Saturday, March 23, 2013

Professor Griff's Pan Plan

With the Pan underway, I don't feel too badly about sharing Prof Griff's Pan Plan, aka "Everything you needed to know about preparing for the Pan (or any major tournament), but didn't know you needed to ask."


"So, I highly recommend bringing a few things for the trip This will help you save money down there, as you won't have to buy replacements that you're only going to use for a few days. Also, you'll have more cash for stuff that you can't necessarily get easily up here. Budovideos usually has a booth, as does Koral, and maybe you just HAVE to have that gi/DVD/book/trinket. Besides, there's usually a Shoyoroll that drops around then. Way more fun to spend money on stuff like that than stuff you forgot.

This isn't a full list, but this is some of what I always wish had more of when I forget:

At least two gis. Make sure you weigh them. Know the weights, and make sure you have budgeted your own weight accordingly. For instance:

Griff's Tournament Gi and belt - 4.3 lbs
Griff - 215
Total - 219.3
Griff needs to make: 222

The lighter the gi, the heavier you can be. So bring at least two, just in case. Having to buy one on site isn't real fun.

Make sure all your patches are secure. I'm sure Nadir Ucgen Kiyanclar or I will sell you the name of the rad tailor we found who turns patch repair jobs around in a couple hours otherwise. Starting bid - $100 ;). (Don't undercut me, Nadir)

Cell phone chargers (bring two if you can). You'd be surprised (unless you have worked for a wireless carrier) how much faster your battery drains in a place like that. Also, bring a spare battery, or one of those iPhone external power packs. Trust me on this.

A list of hospitals that are covered by your health insurance provider. This is easy. Just call them and ask about where you should go in Irvine/Santa Ana/Costa Mesa. Accidents happen, and nobody wants to deal with thousands in bills as a result.

Any vitamins/supplements you take. Bring an extra day's worth. Also, athletic tape, braces, knee pads, etc. Big 5 runs are no fun and expensive.

Headphones/music player, books(if you're so inclined). I'm a huge Kindle fan, and if you are as well, you can save space by downloading the app for your smartphone/tablet and just access your stuff from there. Between the airport, the hotel, ad just waiting around to fight, there will be tons of downtime, so you need to have something to keep yourself occupied. If you're a gamer and you own a DS or PSP, that would be good as well.

Running shoes/sweats/hoodie. Nobody LIKES cutting weight. That said, missing weight for a tournament like this really isn't an option. At some point, you may realize you are a few pounds over. If that happens, you have to fix it.

Extra spending cash:). Like I said, there will be trinkets. Also, there's a Brazilian BBQ stand. Expensive, but totes worth it.

Feel free to add to this if you can think of anything I missed."

Thursday, March 14, 2013


These days my training schedule is pretty much this: I train every day except when I can't.

Last week, I was able to get on the mat for five days in a row.  While that would ordinarily be an exceptional pace for me, at the time, it seemed almost matter-of-fact.

This week I feel as if I'm struggling to get to the Academy more than twice.

Teaching and training about 50/50 right now.  It's a great pattern for rehabbing my rib (does "rehabbing" have two Bs?  Apparently so.) and for reinforcing the Marcelo Doctrine I've been discussing with Prof Abel over the past few weeks.  I'm only on the first few parts of the Code right now: focusing on movement, not conceding position, "a few good moves" ...  But I'm already feeling some pretty good dividends.  With a little luck, I could have a very productive spring and summer on the mat.

Still a little heavy, despite getting a little cardio in this morning.  165 or so in the gi, post-train.  My goal is still to be a featherweight with a lightweight's strength.  Keeping at those levels, though, remains a challenge.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Why (and How) to Train Hard in Jiu-Jitsu

I'll admit that I didn't entirely get this the first time I saw it.  Marcelo has been known as an advocate of "jiu-jitsu" as the best conditioning program for jiu-jitsu.  But I'm not sure if his approach has been properly appreciated.  As with all things Marcelo, a brief example makes the point clear.

I will add that this is something that Prof Carlos has been talking about more and more recently in asides before or after class.  Maybe it has something to do with his focus in advance of the Pan Ams (coming up in just a few weeks!), or something broader about the approach to training he wants to pursue.

In either event, for those of us who have only so much time devote to anything not revenue-generating, Marcelo's point about training intensity is worth keeping in mind.