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Fitness Theory and Practice. CrossFit's rationale & foundations. Who is fit? What is fitness?

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Old 11-01-2005, 07:52 AM   #1
Jonathan Robert Long
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So, a quick question for anyone who trains/competes in bjj and also adheres to the crossfit protocols. How has crossfit helped your bjj? Have you become a better bjj practitioner because of crossfit? Please, just folks who train/compete in a gi. Im getting armed up to try and make a point to some folks here in Brazil. Thanks in advance.
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Old 11-01-2005, 08:05 AM   #2
Jonathan Kessler
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A lot of more advanced practitioners than me (Sean Penn, Garth Taylor, Mike Weaver, etc etc) can weigh in on this...
But for me, the biggest improvement is in my stamina and endurance (I was pretty strong to start with, so that's not what I notice). I simply don't gas nearly as fast as I did. In fact, after doing crossfit, even at age 44 I can roll with guys in their 20's and let them gas out while I stay (relatively) fresh. Once they gas I can turn on the juice and win. That's purely the effect of CrossFit.

2 other items of note:
One of the things that convinced me to get into CF was rolling with Greg Amundson. He's not much so very bigger than I am, but he is simply phenomenally strong, and he DOES NOT GAS. It was uncanny rolling with him. Definitely made me think "I want some of this."
The second - another guy at the dojo is a CrossFitter, and a good BJJ player. Once after rolling together he said (half jokingly) "I HATE rolling with other crossfitters. Makes me feel like I don't have my secret advantage".

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Old 11-01-2005, 08:07 AM   #3
Neal Winkler
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I only train no-gi but CrossFit is going to do wonders for your gi or no-gi game.

The primary reasons I see would be CrossFits emphasis on functional large muscle group exercises like pull-ups ups and rope climbing which better mimic the sort of pulling action that is found in BJJ. Of course, good BJJ really hinges on good hips which is another staple of the CrossFit protocol. Finally, the vast majority of CrossFit exercises are done in the anaerobic metabolic pathways, which is where you find yourself in any sort of wrestling activity.
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Old 11-01-2005, 08:43 AM   #4
Jonathan Robert Long
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Thanks, for those who have posted.Anyone else interested in responding, please do. Let me help out my first question a little bit. I have been crossfitting for about a year. I am a purple belt in bjj and trained with Claudio, Garth, and all of the great folks at crossfit santa cruz. My question, is due to the lack of interest in any crossfit type conditioning in the bjj academies I have been training in while living in Brazil.The normal response is, "If you want to get good at jiujitsu, do jiujitsu" I agree with this, but also feel crossfit adds an overall fitness link that is missing in most bjj academies. Just to stir the pot a little, Id like to have a Dan John or a Gayle Hatch look at a few bjj matches with a gi and get some world class advice on what they feel would work in putting out a world class jiujitsu player. Of the finalists in the world championships in Brazil this year how many of these fighters are in a program such as crossfit? I cant speek for them all, but as to what I have seen here, not many. Any ideas or comments anyone has, would be greatly appreciated. Dan John or Mark Twight if you get time please help out here. thanks in advance.
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Old 11-01-2005, 12:37 PM   #5
Keith Wittenstein
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There are a lot of great BJJ practitioners as well as other athletes out there that do not do anything crossfit related. That does not mean that Crossfit doesn't work. Nor does that mean that Crossfit won't help your jiu jitsu.

My warped perspective is that while the Brazilians are great at jiu jitsu, they have not been as pro-active in developing crosstraining programs. Don't know why that is. I'm sure it will catch on eventually. I've seen more and more BJJ guys get into the crosstraining whether Crossfit or something else. In another decade it will be standard.

Most Crossfit discussions on sports all agree that if you want to get good at doing your sport, that you should practice your sport. However, that doesn't mean you should neglect GPP.

I'm a purple belt too. I haven't gotten any better technically from doing Crossfit, but my endurance, speed, strength and agility have all improved from doing crossfit and it has helped me perform better on the mat.

I teach a jiu jitsu club at Columbia University and I have been making them warm up with crossfit type workouts. Since implementing that, the level of the students has gone up tremendously. I can't support it with any real facts or science, but after 4 years of teaching this club, this year is by far the toughest group of kids.
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Old 11-01-2005, 02:25 PM   #6
Garry Berryhill
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Lemme preface by saying I'm a boxer, not a grappler. CF's helped my legs and my lungs dramatically. I'm heavy enough that roadwork is hell on my joints (football did me no favors), so I rely on CF entirely for my GPP.

Recently I've been able to knock off parts of my gym work that used to put me flat on my back, so I'm thankful. It's true: you don't train to get in shape, you get in shape to train.

What's the difference between gi/no-gi jiujutsu, anyway?
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Old 11-01-2005, 03:57 PM   #7
mark twight
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Sport specific adaptations of the primary program are the rule at Gym Jones where athletes first build a very high level of general fitness then convert fitness to sport specific movements and practice technique on top of that. The better the level of fitness they attain prior to practicing technique the more effective the technical training is because the athlete is not attempting to increase fitness (organic) and improve technique (neurological) at the same time.

For the BJJ athletes in our gym we work a lot on grip, we do everything we can to increase hip speed, we train explosive movements, integrate the core to the extremities (Dan calls it "making the body one-piece"), we train at the work/rest intervals specified by local NHB and/or international BJJ competitions. Much of the benefit of this physical effort derives from positive psychological changes earned through suffering and shared hardship. The attitude an athlete takes onto the mat is different when he/she knows there's a V8 with a blower under the hood and a lot of gas in the tank.

Mark T.

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Old 11-02-2005, 02:42 AM   #8
Jonathan Robert Long
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To everyone who responded, thank you. For Mark Twight, Im starting to believe more and more in the importance of the positive attitude an athlete develops with crossfit. In fact, it may be the most important thing. The feeling that no matter where this match goes, I will be right there,willing and very able, to seize any opportunity I may get to submit this person. I tried a Tabata squat interval two weeks ago with four guys, before training. Uh, they kinda made it to round 4, before they just walked off the mat and said "no thanks". Funny in one respect-Sad in another. So, as long as I am down here I am going to do the best I can with what I have. Thanks again all who responded.
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Old 11-02-2005, 10:59 AM   #9
Tom Needham
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I agree w/ the posts/thoughts above. The benefits I've noticed are that my endurance has improved, the increase of strength certainly helps when going against big guys, and mentally it gives you some support knowing that you've been fatigued but can still get the job done.

In particular, pull-ups,DLs and kettlebell work has improved my jits grips. Also I had tore some intercostal muscles earlier this year (very painful and slow to heal) but doing CrossFit and some power wheel exercises has strengthened that area up a good deal, though I've gotten pretty good at staying out of cross sides since then :wink: .

I think the oly lifts are great for BJJ too, the hip explosiveness can be really good for guard passes (hip in) and in general can help improve keeping your hips heavy (maintainig side control).

Sometimes it is tough to get up for a CF WOD, knowing that it may hinder your jits performance that day, but that is just one day, in the long run it pays big time dividends.
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Old 11-02-2005, 09:19 PM   #10
Brad Hirakawa
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Hello Jonathan,

My training partner, Roy Dean, also trained with Claudio and Garth. Roy Dean speaks VERY highly about both of those fellows.

He and I both follow the Crossfit method.. when we have the energy after the jobs.. and it certainly helps. Our instructor is a 240lb tank.. with a penchant for kettle bells (Roy Harris)... and we would not survive the beatings were it not for our physical conditioning.

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