23 May, 2010

French Toast Breakfast. Yummy.



I love french toast. But I don't like fried bread.
There is a difference to me.
"Fried bread" is white bread lightly coated in a mixture of egg and milk and fried quickly on the griddle.
French toast is sweet, yummy goodness. The outside of the toast is a bit on the crunch side. Not crunchy like cookies, but... you know. The inside is custardy and sweet and has soaked all the way through to become "one with the bread". Mmmm....
This is what I made for the wife and kids today. Some stale Breadsmith French peasant bread, and a couple slices of the Cinnabon Cinnamon Bread turned into my patented French Toast.
2 eggs
1/2 skim milk
a touch of vanilla
1 TBS of sugar - white or brown
I like to dip the bread and then set it aside for the batter to really soak through the bread. I use a stove top griddle. One of those that is a heavy aluminum piece. I turn it on medium high, get it nice and warm then turn it down to medium.
Butter up the griddle and then get ready to place the pieces of battered bread on the griddle. Once I place the pieces down on the griddle - I don't move them until I can feel the bottom set up. It takes about 4 minutes. Then I flip the piece over.
I like to let the toast slowly cook through to get a custardy texture on the inside, instead of a dry egg taste on white bread.
A little powdered sugar, a little cinnamon, syrup and butter.
Mmmm.....

21 May, 2010

Heard from the Doc!



Got a email back from Dr. Ratamess.


He's the PhD. that wrote the article "Weight training in JiuJitsu" back in 1998.
It turns out, as happens with many things that are written for peer reviewed journals, he wrote that artcle in 1996 and it wasn't published until 1998.


I asked him what changes or additions would you make to the article in the 12 years since this article was published (14 years since written)?

Nicholas Ratamess -
(My) recommendations on loading, sets, rest intervals, and exercise order has not changed. The largest change has been in exercise selection. In my article I mostly focused on concentional weight training exercises. However, since there has been a large increase in popularity of core training as well as sport-specific mixed martial arts training. The popularity of sand bags, kettle bells, stability balls, ropes, rings, BOSu balls, medicine balls,etc have grown incredibly in the last decade. Many mixed martial artists used integrated approaches with free weights plus sport-specific exercises such as Turkish get-ups, sand bag throws, resisted striking, and several body weight exercises which mimic different techniques (to name a few!)
Thanks Doc!


19 May, 2010

Tight Hips - Check that Back

In my rehab, we've been working on everything that supports proper leg and knee movement. Everything from ankle and associated muscle, ligament and tendon strength and flexibility to hip and core strength flexibility.

My most recent session involved my PT's watching me doing lunges walking backwards (with a medicine ball up in the air and chopping down and across) and talking between themselves at how poorly my hips were moving and how I try to accomodate the poor hip flexibility with my feet - which of course leads to more knee problems. DUH!

Anyhow, their goal for this session was to work on my hip flexibility. They kept wondering how my body functioned in JiuJitsu and TaeKwonDo with such tight hips.

I never noticed how tight my hips were until they were stretching me. I was always able to kick pretty high. I felt like I was able to get some "heavy" hips when rolling. Really flattening out and remaining solid.

But I did sense the hip stiffness. As they stretched me over, they noticed that my hip flexibility was impeded by my hip flexors and my upper quad being so tight..

I was rolled to my back and my spine was pushed this way and that. The diagnosis was my "TL" was to blame. Thoracolumbar Junction. The spot between the T12 (twelvth thoracic vertebrae)and L1 (First lumbar vertebrae). The nerves in that area innervate my glutes, abdomen, hip and thigh area.


The fix:
1) Get that area massaged.
2) Stretch the hip flexor area.
3) Stretch and activate your TL spot. (sexy)


How to do that.
For #1. I ask my kids to walk on my back! Always fun!
#2. Stretching the hip flexor area. It helps activate release points along the nerves that run from your TL junction. Lie on your back. Bring your knees up, feet still on the ground. Cross your legs - knee over knee. Let the knee and leg in the top position slowly stretch the bottom leg down and across your body. Hold the stretch for 5 second. Then squeeze your knees together and then relax. And hold the stretch again for another 5 count. And then squeeze and stretch once more. After every squeeze of the knees, you should feel your legs and hip just relax a touch more every time.
Someone without a TL problem should feel most of the stretch in the hip and glute of the bottom leg. I felt all of this stretch in the front thigh, hip flexor part of my bottom leg. Switch legs.

#3. Stretching and activation of TL. This involved lying face down on your belly. Get into pushup position - the military style with your hands right under your shoulders. While keeping your legs, hips and pelvis flat on the ground, slowly push up on your upperbody. The goal is to slowly loosen your back around mid to the lower-mid back.



Do this everyday. You should see some response from your hips and thighs.

Training in JiuJitsu Part V


Nope, the pic isn't an error.
The Part-Time Grappler (PTG) brought up an excellent point in a comment on my previous post. Due to the nature of the game, training with resisting opponents, the PTG, Liam, brought up the gains that can be obtained by training on uneven surfaces - BOSU, Swiss Balls, etc would be very helpful in the game of JiuJitsu.
I agree wholeheartedly. The exercises that I listed in my previous post can all be done in different ways and on different surfaces. I was trying to touch a bit on that when I spoke to using different ways to manipulate the resistance load while doing an exercise. My goal is to keep my training fresh - not only to overcome boredom, but to keep my body from getting used to the training and to achieve maximum gains.

Unstable surface -
Try a BOSU, Swiss Ball or Balance Board to engage other muscle groups.
The shoulder exercises for example can be done sitting on a bench or standing. OR sitting on a Swiss Ball. OR standing on a BOSU - as the PTG mentions.
I'd suggest doing that if you try these other more unstable surfaces, you drop your resistance loads quite a bit. Keeping good form is essential. Watch how your body starts to recruit all of those stabilizer muscles to help keep that form.



Change center of gravity -
Try doing walking lunges. Do them with a weight and some without. Change the position of that weight. Do some lunges with a medicine ball held above your head, or out in front of you. For my physical therapy, I have to do walking lunges, hold the lunge and then do a chopping motion with the medicine ball, across my body from shoulder level down across in front of my body to the opposite hip.


Not only do your deltoids, trapezius, and back start to get a good burn - but you are utilizing every muscle fiber that is used to stabilize you.


Different positioning -
Try changing the positions in which you do some of the exercises. For example, on the chart I listed Good Mornings. Try those as a standard good-morning, then switch to a back extension and then try it by squeezing your glutes and hamstrings. Do it with your feet parallel or toes pointed out and then pointed in.
Varying your grip - palms up or palms down, wide grip or narrow, etc.
Or it could be the difference between lat pulldowns versus wide grip pull-ups.
A small variation in positioning or grip can produce great gains in your performance.

Play with your resistance load -
This is beyond just changing up the weight you do. And there are a ton of variations on that. Low weight, high number of repetitions.
High weight, and low repetitions.
Try using a combination of resistance bands plus free weight. When I do squats, I squat with a barbell and attached to the barbell are resistance bands.
A variation is the use of chains as your resistance load. As the weights go up, the resistance increases.

I love this topic because of the variety of methods of manipulating resistance load in weight training. It not only makes training more fun, but it keeps your body off-balance which leads to accelerated gains. I'd argue that it also leads to fewer injuries. Maybe that will be a hypothesis to tackle at another time.

17 May, 2010

Training in JiuJitsu Part IV


I have some exercises that were in the article. The list isn't fancy. It is about doing the technique properly and manipulating that load in different ways. Experiment with resistance load. Experiment with repetitions. Experiment with your rest period.

The way that the article lists them is that there are particular movements that provide resistance exercise and that the resistance exercise benefits different applications.

It is the way that you conduct the resistance exercise that conditions your body in different ways.

For example:
Resistance exercise - Wide-stance squat
Application - lower body and trunk strength, balance, throwing and un-balancing

Can be done many different ways for different effects. A squat with an emphasis on the concentric contraction (pushing up out of the squat with force) - can benefit explosiveness.

A squat with an emphasis on eccentric contraction (slow lowering of the weight at twice the count of the pushing) - can benefit muscle and tendon tensile strength. The slow lowering also recruits other muscle groups beyond just your large muscles. The other muscles provide benefit in posture and balance and provide balanced muscle development.

Training in Jits Part III




In a previous post, I gave a little primer to Nicholas Ratamess article for Weight Training in JiuJitsu. The beginning of the article basically spoke to the need of a variety of training methods that address the complexity of the sport.

My take away was that there is no Black and White for training for any sport. There are nuances and complexities to the human body and maximizing the body's response for a sport would need more than working on your 1 Rep Max in a Bench Press. That may be an oversimplifying. Another example could be what I used to do - JiuJitsu was all about pulling into a body. Crunching, shrimping, elbows in, protecting the neck, etc. My work out should be about those kinds of movements. Not too balanced.


Since my injury and since reading the article, what I learned is that I personally need a work out regimen that is offers variety of exercises (so that I do not get bored), that engages the muscles in many different ways (concentric vs. eccentric vs. multiple joint and muscle groups) and trains my body properly.

I will post an abbreviated list of Ratamess's exercises that address the different types of movements.

Ratamess's next point of his article is to discuss his set of "thoughts" for the progression of the types of exercises you do in your work out day. This list is pulled from three different sources:

1) Fleck, SJ and WJ Kraemer. Designing Resistance Training Programs, Human Kinetics, 1997

2) Pauletto,B. Let's talk training#3: Choice and order of exercises. NSCA Journal 1986.

3) Wathen, D. Exercise order. Load assignment. In: Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning; Human Kinetics, 1994.


His recommendations, also depends on what type of work out you are doing for the day (is it a core day, cardio day, strength day....

1) Core First - this is optimal when energy levels are high.

2) Perform power/speed exercises that would require technique mastery before doing strength, assistance and sport-specific exercises.

3) Perform core, multijoint strength exercises after power exercises or do them first when no power exercises are scheduled.

4) Perform large-muscle-group exercises before those for small muscle groups.

5) Perform exercises for individual weak areas before doing those for stronger areas.

6) Perform difficult exercises before doing easier ones.

7) If using a total-body work out - alternate between upper and lower body or between agonist/antagonist muscle groups.

8) If using a split routine (body building) perform basic exercises first.


Next - tips to maximize aerobic and anaerobic capacity and recovery by using weight training.

16 May, 2010

Roger Gracie v. Randleman. Mateo de Leon - RNC

I caught some of the Strikeforce card last night. Roger Gracie v Kevin Randleman was one that I really wanted to see. Randleman has almost as many losses as wins. Many of the losses are due to a submission - record of 17 - 15. Roger has an MMA record of 3 - 0. And he hasn't been in the ring in a while.

Randleman was like a train. Moving forward in the first round. Leg kicks and shrugging off any strikes that Roger threw. Roger was working on establishing his jab.

The second round, Roger seemed to find his jab. Just pawing it out there - at one point, the Strikeforce announcer said what I was thinking - it was taking a page out of the Nick/Nate Diaz book for jabbing. It seemed to bug the heck out of Randleman. Randleman. Roger was able to put together some left right combinations that also worked well, pushing Randleman up against the cage. Pretty much, anytime Randleman tried to get with in Roger's reach, Roger would throw a couple jabs while backing up. It worked well.

The beginning of the end for Randleman started with Roger's back up against the cage defending against a take down. Roger was able to push Randleman back away from the cage, and set up a thai clinch with some knees. One knee dropped Randleman like a sack and Gracie ended up in mount. Randleman was able to explode out, hips moving, but Gracie was more than prepared. First in a modified seated mount - landing some punches from the top. Then moving with Randleman's escape attempts to north-south, then moving to side and then full mount very quickly. It was fun to watch. Gracie, compared to Randleman's bulk and explosiveness, seemed tall and wiry. Roger was in mount for a brief time attempting an arm triangle. As Roger was moving his lower body over to the side to really take advantage of the choke, Randleman was able to do a little bit of a hip escape to move away from the choke, but Roger was ready and moved his body in position to take back.
From back, Roger really flattened out Randleman. Gracies, hooks underneath Randleman's thighs, with his weight pitched forward over Randleman's head (I hate when that happens). Randleman rolled sideways hard, but again Roger was prepared and was able to keep back but lock up a body triangle.
The last 1:59 of the second round, Roger was working on getting his long arms into position to get the rear naked choke. And at about 0:56, Roger was able to get both forearms underneath Randleman's chin, lock up a hand on a bicep and shoot his left hand back behind Randleman's head. REALLY LOCKED UP! Randleman tapped out and then passed out.

It was a fun fight to watch. There was one thing that the announcers said between that 1:59 to the 0:56 when Roger was working on setting up his choke. That Roger was having a lot of trouble getting the choke in because Roger primarily trains with a gi. I think that is the first time I heard that. I've heard that guys that don't train grappling with the MMA gloves regularly have a hard time because they aren't used to how the gloves can get in the way. But I've primarily heard that training with the gi gets MMA grapplers a different perspective on grappling. They are used to thinking about controlling their opponents in different ways and are used to the different "restrictive" feeling that a gi may give them. I dunno if I agree with the announcers in this case. Roger Gracie had no problems locking in the choke and secured a win.

14 May, 2010

fake words - hate'm

I hear enough of these "words" that I need an outlet for my frustration.
I'm not a spelling genius by any means. In my first spelling bee I got the word "buy" incorrect - spelled it "by" vs "buy".
Even though, here is my list:

"Heighth" vs "Height"
"Incidences" vs "Incident"... Incidences may be a word - but I don't think it is meant as the multiple of Incident.
"Acrossed" vs "Across"

Also, folks around here like to say, "I have THE diarrhea", vs "I have diarrhea".

Maybe its a NE Wisconsin thing....
OK, I'm off of my soap box.

13 May, 2010

BJJ kids!


It would be great if I could have these guys around for my kids all the time, but that isn't really possible.
Today the kids and I did a couple drills out of Bullyproof. Their level of reflex and response just keeps growing every time we train.
In Bullyproof, Rener and Ryron test the kids, their technique and readiness in every game. So, when a kid is about to go to mount (Spidey Kids) on Rener, Rener will test him/her by trying to throw them off right as the child is about to take mount. Sometimes he does other little tricks to get them out of position. It gets the kid ready to be mindful of opportunities to use a technique and what are the common mistakes that makes things fall apart. I couldn't say if that is what Rener or Ryron were after, but that is my take.
I have been doing the same thing with my kids. Challenge them more and more as we do the games and transition from one technique to another. It is taking a little more creativity for me to try to get the kids out of position. They also as they know that in the middle of one transition or another that I'm going to try something. And they are prepared.
In Bullyproof, there is a flexibility in testing the kids. The video has a several kids - from 3 or 4 years old, all the way to 11 or 12 year old. So the parents and kids watching the videos can see different experience levels. It truly ranges from the parent physically placing the child in place and physically moving them through all of the motions, all the time providing a ton of positive encouragment. All the way to, your kid knows the basics or more - the kid is self-directed, even creative with how they tackle a problem.
Today we did Guard Monster, Crazy Legs and Push and Pull Base. The Push and Pull base went as expected. The kid setting up a good foundation from standing. Doing just enough to stay out of trouble when someone is trying to push or pull them into an area they don't want to go.
Crazy Legs - Passing from standing, the kids still have a bit of trouble controlling my legs. They get their hands on a pant leg or a foot and giggle and laugh when I circle my feet and legs away. (It is also great rehab for my knee flexibility!) I eventually let them throw my legs out of the way and they take side control and then progress to mount. The whole time I'm testing their position, their hands, hips, grip. The kids had great hips today in mount. Really driving their hips down on my stomach/hips. Really trying to nail one side, or the other side straight down. It was actually something to have 50 to 60lbs driving straight down in one small area - painful is the word. I was impressed.
Last we did Guard Monster. For my 5 year old - there was a light that went on! So much fun. The premise in Bullyproof is that the kids are protecting themselves in a real fight situation. So the drill starts with the kid in mount and the bully on the bottom is able to roll your child. They use guard to control the bully's posture. Part of the drill is that the bully is trying to free up a hand and get some punches and slaps in to the child on the bottom. Previously my kids would laugh and giggle and I'd remind them the process of overhooking the punching arm and hugging the head/body tight with the other arm.
TODAY - no reminders needed for my son. He could tell by my shifting weight and the space I was trying to create that I was going to come back and attempt a couple phantom punches. He immediately had a free arm up and hooked my punching arm. As I tried switching hands, HE SWITCHED grips! He stayed tight, protected his head and could feel me move.
As much as I love Jits. i love having this time with my kids and seeing how much fun they are having with it!

10 May, 2010

Isn't that Shark Bite da da?


First of all - I'm going to try to put more visual aids in my blog. I'm taking note of other bloggers and how visually appealing their sites are....


I was watching the movie Fighting - circa 2009. With Terrance Howard (Hustle and Flow) and Channing Tatum (Step Up). It's basically about a small town kid in a big city looking to make a little money. He gets caught up in something bigger than himself, falls in love and makes good at the end. You know, the typical teenager movie plot. Come to think of it, it is Step Up but instead of dancing, it is bare-knuckle fighting. Anyhow - there is a scene where Tatum's character is paid to fight a character in the middle of a Chinatown joint. The fighter in China-town is Cung Le! Cung looks great in the movie. So of course, the movie is all about the stand-up - punching and being punched - but Cung takes Tatum's character to the ground. At that moment, my kids say - "Isn't that Shark Bite da da?"
A reminder - me and my kids are doing Gracie's Bullyproof. They recognized Shark Bite (trap and roll escape from under mount) from the Bullyproof lessons. It wasn't quite mount in the movie - but who cares! My kids are AWESOME. They also saw Guard Monster - Le had Tatum in Guard and was attempting a triangle. They were amazed that these guys on TV were playing the Gracie Bullyproof games!
I loved it. My two kids recognizing Jits.

08 May, 2010

UFC 113

I've commented to others that UFC hasn't had the great matches like I remember. It could be because there are fights every other week. UFC 113 was NOT like the last couple fight cards. These were exciting. Lots of stand-up. A couple matches finished by rare-naked choke. It was a fun one.
Here's how I saw it.


Belcher vs. Cote - Belcher went after it. Pushing forward for most of the fight. Body kicks from both sides. He had a jab going and put together some combinations. Cote did tag him a few times with some good hooks, but it wasn't enough. The fight ended on the ground. For some reason I thought that Cote was a higher belt than a Purple Belt. Belcher was able to get back. Rear Naked Finish. Mateo de Leon.


Slice vs. Mitrione - NFL player vs. Brawler (I didn't know that was a style.) Slice had the same act - his "hay makers" up by his chin talking about how all he had to do was get them on Mitrione. Other than that there wasn't much new from Kimbo. Mitrione showed some good skills. From the beginning Kimbo went after Mitrione and tried to body slam him. Instead he ended up in a position for Mitrione to take advantage. Mitrione recognized that there was a triangle opportunity right away. Kimbo was able to resist the triange and end up in side control Mitrione was able to improve his position from under Kimbo's side control and was able to stand up. Through out the fight, Mitrione had sort of a grin on him - sort of crazy like. But he mixed up his stand up really well. Kicks, knees and some jabs. He also threw in some submission attempts anaconda gator roll choke. It was unbelievable that Slice could fight off those chokes. Mitrione learned a TON from the TUF and from his fight against Big Baby. His ground game was better than Slices; he fights like a middle weight. He's for real.



Stevens vs. Stout - both young guns with a lot of experience for their young years. I don't think there has been a fight that I've seen with either of these fighters that I didn't enjoy watching. The stand up was fun to watch. Not much grappling. Stout tried to use his sharp shooting technique. Stevens was throwing bombs. It went to decision, with Stevens winning.



Lawler vs. Doerksen - Good stand up. Doerksen won - Finish with another Rear naked. The weigh-in was just as entertaining.

Koscheck vs. Daley - Finally a little more ground fighting - not too technical. I don't get the fans that have been booing the last couple UFC's. I understand the fact that there is the meat head factor. But a technical ground fight is fun to watch. Unfortunately this is not what happened. Some driving take downs, but no advancement of position. The academy award went to Koshcheck for a phantom knee strike to the head and ghost toe to the eye. Josh has done the eye thing before, once or twice. The fight almost ends on the ground - until Paul Daley tries a left hook after the end of the fight. As Joe Rogan said - that was the best shot that Daley landed. Suspension has to come Daley's way. Koshcheck wins unanimously. - Update - it sounds like Dana White has kicked Daley out of the big show! Wow. I wonder if any sanctions will come down of Koshcheck for his acting job.



Rua vs. Machida - An action packed one round. Machida was prepared for the leg kicks. He went to the ground twice - and he didn't look very comfortable. But he did go to the ground with two solid take downs. To me this is not Machida's game. He is a counter puncher - waiting for an opening on an aggressive opponent and taking advantage. He's like Andre Agassi and his return serve. The thing is, this always means that you have to play your opponent's game first and then try to turn it around. Rua was so ready for this. Rua came out and threw a couple leg kicks. Lyoto was waiting. Then Rua's hands proved the difference. He lashed out with a quick 4 to 5 punch combination. A couple shots that shocked Machida and sent him to the ground. Rua followed hard and fast and a hammering from full mount finished the deal. Machida was out for a bit. He got up with a huge golf-ball over his eye.

All in all, an entertaining card. The next one up will be Rampage vs. Evans. From The Ultimate Fighter, I really ended up liking Evans. He is an intelligent fighter and a really good coach and motivator. Hmmm... Evans vs. Rua maybe this winter?

Training in Jits Part II

A few posts ago, I spoke to an article I found "Weight Training for Jiu Jitsu" by Nicholas Ratamess. At the time (1998), out of Ball State University. It was in a peer-reviewed journal - Strength and Conditioning. 8 pages long. At the time of the writing of the article, Ratamess has practiced JiuJitsu for about 3 years.

I had initially intended on doing one post that summarizes what Ratamess discusses in his article. Not so much.

I've had to read his article about 4 times. The 8 pages is PACKED with concepts. Another thing. This 1998 article is probably the first written work that spoke to strength training/weight training for jiu jitsu. The issue is that in the 8 pages, it contains MANY, MANY, MANY concepts. The 8 pages summarizes ideas in one or two paragraphs that are full chapters in physical fitness texts.

I've decided that the best way for me to summarize this work is to take one or two ideas at a time.

Right from the start, the idea of the article is to provide multiple methods and concepts for weight training for JiuJitsu.
There are components of BJJ -


  • flexibility
  • speed
  • power
  • muscular endurance
  • aerobic and anaerobic capacity
  • muscular strength
  • agility
  • balance
  • coordination.
There isn't one type of exercise regimen that would maximize all of these components.
In otherwords, the typical three sets of 10, Chest and Tris on Monday, Wednesdays and Fridays and Back and Biceps on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday isn't a weight training regimen that contains enough of a variety to meet the needs of a complex sport like BJJ.
Our regimen would have as much variety as the components you are trying to train and maximize.

Ideally your training should consist of the following types of exercises:
  • Core Development
  • Assistance training (machine assisted)/single joint/ or open chain training.
  • Multi-joint training/ closed chain training
  • Functional training
  • Concentric
  • Eccentric
  • Isometric
  • Plyometric training
  • Training for sport specific techniques.

I need to get reading again. The article goes into several ideas including, the best strategy for planning out your weight training, types of exercises for different goals and ideas for work load, repetitions and periods of rest.

07 May, 2010

Experts, is it a time thing?


Expert: SYNONYM - Proficient

1. having, involving, or displaying special skill or knowledge derived from training or experience.


I've been thinking about this quite a bit since I heard the discussion on some recent Fightworks Podcasts. For your reference I want to say that they were episodes 206, 207 and 208.

Caleb and Dan spoke to an mma fighter that is a purple belt in BJJ and saying that he was "an expert" in JiuJitsu.

In episode 207 -the discussion about experts resumed and Dan and Caleb brought up to a common metric that states that an expert needs 10,000 hours in a particular subject to be considered an expert.

In that podcast, Dan questioned if 10,000 hrs is a big number. There are a number of folks that would train multiple times a week and that it would take many many years to reach the number, 10,000. With that number, would there be black belts that would not be considered experts?

Finally in episode 208 an email from a listener, a psychologist, spoke to the origins of the number 10,000. There is an aspect of relativity. The origins of the number was examining the number of hours needed for a person to be considered an expert at a GLOBAL level. Example - your every day black belt versus Rickson Gracie.

Dan posed an interesting question - would it be easy for an attorney to convince a jury that a black belt in jiu jitsu was an expert?

I had a couple thoughts about the concept of Experts or Expertise. Is it really about the time you put in?

1) Expertise is relative. The concept of expert being a relative term was brought up by Dan and Caleb. And right away I gravitated to that. There probably is not ever going to be a global standard of what constitutes an expert. The 10,000 hours is brought up, but that is in relative terms as well - local expert versus world reknown expert. There is always a professional versus lay-person relativity. The legal or medical or financial or any other profession du jour will always have a level or knowledge above their lay-person counter parts.

There is always someone who knows a little more about a subject or technique that you can turn to. Whether it is in the same company, town, or even subject-matter community.

2) Does a different viewpoint contribute to expertise?
Perhaps it isn't that an expert knows more, maybe they look at a problem differently. Is it truly about the accumulated knowledge that someone has? Or is it the method in which they tackle the problem? A different mindset or self-awareness?

I read this concept in a post and it was a wake up to me, because I was sensing this thought on the tip of my brain, but the post captured it very well. Once I figure out whose post I pulled this from, I will give full credit! - So when you are rolling, and someone is in your guard - do you think about them being in your guard or are you in an upside down mount on them? Does changing your mindset about a position, situation or problem contribute to you being classified as an expert?

3) If it is about time - does that mean practical time?
I ask this because I was wondering about that 10,000 hour figure. Does that mean practical time? Because I wonder how much - THINKING - about a particular subject contributes to developing expertise? I'm not talking about "hey cool, I like JiuJitsu" thinking. I'm talking about using techniques like visualization or mind mapping. There is enough literature out there that speaks to visualization not only for mental preparation, but physical. Race car drivers have been studied to understand the effectiveness of visualization. First of all, drivers that regularly do this had incredible focus. Their visualization of multiple conditions, track direction, speed at certain points in a track was unbelievably detailed. Some elite drivers had the ability to visualize their race in their head to within fractions of a second of the actual race. Golfers have used visualization to commit the "perfect swing" to muscle memory.
There have been anecdotes that to a certain level, participants that actually did an exercise versus participants that used visualization to do the exercise in their head experience a similar increase in strength for both groups. I'm doing some literature searches now to determine if there have been actual studies to prove this. I know from personal experience that when I've really internalized a technique that I may have seen in a video, it has come very natural to me when it comes to pulling it off, versus the times that I passively watch a video or a lesson and hope. Should all of this thinking time figure into that 10,000 hour figure?


Finally - I had a spin on Dan's question - Would it be difficult for an attorney to convince a jury that a black belt in JiuJitsu is an expert? - My thought was - Would it be difficult for an attorney to convince a jury that a black belt in JiuJitsu is NOT and expert?

Perhaps there are attributes of an Expert that sit in everyones mind. This is what is in my mind.
1) Extensive time training in subject - including thinking/studying the subject.
2) Recognized by others as having specific knowledge in particular subject
3) Experiments with in their field to improve the practice - pushes the envelope
4) Finally, there is an aspect of teaching that I believe an expert needs to have. I'm not sure what to call it, but to label someone an expert implies that there is a need to draw information or learn from that person.

What are your thoughts?

05 May, 2010

A Total BJJ Week - 3rd week of June

I know some of you can really put in the time to train. I don't know how you all make the time. Right now I'm not sweating it. I mean, my quad turns to jelly doing half squats with just a bit of resistance.

I did set a great goal though!

The week of June 20th, I'm back in my home town - Chicago! for a conference on patient safety. I'll be there for about a week, but I already planned out my week of one on one training at a couple Jits schools in the area.

Gracie Barra in the loop and another MMA school on the northside. Then that weekend, I'm going to get to a school in Indiana that is a Gracie Academy certified center.

It should be a great week of JJitsu.

I've been working on building the strength and flexibility in my joint. I'm going to be ULTRA careful since there is a higher incidence of re-rupture in this kind of knee injury. But I've spoken with the schools and requested one on ones for the purpose of learning methods to maximize my current strengths and to minimize the chance of injury - such as when a noob gets over excited and wants to kill the visitor....

At rehab today, I was told, knock on wood, that I am 2 to 3 weeks ahead of schedule. My flexibility is at 130 degrees range of motion. My quad strength is improving and my balance training is progressing. I can't wait for June!

My new snack treat!


Found in your local organic aisle. Humbles are hummus chips. Chick pea craziness baked into a chip! The product actually meets the marketing claims. One ounce of Humbles has 3 grams of protein and less than 1/2 the fat of potato chips.

Relative to chips, potato and tortilla, it is a bit healthier.... relative to chips.

I didn't say that it was tofu. Hmm, tofu chips..?

Eccentric muscle contractions and Jits pt I.

I'm on about 10 weeks post op and 11 weeks post injury.
I've spoken a bit about my physical therapy. The quick story is that my rehabilitation has been around re-training how I walk and move and preparing my body for future activity. Especially in the activities that I love to do - JiuJitsu.
There has been little that I've done in actual knee rehab. I've worked more on hip flexibility and hip flexor and abduction/adduction. Gluteus Max, Min and Med strength. More stable and balanced quadriceps and hamstring strength and finally lower leg strength and flexibility.

The therapist said yesterday that all of my work has been focused on eccentric muscle contractions. "What does that mean and why is that my focus" I asked?

Eccentric contractions - means the lengthening of a muscle during the contraction phase. Think about trying to do a curl with a weight that is just too much. Your muscle is working to maintain a contracted state, but is forced to elongate. There have been many studies that have reviewed the effectiveness of eccentric training - it results in greater strength gains, muscle hypertrophy and greater tensile strength of the muscle and connective tissue.

Why am I doing eccentric contraction types of training? My injury was labeled a deceleration injury. My injury occurred while I was trying to resist a takedown (leg sweep) by trying a counter sweep. I was basically using an explosive contraction of my right quad and then hamstring while the muscle was actually getting elongated in the opposite direction.

Eccentric contractions like the type above or maximum static contractions (holding a specific position such holding a submission attempt in jiujitsu or a type of balance position as in gymnastics or yoga) require a different type of training than your standard weight training.

Ever since I was a kid, I've been interested in physical training. I've always done some kind of physical training and wanted to learn more about it. When I became interested in Jits, I looked into different methods of strengthening my body and hopefully my technique. I purchased a copy of Martin Rooney's Training for Warriors and did as many exercises and workouts that I could. I focused on exercises that complement the sports and activities that I enjoy. I thought I was pretty fit.

Since my injury, I learned that training in that warrior fashion has provided great endurance and strength and kept my weight down. But I was running and jumping before I truly knew how to use my muscles properly.
My training since my injury has been much different. My training has focused primarily on my therapy, but it has applications well beyond the immediate post-operative phase and into maintenance, strength training and conditioning.
What does eccentric contractions in my rehab training look like:
1) Super slow motion contraction and relaxation movements. Do this in any movement with varying resistance. I've been doing this in various squats and lunges. The relaxation phase should be at a count that is double the contraction phase.
I started with minimal resistance - truly. Maybe 1lb and 2lb ankle weights and hands up in the air (throw center of gravity off). Moving up to 10lb and 15lb medicine balls.
Try doing two super slow mo set of of Multidirection lunges. 15 repetitions for each direction. 5 count contractions and 10 count relaxations.
2) Negative training. This needs a spotter and some kind of mechanism to stop the resistance. But the idea is to use a weight in an exercise that is very close to your one rep maximum and lower that weight at a super slow mo count - as slow as you can. In JiuJitsu, pulling-in type of motions is valuable. Try doing pullups - Go to the top of the pullup and have someone place a little weight between your crossed feet. Hold that pullup as long as you can. Try that for as many repetitions as you can.

I will provide more details of my therapy training in a future blog. Meanwhile, I was so interested in learning more about this kind of training, I ran a literature search and actually found an article: Ratemess, N. "Weight training for jiu jitsu", Strength and Conditioning, Oct 1998.

I think I will do a blog/journal club on what I find in that article and how it relates to what I am learning in therapy.

02 May, 2010

podcast fan

I may have said this previously, but I'm a podcast fan. I use to have quite a commute when I lived in the suburbs of Chicago. An hour or so each way. When there was weather or traffic or a stiff breeze, the commute could easily go to an hour and a half. 17 mile commute in 45 minutes. 30 mile commute in an hour and a half. eh.
Not only did I have a long commute, but I was an extremely tired individual and would get SO TIRED on the road. SCARY! But I was young and dumb.
I would try all of the tricks that I heard about. Opening the windows, turning the air on at full blast, chewing gum, etc. The worst would be listening to the radio. Any music with a rhythmic beat would put me into a trance. Caffeine was horrible. It wouldn't keep me up during the car ride, but I would arrive at home peeing my pants and I'd be wound up all night not able to sleep. Which made me tired in the morning... a bit too tired to drive, and so continues the cycle.
I finally found that talk radio was the only thing that kept me awake. It kept me engaged. Chicago has great talk radio. My favorites were the sports channels and public radio.

When I moved up to NE Wisconsin. There weren't many choices for talk radio. My commute went from the 30 mile commute in an hour and a half to 20 miles in 20 minutes. These 'short' jaunts weren't bad. There were times that I'd have to travel to other hospitals - 100 miles or more. Those were bad. In comes the podcast.

So one of my favorite podcasts is on the How Stuff Works network. The Stuff You Missed in History Class podcast is a perfect setup for me. Two engaging and engaged hosts in, Katie Lambert and Sarah Dowdy, keep me listening to their broadcasts. Subjects range from entertainers in Vaudeville to the life of Rasputin. The length of the podcasts range between 8 to 20 minutes or so. The duo provide a chronological report of their subject. Provide their impressions of the behavior of their subject for the podcast and relate what they are speaking about to the other happenings around the world at that particular time.
Interesting stuff. I'll tell you that I wish that I had access to this podcast when I was in AP European history in high school. It would have kept me more interested.

01 May, 2010

399,999,999 users still use Facebook. A recovering addict.

This past Sunday I decided to close out my Facebook account. It was something that I was tempted to do a few times. It was just taking up too much time. It wasn't a block of time - whap, 2 hours all at once. More like 5 minutes here and 10 minutes there.
Every once and a while I'd get into a chat session with a friend and that would be 30 minutes of back and forth. Then I got into one of those online FB games. Mafia something or other. That would suck up more and more time.
But while I enjoyed connecting with old friends. There was a privacy that I was giving up. There was my time which I was slowly losing control of.

So I just decided to pull the plug. One less from the 400 million.

I hear that when smokers are trying to quit, there is the tactile habit of holding something in their hand or even putting something in their mouth that is part of the whole smoking habit.
I find that when I log into the computer, and type on that http:// bar, my fingers almost want to type in the FB address. Twitchy Twitch.

About Me

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Attention Deficit Dad with as many interests as days in the year. You can't hold me back and you can only hope to contain me!
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