In the past 2 months, I've trained no more than 4x times and each time at a different academy cause of my travel schedule (Santa Cruz, San Jose, Renton, New York). I'm definitely feeling the effects of being off the mat for this long as my knees are starting to ache and am feeling unsteady. I find it interesting that my old injuries are acting up instead of going away and when I'm training regularly, it's less of an issue. Besides the physical problems that I've been having, I am definitely going over some mental hurdles about my training or lack of. I could say the past few times that I've trained I wasn't at my best but I think it's more than that. Acknowledging how the promotion is effecting how others see me and how I need to step up is a big part of it. So it's an added pressure I'm putting on myself and one that I can't avoid. Ultimately it's about me coming to terms with starting at the bottom again as a newly promoted purple in a ocean of people with equal if not better skills/experience/conditioning. I'd like to have a healthy perspective on things but that doesn't always sit well with my competitive side. The side which pushes me to say I have to do better or at least hang with the guys that I'm training with. So while jiu-jitsu is still fun, it's definitely gotten more intense.

Another issue that's come up from being off the mats for this long and by choice because I'm not injured is my motivation to do anything physical after the days work. While I don't have loads of downtime, I know I could do much better about scheduling time to train but I haven't. Instead, I'm passing out by 9:30pm in front of the tv which is pretty sad or at least I think so. Not sure if it's the weather or pace of things here in NorCal but I'm definitely slower here than I am in Thailand. Maybe I need the sleep but I know I need to get back into shape as well.

Anyways, I know there will be lulls in training for a number of reasons. Right now it's work that's been keeping me away but I'm curious to know what others have experienced. 

How have people dealt with these gaps in training due to injury, work, family obligation, financial issues, etc? Please share if you're willing in the comments section of this post.

If I can add a happy ending to this post is that I've made time to train tomorrow morning without fail.



Caleb said...

You could say I've been dealing with something like that!

Now that I'm approaching the time when my knee is supposed to be able to return to training (March-ish), I am getting very nervous. Putting on a gi again will be both exciting and anxiety-producing.

Drewyoo said...

Hey Luke, alot of people I know are dealing with one thing or another that is keeping them from training as much as they would like to. Don't worry you will get back into the swing of things again! Jiu-Jitsu is a long journey with lots of bumps on the road.

Ben W. said...

It can happen, especially if you are leading a busy life, or more accurately believe our life is too busy.

I suggest listening to the fightworkspodcast with Martin Rooney, he talks about his approach to setting goals.

That is a good place to start, especially at a new belt.

coincidentally I am in a similar spot as you are. I got promoted to purple on the 11th of January and a week later picked up a small injury and now am still out after a dental procedure.

But I am chomping at the bit to return. Of course I am nervous and anxious and everything.

But I see the new belt as a motivation to pick it up in all areas of training and life.

The purple is not given lightly, so at the very least there is the commitment towards your teacher to start filling it with life.

All the best


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Hi Luke,
It is very comfortable to snack and watch TV and hard to avoid when it is an available option. :-) It takes some motivation, but one possibility is to do a short 15 minute conditioning program that can fit into your schedule every day and can easily be adapted even during those times you are injured. Sometimes consistancy is more important than intensity. May I suggest one of these programs that you can do at home or at the hotel when traveling:

http://www.dragondoor.com/b41.html or

Alternatively, you can put together a short 15 minute yoga or pilates routine and practice it every day. Yoga works wonders for getting the flexibility needed for triangles and escapes in BJJ.

You might even get good enough at the routine to do it while watching TV!

- Marc in Singapore

Alex Esteves said...

I am currrently going thru Physical therapy (range motion part!); due to having surgery on October 23rd 2009 - i injured myself getting ready for a tournament in Japan back in 2008.

I opted not to get surgery when the injury first happened, went thru a few months of therapy and continue to train for a while with the injury, after almost a year of dealing with limited range of motion, pain, etc - I decided to get the surgery.

I had a full pectoral tear, with damage on my tendon, and partial tear on my bicep, not sure if I will ever be the same, but as of right now, i'm on the sidelines; I'm writing a small record since when the injury happened, and what I am going thru right now; so I can share it with everyone!

The were able to reattached the tendon to the shoulder, but the muscle retracted back, now I have a bit of athropy on my chest!

Life SUCKS at the moment! I am very limited with my movements, and its extremely painful, but hoping to be back on the mats by Mid March, or beginning of April! And do the 2010 mundials!


Lorne said...

Hey Luke, I must say that i take comfort in your frustration. In the past 10 weeks i may have trained 4 times. Mainly work has been the problem. A few times i took my gear with me, but never made it to any gym. I am not sure why, but that's the way it goes. I have put on weight and feel like crap! However, to maintain some level of fitness, i decided to invest in a skipping rope. It's easy to pack, and can be performed even in a hotel room. I try to squeeze in 15min every morning before i start the day. It eases the guilt just a bit. So... can't wait till you get back to BKK, - I just returned yesterday and hopefully will be able to train a few times this week. Take care!

Anonymous said...

Luke, I feel you. The momentum comes and goes...but the prize goes to the ones who never stop completely. the pendulum will shift and you'll be back in form! man traveling is a killer...


LUKE said...

Thanks everyone for their comments. It's definitely helped to hear that my situation isn't unique and that most of us go through lulls or challenges due to work and injury. To all you guys, I hope things can turn around and to all those who are injured, a speedy and full recovery.

I got myself to train this past Friday morning and while a bit nervous, I had a great time. It wasn't till after the 3rd round of rolls that I stopped panting, hahaha but I guess it's to be expected.

I'd definitely be into sharing other people's experience with their recovery process with injuries on the blog. I think it's a really important subject since most of us are probably guilty of returning too quickly or not taking the right steps to recovery. Caleb, Andy, Alex can all attest to this. And for those who do, it would be great to hear what's involved both physically and mentally.

Thanks evertone!

warren said...

hey luke
we both are 30+ year old purple belts with a career and managing our respective academies due to our passion for the sport. there are whites and blues that can gives us a tough time and may even tap us. Bit i'm sure these guys, don't have a full time career, family, and children to deal with as well. so thing all have to be put in perspective. there is no way you can be perfect in every aspect of your life.
as you know, i have to be at my clinic all day 8am-930pm. i get a 2hour lunch break everday, which i use to go train with makoto and chris for an hour and half and skip lunch and rest. sometimes it's tough after being bombarded with patient for 4 hours, but even an hour of work out will def be worth it. i found that the best way to maximize your workout is to have small training groups for 2-3 guys. that way you can get all your wamr ups, stretches, drills, and a couple rolls in before having to go back to work.
of course being on the road can be quite hard, the toughest part is going to a school with a purple and the thought of having these guys rip you apart. but again, you gotta put everything in perspective, prioritize, and accept your situation as an entrepeneur, husband, father, academy owner/manager and BJJ purple belt. then if and when you do get ripped apart by a 20 year old white belt... it's all good... nothing a pint of ice cold beer can't fix.

LUKE said...

Thanks Warren. Appreciate the dose of perspective with all the things going on and taking a realistic look at what we're capable of. Credit goes to you as well and all the guys at TWNBJJ.

LUKE said...

A new week starts and I'm looking to do better. My ache to train is definitely greater than my worry over mat-rust, haha.

Work is easing up a bit but am still making an hour-commute each way from San Jose to San Francisco. So it's either early mornings or late nights for me.