BJJ Interview: Balance in BJJ: Interview with Chris Moriarty, Alliance BJJ Black Belt

The Part Time Grappler Interviews Alliance BJJ Black Belt Chris Moriarty:

Balance in BJJ is very important. The reason is because this damn art is so addictive!

Chris Moriarty is an Alliance BJJ instructor and black belt under Romero Jacare Cavalcanti in Atlanta and while that is in itself a great achievement, he is also a multiple world champ and ADCC competitor. On top of that, he is currently studying medicine at university.

Over-achiever much?!!!

Listen to his fantastically insightful interview on The Fightworks Podcast

I was listening to it for the 4th time when it hit me: How come I've never approached the man for a Part Time Grappler interview? Afterall, he'd be ideal.

Tracking him down, the uber-busy Chris was kind enough to reply to my questions with some very insightful answers. I hope you enjoy them.

Hello. Why don’t we start by you telling us a little about yourself?

My name is Chris Moriarty. I am 28 years old and I am from Atlanta Georgia.

Are you currently working / studying? Is that Full time / Part time?
I am currently finishing my second year of medical school.

You also set aside time to practice a sport. Which sport(s)?
I train both Brazilian Jiu jitsu and Judo.

How long have you done that?
I have been training bjj since January 2002 and I have been doing judo on and off for about 5 years.

Do you follow any special diet? Do you use any dietary supplements?
Right now school is almost all consuming so I have to eat a lot more supplements. I eat a couple of protein bars and have a few shakes every day to try and complement a few whole meals a day. I eat pretty clean during the week. I don’t eat deep fried foods or junk food. Usually one meal a week I will eat whatever I want.

How do you manage to fit your training around work, study and family time?
It is tough right now because I am in the academic portion of medical school and there is almost no time for anything. I work out at lunch Monday-Friday. On Thursday I usually do about an hour of Uchi komi with a classmate of mine who used to train a little bjj and judo as well. On Friday I still teach a class at the main Alliance academy. On Saturday I usually run and Sundays are left up to whatever I feel like doing. I hope to get back to training more regularly when I finish up my second year in May.

Do you compete in your sport(s)? Have you won any competitions?
I haven’t competed since August 2010. I really wanted to get competition out of my system before I started medical school so I competed quite a few times that summer. I really didn’t think much about it since I started, but recently I have started to get the itch again.

What is the greatest thrill you have gotten out of practicing your sport?
I would have to say getting into medical school. If it weren’t for the positive influence that bjj has had on my life, there is no way that I would have been able to find the discipline to become a good student. A close second would have to be when I won the final match in the 2007 World Championship at brown belt. It was just surreal. I won every match that day by submission. When I am doubting myself, it helps to have that memory in the back of my mind haha.

Give us your top 5 tips for time-management (to fit exercise around life)
1. Don’t obsess about balance at the beginning. Allow yourself to get over-involved in what you are just starting to do. Think about how ridiculous it would be to tell a person who just started bjj and loves it that he shouldn’t train every day because he needs “balance”. You will find balance on your own over time.

2. Recognize when your career or your sport is preventing you from helping your own life. Training bjj is awesome, but I am not going to attempt to train every day if it is going to make my grades suffer. I am a medical student first and an athlete second.

3. On the other hand, don’t neglect your fitness for your career. There are some weeks that I have almost no time to do anything, except study. I try not to beat myself up mentally for not working out as much as I normally do, but I always do something physical.

4. Don’t get so stuck on a routine that you have no flexibility when circumstances or life demands change. One of the worst things that can happen is that you convince yourself there is no point in working out or training because you can’t put 100% into it. Some of the best training is that which you do when you are forced to relax and don’t have the energy to be explosive.

5. I can only think of 4 right now haha.

Now let’s balance that with what you consider the top 5 time-thieves.
1. Internet porn
2. Youtube x 4

Do you have any regrets?
Sometimes I wish that I would have talked a little less and been nicer to people when I was younger. I burned a lot of bridges. I was pretty full of myself when I was training full-time.

Finally, why do you train? What drives you?
I love bjj. I train now more for my mind and my fitness. I really love training standup. On the ground I am very intuitive and really understand what is going on. With judo I still feel like a beginner. It is fun for me to dissect techniques and try different things when I am training. Training is also a great opportunity for me to practice calmness and emotional control.

I would like to thank Alliance Atlanta for putting me in touch with Chris and Chris for taking the time to answer my questions.


Liam "The Part Time Grappler" Wandi

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Megan said...

Really nice interview. I'm still amazed at people who study and train at the same time.

A.D. McClish said...

Love his comments on balance. I struggle with that a lot. LOL. But life has a way of forcing you to correct imbalances if you don't do it on your own! I have learned this the hard way more than once. I may have to learn it several more times before I actually learn it. ;)

Liam H Wandi said...

@Megan. Many thanks. Chris, and of course Hillary Williams, are setting fantastic examples.

Liam H Wandi said...

@Allie, I find balance very difficult on a Micro level (managing many things at once) so instead I proioritise and treat everything in life as a project (when training I only think about training and when studying only think about studying...etc.) this has meant that some weeks I only train once or twice (if I have an exam or a social occasion or lots on at work) and balance that out in the long run later on.

Still breathing = still learning