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      News — cat_Lifestyle

      Wrestling for BJJ and Why You Should Do It

      Wrestling for BJJ and Why You Should Do It

      Let's face it, if you're going to compete in jiu jitsu, you're going to have to start on your feet. If you attend a gym or academy in which every sparring session starts sitting down - either due to crowded mats or concerns over injuries - and you intend on competing sometime in the near or far future, you're doing yourself a grave disservice if you don't work on your standup game. 

      Yeah, of course you can immediately pull guard, but guard pulling is an art itself. If you don't practice it from standing, your guard pull in competition will be easily thwarted and you'll quickly find yourself in a very, very terrible situation (... and you don't want to have to tell people you "pulled mount", do you?). What about judo, you ask? Yes, judo is an excellent addition to your game, and I'll elaborate on why in a later post.

      However, one of the best standup styles to integrate into your BJJ game is wrestling, and here are some reasons why: 

      An Easy Two

      In an IBJJF-ruled tournament, if you face a guard puller, there's an easy two points there just ripe for the picking... and you wouldn't know - or have built the reflexes to catch it - if you haven't practiced your wrestling. Just the slightest touch on your opponent's leg when he/she goes to pull guard, is most likely going to earn you that "easy two". Who wouldn't want to start a match a whole two points ahead?? That way your opponent is going to be concerned about trying to recoup those two points, and in doing so, will most likely make mistakes that you can capitalize on to advance your position or sink a submission. 

      The Sprawl Factor

      If you face a wrestler, especially a takedown artist, you're going to want to know how to sprawl... otherwise you risk giving your opponent an easy two. Even if you aren't the greatest at taking someone down yourself, knowing how to sprawl - and sprawl hard - is going to make your opponent think twice about trying to take you down. Additionally, knowing how to sprawl - and developing that specific timing associated with great sprawling - is going to help you throughout your jiu jitsu. For example, if your opponent is on his/her back and is trying to reverse the position, knowing how to drop your hips and make yourself as heavy as possible is going to help you thwart your opponent's attempts, keeping you on top and in a better position to dictate the pace of the game. 

      Confidence on Your Feet

      Probably the most amazing gift wrestling will give you is confidence on your feet. Between learning how to effectively and efficiently take someone down and knowing how to sprawl on a moment's notice, you're going to develop an incredible sense of comfort on your feet. Even if you have no intention of taking your opponent down, that sense of confidence will be apparent, and it'll weigh on his/her mind when he/she is facing you on the competition mat. Maybe there will be a slight hesitation in his/her guard pull, or he/she will think twice about taking you down. That kind of psychological warfare is invaluable.

      It's Freaking Fun! 

      For those who have never taken a wrestling class, or have only taken a couple of classes, wrestling can seem hard and intimidating. Yeah, the first few sessions will definitely kick your butt and have you seriously questioning the status of your cardio, but once you get enough under your belt to become just a little more proficient... wrestling is freaking fun! Exploring the angles you need to offset your opponent's balance and being able to effectively duck under his/her arms to reach the legs presents a delightful new puzzle. And you'll never forget that delicious feeling of elation that first time you execute a perfectly-timed and technically correct takedown on someone who isn't just letting you do it. 

      Even if you never execute a beautiful highlight-reel-worthy suplex takedown in competition... or ever in your life... you will never regret adding a bit of wrestling into your jiu jitsu game. 

      Train on... and take 'em down. Oss.

      Guide: Nutrition Basics for the BJJ Athlete

      Guide: Nutrition Basics for the BJJ Athlete

      You've probably heard it before... something along the lines of "I train so that I can eat whatever I want," or "The only reason I'm not [insert hypothetical weight here] pounds is because of jiu jitsu." Or you may have heard one of a thousand stories from people who have lost an incredible amount of weight just by training BJJ. 

      Yes, jiu jitsu is amazing, and for the average practitioner, it does have some incredible benefits. However, for the majority of BJJ athletes, jiu jitsu alone isn't going to cut it when you're trying to maintain peak condition and hit the podium time and time again. In addition to high-level jiu jitsu instruction and training, a BJJ athlete also typically needs a proper nutritional program, in order allow him/her to endure long, hard training sessions, recover quickly and efficiently, and maintain a healthy weight. 

      What does that look like, you ask? Read on...

      Proper Hydration

      Staying hydrated is probably the single-most important thing any athlete - of any sort, not just BJJ - should be doing. However, research shows that most athletes are only drinking half of what they need. According to a University of Michigan sports dietician, proper hydration helps to "delay fatigue, maintain mental focus, regulate body temperature (especially in hot environments), satisfy thirst and to improve the ability to recover from training and competition." Think about it... if you're only half-hydrated, you've impaired all of those factors affecting your ability to perform on the mat.

      So how much water should you be drinking? Well, that depends on your own bodily needs, as well as how long and intense your training session is. It's important to "listen to your body" in order to gauge what optimal hydration is for you. However, it's important for a BJJ athlete to know that proper hydration begins long before your training session. It's suggested that an athlete drink 7-12 ounces of fluid 15-30 minutes before a workout or training session, then 4-8 ounces during a workout every 15-20 minutes, with added carbohydrates and electrolytes during longer training sessions.  

      Sufficient Protein Intake

      It's no secret that athlete's need more protein than the average person. But why? And how much? When you train, not only do your muscles use up glycogen (the sugars that your body stores in your muscles as a source of energy for your cells), but some of the proteins in your muscles also get broken down or damaged. Consuming protein within a couple hours of training provides your body with the amino acids ("building blocks of proteins") it needs to repair, rebuild and grow new muscle proteins. 

      Some nutrition guides suggest that protein be consumed within 45 minutes after a workout, others within two hours, in order to maximize its effect on muscle repair and growth. Especially if you're not able to eat a meal within that time frame, keeping a high-quality protein powder supplement in your gear bag is always a great idea. How much protein should you be eating? Many sources suggest athletes consume between 1.2 to 2.0 grams of protein per kilogram of body weight; approximately 80 to 135 grams for a 150 pound athlete. 

      Nutrient Dense Foods

      Nutritionists don't all agree on what constitutes the "perfect diet" for an athlete... some suggest a high-fat diet, others a high-carb diet. However, almost all will agree about one thing: avoiding "empty calories." These are foods that lack the micronutrients - vitamins, minerals, enzymes, phytochemicals and antioxidants - the cells in your body use to "function, to repair, to build, to maintain, to produce, to clean up, to metabolize, to transport, and to communicate." Fried foods, processed foods, sugary drinks, energy drinks... all of these add to your calorie count without contributing much - or any - nutritional benefit to your body. Particularly if you're preparing for a tournament, these aren't foods that will help you fuel your body for hard training sessions or help it to recovery efficiently afterward. 

      Not everyone's nutritional program will look alike. Every individual will have his/her own needs and bodily demands. But as long as your program considers these three general guidelines, you'll know you're on the right track. 

      Train... and eat... on. Oss. 

      Guide: Getting Your Kid Started in BJJ

      Guide: Getting Your Kid Started in BJJ

      I'm of the firm opinion that every child should be involved in some sort of physical activity. It teaches them coordination, resilience, how to listen and learn, and how to cooperate and communicate with others, particularly with their peers. 

      And I might be biased, but I think there's no better activity to get your little girl or boy involved in than Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Here are some tips for getting your kid started in BJJ:

      Getting Them to Try It

      Unless they already have a little jiu jitsu friend whose been telling them all about how awesome it is, it may be a little difficult to get your child to step on the mat for the first time. It's kind of like going to a new school where he/she doesn't know anyone... it's scary! The best way to get your child interested in the first place is to go with your child to visit a local jiu jitsu academy during the kid's class. Have him/her meet the professor or coach before the class starts - usually he/she will introduce your little tyke to some of the kids who regularly attend - then have him/her watch some or all of the class. Seeing all the other kids have fun and interact with each other will ease any fears your child might have, and get him/her excited to participate in the fun next time! Plus, having him/her see how the class is run, will allow him/her to be more comfortable participating in the class, as the setting and structure will be more familiar. 

      Finding the Right Academy

      Of course, that's assuming you've already found an academy you like! A lot of kids these days start jiu jitsu because they have a family member - a mom, dad, uncle, aunt, cousin, etc. - who does it. So naturally, they go to their family member's gym. But if that's not your case, you'll want to find the perfect academy for your little guy or girl. As popular as jiu jitsu is becoming, odds are there's a BJJ gym or academy near where you live, work or where your kid goes to school. There are very, very few academies that don't have a kid's class. So that's good news. However, just as you wouldn't go to just any gym yourself, you should also make sure your child's academy will be a good fit for him/her. So do your research... Does the kid's instructor seem friendly and knowledgeable? What do the other parents say about the class? Is there a good number of children around the same size as yours? Do the other kids appear to be respectful toward the coach and do they appear to be learning?

      Getting Them Geared Up

      Once you've found the right spot for your little dude/dudette, you'll have to get all the right gear for him/her. First and foremost... find a nice, durable gi that fits. Many academies have a small selection of kid's gis available for rent or purchase at the academy, but many more do not. Regardless, especially if your child sticks with jiu jitsu for the long term, he/she will need many more gis in the future. Here are a few kid's gis that we like, many of which come with a free white belt (some don't, so make sure before you buy, in case you'll have to buy the belt separate!). But don't just take our word for it. Do your research. Check out the sizing charts on each gi model to see if your child fits better within a certain range. Have your child try on some of the other kids' gis before or after class to check the fit. While the gi might be the most important element, he/she will also need a rash guard and maybe some shorts and/or spats. You might also want to invest in a kid's mouth guard, too. Jiu jitsu doesn't involve any striking, but there's always risk of being hit by an errant elbow or knee. 

      Parental Involvement

      Last, but definitely not least... how involved should you be as a parent? If you already do jiu jitsu, you're ahead of the game. As you progress, you can help your child at home. Just take care that you're not over working your child in a way that makes jiu jitsu a job instead of the fun, totally awesome activity that it is, thereby resulting in "burn out". I've seen this happen far too often. If you don't train, I highly encourage that you step on the mat a few times at least, just to experience a little bit of what your child might be going through. Why? Because too many parents who don't train try to "coach" their child, usually by yelling at them. If you've never been on the mat before, let their coach do all the coaching... that's what he/she is there for. Otherwise, you're going to risk frustrating your child, putting too much pressure on him/her, and looking like an ass as you do so. Just sit back and watch your child grow. That or go somewhere else. Go run errands, take a nap, whatever. 

      It's almost always a guarantee that your child will absolutely fall in love with jiu jitsu once he/she steps on the mat for the first time. If not, that's okay, too. Jiu jitsu is not for everyone, and there are plenty of activities in the world that he/she will excel at instead. The most important thing is that he/she is involved in something that allows him/her to see the tremendous potential he/she has. 

      Train on... Oss. 

      The Difference Between Gi and No-Gi BJJ

      The Difference Between Gi and No-Gi BJJ

      The short answer to this is: one is practiced in the gi (jiu jitsu kimono), and the other is not. Duh. But that's a gross oversimplification. While gi and no-gi jiu jitsu are inherently the same, there are subtle differences in how they are practiced.

      Want to delve into the nitty-gritty differences between these two sides of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu? Read on...

      Attire

      As noted earlier, the most obvious difference between gi and no-gi is the attire. In gi jiu jitsu, practitioners wear a gi, while in nogi jiu jitsu, practitioners typically wear snug-fitting athletic apparel. A Brazilian jiu jitsu gi consists of a jacket, usually made of 100% cotton, a pair of pants - made from either cotton or a poly-cotton ripstop - with a drawstring closure, and a belt that is tied around the waist over the jacket. Male practitioners can opt to go bare-chested or wear a rash guard under the jacket. Female practitioners opt to wear either a sports bra only, or a sports bra and rash guard. In no-gi jiu jitsu, both male and female practitioners usually wear a rash guard paired with grappling shorts - or compression shorts, no pockets - spats, or both shorts and spats. 

      Grips

      Another obvious difference is in the grips. In no-gi, you don't have the material of the gi to grab and use against your opponent, and you are not allowed to grab and use the material of the rash guard and shorts. This leads many in the gi community to make the - inaccurate - remark, "there are not grips in no-gi." In fact, there are grips, they are just modified. Instead of grabbing the lapel, sleeves and pants, practitioners in no-gi use a lot of monkey and c-grips, grabbing the wrist, back of the neck, back of the ankle, and bend of the elbow. Gable grips are also used to their best advantage in no-gi. 

      Athleticism

      One of the biggest deterrents for gi practitioners to practice no-gi is the belief that no-gi jiu jitsu requires more athleticism. Yes, the more successful competitive no-gi practitioners typically tend to be more athletic - quicker, more explosive, and better able to scramble - just as with gi jiu jitsu, proper execution of technique can overcome a stronger, more powerful opponent. Additionally, the lack of material-based grips allows for both you and your opponent to slip out of positions a lot easier. Therefore, there tends to be a lot more movement in no-gi jiu jitsu than in gi jiu jitsu, where one can maintain a more secure grip and prevent his/her opponent from moving too much. 

      Techniques

      Of course, without the gi, you can't possibly do any of the awesome lapel chokes that you can with the gi. Additionally, a lot of the modern sport jiu jitsu guards - such as leg lasso, spider guard, worm guard, etc. - are essentially impossible. On the other hand, the lack of gi also makes a lot of techniques and submissions easier to execute. For example, wrestling takedowns are far more successful when your opponent can't grab a hold of your lapel and stiff-arm you away. Some chokes - such as the mata leao and the d'arce choke - are also easier to lock up when there isn't a lot of material around your opponent's neck impeding your movements. The lack of material also makes it easier for you to escape certain submissions, such as arm bars and triangles. 

      Tournaments

      Gi tournaments - and divisions - are typically the most popular and have larger numbers of competitors. The IBJJF World Championships - fought in the gi - is widely considered the most prestigious event in the world of competitive Brazilian jiu jitsu. The Abu Dhabi Combat Club (ADCC) Championships is considered to be the most prestigious no-gi event in the world. While most tournaments, both gi and no-gi, are points-based, there is an increasing demand for submission-only tournaments. This is particularly the case - and far more successfully executed - in no-gi, where the sub-only ruleset favors more the faster, more athletic and dynamic no-gi game in which competitors have fewer opportunities to stall. 

      Regardless of whether you prefer gi or no-gi, it is widely believed that practicing in the gi can help your no-gi game, and practicing no-gi can help your gi game. 

      Train on... gi or no-gi. Oss.

      Fresh New Choke Republic Tees!

      Fresh New Choke Republic Tees!

      Summer is officially here! What's better than breaking out the short shorts and flip flops? Stocking up on the latest new designs from your favorite jiu jitsu apparel brand, Choke Republic!

      Even if you don't already know the Choke Republic brand - where have you been... living under a rock?? - you have definitely seen their awesome t-shirt designs in your BJJ academy, major jiu jitsu events, and maybe even on randos walking down the street. Remember the famous "Coffee Then Jiu Jitsu" shirt, complete with shaka-ing Starbucks lady-mermaid? Yeah, that was Choke Republic. 

      So what have they brought you this summer?? A fresh new set of designs, that's what! Check 'em out:

      Territory Series

       

      Gamer

       

      Bolt

       

      Bones

       

      Laurel Wreath

        

      Sunset