Jessa Khan makes history as she is the very first athlete to put Brazilian jiu-jitsu on the map. This is a major event for sport in the country and hopefully will give some momentum to young athletes and especially women to pursue a career in sport.
I’ve had the pleasure of working with both Vivadhana Khou and Jessa Khan in their final preparation weeks in which the goals were very clear:
The icing on the cake
Finalise the strength and conditioning without the athletes getting injured. This, from my perspective is a MAJOR point and is too often overlooked. In the last 2-3 weeks of competition preparation, you won’t get significantly stronger on your squat, deadlift or bench. In other words, there is no significant GAIN in strength that can be translated into better performance on the mat. Pushing it in those weeks, especially after a long camp, will, however, increase the chances of overload and possible injury. The trick here is to work on the “icing on the cake”. Focus during training was a lot more on neuromuscular control, mobility and tensegrity. In other words, how the body and the mind work together.
With the right training dosage and exercises that are challenging without being too stressful on the body, the athletes can prepare safely and arrive on competition day with the ability to perform optimally.
Relax the body and the mind
This is where I teamed up with my friend and mentee Sokvat Van. At the start of the preparation, both athletes were screened on existing injuries or risks for injuries by identifying muscles that are possibly overworked.
The talented masseur would unleash his healing hands on the muscles immediately after training and even though the athletes had to grit their teeth at times, came through with a smile and a supple body and mind.
Not many people understand how tricky it can be to manipulate your body weight at the right amount at the right time. This is of crucial importance though, since many athletes are on a different weight when they go through their daily life “walk around weight” compared to when they weigh in. Depending on the case, athletes can sometimes drop 5-10kg in a matter of days. This takes an extreme toll on the body and has to be done with a thought-through process.
The actual work
It’s as tempting as it is easy to toot my own horn when it comes to the performances at the Asian games and even though I’m proud, I realize my part of the journey was very small. The real credit belongs to Jessa and her team of coaches that have been able to detect this massive level of and cultivate it.
Another huge part of it is Vivadhanna Khou with his H/art Brazilian Jiu Jitsu academy. Not only did he start the momentum of BJJ in Cambodia and get the first Athlete to dominate the Asian games here, no.
He put together a group of like-minded, passionate people who are not only dedicated students but also friends. While he has been “living his dream” building this all, he has dedicated so much time and energy to it that it is hard to even experience the dream.
His effort deserves to be seen and respected.
I’m happy to have been part of this and am excited for what is to come!
Want to try BJJ in Phnom Penh? Here are some reasons why!