Train for the Fight
I can honestly say that a couple of hard rounds of jiu jitsu sparring is one of the harder things I’ve ever done. You are sweating your face off, in some heavy duty pajamas and some other guy is trying to choke you into submission or twist your arm off. You have to have a sound mind to remember and reference your training. You have to be strong enough to fight your opponent, but not so strong that you over commit or waste energy. Your cardiovascular development has to be enough to allow you to consistently attack and defend in rounds lasting up to 10 minutes. And then do it over again.
Jiu Jitsu is an amazing sport and when you start it might just be one of the most physically taxing things you’ve ever done. However as you invest more in your sport you start to become more technically efficient. Meaning you know how to control your body more, you aren’t as stressed, you are landing more moves, you are becoming proficient. This is when it starts to get fun. You aren’t the guy gasping on the bottom getting choked with his own arm- you are the guy doing the choking and you aren’t breathing heavy at all…
And here is where the flaw lies with continuing to use jiu jitsu to increase your fitness. The whole point of jiu jitsu is to use as little strength and fitness as possible. But that is a bit of a misnomer. While it is known as the “gentle art” anyone that has tapped from a belly down armbar or a bow and arrow choke knows that nothing gentle was happening at that time. Jiu Jitsu is a combat sport and while the violence is controlled and predicated on the “tap” or submitting to someone else’s move- it is still happening. And while it’s great to have a high sport specific skill set, really strong and cardiovascular developed athletes are simply more of a handful.
But why? If this is such a skill based sport, why do I need to be stronger or faster or more fit?
Injury Prevention- The stronger you are, the stronger you are. Your ligaments and tendons are stronger. Simply put muscle is armor. The more armor you have the less likely you are to be injured. When you combine this muscular armor with a developed cardiovascular system you are able to push the pace or stay in the fight much longer.
Train More, Improved Training– The more fit you are the more you can train. You get injured less, so you can train more. You aren’t as fatigued so your quality of training improves. Because the quality of your training improves, you get injured less. It’s a vicious cycle that over time helps build a much improved athlete.
Mental Resilience- When you start doing jits it’s hard, and scary, and intimidating. Over time these things begin to wear off because you are more accustomed to what you are doing. You’ve done it before, you know what to expect so it’s not as physically, mentally or emotionally taxing. Until you are facing a much better opponent or in competition- then it all comes back and you are left feeling like it’s your first day. By using gym specific workouts you are able to mentally and physically tax yourself, take yourself to the edge, without fear of injury. This allows you to feel bad positions, exhaustion, fear- without actually being in setting that has potential for injury. While we know mental resilience is sport specific, we also know that the more fit you are the more mental tools you have and the less reliant you have to be on them.
So those are our three major reasons to have some sort of strength and conditioning plan to accompany your fight training, but there’s also another big one and this honestly might be the single biggest reason for increasing someone’s longevity in the sport.
Options- We know injuries happen, we know athletes get burned out, we know sometimes people just need a break. What if you could do all these things and return to the mats and be better? Maybe your timing is off, but you would be faster and stronger and pick up much faster than when you left off. This is the power of a dedicated strength and conditioning program. Any coach worth his salt can work around any injury you have. You can get stronger, and rehab your injury without fear of reinjury or aggravating it worse, which is what could happen on the mats. Or you can take time off and actually improve your fitness so when you get back on the mats you are not only stronger and faster, you are hungry. You want to train, you want to get after it. All your little nagging injuries have healed and you can get that much better that much faster.
Now all of the sudden you aren’t dependent on jiujitsu for your fitness. You can get fit in other ways and concentrate on using jiu jitsu for improving your jiu jitsu.
You don’t have to take my word for it. We have a number of baddass jiu jitsu players that train with us on a daily basis, see what they have to say.
Paulo Brandao– Black Belt- World Champion (1996),Brazilian National Champion (1995, 1997), Amazonas State Champion, North-Northeast Interstate Champion
“ It is the perfect combination. Atomic+Jiu Jitsu increase strength and speed. I always to say if you can do the program of Atomic the gates of Jiu Jitsu open easily.”
Dan Dau- Brown Belt
“I train at Atomic and Jiujitsu because it gives me superpowers. There is power knowing that you are stronger and faster than your opponent. That you have put in more work than anyone else. That when your opponent is getting tired, you are just getting warmed up. I train both consistently because I like my superpowers. And I don’t want to lose my superpowers”
Rebecca Varady- Purple Belt
“I started training at Atomic wanting to get stronger. I knew being small I needed an edge over the stronger and younger competitors. I wasn’t looking for a miracle cure nor was I expecting one. What I wanted was to be able to hold my own against the larger competitors.
As I got stronger, I noticed an increase of speed in my game. I could defend a position and quickly transition into another without losing my balance. This strength I gained wasn’t solely physically it was mental. The more weight I was able to lift or the more rounds I could go during a stamina session increased my self confidence which translated to success on the mat.
Regardless of what people say, jiu jitsu is far from a gentle art. To be honest my matches are 6 minutes of me trying to submit by choking my opponent or using joint manipulation and then defending the same. With that you need speed but mostly strength, physical and mental.”
Jim Shipman- Black Belt
“When technique is equal, the better athlete wins” is a common phrase in Jiu Jitsu. I joined Atomic at the recommendation of some of my Jiu Jitsu training partners after I had noticed their strength and conditioning gains. Since joining Atomic and following the 3x/week programming, I have noticed a significant increase in my stamina, explosiveness and overall athleticism. Sparring sessions that I used to find physically challenging are now considered fun. The training at Atomic has made me a better BJJ practitioner because my confidence in my physical preparedness allows me to focus on improving my technique.
But that is just the physical side. One of the biggest advantages of training at Atomic is building your mental fitness. There is a famous grappler that said, “You can feel it when someone breaks, especially when it’s you.” Every grappler knows the “breaking “ feeling – Your opponent (or you) simply loses the will to continue. They look for a way out. Training at Atomic has allowed me to glimpse that breaking point and work on building its threshold. What results is the confidence that you can’t be broken – And that is an earned gift that you take with you in the gym, on the mats, and lends itself to every area of your life.