Being a professional ass kicker has its draw backs you know. For starters, I don’t get paid, so I’m not actually a professional.
I’ve been doing this shit a while, and my once vibrant purple belt is starting to look a bit worn – to say the least. My stripes have fallen off so many times, I’ve stopped putting them back on (a clean belt, is a healthy belt).
I’m training frequently, I’m coaching frequently and I’m doing what I can to ensure the betterment of other people’s games, in addition to my own – but I still get really pissed off all the time, that’s the bit you don’t see. Jiu-Jitsu can be a pain in the fucking arse, and not just for white belts.
After I roll with someone, if you’re doing something that could do with a bit of work, or if you specifically ask, I’ll usually use my rest time between rounds to try and help you by explaining positions, techniques and concepts. I’ve been there, I’ve fucked up a million times before – so I try to give a little back. My coaches have done the same for me in the past, so it’s become a part of my grappling ethos.
Sharing knowledge in anything can be interpreted positively or negatively if it’s not asked for. My intent is always good, but I guess it’s not always seen that way at times. The idea is to try and nurture people, so that they get better and in turn so do I – however it doesn’t seem to be working. I’m still seeing people make the same mistakes over and over again, and my own game is still a lazy mess of shit. When I apply myself, I’ll happily show you around sweep town or submission city – but I wouldn’t be the lazy grappler if I applied myself, would I?
On Friday, I ventured up to Sloany’s for a bit of NoGi. We worked on the head and arm choke, the north south choke and a choke from scarf hold that I hadn’t seen before (very similar to Josh Barnett’s finish of Dean Lister at Metamoris yonks ago, but there’s no crank).
Afterwards we rolled. I fucked shit up. Flowing between sweeps and submissions like I actually know what I’m doing. You have these days now and again, where you’re aware that you’re not untouchable but you just roll really REALLY well.
On Saturday, I attended a charity competition in Dundee. I missed the last one and felt shitty about it, so I made sure to get myself along to this one. It’s especially important to show your support for these events when so many people you know have worked hard to put it together, and the cause itself is something that affects people you know. A friend and training partner of mine has a son with Duchenne’s, which is a form of muscular dystrophy. I can’t even begin to imagine how difficult that is currently, and how difficult it may be down the road, but what I can do is donate to a good cause so that treatments are researched and explored for current and future generations.
I’ve never competed in NoGi before, and my competition résumé in the Gi isn’t exactly glowing either to be honest. For me, Masters of the Universe (yes, that’s the real name) was about three things – donating to good cause, conquering competition anxiety and seeing how I got on.
The results were mixed. I got bronze, but it was a default medal as the third place match didn’t take place. My opponent had to pull out. Shit happens eh?
In my first match, I was against one of the Results Gym guys. They’re good wrestlers, with a Catch focus.
He didn’t shoot, just went straight to a body lock and worked to my back – I just dropped, rolled under myself and took guard. I feel safe in guard. He was wearing wrestling shoes, so had a lot of purchase on the mats to try and drive forward and pass my guard. My guard’s pretty solid, I’d say. I was lazy with my attacks, but I was making sure I was maintaining a solid and difficult to pass guard. I think he passed to half guard at one point, but I recovered back to z-guard then full guard. Biding my time. I wasn’t really interested in inherent risk, so I didn’t look for sweeps – I was just monitoring hand positions and trying to gauge when would be best to throw up a triangle. Once I had the triangle in place, I played about with the usual shit, pulling the head etc (thanks Adam) but I didn’t have the angle completely right and wasn’t about to adjust it in case I lost the position entirely. So I started playing with his trapped arm. The pressure I can keep with my legs is decent enough, that I’ll be able to manipulate the position into a pretty tight armbar. That’s how I got the tap.
At any point, he could have looked for the slam but I heard later that he didn’t want to be a dick. That’s appreciated, because I would have let that shit go so fast.
My second match was against the day’s double gold medalist. He won the men’s -80KG and the absolute by taking everyone into EBI overtime. In the match itself, I was super lazy – thinking I’d be able to get away with the same shit I always do. I was a bit thrown at the start of the match when he requested no heel hooks, and I basically abandoned whatever leg lock game I have, which on reflection was pretty stupid as I have kneebars and straight footlocks for days. He tried setting up a few submissions on me. Some Americanas and a head and arm choke, iirc but I never felt in danger. Before I knew it, I’d squandered the match and was in overtime. He won the flip, and attacked first from the back. I tapped to jaw pressure like a bitch after 38 seconds (it felt like hours).
Before appropriately thinking about the situation, I took his back and went for the choke myself. I managed to work my forearm under his chin pretty quickly and had my arms in the correct position but this dude would not die. That’s kind of his thing.
Had I rolled to his belly, or taken spiderweb instead would things have been any different? Probably not, but I’ve got something to work on now – so that’s positive.
I’m relieved that I didn’t embarrass myself too much, at least taking a victory in one match – but I was deflated and sore by the time the absolute came, so I swerved that, and enjoyed the remaining matches of the day.
I need to hold myself to a far higher standard than I am currently. I’m so fucking lazy when I roll it’s ridiculous. I thought for the most part I’d corrected a lot of my bad habits, but the weekend proved that not to be the case. In your own club, you get used to other people’s games fast, and I know I can get away with a very lazy game against a lot of people – so they’re very much self-inflicted traits.
One thing that was good though, is that I wasn’t nervous. There wasn’t the usual anxiety I get when I’ve competed in the past. That could be because I’ve grown, or it could be because I was in a safe space surrounded by good people. Comments afterwards were positive, and I appreciate that – but I know now what to work on. The work began yesterday, a day removed from the competition. A taught a pretty solid class, that I’m going to revisit again on Wednesday and tonight’s rolling night – with me taking the lead. Ergo, my rules FUCKERS.
I’d like to give a mention to Fenrir Thorvaldsen and Alistair Anderson for putting on such a well run show. They both promoted it well in the lead up, and with that quite a bit of money was raised for Duchenne’s.
Thanks to all the sponsors that made it happen too, there’s too many to list – but The Dungeon Bar is worth a shout, for being cool.
Here’s a donation page, if you’re interested.