One of my favourite aspects of Jiu-Jitsu is it is both a team and individual sport. I need my team to help prepare me for these tournaments, yet when I step on those mats to compete it is only me. I love the pure honesty of Jiu-Jitsu, especially in competing. It is my training against her training, my strategy against her strategy, my diet against her diet, my conditioning against her conditioning, my frame of mind against her, the list goes on. Everything is on display.The mats don't lie.
I really believe that luck is when preparation meets opportunity. I wouldn't be as prepared as I am for these tournaments if I didn't have the incredible team behind me. Each person is a very important piece of the puzzle.
It's hard to believe but Superdave has been working with me for 9 months now (since July 2018). He has a phenomenal way of giving me just enough to challenge me in my Jiu-Jitsu but not too much. Once a week I head to Vernon and during wrestling we check how my homework has been coming along and he either adds to it or corrects details. The thing is, Superdave is willing to put in the work because he knows I'm putting in the work. The more serious I am the more serious he is.
Yes it does get tedious to go home and do one thing repetitively sometimes for weeks on end. I remember when Superdave first started working with me, he told me to go home and just get 'two grips'. That's it. I wrestled for 3 weeks and my one objective was to get two grips. I didn't question him. I had questions. But I didn't question him. It seemed so simple, get two grips. Almost silly and tedious, I am a brown belt getting only two grips. What I didn't realize is we were building a foundation on which everything else would grow off of (I purposely say 'grow' instead of 'build'. 'Build' implies something that is neatly stacked and in place. What we are doing with this strategy is more like tree branches where they work off of each other are entangled and sometimes the branches end and sometimes they meet again. It is beautiful organized chaos with a method to the madness if the system is understood). That foundation needed to be strongest part of my game, otherwise everything else will fall apart.
He is really good with explaining where we are now, and giving a glimpse of where we are going with my Jiu-Jitsu. He is a big inspiration for me to get on those mats every day to explore my homework. Not only that, but because of how much we dissect each technique, explore the possibilities of it, and perfect the details it has made my own coaching so much better.
The cool part is, Superdave works with all his students in the same way. Jiu-Jitsu is such a complex world. and he shines in his ability to simplify it. Showing a student one concept or technique that works for their game, body type, and level. Once they have mastered that, he adds to it. But only once it has been mastered. Can't grow unless there is a foundation.
It is an astonishing thought that we have and are completely revamping my Jiu-Jitsu in barely under a year, just after adults worlds will be the year mark. Having crystal clear clarification on what I need to do when from each position is called strategy. And I didn't realize how incredibly important that is at this level until now.
And I'm more excited than ever.
Steph and I train together 4-6 hours a week minimum (not including kettlebells). I am so grateful for our friendship and training partnership. It is a fine balance to be competitive, yet taking care eachother, to push each other to be better by helping point out what is being done well, and yet punishing each other when a mistake is made. No ego, just pure Jiu-Jitsu and bettering ourselves. It is the absolute perfect balance.
Back in the day if I was having a full day at work, or even a hard day at work training would be put to the side and the business would come first. When I first started training with Steph - as the busy days came (and they inevitably will), I would still step on the mats to train in order to not let her down, and adjust my work to be completed later.. But what I didn't realize was that by easily putting training aside so many times, I was actually letting myself down. Jiu-Jitsu (and Muay Thai) and my passion for it, and my excitement in sharing it and seeing it improve my students lives is why I do what I do. And we all know the 'why' is the most important part of the story. When I don't train I lose sight of that. By not training or putting it so easily aside for the business I realized I was actually hurting the business, the energy, even my instruction because I wasn't in touch with my 'why', My passion.
Consistency. Steph and I are creatures of habit. What a wonderful habit for us to wrestle together three times a week (sometimes more), and do our kettlebells twice a week. It is time on the mats with someone who is my size, who is invested in my success, and who has the knowledge to understand what I need to do and who is a good training partner in executing it. This has been a big portion of what has brought me to the next level. It's one thing to have the aforementioned homework from Superdave, it's another thing to be able to memorize it, understand it, drill it, and execute it. Steph helps me with all of this, and in turn I do the same for her game. Steph and I are just shy of a year training together as well, we started training seriously shortly after worlds in July 2018.
Every now and then Erik (her husband who is a black belt) comes around and helps us with our game. He has such a strategic way of doing this that is so beneficial. He never just tells us what we should do or what we should fix, He always watches us wrestle for awhile to see where we are at, what we are doing, and why we are doing it, then jumps in when he sees aspects of our games that can be improved. Erik explains things in such a methodical and logical way, more than once it has 'changed my life'. With no understatement. An example in my back control. I've never been so excited about back control as when Erik took it apart and put it back together, the evidence was shown at Masters Worlds.
Then Steph and I continue to hit the mats with our homework. Although we both have a far way to go, it is exciting to look at where we were even six months ago and where we are now. I know it is always a struggle to find good female training partners in Jiu-Jitsu, but to be honest I would take quality over quantity. If I had the opportunity to train with 10 girls that were okay at Jiu-Jitsu, or train with Steph, I would pick her every time.
I have people mention all the time 'how strong I am' in wrestling. Answer? Jason. Jason took everything I thought I knew about nutrition and fitness and turned it all upside down. It is true that Jiu-Jiu can overpower strength, but on the flip side, strength can help implement the perfect Jiu-Jitsu technique.
I started training with Jason with the intention to stay injury free and perhaps build some strength. I realized very quickly after my hip and knee surgery that I would have to continue in cross training to keep the joints strong and mobile. How delicate the balance is of what I need to eat, how often I need to wrestle, along with the kettlebells is very a very fine line. Jason helps me keep that balance as perfect as possible. He's the one that looks at me and gathers all the information I can't even gather about myself. Maybe he will tell me I need more protein, maybe he will tell me I am exhausted and need to take the night off training (otherwise I will be doing more damage than good), and on the flip side when I am feeling good he pushes me to new heights I didn't even know my body is capable of.
I learnt how important the perfect diet is so that my body can handle the intensity of the constant training 5 days a week. To fuel and recover efficiently.
I learnt how important perfect alignment, movement, timing and breathing is. The beauty of the kettlebells is if all the aforementioned isn't perfect, I'm not moving up in weight or speed (depending on what we are doing), and I always want to move up in weight and speed. The demand of this perfection as also helped me with my Jiu-Jitsu, understanding the incredible focus that is required in every single aspect of the technique to make it perfect, tight, strong, and effective.
I've been with Jason for about two years now. We started slow, building the foundations of the technique in the kettle bells. Strengthening all the weak links, and adjusting the diet to see what works best for my body. And here we are today. I don't even know if he means for this to happen, but every single time I leave a training session I leave a little with more than when I walked in. Whether it is learning something (Jason is fascinating to talk to), whether it is reaching new heights, whether it is being told to back off and why (even if I don't want to I still listen), whatever happens in that hour - something always happens. And I'm always better for it. Now that I've been lucky enough to have Jason in my life, I don't want my life without him!
I could keep talking forever about all the amazing training partners I have an how each one serves one very important piece to the puzzle. But I am going to stop at those three for today, as those are the ones that I have been really thinking about a lot lately.
Above are pictures of some of the training partners I have the opportunity share the mats with, I am so grateful and excited to have such a variety of training partners.
As mentioned before. Jiu-Jitsu is a very individual sport as I step on those mats to compete. It is me and only me against my opponent.
But it takes my team to get me there.
Two sides of the same coin and both are equally important.
I wouldn't have it any other way.