Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Midweek Motivation

People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing. That's why we recommend it daily. ~ Zig Ziglar

'Get knocked down 6 times, get up 7!' Samurai saying.

Competition can be a double edged sword sometimes. Im a big believer that it can be a very positive means for growth as a martial artist and a person IF viewed in the correct light.
It can definately help us to improve by pressure testing not only our technical ability but ALSO our 'self' control (our ability to control our emotions and thoughts leading up to, during and especially after a fight or competition.)
Losing is an important part of our growth and we need to view it as such, and we should never measure our self worth based on a result, wether in a competition or anything else.

Jerry Lynch, Ph.D.,once said that when you believe and think “I can,” you activate your motivation, commitment, confidence, concentration and excitement, all of which relate directly to achievement. On the other hand, “Whether you think you can or think you can’t, you’re right in both cases.”

Dr. Lynch also says that the path to personal excellence is cluttered with obstacles. It is my own personal conviction that you can’t develop your full potential without encountering serious obstacles along the way.

Dr. Lynch says that you can’t stretch your limits without encountering some rough moments. You need to understand that failure and losses are acceptable learning experiences that can help improve your performance. This is true in every part of life, whether it involves athletics, academic achievement, business or personal success.

It’s true that airplanes and kites rise fastest when they fly into the wind. Individuals grow stronger physically, mentally and spiritually when they are “tested” with resistance or opposition. Think about it and I’ll see you at the top!

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

The Gi...Why Bother?

I recommend training with the gi firstly because it forces you to learn some of the essential techniques to escape from different holds and attacks. The gi really tightens things up and makes it much more difficult to muscle out of things or slip & slide your way out of a hold.

You will also notice that using the gi gives you many more options to grip onto your partner. Consequently you can slow the pace down more than you could without using a gi. Having to slow the pace of a practice roll down forces you to practice your technique. Since we are here to improve our health & fitness while learning effective techniques, it only makes sense to force yourself to learn the technique.

Also from a practical/self-defence stand-point, getting used to training with and against someone wearing a gi (essentialy a long sleeve top/jacket and trousers), especially if you live somewhere where it gets cold in Autumn and Winter, is very practical, as you arent very likely (at least I hope not) to be attacked by a guy wearing a speedo or just shorts.

I would like people who train at our school to learn both styles, gi and no-gi, and feel comfortable doing both. I feel they should understand the benefits of both styles and not feel like one is better than the other. Having said all that, if you have no interest in training with the gi then don't. The important thing is that you are having fun and enjoying the workouts!

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

I remember as a kid going to Karate class and before stepping onto the dojo floor, kicking off my flip-flops under a big sign that said leave your ego and shoes here.
It didnt mean much to me then, fast forward to when I taught from home, for a while between gyms in Durban, SA, we trained out of my garage and I had a sign there similar to the one in this article. It was an attempt at using humor to remind people to take their shoes off before stepping onto the mat.
For sure hygiene is a huge part of it, we roll around on those matts and would rather not have skin contact with whatever has collected on the sole of your shoe, but I still often think back to the sign at my old Karate class.

Learning to leave your ego off the mat affetcs you greatly in your jiu-jitsu life. There are two critical points that I feel it probably does more so (at least from my experience) and that is at white belt and then again at black belt.
A major reason Ive experienced with students quitting early on in Jiu-jitsu, in my opinion is ego. You have to be prepared to tap to training partners who are smaller, weaker, older than you or who you may feel are just plain inferior to you.
We have to learn to put our ego to rest.
Stay open to learning, and keep in mind how often we derive more from defeat than victory.
Just get out there having fun, enjoy your time on the mat, and not try to rip it up or impress anyone. Just roll for the fun of rolling, treat your training partners with the same amount of respect you'd like to be treated with. You will improve if you train hard and are consistent, but leave that ego off the mat.

Now imagine if everyone carried that attitude with them off the mat with them into their day to day lives.

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

If the only prayer you said in your whole life was, "thank you," that would suffice. ~Meister Eckhart

"If today you have nothing to be happy about, thank God for the potential of tomorrow."

Rickson Gracie

Monday, 11 July 2011

Training While Injured

Injuries are something that every athlete is afraid of, yet at somepoint must deal with. Grappling training involves a lot of twisting, falling and bending, so there tend to be a fair share of back and neck injuries. Jammed fingers and toes as well as knee, hip, elbow and shoulder injuries are fairly common too.
As a martial artist it can be difficult to avoid injuries. My main concern is how to treat, rehab (then prehab) and accomodate the injury/ies while continuing with my training routine.
Two of your best friends when training should be ice and tape.

By properly taping an injured finger, ankle or knee you can often prevent yourself from reinjuring an area while still continuing to train.

Even if Im injured I believe it's still important to train.

Some people prefer to rest completely but I believe by staying active (spend time drilling techniques that dont aggrevate the injury instead of rolling-we can all use more time drilling and getting our reps in-sometimes an injury is a way of forcing you to get on it) you can maintain and maby improve your conditioning and continue to work on and even improve certain ares of your game.

Staying active also allows you to get blood flowing into the injured area to help speed up the healing process.

If you approach it properly you can continue to train and heal up faster than if you just rested completely.
But you must be smart-pay attention to the little injuries before they become big problems and look after them, and train around them if necessary.

Remember to use that ice (how many of us go 'yeah ill ice it when I get home' and actually do?), massage, foam rollers or a rubber ball (check out if you havent already for some awesome flexibility and mobility advice) for tight spots.

If something is really bad I might consider using an anti-inflammatory like voltarol, gel always being a better option than the tabs as it isnt as harsh on your stomach, but I prefer to stay as natural as possible.

Ive had quite a few injuries in my training career but attribute being able to avoid them to my flexibilty and stretching and mobility routine.

It's very unusual that I have to completley stop training due to an injury, I try to have an easy joint mobility session every morning and always make sure I have a good warm up before training. I try to start my training slowly and progress up to speed as my training continues and have a good stretch at the end of the day.

I try to really focus and look after myself well (especially as I get older) and use a rubber ball and thera-cane for deep tissue massage, which although painfull definately helps relieve pain and stiffness in the muscles and tissues.

Many times you wont feel an injury at the time but only later at bedtime or first thing in the morning when you get up, but these I find are relievd with either stretching at night or some joint mobility work in the morning to ease off the tightness and get some blood into the area.

Sometimes you may have an injury that affects your movement completely (although you could probably still swim :-) ), such as a very bad back or neck injury or a rib fracture that affects your movement, then what?

As I joked, find a pool and do some gentle swimming or go for long easy walks, but also use the time to keep your mind sharp. Get to class when you can and watch the training and motivate your friends and team mates, work on your training notes and game-plan (if you havent jotted one down yet and still have holes in your game -it's time to get out a note pad and a pen and do some self-evaluation!) watch some competition footage- I recon you can learn a lot by watching competition footage, sometimes more so than just instyructionals, watch high level competitors pull off the stuff we try in class, but at a world championship level and make it look easy.

Also read, get a subscription to Gracie Mag or BJJ Style magazine or one of the many great instructional books available now such as Saulo's Jiu-Jitsu University.

Stay healthy and happy, both of which jiu-jitsu can help you with, so go train.


Friday, 1 July 2011

“In Jiu Jitsu, your yearly age does not account for anything when it comes to your technical ability. Your age is marked by the hours you spend on the mat.”