James Verschuur has been a black belt for some time now, keeps on evolving and is quite busy teaching in Den Haag.
Check out the interview below for some of his thoughts.
Why did you start training BJJ and what’s your training background regarding BJJ, Grappling and other martial arts?
I started BJJ because of my older brother (Aron Verschuur, Gracie Barra black belt) He used to show me armbars and leg locks. My background is Karate (Kyokushin) and I also did cross train with Judo and still whenever I can go to a judo class.
What kept you motivated during so many years?
I think motivation is just a tool to reach whatever goal you want to achieve within BJJ.
My goal was to become better and to help others.
What influence did BJJ and your experience on the mat have on your everyday life?
Well it helped me in many ways but to mention the most important one to me I would have to say the importance of balance/ equilibrium.
What are your activities besides Jiu Jitsu ?
I like playing the drums, and listening to music.
What is your opinion about the different rules and federations? Do you prefer points or submission only?
I think both have their places. You have to train for both so it could keep things fun.
As a competitor, I think the rules should not matter as long as your training.
Do you have favorite techniques and positions and why?
I like passing and chaining positions ( pass, side, back-take). Reason I like passing is because I am stocky and some what heavy so it works good for me and the reason I like chaining positions is because it builds good timing and accuracy.
How did you manage to handle the injuries? This can be very demotivating.
After a lot of trial and error treating my injuries, because I went to train even after I was warned not to do so, I think the best is to sit it out and listen to your doctors/therapists. Listening is a key part of learning!!!!!!
What is your vision on how jiu jitsu is developing (oldschool vs newschool)?
BJJ is developing very fast and never gets boring!!!! I don’t have a preference in between oldschool and newschool I like mixing techniques as long as they work.
Any tips for beginners? What should beginners focus on ?
I think as a beginner you should work on balance and movement and what you don’t understand you try to break(grips)
Can you give us your view on fighting with or without the gi. Is one more important or do they simply complement each other?
I love training with the gi but I think training with and without the gi can really help you understand some aspects of jiu jitsu for example training no gi will help you with when to grip and when to just put pressure with your hand
What were the most important revelations in terms of understanding the game and how did they improve your skills?
When I understood the principle of weight distribution.
What is your favorite pre-/post training meal?
Pre training meal always a banana and post training Re-Con by MusclePharm.
Do you do any other things specifically to improve your performance in Jiu Jitsu, such as Yoga, Cardio training, Rope climbing etc?
I do some specific strength and conditioning trainings but mostly a lot of drilling and sparring.
How is your training preparation for a tournament?
I haven’t been competing but if so, I would drill and roll a lot.
Why do most practitioners choose to not do tournaments after earning their black belt?
I would not know the reasons of others might be but I want to compete for sure in the near future
Who are your role models in BJJ and Grappling?
Ronaldo Jacare Souza, Leo & Ricardinho Vieira,Marcelo Garcia, Augusto Ferrari, Rodolfo Vieira, Leandro Lo and Master Barbosa.
What are the most important things to make you a good fighter?
Be smart and think outside the box.