Inverted Gear Blog

How to make the most of an injury.


To a dedicated Jiu Jitsu goer an injury can feel like a death sentence.  BJJ is more than just a hobby for many of us, it becomes a way of life, an extended family, a source of potent inner happiness and peace.  Sometimes though, an injury will sideline us, even in the times we feel the best we are still vulnerable to this possibility.


Injuries can vary greatly in severity, amount of time off, and interventions for the injury.  Outside of the normal medical interventions (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation, physical

To a dedicated Jiu Jitsu goer an injury can feel like a death sentence.  BJJ is more than just a hobby for many of us, it becomes a way of life, an extended family, a source of potent inner happiness and peace.  Sometimes though, an injury will sideline us even in the times we feel the best we are still vulnerable to this possibility.


Injuries can vary greatly in severity, amount of time off, and interventions for the injury.  Outside of the normal medical interventions (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation, physical therapy and anti-inflammatory drugs)  there is often not much you can do to speed recovery of an injury, but there are some things you can do to help from losing your mind while you are off the mat.


1.  Do EVERYTHING your doctor tells you!  

Ice as much as possible, use compression wraps and elevate the area as much as possible.  Also if you are able to do any sort of rehab, therapy, stretches to help the injury recover, be diligent and don't be lazy!  Doing these things will get you back to 100% sooner than anything else.  I can't stress #1 enough.


2.  Keep using your mind during the "acute phase".

With most injuries there will an "acute" phase, where you will not be able to train at all.  Depending on severity this can be anywhere from a day or two, up to several months.  During this time you can do many different things to occupy your mind and keep progressing in BJJ: watching competition footage, instructionals, or watching class can all give you that BJJ buzz without hurting you further.  Start a journal, try to remember moves you had a hard time with, or submissions you got caught with, watch your favorite blackbelts in competition and look for those spots on video; take notes and save your notebook for when you are feeling better.


3.  Ease into controlled training as possible.

As you are gradually able to do more with the injured area, start integrating SLOWLY back into training.  You can do many things without going full out in sparring.  For instance: drilling, specific training, flow rolling, cardio, and strength training.  


Cardio and strength training in this stage become an excellent compliment to your rehab/physical therapy.  These can both get you back into fighting shape, and help increase your confidence in the stability of the area you injured.  However you want to be careful not to make weights too heavy, ease back in slowly just to help get your body working again.  


BJJ wise, drilling and specific training can get you back on the mat the most quickly.  Drilling can be an excellent tool for someone coming off of an injury.  Drilling can be easily controlled and is highly predictable, which makes it much safer than live sparring.  In drilling you control the pace, intensity, and range of motion of your movements.  Don't do anything that hurts or causes discomfort.  You can also use specific training to ease back into sparring gradually, for instance if you have a rib injury, you could do some light sparring with a partner and have specific objectives;  avoid instances of twisting your body, or having high pressure on top of you, work your passing and if you get swept start over.


4.  Getting back into sparring.

As you get back into full classes and sparring the most important thing is to listen to your body.  Avoid pain or discomfort, ice after training or if swelling becomes increased.  Let your instructor and training partners know you have a recovering injury.  If you feel pain just tap, start over in a place that doesn't hurt, or take the rest of the night off training.  At this point you have come a long way, its important to preserve the healing you have already done.


Stay positive most of all, know that all things come to pass.  Eventually you will be better again, take the time off of training and try to make the most of it in every way possible.  Listen to your body and get back to training slowly!


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Dealing with the stress of competition.


No matter what way you look at it and no matter how seasoned a competitor you may be, competition is stressful.  Many times we spend weeks, months, even years, all training for a single competition.  When you spend all this time preparing for a single event, you motivate yourself each day by reminding yourself of the approaching competition.  It’s no wonder why its so stressful when you finally arrive on the day of the tournament.

Many people claim to have the perfect routine or plan to combat the anxiety of competition, but I believe the right answer for you will be unique and different than anyone else’s.  Some people have a hard time staying too calm when they compete, while others find it difficult to settle down.  Some people say mantras over and over again, some people think it through, others try to completely clear their mind.  

I believe that the routine that works perfectly for you is something you have to find on your own, but I do have some tips that I have used to find my routine.

1. Compete.

My first tip isn’t much of a secret at all.  If you want to get better at competing you have to compete.  The more times you step on the mat in a competition setting, the more prepared you will be for the next time.  Take notes, pay attention to how you felt before, during, and after the tournament.  Did you get an adrenaline dump and gas out, did you stay awake all night too excited to sleep, did you skip your warm-up and get submitted in 30 seconds?  These are all questions that will provide you with valuable feedback you can use to fine tune your routine for next time.

2. Read sports pyschology books and follow people that inspire you.

I have personally found a good number of books that have helped me with my pre competition mindset.  Just to name a few : Bounce, A fighter’s mind, The art of learning, Mindset: the new psychology of success.  There are many other books, videos, interviews, and movies all with different people and the unique circumstances that have brought them to success.  Its easy to hear their stories and find little things in their own journey that can help inspire you, and even teach you how to think more clearly in the face of adversity.

3. Control the things you can, let go of those you can’t.

Those final days and hours leading up to a competition can be a true nightmare.  Sometimes it seems like everything goes wrong at once, your weight suddenly spikes up, your flight gets delayed, you forget something you need to compete, or your dog swallows a plunger and you have to take him to the vet (ok maybe this one is a little bit of a stretch…).  What I am trying to say is these last moments can often be hell on earth.  

However, some things we can control: Make a list and check it several times before you leave, make sure your weight is good in advance (and even do trial runs if you haven’t competed before), try to develop a routine, try to keep your mind occupied (see a movie, play video games, visit family), take an epsom salt bath.  All these things can ease your anxiety and help you relax before you compete.  

If your baggage gets lost, you get robbed on your way to the venue, or if you lose your ID card, try not to panic.  These are all things you cannot control, its very important to have a clear mind when you step on the mat, try to let things roll off of you when you are a day out from a competition, you can always deal with these things AFTER you compete.

All of these things have helped me be in the right state of mind for competition.  I like to follow my packing and preparing routine, but I always tell myself to expect everything to go wrong leading up to my first match so I am prepared to let it slip by.  I try to keep my mind off of BJJ for the last few days leading up to the tourney (outside of some light drilling to stay sharp).  I like to read, watch movies, or spend time with friends to stay occupied.  All of these things help me to stay relaxed, focused, and ready to compete.  You may have a routine that is totally different, the goal here is to experiment and figure out what works best for you!

Good luck!
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PANDAmonium! Upcoming Releases, Recaps, and More

Hello Panda Nation,


It’s been a while since you heard from us, but it’s been PANDAmonium at Inverted Gear HQ! Here’s a nice big update for all our loyal pandas out there.


Panda Nation Athletes at the PANDAmerican Jiu Jitsu Championship!

To recap some of the things our awesome athletes have been doing, we’re happy to say that two of our sponsored athletes placed at the Pan American Jiu Jitsu Championships! Megan Nevill of the Gracie Elite Team placed second in women’s adult black belt middleweight, and Rachel Demara of the Big Brothers Academy took third place in women’s adult black belt medium-heavy. Good job ladies!

Also, we’re happy to introduce John “The Show” Cho to Team Panda. John is a black belt under Fabio Clemente at the Alliance Academy in New York City. John recently competed in the Abu Dhabi Professional Jiu Jitsu Championship after winning the Trials in New York. Check out and "like" his athlete page on Facebook here to see what he’s up to by clicking here.

John Cho wearing our new gold weave gi- details below!


New and Upcoming Releases

We have had a ton of new releases lately. While we’re keeping our traditional Inverted Gear pearl weave gis in stock, we’ve introduced a lightweight gold weave, which features a 350 GSM top combined with 12oz ripstop pants and gold weave crotch. This is a great gi if you’re trying to make weight; great timing with Worlds right around the corner!

For those who dare to be different, we spiced our normal panda by putting a fun, camouflage twist on it with our newest rashguard. It is the same cut as our other rashguards; it’s still cut long enough so that it won’t ride up on you during rolling. Guaranteed to BAMBOOzle your training partners! (see what we did there?)

Our camo rashguard made it to the top of the Rocky steps!

As the warm weather approaches, we are releasing our new line of Inverted Gear tank tops. We made sure to do male and female cuts so no panda gets left behind! They should be up in the shop in the next week, so keep your eyes peeled and your wallets ready. In June, we should have our first batch shipment of another new gi; the PandaCS gi. CS stands for “crowd sourcing” as we took Panda Nation’s input in to account for the color scheme to make this gi unbleached with purple stitching. To add even more excitement to this release, it will be a bamboo/cotton blend, making this gi extremely soft but still durable. This project combines the traditional Inverted Gear gi design with the embroidered panda while moving forward with new materials and colors. But don’t worry, we’ll always have the original Inverted Gear gis in stock if that’s your style!

Keep your eyes peeled for interviews with some of our sponsored Pandas; we will be speaking with John Cho so you can learn more about this new Alliance black belt and keep your eye on him. And as always, thank you to our loyal fans; we were at the New York Open this year and were humbled to see our brand of only two years represented so well on the mats. Until next time!

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Getting back up after a loss


After you suffer a loss in competition it’s easy to feel like your loss on the mat extends into every aspect of your life. Making yourself vulnerable and putting yourself out there sometimes inevitably leads to disappointment and failure, but there are some things that can help you get back on the mat in a positive state of mind.

Know that every failure brings with it a seed of equivalent opportunity.

The great writer Napoleon Hill, writer of Think and Grow Rich, repeated this theme over and over again in his book about successful people.  He showed countless stories where successful people met failure head on, and saw those failures as stepping stones towards success.

Every time you lose a match, get swept, get submitted, each time you have two choices; you can decide to get emotional (angry, sad, frustrated), or you can get back up and start looking at what you can do better next time.  Each time you give an inch, there was something wrong, there was some sort of technical detail that you didn’t have mastered and your opponent was able to capitalize.  Its easy to say things like, “He was just too strong to beat”, or “He was just too flexible, I couldn't pass his guard”.  Those statements are just cop outs though, they allow you to sit and wallow in your inadequacies, and they actually relieve you from feeling failure because they allow you to believe that your failure was due to some inherited ability of your opponent.

Of course things happen, you can have an adrenaline dump and gas out, your grips can burn out and leave you grasping for controls you can’t hold onto, but when you lose a match or give up a position it’s usually from one major thing, a lack of some technical skill.  Every failure is a prime opportunity to identify weaknesses and strengths, and it also gives you an opportunity to refine them and get better.

Each time you compete you get better.

Competition is a world all of its own.  It takes time getting used to the added pressure of competition.  Weeks, months, even years of training can all boil down to a matter of minutes, your friends, family, and teammates all watching on as you test yourself against hostile opponents in timed matches.  Its pretty intense, but like most things you get better with practice.

The more you compete the less pressure you tend to feel in competition, and less stress means you are able to let go and let your Jiu Jitsu flow from your core.  

In competition the tides can change in an instant, a single mistake can be the difference between winning and losing, as you get more experience you learn to play your game and adapt better to adversity in the middle of a match.

Like most things, competing is a skill that can be developed.  Put in your due diligence and learn from your defeats to boost your gains.

Ultimately your success boils down to how much you are willing to go through to achieve your goals.  There is no set amount of failure required for success, and it varies from person to person, some achieve success early, others have to push on much longer.  Taking every failure for what it really is though, a learning experience, will allow you to grow from each opportunity and become better each time.  Learn to see failure, not as a negative thing, but actually as opportunity, and your potential becomes limitless.
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