Wrestling

Building a Better World Through BJJ

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In the video above, Frank Curreri (a BJJ Black Belt and journalist) proposes a way to train kids in BJJ who have no means to experience it. He also uses Meisha Tate as a helper to demonstrate the art. The video is interesting and he says some things that are truly shocking about his experience with BJJ.

Here are my thoughts on a perfect BJJ World:

My view of the perfect BJJ world would be to have a permanent BJJ mat (the size of half a basketball court) in every community. This mat would be self cleaning and could survive the rigors of rough weather. People would come and work out like a local gym and experienced grapplers would help the younger grapplers to improve their skills. If all you wanted to do was use it for open mat, then so be it. No monthly payments, just free grappling.

*Instructors and school owners, you do not have to worry. If we had grappling in every neighborhood you guys would be needed as coaches in every school in the nation. You could make a living in the hierarchy that would exist.

What would your perfect BJJ world be?

Another Ted Talk you can watch: JiuJitsu: When Martial Arts become a Philosophy

You can read Bakari’s books: Grappling 101: How to Avoid being Bullied on the MatPsychology of Brazilian Jiu-JitsuGrappling 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.

 

 

Guy promotes himself to Brown Belt

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Wow, if life was that easy.

If you watched the BJJ vs the Vacuum Cleaner  video on Peter Soto’s Youtube page, then you probably saw the video of a guy who promoted himself to Brown belt. If not, here is the video below.

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I get it. I understand the frustration and the wanting to buck the system. I often felt that I deserved a little more rank than I held. However, at the same time I know how difficult it is to say how good you are because there is always someone who can beat you in BJJ in the lower ranks. Or the guys and gals of your rank spank you so often it is difficult to claim that you deserve a higher belt. All kind of variables can be interjected in trying to figure your belt level.

I also suspect the Dunning Kruger Effect plays into self-evaluation. With the Dunning Kruger Effect it is found that advanced students and those who make the better grades have a more realistic idea of how well they will perform when taking exams. They even underestimate their abilities. Those who have lower grades or are poor students overestimate how well they will perform on exams. (Time spent studying also plays a role.)  I have no idea of this guy’s skill level, how good a BJJ student he is, etc., but I know self-evaluation can get you into trouble.

When I earned my Ph.D. and I was out celebrating with family and friends, I had a person come up to me (not in my group) and say she was going to get a Ph.D. at one time but decided not to. She didn’t say try to earn either. I didn’t get angry, but it rubbed me the wrong way. The lady said it as if claiming it could happen, it would happen.  As if my five years spent obtaining it was reducible to a bold claim.

Most of us have been awarded a title, rank or achievement by others after passing a curriculum. If after studying the curriculum for a period of time and you feel you did not receive the proper recognition, would you promote or award yourself a designation?

In the end. It is only a belt. Redd Foxx once said he and a friend were walking down a street  in St. Louis and a man jumped out of an alley into a Karate stance and said, “Give me your wallets, I’ve got a Black belt.” Foxx’s friend pulled out a pistol and said, “Good, they are going to need it to lower you a@# in the ground!”

I loved tapping out Brown belts when I was a Blue belt and I tapped out a few Black belts at purple belt. To have someone ask, how long have you been a Blue belt or why are you still a ____ belt was gold to my ears.

What do you think about self-promotions?

Bakari is the author of Grappling 101: How to Avoid being Bullied on the MatPsychology of Brazilian Jiu-JitsuGrappling 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BJJ and the Vacuum Cleaner

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I couldn’t believe it when I saw it. However, I know exactly where his spirit comes from. In the quest to get better we will try anything to improve. I have tried questionable tactics as well. Regardless of what one thinks, it is better than sitting on the couch.

Now where’s my toaster? I want to work on a headlock I saw on YouTube.

Click the picture for the video or click: BJJ vs Vacuum Cleaner

Bakari is the author of Grappling 101: How to Avoid being Bullied on the MatPsychology of Brazilian Jiu-JitsuGrappling 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.

Mixed Molly Whoppery – You Need This!

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I have found the best Mixed Martial Arts podcast/show ever. These past few years it has been very hard to listen to MMA shows. They are ubiquitous, they all cover the same content and there is very little originality in subject and delivery.

However, I stumbled upon one of the coolest analysts out there and hardly anyone knows about him. His podcast, Mixed Molly Whoppery, has slick production, strong content and smooth delivery. And the best part, he sounds like he is out of a Robert Dinero movie. It is like having Robert Dinero or Joe Pesci break down the world of MMA for you.

Yet, the level of knowledge is not like something you would hear from a guy off the street, an MMA fan or an MMA analyst on TV. This guy has levels. He goes 6ft deep with his analysis and you feel as if you are smarter after listening to him. The people who do know about his Youtube page go crazy over his posts in the comments section.

If you are a fan of MMA but are tired of MMA analysis you could do yourself, this is your guy.

Bakari is the author of Grappling 101: How to Avoid being Bullied on the MatPsychology of Brazilian Jiu-JitsuGrappling 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.

Stack 52 – Mini Workout

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Okay, during the Christmas holidays I purchased Stack 52. As you can guess by the title, there are 52 cards with a different body weight exercise on each one. It instructs you to do either a series of reps or to exercise for time. There are all types of exercises and depending on your fitness level it can get intense pretty quickly.

I had the intention of pushing my body to new limits with body weight exercises. It started off great. I quickly moved from 5 a day, to 10, to 10 cards two times a day. After a couple of weeks I was up to 20 cards, two times a day. Then, it hit me. I don’t know how or when, but one morning I woke up and it felt as if my arm had separated from my shoulder. I couldn’t work out my upper body for a full three weeks. It also left me with a fear of lifting heavy or doing too many calisthenics.

I actually ended up worse than where I started. However, I feel better now and I have been testing out my limits. Today, I tried a mini workout with Stack 52. Below is my workout:

Push ups – 15 reps

Ski -Jumpers 10 reps (2 jumps equals one rep)

Jumping Jacks – 25 reps

Crunches – 20 reps

Body weight squats – 10 reps

Bird dogs – 8 (2 = 1 rep)

Kick your butt = 10 reps

Pop ups – 12 reps

Speed Jacks – 10 seconds (Estimated 25)

Wide arm push-ups – 10 reps

I felt pretty good afterward. I am going to increase my output in the next workout.

¡Paz!

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Check out my grappling books on Amazon: Grappling 101: How to Avoid being Bullied on the Mat, Psychology of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Grappling Games: BJJ & Submission Wrestlers, Tapmonster: Ideas about Grappling for BJJ and Submission Wrestlers, Grappling for Newbies, 20 Ways to Increase Grappling Skills off the Mat, The Lazy Man’s Guide to Grappling and much more.

My first taste of Grappling – On the streets (tongue in cheek)

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My first experience with grappling didn’t occur in a BJJ academy in the 2000s. It didn’t even occur in my first Judo class in the 1990s. It happened in 1981 in Tallahassee, FL when I was in the fourth grade. But before I jump right into my first fight with a grappler let me set the scene.

I was a student at Oak Ridge Elementary School and this was back in the days when corporal punishment for students was still considered okay.

My fourth grade teacher was Mr. Walker and my parents requested that I be in his class. I was an honor roll student, but I tended to finish my work quickly and then talked or bothered other students, or at least that is what my teachers claimed. Mr. Walker had a reputation for using a one and a half-inch thick paddle that had been carved and designed for maximum speed and efficiency. He didn’t send kids to the principal. The principal sent kids to him. In his class I was one of his main targets and had to come up to the front of the class quite a few times so he could paddle me, —— in front of everybody.

The reason that I bring this up is because we had a new kid come to our school and he quickly joined the ranks of bullies that roamed the playground during recess. So as you can surmise I was in an unsafe environment. I didn’t feel safe with my teacher, many of the students, and as you will see later on, the principal either.

I also didn’t feel safe because I hated bullies and would usually end up in a conflict with them because I was a little loud and didn’t know how to keep my mouth shut. Well, let me amend that, I was really loud. My eighth grade P.E. teacher told me I was the loudest kid he ever taught. (But he was a bastard so I took his criticism with a grain of salt.)

Getting back to the new kid; he was a short guy and stocky for his age. He also had a mean streak. Within a week he had beat two kids up. But he didn’t just beat kids up. He systematically destroyed them. This wasn’t a bully who picked on others because things weren’t right at home type of bully. This was a guy who had been trained to hand out punishment.

When he fought the two kids on the playground the fights started out as any other normal playground fight. They began with the bully bullying and then the other kid deciding not to back down. They squared up and then that’s when the scene deviated from the standard script. The short bully would dive down and grab both of his victim’s legs and lift them up in the air. (I now know that it was a double leg takedown.) As the surprised kid scrambled to get to his feet the bully punched him square in the forehead. Before the fights could continue a teacher broke them up, both times.

Word got around quickly that the four foot tall new kid was not someone to be toyed with. But that didn’t matter because from the looks of things it looked like he was the dog and we were the chew toys. I don’t remember exactly how much time passed between the attack on the second kid and our altercation, but I remember how our scrap went.

I was playing basketball with my friends Willis and Jason and he sauntered onto the court and demanded to play. He didn’t ask, he demanded. No one said anything so I told him he couldn’t play and to, essentially, ‘kick rocks.’

He came right at me. I threw the basketball down and I don’t know how I did it but I put him in a headlock and ended up with a sleeper hold that I had seen slapped on by wrestlers like Dusty Rhodes, Ric Flair and the Road Warriors. We collapsed to the ground and I held on tight. I had the bully in full control.

I am going to be honest with you, knowing what I know now, I would have put that fellow 8 or 9 year old to sleep. But since I learned the sleeper hold, which is basically the Rear Naked Choke, from watching television and having my brother slap it on me endlessly on Saturday afternoons, I had one arm loosely around his neck with my hand gripping my other arm’s bicep and the other arm and hand holding onto his head at the top. I didn’t know that I could have slid my hand down the back of his head for the choke.

As I held on the kids around the playground began running in our direction.

“FIGHT!” “FIGHT!”

I began eyeing everyone rushing up and soon there was a substantial crowd gathered around us. I was holding my own against the new schoolyard bully. As I did not know what else to do after getting that hold I just held on for dear life. He couldn’t escape. If only I knew about hooks. As some of the kids began to recognize that he couldn’t get out of my TV inspired death clutch they began to get bored. They didn’t care about my wellbeing so some began to say let him go and start over.

“No,” I shouted!

“Let him go!” “Start over!”

What was wrong with them. This wasn’t a f***g video game, even though they weren’t popular at this point.

But the pressure began to mount. I guess I felt like the refs do in an MMA match or better yet like Cecil “stand-em-up” Peoples because I caved and let him up.

Why did I do that? He jumped up and we circled each other.

Remember what happened to those other kids.

In a millisecond, he grabbed both my legs and lifted me up into the air and I fell on my butt. I scrambled to my feet just like the other kids and he punched me solidly in the forehead.

Oddly, it didn’t hurt but I still wish I knew BJJ technique then. Don’t jump right back up into the punch.

After he socked me in the forehead, out of nowhere there was the teacher who grabbed him by both arms from behind. Where in the hell was she two minutes ago when I had him in my weak, but saving me from danger sleeper hold? Further, who taught him that double-leg? —- I bet he had a good run until the eighth grade.

Anyway, there was no way any of us kids knew how to deal with that. I didn’t even have sense enough to remember his technique to make it my own. It did, however, teach me my first lesson about grappling.

*Oh yeah, by the way, we were dragged to the principal’s office and were both paddled for fighting. The cycle was complete.

Check out my grappling books on Amazon: Grappling 101: How to Avoid being Bullied on the Mat, Psychology of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Grappling Games: BJJ & Submission Wrestlers, Tapmonster: Ideas about Grappling for BJJ and Submission Wrestlers, Grappling for Newbies, 20 Ways to Increase Grappling Skills off the Mat, The Lazy Man’s Guide to Grappling and much more.