Sunday, June 18, 2017

Rollathon Saturday

Yesterday was a great day at the rollathon to support the Association for Suicide Prevention. A full three hours of rolling, story telling, and making new friends all for a good cause. As usual there are always those that come to roll harder than others but overall I feel everyone came pretty open and ego free.

One particular high note of this rollathon was the number of children on the mats and the number of adults willing to train and share with children regardless of affiliation. I have experienced other events such as this where people approached it like another training event. They were out to roll hard and had no time for children, sharing tips, or keeping it playful. I actually had a conversation with a friend of mine telling him that I never finish a submission at a charity event. This is just my personal approach but I either transition somewhere else or "allow" my opponent to work out of the situation. This is simply my personal approach and its obvious that many people do not share this sentiment. Listen, I train hard at my home academy and test myself through competitions, that's the bottom line.

No ego no drama. That's my approach. I feel that you get more of a feeling for different mindsets / approaches to the game of Jiu Jitsu by opening the flow. Being locked into back control fixated on trying to finish a choke is almost a waste of a roll with someone you may never get to roll with in the future. Open it up and you may have the opportunity to defend a position you don't normally see at your home academy.

Food for thought. Keep Grinding.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Post Competition Fatigue

The 2017 IBJJF World Championships concluded about a week ago and many people are currently back at the drawing board preparing for their next event. This planning / evaluation / reflection period is the perfect time to conduct 1-2 weeks of light training or down time in order to allow the body to recover and  for the mind to decompress. The mental and physical stress the average Jiu Jitsu practitioner places on themselves over an 8 week train up can take a significant toll on the mind and body. On average, a Jiu Jitsu practitioner (the average, not the "professional") who trains 3-4 times a week will slowly ramp up the frequency and duration of training leading up to competition reaching 5 or 5 days to include 1 or 2 "two a days". Add in multiple strength training sessions and a weight cut and you have all of the ingredients for overtraining and injuries.  The competitors know these issues and are prepared for the grind because they are focused on a goal, to be called a World Champion, but what about their training partners who are right there in the trenches grinding with them in training, do they realize that they need to recover too?

Have you ever stopped to take a few days despite not being in competition mode? I never stopped to consider this until today when I was trying to determine why I I wasn't firing on all cylinders and why something had been off the past few days. I did not compete at Worlds (I'm old) however I had treated every training session just as if I was competing to ensure that I was giving my teammates the good hard training and preparation they needed. That training combined with additional cross training was similar to a normal 8 week train up for me as well and I needed to treat these post competition weeks similar to those who competed. Consider how you train leading up to a comp and the extra stress you put on your body, it may call for a break.

I know some people will call this weak and scoff at the idea of taking time off, but 365 days on the grind is HARD and completing a true 6-8 week "fight"camp is even HARDER. There are a lot of people who THINK they are training hard but haven't really been on the grind. If you have and you know, then take the days off, guilt free because you earned them! Rest your mind, rest your body and you'll be glad that you did. Just don't let the break exceed 14 days, thats way too long.

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Updates on all Fronts

Its been a while but I'm back!

 I had to shift focus for a bit and concentrate on getting the podcast up and running with consistent content. I've finally reached the point where I can blog and podcast simultaneously while providing useful content on both fronts. For those a little newer to the blog, our sister project, Work Play Obsession, Life and Jiu Jitsu is a podcast about pretty much anything Jiu Jitsu or Combatives (Military / Law Enforcement) related in the DMV. We cover competitions, seminars, roll-a-thons, large scale open mat events, and openings for new academies.

To kick off the blog /podcast for this week we have a recap of the 2017 IBJJF World Championships held last week @ the Pyramid in California. In this episode we discuss the winners, the losers, trends, observations, and the Brazilian referee conspiracy theory (say what?). My guest / co-host is head instructor @ Ground Control Columbia and black belt competitor Joao Paulo Ferreira.

In other news we are now collaborating with two major organizations in an effort to bring the best deals to our subscribers.

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Trapp BJJ - - for elite level BJJ instruction. Trapp BJJ provides in depth video clips of a myriad of Jiu Jitsu techniques to include solo drilling, self defense, "sports" whatever,  it's all in the palm of your hands. As an added bonus you'll find videos of Judo throws from Judo Black Belt Thiago Rocha. Use code WPO50 for 50% off your first 12 months. All content can be downloaded for offline use - available on Apple and Android devices.

Also we have expanded / updated our social media footprint. Like us, Friend Us, Follow us to join the conversation!

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Finally, if you know of a topic or person you would like to see on the show or you simply want to give us advice on how to improve the show, drop us an email at We are open to all suggestions and willing to travel anywhere!

Until next time, KEEP GRINDING.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Game Planning the New Year

Tomorrow will mark one week off from training / working out and I must admit that I am thankful that I stuck to the plan. My muscles and joints feel great and I've had some pretty good nights of sleep. As painful as it may sound time off cross training or ass to couch is actually a good thing. I still plan to rest physically for two or three more days but yesterday I decided to get back to work  on Jiu Jitsu mentally. I sat down and did a little video analysis of my training and competition footage as well as reviewed a few pages from my technique journals. This helped me determine my weak areas and where I need to improve in order to meet my goals for 2017. What I came up with are not New Years Resolutions per se, but a solid (in my opinion) game-plan / roadmap for 2017. While many of the items are aimed towards progressing in Jiu Jitsu it also includes things that I will need to do off the mats such as diet / nutrition, weight training, and reading. 
One of the primary things that I wish to accomplish in 2017 is growing our podcast in both reach and number of listeners. I released Work Play Obsession, Life and Jiu Jitsu approximately 2 months ago with the intent to spread the benefits of Jiu Jitsu to whoever had 10 -15 minutes to listen to those who train and experienced positive changes (self confidence, weight loss,  self defense, etc.). I also wanted to kill some of the stereotypes and take advantage of the unique environment we share in DC, Maryland, and Virginia where everyone trains together regardless of affiliation.  Part of my plan is to travel more often, meet more people, and conduct more interviews all working to produce better products for the listener. Spread the word, we produce one episode a week and can be found on iTunes, Soundcloud, Google Play, Stitcher, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. 
From a training perspective I must admit that I have become quite intrigued by the leg lock game. Attacking the legs and leg lock set ups are two areas that I plan to increase training on in 2017. Opposite to many of the fanboys that have jumped on the Gordon Ryan / Gary Tonon bandwagon I prefer to watch Josh Hayden (oddly enough another Tom Deblass guy) and study the 80/20 leg surfing system. It will be interesting to see how successful I am integrating these components into my current game-plan / training schedule. 
Straight ankle locks, knee bars, and toe holds are fun in the Gi but to access the full compliment of leg submissions No Gi training and drilling are must. Cross ashi garami inside sankaku, honey hole, 4/11, knee knot, saddle, etc. all require reaping which is illegal in most Gi competitions and therefore are positions unfamiliar to most guys who train predominately in the Gi. Time to get back to the fun of No-Gi while learning some new positions / submissions and shoring up my defenses in this area. 
Don't want to get into my competition game-plan but lets just say that it is complete and I hope to compete as much as possible this year. Last year was a let down to miss out on Masters Worlds and the plan is not to have a repeat non performance. It will come down to work / family commitments and making the time to dedicate to serious competition training camps. 
Anybody out there have developed their plans for next year? I'd like to hear what some other people plan to focus on or hope to accomplish this year. Comment below or hit me up on social media. 
Happy New Year and Keep Grinding. 

Monday, December 26, 2016

Open Mat Observations

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and soon to be Happy New Year. The winter holiday break is the perfect time to let the body recover. Consider it a reward after a long year of training and competing and a time to take a little Jiu Jitsu  break. Of course for those people who truly need to train during this time there are open mats to be found and other aficionados to train with at their schools. I decided to take some time off like everyone else but still forced myself to three open mats just to work up a little sweat. These three open mats led me to my ramblings today. I've had some discussions with a few friends after these experiences and I felt like some people were truly losing the opportunities holiday open mats are meant to provide.   So what do I mean by "open mat". I am not talking about a paid drop in class at an academy when you are traveling, training at an affiliate academy during a normal class, or an "open mat" session that you attend regularly with a consistent group of guys all working towards a common / identified goal. I am talking about any open mat event held during a holiday, a charity event, or post seminar open mat event.   I personally consider open mats to be pretty low key and to me it is a failure if I either submit someone or use the same technique more than once with the same opponent. Regarding submissions, submitting someone is not solely my failure. My goal is to catch the submission and as soon as the other person begins to defend in any manner I transition to another position. Fighting or forcing a submission at an open mat is a "No Go" for me. The focus is position, transition, and almost constant movement for mat conditioning.    So when do I work finishing? At my home gym and during competition training. My team knows why we are there and the unwritten rule during competition training its go hard or go home.   Technique wise, if I hit a sweep or pass I won't use it again. This allows me to train as many variables as possible and have a little fun stumbling around and doing things like cartwheel passes and inverted guard. Mostly things that I won't train during regular classes because time is precious. Call it selfish but when I'm at my academy my goal is to give my teammates 100% of my effort so we all get the best training possible. This holds true for training at affiliates or when doing drop ins on the road (gotta rep my team properly). Open mat, not so much.   So how do I know when other people aren't training in the same manner? I always hope they are training in this manner but if you have trained for more than 1 year its obvious when someone is working hard focused on winning. Ok, maybe they are trying to work their submissions or survival posture. Once again, I do not think that is what holiday / seminar open mats are intended to be used for but yes some people will take that approach. For those situations I recommend working at around 50% and just riding the wave. This is just my personal approach but I guarantee, you will not come across as the D Bag, the other guy will because multiple people will deal with this behavior.   Lets just say, don't be datch guy. If you have the time or opportunity to train at an open mat for New Years by all means take advantage. I only ask that you truly have fun with the event.  Roll at about 50-75% effort, catch and release, and try some new techniques.   Two challenges I like to do: 1) Do not use any of your "A" game. (besides you never know when people are scouting your game) 2) See what's the longest submission chain you can transition through in one round   Trust me, you'll see how much the game opens up and as a result it will be more enjoyable. Nobody wants to go home after an open mat thinking about what they could have done better. Leave your ego at the door, let your hair down, and most of all have fun.   Happy New Year.