FanPost

Confessions of a white belt




One of the many things I love and appreciate about this community is that we have a dedicated base of grapplers here eager to share their knowledge with the masses. The plethora of videos and instructionals that have been compiled and proofed by the staff here rivals just about any other free grappling database I've come across. Even before I began training seriously in any martial art I would sit and read these articles eager to gain what ever I could from them. As a young man that grew up in a semi rural area in central Texas my grappling knowledge was limited to booze fueled wrestling matches in the back yard. As I grew older and MMA became more readily available I found my interest in martial arts growing, specifically my interest in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Though, it was quite a few years before I let that interest evolve into anything( BJJ classes would have seriously cut into my beer drinking time). As I got into my late twenties years of inactivity and bad choices were beginning to take their toll. I was scrawny, my wind was gone, my motivation was lacking; all in all I was feeling "soft". So a little over two years ago I got off my ass and into the gym. SBNation played as large a part in that decision as anything else I had going on so I figured this would be a good place to talk about it.

I remember my first day of BJJ class vividly( it was both very gratifying and very painful). It was a Wednesday night and we had a 7pm No-Gi Jiu Jitsu class followed by a 8pm wrestling class, both of which I was going to attend. We began our warm up doing a little jogging around the mat and then segued into our movement drills. I was bear crawling and shrimping, break falling and jacare-ing(?). We did our calisthenics and our stretches and it wasn't long before I began wondering how the hell I was gonna make it to the end of the first class, let alone the second. After about seven million sit ups and sit outs our coach told us to circle up so we could begin drilling the technique of the day. He went over a simple transition to knee on belly, tortured a few students and we paired up to begin the drill. Being a n00b I was paired with a guy that was pretty well seasoned. My large, mo-hawked partner in contusion began on top and went about demonstrating the intricacies of applying top pressure by attempting to force my insides out through my nose. After about fifteen minutes of this Tyler, (we'll call him "Tyler" cause he was built like Tyler Durdin and because that was his name) succeed in his task and I spent the next ten minutes huddled over a trash can. After I had recovered I returned to the mat in time to do some live rolling. I've been told that at many gyms you're not allowed to roll freely until you've gained some grappling knowledge. Fortunately for for me this was not one of those gyms. I'd like to give an account of my first real sparring session but I'm afraid that due to the sweat and fatigue it was quite literally a blur. I was flipped, and rolled, and twisted, and smashed. The only real offense I was able to muster was a wicked can opener I tried on a fellow cause I used to watch Mark Coleman do it all the time back in Pride. With that the bell rang and I kinda crawled my way to wall where we were dismissed. This brief respite was welcomed but wrestling class was next and I was too delirious with fatigue to realize I was spent.

We began our wrestling class with another short warm up then we dove into our technique, the "lateral drop". We did this with out a crash pad because wrestlers are masochists. In addition to the lat drop I was shown how to "run the pipe" and how to shoot in for the ol' college double. To my surprise diving face first into a man's crotch came pretty naturally to me. With my introduction into wrestling complete we paired off and began our timed rounds. I was paired with our good friend Tyler again who proceeded to show me what the ceiling looked like from every angle imaginable. Between one of my inversions I asked him how long he had been doing this type of thing. His reply was "Seven". Which you could interpret as seven years, you could do this and you would be very wrong. I came to find out that "seven" meant "Since I was seven years old you scrawny twat". A few timed rounds and a Spartan version of king of the hill later and the hour was up. I had made it through my first day. In my infinite wisdom I had walked to the gym that day. I lived at the bottom of a hill and the gym was located on the other side. As I climbed I relived every cross face and every slam I had endured that evening. My legs burned with every step and my lungs screamed like I was breasting some high peak. As I reached the summit my fortitude had reached it's end and I spent the next fifteen minutes or so sprawled half naked on the side walk trying to catch my breath. As I regained my composure and began the trek downhill I began to feel the sensation of euphoria that always accompanies great strain and accomplishment. After the most refreshing shower beer I can recall my mind was made up. I would be back at the gym the very next day.

Two years later and that decision is still paying off. My time at the gym has done more for me than anything else I've done in those few years. I'm healthier, happier, I eat better, I no longer smoke. That feeling of "softness"? Gone. All this has it's price though. I have some days where my body screams at me. My knees hurt when it rains. My fingers aren't as responsive as they were. I pretty much feel like my sternum is bruised all the time. All and all every agony was worth it. Not only do I feel physically stronger,( I'm positive that for the first time in my life I could kick the shit out of nineteen year old Dooner) I mentally more prepared for dealing with adversity than ever before.

Below I've included a document based on something one of my instructors drew up for me when I asked about my progress towards blue belt. I found it helpful to put my game down on paper so I could see what areas I need work on and really identify my strengths.The thinking is that if you can confidently fill this out you might be ready to proceed to the next belt level. I hope some of you other novices out there can use it as well. And.... I guess that's all I got for now. Thank you all for reading and I look forward to many discussions in the future.

Takedowns

________, ________

Guard Passes

________, ________, From Range: ________, ________

Side Control Attacks(Top)

________, ________ Transitions: ________, ________

Mount Attacks(Top)

________, ________ Transitions: ________, ________

Back Mount(Top)

________, ________ Sweeps: ________, ________ Transitions: ________, ________

Closed Guard Attacks

________, ________ Sweeps: ________, ________ Transitions: ________, ________

Half Guard Attacks

________, ________ Sweeps: ________, ________ Transitions: ________, ________

Butterfly

________, ________ Sweeps: ________, ________ Transitions: ________, ________

Back Mount(Bottom)

________, ________ Sweeps: ________, ________ Transitions: ________, ________

Side Control(Bottom)

________, ________ Sweeps: ________, ________ Transitions: ________, ________

Other Guards

________, ________ Sweeps: ________, ________ Transitions: ________, ________

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via www.bjjlegends.com

(Only size photo I could find. I'm the forth from the left on the back row.)


\The FanPosts are solely the subjective opinions of Bloody Elbow readers and do not necessarily reflect the views of Bloody Elbow editors or staff.

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