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 Post subject: Is it stupid?
PostPosted: Wed Dec 27, 2017 12:16 am 
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To join a BJJ school at the age of 55? I marvel at the agility of wrestlers, but is it reasonable to try to do it at my age? Advice?

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 Post subject: Re: Is it stupid?
PostPosted: Wed Dec 27, 2017 2:31 pm 
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Partner up with someone who has similar goals. My first experience at Miletich was awful because of the I wanna be an MMA star mindset of a lot of the guys. Drills were done a 110%. Easy way to get injured. But definitely try it! You may love it.

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 Post subject: Re: Is it stupid?
PostPosted: Wed Dec 27, 2017 2:52 pm 
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To join a BJJ school at the age of 55? I marvel at the agility of wrestlers, but is it reasonable to try to do it at my age? Advice?
No, it is not. I'm thinking of making the switch from Judo to BJJ (I dabble) permanently at 42 because it is easier on the joints and less impacty. There are lots of older judoka and jiu-jitsu players. Most of the older judoka have had serious joint issues that are not as common with the jiu-jitsu players. Every judoka I know who has been around long enough has had a hip or knee replacement. I'm headed for the hip replacement myself. The most common thing I see with bjj is an occasional rotator cuff/shoulder injury in the recreational crowd. Heavy competitors are a different story. If I was going to choose a style of combat sport that favors diminishing physical capacity and age it would be newaza/bjj (don't believe the bullshit that size, strength, speed, etc. are not important, it's just more forgiving).

At most BJJ Schools, you are not going to be doing a whole lot of "wrestling" style work. There will probably be some single and double leg demo's, maybe a little practice, some ukemi (breakfalls). But if your BJJ school is super wrestling heavy, at your age, it might be better to look for a more traditional Gracie type school (self-defense which is really like traditional jiu jitsu, then grappling, then vale tudo).

I left a judo school that was within walking distance of my old job because it was not complimentary to my goals or my safety. The instructor was excellent, but the warmup included all types of crazy gymnastics unsuited to a middle aged man, and the training was geared exclusively toward competition. Evaluate whether the school meets your needs, is a safe environment, how many "bjj bro's" are in the student body etc.


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 Post subject: Re: Is it stupid?
PostPosted: Thu Dec 28, 2017 1:07 am 
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To join a BJJ school at the age of 55? I marvel at the agility of wrestlers, but is it reasonable to try to do it at my age? Advice?
I started at 54. Just got back from an intensive training camp in Costa Rica.
I’m still a very new beginner, though I have 40 years experience in martial arts (previous bjj experience was through occasional seminars.)

A great deal of your success/appreciation of bjj is gonna be dependent on the school. Visit all of what’s in your area and get a feel for the vibe.

Anthony Bourdain started in his mid 50’s and is an inspiration for us old folks.


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 Post subject: Re: Is it stupid?
PostPosted: Thu Dec 28, 2017 9:07 pm 
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I started Judo last year, just a couple weeks shy of my 51st birthday. Love it.

BJJ supposedly is less impact-centric than Judo: less stand-up throwing, less hard-falling. It's VERY challenging from a cardio & strength-endurance standpoint, but you should be less likely to take a bad fall on your shoulder or break a rib or something. So what I'm saying is, BJJ should be a safer choice than Judo generally, for players in their 50s. Individual schools vary, of course. Look for a class with grown-ups in it, esp teaching, not psycho's and wannabe's.

But yeah, it's better to do BJJ than not to do BJJ. And it's better to start BJJ at age 55 than at age 58 or age 60. Give it a try. If you love it (or hate it!), it's better to find out sooner than later.

Advice?

Start slow. Like one class a week, until you've acclimated to the activity. Even then, your days of being able to roll every day as if you were still 25, are probably gone. I can handle Judo twice a week; I think I couldn't handle it 4x a week, and suspect that even 3x might be too much. I would expect to put a max on your participation, of 2x or 3x a week.

Be prepared to progress more slowly than your peers do, who can train more frequently than you can.

Supplement with some strength training. But you might have to limit it to twice a week, if you're training BJJ 2x or3x per week. Emphasize full ROM thru all the lifts you do. You'll want to have some strength at all angles, esp odd angles, rather than max strength at the most favorable angle.

Also supplement with some low-intensity cardio. Grappling will more than take care of your high-intensity cardio. Take a couple nice easy walks per week; bring your dog if you have one. Stroll.

I also like to hit a yoga class once a week, to get some of the kinks out. That's hit or miss, depends on my schedule. But even once or twice a month can still help you stay mindful of tight spots or trouble spots. It's a nice counterpoint to the fighting.

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― William Tecumseh Sherman


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 Post subject: Re: Is it stupid?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2017 1:58 pm 
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A lot of good advice in this thread, especially this:
Quote:
Start slow. Like one class a week, until you've acclimated to the activity. Even then, your days of being able to roll every day as if you were still 25, are probably gone. I can handle Judo twice a week; I think I couldn't handle it 4x a week, and suspect that even 3x might be too much. I would expect to put a max on your participation, of 2x or 3x a week.

Be prepared to progress more slowly than your peers do, who can train more frequently than you can.

Supplement with some strength training. But you might have to limit it to twice a week, if you're training BJJ 2x or3x per week. Emphasize full ROM thru all the lifts you do. You'll want to have some strength at all angles, esp odd angles, rather than max strength at the most favorable angle.

Also supplement with some low-intensity cardio. Grappling will more than take care of your high-intensity cardio. Take a couple nice easy walks per week; bring your dog if you have one. Stroll.

I also like to hit a yoga class once a week, to get some of the kinks out. That's hit or miss, depends on my schedule. But even once or twice a month can still help you stay mindful of tight spots or trouble spots. It's a nice counterpoint to the fighting.
2-3 days a week seems to be a sweat spot for a recreational player. If you can avoid back to back sessions, that's always positive. I used to have to do Friday P.M., then Saturday A.M. and was dead for the rest of the weekend. Some people will tell you that you derive no benefit from going 1 day a week, those people are full of shit. 1 day is better than no days.

Roll at your own pace. If you end up rolling with guys younger than you, don't get drawn into ego battles, just stay within yourself. Know when you've had enough.


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 Post subject: Re: Is it stupid?
PostPosted: Fri Dec 29, 2017 5:25 pm 
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Quote:
don't get drawn into ego battles, just stay within yourself. Know when you've had enough.
Tap early and often. :happiness:

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“War is the remedy our enemies have chosen. Other simple remedies were within their choice. You know it and they know it, but they wanted war, and I say let us give them all they want.”
― William Tecumseh Sherman


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 Post subject: Re: Is it stupid?
PostPosted: Sat Dec 30, 2017 9:24 pm 
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Its not age related, but I added extra drilling when I trained (for 5 years) and it paid off huge.

I tried to start every class with 10-15+ somethings each side: armbars, triangles, sweeps, guard passes, etc. that was just part of my pre or post class training.

Be safe, I stopped training around 31 due to injury fears, 39 now.

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 Post subject: Re: Is it stupid?
PostPosted: Sun Dec 31, 2017 7:42 am 
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Not stupid. I started at 57, and still do it 8 years later. In fact, I rolled today.

Good advice above.

Other thoughts:
1 - If/when you spar, you don't need to go all-out. Fear and ego will drive you to try that.
2 - The school is important. Not all JJ schools are the same. Watch some classes, shop around. If the teacher is an egomaniac or a prick, don't sign up. If all the the students are 20-something meatheads with attitude, stay away.
3 - Good partners are key. Hook up with some guys who challenge you without hurting you, guys you can learn from.
4 - If you find a cooperative partner, drill-spar as often as possible. This means NOT just randomly rolling from strange position to unfamiliar position, but instead, repeatedly starting in a set position then rolling to a sweep/reversal or agreed-on end point. Not every drill-spar need end in a submission. A good drill to drill-spar is whatever was the most recent lesson your instructor gave. If he taught passing the guard, then start in you partner's guard, roll until you pass his guard or until your partner gets to a more dominant position. Then repeat. Then switch positions, and he tries to pass your guard.
5 - It's natural to focus on submissions. Realize they are only a part of the game.
6 - As you progress, figure out your attributes and go with them. There are long guy moves and there are stocky-guy moves. There are quick guy moves and slow guy moves.
7 - If you're strong, that can impede your learning. Because it's easy to muscle sloppy technique, which works on some people. Then you have learned sloppy technique and that will be your crutch.

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 Post subject: Re: Is it stupid?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 01, 2018 10:30 pm 
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7 - If you're strong, that can impede your learning. Because it's easy to muscle sloppy technique, which works on some people. Then you have learned sloppy technique and that will be your crutch.
I think this is true in almost every sport (except powerlifting?) A few years ago I observed this first hand in my daughter's swimming. Her friend, a stocky strong guy, could outmuscle her in free style, simply by force. However, when it came to breaststroke his muscle power was useless, and the girl half his size was way faster.

Anyway, thanks very much to everyone for advice and suggestions. I am on holiday for another week, but on return I am going to check two BJJ schools near my house.

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 Post subject: Re: Is it stupid?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 02, 2018 5:55 pm 
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Anyway, thanks very much to everyone for advice and suggestions. I am on holiday for another week, but on return I am going to check two BJJ schools near my house.
Dude, if you have any questions, put the school links up on this thread or PM some people. There are enough people on this board with legit BJJ experience and connections to tell you if they pass the sniff test. If one is better than the other, you going to have to experience that for yourself.


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 Post subject: Re: Is it stupid?
PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2018 5:11 am 
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Not stupid. I started at 57, and still do it 8 years later. In fact, I rolled today.

Good advice above.

Other thoughts:
1 - If/when you spar, you don't need to go all-out. Fear and ego will drive you to try that.
2 - The school is important. Not all JJ schools are the same. Watch some classes, shop around. If the teacher is an egomaniac or a prick, don't sign up. If all the the students are 20-something meatheads with attitude, stay away.
3 - Good partners are key. Hook up with some guys who challenge you without hurting you, guys you can learn from.
4 - If you find a cooperative partner, drill-spar as often as possible. This means NOT just randomly rolling from strange position to unfamiliar position, but instead, repeatedly starting in a set position then rolling to a sweep/reversal or agreed-on end point. Not every drill-spar need end in a submission. A good drill to drill-spar is whatever was the most recent lesson your instructor gave. If he taught passing the guard, then start in you partner's guard, roll until you pass his guard or until your partner gets to a more dominant position. Then repeat. Then switch positions, and he tries to pass your guard.
5 - It's natural to focus on submissions. Realize they are only a part of the game.
6 - As you progress, figure out your attributes and go with them. There are long guy moves and there are stocky-guy moves. There are quick guy moves and slow guy moves.
7 - If you're strong, that can impede your learning. Because it's easy to muscle sloppy technique, which works on some people. Then you have learned sloppy technique and that will be your crutch.
That was great advice and insight. Stay well within yourself and take pride in the fact that your are doing what 99.9% of guys in our age group are not doing.


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 Post subject: Re: Is it stupid?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2018 9:45 pm 
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Well, I did it. Had the first session yesterday. As always with new endeavours I did feel useless. Also, as always with new kind of activity I was out of breath half way through the session. So I can definitely see the point of not overdoing it; I will need at least three days to recover from yesterday.

Otherwise - good fun. Getting sweaty guys hug you in all kinds of different positions... When my wife asked me how it went I didn't tell her everything.

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 Post subject: Re: Is it stupid?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 09, 2018 10:05 pm 
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Congratulations!

Quote:
As always with new endeavours I did feel useless.
I feel like one of the major barriers to any of us learning anything, is our patience for being the dumbest kid in the class for the first few weeks. Children below about age 6 are immune to it – maybe that's why there's such a rush to get the youngest kids exposed to activities that take a long time to master – but from then on, embarrassment is a real issue for all of us as beginners. Getting comfortable with that can be a big hurdle.

In completely related news, I'm taking my first piano lesson of the year tomorrow.

Quote:
Also, as always with new kind of activity I was out of breath half way through the session.
Yeah. With Judo last year, getting to the point where I could make it ALL THE WAY thru a class, and still be active & participating at the end, was a milestone. I'll have to check my training log to be sure how long it took, but in memory for at least the first month I spent the last 15 mins of every class sitting in a corner, dripping sweat and gasping for breath. When I could finally complete a class, it was a big-enough deal that I crowed about it in my training log.

Keep at it!

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“War is the remedy our enemies have chosen. Other simple remedies were within their choice. You know it and they know it, but they wanted war, and I say let us give them all they want.”
― William Tecumseh Sherman


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 Post subject: Re: Is it stupid?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 10, 2018 3:35 pm 
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Quote:
Quote:
Also, as always with new kind of activity I was out of breath half way through the session.
Yeah. With Judo last year, getting to the point where I could make it ALL THE WAY thru a class, and still be active & participating at the end, was a milestone. I'll have to check my training log to be sure how long it took, but in memory for at least the first month I spent the last 15 mins of every class sitting in a corner, dripping sweat and gasping for breath. When I could finally complete a class, it was a big-enough deal that I crowed about it in my training log.
This is completely normal. Also, expect to have weird shit, like if you go on vacation for a week, the first day back is going to suck balls.

Grappling is not for pussies, but it will improve all your physical metrics.


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 Post subject: Re: Is it stupid?
PostPosted: Sun Jan 14, 2018 10:05 pm 
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Two sessions, and my SI joints are flared up. Curiously, even though there is very little spine loading during training. I think it's flexibility issue. During warm up I noticed how much worse it has become. An appointment with Terra is already set up.

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 Post subject: Re: Is it stupid?
PostPosted: Mon Jan 15, 2018 10:44 am 
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Two sessions, and my SI joints are flared up. Curiously, even though there is very little spine loading during training. I think it's flexibility issue. During warm up I noticed how much worse it has become. An appointment with Terra is already set up.
Yeah, I noticed that on my schedule... Hence dropping in here to get a heads-up on the Hx.
Also ask me about some good BJJ schools local to you.

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 Post subject: Re: Is it stupid?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 16, 2018 6:40 am 
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Congratulations on starting. Grappling is deceptively stressful. I remember FatCat, one of my IG grappling mentors, cautioning that it takes quite a while for the body to acclimate. X10 for the senior grappler.

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 Post subject: Re: Is it stupid?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 16, 2018 1:44 pm 
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Two sessions, and my SI joints are flared up. Curiously, even though there is very little spine loading during training. I think it's flexibility issue. During warm up I noticed how much worse it has become. An appointment with Terra is already set up.
Start slow and then ease off on working into this, is my one piece of advice. These aches and pains accrue and linger and just stick around at our age. Ego at the door. If the SI joints are cranking, sure some physio might help, but time will be more critical.

Totally concur on the strength masking technique thing. Aikido, for all of its oddities, was really good at emphasizing that.

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 Post subject: Re: Is it stupid?
PostPosted: Tue Jan 16, 2018 3:15 pm 
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I remember FatCat, one of my IG grappling mentors, cautioning that it takes quite a while for the body to acclimate.
The number Fatcat gave was something like 2 years for the body to acclimate to grappling, as I recall.
And that wasn't for a 50yo body.

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“War is the remedy our enemies have chosen. Other simple remedies were within their choice. You know it and they know it, but they wanted war, and I say let us give them all they want.”
― William Tecumseh Sherman


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 Post subject: Re: Is it stupid?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 3:53 am 
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And so yesterday I rock up to Terra's office. Guess what, suddenly SIs are fine, lower back is fine, everything is fine. In any case, Terra's work is always fascinating. I do (obviously) some imbalances and some things do need attention.

That's true in regards to the deceptive ease of wrestling. The body seems all right during the session, except quite significant fatigue, but ten minutes later all kind of strange aches pop up. In any case, I realise that adaptation will take a while. It is an unusual experience being wrestled down by young girls though. I guess looking like a moron will last for at least a few months.

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 Post subject: Re: Is it stupid?
PostPosted: Wed Jan 17, 2018 8:20 am 
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I guess looking like a moron will last for at least a few months.
I've never read it, but this book has been very highly recommended:

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https://www.amazon.com/Jiu-Jitsu-Univer ... 0981504434

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“War is the remedy our enemies have chosen. Other simple remedies were within their choice. You know it and they know it, but they wanted war, and I say let us give them all they want.”
― William Tecumseh Sherman


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 Post subject: Re: Is it stupid?
PostPosted: Fri Feb 16, 2018 10:19 pm 
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It's just over four weeks, and I am enjoying it. Fitness is still a problem, and I struggle when sparring with younger guys (which is everybody in the class). But I learned couple of tricks and occasionally can submit a small woman.
Managed to hurt my lower back, no idea how, but it is not as bad as hurting it with a bad squat.

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 Post subject: Re: Is it stupid?
PostPosted: Sat Feb 17, 2018 1:23 am 
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Just came home from another session. Things start becoming clearer. What I noticed is that i is easier - in a way - to grapple with higher belts than with novices like me. Big guys tend to do things very smoothly, and though I can pretty much nothing against them I learn a lot. While even though sometimes I manage to overpower a white belt newbie it is more of a fitness exercise than true Jiu Jitsu. It is very gratifying though when I manage to catch and sweep a guy bigger than me with little effort.

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 Post subject: Re: Is it stupid?
PostPosted: Sun Feb 18, 2018 12:26 pm 
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Quote:
Just came home from another session. Things start becoming clearer. What I noticed is that i is easier - in a way - to grapple with higher belts than with novices like me. Big guys tend to do things very smoothly, and though I can pretty much nothing against them I learn a lot. While even though sometimes I manage to overpower a white belt newbie it is more of a fitness exercise than true Jiu Jitsu. It is very gratifying though when I manage to catch and sweep a guy bigger than me with little effort.
Congrats on starting. Haven't been on the board in ages and this was the first thread I opened. Some good advice for sure. I'll be 43 soon and have just passed my 3 year mark. I've managed to stick with it and make it to 2 stripe blue belt. I've had several injuries along the way. Both of my knees have been popped, broke the same toe twice, sprained AC, terrible wrist sprain which I still suffer from and its been a year or so, nearly all of my fingers are jacked but my right pinky has a knot from hell on it, all of that with cyst's on my ovaries getting popped from 300lbers putting down some hard core knee on belly.

Now with all that, which all resulted from going too hard too often along with rolling for keeps with idiots in their 20s, breakfalls and the regular practicing of them probably saved me from terrible injury here at home. I had some gymnastic rings hanging in the gym. My Dad and I had finished training and the wife and so walked out and we were just talking. The rings were set at about head height for me and I was just hanging on a single ring while we talked. I decided to try to just jump myself up in front lever position(of which I can not do anyway) and the eye bolt broke from the rafter. I probably fell from 4 feet or more onto the ply wood on my upper back and neck. I broke the fall but it gave me a flash knockout. I think it game me whiplash or something because my neck is still jacked a bit. My family were stunned and didn't know what to say when I fell. My dad said that he thought the fall would have killed a normal person. I told him if I hadn't know how to breakfall along with my body being conditioned and calloused to heavy and hard throws it could have possibly broke my neck.

If you are going to train BJJ/Judo. You are going to get injured, its just the way it is. Even when going "easy". All this leave the ego at the door talk is simply talk. Yeah its what white belt and blue belts want everyone to say, but when you start getting the feel of things you'll want to get a bite. The key is to just focus on defending against the spazzed out ones(and they come in more colors than white) because they usually don't have good JJ. They are like drive by shooters and don't hit anything unless you stick your arms and head out of the door to see whats going on.

On the conditioning side of things, all the HIIT stuff never did a thing for my mat conditioning. Long slow cardio rules for me. Although that can also be due to my style of grappling which is a slow brutal grind with as much pressure as I can produce. I try to wring them into knots.


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