“Do you really like your Submission Master Grappling Dummy?” is the first question I get followed by “Is it really worth the price?”. To which I always answer “YES!”. I know its expensive but so is that latest gadget or fashionable thing you want. It all comes down to where you spend your time and money. I am getting zero time at the gym or BJJ class because the economy has me hard up (See How has the Economy Affected your Jiu-Jitsu). My Submission Master is paid for. I can roll with him anytime. He never complains and I never feel guilty about taking my time figuring out a choke on him. Yes, he isn’t a 100% swap for a real training partner but he does an excellent job helping me practice my chokes, sweeps, and escapes for the most part. He has real body mass (70 lbs.) and volume. He holds a basic in guard posture. Although resetting him each time can be a little tiring I get a work out while practicing. If I don’t want to reset then its up to me to come up with combos that do it for me. I have a good time tapping out my Submission Master. I’m glad I bought him.
The makers of Submission Master did not pay me or give me anything to say this. I don’t even know who they are.
My forth child is due end of April 2011. What does that mean? The wife needs me more then ever to look after our three other children and I need more money. So I have no other choice then to take a sabbatical from BJJ for a while. That means no formal classes.
At first I started to despair. When would I ever be able to afford to go back? My instructor was kind enough to let me know I was welcome to come back now and then for free when I needed to get away. That is what is great about West Side and BJJ. Its about the learning and training not the bucks.
I decided the best thing for me to do was fill in the free time, if any, with training at home. I have my DVD’s and Submission Master Grappling Dummy after all. I’ve tried to have a routine at home but with regular classes it was easy to let it slip. I knew I’d get my practice in at class. Now I’m really going to be tested on my commitment to BJJ. So I needed something to help me keep going. Of course I thought of my blog. I’m going to try and chronicle my training at home. If all else fails just keeping up this blog will keep the light of BJJ flickering in me.
How do you tie your belt? I’ll bet its the standard square knot that we all learn. If you haven’t got your blue belt or don’t care you may use the famous granny knot. I got to thinking about all the varieties of gis / kimonos. But no one ever uses different knots to tie their belt. So I began looking through a knot book and after fooling around for a while created what I’m calling the "Kimura Knot". Its just like the triangle created with your arms when you are get a Kimura submission. Here are the step to create one:
Step 1. Loop your belt around like you would for a square knot.
Step 2: Bring one side under the belt forming a loop.
Step 3: Bring the end down through the loop you have made in step 2.
Step 4: Take the other end and place it under the belt forming a loop.
Step 5: Bring it down through the loop and tighten both ends.
Looks just like the triangle that you make when getting a Kimura Submission in my opinion. For your next class tie your belt in a Kimura Knot and tell your buddies you learned it on JiuJitsuMap.com. You may not be able to buy the coolest gi but you can be the only one who know a cool belt knot.
During class last month my instructor, Mark, said you should be attacking high and low. When your arms are bound up then you should be working with your legs to get sweeps, create space, or anything that will increase your position. Like wise if you legs aren’t being effective then work with your arms. I’ve taken this to heart and tried to remember to move my mental focus to the part of the battle where it can be most effective. In doing so I realized I didn’t know any leg attacks. This has led me find 5 leg locks that I think are a good starting point to build my arsenal. All of them come from Encyclopedia of Leg Locks (Encyclopedia of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu) by Rigan Machado. Last night at class we went over some more purple belt test techniques. After class I got two of the more experienced guys to go over one particular leg lock with me so I could get a good feel for it. One disadvantage to my Submission Master Grappling Dummy is he feels no pain. I get good reps on him but I first have to make sure I’m doing the technique right. In keeping with my idea to give techniques more memorable names, I have dubbed this one "Cobra in the Grass". It is found on page 60 of Encyclopedia of Leg Locks. The below videos show the "snake" motion I use to get the first part of the leg lock.
"Cobra in The Grass" – Leg Lock, View 1
"Cobra in The Grass" – Leg Lock, View 2
"Cobra in The Grass" – Leg Lock, View 3
These give you the idea of how to get the legs. After that you need to get your knee on the belly that is opposite the arm that is holding the legs. You do this by controlling the hip on the same side as the arm that has the legs. Once you have the knee in the belly you lay back and swing the opposite leg around the opponents hip. If they don’t straighten their leg you will get a calve cutter right off and if they do then you roll into the straight leg to get the leg lock. I know my description isn’t the best. I’ll try to get video of it next class.
I don’t want to sum this whole post up in one sentence. You should know where I’m going with this before you even read it. Family comes first. That has been the theme for my holiday season, well the entire month of December (as it should be). Meerkatsu in his post "BJJ Frequency Spousal Happiness Slide" talked about his experience with it. FightWorksPodCast.com did a poll entitled "To What Extent Does Your Spouse, Boyfriend, Girlfriend, Significant Other Support Your BJJ Training?" that gives some statistics. They are both very interesting. When it comes down to it I love my family more then BJJ. Yes, its hard to hear that any one could love anything more then BJJ when it comes down to us true addicts. I made 3 of the 10 classes I would have normally made this month. When I went to those 3 classes I felt like I was already behind. Those who are single or don’t have an attachment fill their time with BJJ and I feel like I’m falling further and further behind. But I don’t know what else I can do. I usually resort to my Submission Master Grappling Dummy. But even that is of no use when my 2 and 3 year old join in. Its a good laugh and we have a great "royal rumble" but I don’t get much training in. When I try to slip away to watch some videos I have to lock myself in my office. That doesn’t last long before the wife is knocking wondering why I don’t come spend time with the family while I’m off for the holidays. As a last resort I use my iPhone apps and watch some GrappleArts.com videos. At least they are quick and portable. I can snatch a moment to watch them now and then. If only the itch to do instead of just watch would go away until I had time to try them out. Oh well, I think the balance is tipped heavily in the direction of the family but for good reason. When my children get bigger we will all go as a family but until then its catch as catch can.
Why is it that December ends up being the "Worst Time of the Year" instead of the "Most Wonderful Time of the Year". I’ve had to travel for work this month. I haven’t had to for over 3 years until December. I’ve had the family all get the flu but me. I then got sick after they all got better. All in all, I’ve only got in one BJJ class in 3 weeks! So much for Jiu Jitsu for the holidays! If it wasn’t for my DVD’s and Submission Master Grappling Dummy I wouldn’t get to do any BJJ it seems like. To top it all off I read on SteveBjj.com about Haydn Clasby. Can you have a worse holiday? I donated what I could to help because I can’t imagine how he must feel right now. His whole life is going to change now and to top it off he won’t be doing BJJ ever again.
I think we get far to stressed this time of year. My bosses father had a heart attack last week. The list goes one. It reminds me of my instructor, Mark Johnson, telling us to slow it down during practice. He says something to the effect that if you have a guiding spirit during your roll it should be the "spirit of the sloth". Lets all slow it down this year and enjoy the holidays. Happy Holidays to everyone reading this.
In my blog The Undiscovered Frontier of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu I talked about new BJJ situations I have been getting in and how that shows growth in my opinion. I gave a specific example of not knowing what to do with a arm bar that the guy is holding on to. I said that I wouldn’t let that happen again or that I would learn from the situation. I went home and drilled with my Submission Master Grappling Dummy on what I would do next time it occurred. Last night in class it paid off. I was rolling with another blue belt. I had him in mount and transitioned to a side mount that I had seen Saulo Ribeiro use. I faked a cross choke and took the arm. He managed to get a hold of his arm and then my study and muscle memory training kicked in. Without thought I threaded my leg through and put him in a triangle choke. He tapped out shortly after I synched it down tight. Oh baby! That felt good! It can be so frustrating to be so close and yet blow it. It was very satisfying to have identified, analyzed, trained, and succeeded at improving my Jiu Jitsu. The next step I think is to know a hand full of techniques I can use against a locked arms like that, not just the transition to the triangle choke.
Every person that learns BJJ I think is like a explorer in a undiscovered land. Rather poetic isn’t it. Why I say this is as of late I’ve been seeing progress in my Jiu Jitsu. I am finding myself in situations where I have been trained what to do but I’ve never been in them often enough or at all in a match. For example the other day I got a white belt in a arm bar from mount. I just don’t get arm bars that often. I guess I haven’t been looking for them or I fight opponents higher then me that don’t leave themselves open. What ever the case this white belt grabbed a hold of his arm forming a rectangle. I tried to break his grip but he was far too strong. I decided it was silly to try using muscle anyway. BJJ is about technique. So I tried a prying / cutting technique I had been taught long ago. I didn’t get the technique correct and it had no effect. The white belt now tried to sit up with his arms still locked. I was now in real undiscovered country. I didn’t know what to do to keep him down. I instinctively pushed with my legs and knocked him back over. I didn’t realize that the leg on the head was my control and thought he had fallen over because he was off balance. When he tried again he managed to get up and stack me. I was upset with myself for letting him out of a sure submission. This isn’t the only situation where I’ve found my self in a dominate position or so near a submission and blown it. I’ve decided its a good thing. I went home and started practicing what I would do in that situation again on my Submission Master Grappling Dummy. If I didn’t find my self on the verge of or in undiscovered frontier most of the time then I wouldn’t feel I’m learning.
I’ve had my Submission Master Grappling Dummy now for about 1 month. I’ve been using him in a daily drill routine that I formulated. I have to say I really like my Submission Master and last night it paid off. I’d been work on the Triangle Choke, Arm Bar from Guard, Triangle Choke to Arm Bar, and Arm Bar from Mount. I got 3 of the 4 last night in class. What I really liked about my drilling with the Submission Master was that it gave me the physical feedback that helped reinforce my muscle memory. The more repetitions I did the easier it seemed to notice my chances for a submission and connect on them. For example I was having a hard time getting the transition from a failed Triangle Choke to a Arm Bar. I kept putting the wrong leg under the guys chin. After doing reps on the Submission Master for a week I instinctively transitioned from the Triangle to the Arm Bar. I’ve also noticed that working with the Submission Master has helped me realize how I need to lift my hips up toward the head as I work for submissions like the ones I’ve talked about. I know I keep blogging about it but with good reason. I’m seeing success and want to share what I’ve found out.
We all know that the more reps you put in the better you muscle memory. We also all can’t spend every waking moment at the gym or dojo. Using the Submission Master has become a good way for me to satisfy my BJJ addiction.
I have to say I am really enjoying my Submission Master. I keep it in my office with me and when I need a break from my work I practice a few chokes or combinations on it. I now have a lunch time drill routine that I do with it too. If you haven’t seen a Submission Master before then go to GrapplingDummy.com and check it out. They have some good demonstration videos on the side.
Yes, the price might make you see cross-eyed for a bit. It took me a good while to save up for mine. But BJJ is what I do. I want to do it even when I’m not at class. I used to Fly Fish until I had kids. Its not practical to go off Fly Fishing all the time any more and BJJ costs less. Some people put there cash into computers, and others into cars. I put mine in BJJ.