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Staying healthy and positive during lockdown

featuring SJJA’s coaches



Bruno: I try to do a different activity every day, such as running, cycling, or weights in the garage. In terms of diet, I try to cook at home more often and think more consciously about what I eat. I also recently started fasting 4-5 times a week to see how my body will react to this; so far I am feeling great and it makes me more excited to eat the first meal of the day! As I am not as active as pre-lockdown, I think adjustments on the diet are important to stay in shape during the lockdown. 

Daini: Every week I choose one or two new locations (99% of the time it’s a bakery) on Google Maps that’s within 1 hour cycling distance (round trip), and I cycle there. It’s both my exercise and my rewarding time of the week, as I get to treat myself to something from the bakery. If i’m not doing that, I try to do 100 burpees a day.

Adam: At least once a day I’ve been trying to do some form of exercise that gets my heart rate up, whether that’s going for a run, doing at-home workouts, or using my exercise bike.

Sergio: For workouts, I go to the park every day and I create my own circuit for around 45 minutes, during which I train legs, arms, back and abs. I’m also trying out new exercises on the bars in the park (gymnastics style), which is really fun! It’s great because I’m staying fit and also finding new ways to condition my body and maintain it so that when we are out of lockdown, I’m ready to compete. In terms of food, I’m really trying to cook healthy food for myself and not eat junk food. I also started a diet program last week which is helping me stay on track and reach my fitness goals.  

Eva: I’m a full-time surgical nurse, which means I haven’t been in lockdown quite like everyone else; I still go to work at the hospital every day, and we’ve been extremely busy in the operating theatre. My team and I are taking extra precautions to not get infected with COVID-19 at the hospital, but even so, we are still at high risk, which is why it’s so important for people to stay at home during lockdown because if it gets into hospitals, this can be very dangerous for everyone, especially our patients. I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has followed the rules and stayed at home because you’re keeping us safer while we work in the hospital to save other people’s lives.

Go: I exercise every morning (sometimes twice a day), and it’s either a run or lifting weights at home. In terms of food, I usually eat very healthy so nothing has changed in that respect. The key for me is keeping a consistent schedule, whether it’s your work or exercise. I use a calendar to log my routine which makes it much easier to follow. For example: as per my calendar, I always wake up at 6:30 am, read the news, exercise, and then start my workday.

Richard: Chasing after my kids! My eldest son has discovered a love of soccer so I spend time with him kicking the ball around. My youngest really likes riding his scooter, and I have my own so I often go for rides with them both. I also have a 10kg weighted vest so that turns a stroll around the hills of Hunters Hill into a particularly challenging exercise – plus I look like I’m walking around in a life jacket! 

2. What are some jiu jitsu techniques we can drill at home?

Richard: If you live with someone else, try out the Peg Game! This game is excellent for practising your Jiu Jitsu by drilling grip fighting, and it also teaches you to keep your hands up! See my image guide below: 


Daini: You can practise Kesa-Gatame using a make-shift dummy! See my image guide below:


Adam: One of my favourite drills to do at home from when I was a blue belt, and still to this day, is my berimbolo on chairs. See my image guide below:


Go: Even though the lockdown prohibits us from rolling on the mats, there are so many different ways to learn.  I recommend learning new concepts and techniques from online content, as there’s so much free content online! I recently purchased an online course by John Danaher who explains techniques extremely well,  and I also watch a lot of videos on YouTube. See my image guide below on how to practise a Seoi Nage with resistance bands:

Bruno: In terms of drills at home, I recommend participating in the Zoom classes that we provide every day for both kids and adults. In the online session, the coach will make sure that all the drills are possible to do on your own, and the best part is that there is no need for any equipment. If you want to do more than just the Zoom classes then I suggest doing stretching exercises, as this will help with your jiu-jitsu flexibility and also minimize the chance of any potential injuries. Another way to keep your mind sharp is to watch some match videos and some instructionals. And if you live with a family member, partner or housemate, then you could ask them to practice some techniques from our online training platform.

Sergio: Here is a simple drill to simulate moving from side control to knee-on-belly. It will also improve your balance and agility – all you need is a soccer ball or basketball. See my image guide below or check out the video guide here.

Side control | Ball exercise with Sergio - SJJA

Eva: I always remind my students to stay healthy by eating proper food and exercising every day. There are lots of workouts we can do from home: push-ups, sit-ups, burpees, or running outside. We also have Zoom classes every day so that people can keep up with their jiu-jitsu during lockdown – definitely make the most of this!

3. What’s something new you’ve been learning/trying out during lockdown?

Adam: I’ve been doing some furniture restorations during the day to help pass some time. It’s nice to get in the sun and having a sense of accomplishment during this lockdown has been beneficial for me with my gym being closed.


Daini: I try to drink more water (at least 2 litres a day) and utilize breathwork. 

Richard: My wife is Brazilian so I’m spending a couple of hours a day practising my Portuguese! 

Sergio: Yesterday I tried surfing for the first time! I’ve also started meditating every day; I started off meditating for only 3 minutes, but now I do 15-25 minute meditations. I have realised this meditation is going to be very helpful for me in the lead up to my future fights, because it will help me focus my mind much more. I’ve also started exploring my local area, and have found lots of beautiful, hidden places.

Go: I’ve been teaching mathematics to my son! Even though I know maths, I’ve had to learn the most optimal way to teach, and the best learning methodologies for him. I’ve also been painting our house and doing some furniture restorations.

Bruno: I listen to more podcasts, walk more often and make sure that I have a routine. I also write down tasks to accomplish every day, which helps my mind to keep busy and keep moving forward.

4. What’s something positive that has happened to you as a result of the lockdown?

Bruno: I believe that it is when we face harder times, we give more value to the simple things in life such as spending time with family and friends. We tend to realise this only once it gets taken away from us. I’ve had a lot more time on my hands to connect with my loved ones back in Brazil, which has been really nice.

Go: I’ve been able to spend a lot more time with my family. Before lockdown, I would wake up at 5:30am, leave home, and return at around 8 or 9pm, so getting to see my family more often has been really nice.  

Daini: I get a lot more sleep, and much more outdoor time, as I used to spend a lot of time indoors in the gym. I’ve also explored so many parts of my local area on my cycling routes, which I probably wouldn’t have done otherwise. 

Adam: I’ve had a lot more free time to help look after my younger family members.  

Sergio: I now understand more about who I am. Life is always very busy, and daily life tends to become rather automatic. The more alone time I have, the more time I’ve had to reflect on my life and analyse everything; relationships, what is good for me, how to eat well, sleep well – everything. At the start I felt it was hard, but I have grown a lot throughout this experience. I always try to look at every situation as a positive, and see every situation as an opportunity to make myself better.    

Richard: We had A LOT of work to do at the Gladesville Academy, so I’ve been working furiously there every day to get it looking beautiful. I am hoping that everyone appreciates all the hard work we’ve done when we reopen! 

5. Talk to us about your experience in persevering through difficult times: What was one of your toughest life experiences? How did you overcome it? What did you learn from that experience?

Sergio: My father passed away when I was 15, and shortly after, I moved in with my girlfriend. We bought a lot of things for our house, but one day, someone broke in and stole everything we own. We both lost our jobs and were starting to struggle to buy enough food – I remember there were so many times we’d go to sleep feeling hungry. This made me feel so scared because I don’t like to ask for help from anyone, as I always feel “it’s my problem, not theirs”. There was one day where we had no money left to buy food and couldn’t eat that day. At the time, I thought everything in my life was awful, and I couldn’t see a way out. The next day, my friend offered me a one-day job, meaning I had enough money to buy some rice and a few tomatoes for my girlfriend and I. We cooked it that night, and I don’t think I’ve ever tasted a more delicious meal in my life. Even today, I still remember that sensation of tasting food after having starved all day. This experience taught me what really matters in life: if I have food on my plate and a roof over my head, I’m happy and grateful – all because there was once a time when I could not even put food on my table.  

Daini:  Fortunately I haven’t had many tough challenges in life. The toughest challenge I had was probably coming back from an injury.  It can be frustrating, but setting small targets definitely helps. Instead of looking at the end of the tunnel, look at the immediate step in front of you, and feel that sense of achievement every day by sticking to the plan. That helped me a lot. 

Richard: Hard one for me to answer but I always like to remind myself that neither good times nor bad times last forever. Whilst what we are going through can seem never ending, in a year’s time it’ll be a memory. The key is just to find a way through it! 

6. What message do you want to send to your SJJA students who are currently in lockdown?

Bruno: I know it is a hard time for everyone, but as I relate many things with jiu-jitsu, I believe that we can always find ways to escape from the bottom and get back on top. We all just need to stay calm and patient and do the right thing. At this moment, all that matters is yours and your family’s health, that you have food on the table, and a roof over your head. Together, we will come back stronger than before.

Daini: This is the perfect time to look after yourself. Think of all those times you trained hard in jiu jitsu and neglected your shoulder injuries, knee injuries, etc. Now is the best time to look after them. Work on your mobilities, rehabs, strength, and all the other things you’ve been wanting to improve but spent all that time in jiu jitsu class instead. Do them now, and you will return to the mats so much healthier and stronger. 

Adam: Try to stay positive and motivated in these times. It’s easy to get into a sedentary lifestyle during lockdown, so just try to do one thing a day that gets your heart rate up in order to keep your cardio up throughout the lockdown. I hope all my students stay healthy, and please call me anytime if you need any advice or tips to stay motivated during these times.  

Sergio: Remember SJJA’s motto: diamonds are built under pressure. This expression is so important and so true. This pressure on top of you right now will make you so much stronger in the end. It may push you to the extreme, but it’s only once you test yourself under pressure that you become better. So don’t wait until lockdown finishes to strengthen your body and mind – start today. I also think this lockdown is also a useful time for everyone to reflect on everything in their lives: what should stay and what needs to go – and it’s an opportunity to place more value on quality friendships and relationships. 

Go: Keep your routines and plan out your week. Just because you’re in lockdown doesn’t mean you need to change your routine. Stay positive. I think everyone had ideas in their mind of things they always wanted to try… be it learning a new instrument, spending more time cooking, or reading more books, but you never had the time to do it. This is the best opportunity to learn something new. This will keep you positive. If you learn new things, this will keep you positive.

Richard: It would be easy for me to say ‘be positive’ but I find that can sometimes be unhelpful without specific guidance on how to actually stay positive. For me, I try to reflect on all the things I am grateful for in my life and, most importantly if you feel the need to talk to someone, call them up and talk. Most people are happy to listen if you’re having a bad day, and we can all relate to the situation you’re in. I also like to set different goals to achieve each day. I find things seem a lot more manageable when you have a challenge or a task for the day and you definitely go to bed at night with a bit more of a sense of accomplishment.

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