Monday, October 31, 2011

Twilight Saga, Oh Really?

After the Twilight marathon on cable this weekend one of my team mates thought it'd be funny to write TEAM JACOB on my Gi in puff paint. So I thought it'd be funny to rearrange his insides from knee-on-belly. #HappyHalloweenSparkleBoy

And just so you know those fantasy Vampires are totally fake - Have you ever tried to dress that sharp and get your hair just right without being able to see yourself in a mirror? #KeepinItReal

~Minister of Propaganda

Friday, October 28, 2011

Tied Up

When you train like a superhero at Brentwood BJJ we ask you to check your ego and your superpowers at the door. This policy works pretty well most of the time, but sometimes the rules get bent a little. Like the other night when Wonder Woman kept tying everybody up and choking them out using her gi belt like a magic lasso. I'm not sure all her moves were IBJJF legal, but they sure were effective. #FindYourInnerHeroAtBrentwoodBJJ
~Minister of Propaganda

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Halloween Costume Fail

It took me years to discipline my body to the peak of physical perfection, so sure, I could pull it off but, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD MMA NERDS, YOU ARE TOO FAT TO WEAR YOUR UNDERWEAR AND PRETEND TO BE GSP FOR HALLOWEEN. 

~Minister of Propaganda

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Sometimes You're the Hammer, Sometimes...

Hey man, get out of my head!
Sometimes You're the Hammer, Sometimes YOU'RE THE RANDOM PIECE OF FRUIT. Last night I was the random piece of fruit, but it was good (I learned some things).

As we started the evening's rolling, I was picking my partners to work specific things (primarily open guard against bigger guys) and things were going along pretty good - a decent amount of success and some "negative reinforcement" when I messed up (side control under someone who has almost 100 lbs on you is not fun :-o)

Needless to say I was already feeling pretty "hammered upon" as we wound down when Professor called out "...alright, against the wall. It's time for a Match of the Night!" The Match of the Night is something we do getting ready for tournaments - A full on, knock down, drag out, don't be "nice" tournament match with a referee scoring and the rest of the class split up to coach one contestant or the other (with tournament crowd noise blasting on the speakers). I was called out to match up against one of our guys who is fighting this weekend. I was tired after pretending to be a big guy in my earlier rolls but I thought I was up for it. How wrong I was!

In the moments before we got ready to square off, I realized I didn't really have an "A Game" to bring. The past few months I've been working on my C, D, and E Games trying to bring them up to a B level and I'm not sure what my "A Game" is morphing into at this particular moment in time. My opponent was someone that I have problems with most of the time unless I just really dominate on aggression and hustle. In other words, to win, I needed a full on aggressive A Game from the get go. So, I started trying to build a game plan on the fly.

When we shook hands and he started dancing around me with way more enthusiasm than my already squashed body was mustering, smashing him into submission was looking like wishful thinking. So, I decided to play defensively and pull guard. By strange coincidence, pulling guard happens to be my opponents A Game. Guess who pulled guard successfully? Yep, he did. I spent the next few minutes getting swept and defending submissions one after the other. I never mustered a sliver of offense the entire match.

And lest I sound like I'm making excuses, "I was tired, blah, etc., blah" - my opponent has been preparing well for his tournament this weekend and probably would have won handily anyway.  What I wanted to convey was my mindset and how it affected my attitude and choices:
  1. I didn't have an A Game and so tried to create one on the fly
  2. Because I wasn't committed to my game plan I abandoned it at the first whiff of difficulty
  3. Once I adopted a defensive mindset, I was locked into defense - I might survive, but I would not win a tournament match
  4. Even though I knew my opponent, he was one step ahead of me the whole time (because he was working his game plan from start to finish)
I haven't had a mental fail on this level in some time. It was good to have it exposed so I can make sure I can find my happy place and have confidence in it when it counts in the future.


Totally Valid Reason to choke somebody out #112: People who wear Snuggies outside. Actually, just people who wear Snuggies. #It'sJustABlanketWithHoles
~Minister of Propaganda

Monday, October 10, 2011

Nothing but Love

I have nothing but LOVE for people. Some people I love to choke. Some people I love to armbar. Some people I love to Tomoe Nage.  #SpreadTheLove
~Minister of Propaganda

Friday, October 7, 2011

Training Partners Part 1 (Take Control of Your Training)

Your instructor/coach may pair you up for some or most of your drilling and rolling. This post is for those other times when you have a "choice." Many BJJers seem to have this idealized picture of the "perfect training partner" - they would literally spend one of their three genie wishes to aquire this mythical beastie.

I have a slightly different take. I'm not looking for a perfect training partner. One perfect training partner isn't going to cut it. Here's why. Until a fairly advanced level almost everyone really only has one "style" (aggressive/grinder/tactican/loose/tight) or "game" (wrestiling/judo/guard puller/closed guard/half guard/knee passer/standup passer). This means the available training partners at your weight may only be presenting you a small subset of the things you need to work against.

It is vitally important that you have a good partner "mix." It is crazy to train with the same guy/girl every practice. When you hit the mat you want to line up your training partners for maximum effect. You don't need to roll with a dozen different people every practice. You might work it so that you "target" rolls with two or three different guys on Monday, "target" two different guys on Tuesday and Wednesday, and "target" a different group the end of the week. (and of course it depends on when you train and they train. If you typically train on M/W/F and only see the same guys each session try and throw in a T/Th or Sat. session when you can to expand your opportunities)

If you are like me, your favorite person to roll is usually the guy who gives you a good fight but that you can still beat fairly handily. It is only natural, but that is likely NOT the guy you are going to face in competition. Work with guys that stop your favorite takedown/throw so that you have to work alternatives or the guys that usually take you down so that you work your defense. If you are a guard puller, work with guys who really give you trouble and pass effectively. Be proactive to make sure you get a good training partner mix every session and across sessions. I'm not saying you need to get your backside handed to you every roll but make sure you are not coasting and ducking the guys that give you a hard time.

I want to get rolls in with guys who are heavier/stonger, lighter/faster, more advanced, less advanced (do you see a trend). Even on nights that I roll everybody, I try to have a strategy/plan of what I want to work on with each opponent. I will try and share some examples in future posts.

Until then, take control of your training by getting a good mix of partners (make sure you include a healthy dose of guys that frustrate you or take you out of your comfort zone) and try to have an idea of what you want to work on with each one.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The Only Thing You Have to Fear...

The only thing you have to fear is fear itself. And clowns. And my spider guard. And my De la Riva guard. And my Tomoe Nage. And my triangle choke. Okay, so lots of stuff actually.
~Minister of Propaganda

Monday, October 3, 2011

Like a Monkey

Pumpkin Spice Latte is back at Starbucks. ALMOST enough to make you forget that I will be on your back like a monkey all week hunting for the choke.
~Minister of Propaganda

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Gee, You're Strong (or using your attributes - is it really evil?)

I've always hated the backhanded compliment in BJJ after a roll - "Gee, you're really strong."  The phrase can usually be translated - "you just positionally dominated me, submitted me multiple times, and generally kicked my butt for the allotted time, BUT you didn't beat me with jiu jitsu."

I would like to stand up and formally call BULL. You don't ask a big guy to not be big, you don't ask a fast guy to not be fast, you don't ask the cardio machine to not grind you into dust. WHY do we insist on trying to "guilt" the strong guy into not using his strength?

Now for all you purists out there, I understand that Helio Gracie (RESPECT) always maintained that his jiu jitsu was designed for smaller and weaker practitioners to be able to defend themselves and even defeat much larger or stronger opponents. It works. However, if that bigger stronger guy knows jiu jitsu just like you do, the game changes.

For example, I don't know many upper belts who are afraid to roll with some big/strong newbie thinking their jiu jitsu won't work (although they may worry about catching spazzy knees and elbows). They usually just kind of play with the guy and sweep and submit at will. On the other hand, the more equal the technical skill level gets, the more attributes decide who wins.

If you don't believe me, just take a look at all the recent ADCC competitors- not a muscle to be found right? Riiiiiight. These guys have technique and more. You don't want the economy box, you want the deluxe package - technique, cardio, speed, strength, and power. They are all aspects that can be trained. So by all means put in the mat time and work your technique first, but don't forget the rest of the package. And don't hate me because I'm beautiful stronger than you.