Today I woke up quite late, around 11:15 or so. I don’t really like to lie in, but sometimes it just happens. It’s part of the whole lazy moniker. I didn’t really have time for breakfast before training at twelve, so I banged an episode of The Office on, had a shower and drove down ready to burst with enthusiasm.
Only the enthusiasm never happened. I could not be fucking arsed. There were three other guys there. Grant, Shaun & Raphael. All great guys and brilliant training partners, but still I just didn’t want to be there. Sometimes I go through that funk that us Jiu-Jitsu practitioners seem to suffer from, I’m positively bipolar with Jiu-Jitsu. I could have a funk one day, and be brimming to train the next. Today I was of the impression AWA’ AN’ SHITE (this is a Scottish term for fuck off).
Raphael’s the highest grade, so he took the class. We worked a few guard passes, some De La Riva sweeps and generally just drilled like you should be drilling. This all went well, I was partnered with Shaun and he gives a good resistance with drilling, without making things difficult. So why the fuck hasn’t the funk lifted?
Anyways, we were done drilling and it was time to roll. Grant set the clock for nine minutes. I want you to think about how long nine minutes actually is for a moment. Now, if you went to a restaurant and asked for a table and you were told, “It’ll be about nine minutes.” you’d be fine with it. However, if you’re having a heart attack and someone says, “I’ll call an ambulance in nine minutes.” you bet your arse you’re going to be freaking the fuck out.
As the buzzer sounded my brain actually seized up. It took a few seconds to get going again, but when it did the funk had drifted off into the sunset like a cow’s fart. Shaun’s a scrappy guy, he’s a white belt but I believe he has had a few MMA fights, and he’s certainly no stranger to NoGi. You quickly learn with Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu that a belt can mean a million things. There are white belts that can completely smash me, and there are blue belts that wouldn’t dare cross my path for fear of me draining the life out of them (this may not be true). I’ll stop there before I run off on a tangent. So knowing that Shaun could be scrappy for the full nine minutes, I thought fuck it and switched to autopilot. I didn’t overcommit to anything, and neither did he, but the roll was fun with multiple positions. I loved it.
Next up, Raphael. Brazil’s finest. Now Raph’ at any point could if he wants to kill me dead but he didn’t. He kept it playful, and I was even able to escape his multiple attacks. I think he attempted six or seven wristlocks. They were fucking sore, but I’m not tapping to a bloody wristlock. Well not today, at least. The best thing about rolling with Raph’ today, was that I was able to use a couple of the techniques that he’d shown us just before the roll. Sure he was able to counter them right afterwards, but it at least proved that they worked when sparring. Cracking.
My final roll was with Grant. He’s my nemesis. We constantly one up one another in sparring because we’re quite evenly matched. I can come in one day and he’ll batter me all over the gym, and vice versa the next. Grant had a long day yesterday, he has a shoulder injury and he’s just recovered from the cold. So this can only mean one thing. TODAY WAS MY DAY, BIATCH!
I jest. This was the third roll that I tried to just run on autopilot, not to do anything stupid or too adventurous but just to defend and attack when appropriate. What I realised with Grant at least is that my defense and attacks are getting a lot better. I started the roll with a Berimbolo variation that I didn’t even know I had in me. We pissed about for a while, he stopped my sloppy bow & arrow choke that I always forget how to fucking do when rolling, as he always does. About half way through we stopped rolling for a moment, because Grant wanted to show me a nifty trick to defend knee on stomach. Noted. Fist bump, back to rolling. Now I’ve no idea how it happened, but as I was trying to take his back he went for a deep single to stop it, I must have shifted my hips or something because I ended up taking his back and getting a body triangle out of fucking nowhere. Now the rear naked choke was there for the taking, so I took it. Adjusted, re-adjusted, etc until he tapped. I wish I hadn’t taken the choke though, as stupid as that is. We were clearly in a position where I had the upper hand. He was so tightly wrapped up that he wasn’t going anywhere, yet I still felt the need to take the choke. That’s taking the piss and I won’t be doing it again. From here we continued, he started his resurgence and I got tangled in his fucking guard. Oh shit, there’s a triangle on my neck. I’d seen the clock a few seconds before this moment though, so I knew there wasn’t long left. I decided instead of fighting the triangle I was just going to sit it out. If I fought, he’d have finished me, but because I didn’t the buzzer hit and I didn’t have to tap. Now to summarise how tight the triangle was, if you were to ask me to count to ten whilst it was on, I probably would have said, “One. Two. Truck. Eight. Boat. Lake. Job. Nine. Ten.” It was tiiight.
I learned a lot today. Some new moves. Nine minute rounds aren’t bad. I don’t have to replace my autopilot system. I can survive and attack well. I shouldn’t see a tap as an entitlement, as it proved nothing. And most importantly, you can pull yourself out of a funk doing this beautiful fucking sport.