I haven't trained any BJJ or grappling since my private session with my brother Sam last Friday (23rd December) and while I do admit that I miss it, the break has been great. I've had a chance to let my skin recover, my tummy to fill and my joints to rejuvinate. This whole rejuvination theme made me think of the array of things we can do to stay healthy. Grappling and BJJ take their toll on the body and mind so it's imortant to utilise the many activities that help us keep together. My favourite are BJJ / Grappling specific personal training, massage, Yoga and swimming.
The Labs BJJ is part of the amazing CFS BJJ team, an IBJJF accredited school, under black belt Mr David Onuma. The Labs BJJ is also part of Fighting Fit Manchester. Fighting Fit Manchester has many other facets related to martial arts, fitness and wellness that don't all fall under The Labs banner, all led by very passionate and highly qualified people. I took advantage of Fighting Fit having two such subject matter experts recently.
Our resident strength and conditioning coach Mr Dominic Kinsey is not just an avid grappler who understands the needs of the sport, he's also a qualified Personal Trainer and a Wado ryu karate black belt. Dom's strength and conditioning qualifications come from none less than Juan Carlos Santana of the IHP fame and he uses his knowledge wisely to both conduct our strength and conditioning sessions at the gym but also kettlebell sessions and 1-2-1 training which is what I had the privilege of doing.
I told Dom from the beginning that I wasn't necessarily looking to get stronger, faster or fitter but rather wanted to have a more balanced body to facilitate recovery and longevity. I want to do everything I can to avoid being off the mat with an injury. Dom, the cheese master that he is, said "Ok, let's make you indestructible!"
After an initial consultation - where Dom had me walk, jog, squat, twist, lunge, jump and a whole heap of moves - he concluded that I had more tightness in some parts of my body on the right body half than I did in the same parts on the left and that that was creating a small imbalance. Imbalances lead to overcompensation by muscles and that leads to a higher risk of injury. Dom's plan was to, over a series of sessions, fix these imbalances - starting from the ground up - and help the body fall back into place, so to speak.
Dom is very passionate about what he does and highly knowledgeable and qualified to both fix you and also help you fix yourself (within the context of strength and conditioning of course).
I also went to see Mr Chris Davies. Chris is our massage expert, but he is so much more than that. With a black belt in Shukokai karate and old school japanese jujutsu, Chris has a thorough understanding of how the body works in comabitve arts and adding his qualifications in tuina (or is it spelled tui na?) massage, I was happy to be in his care (or under his mercy, rather) to help re-align my back and relax any stiff muscles. The man is a genius, as you can tell from my goofy relaxed face!
Finally, how can I forget Justine? Justine is the gym manager at our small gym at work. She is 12 shades of cool. She is every thing you wish for in an instructor: clear, motivating, enthusiastic and very technical. That last bit is something I always look for in gym instructors. I want to see how they adapt activities to suit different needs and levels and how much attention they pay to where everything goes and why. Justine is the real deal and I am very happy to see plenty of yoga in her 2012 schedule.
Finally, I love swimming. I don't get enough of it, but then again I think I would still say that even if I went swimming everyday! I'm not a great swimmer by any means and I never venture outside the slow-lanes down at the Manchester Aquatics Centre. But who cares? I have no dreams of swimming competitively and as long I spend an hour of continuous swimming doing laps, I'm a happy puppy.
I hope you all have a wonderful final couple of days of 2011 and that you face 2012 with plenty of energy, happiness and rejuvination. Much love.
Liam "The Part Time Grappler" Wandi
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