Thursday, September 12, 2013

BJJ Is Not My Top Priority

I've seen quite a few posts on forums and blogs that are basically saying that if you love BJJ, you'll make it your top priority.

I have to respectfully disagree.

I love taking BJJ. It helps me not get fat, and gets me off my laptop. It is also a very good social tool, as I've made a lot of friends from BJJ. There are times where I *GASP* only train once a week. My average is twice a week. I'll admit that I'm not the best BJJ student.

But I don't really give a shit.

Look, I respect people who can be mat rats. One of our purple belts literally trains every day, and he's a badass. He regularly whoops ass in competitions. I'll never, ever, ever be that good. I don't even really want to be. I'm happy just not getting steamrolled. My point is that not everybody wants BJJ to be their life.

I have a lot going on in the rest of my life. I work full time for the government, I'm an Army Reservist, I'm a husband, a father, a son, an uncle, and a friend. Oh, and I'm also a full time college student. I'll be graduating in May, but I may do grad school. Point of note: I work really hard at school. I've got a nearly perfect GPA and I've managed to complete nearly four years of coursework in two and a half years. Right now, I would say that finishing school is much more important to me than BJJ.

My health is also an issue. So when people say "all you have to do is get on the mat", I have to shake my head and say "Its not that easy for some people." Everybody has their own priorities for taking BJJ. I don't really care if I ever get rank in BJJ. I'm more concerned with other aspects of my life. I really respect people who can make BJJ their life, I just refused to be shamed because I won't.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Friday and Monday

I've been getting a little more consistent with training recently, and its shown a lot.

An yways, Friday was a decent night. We had a guest instructor, a brown belt from frankfort. He's a huge dude, but always passes on good information. He showed up a guard pass where you stand up into combat base to break. Good stuff.

We got into rolling, and I went with him. This dude is seriously build like the Thing from fantastic four. It was painful just to have him in side control. I couldn't fit my legs around him in guard. He's not fat at all.

He did bring an "ultra heavyweight" white belt with him. This dude is going to roll in the IBJJF Open in Chicago. He's really good, and wrestled in high school and college. Needless to say, he fucked me up the whole night.

Anyways, as a whole, the night was ok. I didn't do overly well, but I didn't do horrible.

Today, however, I felt really good. We drilled takedowns and a sweep. The sweep was actually really easy. We then got in a lot of good rolling.

My first roll was with Curt. I chose him to go with first because if I get tired out, I can't handle him. I got him in something really slick. I took his back, but he shook me off and landed in turtle. When we landed, I was able to isolate his arm away from him and caught him in a shoulder lock/arm bar thing. The point was, when he was in turtle, he didn't have his arm in. I was just shocked I could see it.

My next roll was with the beginner instructor, Paul. He's our purple belt. Anyways, he caught me with an arm bar...but I got one on him too (i'm sure he gave me the set up, because it was something we drilled a few weeks ago). I had him in side control, and then I was able to pummel my arm under his outside arm, then rotate into the arm bar. He defended, but I remember to use the grip break I learned when we drilled this move. DRILLS WORK.

I rolled with Heath, a strong blue belt. He took my back early, but I defended for a long time. He got me in an arm bar, but I got him in a choke that I would have finished if the timer hadn't buzzed right as I sunk it in. It was a baseball bat choke. Again, something I drilled recently.

My final roll was with Rodney, super flexible no-gi dude. He'll be a blue belt soon. Anyways, I got him in a kimura. I got him set up for it, but didn't really know how to finish, so she showed me the positioning.

I watched him roll with a blue belt that comes in, and he actually demolished the blue belt (3 stripe!) fairly easily. He's pretty good and highly flexible. They were rolling no-gi, which is definitely his strong suit. I know he was taking it easy on him.

Tonight I was definitely much better than I have been in a couple weeks. Its odd how I have off nights and on nights like that.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Six Months

Today marks my six-month anniversary of beginning BJJ. It is important to note that a couple of periods I didn't train. Once, for two weeks because of military commitments and then again for a week when I was sick. So, it isn't my "six months of trainging" mark, but six months since I first took the plunge. In that time, I've learned so much. I had some experience with Army combatives...but holy damn. I didn't know how inadequate it was in comparison with BJJ. In combatives' defense, it isn't designed to be a sport. It isn't designed to fight with somebody who knows jiu jitsu. Even as a one-stripe white belt, I'm light years above what most Army people are in the realms of grappling.

When I first got there, I wasn't sure I wanted to stick with it. The club actually made a bad impression, but I came back and grew to enjoy it immensley. The group there has grown to become my friends, and I respect them all immensley. Everybody puts a lot into training, and everybody is cognizant of their limits. No body has ever really gotten injured badly in training. That said, everybody is tough as nails. As one of our senior blue belts once said, "There are no easy rolls in this group. Even our white belts make us sweat."

One of my focuses the last few months is defense. I've gotten fairly good at it. I don't get tapped out very often any more, but I still get put in bad positions regularly. I've gotten to where I can survive in very bad positions (say in the mount of a 300-lb beast!). I'm still not very good at escapes when dealing with people like that. People who are around my weight class I can escape and obtain guard...but I still have trouble with big guys.

I've decided that I should come up with some goals to help guide my training in the next few months.

Goal 1: Train moar!
Self Explanatory. I have only been averaging two days a week. Sometimes I manage to get in three, but sometimes I only go once. I think I'd be a beast if I just trained more.

Goal 2: Escapes
Like I said, I'm decent with escapes against people my own size or smaller. Big guys still dominate me. They usually can't tap me, but they shouldn't dictate the whole fight like that. Anyways, escaping is a fundamental skill that you should always try to build upon.

Goal 3: Weight Loss.
I'm floating at around 170. I'd like to get down to 155.

Goal 4: Build my top game
I've noticed that I'm much better on the bottom than I am the top. I think this is probably something that goes for most BJJ newbies, but I want to start becoming more well rounded

Goal 5: Refine the Omoplata
I've mentioned before that the omoplata has been my best submission so far. I have an affinity for it, and I don't know why. We've never even really trained them in my time there, I just got showed how to do it during rolling. I want to keep using it, because its a devastating submission, and if not its a good sweep.

Goal 6: Develop more submissions
Like I said, a lot of my submissions come from the omoplata. I want to work on developing other submissions to become more well rounded. I know generally how to do a wide variety of submissions, but I don't know a lot of set ups or technical details to really pull them off.

Goal 7: Do a tournament
Because experience is the best teacher.

Anyways, I have so many more goals, but I don't want to ramble. I am just going to keep studying, training, and do what I can to get better. I struggle with chronic fatigue syndrome, so I don't think I'll ever be what I should be. I'll never meet my max potential...but I can do what I can. Anyways, feel free to comment and leave feedback on what goals and aspirations you have.