White Belt Monster

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I returned to BJJ after missing 2 1/2 weeks. Prof. Roberto asked where I had been. I told him I had to return to work. I am teaching two new classes this semester and I am using a new book for a third class so I am constantly in prep mode.

But anyway, this is a BJJ blog so let me tell you what happened in class.

Warm-ups and Drill

After the ten minute warm-up we worked on some drills. In the first one we had to flip over our partners backs and then flip back over while holding on to the far-side lapel of their gi. We’re both 200 pounders so I knew this would be challenging. Dave is 6’4 275 so I was a little worried. I was barely able to keep my base as he propelled himself over me. I had a little better luck and was able to go over and bring myself back more times than I failed to do so.

On the second drill we had to let the person set up base in side control, then bench press them upwards and move our feet from one side to the other. I repeat, we are both 200 pounders. We choked each other while trying to bench press each other and not let our hands touch the mat. Prof told me to keep my hands off the mat so Dave could push me up with his own strength. He did okay, but we couldn’t even pretend when it was my turn. Two hundred and seventy five pounds was my max when I benched pressed in college. Nowadays I can knock off a few reps of 225 when I am at the gym, but there was no way I could lift Dave 10 times for this drill. He stayed on his knees while I pushed up his upper torso.

On the third drill one partner had to stand above the other one (foot in armpits) and then we shrimped the length of the gym four times using their legs to push-off.

Technique

For self-defense we worked on defending against the front bear hug, which led to a hip throw and knee on belly. Then we worked on defending against a headlock on the ground.

Sparring

At the end of class we were paired up and had to lie on our backs facing the opposite way. I was paired with J…, who is a three stripe White Belt. He appears to be about 6 ft or so and 180 to 200 pounds. For some reason I expected him to be explosive and I wasn’t disappointed. When Prof said go he nearly jumped to his feet. I pulled closed guard to control him and he was using full horse power. I heard a fellow blue belt telling him to slow down, but he didn’t listen. He was moving with so much force that he when he shifted his weight he was off-balance. I was able to rock him over with my closed guard and landed in mount. I wanted to end it right then so I used the Knuckle choke. I saw that he was resisting with all his might so I leaned in to it for the tap.

He took it well and said let’s go again. This time, Dave (not my training partner) counted for us and he exploded again. It seemed as if he was even more intense. This time I heard at least two people say slow down. He tried to choke me from inside my guard and I attempted a front choke as well. It didn’t work and he managed to break out of my guard and tried to pass. I caught his right leg and established lock down. Then I established an under hook on the same side. I attempted to slide under his arm but he blocked it so I pushed on the opposite side and flipped him over. I tried a one arm choke where you grab the lapel and pull down but he was fighting it with so much strength I decided to ease up because I didn’t want to hurt his windpipe by accident. I attempted the front collar choke and he quickly tapped. I was surprised by its effectiveness. I may start using it more.

Since time wasn’t up I grappled with him two more times. He was able to establish side control once and he locked it down tight. I couldn’t power roll him at all. But I did manage to regain guard and reverse him. We ended with me in full mount.

I have to admit that during the first moment of our grapple I thought to myself that I didn’t want to grapple with him again. He seems to be a nice guy but I wonder what it would have been like if I didn’t have the experience or strength to control him.

Positive

What I did notice is that I have been able to finish people more quickly. Before I was really good at establishing positional dominance but had trouble getting the submission. As of late I have been able to achieve taps soon after achieving top position.

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3 thoughts on “White Belt Monster

    Tree Frog said:
    September 3, 2010 at 6:50 pm

    Lately, my instructor has been overtly reminding the class that going fast, fast, fast, strong, strong, strong is not a good strategy in rolling against him. His reflexes, trained through 9 years of jiu-jitsu, are better. It usually won’t work against the higher belts in the class either.

    It is a bit of a battle between “feeling productive vs. getting actual results”.

    I think your three stripe white has yet to let that sink in.

    Might be a maturity thing – as in not mature enough to realize that different paces are necessary for BJJ (and life).

    jiujitsu365 said:
    September 3, 2010 at 9:23 pm

    I agree.

    I think a lot of people when they start BJJ believe that they can rush progress. Rushing usually leads to injury or burnout. As you know, regardless of pace, the only way to get good is by putting in the time.

    Tree Frog said:
    September 4, 2010 at 5:22 pm

    Lest we turn this into a white belt-hateathon:

    Victor also gave us a funny story of a “five stripe” blue belt from way back. He was in a hotel room with his own instructor and a couple others, on the eve of a tournament, and they were attempting to go through some moves for the next day.

    This guy kept going obnoxiously hard and was annoying people so much that the instructor called him over and said “Oh, you’ve been doing these moves pretty hard – like you’re looking for a reward. Here you go.” Puts a fifth stripe on his belt (it’s a four stripe situation).

    The guy was bewildered for about thirty seconds, but got the intent of the stripe and calmed down.

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