Panda Jiu-jitsu

Photo of Milford Sound in New Zealand!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Pena - The weight-watching journey

It's been 5 months since I began training with my new team - Cascao Jiu-jitsu and I'm finally seeing the results of it on my body. During my 9 month break from jiu-jitsu, I've managed to balloon to 190 pounds. That's crazy considering I used to compete at Pluma (Light Featherweight). For those new to Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, see below for the IBJJF weight divisions.

IBJJF Weight Divisions

My competition goals for 2014 aren't far-fetched - I want to compete (and win of course) at Pena (Featherweight). I've plateaued at 170 lbs. (that's 12.14 stone for all you blokes) these last couple of months. It's taxing to control one's appetite especially during the holiday season.

Wise men have told me "Do not cut. Lose weight slowly and naturally". I had a fear of getting smashed by bigger, stronger opponents. That fear ultimately led me to cutting 15 lbs. in a month in preparation for the the 2012 IBJJF Las Vegas Summer Open. I dieted (more like starved) like crazy. I started my days with fat burners and CLA's. During competition week, my meals consisted of hard-boiled eggs, protein bars, protein shakes, broccoli and coconut water. Healthy? Hardly. I was focused on shedding weight instead of competition training. On a side note: weight shouldn't even be a factor. If an opponent knows how to correctly base and distribute his weight, you will be pinned.

Tournament day comes - my breakfast was a banana and a cup of yogurt. I was semi-parched throughout the day for fear of gaining water weight. Stepping on a scale at the bull pen, I actually weighed in at 140 lbs. with my gi on. That's a pound below the limit. So in my head I was thinking "Yeah, I got this!" But then expectations don't always coincide with reality. I started my match spazzing and midway through I had my adrenaline dump.

Weighing scal panda
"Shouldn't have eaten the last slice of that oreo cheesecake."

So here goes, lessons I took from that day:

  1. I should have focused on technique instead of consistently monitoring the weighing scale - I'm not a Victoria's Secret model.
  2. I shouldn't fear bigger, stronger opponents - that contradicts the entire existence of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu.

I am approaching the 2014 competition season not only smarter but also with utmost diligence. The plan is eating clean plus drilling and rolling more. I've been doing somewhat of a good job. However the real challenge is to NOT deviate from the plan. Let's see how this goes.

See you all at the tournaments!


  1. It seems like there's this HUGE fear of meeting bigger folks. All I hear is "cutting weight" "cutting weight" "cutting weight." I agree - there are better things to focus on. That's cool that you came to that realization yourself.

    Out of curiosity, will you be lifting to help you lose weight? Or just starting to make healthier choices?

    1. It's the stigma of wrestlers and MMA fighters. Unlike those, jiu-jitsu gives you time to be on point with weight. I just recently realized that.

      Yes, I actually grabbed myself some kettlebells. I sometimes use them with grip trainers I purchased from Scramble, and it has helped me boatloads with grip strength.

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