Trying to do jiu-jitsu or something jiu-jitsuey everyday is interesting. I’ve been doing some solo-drills lately–just to get some movement, and I’ve been working a lot with the yoga ball. I like it. I just like the idea of being able to put all my weight on something without it gasping for air. I’m waiting for one of these balls to explode; I’m sure it’s just a matter of time. Meanwhile, I’ll attempt to get as smooth as Jeff Glover on the yoga ball.
I’m not sure what a simple life entails exactly, but I’m pretty sure I want one. I don’t think I’m asking for too much. What I want is to learn and teach and do jiu-jitsu full time, write some awesome books, play and read and laugh with my kids, ride a bicycle every day, drink some beer every once in a while, sleep in a hammock occasionally and attempt to understand the universe–a simple life.
For me jiu-jitsu keeps coming back to understanding the principles and concepts of jiu-jitsu–the underlying principles of life really. If we could master those, we could master the universe. I think jiu-jitsu has a lot to teach, but I’ve been thinking too much and not doing enough—the art is in the action—in the performing—not solely in the contemplation.
One of our good friends has been missing jiu-jitsu class lately and tonight we paid him a visit to remind him how much we love him and miss him. The friends we find on the mat are incredibly important and it’s through our work together on the mats we forge and unbreakable bond. One Love to all the jiu-jitsu brethren out there–keep training.
Last week, I jammed all my fingers and my thumb on the same hand—all my fingers and multiple knuckles. No big deal really; they weren’t dislocated or broken or anything, but the problem with jammed fingers is they don’t bend. You cannot close your hand entirely. It’s virtually impossible to grip something if your fingers don’t bend, and if your thumb is jacked up too, your hand is damn near useless. It’s basically like a meat hammer.
But here’s the blessing: when you’re injured, you’re forced to get out of your regular jiu-jitsu pattern. All of a sudden, the things you’ve done a thousand times are unavailable to you, you’re forced to adapt, to think, to change, to come up with something new, to scrounge through your bag of forgotten knowledge and pull out something that you can use instead.
Being injured just makes us adapt. It makes us improve our game in different areas, areas we’ve probably neglected in some way. So even though we cannot implement our game the way we want to, we can still improve. (I typed this all with one hand).
So, I’ve been reading, judo master, Jigoro Kano’s book called, Mind Over Muscle. Kano is responsible for starting judo’s Kodokan school as well as getting judo into the public school system of Japan, all in the late 1800’s early 1900’s. He was definitely a man before his time.
One of the things he talks about in his book is giving back to the community as a judo player. I like the idea of helping people out, as a matter of fact that’s how my school basically started. Helping kids out, kids who I thought jiu-jitsu could help.
Tonight, I went to my second fund-raiser this week. This one was to help raise money for our local roller-derby team. I like people who try and improve their passions, who hustle for the people and things that they love. I’ll always help those people if I can. I like helping people, to me it’s a way to show appreciation for their drive, for their desire and dedication. Whatever I can do to help foster their dream I’ll try and do. I think Kano was on to something; master your art; cultivate your mind, then help your brothers and sisters.
Today I tried to make frames while I trained from the bottom. I wanted to keep my partner in check by controlling his hips or his upper body with either my arms or legs. The hard part about it was that as soon as I’d set an anchor (like a foot in the hip) he’d counter it; although it didn’t completely stop him, it did slow down his attempts to pass my open guard. He had to dismantle my frames before he could move forward. Then before he could pass, I collapsed the frames and set them up again on a different part of the body. I also found myself switching from one style of guard to another based on what my partner was attempting to do. I wish I could say it was flawless, but all it showed me was I have a lot to learn.
It’s late. I just got back from a charity event and I have jiu-jitsu on my mind. I’ve been doing jiu-jitsu for a long time and I still don’t feel very good at it, but it’s not a discouraging feeling; it’s more encouraging than anything else. I feel like I’ll be doing jiu-jitsu forever, for fun, if nothing else. I’m starting to notice that the guys I most respect in jiu-jitsu are the ones who train for fun, not just for tournaments or to dominate people, or to fight, but just train for themselves—I most relate to that kind of person. I like that attitude best.
From this day on I’m not going to worry about anything except trying to learn and teach good jiu-jitsu and to enjoy my time on the mat.
My friend Carl Sims came down to train yesterday and reminded me that the hips are the center of the jiu-jitsu universe. You want to improve your jiu-jitsu? Concentrate on your hips.
keep looking »
I like the idea of jiu-jitsu as play. I didn’t use to, but the longer I do jiu-jitsu the more I see it as that. It doesn’t have to be life or death; it doesn’t have to be about who you’ve submitted. It can just be fun. We’ve been working on knife defenses at the academy and tonight we had a “knife fight,” just for fun. Permanent markers and some pretty good techniques made for a lot of laughing and learning and playing.