Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Sucks!

I’ve had an epiphany. For ages there was this niggling feeling that something wasn’t quite right, and couldn’t quite work out what it was.  At first I thought it might just be because my back’s been playing up again recently and I haven’t been as committed as I like to training. But then I read  Meerkatsu’s old post about other people’s views on BJJ and suddenly everything became clear:

BJJ is shit, isn’t it?

I can’t believe I’ve wasted all this time with it.  I’m really angry with myself.  That’s 2.5 years (roughly) of my life I’m never getting back.

I’ve been a fool and I have no-one to blame but myself.  I became  so solipsistic about BJJ that I literally forgot there was anything else out there.I just I became fell in love with the BJJ community and lifestyle that I lost sight of the big picture. If I’d have just looked outside of BJJ for five minutes and done some basic net research and I’d have quickly realised how badly it sucks. Thankfully for me (and you) there are some awesome videos on that site of the effective street techniques that we sport players are missing out on. You can check them out here. I am really pleased he covers a safe way to disarm a knife, something that BJJ has failed to address despite me being a Blue Belt.

Maybe I’m just bitter. After all, Lau Gar taught me these highly effective knife defenses:

And I stupidly gave it all up to pursue BJJ.

They say hindsight is 20/20, but they also say you need to make mistakes to realise what really is important in life. Or perhaps – you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone – So perhaps this epiphany is a good thing? I’ve learnt from my mistakes and I’ve realised that I’ll be much happier doing a traditional martial art that teaches me real-life self defense techniques.

Will I bollocks.

Ugh. I feel dirty even joking about it. Looking back I can’t believe I used to do this. And not only did I do it – I genuinely thought it was useful. Just click the link… What the fuck was I thinking? It’s not fighting, it doesn’t even LOOK like fighting. It’s fucking dancing is what it is. FUCK!

Now maybe I’m doing a disservice to the guy I linked to above – perhaps he does practise all those techniques he shows against resisting opponents and trains in what we would consider a “realistic” or alive manner*  – but it was an excellent way to illustrate my point. I am constantly amazed that in 2010 there are still people in the traditional martial arts community that think BJJ is nothing but a sport where everyone jumps guard no matter what the circumstances. That BJJ players are incapable of avoiding the ground even if it’s strewn with broken glass, lava, and used hypodermic syringes. That the early UFCs proved nothing as it “wasn’t a real fight”. And so on, and so on, and so on. Then you take a look at whatever their deadly ancient art is, and it’s always something like this… the horror.

And after that, I think you need a Renzo Chaser:

*though I can’t see any evidence that he does, so sod him.

peddling this idea that dead forms and dead drills teach you to fight.
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Top 10 phrases to avoid on the mat

Given that I am now a seasoned Blue Belt, I thought it was about time I passed on my years of accumulated wisdom to any beginners out there. Here a few choice phrases I’ve heard over the years (or possibly, made up) that highlight training mistakes or etiquette faux pas that you may want to avoid.

Obviously this is aimed at newbies, which like most things in BJJ means it goes double for all you higher grades out there… Share and enjoy bitches!

What’s the worst that can happen? BRING IT ON!

THIS. By all means train hard but tap early, tap often, and keep yourself safe.

RAAAARRR!! Newbie Smash!! RAAARRRR!!

Woah! Easy tiger. Everyone wants to win, and it’s really easy to force a sub on to begin with, but you’re really not helping anyone. Relax, and you’ll have more gas. Have more gas and you can concentrate on your technique more. concentrate on your technique more and you’ll find your game improving no end. If you want to train a strength only game, try power lifting.

I just learned a new deep half guard inverted gogoplata on submissions101, I’m going to smash everyone!!

Are you? Well well done you.  In the meantime I’m going to listen to my instructor who I’m paying to teach me and learn techniques that way. There is a very good reason privates cost £40 an hour and YouTube is free.

Yeah, well, he only beat me cos…

There is a big difference between a reason and excuse. Finding a reason as to why you lost helps you learn as you improve your game, making excuses  fools no-one apart from yourself.

Phwoooar, Kyra Gracie! I wouldn’t mind being stuck in her guard/ sometimes passing isn’t an option/I’d mount her alright/etc

Well, done, congratulations. You’ve realised Kyra Gracie is a beautiful women. But have some fucking respect – she’s a world-class athlete, and you’re a tool. I bet Renzo never had to put up with this shit.

When am I gonna get my Blue Belt? When am I gonna get my Blue Belt? When am I gonna get my Blue Belt?

At this rate, never. A watched pot never boils, a pestered instructor never grades. Forget about the next belt and concentrate on training.

Man, I love working on my Jitz game.

Listen Snoop Dogg, it’s not “Jitz” or “B-Jizzle” or any of your other cool trendy made up words, It’s Jiu-Jitsu. End of discussion. Everytime you use the term “Jitz” – Rickson murders a panda.

I’m going to buy a lightweight gi to help with my comp game

If you honestly think 600g difference is going to transform your game then a) you’re probably fighting at the wrong weight and b) you’re deluded. Train harder, cut properly, or fight at the next weight.

Can we take it easy? I put my back out last night humping your mother

I actually used this phrase once, and I wouldn’t recommend it… Big mistake. Huge.

Um…  look. I know we all joke about it, but, well… it really is quite gay isn’t it?

Shhh! There are just some things we don’t talk about, ok?

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Blue Belt. And here my troubles began.

On Tuesday 6th of April 2010 at approximately 8.35pm – After 2 years and 2 days (or roughly 240hrs*) of training – I was awarded my Blue Belt by Andy Roberts.

As the astute of you may have noticed – those of you with mastery of esoteric subjects like “The Gregorian Calendar” and “Maths” – that means I’ve now been training as a Blue Belt for 3 months now. A suitable time I think, to look back and reflect on that momentous occasion and address that all too familiar subject what does a blue belt really mean?

I think I’ve said this before, so I hope I’m not just repeating myself endlessly, but the goal is not the reward. The goal is, of course, to get better. The Blue Belt is your reward. I think it’s easy to conflate the two and see your next belt as the ultimate goal. I know when I was a white belt I saw Blue Belts as Gods among men, smashing us mere mortals aside with strange and obscure techniques coming from odd angles and weirder set ups and dreamt (sometimes literally) of having such super powers. And then I got my Blue Belt. And like everyone else before me I realised that, no, they aren’t special. They’ve just trained hard to get where they are. The techniques they use aren’t crazy or secret, they just know how to apply them and possibly have a few favourites they’ve perfected. But they still get subbed, and make mistakes. They are still growing into grappler in their own right and (if you’re me) still feel like they know nothing. In short a Blue Belt is a lot like being a White Belt, they are both different points on the same learning spectrum. Not like those Purple Belts – Wow – They are like Gods among men!

A Blue Belt for me represents you have a good grounding in the art.  To me, saying you’re a Blue Belt means that you have a good understanding of what BJJ is and how to do it. You know your kimuras from your armbars, you don’t just wildly scramble for position – you work towards it, and you know to set up positions before going for subs, you can hold your own whilst rolling against other Blues, and when you do tap out to higher grades you generally know WHY you lost. In short it represents you’ve achieved a solid base to work from. It shows you’ve arrived in the BJJ world. It is the first marker on a much longer journey, one you should be proud of and celebrate, but just a marker none-the-less.

Now on that last point and all I’ve said above about how it doesn’t really change anything: I’d like to pretend I casually accepted my Blue Belt with zen-like calm and didn’t make a big fuss about it,  but we all know I’d be lying.  When it happens it feels like the biggest achievement in the world. It wasn’t until I got in the car on the way home that it hit me. This was it. This is what I’d been pushing for all this time and I’d finally achieved it. WOOOHOO! I may have been listening to the Wu-Tang Clan’s “Protect ya neck” with the windows down and the system up, I may have joyfully punched the roof on more than one occasion, there may have even been a few tears. I refuse to confirm or deny any of these rumours – But I will say I was damned happy to get my Blue! Finally when posed the dreaded “So what belt are you now?” question from non BJJers I no longer had to waffle on about stripes and how “well, BJJ grading system is quite different from other martial arts”. I could hold my head up high, wait for the dramatic music and declare “I, my naive friend, am now a Blue Belt!” and then swish my cloak about my person before disappearing off into the night…

I got a lot of props at the club too, which was nice.  I think being one the last of the old guard to get my Blue helped a lot in that (as I knew basically everyone) and having so many people coming up to me to congratulate me and say how hard i’d worked and how much I deserved it gave me a massive confidence boost at the time**. Like a child I refused to tap to white belts and managed to succeed for over a month until a particularly large white belt leaned on my throat ’til I saw stars and I felt it was probably best to swallow my pride whilst I still capable of swallowing. I also (and I’m sure every new Blue Belt must do this) gratuitously wrist locked everyone I could until I realised that escalation can only every be a bad thing. Still, it was nice to play with my new toys. I think  my favourite moment as a New Blue was walking past two white belts chatting at the end of a class and one of them pointing to me and saying “He’s the one you should roll with him,  he could teach you a thing or two” WTF? Really?! When did that happen? It really made me smile at the time. Especially as, much to my surprise, I was able to teach him a thing or two – Namely “don’t encourage new Blue Belts to prove how good they are”, nooch.

Now it’s  several months in I think it’s all settled down back to normal. I gave up my foolish “thou shalt not tap to white belts” stance ages ago, I still occasionally try a cheeky wrist lock , but other than that it’s pretty much business as usual. I currently feel that I’m (re)discovering the joys of BJJ for the first time. I don’t really think my game’s improving in any massive way, but I am enjoying slowly trying things out. I train, I get smashed, and I try to learn. It’s almost exactly like being a white belt again, except that now I want to concentrate on the basics. An irony, I believe, everyone realises once getting their Blue.

P.S. I realised half way through this that I’ve been automatically capatilising “Blue Belt” like it’s some kind of title. I know I’m probably breaching all kind of grammar rules, but fuck it, I like it. I think we should all adopt caps-lock to show deference to the power the mighty belt. Also, I really want to be able to write: “oh, so you’re a blue belt in TKD are you? That’s cool. I’m a Blue Belt in BJJ…” on message boards.

*When I say “roughly” I mean roughly. The bullshit assumptions and generalisations I have made to get to this number would make mathematicians cry. In fact, I’ve recently submitted the “time spent training” algorithm to the board of BP so that they can use it to aid their accurate reporting of how much oil is pumping into the Gulf of Mexico.

** Of course, the props were all yours too. I really couldn’t have done it without y’all helping. Thanks guys.

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Question: Why do I compete?

Answer: Because I can’t sing or dance.*

This post (and a subsequent discussion of it) made me ask myself the same question, and given that the British Open is only a few days away I thought I’d share my thoughts on the subject with you all.

The truth is: I don’t know. Not really. Why does anyone do anything? To get laid, presumably. But since dedicating myself to rolling around the floor with other men has kept me more or less single for over a year**, I don’t think that can be the case. I don’t think it’s for fun either. Not in any normal sense of the word fun, anyway. Given all the extra training, the cutting weight, the worry that I’ve just spent £30 to spend 30secs getting choked out on the mat, the not sleeping the night before, the getting up at stupid o’clock in the morning to get there in time and all the other aspects of general pre-fight badness – I think I passed “Fun” a long time before even getting to the comp…

Then there is the comp itself, the actual fighting part: It’s horrid. Stepping onto the matt with the intention of ripping someone’s head off is hardly the way a civilised person should conduct themselves; and of course voluntarily stepping onto a mat with someone who’s trying to rip your head off is clearly a dumb way to spend your leisure time. It’s painful, exhausting, and nerve-racking. So why do it?

Partly I think it’s about knowing how well I’m doing. I often worry about my progression and how I compare to others (I know you aren’t supposed to and all that “personal journey” guff – but everyone does; I’m just honest about it) and I see a competition as a good check of my ability. It’s a freeze frame of my ability that shows where I was in my BJJ journey at that point. I like the fact I can look back at my fights and see a progression there. My last comp I managed to break even on the loss:win ratio and I hope to one day be able to tip the balance and actually win something for once.

I’ve never won anything before, not really. I have a few second place and “also ran” trophies from my dark Kung Fu past in a box somewhere; and the one time I did win 1st place it was a friendly inter-club tournament where I only had to fight one guy (who happened to be a lower grade than me). This is hardly a spectacular fight career, and something I’d like to address. Plus actually winning a medal would make conversations with my non-BJJer mates so much easier – As trying to explain progression in BJJ to a non-BJJer is like trying to explain archery to a rock – I could simply say “Well, I won a medal in a national competition” rather than having protracted conversations about how a white belt in BJJ is still quite handy, actually. I can’t be the only person who grows increasingly weary of the “What, you are STILL the same belt? Haven’t you been doing it ages?” conversations. There is a wonderful irony here: The better you do at comps the more likely you are to grade to your next belt but the quicker you grade to your next belt the worse you are likely to do at comps.

Of course it’s not just about measuring progression. If it was simply a cold objective test of how I’m doing I doubt I’d go. Competitions are much more than that. They are alive. I love the atmosphere. I love watching the fights. I love seeing my team mates do well. I love the support of my club mates and my instructor, the feeling of being part of a team. When I go out on those mats I am proud to represent the RGA and I am damned if I’m going to let them down. And this is the main point: It’s about being part of something. It’s the adrenaline dump as the fight starts. It’s my mates screaming for me to win. It’s about sweat and ragged breathing and burning muscles. It’s walking through the fire and coming out on top. It’s the joy of having your arm raised at the end of a match. It’s about smashing people. It’s about passion and ego:

I want to win, damn it!

I want to show people, and myself, that I am actually good at this sport that I break myself to train in. I want a medal I can be truly proud of.



*If you don’t know where this is from, your education is sadly lacking my friend.

**Single, not celibate. Let us make that point perfectly clear!

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My Brazilian Jiu Jitsu World Tour: Leg One, Part 2 – Peter de Been BJJ, Australia

(…Part 2 of “What I did on my holidays”)

Welcome back Angry Huggers! Last episode we left our intrepid hero sweating and dehydrated after rolling in 34°C heat, and making new friends by showing off his Roger Gracie photo like a badge of honour*. This episode we pick up the action a few days later as he visits yet another school and makes some interesting observations about international travel.

Before I get into it though, a quick aside: After visiting the Garra BJJ school I went out for a few beers on the town (cos rehydrating with beer is both manly and sensible) and whilst there I saw some something I never knew existed – Australian goths.  It was still over 25°C and yet the guys were still dressed in regulation long black leather trench coats, black jeans/combats, and big boots; The ladies opting for big boots, long skirts, corsets and chokers.  As I said in my last post, Australians are clearly all insane. I’m amazed they aren’t regularly found passed out on the side of the road – Remember kids, goths die in hot cars!  Now, I am not one to bemoan the presence of hot goth chicks* – anyone who knows me will know I am normally very enthusiastic about the presence of goth chicks** – but this represents a dedication to fashion I cannot fucking relate to. Still, to be fair the girl in question, she did look very nice. Very nice indeed. Mmmmmmm, gothy…

*Ahem* Sorry. Distracted. Now where was I? Ah, yes:

The second club I visited was a Peter de Been school, training out of the sassom gym in Brisbane.

I was really looking forward to visiting the club.  Firstly, I’d been told it was “the best comp team in oz and always has been,” which I think is about as good a recommendation as you can get. Secondly, I’d had a nice chat with Marcus (a Purple Belt who runs the gym the club trains out of) when I’d called up about coming to train. When I said I was from the RGA he told me that one of his guys was currently over in the UK training at the main london club – making me wonder if I was unwittingly part of some bizarre cultural exchange  – and asked what it was like. We chatted a bit about the Notting Hill club, my club, and BJJ in general.  He asked if I’d ever trained with Roger (I’m beginning to sense a theme on that one) and said I was more than welcome to come along to train. I asked how much a session would cost, but he said not to bother paying, just come along. Clearly the RGA name opens doors…

Due to time constraints the only session I could make ended up being the 9am session the day after Australia Day, which meant it was (unsurprisingly) dead: Only  one other person turned up. This meant that rather than a full out class I essentially ended up with  a 2 on 1 private session with a purple belt. Not bad for the totally price of nothing!

There is one word I will use to describe the session, and it’s “painful”. Marcus is by no means a slight fellow: Before the session he weighed in at a trim 107kg, and given that i’d weighed in at 71kg, I knew it wasn’t going to be fun. It wasn’t. We warmed up by rolling together and I witnessed the power of this fully operational purple belt. I spent 90% of the time under side control or mount, which pretty much set the standard for the session. He’d hold me in one position until he got bored then move to another one and I felt pretty much powerless to stop him. He also used a lot of lapel wraps to control my limbs – not something I’m used to – which just added to the helplessness. After he’d got bored of crushing me like a bug he moved on to showing me some of the techniques he liked to use, and gave me some tips where I was going wrong. He wonderfully described the correct hip position for standing up in someones guard as “Pissing off a cliff” which I think should be a phrase much more happy in common usage. Though I’m sure 10th planet Jiu-Jitsu probably call it something equally stupid.

Sadly the session was over all too quickly and it was time to go.  I got my obligatory photo to mark the occasion and Marcus presented me with a T-shirt and Gi-Patch as mementos.  I know they probably didn’t cost much but it was a nice thing to do for a random stranger. The one thing I am beginning to notice in general about the BJJ community is that everyone is really really friendly. Perhaps it’s because we spend so much of the rest of the time trying to kill each other! All in all I had an awesome (if somewhat painful) time. If all the Peter de Been schools are along similar lines, I can definitely see why they have a fearsome reputation. I highly recommend you visit the club if you can. Just remember to pack your game face.

So that, as they say, was that. I flew back to the UK the very next day. I endured 24hrs of economy class travel to get back, got in at 8am, crashed out for a few hours, got up, ate, and then went to training. I am all kinds of hardcore. Ok, I was good for nothing when I got there and was practically falling asleep on the mats – Seriously, people had to poke me to stop me drifting off whilst Andy was demonstrating – but at least I trained.

I will finish this post with a quick observation about jet lag. It’s evil. Possibly the worst thing I have ever experienced. I didn’t realise at the time but standard recovery rates are 1 day per timezone. In other words, if you fly to the east coast of Australia (a 10hr time difference) it will take you roughly 10 days to recover. Given I was only in Brisbane for 13 days it’s no wonder I suffered most of the time! The other thing I didn’t realise until after the fact was not only can it cause the obvious sleep issues, grogginess, and fatigue – it also can cause mild depression. Which, if you are prone to depression anyway, really can’t be a good thing. However there is hope : Apparently if you feed Viagra to hamsters (and why wouldn’t you?) and put them on an eastbound flight they recover 50% quicker than their non-aroused counterparts. This hasn’t been tested on humans yet, but quite frankly: If you know that someone has conducted this research in all seriousness – I don’t care how depressed you are feeling – it’s gonna make you smile.

Marcus, someone who may well be called James, and me.

* Which it totally is.

** I just want to wash them, is that wierd?

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My Brazilian Jiu Jitsu World Tour: Leg One – Garra BJJ, Australia

(…or “What I did on my holidays”, part 1)

Before I talk about the training I did in Australia I think I should quickly cover the country itself. So here it goes, Tartovski’s short encapsulating review: Australia is insane.

I mean, it’s proper fucking bonkers: For a country that is essentially a vast desert with a few green bits around the edges desperately clinging on for dear life (I’m not being flippant – 35% of the country is listed as desert, 70% of it as Arid/Semi-Arid i.e. get less that 500mm of rain a year – Drought is a massive problem) It manages to contain 7 of the 10 most venomous snakes in the world,  several of the most venomous spiders, the most venomous fish in the world, killer jellyfish, killer octopi, saltwater crocodiles, man eating sharks, and 40million people who are mad enough to live there voluntarily – some of whom I was planning to fight. Schoolboy error.

Given that I was going to be rolling with people I’d never met before and that I wanted to give the best impression of the UK BJJ scene I could, I decided that before I attended a club I should put myself through a punishing regime of lounging about, drinking too much, eating too much and going surfing. Although I must say that surfing in choppy waters was oddly like BJJ – it’s impossible to stand up, you can’t breathe half the time, and you have someone shouting at you telling you what you are doing wrong. Luckily for me though rather than having Andy shouting “HIPS! HIPS!!! HIIIIIPPPPSSS!!!” I had Stacey the terrifyingly fit surfing instructor shouting “KNEES! BEND YOUR KNEES!!” – I’m strangely not sure which I prefer.

The first school I visited was Eduardo Dias’ Garra BJJ. I’d spoken to Eduardo via email before flying out and he was very friendly and happy for me to train so I was looking forwards to meeting him and seeing his academy. It was 34°C in the car on the way there and I was praying for airconditioning. My prayers were not answered: The school itself is set in a (large) metal roofed industrial unit with nothing but 2 fans to cool it. Did I mention that Australians are all mad?

As it was my first time in a strange school I fully went with the prison yard philosophy of “Make someone your bitch on the first day, or be a bitch for life” and sensibly took the first option. I’d like to claim this was easy but it wasn’t – The heat was oppressively bad, I was almost certainly dehydrated, and I was gassing. I ended up fighting so hard to win that all I did for the first half of the round was exhaust myself and get nowhere. Luckily I realised what I was doing and stopped myself. I took halfguard (as it was the safest poistion I could get to) locked it down, and waited. I slowed my breathing, relaxed, and then starting working a sensible game: sweep, pass, mount, choke. Once I’d got my first sub I relaxed even more and even managed to pull off a nice triangle before the end of the round.

After that I took it alot easier, partly due to being alot calmer after my first roll, and partly due to the stupid heat. We were sparring in 7 minute rounds, one on, one off. I got to roll with their Brown Belt, Ty, who just so happened to be from the UK orginally and knew my instructor (or knew of him), another white belt who outweighed me by about 20kg but was unable to sub me and vice-versa, and a blue belt who knocked me around the room for the entire 7 minutes whilst giving me tips on my game. All in all, a fairly typical BJJ session! The one thing that struck me though was the different style of game they had compared to what I was used to.  They played a much looser game which meant whilst I still ended up fighting from the bottom quite a bit, I never felt anywhere near the pressure I was used to back home which allowed me to reverse positions I really shouldn’t be getting out of easily – especially mount and side control. Not that I’m complaining…

Once we were done with the free rolling we did a drill I’d never seen before. One person is on their back using open guard, and the person on top has to pass whilst holding a tennis ball in each hand so they can’t use grips – Meaning they have to rely on moving their body movement alone. I thought it would make passing nigh-on impossible, but actually it didn’t effect my game too much. I’m not sure if this was due to the way I train normally with emphasis on hip pressure and pushing weight through, or due to it generally being more about body movement/weight and less about grips  – but either way it was an interesting drill to make you concertrate and think about how you go about passing and definately worth giving a go.

The people there were all very friendly, even to a bloody pom like myself, and all were very interested in the fact that I’d met/trained with Roger Gracie. They all were interested to know what he was like so I told them that he’s a really friendly, very open, and cannot be killed by conventional weapons.

After the session I got a quick photo with Eduardo to prove I was there*, and thanked him for letting me train. He gave me nice Garra BJJ window sticker as a momento and finished by saying he shared a mutual friend with Roger in Fabricio Predador (owner of Pride Fightwear). So Roger, when you read this** – Tell Fabricio that Eduardo says Hi.

Yes, I am red. Did I mention it was a tad hot?

Eduardo & Me

That’s all for part one… Tune into part 2 soon where I get get crushed by a 107kg purple belt, submit a shark, and almost die from jet lag. To be concluded…

*Pics or it didn’t happen!

**this is probably one the funniest things I will ever say on this blog.

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New year resolutions – A time to be honest.

I really wanted to write about my new years resolutions and fresh starts to training and all that jazz but I was just so busy with work, and then my car had its MOT that needed sorting, and then the bad weather hit which meant I couldn’t get to training on Tuesday, and my injury was playing up due to the cold, and anyway the next day the academy was closed due to the snow, and then I couldn’t get a lift,  I didn’t sleep well, I didn’t eat properly, I had to see my Nan, I was out with mates, I forgot to wash my Gi, I didn’t want to arrive late,  I overslept, I was tired, I was ill, I was hung over, and I got caught up with other things.

I know, I know. I’m sorry. I’ve let you down. I’ve let myself down, and most importantly, I’ve let my school down…

Ok, I’m lying. I never was going to write a post about new starts and new years resolutions. In fact I refuse to make new years resolutions for the simple fact they are a pointless depressing waste of time. Call me crazy but I think if you really want to do something — Learn another language, join a gym, write a novel, start a BJJ blog  or whatever — you should probably just crack on and do it; and not only should you, I’m fairly certain if you actually really want to do something, you will. Conversely if you really aren’t that bothered about doing something (or really don’t want to) you will keep coming up with excuses as to why you never got round to it. Waiting for arbitrary dates in the calendar to change your life is merely an exercise in procrastination: The “I’ll start afresh next week” Chimera that haunts us all.

As with new years resolutions, so with training.

Obviously the list above is me being flippant to make a point, but I have to sadly admit I’ve used nearly all of those as reasons for missing training at one time or another. I know, I know. I am made of excuses… But here’s your homework assignment: Go back through the list above and see which apply to you, then decide which are genuine reasons for missing training, and which were just you making excuses –  who’s the slacker now?

Seriously though. I’m not the sort of asshole that is going to bang on about how if you aren’t training every hour you can then you aren’t dedicated enough and should just give up — I think the hypocrisy police would be on my doorstep in a jiffy* — but what I will say is that you should take an honest and objective look at how you train, what you want to achieve, and how you can realistically achieve those goals. There is simply no point lying to yourself and pretending you are a hardcore fighter if in reality you only train once a week and constantly make excuses for why you missed all the other sessions available to you. If anything, setting unrealistic goals for yourself can ultimately be harmful. To quote from the article I linked to above:

Professor Richard Wiseman states ominously that “failing to achieve your ambitions is often psychologically harmful because it can rob people of a sense of self-control”.

The fact is people train BJJ for all sorts of reasons: Some do it to keep fit, some to win comps, some for self-defense, and some simply because they enjoy it; there are part timers, hobbyists, enthusiasts, semi-pros and pros out there. Decide which you want to be and train hard towards that end.

Finally with all this talk about commitment and goals I will end by echoing my instructors words that progression is directly linked to mat time.  So get out there, train hard, and smash harder.

*admittedly first they’d have to get past the fashion police, the faux pas police, and the delegation of Eliza Dusku’s lawyers serving me with another restraining order.

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2nd Post: An Apology

Oh my God! lol! I can’t believe I haven’t posted for so long! Sorry for not posting more… I promise to post more soon! lol!!

(if you don’t get this, please never read this blog again).

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2010: Under construction…

There.  I’ve done it. I’ve finally started a blog. I hope that you are all happy.

I’m going to attempt to update this about twice a month, maybe more if I get into a groove and find that I have lots to say.  I will make no hard promises though as I wouldn’t want to disappoint the three people who are ever actually likely to read this damn thing when I get bored and give up after two posts* leaving yet another blog-corpse floating in the pool of cyberspace…  i.e. the same as 90% of the blogs out there.

So, there it is. I’m not sure really where to start. I am the procrastinator general when it comes to these things. I am so bad at making descisions that I even had to start a thread here to decide upon a blog name. I finally decided on Angry Hugging on new years eve when a friend of mine, unbidden by me, described BJJ as simply that – clearly I’ve hit upon a meme.

Anyway, that’s enough for today. I promise my next post will be much more BJJ orientated: Late last year I made my (semi) triumphant return to the competion circuit after many months unable to train properly due to a back injury, and so I have a few notes and ideas about that experience that I want to put down and share here. I know it’ll be about two months after the fact, but I figure it’s a good a way as any to actually start writing about my BJJ experience. Think of it less as a comp review and more as prequel to the rest of blog: There were three comps, so three parts – Just like Phantom Menace et al, but less shit.

I’ll end by thanking Meerkatsu for all his help so far, and will warn him now that’ll I’ll be hitting him up for info on a regular basis until he snaps and descends upon the ARBJJ academy to choke me into silence.

*The second one, of course, apologising for not posting enough.

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