A Note From Professor Casarez Regarding COVID-19

Dear Students,

I hope you and your families are all doing well during this time. Thank you for your understanding and patience throughout this process and for supporting the school.

I want to send you all on update on the status of the gym, details regarding payment and reimbursements for when the gym reopens, and plans for virtual instruction in the meantime.

Because the regulations for social distancing have been extend to April 30, the gym will not be open during this month. If regulations are lifted during this time, I will let you all know. Towards the end of April, I will update you about the month of May.

For those of you who have continued your accounts, I will be offering free months when we reopen to make up for the lost month of in-the-gym training. As well as that, I will be offering free seminars with Lucas Lepri and other black belts.

In the meantime, I encourage you all to continue training during this time. I have a series of videos that I will be uploading to YouTube that covers techniques we would go over in class. They are available for you to study and practice at your convenience. You can access the Youtube Channel here: Team Casarez Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Youtube.

As well as that, I am also working on ways in which we can all continue to train collectively. I will be hosting live videos 3 times a week, either through Zoom or Facebook Live. In these videos, we will review warm ups, solo drills, and some partner drills that give you ideas on how to continue practicing techniques and training during quarantine. Details on these events will be posted on our Facebook page: Team Casarez BJJ Lepri Raleigh Facebook Page and the website casarezbjj.com.

Thank you all again for your patience during this time. If you have any questions regarding any of this information, please do not hesitate to reach out.

Best regards,

Professor Tony Casarez

 

COVID-19 UPDATE

To all our Team Casarez BJJ Students, we have been monitoring the situation with the spread of Covid-19 and have taken the difficult decision to temporarily close the gym for two weeks, beginning Sunday, 3/15.

The fastest way to make training safe again is to do our part to combat the spread of this virus, which means social distancing. Due to the close-contact nature of our sport, there is no way to train while maintaining social distancing practices.

Despite the extraordinary financial strain this decision will put on our business, we believe that closing our doors is the best thing we can do for our community. While there have been no cases of COVID-19 at our academy, we have chosen to take these preventative measures rather than risk exposure at our academy.

During our temporary closure, all Team Casarez students will have free access to our YouTube channel training program. More details on the online instruction will be posted soon.

This is new territory for all of us, and we appreciate the support we have received from our students. We will post updates as the situation develops.

Professor Tony Casarez

BJJ Safety With The Coronavirus

In light of the growing public-health concern about coronavirus (COVID-19), we want to share what we know about this illness so far, and what Team Casarez has been doing to prioritize your health and wellness. With that in mind, I specifically want to cover the following topics:

The most up-to-date information about coronavirus and its overall impact to date.

What you can do to help prevent illness and stay healthy.

What Casarez Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has been doing to help keep members safe.

1. What We Know About Coronavirus

The coronavirus is a novel respiratory disease that has been spreading globally since late 2019. It presents a threat due to its newness, its contagiousness, and the lack of a vaccine or a clear treatment plan. The World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Public Health Agency of Canada, and local health officials are the trusted sources for the most accurate information, as well as updates on the status of vaccines and treatments (which are in development).

The coronavirus’s health risk to date appears to be comparable to that of influenza, which many of us have experienced. The CDC provides the following data about the preliminary burden estimates of influenza for the 2019–2020 season in the United States (October 1, 2019–February 22, 2020), which are contrasted with current burden estimates of coronavirus globally:

Unfortunately, coronavirus may live on certain surfaces at room temperature for several days. This, along with its rate of contagiousness, makes it unlikely that the virus can be contained. And because its symptoms are similar to those of influenza, it initially may be hard to know if they are indicative of coronavirus or another illness.

2. What We All Can Do

Stay informed. It’s important to process the considerable information we’re all receiving in a balanced and thoughtful way. With that in mind, worrying or panicking in response to the overwhelming amount of information can create stress in the body, which is known to compromise immunity. The CDC provides a comprehensive overview of

“What You Should Know.”

Boost your immune system. Now more than ever, it’s essential to prioritize our health and well-being, and do all you can to boost your immune system so you’re as healthy as possible, in the event you encounter this virus. Research shows that sustaining healthy habits supports immunity and can help prepare our bodies to better fight and recover from illnesses, including coronavirus.

These include:

  • Stick to a nutrient-dense, toxin-free diet, including known immune-supportive foods like garlic and ginger. Avoid foods that tend to weaken the immune system, such as sugar, refined grains, industrial vegetable oils, and processed and refined foods, as much as you can.
  • Get plenty of sleep, ideally seven to eight hours a night. This is your body’s time to perform preventive maintenance, which bolsters the immune system. Research shows that repeatedly short-changing sleep by even an hour or two can negatively affect immunity.
  • Get plenty of sunshine and supplemental vitamin D + K2. High levels of vitamin D have long been linked to lower rates of illness.
  • Consider taking additional vitamins, micronutrients, and supplements to support immunity, such as a high-quality multivitamin, magnesium, omega-3 fish oils, vitamin C, elderberry, and digestive enzymes. Probiotics and powdered greens have also been shown to support immune and gut health.
  • Get at least 20 minutes of low- to moderate-intensity exercise a day to prime the immune system. This movement results in the production of more white blood cells, which combat bacteria and viruses, and promotes improved circulation.

Practice good hygiene

These habits include:

Wash your hands frequently, and for at least 20 seconds, with soap and water to protect yourself and others from germs.
Cover your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.

Keep your hands away from your face, because germs routinely spread when a person touches something contaminated with germs and then touches his or her eyes, nose, or mouth.

If you begin to develop cold- and flu-like symptoms or become ill, take care of yourself and minimize the spread to others by staying home. If you think you may have symptoms of coronavirus, call your healthcare provider immediately.

BJJ Specific:

Take a shower as soon as possible after training.

Be aware of how you are feeling prior to training not to stress your immune system.

Clean all your items after you train and wash your mouth guards out with hot soap and water post-training

Clean your gym bag if you have one after each training session with disinfectant.

Check out Tips To Stay On The Mats During Cold Season Blog Post

 

3. What Team Casarez Is Doing

While there is still more to learn about coronavirus, our intent in sharing this is to provide current and accurate information about the situation and to offer pragmatic steps we all can take to keep ourselves, our family and friends, and our communities healthy and safe, while minimizing panic.

We all have a responsibility to do our part to limit the spread of this virus and other illnesses, especially to those at a higher risk due to age, compromised immunity, or pre-existing conditions. Additionally, by doing as much as we can to stay healthy ourselves, we support the healthcare providers who will be caring for those in greater need when it becomes necessary.

We will be intensifying our cleaning routine and encouraging everyone to utilize the Sanitizer or Wash Station pre and post-practice.

 

Holiday BJJ Gift Guide

Holiday BJJ Gift Guide

With the holidays coming up, we wanted to share a Holiday BJJ Gift Guide that could be shared with family members or used to purchase some great gifts for your fellow Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioners. At Casarez BJJ in Cary NC, we have all types of students but one common factor is they all do BJJ. Go figure. These recommended gifts are not only for adult BJJ practitioners but also for kids BJJ as well. Below you will find some great gift ideas and also reasons why any grappler would enjoy them.

Finger Tape:

Not all people need or even want finger tape, but jamming a finger or just having some when another student needs it can make or break a training session. There are many different types of finger tape out there. You can get between both width and thickness. As we do not have a direct sponsor, here is a link for BJJ finger tape so you can check out some.

Mouthguard:

This is more of a personal preference and if you are purchasing one for someone it may be odd to ask what the mouth size or color to get the right fit. But this is a great gift idea to also send to a family member that keeps asking you what you want. A mouthguard that I personally like with no affiliation is SISU (Easy to talk, drink, and breath with)   click here .

Water Bottle:

There are many different types of water bottles you can get someone, but when it comes to BJJ, having water is crucial to a good training session. I normally go with a glass water bottle with a protective wrap to prevent breaking, but when training I want to make sure that no way glass is breaking, so I go with a Nalgene or a steel one.

Rash Guards:

I always first recommend checking with your academy to make sure they do not mind you wearing any type of rashguard, and if not, then picking a site like https://www.bjjhq.com/ , Amazon , and of course your academy’s website as you always want to be representing your team on the mats.

After Training Soap:

There is a solid fact when you are training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, you must wash and wash well after training. Choosing a quality soap is important, and this company literally put it on the branding (no affiliation) Armbar Soap . I personally use Castile Bar Soap but either way this as a gift for a grappler is not a bad idea.

Quick Dry Sport Towel:

These are always in my gym bag, and although many people may not even use one or want to use one, the gesture for a gift is perfect. When you train BJJ, you sweat and having this as a go-to after class or in between rolls makes training better in my opinion. You can check out some here.

Personal First Aid Kit:

Now all gyms have a first aid area, but it is nice to have some essentials on hand if you encounter a small cut or injury that can be fixed quickly. I wrote a blog a while back about hygiene on the mats and had the perfect section for this exact kit here . But instead of building out an entire personal first aid kit for someone, a basic pre-built one from the store would be a great gift.

BJJ Shirts:

As we want to always be ready on the mats, it’s also nice to be just as prepared off the mats. BJJ themed shirts are fun to wear after training and just out and about. Some companies I have really enjoyed getting shirts from are OSSPOP and TORO BJJ. This makes a great gift to your fellow grapplers because we all know that BJJ puns make everyone smile.

GI maybe:

First, the maybe comes into play in terms of both your academy and also personal preference. I will say though that if you have been eyeing a new GI that just came out at your academy what better time to ask for it than the holidays. Also buying GI’s is a process that you want to make sure if you are a person wearing it, you are involved in the purchase process for size, material, etc. So do not hesitate to send a link with the exact fit you are looking for to someone that insists on buying you “something” and you could be hitting the mats in the new year with a fresh GI.

I hoped you liked my personal Holiday BJJ Gift Guide. This time of the year always excites me because within a month you normally see people sporting some fresh gear and new toys that in the end allow us all to Train MORE! On the last note, I always like to mention that supporting our BJJ community is huge too so if there is a local company that has products that you like, be sure to put those on your list.

Casarez BJJ IBJJF Results

Wanted to take some time and give a shout out to all the competitors who went down to Charlotte and competed in the IBJJF Charlotte International Open. We had a total of 6 competitors compete with the following breakdown.

Results:

  • Jed 1st 🥇
  • Josh 2nd 🥈
  • Ross 3rd 🥉
  • Fernie 3rd 🥉
  • Graham 3rd 🥉

Matt had a tough fight and lost ref’s decision in the opener round but went up a weight class since there was no one in his weight class. He did great in his match fighting a much bigger opponent.

Also proud to be part of Team Alliance representing Lucas Lepri HQ in Charlotte. As a team, we won our third IBJJF Charlotte Open Championship. Huge win for us and Head Professor Lucas Lepri.

When a competitor steps out on the mat, they are bringing all the students with them, and it is an  honor to always have any of the Casarez BJJ students out there testing their skill set. We always want to send an offer to come try out a free week if you want to experience the art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu here at Team Casarez BJJ located in Cary NC. We have both kids bjj and adults bjj classes along with beginner to advance instruction by some of the best in the triangle area.

Recap Of the Latest Events in September

We have had a lot going on this month for Team Casarez BJJ in Cary, NC. This month was filled with some wonderful competitions that our team fought hard in and trained hard for. Before we break down all the events this month, we want to thank the students, competitors, and community that is ever growing here in the Triangle area for Jiu-Jitsu. To train BJJ, it takes dedication and tenacity that can be applied in our everyday life, and to see people all around our community strive to be the best on and off the mats is what makes training this beautiful martial art even more amazing.

Tap Cancer Out

The Tap Cancer Out tournament came to the wonderful city of Raleigh, NC this month to help fundraise for our fight against cancer. Our school raised more than$3500 dollars and helped contribute to our fight against cancer. We also sent 10 students and came back with 9 gold 🥇, 3 silver🥈, and 1 bronze 🥉. We’re proud of our students and parents for always supporting the team. What makes us more proud of them is the great human beings they are on and off the mat. The medals are just a reflection of their hard work and dedication.

IBJJF Pan American no-gi championships in New York

A quote from Professor Tony Casarez who competed:

“No-gi Pan American Silver Medalist! 🥈I wanted the gold today, but I’m just grateful to be doing what I love. Had 3 tough matches. Lost in the finals 2-0 to a tough opponent. Thank you to all my supporters from family, friends, students, sponsors, mentors. I’m here because of you all. Thank you a million times. And thanks to God for giving me this blessing. “

Toro Cup 11

Another tournament for a great cause which raised money to help bring BJJ and MMA to Africa to help improve the lives of those who do not have the chance to experience this wonderful martial art. We had two competitors Jed and Kevin in the invite-only tournament. Jed secured the win with an Ezekiel choke early in the match, and then Kevin had a very hard-fought match that ended in points. Both competitors showed amazing talent and skill on the mats giving their opponents a very tough match. We cannot thank them enough for going out there and representing Team Casarez in the best way while at the same time raising money for such a great cause.

Preparing for a BJJ Competition

Preparing for a BJJ CompetitionWhat is important when preparing for a bjj competition? So many of us, once we start on this beautiful journey of Brazilian jiu-jitsu, is often asked: “are you going to compete?” That is a choice that some make and others decide to pass on. There are some fantastic competitions that are available for both Adult and Kids, even divisions for older generations of the sport as well. The goal is to find out how to properly prepare and be ready for a challenging day on the mat.

Diet and Food Choices

This is just based on generally known knowledge and will for sure help those who are getting ready. It is important to keep a healthy diet when training in general and should already be established.

Foods to Eat:

  • Vegetables
  • Fruit in moderation
  • Clean protein (chicken, fish, meat, chickpeas, peas)
  • Nuts
  • Clean grains and even pasta in moderation
  • Water and more water

Foods to Avoid:

  • Soda
  • Desserts
  • Fried foods
  • High sodium (canned beans, soups, etc)

The food is the fuel for your body and when you are getting ready for competition, it is not only about making weight but keeping you healthy through the rough preparation period while practicing. The foods to avoid is really about keeping inflammation down in your body and providing as many nutrients as possible if you are going to have to cut weight, keeping carbs low is also a good choice.

Level of Intensity

Your mindset and training will change when you know you are getting ready for a competition.

1st phase:

The first phase is all about the number of rolls you are getting in. This will provide you time to work your game, get used to many different styles of opponents, and build your stamina up.

2nd phase:

The second phase the intensity is going to rise with the amount of energy in each roll being almost at competition level, and most schools will have a set time for this “competition training,” so all that is in class know what to expect.

3rd phase:

About a week out or a little more, it goes down to a much more relaxed approached with a lot of drilling and some light flow rolling to keep your muscles awake and memory sharp with what you have been working on.

What to bring to the competition

Just like when you are packing your bag for class, it is important that on game day you are extra prepared.

  • Water
  • Protein or energy bar
  • Change of clothes
  • Small medical kit
  • Mouthpiece
  • Tape
  • Comfortable shoes (you may be standing a while)
  • Sandals optional but cannot hurt

Final Tips

Some final tips are when you are preparing for a bjj competition. You are breaking your body down, so make sure to give yourself time to heal. A nice ice bath and cold showers can assist with this, and also getting enough sleep are super important to allow your joints, muscles, and overall body to heal. Some people may think starting to lift weights is a good idea. If you do not do it already, don’t start three weeks beforehand, but if you do, then keep the same regime you have and even amp it up in phase one. This is just a little advice from some, and I am sure there are many more pointers from those who dedicate their time in competition. At Casarez Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, we have many students that compete, but all will tell you it is the entire team of students that drive the competitors to the podium. Last and I would say the most important thing to remeber is to have FUN!

Local Chiropractor Shout Out

Local Chiropractor Shout OutWe wanted to take some time to give thanks to a local Chiropractor Dr. Stephen Kosterman who assisted Professor Casarez in his preparation for the American National Title. At Casarez Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu located in Cary NC, we take pride in working with the local community and that also means highlighting the services that we get from them.

Here is a direct quote from Tony below:

“Happy to have Dr. Stephen Kosterman, Chiropractor in my corner as he always helps and fixes me up. He helped me a lot in my preparation for my American National Title and continues to do so.”

-T Casarez

There are many benefits of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and at times an adjustment could be needed for some practitioners to keep them on the mats. For more information on Dr.Kosterman visit his site at https://www.kostermanchiropractic.com/.

With a thriving community all around us in Cary,  we offer Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in a family-friendly environment for both competitors and just general practitioners. We offer both Adult BJJ and Kids BJJ classes, along with Capoeira as well. So if you are in the Raleigh, Cary, or general Research Triangle area stop by and try out a Free Week on us.

US Grappling Charlotte and NY Pro Winners

Very proud of my students who competed, won and medaled. We had 4 students travel and compete at the US Grappling in Charlotte and all came back with 8 medals while another student traveled to New York for the IBJJF New York Pro and won Gold. A total of 9 medals: 4 Gold and 5 Silver medals. Happy to be living my dream and coaching these awesome men, women, and children in the wonderful art of jiu-jitsu. I’m very grateful to all the students who help push the training and help the competitors. We could not have done it without the team. Best part about the school is it’s our family. Great job team!

BethanyEarning silver in the no-gi and silver in the gi. She lost her matches by points and did not get submitted.

MiloEarning silver in the juvenile no-gi and silver in the juvenile gi division at the US Grappling in Charlotte

AndrewEarning gold in his weight gi division and silver in the open Class absolute gi division at the US Grappling Tournament in Charlotte.

SamWho is a student and assistant instructor Winning double gold! He won his blue belt gi division and the open Class blue belt gi division.

JedAt the IBJJF New York Pro. Jed got gold in the Lightweight Masters 1 division submitting all his opponents.

Team Casarez BJJ Getting To Gold

As many people say, there is no “I” in team and though that is true this is a break down of Team Casarez Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu latest accomplishment at the IBJJF American Nationals in Las Vegas. Our professor Tony Casarez had some hard fought matches in both GI and No-GI divisions. The competition outcome was that of a Gold medal: American National Champion — after a lot of hard work with the team that has come together at Team Casarez and Lucas Lepri HQ.

From The Words of the Competitor

“I had the honor to compete at the American Nationals. I took Gold in the gi division Masters 1 and silver in the no-gi. Had a tough match in the no-Gi and lost to a ref’s decision to a tough opponent. Met him again in the opening round and was able to win in the Gi (7-0) and redeem my loss. Won in the finals (11-2) and finally felt comfortable in my game.”

The irony of this is not only did a competitor go out and win, but it is the support from all the coaches that assist with the classes and students that help a person get to that level of success. When we win, we win as a team as it is said at Team Casarez Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

A special shout was also focused to the amazing people that have helped Tony on this adventure.

“[Professor] @lucaslepri who has been coaching me and guiding me for the past few years now on and off the mat, and my teammates in Charlotte as well like @fredalvessilva, @deanlewjitsu, and @paulosantanabjj and the rest of the crew who always help me with training. I’m so grateful for this opportunity. “