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BJJ Competition Talk: An Interview with Calvin Whitney

Calvin coaches adult BJJ and competition training at Easton Training Center in Centennial. Calvin is a purple belt starting training 6 years ago and has been competing for just as long. His expansive knowledge and expertise is invaluable to our community.

What got you into competing?

Probably the complimentary t-shirts and shiny medals. I keep competing because it’s the best way to test your technique and yourself. It is an honest assessment of your jiu-jitsu. When training with your teammates and friends, you are not facing the same kind of energy as a stranger competing against you. I like knowing that I can execute under stress.

Why are you passionate about helping others compete?

Teaching and spreading jiu-jitsu is my favorite thing to do and seeing my teammates put it on the line is fulfilling. They inspire me to be a better practitioner, competitor, and instructor. 

What are some common mistakes you see when people first start competing?

Weight cutting absurd amounts of weight in short periods of time. Most organizations require you to weigh in the same day of the event, or even moments before the match. Instead of shedding water weight, focus on diet and lifestyle changes.

What steps do you go through to get ready for a competition?

Most important is committing to a consistent, tough training schedule leading up to the event. If you buy the ticket, you have to take the ride.
I think that anyone will see success in competition with a consistent training schedule and some persistency. Although, success in jiu-jitsu is subjective and a much broader discussion. There should be no dramatic changes. Two weeks before an event I am fine-tuning my A-game and only sparring within whatever rule set I am competing in.

How is competition training different from everyday training?

The pace at which the practitioner applies technique is the key difference. In competition classes, there is an understanding that everyone there is to push each other.

Do you go into competition with a game plan?

I do not cut weight, so I make sure to hydrate and get plenty of sleep. My goal is to walk into an event feeling like it is just another day of training. Going about my regular morning routine keeps my nerves down. I have a basic and adaptable game plan that forces my opponent into my favorite positions and sequences.

What can one expect at a competition?

There will be lots of downtime and waiting. Stay warm, focused, and ready.

What is the best advice you ever got?

“Do more of what you are not good at.”

What is the worst advice you ever got?

“Don’t wash your belt.”

How do you analyze your wins and loses?

Capturing video of your matches gives you the ability to breakdown and study what you did right and what you need to work on. Find yourself a designated camera person. Competing becomes easier when you accept the fact that everyone will inevitably lose in this sport. Being upset at a loss for more than a couple of minutes does not serve you. Small group or private lessons are invaluable in giving you an edge because the instructor can give the student lots of attention and critique finer details, which allows for rapid improvement. It is equally important to maintain a large and diverse group of training partners.

Ready to Get Started? 

Easton Training Center’s Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu program has classes for students of every level. Whether you’re just starting out or a seasoned brown belt, you’ll find training at our academies to be fun and challenging. 

Our Fundamentals program teaches the essentials of offense and defense from the foundational positions. You’ll learn self-defense techniques for real life situations. From there, you’ll start to build your own game in live training, or Randori. In our advanced classes, you’ll learn the finer points of sport Jiu-Jitsu from the best instructors in Colorado. 

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