Wednesday, 4 August 2010

On the Mat Day 90: Closed Guard Chokes

Hot again and only a few people at the dojo tonight. Me and Atsushi-kun. He managed to hurt his elbow while sparring so that cut out significant sparring drills we could do. Takeuchi, a small blue belt guy, came later on and joined sparring for only a short while. He has not been regular for a long time and gasses fast. In the 6 minute round he asked each of us 3 minutes into the round to spar but only for a short time. I think there are a couple of things going on in his head. 1. He is out of shape 2. He doesn't want to be dominated 3. If he spars for only a short time his survival chance is better. It is the wrong way to train. He should train the full 6 min round and not give a shit about whether he gets tapped or dominated or not. We are his training partners and he should feel comfortable losing to us in the dojo which is a safe environment. When I sparred with him I tried an airplane throw which didnt work so I switched to half guard. I should have known it but he went for an ezekiel choke. I tried to sweep but it was locked in. I totally forgot to use the escape where you bring your arms over your head and down to break his grip - doh. Koyama-san told me about it later and I felt annoyed with myself for forgetting it. We stood up and continued, I threw him with an ashi-barai and eventually ended up in S-mount and took the armbar.

I seem to have a problem with my jaw. It sort of pops out to the side (almost dislocating) when I am put in a choke while my mouth is open and breathing heavily. That happened during the Ezekiel choke and it concerned me enough to lose all track of what I was doing. My jaw feels tender this morning. Something I think I am crazy at 38 years old to be rolling around doing BJJ. I have to say though that I would miss it so much if I quit. I do have thoughts about quitting now and again. I think we all do. But I can also see myself doing BJJ for life because it is such a great way to relieve stress and keep fit.

At the end of class Koyama showed me a self-defense guillotine escape and a leg lock. Both of which I asked him to show me. He is very easy to approach with questions. A sign of a good instructor.


  1. Hey John I agree with your observation about the small guy not wanting to get dominated. As a small guy myself that urge rises up in me and I have to be mindful of it. As you so well stated it is training. I tell myself get out there and roll and learn. Whether I submit, get tapped or just gass it is a million light years ahead of sitting out for fear of what others may think. I lived in Japan as a youth and at age 40 now often think of returning for a visit. Be well and train safe.

  2. Hey Mike,

    Thanks for the comment.

    I admit that it is really hard to let go of the ego when sparring. I always try to focus on comparing myself to me when I started and not other guys at the dojo. It's hard to do that sometimes though.

    If you ever get back to Japan, you're welcome to train in Nagoya. I'm the only whitey here so things can get kind of lonely.