Why Strength will save your Jiu-jitsu Life
In today’s show JT & Joey discuss in depth how strength will not only save your Jiu-jitsu career but also help you bounce back when Injury strikes. In this discussion giving real world examples and cautionary tales to give insight so you can stay on the Jiu-jitsu path, strong happy and healthy.
Speaker 1: 0:04
Very careful a good martial artist does not become tense, but ready, essentially at this point, the fight is over. So you pretty much flow with the goal who was worthy to be trusted with the secret to limit the spot .
Speaker 2: 0:29
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to another Bulletproof for BJJ podcast . Welcome back fam . Yes, indeed. This is episode number four,
Speaker 3: 0:38
Episode number four. And , uh, we just did a recording of this and it up. We only got halfway through, so we’re hitting it up again. Why not? We’re doing it for you guys. That’s right .
Speaker 2: 0:46
We putting in that time and today we are talking about strengths. Now strengths can be , uh, I guess, broken down in the many ways, but we’re talking strengths, I guess in a more general sense, because we are referring to tissue strengths , your ability to produce force many different things. But I feel like this is kind of overlooked in the world of BJJ . Yeah .
Speaker 3: 1:10
Yeah. I think like for a lot of folks strength as a , as just a people don’t really understand what it means. Um, it often gets mixed up with size . People say, you know, ah , look at that, look at that person. They look really strong and they’re actually saying, look at that person, they look big and muscular. Um, and it’s also, it can also be tied to like being a bit of a gym bro , um, where it’s like, no, I’m not a gym bro . So I’m not interested in strength. And it’s like, well, okay. Let’s, let’s just clarify that a little bit because we all trying to do too . We all use loads of strengths , whether you think you do or you don’t. Um, how is strength relevant to the standard jujitsu player? Well, let’s go
Speaker 2: 1:52
Quickly to the definition of strengths , which is , uh, F equals ma force equals mass times acceleration. So for those of you out there as like, ah , that’s just gibberish to me , um, the most simple breakdown of , uh , strength as a definition is your ability to produce maximum force or your ability to coordinate muscle fibers, muscle groups, to exert force against something external or control your own body. So that can be shown in a deadlift that can be shown in a squat , uh , that can be shown in an iron cross on the rings , uh , in a handstand there’s many different ways that strength can be expressed. Uh, I guess the thing that I always come back to is , um, when I was training Olympic lifting and , um, the, one of the strongest people in the room was a 55 kilo, Australian born Chinese girl, and she was moving big weight very quickly. Now she didn’t look super athletic. I mean, yes, she looked fit, had big quads, but that would not tell you just how much bores and speed that this a woman could produce. And I think that the misalignment and it’s always like, it’s just a human thing. We just believe what we see are they’re big. They must be strong and that’s just not true .
Speaker 3: 3:16
True bodybuilders great example. Yeah, definitely not particularly strong, actually. Not strong at all, especially given the size of them.
Speaker 2: 3:23
Yeah, definitely. And I think it’s just, it’s just something that, because we don’t spend as much time thinking about it, you know, we’re obsessed with jujitsu. I want to , I want to see a great takedown or I wanna see, you know, I want to see a really good submission, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. But I it’s interesting. Cause when you go to judo and you go to wrestling, a lot of these guys are spending a lot of time doing some hardcore strength training. It is an advantage. Why would you not give yourself that advantage? right. And I mean, look, I think we talked about this before, you know , uh , let’s go to our friend, Ari to buck ,
Speaker 3: 4:00
Shout out Ari BOLO.
Speaker 2: 4:02
It was in bullfighters King. Um , Ari is one of these guys. Who’s an elite level jujitsu player and he actually has done a lot of lifting. A lot of people don’t know that a lot of people don’t know. I know his history. I know him very well and he’s done juggernaut training. He’s done Bulletproof on and off for a number of years. He’s encountered many different injuries, but even when he’s like, say he’s injured his knee, he will then go and do rope climbs. He will do chest about pull-ups. He’s constantly working on things that he believes will enhance. Cause you do to train training . He’s not doing nothing. So I think this is where it’s super important that we understand, even though someone they may not look that strong can be insanely strong
Speaker 3: 4:51
People listening. If you don’t know Ari, he’s , uh , he’s 70 odd kilos. He’s on the smaller, the smaller side of jujitsu players. He has a rooster Wade or lightweight, whatever. Um , doesn’t, you know, you see him walking around. He doesn’t look, he’s not a big guy, right? He’s not Jack. He’s not carrying shitloads of muscle. Um, he’s a very lame dude. He actually used to be quite a bit bigger, but he intentionally lost weight to drop down. Um, but he is incredibly strong. So I like JT said, the guy can heist these body weight multiple times up and down a row . He can do shitloads pull pull-ups . He can deadlift and all those things heavy relative, relative to his size. Um, and he’s also extremely technical. So when you roll with him, you’re like, man, this guy is strong. Like this guy is stronger than me, even though I’m like 20 kilos heavier than him. He’s stronger than me in certain positions. Now, obviously there’s technical aspects tied into that, but you can’t ignore the fact that there is just this pure strength and that, that, that strength becomes such an advantage when it’s coupled with great technique. Yes . Like he has all of the attributes and this is , this is what we’re saying is like , um , yes, you want to get great at the technical side of jujitsu, but having the technique alone is not enough. And a really simple way to think about that is like jiu-jitsu was created for the smaller person to , to fate the large opponent. Right. Well , what about when the larger opponent also knows jujitsu? Yes.
Speaker 2: 6:14
This is a problem. What happens when your training partner is Boucher
Speaker 3: 6:19
And then you go into town, like you’re kidding, right? Yes . So as much as you want to focus on, yes, the technique is, is paramount. But if you can back that up with athleticism, which is strength and power and speed and all those things, it’s going to be so much more effective. Um, that’s just looking at it from that lens, right? Yes.
Speaker 2: 6:39
And I think the thing is we also got to make the concession that Ari Tabak is an elite level jujitsu player. This is a guy who will train six hours a day more like he’ll do whatever it takes. And even at the cost of his body, you know, like he’s prepared to put it on the line. That’s not everybody. So we’ve got to get into it. And we’ve got to say, Hey, you know, what’s really important. You do jujitsu three times a week or you’ve just come to jujitsu. And ultimately can we say what is going to be very good for you as somebody who’s not trying to be a world champion, how are you going to stay uninjured? This is where I feel. Strength training is this is not talked about in the world of power lifting or Olympic lifting. And definitely when it comes to something like jujitsu injury prevention is not sexy. You know, it’s not something you can sell. Peace mode is sexy. Poor heartache is sexy like this. Oh yeah, that’s cool. That’s cool. But invariably, if you do jujitsu , you’re going to get injured and strength training essentially is your insurance policy. It’s what gets you, you and your tissues, your tendons, your ligaments, your muscles, more resilient . So when injury strikes you can bounce back better.
Speaker 3: 7:59
Yeah. I think the , the other side of that, so we sort of touched on the, the sort of athletic elements of strength. Um, the other side of that is stuff that a lot of people would take for granted , uh , which is your resistance to this external load. Now, if we, if we kind of put that into like a real scenario , um, someone jumps guard on you, jumps close guard and they land all their body weight, wrap their legs around you. And maybe you follow the ground. Maybe you stand, maybe you then lower to the ground, whatever it is. But this person is jumping all their weight. Let’s say it’s 80 kilos on to you. There’s a certain amount of strength that’s required through your knees, through your hips, through your ankles, your whole body in order to not break in that situation right now, we’ve , we’ve seen it happen a lot of times. And we know that , um , it’s illegal to jump closed garden , white belt competition, because a lot of people don’t handle this very well, right when you’re, when you’re relatively inexperienced at the white belt level. Um, and like knees buckle and think the incidence of knee injuries has been astronomical in white belt competition until they brought this for all them. Yes. So obviously you need to be in a reasonable position. There’s there’s other elements that tie into this, but just that basic idea of having enough , uh , strength in your structure to be able to absorb or handle these external loads is really important. Right? And this plays out into, due to , in so many different scenarios, someone’s shooting it to take it down. Someone applying an arm, lock someone, transitioning like all of these little exchanges. Most of the time we don’t get injured and you can thank your body for being strong enough to handle those times. Yes . But the thing is, you don’t think about that rationally. You’re not like, Oh, well so-and-so just did a really hectic movement. And now I’m like still rolling. I’m so glad I’m strong. Yes . You just take it for granted. You keep rolling because you’re , you’re , you’re playing the game. Right? I can tolerate it. Yeah. That’s right. It’s only when like something snaps that you’re like, what was it that may be snap. Yeah. Now what we’re saying is that like having a base of strength allows you just to be more resistant to this risk of injury,
Speaker 2: 10:00
You’ve got greater bandwidth for external stress. So, I mean, look, I’m man , I’m with you a hundred percent. And I think this is something interesting to me that people don’t appreciate strength is a skill. It’s an athletic skill. You need to practice it. And there’s many people out there who will drill jujitsu , sequences back takes take downs, but will not drill being strong, not practice it yet. We’ll go into jujitsu and put their body into the most chaotic, unpredictable scenario without preparation, which is begging for injury. So let’s, let’s rewind on that and go look, if you think you haven’t got that much time, you will have a lot of time when you’re injured and, and your physios to reflect, ah , God, I should have been better prepared, but your physio is then going to make you do the most basic boring high volume, rebuild yourself stuff . And technically for all of you out there who don’t know, you’re doing super low level, you know, lower than white belt hypertrophy work to try and rebuild your body. I bet you have is bodybuilding down the lingo muscle building . And , and so even though that’s not what you wanted to do, cause you just wanted to do jujitsu invariably on the path to avoid your fate. You made it.
Speaker 3: 11:19
I could talk about an it guy that I’ve trained with in the past. Um, who’s really good. Great, great jiu-jitsu player. Uh , black belt now I believe , um, has had more knee surgeries than I’ve had roles . This guy’s been like he’s been cut up in that many times. I think somewhere in that realm of maybe five or six knee reconstructions, that’s gross , um , really loves the hectic open guard game. Right? Loves him . Versions . Love loves bolos loves like ni heavy jujitsu. Yes. Right? Like, you know, if you’re playing this open guard game event , like you’re using your legs, like arms, the knees are really quite at risk there compared to someone who plays more of an old school kind of close guard, half guy , top game kind of approach. Right. Um, but in conversations with the dude, the thing that I always hear is I’m not a gym guy. I’m not a gym guy and I get it right. Like I’m a bit of a gym guy. I don’t mind being in the gym. I like doing that sort of stuff. I like training. Um, we’re here at the gym every day. Right . And jungle brothers, you bet. Um, the, I get that. Some people aren’t into that and I think it’s fine to , to acknowledge that. Not everyone’s going to be however it’s like, dude, if you just change that narrative to a cam , I’m not a gym guy, but I understand that a little bit of regular strength training is going to help me to be able to enjoy training jujitsu for the rest of my life or at least, you know, prolong my timeline, my life span in this game. Um, and it might save me three of the knee surgeries. Right . And I think man, I’ve had a knee surgery, like, it’s it’s, it’s grueling. There’s a lot of pain. There’s a lot of discomfort. There’s there’s years off the back of that, of rehab and attention and focus and like just subpar performance and all the mental stuff that goes with that. Um, me. Like if you could avoid a couple of those. Yes . You’d have to say that would be very worthwhile. Right. It’d be extremely
Speaker 2: 13:19
Well . And it’s the delight satisfaction. You can’t express like you can’t say to somebody look at current trends is really important. Not because someone’s like, well, I just don’t want to pay car insurance or it’s like , okay. But it says agree . You’re probably not going to have to use it. Yeah . But it’s but it’s, it’s not that you’re a bad driver. It’s not, it’s like, Oh , I’m a great driver. Yeah. That , but there’s lots of people out there who are not. Yeah. Right. You’re insuring you against other people’s bad driving. Yeah. You may not be the spazzy white belt. Maybe you hate your a purple belt. You know how to roll, you know how to control yourself. You haven’t had an injury yet. But then in walks old mate, 6,420 kilos ex rugby player, who’s decided to come in and sprawl on you. Like every move you do is a sprawl for this guy and he doesn’t care if he breaks you or not because he played rugby and you do jujitsu and who cares ? And, and the strengths piece is the insurance that your limbs can take greater load in different positions then just what you’re used to. Right. It’s, it’s an idea that jujitsu is such a chaotic thing that we are investing in a degree of prevention because the pain, the psychological downs of sitting on the couch with an ice pack on your knee, that, that , that potentially the , the , the painkillers, the antiinflammatories , all these things take us away from the thing we love. And so that small investment, and we’re only talking what, like twice a week, two sessions,
Speaker 3: 14:52
25 to 60 minutes,
Speaker 2: 14:54
Maybe , maybe three, if you’re super keen, you know, is actually going to really steal away from that dark space, which is no jujitsu surgery, injury and missing your friends.
Speaker 3: 15:06
Yeah. And look, I mean , um, we’re all aware that , uh, you know, 99% of the world’s , um, blue belt population are currently hiding out in area 51 call missing , um, there’s this mysterious disappearance that occurs usually kind of mid , mid to sort of light blue belt. Um, and there’s a whole bunch of reasons for that. Right? We don’t have to go into it . A lot of it’s kind of psychological pressure you put on yourself and whatever, but I think a big part of what you see in jujitsu , like we all know that , uh, that black belts are just the people that stuck around the longest. True. Right. Um, what is it that made everyone else drop off shore ? There’s a whole bunch of lifestyle elements and, and, and , um, whatever you get, you pick up new interests, that kind of thing. But really the way I see it for the majority of folks, it’s like , uh , who can handle the attrition. Yes. It’s like, you’re going to copy injuries , copy injuries , copy injuries , get pain, lower back, hurts, hip flexes , hurt. Um, you know, and that stuff’s going to start to weigh on you. It’s going to start to impede your daily life. It’s going to start to make, you know , picking up kids a little bit hard . It’s going to make work a little bit harder. You’re going to make stairs harder. Like it , it just, and it gets opened up. You’re like, ah , it. You know, it’s just , it doesn’t mean enough to many more to put up with this stuff. Whereas if that staff didn’t start to weigh so heavily that it was affecting your quality of life. And that’s really what we’re talking about, your quality of life is declining. Um, then you just keep trying to deter cause you love it. And it’s like, yeah, it’s , it’s a bit risky. Um , get little niggles, but I’m dealing with them doing the stuff I need to do. I’m enjoying it. Right? Like that, there’s a balance there. I think , um, if people can look at it from that perspective, like you can just continue to enjoy this thing that you once really loved. Uh , it doesn’t have to turn into this , uh, this battle of like constant niggling injuries and this slow decline of your, of your general health.
Speaker 2: 16:59
Yes. And, and, and we , we have a friend ,
Speaker 3: 17:03
Um, Hola , Paul , great, great , uh, dancer , which we actually, and beatboxer and beat boxer every day, it’s like whistling. And I said, beatbox for me. And he said, yeah. And he did it. It’s all right. We’re about to get around till we get into the show,
Speaker 2: 17:23
We will, we’ll get him one and break it down like Rozelle. Um, but the interesting thing is like, I think breakdancing is possibly one of the most gymnastic athletic things you can do.
Speaker 3: 17:35
And we have a great capita where our guys out there are blowing up right now. But I mean, yeah, I mean , you guys are in the same basket, right? Like you , you
Speaker 2: 17:42
It’s a different music, but I mean, look, there’s many guys who do a couple of who do break dancing game and vice versa, but , um, uh , one them would be better in a fight. Um, I think, cause we have tires, right? We have tires like super cone . And it was very interesting cause
Speaker 3: 17:56
Recently to the break dancer dancer who
Speaker 2: 17:58
Puts a lot of time on his strength work, right. He doesn’t just break. He does extra work to be strong for breaking , even though he’s not a super power moves guy, he still works on his body. It’s interesting. Cause I said, Oh Paul, I want to see a battle between you and Ty . And he was like, Oh yeah, he’d probably beat me because like, that’s the thing about, you know , Paul he’s spent the last, I don’t know how many years on jujitsu, like 15, I think, 15 years and , and crippling
Speaker 3: 18:26
Chasing that black belt and just chasing the hot
Speaker 2: 18:29
And loving the hard training still to this day, like doing harder rounds. And he really needs to like in that masochistic, going for the grind to do two way . And that’s the thing, the reason why he came up was it was actually an Instagram said somebody was posting. Like I remember the last time one guy took out a whole crew. It was Paul snippet . And we were like, dang, we’re
Speaker 3: 18:53
Talking like 20 years ago, 20 years ago, man,
Speaker 2: 18:55
Just getting it. And one guy having enough style and athleticism to just outdo five other guys. And then recently that’s what Ty had done. So it’s just, it’s a funny little time within the community of hip hop by dancing and jujitsu. But interestingly enough now, I mean, I mean jujitsu teaches us humility, but Paul’s like, I don’t, I don’t think I can keep kind of like quite keep that. And I’m not saying this is a dig. Paul has electively chosen to kind of break himself down over time, but he’s accumulated great producer skill. So when we get to that longer point and not everyone makes it there, even though we would wish everybody on the jujitsu journey, the path to black belt , you do get injured. There is going to be time on the couch. Do there might be time with the surgeon, the physio, the dark days where you’re like, am I going to quit today? And not just the white belt cry , you know , uh , mortal existentialism of, Oh, I got tapped by blackout . I’m going to quit. You know, not that the, my goodness, I don’t have enough money for surgery. I can’t afford to do jujitsu. I can’t even do my job because of the injuries I’m getting from jail .
Speaker 3: 20:08
Yeah . I got to look after my kids. I can’t be rolling around the knee brace on. Yeah. Like it’s all that.
Speaker 2: 20:13
Right? So it’s like, let’s not, let’s not be that. I don’t think that has to be the way. I think what we’re saying to you here guys, is if you’re early in the journey, you’re one or two years in you’re, you’re a white belt, you’re a blue belt. You have had a serious injury and you just overcoming it. It’s like, how can you see that way forward strength training is absolutely your guiding the light to not only , um, help you roll and, and be more physically capable, but help you bounce back quicker when injury does strike. Yeah. A hundred percent. I
Speaker 3: 20:48
Can I’m can really confidently say that. Having gone through my own knee, ACL reconstruction 14 months ago, all of the strength and mobility work that I had done prior to that, the level that I had with that staff just allowed me to come back from that surgery so much faster. Um, I’ve seen it play out with other folks who don’t have a background in strength training , um, and perhaps didn’t have the mobility through the hips and the legs that, that I, that I did. Um, and it’s just a much steeper Hill to climb because things are, things are not robust. Right . And the more robust we can be, the better position we are in to bounce back. And also just to avoid that injury in the first place. Yes, indeed. Right. I think a real big , um, uh , Ruby thing for me just on this discussion is for folks like to not connect this to work . I was saying about old mate before who , who , who is not a gym guy. It’s not about being a gym guy. It’s about being jujitsu guy. And yes, if you want to train in this sport, that really is extremely high intensity, right ? Whichever way you choose to measure intensity , um, high injury risk, super dynamic, like a really, it doesn’t really get much Wilder than like rolling in jujitsu , right? Yes. Um, you have an obligation to do this stuff. Yes. And it’s , and, and, you know, we can speak from that experience of like having gotten to where we are with that train for as long as we have working with that many people, it’s the people who are like open to it and like, you know what? Yeah . I’m going to do it. And I don’t love it right now, but I know this is good for me. Those are the people that can stay in the game and they can enjoy it for a long time. Yeah.
Speaker 2: 22:24
Yes . And I , I want to give a shout out to Adam from Alliance speeder , Jane Sydney , who is ex military has moved himself to a professional job. And this is speaking to what you’re , you’re saying there a Jerry , he actually had a bunch of injuries he wasn’t aware of because he was lifting. He was lifting regularly in the army. He was active. He wasn’t sitting at a desk. Then when he got out of the army, he took a desk job and was trying to make career money and all these things. And he’s like, Oh man, Oh, my back hurts. Oh my shoulders hurt. But he’s doing jujitsu. You know, it’s great. He’s a very capable digital guy, white belt, a couple of stripes on him. And he literally said to me, cause I’ve had, I’ve had him in the gym to do some Bulletproof work. As soon as I stopped lifting, all my injuries came out. It’s not that he didn’t have them. He’s bulged disc. He wasn’t aware of it. Like, yeah, he had bosses, but he had structurally fortified himself. So he wasn’t getting pain from it. Then when he had that physical, I guess , um, step backwards from becoming sendentary , it started to give him serious problems. And the mixture of jiu-jitsu in the desk job actually brought him to a state of like , it’s like , man, I’m, I’m less fit and capable than I’ve ever beaten . And that’s super confronting if you’re a dude and you you’re in your early forties. And you’re used to being like the fit guy. And now you’re like doing something which is kind of bad jujitsu. And now suddenly you’re you feel like an old man that’s, that’s terrible feeling. And, and guys knows to feel that way. I don’t care what age you are, whether you’re 70 or you’re 17, no one wants to wake up in the morning and feel old. That’s that’s , that’s not what we want. We want to get out of bed. Even though you might feel a bit stiff, maybe a bit of muscle soreness. Like I worked hard yesterday. That’s totally different to that crippling pain of I can’t move. Right? Yeah . So yeah, definitely the longevity piece. But I think also guys, you know, the misconception or the , the pro the problem, which I think blocks jujitsu or people who do jujitsu from pursuing strengths is there’s this idea that strengths inhibits jujitsu or the learning of jujitsu. And I want to say this right now, guys, it’s just an extra gear. When you’re much stronger than your partner, you can choose to use your strengths. You don’t have to, it’s not just because you can dead lift 200 kilos. Doesn’t mean that’s the force you use every time. It’s an extra gear. It’s easier. It’s sprinkling in behind your technique when needed. Yeah. You know, when you, when you got it and that’s the thing, guys, it’s about making the jujitsu path easier for yourself. And that’s why I feel strengths really comes into it. And that’s why we use it as a pillar for Bulletproof the visual. Okay . Yup . Couple with mobility, very potent stuff. We recommend it for every jets player out there. Definitely. And I think that’s, that’s something we should probably go to next time is talking about, you know, wife flexibility and mobility is like such a thing because I was actually saying this, you know, we talk , actually, I think this is your terminology, Joey , um, the fridge and the noodle , um, that you get, those people are super floppy and maybe can’t exert much force, but a wriggle out of everything. And then you get the fridge who you just can’t move, then they’re roadblock, but they also can’t move themselves that well. Right. So yes, strengths , fantastic. Such a good thing that you need to have, but let’s put that caveat in there and say, Hey, not to the point of, you know, basically disabling yourself. Yeah. We’ll rip into that next time. Yeah, definitely. All right , Joseph, I think that’s a good place to wrap it up. Excellent guys really appreciate you tuning in. And if you want to find us, you can explore some of these ideas firstname.lastname@example.org or if you want some free tips and advice, you can go to our Instagram, which is at Bulletproof for BJJ. Thanks, fam catch you guys next week.
Speaker 4: 26:29