Doing More With Less Since 1972

Category: Jiu-Jitsu (Page 1 of 6)

Wolves, Wolf Dogs, and Pets

Most Pets think they are Wolves and that most other people are Pets.

Some Wolf-Dogs think they are Wolves; they’ve never encountered an actual Wolf.

Some Wolf-Dogs know they are Wolf-Dogs; they’ve been up-close and personal with a Wolf.

Wolf-Dogs know a Pet when they see one.

Wolves may be aware of other Wolves, but that’s not a factor for them. For all practical purposes, everything that isn’t them is a Pet.

The reason I wanted to share this tweet was because I recently had a realization about this situation at a more macro level.

Some Background

A couple of weeks ago we took our kids to visit the Shy Wolf Sanctuary in Naples. This facility houses lots of different animals, and they’ve done genetic testing on them all to identify the percentage of wolf and dog in each one. Most of the animals are 50-60% dog. They are still dangerous animals, but are more social and used to people, and are near the front of the facility. Even at first glance your brain immediately registers that, “Oh…this isn’t just a dog.”

Wolf-Dogs are dangerous. But they can be sweet and get along with the rest of us in most cases. There’s an issue every now and then maybe, but for the most part, they’re probably best described as really tough/scrappy dogs that could quite possibly lose it on you if you aren’t careful. So be careful and aware with them.

As you go farther into the facility, you reach enclosures housing animals that are almost all wolf. When you make eye contact, you know the difference between a wolf and a wolf-dog.

Like…please do NOT put me in that enclosure. Please.

How That Relates To Men

Being around these animals gave me a spark of inspiration/realization that I think accurately demonstrates how people (mostly men) perceive their world, and how their perceptions are horribly skewed, especially in this era of general comfort and security.

There are Wolves. There are Wolf-Dogs. And there are Pets.

Most men think they are Wolves, but they are actually just Pets. They’ve never actually been tested. They’ve definitely never encountered a Wolf (that they know of); probably never even smelled one. They don’t really even have a concept of what a Wolf is. It’s just a word, and they think it applies to them because they have all the same physical parts as a Wolf.

Then there are Wolf-Dogs. I put myself in this category. I know a lot of other Wolf-Dogs too. But Wolf-Dogs are separated into two different groups–those who know we are Wolf Dogs, and those who, like Pets, think they are Wolves. But it’s obvious to all Wolf-Dogs that Pets definitely are NOT Wolves.

How do Wolf-Dogs become self-aware? How do we come to the conclusion that we are neither Wolves nor Pets? It’s actually pretty simple–you have to be exposed to both Wolves and Pets to understand that you lie somewhere in the middle. It’s easy to have an encounter with a Pet. They are everywhere. In fact, it’s almost impossible to avoid them. And you know that you aren’t a Pet, which is why so many Wolf-Dogs mistakenly believe themselves to be Wolves: “If I’m not a Pet, I must be a Wolf.”

I think (pure conjecture) that most Pets have the capacity to transform themselves into Wolf-Dogs. Like the tweet above implies, it just takes an awareness of where you lie and a commitment to become a Wolf-Dog. Exposure to a Wolf-Dog is enough to start this journey.

But Wolves are a different story. They are rare, and you usually haven’t identified them as what they are until it’s too late. If you’ve ever encountered an actual Wolf, you knew within a few seconds that they are a different thing. Just like the delineation at the wolf sanctuary, it’s pretty obvious what the difference is.

What is an actual Wolf?

It’s a little tough to explain, but know this–a Wolf will fight you to the death without ever considering the possibility that there’s another option for resolution. A Pet doesn’t stand a chance against them. A Wolf-Dog may be able to inflict some damage, but they aren’t committed to the fight the way a real Wolf is. And a real Wolf will go at another real Wolf as if it were a Pet.

A real Wolf regards everything else in existence as if it were a Pet, even other Wolves.

How Does This Relate To BJJ/Fighting/Sports?

I think most people who train in a live-sparring martial art (wrestling, boxing, bjj, etc.), and lots of physically demanding sports, are Wolf-Dogs. And many of them may never encounter a Wolf in their sport. That’s ok–we need a lot more Wolf-Dogs than Pets in this world. But it would be nice if more of these Wolf-Dogs could encounter an actual Wolf at least once.

For example, I’ve been to a couple of amateur MMA competitions in the last few months. A lot of Wolf-Dogs in these things, and they are sorting out who the Wolves are at this level. That’s a good thing. Anybody willing to step into a cage and fight is at least Wolf-Dog in my book. In fact, they are the top of the Wolf-Dog food chain–plenty of legit Wolf-Dogs have zero interest in getting in there and risking their health just to find out where they lie in that spectrum. I’m the first to admit that I’m in that crowd.

You can watch these fights and figure out pretty quickly who isn’t a Wolf though:

  • Tap to punches? Not a Wolf.
  • Tap to fatigue? Not a Wolf.
  • Coast for the last round because you’re clearly up two rounds already? Not a wolf.

Again, I’m not throwing shade here–I wouldn’t go in there and do that against anyone, and definitely not for free.

How Do I Know So Much About Wolves?

Well, I’m not saying I do. But I’ve rolled with a couple of Wolves (top-tier fighters), and it taught me enough to know that they have something I don’t. For instance, almost everyone I’ve ever rolled with has had me mounted or been in top half guard with me at some point. When that happens, I’m thinking about applying whatever jiu jitsu I have to change the situation.

But with the Wolves, it’s different when they actually decide to turn it on. In those situations, my mind doesn’t immediately go to implementing BJJ. The first place my mind goes is the realization that this person’s instinct is to end my life in this situation. It’s palpable and it’s undeniable. There is a CLEAR difference between their ability/willingness to go to a place I don’t even want to be capable of going to.

So What Am I Saying?

I guess, if there’s any point to this (and I’m doubting there is), is that I think the world would be a better place if we all took the time to get a clear understanding of exactly what we are and where we fall in the spectrum. And we need a lot more people to level up to Wolf-Dog.

There’s nothing wrong with being a Pet necessarily, but people need to be aware of being a Pet. And if that’s what they end up choosing, they should probably be more careful with their words and actions, especially around Wolves. Wolf-Dogs are generally cool with Pets and can just laugh to themselves when they encounter one who is overstepping their abilities. Wolves are ultimately going to be a lot less forgiving, and the consequences will be more severe.

And we Wolf-Dogs need to continually seek out Wolves and get ourselves straight as well. Maybe you’ll find that you’re actually a Wolf too. But the main benefit is identifying where you are on that spectrum. Once you do, continually seek out Wolves whenever/wherever you can.

The ability to quickly identify a Wolf may pay off one day.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Level Up – Purple

Shock and awe! Did not see this coming. I honestly thought I was at least a year away from this happening. A lot to say about that, but I’ll save it for a different post.

My general opinion on belts/stripes is that I just wear whatever my instructor tells me to wear. A changing belt color doesn’t change anything about me from one day to the next. For me, a promotion doesn’t need to be anything more than him throwing a stiff new belt at me at the end of training and saying, “Wear this the next time you come in here. ”

But I’ll admit that I’ve taken some time to pause and reflect on this one for several reasons, which will also result in more posts if I’m not too lazy to write them. I’m starting to understand why promotion is a big deal in the broader sense, even though the ceremony of it all may not mean that much to me personally.

For instance…

I had to switch gyms when I started back training in Florida in December 2021. As much as I love everything about Off The Grid, the class schedule was a struggle for me. I meant to get over there and train for the whole month of November, but just couldn’t make the classes. Being a one car family now didn’t help any either. When I texted Professor Frank to tell him my situation, he immediately responded, “Go train with David–I’m just happy to hear that you’re going to be training again!”

That’s what kind of guy he is. None of that crap about loyalty or anything–he’s just happy that I’ve got the BJJ bug (that he put there) and am continuing.

Anyway, I showed up to class at Carlson Gracie Melbourne as I normally do and was warming up when I all of a sudden saw a ton of my old training partners and Frank there. I knew then that something was up, and immediately realized I was probably being promoted. Why else would they show up here and sneaking in through the back? Honestly, it was very awkward for me. I don’t like being the center of attention.

But…man! I can’t express how it feels that so many of the people who built me showed up for this. When Frank and David called me up at the beginning of class and said, “You’re number is up!” I was overwhelmed. I mean, I didn’t cry or anything, but I really didn’t know how to react. I was speechless.

As I later told my old teammates in a post, I don’t even feel like I “have” any jiu jitsu really. I just have little pieces of their jiu jitsu that I’ve cobbled together. Every movement, trick, defense, submission, transition, escape I have came about from what they’ve taught me and beat into me. My new gym has definitely made a big contribution in a short period of time (new perspectives–also a separate post), but the bulk of the reps and rounds were with these folks.

Being promoted by both of my coaches at the same time took away a lot of the awkwardness. And it says so much about both of these instructors that it went down like this. That David would invite the OTG crew and that they would show up says everything about why I consider these gyms my extended family.

And then…my boy Ed got his purple belt too! Ed and I started BJJ on the same day. We were promoted to blue belt together. He’s my best BJJ frienemy. We have spent countless hours beating the doo-doo out of each other. For instance, one day we were the only two people at an open mat and we decided to roll until one of us tapped.

I lost, but it took us 56 minutes to get to decision. Ed is my boy!

So, enough of the mushy stuff. Like I said, I have a lot more of that coming. But here are some stats, because people love to ask the question, “How long does it take to get your purple belt?” Your mileage may vary, and I know people who are younger and more athletic who’ve done it a lot faster than me, but..

  • Training sessions: 392 as a blue belt, 594 total
  • Mat time: 755 hours as a blue belt, 1,110 hours total
  • Days: 1,626 as a blue belt (*1,063 discounting covid break), 1,519 total
  • Uncountable number of taps
  • 1 Competition as a blue belt
  • 1 dislocated/broken rib
  • 1,000,000 lessons learned
  • 1,000,001 lessons forgotten
  • A bunch of connections made with people I probably wouldn’t know otherwise
  • A lot of introspection and realization (jiu jitsu really is life)
  • Never ending excitement about showing up to the next class

As much as I can’t wait to just get back to grinding/training and forget about belts, this has forced me to realize a few things about this art that separates it from any thing else I’ve ever done. Not much of it is belt specific–it’s more about the _________ that is jiu jitsu. I had do leave a blank there, because I don’t know if there’s a word in English that describes what BJJ is.

If that word exists in another language, I don’t know that either.

Special Jiu Jitsu Class Last Night

Last night, at the end of class, David called Z (I won’t out his name) up to talk to us about his experience competing last weekend. Z started off by telling us about his first two competitions, and how he’s evolved through the process of training.

He talked about his attitude/approach towards competing the first time out, and how he got beat and injured at this competition. And he felt like he’d let his teammates down. Even though I knew he was talking about the past, I hated to hear that he’d felt this way.

In his second competition, he got some wins, and he felt redeemed. He said his time actually learning and applying knowledge instead of relying on aggression and ego made the difference.

Last weekend, he lost. But he was super excited about what he accomplished. His goal was to control the match–both himself and his opponent. Though he lost by an advantage, he felt like he had a handle on the situation the whole time.

Then he started talking more broadly. He told us a little about the person he was before he joined the gym and started training–angry, frustrated, alienated, lonely, unhappy, etc. He thanked everybody for being accepting of him, helping him, loving him (violently), and being a part of changing himself. Of course, that’s not word-for-word what he said, but I don’t think he’d mind me taking some liberties here, because I think I know from experience these are all things that he meant.

He was tearing up as he spoke. And I was thankful it was the end of class and crazy humid last night so that my sweat could camouflage my tears too. The whole time I was thinking, “Man…I hope he’s about to get his blue belt, because THIS is what it’s all about. Not winning tournaments.”

So I was super happy when David pulled out the blue belt and gave it to him. Of course, that broke him and he started crying for real.

It really touched me to see someone affected by BJJ this way. I could relate to everything he was saying. Granted, my “aha moment” didn’t come from BJJ, but knowing that light came on for someone is cool, no matter how they got there. And he was up there spilling it in front of 30 people, many of whom he probably didn’t know that well on a personal level. I mean, I didn’t know anything about Z until last night. Now I feel really bonded with him.

After class, I shared a little bit with him about how I could relate a lot to what he talked about. As I told him, there are countless guys out there who have amazing jiu jitsu and can easily whoop us both, yet they can’t comprehend what he’d just said. Some don’t get it because they are nice, happy-go-lucky people to begin with. But there are a lot of others who are still what he used to be. They are BJJ world beaters, but they have not realized who their biggest opponent is. Maybe they even dodge this opponent–I can’t speak to their journey.

Of course, it’s a daily fight. And there are plenty of days when you lose. But, just like in BJJ, you get better at the dance. You start seeing the stuff you have to defend against coming at you sooner. Sometimes you can even chuckle at the simplicity of the coming attack (that you’re mounting against yourself). You continue to learn how the difficulties and struggles you experience can be your greatest opportunities if you are willing to let go and just flow with them.

You start realizing that sometimes the best “move” in an awfully uncomfortable situation is to simply stop and take a deep breath.

This week in particular, I needed to be reminded of all the things Z said.

2021 Six Gap Training – Fat Shaming Myself For Better Results

This post is part of a series where I’m overthinking my approach to training for the 2021 Six Gap Century ride in North Georgia. All time spent thinking and writing probably would have been better spent on the bike

Here’s a tough realization I’ve had to come to terms with: The biggest bang for my buck for speed and efficiency on the bike comes from not doing something. That something is shoving food into my face. I knew it was going to come to this. It’s just simple math. I can increase my strength and power, but there are limits there. The easiest way to improve my watts/kilogram is to decrease the denominator.

I have a complicated relationship with food. Actually, it’s not that complicated. My love for food is right up there with rugby, jiu jitsu, and, uh…other stuff. It’s a tough place for me to have the discipline to deny myself.

Weight loss has to happen for me to hit my goals, but it doesn’t have to be permanent. I’ve been at different weights over the last 30 years, depending on what activities I’m focused on. Playing rugby in college I was ~190 pounds and trying hard to gain weight. I was 215-220 as a reasonably fit men’s club rugby player, a step or two slower at 230, but I ran a marathon at that weight.

I tried to stay just over 200 pounds when I was doing triathlons pretty regularly, and that was a comfortable weight for that activity. Well, it was 10 years ago.

A couple of years ago when I was training BJJ heavily, my walking around weight was in the low 190s, and I could make 185 pounds without having to do any kind of weight cut–just a few days of being careful with the diet. I’m pretty trim at 185, so I think that’s a decent target weight for Six Gap. I’m currently floating between 200 pounds at my heaviest time of the day to 192 pounds right after a tough ride. I’m using 200 pounds as my baseline, just to be safe. Anything below 190 would be pretty good on pain day.

The Keto Reset Diet

That covers the “what”. For the “how”, I’m following Mark Sisson’s book, The Keto Reset Diet. The “when” is mid-September, the “who” should be obvious, and the “where” is all places known to man.

I’ve flirted with a ketogenic diet before, and I’m already wheat free, mostly grain free (tortilla chips are the devil), and careful about my sugar intake. This seems like the easiest path from where I am currently, and the more I learn about keto, the more sense it makes from a biological standpoint.

When I really started digging in and running my numbers using the formulas in Mark’s book , I realized that I’ve really been overdoing it with the protein. I was really shocked at the amount of fat I need to be consuming, and that’s going to be tough to accomplish.

I ran the numbers to get from 200 to 190 pounds in the next 60 days, and then I’ll assess where I am. Based on my activity level, my target daily calorie intake should be around 3,277. The macros break down like this:

  • Fat: 227g (2046 calories)
  • Protein: 112g (448 calories)
  • Carb: 50g (200 calories)

Keto gets me where I need to be, quickly. And this isn’t a cosmetic thing…your photo doesn’t go down in the record book, just your time. I fully expect I’ll be back to my fluffy self by Christmas. Well, maybe not…we’ll see what comes up after Six Gap!

I Hate New Year Resolutions

If you think about it, it’s a little strange to decide to make major changes based on some arbitrary time when a number changes on a piece of paper.

Still, we’re human, and I guess we need these imaginary lines to psychologically break up time; this year more than any other in our lifetimes.

But I’m not making resolutions. I mean, I’m definitely making some changes that coincide with the calendar change, but they aren’t really resolutions. The timing is merely a coincidence. So…listed in no particular order:

Blogging

When we moved from FL to Las Vegas a few years ago, I cut back on blogging a lot. I’ll write later about the reasons why, all the other changes that happened, etc. But I do plan on updating things here much more often. Not because anything I have to say needs to be read, but because it helps me to write it.

Going past actually writing, I think there’s something therapeutic/cathartic about putting it out in the world to be seen, even if it’s not widely read. It feels weird to make yourself a little vulnerable and realize that you’re still ok.

This one is really important because it’s my outlet to talk about everything else on this list.

Cycling

I was really into cycling on Trainer Road a few years ago. It looks like I’m going to be transitioning over to Zwift, and I plan on talking about why along with tracking some of the technical stuff around it.

There’s a whole other aspect to this beyond training–lots of emotions tied up in it. Again, lots to say later, but the passing of my friend Bill this year ultimately led to a fire being lit under my behind.

Running

Religion? Therapy? I don’t know. It will take a lot of long runs to figure this out, but it’s something I’ve brought back into my life more this year. I didn’t know how much I was missing it. I have a lot to say about how my feelings around running have changed and this new need I feel to protect it.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

Holy moly do I miss BJJ. I can’t wait to go back, and the end is in sight. Taking all this time off has given me a chance to reflect on how bjj plays into my physical and mental health. Like running, it’s something I need to protect. Both are activities I don’t want to risk being sidelined from.

Enterprise Architecture and TOGAF

Wow. There’s a switch in topics. I’ve spent the last year reading and studying a lot. Again, lots to say here, but all of it can wait until after I take my last exam and have a certification that can’t be rescinded.

Rugby

Greatest game ever. As years pass, I’m increasingly amazed at the breadth and depth of impact rugby has had on my life.

I wish I could have just one more season in a 28 year old body.

Coronavirus

The Missus and I have spent a lot of time this year thinking and talking about this. Shocking, right? Some about the specifics around the actual virus, but a lot more about it’s implications for our family and society going forward. I think our experience and journey through this has been really healthy, but it has made me look at our culture/society a little differently.

Other Stuff

As I’ve gotten older, I’m subscribing less and less to “isms”. I think that’s because I’ve realized I don’t really have any answers and neither does anyone else. There are so many nuances to everything. Oh to have just one more day of being young and knowing everything (or anything). I’ve shied away from writing about politically charged stuff for years, but I think it may be easier for me now that I have more questions than answers.

Besides that, I’ve been listening to great music, reading some cool books, and reading some trendy books. I should share, or at least leave some thoughts I can refer to later.

I’ve gotten hooked on some really interesting stuff on YouTube. And while I haven’t been posting here, I’ve written quite a bit as well. Mostly on Twitter (lol), but also done some gratitude journaling (how trendy), and even had to get up in the middle of the night to get a poem out of my head.

Yeah…not really ready to share that yet.

Things I want to learn more about

Spanish, literature, music theory, economics, etc. This list is ever-expanding, and I’ve come to the realization I think a lot of people come to–I’m running out of time to cram all this in.

I’m not editing this. I’m just hitting publish.

BJJ Thoughts From The First Days

Last night I happened on a couple of entries from my personal journal that made me chuckle a little. It’s crazy how much your life can change based on what seem like small occurrences and decisions.

I mean, they seem small at the time, but they end up being huge.

Meanwhile, the big stuff I was actually concerned with during this time, which I won’t be sharing, seems so trivial now.

June 28, 2016:

Last night we went to a BJJ open house, and the whole family absolutely loved it. What I was really happy about is that this is a non-BJJ politics place. Ok–I didn’t actually know there was such a thing. Apparently a lot of these places are territorial and won’t let people from different schools train at their gyms.

I like this idea better–more like rugby. You are welcomed to come train with anyone from any team. And we’ll even buy you a beer at the airport.

June 29, 2016:

Went on a short run last night to get some BJJ recovery and had a little bit of an epiphany. I was considering not going back because of the risk of injury and what that may do to my ability to go out and train. But I realized–I’m not going to qualify for Kona, I’m not going to qualify for Boston, I’m not going to be playing rugby in the World Cup (or even A-side for Brevard), and I’m not going to be UFC champion.

So I should just do whatever I feel like doing. Why would I bail on something that I’m really interested in and seems is about to get me over a fitness hump I’ve been fighting for a while. I truly don’t care about racing anyway, so who cares if I don’t get to do a marathon and get another medal that can go in a box. And as far as BJJ is concerned, I don’t care about getting a belt or winning a tournament or anything. Just want to train and get better.

Hopefully I’ll be reading this and laughing even harder in June of 2026.

BJJ Retrospective – Sprint 3

What was I trying to accomplish?

  • Improved Ezekiel chokes (execute 5x on ranked opponents)
  • Improved endurance
  • Improved flexibility/mobility

What went well?

I still can’t say enough good things about The Grapplers Guide. There’s a treasure trove of good content there, and it makes it very easy to find exactly what you’re looking for to improve. In this sprint I was trying to get better with the details of Ezekiel chokes, which are a weak point for me.

And…that may be just about all that went well.

What went poorly?

Glad I’m not limited to a set amount of characters. I achieved one tap on a ranked opponent. To be fair, I didn’t get very many attempts. I’ve had a cold that just won’t go away that kept me out of a couple of classes. And that cold absolutely destroyed my running (well, laziness too) and yoga activity. So I didn’t get nearly as much time in for endurance and stretching/mobility.

How can the process improve?

I’ve been assigning myself fitness and stretching sessions arbitrarily. Instead of saying I’m going to run on three days and assigning the date to them, I’m just saying I’m going to run three times and grabbing one of those out of the  bucket.

I’m taking a week or two off from doing sprints. I have this dern fool half marathon in a couple of days, and I’m not really sure how I’m going to feel after that since I’m severely under-trained. I want to take that time to figure out a workable schedule for everything and think about what I want to work on next.

Blue belt is supposed to be about finding out what works best for you with trial and error. I’m not giving up on Ezekiel chokes just yet, but round one didn’t go as expected. But if nothing else, they are great threats from mount to make people show me their arms.

Quick Notes From 10.24.2017 BJJ Training

Got my butt kicked in KOTM. Super tired from Saturday/Sunday/Monday workouts.
We worked on the sweep, bicep cutter, and omoplata roll  from Lasso Guard
For the sweep:
  • Get a strong passing headquarters–drill this correctly every time
  • Lasso foot flexed into lat
  • Bottom foot across the hip, and as opponent circles underhook the leg
  • Bring hand to ear, picking up his knees and loading him up
  • Thrust hips up to toes for bicep cutter
For bicep cutter from the bottom
  • bait the pass and follow leg through with arm
  • Figure four the legs
  • Both hands just below shoulder. Pull down, hips up, push out
For Omoplata:
  • As he passes, stop his hips with your hands
  • Base out on elbow so he is driving you into the floor (floor doesn’t move)
  • Scoot-circle out and forward roll over the shoulder you have lasso grip with

Closed Guard To Side Guard To Back Take

Haven’t posted in a while, but I’ve been taken a ton of notes. I’m working on a process to use Scrum methodologies to improve BJJ. I’m almost at the end of my first sprint, and it’s going pretty well so far. I hope to be posting on it soon. If nothing else, this is a good place to post the retrospectives until I figure out the process better.

Still, I need to get back to posting technique details. Here’s some stuff from 10.17.2017

  • In a tight closed guard, and they go for a grip to try to pass
  • Grab the cuff with the opposite hand (*thumb tight to pointer to get super tight)
  • Slide hand under for kimura grip and break their grip up.
  • Immediately stuff their hand into holster with wrist behind theirs for extra leverage
  • As you stuff, pull in legs to help break their posture
  • Open guard and feet to the mat as you grab lat
  • Shrimp, stuff arm, and pull the lat at the same time to get them to their side and take back.
  • If they are based out, climb on top of the turtle
  • Post with head and elbow, then hook at their elbow with the opposite arm
  • Pull that arm out for a down bar OR
  • Knee to mat and bring shin to the back of their head and drive toes to the mat for pressure
  • Grip leg behind the knee and roll over same shoulder you’re holding the arm with to roll into arm bar

The grip break part is covered by Chewey‘s video, and the second part is kinda sorta covered by Buchecha. The roll into the arm bar I’m still looking for.

And here’s some footage of rolling session:

BJJ Level Up Blue

On June 27, 2016 we took our three little girls to the soft opening of a new Brazilian jiu jitsu gym in Cocoa Beach. I had more awareness of BJJ than the average person at the time (I don’t think I’ve ever mistaken it for karate), but had never considered training for me. I just wanted my girls to learn skills that would allow them to react without panicking if they’re ever placed in a situation they needed to get out of.

Luckily I was wearing shorts and a t-shirt. Surprise! The instructors casually asked if I’d like to give it a shot, and I said “sure”. Oddly, this is almost exactly how I ended up playing rugby.

After an hour of being rag-dolled and choked by guys and gals 60 pounds lighter than me, I knew I had to do this. And the Missus loved it just as much as me. I didn’t know at the time what a huge bonus that would be for my training.

Last night we were awarded blue belts by Professor Frank Livorsi along with my buddies Ed (started the same night as us) and Dr. Dan. It was so cool to be able to share this accomplishment with my FAVORITE person in the whole world and two really good guys like Ed and Dan.

I nerd out and track everything, so in answer to the “how long does it take to get your blue belt” question…

  • 202 training sessions
  • 356 hours of mat time
  • 456 days
  • ~1000 pounds of sweat (I lose ~6 pounds of water weight in a good session)
  • 1 Competition with a 2-1 record
  • 1 industrial sized washing machine to keep 5 people’s gis from stinking at training
  • 10 chronically sore fingers
  • 1 scattered, covered, smothered, smashed, chunked, diced, and topped ego (there’s still plenty left to be grounded out
  • Countless hours of talking about BJJ in the car and on the couch

We’re unbelievably lucky to have happened upon a place with such amazing coaches and teammates. This little gym on the beach has become a second family to us. We get to learn in a safe and friendly environment, and have training partners who push and encourage us every day.

From what I hear, this is where the fun really starts, and I’m super excited to continue this journey.

Turtle Attack Review – BJJ Training 8.22.2016

I was pretty happy when I found out we were going to review the Bow and Arrow and Rodeo chokes from Turtle position. I remember going over these, and I remember how awkward they were for me the first time. I’ve been in the position to use these quite a few times, but couldn’t recall in the moment what the steps were to execute them.

I couldn’t believe when I went back and reviewed my notes that it was almost a year ago when we first went over the Rodeo choke, and last November since we set up the Bow and Arrow from turtle.

I as really excited to find during drilling these two that they were a little less clumsy for me. Here are the details I was able to record by writing notes in class, which is something I’ve switched to instead of trying to remember details after an exhausting hour of getting beat up by Ed.

Bow and Arrow:

  • Opponent in turtle
  • Drive knee into pocket and grip the opposite shoulder. Work to get knee to the mat
  • Opposite hand in to open the lapel. Don’t reach so deep that you can be rolled. Pull it down to get it tight to his neck
  • Hand under neck, thumb in and deep.
  • Opposite hand on the small of back to keep him down
  • Switch the leg in the pocket and step around to opposite pocket
  • Hand into the hole between his heel and thigh
  • Forward roll and shoot leg deep
  • Other leg over shoulder

Rodeo:

  • Same setup as Bow and Arrow, but instead of stepping over into the opposite pocket, swing leg all the way around (spin) to sit on head/neck.
  • Fall back, pinch knees, leg press out and down

Crucifix From Side Control – BJJ 8.18.2017

  • Tight side control
  • Push far arm back at bicep
  • Grab and pull arm back with hand under head
  • Peel opponent up
  • Switch hips and step over the arm–grip foot at ankle and pull it tight
  • Gable grip and slide knee under
  • Figure 4 legs

Like this, but tighter…

Submissions off of crucifix:

  • Peel close lapel down and go thumb in with opposite hand
  • Tuck elbow to the hip for choke
  • Bring arm to front end and forearm slice trapped arm with shin. Can switch let position and grip from undereath to aid this one
  • Thumb in opposite lapel and leg over to choke on the close side

During rolls, I figured out something cool. I was attempting the modified flower sweep we learned on Tuesday, but my opponent was keen to it since he’d learned the same technique. He wasn’t allowing me to get the pant grip or the underhook and had a firm grip on my wrist. I went ahead and attempted the sweep, but instead of punching the pant grip (that I didn’t have) up as we rolled, I punched the wrist he was gripping towards the wall. A little bit more effort, but the same result.

Modified Flower Sweep – BJJ Training 8.15.2017

New mats at the gym, so a bunch of our warm up drills were 20% longer than I’m used to. It actually made a difference!

Technique was a modified flower sweep that I liked a lot:

  • Pistol grip at the cuffs
  • Grip opposite pant at the knee: KEY TIP: if there isn’t enough cloth to grab, pull opponent in with your knees to create some slack. Also tried this with underhooking the leg so that it will work with no-gi.
  • Elbows tight
  • Bring foot on the cuff grip side to the mat and pivot body (not a shrimp!)
  • Bring other foot (knee grip side) high and push your shin into their armpit
  • This should make them reach and touch the mat. When they do, chop the leg you put into armpit across their body while punching up with the knee grip

Arm bar variation:

  • As you punch over, you may feel you aren’t getting the sweep or you may just have a good opportunity to swing your leg over their head, scoot in, and finish the arm bar

Six minute rolls with Jim, Abraham, and Brad. Brad is a complete animal–thanks for reading! 🙂

We also did some no-gi rolling for some video footage for one of Coach Frank’s sponsors: JiuJitsuThing.com who have some pretty cool t-shirts you should check out!

 

More Chokes From Turtle – BJJ Training July 27, 2017

I’m trying out keeping paper notes during class instead of trying to remember the steps to technique after class and dictating it into my phone. I’m usually so beat at the end of class I don’t even know my own name, so writing it down as I see it may help a little.

With a turtled up opponent:

Went over Peruvian neck tie from Tuesday

Quick and dirty choke if they defend the PNT is to take the slack out of the lapel and go four fingers in DEEP. Coming over the arm, lace your arm in and hand back up to a karate chop position on the back of opponent’s neck.

For the loop choke, get the four finger grip same as above and pull arm out by the triceps to make space to rotate and round and get the head in. Duck head in and get leg, post front leg up. Sit through (just like the drill) and figure four the leg you’re holding. If no tap, keep the figure four at the ankle and come up to the half-guard. There’s a knee bar there by thrusting hips towards the ground.

Peruvian Neck Tie – BJJ Training July 25, 2017

We worked on getting to the ground from a failed double leg shot where the opponent defended by shooting an under hook. We clamp down with the over hook and get our head out, stepping backward and exposing their head which we wrap up similar to a guillotine:
  • Stuff trapped arm in and grab with neck gripping arm
  • Strong grip over the wrist to tighten up
  • Hop backwards to get to the ground
  • Close knee scoots toward their body
  • Step in deep (hamstring heavy on their head)
  • Push in and come up to foot on knee side
  • Immediately sit back to hip and throw foot over the back
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