Friday, April 15, 2011

Tapping My Way To Freedom

Training this week has been awesome. I'm flowing between positions nicely and having some great rolls. Worked on some stand up wrestling earlier in the week which was very good. It's something I enjoy and think is very important for a jits dude to get familiar with. It's a huge advantage to be able to take some one down or avoid a takedown in competitions. Also I feel it's important to make my grappling for self defence  much more effective.

I feel like I've really turned a corner mentally on the mat and my jiu-jitsu has really progressed quickly since this mental shift happened. It's a combination of a few things but at the middle of it all is that I've been able to let even more of my ego go.
Some dudes i think are a bit intimidated by me on the mat, I'm a 102kg bald dude with a red beard.  But anyone who has rolled with me knows that the fear is a bit unfounded. When i roll I'm not aggressive, I always play guard at the start of the roll and try to 'flow with go' but the moment I slap hands with some of my team mates I know they really want to go for the kill and tap my fat arse. Now this is cool and I still enjoy the rolls but they are missing out on so much jits fun by going down that road.
I usually try my hardest to not let anyone tap me. But tonight I thought fuck it, anyone who aggressively wants me to tap tonight I'm going to tap. I didn't just lay there and give it to them but if they got position and were going hard i kind of let the chokes slip in, then fought it off for a bit and then just before i went out, i tapped. Now this nearly back fired on one of the strong whitebelts, he pulled off a nice technique that we were working on at the start off class. I thought 'Kudus to you dude for going for the techniuqe' So I let it get deep before I started to fight the grip and then I tapped but I went out for a micro second. Was just like some one reset my computer. Weird feeling man. It's amazing that I haven't been put out before this considering I've been training for a bit over 2yrs. He knew I some what gave him the choke and was apologizing but it was all cool it was actually what I wanted. I wanted to get put deep in some chokes and tap.
After that tap I felt really good. It was like I'd just let go of some more of my ego bullshit. Tapping to guys who have not been training for as long as you is always something grapplers try to avoid. But I feel it's healthy for growth in jiu-jitsu. I get to feel how deep I can go with chokes before I tap and also it shows that I'm willing to tap every now and then.
One of our killer purples who I often have some awesome rolls with, really went at me as well. I was really trying to play some jits with him but I could feel he wanted my blood. So I didn't exactly give him anything but I definitely wasn't going to try and shut his game down with my size and strength. I wanted to play Jiu-Jitsu with him but he wanted to do fight Jiu-Jitsu with me.
After our roll, in which he tapped me like 3 times and tryed to crank my neck for a while. I had to say something. He's totally a cool cat who I have much respect for and probably the guy at the gym I have the most in common with. So I felt I could voice my opinion with him. I said that the roll was fun but if we just flowed a bit more we could have pulled off so much more beautiful Jiu-Jitsu. He agreed and we rolled again straight away. The difference was huge we got through so much more technique and I think if we had a couple more rolls that night we would have been able to put on a good display of technical Jiu-Jitsu and I would have learnt some cool shit from him. 
I'm not saying by any means that when you roll you should not look for the finish but the finish is just that 'the finish'. I would rather keep the roll going. Move to the next transition, give something else up, try the escape and so on but always moving, always connected and always trying to link all my techniques together. I really think that the beautiful Jiu-Jitsu is found in the movement not the finish.

C u on the mat,

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Role Models

As a little kid growing up in a small rural town, I had heaps of heroes. Mr T, Monkey on Monkey Magic, Wally Lewis, Jeff Fenech. But these characters didn't make me who I am today. The fault of my ruptured personality lies with my childhood role models. My Family, my friends, my school teachers and my coaches. Weather I liked it or even if these people weren't aware of it, they were my role models.
Now that I'm a grown man I still think it's healthy to have hero's and role models. My modern day heroes are people like Ali, BJ Penn, Wayne Bennett, Shane Webke, Rickson Gracie, Saulo Ribero and the list goes on.
I'm always conscious of trying to improve myself as a person. I try to look at what the people I respect and admire do to achieve there goals. I try to read biographies on these people and pick up as many tips as I can. But it is the people that I have physical access to that can really help me improve myself.

Now at the risk of sounding like a complete suck up, brown nose I don't think getting to roll with Rickson Gracie would have as great an effect on me as training with my coach Ryan Dunstan over the last few years. Now no offense to Ryan but Rickson is clearly the greatest BJJ practitioner to ever wear a Gi but i don't know Rickson and he doesn't know me. So as much Rickson is a hero of mine he can never be a role model to me. But I have seen Ryan in many situations in the years that I've known him, under extreme pressure competing, training, coaching, reacting to big wins and loses, partying and just hanging out and the way he carries him self in all these situations is what a role model should look like. Now I'm not saying he is a saint or anything like that, he has faults like all of us but that is just how a role model should be, real and accessible. I'm extremely lucky to have found the right gym and coach for me. I clicked there straight away and I've made some solid connections with some excellent like minded individuals. The quality of the instruction and the leadership from Coach Dunstan is in my eyes nothing short of world class and to not absorb that and try to put some of that positive energy back out into the world would be selfish of me. 
Cage door duties is a real privilege.
Especially when two true martial artists are in the cage together.
As a father, an uncle, friend, training partner, and sometime coach. I am fully aware that I myself have become a role model. I think about this a lot. I really want to conduct my self more as a martial artist and have positive affects on the people I come in contact with.
If I wasn't doing BJJ and had not met my coach and team mates I think everyone I come in contact with would not get the best of me. I owe alot to Jiu-Jitsu.
I'm very apprecitative of the art and the men and women I train with and especially my coach.

C u on the mat,