With the registration deadline approaching on March 3 to sign up for the 2014 Pan, the countdown for training days raises tension. The tournament will bring thousands of competitors from juveniles to master 5 divisions and all rankings. Many different people choose to compete at the biggest Jiu-Jitsu tournament in the world and will travel from far off places to test their skills, indulge in new life experiences, meet friends within the community, further their Jiu-Jitsu resumes and have fun.
To highlight some of your peers who will compete at this year’s event, here are two people who have set their eyes on the gold. One from another state, and another will travel from northern California down to the UC Irvine Brenn Event Center on March 12-16.
Meet Nicholle Stoller, a blue belt from Nashville MMA in Nashville, Tennessee. She competes often and will be putting her blue belt rank to the test at the Pans this year. She has been training since 2012 and her dedication for Jiu-Jitsu is proof that her Asperger’s Syndrome has no bearing on her performances. The Autism Spectrum Disorder, sometimes called “high functioning Autism,” is characterized by hyper sensitivity, obsessive behaviors towards specific interests, hindered social skills, ability to recognize patterns and other various behaviors. The obsessive, pattern-finding abilities that Nicholle has actually help her in learning techniques and dedication to training. The Jiu-Jitsu community has also helped her adapt and excel tremendously in her social life as well.
We asked Nicholle some quick questions about her training and expectations for the 2014 Pans:
GRACIEMAG: How often do you compete?
NICHOLLE STOLLER: I make it a goal to compete at least once a month. We don’t have many large tournaments near Nashville, so this usually involves travel – but it’s worth it!
Have you competed at Pans before?
Last year was my first time competing at Pans as a white belt. This year I’m going as a blue belt.
How do you prepare?
I train twice a day and alternate between days focused on rolling and days focused on conditioning. If it’s a day that I’m doing conditioning, I only roll hard in one training session and drill for the other session – conditioning is first thing in the morning. If I’m not doing conditioning, I roll hard in both my morning and evening sessions.
Physical preparation is secondary to my mental preparation. It doesn’t matter how in shape, or in synch I am – if my mindset is not right, I will look like a retarded ape when the referee drops his hand. The closer I get to competition time, the more I hide myself away when I’m not training – I find a combination of meditation, and the proper soundtrack works wonders.
How often do you get to train?
I run my massage therapy business out of my school, so I usually train twice a day and see clients in between training sessions.
Devon Martinez is a blue belt adult featherweight who trains out of the Bay Area at Guerrilla Jiu-Jitsu who will also be competing at the 2014 IBJJF Pan. A twenty-four year old personal trainer, he and his family train together. His cousins have a gym, which is where he started training. These days he spends a lot of time at his academy drilling, studying tape, brain-storming ideas, and hanging out.
Here is how his weekly training routine pans out:
Monday – drill in morning, workout in afternoon, drill at night
Tuesday – drill in morning, spar at night
Wednesday – drill in morning, strength training in afternoon
Thursday – spar in morning
Friday – go to Guerrilla Jiu-Jitsu headquarters with Dave Camarillo in Pleasanton, and spar in afternoon, spar again in evening.
Saturday – drill/light roll
Sunday – drill and depending on how I feel or how close to the tournament I am determines if I train rounds
Now that you’ve seen how a couple of your peers are preparing for the 2014 Pans along with their backgrounds, what do you say? Get motivated and confident to register in your division today.
Head over to www.ibjjf.org to register before Monday, March 3!