I was reading an old article in the NYTimes about Guy Ritchie training in a Beverly Hill Jiu-Jitsu club. What stood out about the entire article is not the fact that Guy Ritchie has a Black belt in Judo and a Brown belt in Jiujitsu, but that at the end of the training session the writer said that Ritchie and his rolling buddy stood by the water cooler drinking out of a cup.
I had to say that it sounded really refreshing. I would love to sip cold water out a water cooler after a practice. It also made me think about how people get their water where they train. Where I train now its bring your own water (BYOW) or you can buy water out of the machine for ($1 or 1.25/ I don’t know because I always bring my own). I have also trained at a place that had a water fountain. But in the majority of places, I have brought my own water. I absolutely had to.
What about you?
Don’t forget to answer this one too.
I just happened to check on my book, Tapmonster, this morning at Barnes and Noble and I saw the coolest review that anyone has ever written for one of my books. It absolutely blew me away! I appreciate every good review that I have ever received, but this one was special.
Here it is:
BUY THIS BOOK!!
I don’t ordinarily write reviews, but I am notorious for reading and using reviews to make purchases. This will be my second review ever. That alone should tell you that this book was able to motivate me to actually write this!
Where ever you are at in your grappling game, BUY THIS BOOK! I am currently preparing for my first BJJ tourney, had a horrible class and could not stop thinking about all I had done wrong earlier on the mats. After about 3 hours of tossing and turning. I thought maybe I’ll find a book of some kind, some nugget of wisdom that will rescue the “whatever” BJJ game I had left. I had purchased one of this author’s other books and this one seemed somewhat new.
While I understand that this review seems contrived in that this book ended up being just what I needed, but it truly was. I don’t know if it will rescue my game, but it assuredly got me motivated to get back to work on it!! What ever level in your grappling journey, this book will help you. It will more specifically tell you things that no one ordinarily talks about, on or off the mats. It’s a quick read, but the true take away is that you’re not alone in the feelings, the blood, sweat and tears and just plain difficulty that is the grappling arts! You will not be disappointed with this purchase! And though I haven’t written reviews yet, I have also purchased 20 ways to improve your Grappling, and Grappling for Newbies, both by this author, both highly, highly recommended! Hope this review helps!
Check out my grappling books on Amazon: 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.
The new semester begins next Monday. All week I have been attending college wide, departmental and discipline related meetings and preparing my curriculum for my students. My BJJ lifestyle of the summer has already been affected.
Yes, I am ready to teach and head back to the classroom but I will miss my Summer of BJJ. This time I really stuck to my statements and attended, on average, three classes per week. (I initially tried going five times a week but hurt my back on the fourth day of the first week and decided maybe three times a week would be best.) I learned many things over the summer but I think the most important thing I learned was to stop holding back.
I don’t mean being a ‘douche’ to my fellow grappling buddies when rolling by being over-aggressive. What I mean is that I learned that I need to use my skills and make my opponents actually work to achieve a position or submission and not just give it to them. I had a tendency to be a back and forth player. After I dominated a position for a while I would let my rolling buddy back into the game and let them work. A lot of this would be to my detriment when I faced equal or higher level players. I realized that most, if not all, did not have the same mindset (and no one told me they should) and I always paid for my approach.
After a particularly bad day this summer where I played this game and ‘got’ crushed I decided to bring it, yeah I said bring it, to every class. I started using my A game and stopped working my B and C games because I wasn’t getting any better at them. I decided to work off of my strengths and become well rounded in my weaknesses when the moments presented themselves (as they always do). After about a week of this I had an eye-opening conversation. A white belt who had a little experience under his belt told me that my game had really changed as of late. He told me he was “unable to stop” me and then he said these words,
“where we had almost been equal before.”
I was flabbergasted. He’s a nice guy and meant no harm by his words but to me it was a shot in the gut. I thought when I was rolling with people and I let them work their games or didn’t always submit them that they knew I was doing it on purpose. I didn’t think they thought I was just not really all that tough (not saying he said that). I thought about all the times I had tried to be fair and ended up fighting for my life in a roll because of it. I realized that a lot of people thought I was really putting my all into it so they put their all in it.
My wife had been saying for a couple of years that people don’t know I am going easy on them, but I figured they had to know. I stood corrected.
As a result I stopped playing that game. If I have the tap I take it. If I have the position I keep it. I am not malicious but I am on a mission.
As my epiphany gained strength I realized that upper belts who doggedly pursue submissions are upper belts because they doggedly go after submissions. They maintain positions and they pursue the taps until they get them. They don’t give up positions to make their partners feel better.
My game has improved as a result and I have improved as a grappler. I still have a lot of balancing to do but I believe I am on the right path.
Class started off as usual today. We were going through drills (from side control) and then our Prof. called for a break and told us, “Get water guys!”
As we headed off in different directions he went up to the front counter and started pulling up tape. Long story short, I received a stripe. He told me that I had been working hard all summer and really improved my game. So now I am a second stripe blue.
(I didn’t blog this but I had a dream on Monday that I was getting promoted. The major difference is that he called me into his office and told me he was going to promote me after an event on Saturday. He also gave me a ribbon and a medal instead of a stripe or belt. I woke up that morning and told my wife that I was going to get promoted.)
Luigi also received a stripe on his blue belt (to 4 stripe blue).
Seth and Brian received a stripe on their purple belts (to one stripe purple).
Congrats to all and time to get back to the grind.
Check out my other blog: Psychology of Jiu-Jitsu
From mid-January through through April I was able to attend one class per week (plus two extra during spring break). So I racked up 16 visits in four months. I had a very busy schedule this semester (lecturing, meetings, committees, writing, research, etc.,) but my goal was to maintain a presence and I figured once a week would keep me honest and let people at my new school know that I am serious about BJJ.
The past three weeks I have been attending twice a week and hopefully this week I can up attendance to three or more times a week. I have the next 3 1/2 months off so you know what that means.
The SUMMER of JIU-JITSU has officially begun.
I am really enjoying training at my new academy. The majority of guys and gals that I train with are purple and brown belts. There are also a smattering of Blues and a couple of senior level white belts that swing through every now and then. I also get to roll with a couple of Black Belts periodically.
What does this mean for my game? Well, it feels as if I am having a private session every time I grapple with someone. These guys are immediately able to point out an issue in my game and then give me options (not an option) on how I can correct it. It is funny too that day to day it is difficult to see progression, but I had an epiphany the other day. I remembered when as a blue belt I had an extremely hard time passing other blue belt’s guards. Yet now I am able to regularly pass Purple belt’s guards and sometimes Brown belt’s guards and passing Blue belt’s guard is no longer an issue. I could not have done that a year ago.
The guys at my new academy regularly tool me (that didn’t sound right) but at the same time I know I am improving. It is difficult for me to gauge my progress against White belts because I hold back and let them work their game. With the big belts it’s the opposite (even though I know they let me work my game a little as well).
Anyway, I am looking to put a lot of time in this summer.
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.
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.
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.
Today it was just three of us in the morning session. I worked with Nathan (Brown belt) and Steven (White belt, 4 stripes).
Since Steven is preparing for a competition we worked on pulling and maintaining guard. Hilarity ensued as Nathan tried to have us jump guard. Both of us are 200+ so neither of us seemed to trust that the other would be able to safely hold the other. Every time we jumped it was more like a light skip. I have Judo experience so I am pretty fearless about being thrown but I am not to keen on having a big guy crash down on top of me.
Eventually, Nathan altered it when he realized that we should modify the technique because it would probably be safer for us.
Then Nathan had us work on maintaining the guard with the major focus on maintaining at least 3 points of control. I picked up a lot of tips on how to shift the hips and shoulders to maintain the guard. I also realized that I could also sit up to grab a leg and press forward for an ankle pick or lock up the leg and press forward for the takedown. Nathan focused on reversing us from being passive once the guard has been almost passed to being active and going on the offensive.
After this we did 5 min rds (rolling) until class was over.
A productive session.