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in the 23 months that I have been training I have owned 3 Gi’s, 2 Belts, 2 pairs of spats, 1 pair of compression shorts, 3 pairs of No-Gi shorts and 2 rash guards.

That seems like an excessive amount of “Gear”, it isn’t.
I have torn Gi pants, No-Gi shorts and turned rash guards and Gi jackets into biological hazards even though I have washed my stuff religiously(after every single use) using special washing powders, vinegar, oxy clean, napisan. I have hung my gear in the sun and basically tried all sorts of stuff to keep my gear from getting that “funk”.

What I have learnt is that, no matter what you do, your brand new Gi that looks awesome, will one day be a dirty old Gi.

Gi’s

My first Gi was a gameness brand, pearl weave I believe with ripstop pants. this Gi held up well, in fact the jacket is still in good condition, the pants ? torn to bits.
My next Gi was bought from the awesome site bjjhq.com it was an Aesthetic brand Aurora, pearl weave jacket but with twill cotton pants. I still wear this Gi, the pants are comfy and still in very good condition.
My third Gi was an Inverted gear white panda, surprise surprise the jacket was pearl weave and the pants ripstop. I did like this Gi, this was when I first discovered half sizes and due to my weight lose from getting fit with Jiu Jitsu I found that these half sizes fit me better(generally). I wore this Gi A LOT, it has held up ok but the ripstop pants not so well.

my conclusion here is that, ripstop pants are not as good as cotton, they don’t last as long. Another thing I learnt was that having more than one Gi is not excessive, having just one Gi means it gets washed a lot more and this will contribute to the Gi wearing out.

Shorts

Some people just train in normal shorts, shorts designed for grappling have slits on the side to allow freer movement and are generally more durable, they also don’t have anything that may catch fingers or toes on which can prevent injuries.
my first pair of shorts were hayabusa brand, they were good shorts and served their purpose but after a while, they tore.
When I replaced them I bought ripstop shorts, which is a little strange considering I do not like ripstop Gi pants, so far I have owned 2 pairs of ripstop shorts and have not had any issues with them. My guess is ripstop is better suited to shorts than Gi pants. Of course this is just my personal opinion and my own experience.

Rash guards

I have only had two rash vests, one was a Ryu brand and the other was a 93 brand from bjjhq.com.
The Ryu rash guard was just straight up a better rash guard, build quality and materials were on another level compared to the 93 brand one.
What I have learnt here is that not all rash guards are built equal.

Compression shorts & Spats

The first thing I bought when I started Jiu Jitsu was a cup that came with compression shorts.
Then I found out that we are not allowed to wear cups during training(they are also banned in most BJJ tournaments) so I just used the compression shorts.
Compression shorts for me are essential, I do not train without them, I have now moved on to spats, they perform the same function but combined with a rash guard I’m completely covered, this performs two things it wicks the sweat from me and gives me a barrier against nasty things. My OCD/germ phobias are placated by this.

Something else I have noticed is that Jiu Jitsu gear generally seems to have a 12 month life span(of course this is going to vary depending on how often you train) I have recently just stocked up on new training gear, specifically a new Gi and 2 rash guards. Maybe I will write about them once I receive them(GI REVIEW!!!)


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Not much has changed, I still smile and admire the striking blue color when I see my self in the mirror while I’m splashing my face with water to cool down during training, I was very used to being a white belt.
On many forums and blogs you will hear a very familiar theme “I was just promoted to blue belt but I don’t feel I deserve it!” the overwhelming response to this ? “pretty much everyone feels this way initially and to trust your instructor” if he feels you need to wear that blue belt, then you do. I trust my instructor.

Not long after I got my blue belt, my instructor gave me some advice on what to focus on, I have touched on this in previous posts and the advice was “refine” and also to focus on the submission.

Not getting caught up in playing guard(I can easily fall into this) but push for the finish.
So that is what I have been doing.

Refine

for this I have been spending a lot of time drilling and using De La Riva, Reverse De La Riva, Berimbolo and the reverse Berimbolo/Kiss the Dragon.
I have had some success with these techniques, so during our open mat on Saturday I drill these techniques. When I’m rolling I am constantly trying to use these techniques.

Submissions

While rolling I am looking for the submission, this is difficult for me as I do not believe I am a naturally aggressive person, but maybe that is another reason my instructor wanted me to focus on the submission as the “goal”. Now this may sound like the opposite of what rolling while training is about(there is no winning or losing in the gym, it is all learning I really do believe that), but how I took it was, it was not about going for the submission at all cost, but just getting into the mindset that Jiu Jitsu is about the submission and that the techniques I am using should be leading to a submission. Sometimes I get into the whole guard game as the main point and the submission aspect of my game is neglected.
A perfect example of this, is Jack. When Jack rolls he is going for the submission, his whole game is about submissions.

I am going to continue with these two ideas, refining and focusing on the submission, but I have also decided that I’am going to add something else to it.

Inferior Positions

I think this can fit nicely with the two concepts of refinement & submissions. I am going to give up positions so that I am in a bad/inferior position, someone who has been doing this for a long time at 8020BJJ is Nathan, I still remember when I was top side control on him, I had my left arm threaded through his legs to prevent him from re-guarding..well I quickly learnt the effectiveness of a bicep slicer!
I may not be looking to add submissions from inferior positions, but getting into an inferior position will be very beneficial for refining escapes, frames, submission defense etc.
Using inferior positions is something I have seen quite often in our gym, recently I have seen Matt when rolling with people getting them to start in mount, in back mount with full hooks and seat belt, side control and a few other positions.

Recently we have been working on spider guard, I love this guard and have really enjoyed the classes, last night we drilled a butterfly sweep attempt and transition to X-Guard another one of my favorite guard, well truthfully I would say any open guard is one of my favorites haha.

I’am not sure when I started to favor playing guard, but I have noticed that with the newer 8020 guys that I can kind of see a style emerging even, for example with a guy that has only been to 4 classes, I commented that “I think you favor the top game/guard passing” of course I could be wrong and he may lean to a guard orientated game so only time will tell, but i find it interesting and I think it has a lot to do with body type/dimensions.

now for a nice illustration of the effectiveness of the RNC over Joint submissions.

last but not least,
Two more people at 8020bjj have earned new belts since my last post, Jack is now a Purple belt and Nathan is a Blue belt so congratulations to both of them!!


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One of our teammates Jack, got his Blue Belt last night, which was well earned, he has a unique style and is always a really fun guy to roll with. He also competes in MMA/shooto and Jiu Jitsu competitions.

I was really happy for him.

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I have been taking notes of my Jiu Jitsu journey since the very first lesson, I am currently onto my 4th notebook so I have a lot of notes.

Just writing down the details and concepts of the lesson can help enforce them into your memory, even if you never read that note again.

This is one reason I keep my bjj journal, but I also frequently go back over the notes, my BJJ journal is fairly similar to some of this blog’s entries, although the journal is documenting each lesson I attend and the specific concept that was taught or the takeaway from that lesson that is usually summed up at the end of class, I also include other things like anything I learnt during the rolls or things I feel I need to work on and just how I was feeling, basically a debrief of that lesson.

I use this blog to chronicle my journey in BJJ but more than just details on each lesson, I try for more of an overview of my progress, things that interest me and more the whole experience of training.

These two tools I have found to be quite useful, recently I was looking at one of my first posts here,

27 lesson deeps

“this week it will be the third month that I have been “training” bjj
today being the 18th of December 2012 and last night was my 27th lesson.

I was a bit worried when I first went, visualizing some sort of scene from the Karate Kid Cobrai Kai dojo of no mercy…. so it it makes it easier that where I train is a very welcoming, friendly and motivated environment.

NO MERCY!!

So, after 27 1.5 hour lessons, 40 hours of training! (hey it sounds like a lot to me! ) what have I learnt ?
well the first thing I learnt and I learnt it quickly was, how little I knew, which was to be expected, everything felt awkward, I felt uncoordinated and forced in my movements, being on the ground was something I just was not used to, my feet bore the brunt of it, with the mats rubbing away the skin in what seemed like every single part that touched the mat! my knees were sore my body was sore, this IS HARD WORK!

The days after training my muscles were sore and my joints ached, my neck was sore all day at work, but it felt good to be getting some real exercise and for the first week or so I think it was more about just “warming” up my body, slowly the scabs on my feet healed and after my first month, it all just felt awkward and not completely alien, while I was still getting some skin taken by the mats it was not as bad as it had been(I could get my shoes on easily the next day..)

all I remember of my first “rolls” was that I was submitted repeatedly and by a girl, this could be a bit ego deflating but to me, it was a stunning illustration of what had caught my eye in BJJ.

3 Months on, and she could still tap me, but it wouldn’t be so easy for her now, in the 3 months; it has made me more comfortable on the floor, I may just be able to see what she is trying to do and I may just be able to protect my limbs, I may even see some room when she is moving to submit me and escape, I may now just be able to survive for the 6 minutes. “


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When I first joined 8020bjj I thought I had joined a No-Gi club, I didn’t even know there was a thing called No-Gi grappling/Jiu-Jitsu, Once I started at 8020 I quickly learnt that while technically still Jiu Jitsu it was thought of as almost separate in some of the forums and blogs I was checking out, I don’t know if its just how I remember it, as I was really just discovering this stuff but there was an attitude of being a Gi or No-Gi guy(again, this was something I picked up on the internet discussion sites and NOT at 8020).

So at first I figured I would be a No-Gi guy as I was training at a No-Gi gym(so I thought), I think my first 6 months was pretty heavily No-Gi.

Now, I do not consider them different. Each may differ in some ways(obviously grips in Gi) but it is the same thing, it is grappling.

I was told to check out Gary Tonon and I watched the BJJScout breakdown of his game.(BJJScout’s breakdowns are simply epic, they really let you see the finer details and strategies of peoples games)

This all made me think about how I am prioritizing Gi and No-Gi in my training, I know that I am slightly better Gi than No-Gi, which then drives me to focus on Gi(EGO!).
So last night is Gi class, usually I still take my Gi, during the class I wear Gi pants(then when I roll if someone else has a Gi we can roll Gi), but I decided to leave the Gi at home and just go with my No-Gi gear.

The Class had a heavy focus on No-Gi grips, particularly the Gable grip(using it in a strong half guard position that was very effective), I had a lot of fun and it has made me realize that I need to have a healthy mix of Gi and No-Gi. 8020 as a club does have a very good mix of Gi and No-Gi but I think this is more about how I am approaching No-Gi.

While it may be the case that I will always lean more towards Gi, maybe it is because of how my body type and style facilitates Gi working better for me. More likely it is because I have put in more time in the Gi, also it is driven by EGO, if I feel I do a little better in the Gi I wear the Gi more and that is something I need to fix.

It is time to refine my Jiu Jitsu, Gi and No-Gi.


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