Monster Midgets and Playful Giants.

A while back, whilst in conversation with a Twitter pal, I coined the above phrase casually as if I had some sort of beautiful mind. Every once in a while my brain will kick into action, and I’ll nod in agreeance as if to say, well done brain; you haven’t fucked me over today.

We were talking about the movers and shakers in the Scottish Jiu-Jitsu scene, and how Jiu-Jitsu is a sport in which people can often surprise you in their movements. Notably, the tiny among us become these relentless fucking beasts – whilst the giants become relaxed, to the point of appearing lethargic. It’s not secret that both are about to fuck you up, but it’s just amusing to see how split the two can be.

Small people and big people have a very different approach to Jiu-Jitsu that leads to the same place in my experience. A smaller person will be encouraged to focus on their conditioning and technique, because they’re unlikely to be the strongest person on the mat. With that, they have to find the gaps in a stronger person’s game.
A bigger person however, will the encouraged to focus on conserving their strength as not to blow themselves out and into a lactic acid induced blob. Their strength, if used well allows them time. That time is put to good use, and focused on applying the technique correctly. As previously stated, the result is very much the same, irrespective of body type. Technique, technique, technique.

For the last however many weeks, we’ve been refining our techniques with a series of drills, as you do. In yesterday’s class we put those drills into practice, with semi-resisting drilling partners. The idea was to explore and find the gaps in your opponent’s defense. So I’d be in guard, my partner would block the armbar, I’d counter with an omoplata, and so on and so forth. The timer would stop, and we’d swap positions. The intent is to build muscle memory in positions, and practice until it becomes second nature in a live scenario. After the drilling, we rolled exactly like this. No desire to kill one another. I made sure everyone I rolled with knew I wasn’t there to better them, and they weren’t there to better me. If an opportunity for a submission arose, it wasn’t forced, and you were there because you fucked up. What came of that was some really fun, flowing rolls with constant swapping of positions. It was great.

Of late, my two training partners of choice have been Ronnie and Sloany. Ronnie’s as strong as an ox, and about the same weight as myself (stockier though). Sloany has a few kilos on me, to put it politely. Training with both is great because they’re respectful training partners, and they’re both as enthusiastic about learning and progressing as myself. If I’m training with Ronnie, I know I have to work to deal with the fact that he’s sculpted out of wood. He’s solid. Sloany encourages me to adjust my techniques, to deal with his heft (he has shoulders as wide as the city gates). Similarly when either are drilling with myself, they’re working to deal with my flexibility, mobility and all round being a wriggly wee fuck.

The compliment of styles is great, and it’s reflected perfectly when we roll. If Ronnie or Sloany wanted to, they could pin me to the ground and probably hold me still for 5 solid minutes. If I wanted to, I could wrist-lock either until they spewed. None of us learn anything by trying to do this. We learn through varied scenarios, and the only way we’re going to get those scenarios is with give and take. None of us are afraid to be on our backs, or even be swept. We’ve all been deep in a choke, and stayed calm enough to get out. We’re here to better ourselves, and we’re fortunate enough to be able to do that together, because we have good training partners.
Sloany and Ronnie are already the most gentle of giants. I feel myself getting trickier by the week, as one of the classes relative midgets (weak cunt). I may not be a monster yet. But it’s coming. It’s finally fitting together.

Right, piss off. x


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