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!


It’s been a while since I trained. Holiday nonsense, an instructor with a schedule as busy as mine and general fuckery managed to impede my quest to become a deadlier-than-average guy who is approaching 40.

But not today. Today I trained. I also bounced, which is why I’m up logging in the wee hours of the morning.

BJJ 60 min.

We mostly just rolled with the time. My instructor has made a commitment to himself to return to basics, which means methodically taking the back and chocking my ass out. Lessons abound in this rough treatment, and I had a few short moments in the sun today. A mount escape, a side control escape and some miserable pressure for him to endure as I was working a back escape were about the extent of it, but none of successful moments yielded successful overall outcomes. He’s just too good, and the fundamentals he’s retreating too are so much better than mine.

Most of what I learned from getting lit up today involved frames, and my failure to maintain them and use my hips to generate opportunities to improve my position. Simply stated, he smothered my frames and did what he pleased because I was paying more attention to the minor threats he was posing to my limbs and neck instead of maintaining good frames and looking to battle the position. This is easily explained, but not so easy to put into action. But it’s the truth, and these small moments in space and time are what I need to be more mindful of and move properly within.

He was also present for my last bouncing fracas, so we did a little bouncing breakdown and looked at other options that can be present with an uncooperative asshole who refuses to give up his drink, let alone leave the property. My chosen path of taking his back, rear-naked choking him until the bartender could secure his stolen drink and then putting him on his ass was sound, and no bad outcomes came from it. The exercise was to look at other options present in those moments.

One option is to pick him up and just carry his ass out the door. I’ve done this before, but I wasn’t sure of this guy’s intentions and I was treating him with caution. Making safe was my first priority, getting him out the door was my second. Picking dudes up can sometimes produce unpredictable reactions, like a lot of kicking that could hurt other people and make a big old mess. It’s a good option if you’re face-to-face with double underhooks, but I was working from the guy’s back most of the time.

Arm-drag’s to Russian ties are another option I need to keep in mind. This gives a lot of control with ample opportunities for takedowns built in. It’s a simple enough move and one I need to keep in mind.

Various Sase takedowns were explored as well. This basically means posting your far-side foot and yanking them down by the head, clothing or a combination of both. It becomes very effective if you can get them up against a wall. In simple terms, you trip them. Much easier to explain to a cop than busting someone’s face open, as some of my past bouncing partners have had to do.

If the Sase is defended by them getting low and a strong base, the guillotine becomes available. This is another great control position for an uncooperative asshole.

We did some fancier stuff that I just didn’t manage to retain, but the arm-drag to Russian tie seems like the most actionable alternative for me at this point.

I have to say, being a bouncer can be a great deal of fun, especially when I don’t need to actually hurt anyone. It’s just stand-up practice. Make safe and maybe trip or throw them. Nobody needs to get beaten. Getting drunk and angry people out the door is a very interesting puzzle box to solve, but it also begs the question…

What’s wrong with me? I’m almost 40. I have no business being a dive bar bouncer!


There is nothing wrong with you; 40 is not old. Stop thinking otherwise.


You’re not - it’s entertainment for you.


Oh I agree. It’s not an issue of physical ability to do the job, I’m fine on that front. Feeling too old for the job is me questioning why I seem to find it worthwhile to drag aggressive assholes out of a bar. I don’t really need the extra money, but I do it anyway. Most of my white collar associates seem to like hearing about the antics, so it doesn’t seem to have hurt my real career.

Basically. I’m working the door tonight, let’s see what crawls out of the woodwork! Hopefully lots of flirty women!

Wednesday 1/2/19

BJJ 90 min

My instructor and I just did a lot of rolling today. I put up some good resistance and had a good flow-roll, but he of course dominated me repeatedly. Went over a few details today, let’s start with frames. Frames frames frames.

I need to keep my frames tighter. Elbows closer together, take away the space for someone to slice one open with the near-side knee as they are passing my guard. In the same moment of guard passing, try to stop their shoulder from beating the far-side frame, and dig for the underhook. If I think i’m tight, get tighter.

Next up was connecting my knee to my elbow in the same moment. If their body is in the way, use the knee to bump them as they are passing the guard. Just because they are past my legs doesn’t mean I should stop using my legs, keep them going.

This also opens up a single leg takedown. As they pass the guard, go belly down and work the single, remembering to keep my head inside. I can drive them down with my knees on the floor, but if I go to my feet and add a little bump I can generate more power.

That’s it for today. My instructor has taken a liking to the Wednesday night scene at the bar I bounce at, so he’s coming again tonight for the third week in a row. It really is a rocking place on Wednesdays. Tons of fun. It’s also great to know that the baddest motherfucker in the room is there to back me up if things get really chippy!


Friday 1//4/19

BJJ 90 min

Late logging this one, but we trained last Friday.

Two new white belts and a more experienced white belt showed up to train. We drilled a sequence working Deashi Harai, a foot sweep. We also looked at a knee trip from the side clinch. The sequence then went to the ground where the goal was to wrap them up in side control and scoop the near-side leg up. A basic hip-out escape was worked from there to make space and then execute a technical stand-up back into side control. Then right back into the takedowns, switching back and forth with one partner working the takedown and the other working the escape.

Rolling went as expected. My instructor murdered me and I murdered the seasoned white belt. I didn’t roll with the new guys. I wish I had logged this last week because I’m having a hard time remembering the details of Deashi Harai. Some homework will be needed to make-up and refresh my memory.


Friday 1/12/19

BJJ 90 min

Just me and my instructor tonight. We mostly just rolled. I’m having more success with escapes. I’m gaining a better sense of his instability when he’s going for submissions and using those moments to escape to a single-leg, sweep him to his back or use my knee to bump him forward. I’m becoming more aware of his use of submission threats to channel my body into positions where I can’t escape and doing a better job of working escapes before the moment has passed. I’m still light-years away from tapping him out, but it is still progress when I make him dig deeper into his toolbox. I even found myself in side control for a brief moment, although I never really locked it in because he framed my left arm so well that I couldn’t really settle on top of him. Still, that’s better than just being crushed on the bottom and getting submitted.

Technique for tonight was some basic pummeling concepts. The main idea is that I need to step my leg forward and, if I can, around the backside of his leg on the same side that I have an underhook. This is a position of great control, especially for a big strong guy like me. If I have my leg behind his I can trip him over that leg, or just use brute force to pick him up and execute a slam in either direction. Easier said than done on a guy like him.

I was also honored with a gift from my instructor. He gave me a beautiful hand-made knife, perfect for wood carving or being a shiv, also featuring a bottle opener on the end of the grip. He was delighted to see me dismantle the visiting brown belt several weeks ago, which mostly boiled down to listening to what he tells me to do and having the presence of mind to put it all into action under stress.

We also discussed jiu jitsu as we practice it vs jiu jitsu as many other area schools practice it, including the club where I earned the three stripes on my white belt. The training methods and curriculum he trained with comes from a tradition of fighting. In simple terms, Brazilian Jiu jitsu is a detailed set of instructions for fighting. That’s what made it famous. That’s why it is such a popular martial art today. It works. It isn’t polite. It isn’t comfortable. It is a stark confrontation with reality, with the most visceral of truths, unless it is practiced in a way that has tolerance or even encourages lies to be told.

I don’t think there is anything wrong with polite exchanges of techniques, and I firmly believe that training in a dialed-down fashion can have many benefits. But that cannot be the only method of training if you are interested in getting to the truth of the matter. Can you do the thing or not? Can you do it on someone younger, stronger, more flexible or more fit than you? Can you do it on some big old hoss of a man? Can you do it on someone with years of mat time on you?

It is a yes or no question, and I’m losing interest in training with people who don’t want to answer it. We can roll hard without getting hurt. I like training my light pressure drunk uncle treatment, I also like flow-rolling but I still want to smash the hell out of people and shake hands afterwards.

I need to find a job near my instructor’s school. Other than my instructor’s local mats, that seems to be the only place around with people of like mind. First world problems for sure.


Is your job at the dive bar still available? You may be able to answer some questions there :grin:


Ha ha yep, I recently started picking up Wednesdays there again, which is by far the busiest, craziest night. Great job for a newly single guy like me.

Jiu jitsu works very well on drunk bar idiots who don’t want to leave. It is like handling children. Not much of a challenge. Getting behind them or putting them on their ass is more than adequate. I’m sorry you fell, let me help you up and take your back and let’s walk out the door together.

There may come a day where I really need to fight someone, but I doubt it. People getting chippy with the bouncer mostly seems to be a form of harmless peacocking. Guys want to look tough and seem like they’re in control, yell a bunch of threatening stuff and generally act like assholes instead of just leaving when they are asked to leave. Then they can brag to their friends or whatever about how they told the bouncer off that night when they got shit-faced or something. I guess. I can’t really relate because I’m not an asshole and I keep myself under control.

What I need access to is all of the people my instructor trains with at his school, but it is unfortunately over an hour away. It is a room full of people who can whip my ass and a steady supply of people who aren’t going to complain if I play the game for real. Tolls, gas and time make it prohibitive to train there unless I happen to land a job very close by, which I’m working on at the moment.


We need to find you a ROADHOUSE!