bjj, competition, improvement, matchups

Mail Day!

It’s Mail Day! Let’s answer some questions.  As always, if you have any questions you want answered, write me at askheavytraining@gmail.com.

Greg from Albany writes:

What is your favorite Mythological Creature and why?

Thanks for writing Greg.  I’m going with Minotaur. Six pack abs, natural sense of rage; it’s the perfect combination of power and sexual charisma.  Here’s a ranking of my top players in the mythological game, from first to worst:

  1. Minotaur
  2. Centaur
  3. Genies
  4. Unicorn
  5. Medusa
  6. Jesus
  7. Pegasus
  8. Bigfoot
  9. Hydra
  10. Giant

Jeff, from West Chester asks:

Two part question. If Hitler’s preserved brain was transfered into a grizzly bear, would you volunteer to fight him to the death?  Do you think you would win?

Thanks for writing, Jeff!  My question to you is when, temporally speaking, would this fight take place?  If it was 1937 I think I would step up to the plate.  In 2014 Hitler’s just fighting for pride, which makes him more dangerous.  I like to think that this fight would take place in 2099 AD, where me and Hitler-Grizzly are fighting to amuse our corporate overlords at their Christmas party.

Anyway, I think I would have a fighting chance.  Because Hitler has the mind of a man, in the body of a bear.  He wouldn’t know how to use the patented bear moves (mauling, biting,  rearing up to terrifying heights, etc) that makes bears so dangerous.  He wouldn’t maximize his built in advantages as a bear.  Conversely, if you put a bear’s mind in Hitler’s body, he’d flail around, not knowing how to use a man’s body.

I think I could conceivably get behind him, take his back and choke him out before he could figure out how to shake me off.  Then it’s bear steaks for everybody.

Troy from Hoboken NJ writes:

My girlfriend says I spend too much time at Jiu Jitsu.  It’s becoming a larger issue than it should be, leaking into other aspects of our relationship.  I’d like to strike up a compromise with her, without losing any mat time.  What should I do.

Thanks for writing Troy.  Troy!  What a name.  Anyway, you’ve got a real problem on your hands.  You can save it though! Here are a few techniques:

Basic:Most arguments in relationships, especially boyfriend-girlfriend relationships, are invisible struggles to seize and maintain the moral high ground.  You’ve already seized this position because your girlfriend is asking you to change something about yourself. All you have to do is hold down the fort. The most basic defense that you can muster is that she should love you for you, and that trying to change you into something you’re not, or  to make you do something you don’t want to do, would violate the most basic of all relationship principals.  Say something to that effect and watch the waves of guilt crash down all around her!

Intermediate:  To try something a little more advanced, let her know that the time spent at the gym is a wholesome, bettering, activity, and it’s not like you are spending your nights and weekends drinking and fucking around with your friends and other women.  You’re an athlete, god damn it.  This really only works if A) you are not currently spending your nights and weekends drinking and fucking around with other women and B) your girlfriend values fitness and comraderie.  If she genuinely wants you around so you can watch her while she watches her 5th episode of Chopped, I would stick to the basics.

Advanced:  Compromise, skip a bunch of classes, and be miserable.  So miserable that she “allows” you to go back to your normal schedule.  This is a shrewd high risk strategy.  It involves you seemingly conceding your moral position to her, only for your girlfriend to realize later that she’s the one who’s wrong.  It’s like a double switch ending to a movie where it turns out she’s Kaiser Soze where all along she thought she was Katherine Heigle in 27 dresses.

The risk is that your girlfriend may not care you’re miserable and it turns out you’re dating a monster.  Or you act too insufferable and she breaks up with you because she thinks you’re a monster.  Or maybe you’re just meant for each other because you are both awful people!  Good luck!

_________________

That’s everything in the mail bag!  If you have a question you want answered, send it in at askheavytraining@gmail.com.

 

 

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adversity, bjj

Independance Day

I work for a very large school district in a major East Coast city.  I go to schools and see things that alternate between gut busting hilarity and heart breaking sadness, and often the two mix together to the point where you can hardly tell the difference.  Which sees to be par for the course when you’re dealing with inner city education.

A couple of days ago I was in school that was hosting  a summer program for high needs special education kids.  I’m sitting at a table auditing payroll when an enormous 350 pound autistic kid rumbles into the bathroom across the hall with his teacher/handler in tow.  Ten minutes later his teacher comes out, with a stricken look on his face.  The kind of look that says “my student shit himself and then smeared fecal matter everywhere.”  While the teacher is talking to the principal and the facilities staff, the kid bolts from the bathroom, covered in his own shit.  He’s non verbal, so what ever he’s trying to communicate comes out as a grunt and he jogs down the hall.  Eventually staff corale him and put him back in the bathroom, because there is no where else to put him.

Of course, there are no spare pants in the building that would fit him, and his guardians didn’t pack a spare set.  Which is surprising because I’m sure this isn’t a rare incident.  So they keep this kid in the bath room, where he would occaisionally burst out of, naked from the waist down, gesturing to no one, or everyone.  Who knows? Staff would gently push him back into the bathroom.

At some point a pair of burgundy lady’s stirrup pants were found that would fit him.  The day continued without incident.

——————–

Sometimes I worry that I don’t go to the gym enough.  Or that I don’t have the time or the passion to reach the goals I set for myself or that others set for me.  It’s easy for me to get caught up in self doubt.

But then I think about that kid.  Shunted off into a bathroom, covered in shit. Stuffed into a pair of stirrup pants. His mind seemingly not his own.  What’s worse is that his every move seems to require supervision from a qualified adult.  A handler, if you will; like some sort of circus bear.  Absolutely zero independence.

It’s certainly a cliche and more than a little reductive to use this kid as a reminder of what’s good in my life, and conversely, what’s bad about his.  But even so, it’s important to remember that I’m a healthy individual who has complete freedom to pursue whatever I choose to do, and not worry about the bull shit.

I’ma let my freak flag fly.

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Uncategorized

BJJ Lifestyle

I haven’t been to class in two weeks, so I really can’t claim I’ve been living the BJJ lifestyle (whatever that means).  Here is a list of the lifestyle’s I HAVE been living.

-BBQ Lifestyle
-BBW Lfestyle-
-M4W Lifestyle
-NWA Lifestyle
-TLC Lifestyle (the band)
-NWA Lifestlye
-DAD Lifestyle
-MWD Lifestyle
-XXX Lifestyle
-JPG Lifestyle
-OMG Lifestyle
-GMO Lifestyle

I’ve been busy.  So don’t judge!

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Uncategorized

Golden age

Are we in the golden age? No, of course not.  We’re living in a dystopian hell scape.  This is very obvious.  Nobody has a job and everyone’s sad all the time.  If anything, we are in some kind of neo-feudal iron age. Pretty soon we’ll be feasting on human bones.

But the question I want to ask is, “Are We In The Golden Age of Jiu Jitsu?”

If you are a classicist, you would know that the Greeks define the Golden Age of peace, harmony, stability, prosperity.  Since we are not in a parlor discussing the minor works of Virgil,  I’ll define the Modern Golden Age with these four characteristics

  • Growth
  • Accessibility
  • Unity
  • Innovation

So let’s take a a philosophical stroll and talk about each of the aspects of Jiu Jitsu.  We’re gonna answer this question, together. We will rate each aspect on a  scale from one to five old white men. Because nobody loves talking about how great things used to be than an old white guy.

Growth

This one is a no brainer.  Have you been to a NAGA lately?  It’s like a cross between an ant farm and Moroccan Souk.  Pure chaos.

There has been explosive growth in the sport over the last 25 years, with the sport truly hitting mainstream attention within the last few years.  While BJJ may have been shown to be the most practical in the first UFC (1993),  MMA was still seen as human cockfighting until 2005. It was only post Stephan Bonnar/Forrest Griffin, where ironically, they beat the shit out of each other, that UFC and BJJ in general became mainstreamed. Which is weird.  It took the ultimate human cockfight for people to recognize the legitimacy of human cockfighting. Life can be funny sometimes.

But as to Jiu Jitsu specifically, in 1996, the International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation hosted a total of four competitions.  In 2005, eight, and in 2013, 41 events. That is a fivefold increase from less than ten years ago, and over a ten fold increase from 20 years ago.

Another fun fact: Over 400 black belts registered for the World’s this year.  Believe it.  This sport is huge. Full points awarded.

TOTAL OLD WHITE MEN RATING: 5

five white guys

ACCESSIBILITY

Accessibility should walk hand and hand with growth. It follows that the more gyms that open the more accessible Jiu Jitsu becomes.  But the real question is, who can train in these gyms.  The answer is: Certainly not everyone.

Let’s use my home town as an example:

In Philadelphia, the average cost of a BJJ membership is $189.45 based on a sampling of five major clubs in the area.  That’s just about $2,270 a year, just in membership costs.  The median income in Philadelphia County over the last four years was $37,016.  (Like I said, we already live in a dystopian hellscape).  That’s 6% of a person’s total income for the year.  Doesn’t seem so bad, right?  Until you factor in rent (15,060, yearly) and utilities ($1,910, yearly), and transportation (1,098).  It begins hard to justify a membership at these prices. Plus most humans need food. At least the weak ones do.

Oh, and for cable/internet it’s $2,000 a year.  BECAUSE HAVING WE TV IS NOT NEGOTIABLE.

Then there are the gis.  Jesus Christ the fucking gis.  Sure, you can get a crappy $99 dollar gi, but you can also get the limited-edition-goldweave-thatfeaturesbigtittedjapanesegirlssewnintotheinsideseams-andtheyonlymake30everydecade-andyouhavetobuythemfrominsideavolcanoduringahalfmoon gis.  And they can run you a pretty penny. Like diamond rings, there all no ceilings on these things.  Well over $300 if you’re high as shit and  enjoy wasting your money.

But costs aside, Jiu Jitsu is becoming more accessible.  Women’s participation has never been higher, and the sport has become somewhat less focused on the competition aspects of BJJ (for better or worse).  You don’t have to walk into a gym and have expectations placed on you to train to be a champion.  Some people just want to make friends and wrassle, like Andre the Giant.

I give accessibility three Old White Men, out of five.

three old guys

UNITY

Every year all of the heads of each club get together for a rafting trip.  After a couple of miles they stop at a clearing and take huge rips from a bong.  A spectral Smoke Wizard emerges from the pipe and lectures for hours about the importance of cooperation and respect for each other.  Everyone nods their head in profound agreement.  At night they have a barbeque and talk about how much they love each other, and that it would be great to have an agreed upon structure to present a united front to the world. Everybody chips in for Kurt Osiander’s bus fare and they all go home.

This scenario has yet to happen.

In reality, BJJ is a fractured mess.  “BUT WHAT ABOUT THE IBJJF?” you’ll ask.  The IBJJF is only one federation.  It’s not official, but it’s the biggest, thus the defacto leadership.  Many people don’t/won’t recognize their legitimacy. Ever hear of the North American Jiu Jitsu Federation?  No?  Ok.

And how about reaching an accord on a unified rule set?  Not likely, hombre.  You’ll be getting heel hooked at NAGA till the cows come home.

I award unity one Old White Man. I am a cruel mistress, and  not easy to please.

old-man-n-white-mustache-2

INNOVATION

Of the four Criteria, this one is the most slippery.  Unless people start growing a third arm, or extra thumbs, the basic concepts of Jiu Jitsu have been established and explored.  The WormGuard is a modified Lasso.  The Berimbolo?  Inverted De La Riva.

Imagine a tree.  The trunk of which is comprised of the basics of Jiu Jitsu.  Takedowns, armbars, sweeps, side control, etc.  Imagine that each branch consists of a set of techniques, and each twig the specific variations.  At this point, most “innovations” are at the sub twig level.  Hyper specific variations on existing frameworks.

You can make the case that since the sport is so new (comparitively), that the sport has yet to fully develop.  That makes everything an innovation.  I guess.  But I think I need a more compelling argument than that to award full points.  I am not assuaged. I demand more rigor.

I think the real issue is the word “innovation”.  Its hard to pin down exactly what that means.  Does something have to be a quantum leap forward to qualify as an innovation?  Or do small, incremental changes meet the definition? I suspect the answer depends on your world view.  America loves a GRINDER, and hates GLORYBOYS, so I feel that anything that makes it look to easy we shun.  We want our athletes to scrape and claw their way to victory, leaving a bloody snail trail of tears and broken fingernails.

Brazilians, on the other hand, are laid back south American brahs who want to feel like the flow is natural and easy. That’s now how do it up here, son. Brazil, you’re never going to own a Aunti Anne’s Pretzel Franchise with that kind attitude. Get on your grind.

Since I’m a true son of liberty, I’ll run with the American version of innovation.  Slow, dirty, and painful.  Like the subway.

I award four Old White Men.

Four white guys 2

CONCLUSION

I have awarded 13 out of a maximum 16 points.  I feel that this qualifies as some sort of Lesser Golden Age at best, with marginal room for improvement. At this point the major stumbling block of the BJJ golden age is lack of unity and the (rising) cost considerations that a lot of people face.

Because really, Jiu Jitsu gonna do what it do.  You can’t stop it, it’s always going to be awesome.  It’s the outside shit that can stand in the way.

Take a rip from the wizard bong and think about that, man.

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adversity, bjj, disgusting, fat people

A Brazilian Ways to Die

Here’s a helpful hint-

Just because you do Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, do not go to the Brazilian BBQ food cart in South Philadelphia and think your stomach can handle it.  It can’t.  Maybe if you are some kind of hyper intelligent goat who can read, then yes, go ahead and eat at the cart, goat.

But if you are human, take a hard pass.

If this was a role playing game, by consuming “CONSUMING BRAZILIAN BBQ FROM A CART” your character would gain the following attributes:

  • -10 going to work
  • +5 Doo Doo
  • +5 writhing skill
  • -20 Charisma
  • +3 Weird Stomach Noises.
  • +1 Parasites that last the remainder of the game.

I guess I can chalk it up as a cultural experience.

 

 

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product review

Product Review: Defense Band

Product: The DefenseBand, from SpiderTI.

What Is It? A hidden wrist band that allows you to strangle/restrain victims potential attackers.

Who Should Buy It: Anybody who needs to garrotte a fat Italian guy from the backseat of a 2001 Lincoln Towncar.  Someone interested in the finer legalities of involuntary manslaughter.

Pros: Unobtrusive. Once you show your coworkers your Defenseband, colleagues will leave you alone and give you the solitude and peace you’ve so desperately searched so hard for.

Cons: The smell of whores’ perfume lingers on the nylon. Why do they stink so?  Why are they so filthy?

Where to find them:  On the Spider TI website. Any place were the spirit of America still lives on.  Your local militia.

How to Take it to the Next Level: Watch the instructional video again. Did you notice that in half the scenarios the “defender” was behind the “attacker”?  The Defenseband excels at defending against aggressive confrontations where you may have to sneak up behind your attacker and choke them to death.

How to Take it to the Next Next Level:  Spider TI also sells a belt that conceals zip ties.  Perfect for transporting your attackers across state lines.

Verdict: Get in the van.

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adversity, bjj, fat people

Mail Day!

Hey! Let’s answer some reader emails.  If you have a question, write me at askheavytraining@gmail.com

Troy, from Chicago Illinois writes:

What is the acceptable protocol for farting in class?

That’s a great question.  Since you’re from Chicago you probably eat at least a meter of keilbasa before class;it  it may even be part of your warm up.  So I can see why you have farts on the brain.  Usually, I just say let ’em rip and let God sort it out.  We’re all friends here.  Everyone will either ignore it or have a good laugh, so it’s no big deal.

If you really feel some kind of way about it excuse yourself and find a quiet place to air your shame.  But if you’re like me,  your farts come to you like a lightening bolt from the clear blue sky and strike without warning.

So just roll the dice!

Thanks for asking!

-Jenn, from Montana asks:

I think I have a crush on a boy at the gym.  We train a lot together and seem to have really great chemistry.  I’d love to ask him out but I’m afraid if it didn’t work we’d ruin our friendship and make things awkward.  What should I do?

I think you should follow your heart.  Fuck that stupid brain of yours.  Just keep this one rule in mind.  YOU DO NOT LIVE IN A ROMANTIC COMEDY.  Avoid zany shenanigans at all costs.  Most people think about the meet cute that happens in the middle of the movie, not the humiliating failures arising from misunderstandings that happen in the first act.

Just be straight forward and ask him out.  I’m not too sure about how old your are, but you sound young (I GO BY FEEL).  Men (and boys) are idiots and need to be led by the hand point by point.  When it comes to relationships most men would rather just have somebody peel their orange for them.  Women on the other hand turn these things into giant Rube Goldberg machines we’re everything needs to be JUST RIGHT. So skip all that. Say what you feel and don’t make it weird.

But you’re from Montana, so there’s probably only three other eligible men within 4 hours of you, so if things go south, be prepared to move.  Keep a go bag in your Silverado at all times.

Good luck, and thanks for asking!

-Bill, from Tom’s River NJ asks:

What’s the best gi?

Atama Gold Weave. DUUOOOOOOOOOOY.  It is the Platonic Ideal of Gi Quality. Everything else is just faking.

Thanks for asking.

-Jim, from Lancaster Pennsylvania writes:

I started Jiu Jitsu about two months ago, and I don’t think I like it very much.  Is it ok to quit?

Sure.  I quit things all the time.  Marriages, jobs, meals I don’t like, etc.  I HATED Jiu Jitsu because it was so hard, but not because I didn’t like it. Even now after eight years and a brown belt, I have cagey feelings about the sport. But  If you don’t like the instructor, or the contact, or if you got a staff infection on your asshole, then sure, don’t go anymore.

But if you don’t like it because it’s hard, or you feel too tired afterwards, then stick with it.  It’s sort of like when you watch the first month of The Biggest Loser.  It’s not that these 500lb people can’t work out; it’s more that they are so far out of their comfort zone they don’t know which end is up and they panic.  PUSH THROUGH IT FATBODY.

So take some time to really figure out what it is you don’t like, and decide if you can live with it or not.  Just like a marriage.

Thanks for asking!

Got a question?  Ask me at askheavytraining@gmail.com

 

 

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