Time Off / Creating a Plan

I decided to take an extended leave of absence from training. By extended, I mean about 5-7 days. It doesn't seem like a long time, but for someone who goes 4-5 days a week/2 hours a day; it seems like a lifetime. I had gotten to the point of absolute exhaustion leading up to my last tournament, and having reached my first major goal in jiu jitsu (win a competition match) drained a lot of emotion out of me.

I don't want jiu jitsu to feel like a job. I have so much fun going to practice everyday, and meeting new people while I train/compete. I need to find a way to keep a competitive spark while maintaining my love for the art of jiu jitsu. After reaching my first major milestone, I felt like I had nothing else to work toward, because I hadn't defined my future goals. As a result, I've decided to create a new long-term plan that consists of major milestones along my journey to blue belt. This plan consists of many points that deal with both the competitive and fun aspects of the sport. Here are a few tidbits from what I've been planning.

1. Attain the rank of blue belt in BJJ
-- This one is fairly obvious. Most people's number one goal in martial arts is to keep reaching for the next rank. I am currently a third rank white belt (about 7 months training), but I don't feel like my skill level is anywhere near the level of our blue belts. Especially when you look at people like our blue belt Julian Vega. That guy is a freaking prodigy. Also, since I'm being considered for our competition team, our black belts have already discussed with me about "being held to a higher standard." I got a lot of work to do before I can legitimately call myself a blue belt.

2. Win a medal at a regional competition
-- This is a logical progression from my first major goal. I think that I was about 5th place in the last tournament. I want to be top 3 next time. That means working on my strength and cardio, and eventually cutting weight down to 169 (20 lbs ughhhhh).

3. Bring my family to a tournament
-- I'd love to have my wife and sons watch me roll sometime. Win or lose, it would be a lot of fun.

4. Make a personal "position" plan
-- I have started to record myself rolling, so I can pick apart different pieces of my game. I hope to develop a good plan of action to develop in areas that are my biggest weaknesses. Escaping side control and the mount are definitely two things I'll be starting on first.


Those are only a few of several things that I've set as goals. While it is good to maintain good professional goals within the discipline, I think that (for me) it is necessary that I also focus on having fun. I don't want to risk burning myself out.

I'll save that for getting my purple belt :)


  1. I like the way you've put down a couple goals, and I think those are all attainable. I have a couple thoughts, completely unsolicited :)

    1. Aspiring to a higher rank is great - like you said, of course we all do it. Try to keep that out of your head, though - you shouldn't be "gunning" for blue belt. Concentrate on your technique and your flow, and let your coach worry about what belt you should be. If that means you compete as a white belt for a while, so be it. Be the best white belt out there.

    2. Don't worry about your weight - if you try to cut too much, you'll end up either hurting yourself, dropping muscle you need, or dehydrating to a bad place. Instead, focus on your cardio and your strength, like you said, and let your weight stabilize wherever it's going to. Should you want to drop a weight class? Sure, but it's MORE important to be able to move the weight you've got with the most efficiency possible. If you're a FAST 205, you have an advantage even if you're not the strongest 205 out there. Because you don't have to worry about striking, being shorter and heavier isn't as big a deal as long as you can move yourself around efficiently. Your body will respond to whatever training you do, and maybe you lose weight, but maybe you gain muscle. Either way you win. Just my $.02.

  2. i try to train 3 days a week - I get disappointed when it works out where I have 4 days off in a row. I miss rolling:) - Jen