BJJ & Kettlebell Sport: Interview with Misty Shearer
Misty Shearer recently rose to stardom in the kettlebell sport world with a stunning performance in 24kg long cycle at the WKC World Championships in Chicago last October, earning the title of Master of Sport and following this up with a very impressive 32kg StrongSport longcycle rank. She not only lifted with finesse, but quickly made a mark with her big personality and will no doubt continue to impress at future meets.
It was originally thru my first KB fitness certification, he talked about it briefly but stated it was really boring to watch, seeing someone lift a bell for 10min isn’t too exciting. Now I did not think too much of it at the time, but the more I played around with KBs the more I knew there had to be something else I was missing. So I started searching around the web and there wasn’t a lot of information on how to train out there. I stumbled across my first coach Scott Shetler, he humbled me, by teaching me the difference between the Jerk and the push press, since I thought I had a good idea what I was doing….that was very humbling I knew squat!
When did you first start training seriously for kettlebell sport (with the intention of competing)?
Well I mainly used it for my BJJ conditioning I was working with Scott on my technique thru online training. Now I was working toward my Rank 1 in LC and I broke a bone in my wrist grappling that set my training backwards. So how I decided to really focus on learning more, I signed up for the WKC Training & SC course in Toronto. After my wrist healed I kinda looked into once of the instructors Catherine Imes. I saw that she also did online coaching. Now Scott is a great coach, but something was missing for me, and Catherine seemed to have it. SO I worked with her for 3 or 4 months before the course. When I finally met her and Valery, well I was hooked, I was not sure the extent until I got injured again.
It was a week after I won the Abu Dhabi North American BJJ Trials and was 3 weeks off of going to the World Championships I blew out my knee. I tore my ACL in half (so now I have 2), and tore a huge chunk of my posterior meniscus. So with that my BJJ became very limited, and a free trip to Abu Dhabi I was not passing up. The only thing I could do for cardio was kettlebells. Catherine and I had simple but effective lifting to keep me in shape and not keep re-injuring my knee. I could still longcycle I would just not lock out the injured knee. That kept me in great shape for the Worlds, now was I at my best No, but I was there and I competed with a career ending injury for most.
Then the rest is history I guess, I started lifting more and more got addicted and a year and a half working with Catherine I competed at my first kettlebell competition.
How have you combined BJJ training and kettlebell sport training (ie how many BJJ sessions/KB sport sessions do you do a week, do you do both on the same day etc)?
Yes its the meat of my training, time is tight, so with the short KB sport workouts its fits in great with my grappling training. I train kettlebells in the morning or early afternoon and then grappling in the evening. On off days I do a variety of cardio, functional training. I like to train Sport at least every second day.
Do you do any other training outside of your BJJ mat work and KB sport training?
A little, I like functional work, tires, Bulgarian training bags, rowing and airdyne bike. I really enjoy working with rings and gymnastic bodies/gold medal bodies routines.
Have you found kettlebell sport training beneficial for your BJJ performance? If so, in what ways?
See I shouldn’t pass on my secrets…..man if BJJ players only new, okay, a World Level BJJ match is 10min…..my longcycle time 10min. Grip is so important in BJJ its everything in Gi, KB Sport hanging onto a 24kg bell for 5 min each arm destroys your grip. Learning to breath if I can’t relax when I roll I’m screwed, I waste energy and it gives a great advantage to my opponent. KB sport it’s all about breathing and relaxing under that bell.
What skills do you think competitive kettlebell sport lifting and competitive BJJ have in common?
I guess I kinda covered that in question 9…heeeehee
Would you recommend kettlebell sport training as supplementary training for other BJJ athletes?
BJJ is tough, but when you become a blackbelt you just only realise you know nothing, KB sport is like that to, the difference between 55 and 57 reps is perfect technique. And really KB sport is the hardest training I have ever done, when you start being able to move the heavier weights it’s a horrible mind game, your grip is almost gone, you want to quit, your heart is pounding but you have to squeeze out 5 more reps, and you do it… and then you drop to the ground in exhaustion. Nothing I have ever found can do that to me like KB Sport training. I have competed at National Levels in Rugby, Wrestling and Boxing. I competed at World Level Powerlifting and NOTHING sucks more than a 10min longcycle with a 24kg.
Do you plan to continue competing in both kettlebell sport and BJJ?
Yes! I am going to try to pull off a double Worlds in the Fall…end Oct KB Worlds and I think it’s the second week on Nov World No Gi Grappling. If I can stay injury free, I’m going to try to pull it off! And I’m 43 years old….training quality…not quantity.
What advice would you give people training in BJJ who want to start training for kettlebell sport too?
Find a good coach! That’s the difference you need a coach, it’s not something you can find on YouTube. It’s the training programming to technical advice. You need a coach!
Anything else you’d like to add?
It was a great pleasure to meet you in Chicago, and I look forward to meeting up and chatting more in the future, it’s nice to meet other women in the sport esp at your level.