I’ve been contemplating the nature of my blog for the last few weeks. As the title says, I’m ‘sharing my thoughts about jiu jitsu and krav maga’…but to what end? Is this a training log? A blog about philosophy? A place to highlight promotions and pictures of injury? It’s high time I get organized, and with a little inspiration from a BJJ black belt, teacher, and podcaster – I’m ready to do just that.
If you’ve never heard of Nicolas Gregoriades (aka Nic Gabriel), you need to fire up your Mac or iPad or iPhone (Wait, you’re still using a PC/windows product? Sorry, we can’t be friends.) and research this inspiring and interesting man. He was the first jiu jitsu player to earn a black belt from Roger Gracie. He’s a prolific podcaster. He is dedicated to understanding himself and the very nature of people, relationships, and how we interact with one another. I first learned about Nic as he co-hosted a brilliant podcast titled ‘London Real’, which covered a host of topics…jiu jitsu being a dominant topic in their work. But rather than discuss technique, they discussed how this beautiful sport is much more than that. It really is a lifestyle. I recently found his new podcast endeavor, ‘The Journey Podcast’, which is phenomenal!
Just so you don’t think he’s simply a philosopher of jiu jitsu, you need to also research his book, ‘The Black Belt Blueprint’. I read through the entire book in a few sleepless nights, and am now more carefully pouring over the material. Nic is also the founder of The Jiu Jitsu Brotherhood…a global training resource. (Hint: More on this in my next blog post).
Ok…back to the inspiration part. Between Nic’s words in various podcast sessions, and his blueprint book, I was inspired to get organized with my jiu jitsu, with this blog, and in setting clear goals to focus my actions. A tall order to be sure. The first step is to take a hard, honest look at what I want to accomplish over the next 6-12-18 months regarding my jiu jitsu training.
For the rest of this post, I’m going to goal setting. But first, what is the current state of affairs? I’m a two-stripe blue belt under Professor Ivan Rios and Coach Emil Takeuchi in the Carlson Gracie Jr. system. I’m so proud to be part of the Carlson Gracie Jiu Jitsu Team KNMOVA. We are incredibly lucky to have Professor Rios lead our school. He is a great teacher who spends each minute of his instruction on the mats. No matter if you are a seasoned brown belt, or a day-two white belt, Professor is on the mats rolling with you (and likely choking you with a smile on his face). I love his philosophy on jiu jitsu: it’s first a self-defense system, then is is a wonderful sport. And instead of teaching crazy flying armbars and tornado sweeps, he sticks to the basics. Coach Emil Takeuchi provides most of our day-to-day instruction, and helps professor coach us during competition. Emil is a fantastic teacher, super passionate about jiu jitsu and the lifestyle, and is first and last on the mats making sure each student gets the most out of training. Plus, if you roll with him, its just a matter of time before he takes your back and applies a choke. (At least he’s kind enough to offer to film it, so you can see where you went wrong!)
So under these two great jiu jitsu teachers, my next big goal is to earn my purple belt. Let’s break this down into smaller goals.
Immediate goal (now): Make MOST of the training sessions. To improve my jiu jitsu, I need to train every chance I can. That means when my body is still on West Coast time from business travel, and it’s 9am East Coast and time for Saturday morning class…I need to get my lazy butt out of bed to train. Sure, I won’t make 100% of them, but I need to train at every opportunity.
Short-term goal (0-3 mos): Incorporate additional training 2x’s a week. I recognize that to improve my athleticism, I need to incorporate other activities to supplement my training. I enjoy working with kettlebells, but haven’t been consistent. That’s a start. Additionally, I found a few yoga-for-jiu jitsu videos to improve my flexibility and endurance. (Note: YouTube Lesley Fightmaster and Jiu Jitsu….she has a great 40min session dedicated to jiu jitsu with Prof. Flavio Almeida).
Intermediate goal #1 (3-9 mos): Get to 220lbs and compete in the fall Copa Nova tournament. Right now I’m hovering between 230-235. If I’m consistently hitting my immediate and short-term goals, I should be able to make 220 with relative ease. This isn’t an arbitrary number. This is the dividing line between weight classes in my age group. Last tourney, I came in at 229, not paying attention to the fact that my age group was 220 and UP. So my matches were with guys MUCH heavier than me. One was about 275, another about 260…and it just got worse. I don’t get any training time under guys that heavy, and it was a big problem for me. Getting to 220 would allow me to fight guys at my weight or a bit lighter.
Intermediate goal #2 (9-12 mos): Earn some stripes! This is simple – I need to continue to improve MY jiu jitsu game. One thing I’m battling lately is getting pulled into my opponent’s game. This is especially evident if I’m rolling with guys who are 10 years younger and way more athletic. I try to beat them at their own game, and it NEVER works. Their game is not my game. And I need to stick to doing my jiu jitsu.
Long(er) term goal (12-18 mos): Purple belt. And as I say that, I admit that it’s not about the belt. Sure, I’m in this for the long haul. I’ll never be a world class competitor…but I can strive to be a world-class teacher! So I want to continue progressing so I can do my part in passing this sport and lifestyle to others. That involves eventually getting purple belt, brown belt, and black belt. It will take a while, yes. But that’s the beauty of this lifestyle….you don’t simply strive for a belt…you strive for the lifestyle.
So there you have it. My inspiration to get organized, and set clear goals in my training. I will talk more about Nicolas Gregoriades and his jiu jitsu training tool, as well as how I plan to better organize my blog, in my next post.
Until then, take care of each other. Cheers!