Category Archives: Life in the Academy

Being part of a team

May 6th FVGC Closed- Trip to WI Dells

Saturday, May 6th FVGC will be CLOSED for all regular classes. We will be going to the Wisconsin Dells to watch the Wisconsin Wrestling Federation Freestyle & Greco State tournament. We are going to show support for a number of FVGC family members that are competing, including the Engeldal, Williams, Wittmann, Hammen, and Mills kids.
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Please RSVP to the FB event if you are wanting to travel with the team (i.e. carpool with other FVGCers). FVGC FAMILY MEMBERS ONLY! If you are going but will be traveling alone with your family, please just check “Interested” so we don’t reserve you a seat. If you are willing and able to drive/provide a vehicle, please let us know in the discussion and include how many seats you have available. We will be meeting and leaving from the gym (exact time TBD).

More information on the tournament is below.
http://www.wiwrestlingfederation.com/page/show/981040-freestyle-and-greco-roman-state

It has been suggested to us that you bring cash for entry and parking as well as chairs/cushions to sit on as it will be a long day on bleachers and the floor. Wear your FVGC or Team Sarah gear!

Now Offering 2 WEEKS FREE!

Team FVGC is excited to announce that we are extending our trial offer to 2 WEEKS FREE for all prospective adult students!  Team FVGC is the ONLY Brazilian jiu-jitsu academy in NE Wisconsin with a full-time Black Belt instructor as well as a group of the most dedicated and accomplished coaches in the valley.

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The free trial is a great way to try out all of our regular adult programs (BJJ, Boxing/kickboxing, Judo/Wrestling, Women’s Martial Arts, Fight Fit fitness). You will have a chance to experience our different martial arts programs, meet and talk with our coaches, and train with the FVGC family! You don’t need to have any experience to start training; most people that come in for the first time don’t have any martial arts background!

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To get started all you need to do is come 10-15 minutes before the first class that you want to attend to fill out your waiver. See our schedule at www.foxvalleygrapplingclub.com/schedule.html.  If you are under 18, you will need a parent/guardian to sign your paperwork.  Wear comfortable athletic clothes and, if you are participating in boxing or kickboxing, you will need a mouth guard. Any other equipment you may need is provided by FVGC for your trial period.

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If you have any other questions before coming in, please do not hesitate to call or email us! See you soon!

Schedule and Event Announcements!

Team FVGC Thanksgiving Schedule

Thursday, Nov 26th (Thanksgiving Day): CLOSED

Friday, Nov 27th (Black Friday): CLOSED

Saturday, Nov 28th: OPEN MAT 10AM-11AM

 

There will be no regular classes on Saturday. Open mat is available to all regular adult members (BJJ, Kickboxing, Fitness). There will be no instruction. A 5 minute timer will be set starting at 10am for those that are looking to roll/spar/workout with rounds. Do not show up at 10:45AM and expect that we will stay open for as long as you want to be at the gym.

 

Instructor Appreciation Week

December 7th – December 12th

Our instructors here at FVGC are not only incredibly skilled and accomplished, they are also extremely dedicated to their students and generous with their time and knowledge.

The week of December 7th is going to officially be Instructor Appreciation Week. FVGC staff will be organizing some ways to help our members say “Thank you!” to all the coaches for their years of hardwork and service to their team and students, but welcome you to find your own unique way to show your appreciation!!!

 

Family Potluck Saturday, December 12th

At the end of the week, on Saturday, December 12, we will be having an end-of-the-year POTLUCK at the gym from 5-8pm. Bring a dish and your family for a night of fun!!! We will have a dish-to-bring sign up closer to the event.  All FVGC members from all programs and their families/significant others are welcome. In addition to stuffing our faces, we will be running some games for the kids and the adults. There also will be a raffle with some cool prizes with proceeds going to a great cause!

Visit the Facebook Event page here

FVGC Hosts All-Women Jiu-Jitsu Event

Team FVGC is proud to support women in martial arts. This past Sunday (April 19th), FVGC hosted the Rebel Girls BJJ Training Event, a free 3 hour training event for female BJJ practitioners. The event drew 40 women from all over Wisconsin and Illinois.

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Rebel Girls BJJ is an organization that strives to empower women and inspire female camaraderie within the Brazilian jiu-jitsu community by creating free and accessible events in which women, regardless of experience level or team affiliation, can come together to learn, train, and celebrate the tenacity and righteousness that they bring to the gym every day. To find out more, you can visit their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/rebelgirlsbjj

WHY BRAZILIAN JIU-JITSU MAKES YOU TRULY HAPPY

By Coach James Peterson

Do you ever wonder why you feel so good after a training session? Have you ever thought, “Maybe I shouldn’t go in to practice tonight” and gone anyway, only to realize you feel great afterward? I am sure you have probably even tried to surmise why this happens. Maybe you think it is the endorphins. Maybe you think it is the simple act of “blowing off steam”. I am sure many of us have realized, whether we have been in BJJ for a short time or having been training for years, that while we are in the midst of it, it brings us true happiness.

I run my own gym and, in the past, have had several people return from vacations and tell me that they just have to get back in and roll. As I watched a TED Talk by Matt Killingsworth, it dawned on me as to what REALLY contributes to that feeling of such a great contentment and overall happiness a person gets from doing BJJ. You can watch it HERE.

It has to do with something he terms “Mind Wandering”. The general idea of Mind Wandering is that when people allow their minds to stray away from their present situation, they tend to be less happy. This holds true even if the individual’s thoughts are on something more positive than their current situation.

Luckily, while doing jiu-jitsu, you can only really focus on jiu-jitsu. I don’t know if I have ever thought, during a rolling session, what I would eat later or what plans I had for the weekend. When a person is doing BJJ, unless they want to get their ass completely handed to them, they can only focus on what is happening right at that moment. If you want to survive and thrive in BJJ, you MUST be in the moment. You have no choice. This is one of the key beauties of the art; complete focus on the now.

The side effects of training jiu-jitsu like increased fitness, the ability to endure difficult situations, better self-confidence and the bonds made with teammates are great, but I think, what brings true happiness is the absolute dedication to the present which is necessary to do jiu-jitsu.

 

Think about this AFTER your next rolling session.

Consistency: Maintain the Basics and Always Look Forward!

We all have those friends and teammates whose mantra seems to be “It’s time for me to get back into shape/get back to training…and I am serious this time!” They start coming to the gym three or four days a week and start making some progress…But the commitment seems to wane quickly and they end up back where they started 3 months ago.

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Martial arts and fitness are not in the list of activities that are like riding a bicycle. You can leave your bike in the garage all winter and still ride it in the spring with ease.  You stay out of the gym for the winter and you will have more than a little rust to shake off. There are two main reasons for this:

  1. The loss of physical strength and stamina due to inactivity/inconsistency should be a huge motivator for people with health and fitness or martial arts goals. Studies show that it can take as little as 2 weeks for your conditioning levels to plunge on a number of fronts! A few months of little to no training can undo months and months of prior work. Workout sessions that once seemed easy end up being incredibly challenging and frustrating after just a short period of time off.
  2. Meanwhile, progression in a sport such as Brazilian jiu-jitsu requires consistent work and focus to learn, polish, and fix techniques. It takes consistent up-keep of your body control and basics in order to focus on new techniques and positions. Purple belts need to be able to recall white belt and blue belt basics with no problem in order to focus on something more advanced.

So you must ask yourself: Why start over and “start training hard” every 6 months when you can stay at a reasonable and consistent pace, gradually improving all the time? Why worry about getting your wind back when you could be focusing on that new body movement or trying a kettlebell swing with a heavier weight than last week? Why worry about having your body be able to do a perfect basic arm bar because you keep taking time off, when you could be improving your guard game with more advanced sweeps? It seems like a simple answer to me.

NEVER LOOK BACK; MAINTAIN THE BASICS SO YOU CAN ALWAYS BE LOOKING FORWARD! And, if you have been out for awhile, make sure your plan to come back can be maintained over the long-term, not just for a few short months!

Happy training!

The Right Frame of Mind: Getting Through Your First Practice

Once upon a time, there was a man who decided he wanted to try to play basketball. He had never played before, but thought it was a cool sport that would be fun and help him get into shape. He imagined himself flying down the court with ease, getting the ball and making the perfect jump shot. It was beautiful. He found a rec league to play with and attended his first practice. It was harder than he imagined; he was out of breath and had trouble handling the ball, let alone making a basket. In fact, the other players left him in the dust. The man decided that basketball wasn’t a good sport for someone like him and quit after one practice.

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We see this a lot in our Brazilian jiu-jitsu class here in Appleton. We have a lot of people come in with absolutely no real experience and/or a low fitness level wanting to try the class. Very quickly they realize that the warm-ups alone are tough.Very quickly they realize that they don’t know anything, especially compared to the other people around them. Very quickly they realize the time and work it will take to see even the most basic positions and get their BJJ strength and cardio up.

And this is the crossroads. Will they have patience with themselves and realize that it was everyone’s first day at one time? Will they come back to the next practice and see what else they can learn and start chipping away at getting the basic positions down? Or will they decide that Brazilian jiu jitsu is not a sport that is for someone like them, inexperienced and out of shape?

Jiu jitsu is for everybody! It is for you if you are willing to judge yourself by your own personal progress, rather than in comparison to others. It is for you if you are willing to work hard at it and do your personal best. Michael Jordan didn’t come out of the womb as the best basketball player of all time. He looked as most everyone else the first time he held a basketball. If you come to Brazilian jiu-jitsu thinking you are going to be a superstar on your first day, you are going to be disappointed. But, it is not the sport….it is your frame of mind!

Train Hard!

FVGC Instructor Spotlight: James Peterson

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Okay, who are you and what do you do?

I’m James Peterson and I do whatever the hell I want. Just kidding. I win tournaments. And teach adult and kids Brazilian jiu-jitsu at Team FVGC.

How long have you been training in the martial arts?

I wrestled in high school and a year in college. I have been training BJJ for almost 12 years. I trained MMA for a while, but stopped doing that to concentrate entirely on BJJ coaching and competition.

What do you consider your greatest martial arts accomplishment?

Winning the Pan-Ams twice, once as a blue belt and once as a brown belt. Each one is special for different reasons. Winning as a brown belt was great because it is such a high level belt; but winning at blue belt was awesome too because I submitted all of my opponents.

What were the most important aspects of your preparation for that accomplishment? That is, what were you doing to achieve your goal?

There was a lot of mental training that went into those wins. Even when I was training physically, like doing road work, I would be mentally running through matches in my head. The winning took place far in advance of the actual matches. I was also trying to train with as many high level guys as I could. I took a lot of beatings; a lot of subs. But I had to just take each of those as learning experiences and not look at them as the whole of my game. Oddly, I developed confidence through that adversity that I carried with me to the Pans.

What makes a great martial artist?

Great technique, thoughtfulness, and humility.

Who inspires you?

My family, my coaches and my team.

Any words of advice for people training now?

Always be learning. Learn from your instructors, from books, videos and whatever else you can learn from. If you are really interested in your art, then you should constantly be striving for improvement and trying to advance your skills. Study broadly. I mean, not just the study of your martial art, but other martial arts and other facets of life as well. Also, try to understand your performance moves in cycles. There will be times when it seems like you are not only not improving, but backsliding as well. That is not the case. If you are still learning and taking in information, it just means your body has not caught up to the contents of your brain. You should actually be looking for an upswing in your game in the very near future. Finally, have fun. If you are not having fun, then what’s the point of doing it at all?

A Team is a Family

From its inception, Team FVGC has had a culture of sharing, brainstorming, and experimenting. This culture, although maybe present at other schools, was especially strong with us since our gym was started by white belts. The culture was both a curse and a blessing: Although we had very little guidance for our training and technique, we developed into a strong team whose members took care of each other as friends and as teachers. There was a sense of pulling together and doing our best to improve in a less-than-ideal situation.

Our school has since grown and is now headed by black and purple belts and has just added 5 more to our existing group of blue belts. I believe that the level of technique in the school has never been better. Having the guidance from a strong affiliation and a strong black belt in the school has given people something to strive for, something to model themselves after. However, as we began to grow, I wondered whether the level of camaraderie and teamwork would decrease; whether people would focus solely on themselves and their game; whether the Rank Race would begin.

But, on the contrary, I feel like the strength of our team as only grown to the level of family. There is a sense of our school as a force to be reckoned with, a sense of excitement that people are improving and getting promoted. You still see people coming in to work on technique together; trying to perfect moves from class or for a promotion test. People are being good partners, speaking up when they feel a mistake or cheering their partners on through conditioning workouts. People celebrate the accomplishments of their teammates that happen both inside and outside of the school. The gym has a feeling of optimism and kindness.

As we train, we must never forget it is important that although our leaders and instructors are important, the heart of our school is our team, our students. A strong student body only amplifies the gains from good technical instruction. It does not matter where you come from, how you dress outside the gym, how much money you make. If you come in with the love of jiu-jitsu and your team, you are part of the family; and family can be a beautiful thing.