How Do I Know When To Tap?

Isn’t that obvious you say?  When it hurts, tap!  Apparently it isn’t that clear to everyone.  This Russian model and bodyguard didn’t know when to tap, "Former Russian Model Killed in Carjacking", even though she had Jiu-Jitsu experience.  There are more factors that play into it.  In her case the Porsche was more important then her life.  What are the things that hold me back from tapping?  Pride has to be number one.  I don’t want to be beat.  I have to hold out at least long enough that my opponent doesn’t think I’m a push over.  Those are the kinds of things I tell myself.  I tore my MCL because of that kind of thinking.  I changed my philosophy after that to "In a war there are lost battles even on the victors side".  I live to fight another day now.  I try to make each battle an accumulative learning experience, win or lose.  I feel I’m winning the war on most fronts now.  But it is far from over.  I have often wondered why Helio Gracie refused to tap when he said a technique was not "good technique".  I understand that Helio passed out in his fight against Kimura because Kimura was squeezing his ribs and stopping his lungs from expanding.  What about when Kimura broke his arm?  So I will end this post with this thought, tap when a technique is effective or accept the consequences.

Gracie’s and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Coming To America

No matter how many times you hear a story, if the teller is different each time you find out details that you have never hear before.  In the interview just recently done by TheFightWorksPodCast.com entitled #195 Jiu-Jitsu Takes Roots in the USA they talked with Richard Bresler, one of the first students of Rorion Gracie, about when Rorion came to the United States.  Mr. Bresler was witness to the start of BJJ in the USA and even a roommate with Rorion until he got married.  Some of the highlights for me where when Mr. Bresler talked about training with Heilo, Rorion, Rickson, and Royler.  Can you imagine getting personal instruction from so many of the Gracie Family.  I’ll be luck if I get to meet a few of them let alone get personal training.  We know that at the beginning they were training out of a garage but did you know they had 5 garages going before Rorion got help from Mr. Bresler to buy his first school?  But I think the best part is how Mr. Bresler would go find fights for Rorion.  Rorion didn’t want to cause hatred.  He just wanted to show what BJJ could do.  So he sent out Richard to find and arrange fights.  If you want to hear some good BJJ history don’t miss this podcast.

Belt Whipping or Hazing in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

I was surfing my usual blogs and came across this post by slideyfoot entitled "Belt Whipping and Promotion Rituals in BJJ".  I agree with him on his stance we can do without such behavior.  I want to go even farther and call it hazing.  When I got my blue belt they gave me a congratulatory throw.  That was fine.  But running the gauntlet and whipping people with belts!  That doesn’t follow the spirit of what Helio Gracie envisioned at all.  In fact belt whipping just seems sadistic. 

I can see how it can become accepted as commented on by Jim later in the post but then you can use that to justify about any torture to be part of the group.  I thing that participating in the class each and every week, going to things like my instructor initiated to celebrate his 40th birthday ("40 and a Day"), participating in tournaments as a team, and many other thing bind us together.  There is a great spirit of comradery at my school.  There are no belt whippings.  When some one is out or missing we ask about them.  We try to help them not only in progressing in BJJ but in there personal life too.  I feel we are a Brotherhood/Sisterhood bound together by a common love for BJJ.  Look at it this way, my family doesn’t whip my brother on this birthday to celebrate it or let him know we love him.

Never Under Estimating Your Opponent

Last night during BJJ practice I got to roll with one of our younger members, Robert.  He looks to be 13 and has a wiry frame.  Now I weigh about 210 lbs and stand at 6’ 2”.  Robert on the other hand might blow away if he didn’t turn sideways into the wind.  I of course wanted to be nice and give him a chance to learn.  What I didn’t think about was why Mark, our instructor, had asked him to start attending the adult class.  I under estimated my opponent.  Our match started out typical.  Robert couldn’t move me and after some friendly exchanges I decided to put him in spider guard.  Its all a blur from there.  The next thing I knew Robert had me in a excellent ankle lock and was applying the pressure.  As he put it on I wasn’t to worried.  I figured he couldn’t apply the needed pressure to make me tap.  After all my ankle alone is thicker then his arm.  I was wrong again.  Robert tapped me out and without me handing it to him on a silver platter.  We both knew he had the submission fair and square.  The smile on his face showed he would reliving this one in his mind for some time.  Robert showed me what Helio Gracie has said all along.  Brazilian Jiu Jitsu was designed so the little guy could submit much larger opponents.  Kept at it Robert you may be the next Helio Gracie some day.

No-gi vs. Gi – Part 2

In my post “Why Am I Writing About Gi vs. No-gi”  I talked about the differences between the two in my opinion and how I was going to but my thoughts to the test.  I did compete in a No-gi tournament.  I did lose and it was not for the reason I would have expected.  I couldn’t get the guy to let go of my wrists and I showed forth some really poor escape technique.  I was also very unprepared for the intensity with which I was meet.  I was too relaxed about it.  The match went like this: After some grappling back and forth he got both his hands around my neck and we just sunk into guard position.  I quickly passed his guard and got him in cross body.  This is when I couldn’t get him to let go of my wrists.  I transitioned in a upper cross body and worked his legs.  I made a nice smooth transition to mount and began looking for a arm bar.  I was in complete control at this time.  I was up 7 zip, then things went bad.  He managed to get a hold of my wrist on one side and with a nice upa rolled me over.  I escaped being mounted by pushing him right over me.  Before I could completely turn around he hit me broad side and fell into mount on me.  It was tied up at that point.  I could have still won but I made a sad attempt at escape from mount and then I make the critical mistake of turning on my side giving him a easy arm bar.  I was especially upset with myself after seeing the video when I realized I didn’t try a hitch-hiker escape.  I didn’t try any escape.  It was a sloppy arm bar too.  I was stunned by the speed of everything and the intensity.  Do I feel No-gi is a subset of Gi still?  Yes.  Do I feel you should train Gi first and then No-gi still? Yes.  Will I do another No-gi tournament?  Yes!  But not before I have a few classes to get the feel for the speed and bump up my intensity.  All BJJ rocks!  I learned a lot from that 3.5 minutes on the mat.  Just like when Helio Gracie came away from losing to Kimura.  What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

How To Use The Rear Naked Choke

Gracie Jiu Jitsu Rear Naked Choke in Action

Watch as the security officer puts a beautiful Rear Naked Choke on the man and then puts his hooks in.  This truly is the Gentle Art of Jiu Jitsu put into action.  In the end neither the man or the officer are hurt.  The man has some memory loss which is a symptom of being unconscious.  That will soon clear up and there will be no ill effects.

If more situations could be handled like this what would we need weapons for?  I think the poster of this video labeled it with “brutality” so they could have a flashy headline.  This is on the complete opposite spectrum from brutality.  I’ve talked to people from other countries where they have real police brutality.  It would make them laugh to see this video and think that any one thought it was “brutality”.  The security officer even says to the man that he was warned away 3 times from the property and he just kept coming back.  I think this was handled very well.

Thank you Helio Gracie, and all of those who came after you, that have worked to bring the gentle art of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu to the USA.  Jiu Jitsu is Life and Life is Jiu Jitsu.