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Michelle Waterson Awarded Purple Belt in BJJ

Original Article: www.bjjee.com

Michelle Waterson has an interesting story. A karate student since the age of 10, Waterson holds a black belt in American Free Style Karate and has also trained in WuShu, Muay Thai, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, boxing and wrestling.

Waterson rose to fame as a contestant on the Muay Thai-themed Fight Girls reality show on the Oxygen television network. She was also featured as one of the fighters in the MTV/MTV2 reality show Bully Beatdown.

She has notable victories against Angela Magana and Paige Van Zant.

Still, her most recent loss came by way of rear naked choke as performed by the new division champion Rose Namajunas. As such it’s no surprise Waterson is kicking up her bjj training a bit. She was awarded purple belt over the summer under Rafael Freitas:

michelle-waterson

Waterson is also booked to fight Tecia Torres – girlfriend of bjj black belt and bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes December 2nd.

Waterson hasn’t fought since April – which she recently addressed to mmalatestnews:

Anytime you’re not fighting you should still be training, those are the times when I feel like I learn the most. We had so much going on this year after my fight with Paige (VanZant), we had the ESPY’s, we went to Singapore and Mexico, and I was on MTV’s reality show “The Challenge” to raise awareness for one of my favourite charities, MVP.

MVP (Merging Vets with Players) is a charity that was founded by Jay Glazer in 2015. Their main aim is taking former military veterans who are struggling with adjusting to civilian life, and match them up with former professional athletes, to create a new community.
In her fight against Namajunas at UFC Kansas City, the scores were even until Namajunas landed a head kick that dropped Waterson. Shortly after, Namajunas secured a rear-naked choke that forced Waterson to tap. I asked Michelle whether her memory of the fight was clear, or if the head kick altered her recollection.

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15 Tips For Being The Best Jiu-Jitsu Parent

15 Tips For Being The Best Jiu-Jitsu Parent

15 Tips For Being The Best Jiu-Jitsu Parent

Original Article: jiujitsumag.com

Being a good jiu-jitsu parent will help your kids get the most out of their jiu-jitsu, in both the short-term and for the rest of their lives. This list shares many of the things found to be the best for kids, not only in jiu-jitsu but in any new endeavor they take on.

01 Be encouraging
02 Stay calm
03 Don’t fret over bumps and bruises
04 Help your kids be prepared
05 Let the instructor do the coaching
06 Lead by example
07 Help them avoid junk food, encourage a healthy diet
08 Remember your commitments to them
09 Don’t push too hard
10 If you have a complaint, bring it to the instructor, don’t burden your child with it
11 Focus on the positives
12 At tournaments remember it’s about them, not you
13 Don’t argue with the referees
14 Don’t do anything that would make your kid not want to go to jiu-jitsu class
15 Jiu-jitsu for kids should be fun, don’t forget that!

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A Guide For The Novice: Competing In Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

A Guide For The Novice: Competing In Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

A Beginner’s Guide for Competing in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Original Article: breakingmuscle.com

Competition can be a big part of the grappling experience for practitioners who are so inclined. The conventional wisdom is that competition helps expedite progress and enables practitioners to test what they think they know in a martial arts competition, first time competing in grappling, competing in BJJ more realistic environment, under duress. For the first-time competitor, the experience can be daunting. The stimuli fly fast and furiously; the noise of the audience, the referee’s instructions, your coach’s voice, and your own nerves are all elements to deal with over and above the matter at hand, which is trying to grapple well, at a heightened intensity level, against a likely unknown adversary.

I’ve heard it said the ability to compete well is a skill in itself, and as with grappling technique, it’s a skill we can work at. For those of us at the beginning of our competition journey, here is a non-exhaustive list of suggestions that might help the novice competing in brazilian jiu-jitsu have a more enjoyable experience.

Keep it business as usual:
Right before a competition is probably not the best time to alter your usual training routine radically. On game day, try to do what you normally do before you train. Stretch, warm up, eat, listen to music, etc, the way you have in the time leading up to the competition. This has two benefits. First, it helps you feel it’s just another day, which may help calm your nerves. Second, it ensures your body won’t react adversely to a new smoothie or bar you decided to try (though any butterflies in your stomach may wreak their own havoc).

Weigh in ahead of time:
Competitors are grouped according to experience level and weight. In many tournaments, if you are too heavy, you are automatically disqualified. So make sure you are “on weight” BEFORE you have to weigh in officially. There are usually scales available for this, so you can find out if you are where you need to be or if you have to do a little running to sweat off some ounces.

Double up:
Bring two sets of gear. If you are competing in a gi tournament, bring two gis and two sets of whatever you wear under your gi. Many tournaments measure the fit of the gi to make sure it meets regulations. If your gi does not, you will not be allowed to wear it in competition and may be disqualified. Bring a second set of gear so you don’t have to run around asking your friends if they have a loaner for you.

Arrive early:
Especially if you have never been to the competition venue before, arrive a couple hours before your scheduled competition time. While it is unlikely the tournament will be running early, arriving with some time to spare will give you the opportunity to case the joint and develop some familiarity with the goings-on, identify a place to warm up, and, if you’re me, use the bathroom at least a baker’s dozen times.

Have a game plan:
Chances are, if you are competing, you have had some strategy sessions with your coach prior to competition day, both in terms of what your plan is for your matches and in terms of how you will work together. Touch base with your coach to make sure you are still on the same page.

Choose your state of arousal:
Apparently, anxiety and excitement register similarly in the body on a physiological level. It is our mindset that gives them an emotional association. Thus, to some extent, you can choose whether you are going to be excited or nervous to compete. Whenever I feel nerves creeping in, I have taken to making myself smile. It sounds crazy, but it actually works—it makes me feel more eager and fortunate that I get to compete, rather than scared and subdued.

As I mentioned, this is a non-exhaustive list. World class competitors are likely to have developed their own personal routines over time; as you become more experienced as a competitor, you, too, can create your own strategies. And if you have the opportunity to learn from any of the best about how they prepare for game day, do it!

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Proud to be Part of this GB Family

Unity, Pride

Original Article: graciebarra.com/red-tsunami/

How we dress identifies us as a group and sets, for many people, the values we represent. What we use transmits to the others an idea about who we are. Wearing the red shirt is representing the GB Family.

The “Proud to be Part of this GB Family” is stamped on the red shield. And have you ever wondered why the red color?

“I want the red color because it represents the heart, the blood and love. All my fighters fight with heart, give their blood in trainings and, above all, they love our GB family and our Gracie Barra team”. – Master Carlos Gracie Jr.

Wearing the red shirt is saying it loudly to the world: I believe in Gracie Barra.

The Red Shirt seeks to promote a sense of unity among the members of the GB team around the world. It promotes unity, support, equality, identity, philosophy and proud of being part of GB team. Wearing the red shirt is saying: I am part of GB Team.

The Red Shirt seeks respect, brotherhood, friendship, loyalty and love to the GB TEAM. Wearing the red shirt is having it on your chest: I am Gracie Barra.

“When I put the red t-shirt on and drive to the tournament…I automatically become someone stronger, faster, and unbeatable…because I know that, there will be hundreds of GB brothers wearing the same t-shirt, representing the same values, and supporting me on the battlefield by either competing along side with me, or cheering from the stands. That’s Gracie Barra!”- Prof. Philipe Della Monica

Around the world people are faced with the GB red sea. They identify our uniform and know that there exists a family member from Gracie Barra defending our mentality, representing our philosophy and our values. Wearing the red shirt means keeping our legacy alive.

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What is The Barra Fit Boot Camp?

What is The Barra Fit Boot Camp? Barra Fit Boot Camp

Original Article: graciabarra.com/barrafitbootcamp

The Barra Fit Boot Camp is a four-week program of fitness instruction, nutritional counseling and motivational training. The Boot Camp includes dynamic training and motivation designed to get you the body you want in a safe, fun, and non-intimidating atmosphere. Every workout session is led by an experienced Gracie Barra Jiu-Jitsu instructor and is designed to be fun, supportive and challenging, while burning maximum calories, in minimum time.

We want you to reach all your goals. That’s why our classes are modified to fit your goals and individual fitness level. Unlike working with a personal trainer, our classes take place in a group setting, which makes them fun, motivating and challenging for everyone. Each participant will receive a goal worksheet for the month to help track your progress so you can work towards reaching your fitness goals.  At the end of the camp if you’ve reached your goal you will receive ONE FREE MONTH of training at our GB Schools!

Our Classes

Each class is packed with fun and energizing activities uniquely designed for women to help reach your fitness goals. Our program works fast!

It’s time to stop hiding your body, it’s time to get serious! Our classes are filled with motivation and positive encouragement, fit tips, and nutritional help. Plus, all your new friends will help keep you accountable.

The Barra Fit Boot Camp will consist of 3 classes per week each class lasting 1 hour. The classes will begin with a warm up followed by 4 rounds of sessions that include: cardio, strength, and combat.

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The Four Threats in BJJ

The Four Threats in BJJ

The Four Threats in BJJ

Original Article: grapplersplanet.com

In Jiu Jitsu, there are four main ways to make your opponent react to you. A properly executed threat, should, in general, leave your opponent only two options.

Listed from weakest to strongest:

1. Off balancing:

An opponent out of balance has the choice to let you come on top or recovering his balance by posting and pushing back against the force pushing him out of balance.

2. Pressure:

Pressure, when not addressed, will drain your opponent of his stamina. The opponent has to create space either by pushing (bad) or framing, bridging and hipescaping.

3. A lock:

The threat of a lock blocks your opponent from moving in one direction and gradually forces him into the opposite direction. The opponent has the choice between going with the direction of the force or possibly injuring a limb.

4. A choke:

The choke is the king of the threats. While a lock can be ignored at the price of possible injury, a properly executed choke has to be addressed. The opponent has the choice between defending his neck, with his hands or be turning his chin in, or passing out.

  • In a roll outside of a competition environment, were time and points act as an external oppressor, the threat of a sweep or takedown can be largely ignored. You only lose position.
  • Pressure can be ignored for a good amount of time until you are completely drained.
  • With a lock, you still have the ‘choice’ of risking your limb.
  • A properly executed choke is the only threat were all choice is taken away.

Like I remember Chris Haueter @ChrisHaueterArt saying at the @BjjGlobetrotter camp last year in Belgium: “When possible, always be choking”.

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Top 10 Benefits of Kickboxing as Exercise

Top 10 Benefits of Kickboxing as Exercise

Amazing Benefits of Kickboxing

Original Article: Fitness Republic

Mixed Martial Arts, better known as MMA, has seen a substantial increase in interest over the past few years, thanks in part, to Ronda Rousey and Anderson “The Spider” Silva. This means that different forms of fighting as exercise, like kickboxing, are once more becoming a popular form of fitness.

Learn self-defence, increase your fitness levels and engage your entire body: the benefits of kickboxing are numerous. From your core arms and shoulder to your legs and glutes, kickboxing also strengthens your muscles while increasing your stamina — and gives you a tough cardio workout to boot.

Here, we highlight just a few of the amazing benefits of kickboxing that will make put on your gloves and get into to the ring.

Gives You Confidence

As with any form of exercise, increased strength and performance increases confidence. This is even more true for kickboxing, since learning a form of self defence proves that you can hold your own, giving you a well-deserved confidence boost. Additionally, a rigorous kickboxing session releases endorphins, a natural mood booster that will also improve your self esteem.

Blasts Fat, Fast

“It’s an incredibly efficient workout. Kickboxing alone burns about 750 calories in an hour,” says Sammie Kennedy, CEO and creator of Femme Fitale, Ontario’s women’s-only kickboxing and mixed martial arts program. “Add in jump rope and conditioning drills, and you could burn anywhere from 750 to 900 calories in an hour.”

While you burn calories, you’ll also be speeding up your metabolism and toning your entire body. The benefit of kickboxing is that it is a high-intensity, full-body cardio workout, which is perfect if your aim is to lose weight and get fit.

Tones Your Entire Body

A typical MMA-inspired class combines classic kickboxing movements with drills, circuit training and core exercises for a total-body workout that will leave you feeling sore for days afterwards.

“There’s a large toning component to kickboxing because it forces you to engage all the muscle groups in your body,” says Kennedy.

Front, side and roundhouse kicks work your legs and glutes, while punching and jabbing tones the upper arms, shoulders and chest. Meanwhile, all of these movements, as well as shuffling, ducking and side bends, will engage your core for the entire workout. Engaging your abs will also ultimately improve co-ordination, while the constant movement in kickboxing improves flexibility and reflexes.

Improves Your Co-Ordination

People who suffer from poor hand and eye co-ordination and general movement stability should certainly practice kickboxing. By strengthening your core and improving your reflexes, you’ll drastically improve your balance and sense of stability. The quick kicks and punches in the routine make you focus your energy with precision in each movement.

Boosts Energy Levels

Performing a high-intensity kicking boxing routine might seem like something that would tire you out, but many people find that the opposite is true. Kickboxing often gives people an energy boost, not just because of the natural endorphins (though that of course plays a role!) but also due to the empowering nature of the workout.

This gives your physical and mental energy levels a boost. After your workout and rest period your body will feel refreshed and full of energy.

Prevents Gym Boredom

For people who exercise regularly, one of the biggest problems they face is gym boredom. Running on a treadmill or using an elliptical day in and day out can get very monotonous. Kickboxing has the added benefit of including an exciting and unusual cross-training element to your normal workouts.

Helps You Stand Tall

Most of us sit hunched over our computers for hours every day, and naturally, our posture suffers. A fundamental benefit of kickboxing is that it challenges a variety of muscle groups that are not utilized in every day chores. Once you begin to develop your core, lower back and abdominal muscles your posture and balance will automatically improve.

De-Stresses

A great way to relieve mental stress is using the benefits of kicking boxing by releasing all those pent up frustrations with a high-energy routine. Also, considering the high intensity of the sport you will also see that your concentration levels will gradually improving enabling you to focus on stressing less!

Teaches Discipline

Within the benefits of kickboxing lie the fundamentals of every martial art which is discipline. Following instructions, mastering a set movements and learning specific stances and positions requires determination and discipline. As you excel in the routine, you’ll begin to subconsciously apply the elements of discipline to your daily life and manage your every day tasks with greater ease.

The benefits for kickboxing are numerous; it works your body and your mind, while delivering cardio and strength-training results for a total-body workout. Check out some local classes in your area and find out if kickboxing is right for you.

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Women Who Changed Jiu-Jitsu

Women Who Changed Jiu-Jitsu

Some of the Most Important Personalities We Have Had in Our Sport

Original Article: South African Women’s MMA

Jiu jitsu, as a martial art can be traced back hundreds of years throughout India, China and Japan, and although there is a link between the techniques we see in modern day Brazilian jiu jitsu and the oriental styles of past centuries, the cultures from which they evolved were as far apart physically as they were ideologically. In Brazil, there were no ulterior motives to jiu jitsu, during the 1920s the Gracie family would place regular challenges on newspapers against all other combat styles to test their efficiency against them, to fight, to prove they were better at fighting, the ultimate macho behaviour, this was the latin way not the bushido.

There were a few women, seen in sporadic self defence class videos during the 1930s and 1940s, but none that were allowed to follow through a career in jiu jitsu. A testament of this is the fact that jiu jitsu became a regulated Brazilian sport in 1970, but it took over 15 years for it to open a women’s division. It ultimately happened thanks to the valiant efforts of one very special kind of lady, a lady named Yvone Duarte.

This article here presented, depicts some of the most important personalities we have had in our sport, women Like Yvone, who helped cement jiu jitsu as a leading combat sport, a sport that breaks away from taboos, fears and limitations.

Yvone Duarte

BJJ Yvone

Raised in an all changing decade, Yvone carried with her the free spirit of the 1970′s. Sister to one of the best fighters of the 80′s decade (Pascoal Duarte), Yvone became obsessed with jiu jitsu training alongside her brother at the Osvaldo Alves academy. Though it is often said that Yvone’s greatest achievement in jiu jitsu was that of becoming the first woman to be awarded with a black belt (1990), her contribution to the sport vastly superseded this achievement. Coming from a competitive sporting background, she believed in testing herself, it was this drive that got her knocking on everyone’ door, requesting a female division in the sport. Through her brother’s connections, Duarte managed to convince the Rio de Janeiro federation (FJJERJ) to open the first female division, and the first competition (held in 1985), a competition won by Yvone.

Yvone would not stop here, she was also a pioneer coach, opening her own grappling academy in the late 1980′s, becoming in the process the first woman to open a BJJ academy. She also helped establish the federation of jiu jitsu in Brasilia, capital city of Brazil.

Rosângela Conceição

BJJ Rosa
Rosângela Conceição, commonly known as ‘Zanza’ may not be a well known name to most jiu jitsu fans, but she will forever be part of the history of this sport having earned its first female world title (1998). Prior to her world title, Zanza was a well known judo figure. Her relationship with jiu jitsu came through judo. Seeking to improve her ground work for the Olympic sport, she started training BJJ with the Gama Filho team (currently called GFTeam). Strong and athletic, Rosângela quickly made a name for herself in the sport, conquering the epic ‘Mundial’ gold as a purple belt in an ‘all belts combined’ category.

Unfortunately for our sport, Rosângela Conceição would favor judo over jiu jitsu throughout most of her career, eventually competing for her country at the 2000 Summer Olympics. Always seeking different thrills, in 2003 Conceição started wrestling, quickly becoming one of the top wrestlers in South America. In 2007 Rosângela did the unthinkable, winning the first Pan American medal for Brazil in the sport. She would also compete for her country at the Beijing Olympics in wrestling, having become in the process the most accomplished female wrestler in the history of Brasil.

Leka Vieira

Bjj Leka
With an impeccable work ethic, Leka ruled the sport by example during her heyday (the late 1990′s and early 2000′s). Born in a place with very few ties to jiu jitsu, the little girl from Minas Gerais became the first female BJJ star, a status that allowed her to move to the United States in 2001 where she helped inspire many more American women, including her student Cindy Omatsu who was the first female outside of Brazil to receive a black belt.

In the process of awarding Omatsu with her black belt, Leka became herself the first woman to award a black belt (the grade was given in partnership with Rigan Machado). Cursed with some bad injuries over the years, Leka’s career was stopped short, but even with a shorter career than most in the sport, Vieira made history and is one of the biggest names in jiu jitsu.

Leticia Ribeiro

BJJ Leticia
A similar breed of fighter as the aforementioned Leka, Leticia Ribeiro became the face of women’s competitive jiu jitsu for the most part of 10 years.

During the 2000′s decade, Letica managed to achieve a smooth transition between competition and coaching, reaching the best of both worlds. Ribeiro’s female jiu jitsu camp is arguably the best training environment for women around the world, being sought by many of today’s competitors, people such as Bia Mesquita, Michelle Tavares, Mackenzie DernPenny Thomas and many others.

Kyra Gracie

BJJ Kyra
How could there be a list of important jiu jitsu personalities without there being a member of the Gracie family? But don’t be fooled, Kyra’s last name did not earn her numerous accolades, talent and hard work did.

Though Kyra was born with the last name Gracie, becoming a professional athlete in jiu jitsu was not as easy as it may be suggested. Coming from that same long line of latin men we mentioned on the first paragraph of this piece, Kyra had to break the taboos within her own household before she became jiu jitsu’s most recognizable female figure.

Having an impressive competitive record, the Gracie family name, great looks and a charismatic personality, Kyra ticked all the right boxes to become an ambassador of the sport on many different levels, but especially in mainstream media, where she helped raise awareness not only to the female division of jiu jitsu, but to the sport itself.

Hannette Staack

Bjj Hannette
Born in the remote Brazilian state of Maranhão and coming from humble background, Hannette became an example to all young competitors, making a statement for blue collar hard work and a modest demeanor. A true expert in ‘no nonsense’ jiu jitsu, Staack is recognized as one of the legends in the sport and an advocate of the jiu jitsu basics, which earned her 7 world titles in the sport and 3 ADCC titles.

The Brazil 021 team, which Staack co-founded is also well known for it’s work with impoverished areas of Rio de Janeiro.

Michelle Nicolini

BJJ Michelle
Her talent was discovered by Robert Drysdale, but she truly developed into one of jiu jitsu’s most formidable fighters training under Rodrigo Cavaca’s guidance, winning sequential titles from 2010 to 2014 (the last one no longer training with Cavaca).

Michelle Nicoloni is not only a world title record holder in the female division (a staggering 8 titles), but she won most of those by submission, being one of the sports most accurate finishers. Nicolini also became a synonym of creativity, having developed several position changes from the guard, these were the elements that truly set Nicolini ahead of the pack.

Gabi Garcia

BJJ Gabi
Gabrielle Garcia is currently to women’s jiu jisu what Aleksandr Karelin was to greco-roman wrestling in the 1990′s. A true juggernaut in the women’s open weight division being 6’2″ and over 100kg (221lbs), Garcia had the size advantage but it was her highly commendable work ethic that got Gabi where she is. Gabrielle cleaned out consecutive open weight divisions for years, being arguably the biggest star of the Alliance academy, no small deed in itself considering Alliance is the most successful jiu jitsu academy in the history of the sport.

Laurence Cousin

BJJ Laurance
Another inspiring figure of the sport is Laurence Cousin, the first female European black belt was also the second non Brazilian to win a world title at the black belt division (2007), the first being BJ Penn.

Cousin dedicated her life to martial arts, being a black belt also in Aikido by the age of 18, but it was in jiu jitsu that she found her true calling, still competing very regularly 7 years after winning her world title.

Epilogue

If jiu jitsu in Brazil was built on the backs of unbreakable men who saw jiu jitsu as the ultimate way to test themselves, jiu jitsu women seem to have followed the same path by continuously breaking barriers and molds through their perseverance and technical ability. An example of women perseverance and ability to lead in this sport came through in the highly debated and controversial ‘head gear ban’ imposed by IBJJF (International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation). This rule, which left a large portion of Muslim women outside the sport’s main tournaments due to their ‘hijab’ custom, was changed in 2014 after Caroline de Lazzer led a movement that pressed for IBJJF to allow headgear in competitions. This was an important step for jiu jitsu, considering it is such a big sport in the UAE.

Women like the ones represented on this piece have proven time and again, that in jiu jitsu there are no ‘weaker sexes’, just one very powerful martial art

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Think performance, not weight class

Think performance, not weight class

One big mistake many people make when training for jiu-jitsu is trying to remain in a certain weight class.

One big mistake many people make when training for jiu-jitsu is starving themselves because they want to remain in a certain weight class. However, the most important aspect of competing is your performance, and it’s most important to tailor your diet to ensure that you do well when you compete. Eat a balanced meal of proteins and carbs before and after training so that you replenish any nutrients you’ve lost. You can raise or lower the amount of carbs you’re eating based on whether you’re trying to gain weight or lose it. Just keep your protein intake up, as you need it to support extreme workouts.

Brazilian jiu-jitsu is one of the world’s most difficult and demanding martial arts. It’s no surprise that it takes a strict and comprehensive regimen to train for it. Here is the complete list of nutrition tips for your training.
Eat three square meals a day
A famous diet created by jiu-jitsu experts is called the Gracie diet, and it relies on eating three well-balanced meals per day. The meals consist of vegetables, meat or seafood, fats, starches, sweet fruits, raw bananas and milk.
The Gracie diet was developed to help Brazilian jiu-jitsu fighters get enough nutrients to replenish spent nutrients and to maintain weight. You can find advice online for adjusting it while you attempt to change weight classes.
Drink water
Drinking water is important for anyone in the world but particularly for Brazilian jiu-jitsu competitors who train hard and sweat copiously.
To stay properly hydrated, drink regular water and not sports drinks throughout the day. Try to drink about a gallon of water a day when training (three-and-a-half to four litres), and you’ll be sure to not only replenish what you lose but give your body an ample supply so it can function at its best.
Eat only lean protein
Protein is the key to rebuilding muscles after you train, but you don’t want to eat greasy, fatty protein like burgers or bacon that can slow you down and add pounds on.
Instead, when you go for protein, choose only lean choices like chicken breast, tofu, or fish, so that you resupply your muscles without putting any strain on your heart or body weight.

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Yoga & Jiu-Jitsu: A Natural Symbiosis

Yoga & Jiu-Jitsu: A Natural Symbiosis

It almost seems as if the arts of yoga & jiu-jitsu were designed to complement each other

Original article courtesy of Jiu Jitsu Brotherhood 

There are so many similarities and mirrored truths between the two of them. It’s not surprising that they both have roots which are entwined with buddhism and ancient india.
Besides having been proven to alleviate depression, high blood-pressure and a host of other physical ailments, yoga will also help your bjj is many specific ways, several of which I have outlined below:

CORRECTION OF IMBALANCES
Jiu jitsu often causes poor posture and and skeletomuscular imbalances. The upper back is often rounded as you are holding onto your opponent, the hip flexors and psoas are usually tightened because the knees are tucked up towards the chest, and as for the neck and shoulders.

Regular practise of the various asanas and vinyasas is the best remedy I’ve found for this imbalanced state, due to their twofold effect of lengthening and opening the body. As an added bonus, many of your submissions will also improve. Very often your effectiveness with these movements is hampered by the imbalances mentioned previously, and you can see how addressing those with yoga will allow you to generate more power. Regular and consistent practice can also help with back pain.

IMPROVED FLEXIBILITY
Although you can get away without being flexible in jiu jitsu, it’s an attribute that’s unquestionably beneficial. The greater the range of motion in your joints, the more options you will have in each position. In fact, some parts of jiu jitsu will be completely inaccessible to you until you develop the required suppleness, the rubber guard being a good example.

INCREASED STRENGTH AND BALANCE
My first coach used to say ‘One of the best things a fighter can have is balance’. Over the years I came to understand just how true that was.Yoga is exceptional for developing balance. Many of the standing asanas are done unilaterally (on one leg), which not only improves stability but sport-specific strength as well.I’ve seen professional athletes challenged by the most simple of these postures. Mastering them will massively improve your top game by making you far harder to sweep. It’ll also improve throws and takedowns.

BODY AWARENESS AND BREATH CONTROL
One of the most valuable ways this is achieved is through breath control. Not only will the vinyasas teach you to coordinate your movement and breathing, but yogic techniques such as pranayama will enable you to engage your diaphragm and utilise your lungs to their full capacity. This will greatly improve your stamina during rolling.

POLISHING THE MIND
Besides all the numerous physical benefits, yoga has extensive, positive mental effects. Some of the more challenging asanas require immense concentration, and sychronizing the movement and breathing during vinyanasa cultivates a certain focus and stillness of the mind which is invaluable during the heat of a a difficult sparring match. I’ve also noticed that memorising the sanskrit names of the various asanas as well as their correct alignments has much overlap with learning bjj techniques.

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