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Do Meatheads Dream of Iron Sheep?


@Irishman92 All of the sequences we taught today began on the feet, so we did participate in stand-up action in that regard. We did arm-drags, how to slam a person headlocking you, how to eat punches with a standing turtle, how to protect punches and eye-gouges while rear naked choking, basic footwork, a takedown from side clinch, and tug of motherfucking war.

Unfortunately, there wasn’t a lot of time for sparring and live training. We were occupied by teaching class all day to rotating groups of karate students aged 5-60. There were a few minutes where my instructor and I demonstrated the concept of live training to the entire group, which is a fancy way of saying that he ran a no-gi clinic on me with a hundred or so spectators.

All in all it was a ton of fun and a great event to be a part of. I suppose I can’t fault any of these people for not wanting to grapple with grapplers for the first time in front of an audience, but dammit I still wish some of them would have because I’m selfish and I have an appetite for fresh meat.

We wrapped up by watching a couple of kids do kata to test for their green belts in the park. They passed. Then we walked down to the lake for a swim in a gorgeous lake that is still freezing cold and wonderful. It was a good day of training for sure, and I got a really sweet t-shirt.


I think he was calling you out bro.

And, FWIW, I am a karate guy, aka stand up. Guess we could start that argument here, lol.


For sure, and it was merited. I’m sure plenty of those guys would ring my bell if we sparred under karate rules.

I recall you mentioning that before. I don’t think an argument is necessary, but I’m all for discussion. Like I said above, I’m mostly being selfish. Of course I’d love to grapple with some black belts who don’t know how to grapple. Grappling with anyone who doesn’t know how to grapple is fun.

My instructor wanted to make sure we made time to demonstrate live training because he’s done Karate, TKD and lots of Aikido, and he believes that live training is lacking in those arts. He’s come to believe, as have I, that making your techniques work on a fully resisting opponent is a core concept of jiu jitsu.

I realize that karate schools can differ a LOT and I haven’t gone to any of them except to train jiu jitsu. I’ve also stumbled on some kyokushin (sp?) vidoes on youtube where they’re definitely going at each other hard with rules I didn’t quite understand. Bad motherfuckers for sure.

What was your karate experience like with sparring/live training?


So my take on an argument is really just discussing the merits of a particular thesis, so without a thesis, I guess an argument is moot.

If we were going to argue something, I guess it would be the merits of the respective martial arts, either stand up or ground and pound. In the former, we would see boxing and karate, probably kung fu and TKD. In the latter, of course, wrasslin and BJJ.

My discipline, and I laugh calling it that because I only studied for a few years in my early fifties, was Kempo, aka Kajukenbo; supposedly a combination of karate, judo, and kung fu. A typical class involved warming up with jumping jacks and shit, push ups, etc…

Then we would drill - inside blocks, outside blocks, yadda yadda. Then we would punch in for each other, a standard routine - high block, front kick, etcetera.

We sparred once in a while, but not that seriously. But we talked about green belts wearing black gis because they didn’t show blood, lol.

I think you can either fight stand up or you can’t. In stand up, you can get rocked, or you can rock somebody. I got the shit kicked out of me as a kid by my older brothers, so I learned to take a punch. I know that is sad to say, but it’s true.

When shit went to the ground, I was always strong from having a wrestling background. I got into a lot of fights as a kid, and as a college student, because I was pretty fucked up.

But, that being said, I’m 190, you’re 270 - I would never go to the ground with you. I would never fuck with you.

But, I guess, if I had some skills, and you didn’t, maybe I would have a chance in stand up. On the ground, no way.

I told you my buddy works for Matt Serra BJJ and has invited me to roll anytime. He’s like a buck sixty - a purple belt - I think he just wants to tap me repeatedly.

I think I am interested.

Not a lot. I guess that’s the answer. I think the way you guys roll is a great way to learn to be patient, to breathe, and to control. In Kempo we would spar for a minute on offense, then a minute on defense, then a minute all out.

Any idea how long a minute is? I suspect you do.

I always thought black belts had a secret. Now I know the secret - you train three times a week and put yourself in that position regularly, and I guess, you learn how to fight. Or at least you get used to it.

I suspect BJJ is the same.

My buddy has no fear at all. We talked about surfing in Rockaway, and he was like, “I do BJJ so I am not worried about any confrontations.”

Those dudes have knives taped to the bottom of their surf boards, and he doesn’t GAF.

I like that attitude.


Thanks for the detailed reply @The_Myth!

I am of the opinion that martial arts are better divided into two categories, those that do full-force (or very close to it) live training, and those that don’t. So I’d rearrange your boxes a bit, putting BJJ, wrasslin, and boxing in the live training box and TKD, Kung Fu and Karate in the no live training box. Other arts that go in the live training box would be Judo and Muay Thai.

Time crawls when you’re miserable, no matter how it is inflicted. From what you’re describing Karate sparring is more like taking turns than live training, and what I’ve seen seems to resemble point sparring. Not that there isn’t value in that, I’m sure there is, but it sounds a little too unrealistic to call it “live training”. In the video below you’ll see two guys working their strikes for sure, but there’s a distinct lack of grabbing, which is very present in the other stand-up martial arts I mentioned, boxing and Muay Thai. This looks like what we call “flow rolling” in BJJ, which is more like an exchange of techniques done with partial resistance. It is a valuable exercise for sure, but pulling something off under these conditions is no guarantee that you can do it when someone’s actually trying to both hurt you and stop you from doing what you want to do.

I’ve seen Muay Thai guys spar, and it is a fairly close approximation of a real fight, insomuch as I have zero doubt that the skills they’re honing would be applicable both on the street and in the ring. Notice all of the work they do in the clinch.

I’ll also venture a guess that these guys are proficient in either BJJ or wrasslin’, possibly both. That’s very common in MMA circles these days, and its not coincidence that the martial arts techniques we see getting used in MMA were lifted from systems that do live training. Lots of Boxing, Muay Thai, Judo, wrasslin’ and BJJ, not so much karate or TKD, next to no Kung Fu.

My instructor’s background in other martial arts, Aikido in particular, has led him to believe that the only sin being committed by martial arts that don’t do live training is when they sell the idea that practicing these arts will prepare you for a violent encounter. While some training in any system is likely (but not necessarily) better than no training at all, there is simply no substitute to making your techniques work on someone who is doing everything they can to stop you.

BJJ is lacking in strike training, but not strike defense (unless you’re just doing sport BJJ). The entire system is predicated on eating strikes but making sure you don’t get knocked out or taken out of the fight before you can close the distance. Given the choice, I’m not hanging out anywhere you can hit me. I’m either going to be too far or too close, and it will be up to the striker to maintain striking distance without getting wrapped up in a clinch and taken down.

If you’ve got good striking and a good takedown defense built on good sprawling, you’ll give BJJ guys problems for sure. Stay on your feet and don’t get too close, punish mistakes with strikes. Stay mobile and don’t get pinned on a wall. Walls can be just like the ground, but vertical.

All very interesting stuff for sure!


Sunday 6/3/18



That’s what I call a 10 minute squat workout.


Appreciate the response.

For what it’s worth, that kumite looks nothing like sparring in my dojo. We wore gloves and head gear and were trying to hurt each other. You were just limited to offense or defense for a round before the all in. I was matched up with a black belt one time, when I was orange I think, just based on size, and I reckon he took it a little easy on me, but I ended up on queer street.

We did drill as well, and that was with contact on blocks, but not punches. It was I guess like flow rolling with set combinations. A little contact, but no threat of injury - unless you punch in for “that guy.”


Queer Street!


Wednesday 6/6/18



Dead’s and done in under 20 min.


Not to get to deep into the “live training” but it is next to impossible in most martial training outside of the “sport” disciplines. Boxing, judo, Muay Thai, wrestling, etc can be full contact because they have rules. They’re sports.
I teach Shotokan and Arnis as a means of fighting, not as sports. Kicks to the knee and groin, blows to the throat and neck, eye gouge, upward palm stricks to the nose, these are all part of karate and one reason I don’t teach beginners and one reason we don’t do “live training”. Lot of knives and sticks involved in Arnis and a whole lot of grappling, too, with the primary intent being to take the opponent out. We pad up pretty heavy and use sticks and fake knives but it is in no way full throttle and all out. I’m pretty sure if you guys were truly live things would get broken. You are entirely right about the kumite film you showed. I’m also pretty sure (or hope) neither of those black belts would use those moves in a real fight. See any kicks to the groin, knees, ankles? Guys back was wide open half the time. Anyway, my 2 cents worth. And as a disclaimer I’m down during turning any martial style into a sport. Not what they were for.


@hel320 Thank you for the thoughtful reply. I’m more than happy to go down a martial arts rabbit hole in my log.

I both agree and disagree with you about martial arts and sports. I think sport martial arts are fantastic, provided they are being sold as sports martial arts schools. The moves that happen in high level Judo and Jiu Jitsu would never take place in a bar fight, let alone an encounter with a violent predator. It is those rules and the sporting mindset that opens up the possibilities for innovation and creativity, making humans move in new, interesting and astonishing ways. What is sport, if not that?

I object to schools selling the idea that they’re preparing you for violence, but simply teach the art as it exists in competition. That’s where I agree with you. Real martial arts are thinking about real violence.

Regarding karate and weapons training under live conditions, I must admit that I’ve never done it, so I don’t know what it’s like. I’m sure schools, styles and training methodologies can vary wildly as well. One thing is certain, someone who is training to deal with violence will be at a tremendous advantage over someone who is not.

What I like about live training as I’ve experienced it in jiu jitsu is that I know my stuff works, at least the stuff I reliably do on trained martial artists who are trying hard to stop me from doing it. I’m used to very rough contact, I’m used to close proximity, I’m used to another person making me miserable and dominating me technically. I could be more used to getting hit from all of these positions, but I’ve done enough of that on and off the mats to know what getting clocked feels like.

If I get a grip on someone, I have a series of viable options, provided that person doesn’t completely outclass me physically and is not a mid-level grappler or higher. I know this because I’ve done these things to a lot of people and had it done to me many more times than that, despite my best efforts. That’s not to say that jiu jitsu is a complete fighting art or that it has all of the answers. It doesn’t and I don’t think any martial art does. But that’s the value I see in live training. Your techniques have to hold up under that level of stress. Jiu jitsu rolling isn’t a real fight, but it is one of the closest approximations you can train at high levels of effort day-in, day-out.

Everything we learn in jiu jitsu has to be safe enough to train hard. Generally speaking, it is too dangerous to train with intensity, it isn’t trained. A few things get phased in later, like heel hooks and knee reaping. There are a few takedowns that are borderline as well, with a lot of schools moving away from stuff that has a high rate of injury.

You could look at that as leaving some of the more devastating techniques on the table, but I don’t think that matters all that much if you know how to get from point A to another devastating technique that you’ve done to resisting opponents dozens of times (or hundreds, or thousands as training time accumulates).

Continuing down this rabbit hole, let me use one of your examples. We don’t train eye gouges in jiu jitsu, but we do train eye gouge defense. Generally speaking, an eye gouge attempt is a very risky move on a grappler, because it necessitates putting your arm in a risky position that can be easily exploited. It is still a thing that can happen though, so it must be defended. One place we address they eye gouge specifically is during a rear-naked choke. We’re taught to hide our eyes in the elbow crease of our non-choking arm. They can still be gouged if someone’s determined enough, but if you’re using an arm to gouge you’re not defending the choke and then it’s a race to see who can take the other person out of the fight first. Ready. Set. Go!!!

I definitely think I could benefit from some of the martial arts training you’re describing. It sounds like a ton of fun and my stand-up striking game is still at the level of a common goon. It also couldn’t hurt to know some stuff that is too savage to train!


Monday 6/11/18




Lat PD

3 sets 10


3 sets 15

Notes: Well this is the first time I’ve moved anything reasonably heavy with my upper body without shoulder pain in a long time. I think the rehab movements I’ve been hitting with bands and cables and bottoms-up kettlebell presses have done the trick. I’m going to keep doing them, but I’m ready to start more pressing and pulling too.


Monday 6/11/18

BJJ 100 min

The subject for the month is side control, but our instructor wanted to pass on some of the stuff he learned at a seminar with our jiu jitsu grandpappy Marcelo Alonso and his contemporary, Rey Diogo (sp?).

First up was an unconventional armbar from closed guard. Strip grip and pull the arm as far as you can over their centerline onto your right side. Feed your right hand through to grab their hamstring, pinning the arm against the floor with your arm as you do. Stuff the face and swing the leg over to finish the armbar.

If that fails, a flower sweep is right there. Ride it up into mount or technical mount. From technical mount, get a kimura grip on their arm, step over the head and go for the armbar. A few grip stripping techniques where covered here. Use your feet to push down on their hands, to push them away and pry as you can, while also tilting toward their head. A bicep slicer is also there.

We then went to open guard. Lasso your left foot around their arm and grip their back, pulling them in and grabbing their collar with your right arm. From there post them on your right foot and dump them over, keeping the grip on the left side and riding it up into a bicep slicer that’s pretty nasty and gives you lots of options to go to mount too.

Rolling was good. 5 min draw with purple belt. Technical domination of two white belts. Got my ass whooped repeatedly by my brown belt friend, who joined us today for class. I did manage two takedowns on him though.

That’s it and that’s all!


Hey man, just wondering how you deal with elbow tendonitis ( i dont know if you get it, but since i started BJJ its slowly crept up on me, and this week i did something to aggravate it a bit) from being armbarred and the like?

I’ve been doing light hammer curls which seem to help and submerging my forearms in a sink full of hot water then cold etc.


@duketheslaya Thanks for checking in brother. I’ll be happy to answer your question to the best of my ability, but keep in mind that I am both a white belt in Jiu Jitsu and a doctor who hasn’t gone to medical school or even much college.

With that out of the way, the basic problem I’m seeing is that jiu jitsu seems to be aggravating your elbow and accumulating in wear/tear/pain/tendonitis/whatever. This should not be what happens when a person trains jiu jitsu. You need to investigate the source of your elbow pain and rectify this problem.

The best guess my white belt mind can come up with is a simple one. You should probably tap a little sooner. Generally speaking, the longer you want to hang on to an armbar without tapping, the more your elbow is likely to hurt. Don’t get me wrong, I have sore elbows when we hit armbars hard too, but the soreness I get passes in a day or two. It is up to you to manage this experience and listen to your body.

You’re still very new, so just tap once you lose whatever grip battle precedes the armbar and your arm begins to get fully extended. I always try to fight like hell on the mats, and I never want to tap to discomfort. That said, I’m very cautious with my joints, tendons and ligaments. If the lock is in, I tap. I might fight like hell right up until the moment that they get it locked in, but you need to know when you’re beat, or at least beat to the point that your only chance at victory will involve risking your orthopedic health.

Protect your joints. Tap out. And remember, nobody gives a fuck.

Chokes are another story, and I take great delight on riding those right to the edge and making the other person let go. The difference there is the consequences are trivial if you miscalculate. You might go out and then be fine when you come to. That’s it.

Protect your joints. Tap out. And remember, nobody gives a fuck.


One year of Jiu jitsu is still one more year then what i’ve done, plus you seem to pick it up pretty good from what I’ve read. Just saying :slight_smile:

That makes alot of sense. I don’t tap for a while because i’m pretty pain tolerant, so if it’s hurts a little i’m just like ( this doesnt hurt and i keep going till it sort of sets in more ) and then my joints complain after. No matter how pain resistant someone is joints are still joints.

Thanks man! I’ll just tap when my arm starts to get extended or the lock is in. I really had no idea why my joints were getting like this, i thought it was normal from jiu jitsu up until this week hen my elbows started feeling f*****.

Thanks man! You’ve saved my joints.


I’ll be polite and say “you’re welcome”, but your orthopedic health is in your hands whether you’re on the mats or under the bar. Your joints need to be saved by you.

I strongly encourage to speak to your instructor about this. I’m certain he could offer a lot more insight than I can, especially since he’s in-person, but that’s on you to open up that dialogue and explain to him what your problems are. Remember, most people quit jiu jitsu. I’m sure plenty of them did so because their joints hurt and they didn’t know what to do about it. Take control of your jiu jitsu experience in every way you can. Speak up to your instructor if something seems off to you. I can guarantee you that he will be thrilled to have a young student asking him about orthopedic health.


That’s true.

I’ll ask my instructor. I ask about help with techniques and the like but for some reason whenever i have an injury/ niggle somewhere i tend to keep it to myself from everyone until I’m forced to get help. I need to swallow my pride and not care because everyone has injuries happen to them and no one is immortal.


Love this advice. Toss the ego, save the body.


You’re pretty wise for such a young whippersnapper.