So we’re on the precipice of some promotions here at Chuva BJJ, and the people who are getting promoted have seemed a bit reluctant to move up. The thing is if you trained somewhere else, you’d probably be a blue belt already. I’m stingy AF about promotions. The only reason you’re getting a belt or a stripe from me is because you earn it. Even if you don’t feel like you earned it, that’s not up to you. If you go to a tournament and smoke four opponents in less time than five minutes, that new belt is coming. If visiting upper belts are struggling with you or getting tapped by you, eventually I have to bump you up. If you don’t feel like you’re ready for that next belt when I do, I guess it’s time to put the work in to make yourself worthy.
What’s the Value?
Some people think that Brazilian Jiu Jitsu training is too expensive, or they don’t understand why the price is what it is. If you have a normal gym membership, you’re on your own. Even if you go to SoulCycle, they’re not really teaching you anything but for what it is, you pay significant money. I go to a rock climbing gym that has effectively a Crossfit box attached to it and it’s $90/month… they don’t even teach me stuff. When you go to a Jiu Jitsu gym, they are actively trying to make you better and sharing their expertise and knowledge, watching to make sure you are safe. That is not the experience of a regular gym membership, therefore it should come at a premium.
A monthly membership for scheduled, dedicated instruction in most things would run over $200/month and hopefully that will be the norm soon. We love what we do, and everyday I see what I do changing lives, making people better, helping people. All of the people who run a school have put time into gaining the knowledge and giving it back to you, so that you can enrich yourself. The value is that grappling brings immense positives to your life and whatever price tag is on a good school is probably worth the investment.
Doing your Best
My wife and I both listened separately to a podcast about whether people were doing their best by Brene Brown this week. The underlying part of it was we need to give grace to people, because we do not know their circumstances and that may be all they can muster in that moment. The other aspect of it was setting boundaries when someone’s “best” is not at the standard we expect. I admittedly have high expectations for people who train with me, I’m stingy with promotions, and critical of low effort or poor attitudes. As a coach it is my job to pull more out of you, and sometimes that means that I see that you aren’t actually giving your best. Many times I see people give up because something is too hard, or they don’t like it, they ignore the same instruction repeatedly this is not someone’s best.
I feel like there is a distinction between your best and what you can do in the moment. Your best is peak performance, it is the optimal. I can give you grace on what you can do right now, but I also get to keep the boundary that you must meet my standard.
The Maker/ The Artist
I don’t want the gym to be huge. I want it to be successful, but I don’t want it to be a mega-school. I would like to have my finger on the pulse of everyone’s training. I want to know people’s weaknesses and strengths and I want to be able to provide nearly individualized service to the people who train with me. I know that I have a good track record of results and moving people toward their goals. What I want is a comfortable life where I can help people and provide the best quality of training available.
I appreciate everyone who has hopped on this journey so far, and now is the time to hold on. I think we’re going to blow up.
I’m not sure who really reads this, but I’m setting my sights on being the premier brazilian jiu jitsu facility in the triangle. I want the facility to be great, I want the programs to be great. I want everyone else to be envious of what we have. So I’m in the beginning stages of dropping something very cool for those who train with me. We are looking at 2023 being a year of growth for Chuva Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and I’m glad you’re on this journey with me. Look for an email and a text from me next week that gives a little more info on what’s going on.
Mind Your Manners
I’ve talked about this before, but it’s a recurring topic across gyms, so let’s dive in.
The Golden Rule: Treat others how you want to be treated.
How does this translate to grappling? I’m glad you asked. If you treat your rolls like a professional grappling match, expect your opponent to do the same. Conversely, if you are rolling with someone more advanced than you and you decide to play some “grey” jiu jitsu, it will be returned. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but soon and it will be terrible.
The longevity of your BJJ career depends on your understanding of when it’s appropriate to train like there’s something on the line. Mostly because if you make the wrong choice with the wrong person, your day is going south fast. By looking out for your training partners, you look out for yourself and they look out for you. DON’T INCUR THE WRATH OF THE MAT ENFORCER!!!
Last week I said I would put forth my ideas about cleaning up the sport, so here we are. First things first, the tournaments have to matter. Right now, in order to compete in the world championship at a black belt level, all you need to do is acquire points. If you compete at enough IBJJF Opens, automatically you will have enough points. Effectively anyone with the funds and a black belt can compete in the WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP. That’s dumb, no other sport does that.
So, let’s limit who can get in. Everyone needs to qualify, no more automatic bids. It shouldn’t matter whether you were a previous black belt world champion, a brown belt world champion, or some super famous MMA fighter. If you want in, it is solely based on the merit of what you’ve achieved in the current season.
The top 20 ranked athletes in each division should be subjected to USADA testing throughout the year. If you miss a test, your season’s over.
Brackets should be capped at 32 and if you’re in the top 16, registration and lodging is free.
Stop having any other belts compete in the same weekend as the black belt adult world championships. If you want to continue having blue belt world champions, that’s fine, but let’s make it seem like being an adult world champion actually matters.
An IBJJF membership card necessitates a lower tournament fee. Wrestling and Judo both have international federations with membership cards, those guys are not paying $200 to sign up for a tournament. I don’t care if sponsors are paying those fees or not, a mandatory membership card plus 3 digit number tournament registration is a scam. Especially since there’s no insurance attached to that membership (Judo & Wrestling have insurance).
Pay the athletes, not just to win Worlds, but to win any tournament under the IBJJF banner. Someone posted “Cyborg” received $40,000 for winning the IBJJF grand prix. Okay, that’s good for a nights work, but what about the other athletes? Did the IBJJF foot the bill for everyone who competed to fly out? Did they pay for hotels? What was the reward for the athletes who lost in the first round? If you’ve ever traveled for a tournament, you know that money burns fast, so $40,000 goes up quick if you’re consistently trying to make it to IBJJF Opens in the effort to qualify for worlds. Then you have to find a way to make money, which cuts into recovery time, thus making steroids an attractive option.
Here’s the thing, the adult black belt competitors are not funding the IBJJF, and if you’ve seen the big tournaments, it is feasible that there is some spare money in that organization. I’m not saying that the for profit thing needs to stop, but if you want less steroids among professional grapplers, it might be time to start treating them like professional grapplers.
Why are we surprised?
If you watched no gi worlds in December, you knew that suspensions for PED use were coming down the pipe. Many of the finalists didn’t show up for their finals matches or the podium. They basically begged to get tested. They made it so suspicious that the IBJJF had no choice.
Let’s talk about some things-
Vagner Rocha and “Cyborg” are over 40 years old and they compete against adults regularly… of course they are on the sauce. Have you seen them train? What hobbyist 40 year old do you know that trains like that and comes back the next day?
What about the young guns? Surely you’re not saying that some 20 year old kid needs PED’s? I don’t think they need them, but I get it. I have 18 classes per week right now, I have done up to 27 classes a week on a regular schedule. Usually, a professional BJJ athlete spends about 30 hours in the gym per week. Naturally, the recovery time you would need for that negates any life outside of grappling. Synthetically, you reduce your recovery time significantly. If you are making your name in jiu jitsu, you are probably earning very little even if you are contending for world championships. The appeal of steroids is that you can use your time differently. Even the Miyaos had a PED violation. To be a professional athlete you need to dial in training, nutrition, and recovery. When you are low on funds, quickening your recovery allows you to train more, put more time into your nutrition, and possibly work so that you struggle less.
There are so many drawbacks to steroid abuse, but we are incentivizing it, and the IBJJF is not helping. How do we clean up the sport? That’s for next week.
This Sport Sucks!
In the middle of an open mat the other day, one of the newer guys said that exact thing. Maybe it does, but there is also an accountability piece that goes with getting better. Let’s look at some things that may cause you to believe this sport sucks.
- How long have you been training? If you haven’t been training very long and you don’t train very often, there is no reason that you will be magically good at grappling. Most likely you will be terrible. Time and time again people who believe they are athletically inclined walk into BJJ gyms thinking they’ll be fantastic grapplers, and almost always they are disappointed. Developing skills takes time jiu jitsu is no different.
- How often are you training? If you are training once or twice a week and decide to compete, the odds you will succeed are low. If you train three times a week, but one of those is an open mat and you just started training, that’s not enough for you to magically know jiu jitsu. If you only come to open mat, and are not intelligent about the way you train, you will be a white belt forever.
- Are you actually putting the work in? Did you go through the full 8 weeks of fundamentals? Are you listening to what your instructor says? Are you correcting your mistakes? Are you doing the techniques properly? Are you short changing the drills? Are you on time so you can do the whole class?
- Unfortunately, your coaches/ instructors/ professors can really only help you when you are physically present, and I can almost guarantee all of them want you to succeed, but you are responsible for making yourself better at grappling. You are also responsible for being realistic about how much you are actually doing and the results you can expect from the work you put in. This sport only sucks because you suck at this sport.
Stretching Warm Up
This is the full stretching warmup I do with the kids class feel free to add other stuff or hold onto stretches longer.