Wednesday, July 25, 2012

How many Calories do we burn in BJJ? (

How many Calories do we burn in BJJ?

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is an endurance sport when it comes to training, much like the marathon runner or a cyclist. A BJJ tournament will tax an athlete as they will need to have the ability to fight several times and each individual match will have periods of high intensity sprinting. So fighters need to train their body to handle both areas of energy output and thus need to consume calories to fuel such activity. A serious BJJ fighter will train as much as any runner. A two hour long class can burn a tremendous amount of calories. The fact is that an athlete who is putting in long sessions at the gym may burn several thousand kcals a day. Look at U.S. Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps and his training diet as an example. To meet the potential needs of an athlete will require huge amounts of nutritional planning to meet their dietary goals. This may not always fit into an athletes schedule, but will be necessary to ensure adequate stores of energy for the next day’s training. Sometimes eating can be one of the more difficult aspects of an athletes trainng regime and certainly one of the more confusing undertakings. The key to fitting in calories on a tight schedule is to have many small nutrient dense snacks that are high in calories spaced throughout the day. To determine the best amount of calories to consume, you need to get an idea of how many calories you burn. Below is a table with estimates on calories burned per hour per pound of body weight for various activities common in BJJ training. Considering the importance that Jiu Jitsu fighters place on maintaining weight for competition this is an area that fighters need to research heavily.  Keep in mind that each individual is unique and burns varying amounts based on age, metabolism, goals, time of day training, weight, training partners etc...etc... This is simply a guide to give you a general idea. 

Type of Activity
Calories burned per hour
per pound of body weight
Basketball (shooting around)
Boxing (Bag Work)
Boxing  (Sparring)
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (light)
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (Intense)
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (competition)
Close to 300-500 calories/hr in 5 mins Pace cannot be maintained for an entire hour
Calisthenics (push ups, sit ups etc)
Circuit training
Cycling ( med pace)
Jump rope (medium)
Jump rope (fast)
Kick Boxing
Rowing machine (light)
Running (fast mile)
Running (Jog)
Running Stairs
Stairmaster machine
Stretching (Yoga) light
Swimming (med pace)
Weight lifting (light)
Weight lifting (intense)
Wrestling (light practice)
Wrestling (competition)
Close to 300-500/hr calories in 5 mins Pace cannot be maintained for an entire hour

To determine your approximate calories burned, you need to multiply the number of calories burned per hour by your body weight. If you go to a typical BJJ class, you may undergo a training routine similar to this.

5 minutes of stretching 

10 minutes of calisthenics

15 minutes of techniques

30 minutes of rolling

At 175 pounds the following equations would work for me.

Take the Calories burned per hour per pound of body weight value. Multiply that by your body weight in pounds. Divide that by 60 minutes and you are left with how many calories you burn each minute at your given weight. Multiply that by the number of minutes you engage in that activity. That will give you your calories burned.

Stretching                         (1.81 x 175lbs) ÷ 60 mins x 5 mins = 26 calories for 5 minutes

Calisthenics                      (2.43 x 175lbs) ÷ 60 mins x 10 mins= 79 calories for 10 minutes

BJJ technique                  (3.25 x 175lbs) ÷ 60 mins x 15 mins= 142 calories for 15 minutes

Rolling                              (4.87 x 175lbs) ÷ 60 mins x 30 mins= 426 calories for 30 minutes


26 + 79 + 142 + 426 = 706 total calories

Add another ½ hour for training/sparring and that number is up to 1132 calories.

How much extra work done in a day varies based on lifestyle. But when you adjust this formula to meet the individual needs and goals of Jiu Jitsu students, there is a great variation among all levels of athlete concerning their diets and required caloric intake. You will obviously not burn as many calories if you are not working very hard and simply watching a class. Perhaps you are going really hard the entire time, doing lots of take downs and drills and will burn more calories. It is up to the coach and athlete to stay motivated and maintain a good workout effort and pace designed to meet the training goals for the best results in their practices to make progress in BJJ.

Tim Buce IBJJF Black Belt U.S. National Championships 2011

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Monday, July 16, 2012

What It Means To Be A Black Belt....

     I recently finished an article that I wrote for BJJWEEKLY.COM , on what it means to be a Black Belt. I asked several BJJ Black Belts to finish a sentence for me..."Being a Black Belt means...." The responses could have been from a Black Belt in almost ANY martial art as the message seems to transcend styles. I thought that it was interesting to see the responses that people gave and how similar some of them were. Here is a link to the article…

     I know the amount of work it took me to finally advance the ranks and I remember the sheer joy and relief when I actually received my Black Belt.  It turned out to be a new beginning…Martial arts and in particular Jiu Jitsu has been a blessing in my life and a source of pride and accomplishment. I feel it’s really important to strive for the highest ranks that one could achieve and to do so requires learning from those who have been there and taking their knowledge and wisdom to heart.

Tim Bruce taken at Photoshoot during 2012 Jiu Jitsu World Championships
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Wednesday, July 4, 2012

“How to get better in BJJ”

     A question that has been popping up again and again in multiple forms is “How can I get better in BJJ?” This is a simple question and can be answered in two ways. There is the simple answer and the long answer. I can say that before I present both to you that I feel qualified to answer this question due to my many years of training, competing, refereeing, judging  and coaching which has given me invaluable insight into many different fighters, instructors and competitors and their different approaches to improving their Jiu Jitsu. There are complex interactions at play and not every practitioner of the sport will respond the same way to the same training. With that in mind there are a few universal truths that I find to be common across the majority of athletes who train in this sport.

     The SIMPLE answer to how one can improve is fairly obvious to most people. It is MAT TIME. Spend as much time on the mat and in class as possible. This can include class, open mats, private lessons or drilling, either solo or with a partner. The more time you spend doing jiu jitsu the better you will become at jiu jitsu. It’s next to impossible to improve unless you practice, but there seems to be a large number of people searching for a short cut. Where there are some things you can do to help IMPROVE your jiu jitsu, without actually practicing and spending time on the mats, you will not really get good or make significant improvements. A plateau will be reached and progress from there will be slow and limited at best.
      As obvious as this seems, I cannot tell you how many search inquires I have seen from people around the globe looking for ways to “improve in BJJ” or “get better at BJJ.” The best fighters in the world are usually the hardest workers and the ones who have spent the most time most time on the mats. Marcelo Garcia one told me how they used to live in the gym and train 3-4 times a day in Brazil. The improvements will come at a faster rate than those of someone who trains only 3-4 times a week. This must be a fighters understanding from the onset of their journey in jiu jitsu. Is it reasonable to assume everyone who practices BJJ can quit their lives and start living in a gym? Of course not. But it can be assumed that there are days that we don't train and COULD be either in the gym or doing something supportive of our development in BJJ.

            The more complicated answer involves making sure that besides mat time; all other intangibles are in your favor.

Having the right motivation and drive to be successful is only part of the equation. If you are willing to put in the work, then you need to make sure that your goals are clear and you have the right support structure behind you.

If you don't love what you are doing, then you will most likely be unable to put the effort needed into maintaining a pace optimal for improvment and success.

Set clearly defined and realistic goals. Go over these goals and make sure that your instructor is aware of these goals so that he can help you reach them.

Make sure that you do everything in your power to help improve your lifestyle choices so that your BJJ can benefit from it. This involves proper nutrition and dietary supplementation.

Sleep and lifestyle choices to avoid things that are detremental to success like drugs and alcohol.
     Training and exercise is a must.  Cross training in other grappling sports like Judo and wrestling has helped some of the best BJJ competitors in the world. Look at the number of world champs that are also Judo black belts for example.

Additional conditioning from a qualified personal trainer preferably with grappling experience will be essential.

The right gym facilities and instructors is a key factor to truly develop the potential of a fighter. Without a good gym, a fighter can be limited based on space and availability of training times.

 Without the right coach, a fighter’s improvement will be slowed down considerably due to lack of experience or expertise.

The best team for the fighter is also of extreme importance. The right training partners will be of significant benefit to the overall group as well as the individual. Other practitioners who will not injure you and who will at the same time challenge you and whose goals align with yours and show up to work are the guys you want to surround yourself with.
     Support from home is another key element. Without support from family or friends who believe in you and support your goals, you will meet road blocks along the way. Someone who believes in you and what you do will help keep you motivated and driven.

 Even the financial support to pay for training, gis and gear, privates, tournaments and seminar fees is often overlooked and underrated in its importance. Without some financial backing we are limited in just how much we can do in jiu jitsu.

Supplementation of knowledge in the forms of instructional DVDs and books is another area in which people can take advantage of and get extra philosophy and techniques presented to them, but make sure that you are getting the right ones from reputable instructors.
     Complete a check list of how you train and what you do and if there are some areas that you are deficient, then you can make adjustments and thus help improve your BJJ. Where this is just a basic list, one can go into much further detail to examine these areas of training in the sport and how they can be applied to further their improvements within the sport. There are no short cuts to success in this sport and with the right environment and support a fighter can achieve great success if they follow some sound practices and show self discipline. I will go into greater detail in the future on this topic but hopefully these points will help people get a grasp on areas that they can improve on right now.

                                               2012 Jiu Jitsu World Championships

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Thursday, May 3, 2012

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu...It's all about the hips and grips...

            When coaching new BJJ practitioners, it's important for me as an instructor to make sure that at the start of their instruction, I convey some very important details about what will help them be successful in the short term as well as the long term training they undertake in the sport. Besides building a strong technical foundation of the fundamental positions in Jiu Jitsu, I stress the importance of the theory of hips and grips. When as a white belt, you find yourself in a bad position, you can survive against a more experienced opponent with the best grips and proper placement of your hips preventing them from advancing further against you and finishing the fight. When you become more advanced as a practitioner, you will be able to use your hips and grips to set up more complex techniques, sweeps and submissions against strong opponents who get tied up or put in a disadvantageous position due to leverage created from the placement of your hips.

             Some of the best fighters I have trained with have either, A.)remarkable hip movement…OR…B.)incredible grips (in terms of positioning or strength) or both. Being advanced in both areas of hips and grips is an advantage that you will have over almost every other jiu jitsu fighter you could face. If you want to improve your game tremendously in a very short period of time, all you need to do is work on those two areas.

     Experiment in the gym with trying different grips on the gi and see how it will stifle your opponent’s movement and frustrate them by preventing them from moving. It will also set up all types of sweeps, passes and submissions. With explosive, fluid hips, you will confuse your opponents and prevent them from being able to settle down into a comfortable position to try and advance or control you.  Below is a link to an article I wrote for BJJWEEKLY.COM on the Importance of Hips in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Hopefully it will help add some insight to help improve your game!

     2011 American National Championships....Black Belt No-Gi Senior 1 Absolute Division

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Coaching Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

What Makes a Great Coach or Instructor?
What attributes does it take to become a great teacher of Jiu Jitsu?

BJJ is a tough sport to master so imagine how much harder it is to teach it. There is tremendous amount of responsibility and pressure to convey knowledge to your students who entrust you to share your knowledge. We often take for granted the stress this can bring upon our own instructors. I’ve been fortunate to have had the opportunity to learn from some amazing people and decided to write an article for BJJ WEEKLY about what makes the perfect coach. Hopefully it will give you some insight into what your instructor goes through and perhaps what you can do to help elevate your game.

WWW.TBJ2.COM                                           WWW.Jupiterjiujitsu.COM

Jake Santiago, Patrick Ryan, Patrick Broring, Tim Bruce, Pedro Lima, Chris Escamilla, Eddie Twyford and Zach after training for Mundials 2011!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Tips To Help Getting Sponsored In BJJ

How to get sponsorship in BJJ

Often the topic of sponsorship comes up among Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competitors. In the gym, there are lots of guys that want to compete but don’t have the necessary funds to do so. Not everyone has the luxury of having tournaments held near to their homes or academies and certainly most fighters I know don’t have the money to fly all over the world to compete. If you are financially well off and able to do this…awesome. For the rest of us, we need to find money to do what we love. One answer is sponsorship. So the question is, “How can I get sponsored to fight?” The answer is simply, you have to work for it. Sponsorship money is out there but you need to know what you are doing and you need to put in some work for it.
Remember…unless you are one of the biggest names in the sport, people are not going to throw checks at you. Since I’m no Roger Gracie, I need to look for people willing to help me out! Businesses are most likely not knocking down our doors to pay us to fight. There is no such thing as free money. But the good news is that there is money available in corporate world that people will be willing to share with us to train and compete. With a few helpful tips, you may be able to help fund you passion and obtain sponsorship to the next big BJJ tournament by following a few simple general guidelines.
            Recently a friend of mine had asked me if I had any tips on how to get sponsored. The first thing I told him is to look within the academy. In many BJJ schools, there are people from all walks of life. You may have doctors and lawyers and wealthy business owners that share your passion for the sport of BJJ but perhaps not the desire to compete.  These people have trained with you. They have sat on the mats after class and laughed with you. They are your teammates and friends and they know you as well as anyone out there. These are the first people to ask if they would be willing to help out with travel expenses. Usually this will be a business expense or tax write off for them and they will get the satisfaction of helping out one of their own. It may not necessarily be an actually BJJ student, but perhaps a good friend or family member related to you or someone within the academy. In the school, there are multiple opportunities to find some financial assistance to compete. All you need to do is ask. Remember that these people are you biggest fans.
            If you or your coach doesn’t feel comfortable soliciting from within, you need to consider outside businesses and institutions. This requires a little more effort and preplanning on your part. There are many things that you need to factor into your decision on whom to approach and how to approach them. The first step is researching potential sponsors. Find someone who is a good fit for BJJ. A music store or ballet dance studio is probably not the best place to look. Realistically, for a sponsor who doesn’t know you, this will be a business opportunity and they need to get something out of this deal. A local sports bar may be a better fit. You need to formulate a letter that explains why they will benefit from sponsoring you and what you can do for them. If you were going to the World Championships, you can tell them how many competitors will be there. You can tell them how many spectators will be there. Explain how many magazines, websites, journalists and worldwide viewers will be watching this event. Tell them how many people train in your gym and that live in the community, who are following you. Tell them how by sponsoring you, their business will be getting a return on their investment. Prove to them that you are a sound business investment. Be confident and persuasive and professional. Above all, be honest and do not promise or make claims that you can’t guarantee and back up. This is a legitimate business partnership and if you wish to be sponsored continually by them, you need to work for them.
            One you find some suitable sponsors that seem to make sense for Jiu Jitsu sponsorship and you have researched them well, you need to find the contact person whom will be in charge of making any decisions regarding your potential sponsorship with them. Before you send them a letter, drop them a line or even stop by in person. Normally a business will not bother reading or responding to a letter from a stranger asking for money. Remember that in the letter, they will most likely not be able to understand your drive, passion and enthusiasm for the sport. However a short and sincere phone conversation and introduction will let them know to expect a package from you in the near future.
            In the letter you send them afterwards, you should include a breakdown of what the money you request will be going towards, i.e. Travel, lodging and registration fees. Also include some info about who you are and your competition record. They need to know why sponsoring you will help them get a return on their donation and how you will help them for their contributions. This has to be in more than just a logo on your Gi. In today’s age of internet marketing, you can explain to them, that you will be mentioned on your Facebook page, your website or Blog if you have one. You will put them as a web link on your signature and mention them in Jiu Jitsu forums and if you win, you will proudly mention and display who they are. You will wear their patch and make youtube videos and get their name publicized as much as yours. Let them know that your name is out there and theirs will be out there with it!
            Another must is having a well written letter. If you have the grammatical skills and persuasive ability of an angry 10 year old, get a friend to help write it. A professional organization will only respond to you if you are presenting them with a well organized and well written proposal. There are probably plenty of people in the academy that would be willing to help you out in this endeavor.  When writing the letter, don’t sound desperate and do not beg for money. Some people include pictures of themselves during tournaments. This is a personal preference, whether or not you include one. The idea behind this is they will see a good photo of you in action and understand the environment you compete in and where they may be advertising. Do not include a picture unless it presents you in a positive light and try to have a good photo taken with a decent camera if you decide to go this route. It would be counterproductive to give them a cheap, blurry Polaroid of you in the locker room with a plastic medal around your neck!
            This brings us to the point that the process of trying to find a sponsor should begin well ahead of time. Some companies have major red tape and protocol to sort out before deciding on granting you sponsorship. If you are patient and prepared, you may be successful. When asking for funds, remember, it’s better to get one main sponsor than to have a dozen small contributions. You don’t want to look like a patchwork quilt on the mat with 15 small logos and patches on your Gi! When you approach an organization you feel has good potential, ask for more money than you actually need. This will give you some room to negotiate ad still leave all of your expenses covered for the tournament. You also don’t want them to feel as if they are getting some second rate fighter. Exude confidence in your ability as a fighter and person so that they feel as if they are sponsoring a quality contender and individual. Remember the work you put in to BJJ on the mats…that’s the person they are getting when they sponsor you. Let them know that.
            If you follow these steps and you do get sponsorship, keep them updated periodically as to how you are doing and how training is going. Emails and letters and periodic phone calls will remind them of the fact that you appreciate you partnership and this may help maintain the relationship you build with them for years to come. If you don’t work for them in some capacity, you can probably forget ever getting money from them again. It’s typically easier to get sponsored by an upstart equipment company compared to an established Jiu Jitsu gear company with big named fighters sponsored by them or a local business not related to the sport. You may be able to obtain lots of free gear and equipment, but this probably will not cover the costs of a major competition. It will however help offset the expenses involved in training and can translate to more money in your budget for competitions.
            Some people may have difficulty finding a local business to help. If this is the case, you need to go out and look at different venues to find them. If you want to meet the people that may potentially help you with sponsorship in the future, one option is to think about ways in which you and or the academy can do volunteer work in the local community. This is an excellent chance to meet other individuals who could possibly introduce you to potential sponsors in the future that will remember you for your charity work. It will also show local business owners the type of people they are dealing with and make it more likely that they will want to help you. This is a good chance to get you and your schools name out there in a positive light. It’s all about the exposure for a business to see their potential gain. Hopefully by using some of these tips you can get some financial help to assist you in following your dreams and get to do what you love, for free.

Sponsored fighters at the 2012 IBJJF World Championships 

WWW.TBJ2.COM                            WWW.JUPITERJIUJITSU.COM

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Reading to Improve BJJ....Part 2

Reading to Improve BJJ...Part 2

Reading short articles of a page or 2 in length are appropriate for the purpose of stimulating the brain before Jiu Jitsu as we are just “activating” our brains to gear them up and set an overall emotional mood and stimulate cognitive areas of the brain involved in learning, memory and motivation to bring positive energy and results into the day or training session. Further reading in great detail has huge benefits that are beyond the scope of what I’m prepared to write about here, but essentially the more you read, the smarter you will become overall and certainly within the context of your subject of choice. As BJJ practitioners, we are generally limited in the amount of material out there, but the more you do read, the better your game will become. Fortunately more and more material is being written by people in the sport for us to choose from. We can cross over into other athletic fields and learn much from the researched material as it may have a similar benefit, such as wrestling, judo, swimming, track and weight training to name a few. Training ideas can be found with scientific research backing up many of the theories presented and incorporated into our jiu jitsu.
 But as far as the benefits of reading for daily motivation, we are restricted temporally to a few minutes in order to help direct us towards our individual goals. A good way to start the morning upon waking up is to get a short piece that has positive emotional qualities. Uplifting and positive reading material will help to get our attitudes and emotional states aligned with our expected outcomes and goals. A book of quotations is excellent for this purpose. Unless you have an advanced degree in history, political science or philosophy, you will probably be introduced to a good number of people whom you may never have heard of, but will probably be able to learn a lot about and from. Famous presidents and generals in history are excellent sources of inspirational quotes. Sun Tzu, Patton, Napoleon, Julius Caesar are examples of people who offer great material to read. Perhaps Gandhi, The Dalai Lama or Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. will be a benefit for others.
Jiu Jitsu quotes are easy enough to find if you look online for them with a quick search engine query. Due to the nature of how many pro fighters arose to glory, you may find them both inspirational and hilarious. See some of Rampage Jackson quotes if you want a better idea of what I mean by hilarious. There are also many other stories about athletes overcoming adversity and beating the odds. The inspirational material will trigger combinations of hormones, endorphins and chemicals that will stay in the blood stream for sometime benefitting us throughout the day as we work, train, compete and live. This is where a little preplanning goes a long way.
 There are plenty of BJJ magazines and websites with excellent information out there that offer fantastic reading opportunities to improve one’s BJJ knowledge while strengthening one’s mind. A trip to local book store or google search will return seemingly endless possibilities. As fighter’s we are always finding new ways to strengthen our bodies but we often neglect the single most important aspect of jiu jitsu, which is our brains. The nature of the material you read will help guide you through the type of mood you desire to be the underlying essence of how you feel throughout the day while potentially providing you with excellent technical knowledge of the sport and its practitioners and history. If you wish to train hard, you can read an article on the importance of hard work and effort. If you wish to gear up for a major competition or fight, a story of success or that of a champion fighter will hopefully help to inspire greatness.
Whatever direction you chose, you will ultimately be able to choose your reading material based on your own personal interests and requirements as a fighter and an athlete. As with most things Jiu Jitsu related, this is beneficial in other areas of life as well. Many of my students who have tried these techniques have come back to tell me that this opened an entirely new area of their minds and they have begun to make huge gains on the mats. When you have found yourself hitting a plateau in your game, you may want to try something new out. This technique is so simple and logical that once you think about it is hard not to understand how and why it will be a huge benefit to anyone who commits to it.
Once the flood gates have been opened, there is no turning back and the new knowledge you acquire through a little reading will manifest itself through your physical actions in the gym and on the mat. The BJJ you learn in class and in reading will permeate into your subconscious and have more pathways to reach your periphery when called upon. Often this will happen in a subtle way. You will react without thought to an opponent’s advances and flow instinctively. This can be achieved by repetition in the gym and through a little reading. When this begins, you will notice the change in your game and huge strides you will begin to make.


Tim Bruce vs. Alexander Vamos in the Abu Dhabi Pro Trials Black Belt division