Brazilian Jiu Jitsu
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu (BJJ) was derived from the Japanese martial art, Kodokan Judo. When Mitsuyo Maeda, one of the original members of the Kodokan Clan immigrated to Brazil, and sought help from Brazilian businessman, Gastão Gracie, he gave his thanks by sharing his knowledge of jiu jitsu to Gastão’s eldest son, Carlos. It was in 1914 that Maeda taught Carlos this ancient art, thus bringing Jiu Jitsu to Brazil. As far as BJJ goes, Carlos took a liking to the sport and quickly taught his brothers and cousins (the Machado’s). It was these two families of brothers that altered, defined, shared and created what we know see as Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. BJJ, a martial art, primarily used for self defense in where a bigger, stronger opponent can be neutralized and defeated through leverage and proper technique when taken to the ground has, in recent years, exploded in popularity in North America.
Similarly to CrossFit, which defines a “fit athlete” as one who is able to withstand and excel at any physical activity, mixed martial art (MMA) fighters must be able to excel and/or feel comfortable in any position the fight may taken them. BJJ is now commonly seen in MMA fights as “ground work” in where the fight continues on the ground and the possibly of finishing an opponent “off” is there. Similar to wrestling, positioning is paramount. But BJJ is unique in that, with proper positioning and knowledge of how to execute proper techniques (chokeholds and joint-locks) it can be an effective fight tactic in either “wearing down” your opponent or “finishing the fight”. BJJ gurus will often compare this martial art to a game of chess. The ground game is forever changing. Not only is it important to read your opponent’s body positioning, anticipate your opponents next moves but your counterattacks and next moves must be kept at the forefront of your mind.
Two of CrossFit Mississauga’s very own: Eric Vandermeersch and Katija Bonin share a passion for BJJ and have been practicing the sport for more than 10 years combined, with belts from the Machado brothers and instruction from Jason Lancucki, owner of Turning Point Training Methods in Toronto. They have partnered up and begun to share their knowledge and passion for the sport with CFM’s members and now, the public. Classes are offered on Thursdays in which the trainer’s introduce and teach positioning as well as technical moves which are both practical and effective. All of which have been proven effective in their personal competitions and also what the public readily sees in MMA/UFC fights.
CrossFit Training for MMA athletes
If you type in CrossFit training for MMA athletes in Google, hundreds of news feeds and websites will pop up with some information pertinent and most, useless. Hopefully the following will shed some insight for MMA practitioners and MMA athletes.
10 Recognized Fitness Domains:
1. Cardiovascular & Respiratory Endurance
CrossFit is a style of training that incorporates all of the above 10 fitness domains which inarguably are essential for an MMA athlete. It is high intensity training, using full range of motion and several muscle groups at once to maximize each repetition and the time spent training. You often hear Crossfiter’s throw around the term “WOD” which simply stands for Workout of the Day. WOD’s very depending on which CF (crossfit) box (aka. Gym) one goes to but they all share the same fact that “a WOD does not focus on one fitness domain, they work multiple”.
For a general MMA practitioner or one who hopes to fight in the future, CrossFit is highly advantageous. CF will build muscle endurance, cardiovascular endurance, strength, speed and explosiveness. For an athlete preparing for an MMA fight, CF style workouts WILL get him/her ready for the cage. There are many people who would challenge that statement and that is because either they have not found a knowledgeable trainer or were expecting that by adding another style of training (CF) to their extensive list of martial arts will automatically get them “fight ready”. CF is not going to teach you an “arm bar” or a “jab”. CF is going to put more strength and speed behind that “jab” and get your legs to vice harder to pull off a successful “arm bar”. What separates two of the same experienced fighters? Strength and Conditioning. Incorporating CrossFit into MMA training will enrich explosive strength and improve conditioning, allowing a fighter to withstand the three rounds of a MMA fight.
The only thing CF fails to do is build strength, speed and explosiveness in lateral movement. A fight is never all anterior and posterior movements. A fighter is always cutting angles, changing positions, moving and needs to be comfortable and strong during these transitions. This does not write-off CrossFit. A good, experienced CrossFit trainer will know how to easily tweak WODs to incorporate and train lateral movements. Ie. Sideways box jumps, prowler pull (backwards), sideways sprints.
With proper execution of movements and an experienced, knowledgeable and committed trainer, CrossFit WILL challenge and improve any MMA practitioner and athlete’s physical fitness.
CrossFit Mississauga’s owner, Alex Possamai, is Level I CrossFit Certified and a veteran to this style of training. Training CrossFit for over 7 years and competing and placing high on the scoreboard in numerous amounts of CrossFit competitions, around the country, and owning two CrossFit gyms in the GTA, is only a glimpse of his fitness resume. An accomplished Mississauga Fire Fighter and combat challenge athlete, Alex has committed his life to fitness. CrossFit Mississauga’s team of trainers comprised of fire fighters, cops, CrossFit Games athletes and the founder’s of CrossFit in Mississauga: Eric and Mark Vandermeersch, will ensure any MMA athlete or practitioner fitness results.