(Not) Training in the Time of Corona

Well, it’s been a wild couple of weeks, I can tell you that much. Everyday there still seems to be something new we’re learning about this virus, cities are opening early, only to be shut down again, protests, people getting sick when attending said protests…. Overall, a little bit of madness.

There have been a couple of people online asking the same question: if your gym opened up tomorrow, would you go and train? This quickly becomes a polarizing issue that ranges from “yes, absolutely!” to “no, are you crazy?”  Frankly that’s not an easy question to answer, because different areas are, well, different. For instance I live in a pretty densely populated city where hundreds of cases are still being reported daily. It’s an area where a decent percentage of the population also uses public transportation: basically a bunch of people cramped into smaller spaces, which is no bueno.

In order to ascertain if a gym should open or not, there are a couple of factors that have to be considered: for instance how many cases have been reported in the area, how people get to the gym, what sanitation and distancing protocols are being put into place to ensure that all participants are kept as safe as possible. Some could also argue that these gyms opening sets a bad example and could influence other gyms in more risky areas to also open, and that’s certainly fair. This isn’t an easy problem to answer and we’re all doing our best to navigate this whole thing.

That being said, there are also gyms in higher risk areas that either have, or are planning to open that really shouldn’t: while I certainly don’t agree with the decision, I can understand it. Gyms, especially in niche disciplines like jiu jitsu, don’t have fat profit margins. Between operating costs like rent, utilities, cleaning supplies, salary for employees- that stuff adds up, leaving very few with an option to continue to be shut down for an extended period of time. There are a number of schools that are shutting down for good unfortunately: I’m not privy to each of their financial situations, but I’m sure the current bills they are facing, coupled with the reduction of their already razor thin profit margin most likely has a part to play.

“But what about the small business loans?” you may be asking. Anecdotally, I can tell you I have yet to hear of a gym receiving one of those loans. So again, while I don’t agree with it, I can certainly see how some academy owners feel their hand is forced in opening their gym.

In terms of our gym, we are still closed. Our entire county is still in lockdown, with only essential businesses allowed to operate- meaning grocery stores, pharmacies, the like. The state has a three phase plan, marked by colors- red, yellow and green. We are still in the “red” phase, meaning we are still under the most restrictions and not allowed to open period. There is some talk of possibly moving to yellow in early June, so we’ll see.

That’s it for now- have a good day everyone!

Leave a comment

Filed under bjj, jiu jitsu, women's bjj, women's bjj

Getting Acclimated to the New (Tenporary) Normal…

It’s been kind of a wild ride the past couple of weeks- everything has been shut down, people trying to figure out how to keep drilling with themselves or with their partner.

I do really appreciate and admire the ingenuity of the jiu jitsu community: so many people are posting the ways they are looking to improvise and adapt to this new reality. It’s also heartwarming to know that so many people are encouraging others to stay home- which sounds strange, but it’s great to see that there are so many people looking to flatten the curve and protecting one another. Granted, there are some that aren’t so altruistic…. but I’m choosing not to focus on those people.

What are some changes you have made to your life in this new, temporary normal? Are you running more? Have you made a grappling dummy friend? Or multiple (seriously, I saw someone online had made several grappling dummies. Hey, whatever gets you through this).

Let me know- otherwise stay safe and have a good day!

 

Leave a comment

Filed under bjj, jiu jitsu, women's bjj

Jiu Jitsu in a Time of Quarantine

It’s a strange time to be alive, to be sure. As the number of confirmed cases continue to climb, many jiu jitsu academies have closed their doors in the past few weeks in order to slow the spread of covid-19.

First and foremost everyone, just stay home. While this virus may not be the death of you, it certainly could be for someone who is over the age of 60, or is possibly immunocompromised, either due to genetics, some auto immune disease, or as by product of something else, like chemo patients who are fighting off cancer.

So what to do? Well as I mentioned before, Bernardo Faria has been offering a free video for people to sign up for, and a number of other more popular jiu jitsu practitioners have been offering the same. Additionally, a number of academies have been offering online virtual classes, and have been going through online classes/solo drilling sessions to keep everyone’s skills as sharp as they can be in this time. A quick look on social media will also show you the myriad of creative ways people are trying to drill and keep themselves active if you’re looking for

Also, there are a lot of dogs and cats out there who look like they should be at least one or two striped white belts by the time this is all over.

This is truly a strange time for all of us- I know it’s frustrating to have to stay inside, but it’s helping to slow down the virus and protect those in our community who otherwise vulnerable and cannot afford to get sick.

That’s all for now folks- stay safe and make the most of today!

 

Leave a comment

Filed under bjj, jiu jitsu

What To Do When Your Academy (Temporarily) Shuts Down

A lot of academies are shutting down for a couple of weeks as covid-19, or the coronavirus makes its way through the states. If you aren’t sure about the benefits of social distancing, there’s a great article with illustrations as to the benefits of social distancing. Will it stop the virus? No. Will it stagger the rate of infections and not overload our healthcare system? Absolutely.

So what to do if your academy is closed? Well believe it or not there are a number of resources still available for you. A number of academies are holding Facebook live sessions with their students (ours included), there are some people out there who are posting solo drills- I know the Ribeiro association is posting some solo drills with Gymnastica Natural, and even Bernardo Faria is offering a free video instructionals on his site.

If you want to take advantage of this offer, just visit bjjfanatics.com and use the code FARIAFREE to pick up a free instructional from him.

Otherwise, make sure you are staying active- if you are able to go outside and stay away from crowds/groups of people, by all means do so. If you can’t for some reason or another, I would suggest checking out those videos, and still attempt to do some bodyweight exercises (if you don’t have a home gym or weights at home) and don’t let the quarantine force you to slow down or hang out on the couch for two weeks. It will make it all the more difficult to get back to jiu jitsu- it’ll be like when you get back from Christmas vacation, but kind of worse in a way, because the weather’s going to be warmer and you won’t be able to hide the flub you acquired during these two weeks. Uncomfortable, but true.

Stay safe, stay healthy, and have a great day everyone!

Leave a comment

Filed under bjj, jiu jitsu

Pans 2020: Will They or Won’t They?

It’s been a wild couple of weeks, to be sure- the coronavirus COVID-19 has sent a lot of people in a tizzy. It’s understandably a tricky situation: it’s a flu-like virus that most people should be able to recover from. It’s when a relatively healthy person however comes in contact with someone who is immuno-compromised due to age or other circumstances is when things get really dangerous.

Events and conferences are cancelling left and right due to concerns of spreading the virus, and so far the IBJJF stated last week they were not cancelling Pans in Irvine, and then as of last night they stated they were working with the venue and would be making an announcement one way or another by mid-day today.

I had to pull out of Pans this year due to other reasons, but I was still planning on going to the venue for that weekend: I know there have also been some big name competitors who have been posting on social media that they have registered for the tournament. I’m curious to see if they will actually move forward with hosting the event. To add to the whole thing, UC Irvine (the venue itself) has told students that they are suspending all activities where large groups of people could congregate….

So, I guess we’ll see either way by the end of the day.

Well, either way stay safe everyone- wash your hands, don’t train if you’re sick and have a great day!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Leave a comment

Filed under bjj, jiu jitsu

A Difference in Focus: Newer Students vs Seasoned BJJ Students

It’s something I’ve noticed when teaching classes, but also when I taught a seminar. Granted, I’ve said before that my moves were not very flashy: I went over guard breaking, a decidedly not sexy move.

The newer belts wanted to see something dramatic and flashy, something they had never seen before…. and they were pretty unimpressed with my guard breaking instructions (but, they were all also successfully executing said guard breaks during the rolling sessions at the end of the seminar, so I don’t really feel that bad about it).

The higher belts though seemed generally impressed, and almost a little jazzed about something that would be considered mundane, but there were certain nuances or particular phrases that I used to convey the information to everyone. It was an interesting juxtaposition, I would say.

This is a personal theory, but I think when we are newer to the sport we want to see all the cool stuff, the wildly different- possibly because we’ve been drilling all the fundamentals and we want to see something big and spectacularly different than the things we’ve been drilling the past bajillion times over the months and years. You can’t see the nuances, so they don’t really excite you. Totally understandable.

For the higher rank though, the person that has been around the block and then some when it comes to the sport, there’s a respect for those little things. Sure, the big fancy stuff is cool and you’ll try it, but now you know and understand the finer points, and if someone can provide you with some insight to small tweaks in your game, different nuances in your existing technique, then that’s exciting! It’s a way to streamline your technique, or something different without having the reinvent the wheel and relearn a whole bunch of muscle memory.

Neither viewpoint are wrong: it’s all very much in line with the progression in jiu jitsu and really boils down to what you are focusing on in your journey. The newer student craves the big and the bold because they its something they can sink their teeth into, the more advanced student focuses on the tweaks and nuances to improve upon the solid foundation they have already created for themselves and their jiu jitsu game.

It’s just an interesting observations I wanted to share with you all 🙂

Have a great day everyone!

Leave a comment

Filed under bjj, jiu jitsu, Training, women's bjj

Teammates and (Emotional) Closeness in BJJ

My teammates and I were recently wondering about this in outside of class: what leads to the emotional closeness that you experience with teammates?

I know I mentioned previously that having a friend is heavily preferred in jiu jitsu, but there’s still the question: what variables are in play to create the environment that promotes friendship among teammates?

First and foremost I would like to think it’s the mutual respect and trust among teammates in what would be considered precarious positions- you’re either making your teammate airborne, or putting their body into a position that could really hurt them. The teammate is in an emotional and physically vulnerable position, and through jiu jitsu, there’s a display of trust and respect by not taking advantage of that vulnerability.

Through jiu jitsu we are literally up in someone’s face, totally invading one another’s personal space- which let’s be real, that’s not something we usually tolerate unless we like and trust someone- and we come out ok from it. Being that close to someone, being in a vulnerable position, and not only that, sometimes failing and looking silly in those vulnerable positions inevitably leads to an emotional closeness that can seem a little strange to people outside of the sport.

During this discussion I also mentioned that while we all come from different experiences and really walks of life, we’re all connected by one common characteristic: grit. We’re all willing to work hard at a sport that takes forever to improve in, we’re willing to do the work, put our noses to the grindstone and continue on our jiu jitsu journey. All of these factors, and others (I’m sure) lead to a closeness that may not always seem to make sense, but has the potential to give us friendships that last a lifetime.

Just some thoughts I wanted to share- have a great day everyone!

Leave a comment

Filed under bjj, jiu jitsu

Galentine’s Day Event This Past Weekend!

Yes, I know technically the 13th is actually Galentine’s Day, but we decided to commandeer the following weekend to invite some ladies around the city to stop by our academy, learn a little BJJ/self defense, and enjoy some snacks and drinks afterwards!

IMG-8587

We showed them a little self defense stuff, including a simple hip throw, as well as a taste of some other basics moves to give them a feel for the sport.

We also happened to get some nice slow mo footage of me demonstrating on a teammate:

It was a fantastic team effort, with ladies on our team from blue belt all the way up helping out. All in all I would say it was a pretty great day 🙂

Just wanted to share with you all- have a great day everyone!

Leave a comment

Filed under bjj, jiu jitsu, women's bjj, women's bjj

Happy Valentine’s Day!

Happy Friday, and Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

May you get all the snuggles- both struggle snuggles and the regular, non-struggle kind- that you deserve.

And even if you’re not into Valentine’s Day (no judgement here), have a great weekend!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The Importance of Friendship in BJJ

We talk all the time about how teammates are crucial to our development in jiu jitsu- while maybe not considered as important, friendships also pretty important when it comes to jiu jitsu.

The moments that are experienced and shared on the mats can last a lifetime: struggling through the same technique together, laughing at the same silly thing one or both of you did, the list goes on and on.

Friendships can also take place in a competition setting as well. In fact, it’s one of the bigger reasons why I like competing: it’s a chance to meet people from all over the country, globe even, and share in the same experience and love for the sport.

While it’s certainly possible to train without developing any deep friendships with anyone, I think it would be a bit lonely. That’s just my opinion though, I’m sure there’s someone out there who would disagree with me.

Just some thoughts I wanted to share: have a great day everyone!

Leave a comment

Filed under bjj, jiu jitsu, Training, women's bjj