Tomas G. has been a lifelong martial artist. He spent many years boxing and in his forties, decided to pick up Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ). That was 11 years ago. Now, in his early fifties, Tomas continues to train three to five times a week and helps out as a BJJ Assistant Instructor at FaMA - Fitness and Martial Arts to keep fit and stay healthy.
“I started grappling and BJJ around 2008 after training boxing for many years. When stepping on the mat for the first time, it was an eye-opening experience to learn how my physical strength could so easily be outmanoeuvred by my training partners,” said Tomas.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, in its true essence, is built on the concept that a smaller, weaker person can successfully defend themselves against a bigger, stronger, heavier opponent. The smaller person is able to do this by applying joint-locks and chokeholds.
Although commonly known as “the gentle art,” BJJ can be intimidating for newbies, especially those who are older. For that Tomas advises those who start BJJ to leave their ego at the door.
“Don't be afraid of tapping. I don't see much point in going all out against the up and coming world champion competitors who wants to win at any cost. Train, tap and reset, no pride lost in shaking hands and leaving the session healthy and ready for another roll. We are all different but we all enjoy a good roll when on the mat. It is at the same time important to help the younger and less experienced training partners and guide them into a more technical and relaxed roll when possible.”
Tomas further explains that BJJ is not just for young people. “You do not need to be able to cartwheel or to do handstands. Actually, you don’t even have to know how to do a front roll or back roll, the professors and coaches will help you and show you how to do it.”
“We have all been there, everyone needs to start somewhere. In the beginning it is more about becoming more mobile and coordinated while at the same time learning different techniques taught by the professors. The key is that we train with each other not against each other.”
To complement his BJJ training, Tomas also does some core strengthening exercises and rock climbing. Tomas believes that sport climbing goes hand in hand with his BJJ training as it uses different movements and muscle groups but also works the hips and grips, just like BJJ.
Balancing Life and Training
For non-athletes - perhaps 90 percent of those who train BJJ - balancing life and training can be daunting. However, as FaMA is open from 6.30 am until 10 pm, so there is always a class available for those who want to train.
“I wake up early and am on my way to FaMA's 6:45 am class before the family wakes up. That way I can train before I go to work and can spend my evenings with the family,” said Tomas.
Having the option of training three to five times a week also allows Tomas to compete whenever he feels ready. Tomas uses competition as a motivational tool to train harder and improve his overall training.
“I feel that competing helps me improve my game as each match gives me 5 minutes of instant feedback without any sugar coating and lets me know what things I need to work on. If you are interested in competing, this can be a valid reason for you to sign up for that competition you have been looking at so many times.”
“The training and competing builds a bond amongst the participants in the team and it is enjoyable to be part of that team when you hear them shouting next to the mat you are on,” Tomas adds.
Congratulations to Tomas who was recently awarded his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt from Professor Zoro Moreira on 7 December, 2019.
FaMA - Fitness and Martial Arts Established in 2016, FaMA is a world-class martial arts training facility located in the heart of the Central Business District in Singapore. Walking distance from the Clarke Quay MRT station, FaMA’s main goal is to help people improve their lives through martial arts regardless of age or athletic capability. Each program is led by experts in their respective fields. Whether it is weight loss, a fun workout, camaraderie, competition training, or just to break a sweat, FaMA has something for everyone.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, or BJJ as it is commonly known around the world, is a self-defence martial art that enables a smaller, weaker person to protect themselves against a much larger attacker using leverage and pressure. Formed from Kodokan Judo in Japan, Jiu Jitsu found its way to Brazil in the 1910s through Mitsuyo Maeda, a Japanese judoka and no-holds-barred prize fighter. During his time in Brazil, Maeda accepted a young Carlos Gracie as his student. Carlos would later pass on his knowledge to his brothers, most notably Helio Gracie - the father of modern Brazilian Jiujitsu. The Gracie family would go on to spread BJJ through The Gracie Challenge and eventually the creation of Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). Today, BJJ has grown to be more than just an effective unarmed fighting system. It helps young children deal with bullies and adults live a healthy lifestyle. BJJ classes are offered daily at FaMA under the tutelage of Black Belts Zoro Moreira, Robyn Goudy and Thiago Gaspary.