Tag Archives: fabio gurgel

Is Mat Time Always Better Than Strength and Conditioning?

Training, diet, lifestyle, it’s all a damn mystery. Every decade a new commonly-accepted wisdom comes out. The only thing I’m fairly certain of is that you need water and sleep, and even that seems to be optional for the tougher specimens of our species (aka collegiate wrestlers).

Anyway, I read an interview recently with someone big (I think Fabio Gurgel) where he said that strength and conditioning is never better than mat time (drilling, positional sparring, competition training). However, he continued to make the argument that you still should do strength and conditioning to prevent burning out mentally.

I like that philosophy. Strength and conditioning is the thing you do to spice up your relationship with jiu jitsu. At the end of the day, technique will conquer all, and you won’t learn technique running on a treadmill. But we are not robots, and can’t do the hard boring thing every time. We need to do the fun things as well.

Epilogue: Have you ever written something full of contradictions, and at the end you are not sure you agree with any of it? Well that’s what this blog post is for me. But I think the internal conflict I have on the subject represents something: the fact that it’s not easy to design the perfect training regimen under the constraints of real life and real mind.

Self Knowledge

“The fighter’s self-knowledge must turn the battle into something pleasant. The Jiu-Jitsu practitioner must have fun in the championships. That way, it all becomes easy.” – Fabio Gurgel

I got the above quote from a remarkably good list of 20 ways to improve your grappling. It presents suggestions from some of the most respected competitors and teachers in jiu jitsu.

I’d like to focus on this quote, or rather what I take from it. My ultimate goal is for there to be no place that a match can go where I don’t feel comfortable and happy to be there.

I think this requires honest self-analysis, finding the weaknesses, and attacking them. Technique wise, my currently least favorite position is on bottom in side control. Today a very good player (significantly lighter than me) held me there for maybe 3-4 minutes. Since he was smaller he couldn’t just lock down and hold, he moved with me constantly threatening mount and submissions.