Road to The California Open Championships!

In the past year, I have competed in 11 Brazilian Jiu Jitsu tournaments. After 30 plus years of training in martial arts, that is the most I have competed in a single year! It has been a fun journey and a great learning experience. This past weekend I competed in the Five Grappling California open Championship. I felt the urge to write about this particular event because I faced a few set backs which made it particularly challenging.
As you all know, I just released a new dvd. This is the first dvd I have ever produced on my own. Im a trainer, not a dvd maker, marketer or even a computer guy for that matter. So once I embarked on the making of this dvd became a long drawn out process. It was all trial and error. That and having to run my gym SoCal mma consumed all of my time. It was difficult to even find the energy to train. So, I was having inconsistency in my jiu jitsu training. However, I never neglected my Kettle-Jitsu training. I make it a point to train with my classes 4 times a week. I lead by example. I think it is important as a trainer to do so.
Even though I was really busy, I set a goal to compete in the California open. The dvd was out already, so there was a bit of a load of my back. A few weeks into my training, I strained my hip really bad. It was so bad I had to see a doctor. Of course he said I needed to lay off the Jiu Jitsu as well. Even though my hip wasn’t well, the Kettle-Jitsu training didn’t bother me much. So, I decided that since I cant train jiu jitsu, I will focus on intensifying my kb and bodyweight training. For me this means doing more rounds and increasing the weight of the kettlebell. Since my dvd was out. We were working the whole 8 week program from it at my gym. We followed it to a T. I steadily increased the weight until I was using a 50lb kettlebell for most of the workouts.
Then my hip started feeling a lot better. Good enough to start training jiu jitsu again. But by then, the tournament was really close. I don’t even think a full 2 weeks of training bjj would make a difference. To make matters worse, after a rolling session, my knee somehow got tweaked. It started to swell. So the bjj training again went out the window. Because of the knee injure, I couldn’t even train the week before. I had to scale down the Kettlejitsu training to let my body heal before the tournament. But the knee injury was enough to make my weight off. So this caused another problem. I had to cut 5 lbs the day before the competition in order to make weight.
So after all of that, I competed and won all of my matches by submission. I was extremely happy by the outcome because of all of the adversity I had to endure. I went in there with my Kettle-Jitsu conditioning and experience and still pulled off the victory. This is what really separates what I do, from other fitness systems. Kettle-Jitsu works every aspect of your conditioning, coordination, strength, agility, speed and focus. All of these of which are very important to combat athletes. How may fitness systems can claim that?
Nowadays there is this big strength trend. Everybody is preaching how important it is to be strong. You see people all over facebook talking about deadlifting this much or that much. Is it more important to be strong, or to be fit? What consequences will you face after years and years of heavy lifting? Fitness should be everyone’s priority. Why is it so important to be strong? Does your job require it? Safety and functionality of your fitness regime are more important. With Kettle-Jitsu, I do not emphasize using a lot of weight. It is up to the practitioner to decide whether they want to go heavier or not. Even then, I stay away of using extreme amounts of weight. Even as a competitive athlete, I don’t feel a need for it.
So don’t get sucked into the new “strength trend.” All you need is kettlebell and bodyweight. Kettle-Jitsu is for everyone! It even helped me compete and win the California open with minimal jiu jitsu training! But remember, you don’t have to be a fighter to train like one!
five Grappling article

The Kettlebell Swing and Kettle-Jitsu Variations

JoJo swing

If there is one exercise in the fitness industry that is the most talked about and argued over, it has to be the kettlebell swing! I have honestly never seen anything like it.  It amazes me how opinionated and close minded people are on this very exercise. For the most part we know that kettlebell training was developed in Russia. But what most people don’t know, is that the kettlebell was not invented to be an exercise tool. It was used for weighing things. Then, someone decided to use it in lifting competitions in village games. From there on, kettlebell techniques were developed and refined by Russians and it is now a sport as well.  Does this mean that we have to do all kettlebell exercises like the Russians? I think not.

  Nowadays, everyone is picking up kettlebells and swinging.  There are numerous kettlebell organizations using different methods. You have hard style swings, GS style swings, American swings, combat swings etc…  Whose style is the best? For me, fitness is an expression of ones personality.  I believe you have to choose the fitness system that suits you.  I don’t believe one person’s method is better than the other.  But what I do believe, that you must have a solid foundation in fitness before you pick up the bell and start swinging. 

  There are some key elements you must have before attempting the swing.  Regardless if you are doing a traditional swing or a crossfit style swing, if you are not warmed up properly, chances are you are going to injure yourself.  Almost every variation of the swing involves your lower back. So it is important to thoroughly prepare your core before using a kb.  Another factor is the neutral spine.  This is also a universal factor regardless which style of swing you do.  Keeping a neutral spine while swinging is important. 

  I use the swing that is pretty much standard in the kettlebell industry.  It involves the folding of the hips, with a slight bend of the knees. I found this method to be one of the best overall core developing exercises. It is also extremely functional for what I do.  I am a former mma fighter and and international bjj competitor.  In every aspect of fighting, you are using your core.  I believe mastering the swing gives you great control of your hips. It helps tremendously with your sprawl. The sprawl is a defense to numerous types of take downs.  You will most likely find the sprawl in every mma and bjj competition you see.  So that is why I love the swing and different variations of it. 

  Over the years, I have developed numerous variations of the swing.  On my first dvd, Combat Kettlebell Systems, I introduced to the world my “combat swings.”  This variation uses the same mechanics of the regular swing, but only from a fighting(staggered) stance.  This variation adds a whole different effect to this exercise. It will hit your core entirely different than a traditional swing.  But, before attempting combat swings or other variations, I do believe you should master the 2 hand swing. 

  So that is a brief explanations of my philosophy of the swing and why I do what I do.  Check out the attached video to see some of my Kettle-Jitsu variations.  I included a side angle of the exercises to show the folding and hinging of my hips while I do them.  Make sure you are warm before attempting them! Click here to purchase the new Kettle-Jitsu Revolution double dvd and start learning how to swing!