When I first started grappling, I thought I’d just show up once or twice a week, get my ass kicked, and then go home happy. But the more I trained, the more I learned that there are things that I have to do off the mat in order to improve my game or even just to make the whole experience pleasant and feasible as part of a busy life:
- Laundry. A gi should never be worn for two practices without being washed in-between (unless you did zero work, but even then). Also it should be thoroughly air-dried.
- I used to think that diet was about losing weight. It is. But it’s also about eating stuff that can keep you energized throughout the day and through training. Also, my digestive system is pretty screwed up, so a big part of a diet for me is figuring out what to eat in order to avoid getting sick or having a stomachache in training. If I fail in this aspect, it definitely makes training less fun.
- Drink water (to counter-balance the pots of coffee I consume)
- Shower. Right away after every practice.
- Medical Tape. Most of the taping I do is to cover cuts and mat burn so as to help avoid infection. This is really a major pain in the ass.
- Learn the public transit system (the subway and rails are hard enough, but the bus system is a chaotic mess of routes and schedules)
- Learn how to stay productive while riding or waiting for the bus/train
- Watch competition footage
- Watch instructional videos
- Read instructional books
- Keep notes
The above, to me, is the “jiu-jitsu lifestyle”: doing laundry, taking showers, and riding the bus. It’s not as glorious as sex, drugs, and surfing, but I still love it.