One of my goals with weight training is to reach an estimated combined total of 1,080 pounds in the squat, bench press, overhead press, and deadlift. This is the classic "press one plate, bench two plates, squat three plates, deadlift four plates" mark of "advanced intermediate" distinction that everyone who lifts has heard about. Ideally, I'll accomplish this at a bodyweight between 148-152 lbs.
I spent the first three months of the year focusing on strength gains and learning the basic lifts. It turned out to be more like three and a half months - including two, 20% deloads (!). Going forward, the idea is to spend half the year focusing on max strength (October - March) and the other half on conditioning (April - September).
Truth told, I anticipate peaking in August (the same month as the Seattle Open and the Master Worlds, btw) and using September largely as a transition month given the seasonal pick-up in my life at the Daily Planet. But the general idea holds.
My strategy will be to return to StrongLifts 5x5 training three days a week, which was very effective during my initial strength cycle earlier this year. My goal is to rep 105/145/200/235 for a rep total of 685 by the end of October. This would restore me to near where I was in late April at the end of my last strength phase (105/160/210/245).
From here, I want to switch to Russian Strength-Skill training over the balance of the year as a skill-enhancing/staging phase. Then, in 2018, I'll go back to StrongLifts 5x5 in earnest for the 90-day push to a rep total of 835 (135/175/230/295) by the end of the current strength phase in late March. Based on the Epley 1RM formula, this would give me an estimated combined total of 973 pounds in the Big Four after two strength cycles.
If all this goes as planned, I'll reach my Press One Bench Two Squat Three Pull Four goal sometime during my third strength cycle from October 2018 - March 2019.
Maybe you've been thinking about competing in a jiu-jitsu tournament. I competed at local BJJ tournaments at every belt level until I earned my black belt. I was a "win-one, lose-one" competitor until purple belt, and never won a match at brown.
In my first five or six years of training, there was a good sized cohort of us who always competed locally - particularly the Revolution tournaments. There was no pressure to compete. But it was fun to train for the tournaments and the camaraderie among the unofficial GB Seattle competition team (basically anyone from the school who competed at any given event) was real.
I have no idea what it is like these days for the over 35 crowd competing locally - though I note that masters/executive divisions are appearing more frequently than they used to. But I'm a big proponent of participating in BJJ tournaments regardless - at least as a white and blue belt.
Part of what makes jiu-jitsu so appealing is its realness. The fact that we get to actually practice what we preach rather than just waving our arms and legs in the air or, as Bruce Lee famously observed, striking objects that do not strike back, is game-changing for anyone whose has had a lifelong affection for the martial arts. And that makes BJJ competition - again, from this perspective - a must do.
So my recommendation is that you get some. Even if just a little bit. Over time if not immediately, I'm guessing you'll be glad you did.
Standing grip break: two-hand grip / Standing grip break: one-hand punch / Grip break to single leg / Grip break to single leg to X-pass to leg drag / Grip break to single leg to X-pass to leg drag to side control to knee on belly to mount
King of the Hill Specific training (guard/pass guard)
Double leg twist takedown / Standing Guillotine / Counter to Standing Guillotine / Keylock from Mount / Armbar from Mount Drill / Lockflow: Standing Guillotine + Pull Guard to Pendulum Sweep to Keylock or Armbar from Mount (T)
updated 8/22 Monday
If no Noon BJJ, do Conditioning Training Tuesday
PM BJJ Wednesday
Strength Training Thursday
PM BJJ Friday
Strength Training Saturday
If no Noon BJJ, do Conditioning Training Sunday
Today marks the first day of my thirteenth year in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
I've kept pretty immaculate training records at least since 2009. I've got records going back to 2006, but they aren't as complete. Maybe combined with the blog I could build a fairly accurate training record going all the way back to day one. Something for retirement, maybe.
The quantitative nature of the record is great for perspective. Sometimes you feel like you are training at your very best and can't put your finger on why. Then you look at your training log and realize you've been averaging four classes a week with more than two hours a week of Live Training alone. Other times, you feel like nothing is working, your timing is off, your cardio is weaker than it should be given your off mat conditioning program or improved diet or whatever. Then you check your training log and figure out that your four-week training average is under 2.0. No wonder you're struggling. You aren't training enough to feel like you are making progress.
Progress-making. White belt edition.
It's also good for understanding the impact of life changes on your jiu-jitsu career. I look at my peak training years from 2009 to 2013 and it is clear that working from home and not traveling 4-6 times a year was great for my jiu-jitsu development. During those four years, I averaged 3.3 training days a week - something I can't even imagine now.
The four years since have been rougher. My average is down to just below 2.0, even with a pretty strong finish in the third quarter (my training year runs from August to July since I began training in August). But I do have a new, more realistic training goal to shoot for now. I realize that a lot of my frustrations on the mat are tied to not having significant amount of my game "top of mind." I have to "remember" things, which is a poor use of time when you're in the middle of training.
So the first goal for my thirteenth year in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is simply to make sure I show up, on average, at least, eight times a month. The move to Kent hasn't made it easy to slip in a quick nooner here or there. But I don't see myself taking seven business trips out of state in a year again any time soon, either. I've got other tools to help take care of technical issues (see BUG report). And as for the 80%, so to speak, I've just got to keep an eye on the numbers and everything should take as much care of itself as it can.
The second goal is to return to basics. Sometime during the last two years I've become a little disassociated with the jiu-jitsu that got me here. And over the past several weeks, as my training frequency has increased (four-week training average is up to 2.75 and will hit 3.0 on Saturday for the first time in more than 11 months). I've had the opportunity to see - and begin to repair - some of the gaps in my game, especially w/re2 the guard. Most recently, I've gone intergalactic planetary for a little specific study and have not been disappointed. I've got drilling to do, to be sure. But I feel increasingly at a good place from which to make some major improvements to my main squeeze.
Third is strength and conditioning. I've experimented a lot this year and decided to spend half the year focusing on strength training and the other half of the year on conditioning. Every expert I've consulted suggests that you really can't significantly develop both at the same time. So from October through March, the focus will be on getting stronger. From April through September, the focus will be on getting leaner and more agile. I'll be using variations on the Russian Strength-Skill routines in both instances, in all likelihood. More on that to come.
Lastly, w/re2 lifestyle, I'm thrilled to be walking around at a natural IBJJF featherweight level (149 lbs). This was a major goal at the beginning of the year and I'm very happy to have reached it by now. I'm a little undecided about pushing it lower. I'm trying to let a clean diet and regular training take me where it does and right now, that may be lower - potentially as much as 5% lower - than where I am now. There's no competitive advantage. IBJJF light feather is 136, which is what I weighed in high school, and given the muscle mass I've accumulated in the 30+ years since, I don't see myself in the 130s in any way. But I could see an instance where I am around 140-142.5 or so at my most lean in late August/September, before beginning a strength phase that would add 8-10 pounds of muscle over the next six months.
That's the view from here. It's been a helluva ride these twelve years on the mat, and I'm looking forward to at least twelve more. Funny ... I've got Fight to Win Pro 44 on the iPad to my side and I'm remembering back when I started training how much of a rare treat it was to see ADCC every other year at Budo Videos. We've come a long way as a jiu-jitsu community, and it's something all of us should be grateful for and proud of.
Pummeling drill / Pummel to drop single leg / Pummel to Russian tie to headlock to breakdown to turtle / Assymetrical choke / Pummel to drop single leg to guard pass to assymetrical choke drill / Pummel to Russian tie to headlock to breakdown to turtle to back take drill
Pummel 20x + pushups 10x circuit / Asymmetrical choke / Pummel 10x + double leg circuit / Pummel 10x + double leg + clear legs and asymmetrical choke drill / Stand up with collar grip specific training / Side control specific training
Wedge guard open from knees + over the leg sprawl pass / Wedge guard open from knees + double unders stack pass / Wedge guard open from knees / Standing twist pass vs closed guard with hip pop / Standing twist pass vs closed guard with Machado toreando spin
A little clarification on the source of the almonds reference in Monday's tweet (and an excuse to post a poem from one of my favorite poets).
Count the Almonds,
count, what was bitter, watched for you,
count me in:
I sought your Eye, as it opened and no one announced you,
I spun that hidden Thread,
on which the Dew, of your thought,
slid down to the Pitchers,
that a Speech, which no one’s Heart found, guarded.
Only there did you enter wholly the Name, that is yours,
stepping sure-footedly into yourself,
the Hammers swung free in the Bell-Cradle of Silences, yours,
the Listened-For reached you,
the Dead put its arm round you too,
and the three of you walked through the Evening.