Abu Dhabi World Pro 2014

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In my laid up post-surgery state I’ve been watching lots of matches. If you are planning on being a competitor, watching matches is one of the best things you can do.  You really get to see what is the most effective and what isn’t. It’s also a great place to start when you’re looking for ideas of what to add to your game. On a side note, I love watching a guy who has the newest DVD out doing all sorts of wacky stuff, only to go back to a rather basic game during the tournament.

 

The World Pro just happened and I got this idea to break down the moves used during the matches and make a “World Pro Week” at my gym. Each day I will teach a series of techniques used in the tournament. Just something fun to mix it up a bit. After watching the matches and taking notes I’ve got plenty of good stuff to show my students when I get back on the mats to teach. But after watching the event something else stood out to me more than the techniques they were using. What stood out to me was the effect the time limit had on the matches. If you didn’t know, the World Pro’s matches were all 6 minutes. That’s it! I loved it! Almost all the matches were exciting and action packed. I really think that making the matches shorter is something that is better for the more casual fan of BJJ. Hell I’m not a casual fan and I enjoyed it! The downside to a 6 minute match is that the rate of submissions will go down because opponents can typically keep up a solid pace for 6 minutes and unless they just get caught, they will probably have the energy to defend themselves. The positive end is that a shorter time limit doesn’t allow for that boring feeling out process in the beginning of a longer match that’s essentially only used to conserve energy so you don’t gas out later. Really, a 6 minute match among high level competitors doesn’t allow for a conservative game at all.

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I bring this up because the recent Metamoris event had 20 minute rounds that were submission only with no points or judges and the matches (most of them) were fairly boring. Again, this is of course my opinion. But during the last Metamoris event I watched competitors who were normally aggressive, play a slow conservative game and just didn’t go after it like they normally would. It just seems to me that the competitors weren’t pressed with a sense of urgency that a shorter time limit and points provide. I’m not saying that shorter matches with points are always necessary but I think it is part of the equation. You then get into the argument of purity vs sport and that whole mess. Fun fact; wrestling and boxing both used to do unlimited time limits/rounds. I believe if you are trying to market a BJJ event to the masses and make it something that is digestible to both the BJJ community and the public alike, shorter exciting matches with a winner and loser definitely look a lot more appealing than longer more conservative matches with no one awarded the victory.

If you haven’t watched the World Pro event, get on Youtube and check it out! If you have watched it and have an opinion about the matches, I’d love to hear it.

 

As always,

Thanks for reading!

Chewy

Surgery Day

Surgery Day

Today was my surgery day. I tore my meniscus cartilage on my birthday this year which was March 13th. Strangely enough just 2 months prior to that I broke my nose. Broken nose on 1/13/2014 and meniscus tear on 3/13/2014. Kind of weird. . .

Anyways, surgery went well! I’m ready to recover and get back on the mats in full swing! Hopefully I can compete in June or July.

Don’t get frustrated on the mats (5 tips to help)

In my experience and through my student’s I find that people seem to get frustrated after they’ve had some success on the mats. Initially in our training we just accept that we’re going to get beaten over and over again. Then as we get better we start to raise the bar and our expectation for ourselves. Then it happens, we have an off day and we fall below this expectation we’ve set. The guy we controlled yesterday is all over us today. Last week we did 5 rounds and still had energy and today we were gasping for air after 2. We get off the mat frustrated and irritated. I’ve even seen some guys even lose sleep over it.

I’ve had several days like this over the years. Most of them I can directly attribute to diet. I remember once eating a greasy sandwich around 2pm and then feeling like I had a brick in my stomach at 8pm during rolling. I seriously felt like I couldn’t move. At one point I remember being inside my partner’s guard just staring at him, frustrated. Normally I could blow past his guard. During this roll I couldn’t even break it. Needless to say after training that night I was just fuming. This is back almost 9 years ago. Then there were days where my training partner was just on, he was feeling it that day and I wasn’t. The absolute worst cases for me came when I would get frustrated during a roll or match and would become angry. Not angry at my partner but at myself. Kind of like, “Why am I sucking so badly today!?” These are the worst because if you lose your mental composure during a roll or match, it’s hard to regain it. I’ve found that the more irritated or frustrated I become, the sloppier I get.

There are lots of reasons as to why you might have an off day. Below I’ve written 5 things to consider or remember to help prevent the frustration we might experience from a training session where we didn’t perform at our best. You can prevent some bad performances but it’s impossible from preventing all of them. You’re going to have a rough day on the mat at some point. Just keep in mind that there aren’t bad days in the gym. Yeah, you may have been beaten and performed well under your normal ability, but that was still time in the gym. You were still healthy and able to train and even if you don’t feel like it, you’re growing and progressing as a BJJ practitioner. Sometimes more than you know.

 

 

  1. Bad food - Diet is huge for training. You’re asking your body to perform like a high performance vehicle. High performance vehicles require high performance fuel. Think of your body like a machine and give it what it needs. Good nutrition is crucial for getting the most out of your training.
  2. Stay hydrated - Dehydration has to be the no. 1 reason I see people become sluggish in the gym. I know it’s my main reason. Sometimes we just get side tracked with things throughout the day and we don’t get properly hydrated. Make sure to drink lots of water throughout the day and coconut water before training isn’t a bad idea. Especially when it warms up in the summer. Performance suffers from even a minor amount of dehydration. Oh and on the subject of liquids. Stop drinking sugary energy drinks! They’re garbage and they aren’t good for you. If you need a pick-me-up, grab an espresso.
  3. Don’t be a dick – If you are surrounded by tough guys that push you and are competitive on your best days, then you have to expect that on some days they are going to have your number. To be honest, it’s kind of rude to come in to the gym with an air of superiority. Like you are somehow better and shouldn’t lose to one of your training partners, or that once you progress past them that they will not be able to catch up. Don’t be a dick. If you lose to you training partners, even if you beat them all over the mat yesterday, just accept it and move on. If you have any reoccurring themes or mistakes, pin point them and fix them
  4. Lower Belts – Something to also keep in mind is that the lower the belt level, the worse the bad days are. Once you are a higher belt you typically possess a nice buffer of skill to fall back on if you are just not feeling it. For example, even if I feel like crap I can still control a blue belt pretty easily. But if you are a blue belt and you are off, you won’t have that same amount of skill and you probably won’t fare so well against the same blue belt that I controlled so easily.
  5. Calm Down - If you find yourself getting flustered you need to calm yourself. If you get frustrated to the point that you mentally break and just get angry, you’re cooked. You’re breathing will become sporadic and you’ll often just expend lots of energy with no results which will only lead to more irritation. If you find yourself getting to that point, get up and take a deep breath and a water break, and then come back. If this happens during a match or roll, take a deep breath and talk yourself down mentally. Remember that getting angry won’t help you escape that tough spot you’re in or anything for that matter. You must keep your composure in BJJ. If you cannot control the mental you’ll fail with the physical.

 

I hope some of this stuff helps if you’re having an off day. I know these things have helped me and have helped my students over the years.

 

As always,

Thanks for reading!

Chewy

Wrestling tie up with butterfly guard sweep

This is a butterfly guard sweep against an opponent who is focusing their grips on both knees. Instead of using a under hook or over hook to sweep, I use a sort of steering wheel tie up. In my experience, the sweep works well because most people feel comfortable when they have the grips and I don’t have a strong under hook or over hook. There is some timing involved with it, so it will require some reps before you start using it during rolling.

Cooking with Chewy (how to make lunches for the week in an hour)

Cooking with Chewy

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So my blog about going to the grocery got a bit of attention and one of my students asked if I would post something about how to cook. His dilemma he says is that he can’t cook. The grocery article stressed that eating healthy foods can be easy and this post will be about how you can cook food fairly simply.

Please bear with me as my cooking abilities are more akin to The Swedish Chef than a gourmet chef.

 

First we need the food!

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-1lbs grass fed beef (fat % is your choice)

-1 ½ cup of dry quinoa (I’m using a mixture of red and white in the photo)

-1lbs bag of chopped bell peppers (you can opt for freshly chopped. I buy the frozen at times for convenience. If you do buy frozen vegetables, be sure there are no preservatives or flavors added.)

-10 baby mushrooms

-Misc. Coconut oil, yellow curry powder, pink salt

*Not shown.

* 1lbs of brussells sprouts and broccoli florets.

*4 cloves of freshly chopped garlic.

 

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I typically start by getting the water for my vegetables (kettle) and quinoa(pan) ready. If you’ve never cooked quinoa before, no worries, it’s really simple. It’s two parts water and one part quinoa. For example, since I was cooking 1 ½ cups of dry quinoa. I brought 3 cups of water to boil. So when you’re cooking, double the amount of water you use in relation to the quinoa.

 

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After the water is on the stove I move over to a large pan for the beef or whichever meat I decide to use. I like starting with a spoonful of coconut oil and throwing the fresh garlic on the pan. After a couple of minutes I will throw the meat onto the pan. Since I was using beef, once on the pan I began to chop it up with the spatula and added the yellow curry powder.

 

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Once the water is at a boil I’ll throw the quinoa in, cover the pan and lower the heat. Once this is done it typically takes around 12 minutes before the quinoa has absorbed the water.

 

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Once the beef is browning and getting closed to finished I will add the frozen peppers and mushrooms. I don’t want them to be super cooked because I will be reheating these meals. I find that cooking vegetables and peppers less makes them taste better when I reheat the meals.

 

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It doesn’t take a long time and then the peppers will soften and the final product looks like this. . .

 

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By now the quinoa should be ready and will look something like this. Move around the quinoa to ensure there isn’t much water left. If there is a little bit, its ok, just sit the hot pan to the side and it will absorb any remaining water. If there is a lot, then continue to cook. Otherwise you probably added too much and need to drain some out of the pan.

 

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With the vegetables, again, I don’t want to cook them too much as they tend to get soggy upon reheating. So I will place them in another pan on the stove and pour the boiling water from the kettle on top of them. I leave them in the water for around 2 minutes and then drain the water and put them into a bowl before I pack them up for the week. This cooks them but keeps them from being mushy when heating.

 

 

After this is done you’re ready to put all the food into containers for the week. You can use for tupperware and I’ve even seen people use little zip lock bags to hold and then pour the food onto a plate or bowl before heating. That’s really up to you. This process took less than an hour and I also have chicken and other vegetables that I didn’t show in this blog that were cooked in the same time frame. So in an hour I have enough food to provide lunches for the rest of the week. Plus it wasn’t difficult, so even if your culinary skills are subpar you can still cook well enough to provide yourself with healthy options during the week.

Again I hope this blog helps you eat healthier which in turn will help you train harder. Good luck!

 

As always,

Thanks for reading!

Chewy