Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Blondie the comic strip

Show of hands if you remember the Blondie comic strips when Dagwood napped on the sofa all day.

That was me today after practicing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu with a much more experienced person who seemed to think I was wearing a skirt by the number of times he called me a girl or told me to take off the skirt.

Yup, this guy Keith, who was searching for a personal trainer and found the testimonial from my Krav Maga instructor, invited me to come train with him and compare fighting styles. I, wanting to be the best coach I can be excepted the offer so I could understand his sport better and what he was looking to do.

We met at a private gym near his home that has a small “mat room”. After warming up (most everyone knows I like to warm up my body before I play a sport), we “rolled” around on the mat, barefoot and wearing shorts & t-shirts. He showed me things like the guard (lying on your back with your opponent ready to attack), shrimping (like the bicycle ab exercise except its the same arm & leg coming together), the Kimora (think twisting someone’s arm into internal rotation) and the triangle arm lock (can’t explain yet). He told me that I made great facial expressions, was intense and got pissed off every time I had to tap out. “Yeah, thanks!”

In the end, even though I tapped out frequently and was called many feminine names (guys hate that) it was great. I really have natural athleticism in the form of kinesthetic awareness (knowing where your body is in space), strength (I was giving up 30 + pounds to this guy) and conditioning (I didn’t get tired). I moved well (thank you movement prep), endured (thank you planks & interval training) and made him work (thank you chosen profession). We agreed to do it again and he better watch out because I’m a fast learner. 🙂

Here’s a little background information on Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu with no gi or no Karate Kid uniform. It is basically grappling (wrestling) on the ground in which you try to get your opponent into a submission hold (think Head lock, arm lock, leg lock or some really embarrassing high pitched noise coming from your mouth that you never heard before). Once the victim, me in this case, is forced to submit, I tap out. “Tap out” or “tapping out” means you tap the floor or your opponent to signal “uncle” or “mercy”. And there’s no punching, kicking, elbows, knees or head butts. Just wrassling.

Here’s a video from youtube of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu without a gi.

Pretty cool isn’t it (roll your eyes if you’re a woman and repeat after me, “boys will be boys”)!

So you see how all of my training was used in a totally new experience and I held my own. What experiences have been surprisingly easier for you because of your training? Reply below.


Mike Alves

Boston Athletic Club Trains the Trainer

“Awesome and Disgusting” was my reply to Coach Rich’s question of how I felt after completing his boot camp at the Boston Athletic Club. Awesome because I haven’t had my butt kicked like that since high school basketball and disgusting because I was covered in sweat and dirt. I sweat like I just got out of a shower. My shirt and shorts were soaked and could have been wrung out and I was covered in dirt from lying on the grown (imagine jumping in the ocean with your clothes on and then rolling around on the beach-that’s how I felt).

Now don’t get me wrong, the sweat and dirt did not bother me. It was just an observation. I actually felt amazing. Happy, relaxed, clear of mind, supercharged and full of life. I loved every minute of it. I felt lucky to be there and to have done it. I’m guessing this is how some of my clients may feel and I definitely want them to walk away from every workout feeling as good as I did.

Another unique thing I observed was that no one was talking. It made me think of a dinner party when the meal is fabulous and no one talks because they are enjoying themselves so much. This was the same except no dinner (unless you count the turkey bacon burps I ate twice during the workout-grosser, I know). I was too winded and focused on doing my best before we had to switch to the next exercise. I’m sure this is how everyone else must have felt.

My favorite part, because I’m sick like that, were the sprint games at the end. We did like 15 total minutes of conditioning in the form of competitive relays. Losing team did push ups. My team didn’t lose, but everyone had fun. That’s when I realized how powerful boot camps (much like semi-private training) can be for creating peer support and getting results fast. No one knew me and I knew none of them, but we bonded. I gave maximal effort to help my team. My teammates responded with the same. Our opponents not wanting to lose and sensing our determination gave their best efforts. This led them to respect each other, to respect us and us to respect them (a triple win if you will). It was cool. Lots of high fives and “good efforts”.

Kudos and thanks to Rich and Ron, the two Fitness Managers at the Boston Athletic Club, who invited me to experience their boot camp after meeting with them recently. Boot camps are one of the largest growing sectors of the fitness industry because you can help a lot of people get in great shape fast.