Time to Refocus (Athlete Journal 37)

Between a hectic work, school, and home schedule and a long break before my next competition, I’m having a hard time staying focused in my training lately.

Keeping my focus is something I have mentioned several times in previous athlete journals. It plays a huge part in your success or failure in competition. I am positive that many of my wins have come from being more focused than my opponent. This week however, my focus has wavered.

Waiting For Worlds

After competing in the Boston Summer Open a few weeks ago, I officially decided that Masters Worlds was now my number one goal of the year. Having competed eight times already this year, I also decided that taking a break from competition until November would be in my best interest so I could focus all my attention on Worlds. This seemed like a rational and intelligent decision, but now I find myself wanting to get back on the mat and compete, so that I can practice some of the new techniques that I have been working on. 

Competing regularly also allows me to keep my focus for shorter periods of time. By the time I compete next, it will be around ten weeks since my last tournament. That is starting to seem like an incredibly long time. 

Juggling Training and Life

Besides the amount of time that is testing my focus, my weeks are becoming unbelievably crammed. Last week some of my kids started getting runny noses and coughing. Anyone who has kids knows that when this happens, it is only a matter of time until you will also have the pleasure of a cold. Fortunately, when I did get it this week, the cold was mild and didn’t really affect anything beyond one crappy night of sleeping.

Along with coughs and runny noses, I have a bunch of other things going on, too. My fall semester for school is proving to be as time consuming as it is beneficial. Every week there is a lot of reading, writing, and test taking, which I don’t mind and often enjoy. I’m getting travel arrangements squared away for my trip to California. I started running a new conditioning class two more days a week for my personal training business and working on my new website.

This Is Just Life

Now that I have written all these distractions out for me to look over, it is clear to me what happened this week that derailed my usually laser beam focus: life. This is just life, and these are things that everyone goes through every week. Just because I’m preparing for an athletic competition doesn’t mean I won’t have to deal with the same things as everyone else.

Most likely every opponent that I face (even at the World Championships) will have to deal with a lot of the same things. But really, as much as I love BJJ, everything that blurs my competitive focus (family, school, training) are the things that drive and motivate me the most. I don’t get out of bed in the morning for BJJ, I get out of bed for my family. Literally, my alarm clock is an eleven-month-old crying.

After writing this entry, I can honestly say that I am now officially refocused and ready for this next training week to begin. Masters Worlds, I can’t wait!

This Week’s Training

  • Week seven of thirteen-week strength and conditioning program: Power phase
  • Bodyweight: 202lb

Sunday – BJJ


Monday – Strength and Conditioning

  • Power Jerk (kg) 87.2×3, 87.2×3, 90×3, 90×3, 92.5×2
  • Squat 360×3, 365×3, 370×3, 375×3
  • One Arm Overhead Dumbbell Extension 30x3x8
  • Hammer Curls 50x3x8
  • Core Work

Monday – BJJ

Drilling, Rolling

Wednesday – BJJ

Drilling, Submissions From Side Control, Rolling

Thursday – Strength and Conditioning

  • Box Jumps 3×6
  • Oblique Plyo Push Up 3×2
  • Plyo Pull Up 3×4
  • Dead Lift (kg) 172.5×2, 175×3, 177.5×3, 180×3
  • Chin-Up (With 35 pound plate) 11, 8, 7
  • Core Work

Friday – BJJ

Harrisburg BJJ and Judo, Marathon Rolling.

Saturday – Strength and Conditioning

  • Box Jumps 3×7
  • Oblique Plyo Push Up 3×3
  • Plyo Pull Up 3×4
  • Hang Cleans (kg) 90×3, 95×3, 97.5×3, 100×2, 102.5×2
  • Dumbbell Incline Press 105x3x3
  • T-Bar Row 160x3x8
  • Core Work

James Kearns is an active Brazilian jiu jitsu competitor and also trains and competes in Olympic weightlifting.Follow his journals here every week.

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