Category Archives: Jiu-Jitsu

My First Month of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

I’m definitely not a great athlete, but I really love doing physical stuff. Always have. Whatever sport I’m doing, I’m at least willing to work hard for the gains, which is a good thing, because they aren’t going to come to me naturally.

One of the things I wish I’d done (literally) decades ago is kept a journal of my relationships with rugby and running. I’ve done that with triathlon to some extent, and it’s pretty cool to go back and look at all the things I’ve learned, all the mistakes I’ve made, and all the things I didn’t understand until I matured in the sport a little bit and (just like I do with everything else) learned the hard way.

Luckily, I can do that with Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. After one month of training, and I’m completely hooked. Even better than that, I’m like a newborn baby seeing and experiencing things while at the same time being fully aware that there’s a whole level of understanding to what we’re doing that I can’t comprehend yet.

So here’s a quick summary of my experience with BJJ so far. I’m guessing every single thing I’m experiencing has been experienced by millions of people already, but…

Week1:

  • How’d you get that submission?
  • Do it again!
  • How’d you do it so quickly?
  • I have to improve my cardio.
  • How do I defend that?
  • Ribs!
  • Ok, how were you still able to get that–what did I forget to do?
  • When I did defend it, how did you get the next submission?
  • Wow…my whole family really loves this! I’m glad I won’t be boring them to death when this is all I want to talk about.
  • Cardio needs improvement, but isn’t as bad as I thought. Mostly I have to relax more.
  • Now I’ve read and watched some videos, and my mind is blown. Literally blown. This goes so much deeper and wider than I could have ever imagined.
  • I can’t soak this up fast enough, and my body can’t keep up with my head when I do absorb something.

Week 2:

  • Hey! I recognize this situation, and I know what I’m supposed to do here! Why can’t I remember the first step and execute it?
  • Wasn’t planning on training tonight, but I really want to. We already made other plans. That sucks.
  • Wow. Rolling with someone new completely changes everything.
  • How can I get more new people here?
  • I can mark my progress against the more experienced guys by the fact that it’s at least taking them longer to submit me. And now I’m making different mistakes.
  • My primary training partner is equal to me in size, strength, and experience and it feels like we just lay on each other because we are limited by our knowledge and experience.
  • Gym closed today. That sucks.
  • I’m so glad my kids are into this. What a tremendous skill for them to have.

Week 3:

  • Next time I roll with that guy and get in that situation, I got a little something for him.
  • Now, why did I have to work so hard for it? Please show me the technique that won’t require that kind of muscle/time.
  • I know where I feel most comfortable for now. By “comfortable” I mean the place I can make my opponent most uncomfortable.
  • This has all of a sudden become the reason to running, cycling, stretching, yoga.
  • Foam roller being used for real.
  • More relaxed now.
  • “Position Over Submission” is going on the next coffee mug I buy.
  • Gym closed today. That sucks.
  • Can we just bring dinner to the gym in some plastic containers so we can roll for an extra 30 minutes?

Week 4:

  • Morning classes soon please?
  • My submission from last week won’t be happening to him again for a while. He saw that coming from a mile away.
  • Hey…we’re not laying on each other! We’re moving a lot more!
  • But this other guy moves so much faster and so much more that by the time I recognize a situation we’re already two positions past it.
  • New rule–you kids can roll all you want, but no submissions or chokes allowed without adult supervision. Be careful with your friends.
  • I think if I got jumped in the street I could do a pretty good job of keeping myself safe until help arrived. Probably couldn’t do too much damage, but that’s ok. At least I could defend myself and walk away without getting my face smashed in.
  • We’re not really ready to look for a house yet, but we are shopping for mats.