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Marcus Buchecha: 5 ways surfing can improve your BJJ

Marcus Buchecha. Photo: Greg Menager
Marcus Buchecha. Photo: Greg Menager

Surfing and BJJ have a long history together, begun in the 70s with Rolls Gracie. Since then, many surfers have practiced the martial art, including the greatest surfer of them all, Kelly Slater. Fittingly, four-time world BJJ champion Marcus Buchecha is an avid surfer. In love with surfing from his childhood, the Checkmat black-belt recently went to two stops on the world circuit, in France and Australia.

“One helps the other,” says Buchecha, who has been doing a series of seminars across the globe, having already visited Portugal, France, Norway, Australia, New Zealand, Dubai, Sweden and England. “Like an escape valve, surfing helps unstress the mind and calm it down. And there are many other factors that surfing helps, like balance and cardio, because you’re swimming to get past the surf, to pierce a wave. It winds up being an intense exercise.”

Buchecha laid out five tips for the BJJ practitioner who, like him, wants to take on the waves. Check them out:

1 – Surfing helps unstress and calms the mind to help start out the training week well.

2 – It helps with conditioning. In surfing, you are always swimming to pierce a wave or get past the surf.

3 – When you get wiped out and get trapped in the wave, you need calm — you cannot afford to despair. If it’s a big wave, it doesn’t matter whether you’re a black-belt — without calm, it’s worse. And this helps in fighting. When you are trailing or getting squeezed, it’s no good getting desperate. You need calm to reverse that situation.

4 – In surfing, we read the sea before stepping in. And so on the mat. You have to read your opponent to impose your game or sink a counter-move. You must always be one step ahead.

5 – Both in surfing and in BJJ, you need to think fast. The wave comes, and you must decide what to do, just like in a fight. Your opponent will try to sweep you, pass the guard and finish, and you must think fast in order not to fall into the trap.

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