Fall Camp, Heidelberg Germany

 

Fall Camp Heidelberg Germany

I guess to start by saying the camp was awesome would just be redundant as all the camps are awesome. This was my third BJJ Globetrotters camp and the best to date. As always I met and made friends with great people from all around the world, but this time, for the first time, I taught a class at camp. My fear was an empty mat, the reality was just over eighty participants, how awesome is that. My class was on passing the butterfly guard and I taught with my typical combination of technical instruction and sarcastic wit. I received a lot of positive feedback from many of the students and some great feedback from a couple of the other instructors. I would say my first class teaching (of hopefully many more) for the BJJ Globetrotters was successful.

The second reason this camp was so important to me was because just like the first globetrotters camp I attended it helped my overcome an anxiety trigger. The prospect of sharing a cabin with 9 others and sharing a bathroom was a total nightmare; however, I decided I needed to do this to overcome one aspect of my social anxiety and I did. The trigger to overcome this time was to travel outside the United States; yes, in my 51 years this is the first time I left the US, you would think as close as I live to Canada I would’ve made that trip at least once by now but; I have, well had this thing about leaving the states. Anxiety trigger 2 conquered.

The camp itself is an amazing experience. You get to meet and train with others who share the same passion for Brazilian jiu jitsu that you have. These other campers come from around the globe and bring their style of BJJ with them. Although we all train the same art it is a very personal and unique experience for every participant due to all the variables that come from everyone’s individuality. Seeing other people’s little variances on techniques is a great way to improve your training by opening previously overlooked options.

Heidelberg, Germany was an excellent choice for a camp location. The sports complex was quite large and the mat space easily accommodated 200 plus globetrotters. Classes transitioned smoothly from one instructor to the next and the open mat periods flowed nicely. The sports hall also had clean locker rooms equipped with showers and a great cafeteria that offered inexpensive food options for those who did not participate in the food plan.

I wasn’t sure what it would be like staying in a hostel but even that turned out to be a pleasant experience. We were 4 to a room and we had a private bathroom and it was clean with comfortable bunks.

The city of Heidelberg may be the coolest place I’ve ever visited. The old part of the city with its narrow cobble stone roads and small homes was like traveling back in time. In the city center the streets were lined with small shops, bars, and restaurants were you can get any type of food you could possibly want. Then there’s the castle overlooking the city, a nice climb to go in the back way, or you can drive up to the main entrance, a great experience regardless of your choice with breath-taking views out over the city and the Neckar River.

Speaking of the Neckar River, there’s a really cool park on the riverside that has beach volleyball courts, and outdoor bar, and music playing continuously, a great place to hang out and just relax and soak it all in. There is also a bike/walking path that extends for miles on the riverside.

The other thing that struck me about Heidelberg was that a large percentage of the residents ride bicycles as their primary mode of transportation. They have a rent a bike system in place with pickup/drop off points all over the city and virtually every place you go there are bike racks, also there are bike lanes on almost every road and they even have traffic lights specific to bicycles.

The one negative in the entire trip was the lack of internet access. Heidelberg has free wi-fi in the city which I was able to access however there was no internet access. The only 2 places I was able to get online were the cafeteria in the sports center and the hostel lobby.. Oh, hold on a second, that’s actually a good thing too. Never mind it was 100% positive.

All in all this was an amazing trip with great Brazilian jiu jitsu, great people, great food, and I cant wait to do it all again…

 

Peace

But I Thank………..

I don’t necessarily believe in the concept of God as this supreme being that has created everything and has predetermined our existence, however I find myself thanking him (or her) every day. I do believe that most of the stories written in the Bible are true, however in the cases where God is speaking to some of the cast I feel there is another explanation. Don’t ask me what that explanation is as I don’t know the answers, all I have is more questions.

 

BJJ Tournament Rules

It seems like every week a new grappling federation is popping up and holding tournaments. I think this is both good and bad. Good in the way that our sport is growing in popularity, and bad because with this growth usually comes the watering down of the original intent of the “art”. The original intent of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu was self protection, self protection in the way that a smaller person could defend themselves against a lager attacker. The original intent of Tae Kwon Do was self protection, typically meeting force with force with defensive maneuvers and punching and kicking. With the popularity of Tae Kwon Do tournaments the rules slowly began to change. First the punching began to fade then the contact began to fade. When I trained in TKD we fought when we sparred, there was contact and if the fight went to the ground as most fights do you’d better know how to fight there as well. We didn’t go for points for one simple reason; if you get attacked your attacker will not stop attacking because you scored a point.

While I feel that sport martial arts are good it’s the rules that water down the martial art itself. Traditionally speaking, if you got a black belt it meant you could fight and defend yourself, now if you get a black belt in a martial art designed for competition that meaning isn’t necessarily true. A lot of black belts today have a false sense of security due to the sport aspect of the what they are learning.

Now here’s the issue I have with all the grappling tournaments that are popping up every week, each one has a different set of rules, and much like what happened to TKD this is watering down BJJ. More and more schools have a sport based curriculum (if they have a curriculum at all) and this takes the self protection out of the art. While I agree that for children there are certain things that need to be modified in both training and competition for safety, however adults need to train the art as it was meant to be. Therefore as an adult in competition there should not be limits on the moves and submissions that are (or least least should be) part of every adult BJJ academy curriculum. I realize there is no easy answer to this issue, however I feel it needs to be addressed.

 

To be continued…

Peace

 

My First Sleep Away Camp

Now I know based on the title you probably think this is a story about when I was a kid; However, you be wrong. You see I never went away to camp when I was a kid, I never even went to day camp for that matter. I remember watching TV and there were always commercials for sleep away camps. The commercials made to camps look like so much fun and I’m sure they were. Then “Meatballs” and “Little Darlings” came out and I really wanted to go to camp. But let me get back on track here.

On Wednesday Sept. 7th I will be leaving for Camp Winaukee in New Hampshire located on Lake Winnipesaukee. Now you may be asking yourself at this point; camp, why is he going to camp now, school starts that week, and he’s 50 years old. Well I’ll tell you why, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

I will be attending The BJJ Globetrotters USA camp 2016. I’m hoping this will be the first of many Globetrotter camps to follow. I am truly looking forward to training with people of all skill levels from all over the country, and world for that matter. There will be over a dozen instructors teaching classes from morning until night and I’m excited about the prospect of learning new technique and getting new perspective on technique I already practice. I’m also looking forward to rolling with some different partners, I believe this will take me out of my comfort zone which will bring new growth. One of the goals I would like to take from this camp is the ability to instruct at future camps and expand my involvement with the BJJ Globetrotters.

I think what I’m most looking forward to is meeting, training, and just talking with Chris Haueter. If you’re not familiar with him go to YouTube and look him up. Chris is a pioneer in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in the United States. He was part of the “dirty dozen”, the first non-Brazilians to earn black belts which he did in 1996 being promoted by Rigan Machado.

I’m really looking forward to making new friends in the BJJ community from beginners to seasoned black belts.

I feel this camp will be the first step in taking my martial arts career to new heights.

Finally I would like to thank my beautiful girlfriend Tara for the gift of this camp. 🙂

Peace

 

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Mr/Ms Perfect

I’ve been a musician for a long time. I know my limitations, I’m not a great bass player, guitar player, or singer. I’m aware of what I do well and where I’m weak. I know when I have a good performance and a bad performance. By the way a good performance doesn’t mean I played every note perfectly, if it did I never had a good performance in my life. Being critical of every note is completely ridiculous. If thats how you listen to music you’re cheating yourself of enjoying the experience. Nobody plays every note perfect, and I do mean nobody. Musicians at the highest levels are not perfect 100%.

Another thing, although I like most music there is good and not so good in every genre. There is music I really like that most people I know think sucks. In my opinion (for what it’s worth). No music sucks. You may disagree with how it’s created, the way it sounds, whatever, that doesn’t make it suck.

Anyway back to my original point. I’m not the greatest musician, I make lots of mistakes, I have to read charts to play songs I’ve been playing forever. When I sing I go off key at times, hell sometimes I can’t even get back on. I have good nights and bad nights. But the most important thing is I get out there and do it. I put my fears and insecurities and social anxiety aside and give it my all every time I step out on that stage. Whether it’s the smallest bar with my cover band or a big stage with my original band, you get 100% of my heart and soul in every performance.

Think about that next time you say someone sucks. Especially those of you who have never put yourself out there for all to be critical of. So if you can’t even play the guitar you probably shouldn’t be talking about how much someone else sucks at it…

Just something to think about..

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Peace

Cheat Meal (Bologna)

“Cheat Meals”

Just the concept alone behind the term cheat meal irritates the shit out of me. Let me start off with this, diet is not a special thing you go on to lose, gain or maintain weight. Your diet is the food you eat: period. Everyone is on a diet, if you’re not, well that means you don’t eat. Second, if your diet makes you feel deprived you need a new nutritionist.

There is no reason the foods you like cannot be a part of your regular intake. You just need to be sensible about the way you eat them. If bacon is you thing, (as it seems to be for lots of people), well then eat bacon. For breakfast, try having 2 slices of bacon with egg whites on whole wheat toast, not a pound of bacon.

You need fat, protein, and carbohydrates in your diet. Not all fats, carbs, and proteins are created equal, but if you stick within you daily caloric requirements and keep you macro-nutrients in the proper proportion and eat a big variety of foods, well then you can eat the foods you like and still reach the goals you’ve set for yourself…

Of course if by cheat meal you mean you ingesting 3000 calories of pure crap, well then you are doing some serious damage to yourself even if it is only once a week and you need to rethink what it is that you want..

Peace

Cardio

IMG_6846Cardio
Cardio is a much more complicated issue then most realize. There are many ways to approach cardio training. First question; why are you doing cardio? Do you want to lose fat? Do you just want every day life to be easier? Are you training for a sport? This needs to be established before you start your cardiovascular program.

I know that you must be thinking, what’s the difference, if I run my heart rate will go up my lungs are getting stronger, my cardiovascular health will be good. Well for the most part this is true, but not completely. As any boxer who tries Brazilian Jiu Jitsu will tell you, when they grapple they “gas” pretty quickly, and vice versa.

Now if you are just trying to lose some fat, drop a few pounds, or just be able to perform everyday tasks easier, or you’re the parent of a young child and you want to be able to keep up. Then by all means run, ride a bike, walk, take a spin class, dance, Zumba, etc, these are all good forms of cardiovascular exercise. If you are training for a sport, well then you need to do sport specific training.

If you’re a boxer and you want the ability to go 12 3 minute rounds well you better get in that ring and start sparring, and spar hard, don’t fake it. Of course the road work will help out, but, it’s not enough. If BJJ is you’re game do your road work then start rolling (sparring) and when you get tired keep going. If you rest when you get tired your progress will be slow at best. When you feel your tank is empty, give it more, you may just surprise yourself.

Push yourself beyond the limits that YOU set for yourself. Yes, you set the limits and only you can stop you from blowing right past them. You think you’re tired, go 5 more minutes, then 10 more, or better yet go 1minute longer as hard as you can. Then take a short rest, and I do mean short, and do it again.

As always if you have any questions or would like to get into more detail and start a program, contact me and I will be happy to get into it.
Train Hard
Peace

Hit the Gym

Unless you’re planning on being a bodybuilder stop lifting like one. Does your workout look a little like this? Back/hams/biceps – chest/triceps/forearms – quads/shoulders/traps? Are you doing 3 sets of 8, pyramids, tri sets, super sets, etc? Well if all this looks familiar, good luck at the Olympia.

Now I know most of you are not training to be bodybuilders so why are you lifting this way? I would rather see you join the cult; C—-fit. Now I don’t agree with their complete philosophy, and I think the Paleo diet is a bit ridiculous, however they do have some pretty good workouts. That being said, they also take things too far for the average person and that can be quite dangerous.

So if you’re working out (lifting) just to stay in good shape, cut fat, put on a little muscle, and just get a little stronger you should be hitting all your muscles in each workout; to some extent. Start each workout with a major movement and then follow with exercises to support. I typically divide the workout by 4 parts, military press, dead lift, flat bench press, and squat. You can do this however you feel comfortable just follow the format.

Here is an example: Day 1 – Military press, barbell row, close grip press, dips. Day 2 – Dead lift, straight leg dead lift, barbell curl, rack pull up. Day 3 – flat bench press, incline chest press, and pull ups, bent lateral raise. Day 4 – squat, shrugs, leg curls, and hang cleans.

The next issue I would like to address is how much weight, how many reps, and how many sets to perform. I see it all too often, people just through some plates on a bar do 8 or 10 reps, add some more weight and repeat with no rhyme or reason. Well I’ve developed a formula that works well and lets you see your progress, and most importantly you will feel your progress. The rep range I work in is 8 to 12, if I can’t hit 8 reps; the weight is too heavy, if I can do more than 12, well then it’s not heavy enough. Next is sets, I typically do 3 sets increasing the weight by 5 pounds per set. Here’s an example, set 1 – 100lbs set 2 – 105lbs set 3 – 110lbs. Now as long as I hit my rep range the next time I do this exercise I will start at my middle set weight: example 105, 110, 115.

Next, be sure to write down your workouts and record everything, by writing it down on paper you know exactly what you need to do in each workout. I don’t care how good your memory is there is no way you can remember every weight and every set and every rep. Also by writing everything you can see you progress on paper, as well as in the mirror and in the way you will feel.

Now each time through the 4 workouts is 1 cycle. I recommend that every fifth cycle is used as an active rest period. This will help prevent reaching a plateau and or burning out. To achieve this active rest you will be doing the same workout as in the cycle, the only difference will be in the weight used and reps, during this period you will use the weight from the middle set of your previous workout and performing 8 reps for 3 sets. After 1 cycle of active rest resume the above format.

Be sure to start each workout with a good full body warm up, and stretch when you finish lifting. I’ll address flexibility training, cardio training, and abs in future blogs.

If you don’t fully understand or would like more detail on this please message me and I will be happy to give you more info and explain in great detail.

Peace