Staying Injury Free For the Long Term. HOW?

I’m looking at my copy of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Purple Belt Requirements by Roy Dean.  As I ponder what Mr. Dean is teaching I found myself wondering how he has managed to stay injury free.  When I get to the level of a black belt I don’t want to be a physical wreck.  How do you achieve that level without being screwed up in some way?

Miles, one of my friends at BJJ posted on Facebook "The pain’s of being a grappler! Added a hyper-extended elbow to the list of nagging injury’s occurred during No Gi training!”.  I felt his pain.  I have my own list of “nagging injuries”.  I added to it the week before with a simple accident at class.  While doing a drill my class mate preformed a “Baiana” or double leg takedown on me but failed to lift me sufficiently before twisting to take me down.  With my legs still firmly rooted this put all the force against the side of my knee.  I heard a small pop and experienced a little pain.  Now I’m having sharp pains when I bend over to pick something up.  It was a accident.

How can you make a profession out of teaching BJJ, practice at least a short while once a day and not end up needing therapy or surgery after a while?

Here are some things I’ve been doing that have helped:

  1. Tap early.  Forget the pride!  You want to keep doing this for the long term.  If I feel its good I tap.  No need to risk injury.
  2. Give yourself rest.  If it means sitting out for a while then do it.
  3. Protect your joins.  I had stopped wearing a leg brace.  I’m going back to it.
  4. Learn healing methods that speed the process of recuperation.  The proper use of ice and heat are doing wonders for my back.

Please share with me any insights you have.  I want to be doing BJJ until I die like Heilo Gracie.

Jiu-Jitsu is Life and Life is Jiu-Jitsu

Technorati Tags: ,,,

When Are You Too Sick to Practice BJJ?


I’m sick yet again.  It isn’t that bad.  I’ve just got a runny nose and a tiny bit of a sore throat.  I’m not sneezing or coughing.  I went to work today.  I telecommute so it is easier to work when I’m sick.  But where should I draw the line on going to BJJ class?

I really wanted to go tonight but I kept thinking “would I want to roll with me?”  I kept trying to tell myself it wasn’t that bad and that the others wouldn’t notice.  The more I told my self that this was the truth the more I felt like I was kidding myself.  I’m sick and tired of being sick!  I don’t want to get anyone sick and sure don’t want them getting me sick.  But this has got to stop!  I’ll keep falling behind.  It must just be that time of year.  The transition to fall seems to bring it out.  I have noticed that a lot of my co-workers are out sick too.

So answer me this: When are you too sick to practice BJJ?

Could I have gone tonight and no one would have cared?  Would rolling with someone while mildly sick have gotten them sick?

Jiu-Jitsu is Life and Life is Jiu-Jitsu

Technorati Tags:

Total Unchecked Pride in a Gi That’s Me

A while back I did a post entitled “Where Do You Wear Your Gi?”  I came to the realization I was not ashamed to be seen in public in my gi.  I had confidence in my BJJ.  Yesterday I received this comment on my post:

You people can make whatever justification that makes you feel better, but this is just you wanting to show off. It’s cocky and stupid. I can certainly understand having to stop somewhere after and not having time to change, but I fail to understand why you would keep the jacket on… No doubt, if all you have on is underwear on your pants you of course keep them on, but keeping the jacket it on is pure cock. Like you seriously have no shirt… lol you just made excuses for yourself, total unchecked pride. " – []

Mr. Whatever was more then willing to express his opinion from the safety of anonymity.  At first I thought of just clicking the “trash” for this comment like I do for the spam that gets through the filters.  But the more I thought about it the more I saw it as how I might have reacted before building confidence in the art I love so much.  I could see his reaction being applied to anything that was outside my comfort zone.  The first thing I would do was rationalize a way to dismiss what was causing me discomfort.  Saying that wearing a gi in public was “cocky and stupid”, “pure cock”, along with “total unchecked pride” seemed overkill.  Mr. Whatever could dismiss something that was so lacking in good sense and humility when he labeled it so.

I came to the conclusion that Mr. Whatever hasn’t built his confidence in BJJ yet.  He might be a Nogi guy with a chip on his shoulder about the gi.  He might say the same about military personnel in uniform off base.  What ever the case I am well pleased with my Jiu-Jitsu and my gi.  I am also a member of BJJ Gi Addicts Anonymous.  So whether it be red, white, or blue no matter the hue, I’ll have my gi on and hope you do too!

Jiu-Jitsu is Life and Life is Jiu-Jitsu

Jiu-Jitsu Head Gear Review: Cliff Keen Twister vs Asics Unrestrained

Cliff Keen Twisters


I posted a while ago about “Learning About Cauliflower Ears”.  I got my first visible damage to a ear and it made me paranoid of getting cauliflower ears.  I also have had very sore ears from practice.  Its been a pain trying to find a way to sleep on my side at night.  The solution was to find suitable protective head gear for rolling during BJJ practice.

I picked up a pair of Cliff Keen Twisters from and a pair of Asics Unrestrained from my local sporting goods store.  The Twisters cost me $31 and the Asics $24 (tax and shipping not included).


The Twister as you can see from the picture has 3  main straps.  The Unrestrained has 5 or 6 depending on how you look at it.  I’ll cut to the chase and give you the verdict Cliff Keen Twister won hands down!  I couldn’t even make myself wear the Unrestrained.  It gave me a headache just wearing it.  Unrestrained? No, a better name would be headcrab.


Cliff Keen Twister


  1. Larger straps spread out the pressure.  It didn’t feel like I had anything on.
  2. The ear protectors are made of a flexible plastic that moves better with you.
  3. Minimal adjustment of straps was needed to get a comfortable fit.
  4. Plenty of ear space.
  5. Foam on ear protectors is light weight and has no construction edges that might rub.
  6. Detachable foam for cleaning or replacement.
  7. Snap-On-Snap-Off chin strap.  One time adjustment is all that is needed.


  1. Straps have rough ends that might rub during rolling.  I had to mash my hair down on the front strap to make sure I had some protection.  I didn’t get any rub.

Asics Unrestrained


  1. Cheaper


  1. Strap adjustment takes for ever!
  2. I felt like I was the man in the iron mask.  It was giving me a headache no matter how I adjusted the straps.
  3. Ear space is acceptable but only after lengthy adjustment of straps.
  4. Very stiff and inflexible.
  5. It is all Velcro no snaps
  6. Top strap was like some one constantly pushing their thumb into the top of my head.

Jiu-Jitsu is Life and Life is Jiu-Jitsu

If Only He Had Know Jiu-Jitsu!

I love to see news clips like this.  This guy was trying a Rear Naked Choke.  It is also obvious he didn’t have any BJJ experience.  As you will see in the video he doesn’t get his hooks in or really attempt any takedown.  He doesn’t even get the choke on.  The bank robber gets away.  If you listen to the commentators though you would think we was Black Ops or something.

If only he had known Jiu-Jitsu.  He could have taken control and the guy would be in jail awaiting his hearing.  What ever the case its always great to see how applicable BJJ is everyday and that there are good people willing to stand up to crime and terrorism.

Jiu-Jitsu is Life and Life is Jiu-Jitsu

Technorati Tags: ,,

BJJ Hip Switch and Leg Pinch Sweep Technique

Hip Switch – Side Control to Mount


Leg Pinch Sweep

I don’t do well at describing.  I tend to stick with visual representations.  Here are two techniques we went over in class Tuesday.  I was bummed up and couldn’t participate so I took video.

The Hip Switch – Side Control to Mount reminds me a lot of the usefulness of Over-Under technique that was shown in two of my last posts “Over-Under Hip Throw” and “North South Arm Bar”.  I’m noticing that having a Over-Under setup leads to many different techniques.  As I’m typing this I just realized that the Butterfly Sweep we learned at the open house uses it too.  I especially like the Hip Switch technique because once you have it you have all the time in the world to work for the mount.  As Mark demonstrates you can’t upa out of it.

The Leg Pinch is a classic and can be found on page 190 of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: Theory and Technique (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu series) by Renzo Gracie.  If you don’t have this book and are starting out in BJJ or need to review this is the book to have.  I have documented most of the techniques for testing in my posts ”Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Blue Belt Test Pedro Sauer” and “Pedro Sauer Purple Belt Test”.  I add more as I learn them and find them in the book.

Jiu-Jitsu is Life and Life is Jiu-Jitsu

High on BJJ

With every low must come a high.  The surprising things is I’ve missed a lot of class due to everything from family to sickness.  I’ve spent time doing solo drills with my Submission Master Grappling Dummy, which has helped, but nothing can be a complete substitute for live submission grappling.  Despite it all I’ve done great when I have made it to class.  I’m feeling high on BJJ.

Last night I sat out with something pulled in my back.  I thought about staying home but I really wanted to be there.  I missed the comradery.  I missed my Jiu-Jitsu family and the fun I have with them each week.  I sat and watched.  I found myself tensing up during different parts of the training.  During the rolling I wanted to be in the action.  I wanted to call out submissions, sweeps, and escapes I saw that others didn’t.  It was about as good as a suspenseful movie!

Today I was asked to substitute for Miles and teach the free High School class.  We are going over sweeps.  I want to do some simple but effective sweeps.  I have a few in mind but any suggestions from my readers would be appreciated.

Jiu-Jitsu is Life and Life is Jiu-Jitsu

Control is The Essence of Jiu-Jitsu

A while back I posted "What Do I Want from Jiu-Jitsu, Sport vs Street".  I was concerned that my Jiu-Jitsu was too focused on the sport part of BJJ.  I got into BJJ for the practical street application.  One of the comments to my post was that Jiu-Jitsu is about control.  Your ability to control your opponent applies to everything you do with BJJ.  I understood what was being said but I really internalized it at last Monday’s class.

I had a co-work and good friend join me Monday for a introduction to BJJ.  My friend had wrestled in high school.  Yes, he was out of shape from years of sitting at a computer but that was why he was interested in starting BJJ.  Just like me 2 years ago when I felt I had to make a change.

I teamed up with him for our drills.  One of the drills for that day was holding side control for 2 minutes, resting 1 minute, and then repeating after switching sides.  I realized during those drills how much I had changed in the last 2 years.  My friend put tremendous amounts of muscle into everything.  He strained and held his breath.  He felt rigid and stiff.  In two cycles of the first drill he was winded and tired.  He didn’t even start the next drill.  He thought he had pulled a muscle and was spent.

During that time with him I realized that control truly is the essence of Jiu-Jitsu.  As he fought with muscle I felt like water flowing around him.  I felt submissions from everywhere.  I held dominance.  If I had been in a street fight with him it would have been like child’s play to choke him out or hyper extend a arm.  I don’t say this to embarrass him, I say it to express my new understanding of what Jiu-Jitsu means to me.  I’m not longer worried so much about whither my BJJ is street or sport.  Its core is applicable everywhere.

Jiu-Jitsu is Life and Life is Jiu-Jitsu