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. Learn more about James at his website, BJJ Barbell Strength, and follow his journals here every week.


Athlete Journal Entry 10 - 3/12/2014


This weekend I will be competing in my second tournament of the year and my last tournament before the IBJJF Boston Open in April. I feel like my Brazilian jiu jitsu game has improved since my last tournament in February. I have continued to work on some of the problems I had in my last outing and I’m looking forward to getting on the mat this weekend and seeing the progress I’ve made and finding new holes to work on.


Breaking Muscle Shop

Unfortunately, when I registered for this weekend’s tournament, I discovered there would not be an absolute division available to sign up for. Since I don’t want to drive all the way to Philadelphia for one division, I decided to do the no-gi division as well. This should be very interesting because although I started out training in no-gi, I haven’t competed without a gi on since the 2012 No-Gi Pans. For the last few years, I have only trained without a gi if someone else needed help getting ready for a no-gi match. I also decided not to add any no-gi into my training, because I honestly don’t have the time and don’t want to take any time away from my normal training with the gi.



This weekend will also be a little different because our school has a few men and women flying out to California for the Pan Jiu Jitsu Championships. This means that I will be competing solo once again. I personally don’t mind competing by myself because I always know some of the other competitors. In this case, I actually know and have trained with the only other competitor in both of my divisions. I also don’t mind not having a coach there to help me during my matches. Although it would be nice, my feeling on coaching is that it’s done in the gym in class when you're drilling the positions. If I get stuck somewhere in the middle of my match while I’m competing, then it’s too late and that’s on me. At any rate, I’m excited about competing again this weekend and learning more about my jiu jitsu game and how to improve it.


This will be my last week on my current training program for Olympic weightlifting as well. It has been a long program, but I've noticed a lot of improvement with my technique and bar speed. I did have some time issues this week, so I had to cut my snatch day short. I also did more than the usual amount of cleans on Saturday because it was the last clean day of my current program and I felt like going a little heavy. Next week I will take a break, and then evaluate my progress with my weightlifting coach. I am excited to start my next program because I will begin to focus on improving my numbers in the clean and jerk and the snatch. 



BJJ: Competition drilling




  • Power Jerk 92.5kg x2, 95kg x2, 97.5kg x2, 100kg x2
  • Dumbbell Bulgarian Split Squats 80 lbs 4x4
  • Dumbbell Incline Press 95 lbs 4x4
  • Core Work
  • Lower Back Stability Drills



BJJ: Drills, rolling



BJJ: Attacks form side control, drilling, rolling




  • Hang Squat Snatch 70kg x2, 75gk x2, 77.5kg x2, 80kg x1, 82.5kg x1, 85kg Fail
  • Core Work



Weightlifting Barbell Complexes:

  • Power Clean, Push Press, Lunge 85kg x2, 87.5kg x2
  • Warm Up Cleans 95kg x1, 105kg x1
  • Power Clean, Front Squat, Romanian Deadlift 112.5kg x2, 115kg x2, 117.5kg x2
  • Cleans 120kg x1, 125kg x1
  • Core Work
  • Lower Back Stability Drills


Photo courtesy of D-Kline Design Photography.

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