Ever Had to Tap From Bad Cardio? THIS POST CAN BE SEE IN Issue #127 VIEW NOW >

We’ve all been there - a couple of rounds into training and suddenly you’re so tired you can’t even breathe. And if you’ve ever had to tap out before from bad cardio, you know it’s pretty embarrassing! (Not that I would know from personal experience, just something I heard from a friend.)

So why is it that 5 or 10 minutes after dragging your sorry carcass off the mat you can roll again? How much of that feeling of being utterly exhausted is physical, and how much is in your mind?

South African researcher Tim Noakes has a theory about fatigue that’s been gaining traction in the scientific community the last few years. He believes that your mind houses a ‘central governor’ that monitors a multitude of physiological signals like core temperature, blood oxygen levels, muscle activity, and other important factors. If the signals start to indicate you’re in danger of damaging your body, the governor limits the amount of muscle fiber you can recruit for your activity.

I first learned about muscle fiber recruitment when I had surgery to reconstruct my ACL. Even if you can squat hundreds of pounds with no trouble, after surgery you’ll have trouble doing a single body weight squat. You literally can’t lift the weight of your body using the damaged leg. After a few weeks of therapy though, you’ll be back to a significant percentage of your strength. It’s not that you got weaker and then stronger – the trauma from the surgery limits your ability to recruit a high percentage of your available muscle fibers. Your body does this as a protective measure after surgery, and it appears the same effect is in place when you are so exhausted you have trouble moving on the mat.

One of the signals the ‘central governor’ is looking for is how your levels of ATP are holding up. You recycle every piece of ATP in your body every six minutes when you are just resting. During intense activity that can skyrocket to every 3 minutes or even less as your body rushes to provide the energy you need to continue.

You might want to consider adding a few specific nutrients to your water before class, about half an hour before you train. (You are getting fully hydrated before training right?) I would suggest approximately 5 grams of D-Ribose, 500 mg of Acetyl-L-Carnitine, and 30 mg of CoQ10 as a good start. These nutrients can work synergistically to improve your body’s ability to quickly recycle your ATP stores, and you’ll be able to train longer before fatigue sets in.

And just because some of that fatigue might be in your mind, don’t think you can use willpower to defeat it. Try holding your breath till you pass out and you’ll experience the amazing ability of your primal brain to override your best conscious efforts. The same holds true for trying to defeat your central governor.

The good news is that getting your cardio in top shape for jiu-jitsu isn’t that difficult. The first thing to do is just train more! As your body becomes more efficient at the act of jiu-jitsu you’ll actually use less energy to perform a given technique. You’ll recruit a higher percentage of the available muscle fibers and they’ll use less energy on a given task.

You should also add in some high intensity training on your off days, 2 or 3 times per week. Warm up for 5-10 minutes and then perform 30 seconds of max effort full body exercise (sprints/stairs/burpees/etc.) followed by 2-4 minutes of active rest (walking/stretching). Repeat 10 times. This simple routine will massively improve your cardio in a very short time.

So get that cardio fixed and Stay Alpha!

Bill Thomas is the founder of Q5 Labs. He is a purple belt training with Aaron Blake in Boothbay Harbor Maine and has been grappling and coaching youth wrestling for over 30 years.


What Jiu-Jiteiros Can Learn from a Non-Profit’s Social Media Campaign (Part 3 of 3) THIS POST CAN BE SEE IN Issue #124 VIEW NOW >

What Jiu-Jiteiros Can Learn from a Non-Profit’s Social Media Campaign (Part 3 of 3)

What Jiu-Jiteiros Can Learn from a Non-Profit’s Social Media Campaign (Part 2 of 3) THIS POST CAN BE SEE IN Issue #123 VIEW NOW >

By Marshal D. Carper

Last week, we talked about the basic goals of social media and of community building, using my work with a non-profit as an example case study. As you begin to develop your strategy, creating and empowering advocates should be the core of your social media activities, and that core is strengthened through a variety of tactics. Having an active Facebook page may help you turn gym members into passionate advocates, but the real process starts offline, within the walls of the gym.

On this front, Junior Achievement was well ahead of most organizations turning to social media to boost the impact of their marketing efforts. Junior Achievement has been working in the community for decades, and their alumni are sprinkled across the world. They are reasonably well-known and respected, and they host numerous events for a wide range of community members. Offline, Junior Achievement’s community is thriving. It is vibrant and healthy, and everyone involved is happy and passionate about the organization. Their social media was weak because they had not made the effort to make their online presence match their rich physical presence.

Instructor jiu-jiteiros should keep this in mind: your online presence is a reflection of your offline presence.

Prospects will judge your gym based on the quality of your website and the quality of your online content. It may not be the only deciding factor, but it plays a part. If your school was a top of the line high performance engine, you would want a body and an eye-catching paintjob to match. Your website and your social media is that slick exterior. If your exterior is a beat-up station wagon with a cardboard spoiler gorilla glued to the back, no one is going to take your engine—the real hero—seriously, and the ones that do are still going to ask you to park around the corner when you pick them up after school because, frankly, you’re embarrassing.

Establishing a healthy offline community—the engine—is step one, and that is a subject worth many other articles. Essentially, your students should know that their instructors care about them, they should feel as though they are part of a team and that the health and success of their training partners is just as much a priority as their own, they should feel like they are making progress, and they should be having fun (smiles, laughter, and extended mat chit-chat sessions are all good signs).

If your gym community has all four of those traits, you can begin to build an online community that reflects the awesomeness of the offline one. Set up a Facebook page, if you have not already, and fill it with pictures and videos of anything related to your gym: promotions, seminars, competitions, team picnics, etc. Tag everyone that you can. Next, set aside time to make at least one post a day of content of some sort—articles or videos or pictures or association news, something that your students can talk about.

After about a week of consistent content, hang a flier in the gym that encourages your students to log on to the Facebook page. Better yet, give them a reason to visit the page by asking them to give their feedback on a new t-shirt design, on what should be covered in Tuesday’s class, on who their favorite fighter of all time is—anything that will stimulate interaction. Remember: a community is built on conversation. Everything you do with your social media community should be focused on stimulating participation. You can post announcements on your Facebook, but they should be a small fraction of your total social media content.

Maintain the richness of your online community by continuing to provide your students with content day after day. While this sounds like it could be a challenge, it should not take you more than 15 minutes to find an article or video to post (subscribe to multiple jiu-jitsu RSS feeds to have a steady stream of content). At the same time, develop your own content to share. Is someone getting striped today? Take a picture and post it. Shoot a quick video on a flip camera of some students rolling or of an instructor teaching a technique. Record testimonials. Type up workouts. Share upcoming tournament schedules.  Talk about local news and sports.

Like it or not, you are the host and social media is your party. If nobody is having a good time, it’s your fault. Bake some cookies. Decorate. Try that new bruschetta recipe that you read in Home & Garden… okay, that metaphor got away from me but you know what I mean.

Your students already have these conversations in the gym. Now you are replicating that experience online and making those small conversations available to every other student. Keep your students engaged with your gym even when they aren’t training by facilitating these conversations.

Next week, to complete this series on jiu-jitsu social media, we will talk about how to empower your advocates, leveraging your community to attract new members to the gym.

Marshal D. Carper is the author the Cauliflower Chronicles: A Grappler’s Tale of Self-Discovery and Island Living and the co-author of Marcelo Garcia’s Advanced Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Techniques. Visit his website at to read more about social media and jiu-jitsu.

What Jiu-Jiteiros Can Learn from a Non-Profit’s Social Media Campaign (Part 1 of 3) THIS POST CAN BE SEE IN Issue #122 VIEW NOW >

By Marshal D. Carper


Junior Achievement is an international non-profit that teaches children about business and financial literacy. They foster entrepreneurism and teach money management. Their programs have been proven to increase scholastic performance and reduce dropout rates, and they do a lot of good for the communities connected to their respective chapters, but with federal funding becoming increasingly sparse, Junior Achievement is relying more and more on fundraising to keep their doors open and their programs alive.


I recently helped the Western Pennsylvania chapter of Junior Achievement use social media to generate awareness for one of its largest annual fundraisers: a raffle for a package of season tickets for a variety of Pittsburgh sports teams. We boosted revenue by 9% over the previous year, and from the point that we launched the social media portion of the campaign to the time that the fundraiser ended, we raised $60,000.


What does a non-profit’s fundraiser have to do with jiu-jitsu?  A lot, actually. Their campaign serves as a case study, a model that other community-driven organizations can learn from.


Social media marketing is more than a new trend; it’s a powerful community building tool. Community building occurs in two stages: strengthening the loyalty of existing members and growing the community by acquiring new members. Your gym is a community, and incorporating social media into your gym culture can make that community stronger and healthier.


Community building as a form of marketing can sound dishonest, like you are using your students to turn a profit, but that’s not the case. By focusing on community, you are focusing on creating an environment that people enjoy being in and a lifestyle that people are proud to champion. A high quality community creates happy people, who gladly share the things that make them happy with their other communities: friends, family, coworkers, Facebook followers, Twitter followers, running buddies, etc.


It’s a win for your students and a win for your business. No advertisement is more powerful than a word of mouth recommendation for your gym.


Creating Advocates


Marketers often talk about engagement and advocates because consumers in this decade are paying less and less attention to traditional advertising. They skip through television commercials. They use ad-blockers when they read news online. And they do not open junk mail. Traditional advertising is like Shoney Carter; it’s just not as relevant as it used to be. Consumers today trust recommendations from friends and from people that they respect more than anything else.


When I analyzed Junior Achievement’s marketing efforts, I found that they were primarily broadcasting. They would send out messages—status updates, Tweets, or newsletters—but they were not engaging their audience. They were not encouraging conversation or motivating their supporters to talk to their friends about Junior Achievement or its fundraisers. They were making a big difference in the lives of children across western Pennsylvania, but they were not facilitating conversations about their work.


Once we established our goals, I immediately changed their approach to social media. We used Twitter and HootSuite to identify people talking about topics important to Junior Achievement, and we entered their conversations as an expert on those topics. We then launched a re-Tweet contest to encourage our current followers to share our updates with their friends. As our existing followers and our new followers saw that our Twitter was more active and more interesting, the re-Tweets steadily increased, picking up more and more speed with each day. On Facebook, we shared articles relevant to Junior Achievement and to the fundraiser, which facilitated thoughtful conversation from our current followers. As more and more people commented on our content, more of their friends saw the activity in their feeds and came to the Facebook page to participate.


Essentially, we made the Junior Achievement Twitter and Facebook pages worth visiting and reading. Announcements are okay sometimes, but if someone clicks to your gym’s Facebook page and all they see is a stream of “no-gi is cancelled Friday” and “don’t miss training today!” they are going to click away faster than a Ken Shamrock fake tap out, which is the same challenge that Junior Achievement faced. On the other hand, if someone visits your Facebook page and sees content like videos, articles, and photos and your students talking about that content, they are more likely to stay and to get to know your community.


For prospects, this demonstrates a lively and attractive community, which could increase their interesting in trying your gym. For current students, an active Facebook presence builds loyalty. Being a part of your gym is a lifestyle. They may only be in class three times a week, but they are participating in the community every day through Facebook. They check the page at work for new content or share their own. They talk with their friends at the gym through comment streams. They get to feel like they are a part of something special even when they are not in the gym, which builds their attachment and their commitment. At the same time, all of your students’ activity on your page is broadcasted to their friends who may not train (yet) via feed updates.


By making gym membership a lifestyle, you help to make your students passionate about training. Passionate people talk about their passions. They invite their friends to participate. They buy t-shirts. They put stickers on their cars. They gladly advocate for the brands that they love. Giving your students a way to grow and foster that passion outside of their gym is good for your community.


Next week we will talk about how to build an awesome online community and how to connect it to your offline community so that they are a continuation of the same community experience.


Marshal D. Carper is the author the Cauliflower Chronicles: A Grappler’s Tale of Self-Discovery and Island Living and the co-author of Marcelo Garcia’s Advanced Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Techniques. Visit his website at to read more about social media and jiu-jitsu.

Robson Moura - A Man With A Plan - BJJ Weekly #115 THIS POST CAN BE SEE IN Issue #115 VIEW NOW >

Man with a Plan

By Deborah Markel

It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, it’s the size of the fight in the dog. – Mark Twain

For a guy who tops out at 5’5” in his flip-flops, Robson Moura is definitely not afraid of heights.

Having grown up in the Pimentel favela of Teresopolis, on a misty mountain outside Rio, Moura now stands on top of the world of BJJ.  And in a sport where inspiring stories are common, Moura’s stands head and shoulders above the rest.

Being from the favela is something that non-Brazilians (and privileged Brazilians) have a hard time grasping.  We have bad neighborhoods in Cleveland.  Big deal.

But as Rio native Eduardo Rocha said when comparing a sketchy Oakland arondissement to the favelas of Brazil, “You call this a bad neighborhood?  This is Disneyland.”

The favela doesn’t just spell poverty, it represents isolation from society.  

Moura describes in his Youtube video “Life in the Favela” how Brazil’s shantytowns are a world unto themselves.  People are born there, go to school there, work there, and die there.

But if Robson Moura didn’t want to die in the favela—and he could have, with the stray bullets whizzing by his head—he definitely didn’t want to live there.

“I just kept saying to myself,” says Moura, “I gotta get off this place.”

That Moura succeeded—big time— is common knowledge.  Robson Moura may not be the biggest guy on the mat but his name is one of the biggest in BJJ today.  Furthermore, Moura is one of those rare martial artists whose appeal seems to cut across lines of team loyalties and BJJ politics.  

Everybody loves Robson.

When I confided to a Pedro Sauer brown belt that I had become something of a Robson stalker, he just shrugged.

“If you’re gonna stalk somebody,” he said, “might as well stalk the best.”

I will admit that before meeting him personally, Robson Moura was just another multiple time world champ to me with an R name pronounced as an H. To my newbie blue belt ears, they all sounded the same.

But when Moura came to do a seminar at Dudu Barros BJJ in Akron, I became a believer.

It’s not just because we all love winners, even though with seven world titles under his A1 belt, Moura is the definition of winner.

And it’s not just because Moura is a nice guy, which he is.  Moura is one of those rare people who ask you how you are and actually listen to the answer.

Moura treats everybody who steps on the mat with the same courtesy and respect, and a sense of humor that is as unexpected as his moves.

At a seminar at Elite Jiu Jitsu in Delaware (Moura’s first North American academy, now run by Jeff Mitchell), somebody outlined a particularly difficult situation for Moura, ending with the usual “What would I do then?”

Moura thought about it for a second before answering, deadpan.

“Then,” he said, “you would have a big problem.”

If I had to guess, I’d say people adore Moura for all of the above and for one more reason as well—he made BJJ fun again.  Moura’s style is like a puppy going after a bedroom slipper—intense, tenacious, fluid and beautifully joyful.  

Joy is something we don’t think about too much on the mat.  We’re too busy trying not to drip on our training partners and maybe land a move or so. And to the Type A personalities that typically crowd American mats, Jiu-Jitsu can seem like very serious business indeed.

But Robson Moura feels strongly about the idea of playing jiu-jitsu vs. fighting jiu-jitsu.  According to Moura, the gym is the place to play jiu-jitsu—to have fun and try new things.  Competition, in Moura’s view, is when it’s appropriate to really fight jiu-jitsu.

Robson Moura turned the game upside-down—literally. And while some of us labor to think outside the box, Moura doesn’t seem to have a box. His game is constantly evolving, both to stay competitive in a highly competitive sport and just, apparently, for the sheer hell of it.

Constantly evolving, innovating and growing, Robson Moura is both an inspiration and one heck of a nice guy.

This winter, I had the opportunity of training at the Robson Moura Academy in Tampa, Florida.

Here is what Robson Moura had to say:

Q:  After getting out of the favela winning the worlds seven times must have seemed like no big deal.

Robson Moura:  I just kept saying to myself, I have to get off of here.  But when I was about 15, my family had money problems.  And my pai, my father said to me (angry voice) “You have to work, you have to start to make money!”  

But I was taking the bus all the time to train, it was an hour and a half one way, I was going back and forth a few times a day, and I knew if I started to work I wouldn't have time for Jiu-Jitsu anymore.  I knew that would be it.

And I said to my mom, “Mom I know I can do something with this,” and she said, “Don't worry, you keep doing this, I will take care of your father.”  And that's what happened.

Why is it so hard to get out of the favela?

RM:  One thing, you know, some people, people I grew up with, they started to take a bad way.  They started to walk around with guns when they were like, 14, 15, and they wanted me to take the bad way too.  They started to give me a lot of problems, wanting to fight me all the time, and I was like, “Man, I'm trying to get off of here, to find a better life, you should too.”

And one time, it was late, like midnight, when I got back to Teresopolis, I got off the bus and these two guys were there.  They were my friends, I grew up with them, but then they started hassling me, giving me a hard time, and one of them had a gun.

There was nobody around.  And these guys they just kept talking to me like that.

But then this guy that lived there, this neighbor, he came out of his house, and he said, “Come on you kids, go on home, that's enough,” and they did.

And a few weeks later, one of these guys got arrested and went to jail, and the other one got killed.  So, I'm not saying I was happy about it, he was just a kid, but...

But it gave you some room to breathe?


How did you end up in Tampa?

When I first came here, I was in Delaware.  I didn't know any English.  I didn't even know how to say “Hi.” I was there for two years.  And it was so cold.  It was cold all the time.  And I started to get really depressed.  I never wanted to leave the house, I just wanted to stay on the couch all the time, my hair got really big (his gesture indicates circumference, not length), my beard was so big, and my wife said to me, “You have the depression.”

And I said to her (cold voice), “I have no idea what you are talking about.” I had never even heard of that.  We don't have that in Teresopolis.

And then I started to find out about it and I understood that maybe she was right.  And I knew I had to find someplace else.  So I spent like a year just looking around for a place I thought would work for me, and I found Tampa.  Tampa is on the ocean and the ocean for me is, is.... It's big.  And I like the town.  It's not too big, not too small.  And I really like our location.

One thing about me is, if I have an idea, I have to do it right now.  I was talking to my web guy just now about an idea for the website and he said “Yeah, I'll get it done in a few days,” and I said, “No man, you gotta do it tonight.”  If I don't do something right away I can't sleep.

How is the USA different from Brazil?

Brazil is a great place to do business right now.  A lot of opportunities.  The economy is growing.  But it's not easy.  Everything is complicated.  There's a lot of corruption.

I remember one time, I was still really young, I was driving back from training, it's like an hour.  It was late at night, and it was so hot.  I didn't have a shirt, I was just driving with all the windows down. And the Federal Police stopped me.  And I was like, What did I do?  I had my license, my registration, my insurance, everything was in order.

And this guy just started to gave me a really hard time, like, “You're gonna go to jail!”  and I was like, Come on man.  And finally he told me I had to give him 20 reais.  That's like, 12 dollars.  And I had no money on me so I had to write him a check.  For 12 dollars.

I could have got him in trouble but I was like, you know what, I have to drive here all the time, I don't want any problems.    

What do you prefer to be called?  Robson?  Mestre?  Professor?

Whatever you prefer.

You must have a preference.  Sensei? Mestre?  

Some of my students call me Professor.  I like that.  Mestre seems so, you know...too much.

Yeah, you only won the Worlds seven times.  That's not really that many.

(Robson smiles a mischievous smile).

You never know...

What's your next big competition going to be?

I'm not sure.

(Again the smile).

I might do the Masters and Seniors.

That doesn't even seem fair.

(Another Robson smile).

What's coming up next?

This is a really busy time.  In March I'm going to be in Hawaii for a week training.  This place I'm gonna be, there's nothing.  Just the beach.  There's gonna be nothing to do.

Sounds heavenly.  I mean, wow, that sucks.

I told my wife, Alessandra, she has to come too, because otherwise I'll be there a whole week with nothing to do.  Sometimes she says to me, Okay let's go on vacation but you have to promise, no training.  No jiu-jitsu. But a vacation without training is not a vacation.

How do you make your decisions?  Would you say you’re more rational or more emotional?

You gotta be smart.  You can’t make business decisions with your heart.  Everything I do, I always have a plan.  When I bought my first house in Brazil, the deal was if I missed a payment, I was gonna lose the house.  The guy looked at me like, “This kid is crazy, where’s he gonna get the money.”

But I would win a competition, bring him the money.  Teach some seminars, bring him the money.  The guy couldn’t believe it.  I always have to know when I make a plan that it’s something realistic, something I can do.  I don’t always know how I’m gonna do it, but I know that somehow I’ll find a way to do it.

Another private is over and so is my week of training. Feelings of regret mingle with relief in an emotional 50/50 guard. On the relief side, I seem to have gotten through four days of training without making a complete ass of myself and there is the satisfaction of quitting while I am ahead. On the regret side, I am about to say goodbye to 30 of my best friends.

That’s how it feels when you train with Robson Moura. To be honest, I hadn’t known what to expect.  I was just hoping to slither under the radar in what I imagined to be Cirque du Soleil-esque workouts at RMNU Tampa.  In actuality, I was not only tolerated, I was welcomed.  Every class began with a steady stream of handshakes and smiles as per Robson’s policy of making newcomers feel at home.

But all good things must come to an end.  I look at my feet.  After a week of three-a-days, they look like they have been chewed by coyotes.

“Mat burn?” says Robson conversationally.  I nod.

Robson looks at his own foot, measuring it with his hand.

I have really small feet. Like 7, 7 and a half.

Do you have trouble finding shoes?

Nah, I always just buy kids' shoes.

Probably saves you a lot of money.


On October 25-28 Robson Moura will be hosting the first annual RMNU Conference Training Camp in Tampa, open to all RMNU and Nova Uniao members.  See for details or go on Facebook and Like the Robson Moura Nova Uniao Jiu Jitsu Association.

Road to Recovery by Augusto Tanquinho Mendes THIS POST CAN BE SEE IN Issue #111 VIEW NOW >

Every athlete in any sport has experienced an injury or will go through some type of injury one day in their career.

The Takedown: Know Your Weakness - Interview with Ricardo Pires THIS POST CAN BE SEE IN Issue #102 VIEW NOW >

Ricardo is a 4th degree black belt under Sergio Penha (Osvaldo Alves). He founded the Las Vegas Combat Club and coached Frank Mir to his first UFC heavyweight title. This piece is on the takedown, which can be such a sticky wicket for ground fighters if they don't have a wrestling or judo background.

The importance of hips in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu THIS POST CAN BE SEE IN Issue #101 VIEW NOW >

In terms of importance for Jiu Jitsu proficiency, be it in practice or competition, the hips are by far the one area that has the greatest impact on performance in the sport. Whether being used in the most fundamental of positions to create space to escape, generate angles for attack or producing speed and power for more advanced sweeps and takedowns, the hips are responsible for bridging the gap between lower and upper body power generation and creating the leverage needed to apply the forces used in Jiu Jitsu techniques. Looking into their function, specifically within the art of Jiu Jitsu, studying the science behind the hips will help give us a better understanding as to how we can maximize their potential for creating energy efficient movements and improve our all around game on the mats.

Hips and Principles of Physics
Going back to science, we know that force is any action that causes a body to undergo a change in velocity, speed or direction, usually from a pushing or pulling force exerted on the body. In attempting sweeps and takedowns, we are applying force to accomplish this goal, by using leverage and technique, coupled with speed and power. Power is the rate that this force is applied and transferred to this body or object. In the case of Jiu Jitsu; we normally are referring to our opponent when we talk about the application of force on an object. When an object, or opponent, is then moved or repositioned such as the case of performing a takedown for example, we can say that work has been done on that object. The amount of work done on an object is in direct proportion to the amount of force that can be generated and applied to the object. The more force applied, the more work that can be accomplished.

In terms of Jiu Jitsu application, we can sweep, pass, defend and perform takedowns with greater speed and efficiency when we apply these principles of physics. The goal of any Jiu Jistu artist is to use the least amount of energy possible to create the greatest impact and movement of your opponent. As the hips are the body part responsible for coordinating our upper and lower bodies, as well as positioning our bodies to take advantage of angles and space, the impact that they have on generating force and power is profound. When the hips are used properly, we can maximize our potential strength and generate more power to ultimately use less energy performing the same amount of work as compared to someone trying to “muscle” their way through the same technique. When one uses just their arms to try and move an opponent or only their legs to complete a movement, they waste energy and have a much more difficult time applying their technique properly. Correct hip positioning will maximize efficiency of movement and conserve energy, time and power as well as decrease the chances of failure in attempted techniques. When this happens, and the hips are used properly, you will see effortless Jiu Jitsu, the kind of jiu jitsu where a person looks as if they are using no strength, yet easily manipulating their opponent.

The Jiu-Jitsu Junkie's Guide to Withdrawal Symptoms - Issue #096

I remember a while back reading a Rickson Gracie quote where he said that “Once jiu-jitsu is in your blood, you would rather die that go one day without it”. At the time this really hit home for me. It was true. Not having jiu jitsu in my life would be dreadful.   For most of you reading this you have probably gone through a period in your training where you have become ultra-obsessive about BJJ, where you spend the time when you are not training thinking about training, when the thought of not training is too awful to even consider. There are so many positives virtues from training and what I this article will be about is looking at the negatives of not being able to train. What I do want to discuss is the emotional impact when you can’t do the thing you love.

I am currently suffering from a knee injury that has kept me out of action for a couple of months now.  I would say this is the 2nd most serious injury I have suffered, the 1st being a shoulder injury that kept me from training regularly for about 1 year.  Having had two so long lay offs I think has given me a perspective on why I want (maybe even need) to train.

For me the physical pain was something I could cope with. The withdrawal from my drug of choice was what was far less tolerable.

Rafael Lovato Jr. - INTERVIEW - Issue #092 THIS POST CAN BE SEE IN Issue #092 VIEW NOW >

Rafael Lovato Jr was in the UK last week, after competing at the Euros in Lisbon; Rafael visited UK black belt Eddie Kone and gave a seminar on guard passing at Eddie’s club.  I was fortunate enough to grab a few words with Rafael, who kindly took time out of his busy schedule to answer my questions, prior to the seminar.  Thanks to Eddie Kone for allowing the interview to happen and in bringing over Rafael once again to the UK.

Hi Rafael, thanks for taking time out for the interview; you’re in the UK for a few days, after competing at the Euros in Lisbon right?

Thank you Carl and that’s right, I was at the Euros again this year, it’s a great tournament as it’s at the beginning at the year and it’s always full of tough competitors and world champions.  Any mistakes I make at the Europeans I can adjust and go back and fix them up and get better and better throughout the year and get ready for the major comps later in the year.

It’s like a testing ground before the Pan Ams and Mundials?

Exactly right Carl.  The Worlds is all that matters, you can lose at every other tournament but if you win the Worlds you’re the world champion that year.

What brings you to the Euros year after year?

The level of competitor at the start of the year is huge here at the Euros and although I didn’t get the result I wanted, I got bronze in my weight bracket and Absolute, but I felt like I performed fairly well.  I was playing my game that I had been working on you know, so with all that said I felt pretty good.  I beat some pretty tough guys, but I lost to Bernard Faria in the semis in the Absolute, it was 4-2, a really close match and at the end of the match I swept him with a kimura position and if I had picked up the points I would have won, but the time ran out ya know.

Again in the weight class, I competed against Tussa Alencar, we have fought many times and they have been really close matches and this time it was his time win, I lost by takedown and once again at the end of the match I swept him and got to his back and finished the match with both my hooks in and didn’t get the points.  I felt at least I could have the points for the sweep which would have given me the match, as I was ahead on advantages, but it didn’t work out that way but that’s OK, better to lose here at the Euros, so I can go back and correct my mistakes.