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.Follow his journals here every week.