Once Upon A Time…

… in 2011 I started training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and MMA. Whilst I started with the pursuit of competing in MMA (which I did) I quickly fell in love with BJJ (and competed there also – as well as in boxing).

To make a long story short, my I found myself in a life of dramatic change. I had moved to a new state for graduate school and found my friend circle (having no family in the state) not in combat sports, but in rock climbing. Thus, my last log BJJ event was a sparring session on 9/25/2013.

For now I’ll suspend the benefits and growth added to my life through climbing – not to mention the relationships forged, adventures had, and correlatives to jiu jitsu.

Don’t Call it a Combeback (I’ve been here for years)

The rest of your life strats today. In 2018 I turned 30 years old. In December of 2018 I did some serious review of what I wanted to accomplish in life and what I wanted my life to look like 5, 10, 15 years down the road. Simply put, I didn’t want to make any more excuses… I wanted to get back into BJJ.

The process started with getting my weight in check – “getting back to my fighting weight” of 167 lbs (with a Gi). Making some keto adjustments to my already paleo diet produced better reults than expected as I now walk around at about 160 lbs butt naked.

Next, I needed to get used to grappling movements again. I had trained for 2.5 years and taken almost 6 years off. So, with my weight in check I scowered YouTube for solo / movement drills that I practiced almost daily.

Now it was time to start waking my body up and drilling actual techniques. I was fortunte to have a co-corker who has trained a variety of martial arts and a roommate loosely interested in grappling. Reviewing and teaching the basics to these two was essential to the process!

Back to the Future

So, I now found myself in a bit of an existential ultimatum. At the root of it though, my climbing gear wasn’t going to wear out just sitting there and the mountains sure as hell weren’t going anywhere. I had developed a new found passion for (and skill in) dog trianing, but I could do that until the day I die. It was time to sieze the day and sign up with a new BJJ academy.

Climbing, Dogs, and Combat Sports are all beautiful artistic endeavors in their own right. But, at the end of the day, I’m not a spindly iron spider “cut from the cloth” for climbing. I’m more of the surly wolverine type – somewhat enigmatic to the climbing world.

Climbing and BJJ compliment each other very well, for a multitude of physical and psycholgoical reasons. Thus, it was time. I found an academy (there are plenty in teh Atlanta area) that fit my schedule, and coincidentally or not, fit my fighting style and perosnality as well.

Dan John’s 40 Day Challenge

I’ve read Dan John’s 40 Day Workout and Even “Easier Strength” many times over. After training 8 days in a row I whimsically posted to Instagram that I “might as well attempt a 40 day challenge” and train 40 days in a row. Essentially, there shouldn’t be an excuse to not train something (reltaed to BJJ) each and every day.

At first, I didn’t understand what an undertaking that was. You can see my raw, unedited notes of the process below. It quickly became apparent that sleep (quality rather than just quantity) and proper nutrition were essential – that is, not only fueling workouts, but recovering from them.

I actually started the 40 Day Challenge with a bit of a rib injury, re-injured a cauliflower ear, and had various grappling related aches and pains. Perhaps what was most annoying was just how much I had to eat — ALL THE TIME!

100 Day Challenge

But, why stop at 40? This is where we really get into the grist of life. You can fake it for a week. You might even be able to grit your teeth for a month, but to do something for 100 consecutive days you have to truly commit to it.

As if it wasn’t already, by day 60 is was apparent that I needed to not only have my diet and sleep under tight control, but I also needed to vary my training intesntiy and volume. That is, if i was going to make it to 100 days, I couldn’t go balls to the wall every single day. If some of those days were going to be intesne and long, some needed to be light and short. How true is that for the entirety of one’s BJJ career? Is consistency not key? How do we rig the game so that we never ever quit?

By day 70 it felt like “my brain stopped thinking and my body took over.” We are talking about rehersed movement patterns and fluid transitions between them after all.

In the 80-something days, I also found it important to mix in different styles of BJJ. That is, for example, to give my fingers a break I would do nogi. Later on I sustained a knee injury not as a result of overtraining, but I was cranking on my own foot too hard in a rubber guard type of position.

Today is day 101 and I still did a 30 minute yoga practice to get some restorative movement in. I learned many things on this 100 day journey:

  • eat like you mean it; fueling workouts is easy, recoving is when you get stronger
  • vary training intensity for sustainability – you don’t have to go hard every day, you just have to keep going; whatever it takes
  • sleep quality is integral
  • there is no excuse to do some form of training every day: be that yoga, warm up / movement drills, strength training, or actual classes and sparring

Why Stop Here?

I have to think, then, that training 100 days in a row paints a pretty accurate and predictive picture of how your training will progress and sustain itself (or not) over the next 10 years.

#### Log / Results

- Day 1 - 7:  Training as usuall, since start of 2019 typically only had 1 day off per week
- Day 10:  train smart, vary volume / intensity, trust your body, just keep going
- Day 17:  hungry ALL the time -- it's annoying
- Day 19:  sleep quality and quantity are imperative
- Day 21:  nagging wear (sore shoulder, swolen fingers (grips), cauliflower ear), need more sleep; very light drill / movement
- Day 27:  awesome day with lots of guest drop ins for open mat -- first day ladies out numbered men, good variety white/blue/purple; headgear isn't so bad (old school asics = more low profile than comfy cliff keen)
- Day 30:  what day is it?  What are we doing tonight Brain?  The same thing we do every night Pinky, training to win the worlds!; averaging ~8 hours of SLEEP TIME (not just "in bed"), doesn't feel like enough (training ~8-9 hours / week)
- Day 41 (sat, 3/31): elbows a little achy, body feels worn down, not injured, but not at 100% for each session
- Day 49 (mon, 4/8):  creaky swolen fingers overnight, very sore and stiff muscles after nap after morning training
- Day 56 (mon, 4/15): overall energy feels low, missing a little sleep make a BIG difference, muscles sore, elbows stiff
- Day 61 (sat, 4/20): DAMN, my fingers and elbows hurt!  But, damn I went at it hard agianst upper belts
- Day 62 (sun, 4/21): light drilling and rolling, overall sore and stiff everywhere
- Day 68 (sat, 4/27):  feels like brain has stopped "thinking" and body is just "reacting", very fast and fluid transitions (limited by technical knowledge)
- Day 75 (sat, 5/4): knees, elbows, and fingers hurt (no nogi days this week)
- Day 82: Brown belt says I'm getting a lot better and that's why he likes rolling with me
- Day 83 (sun, 5/12): neck, knees, forearms, fingers SOOOOO sore... the weekends are always the hardest (high volume, high intensity, back-to-back days); 1 stripe black belt says "Do you think I take days off?  That's why you're going to pass everyone who's ahead of you right now.  That's why all the purple and brown belts like rolling wih you."
- Day 89:  popped left knee twice pulling too hard on rubber guard, minimal pain, no swelling, stiff and severely impaired ROM
- Day 90: knee VERY stiff, painful in some directions, limped walk, barely keep going (15 min solo drills)
- Day 97 (sun, 5/26):  knee feels achey and stiff, but full range of motion and able to roll light / mod pace

Savagezen's Blog

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