My Knee Injury Treatment – MCL on the mend

It has been over 3 months now since my I tore my MCL during Jiu-Jitsu.  I’ve been taking good care of it.  I still wear a brace during practice.  It is still tender in spots.  Some times I get a weird twinge of pain that pluses down the side from having it bent too long.  Over all it looks like everything is mending.  The book I got to help me strengthen it, Treat Your Own Knees – Simple exercises to build strength, flexibility, responsiveness, and endurance, has helped but really it only has 4 exercises and could be condensed to one page.  The book gives far more detail and education then I need.  But I still recommend it.  It has good diagrams that explain the inner working.

Jiu-Jitsu Shin Guards – Stopping the Bruises – Part 1

I’m a white belt.  I’m new to Jiu-Jitsu.  My guard is passed often as I learn while rolling.  As a result I have bruises up and down my legs.  The majority are from some one pinning my leg down as they pass.  From my knees down I look like a leopard, black, blue, and yellow.  I can’t heal as fast as I am getting new bruises.  I had to find a way to stop accumulating new ones until my technique improves.  I looked at the typical MMA shin guards but didn’t want something with the instep.  I also wanted coverage on the knee and farther around the leg then just the shin.  I was surprised to find that Softball Sliding Shin Guards (like these at Amazon.com) did the trick for me.  They didn’t hamper my movement.  I had to adjust them after each roll but the most important part is they gave my legs time to heal.

I picked up a few other kinds of shin guard that I am going to try in my Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu class.  I will review them as I try them out.

How to clean your Gi – No More Stinky Gi

I wash my Gi after each practice.  I dry it in the dryer and hang it up for the next days class.  I began to notice a stink or rancid sweat smell while rolling.  At first I thought it was the other guy.  Then I noticed it was coming from the collar of my gi.  The thick cotton collar of the gi wasn’t drying out even in my dryer.  The moister mixed with my sweat, the rubbing against the back of my neck, and of course hands being put in my collar were starting to breed bacteria.  I first tried rubbing some baking soda on it.  That had no effect.  I then tried Febreze (Sport Extreme Odor Eliminator).  After a washing the smell was reduced but not all together eliminated by the Febreze.  After searching around I found a few posts on using OxiClean.  I soaked my gi top in the washing machine overnight and then put it through a normal cycle after that.  It came out smelling fresh and new.  Thank you OxiClean!  No more stinky gi!  I understand that bleach is another alternative but that it substantially reduces the life of your gi.  My gi is blue and the color remained the same after the OxiClean.

Once again I am enjoying rolling at Jiu-Jitsu.

Jumping for Jiu-Jitsu – Jump Roping to Increase Stamina

What can I do to increase my wind or stamina in my Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu class?  This is a goal of mine that has been plaguing me.  Two things I might note right off.  Do not tie your belt tight.  Keep it lose and down toward your hips.  Second don’t tie your pants tight.  I noticed that both seem to constrict my breathing while rolling.  I’ve decided to try jump roping to see if that will give me more aerobic exercise and increase my wind.  I purchased a Harbinger 331600 9-Foot Beaded Jump Rope.  It wasn’t expensive.  The plan is to just take a few breaks during the day and jump.  I also understand that jumping helps increase your bone density.  Who knows it might also increase my vertical leap for basketball.

I have started with 10 minute jumps.  That gets my heart rate up in no time and is a nice break from work.  Yes, I get a few stares and yes, I skip like a school girl right now but in time I’ll have the rhythm and look like Muhammad Ali preparing for the next fight or Rocky going for the championship.

Jump roping teaches timing and timing is a essential part of Jiu-Jitsu.  It can mean the difference between a successfully executed escapes or submissions.

 

Ginastica Natural – Jiu-Jitsu and Yoga

How do I improve my muscle memory, stamina, and strength for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?  I’m not a little guy at 214 lb but that puts me in the lower end of the heavy weight division.  I end up with the 275 lb guys.  I need a way to speed up my learning while increasing my body strength.  I hate doing what I call mindless aerobics or movement for movements sake.  I want something from it even if it means peddling a stationary bike that produces electricity.  Because I don’t always have some one to do BJJ with I have started looking into Ginastica.  Here is a video of it on YouTube: Ginastica Natural in Action.  It combines Jiu-Jitsu moves with Yoga and claims to help in the three categories I want to improve.  I just ordered it from BudoVideos.com.  I will let you know how it works out for me.  I am hoping it will help me also reach my goal weight of 200 lb (10 more pounds then what I weighted in High School).

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Beginners Books

I’m a beginner to Gracie Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.  I started Nov. 2008.  I was swamped with the many names of moves, techniques, holds, bars, chokes, sweeps, and the like.  I got a list of what was required for belt advancement or testing.  I then began to map them to pages in common books put out by Renzo Gracie and Royler Gracie.  The most common one that I use is:

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: Theory and Technique (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu series)

As I am taught a new hold, arm bar, or technique I look it up on the belt testing list I have and then I find it in my Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: Theory and Technique book.  I add the page number to the list.  Its making it easier to remember what I’ve done and what the name is that goes with it.  I try to walk through the list now and again to help refresh myself.  I feel it is helping me advance faster.

Sprawl Rash Guard vs Under Armour HeatGear Shirts

Sprawl wins hands down and here is why.  I bought both the Sprawl Rash Guard long sleeve shirt and the Under Armour HeatGear compression long sleeve shirt for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.  I found that the Under Armor shirt was thin and tended to ride up.  Because it is a compression top it just stayed up.  I also felt like a sausage.  Whats worse is when I was in a crunch or being smothered having any constriction around my chest didn’t help.  I didn’t notice that much change when it came to “moisture transport” as I wear a heavy cotton gi.  Also the “bolstering of muscle support” didn’t seem to matter.  It did provide good abrasion-resistant.  That was its one redeeming quality.  Sprawl Rash Guard was thicker and I feel would last longer especially with its double stitching.  It has a loose fit and falls down if it gets pushed or rolled up.  It has a very pleasant silky feeling and doesn’t compress your already struggling lungs in a good match.  It provide the same level of abrasion-resistant as the Under Armour did.  I knew I’d be staying with the Sprawl Rash Guard when I realized it hadn’t been washed from my last practice and I would have to wear the Under Armour HeatGear shirt.  Sprawl’s Rash Guard taps out Under Armour which really was never made for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. 

A Rash Guard, I wouldn’t do Jiu-Jitsu without it

What’s a rash guard? It is a shirt or leggings that are made of a spandex type of slick material.  They are used to reduce skin abrasion and bruises in grappling.  I started like most beginners in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (a.k.a. BJJ) with just a t-shirt and sweats.  I came home each time bruised like a Dalmatian.  I soon got my Gi, the traditional uniform in most martial arts.  As anyone who works with their hands knows a good pair of work gloves keeps you from getting blisters.  When it come to BJJ, a Gi is the equivalent of work gloves.  But I found I was still getting  some bruises.  I noticed that some of the others had shinny shirts.  That is how I found out about Rash Guards.  When you wear a rash guard it gives you added protection by decreasing the friction between you and what ever comes in contact with you.  With my new rash guard I stopped being bruised.  Yes, some of the bruising was due to inexperience in grappling but after I got the Gi and rash guard my bruises all but went away.  It also helps protect you again the dreaded ring worm that come from grappling the “unclean”.  A rash guard in my opinion is a must.

What brand of rash guard is best?  I stared with Under Armour.  Their Heat Gear line is what is sold all over the web in MMA, Mixed Martial Art, sites.  I use a compression long sleeve top.  I understand that a loser fitting shirt can be better as the compression tops tend to roll up in grappling.  I am waiting on a lose fitting long sleeve top from Sprawl to see if it works any better.  I also have ordered a pair of their shorts to see if their claims at being the best are true.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Grappling and Submission

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu the street fighters best weapon.  You can see all kinds of fights on Cable, YouTube.com, and other media.  It seems like no matter the skill level of the opponents they always end up on the ground grappling.  I decided to take up Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu for just that reason.  I have a few years under my belt of Kempo, Ki-Shi-Kan, Wa-Daru, and other various forms of Japanes martial arts.  But none of them compare to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu or BJJ.  Every time I got in a fight my training failed me because I didn’t have Mixed Martial Art skills or MMA.  But with BJJ things are changing.  I’m going to try and blog my rise to black belt.  Let me start with the books that have really helped me get started.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: Theory and Technique (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu series)
Championship Techniques (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu series)
Jiu-Jitsu University

“Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: Theory and Technique” teach you the very basics and requirements for belts in the Gracie Academy.  This also applies to those affiliated with Gracie Academ like Pedro Sauer .  “Championship Techniques” teaches you more skills and includes drills you can do by yourself.  “Jiu-Jitsu University” teaches you how to survive as a white belt and then how to progress until black.  I’ve found them all very helpful and my study of them has helped excelerate my training.  Its given me a edge in classes.  In my next post I’ll discuss what every what belt should know about gear and conditioning so you won’t start off on a bad foot like I did.