Archive for the Uncategorized Category

Hello Stranger.

Posted in Uncategorized on November 10, 2010 by jiujitsulife

It has been a while.  I have been very engrossed in work and school and managed to forget about my rag-tag blog for a while.  It may be suprising to hear, but I have rededicated myself to jiu jitsu as much as I can muster at this point.  Which is roughly 2 or 3 times a week, 1.5-2 hours each time.  This fits right about in the range of “hobbyist”.  I can say that I do more jiu jitsu than I do anything else outside of work, so for now that is all I can do.

Training has been great…and heartbreaking.  It has been great because I feel I am making progress in areas that need attention, and I have managed to stay nearly injury free for the last 3 or 4 months.  I am currently around 194lbs (which is not overly portly at 6′, it is not where I want to be).  I would like to make it to the 180-185 range.  This is a small goal, but not my real focus…

The heartbreak comes from wasted years training.  I am a two-year blue belt…growing closer to 3 actually, and I have been a one-stripe blue for around 14 months.   Stripes do not matter, but it is definitely an indication of my lack of dedication and time served.  I have indeed picked up my training to a more respectable level, but that is not where the feeling of waste emanates.

Within the last two months I have come to a realization about my theories and training habits.  I have been doing it entirely wrong this whole time.  It sucks to say, but I have wasted alot of time now that I think about it.  Showing up, slopping through workouts focusing on the wrong things.  It stagnated my BJJ progression and caused alot of my feelings of being “burnt out” with this sport.

*Ported from a post I made on Sherdog Grappling Forum*

I feel that I had spent far too much time as a whitebelt training/studying submissions.

Having good submission technique is great, but without proper positioning it is like trying to surf in your bathtub. I was constantly focused on the sub, and in turn was missing the bigger picture…often attempting to submit from inferior positioning.

Now I work for secure/intelligent positioning and the sub is an afterthought. A chain I would use would be more like…. Trapped under KOB -> Escape to Half Guard -> Escape/Establish Full Guard -> Sweep to top half -> Pass to Side -> Move into KOB -> Take Mount. Maintain mount with backtake option.

If I get put back into half..I work back to side or mount. If i get swept I start over again attempting to plow through the steps until I end up in a dominant top position.

I still take subs if they are there, but that is not the focus. If I feel my base and positioning are on-point the submission comes so much easier. Before I would just get into position close enough to start working the sub. But guys will always catch up to a guy who only looks to submit and has a lousy positional game.

I actually rolled with another blue recently who spent a good 2 minutes and alot of effort attempting to submit me with a side-choke/arm-triangle from under my mount. There was never even remote danger, but I remember thinking while I sat there holding my mount waiting for him to figure out that nothing was going to happen…I thought…”Did I used to do stuff like this?”

No…I probably did much worse….

I just wish I would have figured this out long ago….Soo much wasted time that I can never get back.

I’m sure epiphanies of this sort come multiple times throughout one’s BJJ journey.  This just happens to be my first significant realization about how little I know.  Everyday I become more certain that I am a “Blue Belt For Life! ”

Thanks for reading the unorganized text spasms I call a blog.

Check it out. Draculino answering questions for



Posted in Uncategorized on June 23, 2010 by jiujitsulife

Today was my first day back of real training since March 25th.  My spinal issues aside, I felt pretty good.  My back was a little shaky and I was worried that it would not hold up.  But I made it through technique class and felt good enough to make it through almost all of live training.  Now back home, a shower and some stretches and I am feeling pretty good.

My cardio is shot, and I felt like I had to relearn so many things.  I felt good during live training and things felt semi-natural, but not quite right.  My body did not respond as it used to, my reaction times were slower.   I got winded much faster than usual and I managed to pull guard (something I dislike) in a drill that was specifically meant for top game practice.  I never pull guard. But I did it and immediately thought, “What was that?”  And I can only come to the conclusion that I was attempting to rest.  I didn’t want to struggle and guard seemed like a good place to rest.  I am so glad that, by the rules of the drill, I instantly lost and had to rotate back in the line.  Not because I got to rest, although that was nice, but because it made me realize I should be paying more attention and not doing random things that were out of character. I don’t like to spaz out and I don’t like just pulling guard out of desperation, and I managed to do both to some extent.

Mauro, a monstrous Draculino black belt, gave me a lot of advice about coming back from injury and how hard to push.  He told me he takes off at least one month a year, to heal his body and that he re-assimilates himself into class over a span of about two weeks.  Since Mauro is an awesome black belt, and myself, a lowly blue belt,  I have decided that I am going to give myself double that time to get into a consistent training schedule. Four weeks and I hope to be back to where I was when I took off, or if I am lucky, blowing past the abilities/dedication of my old self.

I am really excited about being back, I just have to remember to train smart. I hope that my back holds up, and I guess I will find out tomorrow.

I will say optimistically that I can’t wait for Thursday, when I get the chance train with Draculino and Mauro again!


Jingle Bells

Posted in Uncategorized on June 13, 2010 by jiujitsulife

No, it is not Christmas, but it might as well be…

I am feeling 80% of where I was before.  I must admit my back is a little wonky, it is not right, nor will it ever be right again.  And that is something I just have to accept.  It is broken/malformed whatever you want to call it, and it is never going back to normal.  Ok. Accepted.

So what can I do?

Well surgery is not needed, the bones are broken but there is no slippage and a very few people actually require surgery or a fusing with this condition.  I have talked to a few grapplers who have this condition.  Some with grade 2 or 3 slippage of the spine.  They have coped with their condition by taking rest when it is flaring up, returning when it is good.  Lots of hamstring stretching and core strengthening.

So I started a new routing two weeks ago, some light cardio, lots of stretching and kettlebells.  I got some good workouts online and youtube. And have been sticking with the routine.  My back is soo much better. Although not perfect I am feeling great compared to before.  So good that I am returning to train this coming Tuesday. 🙂  Although, most likely only for the technique portions and not live training yet.  I don’t want to push too hard, too soon.

I have not lifted weights since I was around 20 years of age.  I can’t believe how much is happening for me in just two weeks.  I have been fairly anti-weight training for a long time.  My father, as well as a few other people I know have really wrecked their bodies with years of weight training.  But now I am feeling that if the training is intelligent and limited to sport specific improvements, it can’t be any worse than the sport itself.  I have lines appearing that I haven’t seen since I was 17. It is crazy!

I have dropped from 197 to 185 in these two weeks without cardio training.  I am hoping to start up a small interval training regimen in the next week or so if my back will hold up.

The stretching and core exercises are doing wonders for me so far.

But most of all, I hope I can appreciate my time training jiu jitsu more than I have previously.  For a while there I was certain I would never train again, and that was a scary thought.

Now I am nothing but optimistic that I can push myself to the next levels in my training!

Thanks to anyone who has been kind enough to actually read my blog.


Slow Chemicals…

Posted in Uncategorized on May 20, 2010 by jiujitsulife

I haven’t posted in a while.  I realize that this statement is ultimately very obvious, but at the same time, indicative of my current state of being.  I have stalled. I have ranted about training, and how nothing will stop me.  Well, not unless something breaks or is seriously injured.

So flash back a almost two months ago,  I am in side control of  a seriously heavy brown belt.  He switches to the most awesome knee-on-belly, it was truly a sight to behold.  I admired it woefully through the searing pain in my ribs.  However,  I have never been intelligent enough to know when to quit. Don’t get me wrong, if someone has a tight submission I will tap like no other.  I can no longer allow senseless injuries, but I cannot seem to bring myself to tap to positional stress.

Knee-on-belly is one of those insane control positions that can exert a severe amount of stress onto your sternum, ribs, or wherever your opponent decides to place the knee-of-death.

So there I am, gasping for breath, I can feel my ribcage bending around me, almost like I am slowly melting into the mat.  Then time is called.  Thank god that is over.  I continue to roll with no issues, until the next day.  I am getting out of bed and I am almost floored by the amount of pain surging through my ribs all the way around back to where they connect to my spine.  I can barely breathe in a full breath without crying out in pain.

Flash forward two months, my ribs are still a little tender.  I have not set foot in the school since then, because I cannot bare to watch people train if I cannot participate.   So itching to get back, I schedule a doctor’s appointment, then another, then some X-rays, and then an MRI.  And now I am being passed off to an Orthopedic Surgeon.  However, I have yet to schedule the appointment.

The bad news.  I have Bilateral Spondolysis in my L5 vertebrae.  It is basically a degenerative condition causing my spine to be unstable where it connects to the tailbone.

Looks something like this.

It is that nice looking drawing on the left there.  Good news is that it can turn into that little fellow on the right side there.  It is possible that your spine will slowly continue to slip forward until you are crippled. 🙂

The actual good news, I have more tests and a surgeon to see.  But from what I have been reading, it is likely I could resume training.  However, I would have to alter the way I train in some ways, I will obviously have to know when to stop, take less risks know what range of motion is best for me.  This unstable area of the spine can be stabilized by building a strong core.  Unfortunately, it also comes with chronically shortened hamstrings that need constant stretching, and a tight lower back.  I’ve always wondered why it has been so hard to bend down when I get up in the morning.

I have likely had this for years, and only now have I found out about it, and it wasn’t even what was being looked for.  I guess on one hand I am thankful it was found, at the same time, I have been fearing that I would never train again.  Although this is a possibility, and many people with Spondylolysis can never resume their sports.  I have faith that I will be able to train, only in a smarter fashion.

I was told many athletes have this condition and never know it.  So if you experience lower back pain, have tight hamstrings, or get occasional sciatic pain/tingle down your leg.  You should go and atleast have an X-ray done.  You never know what you will find out about yourself if you never look.

As it appears now, I will be resting my back for another month or maybe two, just to be really sure.  First step, I am going to visit this Orthopedic Surgeon to get a yay or nay on the training, and maybe while I am out, see if he can fix my shoulder or knees. 🙂

A big thanks to everyone who has  been kind enough to actually read my pointless blogs,  I love hearing from you and all of your experiences.

Happy Training and stay safe.


It’s good to be back…

Posted in Uncategorized on February 21, 2010 by jiujitsulife

It really is.  I have lost so much time wallowing in laziness.  I have struggled with motivation for the last year it seems.  I work, I come home, I just want to sit here and forget about how much the day sucked.  Working at a computer all day sometimes drains the life out of a person, I don’t think we were meant to sit in office chairs all day staring at tiny pixels.  It just doesn’t feel healthy. 🙂

I rarely had energy, and just about any reason I could come up with seemed like a good enough reason to skip training…

“My stomach feels a little icky. ”

“I ate too much.”

“I didn’t eat enough.”

“I worked hard today and traffic sucked.”

“Is that staph or a freckle?”

“The lunar alignment is totally out of whack, I better start next week….”

I’m sure I’ve used most of those at any given time unfortunately.  But one day it just felt wrong, I suddenly felt lied to.  Lied to by myself, which is a weird feeling.   So I have cut the excuses…

My new Goal:  If something isn’t broken, falling off, or on backwards, I am going to train three times a week.

The last two weeks have consisted of two classes of jiu jitsu on Tuesday and Thursday and then Cardio/Weight Lifting on Saturdays.  I would like to train jiu jitsu all three of those eventually, and maybe fit the weight training in elsewhere. But at the moment it is the most feasible option, but I just do not feel that two times a week for jiu jitsu is even close to enough…so the next step is to raise the bar to three.

On another note:

Being back, I am a much happier person, it seems training really did bring balance to my life.  I found myself being so unhappy, unresponsive to friends, and a jerk sometimes when I wasn’t training.  I think BJJ  really does allow me some unexpected amount of therapeutic release. It is something indescribable, the difference I feel waking up after a night of hard training. Something indescribable, but great.

I think before now I had really been struggling to see or feel the things others were talking about…and although it is not that popular to say it seems…Jiu jitsu did not change my life.  I did not have any life altering epiphany when I found jiu jitsu.  There was no great revolution of the mind.

But it does balance me. It calms me.  It is the perfect drug. 🙂

Learn Something First…

Posted in Uncategorized on January 26, 2010 by jiujitsulife

This post will not really be my most productive.  It is more of a rant than anything, but it is definitely something I feel strongly about and would like to express.  My problem is teachers….

No, not the black belts we all respect and honor, with rutted hands and crippled backs.  No, not the men who have put more hours and ounces of energy into this one pure thing than some doctors have put in their practice.   No, because they are the ones to be revered.  They are the ones who should be held high…

My problem are all the rest of the teachers.  People who haven’t earned those positions at the top,  but instead try to weasel their way into them.

Why is it that every internet savvy Tom and Dick, that has 10 classes of grappling at the local YMCA, has to run home and crank out sloppy videos of themselves teaching improper techniques?  When did it become shameful to just be the student?  Why must everyone teach?  Can they not humble themselves long enough to sit back and be taught?

I am nobody, a low level blue under an amazing instructor, and I have nothing to teach. I want to learn. 🙂

The Luck

Posted in Uncategorized on November 18, 2009 by jiujitsulife

So I finally have a day off of work during the week, I wanted to go in and get some morning training done, I haven’t been to a morning class in agesssssss.  But as my luck would dictate, something went wrong with my car this morning and now it is in the shop and I sit here doing nothing, wasting this perfectly good day with no car… 😦

How am I ever going to get better at jiu jitsu while still driving a Ford!??!

I guess I’ll just have to train twice as hard tomorrow. 🙂 Saturday,  I nearly puked which hasn’t happened in like 3 years…so I’m gonna go ahead and see if I can tomorrow. 🙂

Take Care!