting dust, and running becomes boring unless you are one of the select few who is passionate about it.
The people who planned to ‘lose weight’ might not have had an actionable plan to achieve their goal. In most cases, they might have eaten healthier food for a week or two before going back to old habits. Losing weight is an incredibly difficult task, not because of the actual tasks involved, but rather the discipline and motivation to continue to do so.
And those who were seeking to ‘enjoy life to the fullest’ may have just proceeded to react to many of life’s changing situations rather than proactively planning and strategically setting goals for the new year.
If your resolution is to simply ‘lose weight’, you might already understand why beginning a positive physical hobby is the best way to achieve this. As stated before, the simple act of buying a treadmill isn’t enough for someone to actually achieve their goals. It requires motivation and discipline.
By attending Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu class multiple times per week, attendees will begin losing weight through their experience during class. However, again, the lifestyle changes that also begin with starting BJJ will help someone take positive actions outside of class, as well.
And if you are hoping to ‘enjoy life to the fullest’, then Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a fantastic way to achieve this.
BJJ opens up the door to a whole new world that was unimaginable before stepping foot onto the mats. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu class is where you make lasting friendships, relieve all of your stresses, and simply forget everything that doesn’t matter.
A hard day at work? It will soon be forgotten when you enter the BJJ gym.
Bored, lonely, or suffering from lack of purpose? Stepping foot onto the mats will help you engage in a physical activity with a number of other people who are there to support you.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is magical and it should be your New Year’s Resolution for 2018.
Coffee is the original pre-workout elixir, thanks to a number of natural stimulants including caffeine, theobromine, theophylline, and chlorogenic acid. That hyperdrive feeling you get is caused by caffeine stimulating the release and activity of adrenaline, a stress hormone that triggers temporary superpowers so you can fight, run from danger, or, for our purposes, crush a session in the gym on the road or on the mats.
According to a studies published in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research, subjects did more squats when they drank coffee or took caffeine plus decaf coffee, compared to being given caffeine tablets, decaf coffee, or a placebo.
“Caffeine can improve exercise performance whether it is consumed before, spread throughout, or taken late in exercise when fatigue is increasing,” says Carwyn Sharp PhD, Chief Science Officer for the National Strength and Conditioning Association.
But with so many different ways to brew and savor your cup of Joe, we wondered: Which method best helps you break your personal records at the gym? According to Luke Docherty, Director of Coffee for That Cold Stuff, the answer is, hands down, the coldest, slowest method out there.
“That Cold Stuffs brewing method delivers a bold coffee concentrate that’s uber caffeinated and 62 percent less acidic.” Luke says. We use time, not heat, to extract the caffeine. All that is left for you to do is simply dilute the coffee extract with cold water or drink it straight. Then buckle up and hold on for one of the most productive workouts you have ever experienced.
Dont take our word for it though order yours HERE and feel the magic for yourself.
Originally published by Mac – GrapplerGourmet.com
If you do not drink coffee, get out. I dont mean for good, I mean get out and go get a cup and then come back and read all about the favor you are doing for yourself by reading this review of coffee benefits for our training. We all drink coffee, or have. It is the second most traded commodity on earth just behind oil. That’s pretty ridiculous right? It is for a reason, well, reasons, coffee is delicious, packed full of energy and shockingly has some excellent health benefits. As for us BJJ nuts who are at the gym all day or the 9-5ers who can only make the night class a couple days a week, coffee should be a staple in your training. Some top level grapplers such as Jon Satava of Marcelo Garcia’s here in NYC drinks coffee right before training. There are good reasons besides just for the energy. Lets slap hands and bump fists with a cup of coffee and get rolling.
Coffee is one of the worlds most consumed beverages, only behind water, and is the second most traded commodity on earth. Those are some serious facts and like anything that is so highly regarded and in demand we want to look at their origin. Just like Jiu Jitsu Athletes, Brazil is the largest producer of coffee in the world. Brazil actually produces 1/3 of the world’s coffee, that’s a pretty hefty chunk. But Coffee actually started when a Shepard noticed his goats were acting all crazy once day after they ate these little red berries off a short tree. It just so happens coffee beans don’t look like what we get in bags, they are actually the seed within a little red berry to start out.
Coffee beans start out inside a little red berry, so what the hell happens between then and when my coffee machine is dripping out liquid gold? There are a lot of steps but to summarize for you the berries are; picked, dry or wet processed based on the region to prevent any spoilage, dried, milled, graded/sorted, exported, tasted/tested, roasted, shipped, then sold ground or whole to you or your local coffee shop where your favorite barista works their magic. It is not a short process, so yet again just like Brazil’s best export, BJJ.
Fun Fact: New York consumes 7 times more coffee than the rest of the world, go figure I’ve had 2 giant cups while writing this and its before 11 am…So I should say “sad fact” rather than fun.
When should we have coffee?
Time of year: Just like everything grown these days you can get it year round. One also might think “Hey its coffee it’ll taste the same no matter what time of year I get it.” Wrong. Coffee does come from a plant. Plants have seasons and produce different quality levels of fruits during those peak seasons. So coffee beans harvested at the “heart of the crop” will be a lot of flavorful and enjoyable than a coffee bean produced later in the season or earlier in the season then rushed through the processing phase. Since coffee is grown all over the world it is best to check into what the wet season is for the specific country in which your favorite coffee is grown. Or just say fuck it and drink any coffee.
Time of ingestion: There are a few trains of thought here. I am going with the simpler of the two below breaking down the gains by drinking coffee in the morning and before training. Though there is a study saying that the best times scientifically to drink coffee is between 930am-1130am and then again from 1:30pm-5pm. This is because during the other hours of the day your body is Cortisol which is a “stress hormones” that also raises our alertness. During those hours it is important to allow your body to function on its own. By drinking coffee during peak alertness times, you are just wasting the boost. So let it ride out then supplement only during the down times when Cortisol production is reduced. Thus stimulating the drop in natural energy with caffeine.
Coffee in the morning: Drink your coffee in the morning BUT not until you drink 3-4 cups of water. Your body has been asleep and not taking in any water. You know how dry your mouth is when you wake up? Your stomach, intestines and other organs are also depleted of water. In order for them to work properly they need water. It is mandatory to drink 3-4 cups of water first thing when you wake up, before food and/or coffee to ensure that your body is ready to start processing what you put in rather than it trying to play catch up and doing so sluggishly. Picture your metabolism and digestive system, like you before training jiu jitsu. Do you want to jump on the mat dehydrated already? Do you think you will perform your best under those conditions? Or would you rather have some water in you before hand and be properly hydrated? I vote option three there for peak performance. There is water in coffee but not enough to do what we need, which is re-hydrate, revitalize and start up our metabolism, only straight up water can achieve that in the morning. Then have your coffee.
Coffee before training: Drinking 1-2 cups of black coffee 30 minutes before training is a great way to get an added boost. Shockingly there are many gains to be made here. The caffeine found in coffee affects our nervous system and our metabolism. On a nervous system level the caffeine sends positive signals to our muscles which allows for harder contractions, this means our muscles can work harder than usual while fending off submissions or during the warm up in class. On a metabolic level if the coffee is drank on a relatively empty stomach the caffeine makes our body pull energy stores from our fat stores rather than food energy sources thus forcing us to shed those extra lbs.
- As grapplers coffee is our best friend because it gives us a continual boost by giving us a calorie free source of caffeine that elevates the fat acid levels in our blood stream. Our body will pull energy from them first and reserve our carbohydrate stores for later when we are deep into round 5 or 6 of the class.
- Antioxidants. There are amazingly high levels in coffee but do not use this as your primary source, still eat your fruits and vegetables though.
- Study have shown that coffee reduces the risks of certain cancers, Parkinson, diabetes, and depression.
- Oh I almost forgot, also reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Bean: There are commercially really only 2 different types of beans. Arabica and Robusta.
Arabica: 70% of the worlds coffee production. The flavors are commonly lighter, fruitier and acidic.
Robusta: 30% of the worlds coffee production. Darker, nuttier flavors. Prized more for espresso because it contains double the caffeine of Arabica.
One less rank from white to black belt. In this case though if you go all the way black its just a burnt bean.
Guide to the chalk board:
- Espresso: ~one oz of super strong coffee
- Latte: a shot of espresso, steamed milk, and foam.
- Cappucino: Same as a latte but with less steamed milk.
- Machiatto: A shot of espresso with a tiny amount of steamed milk.
- Cortado: A shot of espresso, more steamed milk than a machiatto but less than a cappucino
- Cafe au lait: Regular drip coffee with steamed milk
- Mocha: A latte with chocolate in some form.
- Regular or iced coffee: Your traditional coffee made in a drip coffee machine or french press, enjoy black, or with all of the assorted sugars and creamers on the market.
The Key(lock) to beating sluggishness.
1-2 shots of Espresso
6-7 oz hot water
Combine in a mug and drink before rolling to become the king of the mats! Or just to have a nice energy boost and to increase your water intake.
*A 50ml shot of THAT COLD STUFF has 240mg of Caffeine and is perfect 30 minutes prior to a grueling session on the mats! Click the link above to order yours!
Guest Post By: Keeling Taylor, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Blackbelt & Judo Blackbelt
Anyone who has ever stepped on a mat can tell you that they get beat up. Whether it’s wrestling, Judo, or Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, us grapplers incur a lot of injuries in our pursuit of learning to take down, throw, and twist our opponents into submission. But when you get done training and you’re feeling all the aches and pains of grappling, what’s the first thing that people will tell you to do? “Ice it!” But what if your entire body hurts? What if you don’t have access to a bathtub and 20 kilos of ice? What options do you have?
What’s that? Cryotherapy is the application of extreme cold temperature to the entire body. We’re talking about temperatures as low as 140 below zero! You’re probably thinking that a person who will stand in a chamber at -140°F (-95°C) must be crazy… and you’re right, but not for the reasons you think. They are crazy about the incredible benefits that they experience from the 5 minutes they must endure the cold.
What benefits could you possibly get from freezing your ass off for the length of a good song? The answer to that is simple. Cold therapy has been used by humans for reducing inflammation and pain since the first caveman fell into an icy river. Your body, when exposed to extremely cold temperatures, reacts by activating the ancient survival mechanisms programmed into it.
The first thing that happens is that all your blood is drawn towards the core to protect the vital organs and keep them warm. When this happens, the tissues constrict and therefore any inflammation and fluid built up in the tissues is also vastly reduced. An immune response is also activated. The bloodstream is enriched with oxygen and anti-inflammatory proteins, as well as other biochemicals designed to help your body fight off any risk it senses to its survival. The metabolism is revved up to create warmth in the core, burning up energy sources most available before moving to the lesser available sources. The brain also reacts by releasing neurotransmitters like norepinephrine and adrenaline into the bloodstream which not only make you feel better but also trigger your body’s fight or flight program. This program consists of an increase in blood-flow to the muscular tissues, the increase in availability of fatty tissues for use in energy production, and increased blood pressure overall which means blood is delivered more quickly to the inflamed tissues.
Lots of stuff is happening.
So what does this all mean to the grappler who just wants to roll and not feel beat up all the time? In simple terms the pain goes away, you burn fat, feel energized, supercharge your blood, and just feel better overall. I can personally attest to these benefits. As a former wrestler, a judo player, and a jiu jitsu player, I have had my fair share of injuries. Popped elbows, twisted knees, rolled ankles, sore fingers, cauliflower ear, and the list goes ever on. All of these things can be helped with the use of cryotherapy. And when you feel better you can train more and roll harder.
The next question is whether to do it before or after training. The answer to that is a little more personal. I prefer to do my cryo sessions before stepping on the mat. The reason is simple, to optimize the way I function before I need to perform. Does that mean that doing cryo after training will not be as effective? Absolutely not… What it does mean is that you will feel the inflammation and stiffness in your joints and tissues during your training. For me, I like to step on the mat feeling my best — energized, loose, and as pain free as possible. That’s what I tell all the athletes that I speak with about cryo.
If you are grappling on a fairly regular basis and haven’t considered cryotherapy it would do you go to start thinking about how you can take yourself to the next level. Without a doubt you will feel the benefits after your very first experience. Some of the best combative athletes in the world are using cryo to improve their performance, be UFC fighters or jiu jitsu world champions. Cryo might just be the thing you need to take you into the next phase of your grappling career. Give it a shot and see for yourself.