MMA, Jiu-Jitsu and Family Relationships

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The Ultimate Fighter finale will be taking place tomorrow from 9 to 12 PM. However, I will not be watching as Saturday will be my wedding anniversary. I will be spending a lovely weekend with my wife so I will probably not watch the event until late Sunday or Monday. This post is not about how I wish I could be home to watch it because the TUF finale can wait. However, last night I did check my DVR to make sure that the event was in the queue to be recorded and all “systems are go.”

Due to my work schedule and the distance I have to travel to work and then to Jiu-jitsu class, my evenings out don’t end until 10:30 or 11 PM on those nights. In addition, home, work and Jiu-jitsu class are in three different cities so it is sometimes a strain to train. I usually log 130 or more miles on those days. Trying to find quality time is rough on these days, especiallly since my wife is also a professional and is usually out of it when I come home.

I have come to realize how important it is to spend time with her and with family and friends. So even though I am a grappling fanatic, I am also a family fanatic and believe in balance.

Another thing that I always think about is that even though my class meets only twice a week and its 30 miles away in another city, it is great that it is even that close. I make sure that I take advantage of it, because I remember the angst I felt when I couldn’t find a place to train.  I envy the people who live in cities with acadamies that meet six times a week and that offer morning, noon and evening classes. However, as we are moving next year to one of those cities, I also realize that I have to train here as much as I can so I will be ready when we make that transition.

When I lived in Florida, the academy I used to train in met three times a week. I let work and other events interfere with my full participation. However, when I moved to Georgia and I had no place to train I regretted missing all of those three nights a week sessions in FL.

As in Jiu-jitsu and with family and life we have to take advantage of the opportunities we have…


OMG! I Triangled and Butterflied ‘like crazy.’

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The solo drills I have been doing are the only way for me to explain the improvement I exhibited in last night’s class. The first time I tried to use the butterfly guard and sweeps in class after practicing the solo drills for 5 days straight I saw an improvement but had my guard passed like I was a little baby. Well after working on them for the last 20 days and on other moves such as mount escapes, the triangle and rear naked choke, I was able to pull off multiple sweeps, reverse positions and place myself in better positions overall. It was also the first class that I had without being tapped.

And to cap off the evening I was able to pull off a triangle with relative ease, which has not been one of my strong points. The first time I tried it, my foot cramped. However, the next time I rolled, I tried it again and had success. I was able to do things with these guys that I had never been able to do. I even had a guy who was watching on the sidelines say, “You got skills.”


It seems obvious that as one practices other sports like basketball alone that I should take the same approach with Jiu-jitsu. Yet, it never occured to me. But after tonight, I can see that this little experiment seems to be working….

The video (8 min 29 sec.) above is the one I used to learn some tips about the triangle. The part about using your foot to push off on the hip and not allowing your sparring partner to bring his head and torso too far over your body when you are setting up the submission is especially helpful.

Jiu-Jitsu, Street Clothes & Sneakers

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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.

Once, when I forgot my workout clothes (no-gi) at the former academy that I trained at in Florida, I just participated in my pants and a long sleve shirt. Not only did I lose a little hip movement because of the cut of the jib in the pants, but I was uncomfortable the entire time wrestling in those clothes.

I didn’t think about it again until I recently started practicing solo drills at home.  I practice in whatever I have on and whenever the mood hits me. One of those moods struck when I had on sneakers. As I started to go through my drills I noticed how heavy my running shoes were. The difference was very noticeable. That cat like movement that I take for granted was missing and my feet felt heavy.

I realize that in no-gi and gi grappling the majority of us don’t wear shoes because of tradition, impracticality or because we don’t want to dirty up the mats. However, that lack of speed I experienced made me what to do some of my solo exercises with shoes on so I can get used to the extra weight….

Getting up from the Ground

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One aspect of my approach to Jiu-jitsu is to always concentrate on my weaknesses. As a relatively big guy, 6ft & 225lbs (not all of it muscle), I am often able to establish a dominant position if I really want to.  However, this doesn’t mean that I don’t often end up on my back or in bad positions. Therefore, learning how to defend myself in these positions is important to me.

One of the skills that I work on is how to get up properly if I find myself on the wrong end of a takedown or if my opponent suddenly disengages from me on the ground and stands up. The first move on the video above demonstrates the most common way that you can get up from the ground. It is useful for both grappling and self defense. The rest of the moves are very useful for grappling situations…..

“Balls Deep – Ultimate Fighting”

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While reading the MMA blog and website,, I saw this interesting set of short ‘vids.’  A guy named “Baby Balls” follows a MMA fighter, Matt Ruskin, through four weeks of training all the way through his actual fight. “Baby Balls” also does the training; BJJ, boxing, conditioning, etc.

This is the type of material I am looking for when I am searching for grappling and MMA on the internet. Below is the link:

Biting to Escape the Mount Aargh! Aargh! Aargh!

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I was watching a YouTube video on mount escapes this morning put out by Mark Hatmaker. I also have at least three of his submission grappling and MMA books. Although Hatmaker’s statement was almost made in passing, he did mention that you could bite an opponent as a way of making them distracted enough so you could hip escape, etc. Hatmaker deals with self-defense too so this makes common sense, but the casual way he said it caught my attention.

This video (7 min.) has a number of techniques that can be used to escape the mount…