Month: June 2009

Success as an Unconscious Process: Level 2 and Revisiting “Blink”

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Bakari being thrown by instructor James Smiley
Bakari being thrown by instructor James Smiley

Quick Post.

In my Psychology of Success Blog I shared one of my Jiujitsu tales. Here’s the link:



Do Dreams Count?

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Last night I had a dream that I was a purple belt. Which is odd because I haven’t been to class in a week. In the dream I had on a white gi (my real gi is blue) and I was tightening up my purple belt while talking to some new guys.

Also all of this was taking place in the middle of an MMA cage. What’s funny is that I had a dream that I was training BJJ the previous night.

Does dreaming count as training? 

I ask mostly in jest, but when I dream about BJJ I feel as if I am really doing it and I am fully conscious (in the dreams).  I once dreamt that I tapped out two random guys by RNC and an arm bar; another where I tapped out GSP with a rear naked choke; and where a guy demonstrated how I could tap out one of my instructors (won’t say which one). He tapped him out within seconds and I was amazed

For those who are long time readers of my blog you know I once had a dream that I was sleeping in a Japanese dojo and suddenly Dana White burst through the door. He told me that I was getting promoted to purple belt and I needed to hurry up and get dressed.  

Regardless, I have to go back and train in my reality soon. I have to admit though that last time I went it was so ridiculously hot. For the past two weeks we have been faced with 90 to 100 degree weather with ‘”feels like” ratings ranging from 103 to 115 degrees. I have been dealing with feelings of sluggishness but I’ll come around.

*I am a blue belt for those new to the blog.

Book Knowledge translated to Mat Knowledge

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My efforts to record what I practice from books has borne fruit. I was able to tap 2 people (albeit new guys) today using new techniques. I have been working on the Closed Guard Overwrap and Overwrap to Back techniques from “Jiu-Jitsu University.” Today I was able to use both with a little variation during rolling.

While rolling with the first guy I was able to pull him into me while he was in my guard. I then realized that I could throw my left hand over his right shoulder and snake my right hand through his left armpit. I clamped them together (Overwrap) and then tried to use my right shoulder to bump his arm up so I could get my head out (Overwrap to Back). After I was able to get my head out I realized that I had a opportunity for a head and arm choke. I dropped my plans of hipping out and trying to take the back and instead locked in the choke from guard. 

Oh man it was locked on tight. I didn’t have to squeeze hard at all and I have never felt that much power in a choke. I could have written it off to chance but I was able to do the same thing to the second guy I rolled with. He tried to struggle a little after I locked it in but a little squeeze made him tap too.

I only performed 30 reps each of both of those techniques and am glad that I was able to use it so soon. I guess the position I ended up in while transitioning from one technique to the next provided the extra torque in the submissions.

As far as the drill portion of class, we worked on guard defense. It was a really good session as we worked on a sweep, shrimping out, a block to an attempt to throw the leg over the shoulder, etc. 

*The techniques I referred to are on pages 103-105 in the Purple belt section of “Jiu-Jitsu University.” 

Rumina Sato – This guy’s a Monster!

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Rumina Sato is the guy  in the blue shorts and he is ‘eating up’ his competitors in this video. I posted another one of his videos earlier in my blog where he ripped through about 10 unsuspecting grapplers in a tournament. None lasted more than a minute. I don’t know if they knew who he was or not. There’s no sound in the second one, but the action speaks for itself!

Sorry about that,- last sentence.

Grappling Books & Recording Progress

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I have about 30+ books on grappling; Sambo, Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, Judo, Submission Wrestling and MMA. Like all of the martial arts books I have bought over the years I have poured over them and practiced techniques that have caught my eye.

However, in my quest to improve my BJJ game this approach seems more like a Jack of all trades, master of none approach.  In the past two weeks I have taken a different approach. As I am always looking through books and use them for my solo drills I decided to record my  number of reps. I simply write a capital R or L  at the top of the page to indicate what side I practiced it on and then place a check above the letter to signify 10 repetitions. 

If I keep it up, it will let me know how much I have practiced a certain technique. It will also serve as a tool to motivate me to practice the same moves to drive the numbers up and to work through the entire book. Hopefully, greater reps will translate to the mat.

Butterfly Guard & Involuntary Newbie Slam Defense

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Before I begin, I attempted a guillotine choke today. I didn’t get it but I can”t remember (since 2004) ever using it during rolling. Even though it is a very effective technique I’ve always viewed it as an easy ‘sub.’ Plus, in my first academy we used to have this guy who studied Hapkido who used to do things like pull on your fingers and use his forearm as a police baton. His favorite move was the guillotine and he would hold it for an entire roll if you didn’t tap. I learned guillotine defense by never putting myself in a position to let him attempt it and what I should do if he ever did.

Our warm-up was pretty long as we did a lot of stretching and at least 300-350 sit-ups before shrimping (about 8 types). Ryan, who led class today, has another name for it but I can’t recall it as I write. In drill we worked on passing the butterfly guard by trapping one leg. We practiced about four variations with the final one ending in a shoulder lock submission.

After that we rolled. My first matchup was against a guy whose demeanor didn’t match his grappling style. We started from our knees. He held out his hand and introduced himself. He gave no indication that he was ultra-aggressive. As we struck our beginning poses, a few seconds passed and then he exploded into the air with a “HUUUUUUH!” and with all four limbs coming in my direction. As my new policy is to not let new guys get the top position, I reflexively pushed him in the middle of his chest. He fell back like a rocket out of a cannon.

We both looked at each other for a second and then he jumped up to his knees. I had a sinking feeling as I realized that I was in the middle of a spaz match. I figured I could calm him down if I remained calm. We clinched and I twisted him down by holding on to his neck and left arm. I wrestled him until I obtained side control. Once I had it he waited a few seconds and then tried to explode out of the position. From there I snaked my knee across his stomach for the mount. I knew he was going to explode again so I grape-vined his legs. He exploded just as I locked up his legs. I didn’t feel like giving him a chance to go ballistic if I tried for a random submission from the mount so I knuckle choked him for the tap. I talked to him after class and he said he had been grappling for a month now.

In my second roll I matched up against a white belt/striped. This guy is getting pretty good real quick so I just decided to not experiment today. I also pulled him down by grabbing his neck and pulling on his left arm. I tried to obtain side control but he began shrimping as soon as his back hit the floor. We spent the majority of time with me trying to passing his guard to half guard, him recovering and back to half guard. At the end he was able to reverse after a scramble and we ended with him trying to pass my half-guard.

Once in the middle of our roll he tried the scissor sweep but couldn’t get it. After he tried a few times he said, “Bakari, you are heavy!”  He is right I am heavy in comparison. But I also know that I have a very high resistance to scissor sweeps. Every place I have trained people have commented on me having a good base in the guard and much of my core balance comes from Judo.

I told my wife I am going to start lightly telling people it’s my Judo base not my weight. I’ve had guys bigger than me try it to no avail as well.


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

Jimmy DaSilva’s Brown Belt Demonstration

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Check out my grappling books on Amazon: Grappling Games: BJJ & Submission WrestlersTapmonster: Ideas about Grappling for BJJ and Submission WrestlersGrappling for Newbies20 Ways to Increase Grappling Skills off the MatThe Lazy Man’s Guide to Grappling and much more.

You guys know I raved about the Blue Belt Requirements DVD put out by Roy Dean. I also talked about the Purple Belt Demonstration by Jimmy DaSilva. This demonstration provided a real clear picture of the skill level, timing and basic overall aptitude a blue belt should have before he or she can be considered a Purple Belt.

Well Jimmy DaSilva has been promoted to Brown Belt and they have a new video out. Even though he was skillful at the Purple Belt level you can see the vast increase of skills in this video. Plus is it possible to become even more smooth in carrying out techniques? It’s an inspirational video to watch and even though its 10 minutes long it’s entertaining to watch the entire time.

Two highlights of the video is when DaSilva pulls off a variation of the Knuckle Choke, which is my superhero move and when Roy Harris (4th Degree Black Belt) uses an aikido technique to throw DaSilva to the ground in live rolling.