Month: April 2009

Can’t Stop, won’t Stop: BJJ Life

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I finally participated in a BJJ class last Friday. Five weeks after my injury ‘incident.’ Back with a new knee-brace I tentatively joined the action. Great news; I was able to go through warm-ups, drills and light grappling with no scares.

Ryan – a purple belt and assistant instructor – suggested that I begin my rolling sessions from a seated position and not on my knees so I could be more careful and protect my knee.  I agreed. Although, taking that route led to my guard being quickly passed by a fellow blue belt (Eric). He is a pretty heavy guy and very hard to get off when he gets a dominant position. Still, I was glad to be back.

Even though I have been watching DVDs, video clips, studying books and doing solo drills while out I went blank a few times during the rolling portion of class. Coupled with a knee injury that favors my go-to side I struggled to think of how to perform techniques to the other side.

Nevertheless, I avoided the tap, from him, and managed to get in a couple of good submission attempts myself. When grappling with Smiley, our head instructor, it took longer than usual for him to tap me. But that could be for a number of generous concessions on his part.  On the whole, I was happy with my performance.

All of that weightlifting (circuits) I did while I was out paid off a little bit as I did not gas. I was noticeably slow during the warm-up session though. As I rolled with two of strongest guys in the class I couldn’t tell if the weightlifting helped with strength but it is something I am going to retain in my training regimen.

Even though I haven’t blogged in two weeks or so weeks I ‘tweet’ quite often. You can follow my updates on my Twitter page here:

Check out my new books, The Lazy Man’s Guide to Grappling and Grappling for Newbies on!

Mouthguard: Taking a Break (BJJ Comic)

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Mouthguard - BJJ Comic
Mouthguard - BJJ Comic - Check out my new books, The Lazy Man’s Guide to Grappling and Grappling for Newbies on!


BJJ Study Continues – More participants needed!

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As many of you know, I serve in a professional capacity as a professor. I am also an avid BJJ practicioner so my interests in academics and BJJ often merge. My first project was an exploratory study on Ground Fighting where I tried to get a sense of how many “real fights” actually go to the ground. My findings were published in Black Belt Magazine’s 2008 issue (September). You can review some of my findings here: Do Most Fights Go to the Ground?

Since last year (October 2008) I have been conducting a study on BJJ and other submission grapplers. I am studying people’s initial experience in the BJJ (or grappling) world as well as insights and other key experiences they wish to share. The response so far has been great. I have had all belt levels respond as well as practitioners from all over the world.

I am still looking for a lot more people to fill out the short questionnaire. If you are interested contact me (Bakari) at Please place BJJ Study in the subject line so I can give send it as quickly as possible.


How do you improve in BJJ while you’re injured?

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I spend so much time plotting and planning on trying to get better in BJJ. So it is especially difficult to cope with injuries when they occur. I have been practicing BJJ since 2004 with no major hiccups and have never had to take more than a week off. This time is different. I’m not quite sure when I will return.

Over the years of reading BJJ blogs and especially in the last few months quite a few of us have been getting injured and have had to take time off from doing what we love. At the same time, I know that many of the injuries we have, no matter how long we will be side-lined does not affect our entire bodies.

I refuse to regress in skill, knowledge of techniques, etc. If I am not able to do certain types of moves due to injury then I want to return to the mats with another talent or set of skills. What have you guys done or are doing in order to improve (or maintain) your skill level in BJJ while injured?

My left knee is my injury so I have been doing the following:

Upperbody workouts (Lifting weights at a circuit pace to help maintain endurance/not even close to rolling though)

Stretching for Flexibility (that doesn’t hurt my knee)

30 reps a day (BJJ techniques that don’t require the use of my knee)

I am thinking about using visualization as a serious tool. I use it sparingly, but never had to use it because of an injury. But beyond these ideas, “I’ve got nothin!”  Most of my ideas for training stem from being at close to 100 percent.

Check out my new books, The Lazy Man’s Guide to Grappling and Grappling for Newbies on!

Prognosis is Good: Dealing with my Knee

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I went to an Urgent Care facility a few miles from my home. Before I was treated though I had to have my medical insurers talk to the receptionist/staff  so I wouldn’t be cheated. They tried to state that I had a $1500 deductible and that my cost for a visit would be $108 and all subsequent visits would be the same until I reached that $1500.


I considered walking right out the door because I know better and in the years we have used these types of facilities we only paid a small co-payment anywhere from $20 to $35. Besides, I pay $400 a month in health insurance and if I had co-payments like that I might as well pay for treatment and keep the rest of my money. Anyway, when I told my insurance company the lady I spoke to said, “Let me speak to her.” I handed the phone over and in less than a minute my co-pay was reduce to $30. A $78 savings. I wondered how many times places like these dupe people out of their money or they refuse treatment for this type of behavior. 

Back to BJJ

The doctor poked and prodded my leg and bent it in all sorts of directions. Of all of the twists and turns she applied I felt pain in 2 of the about 12 techniques she applied. She said she heard a slight clicking sound. She suspected that it might be a ligament tear but was not sure. I had to take an x-ray. Well I am happy to report that she did not see any breaks or tears on the x-ray. The doctor did suggest that there may be soft tissue damage, if I heard her correctly, and that these things usually sort themselves out. I made her repeat her prognosis again just to make sure. 

One of the staff came in and put my leg in a knee brace and the doctor told me to rest my leg. She also gave me a prescription for an anti-inflammatory. She said if I still feel pain after a week I should see my regular doctor.