Competition in BJJ is one of the greatest things a person can do to modify and level up their game. When your facing different competitors from other schools you recognize the flaws in your game very quickly then you would if you were rolling in your gym. After a while you get to figure out your rolling partners game pretty quickly. You know what submissions work on them and they know what works on you. In my first competition I had two matches and I lost one by armbar and the other one by points. During the match I lost on points I realized a huge flaw in my game that my mount escapes and side mount escapes were decent but not strong enough to stop those whose bread and butter is the mount and side mount. So when I went back to the gym told my instructor what I realized and drilled the hell out of my side mount and mount escapes. I have these two escapes down to a science now and its very high percentage for me. I also drilled armbar escapes until it felt like my elbow was going to explode. The next tournament I lost once by guillotine choke and then by kimura. After that I went back to the drawing board and drilled these two moves and their escapes until it became second nature. I learned a valuable lesson by listening to Eddie Bravo one day on the Joe Rogan Podcast. Eddie said that you must drill something and get the reps in a thousand times to add it to your arsenal. It does suck to lose at a competition especially with the prices of competitions these days. However I view my losses as the greatest learning experiences, without those losses in competition I would have never worked those aspects of my game. I can’t wait until my next competition because I can’t wait roll and see how far my game has progressed since my last loss. I also love competition because the vibe of BJJ is so awesome and most of the people you meet are awesome too. Each time I go to a competition I met people from different backgrounds, I get to watch high level jiu jitsu and Every now and then a legend is around ( I met Marcelo Garcia at Grapplers Quest and was very upset that I left my phone in the car. He is one of the nicest guys I have ever met btw) You also see the humility of BJJ a competitor will always be mad at his own performance but respect to the other competitors is always shown especially when the match is a grueling war of attrition. I’ve had other coaches shake my hand and offer friendly advice and even told me that they look forward to seeing me at another competition. SO to all those reading this COMPETE, COMPETE, COMPETE…. It will make your game stronger and more versatile.
Great video with amazing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu displayed throughout the the whole thing
(Inside my mind while grappling) Alright I’m facing Chaz he likes to wrestle and use that judo throw we always work on get him in the clinch and shoot the single. Got the clinch pull his head down and shoot the single. Damn it!!! He shot in during the pull he got the single leg first, alright push his head and try to spin out, fuck he took me down put him in guard now. Fuck he passed me and got mount fuck he’s quick. Alright my heels isolate his foot grab his tricep and wrist push you feet off the ground and hips ups and sweep. Yes!! got the sweep but fuck he put me in guard alright knee to the butt and push a legs down. Damn he adjusted his guard alright go for the neck crank. SHIT!!! He isolated my right arm damn he locked in the triangle on my neck. Fuck!! alright relax just keep breathing, lets try to swing the leg over and sit out of it just like you always do. Fuck he just grabbed the leg alright keep breathing the choke isn’t that deep yet you still have some breathing room, try to posture up and brute force your way out. Alright stack him then explode up!! STACK AND EXPLODE!!!! oh shit he’s pulling my head down fuck!!!!!breathing is shallow and its getting dark.Tap before you go to sleep, Just fucking tap theres no more fighting it. Then I tapped as soon as he let go of the choke all the blood rushed back to my head way too fast. Had to take a breather to get all the blood going again. My training partner Chaz asks if i’m okay I nod we get back up slap hands and do it all over again. This is the heart of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu you grapple until the other guy puts you to sleep or breaks something and all you have to do to avoid damage is to tap the other guy and its over, you shake hands and begin again. I say this to any new guys reading this blog always tap before you get seriously hurt or go to sleep. I follow the three T’s during training which is Tap: this way you can avoid injury. Tough: be as tough as possible and try to work your way out of submissions. the last T is for Tap as well sometimes you can do every submission escape possible and still be stuck so tap and fight another day.
Dean Lister once said “The more you tap the more you learn.” For those of you who don’t know who Dean Lister is wikipedia and youtube him right now and look at his grappling credentials. If someone taps you out ask him or your instructor how to escape that submission. Then drill the hell out of that submission escape until it becomes second nature. When I first started out my thought process when I was caught in a submission was: HE GOT IT!!! ALL RIGHT TAP OUT!!! Now my thought process is way more structured: Alright he got the arm bar gable grip your hands together all right start stacking him, don’t lose your grip, all right hes stacked now pull the arm out. Yes its free!!!!! This type of thinking doesn’t come over night. I get tapped out on a consistent basis BUT I always ask questions after the submission: How did you do that? How can I escape that? What did I do that set up that submission for you? Always try to improve your game one submission escape at a time.
The more escapes you have in your arsenal the better. I know guys who have great submission skill but have decent escape skill. Whats the point of that??? I rather be able to escape various submissions and keep trying to pull off my one or two bread and butter submissions cause eventually I will get that submission during one of my escapes. Drill these positions a thousand times and it will be embedded in your muscle memory forever. Thats a crazy thought if you really think about it. That in my opinion is what makes wrestlers so good at jiu jitsu, because their work ethic is all about drilling moves until its muscle memory. Practice something a thousand times and it will be in your arsenal forever. That is a crazy concept if you really think about it.Practice something a thousand times and its embedded forever in your mind. All you just have to do take it off the shelf every now and then and polish it to make sure it doesn’t get rusty. The goal is to have your thought process to go from panic mode to an analytical mode, this way you can go to option A then B then C and so on. It takes time to get into that mind set but once you get there you’ll game will be changed forever.
Good luck to all the grapplers, be safe and keep training.
Choke of the day.
I figured out that I will write about every street fight story that I have or that I have witnessed throughout this blog just keep in mind that in my younger days I hung out with a lot of crazy kids. I was about 15 years old when this story happened and I was hanging out with my friend Eddy who I met through my partner in crime Drew. Eddy and I were at a party in Washington Heights it was your typical washington heights party: tons of liquor, hip hop and spanish music blasting through an apartment that could barely contain three people but somehow held all the madness of about 50 young crazy hot blooded teenagers trying to get laid. Eddy’s cousin Julia was with us and invited a few of her girlfriends along. The tiny apartment started swelling with a haze of weed clouds and cigarette smoke as kids started lighting up in every corner of the party. Eddy and I are taking turns on a bottle of Hawaiian punch we spiked with rum when a fight breaks out right in front of us in the kitchen. Two kids are dropping bombs on each other I mean every time a punch connected one of them would get staggered for a split second and then charge at the other this had to happen at least four times. The best way I can describe it is it was like two zombies from 28 days later decided to fight each other over a freshly dead corpse. Eddy and I decide that it is time to go because fights like this always had three possible outcomes: 1) a bigger brawl would happen because everyone would try to jump in 2) someone might start shooting or pull out a knife and 3) a combination of the previous two.
We grab Eddys cousin on the way out of the party and start walking up the block we then get the bright idea to go to the pool hall a few blocks away because Eddy knew the manager there and we always got in and got set up with drinks. Julia calls her friends and we get inside and we all start playing pool and start drinking heavily. A few hazy hours pass and I feel that the throw up feeling creep up on me. I decide to go to the bathroom and speed up the process and pull the trigger ( for those of you unfamiliar with the term thats when you go to the bathroom and stick a finger down your throat to puke.) As I’m walking through the bathroom hallway I see a small crowd of ten people huddled around two girls throwing punches at each other but they’re both hunched over trying to pull each others hair while trying to connect with punches. I started to laugh until I realized that Julia was one of the girls in this melee. They both let go of each others hair stand upright and start exchanging what I can only describe as noodle arm haymakers at each other. I grab the girl Julia was fighting with I put my left arm underneath the girls arm and grab my right arm. As I’m dragging her away she uses my leverage and tries throwing kicks at Julia. So I tighten my grip and drag this girl away then I noticed something odd while I’m dragging this girl away she went out cold somehow. It wasn’t until I learned the choke in a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu class many years later did I realize what actually happened I put this poor girl in a type of standing arm triangle choke and choked her out. Now I panic I drop the girl someone in the crowd yelled at me to pick her legs up and it was the most terrifying two seconds of my life. Then she started to come too I asked her if she was all right and she looked up at me and asked what happened at this point I promptly got up and got the fuck outta dodge. I ran through the place, get outside and run like four blocks away I then stop light a cigarette and cannot stop shaking. Eddy eventually calls my phone and I tell him what just happened he then picks me up in his car and starts driving me home and I’m in shock the whole ride home. And that is reason number two on why I don’t break up girl fights.
( Details of this story are very hazy because I was a lightweight drinker at the time and was pretty shit faced drunk throughout this whole escapade. I never set foot into that pool hall again after that night and neither did Eddy however we still kept going to Washington Heights parties for another few years until we all separated and went our different ways) I also included a picture of an arm triangle for those who don’t know the maneuver
I will only break up a fight between girls if it’s my mother or a girl is getting into a fight with more then one person and here’s the reasons why. A long time ago when the streets of New Rochelle were still vibrant with an active underage drinking scene I was in a bar which was called Catch 22. I was there with my partner in crime Drew who at the time was a close friend who I always managed to get in trouble with on occasion. Also with us was my friend Stef and one of her girlfriends. Drinks were flowing and as always tempers will flare up.
Stef bumped into some girl that she didn’t like at the time and they went it. It was like to crazed chimps fighting. Hair was being pulled haymakers were thrown from all crazy directions. I decide I had enough of this and grab the girl off Stef. I manage to get the girl off then THACK!!!!!! I get hit hard on my right ear so hard that knocked me down to one knee. I turn around ready to unload a fury of punches and the kid who hit me was hiding in plain sight in the crowd. Now the bouncers come in and try to grab me. At the time I was barely 135 pounds soaking wet. And the bouncer was the size of a small bear so needless to say that I was literally tossed out of that bar. At this point I’m outside drunk and very upset and I can’t find Drew or Stef and never of them are picking up their cell phones. A minute later I see a whirlwind of people all getting thrown from the bar at once. Drew amongst the crowd of drunken teenagers cursing and throwing haymakers at every direction. I flag a cab down grab Drew throw him in and then launch myself inside and have the driver floor it. While I was breaking up the fight between the girls and got sucker punched. Drew followed the guy who did it and starting fighting him. The only issue was that The other kid had another four kids with him and Drew was all by himself. Drew was fine and managed to escape with a few scrapes and bruises and we made it home to lick our wounds. On a side note the girl Stef never hung out with us again because and quote ” you let that girl beat the shit outta me and didn’t do anything”
I am 24 and live in New York City. I currently train in Muay Thai and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Like most kids growing up I was fascinated with fight movies from Rocky to Enter the Dragon I was an encyclopedia of fight movies. I started my road to fighting because I was constantly picked on and one day decided that I have had enough and I started fighting back. After many street fights and an altercation that went horribly south ( story for another time) My mother took a bruised 15 year old and signed my up at my local boxing gym. Thats when my love for fighting blossomed off the streets and into the gym. I trained for about a year and a half and then life happened and I was reintroduced into fighting at the age of 21. A good friend introduced me to the person who is now my trainer and great friend and my love for fighting was ignited once more and I haven’t looked back since.
The point of this blog is to talk about the only three things that I focus to improve everyday and thats Sex: which falls into categories about the opposite sex, sex in general, an average guy like me trying to get a date and the horror stories and awesomeness that has happened throughout my short life. Fighting: This encompasses everything from the latest MMA or Boxing event, to learning how to fight, and what kung fu movie I am watching. And finally Jiu Jitsu: This is me navigating the world of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and trying to help those who are trying to better their game with advice that I have learned.
In this blog I will try to pass along my knowledge in these three areas and If I can’t help I’ll present someone who can.