My Introduction to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Tonight in class we had a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu work out with us by invitation from one of our black belts. It's a rare thing when we have a guest in class, but when we do have one, I am always excited to be able to see other arts up close and personal, rather than just reading or watching a Youtube video about them. Our town is small and there are only a couple martial arts schools within a twenty minute drive that I am aware of. BJJ is not one that I was aware of.

Mr. M ran us through a quick warm up, then we pulled the mats out and got started. Our BJJ guest grabbed blue belt J.G. and began talking to us and demonstrating some options from the guard position. I don't remember half of the terms that he used, but I was fascinated by the guy's quickness and the fluidity in which he transitioned from position to position. I've watched a fair bit of MMA on tv, so I've seen grappling before, but there's just something about watching it in person when you're only two feet away.

The blue belts and above were told that they could participate. I hung back for a while and just watched the guys who were working on a triangle choke, but then Mr. G turned around and asked me when I was going to try. I decided "why not" and jumped in. Here's a video of a triangle choke.

All I've ever trained in is stand-up, so being on the ground was completely new territory for me. It was actually exciting, starting as a beginner in something completely new to me. I don't remember what the other technique we worked on was called, but I really liked the triangle choke.

The rest of the night, I watched the other students and the black belts work on some takedowns, and then Mr. G showed BJJ guy some Silat techniques and other techniques that we do. I wish our two hour class could have been stretched out for another hour at least. Our time went by way too fast. I wanted to work more on BJJ.

After class dismissed and we thanked our guest for coming, Mr. G talked to me about our upcoming visit to our sister school. Apparently, we're leaving either Saturday night or Sunday morning to go work out in Mr. R.S.'s four hour class. They work on grappling in their class, so I'm hoping that I'll be able to continue learning more groundfighting.

I'm so excited about working out for four hours in an adult class that only accepts students ages 16 and up that I almost can't sit still as I type this. I like all of the people in our class, but the adults are outnumbered by the kids. We have four or five who are ages 10-12, then a 13 year old, a 14 year old, an 18 year old, myself, and one guy in his 30's. Our class is pretty small, so having people my age or older to work with and partner with is something I'm looking forward to.

When Motivation Runs Low, Set Goals!

Over the past couple months, I’ve been having difficulty finding it within myself to practice. I always  go to class and enjoy training there, but lately when it’s just me at home, practicing by myself, I tend to put it off until “later” (usually later never happens) or I just run through a couple of forms or kicks for a few minutes and that’s it for the day’s practice.

Practicing something means lots of repetition and slowing things down to work on problem areas. Running through a few forms just to say I’ve “worked on them” is not practice. I know this, and it makes me feel guilty, but the past couple months I’ve had no drive to practice.

I’m not sure if it’s burnout, me crashing down from the high that I was on before and just after my red belt test, or just plain laziness.

All this is to say that I recently got tired of being so apathetic about my practice, so I talked to Mr. Mc on Thursday about what I needed to work on outside of class. He told me to continue working on basics because there’s a timing issue I’ve been having there. We also talked about my stamina. Stamina and conditioning is a crucial part of sparring, kicking, forms – really, it’s a crucial part of everything we do in Tae Kwon Do, but especially for the the black belt test. I need to really get serious about improving my stamina now so I can hold up during my test.

When he was talking to me about this, he told me that he would like to see me compete in kumite in an open tournament that’s coming up in September. Back in July of last year, I went to the tournament he was referring to and just observed. As a side note, our sister school competes in tournaments, but our class hasn't. Yet. Anyway, as I sat in the stands watching the sparring, I could barely sit still because I wanted to be out there on the floor sparring so much.

Ever since then, I’ve been planning on competing, but it’s been in the back of my mind until Mr. Mc brought it up on Thursday. I told him that I was planning on competing and he asked me in which divisions. I told him Point and Semi-Knockdown. He said that I only had three months to prepare, so I had better start doing a lot of shadow sparring, rounds with the heavy bags, and running/walking at home. Since I mentioned a desire to compete, they’re really going to focus on sparring me more and have me do other drills to help my sparring in class.

My point in talking about this tournament is that now that I have something to focus on and work toward, I feel motivated and excited about training and practicing. The months before my red belt test were spent training for that test, but I haven’t had a major goal since (other than my black belt test which is an undecided date somewhere down the road). All along, I think I needed a short term goal to work toward.

I've been practicing a lot more at home and I'm actually enthusiastic about it. I don't want to lose that enthusiasm, so I'll be setting more short term goals to keep my motivation up. Of course there's still a big goal that I'm working toward - that being my black belt - but I'm happy about focusing on this tournament that is coming up in September for the moment.