Thursday, February 16, 2012

Day @#%$

I am going to be reprinting some old classic entries from my previous blog called The Angry Grappler. It will  chronicle the evolution in my understanding of martial arts.
02 January 2007 @ 02:26 pm

So I've been grappling in one form or another for a few years. My journey began in high school wrestling, then later to training with my friends because of a lack of any schools nearby, to learning submissions from Gokor and Gene Lebell to finally learning Brazilian Jiu Jitsu the 2nd quarter of last year. In that time theres a lot of things I could have done to become a better grappler now but only realized it over time, and even if someone had told me the secrets, I probably would have been too stubborn to listen. Probably am too stubborn now to listen.

I feel the basis of good grappling should start first with takedowns. All fights end on the ground? No. All fights start standing? Yes. And takedowns are more about drilling, muscle memory, timing, speed, athleticism. Things better suited for when you are younger, you can learn submissions even later in life and become competent. You see world champs in Jiu Jitsu who start late in life, you never hear of a judo or wrestling champ who picked up the sport in their 20s.

Preventing injuries is the second most important thing. You can put in 10 years in training, but if 5 of those years you were hurt and in and out of training, then mathematically someone who trained only 5 years injury free and more often could conceivably have spent more actual hours on the mat. Learn to tap early and often, and don't even roll until you somewhat get a little idea of balance and position. And don't do leg locks until you got a year or so under your belt and ask people not to leg lock you. And if you don't know takedowns, ask people not to throw or slam you.

After that is learning as many techniques as you can from everything you can. Even if you strictly do BJJ, you can still find a few good moves in catch or sambo or judo or a gooseneck submission from aikido or something. Be as technical as possible, beat them cuz you are better than them, not cuz you are bigger or stronger.

And the greatest submission of all is conditioning. You gotta be strong, fast, and have gas for days. If you have no energy to train, you don't get those needed hours on the mat.

In my own journey, I started wrestling too late and instead opted to learn TKD for a while. Big mistake. Then when I did wrestle, because I couldn't stand my team and because of academic pressures, I quit my senior year. Another mistake. Then in college I trained nothing until I got out and got my first job, then I shopped around and what I looked for was quality but at the same time at a good price. I eventually found Hayastan, Gokor and Gene's Academy. I don't necessarily regret that choice, I have moved on since then like many grapplers before me have. Something I do regret though is instead of training judo, I took Muay Thai at MTA. HUGE mistake because thats precious time I could have spent grappling, and I guess Ultimate Fighting got to my brain. Sure I can strike better than 99% of BJJ players, but so what, I'm rolling against them not ultimate boxing with them, and plus nowadays I could give a rats ass how my stand up is. I have no delusions of getting in a street fight or getting in a cage fight. I don't train for self defense because if I did, thats a lot of money spent on a possible encounter that my never happen in my life. Also I got hurt a lot and spent half of my time since I started grappling, on the sidelines nursing injuries. Sadly I trained at one of the best judo studios in the country and I hardly trained any judo there. Also I wasted money on gym dues at 24hr Fitness. Instead I should have just trained more, or worked more grappling conditioning, or did some Crossfit. Conditioning is so huge.

If I could have done it all over again I would have started to wrestle early in life, get a black belt in judo and sambo, and then ultimately get my black in BJJ. I would have gotten into better conditioning and competed more often and kept a grappling journal from day 1. Its not a mystery to become a great grappler, its just hard to find the discipline to do it, sometimes you just can't coach yourself because you give yourself bad advice.

I use the word grappling a lot but I don't really like it. Makes me think of catch wrestling and carnies. Saying jiu jitsu does sound more refined but its an art within grappling. And jiu jitsu is usually with the gi. I don't like the gi and spent most of my time training without it, but maybe that hurt my fundamentals.

About the Author:

Sam Y. is a Master Personal Trainer, Certified Nutritionist, Coach, Performance Enhancement Specialist, Corrective Enhancement Specialist, Yoga and Pilates instructor, and holds multiple certifications. He is also an avid Martial Artist, training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Kickboxing, Boxing, and MMA. He is also the author of the popular fitness blog All Out Effort as well as the popular martial arts blog Inner BJJ. You can find him in the Los Angeles area personal training his clients, or at home annoying his wife, or on Facebook at his personal fitness page.

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