Month: January 2011

Time to switch the style up!

Posted on Updated on

Check out my other blog: Psychology of Jiu-Jitsu

Before I talk about the training session, first let me gush about my new place.

I finally made it to my new BJJ home last Friday and I made it official. I joined JaxBJJ. I really like this place. I started visiting it last month and was able to try it out for a month at a vastly reduced rate. I didn’t want to sign a contract and then be severely disappointed so I wanted to make sure this was the right place.

It is.

Everyone, I mean everyone, speaks to you when you enter the academy. Further, they go beyond that. They actually start conversations with and want to know about you. (It is really important to me that the environment is a friendly one and that I feel comfortable with the people I train with.) Also, there are belts of all types. I have never seen so many blues, purples and brown belts in one place. Every rolling session is like receiving a private session and people have been very eager to share their knowledge as well as ask questions when I do something they haven’t seen.

No egos.

The professor is friendly and won’t hesitate to demonstrate techniques to improve students game, even to the point of pulling students to the side for 20 minutes or so and reviewing technique with them. Also the place is full of people who have been training 2, 3, 4, and 5 years at JaxBJJ and up to 15+ years with Prof. Shealy. It also has a huge kid’s class, which suggests stability to me and not only does it have a lot of guys and gals in their 20s training but also a lot of guys in their 30s, 40s and even 50s. This is cool because it means that it is a safe environment and one that doesn’t burn students out.

Anyway, here’s what happened in class.

Usually the morning class is run like a open-mat but this morning Phil led the warm-ups then Prof. led us through some drills on finishing front chokes from the guard. We then sparred from position, trying to obtain a front choke from guard while the other person tried to pass. After drilling we started doing progressions where the time (rounds) is gradually increased as class goes on and when you switch to a new partner you get in the same position the previous person was in. Sometimes it works out great (you end up in mount), sometimes you end up screwed (your partner has your back.)

For the past month or so I have been working on my butterfly guard and trying to improve my defense to side control. As a consequence my guard has been passed, — a lot. Plus, almost everyone I go up against is a blue belt or higher so there isn’t much wiggle room to play. After being outgunned on the bottom so much I started to feel like a scrub. I think I am going to have to re-think my butterfly training for a bit, because ‘it ain’t working.’

Anyway, I still enjoyed class and look forward to heading back again when my schedule lets up.

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

Are you sure that’s Jiu-jitsu?

Posted on Updated on

I haven’t been to BJJ since Dec 22nd. The new place that I have been attending closed down for the holidays on the 23rd and reopened on the 4th of Jan. I thought I would return on the fourth but my job got the best of me and I had to wait until today. Old readers know the drill but for new readers I had to prepare lectures, attend department and college wide meetings and deal with administrative paper work.

Today’s class was operated like an open mat and get this, there were more brown belts and purple belts than blues and whites. And there were more blue belts than whites. I just ate up the instruction. We worked on Dave Camarillo’s arm-bar defense, a twister like submission from guard and an Ezekiel choke you can use when someone attempts to get under-hooks from half-guard.

I rolled with a lot of guys so I don’t recall all of it but one roll stands out. When I grappled with Dave who is a brown belt we had a moment that could have made a highlight reel (not ESPN/think more of that late night show with the guy showing 10 year old sports clips). Dave is about 155 pounds and he had me in side control. I believe he was getting up to spin for an arm-bar but I was able to catch one of his legs. I folded his head down and tried to power roll him over me. Instead he just stopped himself mid-air. I couldn’t push him over but he also couldn’t come back down.

After several seconds we attracted the attention of everyone in the room who wasn’t grappling. After a few more seconds I realized I would be a douche if I didn’t let him back down. As soon as I started to let him down someone said, “Finish it Bakari! Keep going!” I tried again to push him over but he just stayed suspended in the air. I finally let go and he landed on his feet and we re-engaged.

Someone said, “Now Bakari, are you sure that’s Jiu-jitsu? I heard a voice respond,” It looked more like dance.” That was followed by, “I thought it looked more like a dumbbell press.” Whatever it was it was kinda cool!

I enjoyed class today and I jumped right back into the fray with no problems.

Check out my grappling books on Amazon: Tapmonster: 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.