19 August 2014
06 March 2013
I had the pleasure of attending Gracie Humaita 5th degree black belt Rodrigo Antunes seminar at the start of the year. For those that don’t know much about Rodrigo he got a silver medal in the Senior 1 Ultra Heavy World Gi last year. Weighing only 85kg, he decided to complete in the Ultra Heavy division because the other divisions had friends of his in it competing.
I found Rodrigo to be a very polite and funny guy. Rodrigo is about the perfection of the basics and his teaching style really emphasises that. His goal for the seminar was that each person should find something that can be used on Monday.
He started by going over his Guard and Attack sequence he used very successfully against all the big guys in the World’s last year. All the techniques were inter-related. I picked up at-least a dozen little mistakes I was doing that were making basic techniques not work quite as effective as they should.
The main sweep and attack sequence he showed us was the one he used in the World’s to giving up a 50kg plus advantage in size. All very simple but very detailed.
We then moved onto Questions and Answers, and after letting the lower belts ask questions the 4 blackbelts started asking questions and we got to witness a “laboratory of Jiu-Jitsu” sharing. That alone was worth it.
I think Rodrigo must have been enjoying himself because the seminar was already well over time and then he decided as a bonus to start showing us attack sequences from mount. The 2 hour seminar quickly turned into a 3 hour seminar to which I unfortunately had to leave before the end as I had another commitment.
I have been to quite a few seminars with top level guys in the world. I can clearly say that this was the best seminar I have been to hands down. Upon reflection I think it’s because Rodrigo is a couple of years older than me, has a similar frame and most importantly had a similar mindset on how to solve problems. It was just that an incredible amount of his Jiu-jitsu was transferable to me immediately.
Thank you professor.
27 December 2012
Have you ever been in a situation where your mind is just overwhelmed with new information. I have, and it was the first time I stepped into a BJJ class. So many new terms, techniques and behaviours. You quickly discover that it’s incredibly complex and has so many fine details that it’s almost impossible for your brain to remember everything. You find out that each technique has like 7+ little moves in it to make it work, That there are like 7+ major positions, that there are dozens of sweeps and dozens of submissions. Then you discover there is 6+ different types of guard and each has it’s own set of techniques. The list goes on.
Suddenly you are in information overload right. How do you train for all of that? My previous post I mentioned about Effective Training Time (ETT) and I put some math in to support that. Now let me use some hypothetical numbers. Let’s make up a number and say there are 13 positions and guards and on average 10 moves in each position. So we have 130 different types of techniques we want to cover and let’s say that 10 minutes of drilling time is required to learn a move at a basic level. Lets says you may do 1-2 moves per lesson. That’s 65 lessons or 22 hours of ETT to cover just those moves once each. I haven’t even talked about strikes and self defence yet.
You are taught a broad range of technique and have insufficient time to absorb and own the technique before moving onto the next one. All these techniques are “in progress” as none have been mastered yet. This is a Large batches size problem because you are starting lots of techniques but not sufficiently understanding a technique before moving onto the next. It’s like making cars and having none come off the assembly line until basically every car is ready.
The more “in progress” stuff we have going on at the same time, the less we actually complete. The more likely we are to get lost in all that stuff. That “stuff” is up in the air because you often need more and more technique to deal with problems in live rolling. This is where too much live rolling can actually hinder your progress because you never finish any of that “stuff”.
What’s the opposite of all of this “in progress” stuff. It’s called Small batch theory. You break a problem down into bite size manageable pieces to keep the “in progress” as low as possible. The more you are “trying” to learn at any one time, the less you have actually mastered because you haven’t completed anything..
So how do we fix the learning for jiu-jitsu so that we can increase our learning speed. Simple, we have to reduce the batch size of what we learn and master. Look at DJ Jackson, black belt world champion in what 4 years, his core game consists of about 5-7 core techniques. I wonder did he just haphazardly practice every technique under the sun or did he focus predominately on his core and then filled out his BJJ knowledge once he had that.
In my next blog I’ll go through how I’m using this small batch theory to optimize the speed I learn BJJ.
21 December 2012
Got that, right now for some background information first on this blog post.
I watched the rolled up episode with Marcelo Garcia and he stated that if you do something you should do it 100% and not 80%. The question was leading towards life balance and that if your goal is competition, then you need to commit 100%. Marcelo was saying that he hates seeing people commit 80% because they are wasting time. Marcelo has also made a ton of sacrifices to commit to 100%!
Let me tell you about a a Robert Drysdale seminar I went to a few years back. Someone asked the question how often they should train jiu jitsu. Drysdale replied dead serious “No more than twice a day”, as if twice a day was completely normal for everyone. In Robert’s mind twice a day is completely reasonable, and he has tried more than twice a day and for himself he didn’t really see any extra benefit in training more. Now that shows 100% commitment.
So back to your goals and the time you have spent training the last 6 months. In my opinion if your goal is to compete then 5-7 sessions a week is not going to cut it.
Do you think t you will win you a World Championship at any belt level if you are training at that level? How are you going to compete against the like of Lloyd Irvin’s “Medal Chasers” who even as Blue belts are doing more sessions than that everyday. These guys are 100% committed because they just train, eat and sleep Jiu-Jitsu. Lloyd Irvin is giving those guys a way of life which I think is awesome if you want that.
Do you want to compete against that? Is Jiu-Jitsu a hobby or a way of life for you? I have seen a lot of talk recently about “Statistics” in competition, yet out of those statistics what it doesn’t tell you is effort. I’d like a statistic on Effective Training Time.
Let’s do the Math and have an example of what Effective Training Time (ETT) is all about. At it’s core it’s really about the total time you spend doing “useful” training. Not sitting on the side recovering, or waiting in line for you next go.
Effective Training Time (ETT in hours) = Weeks * SessionsPerWeek * EffectiveMinutesPerSession / MinutesPerHour
Person A losses to Person B in a competition and both have trained extensively for 6 months leading up to the comp.
Person A has trained 6 times a week with 1hr sessions. Each sessions thought only has an effective training time of 30 minutes because of warm up, cool downs, breaks, drinks, line ups for rolls and delays when teaching.
= 26 * 6 * 30 / 60
Person A ETT = 78 Hours (80% committed)
Person B trains 6 times a week, does 2 sessions per day, each session is 1.5 hours long and has 30 minutes downtime.
ETT = 26 * 12 * 60 / 60
Person B ETT = 312 Hours (100% committed)
So Person B actually has 4 times as much effective training time as person A! He still has the same delays in class but has a slightly longer class and he has an extra lesson a day which adds up to a 4 fold increase in the Effective Training Time.
To me it’s clear that Person B is committed and training hard while Person A is kind of wasting his time and going through the motions 6 times a week! 78 Effective hours over a 6 months isn’t a lot. I wish I could have a job were I’d only need to commit to 78 hours every 6 months.
So work this out for yourself. What’s your ETT for the last month and does your ETT match your goal? How are you going to correct the imbalance?
My next blog entry will be for the hobbyist and committed BJJ practitioner alike. I’ll be breaking an awesome concept that I’ve recently learnt that will help you achieve your goals in BJJ and fix those imbalances. This awesome scientific concept can be applied to other areas of your life as well.
tl;dr; Don’t give 80% to something, give 100% or less than 25%.
07 July 2011
The short answer: it doesn’t for a VERY long time. At least that’s my experience and the experience of those I talk too.
I’m asking this in a self-reflective way because my perception of how difficult it is for me and other people’s perception about how I’m rolling are quite different. I feel like I’m terrible, too slow, too late and yet other people say I’m rolling really good. I think it’s encouragement but the hard thing about BJJ is it just doesn’t seem to get any easier.
You start off as a White and think that once you get your blue the problems you are having will be solved or at least easier. The thing is…it doesn’t and you find out that even white’s cause problems to Purples from time to time. Jiu-Jitsu is relative especially during the years until your black; you will always be training with people of better and equal skill. Until you get past that hurdle that’s a very long time where Jiu-Jitsu doesn’t feel easy.
Once you can roll very relaxed and adaptive to the situation then I think Jiu-jitsu may become a bit easier. So enjoy rolling and leave your ego at the door – otherwise that’s doing to be one bruised ego after 10 years of jiu-jitsu training.
28 June 2011
So I officially changed schools over the weekend. I cleared everything first with my old coach so that no bridges were burnt. He understood that this is life.
I was very apprehensive and nervous driving to my first class. I had committed myself to changing and everything would be new. I was definitely stepping outside my comfort zone. The hardest part is the commute, but I think the longer class and tuition I’m receiving should offset that.
After all the formals I jumped on the mat before class and was greeted by one of the blues for a light roll. A nice introduction; we didn’t try to go at it hard. We just played a lot with give and take. The class itself was excellent. It was only the beginner Gracie self-defence but the instructor gave a lot of good details so both beginner and advanced students could take away something.
What else was a nice surprise was that there was another black belt in the class. So come the free rolling part of the night I got to roll with a black belt – AWESOME!!! I love the feeling of being swept effortlessly – it just makes me think there is so much to learn in this art. I made sure I didn’t go too hard with anyone, and just tap if I was caught instead of fighting stubbornly. There isn’t as many intermediate belts as my old gym but I can feel that everyone really tries to get technique over strength.
So overall an awesome first class. Even though it was a beginner class I actually picked up quite a few details that would help going from side back to hooks in back control. The other students were great, the gym was great, and best of all there is a massive drawing of Rickson hanging up on the main wall overlooking the mats – awesome!
24 June 2011
Ok I’ve been slack and haven’t posted in awhile. Two things have played on my mind and that is motivation and acceptance for my existing gym. Since starting privates I’ve noticed my attendance for my gym has been declining, and that my motivation for going there is also declining. I’m just getting so much out of my privates that I feel like my old gym is just not progressing me in any way. I don’t feel accepted at the gym. So I’m thinking of making the switch permanently to the Rickson (and Kron) Gracie affiliate school.
It’s a lot further away – 45mins to 2 hours depending on how bad traffic is – each way. Still I think overall the change will be for the better. It’s a personal thing, sometimes you start BJJ at one school but you just don’t click there in the same way. I don’t think it’s bad to change schools as you can never know what another school is like when you first start BJJ.I got into this art because of Rickson Gracie, so really that’s where my heart is telling me to go.
On other topics I’ve been working a lot on sensitivity to movement and balance. Interesting enough I just happened to come across a Rickson Gracie video of him doing a private lesson on a Swiss balls. He demonstrating some great exercises that I think can directly apply to Jiu Jitsu. The three main exercises were:
- Lie flat on the ball and try to keep balance without touching ground.
- Put knees on ball and then stand up on the ball and do squats (that’s right…squats) without falling off.
- Lie on back on ground and put a leg on the ball, elevate your hips off the ground and keep balance. You can even practise going to your sides if you want.
All of these sound easy, but for me they work so many aspects of sensitivity, balance, muscle and timing. I’m starting to incorporate these exercises into the Gynastica Natural exercises. I think they compliment each other very nicely and will help my Jiu Jitsu.
I can’t last 3 seconds in the first exercise without touching the ground. The second exercise I finally got both of my feet onto the ball after a couple of days. I can’t stand yet. As for the last exercises: I don’t feel I have enough power or more correctly the power isn’t being directed correctly onto one leg.
Anyhow it’s a great video showing just how much body awareness he has…