Thursday, May 27, 2010


I'm packing to leave for a trip to Atlanta for a wedding, so this is going to be short. I think.

I'm on one of those rare highs where I feel like things are working. A new piece of the puzzle fell into place--or a couple of new pieces--and it's like a whole new ball game. That's one of the great things about BJJ. I start to think I'm familiar with the game, then I realize something or learn a new set of moves that makes me see BJJ in a completely new light. Suddenly I'm excited all over again like I was in the beginning.

The breakthrough this time was learning to relax more. For a while I had been trying to figure out how to deal with big guys or muscly guys and I feel like I've made a little bit of headway. Come to find out, the solution to my problem is the concept that is at the core of Jiu-jitsu. He pushes, you pull. He tries to make you go one way, you go that way, but use it to your advantage. Suddenly I get it. Not just in concept. I can feel it more now when I'm rolling.

Go figure. What my instructors have been trying to tell me this whole time was the answer to my current BJJ woes.

Before, I was tensing up out of fear. I didn't want to move because I thought I would get my guard passed and then get smashed or be in danger of having one of my limbs removed. Fabio and Ben--and more than a few of the higher belts--kept telling me to relax and trust my instincts.

So I started trying to do that. I tried to just go with them. When they pushed, I tried to roll inverted or come around the side or bring them over top of me. When they pulled, I tried to use that backwards motion to come on top, or come around the side. I tried to keep a look-out for stray limbs or an exposed neck and I tried not to squeeze or tense up. To stay relaxed, but tight.

At first, the worst happened. I got my guard passed. Got submitted. But then something clicked. Can't explain exactly what it was, but all of the sudden, I'm not as scared of big guys or musclers anymore. Now, people who throw their weight around are starting to be easier to move against in some ways. They have more force behind their movements and can't recover as quickly. In the same way, I'm learning that if someone is locking me up they are using up their energy and limiting their own movement. What I have to do is find a space and start weaseling through it. They can't hold on forever. And eventually, I worm my way out enough to where they have to move and then I can use that new space to get out of dodge.

I'm gushing right now. And I'm probably not being very coherent. So much for the short post! I can't really figure out how to explain what the change is. But I'm just going to enjoy this little mountain-top experience while it lasts. I know I'll probably get my head yanked down out of the clouds right into a triangle before I know it. Yay for good days on the mat! :)


Georgette said...

Yay you!!! :) :)

Liam H Wandi said...

"I can't really figure out how to explain what the change is"

The word is not the thing. Don't feel you need to explain, even to yourself. Just enjoy.

A.D. McClish said...

Thanks guys!!