Our team mate, James Popoulo, from Salem was featured in an article on Gracie Mag for his awesome performance at the American Nationals this last weekend. Make sure you also check out the article he wrote on our blog about the importance of drilling,
“Last Saturday, September the 11th I traveled to 5 rings Jiu-Jitsu in Beaverton for an awesome seminar with Xande Ribeiro. It’s always fun to go and train with Tom Oberhue and his team, especially when he brings a 6x world champion to show new and cutting edge techniques. Xande showed some great drills and positions for recovering the guard in sticky situations. He also showed some good sweep set ups and a cool way to catch the omoplata. I always have fun bringing new techniques back to our guys in Seaside. I had a blast and can’t wait for the next one!”
First of all, I would like to thank my good friends and training partners Zach and Nate Adamson for allowing me to share some of my thoughts on BJJ training. If you are trying to improve quickly you must reflect on how you budget your time on the mat. Over the past 5 years, through a great deal of trial and error, I’ve been trying to create the most efficient training possible. I’ve have found that drilling is perhaps the most overlooked and important piece of jiu-jitsu training.
At almost any gym you visit training is very similar. It starts with a 10-15 minute warm-up, progresses into a 20-30 minute series of techniques, and then everyone slaps hands and rolls for an hour. For many guys 2-3 sessions like this is all they will get in during a week of training. Now, there is nothing wrong with this style of training and I feel it is very beneficial to spend time rolling hard matches. However, it is very hard to progress at a rapid rate with this style of training. The reason boils down to the way the human mind works.
Our brains are complex systems of circuits; insulating these is a substance called myelin. Building myelin is vitally important to skill development. In basic terms, the more myelin there is around a given circuit the faster those circuits will fire and the better performance you will have at any given skill. The only way to build myelin is to fire those circuits over and over again, or in other words DRILLING. Only practicing the techniques in class 5-10 times and then going off to roll is not sufficient to build the speed needed to win in jiu-jitsu. Your brain needs hundreds, even thousands of reps to properly develop those techniques. Drilling is a time to build those circuits in your brain and it is a low impact way to get great results without the wear and tear of an evening death match. I have found that drilling is a way to get more results with less effort.
What’s the solution? By no means am I suggesting that you stop going to group class. Adding drilling in can be simple and the gains will be worth it. Start by finding 1-3 training partners that are around your size (if you are lucky try to find a training partner with a higher rank, so they can help ensure you are practicing the techniques correctly). Keep your sessions to around 50-80 minutes. Start slow and just add 1-2 sessions a week or even just an extra 20 minutes at the end of practice will still bring gains. Focus on a specific position with a 3-4-move combination (one you worked on in class ideally) and take turns trading reps. In addition, if you really love to spar, try to spend more of your time position sparring. This allows you to focus on a specific situation within the game. Train hard, train smart.
Rafael Lovato Jr. Brown Belt
Purple Belt Pan American and World Champion
Brown Belt World Silver Medalist and Bronze Medalist Absolute Division
How do you know if you’re training properly to reach your potential as a jiu-jitsu competitor? I believe for most people it’s mindset that accompanies a specific training regime. From the experiences I’ve been lucky enough to have, specifically training and spending time with World, Pan and National champions, I’ve seen first hand the patterns they’ve all followed to achieve a high level of success.
Here’s my simplified analysis of what it takes to become a champion and stay ahead of the pack.
First and foremost it’s a burning desire to achieve your specific goals and having a timeline to further direct your efforts. Here’s a list of the top ten ways I’ve experienced and seen others reach the top of the podium.
1- Always believing in yourself, your training, technique and what you’re capable of.
2- Surrounding your self with people who share similar goals and dreams and are working just as hard to reach them.
3- Making every second of training count and identifying the specific areas of your game that needs to be worked on.
4- Working on your weaknesses until they become your strengths.
5- Having training partners who also believe in you and help push you to the top.
6- Having a coach that knows your game and how hard to push you in training and always brings out the best in his students on the mat.
7- Eliminating all outside influences that don’t coincide with the goals you’re working towards.
8- Knowing you’re shooting for the top of the podium and never being satisfied with second, but realizing we all learn more from our losses and using this as a tool to direct our training.
9- Competing enough to get into a rhythm, also knowing how to react under the pressure of being behind in a match.
10- Cardio, diet, sleep, visualization and studying opponents to form a game plan.
I hope you enjoyed my insight on the subject. Keep in mind that the path to the top is not an easy one. That’s why so few achieve a high level of success, but if you do accomplish your goals it’ll be a day you’ll never forget and ultimately build character that only comes with great sacrifice and self discipline. The quote below is by author, Napolean Hill, who’s very popular with our team, check it out!
“Every person who wins in any undertaking must be willing to cut all sources of retreat. Only by doing so can one be sure of maintaining that state of mind known as a burning desire to win - essential to success.”
Once again I had a great time in Oklahoma with my second family. Learned some great stuff and had a lot of fun. There is so much talent out there it is ridiculous! Everyone is getting really good and Rafael always does his job of showing people their true potential. Thanks for having us out again guys.
Training as hard as you can all the time is not the smartest way to train all the time. Sometimes you need to move slow to properly understand the technique. And then drill, drill, drill. I forgot how much I missed the training out here.
“There is no sense in chasing a belt and getting it as fast as possible. Often, people do not see that black belt will be their longest belt. Remember, it doesn’t matter if you get it in four years or fifteen. Either way, you will have the rest of your life with a black belt around your waist. Building the belt is what matters"
Instructor Nate Adamson and co-instructor Nik Gift are in Oklahoma for a week training with Rafael Lovato and his team of champions! Going to be bringing back some valuable stuff. Don’t forget that Rafael will be coming to Seaside OR for a seminar soon. I will post the date tomorrow. Train hard and see you all soon.