T Nation

Do Meatheads Dream of Iron Sheep?


Wow, a lot of stuff here.

So, I’m into yoga and it’s all about the golden chain - the connection to Pantanjali and how it came down to me as a yogi in training. They are all connected by the golden chain, from Panjanjali to Guru Nanak to Yogi Bhajan to my guy, Mahan Rishi,

Sort of like from the Gracies to Matt Serra.

Yeah, probably not competitive at this age, just want to be able to choke my daughter’s boyfriend out if I have to. Pretty sure I can take any fifteen year old in stand up, and still can squat 250 so if I have to roll, I could.

But, would very much like to keep limber and do like to be able to protect me and mine, so. think I am in. You log has gotten me very fired up over the past year - the scientific nature of combat resonates for me. I’m really a big pussy these days, but feel like I can throw down if I need to.

But again, at 6’1" and 175 pounds, I’m not really going to take anybody down. I think your bouncing skills would be a better protocol for me.

Yeah, I get this. The lower belts were the guys most likely to kick me in the nuts or make a mistake. I sparred with my Sensei and while he hit me pretty hard, he never hurt me as bad as the blue belt that kicked me in the nuts by mistake. And, I was wearing a cup - It still hurt!

So, this is my yoga shit. We’re all infinite beings so there is no hurry. It took a trillion years to create a cat like guru Nanak (the fourth Sikh guru), so if it takes me a trillion to get a blue belt, I’m cool wit dat,

Been sniffing around you log for a few years now, guess I should stop sniffing and get into it.

Plus, I really want to choke my brother out.


This is absolute nonsense. Your attributes are more than adequate and yoga and lifting are a fine base of athleticism and movement. You may not be shooting double leg takedowns on a 250 pound 25 year old, but the right arm control to foot sweep sequence I trained tonight requires very little in the way of attributes. Properly done, it can definitely put a big guy like me on the ground on your terms.

I need to sleep but I’m all fired up to see what I can do with a brown belt from way out of my pond in 6 hours. Maybe nothing, but it will be instructive and interesting no matter the outcome.


Hey, fuck you, I’m going to kick your ass you big piece of shit.

Just kidding. You are, of course, right.

I think I would just like to have the confidence of my buddy, who is 5’8" and 155 and fears no one because he is a purple belt…or a blue belt…or a brown belt. I forget which he is, but he just doesn’t care. He’s a nice guy, pleasant, but just doesn’t GAF.

I like that.


@The_Myth Well jiu jitsu isn’t a super-power and there are plenty of scary people in the world, but from what I’ve seen in your log you are maybe 2-3 years away from a toolbox that will hold up as long as your body does, which could be a really long time with good movement, smart training and quality instruction. There are no guarantees in a fight, but I’d put my other instructor who is only a few years younger than you (and not nearly as athletic) up against any drunk or on drugs aggressive asshole I’ve ever encountered. Assholes like these are the ones who you’re most likely to throw down with, and jiu jitsu definitely works extremely well.

If a highly trained fighter picks a fight with you it might just be your day to die no matter how much you train. Ce la vie. Even then, you might surprise yourself like I did this morning…


Saturday 11/24/18

BJJ 60 min

Open mat at my brown belt instructor’s house. An out-of-state brown belt friend of his stopped in, and we just did a lot of rolling. He’s a stout fellow about my age and 6’2", 220 pounds or so.

My instructor murdered us both, no surprises there. He’s really, really good. Scary good. Last night he unloaded his complete takedown game on me, which is an onslaught of judo and wrestling that is like riding a wave of energy coming at you from all directions, only he’s actually using your energy and not working particularly hard. He says I’m one of the hardest people he trains with to takedown, and I stayed on my feet for maybe 10 seconds before he found the right mistake to exploit. It is a sight to behold and an incredible thing to experience. Well, it’s incredible once you can get over the fact that you’re nowhere near that level and a shit sandwich is on the menu.

The visiting brown belt and I matched up really well. He has a lot of tricks up his sleeve, but seemed to be lacking in some of the fundamentals I’ve been working so hard on lately. He struggled to beat my frames and struggled to keep his in place. I escaped his side control, passed his guard and more or less dominated him in side control, all without using any real pressure. He eventually replaced guard, swept me and then caught me in an armbar from Kesa Gatame, the same one the two judo guys I occasionally train with caught me in. That’s an escape I definitely need to improve, but he did it well and I didn’t have an answer for it today.

Our next roll went similarly for the first 5 min or so, trading positions a lot, but I escaped his guard, passed his half guard, wrapped him up in side control and took mount. From there he did not frame well at all, and it was a simple matter for me to pursue the concept I’ve been working so hard on lately. Beat the frames and climb to technical mount. I got him in a Kimura grip from technical mount, which was my goal for the day, but I couldn’t quite isolate his arms like I wanted and he eventually forced me back to mid mount. He failed to establish frames and I climbed back up to a high mount until he made the Americana shape, which I took from high mount and tapped him out.

I’m not sure what speed he was at, but I was maybe 70 percent and not using any pressure game on him. I still have so very much to learn and improve on, but I think I can say I know a little jiu jitsu now.

Belts are just 2 inch-wide strip of cloth that people can give each other for all kinds of reasons. This guy comes from a different system than my instructor, and I’m sure he earned every promotion he’s gotten. Belt’s don’t matter at the end of the day. Frames matter. Hip movement matters. Making safe matters. Timing matters. That said, the guy was a beast and definitely the best person I’ve ever gotten a tap on. Who would have thought that dozens and dozens of private lessons with one of the best players in N. New England would yield success?

Getting the tap was great, but what’s really got me excited is gaining and holding technical mount and successfully executing a knee-on-belly escape to a belly-down single leg takedown. Both of those are fundamentals I’ve been working really, really hard on. Getting them to work against skilled competition is really thrilling.

Show up and listen, then put the ideas into practice as best as you can. Frames, frames, frames. Hips, hips, hips. Dominate the position and see what opportunities present themselves.
Training with my friend is such an incredible gift. I’m really riding high right now, although I’d never show that on the mat. Always thank the other person, win or lose.


@The_Myth I checked out Serra’s website for the two schools in Long Island. You’re definitely in the vicinity of world-class instruction. I highly doubt that Serra is giving out black belts at a standard lower than Renzo’s. I know I just got done saying that belts don’t matter, but when they’re awarded at the same standard that guys like Renzo Gracie have put in place, they definitely tell you a lot about who you’re learning from. Plus they’ve got Muay Thai if you want to work striking too.

I’ve rolled with enough people from other schools (I think about 10 different schools at this point) to know that showing up over time can be enough to get promoted, regardless of technical competency. Nothing wrong with that, but it’s a different system and not one I’m interested in. I’m sure you’ve seen similar phenomena in Karate.

At this point you owe it to yourself to drop in and take at least one class. Who knows, you might be tooling on the young’uns a lot sooner than you think. Maturity and a willingness to learn has served me well in this pursuit. Don’t throw your karate away by any means, but forget about it on the mats and just follow the instruction from Serra and his people.

I’ve trained with at least a dozen guys from different martial arts backgrounds who don’t follow instructions and do this-or-that from their other discipline, then actually argue with the coach about it. Not to be mean, but they all suck. That’s not to say that they always will or that all guys from other disciplines do, it’s just to say that letting go of stuff you think you know is an important part of clearing the path to learning something new.

My instructor, on the other hand, is keen enough to mix his disciplines effectively to tremendous effect. He’s mid-level in Karate and Dan-level in Aikido (black belt), plus plenty of Muay Thai.
We actually end each lesson with a simple Aikido drill that’s designed to teach sensitivity to the moment of unbalancing. He’ll be the first guy to tell you that Aikido as a system is nearly useless in a fight, but there are still a lot of good concepts to be employed.

Similar to this, except we’re wearing ultra-badass gi’s and not those silly robes.


It’s all about the gi!!

When I got promoted to green I was able to start wearing a black gi, pretty cool. The Kajukenbo tradition is to wear black because it doesn’t show blood from sparring, lol. I never saw guys go that hard.

What I did see was a lot of rehearsed moves with guys “punching in” knowing what the move was going to be. I liked karate, but doubt it would help me much in real life other than having trained a bit. You don’t see a lot of guys with karate as their base in the UFC other than maybe Lyota Machida.

Serra’s gym in Levittown is about three miles from where I live, so definitely in range. and, I know it’s good instruction. My buddy that teaches there has placed in competitions.

Not really interested in belts at this point - it’s more of a learning thing for me.


Thanks for the effort, checking out the Serra gym and writing the post.


Interesting. A lot of old-school BJJ guys have the opposite line of thought. Mat hygiene is of the utmost importance and a white gi will give you a literal red flag if you’re about to rub your face in someone’s blood. Generally speaking, we stop the show if someone starts bleeding. Tape it up and get back to work once the risk is gone.

If you ever go to a Rickson Gracie seminar, you had better wear white!

Awesome. Tag me when you get done with your first class and do a write-up!


I’ve had a full-on man crush on Rickson Gracie for over a decade.

Random .02…


@punnyguy If you haven’t, watch Choke. It’s mostly about Rickson, but if you don’t know who Yuki Nakai is, you will by the end.


I have that DVD! And have watched more than once.

Guess the man crush is well into it’s second decade…LOL!