Athlete Journal: James Kearns, Entry 1 – 1/8/2014

Due to sickness and the New Year, my first athlete journal entry is a bit sparse, but I’m planning to get into action to prepare for my first competition of the year.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Welcome to the athlete journal of James Kearns. James is an active Brazilian jiu jitsu competitor and also trains and competes in Olympic weightlifting.Follow his journals here every week.

Athlete Journal Entry 1 – 1/8/2014

My training week started out great with my monthly trip up to York, Pennsylvania to train with BJJ black belt and four-time world bronze medalist Daniel Beleza last Saturday. Unfortunately on the way home I could feel myself getting sick, which is not uncommon when you live in a house with four kids and your wife works at a hospital. What is uncommon is how sick I actually got. So my first athlete journal entry begins with me missing the first two days of jiu jitsu training due to illness.

My first day of training is usually on Sunday, and that is the day that I can’t afford to miss. The rest of the week is for learning new technique (under BJJ black belts Brad Souders and Bobby Knotts) and rolling, but Sundays are for competition drilling. This is where game plans are made and moves are done over and over until they become automatic. My third day of BJJ training was also compromised because of the school where I train at (Tactical Combat Academy in Greencastle, Pennsylvania) being closed for New Year’s. However, I did make it in that day and did some solo drills on a grappling dummy, which is better than nothing. It looks like my first competition of the year will be NAGA Phillyon February 1.

Fortunately, being sick didn’t affect my time in the weight room. I went in on New Year’s Eve so I would be by myself and not get anyone else sick. My approach to weight lifting is different than most BJJ competitors, since I also began competing in Olympic weightlifting last year. Right now I am focusing on general strength, as always, and also improving my snatch technique. I am training under the supervision of USAW National Coach Doug Lentz. I have time before my next meet, since it will probably not be until May.


Missed due to illness


Missed due to illness


Weightlifting – general strength focus (upper and lower body, pulling strength)


Gym closed for New Years – did some drills on grappling dummy


Weightlifting – snatch focus (pressing snatch balance, high pulls, overhead squats, hang snatch, power shrugs, all done with snatch grip)




Weightlifting: Clean focus (cleans, front squats, RDL, push press, lunges)