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.


  1. Great topic!! I being a wrestler, muay thai and boxer hated a good jiuijitsu guy. I can not tell you how many I have battered physically only to be caught in an armbar or triangle. Mind you I only took 2 jiu jitsu classes 6 years ago (would have continued had it not been for same injuries as you. I wish I were exposed to it earlier but where i live we had an over 30 boxing league in Brooklyn, NY and fought Muay Thai as well. Also my wrestling backroud made it feel awkward to be on my back.

    Keep up the great work Carter and continued healing. Did you have the sports hernia (pubalgia) operated on? Dr. William Meyers did mine in May of 2009.

    Paul Mazzaferro

  2. I got two prolotherapy injections for the sports hernia and it's 85-90% better. I'll probably get one more for good measure. It was more of an annoying injuring than a debilitating one.

  3. Carter-

    If it is a tear of the rectus abdominis it will never heal. It will unravel and create other muscle imbalances. Please keep an eye on it and if you need treatment the only guy to see is William Meyers in Philly (he did mine) He has done Shockey, McNabb, Josh Hamilton among others and does all the pro's and a ton of redo's of other guys who went the mesh route.

    It was explained to me that the hips cause the athletic pubalgia because the immobility of the hip forces the pubis to use its muscles more causing the rectus and adductor tears.

    I feel so good today I am dreaming of hitting a heavy bag again. I think i told you that i had taken a half dozen classes in 2004 or 2005 and just stunk at BJJ. I wonder when i am healed if i can safely try it again? I had no cartlige damage or arthritis....I am just old and out of shape....LOL...

  4. I've heard of that guy. I doubt I'll need surgery on this one. Prolo is great at stimulating the body to heal itself and like I said, there's been a huge improvement. The torn labrum was definitely causing some of the pain as well.

    Jiu jitsu is a a great sport/obsession. Obviously there is a price to pay but most sports have that