Tuesday, March 29, 2011

“We’re Gonna Need a Bigger Boat!”

As I looked for a parking space at ECU last night, I was shocked at the number of cars in the lots. I was finally able to snake my way into a tight space.

Since I had arrived on the early side, the White Belt/Blue Belt class was still in full swing. When I stepped inside, I saw approximately, thirty people on the mats. Seminar Numbers!

As the Purple+ crew arrived, it became apparent that we were looking at a record night. So, of course we took a few pictures, even though several of the Purple+ students were still changing, and one was taking the pictures, ECU now has more Purple+ Belts than it had students on opening night.

Despite missing a few people, we hit a record. I think it says a ton about Jo-Jo, ECU’s other instructors, and ECU’s students that we’re in danger of outgrowing our facility in just a year-and-a-half.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Training Partners

“No easy rolls!” is the unofficial ECU slogan. Sparring at ECU is often intense, and even seasoned players are exhausted at the end of a session.

While this intensity undoubtedly helps our team grow, most ECU members are not professional fighters. We’re pharmacists, contractors, lawyers, personal trainers, business owners, etc. The ECU family basically covers the entire spectrum. While what we do when we’re not on the mats might be different, we all have one thing in common – we’d like to come home from class healthy.

As students, we’re responsible for the safety of our training partners. As much fun as it is to get a submission, we all need to remember that we’re training with teammates.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

What Could Go Wrong?

I know I have a tendency to mine this territory quite a bit, but the longer I’m around BJJ, the more I realize the importance of the mental game.

One of my biggest problems, and I’m sure I’m not alone, is that I always worry about “What Could Go Wrong?” I’ll pass on submission, and/or escape opportunities solely because I think about what will happen if I don’t.

I grow my game the most on those rare occasions, when I throw aside my fears in class. I once dared to spin for a knee-bar against a more experienced student. It was (for me anyway) a high risk/high reward technique, but I succeeded.

Later I was talking with ECU Brown Belt, and leg lock expert Tito Hartz. I said to Tito, “I don’t know why I don’t do that more.”

Tito replied, “I don’t know why you don’t do a lot of things.”

After thinking about it, I realized why I don’t do “a lot of things” – I’m scared. I always see the worst-case scenario. I don’t see the submission or the escape, I see myself losing a position, putting myself in danger or getting submitted.

When I spoke to JoJo about this, his first response was, “You can’t win the lottery if you don’t play. It only costs a dollar, but you might get rich.”

While this may seem simplistic at first glance, it actually makes a lot of sense. When we roll in class, we need to try new things. The rewards are far greater than the risks.

As JoJo and I continued talking, he made another great point, “You’ll never know if you’re doing it right if you don’t try. If a technique fails, it’s probably because you made a mistake. If you try it, you’ll know what you’re doing wrong, and fix it.”

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Long Island Pride XI March 5, 2011

This past weekend, several members of the ECU family competed at the competed at Long Island Pride XI Tournament at CUNY Queens. While several regular ECU competitors were unable to attend, those that did made an impressive showing.

The following students medaled in their divisions:

  • Jordan Lutsky;
  • Brian Kim;
  • Vianca Jager;
  • Tim Orwin;
  • David Eliot; and
  • Brian Gill.

While that’s impressive enough, ECU also made noise in the absolute divisions. Jordan took Second Place, Mark Doran Third, and Vianca won the Women’s Absolute Title.

Great Job Everybody!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Competition Season!

While I’m still mostly watching (injured toe), I can’t help but notice the increasing intensity at ECU, it’s Competition Season! There are numerous competitions coming soon, and JoJo wants all of us to take our training more seriously:

“I expect everyone who competes for ECU to be willing to go through the grinder.”

An ECU class is never easy, but Competition Season classes are nothing less than scary these days. Everyone’s bringing their best to every class. Students who usually come to class two or three times a week are now coming four or five:

“If you're going to compete, you have to put in the time.”

While most of us might daydream about having our hand raised as a World Champion, it will take more than just daydreams. A successful competitor must be focused and serious. They must plan for success and then execute that plan:

“Set a goal and finish it!”

While this increased intensity makes an excellent forge for ECU competitors, it doesn’t exclude newer students, or those who don’t compete regularly. We all improve as our friends and training partners improve.

Even if some of us feel an added pressure to train more intensively, JoJo makes an excellent analogy:

“Put enough pressure on a lump of coal and you get a diamond!”

As always, thank you for reading the ECU BJJ and MMA blog. Comments and suggestions are always appreciated.