May 26th, 2016
Have you been to the Wednesday night BJJ class yet? You should come. It is a party not to be missed. Everyone who comes is guaranteed a turn being on the receiving end of Justin’s incredible control. Watch the video. See those guys on the bottom? They are fighting, I swear. I know it looks like they are just laying there getting crushed but they are actually resisting at full tilt.
… and that snapping noise? It’s not an elbow breaking. Don’t worry. Coincidental background noise.
May 19th, 2016
Stick drills are tough. They’ve got a stick and you don’t. It’s a huge range advantage and they are almost certainly going to try and maintain that advantage for as long as they can. The solution then, is to either close that distance or get far away – because playing their game – hover ing within stick striking distance – means getting smacked with a stick over and over.
How do you close that distance? Nothing is certain but one great strategy is to rush in after they throw a committed strike. They swing big. You dodge and then barrel in. Give them a tight hug, making sure to control the shoulders, head and hips. Turn the knee kicks on automatic and stay in tight less they take back the distance again and use the range of the stick to their advantage.
Another tough part of stick drills is it is pretty messy to go full speed with actual sticks… but at least we can whack each other hard with the practice sticks and have some fun – AKA stick sparring (the above video).
May 9th, 2016
As a system, we try to continually emphasize practicality. Things need to work in order to stick around in our style. If they don’t work, we should discard them and change them out for something better.
BJJ works. The techniques are solid for defending yourself if you have been taken to the ground. The techniques are also solid for using to pin an opponent to the ground and keep them under control. As an BJJ practitioner will tell you, when it comes to self defense and practicality, you need to drill your BJJ against strikes. If you don’t, you will be in for a sad surprise when you try to use your grappling in a self defense situation.
So tonight we worked a simple mount escape against no resistance. Then we added some slow punches in. It is remarkable how much more difficult the reversal is to do when someone is hitting you (even slowly) BUT it still works – and it will work even better if we practice it more… back to work.
May 3rd, 2016
What is the difference between regular BJJ class and no Gi BJJ class? Simple: you wear a Gi in the regular class and you don’t in the no Gi class.
The more complex difference is, of course, do the two classes “feel” different? For me, yes – they feel very different. With the Gi, there is stuff to grip. There is friction. When you get a hold of something, can hang on to it. With no Gi, stuff slips and slides this way and that – it feels faster.
Do both. Do both to feel the interesting difference. Do both for practicality. Sometimes people are wearing jackets and pants. Sometimes they are wearing a flimsy t-shirt and shorts.
April 22nd, 2016
Rule #1 of being a good partner: meet them where they are at. If you have a higher skill than your partner, work to find a pace that gives them challenge.
One of the best signs that you are doing this correctly is when their face displays a mix of excitement, fun and nervousness. If you see that look on their face, you’re doing it right! One of the best signs that you’re doing it wrong is when their face is wracked with panic. Few people learn well in a state of panic.
For today’s drill, we worked back and forth with a partner trying to expose and then shore up defensive weaknesses in our striking game. The drill is fairly simple: throw strikes at your partner until you find something that lands. When you find a strike that lands, throw it again but slightly slower. Keep throwing it until your partner figures out a way to defend against it. It is best to start with single attacks and if your partner does well against that, to start putting in combinations. If they are rocking the defense against combos, try adding some fakes and see if you can find any holes in their game.
Remember, by improving your partner’s defense, by meeting them where they are at skill wise, you will improve their sparring game. By improving their sparring game, you will help create a better partner who will, in turn, help to bump your game up as well.