Sunday, November 28, 2021

5 Ways Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Changed My Life


Only as strong as your weakest member

I used to row for a local rowing club.  I loved the training and the dedication that was involved.  I loved the crew I had and I loved competing.  We actually had  a pretty strong boat and we were winning our amateur competitions consistently in one season.  

At the end of that season, one of the boys had to leave and so his replacement joined our crew.  Frankly he wasn't any good and didn't put any effort in, outside the boat either.  We lost, or didn't 'place' in any of the races in the next season, which really fucked me off.

Around 2007/8 the UFC was starting to get big and being in the fitness industry, I really appreciated the type of training that was involved; strength, power, agility, flexibility, endurance.  I started incorporating specific exercises and routines into my own training sessions and noticed a difference in my body.  

After one race in particular, we had a terrible performance and I finally thought fuuuuck this, "if I've got to lose, I'd rather lose because it was my fault".  Not very team spirited-granted.  But I started to realise, I actually liked sports I did by myself eg running, mountain biking and skiing.  So I started to attend my local MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) gym, Combat Sport Academy (CSA).

I really got into it and I would do 3-4 sessions a week of MMA.  I would do mixture of classes including grappling, boxing, Muay Thai and wrestling and do my Strength & Conditioning around them...  

Carry over of weight lifting to MMA/BJJ/Wrestling 

1. Starting from the bottom

I stuck with MMA for nearly two years before I started Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ).  The reason I kept putting it off, was because in MMA there was no visual representation of your ability from first glance.  In BJJ, you start off as a 'white belt'-a newbie.  Oh yeah, totally ego, but I was a bit younger then too. The coaches insisted that I did BJJ to help 'tighten up' my grappling game.  

It was embarrassing to line up at the back of the class as a white belt.  I thought, 'I've been doing this for two years man, I'm above this'.  In that first session I got thrown around like an empty tracksuit and folded like laundry.  In that first lesson is where I left my ego on the mat and my journey into the BJJ world started right there...

2. Consistency is key 

Due to life commitments, (which obviously, is really annoying when circumstances stop you from doing stuff you like...if you let it๐Ÿ˜‰) I've been in and out of BJJ for 10 years or so.  With most things in life consistency is key.  I find that BJJ really highlights this for a number reasons:
  1. You lose fitness
  2. Your skills fade
  3. You see progress other people have made
  4. You stay at same level ie belt colour (a marker of progress)
Doing something once-a-week won't get you the results you want, or at least, it's going to take a very long time.

Tips for consistency: 
  1. Book the task in your diary as if it's an appointment 
  2. Aim to make it the same slot every week 
  3. Remind yourself of why you're doing it in the first place
  4. Just get moving, I mean physically get moving-get the blood flowing
  5. Tell people what you're doing
  6. Sign up for some sort of competition/challenge/deadline 

3. Time to man 

Up until this year I'd been out of BJJ for about three years.  I talked about joining my local club Evolve, for probably two of those years.  "Yeah I'll just wait for work to settle down".  "I'm not paying that sign up fee".  "I'll sign up on Monday".   I got so fed up of hearing myself blurt out these excuses to mate, I just said "fuck it, I'll sign up now" and I did.  I did cost be quite a bit, I'll be honest, but fuuuuuuuck, why did I wait so long?

I absolutely love it and I've got my passion and addiction back for it again, after the first sessions back.

One of the main reasons I've wanted to get back into BJJ, is to 'man'.  For a couple of years I was feeling quite low about myself for a few reasons. I won't go too deep, but I really felt like I was missing something.  A means of letting out some pent up aggression and a need to release some testosterone.  I was getting plenty of sex and lifting weights regularly, but I still needed another outlet.

Let me tell you this, it's a great feeling kicking and punching shit.  It's even better doing to it someone and even better, doing it to someone without facing charges.   Ok, there's no kicking or punching involved in BJJ, but it is a contact sport.  It's still mano et mano.  There's still testosterone getting thrown around as both combatants want to dominate and in a competition-win.  

It's a completely naturally psychological and physiological need to 'man' for men.  If not in a combat environment, then in work or business. Down the pub (who can drink the most).  Who can make the most money, who's got the fastest-flashiest car, the better job, who's better dressed, who they've shagged.  BJJ is humble path that allows you exert the need to 'man' in a productive and relatively safe way.  

Tips fo being 'man' on the mats:
  1. Leave your ego at the door
  2. Introduce yourself to every sparring partner and shake hands 
  3. Learn from every sparring partner, even if they've been training for less time than you
  4. Don't try and smash everyone 
  5. If you got submitted, take it and don't be a bitch, or go hard to get 'revenege'

4. Put your money where your mouth is

"You can talk the talk, but can you walk the walk?"  As mentioned, I was going on about joining up to my local club for aaaages.  I kept saying how much I need to 'man', how much I need to compete again and how much wanted to go up to the next belt, but ultimately, I wasn't committing to it.  

One of the main 'barriers' to signing up was the sign up fee and monthly membership-BUT! Only because of the value I was putting on it.  I was in a scarcity mindset.  I was afraid of/lacking commitment, ie "if I don't go, then it's going to cost X".  I worked out the cost per session, depending on the number of sessions I could do, I actually found the price to be very reasonable. 

I also wasn't considering the most important factor for me, how I would feel from doing it.   The psychological benefits from being able to have an outlet, would easily cost less than therapy ๐Ÿ˜‚.  Plus the other benefits of having a hobby I enjoyed.  It would generally make me happier and that obviously has an impact on friends, family, clients and colleagues.

Top tips for committing yourself:
  1. Sign up for a challenge and put it out there, ie make it public 
  2. Do something for charity 
  3. Find an activity that has levels or progression
  4. Find an activity that helps others
  5. Put your money where your mouth is (without breaking the bank)

5.  Always learning

Humans tend to love learning, especially something they like doing.  BJJ let's me use my mind in another way, other than academically'.  

In every lesson there's a new technique to learn, a new position to get into, or a way to score points.  Even every sparring session is deferent, as you're having apply knowledge to someone with a different set of skills//fitness/ability and weight.  They actually call BJJ 'human chess', as you need to be one move ahead all the time. 

BJJ for me, has changed my life, as I find it ticks all the boxes I require physically and mentally:  
  • It encompasses values and discipline
  • I get to network and meet people from different backgrounds and ages
  • I'm constantly learning and growing 
  • I can compete
  • I get to 'man'
If it wasn't for BJJ, I'd be going mad I think, especially with the current COVID situation.  Even my seven year old son trains and has done for two years now.  I can't wait until he's a bit older and we can roll together-what a father:son bonding session that will be. ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

Keep it real folks, Ossss

If you're looking for help to improve your fitness for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, reach out and let's see if my Online Jitz Fitness program can work out for you...


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