Tag Archives: el dorado hills

Time Management leads to Peak Performance

By Aaron Martinez

 Ironically, I’ve been trying to find the time to complete this piece for over a month now, and that ended up being a good thing. I realized the entire point of Time Management was to find organized amounts of time to complete and maintain the priorities in your life. My schedule is a complete mess and my goals rarely coincided together in a convenient pattern. I bet most other responsible people can relate to this. Especially in BJJ there is a constant struggle with your daily life of work, school, family, and routine; constantly getting in the way of your time on the mat.

Prioritize

The first step to organizing your time and deciding when you have the time to train consistently will completely depend on your schedule. Since I started training I have gone through three completely different careers, and with each one a distinctly different schedule to train.

When I first started, it was simple. I worked at a desk in a bank and we did not have kids yet. So, every night after work and on the weekends I was free to train. My training schedule was only limited to what my White Belt level conditioning would allow. I trained every other day.

A few years I earned my Blue Belt, I was laid off and had a completely open schedule to train. My friends teased me, calling me the professional Blue Belt. I trained as much as possible, at least once if not two times a day. I eventually started a small Pest Control business and was able to make my own schedule. I’d schedule work during the day and went back to training at night and on the weekend. Not too long after that we had our first daughter, and for the first time training was not the priority it had been since I started. Training and work now conflicted with helping my wife with the baby, and I had to clearly state my top priorities to myself: 1. Family 2. Work 3. BJJ. I gave up going out drinking with my buddies or making the trip to see a ball game. I had my priorities and I struggled to find time for just those three.

Schedule

I clearly defined my top priorities, and now I had to develop a schedule that would allow me to accomplish my long term goals while maintaining my day to day life as Family man, business owner, and BJJ Practitioner. I’d wake up before 5am and work until the morning classes started. After the morning class I’d work until my wife had to go to her job, and I’d come home and take care of my daughter until bedtime. It was different than before, but I was able to nurture all three Priorities on a daily basis as a result of my schedule.

After earning my Purple Belt my other daughter was born, which altered my schedule again. In addition to my three priorities I had to make sure the schedule made sense. I didn’t want to just take care of my daughters. I wanted to be as present as possible with my attention and awareness. I couldn’t just kill myself at work and on the mats, and then expect to be the best father I could be. I also wanted to make as much money as possible, while still progressing at Jiu-Jitsu. So, the schedule took more thought and planning. I had to make sure there were blocks of time to rest and recover.

Organizing and Optimizing

Once again my belt changed and once again my schedule changed. At Brown belt I knew I had to take training and competing more seriously than I had in the past. I wanted to incorporate weight training into my schedule. Going to a gym was out of the question. My schedule had no time for it. I bought some equipment and found a trainer who designed fitness programs remotely. Is this the best way to work with a trainer? Of course not, but this was not one of my Priorities. I wanted to weight train to help with my priority of being a BJJ practitioner. I had to Optimize the time I had available. Instead of spending 30 minutes driving to a gym and 30 minutes driving back, I could spend that hour working out at home.

My BJJ training schedule was also organized in a manner that allowed for heavy competition training, followed by drilling the next day.  This allowed for recovery, but also kept me on the Mat every day. When I was at work I wanted to focus on work, and it was the same for my time with my family. I made sure I got everything I needed by training at least six days a week. And when a competition was around the corner I would change my schedule accordingly. I’d take a little less work and get a little more help from the in-laws to allow more training.

BJJ as a Priority

The reason I always made BJJ such a high priority behind Family and Work, was that it encompasses so much life into one activity. The physical fitness is obvious, but also the social aspect, and the mental health benefits that come along with training. Training BJJ has helped me prioritize my life, learn to create schedules, and organize time better. I didn’t learn to do all of this to train BJJ. Training BJJ helped me develop this to have a better life

Letting go of the rest

Trying to find the time to write this reaffirmed what I had come up with in the past. There are things that you want to do that aren’t priorities, and that will not get done or will take longer than anticipated. And that is okay. You have to be okay with taking care of your priorities and doing your best to accomplish the rest.

There will also be emergencies and roadblocks that will keep you from maintaining your priorities temporarily, and that is also something you have to be okay with. If you injure your back right before Worlds, there is nothing you can do. Use that time to nurture your other priorities. Spend as much time with the family and when you are healed you have even more attention you can focus on BJJ.

Conclusion

Everyone’s schedule is unique and their priorities might be completely different. If you are finding it difficult to accomplish the things you want out of life, it usually is a matter of managing your time as efficiently as possible.

Comparing a Martial Art like Jiu-Jitsu or Wrestling with Downhill Skiing

I have the opportunity to teach private lessons in jiu-jitsu and wrestling a few times a week. While working with a student who volunteers as a downhill ski instructor, we found some common ground between skiing, brazilian jiujitsu, and judo / wrestling throws.

2017 NoGi Pans IBJJF in New York Eliot Kelly v Jackson Sousa

Through some observation and discussion, we found that the throwing motion in judo or wrestling , the movement in guard retention for jiu-jitsu, and downhill skiing to cross gates all share the same concept of rotating the body. In fact rotation is a very common movement pattern in humans, but our lifestyle of sitting in a car, at a desk, on a couch, and repeat has diminished our rotation ability over the years. The movement is quite simple, where the upper body rotates in one direction while the lower body rotates in another. As a result the body is able to pre-load and powerfully whip through to execute the movement.

Pre-Loading:

This is split second before the load is carried. In this part of the movement the body is getting close to full rotation with the legs and hips facing one way and the chest and shoulders facing another direction. In the hip throw, this would be the entry, with the body rotating at the spine. In downhill skiing a similar effect is desired. The skier maintains the chest and shoulders down hill and allows the lower body to rotate in the desired direction. This is the pre-loading phase for downhill skiing as well.

Loading:

Loading takes place in the split instant of action where rotation becomes undone. In a throw the load happens in the split second  the body goes to untwist and the opponents body goes flying. In downhill skiing, this loading happens the split-second transition from one direction to another, cutting around the gate. The more dynamic the rotation combines with the whipping of the body to unwind the rotation, results in more power being generated.

Promoting & Regaining Rotation:

Using Stick Mobility in Finland

I’m no physical therapist, but I am very movement curious. I’ve recently started using Stick Mobility to work on my rotation and have noticed some quick short term gains. However, I think routine stretching that involves rotation is a good start. I also enjoy doing yoga and other activities that promote rotation; playing catch, hitting  a baseball, tennis, racquet ball. Yoga is also a gentle practice that will promote rotation, but all these things need to be done consistently. While playing sports or martial arts are a great way to maintain rotation, it is also a good idea to promote healthy rotation by using Stick Mobility or doing Yoga on a consistent basis.

Eliot Kelly 

Reflection from IBJJF Pans NoGi

A week after the ADCC, I found myself on the east coast getting tuned up for the IBJJF Pan NoGi Championships in NYC. A BIG THANK YOU to the Armor Kimono guys who have been sponsoring my Gi and some NoGi Jiu Jitsu.

I had one match in the division. Jackson Sousa of Checkmat in the finals. He had also just come from the ADCC tournament with a third place finish. I lost the match 2-0 on points from a sweep. Here are some take aways from the match:

  1. Scoring first sets the pace of the match. (especially when the referees only call double penalty)
  2. Use forward pressure but don’t reach forward to assert that pressure
  3. Pressure works with time. So start using it from the beginning

 

This was my third time facing Jackson in competition. The first two I lost in the gi, one by points and one by submission. This was our first nogi match, but was the closest match we shared. Although I didn’t win, I was able to close the margin, and “improve” from my previous matches. Jackson is a class act, and went on to win the open class later in the afternoon. Congratulations!

In the open class, my first opponent lost his temper when I asked the referee for him to take the grease out of his hair. He gave me the double birdie, and was disqualified.

In my second match, I faced Diego from ZR team. He had a super sticky guard and although people told me I was the aggressor on top pushing for the pass, he won the referee decision 0-0 after 10 minutes. I realize that the guard player is not obligated to stand up, but I find it ironic that the top player is obligated to try and pass but the guard player can defend and counter attack, make no attempt to sweep, and still not be penalized. I don’t questions referee decisions anymore, but I do think there is a need to better define the “lute” call and reward the athlete that is forcing the action in a match. Otherwise the defensive athlete, playing a safe game and conserving energy, is being rewarded for doing nothing. In my opinion, the athlete that is progressing forward, forcing the action to score or submit should be rewarded.

Eliot Kelly 

Coaching Kids Life Skills Through Martial Arts Skills

Youth sports is intended to have many practical applications. The strongest expectation from youth sports is the ability to learn not only the skills necessary to succeed in play, but also critical life skills that apply to the life outside of the sport. Some of these life skills are; leadership, manners, eq, decision making, ability to digest information, collaboration, communication, etc. While these are skills that parent’s assume their children will acquire when they enroll their children in sports, science has proven that not to be the case.

In fact, coaching for the sake of becoming a better athlete looks different than coaching for the sake of becoming a person with strong life skills. Studies, led by Dr. Daniel Gold have shown that athletes who grew up in an environment where the coach emphasized the acquisition of the life skills along with the acquisition of technical skills required in the sport were the only athletes who actually developed the ability to apply the lessons from their sport to their life outside of the sport.

This is an insightful break through. The valuable life skills are not ACQUIRED merely through the practice of sport. They are intentionally DEVELOPED through the curriculum, and lesson plans designed by the coach. Dr. Shimizu and Dr. Shibamoto have also been leading scholars in the field of applied sports psychology. Some of their research has reinforced the research by Dr. Gold.

There is one more key critical factor in understanding the value of coaching sports skills through life skills. Studies have found that athletes coached in life skills perform better than athletes who have only been coached in their athletic skills. While there is no certainty or little value in learning practical life skills through the practice and learning of sport, there is great value in being coached by someone who truly embraces the idea of coaching life skills through the means of sport. Therefore, it’s essential that as parents we seek out sports clubs and teams that emphasize these life skills in their lessons above anything else and remember that the practical skills we hope our children to acquire through sport only happens where there exists a conscious minded program that emphasizes these things.

Eliot Kelly

2017 ADCC Championships Reflection

I had two matches at 2017 ADCC Finland. Lost them both. One to Lovato jr. & another to Aly. In reflecting on the weekend, I walked away with some important insights.

1) Embracing my style of “fighting”

2) How quickly your mindset can influence your performance.

As a side note, to me winning & losing are only trivial moments as a result of a bout, therefore I’ve always made an effort to evaluate my performance <physical // technical // mental> in a match instead of the win or loss. I haven’t watched my bouts yet, but I was very unsatisfied after my initial match. I tried to play a strategic game and it was a total failure. Lovato Jr. completely shut me down. 7-0. I walked away from the mat frustrated. I think I played it conservative and there’s no way you will perform well or beat any of the best 16 guys in the world playing it safe.

Thank you Ty, Paul, and Ryan for coaching  and sharing your insights on the match.

The next day I faced Aly in the open class. In between the two days i was able to better understand myself as a grappler. To embrace my style. And I was damn sure I wasn’t going to play it safe on the second day. (And hopefully everyday) And I feel as though did. I didn’t win and there were some things I need to change but I could walk off the mat knowing i was a different person from yesterday. Only one thing changed between the two days. My mindset. My conscious approach to fight hard. To go HAM. (I’m quoting Tanner Rice here)
So I challenge everyone to go and fight their style every match. To embrace who they are on and off the mat. Because when you do…. It make everything so much more fun! And when you don’t it’s almost a guarantee you won’t win…

A special thanks to Komainu Apparel and AK BKK . These guys made this ADCC experience extra special for us. Thank you Satoshi for the photo! 📷

Eliot Kelly

2017 IBJJF Master Worlds Reflection

2017 Master Worlds Reflection

By Aaron Martinez

Last week was the sixth annual IBJJF Master World Championship in Las Vegas, and several teammates and I made the short trip to Sin City to compete. My first impression of the tournament was that there were a ton of competitors. I believe they had over 20 mats running for three days. After the initial massive line to check in and gain entrance into the venue (a large hall at the Las Vegas Convention Center), I found the tournament to be well executed and organized with even free seminars from the likes of the Ribeiro Brothers and Renzo Gracie. There were two large mat areas to warm up and plenty of space to sit and relax away from the mats. The spectating was a challenge, unless you were able to get a spot right at the fence on the edge of the mats.

The only thing I didn’t like about the tournament was that it was in Las Vegas. I like Las Vegas and participated in the first Las Vegas Open, but for the World Championships I’d rather have had as much focus as possible. Staying on the strip the night before made for a challenge to find a healthy, balanced meal, in order to feel optimal for my fight the next day. I much preferred Long Beach where I could easily get to Wholefoods and stock up on anything I needed the days leading up to the biggest event of the year for me. Of course, after my day of competition, it was fun to walk through the Casinos and go to restaurants with my teammates.

The one thing that stood out about the event, compared to the ones in the past, was the large amount of muscular competitors. I’ve never liked to assume that anyone who is bulging through their clothes with huge muscles is on some sort of PED, but I had several people make comments to me about how they would need to start testing for the Master Worlds. I was so focused on my own matches that I hadn’t really noticed the other competitors until someone brought it up. I looked around, and compared to the adult Worlds, their older counterparts were noticeably more muscular. That doesn’t necessarily mean that more Master fighters are using PEDs than the Adult fighters. Men get bigger as they get older and some of it may have more to do with being a tad older, but it probably wouldn’t hurt to start testing just to make sure it’s a more fair competition.

Michel Miyashita Seminar in El Dorado Hills

Michel Miyashita, will be teaching a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Seminar in El Dorado Hills, CA on August 12th 2017.

9:00-10:00AM (age8-12) $20

10:00-NOON (age 13+) $45

Noon ~ OPEN MAT

The seminar will cover some of his best technical positions. Michel recently finished with a Silver medal at the San Jose IBJJF Open and will be competing in the Master World Championships in Las Vegas in several weeks. Join us for what is going to be a fun and learning event in El Dorado Hills.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu: A Martial Art for Kids & Teens

El Dorado Hills Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a Martial Arts school located in EDH off the latrobe exit on the highway 50 corridor. The Martial Art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is traditionally taught to adults for it’s refined skills in the art of physical self defense, but EDH BJJ offers a great outlet for kids and teens to join in on the training.

EDH Jiu Jitsu had separated the kids and adults curriculum so that the kids and teens are exposed in a developmentally appropriate environment for them to thrive. While the classes start as young as age 4, the classes are separated into different age groups: Pee Wee class (age 4-6). Kids class (age 7-9) and Juniors class (age 10-14). This allows the instructors to gradually challenge the students as they mature in age. Not only are the students challenged with their expectations to listen, observe, and think about the technique but their physical challenge is increased with age. With age and training experience students are give more “responsibilities” to lead their peers with their actions. The responsibilities are taught and enforced as a method to build leadership, communication, and teamwork.

For example, when stressing the importance of communication, students are taught that every good encounter and relationship begins with a good greeting. Students are held accountable to follow through with this, by saying hello and introducing themselves when a new students steps on the mat to train. This strategy to communicate is not just something we teach the students to do at the dojo. We also recommend they take what they do on the mat and apply it to their life off the mat as well. “If you notice a new student in your class at school what should you do?” “How do you feel if you don’t know anyone in a group? How do you feel if no one said hello?” “How would you feel if someone came up to you and introduced themselves and helped you feel welcome?” These are some of the questions teachers use to get the students to think about the value of noticing new people in their environment and going out of their way to say hello.

In a time where children spend hours in front of a screen, face to face communication can become less comfortable. We make an effort to teach students that face to face communication is an essential part of a good relationship. Through self introductions, students are better able to establish a channel to communicate with one another. This is one of the key components of not just our kids and teens martial arts program, but our entire program. We believe that the ability to communicate is a skill that needs some coaching and lots of practice. Therefore, our program takes time for a social element to take place.

For more information visit our website: http://www.edhjiujitsu.com

Eliot Kelly

Kids Camp in El Dorado Hills

Kids Camp El Dorado Hills had the first week of camp for kids age 5 and up. The camp is an opportunity for local children to learn jiujitsu, chess, and have fun moving. Healthy snacks of apples, almonds, cheese, and yogurt are provided to the campers are picked up fed and tired. The next week of camp will be JULY 31 – AUGUST 3.   NO EXPERIENCE NECESSARY to join the camp! We welcome beginners to jiujitsu, chess, and anyone looking to learn, move, and have fun is welcome!

In the jiujitsu lessons the coaches teach the fundamental movements and positions of guard, mount, side control, back control, a strong stance. These fundamentals give students an opportunity to better understand strong positions that are advantageous in self defense and anti-bullying situations. From these positions the campers learned different movements and submissions to control their opponent. When working with a partner, students not only are learning about the physical space their body occupies, but also how to communicate with their peers. Communication is an integral component of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Campers are taught the importance of communicating with their body as well as their words to convey their thoughts. Developing healthy communication strategies at a young age leads to higher EQ, emotional intelligence.

In addition to jiujitsu and the lessons we are able to teach through it’s practice. The camp also includes the teaching and learning of chess. While jiujitsu is chess with the body, chess is jiujitsu with the mind! After a morning of games and lessons in jiujitsu and self defense, the campers are given a healthy snack and an opportunity to continue working on their communication. Since we have multiple levels of chess players, we incorporate peer mentorship, “No Stress Chess” (a chess set designed to teach the basic game while playing the game of chess). and some adult coaching. This allows all levels of chess players to have fun and keep up with the game. During chess, the campers are given an opportunity to calm down from the previously rigorous games and exercises and direct their focus and attention on the chess board. Even the most rambunctious children tend to focus in on learning and playing chess.

A strong component of our camp is the concept of learn through play.  To do this we design our games with technical lessons and concepts to develop leadership and/or teamwork. One example of a game we play is tug of war. In tug of war, the team concept is developed along with leadership. The leader of the group is responsible for helping to “unite” their group to pull all at once. At the end of the game, the winning team will assign a number to the losing team to practice a technique learning during the jiujitsu lesson. If the number 10 is picked, the losing team will do 10 arm bars (for example) and the winning team will perform half (5 in this case). In this example, leadership is developed by the vocal member of the group to pull the rope all at once. Teamwork is shown and developed when everyone works together to pull the rope all at once. Technical skills are developed after a winner and loser is established to disguise the repetitions practiced.

Along with the practice of jiujitsu, chess, and games we emphasize gratitude. We talk about gratitude at the end of each session and ask the campers what they are thankful for. Through out the day, an emphasis is made of saying thank you, writing a thank you card to take home and give to someone, and thinking about the things that are necessary to be thankful for.

Join us on our next camp experience in El Dorado Hills! We welcome new comers and look forward to having our current members join us for a fun half day of jiujitus, chess, gratitude projects and games! Next camp will be July 31st -August 3rd!

The Referee’s Decision: Brazilian Jiu Jitsu as a Sport

 

 Last weekend I competed at the Pan American Championship in Irvine. The Pan Ams is my favorite annual competition. It’s the only international competition in the U.S. where the entire competition team can participate in; from Juvenile to Master and White to Black Belt. It’s the first competition of the year where I focus all my efforts into being as well prepared as possible beforehand and give it my all when the Referee starts the match… usually.

My strategy going into my first match was to stay on top with either a takedown or letting my opponent pull guard, and then go for the pass. The Master’s divisions are short matches so I wanted to score first and be in the position to ride out the clock and work for Mount or submissions from Side Control.

I’m stretching in the bullpen, taking in the atmosphere of the building. The bullpen is a mix of tension with the fighters waiting to be called for their fights and elation with winning or being done for the competitors who already fought. The ring coordinator calls my name and my opponents and we follow him to our mat. I’m warm, I feel good, and I’m ready. The referee calls us out and I run on to the mat, bow, slap hands and fist-bump. It’s on.

My opponent is careful to engage, and we spend a couple minutes dancing around until I chase him down. We make grips and he pulls to an open guard. “Perfect!” I think. And this is pretty much where the entire match takes place. I feel good with my base and every time he tries to unbalance me I hold strong and ride it out. He has a good grip and Spider Guard on my left arm, but every time I try break it or get in a position to break it, he off-balances me and I have to focus on my base. There were a few instances where I broke the grips or he let go and I was moving and working my passes and then he’d get his grips again and we’d be right back in the same Spider Guard.

I’m watching the clock tick down to zero with the score tied at 0 points, 0 advantages, and 0 penalties. I’m thinking it would be foolish to try something risky to earn an advantage. I was on top and more active. I was more offensive and closer to a pass then he ever was to a sweep. All I had to do was not get scored on and there was only 10 seconds left. My opponent tried extending me one last time, but I stayed low and kept my weight back.

Time ended and we fixed our Gi’s. The referee held our arms and I took a deep breath. He raised my opponent’s arm and I turned away. I shook my opponent’s hand and congratulated him. I bowed to the Referee, thanked him for the job he had done and walked off the matt. I couldn’t believe it. How could I have not earned the decision win?

Well, I let the fight end with a tied score. Was the referee wrong with his decision? No, of course not. They don’t want to make the decision; they want you to score and make it clear that you won. It didn’t have to be in the last 10 seconds, but at some point in a 5 minute match you have to at least score an advantage. Otherwise there is nothing to have hard feelings about, other than your own performance.

What is the referee looking for in those situations? It’s completely subjective, yet completely justified. Every loss is a learning lesson and this isn’t the first decision that resulted in a loss for me, which is why I thought I had won. The lesson I take from it now is that it’s a coin-flip, in terms if you agree with the decision or not. They have their reasons and I’m sure if you ask, most will tell you why they ruled that way… after the fact.

Aaron Martinez