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Do Meatheads Dream of Iron Sheep?


@bagofbro Thank you. That means a lot coming from you. I’ve got BJJ on the brain an awful lot these days. I’m coming up on my one full year of training next week, and things are beginning to click.

Thanks for following along!


Let’s get caught up on some logging.

Friday 4/20/18

Open mat at my brown belt friend’s house. I was the only attendee, so a private lesson was what I got. First we rolled a bit, and I got my ass whooped. We took a look at what happened, and that’s what led us into the technique for the day.

Kung fu choke. Not to be confused with Kung Fu the TV series or Kung Fu the martial art.

This is a nasty choke from side control that I’ve tapped people with before, but never quite got all of the details down. That’s a trap that you can fall into with jiu jitsu, where people are tapping early to stuff you’re not even doing right, giving you the false impression that you are. Some people just get panicky when you’re pressing all of your weight into their neck with your forearm. C’mon guys we aren’t at tickle practice here…

Anyhoo the main detail I absorbed yesterday was to keep the elbow of my choking arm off of the floor, which is what gives up the easiest escape. The choke is set up by maintaining side control pressure the entire time. I wish I would have logged this Friday because I’d probably remember more details but for now I’ve got more than what I went in with. Elbow off the mat is yooooooge to making this work reliably.

We did some more rolling and I got my ass whooped!


I now have a full year of Brazilian jiu jitsu training behind me. It is hard to concisely describe what I’ve learned using English, but I’ll try. I’m learning to how to process physical pressure and weight distribution as valuable information. I’m learning how to interpret the data contained in tension, flexing, pulling, pushing, grabbing, twisting, squeezing, choking, smothering, smashing, rolling, falling and flailing. I’m learning how to tell lies with my body. I’m learning how to find the hidden spaces that exist in our movements. I’m learning that these spaces have innumerous passageways with all kinds of hidden spaces in them that seem to go on forever. This is a strange and wonderful world of movement that we call jiu jitsu, and taking those first steps into that world last April has had a profound effect on me.


Sunday 4/22/18

BJJ 70 min

Open mat at my brown belt friend’s house. Today we worked on back-takes from standing and guard. Important detail to remember is to not pull too hard all the time. Sometimes slower is sneakier and better. Another key detail is to work an arm-drag drill starting with a shove to the shoulder. Go right to the arm-drag, then to the shoulder push, back and forth. Great drill for stand-up.

Another neat technique to remember if I ever bounce again is to grab a belt with my left hand and a bushy beard with my right. Yank the belt toward me and yank the beard up and away from me with a stiff arm. He he he.

I skipped rolling today to go do more jiu jitsu elsewhere.


Sunday 4/22/18

BJJ 90 min

I went to the newly-launched basics class at my gym. We had some completely new to BJJ guys in there, which was great. Today we looked at three fundamental movements, which my gym calls snakey number 1, 2 and 3. We warm up with these very often.

Long story short, these hip-out and hip-in movements, also called shrimping, are fundamental ways to move yourself around on your back. They are useful in many situations, but we looked at side control escapes and closing the distance in guard today. Just lots of drilling with increasing resistance.

We rolled a bit after class. Same story here, technical domination of white belts. It is noteworthy that I applied my Friday lesson and submitted a young and stout white belt with a Kung Fu choke. I think I might have a lot of Kung Fu chokes in my future…

I rolled with my black belt instructor as well. Same story here, I’m doing better, passing his guard, getting good positions but just not holding them long. He tapped me with an arm triangle once in the 5 min round. Only tapping once in 5 min is also progress.

That’s it and that’s all!


Nice! (deserved more than a “like”.)

edit to add: I especially like “how to tell lies with my body” -that’s mano a mano competition in a nutshell right there.


@punnyguy Thanks! I’m obviously a little behind on my logging. Let’s get caught up, shall we?

Sunday 4/29/18

BJJ 90 min

Sunday beginner class. Fundamental movements. Destroying white belts. That’s all I can recall after a week.


Monday 5/7/18



Buncha light shoulder stuff afterwards

Band pull-aparts
Super light DB press for high reps, many sets
band-pull aparts
some lat pulldowns too

20 min sauna
20 min hot tub

I needed to get back to lifting, so I did. It is time I found a balance between barbells and jiu jitsu. We’ll see what that shapes up like in the coming weeks. For now I’ve got the beginning of rotator cuff drama on both arms, so I’m following PT advice and doing lots of reps with little load.

All systems definitely go on deadlifts. Not bad after an entire year of not lifting. Natty strength sticks around it seems.

I’ll see how squats go later this week. I’ve got a knee injury from jits a few months ago but I’ll just do what I can.

I’m also lifting at my old gym again. I miss the sauna, pool and hot tub and the price is outstanding at $24 a month. I loved that powerlifting gym but I’m not pursuing high-level powerlifting. I’m definitely pursuing better recovery, and the hot tub and sauna deliver that in spades.

That’s it and that’s all.


That’s awesome man, any ideas of how often you will incorporate barbell work?


Wow! Did I see deadlifts? Nice work.


jesus mate!!! awesome.


@Irishman92 Thanks bud. My priority for the coming weeks is to find a good balance between lifting and jiu jitsu, with top priority going to lifting. Lifting just does too many good things for me and I need it in my life. So yes, I’d be glad to share my ideas about incorporating barbell work.

Jiu jitsu sort of infected my head at first. Not in a bad way at all, just in a way that was new to me. I HAD to rectify the reality that I was helpless against a well-trained opponent. This was a must-do in my mind. After a year I’m still a white belt, but not a helpless one. Not that I’m ready to step into the cage or anything like that, but I know I have a set of skills well beyond what the typical asshole is going to possess along with enough strength, size, athleticism and gas in my tank to put them into practice if need be.

The problem (for me) with prioritizing jiu jitsu is the unpredictable recovery and progress. Some days I feel fine. Some days I feel like I got my ass kicked for an hour, because that’s what happens when you bang with sharks. Sometimes that stayed with me for a few days and I just didn’t have the drive to go load my spine up with a ton of weight when I was covered in bruised and my elbows and fingers hurt.

I’m a lot better at managing my own jiu jitsu experience now, but the other guy still gets a say in how that goes. I will definitely continue training jits as often as I can, but that needs to happen in the context of me being mindful about health and good recovery, which includes regular lifting.

That’s where my head is at now. Get back on a good track with lifting. I’m not particularly concerned with aggressively pursuing more weight on the barbell. If it happens and I feel good doing it, great. If not, fine.

@ChickenLittle Thank you very much young lady! Stay tuned for more!

@duketheslaya Thanks bud. This is the first time I’ve not lifted since I started lifting, so I was a little worried my strength might have somehow disappeared after training jits for a year. It didn’t. I’m glad I built what I have how I did. I’ve seen some guys really drop off fast in similar time frames. It was definitely a mental boost to walk up to the bar and move some big weight.


Wednesday 5/9/18



DB rows 3 sets of 10
DB bench 3 sets of 10
Facepulls 3 sets of 15
Buncha light shoulder presses with a 25 lb curl bar. 50 reps or so.

30 min sauna
10 min hot tub

Shoulder felt fine during the DB bench, which is a good sign. Not thinking about going heavy on any kind of pressing anytime soon. I think I need to start lifting like the bodybuilder guys, at least for my upper body.

I was still pretty tender from the deadlifts, but I’m still pleased with how the system is booting up. 405 moved fine. My hammies and abductors were already feeling it good at that point, so I shut it down. I want to go to jits tomorrow so hitting a ton of reps on my first squat workout in 12 months is not a priority today.

Feels good to be back under the bar!


Thursday 5/10/18

BJJ 90 min

May’s topic is the guard. We warmed up with a drill sequence I’ve come to appreciate. From closed guard -> armbar -> triangle -> omoplata. Over and over.

Today we worked sweeps. Scissor sweep was up first. Grip same-side collar, grip same-side sleeve near the elbow. Hip out to get you knee across their body low, block their foot with your other leg, then get them unbalanced forward a bit and “scissor” them right onto their backs and take mount.

Next up was a variation on that for when they sit backwards and get heavy. Push their knee out from under them, then scissor.

Next up was another variation on that for when they post up a leg to defend the scissor. Lace your foot around their knee and get a hook in under their thigh. Then proceed to scissor.

Finally we did the hip bump sweep. Break them down in your guard, then sit up and grab their wrist to pin it and use the force of your hips to drive them backwards. Time it so you’re working with their movements and they go over really easy. If they don’t you can work on walking the controlled arm away from their body until they pencil out and you can roll them easily.

First roll was with our other two stripe white belt. 5 min draw. He did a really good job of staying on top and almost finished me with a sliding collar choke when he took my back. I think he’s been troubleshooting my problems while I’ve been in the basics classes and skipping normal class. Next time kid gloves come off. This guy might be 270 pounds and 10 years younger than me, but there’s no reason I shouldn’t be dominating him positionally. Enjoy your time in the sun big guy, that’s the closest you’ll ever get to submitting me!

Next up was a one-stripe white belt. Easy domination here. First tap to americana from mount, second tap to a cross-collar choke from mount. He wanted to know why his escapes were bombing out, so I showed him side control 1 afterwards. This is terminology from my brown belt instructor that for whatever reason doesn’t get covered at my other school.

Finally was our young and athletic blue belt who came over from a different school a few months ago. He got me with an armbar. First blue belt I’ve tapped to in a long time. He’s a handful alright, but I was being really dumb with my arms and he punished me for that. Not my best roll, but he reminded me how dangerous he is when attacking arms. That’s his thing.

That’s it and that’s all!


Friday 5/11/18



Many band pull-aparts supersetted with…
Many very light db presses
Cable circuit of…
Lat PD
Tricep Pushdowns

3 rounds of 10 reps each.

Feeling good. My legs are smoked from the lifting and rolling pretty hard last night, but 405 moved easier than it did on Wednesday. Shoulders are feeling good, real good. Still waiting to try anything heavy. Reps and reps and reps for now.

Happy weekend!


Monday 5/14/18



Buncha light shoulder and arm stuff.

20 min sauna
10 min hot tub

Squats are feeling great. Didn’t push too hard. I’m increasing the amount of work I’m doing slowly. I want some gas in the tank for jiu jitsu tonight.


Monday 5/14/18

BJJ 90 min

We continued with our work from the guard position for May. Warm-up with the same sequence. Armbar-triangle-omoplata.

Drilling was an armlock sequence beginning with the kimura. From closed guard, get them to post a hand on the mats with a hip bump and hand sweep. Sit up, grab their left wrist with your right arm and then lace your left arm over their left shoulder, around their arm and on to your right wrist to establish the kimura grip. Make space as needed, and fall backwards as soon as you make space and grab your wrist. Keep your guard closed or your legs pinched to keep control of the torso. Load the shoulder first by pulling it outward. Keep their arm tight by keeping your arms tight to the body. Then rotate externally until they tap.

If they power our of that and straighten the arm, maintain the kimura grip until the straight armlock presents itself. Catch the arm away from your body and snap.

If they continue cycling the hand around, stuff the arm next to your left thigh, trapping it there and using hip and torso extension to snap the arm that way.

Belly-down armbar is also there. Control the wrist!

An alternative sequence involves trapping the shoulder. From closed guard, look for space between the arm and the torso. If that’s there, shoot your right arm underneath their left arm and establish a cable grip with your left arm lacing over their shoulder. Pull it tight to your body and fall backwards to break down their posture. Grab your shoulder with your right arm and their wrist with your left arm. Load the shoulder and execute the kimura, this time with the arm hugged tight to your body.

If they power out of that and straighten the arm, look to trap it with the left side of your face and look for the straight armlock by “answering the phone”. Learn to find the elbow as you slide the trapping hand up the length of their arm.

This also leads to the next two locks covered above with no real variation from this point.

I rolled five rounds. I was figuring I would have been toast from squatting in the morning, but the opposite was true. I had more energy in yesterday’s class than I’ve had in some time. I just felt great.

I didn’t tap anyone yesterday but I didn’t get tapped by four of five partners, including two black belts and a purple belt. Our beastly senior purple belt tapped me twice in the last round. I ended strong though, passing his guard, gaining mount and holding mount until the bell rang. I had him really close to a straight arm lock. He said I had him if I would have just stuck with it.

Main take-away is to not be so nice when I’m stapling people’s legs to the floor to pass the guard. Do a push-up on them. Use my pressure. Win.

I was more tired than I’ve been in a while after yesterday’s training. Slept like a rock and feel great today!


Tuesday 5/15/18

BJJ 75 min

My brown belt instructor is starting a class at the karate school in town on Tuesdays. I’m his uke. We covered a lot today, and everything was no-gi. Simple armbar from mount. Back take if the armbar fails. Rear naked choke. Basic sequence to get the karate guys moving on the ground.

Couple quick rolls. I won the takedown with my instructor, but he otherwise owned me and tapped me out with a nasty neck crank.


Wednesday 5/16/18



Many Light curl bar presses
Many band pull aparts
tricep pushdowns
cable flyes

20 min sauna
10 min hot tub

Feeling good all-around.


Thursday 5/17/18

BJJ 90 min

No time to log details. Hip bump sweep. Armbar if they post. Sweep them the other way if they fight it. Flower sweep too.

Didn’t tap anyone tonight. Big strong white belt gave me problems. I need to be a little nastier in mount. Big strong white belt who’s a brown belt judoka tapped me with some judo stuff.

Not my best rolling today. That’s life on the mats.