Thirteen weeks of traveling, rolling, drilling, dieting, and killing my strength and conditioning program all came together on Saturday. I went 3-0 and won the New York Summer Open Masters Purple Belt, heavyweight division. I also went 1-1 in the absolute division and earned silver. 



The week leading up to New York was pretty light. My strength and conditioning program was completed on the previous week and I didn’t roll very much or very hard. The week consisted of almost all drilling and reviewing my game plan. I also watched what I was eating and drinking so I didn’t consume any unnecessary calories, especially since I didn't burn as many calories since it was a light training week.


This was the first time I’ve ever competed at heavyweight and I definitely made the right choice to drop down from super heavyweight. I had to weigh 208lbs with the gi on, but an hour away from weigh-in I was 210lbs. I wasn’t concerned about it, so I just ran some laps, did a longer warm up than normal, and I officially weighed in at 207.5lbs. 


I felt extremely strong and explosive, and my cardio was the best it’s ever been for a BJJ tournament. My thirteen-week strength and conditioning program paid off. I had at least nine takedowns throughout the tournament. When I hit the mat, I could really feel my strength come into play. I was able to use my strength and pressure to control the match on the ground. My conditioning was great. At no point in the day did I start to get tired, even while pushing at such a hard pace.


But all the conditioning in the world doesn’t mean anything if your skill and game plan suck. Thankfully I have great coaches and training partners who helped prepare me for New York. My competition preparedness is always good, but this time I really took it up a notch. My food and drinks were all pre-planned and prepared so I could eat every three hours on competition day. I bought a new two-gallon water jug so I could have plenty of ice cold water and Gatorade at all times. I had every hour of my competition day planned out so I would be competing at the absolute peak condition. I was really gunning for this competition after my epic failure at the last New York Open, and this year it went better than I planned. 


Next on the agenda is competing at the inaugural Keystone State Games Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Tournament, then the IBJJF Boston Summer Open at the end of August. I’m definitely leaning towards competing in the Masters Worlds in November, so this week I will take an active rest week and then start another thirteen-week strength and conditioning program to start getting ready.


Sunday – BJJ



Monday – BJJ

Drilling, light rolling


Wednesday – BJJ



Saturday – BJJ

New York Summer Open, competing


James Kearns 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.