May 01, 2008

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The final leg of the journey of studying Brazilian jiu-jitsu involves the tools it takes, mentally and physically, to succeed in the long run. Earning a purple, brown, or black belt in BJJ is a long-term commitment, one that can take years of consistent training and dedication to the art. As with any worthwhile goal, there will be obstacles along the path and opportunities you can take that will aid in your success. Once again, I have assembled our panel of experts to discuss the issues of how and how often to train, how to avoid and cope with injury and burnout, and the necessity of competition.

This month's panel of experts

Jimmy Tang has been training in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, both with and without the traditional gi, for six and a half years. A frequent tournament competitor, Jimmy earned his brown belt from Jean Jacques Machado in 2006.

Felicia Oh earned her black belt from Jean Jacques Machado in four and a half years and has been training for seven. She teaches BJJ and is a certified CrossFit trainer at Big John McCarthy's Ultimate Training Academy in California. In 2007 she was the FILA World Grappling Champion and Pan-Am Champion in both gi and no-gi divisions.

Kenny Florian is a mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter, Ultimate Fighter contestant, and top contender in the 155-pound weight division in the UFC. He has been training BJJ for approximately eleven years and earned his black belt in five and a half years, from Roberta Maia of Gracie Barra.

Valerie Worthington has been training for nine years. She earned her purple belt from Carlson Gracie and Carlson Gracie, Jr. Currently she trains under Johnny Ramirez and John Ouano at New Breed Academy. In 2007 she won the gold in her weight division at the World Grappling Games in Antalya, Turkey.

Tait Fletcher trains MMA with Greg Jackson in New Mexico and is a veteran of the Ultimate Fighter television show. He has been training for approximately eight years, earning his brown belt from Eddie Bravo.



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