Product Analysis: Grappz Version 3.0

One of the most popular posts I’ve ever made was my original review of Grappz.  At the time I was taping my fingers almost every class, and that was the problem.  Sometimes I just didn’t have enough time or patience to carefully tape every finger, or any fingers.  The result was stiff and achy joints.  My goal was to find something that was easy.  At the time a product called Exoligamentz looked like the most promising choice.  However…they weren’t yet in production.  Undeterred, I contacted them directly and told them I’d be more than happy to beta test anything, even suggesting that I’d pay for a prototype.  That may have been wishful thinking on my part, and the product was never released for sale.  Ok, so struck out on that front…but whats this?  Another company releasing BJJ gloves?  And so I ordered my first pair of Grappz.

Then I managed to lose them within about a week of getting them.

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Systems in BJJ: Understanding How to Put It All Together

One of the most significant differences between Brazilian jiu-jitsu and “traditional martial arts” like Karate, Tae Kwon Do, and others is that BJJ is not yet done cooking.  New moves, strategies, and concepts are constantly being created.  One of the most recently concepts to emerge is that of “systems.”

A system is essentially a game-plan that covers a wide range of conditions and moves you toward some central goal.  John Danaher is probably not the inventor of “systems” but his recent work on leg-attacks and his even more recent back-attacks system have pushed the word into mainstream usage.  Danaher’s leg-lock system is basically centered around achieving the leg-entanglement known as ashi-garami and from there hunting for a heel hook.  The focused nature of the system is important.  While one could theoretically transition into and out of a variety of systems, they typically include a start-to-finish mindset.  Once you’ve spent the time and energy entering into the leg-lock system it simply doesn’t make sense to transition out of it.

But are systems really all that new?

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Supplemental Exercise for BJJ: Swimming

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a great workout.  It works your core, your back, your cardio, and a large handful of other muscles.  However, as exercise it suffers from some crucial problems.  The single biggest problem is the risk of injury, both chronic and acute, that extensive BJJ practice presents.

For me, I find that if I train 5 days a week for about 1.5 to 2 hours I’ll begin to get little nagging injuries after a month or so.  Often it’ll be a finger joint that bothers me, or perhaps turf toe.  Sometimes the pain manifests in a bigger joint…but that is usually due to some sort of acute injury.

So, recently instead of filling our desire to exercise with more jiu-jitsu, my wife and I have begun swimming.  Is it the best supplemental exercise for jiu-jitsu?  I think it is!

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5 Easy 30-Minute Swimming Workouts to Help Your BJJ

It seems as if right when we got back into swimming, it started to get popular as a cross training activity in the BJJ community.  So rather than extol the benefits of swimming or explain how it will help your jiu-jitsu, I’ll share the 4 most recent swim workouts we’ve done and our go-to workout when we don’t have any workout planned.

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Technique, Theory

The Problem with Wrist Locks

You’re having a friendly roll with a semi-regular training partner.  The roll is competitive but not serious.  Then, your partner slaps on a wrist lock.

Whether or not they successfully catch you, the roll has changed.  You’re playing by prison rules now and now its time to see how much misery you can inflict.  Knee on belly – aiming to submit with pressure?  Definitely.  Get to top of the mount and open your gi for more effective waterboarding?  Yea.  And, for some people, wrist lock them back.

But why do wrist locks elicit such an emotional response?  What about them makes normally mild-mannered people’s vision go red as the blood rage wells up from the previously unnoticed darkness residing inside their heart?

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Mount Attacks! And you can too!

Mount attacks seem out of fashion right now.  Leg locks and side control seem to be the attacks that are “in,” and for good reason!  Lots of really neat developments in leg attacks have made it to the mainstream jiu-jitsu communities, while side control attacks obviate the extra step of mounting your opponent and allow you to maximize your pressure while attacking.

But I prefer mount attacks.

So, without further ado, here is my mount attack YouTube playlist:

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YouTubing your way to greatness…or at least out of side control

Given my choice of bad positions to be in, I will always pick something other than side control.  Mount?  Definitely.  Back mount?  Sure.  Knee on belly?  Yup.

Side control sucks to be in and when rolling with someone halfway decent it can be exhausting to escape.  Your opponent can put endless weight on you with little effort all while setting up chokes, armbars, americanas, kimuras, kneebars, footlocks, transitioning to the mount, knee on belly, your back, or gift wrap.  Not fun.

When I started back at jiu-jitsu after a 7 year hiatus the first thing I noticed was my jiu-jitsu wasn’t as rusty as I would have expected.  The second thing I noticed was how much I hated being on the bottom of side control and how little I could do about it.

So, I did what any sensible BJJ practitioner does: I searched YouTube for “BJJ side control escapes.”

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Technique, Thoughts

YouTube: Not just a place for cat videos

I started jiu-jitsu in 2004 when the internet was still young.  And I’m not just being facetious when I say that.

  • Instagram, founded 2010.
  • Twitter, founded 2006.
  • YouTube, founded 2005.
  • Facebook, founded 2004.

That third bullet point is the one worth squinting at.  Let me reiterate: when I started jiu-jitsu YouTube did not exist.

So where did we go for mindless entertainment?  How did we learn elaborate moves that are as stylish as they are impractical?

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Medical Advice in BJJ: An Anecdotal Account

Quick, name a contact sport where you don’t have any risk of injury.  Stumped?  Ok, what about a non-contact sport with no chance of injury?

Tough isn’t it?  Even the emerging field e-sports comes with its own set of injuries that its practitioners face.  The reality is that sports carry a risk of injury and BJJ is no exception.

While BJJ is not unique in its risks, the BJJ community does anecdotally seem to be more willing to espouse training while injured, unproven medical treatments, and has a reluctance to seek professional medical opinion.

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