T Nation

Do Meatheads Dream of Iron Sheep?


@hel320 I think you’ll enjoy it. I’m sure you’ll recognize some of the stuff. BJJ has only been Brazilian for a hundred years or so. It is still mostly Judo, or what was called Judo 100 years ago.

This is the guy who brought it to Brazil.


Friday 3/16/18

BJJ 75 min

Open mat at my brown belt friend’s house. Nobody else showed up, so I got some more great instruction. But not before we rolled a bit.

First high point of the day was a high mount escape I pulled off. He ended up right back there shortly after, but I got him off of me with the escape we drilled last month in class. Big hip bump and a sudden shove with the arms. There’s a risk to get armbar’d here, but there’s a lot of risk when someone’s got high mount too.

Second high point was a takedown I won. I’m not sure of the name of the technique, but I definitely sensed his unbalance and dumped him over my leg and onto his back. It’s been a while since I’ve won a takedown with him. First one of 2018 I think.

Third high point was the very last roll. It was a flow roll but possibly the most grueling roll I’ve ever had. Maybe 15 minutes long. At least 10. He basically made me work by leaving a few doors open for me to walk through but still resisting and working to improve his position. I’m not sure what speed he was at maybe 50 or 60 percent. He just kept going and going until he eventually let me have an armbar. I still had to see it and do it right, which is part of the game, but I’m sure he could have escaped if he wanted to. I’m still exhausted form that roll. Holy shit.

In the middle of all the rolling we worked technique for a little bit. Both he and my other instructor have been pointing out that my defense from bottom is lacking. I need to hip out more, get on my side with good frames when they have side control, and aggressively work to improve my position when mounted. I’m almost treating mount like a safe spot because I have so much success with escapes. Not good. Being mounted is bad bad bad, and I need to start working escapes with more urgency and, of course, better technique.

Another detail we went over again was using a stiff arm frame to escape knee-on-belly and move to the single leg. I’m getting the first part reliably but my single leg has been all wrong. Instead of grabbing the leg with my arms I need to wrap my arm and body up to the leg, get my dick in the dirt and use my whole body to push them down. A hand on the ankle is good too.

It is awesome to have another private lesson in the books. The invite went out to four other people, but folks have a way of finding other stuff to do on a Friday night. I can’t count the number of private and semi-private lesson’s I’ve gotten by simply showing up.

Happy weekend everyone!


Do you ever catch yourself trying to use muscle at the sake of form? The more confident someone gets in their style the less likely they are to try a “shortcut”.


@hel320 I use muscle every time I roll, but I don’t use brute strength to force submissions. I have, and it can work quite well, but there’s limited reasons to use those methods when you’re training technique. Positional escapes will sometimes be explosive and powerful. Being strong definitely helps in certain circumstances, but the higher level you go up against the less strength matters. There are technical ways to take all of those attribute advantages away that work extremely well in a grappling match and still hold up pretty well in a real fight too.


Sunday 3/18/18

BJJ 120 min

I did a little day drinking after jiu jitsu today. Let’s see what I can recall from this morning…

Open training at my brown belt friend’s house. I was one of four white belts who showed up. Technique for the day was a sequence of events. Starting from the feet, one person “shoves” the other down, and our jiu jitsu lesson begins in the open guard position. The aggressor, still standing, charges at the person in guard. Person in guard uses feet to manage the distance, looking to control the person with feet in the aggressor’s hips, gain control of wrists/sleeves, then kick them in the face.

Let’s say they don’t let you just kick them in the face, so they clear your feet off of their hips and lunge further into you. Now you can close the guard and play that game, or you can look for the sweep right away. Today we looked for the sweep.

As the asshole’s lunging into you, you’re looking to hip out, make space by laying on your right side, get your left shin across their belly, get your right leg on the floor to hook their knee, while simultaneously getting a deep cross-collar grip or, absent a gi, a grip on their shoulder using your left hand. Neck, beard or hair can work too. As you’re doing this you should be crunching in and also using your right hand to control their left wrist/sleeve to keep it from touching/posting on the floor.

From that crunched up position, you can extend your hips and it should unbalance them on its own. Your left leg can sweep out across their belly if it doesn’t, ensuring your opponent’s new position on his or her back. At this point your left leg will be extended over his body and your left hand will still have a deep grip in the collar. Slide right into mount as they hit the floor.

Now that you’ve mounted your opponent, get your hooks in and take your right hand and walk it around their head and post it on the far left side of them. As you hold mount, you use your right hand to grab whatever fabric is on their right shoulder, and finish the choke with a “chainsaw-starting motion”. Your left hand still has the deep cross-collar grip, your right hand is just stabilizing the fabric so your left hand can finish the one-sided choke.

If they struggle, and they probably will, you can use this opportunity to scoot up to a high mount position and attack an arm. Armbar is there, even with your left hand still buried in the collar. If they defend the armbar you can turn that into a back-take and finish with a chainsaw choke from back, an armbar or drop them down into a bow-and-arrow choke.

Then we rolled and I got my ass beat a lot by my friend. Same story here. Progress in the form of escapes and defenses. Not a matter of if I tap but when I tap.

He asked what I wanted to work on and I told him sweeps from open guard. The basic idea he drilled into me was that I need to have one arm high with a leg and my arm, one arm low with my arm but not touching the floor, and my other leg hooked around the ankle. A few other options from here too but I’m done logging!



Monday 3/19/18

BJJ 100 min

More back control drilling. More osoto gari takedown drilling. That’s what we do this month.

Packed class tonight with 23 students. 3 escapes same as before. Same attacks as last week too. No new details that stuck. New technique was ezekiel from the back. I dig this choke and I’m going to be hunting for opportunities from mount and back.

First roll was with a returning white belt. He’s a tall, fit and strong Federal LEO who will be a monster if he sticks with it. Right now I can give him top position, which I did each time, and still tap him pretty easily. Climb the ladder, hold the position, hunt for submission without using any excessive pressure. Tapped him with a bow-and-arrow from S-Mount. It is cool to make this happen and I’m pleased to be doing it without using any of my crushing pressure.

Second roll was with the senior purple belt. He’s really turning into a tank, and he ran through me pretty quickly the first time. Second time I made him work a little longer and even took high mount. Couldn’t get anything going on that but I was pleased to have gained high mount on our toughest purple belt.

Third roll was with a HS girl. I just let her go to work and offer light resistance. Set her up with a bunch of various armbars.

Fourth roll was with a HS guy. Poor guy was terrified I think, but let him work armlocks from mount on me. I tapped him gently with an armbar from mount.


Thursday 3/22/18

BJJ 100 min

Guest instructor for the day, my instructor’s instructor! Skipped takedowns and escape drills to go right into technique.

We started with a back take. From mount the person on bottom goes to hip out, and you ride that up into Russian mount as they hip. The shoulder that moves up will be followed by that side leg going to the the knee, and the opposite side leg going to the foot and pinching them in the abdomen. Abdomen side foot rotates away from you to stop their bottom leg from moving. Backside leg keeps the knee in the back of their head and rotates the shin against the body. While this is happening you establish a Kimura grip on the arm that is on top, which I’ll call the right hand. Left hand grabs their right wrist and gift-wraps it around the head. Right hand underhooks and grabs your own left wrist, tightening up the grip and putting your sternum against their body. This is a position with a lot of control. From here you sit backwards and put your right shoulder to the mat while pushing off with your left leg. Boom that’s the back.

We worked some of the same chokes we’ve been doing all month. New detail I picked up… fuck I can’t remember. I could when I started writing this. Getting old I guess…

Rolling began with the best match-up for me that’s ever been at the school, a 260+lb ex biker gang member/current reformed family guy and all-around good dude who’s also a 2 stripe white belt, but hasn’t trained for a long time. Maybe 5 months or so.

I kept things pretty playful with him. I pulled guard from the knees and did a shitty job of it, so he passed it right away. He worked an Americana and a choke from side control, but those were easy defenses. I escaped with a far side underhook but he won that scramble and took my back. I escaped that pretty easily but lost the battle for side control and ended up being mounted by him shortly after. I trap and rolled him immediately and passed his guard in pretty short order. Side control for a bit. I fucked around with his arm to distract him and took mount while he left the door wide open. 5 min timer popped off and he was saved by the bell!

I REALLY REALLY hope he stays healthy and gets back on the mats. Great guy and a great roll for me.

Next up was another new white belt I’ve rolled with a few times. This guy’s got a lot of fight. I let him have top but he couldn’t keep it for long. I was going for either a collar choke or Ezekiel, but he was defending those well. I eventually caught him in an Americana. Bell rang shortly afterwards.

After that I rolled with my black belt instructor. I almost survived, but he choked me out with about 10 seconds left. Made some good escapes, including rolling out of his omoplata two different times.

That’s it and that’s all.


Friday 3/23/18

BJJ 70 min

Open mat at the gym. First roll was brutal with my brown belt instructor. Escaped high mount and moved up to his guard during the scramble. Escaped a series of submissions too. No timer today so I’m not sure how long this went. Definitely one of my better rolls with him. He got me with a triangle.

Second roll was with by black belt instructor. This was probably my best roll with him and it probably lasted close to 10 minutes. I escaped what I thought was certain death when he had me millimeters from tapping with an Americana. I’m not even sure what happened during the whole roll. I did manage to trap a leg of his while I was in his guard and then keep it isolated while I passed to side control. I’m not sure what I did, it wasn’t a technique that’s been taught to me. I just took the opportunity to trap his leg and then saw the opening to pass his guard. I had him in side control for a bit. Loosened my lapel and had him in trouble for a bit, but he defended, did a bunch of jiu jitsu shit and ended up choking me out. Fantastic.

Next up was a newer white belt whose mostly been studying judo. He’s a young guy and a strong lifter and he made me pay for being tired and sloppy. Put me on my ass, kept up as we traded positions and caught me in an armbar with his legs. He was very very proud to have done this. I had to re-assure him that he earned everything in that roll and I wasn’t going easy, which was the truth. He’s shaping up into a terror.

Next up was a female white belt who is also shaping up to be a terror. I tapped her with a bow-and-arrow choke, but not before she brought some really good pressure on me. Really impressive stuff from her.

A few more rolls with the brown belt and he was just running right through me. I was so tired and he’s not even phased after an hour of rolling. He’s an incredible athlete and a vicious jiu jitsu player. It is a night-and-day difference with what he can do to me when I’m gassed vs. fresh.

Happy weekend everyone!


Good session.


@hel320 Thanks! I felt like it was too.

Monday 3/26/18

BJJ 100 min

Continuing our work from back during the month of March, we worked on three back-takes today.

First back take was an arm drag from guard. Arm drag, hip to the side, keep a hook in, get a grip and then swing your other leg over to climb on their back. Pretty straightforward.

Next up was a back take from turtle. You grab their belt and gi to lunge them forward, making space for your right shin to lace their leg. Then you get a over/under grip and climb your other leg up and over, getting your left hook in. Finish.

Last up was another back take from turtle. Drive your right knee into their side like a can opener. Get an over/under grip and post your left leg next to their hand and wait for them to grab it, or use your foot to trap it behind your other leg. Then drive your shoulder to the mat and roll, ending up in a crucifix hold. Finish.

Rolling was basically me running through most of the white belts. I went through four today. None had me in any danger. One was particularly strong and aggressive with a decent amount of training, but he still got tapped with an armlock. Basically just me working technique on these guys. Tapped them all easily. Doing jiu jitsu.

I rolled with my black belt instructor next. We were tired and just kind of turned it into a flow roll. I’m becoming hard for him to tap when we’re running timers.

I’m super tired and super enjoying my jiu jitsu right now. I think I’m getting ducked by a few of our colored belts. Oh well. The longer they wait to roll with me the better I’ll keep getting, especially when they only train once per week!


Thursday 3/29/18

Last back control class from march. Today we looked at how the arm-drag and choke sequence we’ve been doing from the back can also work from standing and Russian Mount. Starting from standing, arm-drag the person and take side-clinch. Knee bump takedown into side control, keep them from flattening out. Take Russian mount and then work the choke series. Mirror choke series, bow and arrow choke series. These are going better for me after making most of March’s classes.

Rolling is following the recent pattern. Technical domination of the new white belts, better defense against the upper belts. Our senior purple belt and I had a really good roll. We were both tired, I won the takedown and he kimura’d me while I was in side control. I’ll need to ask him to break that down for me if he comes to open mat tomorrow.

Brand new white belt is a big big boy in his late 40’s. I took him for a gentle spin. He could be a really good training partner if he learns to shut up, listen and not give advice to other white belts on his first day. For the record, the advice was bad. Shocker.


You wonder what goes through some peoples heads!? Was it a dominance thing, a lack of self awareness or is he just a dick…

I have never done BJJ, can you start competing once you hit blue belt? Is it something that interests you?


I’m not sure, probably just macho dominance sort of posturing, but he’s already earning a pass from me. To this man’s credit, he’s knocking on 50 years old and strutting into a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu gym as a new student. He also showed up to open mat today with all of that bullshit in check. I’ll chalk his behavior last night up to social awkwardness around a breed of martial artists he’s unaccustomed to. He’s a big, strong motherfucker who’s definitely got some real training in his background and I think he’s wired to do BJJ. I expect him to shape up into a solid training partner.

Yes, I am interested in competing. I went out for drinks with my brown belt friend after open mat tonight and the subject of competing came up. There’s an upcoming master’s (age 30+) tournament for blue and purple belts. He’s strongly encouraging me to enter, even though I’m still a mid-level white. He said he’d promote me to blue belt for a day so I can compete, and I may.

To answer your other question, no, you don’t need to be a blue belt to compete. Plenty of white belt tournaments too. There’s one that’s submission-only later in the year. That’s definitely on my list as long as I’m uninjured and good to go.

Friday 3/30/18

BJJ 75 min

Open mat at the gym. Good turn-out tonight. Me, my black belt instructor, my brown belt instructor, a blue belt who’s been out for quite a few months, our senior purple belt and our new white belt who made an awkward entrance last night.

Good for that dude, seriously. Showing up to open mat with the guys who bang is probably the best way to follow up a rather awkward first showing. He got tooled on by everyone in the room and was a really good sport about it all. I think he understands that he’s in a tank full of sharks and doesn’t like the feeling of being a bait fish.

Rolled with the whole room at least twice, except for our returning blue belt who I only got one roll with. I tapped to everyone except our new white belt. I expected myself to tap the blue belt, but it wasn’t in the cards today as he was very patient with working an americana from side control on me. I think our next roll can go a bit differently if I do my part…

Highlights for me are winning a takedown on my brown belt friend and also sweeping him onto his back from the bottom. I’m honestly not quite sure what I did, besides sensing his lack of balance/stability, hooking my arm under his leg and rolling him right onto his back. I actually got a reaction out of him, which has never happened before. “You little fucker”, he said to the man who outweighs him by 100 pounds and successfully escaped his top position. He quickly regained guard and triangle choked me. Little fucker, indeed.

Purple belt showed me his kimura from bottom, which was exactly what I envisioned he did. Rookie mistake I should not leave myself open for. He’s setting himself up for it by grabbing my arm when I pass his guard and take side control. I have to establish underhooks I think. I need to explore this more I think it is a missing key to my side control. He got me with it again tonight, but I at least made it one step further by front-rolling out of the initial kimura, but he held on and followed me with it. He’s a tank.

I only had one roll with the white belt where I americana’d him from the bottom of side control. He stopped the second due to fatigue. He was trying like hell to choke me, and he was somewhat close, but I just rode it out for about 3 or 4 minutes, then made my escape when his grip was fried. As soon as I busted out of his side control he tapped. No submission, just gassed and had enough.

Great start to the weekend!


Sunday 4/1/18

BJJ 120 min

Open training at my brown belt friends house. We started with takedown work. O Soto gari and some lead ins to that.

Then we did some open guard drilling. Strip grips off pant legs by kicking out and then replacing the feet. From there we look to up kick the face. If that misses it puts us in position for a triangle choke.
We also worked a sweep from open guard. Yank them in, grab an ankle, hook the other ankle with your foot and plant them right on their ass. From there you can ride it up into mount if being aggressive or get back up in base if playing safe.

Rolling continues to follow recent patterns. The two white belts were dispatched easily. One was strong, tough and in shape but he just doesn’t have much skill. He’s a handful but he tapped to a bow and arrow choke. I armbar’d the other guy in under a minute.

Brown belt murdered me while I tried to defend and make escapes.

Think I’m coming down with a bug so i might skip class tonight. We will have to see!


Monday 4/9/18

Back from a week off the mats. Deloads are valuable for my jiu jitsu pursuit for a lot of the same reasons that they are useful in the pursuit of strength.

After warm-ups we drilled takedowns. April’s technique is Uchi Mata, roughly translating to inner leg reap. Our very large new guy was my partner for today. I like him, I like training with him and I have high hopes that he will stick around and develop, but he’s gotta learn to shut up. The dude was literally talking over the instructor telling me what I should be doing on this Judo throw, just throwing out bullshit he either making up or repeating from someone else who probably made it up too. Less talk, more listen.

This month we’re focusing on two transition positions. Half guard and turtle. This is fairly new subject matter for me. Today we only drilled two escapes. I forgot the terms for both but I’ll remember to make note of them next class.

First one started in full guard, working a knee slice pass. Trap the other leg to establish half guard and immediately start working for the underhook on the same-side as the trapped leg, which I’ll call my left side. From there I hook their right leg with my right leg, keeping it pinned as I post up on my right elbow and shuck their upper body off of me with the left-side underhook. I clear my head out from their arm. From there I can hook my left leg over and get hooks, flatten them out and proceed to RNC from there. Today I was trying to roll them forward by breaking down one of their forearms and getting hooks as I roll them out.

Next up was an escape from “deep half-guard”. Same set-up as above, but this time you’re really shucking them over you with some force to attempt to get as low on their body as you can. From here you lace your right arm underneath their left shin, and try to get your left arm around their leg and get a second hand on that foot or grip your own hands together. Then you straighten out your other leg and from here you can roll them in either direction pretty easily.

Lots more details to absorb on both of these, but I’ve got the basic idea.

Rolling was a feast of white belts. First up was my big boy training partner. I like this guy, but I might take it upon myself to have the “just shut up and listen to the instructor” talk with him. Anyway we started from standing. I won the takedown by just “snapping” him down three times in a row. Whatever stand-up game he learned at whatever karate shack he trained at before didn’t give him much for balance. From here it was my little kingdom to rule. I just run the program and good things happen. From the takedown I quickly ended up in side control. Wait for the moment to take mount, then take mount. He was trying to choke me in mount, and I let him burn out on that a bit. Easy Americana, although in retrospect I need to start hunting an armbar or just something besides an Americana. Or maybe not. If they make the shape with their arm they’ve done the work for me already… I gave him top next and quickly escaped his side control and took it for myself. Same basic outcome.

Next round I spent showing him a basic hip-bump to trap and roll from mount, along with assuring him that trying to choke a jiu jitsu guy from the bottom of mount won’t lead anywhere good. I don’t think he’s sold yet, but I’m sure everyone’s going to love tapping out this huge motherfucker if he keeps giving up high mount, armbars. Speaking of high mount, he escaped mine to get out and into my side control, which I complimented him on. Seriously guy, just shut your trap and train and we’ll be best buddies on the mat!

Next up was a white belt whose been coming for a few months now. More technical domination from me. I finally took someone’s back from the feet with an arm-drag. He plopped right down on his butt and went into turtle, defeating my rudimentary attacks from that position. But I was still pleased to have made that work on the feet. I’ve been trying it a lot for the last few weeks but I think I’ve got the a-ha. Kuzushi. Kuzushi all day.

I choked the guy with an Ezekiel from mount. Then I gave him top position and worked to improve back to mount, then tapped him with an Americana.

Next up was our new, young, strong and somewhat experienced white belt. He’s new to our school but not jiu jitsu. Anyway I was more pooped than I should have been on my fourth roll and I dominated him positionally, but couldn’t finish a submission. I should do much better than that.

That’s it and that’s all!


Ran into a guy and his son at the gym the other day. Guy was in his upper 40’s and the son was 21. Guy was around 265 I’d say and had that wrestler face. Got to talking to him and he had started as a wrestler, moved on to BJJ, and was now training his son who was looking at doing some MAA. Conversation got into the impact MAA had had on the traditional martial arts, ie, karate, tae kwon do, the kung fus and how it had showed the weakness many techniques and styles. Good conversation.


I think the genius of Judo was to solve the paradox of “too deadly to train” by simply scrapping stuff that can’t be practiced safely against a fully resisting opponent. BJJ lifted this idea from Judo, and that’s why rolling is such an important part of developing your grappling game. Big difference between drilling movements and making them work when someone is trying to stop you.

Some of the guys I train with have backgrounds in traditional martial arts. The TKD and Karate guys don’t seem to have developed any skills that make them good grapplers. Once I get a grip, we’re in a grappling match whether the karate guy wants to be or not.

In all fairness though, those guys aren’t trying to kick me in the head during the stand-up/free movement phase of our rolls!


Thursday 4/12/18

BJJ 80 min

Warm-ups then on to the take-down of the month - Uchi Mata. I had allergies flare up on the way to class and I felt winded, weak and off-point. Oh well just drill it…

Drilling for the class was more sweeps from half-guard. Same two as last week, no new details I absorbed in my state of allergic distraction.

One new sweep was a curious one that might work well for me. You pinch their leg with your thighs, turn them over and walk them back with your arms. Terrible description, I know, but I don’t have the patience for recalling and logging much detail today.

We did another sweep after that where you really shuck them over your body and get your far-side hand around their thigh, straighten the leg and make them do a banana split while you roll them over into a stack pass position.

No desire to log details on that tonight either.

I only had one roll with the senior purple belt. I didn’t tap. Big win for me. Escaped his cross collar choke and his armbar. Spent most of the time on bottom too, just defending and trying to escape.

That’s all I had in me. Definitely a punch-the-clock night of training.


Friday 4/13/18

BJJ 70 min

Open mat at the gym. Me, my black belt instructor, my brown belt instructor, a newer white belt who has been out for a while and our newest 290 pound white belt who is my new favorite guy to roll with.

First up was my brown belt friend. I won the takedown with a technique called physics. I also won it by defending his takedowns successfully, and getting him off-balance enough to get him spinning in kind of a hammer throw that he didn’t have much say about. Over he went and into Kesa Getami (sp?) I settled. I actually held this position for a decent amount of time, but he had the underhook. I was pinning that to his body to hold the position but couldn’t do much else. In hindsight I should try shifting to side control 1 from there. He made his escape because he’s a wizard and I made him work moderately hard to submit me. He seemed very pleased on my behalf, which was nice.


Next up was our new white belt friend. I’m a little sketchy with this guy on takedowns, so I pulled guard, which he passed pretty easily. Good opportunity to work escapes, and escape I did. This guy is the same size as me and pretty damn strong too. It is hard to hold mount on him and he’s definitely going 100%, which I like. He’s also done some grappling before, and does some not dumb things and makes me carry all of his weight, which I also like. I don’t think I actually submitted him this round. I think he tapped to fatigue. He just goes ALL OUT and gasses so fast. He’ll learn!

After that was my black belt instructor. He won the takedown and I spent a lot of time on the bottom this roll, but I defended like hell. He got mount and I trap and rolled him, passed his guard and defeated some kind of sucker choke he was trying from the bottom of side control. I even took mount on him, which was not something I’ve done much of before, possibly ever. I held it briefly but he made his escape. I also swept him out of a reverse triangle he attempted on me from high mount. More like a gorilla roll, but I sensed his imbalance and kept going in that direction. Anyway he submitted me with an Americana after a good 10 min or so. Maybe it was only 5. Who knows?

Its tough to tell time when you’re rolling.

The other white belt was all done after that but I had a few more rolls with my brown belt friend and another roll with my new best buddy, Mr. Huge Martial Artist going 100% with limited grapplling skills.

A nice night of being both hammer and nail. Happy weekend everyone!


this has become quite the bjj log…
I knew you trained and had loosely followed
just caught up - really good work.
really good.