Keep doing what you love

COVID is a bastard that has caused carnage since early 2020. I have suffered like most people. Nowhere near the extent of some poor people. I am certainly not looking for any sympathy.

I am just going to tell you how I have managed to keep doing what I love. Barely. But I have still, just about managed it.

What I love is BJJ (Brasilian Jiu Jitsu). I used to love football. But BJJ has definitely taken over.

But like my training partners (and everyone else who loves BJJ), I haven’t trained since last February. It breaks my heart.

Even before COVID

Even before COVID, my BJJ was affected by work. Like Tunisia for example.

In 2019, there was a 5-month period when I hardly trained BJJ. This was due to my 37 day on, 12 days off rotation in very poor conditions.

This was when I first started to train with jeans. I know it sounds mental, but I needed to keep training BJJ. Adapt and overcome as they say.

I started doing leglocks on my jeans. Every day I would do 100 reps on each leg.

Another way to train was to do wrestling with one of the lads on the beach. He would only do it twice a week, so I was limited.

The beach was awful. It was black from all the pollution. The pollution from the chemical plant that was pumping out all kinds of shit.

Not only that, it was full of plastic bottles and various other bit’s of plastic. The black sand was very uncomfortable on the skin as was the plastic. But I love BJJ and I kept doing it.

When COVID kicked in

When COVID kicked in, I had a little 12-week stint in Oman. So, I was back doing my training with a pair of jeans.

I would also force myself to watch 20 minutes of an instructional each day. I love BJJ but I do get bored when I watch it – especially when it is an instructional. They tend to put me to sleep. But I forced myself to keep doing what I love.

After getting home from Oman I still couldn’t train. So, I started to train with Dave the Dummy. Dave was my BJJ dummy who I practised drills on. It sounds weird but BJJ is addictive even with a dummy.

Whenever I am training with Dave with the garage open, I get some strange looks from neighbours walking by. But as long as I’m getting the reps in, I’m happy.

Even when I’m injured

Late October 2020, I injured my knee so I couldn’t even train with Dave.

So, I kept on with the instructional watching. But I got bored, so I had to try something else.

In my new job in Finland, I had a 30-minute drive to work. I done what any normal person would do.

I recorded 30 minutes of BJJ notes (I make notes of most of my lessons at Stealth North East) and listened to it on the way to work.

This was painful. I have a very monotone voice and it is difficult to listen to myself. But I forced myself to do it because I love BJJ.

To do

I know it isn’t always possible. But try and give COVID the finger. Keep smiling and keep doing what you love.

I am currently towards the back end of a 5-week trip in Holland and am struggling to be honest. But I keep doing my BJJ drills. And listening to my recording when I can force myself to listen to myself.

If I’m feeling a bit down, I will train. I will do press ups or squats in my hotel room. I have even convinced the hotel manager to stick an exercise bike in the room. With some exercise and endorphins released, I feel much better.

I have everything crossed that we can get back to some form of normality in the near future. Keep positive as much as possible and we will all get back to doing what we love.

Book of the week:

What a flanker, by James Haskell. This a funny read! An added bonus is that it is making me want to train really hard.

For a hard copy visit the excellent Imagined Things Bookshop:

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