Don’t roll so hard

As scarce as my blog posts have been lately, i’m happy to say the lessons I’ve been learning in and outside the gym have been anything but.  Class after class I’ve been looking for at least a pinch of inspiration for my blog and I’m glad to say that last Thursday I found it.

As fate would have it, Thursday josh taught class and showed several gi sweeps from the bottom of half guard. Both intrigued wee little me simply because when done right with little space between you and your opponent, it takes very little strain or muscle to complete.  Just make sure that you’re quick once you complete the sweep because if you’re not then you’ll miss the opportunity to pass your opponent’s open guard.

I strained my bicep tendon somehow, so that along with my carpal tunnel has made rolling a pain.  With that being said i’m taking a few days off from class but ill be back thursday (wednesday if i get too restless).  Normally any time off would be unbearable but i’m looking at it as a time where I can explore other athletic endeavors like dusting off my yoga mat, or running.

Instead of rolling thursday I drilled the flower sweep from guard and some of the half guard sweeps with shannon.  My not rolling made her the odd one out which made me feel guilty to ‘abandon’ her but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Josh was observing two blue belts roll fairly hard…about as hard as I’ve seen even at a tournament and when he asked why they rolled so hard one responded that the speed helped him to avoid mistakes, to which Josh (black belt) responded:

“You can go slow and do the right thing…you’ll make the same problems going fast that you’d make going slow.”

I think a lot of the guys at our gym are starting become a little more conscious of the way they roll, especially with visitors. I’ve mentioned it before but there are three..well four (maybe even more) affiliate gyms in Ky, one in Elizabethtown, one in Bowling Green (where i train), another in Hazard, and another in Owensboro.  The general consensus about the bowling green school is that no matter where I travel is that for the most part, people comment that we roll “too hard”.  (I wish i had the ability to roll hard) but it is true and doesn’t leave the best impression on visitors and more experienced grapplers.   What’s impressed me is the fact that instead of becoming defensive ,collectively there’s been somewhat of a shift of not only how we roll but an intrinsic look at how to get the most out of our rolls.  Now granted i’m saying for the most part.  There are still a few guys that I simply can’t stand rolling with because no matter the day of the week, sickness, or insistent pleas from me to SLOW DOWN, they still roll like we’re at the Abu Dhabi Pro trials.

Bakari Akil over at Jiu JItsu 365 recently posted abut his experiences at a new gym, and I can’t help but hope that everyone works to give new guys and visitors that same type of hospitality.  To make them feel welcome instead of intimidating them and placing them on a chopping block. Here’s an excerpt from Akil’s post:

Everyone, I mean everyone, speaks to you when you enter the academy. Further, they go beyond that. They actually start conversations with and want to know about you. (It is really important to me that the environment is a friendly one and that I feel comfortable with the people I train with.) Also, there are belts of all types. I have never seen so many blues, purples and brown belts in one place. Every rolling session is like receiving a private session and people have been very eager to share their knowledge as well as ask questions when I do something they haven’t seen.

No egos.

The professor is friendly and won’t hesitate to demonstrate techniques to improve students game, even to the point of pulling students to the side for 20 minutes or so and reviewing technique with them. Also the place is full of people who have been training 2, 3, 4, and 5 years at JaxBJJ and up to 15+ years with Prof. Shealy. It also has a huge kid’s class, which suggests stability to me and not only does it have a lot of guys and gals in their 20s training but also a lot of guys in their 30s, 40s and even 50s. This is cool because it means that it is a safe environment and one that doesn’t burn students out.

–Now how on earth can gyms nationwide work to hone in this type of experience? Or better yet how does one create an environment that “does not burn anyone out”.  I fear that this question is like trying to crack the rosetta stone.  In my opinion bjj is addicting and becoming burnt out is inevitable. I’m just trying to pick everyone’s brain.

Side note: I’m pleased to say that I ventured to Etown saturday morning to squeeze in some more time with josh and also get some rolls in with Cody, purple belt.  Our purple belt has been injured for quite some time now and everyone’s style is different so the ‘beating’ that i took was a treat and an honor.  Half guard is intriguing me more and more, both gi and no gi.  Yesterday we rolled no gi and once i got in the same position josh taught last thursday, even though it was nogi I experimented with an underhook of the leg since there was no fabric and the sweep WORKED. I was more than excited, although I was squealing with joy on the inside I actually stayed quiet on the outside.  I’m known as the dramatic one so I”m working on keeping my outbursts to myself.

And now It’s Multimedia TIME!!!!!

Here’s what i’m laughing at right now:


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