My last days in Norwich before the competition...
It is this time of the year where I remember all these important people in my life.
For the second year in a row, I am off to Lisbon for the BJJ European Championship, which is officially the biggest BJJ competition in the world.
Last year was stressful, I went there as a fresh Brown Belt with more doubts than certainties.
This year is an awkward one, on one hand I feel very confident with my technique and skills. On the other hand my lower back has and is still a source of concern.
Let me get you through the training camp and my sensations prior to the competition.
From the 21st of November to the 21st of December, I launched the Train For Life Pre XMas Challenge...the best idea Ever!
Having to pay attention to what I eat made the Xmas break at my boys' grandparents really easy. I didn't binge on food, I ate well but never felt blotted, as a result I came back 1-1.5kg heavier compared to the 3-4kg I put on last year.
3-4 days after my return to Norwich, I was back to my weight which is 1.5-2kg over my competition weight. In other words I had 2 weeks and a half to lose 2kg, which was great news.
The diet looked after, my only focus was on training BJJ and the strength and conditioning.
A good story always comes with twists...here they are!!
My BJJ and conditioning preparation were both altered due to singular and persistent lower back problem.
In regard to BJJ, it limited me so much that I could not turn on my right side or move explosively. In regard to lifting weight, I found myself squatting and deadlifting 20-30kg less than what I was used to due to the discomfort and pain.
Honestly, at that stage I was just saying to myself. "Daddy you go out there as planned and you do what you can".
This was the plan, not the best but it was the situation that I had/have to face. I have been and many other people I know have been through similar situations where we have to compete without feeling great. As a matter of fact my best friend Aziz won the BJJ European Championship with what turned to be an hernia...
I HAVE NO EXCUSES, JUST HAVE TO GO THERE, MAN UP AND MAKE IT HAPPEN!
Twists!! As I mentioned it earlier a good story comes with twists... I kept on sleeping, eating well, praying and training.
On Wednesday 11th, I decided to see Josh Crosley a sport massage therapist that I HIGHLY RECOMMEND. I had a first massage which was painful, but freed me a bit. This aloud me to get back to my training regimen, without a rest day for 10 days.
On Monday 16th, I had my second massage. Prior to the massage I told Josh about my sensations, where it hurt, how limited I was...
He took it on board and got to work... The massage was not as painful as the first BUT THE RESULTS WERE AMAZING.
The same night, I went at the academy to spar and found myself moving almost as if I was not injured at all.
To double check, I returned to the academy on Tuesday morning to spar with Russell and Simon two teammates purple belt . The result was the same I felt great.
I recovered 30-40% mobility and consequently my confidence experienced a boost. I no longer go to compete and do my best, I go to compete to claim the position of the BEST.
Wednesday 18th was "The Test", this morning, I had my last sparing session, the hardest of all with Luke my training partner. To spar with Luke is hard for various reasons. He is really good and on top of that he knows me really well as we train a lot together.
The session was really tough and I pushed as hard as I do when I compete. I needed to see what my back could take.
I felt stiff sometimes and my lower back locked itself afterwards, but the general sensations are positive. I felt sharp.
The same evening, I had my last massage with Josh at 7.45pm, it ached as always but felt looser and definitely more relaxed.
Now I Finnish packing spend time with my wife and on Thursday at 5.25am I will be on coach to Stansted, then a plane to Lisbon...
BELIEVE AND ACHIEVE