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.
Excerpt from 20 Ways to Improve your Grappling Skills Off the Mat It’s available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble & Smashwords
We used to train a lot at my house… People used to wake me up at night… Like at midnight, people would come… I would train every time… – Caio Terra, Multiple BJJ World Champion, talking about training from home when he had no academy. (Inside BJJ)
Like most people who practice the art of submission wrestling, I try to spend as much time as possible on the mat. And when I’m not on the mat, I think about grappling entirely too much. Yet, sometimes, the only thing I can do is think about grappling because I have other responsibilities clamoring for my attention.
Since I have grappled for nearly a decade, I have had to come up with ways to insure that gaps in training don’t derail my hard earned gains. As a consequence, I have developed numerous strategies. Those strategies are what this book is about. 20 Ways to Improve your Grappling Skills off the Mat will share with you how you can increase your grappling abilities when you can’t make it to class.
It discusses mindsets and approaches and it is designed to help you become a better grappler when no one is looking. The ideas provided in this book will give you an edge when it comes to training. — Following a few of the suggestions will take your game to the next level.
Imagine if you used all of them.
20 Ways also contains quotes from grappling and MMA veterans. It explores:
-How to be 8 steps ahead of your opponent
-The real deal with heavy bags and grappling
-What’s up with grappling dummies?
-Ways to use visualization that are never discussed
-Why solo drills matter
-How a few simple words can change your game
-How Claude van Damme can improve your grappling
-Why maps are important in submission wrestling
-How being a bookworm is good for grapplers
-How you can improve without lifting a muscle; and
-Ideas that will revolutionize your game and make you a tapping machine
Thanks for purchasing this book and I hope you enjoy.
Bakari Akil II, Ph.D./Jiu-Jitsu365
You only have two options, you win or you lose. Why not just win. – Daniel Cormier-Olympic Wrestler
I would argue that when most people pull up YouTube, looking for a grappling clip, it is not to learn how to achieve or maintain dominant positions. They are looking for ways to tap chumps out. Admittedly, it’s not a bad idea. If you grapple for more than a few months, you quickly realize how difficult it is to make your partner submit when he’s learning the same things you are. Springing a surprise wristlock you learned from your favorite online guru makes training that much easier.
However, most grappling techniques offered online begin with the instructor ordering the uke (one being demonstrated against) to take a certain position on the mat. Then the uke jumps down like he’s expecting a Scooby snack in return. Yet, when is the last time you were able to tell your grappling partner to lie on his back so you could assume side control during a live roll?
Dominant positions have to be earned. Then they have to be maintained. Now, there are many ways that you can practice catching people in submissions and we will explore them in this book. But let’s start off by covering how you can use the heavy bag to improve your ability to dominate positions and improve your overall grappling ability.
Using the heavy bag is the blue-collar way of learning how to hand out beat-downs. It doesn’t do everything you want it to do, but it can get the job done. Its design is simple, sturdy and it can take a beating. They are also large enough to give you the feeling of dealing with a person and heavy enough where you have to exert yourself when working out with one. The length of heavy bags allow you to practice a wide range of moves and its bulk lets you apply pressure that even your training buddies wouldn’t allow.
They are also relatively cheap, especially in relation to the many years of use you can extract from one. I paid $65 for my 60 lb. bag and have owned it for 8 years. You can also purchase one cheaply from a second hand store like Play it Again Sports or from a yard sale. Now if you’re really cheap, you can learn how to make a heavy bag by watching a YouTube clip of some weird guy creating one in his mom’s basement.
No matter how you obtain one, your investment will pay off each time you can’t make it to class due to work or other commitments, yet you still have enough energy to drill at home. (Or, in my case, when I lived in the middle of nowhere and had to use my bag as a training buddy for a few months.)
Whether boxing or grappling, the heavy bag can help you review the basics. Just like in boxing where you can practice jabs, crosses, hooks, uppercuts and combinations, the heavy bag will allow you to practice the rudiments of grappling. Side control, mount, North-South and Knee-on-belly are all fair game on a heavy bag. You can also practice applying pressure to the chest and the proper spacing of your legs when trying to hold an opponent down. You will never, ever find a drilling partner who will allow you to work on your positioning as much as a heavy bag. If you do, money will be involved.
You can also work on transitioning from one position to the next. For instance, transferring from side control to the mount, mount to side control and side control to North-South. The bag can help you develop the speed and timing required to jump from side control to Knee-on-belly and from Knee-on-belly on the right to Knee-on-belly to the left. Drilling these basic positions will give you the ability to ride opponents. I have to admit, I feel like a bull-rider when I am controlling a ‘spazzy’ new guy and a pimp when I’m jumping from position to position on an experienced guy. Sometimes I have to restrain myself from asking, “Where is my money?” That skill doesn’t come from attending class once or twice a week. It’s from my heavy bag training.
You can also practice more advanced positional drills on the bag as well as work a little technique. For instance I cemented my ability to capture…
End of Excerpt
Thanks for reading! If this caught your attention you can purchase 20 Ways to Improve your Grappling Skills Off the Mat at Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Smashwords.
This book can be read on your computer, tablet or cell phone using your Amazon Kindle and Barnes & Noble free apps. You can also read it on the computer using Smashwords or Lulu.
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.
I didn’t write up my last class, but that day Carlos had us work on the baseball bat choke and a couple of variations. I realized that the baseball choke is what Smiley has submitted me with a few times (and a random purple belt who came to class once). The subs were so quick and sometimes painful I couldn’t recognize what was being done. But it made perfect sense when I learned it in class. We’ve practiced another version of it before, but this time it was from side control.
Today we worked on sparring from different positions; guard, side control, being mounted and half guard. One minute rounds the entire time. Following that we grappled for 4 minute rounds at the end of class. I sparred for one round with a new guy, Daniel, and all I did was play the positional dominance game. He had good instinct and I predict he will do well if he comes back.
I was trying to take it easy today as I hurt my heel racing my nephew, Kenyon, last Friday. It’s ridiculous, a 35 year old racing an 11 yr old. I know. But, I didn’t hurt myself in our first race. After I beat him, he said, “I wasn’t expecting that,” and he wanted to race again. I out ran him again and then I pulled up lame. (On a side note my nieces and nephews are always surprised when they become teenagers or are getting close and then an adult beats them at something. I remember my father beat me in basketball, the one time we played, when I was 14 and he was 37, No flair, he just dribbled and went for lay ups. I was dumbstruck!)
But anyway, I was trying to take it easy, but a couple of the guys began boxing/MMA after BJJ class. I could feel my body wanting to jump out there but my thoughts were holding me back. I took the plunge anyway and asked Ryan (purple belt instructor) if there were any boxing gloves I could use. I found some and then paired up with Carlos, who is a BJJ brown belt. As Ryan told us to “take it easy” and to “go light” I threw double jabs and straight rights at first. Then Carlos kicked me in the leg. He also had an overhand right that kept surprising me. I surprised myself as I threw a “karate kick” roundhouse at his head. A little later I threw a front kick and then tried a teak kick but he caught my leg and after a few seconds of me hopping around he swept my other leg. I scrambled for the top position but fell right into a triangle and had to tap. We started again and he rushed me just as the buzzer sounded. He didn’t “hear it” though and scooped me up and slammed me (as I heard him describe it ) on my back. Thus I am writing this with a very sore latissimus dorsi muscle on my right side.
Ahh, but it feels good!!!