Jiu-Jitsu

The Comeback…

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I have been out of the lifestyle for a while and it is time for me to return. A few weeks ago, I made a promise to myself and told my wife that I am going to start training, but now I need to go public.

March 18, 2016 – I will rejoin a BJJ academy.

Oh yeah, I am bringing someone with me.

I am also going to sign my daughter up for training. She will be nearer four years of age (than not) by that time so we are going to go together.

Why March 18th?

A couple of things.

I am getting ready to move. I don’t want to join a new place and sign a contract and have to leave in three or so months. However, in March we will be close to our moving date and I will have a 10 day break during this period where I can sign up, train a little and prepare for the eventual move to our new location and new academy.

Also, I can’t just jump back into training as before, for a number of reasons. I am just feeling 100 percent from an over-training  injury to my shoulder, which affected my chest, tricep and forearm as well. This two week episode was scary for me and I realized that I can’t just jump into hard training. I have to ease back into it and sensibly.

When I was taking Judo as a 24 or 25 year old I remember a guy came in who was 41. He was gung-ho and game, but he hadn’t done any serious training (in anything) for a while. He made it through the warm-up, but injured his knee before the first drill was over. He never came back.

Now, I am not this man. I have grappling experience and I have been exercising during my 2 year hiatus, but I still put on weight during this time and I have not trained specifically to deal with the rigors of grappling. I need to prepare to get back on the mat. I am 42 now, which isn’t old, but I need to pay attention to preparation, rest and recovery.

My hips aren’t as flexible, my legs feel tight and I don’t feel as limber as before. I also need to amp up my endurance (anaerobic and aerobic) and work on some basics before I go back.

Unlike my daughter, who sometimes sits in the splits when she plays with her dolls, Daddy has to work toward readiness. However, I have a number of ideas to get prepared and will be sharing them as I get ready over the next couple of months.

Okay then…

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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.

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In MMA, does a smile (at the face-off) mean you will lose?

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According to a study conducted by Michael Kraus and David Chen (via BPS Research Digest), MMA fighters who smile at the “pre fight” matchups are “more likely” to lose their fight.

Coders for the study were asked to assess whether fighters were smiling during their pre fight matchups (without knowing the fighters or the outcome of the bout). Then the researchers studied UFC statistics and found that the smiling fighters were more likely to lose their fights. The results were not major, but enough to question if the findings have merit.

According to the BPS Research Digest, fighters who bared their teeth were “more likely” to be:

1) “Knocked down”

2) Wrestled to the mat; and

3) Hit more times

The fighters who hadn’t smiled were “more likely” to “excel and dominate” according to the BPS Digest article.

The article also stated that people who bet on fights tend to favor the non-smiling fighter as well. The researchers posit that smiling is a cue to the other fighter that you are submissive, lack aggressiveness and lack hostility.

I find this very interesting and wonder if it also applies to BJJ and submission grappling by default.

What are your thoughts?

BPS Article: Smiling Fighters are More Likely to Lose

Check out my grappling books on Amazon: Grappling 101: How to Avoid being Bullied on the Mat,  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.

How do you get water (or whatever) in your Grappling Class?

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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.

Michael Clarke Duncan – A BJJ Man

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I was very sad to hear about Michael Clarke Duncan’s passing today. I heard about his heart attack several weeks back, but I always assumed he would be okay. Not to mention that his family, friends and close ones lost someone dear to them, but he also made a huge impact in our world.

Not just from great films that he starred in, but Duncan is also a cultural icon; especially when it comes to BJJ and MMA. Although the man was a giant among men (6’5 300 lbs), he still loved BJJ (he was a Purple belt) and took the time to learn the art. Here is a man who probably never, ever, EVER, needed to know a ‘lick’ of grappling who respected the art and heralded it. I have seen him many times at UFC events, front and center, and heard about his ventures training with the Gracies and in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

He’s a part of my cultural landscape and I wish him good travels.

Peace!

Michael Clarke Duncan wrestles Tom Arnold below:

Michael Clarke Duncan discusses MMA, NBA, Boxing and tries to avoid looking at Eva Longoria.

Gracie Combatives…

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Yesterday, I went to Gracie Combatives again. It’s probably my fifth time going since they started at my academy a few months ago. It’s a Saturday class so I can’t go every week, but I really appreciate this class. I’ve always been in to the self-defense aspect of BJJ, not because I want to use it on the street, but because of the practicality of it. I love flashy grappling just like the next guy, but I also want to stay grounded in the basics. Gracie Combatives does that for me.

It’s like going to a fundamentals class with all of the sporting element taken out of it. No long warm-ups or six step set-ups based on a trained person’s reaction to your technique. It’s all about responding to a basic human aggression. As I always tell everyone, I do not take BJJ for self-defense. Like Lloyd Irvin says, self-defense is all about the situation and grappling is not always the right play. I take BJJ because I love matching my wits against another person and I have always have been good at martial arts, so BJJ allows me to express my intelligence through my body. I’ve played chess and I have played regulation sports and very little tops BJJ for me.

Anyway, we worked on Knee on Belly to Kimura, Knee on Belly to Mount and mount defense. Then we worked with the gloves from positions. What’s nice about reviewing these type of basic techniques is that I have been using them in class with surprising effectiveness. Moves that we normally eschew in a quest for eight sequence half-guard techniques have been saving my butt in class. That’s why I am loving Gracie Combatives and will keep going.

Peace!

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.

Non-stop Grappling!!!

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Class was fast paced today. We had one minute rolls for the majority of class in various positions. We paired off and started in guard, switched positions after a minute and then went to side control, back control etc. Then we had people get down in the center and if you were swept, reversed or submitted then you were out.

Near the end of class we rolled until the other person tapped out. My first roll lasted with Justin, a Blue belt who takes about 8 to 10 classes a week. He caught me with a triangle while in mount at the end. Jeff, another Blue Belt caught me in a Kimura. Not my day, but at least I can say I am not worried about a lower belt tapping me out. I wondered about that before I was promoted, but it was just like any other day. I do need to continue to work on my endurance though. I could feel my resolve leaving me near the end of class and I was being sloppy with my defense.

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.

Promoted to Purple Belt! Yeah Baby!!!

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Prof Shealy Promotes me to Purple Belt!

It was a beautiful setting. I couldn’t ask for a more idyllic scene to receive my Purple Belt. Today we held a seminar with Rigan Machado; BJJ legend and 8th Black Belt. Two of the first books I ever bought were by Machado (Encyclopedia of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu I and III).

There were about 50 people in attendance, many of whom I have trained with for 2 years now. Professor Shealy started off by saying there were some people he wanted to recognize and then he started calling us up. Jason Dominguez received his Black Belt. I was called up second and received my Purple Belt. Prof handed Master Rigan Machado the belt and then Machado took off my Blue Belt and tied the Purple Belt around my waist.

Master Rigan Machado Awards me my Purple Belt

I was all smiles while it happened and really appreciated the applause afterward. Not for vanity’s sake, but because I have trained over and over with these guys and without them it wouldn’t have been possible.

I trained for a year in judo in the late 90s, started no gi in 2004 and began training with the gi in 2008. I have moved often due to my career and didn’t receive my Blue Belt until Feb 2009. Since that time I have trained in two different academies.

In other words, it took me 8 years to earn a purple belt. Even though I have a million excuses, I am finally glad that I have a permanent BJJ home that I can grow in and progress. Some people probably dismiss the idea of BJJ being a marathon and not a sprint as a banal statement, but it is truly a journey and I have appreciated every step!

Note: Now I don’t have to watch the Roy Dean Purple Belt Promotion videos with longing for the day when I reach Purple Belt. — Instead, I can watch the Brown Belt vids. It’s not over! Ouss!!!