Confessions of a Reformed ‘Unco’

I got some good feedback on the last post (Advice for a Frustrated, Clumsy and Uncoordinated Grappler) and want to share a couple of tidbits with you today.

Here’s what one anonymous Australian BJJ student in his thirties had to say:


Hi Stephan,

Thanks for that cool post on BJJ for non ‘natural athletes.’  I think he’s come to the right place – that post should help him.

I too was a natural ‘unco’ as we say in Australia (i.e. ‘uncoordinated person.’)  High school sucked in many ways, but into my 20s and 30s, mindful training helped me overtake some of those former athletes, many of whom – now in their late 30s – are looking like Homer Simpson…

A BIG thing that helped me was ‘functional’ strength training, ie incorporating useable movement patterns and ‘instability training’ that challenges stabilizer muscles.  This included:

  • Kettlebells: for me the hype’s been 90% true. (backed up with solid programming, of course)
  • Yoga – mainly Iyengar and Ashtanga Yoga
  • Scientific stretching: PNF work, Pavel Tsat’s techniques: great for plateu busting
  • Sandbags
  • Gym rings- basic
  • Basic gymnastics, handstands, rolls, judo rolls, tumbling
  • Floor-to-ceiling bag
  • Rope-climbs – especially for grip work.

All this training is designed to correct the movement dysfunction created by a lifetime of chairs and playstation or video games (I was more of a reader).

And as you said, consistently following a program is super-important!

The main thing I want to get across is there’s so much ‘smart’ training information out there that can help people.  Scientific flexibility, functional strength, Tabata protocols, viking warrior conditioning, yoga etc…  I try to take a ‘Jeet Kune Do’ attitude to digesting it all – absorbing what is useful, discarding what is useless.

Strength and athleticism is TRAINABLE !!


And here’s what Christopher said about plateau-smashing on the Grapplearts Facebook Page:

“This article really put things in perspective for me. Thanks!

I trained 1-2 times a week for a good while, having tons of excuses etc, for over 2 years back and forth. Stagnated. Also frustrated to see classmates advance and me not because of the lack of commitment. My own doing.

This week I have hit 3 classes and have 1 more to go. I am already feeling myself move better and seeing how things link quicker. I didn’t put in the mat time. I have mastered a craft off the mat and I can attest it took me about 8 years of every day, 10-12 hours a day to get there.”


You can click here to follow all the discussions on the Grapplearts Facebook page. (And while you’re there, hit ‘Like’ too!)

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