The First 10 Months of Jiu Jitsu

Jiu Jitsu White BeltNOTE: The text below was written in a journal I found recently. I’m nearly 4 years into training Jiu Jitsu at this point, but I enjoyed re-reading this journal entry from when I first started. I thought I’d share it in case others might relate to the same experiences that I went through.

I started Jiu Jitsu in May of 2015 at Hurricane Jiu Jitsu in Cleveland. It has been 10 months since I began and I have grown a lot in that time. When I first started I could barely make it through the warm up without being totally out of breath. Running in a circle around the mats, hopping, side-stepping, most of the time I could only think “I’m too old to be doing this”. After the exhausting 10 minutes or so of warm-up the lesson would begin and I would be silently grateful for the chance to rest for a few minutes while the instructor showed the first technique of the class. I remember those early lessons when I would try to grasp what was being taught, while simultaneously trying to grasp for air.  

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Rubber Guard from Side Control – Marcelo Garcia

So here’s something you don’t see everyday, rubber guard from side control leading to a submission, for the guy that’s in side control.

We see in this video that Marcelo Garcia gets the sweep, passes quarter guard and starts to settle into side control when the guy in the blue shirt quickly attains rubber guard from bottom side control, and proceeds to sweep and choke with basically an inverted triangle. It looks like you need a certain level of flexibility and comfort with being stacked on the bottom to pull this off. Gonna have to try this in class this week.

The Value of Private Lessons

Yesterday I had a private lesson with my instructor John Lawrence. This is the 3rd or 4th private I’ve had with various instructors at the school where I train, Hurricane Jiu Jitsu, and each one of these lessons has led to epiphanies regarding my practice. I pretty much get tunnel vision when I’m rolling, so it’s hard for me to see what areas of my game I need to fix. I find it super helpful to have someone else guide me through my plateaus. In past privates I was fixated on developing my guard, both closed and open, so that I could feel more comfortable attempting submissions and knowing that I could recover back into guard from a failed submission attempt. I pretty much went into private lessons with the intention to sharpen my closed guard. This time around we did things a little differently. I still had specific questions about how to increase my attack percentage from closed guard, but my instructor suggested that we roll a bit at the beginning of the lesson so he could analyze how I moved and make suggestions from there.

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Jorge Pereira Seminar

Jorge Pereira SeminarYesterday I attended a seminar with Jorge Pereira at GriffonRawl MMA Academy. Jorge Pereira is a coral belt under Rickson Gracie, is the subject of the TV Series “Rio Heroes” and has a long history fighting in Vale Tudo. During the seminar he told stories of how he would fight sometimes three times a day while surfing, and discussed the importance of honor in jiu jitsu. Pereira believes that when training you should find the school/person you want to train under and stick with them, as opposed to the way some fighters (in MMA in particular) move from coach to coach if they think a new coach offers something different than the current one. He also mentioned that he’s bringing back Vale Tudo in a new promotion company with a very limited ruleset so the fights are as realistic as possible. I can’t find any links related to this but I’m going to keep an eye out for it, from what Pereira said the limited ruleset should lead to some exciting fights.

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Gracie Breakdown 4 Part Survival Seminar Series

I’ve been watching these videos today and getting a lot out of them. Ryron and Rener Gracie go in depth into concepts about defense, escapes, control and submission. What I like about these videos is they talk about jiu jitsu concepts rather than just demoing moves. Moves are great, but I find that I learn best when I can see the bigger picture through a concept based approach. There’s a lot to unpack in these videos, and I’m just getting into them so I can’t speak much about them yet, but wanted to share them here in case others would find them valuable as well.

Defend:

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The 80/20 Principle for Jiu Jitsu – Review

80 20 PrincipleI recently finished reading “The 80/20 Principle: The Secret to Success by Achieving More with Less” by Richard Koch, and I’ve been giving a lot of thought to how I can apply that principle to my daily routine. In the book Koch posits that the 80/20 principle (first put forth by Vilfredo Pareto to describe the distribution of wealth in society) can actually be applied across many different domains in life. Essentially the maxim indicates that 80% of value is produced by 20% of the effort you put in. What this boils down to is that apparently we all tend to waste a lot of time on minutiae of detail but could achieve more by paying attention to the correct pieces of detail, and end up with more free time as a bonus.

As time management is one of my greatest challenges (I’m sure I’m not alone in this), I’m very interested in finding out if the 80/20 principle properly applied can bring me more free time. If I think about how this applies to jiu jitsu I can break it down by determining what techniques or principles would lead to the greatest results, in the quickest amount of time.

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Henry Akins Seminar – Columbus OH – Side Control Escapes

Henry AkinsYesterday I attended my third seminar with Henry Akins, this one being at Relson Gracie Jiu Jitsu in Columbus Ohio,  and it was just as mind blowing as all the rest have been. If you’ve never been to a seminar with Henry Akins you need to put it on your to-do list, asap. Every time I’ve attended his seminars I’ve come away with concepts that immediately improved the efficiency of my jiu jitsu. I always find myself thinking “I can’t believe I haven’t thought of doing it this way before” when he shows a detail, because the simplicity and efficiency of the movement that he teaches makes it seem like the move was always intended to be done this particular way. Ask anybody that attends these seminars and they will tell you the same. There are many “Eureka!” moments.

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Foot Scoop Single to Leg Drag Pass

Another great video from John Lawrence, owner and head instructor at Hurricane Jiu Jitsu. In this video he covers some details of how to chain together a single leg take down to a leg drag pass. He points out some important aspects in regards to handling possible strikes during the pass.

Fighting Off The Wall

Brick WallLast night at class we spent most of the evening working on stand-up self defense tactics. In jiu jitsu we tend to spend most of our time fighting on the ground, either off our backs or with our weight distributed on our partner. Anytime I work on stand-up I’m reminded of how different the strength and cardio requirements are. It gets even harder when you’re standing up and pinned against the wall. And harder still when you get taken down, pinned against the wall, with your partners full weight on you and your trying to stand back up.

We started the class with out typical warm-up of hip escapes, and then quickly transitioned into pummeling drills. These drills switched to pummeling “sparring”. After warm-up we started our wall work. One person would stand with their back against the wall, the other would stand in front of them, with double underhooks and attempt to keep them pinned there. The person on the wall had the job of getting at least one underhook, and spinning their partner so that they were against the wall. Back and forth we went with that drill.
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Prof. Jorge Pereira – Spider Guard Pass to Armbar

Jorge Pereira is a coral belt under Rickson Gracie. He is originally from Rio de Janeiro and has competed in many jiu jitsu and Vale Tudo matches. His best quote was spoken after a particulary tough fight with Alessandro Stefano, “A warrior doesn’t bleed, his honor overflows”.

In this video Pereira shows an awesome guard pass straight into an armbar. This move is a great example efficiency and effectiveness:

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