Rolling with The Master.

After another hiatus from Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, I wanted to throw myself back into the deep end. I asked fellow grapplers if anyone wanted to roll on Friday night, and the response was brilliant. I aim to roll from six to half seven every other Friday (work permitting), but Paul and Sloany were opening early to work on a few things. That was my in.
I swaggered into the gym at five on the dot ready to take skulls home with me, for the mantlepiece.

We drilled some techniques, then it was onto rolling. I got the fat straw first and rolled with Kenny. It was a fun roll, with him attempting various submissions and myself doing my best not to become another man trapped inside the stomach of Moby Prick. Kenny’s always a delight to roll with.

Then I rolled with Robert. I’d never rolled with him before, as we’re normally on different paths through the club. Opposite classes, different time tables or whatever the hell you want to call it. I’ve always passed him and thought, how does this guy roll?
I’d watched him roll with Kenny for a bit to try and gauge how he’d get on, but it’s hard to tell, when Kenny is on someone.
Rolling with Robert was fun. Plenty of back and forth and opportunities from both of us. It’s also good to roll with someone that is in a similar weight bracket. Although, with my ongoing fatness I’m probably quite a bit heavier than him. Gah.

Next up was Paul. The master himself. Paul’s been the staple submission grappling coach since the club’s inception. Without him and Billy we just wouldn’t know any of the shit we do. He’s a fan of catch-as-catch-can, and loves to wrestle. Tonight from the second I got into the club, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. He’s the smallest I’ve ever seen him, at 76 kilos. I’m sure the last time I rolled with him he was at least 90KG, but it’s hard to tell because his top game is so dominating.
Apparently he’s eating yogurt five times a week, and the weight has just fallen off. Goes to a yogurt class and everything.  Amazing.

We tickled fingers, slapped hands, bumped fists, kissed each other’s cheeks, signed the necessary papers and got to rolling. I was completely thrown by everything he was doing, because for several years Paul has been very much a crush and smash sort of player. He gets top control, and makes you feel like you’ve never grappled before in your life. He has a few attacks that he’s able to get to from anywhere, and you’re just along for the ride.
Friday though, he was actively playing guard, and attacking from angles that I hadn’t seen him do before, unless giving the class a demo. He was inviting passes, attacks, etc. He thoroughly kicked my arse in a whole new way, expected of course – but not like that. He fucking Jiu-Jitsu’d me, when he’s meant to be a bloody wrestler. This will not stand.

Along the way he was doing what a good coach does best and correcting glaring holes in my game, and adding new tips and tricks to my arsenal. It took me a while to realise that I could actually move him, which never used to happen before. Obviously it was a friendly roll, so he’d turned crush and smash off for a more flowing approach – but it was just surreal to play with that energy.
You’re looking across at someone that used to be one of the strongest people you know, and now they’re this super flexible, relaxed grappler in the space of only a few months. It’s one thing knowing how dangerous he was when he was a big strong lump that could smash you through the floor, but this lighter, flexible Paul is a whole new animal. He’s always been the end game boss, but this is the sequel and he’s back with new tricks. The knowledge was obviously always there, but this further cements the necessity in understanding mobility and flexibility in grappling. It can completely change how great a grappler you are. Paul was always great, but now he’s greater whilst being less (fat). Mind fuck.

I don’t get to Paul’s classes enough, or train with him enough. That has to change. I might have to set my gis on fire and retire my Shaka to be allowed though. 😕

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