BJJ / Grappling Tips: Importance of Recovery - Wise Words from Kyokushin Karate Instructor Shihan Cameron Quinn

"Don't get injured. Don't get a cold."

As soon as I heard the above words of advice uttered by Shihan Cameron Quinn, who in turn attributed them to Sosai Mas Oyama founder of Kyokushin Karate, my ears perked up!

One of my favourite podcasts to listen to is Martial Arts Weekly by Sensei Duval Hamilton. The show brings in a wide range of instructors and practitioners of Martial Arts (including BJJ) and, once you get over the hosts obvious dislike for MMA, is very entertaining and educating. As some of you know, Karate was my first love and I still see combat thru the eyes of a karateka. Recently, however, the defining lines between karate and jiu jitsu are slowly fading away but more on that in future blog posts.

The show I was listening to was from the 7th November 2010 and the guest was Shihan Cameron Quinn. Shihan Quinn has an esteemed background in Kyokushin Karate and was for many years the personal translator for the founder of the art, Sosai Mas Oyama. He spent several periods in Japan under Sosai's guidance and the above quote was something he remembered him giving as advice to trainees at the home academy (often referred to as the "Hombu")

While the advice is great, Shihan Quinn went on to explain why it was great!

1. Don't get injured:

Injury is the number one enemy of all martial artists. We all love the art that we practice, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Thai Boxing, One thing that unites all practitioners is that they love practicing and enjoying getting better and learning more. We might differ in our approach, but our passion is the same.

While training smart will help save you time and energy, you STILL have to put in the hours on the mat to get better at BJJ (or Karate). Lots of hours. Some say 10,000 hours if you want to reach world class level! from this it is logical that our number one enemy as martial artists or athletes is injury. Sosai Oyama simply wanted his students to train safely so they could train more!

2. Don't get a cold:

At first glance, this struck me as odd. What a strange this to say to a Karate (or BJJ) practitioner! Shihan explained. Getting a cold is a sure sign of having over-trained, or at least getting run down by a combination of factors:

• -training
• -nutrition (food and supplements)
• -work
• -life responsibilities
• -being under unhealthy amounts of stress
• -bad / insuffecient sleep
• -substance abuse

and other causes. Initially, I thought this wouldn't be as relevant to us Part Time Grapplers as we - per definition - don't train as many hours but the more I look around me the more I realise that everything chips away at our recovery. Your body doesn't know, nor care, why it's tired or why it has been losing sleep or why the nutrition it's getting is very "on-the-run". Exercise, whether BJJ or running or swimming, places demands on our recovery ability (or recoverability) and so does staying up late with a baby or stressing over a work report (or nowadays - redundancy!). If you are not looking after your health (eating a balanced diet, drinking enough water, getting enough hours of quality sleep...etc.) then it will most definitely take longer to recover from the demands of an hour or two of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Karate, MMA or anything else. Getting a cold can be an indication that you are not looking after number one: You.


Liam "The Part Time Grappler" Wandi

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