This is the story all about how, my training got flipped, turned upside down. And I’d like to take a minute, just shrimp right there, I’ll tell you how I became a grappler that started to care.
That was cheesy, I’ll admit, but you fucking loved every second of it. Last night was due to be a regular Monday night training session. My current routine isn’t the most intense, as you can gather by the moniker The Lazy Grappler. However, it’s about time I started ramping this training shit up. It’s time to progress, whether I like it hurts or not. Before last night’s SURGE to greatness, my routine was as follows:
Sunday – BJJ (small group of people), drilling & sparring between 1200-1400.
Monday – Weights, between 1830-2000.
Wednesday – BJJ (big group of people), drilling & sparring between 1830-2000.
This is just a regular run-of-the-mill week for me. The rest of the time, I’m either working, spending time with my girlfriend or trying to keep myself sane with music, comedy and all of that other shit. Ideally I’d train more, but I have neither the time nor the facility to do so at the moment. Sometimes I’ll sneak a session in on a Friday. Some No-Gi or open mat faffing about stuff.
Last night shit got switched up, so from now on there is a new Monday routine. And whilst it was hell at the time, upon leaving the club my brain was alight with wonderment at how good I was going to feel after a few weeks of this. We’d finished our weights, and Patrick the Strength and Conditioning Coach suggested that the four of us do his grappling circuit. Now he had a glint in his eye and what can only be described as a devilish grin but fuck it I thought, let’s do this! THIS IS SPARTA. Well not quite, but I was into the idea at least.
So here’s the rundown on what was ‘accomplished’ last night.
There was a light warmup with skipping and some stretching. I got my Rocky fucking Balboa on whilst the strikers looked on with the sort of dazzled look that screamed at me; how is this non-boxing chump able to skip? I’ll tell you how, it’s the magic of the lilac rope. Fuck you strikers! Or something.
Back Squat – 3 sets – 10 reps – 3 minute rest
Bench Press – 3 sets – 10 reps – 3 minute rest
Stiff Legged Deadlift – 3 sets – 10 reps – 3 minute rest
Bent Over Row – 3 sets – 10 reps – 3 minute rest
Military Press – 3 sets – 10 reps – 3 minute rest
Barbell Rollouts – 3 sets – 10 reps – 90 second rest
Each exercise started with 30KG with the remaining two sets at 40KG.
I’m gradually building these muscle things and being that I’m not a big guy, my main focus currently is technique. My technique currently is shit. I can pick a few out of that lot that I’m truly comfortable with, ideally I’ll be power-lifting 8,000KG within the month. I think that’s how it works.
Patrick’s eyes lit up after we’d completed the weights, the fucker. He muttered something about conditioning. It’s meant to be good for you, but he may have been lying just to watch us die.
Here’s how it went down.
5 minute rounds. 2 minute rest. 3 rounds.
The stations were as follows.
10 Kettlebell Swings.
10 Axe Swings (big rubber band, each direction).
10 Bent Over Rows.
Rinse and repeat until dead.
The idea here is to get through the full set as many times as possible in 5 minutes. Ideally in the first few weeks, we’ll be looking to do 2 complete sets in 5 minutes, gradually increasing this and reducing our rest time as we go along.
Now this routine didn’t kill me (as I’m sure Patrick intended), but by the third set I had nothing left. Everything I did was poor. Dips and chinups suffered first, I was suddenly reduced to the strength of a ninety year old woman, who hadn’t shat unassisted in years.
For a good few minutes after this conditioning my brain was mush. I didn’t really have much to say, as the sweat literally fountained out of me. It’s at this point Raphael our resident Brazilian uttered the disgusting words, “We roll?” I’d considered grabbing a dumbbell and throwing it at him, but I was spent. Also, being far quicker and better than me, he’d likely have choked me out before I’d finished my thought. Luckily he’s not telepathic. After a few minutes, I’d dropped the thoughts of hate. Training drained may well work. Geoff and Grant were in too, they had the same mentality I did. What could we possibly lose? We’re already defeated.
We donned our gis like men. Men who were tired. The idea was simple. Four people doing 2 minute rounds with no break between rounds. Once all three rounds were complete, we rewarded ourselves with a 2 minute break to re-hydrate. As soon as the buzzer went, you swapped partners and continued. The break was a god send. The others chose to hydrate and breathe. I quietly wept.
I had intended to break down every single roll, but it turns out that’s difficult, boring and reads poorly. SO FUCK ALL THAT NOISE. What I will do though is break down each opponent and key moments from the rolls. For myself, I started with Raphael (purple belt), moved onto Geoff (white belt) and finished with Grant (blue belt), three times over.
Raphael is 60KG of pure technique. Everything he does is excellent, and as such he is very frustrating to roll with, in a good way. I feel inferior when rolling with him, because he’s far better at exposing my faults than I ever will be his. I get the feeling that if he wants to take my back, he will. If he wants an armbar, he will take it, and so on. Having said that, at no point do I feel this humble little Brazilian is taking the piss out of me. Every second spent with the guy, you LEARN. And that’s brilliant to have. In the second roll, I survived the longest with him, maybe 90 seconds of playing a 50/50 guard, which managed to slow his game down before he found the tap. It’s not much to be proud of, but I was.
Geoff is about my weight, he has better cardio because he’s one of those annoying bastards that wears spandex (a cyclist), and he’s also a good bit stronger than I (for now). With this in mind I try to focus on technique only with Geoff, I don’t want to take the piss, but I do have to think more when rolling with him, because if I don’t, I will pay for it. So what happened in the first roll? I got lazy, he attacked me relentlessly and got the tap from a triangle. I felt defeated very early on. The other rolls, I decided not to be lazy, swept when available, tried to keep him guessing and upon realising I no longer had the strength to separate his grip for straight armbars, I worked a nasty little twisted armbar in. I did this by constantly moving position so that he’d open up more. An arm was now exposed, so I applied pressure gently then sealed the deal by ripping his puny little arm out of the socket. I may have exaggerated there slightly for dramatic effect.
Grant is slightly lighter than I, and more technically proficient from the guard. We’re the same rank, and have cancelled one another out for a long time now. Things just seem to always take a particular pattern, because we know one another’s games so well. We’ll occasionally catch each other though. I don’t think either of us tapped one another last night, although he may have tapped me. Who fucking knows? Highlights include myself dominating the first round for about half the match, then him dominating the second half (this happens a lot with us).
My complete fuck-up of a suicide choke attempt. I missed so many key details, it’s actually embarrassing and shouldn’t have been mentioned. There, that’s better. I had a sloppy but tight triangle on at one point, although didn’t get the tap. He thoroughly battered me in the second round when it looked like I had nothing left to give. And in the third round I came back like Rocky, swarming him relentlessly until the buzzer screamed FUCK OFF HOME BASTARDS.
What more can I say really? Last night was exceptionally good fun. Thanks to Grant, Geoff, Patrick & Raphael. They’re a great group of guys, and this is how I’ll be spending a lot of Mondays from now on. Fuck yeah.