T Nation

Do Meatheads Dream of Iron Sheep?


@applesare Thanks for stopping in! I’d like to think the opposite is true, that the regulars at my bar job know I’m SAFE!

Everyone can be dangerous if they want to be, weapons make that pretty easy nowadays. The former bouncer I bounced two weeks ago is dangerous. He’s got no qualms about sexually assaulting females and beating on people much weaker than him. He is a clear danger to other people, and that’s why he’s barred from the premise by me.

But you could also ask the question, what’s more dangerous? The mangy 30lb mutt who bites everything it can, scratches you up frequently and barks it’s way into confrontations with other dogs? Or is the 100 lb German Shepard who’s well-trained, never reacts to aggressive dogs and never bites humans more dangerous?

I’ve been bouncing there long enough to have built up a reputation of sorts. I’ve had a few guys come up and say they “wouldn’t want to mess with me”, to which I always reply “why would you want to mess with anyone?”. I’ve had far more people come up and say how much better of a bouncer I am than the other asshole I just bounced, because I’m polite, friendly and don’t beat people up. I just get them out the door without hurting them. Sometimes that can look a little flashy and jiu-jitsu-ish like takedowns, throws, and arm-drags to back takes to rear naked chokes. But I’ve never actually gone to the ground on anyone. Never needed to.

You just need to get the assholes out the door, and so far I’ve never needed to hurt anyone to accomplish that goal. I’ve taken a few licks over the years, but nothing worse than a typical night of jiu jitsu training.

Safe bouncing, not dangerous!


Well holy crap I haven’t trained in a month. My instructor hasn’t been able to run his open mats lately, plus I was sick for a few weeks blah blah blah.

So I headed over to my old school tonight for some training.

BJJ 90 min

Sweeps from guard were what we drilled. Scissor sweep. Scissor sweep variation kicking the knee out. Scissor sweep variation hooking the posted leg. Hip bump sweep. Omoplata sweep. Flower sweep.

I jave a splitting headache for some reason so I’m not bothering to log details at this moment.

Even though I was only training once a week or so since I’ve been training with my other instructor and people who show up there, I’ve managed to get quite a bit better, at least compared to people who used to give me a hard time.

A young and very athletic white belt gave me no problems at all. Tapped him 3 times in 3 minutes before I let him work without submitting him the rest of the round. Cross collar choke, Americana arm lock and Ezekiel choke.

A mid-level purple was next and I dominated him so easily I kind of felt bad for the guy. Real nice guy that I like a lot so I didn’t use any pressure techniques at all, but I just ate him up. I could pass his guard easily, he always left something wide open for me to walk through. He had no answer to side control 1, a very stable position not explicitly taught at that school, but something I’ve been taught is fundamental. From side control 1 I just waited for him to do something dumb with his legs, then laced my hands through them and easily took mount. From mount I waited for him to do something stupid with his arms, then took high mount and held high mount. From there I could pick my poison. Got him in an Americana and a simple arm bar. I also escaped his dominant positions easily, pulling off a scissor sweep, a trap-and roll and bumped him right out of mount with a big bridge and a little forward bump with my knee.

You can only write so much off when it comes to strength and size disparities. Different schools have different standards for sure. This guy knows a lot, is a great sport and a great guy, but he wouldn’t pass a blue belt test where my other instructor trains at. He’d be better than most white belts by far, but he’s learned under a system that rewards belts differently and has a very different way of teaching jiu jitsu.

In simple terms, it’s a sport grappling school. That’s still lots of fun and I do miss training with this crew, but it’s almost a different martial art than jiu jitsu as I’ve been learning it from my other instructor.

To their credit, another purple belt did get the better of me in my third round. I’m also not in great shape right now, which is not any fault of that school by any means. I sucked that round and didn’t put up like I expect myself to. I think I may be getting sick again, but again I should have put up better. He wrapped me up with my own gi and I quit on an armbar escape I had in the bag. I beat myself. I tapped out mentally and was gasping for air because I’m not moving often enough.

I may start back up training there again, at least until I have an opportunity to train with my other instructor on a more regular basis. It’s fun and a good workout, even if it isn’t jiu jitsu the way I want to be learning it.

I should probably venture downstairs and use that great weight set I have too…


Still bouncing occasionally, btw. Nothing but good outcomes when force has been involved. Only hurt feelings, not bodies. We had the black light party recently. Such a great little dive bar!


That place pays you to have fun…


Thursday 3/14/19

BJJ 80 min

More drilling guard sweeps. Same stuff as Monday, one new gi-only sweep I’ll probably never use. It’s a little too fancy for my tastes and ability to apply, but the gist of it was an open guard move where you lasso your right foot around their arm and into their armpit, using pulling tension on the sleeve grip to make sure you don’t get ankle-locked. Then slide your left knee across their chest, pull them to you and grip their pants with your left hand, then just kick them over the left side and roll up into a calf slicer.

Not a move I plan on adding to my rolodex, but still kinda nifty. Can work great in sport, not something I’d ever go for in a fight.

I only did one full round tonight due to time constraints. Black belt instructor. 5 min draw. I was on defense most of the round, but he never had a stable enough position to submit me. I managed to escape his mount, get him stacked up, defend an armbar and then take side control. I had him in side control 1 and had his legs laced up with my low hand, but didn’t take mount like I should have. I gave him enough space to get his legs free, then went to side control 2 and gave him shoulder pressure. I got really high up on him, then tried to take mount but he made the escape right away and I was back on bottom.

All in all a good roll. He may not be anywhere near as good as my brown belt instructor, but he’s still a black belt and much better than I am. I think if I can get to mount and get stable I can submit him. My other instructor doesn’t even let me settle into side control, let alone mount. He’s just too good.

Lot’s of fun tonight. I brought a couple of young’uns I know from the bar, one of whom is 6’8" and about 300 pounds. He only rolled for about 10 seconds before he cramped up and had to tap out, but he seemed to enjoy the class and I hope he’ll be back. I could use a big guy to train with.


Friday 3/15/19

Bouncing 270 min

Easy shift all night until 1:15, which is when alcohol can no longer be consumed. The last guy in the bar didn’t want to give his beer up, even though I politely told him to finish it up several times in the 5 minutes prior. He was my height and probably around 200-220, so not a small guy. I took the beer from his hand and he didn’t like that at all. I told him it’s time to go home and he said “Make me.”

Okay then. I warned him one more time I’m going to put my hands on him and he didn’t seem to think I would. He didn’t seem drunk, he just seemed like he didn’t appreciate being told what to do and had it in his head that he was in control of whether he gets to stay in the bar or not.

Let’s break the encounter down like any other good scrap during training!

I started with a gentle tricep grip, then when he started to shove with the off-arm I arm-dragged him, took his back and started with a seatbelt grip. I switched to working a rear naked choke when it was clear he wanted to fight. He knew how to defend the choke and we were grip-fighting on the non-choking hand so I couldn’t quite sink it in. He started gurgling even with the one-arm choke and I decided to put him on the ground, dragging him backwards from the choke and putting him on his butt. I followed him to the ground, and put him in side control but we were in a corner and I really couldn’t settle in to full side control. I punched him in the stomach several times, but he kept fighting and used the corner walls to post against and keep me from settling into a dominant position.

He managed an escape and got back to his feet, I got back up too. He wheeled around to start swinging, I clinched him up and ate the blows while I took his back again. I took him down again with a knee-bump that put him on a small set of two stairs, then followed him to the ground and climbed up into full mount. Gave him some pressure and secured an Americana.

“I’m done,” he said.

“We’re staying right here for a little bit,” I told him. When I was sure he was done and assured him that I don’t want to destroy his shoulder I let him up. He apologized, shook my hand and complimented my fighting, then left.

The bartender called the cops during the fight and they showed up four cars deep about a minute after he left. I told them what happened and the cops told me point-blank that I should have broken the arm.

I guess I’m nicer than the cops in my town. I didn’t need to break his arm, so I didn’t. He’s probably banged up a bit, but I didn’t injure him at all.

A few take-aways…

This guy definitely had grappling training. Wrestling or jiu jitsu. He knew technical defenses, positional escapes and he also knew the moment he was truly beaten. Definitely not a typical drunk chump, which is probably why he was so confident that I couldn’t make him leave.

He also had a knife. It fell out when I first put him on the ground and I kicked it away. I don’t think he had any intention of using it, but I was glad to put it out of play. He left without picking it up, and now I have a trophy.

This is the first time I’ve gone to the ground in a bouncing situation. I did it decisively because he was the last guy in the bar and I knew there were no more people in play. I’m a shark, of course I want to swim when I can.

Jiu jitsu fucking works. His strikes were ineffective when I had him clinched when we were standing. The only damage I sustained were some minor scrapes on my knuckles and some bruising on my knees and elbows from the floor. It was probably a two minute fight at least, and I had the superior position for the entire encounter, even though I didn’t have complete control over him until the very end when I mounted him.

Hard floors don’t make a difference. It may as well have been mats. My training kicked in and I just did what I know how to do. My knees and elbows are a bit banged up but I didn’t feel a thing when it was happening.

I ended up in a corner and haven’t really trained how to fight in a corner, so the positions didn’t work the way I expected and he was able to escape when I was on top of him. Crafty motherfucker.

You never know what someone can do, or what kind of weapons they have. Once we were on the ground he was (correctly) more concerned with defending the position and trying to escape than trying to do dumb stuff like hit me from the bottom of side control. He knew how to defend a rear naked choke and succeeded. I was trying to put him to sleep fairly early on and failed, so I had to go to plan B. This was not a guy who was going to let me street choke him.

I’m glad I had a plan B, and a plan C. Someday I hope to add D, E, and F.

I’ll go ahead and point out that nobody got seriously hurt, which keeps my long streak going of ending violence without injuring anyone.

The final take-away is to always have more fight than the guy who wants to fight you. Don’t ever quit. I had a lot of gas left in my tank. His spirit broke and he gave up. I suppose it’s possible that he realized that he was acting like an asshole and losing a fight because of it, but that doesn’t really matter to me. The outcome was good. He quit, I was unharmed and so was he.

I train jiu jitsu for self defense for a reason. There won’t be any berimbolos or x-guard entries into omoplata sweeps when the whistle blows and it’s on.

I love this shit!


I shit my pants after the knife… nice work…nails.


@dhoke231 it was a piece of shit gas station knife. No retention on the loose clip so it flew right out of his pants when he hit the ground. There’s no lock-up on it and it doesn’t deploy well. If he had gone for it before it flew out I would’ve won the grip fight and put him out with the RNC pretty fast, hopefully before he could deploy it and put it to use. He needed both hands to control my off-hand, and he succeeded. He was starting to turn into me too and I just felt like the RNC wasn’t going to happen, which is why I went to plan B with the takedown.

Turns out the other bouncer knows this guy from back in the day and he’s got a long history of bar brawls. Some of the regular ladies recognized him and told me he’s the biggest douchebag in their gym, always acting super-macho and whatnot.

I guess he’s a pretty typical guy who thinks he’s a lot badder than he really is. He also had a big bushy biker beard, which is a dumb thing to have if you go around starting fights. One more thing for me to yank him around with.

Anyway, we’ve added another knucklehead to the banned list.

Here’s the victory spoil!


Nice, dude! You acted like a professional, without hesitation.


@flappinit Thanks! I suppose I’ve been a part-time dive bar bouncer long enough to call myself a professional. You’re right about the importance of not hesitating. That moment when you first put hands on someone and you’re not sure if he’s going to fight or let you walk him out is where you’ve got to be ready.

Once I decide to put hands on someone I always make sure I’m in a safe position with options. The tricep grab lets me control one arm and defend against the other, but it isn’t super-aggressive so I like to lead with that if I can’t just get behind them. It also allows a quick transition to the arm-drag, which leads to the back-take, which is where I always want to be if I’m on my feet.

From taking his back I was never in a bad spot, even though we moved around a fair bit when I was throwing him around the room and in the scramble that followed. He was unable to damage me during the whole fight, which probably lasted about 2 or 3 minutes. I was all-over him from the moment I got grips, never giving him the moment he needed to strike effectively.

I just used basic white belt jiu jitsu concepts

Make safe
Improve your position as many times as it takes until you’re in a controlling position
Hold the position
Finish your opponent.

Same basic rules whether you’re on your feet or on the ground, whether you’re trying to break a limb, strike or use a choke.

Another thing that’s been drilled into me is that you can’t lose a fight from the mount if you can hold the position, which is where I was trying to get from the moment I decided we needed to go to the ground. He was a smart guy to give up when he did. He was in a really bad spot and even if he knew technical mount escapes they would be really hard because his feet were down two sets of stairs from his hips and there was no room on either side because of the wall that the small stairs pass through. He couldn’t trap-and roll because there was nowhere to go on either side and he couldn’t get much power from his legs to move his hips effectively.

If he didn’t quit I was ready to make his shoulder go pop. It was definitely an interesting fight filled with all kinds of jiu jitsu and bouncing lessons. I’m glad he didn’t just chug the last 3 ounces of his Bud Lite and leave like a normal person.


There are countless videos online of “fights” where somebody sucker punched an unsuspecting person after a vocal confrontation, and as cowardly as the sucker punch is, we can always lay some blame at the foot of the guy who drops himself in an aggressive situation and isn’t prepared for/expecting a fight. Your ability to break down the fight step-by-step only further demonstrates your awareness and focus during conflict, which is huge! Most fights I’ve been in seemed like they lasted 10 minutes when they lasted 30 seconds, and it’s been hard to recall exactly what happened. I’d say your training is definitely paying off.


Ha ha yep! I’m pretty sure that’s exactly the kind of fights this guy is used to being in!

It was just like any other training roll for me, except the gloves were off and I was looking for opportunities to strike and the guy wanted to hurt me. I gave him a few good blows to his belly after the first takedown, but otherwise it was very similar to a roll with any other super-aggressive and decent-sized white belt, which also highlights the importance of how you train.

It’s important to start from the feet. Way too many guys always start from the knees and don’t train stand-up seriously.

It’s important to train with aggressive and strong white belts who do stuff you don’t expect.

It’s important to roll hard. Not all the time, but often enough to be accustomed to someone fighting you with everything they have.

It’s important for white belts to train techniques that work in real fights.

Of course, none of this is important if you don’t care about defending yourself. Plenty of people get everything they want out of jiu jitsu without doing any of the above. You can take selfies and high-five each other after a white belt class spent learning lasso guard without spending any time on punch blocking or getting back up in base. Then you can get your belt promotions and pretend that your jiu jitsu is no different than old-school jiu jitsu.

Or you can learn it from people who still teach it as a fighting art and make you do the things that make you a better fighter.

There’s a difference, especially in your first few years of training.


You should have broken his arm.

Karma is a bitch, and this guy deserved it.

Of course, you didn’t know that, so there is that.


@The_Myth I’m no expert on what the Karma King of Woo City wrote about mercy. If we study the many battles Jesus fought in, you would know that he never deranged any of his enemies’ shoulder joints after defeating them in single combat.

The outcome was good as is. Wrecking the shoulder of a guy who quit and was helpless might have made me an enemy. It’s a small town and a small state!


I agree. Another conflict settled with no injuries. That is always the best possible outcome. You could have broken his arm, and then quite easily choked him to death afterwards, so where does it end? If karma goes both ways, then the restraint and mercy you showed should come back your way one day, hopefully.


I’ve been in a lot of fights, stoopid stuff, and I doubt I would have broken his arm. I probably would have done like you and let the guy go,

As my teacher tells me, at the end of time, all debts will be paid. It’s not up to you to collect this debt.

I think it’s really cool that you are able to be the “seer” and not get wound and beat the shit out of people. It’s a zen thing.


That’s just from training. I can stay calm and focused off the mats and make good decisions under pressure because that’s what you do when you spar hard. I’m used to taking in information under stress and breaking it down afterwards, which is why I could do that for this encounter just like any of my routine training rolls I’ve logged over the years.

I suppose I was in a zen like state. I don’t know much about zen, but I’ve read about flow state before and it’s probably the same basic idea. I’m not good enough at jiu jitsu to experience flow state on good players, but I’m good enough to where I can do what I know how to do fairly well against people who don’t know how to stuff it with technical counters. It is an interesting experience when your training kicks in and you’re just operating your program in the moment.

From the wikipedia article.

Flow theory postulates three conditions that have to be met to achieve a flow state:

1. One must be involved in an activity with a clear set of goals and progress. This adds direction and structure to the task.

2. The task at hand must have clear and immediate feedback. This helps the person negotiate any changing demands and allows them to adjust their performance to maintain the flow state.

3. One must have a good balance between the perceived challenges of the task at hand and their own perceived skills. One must have confidence in one’s ability to complete the task at hand.

Schaffer (2013) proposed 7 flow conditions:

1. Knowing what to do
2. Knowing how to do it
3. Knowing how well you are doing
4. Knowing where to go (if navigation is involved)
5. High perceived challenges
6. High perceived skills
7. Freedom from distractions


Monday 3/18/19

BJJ 80 min

Back at my old school again and doing some good drills from the guard.

First up was an armbar using the gi. From closed guard, open up the gi and feed the lapel under their left arm using your right hand, pass it to your left and then pass it back to your right, looping it above their elbow if you can. From here you’ve got good control over their right arm, which you need to yank right over your center line. Open your guard, post on their hip with your left leg, keeping tight to limit the space they have to move. Climb your right leg high into their armpit to limit what they can do with that arm and break their posture down. From here you can stuff the face if you need to, or just swing your left leg around to finish the armbar.

Not something that’s really practical in a fight, but still kinda possible if they have a jacket on or a loose hoodie. I’ll get off of my self-defense high horse for a bit and still acknowledge that the movements and basic concepts still have carry-over potential and it’s not like learning creative ways to use clothing is a bad thing.

Next up was an arm-drag to back take from the guard. If they post a hand up high on your chest or lapel, strip the grip, control the wrist and put it on the ground in front of their far-side knee with both of your hands. Open your guard, hip out to make space and let their posture break down into the space you just made, which we will say is on the right side for explanation purposes. Wrap your right hand around their neck as they do this, then secure a gable grip with your left hand and try to put your elbows together to compress the carotids.

I like this. I like arm-drags and back-takes!

Last up was another armbar. If they post high on your chest or gi with the right arm get grips on that sleeve with your right arm and pull back to create tension. Sit up and get a deep far-side collar grip with your left arm. Open your guard to hip out, getting your right leg deep into the armpit and your left leg over their right shoulder to keep the posture broken down. From here it’s a simple face stuff into an armbar.

I like this too, even though I’m not sure it would ever be in my rolodex if the whistle blows and it’s on.

Class ran long, time was short and I only rolled once. I invited an up-and-coming white belt to roll. He has two stripes and a penchant for giving out black eyes, one of which the head instructor got last week. Early 20’s, aggressive, does Judo and only has one speed, FULL THROTTLE.

He didn’t want to start standing so I just let him have side control. He wrapped me up and didn’t post a hand so it was easy for me to roll him onto his back and take side control for myself. I’m really good at this and should probably let him take mount and work escapes from there or try to get back to guard, but this was a roll where I wanted to make it clear that he’s not going to give me a black eye and I can dominate him without using pressure.

He did a good job of making space and replacing guard, so I let him have it and worked from there. He gave me a giant hole to walk through, and I advanced to half-guard with little more than walking forward on my knees to clear one of his legs. He only had my ankle in half-guard so I popped that out with my other foot and took full mount.

From here I didn’t use any pressure, just let him work to escape and tried to hold mount. I advanced to high mount but he got an arm under my leg and managed to escape. I could have fought it off but I let him have it, then took a rung down the ladder and settled in to side control. He’s good at making space but side control 1 isn’t taught at this school and i just stuffed his escapes. I saw the timer ticking down and submitted him with a kung-fu choke from side control, aka paper cutter choke.

I complimented him on his high mount escape, which took a lot of work. He told me I felt really light. I didn’t want to tell him that I was being nice and refraining from any sort of pressure, so I just told him that I’m working pure technique. It’s still valuable. It’s the drunk uncle treatment, and it’s what I give people when I bounce who aren’t really interested in putting up a fight. No crushing pressure, ease them down to the ground if I put them there so they don’t slam and control the person using only technique, deliberately shelving all of my strength and weight.

It actually takes more work to be nice. It’s a lot easier to get my hooks in and give hip pressure in mount, letting him carry all of my weight. That’s going to be miserable for him, so I played nice. Instead I carry all of my weight, and just try to beat the frames with my legs and climb to technical mount and wrap his arms with my legs. He did a good job of defending that and making an escape.

I wish my other instructor was still training at his house, but he’s been short on time and the schedule at his school changed up. He’s really close to getting his black belt so I don’t fault him for prioritizing his own training and making the long trip to his school almost every night. I’ll just have to make the most of what training I can access right now. All of my training with him has given me a completely different perspective on jiu jitsu, and I think I’m much better equipped to soak in the worthwhile stuff and discard the techniques that are only applicable in sport grappling.


Wednesday 3/20/19

Bouncing 300 min

Two shifts in a row with fuckery. This was a much different encounter, so I’ll break it down for anyone interested in my thought process when handling fuckery.

I had stepped outside for a bit to work the door outside. Working the door outside has a few advantages on a loud and busy night. It’s easier to monitor the flow of people. It’s easier to stop people from leaving with drinks. It’s easier to keep drunks out in the first place, because you can have a conversation as you’re carding people and better assess whether they are too intoxicated to be allowed in. There are generally fewer distractions in the form of people wanting to have conversations, and it’s certainly quieter than standing next to a bumping speaker that might be playing music that you don’t particularly like.

The only real disadvantage too working outside is that you can’t monitor the crowd, which is why I move inside if I have any feeling like things might get chippy or if there are any people I feel like I should keep an eye on.

My feelings betrayed me tonight. The crowd seemed cool so I was out basking in the 30 degree heat. We’re at that time of the year where barely below freezing feels pretty pleasant after months of frigid temps. There was an altercation at the bar where a customer who should have been cut off got shit-faced and ended up throwing a drink at the bartender. A friend of the bartender, who also happens to be a bouncer, tried to talk sense and ended up giving the guy a good shove. I came in right after the asshole got up, went to talk to him and he put hands on me.

I stripped the grips and controlled his arms, moving him towards the door. I got him to the door and another customer bear-hugged him from behind and rag-dolled him out the door. I followed and kept him from coming back in. He shoved me once and I didn’t do anything about it. He rambled incoherently and acted aggressively towards me and other people for a good 10 minutes. Eventually an old guy who has known him since he was born got him to leave and gave him a ride home.

Why didn’t I jiu jitsu the guy?

A few reasons.

The bar was packed and I know this guy had a lot of friends. There was already a swarm of people trying to get involved the minute I stepped inside. I was constantly shoo’ing away people once I got him outside, and I even shoo’d away the guy who bear hugged him and actually helped me move him out. I thanked him later for helping and for clearing out when I asked him to. If I had taken his back and started choking him, slammed him to the ground or started swinging, it was entirely possible I would have been quickly facing very bad odds.

He never attempted to hit me, he just struggled as I tried to move him. The guy last Friday was clear in his words and actions that he intended to whoop my ass, and he wasn’t all that drunk. This guy was wasted, struggling hard like a wasted guy but I didn’t perceive him to be a threat to me. If he would have swung on me that would have changed, but he didn’t. I was in prayer position every second I didn’t have hands on him and ready to deal with any violence he sent my way.

There were a lot of buzzed people who kept trying to get involved. I’m not counting on their good judgement or ability to improve an outcome with an incoherent drunk guy who can’t be reasoned with.

If this guy was the last guy in the bar like the guy on Friday night, I would have been looking for a back-take or a take-down, total control over him on the ground and a discussion from there. He wasn’t. He was a guy with lots of friends in the bar who may or may not have gotten involved. I’m not sure why anyone wants to be his friend, but I wasn’t about to understand that in the middle of a bar struggle. De-escalation and getting him out the door were my only objectives. After talking to a series of people afterwards it turns out that everyone recognized he was acting like an asshole, but I didn’t know that in the moment and I’m not about to bet my well-being on the decision-making of a bunch of buzzed-up 20-somethings.

Anyway, mission accomplished. Nobody got hurt and he’s on a long-term ban from the bar.

It’s a lot more fun rag-dolling people in an empty bar, but I’ll have to get my fill of that at class tomorrow.


Thought you might appreciate this. Joe Rogan talking about belt quality in BJJ.