Tuesday, June 29, 2010


I’ve been injured a lot over the last year. It started with shoulder problems, continued with a broken foot, then torn labrum in one hip, then a sports hernia and torn labrum in the other hip.

As I plan out my return, I keep thinking about the concept of picking my battles wisely

While my ego and overall quest to master jiu jitsu would like to say that it’s important for me to learn how to deal with a 240 pound wrestler crushing me in side mount and be able to escape easily, the reality is I’m 36 and 180 pounds. It’s probably a smarter use of my time to learn better ways of preventing that crushing sidemount from ever happening.

And while I agree it’s important to explore all positions, I also think that positions were designed to have one person inflict maximum damage at minimum risk. Which would imply that the other person is getting most of the damage and most of the risk.

So I think one solution is drilling details of the in between “grey area” moments.

What I mean by this is rather than constantly working on my sidemount escapes I want to work on the moments when my opponent is past my legs but hasn’t passed the guard. There is a whole world of the “in between” that I all but ignore in lieu of working my “side mount defense”.

This “in between” is everywhere. I notice it a lot when dealing with D’arces, half nelsons and guillotines. While there are defense to all of these, I’d rather spend my time working on proper underhooking, head position and correct hand fighting so my opponent never has a chance to do these in the first place.

It also means looking at some of my offense from the guard. While I love the triangle, it’s time to really pick my moments on that attack. I see people attempt the triangle all the time while letting themselves get stacked. I’ve done it many times and while many times I would get the tap, it still started to wreak havoc on my neck and upper back.

So I think the golden rule now will be to get my opponent out of position while keeping a strong position myself and then getting the submission. A triangle when they’re falling forward out of base is a good thing. When it’s with your own knees in your face, it’s not.

I guess all of this comes down to wanting my jiu jitsu to age gracefully.