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 9 - 3/5/2014


Last week went pretty well. It seems like every week I find some holes in my game that I need to take care of. This was evident last Wednesday when I traveled up to York Mixed Martial Arts Academy and got to train with some different guys.


Breaking Muscle Shop

It’s always interesting training at different schools because each one has its own style of grappling that they focus on. The guys that I rolled with up there were bottom players with good re-guarding skills. Training with guys like this is particularly helpful to me, since my game is more of a “smash and pass” style of grappling. Someone who is good at re-guarding makes an exhausting match for me because I just go for the pass constantly. That means I can get caught in the seemingly never-ending cycle of passing and re-guarding with my opponent. That was a good reminder that I need to put in some more time and broaden up my guard passing game.


I am just under two weeks away from my next Brazilian jiu jitsu tournament and everything is on track. All of my training is going well, I have no injuries, and my weight is good. I actually stepped on the scale for the first time in a while last night and was surprised to see it read 217lbs. This is the weight that I need to be when I compete for the IBJJF, but the first IBJJF competition that I’m doing isn’t until April. I usually don’t want to be this light until two weeks before the competition, so I guess that means I can turn up the eating for a while. I must have lost some weight when I hurt my back and had to cut down on my training intensity. 


Unfortunately I did get some frustrating news concerning my weightlifting competition in May. After I registered last Monday I found out I’m on the waiting list because the competitor cap had been met already. I can’t believe there are already that many people who have entered this meet, because it’s still three months away. Not only that, but I’m the 23rd person on the waiting list, so there are 22 people in front of me!


After explaining the situation to my weightlifting coach, we’re just going to continue on the same program as if I am definitely competing in May. Aside from that news, I did have a good week on the platform. My bar speed continues to improve as well as my snatch technique.




  • Power Jerk 90kg x2, 92.5kg x2, 95kg x2, 97.5kg x2
  • Dumbbell Bulgarian Split Squats 75x5x4
  • Dumbbell IIncline Press 95x4x4
  • Core Work



BJJ Competition Drilling



BJJ: Guard Passing, Rolling



BJJ: Leg Drags, Rolling




  • Overhead Squat 75kg x4x2
  • Snatch Grip High Pulls 77.5kg x3x3
  • Hang Squat Snatch 60kg x3, 65kg x3, 70kg x2, 75kg x2, 77.5kg x1, 80kg x1
  • Core Work



Weightlifting Combo Lifts

  • Power Clean, Push Press, Power Lunge 82.5kg x2, 85kg x2, (Power Cleans 90kg x1, 100kg x1 - these were warm-up cleans to lead up to second set of complexes)
  • Power Cleans, Front Squat, Romanian Deadlift 110kg x2, 112.5kg x2, 115kg x2
  • Lower Back Stability Drills
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