Well look who decided to show up!

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I finally returned after a month layoff. That is the longest voluntary lay-off I’ve had since I began in 2004. I can’t explain it well, but I just lost motivation to train. I know people who follow the blog will probably say, “I’d probably lose motivation too if I had been slammed on my face and knocked out.” However, that wasn’t the reason. At least it wasn’t a conscious reason.

Even though I don’t teach during the summer and had ample time available, I found it harder and harder to go to BJJ class. On some occasions I began wrestling with my psyche the night before to cajole and convince myself I needed to go. So I just decided to wait until I returned to work.

When I arrived I stretched a bit and Joe invited me to join his group to work on the technique they were reviewing. The first technique was a side control escape which led to guard and the second was a side control escape which led to a reversal and sweep.

After this we rolled. I first rolled with Art. Art is another guy who trains 5 times a week and each time I roll with him his skill level has just about doubled. He played butterfly guard and has picked up the technique of disrupting your balance (when your on your knees) by using his foot to push your knee from under you. We rolled to a stalemate and traded positions back and forth, but once I was able to mount him by jumping over his butterfly guard from a kneeling position. He topped that by sending me airborne with some sort of bridge.

After that, Carlos (brown belt instructor), had us go through some competition rounds.

I was paired up with a guy who was a former wrestler and coach. He is not that tall (5’6 or 7) but he weighs 216 pounds. I baited him with my Judo stance, which is naturally upright, and when he went for the shot I sprawled and was able to jump on to his back. He was extremely hard to control and when I tried to sink in a rear naked choke I couldn’t because he doesn’t have a neck (that’s visible). I find a lot of the wrestling guys hard to choke this way. He powered his way out of my back control and he ended up in my guard. I was able to reverse him but when I landed on top he was breathing so hard I had to ask him if he was okay. He shook his head no and tapped out.

Finally, I rolled with Josh. I think Josh trains more MMA than BJJ and I also think he has a wrestling background. He is about 6ft, at least 215 and has a body builders build. I adopted my upright stance and Carlos told me I was “too high.” When Josh went for the shot I sprawled and was able to jump on his back. I couldn’t sink in my hooks because he shucked me off. I felt like a Professional Bull Rider on Versus. We both stood up and repeated the same scenario. After that I stayed on my knees and when he stood up I ankled picked him with one hand and pushed him down with the other. From there we went back and forth but he ended up outpointing me. He is very good at transitioning from side control to mount.

I was exhausted but it was an excellent roll and excellent class.


3 thoughts on “Well look who decided to show up!

    neijia said:
    September 6, 2009 at 8:26 pm

    Welcome back. I think if I were ko’ed I’d take a break. I also wonder if you roll more than most students do, even with your significant experience. There are probably diminishing marginal returns at some point, and certainly greater risks, at least with giant dudes and aggressive beginners. Kano had it right with kata, randori, and shiai in decreasing proportions, respectively. Maybe you do that already but it seems like you roll an awful lot. I know a lot of people will say that’s the way it should be, though.

    jiujitsu365 said:
    September 7, 2009 at 1:40 pm


    I have been thinking a lot about these issues as well. I usually attend class twice a week, three times when I’m particularly eager. After warm-ups and drills I usually roll 2 to 4 times (4 min rounds).

    I by no means roll as much as the die-hards but I also tend to stick around longer than most people (years as opposed to months) so I probably have as much or more mat time than quite a few people of my belt range and lower.

    In fact, I was going to mention in my next post about not being able to gain much from wrestling with some new people. I think you hit the nail on the head. I have been considering taking privates as an option as well. I could learn more and not have to worry about the competitions that always break out when having to spar new people.

    Chad said:
    October 21, 2009 at 4:26 pm

    I’ve got nearly 5 years of experience and it took me a while to figure out what works best for me. Sometimes I’ll go through classes where the instructional stuff covers things where I feel like I am not learning anything new. Sometimes a different instructor will provide a new detail or perspective so I am always very attentive no matter what I THINK I know. Every class, however, I try to pick out something I need to work on. Maybe the last class I had trouble doing sweeps from half guard. I’ll go through books I have at home or videos on youtube and find some half guard sweeps before class. Some of them will be very similar to ones I know, but with different details. Some will be completely new. I’ll try focusing most of my efforts on those sweeps. I may even have my partner strat on top in my half guard so I can work on them. Sometimes, I may intentionally put myself in positions where I wind up in half guard during a roll just to work those position.

    There are times when I may only focus my energy on a position, like back control w/ hooks. It all depends on what I feel needs work – and there is ALWAYS something that needs work. You just can’t pick 8 different submissions and try to apply them during your rolls… it is too many technical details to try and do at the same session. Pick something you need to improve and focus on that. Work other stuff as well, but that’s how you get better… by fixing the holes in your game. It’s been working for me. I hope it helps you!

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