Tag Archives: nogi

Kool-Aid.

Hello friends, foes and other hoes. A few of my closer friends have asked why I haven’t written anything for a bloody long while.
I’ve been pretty busy scrapping on the floor as much as I possibly can, but the honest answer is that I normally write when I’m in a darker place mentally with my grappling; if things are going shitty – it’s far easier to write something from a self-deprecating point of view. If they’re going well – it’d be all rainbows and unicorns – and that’s just not what I’m about, son.
When I started this blog shite, it was a way of venting my frustrations. There was also some catalouging of progress, etc. but now, I’m in a better place more often, so my frustrations are squashed when I next train. If you get my drift.

With that said, I wouldn’t be writing this pish if I didn’t have something to vent.

On a weekly basis I spend as much time on the mats as possible, sharpening my own skills, coaching and doing my best to positively influence others. I will not lie – This can be a fucking grind. I’m hardly a ray of positivity, and tend to lead in what could be called an informal manner. Bit of a bastard, innit.
The balance between training and coaching is a difficult one to strike, and people are vampires. You’ll quite often see coaches get bogged down by their own game, because they’re so focused on everyone else in the room (one of my head coaches is guilty of this, even though he’s a technical monster – you know who you are, you fuck).
When this isn’t your main gig, and you have to work for a living, being sensible in your approach to training is vital. I only have so much time in the week and with that it’s an almighty balancing act. Watching, thinking and doing Jiu-Jitsu is only enough if you’re investing your time wisely.

I’ve taken the following approach; I attend three classes a week and teach one class. I’ll usually try and muscle in something additional to that too, a bit of extra sparring for instance. That only accounts for a linear view of the learning / coaching split.
Being a senior grade comes with an expectation to lead by example and to impart that fabled ‘wisdom’ they talk about in the movies. So quite often, I’ll be coaching within classes in an assistive manner to the lead coach – or one on one with various students. My primary focus is still learning, and it always will be. I want to make it clear that when I get that illusive black belt in the years to come, I’m not going to fuck off into the sunset. I’ll still be in classes regularly, learning like a dirty little white belt – I’ll have just been here longer.
In addition to the learning and coaching, I try to roll as often as I can. I find it interesting to see what approaches people have to certain techniques. We’re all built differently, so there’s micro-adjustments that we all make to try and get shit to work. Some people kill you slowly and methodically. Others are bulldozers. Some wrestle. Some invert. Some people are straight up ninjas. Techniques are only guidelines in Jiu-Jitsu. It’s you that turns them into a game.

Over the years, I’ve invested a fair few hours into this hobby of mine.
My own progress aside, in return for my invested time I’ve seen countless people progress into absolute warriors, but I have also seen people come and go. That accounts for great talents, average Joes and the truly abysmal.
Of those that stick it out, again there’s a split of great talent, average Joes and somehow a small bunch of ham-fisted thundercunts (bless their hearts).
With that in mind, knowing who to invest your time into is difficult, because you just don’t know whether they’re going to stick it out. It’s an absolute fucking cunt of a thing. Everyone’s all about that #JiuJitsuLife throwing up selfies and shakkas when it suits their social media, but let’s face it our turnover rate at white and blue belt is bloody embarrassing in this Martial Art of ours. People can, and often do very quickly fade away into obscurity. That’s not to say I don’t love a bit of self-indulgent social media, but I train, so it’s allowed.

Having a pool of people you can rely on is seemingly hard to come by, even with a fairly large team. People break, they holiday, they family, they relax, and at one point or another I have been guilty of all of these things. Life somehow finds a way to ruin grappling. Let’s not forget I used to bin training pretty frequently for a new game on the XboxStation. Don’t be THAT guy.

I haven’t yet worked out how the hell we’re meant to get people to stick this shit out. I’ve seen so many brilliant grapplers dissipate into nothingness over the years. I also often look back on people with a what could have been mentality, that gets me down. I can control my own training, and I can try and make my own classes engaging, fun, whatever – but sometimes it just seems like we’re fighting a losing battle. People are going to quit, because people are shit. Also, there are people that you haven’t invested enough time into in the early days, that have pushed through the shit and are now high level blues and purples. What’s all that about?

As good as our current roster is, I don’t feel I can genuinely rely on a lot of these goons to stick around and continue to drink from the Jiu-Jitsu Kool-Aid.
My biggest worry currently is whether those that are on the cusp of new belts are about to fuck off into the ether forever. This is commonplace in Jiu-Jitsu, and one of the great ignored realities. I’ve walked a fine line recently, trying to ensure I’ve been good with the students and I’m not ignoring people or just rolling and engaging with the same people over and over again, as was the norm in the good old days – but I just don’t know if that’s enough.

I felt compelled to write this so that you know where I’m coming from. If you’re not engaged, please don’t just give up. Speak to a coach, speak to your training partners. There are slumps in this thing. Jiu-Jitsu isn’t easy. It’s a bloody grind with very little loot at the end for us hobbyists. Let’s try not to lose any more people from our fabled little Martial Art, stick this shit out and all be really terrible black belts together. I need people to roll with in the next god knows however many years.

Right, m’aff.

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Elevation.

If you read last week’s issue of The Lazy Grappler, you’ll know that I was promoted – but I’m not the only cowboy in Dodge. Loads of people were promoted alongside me at the same time, or the following week too. It’s a fucking who’s who of stripes and belts across the board. Finally we’re in a position where there are tons of coloured belts on the mats. This has always been the aim, and it makes me so god damn proud of all your wee faces.

I’m not going to list everyone that was promoted, becuase it’s a massive list and more importantly; I definitely would forget someone, they’d throw their toys out of the pram, and it’s just not a can of worms I can be arsed with the ballache of opening.

For a long time, a lot of people in my wee club have suffered from the idea that promotions aren’t especially important,  because if you’re having fun and just enjoying doing what you’re doing, I guess they’re not.
When it comes to NoGi, you legitimately don’t know how good someone else is until you roll with them or see them roll. Gi is a little bit different. The senior grades have a big target on them, saying HEY! fucking look at this.
The belt should give you an idea of where someone is at. That strip of material along the waistline should be a measurement of a few things; attitude, discipline, technique, knowledge, time, etc. The further up the ranks you get, the more inherent trust others will put into you. The game changes. Your own progress now has a knock on effect to everyone else in the gym (that cares). As more people around you get promoted, people start to elevate their games across the board. It’s a very positive thing to see and experience. Plus for the team, the club or whatever, you have a far easier sell of the Martial Art that you’re demonstrating to masses.

Grading is a very personal thing. I think the right way to do it (and I may be wrong here), is to judge a person against themselves. That’s how I was graded. Are they a better version now, of what they were say X amount of time ago? When judging someone’s progression, you should be looking at their expression of Jiu-Jitsu, how they move, what their attitude is etc. Comparing two people like for like is difficult because of how different those people can be.
For instance, I am not a supreme athelete, I am not a fighter, I’m just a hobbyist that happens to have put a decent amount of time into this. My arse can still be kicked if/when I get lazy, but I do have an A-game that works very well against a lot of people. So I try to keep it real, yo. I am not Cobrinha. 😦

To wrap up for those of you who didn’t get promoted; be happy for those that did and stay hungry. By trying to beat the promoted people up, you are getting better. They’re also getting better and so on. It’s a ripple effect. We all elevate one another in this Jiu-Jitsu stuff, from white belt all the way to black. We’re all getting better together. There will come a day when you’re also promoted for the effort you’ve put in, and someone can start trying to kick your cunt in for the privilege. It’s the circle. THE CIRCLE OF LIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIFE. x

Guillotines with The Raspberry Ape.

On Saturday, I packed my favourite pair of grappling shorts for an afternoon down at Dundee Mixed Martial Arts. Daniel Strauss was in town to show us all how to choke the fucking shit out of one another.

Last year, I travelled up to Aberdeen with a few pals to attend his butterfly seminar. The details were simple and effective, and it was great to spend three hours just going over one thing in great detail. It’s the sort of drilling you’re meant to do, but just don’t. Drill to kill and all that jazz. This isn’t my first rodeo, so I had a good idea of what I was in for.

This year, the same format returned. Daniel doesn’t fuck around, once there’s a quick head count down and it’s definite that there’s no other cunts due to show up, the class starts and you’re put to work immediately. There’s no warmup, because it’s summer. Really though, you’re about to drill for hours, at a very gradual pace, if you need a warmup you’re probably about to die. Sort your fucking life out, mate. Whipped cream on chips, you savage.

Each section is broken up meticulously and probably labeled appropriately. There’s a beginning, a middle bitty and an end. With some caveats thrown in, just to keep things funky. I’m downplaying things a bit here, because I don’t want to go into specifics and take money out the poor boy’s mouth. He’s clearly a very hungry boy. It’s shitty to chuck lesson plans online, when he’s still touring the seminar.

What I will say though, is that I am wholly shit at guillotines (or at least that’s how I felt at the beginning), but after three hours of practicing them and listening to the concepts and ideas that Daniel has about them, it really fucking gelled with me. I legit think I can guillotine anyone now, which is a gross over-estimation of where I’m at – but that’s not the point I’m making here. The point is, for £25 this is probably the best seminar I’ve ever been to. I fucking loved it.

Like most top black belts, he really takes the time to ensure you’re picking up the correct details, and he does this by observing everyone in the class, listening to your gripes and correcting them as you go. You’re encouraged throughout to ask questions. You don’t move on until everyone’s getting it, or at least that’s how it seemed. Granted there were a few right dumb fucks in the class, so it’s hard to tell. We might have been there all fucking day had he waited until EVERYONE got it.

I’ve been playing with the setups this week, and even when the success isn’t quite there yet, it’s ingrained in my brain. I just need to keep practicing and before you know it, I’ll be snatching up motherfucker’s necks whilst wearing only my rainbow coloured godzilla spats. That shit’s scary, yo.

Daniel Strauss is probably one of the nicest black belts you’re likely to meet, fuck he’s probably one of the nicest guys you’re likely to meet. He’s approachable and friendly with everyone, and there’s a real genuine quality to his character and coaching. You already know what he’s capable of, but his warmth as a person really hammers it home (even when he’s asking if Scotland has iPhones yet. Motherfucker). If you get the chance, look him up on Instagram or one of the numerous grappling shows he’s been on – and if you’re interested in learning how to get good at grappling, go to one of his seminars before his broken body catches up with him. I’m in my thirties, and shit’s getting real. He’s fucked.

Here’s some pictures of The Raspberry Ape and I, and the rest of the group. Don’t play spot the dumb fuck, it’s nasty.

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What an absolute dude. @dundeemma hosted a seminar with @raspberry_ape Daniel Strauss today. He’s touring Guillotines this year; the detail and instruction he gave was brilliant. It’s a submission I’ve always struggled with, but now that I understand Dan’s concept – I feel I’m going to have great success going forward. IF I don’t, then at least I had a fun afternoon. After last year’s butterfly seminar and this one, I will be attending whatever shit he’s pedalling going forward. Hopefully he sticks with Jiu-Jitsu, because if he starts teaching that no-touch bollocks I’m going to be pretty pissed off. #BJJ #BrazilianJiuJitsu #NoGi #GuillotineChoke #Dundee #ShackleAndBlade

A post shared by Barry Lewis (@thelazygrappler) on

 

 

I’ll be back soon for more shit talking. Toodles.

 

Not the Master of the Universe.

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.

https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-display/showROSomeoneSpecialPage?pageUrl=TeamDex

John Danaher: The New Yorker.

This is a fantastic piece, giving a slight insight into the Danaher Death Squad. Give it a read. and I’ll continue back to my waffling ways soon.

John Danaher, the Jujitsu Master Turning an Ancient Art Into a Modern Science.

The Dark Arts and Other Wares.

Hello again bastards. I’ve been in hiding for a while, toying with writing bits and bobs, but the bug just hasn’t been there. Training has continued as it normally does, but to the point where I’m constantly thinking about training, and the idea of also writing about training makes my heart ache. Plus, writing with mangled BJJ hands just isn’t cricket.
I’ve just finished up my latest stint, and I’ll be taking a much needed break until Saturday, so I figured I’d use this as a prime opportunity to bring you up-to speed since my Birthday.

Since my last post, I’m still training more Gi than I am NoGi. It’s how my work/life balance fits and it’s suited me this way for years. If I could train every single day like a grappling mega-beast (alternating between Gi and NoGi) I would; but I can’t, so there’s no point on dwelling on it. What I need to do is  make what training sessions I do count. All mat time is valuable, and should be treated as such. Sadly this means I act the cunt a lot less on the mats. BOO!

Being aware of the fact that I can’t just be good at one part of this fabled art, I’ve made a considered effort to train NoGi with the right people, so that my game elevates quickly. The results so far have been really positive. Or at least the feedback has been.
I’ve been working with our local NoGi coach/Norse God; Fenrir Thorvaldsen. Getting a gauge on his leg lock system, and working both defenses and attacks from various positions. We’ve crammed detail into these short sessions, and I’ve done my best to ask the right questions to extrapolate as much data from that big juicy head of his as possible.

The results whilst rolling have been tremendous. There are leglockers at my club that have gone from completely dominating me in the leglock game, to having a battle to a submission. I’m a still a realist, I’m not winning these exchanges currently but my understanding of The Dark Arts has come on far enough in a short period of time, that I’m making these exchanges difficult for my opponents. It’s no longer a whitewash, and I’m able to have fun with that aspect of grappling. Before they’d setup the heel-hook, I’d tap. Rinse. Repeat.
I’ve started to understand leg pummeling, auto-pummels, ankle control etc and how they fit into the big bastard leglock jigsaw. With more time on the mats, and a better understanding of tying these movements together I know that I’m going to be leg-locking the fuckers that are trying to leg-lock me. That’s pretty fucking brilliant, and exciting.

In addition to Fenrir’s guidance in the last month, I’ve also attended another Speedy seminar. Learning some ‘flying’ armbar attacks, and re-working some nasty lapel trap chokes. It was great to refine old techniques with new details.
After the seminar, I had two really good rolls with Speedy. One blindfolded, and one with my eyes piercing through his soul. He absolutely obliterated me with gentle ease. When I was blindfolded, it felt like I was rolling with two or three men. It was a truly horrible experience. All gaps were filled, there was little room to breathe, etc.
When I had my eyes open, it allowed me to shift my focus to his feet/legs. Speedy’s a leg-locker by trade, so I knew I wouldn’t really get anywhere with my attacks/attempts but it’s a fun new approach that I’m playing with, so I had to try and get a hold of him in a new way. All it did was open me up to armlocks that I never thought were possible.
After the rolls, he complimented me on how technically I’d rolled, but I didn’t feel like the strongest swimmer that day, because I was clearly drowning.

Last week I taught some classes at our little club in Billy’s absence.
I feel like my coaching has finally come onto where it should be. I’m actually confident in my own abilities, the techniques I’m teaching and leading a class. Normally I’d be a mess without the support of certain peers, but I finally feel comfortable in front of the class, leading them into battle. This has been helped by assisting Grant as he leads the classes at the Hut. Adding details, refining techniques for the class, and just giving him a breather when he’s getting battered from a kid or something.
I’m going to carry this mentality on at the weekend, when we have another bi-annual inter-club. I want to make a considered effort to coach from the sidelines, because I’ve neglected it before, and my training partners deserve better than that. These guys are family, and it’s only fair that I support them as best I can, like I’ve been supported in the past by others.

Before I go, I’d like to celebrate a cracking day off. I trained three times today. My first session was at 10am at Navarro’s Fitness & Fighting Gym with Danny and Grant. We rolled and dicussed/tried techniques.
My second session was acting ute for Danny’s private with Fenrir.
My third session was my regular Wednesday BJJ under the tutelage of Billy at DMMA.
I feel truly fucking knackered right now, but in the best possible way.
It was a great way to spend my day. I enjoyed each individual session for different reasons, and really wish some bastard would just pay me to do this 8 hours a day. I’ll need at least £35,000 a year please. Any takers? No?

Right, fuck off then.

Fenrir.

Fenrir Thorvaldsen
The word Fenrir comes from Norse Mythology, you can look it up if you feel so inclined. I’ll save you the bother though, it basically means Wolfbastard.

That’s exactly what Fenrir Thorvaldsen is. He’s a total fucking Wolfbastard of grappling. I’ve been fortunate enough to know this man for around 7 years now, and for the most part I’ve completely taken that for granted. I’ve dipped in and out of his classes for years, preferring a more Gi-centric approach to my training. Fenrir doesn’t do Gi. He has in the past, but I’ve never seen him wear one in the flesh. His strengths are NoGi, in what can be best described as a hybrid grappling style. He’s been training so long (36 years) that he can easily point out what’s shit and what isn’t. He uses elements of Catch As Catch Can, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Judo, Folkstyle wrestling, Sumo (when he was fat) and well you name it he’s probably used it, played with it, added it to his game or disregarded it altogether. The fact is there is no supreme grappling art because it’s all very much attribute based, as most Martial Arts are. X will beat Y if X is a massive monsterous cunt. Y will beat Z if Y has greater technical knowledge, etc.
It’s knowledge vs braun and very much the inbetween bits too, to put it simply.

I think I first met Fenrir back in January 2010. I’d briefly dabbled with training elsewhere at another local club that now specialises in K1/Kickboxing. They did MMA previously, but their strengths have always been kickboxing. From training there for a while, I had this notion that I could grapple. It was the bit of MMA that I wanted to understand, so that I can properly enjoy the sport as a spectator. I had no illusions of ever doing MMA myself, because the idea of getting my head caved in, properly seriously frightens me. I just wanted to get to a point where the boring bit of MMA made sense (the grappling).
So when the long rumoured DMMA opened, I went over with a curious eye, and as I’m sure you can imagine the rest is history. Needless to say, I don’t find grappling boring anymore. It’s my go to therapy.

I remember the first time I met Fenrir distinctly. Billy (one of the other coaches) was taking a packed NoGi class, and Fenrir was just there looking laid back and all dreadlocky. There were plenty of familiar faces, and I felt right at home quickly. That was probably a big part of my immediate downfall.
At the end of the class, the ritualistic rolling started. I’m not sure who asked who, but I ended up getting to roll with Fenrir. The clock started, and he immediately started working an X-Guard. I had no clue what an X-Guard was at this point, so in my usual serpeant laced tongue I may have thrown some shit his way about how it wasn’t doing anything. I think my  words were along the lines of, “Is this meant to be a stretch or something? Because I’ve already done that before class.” His head shifted to look at someone else nearby, they locked eyes in a knowing way. They both knew I’d fucked up, but I didn’t. Fenrir then swept me through the centre of the earth. I could feel the Earth’s core burning my arse hair to a cinder. From there, he moved to side control and swiftly into North/South with such ferocity that my contact lens found its way onto the side of my eyeball (a horrible fucking feeling that I don’t recommend you try). That was the first time I felt the Monson choke. After the roll, I was told by someone else that he’s one of the other coaches there. So he probably thought I was a massive fucking cunt from day one, but hey that’s life – I wonder if I ever apologised to him for being a prick? If I didn’t he’s had plenty of time to learn that it’s just my way. SORRY FEN.
Apology or not, I was hooked. I hadn’t been so quickly dismantled whilst grappling before. It was a fresh feeling. I was still very much a novice, but it wasn’t a pressure I’d ever felt before. I knew that DMMA was going to be my new home away from home.

Fenrir over the years regrettably has had an injury or two (he was basically Mr. Glass from Unbreakable). He still took the NoGi or the affectionately dubbed Submission Wrestling classes as he called them, and showed a ton of techniques but we weren’t really getting to see what he was capable of. The back of your mind knows what he’s capable of, but you quickly forget/neglect those thoughts when you don’t see a coach sparring alongside you.
It’s what happens when your life revolves around grappling, fighting and extreme sports. He’s basically one of those adrenaline wankers that are all over YouTube now.
In the last year though, he completely changed his approach to his own rehabilition and started doing Hot Yoga; with that, he lost quite a bit of weight and has strengthened ligaments, tendons, muscles in areas where he was probably weakest/or most vulnerable. He’s able to roll again.  Being honest, I think I preferred rolling with him when he was 90KG or thereabouts, because I could blame my size and his strength for his absolute domination. Now at 74KG, I know he’s just techniquing the fuck out of me. He’s a complete Wolfbastard to roll with. A relentless, technical, snarling beast of a shit, but they’re definitely the best rolls I’m currently getting. I’m getting pressured in ways I didn’t know were possible, and I’m learning on the fly through threat recognition. My leglock game is basic, but through Fenrir’s insistent attacks, I’m starting to learn how to defend subconsciously. That’s the sort of coach that he is. Complimentary, brilliant and he’ll help you along the way with your roll. Also helping you after the roll, etc. Why have I been taking this man for granted for so long? Injuries aside, I could have been taking a more concerned effort to learn from him over the years, in addition to my focus on the Gi with Billy, Speedy, etc.

My Gi game and my NoGi game are worlds apart as a result. I wouldn’t class myself as a great grappler by any means, but I have a far greater success in the Gi than I do NoGi. Recently, I’ve been trying to balance that out with extra NoGi rolling sessions. That’s where Fenrir’s top students come out to play, and fuck me up with stuff I should know but just don’t. Getting a tap off of one of them feels very much earned. It’s also allowed me to re-focus my training and make sure that Fenrir is very much aware of his part in making me the grappler I am today (he’ll probably want to abandon ship now).

This week I’ve had some time off work to chill. So I wanted to grab a couple of private lessons with Fenrir to make some adjustments in my game. I’ve worked a ton of stuff this week in addition to my usual training regime; and whilst it’s a lot to take in, for some miraculous reason it’s gelling with me. Good coaching I guess. I’m pretty sore as a result though, but it’s been a fucking blast being able to train during the day with a grappler of his calibre. Even the rolls before and after, whilst absolute drubbings are an incredible learning experience in which I’m able to try new shit, old shit and just see what works and what doesn’t with someone of his  grappling acumen. I’ll play my game, whilst he plays away at his own game, colliding somewhere in the middle with a yelp or two along the way. On Monday after working some super top secret stuff, we rolled for about an hour, filmed it and it helped serve as a great stepping stone of things to work today. We’ve already put in place adjustments to strengthen my game where it was weakest, and I’m looking forward to continuing to work those aspects so that the next time we roll, I might be able to give him a little hell back for a change. That’s how this works isn’t it? We learn from the best, so that we can crush the best.

If you’re ever in Dundee, or the surrounding areas (Tayside, Fife etc) and you’re looking for a brilliant grappler with a ton of knowledge, it’s a disservice to yourself if you do not seek this man out. You can find him on Facebook and Youtube.

I’ve rambled enough now. I’ve got another class to go to. Toodles y’all.