When you embark on a jiu jitsu journey you often get inspired with stories of smart approach diminishing size advantages often through the inception of MMA. The idea of doing jiu jitsu to be good at jiu jitsu is deeply infatuating.
But once the novelty wears off you realize – elephant is the king of the jungle.
You rarely hear about the Malfacines and the Cobrinhas of it all. But everyone is all abuzz whenever Roger Gracie, Buchecha and or even Gordon Ryan dominate.
To quote fight club: “On a long enough timeline the survival rate for everyone drops to zero. ” – But it sure drops slower if you’re much bigger and or stronger than everyone. This is why working on your strength increasingly becomes a factor at some point mid blue belt if not sooner.
In terms of white beltness of it all strength can be a deterrent because a lot of the time there’s no need to develop the sharpness of the technique so it stands the danger of getting super sloppy.
The late Judoka Jack Hatton who was the #1 ranked athlete in the USA on the IJF World Ranking List for 81kgs, was training in Japan at the world-renowned Tokai University with coach Travis Stevens. For a very long time he was opposed to lifting but here’s how he described it influenced his judo in his blog post:
“I’ll start with this; last year at the age of 21, I did my first real pull-up. Most laugh when I reveal this, but if you ask any of my judo or old wrestling teammates they’ll confirm. There’s a lot of excuses for this (all of them bad)…”
“Typically most people skip the gym when training overseas because they want to be 100% rested for judo practice and perform to the best of their ability. Also, it’s not uncommon to see people taking rounds off when they are very tired in order to recover. I believe this to be a flawed approach as it creates a false perception of where your judo is at and doesn’t teach you to win on the day that matters, which is competition day. I try to do quite the opposite by lifting every day of training, doing extra rounds and just generally trying to exhaust myself so that I am performing at 30-60% of my ability. This approach of purposely training at a diminished state has taught me a plethora of skills that have directly translated into wins on the world stage. “
He went on to name a specific occasion where this approach really benefited him: ”
” I’ll mention one that allowed me to medal at the Croatia Grand Prix back in October. Every match I won in Croatia, I won in overtime. This is no accident as I developed the skill to win in overtime by purposely training tired, as it simulates what your body and mind are going through in an overtime match when speed and strength are no longer readily available.”
Travis Stevens, a bjj black belt and judo Olympian famously said he will never do crossfit:
“CrossFit is so far down the line in terms of helping people. It’s like trying to get an education by going to a library to read a few books.”
However when it comes to lifting he’s there doing it at least 4 times a week!