Thursday, November 22, 2007

The Good News, The Bad News

The good news is that I've managed to stick with my six-day a week strength and conditioning program over the past four weeks. In two weeks, I'll be headed for Tucson for Christmas for a week. After that, I shift into Phase 2, the power and power endurance program.

The bad news is that I haven't been on the mat since before the Revolution tournament in November. Sure, there was a bunch of stuff going on with the change in location to the new school. But the fact of the matter is two-fold: (1) I've been trying to adjust to a new job and work schedule with a 4:30 wake up call, and (2) I have no health insurance.

I'm doing better at time management in response to the first issue. I had thought that I might be able to train during the day on Wednesdays with the new job. And that might actually happen. But in order to do that I need to spend some time Tuesday night working on Wednesday's content. It's very doable. But I do have to make the time to do it.

We'll see. The more important obstacle to training right now is the lack of health insurance. I'm in the gap between when my old insurance ended and my Cobra begins. I'll get coverage from my new job in February at the beginning of the month. But I just don't think it makes any sense to roll the dice and hope I don't get injured--not when I can wait a month or so until the Cobra kicks in sometime in late December and not have to worry about it at all.

All this writing for and talking with traders has convinced me of the importance of hedging your bets.

I'm still aiming for the February Revolution tournament with the idea of building up through the July event and winning first place in November, a little over a year from now. My weight this morning was 157, which is perfect. And my body is just starting to settle into parts of the strength and conditioning workout, which sets me up perfectly for the power and power endurance program that comes next.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

The Plan Week One

In spite of the tribulations of adjusting to my new work schedule (pros: work from home, cons: 4:30 a.m. wake up call), I've done a pretty decent job of sticking to my workout schedule. The idea is to spend the six weeks between now and Christmas building up my basic strength and cardio. Then spend the six weeks after I get back from Christmas vacation in Tucson preparing for the Revolution Event in early February.

For the first six weeks, I'm focusing on core resistance work and treadmill cardio. I'm still tweaking things. This week I got in three resistance workouts (Monday, Wednesday and Saturday) and two cardio (Tuesday: LSD, Thursday: Beaster). I'd orginally planned for three and three. But three and two wasn't bad for the first week.

I wasn't able to train jiu jitsu this week, in part because Rodrigo has decided to leave the Tully's location and lease a new facility a mile or so north in the same area. Things with Tully's were getting really played out and I suspect Rodrigo might have felt jerked around by those guys.

Classes start Monday, and I'm looking forward to seeing what the new place is like.

I've figured that I don't think I'll be training much during the day. I could be wrong about that. But I think the better option is to use the time I have here at the house to get in the conditioning that has started to prove elusive. So instead of trying to squeeze in 30 minutes on the treadmill sometime between six and seven in the morning, I can get in a workout when I've finished the bulk of my daily tasks for The Man sometime around one in the afternoon.

We'll see how it works.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

The Art of Jiu Jitsu, Part 5

"How did Ricardo Arona get in my guard? Maybe he took me down, it doesn't matter. Maybe I just woke up one morning and Ricardo Arona was in my guard. Here's what I'm gonna do."

--Mario Sperry, from an instructional video/DVD.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Nate Diaz v. Ryan Hall

Arguably two of the top American purple belts in the lighter divisions competing against one another ...

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Plan

I'm trying to break the next training period into two six week periods. Monday, November 12 through Friday, December 21, when I leave for Tucson for Christmas vacation. And Monday, December 31 through Friday, February 8, the day before the Revolution tournament.

My goal in the first six weeks will be to train three times a week. I want to focus on escapes (from rear mount, mount, side control, north-south, triangle choke) mostly, as well as movement from the top and sweeps from the guard.

Conditioning-wise, I want to do a generic Phase I cardio/strength type of program. Three days of core-based, weight lifting each week. Three days of LSD cardio each week. This is all geared to raising my fitness foundation, a little more strength and a little more breath.

In addition, I'll do the Tabata and abs Tabata an alternating mornings, starting on Monday.

In the second six weeks, I'll switch my training to four times a week, with only two conditioning days on Saturday and Sunday. Training focus will be on the competition gameplan; namely, whatever was working in the previous six weeks.

The conditioning workouts during the second six weeks will be the 39: Tabata + Berardi + Beaster.

It's basic periodization. But hopefully it will leave me with better awareness on the mat, and ready for the "shock" of competition several Saturdays from now.

I suspect there will be other tournaments. The Spokane guys have been doing a lot with MMA lately, but I wouldn't be surprised if they put together an event or two in 2008. And I'm pretty sure that there will be a Gracie Barra Seattle event sometime in the spring--probably between Revolution events in February and July (late April/early May?).

But I'm going to stick with this schedule with the hope of peaking in early February. If everything goes well, then I should be able to adjust the periodization (i.e. 2-4 wks Phase I/4-6 wks Phase II) to fit the tournament schedule.

Monday, November 12, 2007


The Revolution

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Let's do this thing.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Done and Back Again

I didn't compete at the Revolution tournament yesterday. Truth told, I got ready to leave the house Tuesday night, ready to train and train again the following night in last minute preparation for the event. But a quick check of the website clued me in on the fact that the new room we were switching to at the Tully's location wouldn't be ready until Monday, November 12, the Monday after the Revolution.

In the meanwhile, the Bellevue academy would be open Wednesday and Friday night.

I don't want to make it sound like the deal killer. My training leading up to the Revolution was pretty rotten. I had little to no explosion, very poor hip movement (always a bad sign of drive and willpower), and just wasn't making it to class consistently.

To add to that, I started a new job this week. And though ultimately I'm thinking that the new gig will actually be a huge boost to my training, the first few days of distraction (and 5 a.m. wake-ups calls!), seemed to take their toll.

I made it to class in Bellevue to let Rodrigo know. I didn't want him to think the turmoil of the new room was responsible for my opting out of the Revolution yesterday. The simple matter is that when it was all said and done, I just wasn't ready to compete.

I made the beautiful drive up to Bonney Lake Saturday morning to support the guys and see some great gi jiu jitsu. The place reminded me of Flagstaff, just gorgeous country. Maybe it was the elevation.

The venue was solid, a high school gym with nice raised bleachers on one side. And our guys did very well, particularly Saule. It was exhilerating to see so many of our guys compete, including Jesse. I missed Casey's and Andrew's fights, unfortunately--the higher belts going first at this event. But I did see a heart-breaking first fight with Lindsey, who was up 12-0 before getting caught in a traingle (Lindsey came back in his second fight to win by double digits).

Great event, IMO. I don't regret missing it as a competitor--and I'm not just saying that because I got a T-shirt. 2007 has been a bit of a lost year for me jiu jitsu-wise, as injuries, then the book, then the new job seemed to have set the tone for what I could and could not do this year on the mat.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Interview with Rafael Lovato Jr.

Here's a short interview with Rafael Lovato Jr., courtesy of OntheMat. Lovato Jr. is widely believed to be the top American competitor in jiu jitsu (i.e., gi). There are a couple of interesting things that he has to say about his stellar performance in 2007, but perhaps the one comment that really caught me was this:
Gumby: Rafael Lovato Jr. World Champion Black Belt. Has it sunk in yet?

Rafael: Not really. I dreamed about winning the Mundials for so long. I never won it at any of the lower belts, in fact the only title I had was a Pan-Am gold as a blue belt. After that the best I did at the other belts was third place, so it is still very hard for me to believe. I still feel like I can be so much better and I look forward to continually improving and hopefully winning the Mundials again.
I remember reading somewhere that another top black belt, Felipe Costa, never won big at a tournament until he was a black belt. It is something to think about the next time I get the willies about competing (or, rather, anxiety about not winning all the time).