Technique

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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Technique

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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Thoughts

Grappz – a replacement to finger tape?

If you play jiu-jitsu long enough you’ll probably encounter some finger pain.  Whether it come from over-gripping, aggressive grip fighting, grip-intensive techniques like spider guard, or just accidentally getting a finger caught in the gi, jiu-jitsu will find a way to make your fingers ache.

Traditionally there have been two ways to deal with finger pain.  The first way is to just treat it like every other jiu-jitsu related injury and ignore it.  The second way is to tape your fingers.  Neither way is particularly desirable…the ignore it method of injury management – despite widespread use – is not particularly efficacious.  Tape definitely helps cut down on the pain and can protect fingers from further injury – but to properly apply it takes practice, time, and patience.  I’d rather spend my time on the mat instead of sitting next to it – and thus Grappz were a product I was excited to try out when they came on the market last summer.

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Thoughts

The Difference between Stretching and Yoga – For Jiu Jitsu!

I was talking to a fellow teammate and his wife at a party and was part of this conversation (its paraphrased because this happened a couple of weeks ago).

Teammate: I’ve been doing yoga recently to increase my flexibility for jiu jitsu!

Teammate’s wife: You haven’t been doing yoga, you’ve been stretching.  They’re different.

Teammate: What?  How are they different?  I’m using a yoga mat.

Teammate’s wife: Just because you’re using a yoga mat does not make it yoga.  Yoga involves more, like specific poses and breathing exercises.

Teammate: I breathe while stretching.

I don’t think my teammate left the conversation with any greater understanding of the difference between stretching and yoga.  But what is the difference?  And does the difference matter?

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Thoughts

Women’s Experiences in Jiu Jitsu

Starting this blog has helped me realize that there is no one experience for women in jiu jitsu.  This may sound pretty dumb because I knew before that there was no one experience for men in jiu jitsu.  But the way jiu jitsu is approached for women makes it seem like there is only one possible experience.

I have had the opportunity to experience jiu jitsu in many different ways – and I’m actually grateful I took so much time off because it gave me that opportunity.  Looking back at my own experiences and reflecting on my partners’ experiences has made me appreciate how different the jiu jitsu journey can be. Continue reading “Women’s Experiences in Jiu Jitsu”

Uncategorized

How BJJ is like Chess: Rock Paper Scissors Edition

Jiu-jitsu is an athletic endeavor – but it is one that requires a great deal of thought in order to be good at it.  As I pointed out in my earlier How BJJ is like Chess article this leads to comparisons between jiu-jitsu and chess – sometimes reasonable comparisons…sometimes less reasonable.

One facet of jiu-jitsu that feels comparable to chess is the tit for tat nature of moves.  If someone is mounted on you, you can try the upa escape.  If they are able to post their leg to prevent themselves from being rolled you can take advantage of that space to do the shrimp escape.  If they pinch their knees tightly to prevent the shrimp escape their base is narrow and thus more easily toppled over with an upa escape.

So…does this sequence show that jiu-jitsu is like chess?  Or is it really just complicated rock paper scissors?

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Thoughts

Help! What kind of yoga should I do for bjj?

A lot of people say that yoga is great for cross training with jiu jitsu.  It builds flexibility, teaches you to breathe, and isn’t too hard on your body (jiu jitsu is hard enough).  But where do you start?  There are so many kinds of yoga it can seem overwhelming.

What kind of yoga is best depends on your goals, preferences, and flexibility.  What kind of yoga you can actually practice depends on what’s available in your area or what online resources you’re willing to pay for.

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Theory

The Importance of Friends in BJJ

In a recent podcast with Grappling Central, my coach, Sam, mentioned that if you aren’t enjoying your jiu jitsu school or if you’re thinking about trying a new school – try changing your social group at your current school first.  While I’m pretty happy with my jiu jitsu friends right now, I have experienced a few different social groups in jiu jitsu.  Also, our jiu jitsu holiday party was last night, which got me thinking about the importance of jiu jitsu friends.

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Technique

Finding moves in negative spaces

When you are first learning moves in jiu-jitsu you often are taught how to exploit bad habits.  From the mount you are taught the spinning armbar in response to your partner trying to bench you off.  From the guard you are taught how to kimura or bump-sweep when your partner puts their hands on the mat.  These techniques share a common thread: you are assuming your partner is doing something wrong.

Jiu-Jitsu is often compared to chess, and this is one of those times where the comparison is apt.  Beginners are more likely to make mistakes and so the person who gets a submission is most likely the person capitalizing on their partner’s mistakes.  But, just like in chess, as time goes on you’ll find your partners less likely to make mistakes.  The rolls become more and more about finding the perfect timing, misdirection – and if mistakes do happen jumping at the chance to exploit them because they might not come again.

Ok – so whats the point?  Well, if as a beginner your instruction begins with “an unskilled person will do X” then as an advanced practitioner you’ll start to hear “a really good player will do Y.”  When your instructor says these words your ears better perk up and you need to start paying attention!

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