What can Brazilian Jiujitsu teach you about CrossFit? It’s an interesting question posed to me by a friend a few weeks back. Since I like to use this blog as a way of working out my own questions and personal issues let’s get after it.
Brazilian Jiujitsu (BJJ for short) was created in one goal in mind – how can a smaller man use leverage, force, and balance to beat a larger man?
My first experience with BJJ, oddly enough came from Mike Latch, the current owner of Valley CrossFit. This of course was back before anyone knew of CrossFit, except for a handful of Santa Cruzians. I had a background in stand-up fighting and a pretty big ego so when Mike spent 40 minutes kicking the ever loving shit out of me on the ground, I literally went home, lay in bed shaking, and said, “I have no idea what F just happened to me, but I’m in.” The same thing said after most of our first CrossFit classes.
So what can BJJ teach us CrossFitters?
First – never judge a book by its cover. I had 20 pounds on Mike that day and it was like River playing with a newborn kitten. Fielding isn’t the most imposing figure in the gym, neither are Amber or Marcela, yet all of them will own you on your best day. There’re even smaller people out there in CF land that put us all to shame….anyone heard of Chris Spealler?
Second – he who barks loudest, usually has the smallest bite. Spend some time around a BJJ school or a CrossFit gym and it’s usually pretty apparent who’s been there for less than six months. They’re the ones that are telling you how awesome they are. Instead of quietly working on their weaknesses in the corner.
Third – you’re not out until you’re out. I’ve seen people both on the mat and in CrossFit workouts that start off looking like my living room carpet after Lucas got dysentery, only to watch them eek out a win in the last two seconds. I’ve sworn to Oprah herself on the mat that I was a quarter second away from tapping my opponent, only to have my balance be off by a millimeter and lose the whole match. The lesson? Never give up. Ever.
Fourth – if you’re not tapping, you’re not learning. Losing teaches us far more than winning does; it’s an unfortunate fact of life for our egos. Listen to the best of the best in BJJ and they’ll all tell you the same thing – every time I tap, I learn something new about my game. Don’t let your struggles in CrossFit be anything BUT learning experiences. It may be cliché, but it’s true – everything you experience is merely feedback.
Lastly – have fun. Santa Barbara native Jeff Glover was recently in a tournament down in San Diego. Tournament is a crappy explanation. It was more a gathering of grappling legends, fantasy match ups that no one ever thought would happen under the same roof. What does Jeff do? (see the attached GIF above) He walks out and turns his back on his opponent, telling him to take it if he wants it (this would be akin to closing your eyes and sticking your chin out in a boxing match). What does his opponent do? Patts Jeff playfully on the butt and backs away. Why? Because this was a rematch and the last time they fought Jeff did the same thing only to reverse the position and win the match. If the best of the best can manage to keep things light and playful on a national stage, so can we here at CPC. If it’s not fun and you’re not getting paid to do it – do something else or start having fun with it.
Hope this helps – train hard today gang.
AMRAP 7 minutes:
10 box jumps (24″/20″)
5 Handstand Push Ups
2 Min rest
AMRAP 5 minutes:
5 deadlifts (225#/95#)
2 Min rest
AMRAP 3 minutes:
10 double unders
2 Min rest
1min Row for calories