Jiu-Jitsu Notes

In jiu-jitsu class, when we roll (wrestle live), I try to seek out the best opponents so that I can learn. However, a lot of people have the same idea, and sometimes you wind up fighting someone who is perhaps much smaller or very inexperienced.

When I fight the teacher, for example, he always thrashes me; which is why he is the teacher. So after he beats me silly for a few minutes, I will ask him for advice on where I am going wrong, or how I can improve – and get a little one-on-one instruction. Mostly this is to get the most out of being beaten – probably a little bit is because I get tired 🙂

When I fight someone who is half my size, or someone who’s only at their second class, for example, I will try my best to beat them, and I will also try different things. If I used an arm-bar to submit them the first time, I will try a choke the next time. Since I am weak at certain positions I will try to wind up in those positions. And then after a few minutes, I will usually offer a suggestion or two. I’m not that great, but if the person is doing something obviously wrong, particularly a mistake I made myself in the past, I will give my advice. And it gives us both a chance to rest.

Today, there was a lot of “new” people. Now some of them were obviously new, like high school kids, but sometimes people from the jiu-jitsu academy in town make an appearance and they tend to be quite good. One tip-off – if someone has their own gi (karate suit), they tend to be better than average.

So I saw this guy who was wearing a gi and seemed to know the instructor. He was also tall and strong looking, maybe 220, but seemingly only 18 or 19 yrs old. I figured he was a phenom and when I got the chance, I sought him out to roll with. We started and within seconds, I’d gotten the mount and put on an arm triangle. He tapped out.

“You weren’t choking me,” he said, “But I wasn’t getting anywhere, so I tapped. You should try to grab my hand and spin me like so, then apply this choke here…”

I listened and nodded – the move was at least worth trying at some point, but I always get annoyed when people make excuses like “oh yeah, I tapped because my arm is dislocated, I forgot to mention it” – or a similar phenomenon, telling you beforehand “Watch my neck, it’s really sore, also my left arm, my torso and both my feet” Really, maybe you should take the day off – at least the fighting portion of the class.

So we started again, and this time I put him in a guillotine and tapped him out immediately.

“You’re expending too much energy,” he told me. “Try to relax and take deep breaths.”

I’ve heard this advice before and it’s valid, a lot of ex-wrestlers need to learn this, myself included, but on the other hand, if I can submit you in 15 seconds, I could hold my breath if I wanted. I suddenly had a creeping fear that he was actually really good and was toying with me, and the next time, especially since I’d made him mad by being so aggressive, he was going to pull my arms out of my sockets.

We started a third time and this time I quickly got his back, sunk my legs in and finished him with a rear naked choke.

“Okay,” he told me, “What you want to do is…(something too byzantine and complicated to describe here, but that even a novice like me realized is patently ridiculous).

We shook hands because the time was up and found different partners. Maybe you’ll disagree, but I think that a qualification for giving advice, or at least me taking your advice seriously, should be skill in whatever you are advising. I could understand if this guy was really small, or if I caught him in a lucky move, or if I was doing something terribly stupid and winning anyway, and he just wanted to give me a quick pointer to help. But none of these things were true in this case.

A very puzzling incident.


One thought on “Jiu-Jitsu Notes

  1. I think that you were right. You were the better fighter. Maybe he was just pretending to be good. If he really was good, he would do good moves to beat you, because as you said, that is how you learn.

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