Posts Tagged ‘brazilian jiu jitsu’

Merry Christmas and happy holidays to all my jiu jitsu brothers and sisters out there OSS


Ok after talking with my instructor a couple of nights ago, we decided I need a gameplan for my next belt. I need a path with clear focus on my strengths and weaknesses. Especially my weakness. I started tracking my progress with a handy little iphone app called Jiu Jitsu Log. So with this I felt like I needed a nice flow chart to go with it. I had seen an article on Reddit (r/bjj) a few weeks ago about grappling flow charts. I had also seen a few in a couple of books like BJ Penn’s mma book. This got me started on my own. It looks a little pathetic compared to some which are mapped out to a couple of hundred positions. But this is my beginning. We picked out two of my weak areas, closed and open guard. I’ve been a wrestler all my life so I instinctively play top and try to beat guys in the transitions. Now I must put together the other half of my game. The first position in closed guard that I am going to start with is cross collar and sleeve grip. The first open guard position will be scissor guard. So if any of you guys reading this has advice on either of those positions please feel free to post. I am attaching my beginner’s flow chart also. OSS.


   How hard is too hard. Rolling last night I got my shoulder tweaked twice in just a short rolling session. The first if I would not have bailed out with a forward roll I would be wearing a sling today. The second one, I actually had to verbal tap in a cross between a kimura and a straight armlock.  So here is my question. How hard do you go with someone who is not one of your normal training partners? The guy I was rolling with is a super nice guy and I have no doubt that he was not trying to injure me. It is just one of the things that can happen and does happen from time to time. I have always used the simple etiquette of rolling to the level of aggression of my partner. Then sometimes if I have a super aggressive partner I just play like a stump. Root myself to the ground and play 100% defense.

   The older I get the more I want my sparring sessions to be labeled exclusively as a flow roll, positional sparring, or a competition team sparring session. The flow roll is what I find the most useful for actually learning jiu jitsu. It can only be done with a few specific training partners. These are guys I have rolled with for hours. The next is the positional sparring situation. These can usually be rolled with any partner. This is because you roll with a specific purpose. The variables are limited making it a little safer. The last is competition sparring. This can be done a few ways. Let’s say partner A is competing in a big tourney a few weeks away. Partner B is not competing. Here is the ratio of the level of aggression. Partner A will put forth 65-70% while B will put out 30-35%. This is a time were A gets full resistance, but by B mentally throttling down the chance of injury goes down. The other way is a little more of a gamble. Two guys line up and roll it out till someone taps. This way is always more dangerous. Almost all the times I have been injured while sparring, it has happened this way.

   This simple formula took me a while to really figure out. I basically started out just going into sparring full bore. I never used to look at sparring as a real learning situation. Now intelligent sparring is where you can put it all together. Without this tool jiu jitsu would be as useless as some other martial arts where no sparring takes place. Learn to flow roll and learn to roll at varying intensity. Be sure to throw positional sparring in there too. Rely on good partners who can dial back their aggression. Jiu Jitsu cannot be truly learned without a good partner to study with.

      Well back on the mats tonight. It has not been easy making it to class consistently. I think I have been 3-4 times in the last couple of months. It showed tonight. It was a small class, which is always good for picking up some details. Let me plug a nice little app I have been using for awhile. It is called Jiu Jitsu Log. $1.99 for the Pro version on the Apple App store. I have got in the habit of storing anything I find worth while in this little jewel. Ok back to the subject. I went thru some technique and learned some cool little choke variations. Now to the humbling frustrating part, sparring, I have always considered myself a pretty good competitor, but I felt like I was run off the road then hit by a train tonight. My timing was off and I was one of the worst things you can be, BEHIND. My partner seemed to be about 8 moves ahead of me. I get it. I have not put in much time the last few months, I have mat rust, and I am just a wee bit out of shape. So excuses aside I am frustrated. With more approaching holidays, I know my training will not be consistent for at least 3 weeks. So now I breathe and remember that jiu jitsu is not a destination, but a journey I have decided to take the rest of my life. I hope to teach to both my children and hopefully grandchildren someday. After some meditation and thought, I feel better, until I try to get up. Dang gotta get on the mats more often.

Jiu jitsu is one of the only sports I have ever competed in or trained in besides wrestling to a point where getting your butt kicked on the mats can make you a better person. When you roll with someone above your level and get manhandled but not destroyed, you are given the chance to learn.  The sayng goes there is only winning and learning.  It has taken me years to start to process the learning components of getting my butt kicked. I think this process really became evident when I stopped being a full time instructor and finally decided to retire from MMA competition. I put my focus on learning jiu jitsu. I have been very lucky to find my BJJ Professor and my instructor. He is one degree of seperation from Royler Gracie and my instructor  trained with him full time for years. Which puts me in touch with the pure source of the orginal Gracie Jiu Jitsu.  I got the pleasure and the pain to roll with my Professor yesterday. Needless to say my learning oppurtunities could fill a room.  I have also learned I can never take away all the lessons I learn from a good training session. I try to at least take away one good lesson.  I store this lesson and use it everytime I roll. So here is to taking a good butt kicking today to be able to hand one to someone else tomorrow.

Consistency. When I was running my schools, this was one thing that bothered me almost more than anything. I would have students come to class, maybe one time one week, a couple of times the next. As an instructor you give a lot of yourself. You give your knowledge, your guidance, and most importantly your time. It was a hard lesson to learn as an instructor that not everyone is as dedicated as I was. I don’t think it was just the inconsistent training that bothered me, i believe it was the lack of communication. I know students are not always going to be at every class, but a little message letting me know would have went along way. Now if you are a fighter or want to be a fighter as an instructor I would definitely expect you to be at most classes.
Things have came full circle for me. I have ran my own MMA/BJJ school for over 13 years up until this past January. I closed my last school to spend more time with my family and to have a flexible schedule. Then something happens that I wish would have happened years ago. My bjj instructor was going to have a school within driving distance. So for the first time in years, I was going to be a student again. I was and still am super excited to be a student again, and be able to add to my toolbox. Being a student means I am not required to be at class as if I was the instructor, but I do have the responsibility as a student to show up to class or at the very least let my instructor know that I wont be there. Be responsible, be consistant.