Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Couple of Weightlifting Goals Achieved

So I hit 290 on the deadlift and 225 on the squats again, which is where I was aiming for as it's a 2x bodyweight dead and a 1.5x bodyweight squat. I've now switched over to this insane machine called a Jacob's Ladder for my legwork while I work on getting my bench up to par. On that note I dropped back to 5x5 with 95lbs on Monday, and I'll be doing 5x5 with 100lbs tonight and continuing in that fashion until Vegas probably.

On the BJJ front I'm still on an upswing. Successful takedowns, successful submissions, a new era of straight footlocks being thrown on everyone. Everything about my game is improving substantially to the point that the only person who truly wrecks me is Chris. Everyone else I feel competitive with.

If I can keep up this progress until Vegas I actually have some hopes of medaling.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Random Lifting Updates and No-Gi work

Hitting the gym in preparation for all of the tournaments I have coming up and trying to get my numbers backup.

Bench - 5/3/1 - 95/115/135
Squats - 5/3/1/1 - 155/175/195/205
Deadlift - 5/3/1/1 - 175/195/225/255

My bench is lagging way behind, so I threw in a bunch of volume work on the bench and overhead press and some other supplementary work.

Also, lunges holding 40lb dumbbells to add in some grip work and some supplementary leg work.

The last time by squats and deads were this high my bench was 175, so I'm going to work hard to get it back up near there.

We're doing No-Gi this month and my first session back at it I completely sucked and couldn't figure out WTF I was even doing. Second day I had it together and was performing very well. I'm actually hitting real takedowns in the standup too, which is nice.

Registration and travel arrangements for Vegas should all be handled in a couple of weeks along with the Atlanta Open and Grapplemania.

Not sure if I'll make some of the other smaller tournaments now since I decided to do the ATL Open and Vegas, definitely doing Grapplemania though.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Training With Focus

This will be the first post I've written in a while that actually has a broader audience in mind, so it's probably going to be a bit long.

I've recently been involved in some random discussions over on /r/bjj that involved discussions of how often and how long people train each week, how much time is spent rolling vs drilling, whether people are hurting their progress by only training X amount of time per week, etc...

I train about 4 hours a week. Occasionally I manage to train 6 hours a week, and sometimes I can only train 2 or even 0 hours. And yet in the last 12 months I have improved to the point that I am rolling reasonably competitively with blackbelts and brownbelts who were absolutely clowning on me 12 months ago. The question becomes, 'How am I improving with so little training time?' and the answer is that I maintain a very tight focus when I am in class.

 Very often I will see white and blue belts, even other purple belts, drill a technique four or five times, then spend a bunch of time randomly chatting, then maybe drill it a few more times, then it's time for the next technique. During that same interval I drill the same technique thirty times, or fourty, or fifty. When I'm talking it's about troubleshooting the technique with my partner. I am focused on drilling the technique as many times as possible, thinking through each step of the technique, building a mantra for completing it and ingraining it as much as I can during the time I have available.

This focus also translates to rolling. I have an overarching concept that I am working on each time. If you are familiar with my writing you will remember the 'Be More Assertive' project from a few years ago. That was the overarching theme to my training for a long time and is still a constant point for me to remember. My current focus is on transitioning from defense to offense. That means that I am willing to risk letting my opponent advance positions in order to switch from purely defending into an offensive attempt of some kind. I know my defense is good, now I need to make that switch.
Because I have that overarching concept to base my training on I roll with a focus on improving that aspect of my jiujitsu. I am constantly working towards a specific goal and not just rolling for the sake of rolling.

Focus is what leads to improvement when other people are plateaued. When I plateau I on a given concept I drill down. I recently plateaued on my defense to offense work because I was getting into halfguard and locking the position down and stalling without offense. Other places I was transitioning fine from defense to offense, but halfguard I was not. I made it a focus for several weeks to get halfguard and specifically work on generating space, created sweep opportunities, and really working on my ability to attack from halfguard and make it an offensive position. I have been able to break through my plateau because of that and continue to improve.

For people who are able to train 20 hours a week this isn't a big deal. You can spend so much time on the mats that you just get better by dint of training volume. For those of us who are stuck training 3-6 hours a week it's critically important that we are mindful of how we spend our time when we are on the mats if we want to improve.

  • Don't screw around! If you are supposed to be drilling a technique then drill it as many times as you can. Pay attention to what you are doing and actively troubleshoot during the drill. Don't just go through the motions while you wait to roll.
  • Have goals! Know why you are doing everything that you do. Don't get trapped into rolling just for the sake of rolling. Roll to improve.
  • Drill down! If you plateau on your main goal break it down into smaller parts to look at and single one of those down to isolate and improve.
These things will help you make the best of your limited time and continue to improve, sometimes even better than people who are training more often.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

So many brown belts!

So due to my work schedule changing I'm now training in our evening classes. One nice thing about these classes is that there seem to be several brown belts in the 170-190lb range that I've been able to work with.  The best thing about this is that I don't AT ALL feel outclassed by these guys. A year ago when I got back to training rolling with brown belts still just felt like I couldn't bridge that gap between where I was and where they were, but my last half dozen rolls with brown belts I've felt very well matched against them.

I'm also seeing more of the path from where I am to what it takes to be a brown belt. I feel really good about my overall game and my skill level right now and I've got just about 6 weeks to get ready for Grapplemania where I hope to live up to where I feel like my skill level is now.

Monday, June 1, 2015

1 Year at the New Gym

So, today marks the 1 year anniversary of me training at my new gym. It's been an amazing place and I've loved training with the competition class which forces me to work hard and keeps me from slacking on my conditioning.

Unfortunately this also marks a change in my work schedule, so I will instead be training with the evening classes going forward. I dropped in on one and there seems to be plenty of very skilled people, including several brown belts, for me to work with so I'm not too worried about it. It was sad to say a kind of goodbye to the guys from the daytime class though.

But enough of that.I'm back to being able to bench press my bodyweight for a few reps, which is progress on that front, and I've gotten to roll with 5 different brownbelts in the last couple of weeks, none of whom I felt outclassed by. At this point I really do feel like getting my brown belt near the end of this year might not be entirely out of my reach. I just have to stick to getting in the gym regularly and keep working.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Competition Schedule for the rest of 2015

  • US Grappling Grapplemania - July 25
  • Newbreed - August 1st
  • US Grappling Greensboro - Nov 14
  • Newbreed - Dec 5th.

 I had wanted to wedge one more in, but it looks like 5 this year is all I can manage. Maybe I can wedge another one in there somewhere in september/october. We'll see.

Monday, May 4, 2015

Changing Gears

I haven't written anything in a while because all of my updates would look like this:

"Went to class, drilled some stuff, rolled, grindin' that mat time. Progress is good." and that would be it. So consider there to have been like 30 of those between the last update and this one.

Last week I hit the milestone for my defense that I've been working back to. Brown and black belts are having a hard time finishing submissions and keeping me in bad places. So I'm where I want to be with my defense.

This week I'm starting to work on switching gears, a lot. My complete focus is on moving from defense into offense, generating sweeps, insisting on top position, and then working to finish. I expect to have a lot of mixed success for a while with this, but I'm hoping that by the end of the year I will have my offense close to where my defense is.