Development Milestone – Tap Out Pat

By way of a journal entry.  I tapped out Pat Monday for the first time.  No, small accomplishment in my book. I was 1-4 against him that night.  I still have Chris, Miles, and Grayson to go and then Mark.  But one tap out at a time.

Pat was in a gi and the Ezekiel I got on him wouldn’t fly in no-gi but that’s the point of a gi isn’t it.  It was the first time I had seen Pat in a gi, as a matter of fact.

I’m not trying to brag.  Its just that others who have been training longer then you have are always progressing too.  They remain a step ahead of you.  To make a small leap and catch up for a bit is exciting.  I see it in the white belts eyes after I tap them out.  They are thinking just what I’m thinking about those better then me.  "When will I ever tap this guy you!".  "Will he always be better then me?"  I want to tell them to hang in there.  I try to tell them but I wonder if they believe me.  When they move up in rank they will still be in the same situation.  Over coming discouragement is part of learning.  Learning takes time and effort.  But I’m human and I often think "I give myself very good advice but I seldom listen" – Alice.

Jiu-Jitsu is Life and Life is Jiu-Jitsu

Wait For It! Wait For It! Choke and the Tap!

When I roll against guys who have more skill then me it seems like I have the advantage at the start.  I even seem to be winning for a while.  But then the tables turn and everything goes down hill.  Soon after the down turn I’m tapping.  At class last night I got to be on the other side of the equation.  I was rolling with one of our white belts, who might be up for his blue belt soon.  It didn’t start out so hot for me and I was mounted.  I remained calm and kept working my escapes and things changed.  He managed to keep the upper hand for what seemed like a long time.  I kept working my escapes and transitions.  In time I gained side control and then it went all down hill for him.  I noticed he was exhausted.  I realized I had expended less energy and had waited him out.  As he tired he retired, you might say.  With more energy and the upper hand I moved from cross body or side control to mount.  I latched on to his legs with "grape vines" and based out to ride out what I thought would be a strong attempt at escape.  It didn’t come.  I quickly moved up and took position under his arm pits and began my attack.  It didn’t take long before I got a choke in and he tapped.  I felt like a fortress that had ridden out the siege.  I got a good insight into how my technique has evolved.  If my fortress or technique had been weak his relentless assault would have broken through.  I didn’t go for the submission right off.  I waited for the opening and then took it, while all the while saving up for it.  I wish I had it all on video.  I don’t think I’ve gleamed half of what I can from it.  I’ll be pondering it for a good while.

The Secret to Winning Jiu Jitsu

What is the secret to winning Jiu Jitsu? I am amazed at what I discover every time I go to train with a open mind.  Let me share with you one of the latest things I’ve learned.  As a white belt I was a white belt.  I couldn’t over come someone higher then me unless I got lucky or so I thought.  When I got my blue belt all the sudden it was as if I came alive.  My instructor commented on how impressed he was with how I was doing after my promotion.  I was very happy and excited.  Then something happened.  I blogged about it in Jiu Jitsu Mind Block – In The Slump and Jiu Jitsu Learning Curve – What To Expect.  I hit a wall.  I just couldn’t do anything.  I was reduced to holding guard for dear life.  I got a lot of good advice and it helped me pull out of it.  In the process of pulling out I learned a secret to winning at Jiu Jitsu.  Its all in your head.  I was my own worst enemy.  I was limiting myself by my belief in myself.  I was to worried about my ego.  I didn’t want to lose so I couldn’t take a chance to win.  Once I took all the good advice I was given things started to change.  I relaxed and enjoyed myself, win or lose.  The next thing I knew I was back on my game.  As I rolled techniques flowed and I found myself in mount more often then being mounted.  It all came together last night at class.  I went up against another blue belt I had never meet before.  Instead of trying to size him up or let thoughts enter my mind of what my chances would be of winning I just rolled.  I dominated.  I was not able to submit him but he spent 80% of his time with me mounted on him.  He finally tapped as I was setting up a arm bar that felt like it would have brought his tap anyway.

Jiu Jitsu is about battling on two fronts, the physical and mental.  Using them together in proper form and balance is the secret to BJJ.

BJJ A “Gentle Art”! Don’t You Watch UFC!

I’ve taken some flak about a few of my posts where I call BJJ (Brazilian Jiu Jitsu) a “Gentle Art”.  It seems to insult some people to think of BJJ as “Gentle” in any way shape or form.  Don’t get me wrong, BJJ is deadly and it is all in how you use it.  Arm bars can be used to tear a arm from the join or to cause significant pain and threat  for a submission.   You see BJJ used in UFC fights all the time.  It is part of a MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) fighters standard skill set and for good reason.

A punch or kick is only a split second in time and the damage is done.  With BJJ and grappling its different.  You have time once the technique is in place.  Do I choke them to death or just out?  Do I dislocate their elbow or do I just bend it enough to hear them yell “UNCLE”.  I say BJJ has a gentle side only because you can decide to be gentle.  Its like Spock’s famous Vulcan Nerve Pinch.  What is to stop Spock from killing you or letting you come out of it once you have been pinched?  In my post “How To Use The Rear Naked Choke” I think my point is made in graphic detail.  Watch the video and you tell me if the security guard wasn’t using BJJ to be gentle.  Then check out this video with Grayson Greener.  Grayson doesn’t immediately destroy the guys shoulder.  He gives him time to tap out before he does the damage.  BJJ is about choice that is my argument related to being gentle.