“Every expert was once a beginner”
It was a delightful Tuesday at Cressey Sports Performance when Rog Law (former CSP intern turned badass) was teaching me how to perform a rear naked choke. The next two Tuesdays he came back with more epic moves to show me. I started getting REALLY interested and asked where he was learning these kickass moves.
Rog replied, “None other than Master 4 Black Belt Gabriel Gonzaga, a.k.a Red Nose a.k.a Bad ass a.k.a Team Squared.”
My reaction as explained perfectly by Collin Dupuis.
I started that next Monday and haven’t looked back since. Eleven weeks later, Rog and I along with many members of Team Squared entered the Boston Summer International Open Jiu-Jitsu IBJJF Championship. I ended up winning my first match by submission and lost my second match by points. It will be the first of many memorable experiences to come. Here are six reasons I choose BJJ and the cross over it has in the strength and conditioning world.
Become a Novice Again
Many coaches forget what it’s like to start at ground zero and the initial mental and physical struggle everyone goes through learning new things. In BJJ there are countless moves from various positions and for every move there is a counter move. It’s like trying to drink water from a fire hose. In result, don’t be so quick to judge an athlete on their first day or initial performance; it’s only a starting point.
Build an Aerobic Base
Personally I am not a fan of traditional cardio methods (running, biking). I would rather lift something heavy, rest and repeat. However, I also want to avoid being so deconditioned that my heart rate skyrockets after going up a flight of stairs. BJJ was the perfect low impact activity that filled my aerobic gap and kept me engaged. Adding variations of low impact cardio with a low to moderate training volume can help increase your work capacity in the gym and overall make you feel amazing.
Be coached Instead of the One Coaching
I spend most of my day coaching athletes of all ages and at the end of the day it’s nice to have someone coach you. BJJ allowed me to learn different effective coaching styles and helped me to become a more effective coach. When meeting new coaches, sit back, watch and listen to their coaching style. You might be able to take something away that makes you a smarter and more effective coach on the floor.
Discover another Social Circle
Spending countless hours with the humans at CSP is amazing, don’t get me wrong. However, there are tons of outgoing, smart, sensational human beings I have yet to meet. BJJ allowed me to meet some of these humans, which increased my social circle and my happiness. When traveling anywhere or trying something new don’t hesitate to take initiative to say, “HI, my name is…” It will open closed doors and opportunities that were once out of your reach.
Skill is Greater than Strength
I would consider myself stronger than your average 5’2 120lb female. Walking into BJJ I figured I could win based on brute strength alone. Guess what? I got my ass handed to me. BJJ is such a technical sport where attention to detail matters in order to be successful. In the gym and in life skill is greater than strength. I would advise when coaching athletes have them perfect movements, hold them in isolation, repeat, and repeat until they can’t get them wrong.
“Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.” –Winston Churchill
BJJ is a sport where you’re going to fail over and over again. If you get slammed by a failure and you stand back up, assess, adjust, and take action, you’re heading in the right direction. Don’t be afraid to fail, you will emerge stronger and wiser than before.
Lessons from BJJ
Don’t be afraid to dive into the unknown. It might turn out to be more rewarding than you ever expected.