If you’re tired, it doesn’t matter what you know!

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Night Class – Wednesday

The academy was packed. About 20 people were in the boxing room and 30 to 40 training in the Muy Thai/Kickboxing class. I observed for about 15 minutes before BJJ class and briefly chatted with Josh and Polar Bear.

Class began with a light jog, shrimping and a few rolls. Then it became clear that this was no ordinary warm-up. We performed duckwalks, duckwalks with hops, military type pushups while crawling, a number of bear crawls, body drags, etc. Warmup was at least 30 minutes. I was exhausted before we began drilling.


We worked on a sweep from sitting up guard and a sweep from butterfly guard.


After drill we began rolling but with a twist. Prof. Smiley had us rolling for flow and without submissions – just technique. Although I was exhausted I was immediately happy. I have been working on certain techniques for weeks and have not been able to try any of them in the gi class because, well they are gi classes. As one who wants to become proficient in the gi I spend way too much time grip fighting and defending submissions.

I first rolled with Robert (Frosty). He seemed to be relatively new. I decided to work on an escape from turtle position that I have been experimenting with at home and have been taught a few times in class but never pulled off in a roll. I baited him to take my back and when he would get to the side I would roll and put him back into my guard. I nailed it the first time out. I was so excited I tried it at least four more times. The fifth time I learned an important lesson. Don’t use the same technique too often. He timed me and gained side control. As we were going back and forth it really didn’t matter though and we just worked on changing positions.

The next guy I rolled with was definitely a new guy. We traded positions and once again I couldn’t resist baiting him to take my back and then hitting the roll to escape and place him in my guard.

After this roll I thought we were through. However, Prof. Smiley had a different plan for us and we had to continue to spar. I don’t remember who I rolled with next  but following that I partnered with a white belt who seemed pretty sure of himself. I had that sense of dread that comes when you are facing a guy with a high energy level and you know that you have little in the tank. All through class I had seen him and a couple of others who seemed to be bouncing off the walls with energy.

We began with him sitting down in BFG. I initially passed his guard but he did a good job of not remaining flat and was able to shrimp away. I sat back and immediately regretted it. He jumped up in a fury and garnered a knee on belly. I didn’t have the energy to respond. My goal at that point was just to keep him from getting the submission. During the remainder of our roll I saw many opportunities that I had to shut down his game but I didn’t have the energy to do so. We ended up with me in his guard.

After that I rolled with Jaime (blue belt). I tried to pass his butterfly guard and ended up in his guard. He was able to get a sweep but in the process my foot became entangled with his legs and immediately cramped into an L position. I yelled tap. I sat out for a minute and we began to grapple again. A few seconds into it, Prof Smiley stopped us to show us a technique (I didn’t mind) and that was the end of class.

Overall: I was glad to see that my solo drills continue to pay off. But, I was definitely unhappy about my cardio level. It doesn’t matter what you know if you are too tired to use that knowledge.


7 thoughts on “If you’re tired, it doesn’t matter what you know!

    ARM*BAR Athletics said:
    January 29, 2010 at 1:13 am

    You want to boost your cardio, do your solo drill with a tennis ball or an apple in your mouth, It will force you to breath with your nose, do this for 5-10 min a class and in 2 weeks you will be a machine

    Allie McClish said:
    January 29, 2010 at 10:38 am

    When I am gassed, I just tell myself to relax and work slowly, methodically. If a person is exploding with energy, I just chill and wait for them to make a mistake. They may pass my guard or get me in a bad position, but I conserve my energy and then have something to use when I see my opportunity.

    jiujitsu365 said:
    January 29, 2010 at 6:06 pm


    Sounds like a good suggestion. However, my wife is already wary of me training in the house and she keeps an eye like a hawk on my heavy-bag I use for drilling. The addition of a tennis ball or apple in the mouth might cause me to lose my training license.

    jiujitsu365 said:
    January 29, 2010 at 6:14 pm


    I usually follow that same method. This time though was a eye-opening moment for me as I realized that the guys coming to train are getting stronger, more athletic and can explode (or spaz out) for much longer periods of time than I am used to.

    I just have to “up” my level of play.

    Jason said:
    February 1, 2010 at 4:30 pm

    I too have been working on turtle to guard. Its come in handy a few times. After I pull it off I want to do it again and again just like you did. I even have some video on my site of me practicing it. Its a great move to master.

    Jason said:
    February 1, 2010 at 4:34 pm

    Here is the URL in case you want to check it out:


    I didn’t call it turtle to replace guard because I start it right after they pass your guard and are in transition to side control.

    jiujitsu365 said:
    February 2, 2010 at 10:58 am

    Thanks Jason,

    I am going to check it out right now.

    My head instructor has essentially perfected his use of this technique. However, you never get the feeling that you’ve passed his guard.

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