In the past I wasn’t interested in BJJ tournaments because to me, there was no point; I’d have to drive for an hour or more, waste a whole day sitting around waiting for my turn and then compete against girls who outweighed me by at least 50lbs. And I would have to pay someone to do this. What would I get out of it if I won? A medal that I would probably throw in the garbage when I got home or a large tshirt that I just give to one of the guys on my team. What a complete waste of time.
Not only would I not gain anything of material value, what did I care if I could beat any of those girls? I didn’t start BJJ so I could protect myself from women; I wanted to be able to protect myself from men. I was robbed at gunpoint twice while working at a video store here in Halifax, NS. The first time I was robbed, the guy took the money and ran. The second time, he wasn’t satisfied with the money and took me out back to look for more.
I remember standing there, knowing I could dead lift 185 lbs but if he wanted to rape me, I was totally unprepared to defend myself. I was strong but I was useless for anything other than picking up a big bag of potatoes at the grocery store. To me, that was the purpose of learning BJJ: knowing that if someone tried to attack me, he would be more likely to end up in the hospital than I would (hopefully). When a woman is attacked, most likely she will be taken to the ground. BJJ is ideal for self-defense, in my opinion, because there’s no way I’m going to win a punching match with a man.
Over time, watching the people at Titans prepare for competition both in BJJ and MMA made the idea of competing grow on me. My thinking has evolved past the point where I only see BJJ as a way to protect myself. Competing isn’t about the medal or the extra large tshirt; it’s about proving that all of the time you’ve spent on the mats has paid off, or learning what areas need improvement. It’s about being a part of a team, even though you’re on the mat by yourself. I’m really looking forward to testing myself in competition and I’m lucky to be part of a team that is successful, competitively. Of course, I have a million questions and fortunately Josh has agreed to answer some of them for me today.
|Taylor Gang 2012|
2011 Silver Medal IBJJF World Championships (lightweight division)
2010 Bronze Medalist IBJJF World Championships (featherweight division)
2010 New York International Open Featherweight Champion and Bronze Medallist in the Open Weight Division
2010 North Eastern Canadian Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Championship, Advanced Lightweight Champion
2010/2011 Abu Dhabi Pro Canadian Trials Featherweight Champion x2
2010/2011 Abu Dhabi Pro Canadian Trials Open Weight Silver Medalist x2
2011 US Grappling Sub Only Champion (Purple Belt, lightweight)
2009 Miami International Open Featherweight Champion
2009 Lutador No Gi Grappling Challenge Champion (Intermediate Lightweight)
2009 Eastern Canada Grappling Championships, Advanced lightweight winner
2009/10/11 Atlantic Grappling Championship Lightweight Champion, Open Weight Champion
2009 Abu Dhabi Pro Canadian Trials Lightweight Bronze Medallist
2009 Pan American Champion (White belt, featherweight)
I knew there were a couple jiu-jitsu clubs in Halifax and I researched BJJ a bit and decided to try out a class. It took probably a month or so until I really started to enjoy it but I’ve never done anything else that’s even close to being as fun as jiu-jitsu.
|Jon Gale, Josh Presley, Josh Wincey|
I started training in August 2007 and competed at my first tournament in May 2008. My first ever tournament match I got stuck in a full rear-naked choke, but I somehow got out and ended up winning by rear-naked choke myself. I ended up getting 2nd, getting submitted in the final.
Generally speaking, I think you should wait at least a few months before you compete.
Sally: Whoa, nice recovery! How do you train differently when preparing for a tournament? Do you change your diet also?
Josh: If it’s a really big tournament usually 4-5 weeks out I really try and clean up my diet and do some extra training on top of rolling/drilling. Extra cardio and weight sessions, a lot of drilling and a lot of rolling. If you aren’t putting enough time into drilling and rolling than any other extra cardio/weight training is kinda useless, good enough technique will overcome strength the majority of the time.
I honestly don’t really ever have a step-by-step gameplan in my head when I compete. I learned a long time ago a match can end up anywhere, in a lot of different positions, so you really need to be good from everywhere. I just try and work a lot of different positions and go into competitions with a lot of confidence.
Sally: I’ve never competed in anything in my life. What do people mean when they say they get a “rush” from competition?
Josh: I think what people mean they get the ‘rush’ from competition refers to an adrenaline rush. Whether you want it to happen or not, you can’t really stop it. To me, it’s a result of the atmosphere. In training you’re a lot more laid back, you don’t assume everyone is watching you, and if you win or lose in a roll it doesn’t really matter.
When you compete you kinda feel like you’re under a microscope, everybody not competing themselves is either watching you or another match, your teammates are right beside you to try and coach/support you…it’s just a lot different than rolling in the gym, so that’s where the ‘rush’ comes from.
For some people it takes some getting used to, they might get really uncomfortable or nervous…sometimes it takes a few tournaments to find your own zone so you perform at your best. Competing always came kind of naturally to me, I feel like I do better under pressure. I’m usually fairly laid back, so that’s probably worked to my benefit as well.
I’ve only really ever felt nervous before my first competitive match. After that I learned to use that energy ‘rush’ to get ready rather than nervous. If you can channel that energy into something positive rather than worrying about the outcome of the match you will probably have better results.
Sally: I’ve heard that in MMA fights or tournaments, people have cardio issues due to nervous tension. The general rule of thumb is to increase your cardio capacity to twice as much as you need because it gets cut in half in competition. Do you find that to be true? Also, is there an adrenaline dump after the rush and does that affect subsequent matches?
Josh: No, I’ve never really had that problem. The only way I could see that becoming a major issue is if you let yourself get out of control. If in your first match you feel this big rush and you go totally crazy, chances are you’re going burn A LOT of energy win or lose, and probably be significantly drained for your next match.
Jiu-Jitsu is supposed to be about control: controlling your opponent, and controlling your emotions. Use the adrenaline rush for a boost, to get focused, but don’t overdo it. You should try and keep a clear head/mind during your match. Like I said, the atmosphere is different, but it’s all in how you handle it that will make the difference. Don’t let it get the better of you. Try to stay controlled and relaxed.
Josh: Fruit, bars, trail mix…anything like that is fine if you’re going to be there a while.
Sally: MMA weigh ins are the day before the fight so the fighter has time to recover from a weight cut and perform at a higher level. At BJJ tournaments the weigh ins are the day of the tournament; if a person cuts weight for the tournament is it more difficult to recover for the matches in such a short time period or do competitors mostly just eat cleaner in order to make weight rather than using the extreme methods MMA fighters do?
I know there was some confusion about this issue in the BJJ super fight that was scheduled between BraulioEstima vs Nick Diaz. Do you think the fact that Nick had made weight the day before would have been to his advantage since Braulio would have cut 9 pounds on the day of the fight in order to compete?
Sally: Ciao Terra recently posted a statement on Facebook about some of the organizers of the international tournaments:
“They try making it a show. The clown is us, fighters. They don’t care that we sacrifice our lives training for some tournament that doesn’t pay us. I live for and from BJJ and my titles are my resume, what gives me credibility with my “clients”.
I don’t want to just speak for myself, but for everyone who got cheated because the refs are neither capable nor prepared. Put the refs in suits? They have money for that but don’t have money to do drug tests on the black belt competitors? They have money for posters, but not for the refs. Neither to train them better.
These suits were a mask of what this events are. It’s the best event not because of the organization or how pretty it is, but because it has the best competitors. I wish there was another event in that level of competition because the money they make and not invest is a shame.
Like i said I’m not the only one. The blue belts are constantly cheated because sometimes they don’t hire real refs, saving money – but they made $300.000,00 just on registrations and so much more on entrance, parking, sponsors, stands and specially streaming us, clowns of this MAFIA organization!”
Would you say the same thing based on your experiences competing in large tournaments?
Josh: I agree with Caio Terra, even though honestly he comes off as a whiner, and I hate whiners. If he’s concerned about making money he should really alter his focus to a sport or a job that actually pays its competitors or employees. You can’t enter an amateur event and complain about not getting paid. That’s absurd.
But bad officiating is a part of sports in general, not just BJJ. You’d have a hard time finding any sport where there hasn’t been a number of refereeing controversies. Not to mention that BJJ is still a fairly new sport, even though it’s been around a while, it’s still only just not really starting to grow and become more popular in the USA/Canada. So Caio is right 100%, there needs to be training for referees, but they’re still going to mess up, with training or not.
Josh: Yeah my Mom thought I won too, but it doesn’t matter. It’s my fault for not submitting him; you have to try to never leave it to the judges. There was a match I watched recently with DJ Jackson from Team Lloyd Irvin against a competitor from Brazil who was a favorite in the division. There was like 30 seconds left in the match and a break in the action when the score was tied on advantages and you can hear Lloyd Irvin say ‘They’re gonna try and take it from you.’ In an effort to motivate DJ to score the deciding points.
That’s the attitude you should have when it comes to referees and decisions. If you don’t win by submission you have no one to blame but yourself. It’s not good to dwell on your losses anyway, you can’t get it back. Move on to the next tournament/goal.
Josh: It’s always an issue, people who think that nobody is abusing PED’s in a sport where there’s absolutely no formal testing is a total idiot. I think that there’s a lot of abuse of steroids and other PED’s in both MMA and BJJ.
Sally: I find watching BJJ matches boring also and that’s one of the reasons I’ve hesitated to compete at tournaments. I don’t want to sit around all day watching matches while waiting to roll once or twice myself. Obviously, that’s a selfish way to look at it.
Do you feel that participating in tournaments as a team is important? I know we talked the other day about how I’m behind in the tournament game because I haven’t competed yet but that I’m fortunate because I get to train with a team with a strong competition history. Do you think the success of others benefits the whole team from a training perspective?
Josh: Participating in a tournament as a team is cool. You get to watch everyone, and get to have people in your corner. Lots of times at tournaments I’ve only had maybe one team mate in my corner, but I’ve made lots of friends all around the States too so somebody is usually willing to help me out.
Sally: How important is it to have good cornering?
|Ladies always love the champ|