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If you are planning on taking a time off – for two days or for two months – we’d like to know about it!
Our recommendation to all students is that if you are planning on missing days, put in some extra time and work by doubling-up on classes. For example, if you’re going to be out for two weeks, try to get in two extra classes the week before you leave and two extra classes the week you get back. That way, you will have done the work for the weeks you’ll miss. It will also keep your progress on track.
If for some reason you cannot get some extra classes in, then we ask you to please download and fill out a Vacation Form. In order to properly credit any time missed, return it to the Program Director, and it will ensure that your time will be credited back to you accurately.
See you on the mat!
The Staff of Brooklyn Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
By Professor Josh Skyer
We love summer and we love training in the summer: nothing beats a great martial arts class after a hot summer day: stepping into a clean, air-conditioned Dojo, putting on a clean uniform and letting the stress of the dog days disappear. Here are some black belt tips to keep your martial arts training intact during the summer months:
1. DON’T LET THE WARM WEATHER KNOCK YOU OFF TRACK – Progress comes with consistency. It’s tempting to let a day at the beach, or a long weekend distract you from your martial arts goals. Fight it! We talk about self-discipline; what that means for most adults is hitting the mute button on that little voice in your head telling you that it’s OK to skip class.
2. WEAR A CLEAN UNIFORM – This holds true regardless of season. This might mean getting a second or third gi, especially if you’re training more than twice a week. Of course, never wear a gi or thai boxing uniform that hasn’t been washed. This actually might be illegal in some states, and if it isn’t then it should be.
3. DON’T DROWN YOUR TRAINING PARTNER…BRING A TOWEL – Sweat management is a necessity during warmer weather. Bring a small towel to class and use it. Getting caught in a rainstorm on your way to class is not a big deal. Getting caught in a rainstorm while on the bottom of the mount IS!
4. ALWAYS WEAR A T-SHIRT OR RASHGUARD UNDER YOUR GI - It will add an extra sweat-absorbing layer. If you partner taps out because of a triangle you will most likely get a high five or “good job”. If your partner taps out because they are choking on your sweat or your chest hair you will not get a high five.
5. TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR PERSONAL HYGIENE – Take a shower after class, every time. This is common sense for most people, but it bears repeating anyway. A really wise man once said that a good training partner showers after every class, but a great training partner showers before class.
6. HYDRATE – Drink water all day. Start first thing in the morning. Coffee, sports drinks, alcohol and soda all LEECH water from your body. It’s important to hydrate before, during, and after class. Also be extra careful about eating salty foods on training days, which can also draw water from the body.
7. BE A GOODFINDER – Yes, it’s hot out. Yes, there is traffic. Yes, you had to stand up on the train and didn’t get a seat. Yes, your boss is a mean person. Yes, your therapist likes to blame all your problems on your parents. But NO, you don’t have the right to complain in the dojo. Your training hall is supposed to be a positive place, a sanctuary. If you can’t say anything positive,don’t say anything at all. JUST TRAIN. If you don’t feel better after class, we’ll be happy to refund you your misery.
Have a sustainable practice! The martial arts is the best year-round activity there is for fitness, focus and self-improvement. Commit to the process of getting better by following these tips…and by encouraging others to do the same.
Train hard – there is no substitute!
We had a wonderful class on Friday celebrating all the dads with a special class. Enjoy the compilation of photos below. And Happy Father’s Day!
Support your connective tissues’ health with a nutrient-rich, low-inflammation diet.
- Eat plenty of colorful fruits and vegetables.
- Eat enough protein, which provides the “building blocks” of tissue repair.
- Consider supplementing with vitamin C, vitamin A, zinc, and copper if you are deficient.
- Consider anti-inflammatory foods and supplements such as ginger, turmeric, and/or an omega-3 supplement.
- Limit inflammatory foods (such as processed foods and sugar) as well as any foods to which you know you’re intolerant.
Work out smart
- Try a safety bar squat or a cross arm (“genie”) front squat instead of regular barbell back squats to decrease elbow stress.
- Do fewer isolation exercises for biceps and triceps. Instead, focus on compound exercises where the load is higher and the stress is distributed over more than one joint.
- If it hurts, avoid it. Find an alternative.
- Vary your movements and loading. Take a day off between intense workouts. Build in recovery days each week with easy movement and mobility work. Have a diverse roster of activities instead of doing the same handful of things over and over.
- You can use an elbow band if you find it comfortable during workouts.
- Try lifting straps to decrease the amount of gripping necessary for heavy lifts, like this.
- Look at overall upper body mobility. A tight posterior shoulder capsule may contribute to elbow pain.
- Build a solid foundation and mechanics before you increase the speed or resistance at which you do something. Remember that connective tissues take a long time to build and heal.
- Check your computer workstation. If your hands are always in pain, change the setup.
- Get massage therapy and work on flexibility. Try some regular forearm soft tissue work.
- Engage in rehab with pain free strengthening exercises (wrist curls, reverse wrist curls, elbow flexion, elbow extension, forearm pronation/supination).
- Return to full-strength activities gradually. You may need as much as a year of rehab exercises.
Try the following foods and/or supplements that help to moderate inflammation and promote tissue healing:
- Foods/supplements rich in omega-3 fats:
Algae oil, flax, chia, hemp, walnuts, leafy greens, fish, fish and marine oils (e.g. krill and algae)
- Foods/supplements rich in flavanoids:
Turmeric, garlic, pineapple, tea, berries, cocoa
- Foods rich in vitamin C:
Guava, red bell pepper, broccoli, green bell peppers, strawberries, grapefruit, kohlrabi, papaya, Brussels sprouts, kiwi, mango, oranges
- Foods rich in vitamin A:
Carrots, pumpkin, sweet potato, spinach, collards, kale, watercress, beets, winter squash, tomatoes, dried apricots, mango
- Foods rich in zinc:
Mushrooms, spinach, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, green peas, baked beans, cashews, whole grains, oysters, chicken, crab, lamb, beef, pork, turkey, lobster, wheat germ, watermelon seeds
- Foods rich in copper:
Mushrooms, green leafy vegetables, barley, soybeans, tempeh, sunflower seeds, navy beans, garbanzo beans, cashews, molasses, beef liver, oysters, lobster, crab, chocolate, cocoa powder.
- Amino acids:
Supplementing with arginine (7 grams, 2x/day), HMB (1.5 grams, 2x/day), and glutamine (7 grams, 2x/day) might assist in collagen deposition and injury healing.
Also, try keeping a food journal as well as tracking your pain / inflammation symptoms.
See if you notice any correlations. When is your pain better or worse? Do particular foods seem to make a difference?
Many people find that when they remove inflammatory foods, and/or foods to which their body reacts, they have less joint pain.
We had a great time training with our moms for the special Mother’s Day class. Check out some of the highlights in the video below.
I never thought of myself as a martial artist. I am a daughter, a wife, a mother, a student. But now, I am happy to say that I can add martial artist to that list.
People say that your quality of life declines as you get older. Not in my case. I had my children in my 20’s and 30’s, then raised them in my 40’s. When I turned 50, I went back to college to complete my degree and tried karate for the first time. The idea of me, in a karate uniform, doing kicks and kata seemed absurd to me at first. I have watched both my son and husband train for years. I was a karate mom who brought my son to class and back home.
At the urging and support of Brenda and my family, I put on my gi and took my first class. I had so many fears about my physical ability, getting hurt and looking silly. One of the most important things that I have learned, and what helped me the most, is that everyone’s ability and reason for beginning the martial arts is different. We are all working on our own individual goals. So even though I cannot kick as high as someone else, I am doing the best I can for me.
I am constantly improving. In our school, there is no competition. We all try to help each other to reach our individual goals. I am healthier today than I have ever been. I have lost weight, my heart is strong, my lower back – plagued in the past by chronic pain – no longer bother me and I am more flexible . My doctor took me off my blood pressure medication. My bones are also stronger from the resistance training that I have been doing in the classroom.
Today I am a red belt and will be testing for my black belt within the year. I love to be able to train on the mat with both my husband and my son. Now, just as I have watched them both become black belts, they now can watch and support my progress toward a black belt of my own. I am so I am so happy that I took that first lesson.
By Professor Josh Skyer
“A serious student is much more concerned with training his mind and disciplining his spirit than with developing martial skills.”
― Eiji Yoshikawa, Musashi
It is said that true men remain loyal to those to whom they are indebted. This virtue is taken from a 400-year-old Martial arts scripture entitled, “The 8 Virtues of the Samurai”. As a student of the Martial Arts, I have always been taught to use the practice as a vehicle for personal development and self-improvement; consequently, loyalty has taken on great meaning for me.
As most experienced practitioners know, training in the martial arts requires a very high level of personal hygiene. Finger and toenails must remain short as to not accidentally scratch our training partners or ourselves. So as I sat with the nail clipper recently preparing myself for training, I took a good look at my own feet. It was in this otherwise mundane moment that I came to a stunning realization about my own experience as a student.
I realized that the bottoms of my feet have never touched a Jiu-Jitsu mat other then the one on which I took my first class. This is the same mat which my instructor, Professor Glick, put down with his own 2 hands. I will have trained from white belt to Black Belt at one school, on one mat, with one instructor.
This exercise in loyalty has been nothing short of amazing, and not very common in today’s Martial Arts climate. It’s as if the old cliché about how “the grass is always greener” has taken over the mind of the modern martial artist.
It is commonplace in Jiu-Jitsu schools to have an open mat, on which students from all over town can “pay to play”, training without feeling like they are violating the code of the Samurai spirit. In other words, they seem to never worry that they might be “cheating” on their own Professors and fellow training partners. This was something to which we never subscribed at Brooklyn Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, and for which I thank God. What is has given me is an immense sense of loyalty and depth of feeling inside the dojo I train in.
In a lot of ways the popularity of mixed martial arts – and the too-relaxed, laissez-faire, anything goes, revolving-door dojo – has turned today’s martial artist into a consumer. Traditionally, as the quote above would have it, the martial artist’s role in the world was not as a consumer, but rather as a producer. But a brief glance around the world of martial arts today finds the consumer everywhere: consuming classes, and training partners, all over town, as opposed to producing self-change, a stronger and more vibrant community and an overall sense of loyalty both to the dojo and to all those they encounter.
Not us. Again – the bottom of my feet have never touched the mat of another dojo. And I am happy to say it. On the day I’m able to have Professor Glick place a black belt around my waist, I will know that that decision will have been, for me, the glue that binds me to the martial arts forever. OSS!