Finding Your “Happy Place” in Jiu-Jitsu

This weekend I listened to two recent interviews done by FightWorksPodCast.com.  They were Royler Gracie (#200) and Chris Moriarty (#201).  I also read Georgette’s World,  her post "Why Compete" along with Liam of Part Time Grappler’s thoughts on her post entitled "On Competition Motivation".  They all had a central theme in my mind, that was happiness and BJJ.  It seems Royler is tired and needs to spend more time with his family.  He has turned over teaching for the most part to others in Brazil and moved to the US.  Chris burnt out on other’s expectations and over training.  He had to scale back and do BJJ for himself and his love of it.  Georgette competes for the rush of it while Liam finds coaching the most fulfilling.  I think all are valid.  I have been struggling with some of the same thoughts.  I especially connected with what Chris Moriarty had to say.  He admitted to being so rabid about his involvement with Jiu-Jitsu and so worried about what others thought of his game that he trained with ringworm on his face and denied it when asked.  Royler and Chris talked about not worrying about winning every time you roll.  Royler said you should prefect a technique against a white belt.  Be willing to take chances and learn during a roll.  You can lose and still win by learning.  This is what I have found to some degree.  If I let my ego go and worked on the technique I had a goal of mastering, instead of worrying about the win, I had a much better time.  I lose now to people that in the eyes of others I shouldn’t but I think I’m starting to see the pay off.  I’ve found my "Happy Place".  I’ve seen the techniques I’m working on improve against more difficult opponents and I want to be in at Jiu-Jitsu each week despite injury.  I hope this helps you find your "Happy Place" in BJJ.  As always . . .

Jiu-Jitsu is Life and Life is Jiu-Jitsu.

Blue to Purple One BJJ Step at a Time

Tonight was another night of working on purple belt test techniques.  This time we went over the next six techniques for the Pedro Sauer’s Purple Belt test:

  1. Sweep from Seated Guard (BJJ T&T pg. 186)
  2. Overhead Sweep (BJJ T&T pg. 188 or 238)
  3. Leg Pinching Sweep (BJJ T&T pg. 190)
  4. Scissor Sweep Standing from Guard (BJJ T&T pg. 226)
  5. Hook Sweep from Guard (BJJ T&T pg. 228)
  6. Kick over Sweep (Balloon) (BJJ T&T pg. 188)

Yesterday we went over the first six and I posted them.  Like I said before they are documented in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: Theory and Technique (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu series) by Renzo and Royler Gracie.

I had a great time sweeping people over my head.  I have to say that sweeps are my favorite.  Submissions are cool too don’t get me wrong but a well executed sweeps saps moral or the spirit of the other guy.  He just went from equal or in control to flip side.

Rolling was good too.  We lined up and would rotate the line every 2 minutes.  This gives you a great opportunity to try yourself against everyone.  It also keeps the action going.  I was admirable tonight.  I didn’t tap anyone that was higher then me but then again I didn’t get tapped.  I’ll settle for a stalemate against a purple belt right now.

You Win Some and You Lose Some

BJJ practice went well tonight.  We broke up into whites and blues.  The whites went over the blue belt test and the blues went over the purple belt test.  We are a Pedro Sauer’s affiliated school.  I was surprised that I knew the six techniques we went over as well as I did.  We went over:

  1. Double Ankle Grab Sweep (BJJ T&T pg. 74)
  2. Both Hands on Ankle Sweep to Armlock (BJJ T&T pg. 78)
  3. Push Sweep From Scissors (BJJ T&T pg. 80)
  4. Handstand Sweep (BJJ T&T pg. 144)
  5. Arm Inside Sweep (BJJ T&T pg. 160)
  6. Arm Inside Sweep to Arm Bar (BJJ T&T pg. 162)

These are all in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu: Theory and Technique (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu series) by Renzo and Royler Gracie.  I have documented the page numbers in the book next to each technique.  I highly recommend the book.  It has most of the basic techniques you will need to get a blue or purple belt.

After that we did some training from the guard.  The object was for the guy on the bottom to get a sweep and the guy on top to get the pass.  I tried out a number of sweeps and managed to kept from getting passed.  It felt great to get may favorite Spider Guard Sweep.

We then did our usual rolling session to close out the class.  I made some mistakes.  First of all I let a guillotine get away from me only to have it reversed onto me.  Inside my head my mind was screaming for me to throw my arm over his should for the escape but my body just wouldn’t respond.  I think I was to preoccupied with the coke.  The next roll was with one of your blues who should be going purple soon.  I held my own for a good while and escaped one arm bar before succumbing to a second.  I had him in a leg bind at one point and was thinking of a Machado leg bar I had been reading about but wasn’t able to pull it off.  All in all it was a good night.  I won some and I lost some.

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.

No-Gi vs. Gi – Part 3

In my two previous blogs, Why Am I Writing about Gi vs. No-Gi and No-Gi vs. Gi – Part 2 I blogged about my theory and experience with the gi and no-gi.  Today I came across a quote from Royler Gracie that supports my thoughts.  He said in his book Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Submission Grappling this: “I strongly recommend that everyone who is going to learn submission grappling train with a gi before taking the gi off.  There are many reasons for this.  The gi makes you more technical because it forces you to concentrate on the details and posture. . . Then once you attain a certain level of proficiency, take off the gi, and start to train submission grappling, you find it easy to adapt your techniques to the lack of a gi.  However, if  the opposite occurs – you learn to train without the gi and then someday need to fight with a gi – you will have great difficulty dealing with your opponent’s level of control over you.” (pg. 6)  He later even adds “I train with a gi most of the time. . . . I trained jiu-jitsu for thirty-four years and only took off the gi in 1996 when I fought in the Vale-Tudo Open in Japan . . .” (pg. 6-7).  So my observations and theory are verified by Royler Gracie.  You should start in the gi and only go to no-gi after you have reached a level of proficiency.