First Jiu Jitsu Tournament Experience (Long Read From A White Belt)

 

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First Jiu Jitsu Tournament Experience (Long Read From A White Belt)

 

I am a white belt, 2 stripes. Been at this for 6 months. I am 34 years old and train 3 times a week. I have a 3 year old kid and a wife.

 

I heard there was a submission only tournament coming up soon so I checked the website, saw the weight classes and decided right then I needed to get out of the heavy weight division. I was 232 when I started in March (250 at the beginning of the year) and when I decided to sign up I was 213. WELL that gave me 2.5 weeks to get below 205.

 

I weighed in at 201. I overshot a little but was NOT in the monster class so that was good. Considering there was a few absolute gigantic human beings in that class, and one from my school who constantly works me.

 

I show up early, support the one kid of a teammate that was competing and was starting to get nervous. There was a few of the tykes I was glad I didnt have to face. Holy shit they are fearless.

 

My teammates start in the blues and purples and I am watching feeling scared now. I also now know how easy some of my friends were taking it on me. NOW I have doubts.

 

The little white belts start getting called and I know then I need to check the brackets posted. I tried sizing up the guys in rules meetings but I am not finding ANYONE my size. Now the fear starts to roll in that I am going to get moved up. Nope. I was right. I was having a hard time because there was just me and one other white at that range that were going for Gi.

 

Some of my friends are at the brackets and I hear “That’s cantreed right there”. So I turn around and see the guy I am rolling with. He has an inch on me, maybe more. But by the look of him, I have multiple t-shirts older than him. So I introduce myself and tell him it’s my first comp. Find out he is actually younger than MOST of my clothes that I have just thrown out because of weight loss.

 

Only takes about 15 minutes and its my turn. I remember removing my socks and stepping on the mat. It was squishy. Would really consider it soft compared to the mats at my gym. I get to my place, am informed this would be unlimited time because its for the gold, loser gets silver. I am stoked. I get a medal. It had dawned on me before but now its real. Now I can’t look at him. I kneel down to stretch my knee ligaments out prepared to be in guard for at least a bit before this guy sweeps me or takes me to the deep end of my cardio and drowns me.

 

I still cant look at him. I am looking at the ground. Hands tap. Heart pounds then stops. I hear my breathing and my coaches and teammates. Arms in elbows tight. The guy looks a bit hesitant. I am freaking out. I haven’t done much stand-up. Hurt my shoulder trying just recently. But I can’t feel it.

 

SO f–k it… I shoot. I grabbed a leg. Shoulder in, push and boom I am in top half. Top half guard. Something 6 months ago I barely knew what it was. I go for paper cutters. He is trying to gain guard and gets it. I bring my foot up and pin his arm. Wiper back leg out and break guard. I pass to half. I am ok with half. Paper cutter again. He is just letting me get that grip. I feel my heart again. I have got it. We grip fight for a few seconds but this grip is going NO WHERE! Cat 9 hurricane could blow through and it will be just me and this gi. I get light and pick up my hips. He rolls me.

 

I am devastated. I get guard and try to break posture. The guy leans up… and up… too high. I hip bump him and sweep him back down. He nails half pretty quick. But its almost quarter… I am high on him. So I slip my hand under his head and I hear my professor “I like what you are thinking… do that!” He turns his head away from me and I lock the Ezekiel and push. Took a second or two but he tapped. We hugged. I probably hugged him harder than I should but I wanted to cry. I had accomplished something I was not sure I could do. I did something that seemed crazy away of my abilities.

 

He tapped. I won. I won gold. I won the weight cut. I won the fear of competition. I won in front of my family. I won.

 

Then the pain in my forearms set in. The breathing was wrecked. The nightmare of having to do that again jumped in my head. I knew I would have been worthless if I had. I thanked everyone I could see. My coach hugged me for at least a minute. My professor said he was so proud. I felt like a kid. Being that fatherless kid most of my childhood these actions and these words were not doing well for my manly accomplishment because I was breaking.

 

Podium time. I am standing on top. I kneel down for my medal and it’s really real. I hug the guy next to me, I hug my mother who as embarrassed as I was she showed up I was so happy she did. I hugged my teammate/rolling partner for basically the whole of my bjj training. I hugged the other guys coach.

 

Then I thought about what I needed to do next. Learn armbars, better sweeps, takedowns, work cardio and forearms apparently. MAYBE stay at this weight just gain some more strength? Either way, compete again. Cause that was such a damn rush. Losing might have taken some of the shine from it, but I am a zero ego kind of guy. I don’t think I would have been to down on myself.

 

Either way, first comp, first win, first gold medal, won’t be the last of either, and still more firsts to come!

 

– Thank you S. Reed, a JJ Machado White Belt from Knuckle Up Jax for allowing us to share your story!

 

Grip Fighting For BJJ White Belts – Part 1 – “Standing Position”

 

chewjitsugripfight

 

Grip Fighting For BJJ White Belts – Part 1 – “Standing Position”

 

When you first start out in Jiu Jitsu it can be easy to overlook the importance of grip fighting both standing and on the ground. We are so excited to get a sweep or land a submission that the art of grip fighting might seem boring.

 

As you progress you begin to realize that grips are imperative to have a knowledge of, if you wish to advance further in Jiu Jitsu.

 

Our good friend Nick “Chewjitsu” Albin of Derby City MMA made this video specifically for you white belts of WBBJJ.com! Thank you very much for the video brother! Nick has a wealth of Jiu Jitsu tutorials on his YouTube channel so be sure to subscribe!

 

 

Stay tuned to WBBJJ.com for part 2 – “Grip Fighting On The Ground”, coming soon!

 

Follow Chewjitsu on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram

 

10 Things You Should Have In Your BJJ First Aid Kit

 

bjjfirstaid

 

10 Things You Should Have In Your BJJ First Aid Kit

 

This is a list of items that I keep handy for any injury situations that I might encounter while sparring Jiu Jitsu. Keep in mind that I am not a doctor. Obviously you should always seek the advice of a medical professional!

 

That being said, these are my 10 must-have BJJ first aid kit items, and why I keep them handy.

 

1. Athletic tape

 

– This is one of my most important items to have. Inevitably we are going to jam our fingers, toes, ankles or wrists. Thankfully properly applied athletic tape will keep you rolling while preventing further damage to the injury. Athletic tape can be pricey so it is better to buy multiple rolls at a time. This is a good deal from Amazon.com.

 

2. Ankle, Knee, Elbow Sleeves + ACE Bandages

 

– Sometimes we pop our knees, ankles and elbows. Sometimes it is because we move incorrectly and sometimes it is because we forget to tap as white belts. The compression effect of these items is soothing to the damaged joints. Ace bandage comes in handy when you bruise your shins. I always wear my knee sleeves when rolling. I keep the ankle and elbow sleeves handy for when I injure those body parts. This is just my personal preference.

 

3. Cold Packs

 

– Cold packs are quintessential for muscle pulls when you are trying to use the RICE method of healing (Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation). Bags of ice can obviously be used but I find that cold packs are far more convenient.

 

4. Heating Pad

 

– I find that a heating pad works best for pulled muscles in the neck and back. I sometimes alternate between heating pad and cold packs for therapeutic relief.

 

5. Syringe (for those 18+ years of age only)

 

– My doctor allows me to keep two around in case I get a massive cauliflower ear. Use at your own risk though. It is absolutely recommended to go to a doctor to have them drain your ear, period.

 

6. Antifungal Spray

 

– Thankfully everyone that I train with is responsible about keeping themselves clean. However I always keep a can of antifungal spray handy just in case some ringworm appears unexpectedly. Sometimes I will give my entire body a quick spray after a shower for good measure.

 

7. Triple Antibiotic Ointment

 

– I keep some around for minor cuts. This one is really a no brainer that everyone should have handy whether you do Jiu Jitsu or not.

 

8. Finger Splints

 

– Finger jams are fairly common in Jiu Jitsu. I personally have a trigger finger on one of my pinkies and some other jammed fingers as well. My doctor recommended splinting the finger while rolling and while sleeping, and then leaving it off at other times.

 

9. Kinesio Tape

 

– This tape is very nice for muscle pulls and tears. Proper application of the tape helps to keep the muscle working properly and it feels great. So far I’ve only had to use this tape once for a shoulder pull and it felt great while rolling.

 

10. Bandaids and Gauze

 

– This is another no-brainer that every household should have. Every once in a while we get little scrapes, cuts and dings. Using bandaids and gauze will help keep your new white gi bloodstain free!

 

What other items do you keep handy that I should add to my list?

 

I hope you enjoyed the read. Good luck staying healthy and injury free!

 

5 Videos That Demystify And Explain The BJJ Belt System

 

ibjjf-belts

 

5 Videos That Demystify And Explain The BJJ Belt System

 

“What distinguishes the Brazilian system from others is its extreme INFORMALITY. There is no precise, agreed upon set of rules that determines who is a blue belt, who is a purple belt, and so forth. Part of the reason for this is the complete lack of forms, or kata (pre-arranged, choreographed sets of movements containing the idealised movements of the style in question, typically a collection of kicks, punches, blocks, and the like performed solo), in the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu system. Most Martial Arts put a lot of emphasis upon learning these katas, this is often taken to be indicative of progress. One might try to differentiate grades in terms of numbers of moves that a student knows. Such a method is clearly inadequate.

 

It is often pointed out that a purple belt knows almost as many moves as a black belt – he simply does not perform them as well, or combine them as well, or at the correct time. Also, some fighters do very well with a small collection of moves that they can apply well in any situation – should they be ranked lower that another fighter who knows a lot of moves but applies none of them well? A more objective method is to test fighting skill. If one fighter always defeats another when they grapple, this might be taken as firm evidence that he deserves the higher rank. Yet it is not always so simple. What if he is far heavier and stronger and this is the only reason that he prevails in sparring sessions? What if he is technically inferior? You can see that there are no easy answers to the question of what criteria we can offer for a given belt ranking.

 

Rather, the extreme informality of the Brazilian style is a direct reflection of the fact that it is impossible to provide clear cut rules as to how people ought to be graded. The most we can do is to provide very general criteria. The individual decision must be left to an experienced instructor who will take a range of criteria into account. For example, the size and strength of the student, depth of technical knowledge, ability to apply it in sparring sessions and competition, how he compares with students of other ranks both inside and outside his school, his ability to teach and so on. In general Brazilian Jiu Jitsu takes a very CONSERVATIVE stance toward promotion. This is a direct reflection of the fact that it is primarily a fighting style. It makes no sense to promote someone to a high rank if they cannot fight well – after all, should a highly ranked fighter be defeated it is a bad reflection on the school. So then, the two principle features of the Brazilian ranking system are its INFORMALITY and its CONSERVATISM.

 

To really know a given move one needs to learn not just the basic movements, but be able to perform them on an opponent who is resisting as hard as he can. This comes not from a book, but from time spent on the mat in hard training. A true sense of your level of development is had by training and competing with other practitioners and drawing comparisons with your own game.” – John Danaher (as written in Renzo and Royler Gracie’s book “Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Theory and Technique”)

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Difficult Concepts For BJJ Beginners To Grasp

 

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5 Difficult Concepts For BJJ Beginners To Grasp

 

BJJ is a mass of concepts, techniques, strategies and positions, but there are some key techniques that are pretty tough to get a hold of (and keep hold of when rolling) when you first start.

 

1. Don’t roll over.

 

The first time I rolled after having been doing BJJ for 45 minutes total, I found myself trying to barrel roll to escape a side control or a mount. Almost every time I did, it ended up with me gifting the guy my back. I got rear naked choked time and time again. It took a blue belt I was sparring with to tell me to stop trying to roll out, be more patient, and not to panic. My instinct was to roll away, but after a few classes I’ve stopped myself from doing it and am working on sweeps and escapes instead.

 

2. Protecting my arms when in someone’s guard.

 

Another recurring problem I faced (and am still facing), was when I was in someone’s guard I wanted to grab hold of their gi or arms, but my posture was not correct. I was too close to them, so when I grabbed their lapel, I found myself in triangles and armbars often. My instructor saw me doing this and showed me how easy it was to put on a triangle when the person sticks their arm out thoughtlessly when in your guard. I’m now working on keeping better posture while in my opponent’s guard, and being more careful with where I put my arms to try avoid some of those easy triangles and armbars.

 

3. Going on offense way too early.

 

You practice a new choke or lock, and want to get to it as soon as you have a barely semi-dominant position. I was going for lapel chokes and armbars when I had barely got halfway through a pass, and couldn’t land them obviously. Even worse, I ended up compromising my defense completely by not thinking about where my weight and limbs were. I’m not there yet, but have been trying to ensure that I worry more about position and control, rather than going full out for a lock or choke and ending up getting tapped needlessly.

 

4. Push and pulling.

 

A guy has me in side-control, and to get him off me, I’m pushing him this way and pulling him the other. Two minutes later he still has me in side-control and I’m f-ing exhausted and my grips are half numb. I wasn’t getting anywhere by simply applying force with zero leverage or understanding, but at the time I didn’t know what else to do. I still don’t have a good idea how to get someone off me easily, but I’m learning to wait and think and move, not just push and pull until I can’t breathe.

 

5. Thinking a tap means I’m good.

 

The first session, I managed to get someone slightly more experienced to tap with a forced guillotine. It wasn’t clean a clean choke at all. It was not technical and it barely worked. But I took it as a sign that I could push through and force submissions. It worked occasionally, but almost every time I roll, it’s an endless rhythm of me tapping that damn mat. I make sure now (4 classes in) that I remember that pretty much everyone there, weaker or less athletic, can play with me with impunity. It keeps me grounded in a way I think is very important for being accepted to the group.

 

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This article was written by Joe Thorpe. You can check out his new BJJ Blog here.

 

If you would like to share your BJJ ideas, thoughts or stories shoot us a message on Facebook or Twitter.

 

How To Pass A Complicated Guard (Or Any Guard For That Matter)

 

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(Photo courtesy of William Burkhardt of BJJpix.com)

 

 

How to Pass a Complicated Guard

by Julius Park

 

Modern Jiu-Jitsu has been increasing in complexity, especially in the guard work. The latest innovations are focused primarily around lapel grips, which have (temporarily) confounded the BJJ community.

 

Like anything complicated, we have to “chunk” the material down into smaller, more manageable pieces.

 

Guard Passing is actually three stages:

 

  • Unwinding / Grip Breaking
  • Clearing the Legs
  • Securing the Dominant Position

 

Unwinding / Grip Breaking

 

Jiu-Jitsu students frequently ask:

 

How do I pass the ________ Guard?

(a) De La Riva

(b) Reverse De La Riva

(c) Spider Guard

(d) Lasso Guard

(e) Deep Half Guard

(f) Worm Guard

etc.

 

This is a somewhat inaccurate question. What students are actually asking is “How do I break the grips that are on me?

 

By grips, I mean feet & legs as well as hands & arms.

 

Each guard is defined by a particular set of grips and grip sequences. The process of removing your opponent’s grips and getting your grips is what I refer to as unwinding.

 

The first unwind you ever learned was probably from the top of guard . Your instructor probably told you to remove your opponent’s hand from your collar before starting to open the guard. If you don’t remove the collar grip, you give your opponent more opportunities to attack as well as defend the later stages of guard passing. This same cause and effect relates to other “more advanced” guard positions.

 

Clearing the Legs

 

The actual clearing of the legs are the techniques most commonly referred to as guard passing.

 

Knee Cut
Under-Over
Double-Under / Stacking
Leg Drag
Long Step, etc.

 

But as everyone knows – its probably easier to hold a pissed off cat than an upper belt whose legs you’ve just cleared.

 

Which brings us to part 3.

 

Example of Clearing the Legs & Securing Dominant Position

 

 

A very different approach to Clearing the Legs

 

World champion Aarae Alexander vs World Champion Tye Murphy. #worlds2015 #ibjjf #JiuJitsu #rolypoly A video posted by Crazy 88 MMA (@crazy88mma) on

 

crazy88banner

 

Securing the Dominant Position

 

As a Blue Belt, I distinctly remember how hard I thought it was to hold a person down after the pass. They would ALWAYS turtle. I could clear the legs but it was so difficult and energy consuming to hold the person down or to actually get the back.

 

These are fundamental movements that are used after you’ve cleared the legs, but the individual is still resisting the pass. For the competitors, this is the step when done wrong, you end up with an advantage but not any points.

 

To do this well, you must train back takes as well as dominant top position transitions such as side-mount, mount, knee-on-belly, etc. Don’t limit yourself by only choosing to take the back or only trying to secure side-mount. You often will not get a choice as to how your opponent reacts once you clear his legs – some will turn in, some will turn out, some will lead with legs, some will lead with arms.

 

Successful Leg Clearing with Failed Securing Dominant Position

 

Notice that Guard Passer has to Remove the Collar Grip Before Initiating The Leg Clear

 

Joey from third law passing the guard in the Purple Belt Open. #ibjjf #Neoprene

A video posted by Crazy 88 MMA (@crazy88mma) on

 

A Video about Securing Dominant Positions via Side Switch

 

 

Additional Tips on Guard Passing

 

Certain guards are responses to particular guard-passing systems. For example, worm guard is primarily a response to a knee-cut or bull-fight passer. You’ll be able to avoid a lot of that guard’s strengths by passing a different way i.e. passing from the knees.

 

Be able to pass to both sides

 

Don’t be reactionary unless you are forced to be. You should have the jump on your opponent as the top man since they have to pull into a guard. They should be forced into the 2nd stage of guard pass (defending your leg clearing) rather than you being pulled into stage 1 (unwinding their grips).

 

Thank you very much for reading! I hope that this article helps you in your Jiu-Jitsu journey!

 

About Julius Park: I am a Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt. I’ve produced BJJ World Champions from Blue Belt up to Brown Belt. My next goal is to get a student to the Black Belt World Champion level and into the UFC. I have an English Bulldog, Ghostface, who has so far resisted all training methods. I teach out of Crazy 88 Mixed Martial Arts gyms in the Baltimore area.

 

juliuspark

Julius Park

 

Crazy 88 Mixed Martial Arts can be found on the Web, Facebook and Twitter.

 

Easy Takedown For White Belts Who Don’t Want To Pull Guard

 

nickchew

 

Easy Takedown For White Belts Who Don’t Want To Pull Guard

 

Another great video our friend Nick “Chewjitsu” Albin!

 

Oftentimes white belts will resort to pulling guard in competition out of fear of not having takedown experience. This takedown is low impact and easy to perform. Enjoy!

 

“I got a question on my blog recently asking about a solid takedown for a white belt with no prior wrestling or judo experience. In the video I share an effective takedown that I show to many of my new students. I’ve seen this technique work numerous times for my students and even myself in competition. It’s simple, effective and even if you haven’t wrestled a ton, is pretty easy to implement into the game.” – Chewjitsu

 

 

Stay in touch with Nick by visiting the links below!

 

www.chewjitsu.net
www.DerbyCityMMA.com

 

More New Videos To Help You Escape Side Control

 

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More New Videos To Help You Escape Side Control

 

Side control can be one of the most arduous situations to deal with as a BJJ white belt. If you are tired of being smashed for minutes on end, you are going to love these videos below!

 

Get out your notebooks because you will not want to forget any of these details. Thanks to Professors Adem Redzovic and James “300” Foster for these valuable insights.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
If you want even more techniques to escape side control check out this article here.

 

I hope that you enjoyed this post and good luck on your BJJ journey!

 

How To Master Jiu-Jitsu – The 2 Most Important Aspects Of Training – Firas Zahabi

 

humanf

 

How To Master Jiu-Jitsu – The 2 Most Important Aspects Of Training – Firas Zahabi

 

If you like a good ol’ fashioned Jiu-Jitsu philosophical discussion then you are going to love this video. Tristar gym coach Firas Zahabi has been on a tear lately with fantastic BJJ instructionals and tutorials. Firas is widely known as the coach and friend of MMA legend Georges St-Pierre.

 

 

Firas studies under John Danaher. Check out this amazing brand new video from BJJ hacks featuring the great coach of great coaches.