Thread: My first day of BJJ
10/01/2006 8:12pm, #1
- Join Date
- Sep 2006
My first day of BJJ
I didn't know where to post this so I'm posting it here. Feel free to move it or censor (apparently that's perfectly accpetable to some people who moderate this forum) if you're so insecure that you absolutely must. I just wanted to share with all my experience with training at a Brazillian Jiu-jitsu dojo for the first time. This isn't to bash BJJ; in fact, my experience was overall quite positive. I hope it will help people who have trained in other grappling arts get a better idea of what they can expect.
A little background on me. My martial arts training started with Hapkido about 6 years ago (I can hear the collective gasps from readers) I trained at the UCMAP and at the time it was either that or wushu or TKD or a semi-serious Judo club. Toward the end of my stay at Cal I tried out the Judo club but it wasn't very well organized and had no effective instruction. While I was at Cal I thought Hapkdio was great: I was happy and oblivious.
Eventually I graduated and was lucky enough to stumble into a Hapkido school in San Francisco. The lucky part was that my instructor had also received his black belt in Judo and Jiu-Jitsu from Willy Cahill at his Judo academy in San Bruno.
So I started to learn Judo and Jujitsu fundamentals from him about 2 years ago. I became addicted. I wanted to learn more. However, I felt like I just wasn't doing enough at my school and dedcided to check out some of the Gracie's here in SF.
Eventually I picked one of the Gracie schools here in SF (I'm not going to mention which one for a bunch of reasons) and decided to try it out. Here's where the real story starts.
I walk into the place and there's absolutely the toughest looking guy I've ever seen at this counter. He looks at me and is like "how can I help you?". And I'm thinking "please don't eat me". So I tell him I called earlier and wanted to try this place out. He looks at my bag then asks "you got a gi?". I squeek "yes". He slams a waiver down on the counter and tells me to fill it out and sign both sides. I do that and he tells me to change and then join the warmup on the mat. The mat is filled with people who look like they're warming up with "cart wheels"? I couldn't tell for sure because I kept my eyes to the floor as I was walking by.
I quickly change and join the warmup. It was a pretty interesting warmup. Where I came in we did the following drills:
1. Grab partner around the neck with both hands and alternate knee strikes to your partners sides.
2. Flex your abs while your partner takes turns throwing jabs into your belly.
3. Take down drill: drop to a knee outside your partners stance grab the closest leg and lift up.
4. Put your partner in a close guard. He lifts you up and while you're floating off the ground manuver around your standing partner and take his guard.
Then it was guard drills. The instructor picked a number of guys who got on the floor and had everyone else line up against the wall. The guys who were lined up took turns escaping from the guards of the people on the ground. If you passed the guard the guy on the ground stayed on the ground if you didn't and he makes you tap then you would take his place (or at least that's the way I understood it).
On my first attempt I was in the guard of a blue belt. I broke his guard passed it but apparently it doesn't count unless you put him in a good side control position or submit him. In the sense that he didn't stop after I had both my legs to his side he kept going we grappled for a good while and eventually he put me in a triangle choke. I was amazed at how easily he got that. He felt sorry for me and knew it was my first time so he told me to get back in line.
Second try and this time I'm more aware. As luck would have it I was in the guard of the same blue belt. This time I break his guard and start stacking him he fights the stack and we wrestle for a while. Finally I take his back get my hooks in and start going for the RNC... which I never got because this guys instincts were honed really well: he reached up and grabbed the hand that would go begind the head and just held on to it hence I was never able to fully apply the choke. I started to think up of some real nasty things I could do but just let it go. I didn't want to piss people off my first day there and besides I had passed the guard successfully so I just got in line.
Next came the triangle choke drills. This made little sense to me until the instructor explained it but basically one guy on the ground puts one of the guys in line into a triangle choke and locks it. Then the guy on the choke has to try to get out of it if he gets out of it then the guy on the ground stays on the ground otherwise the guy who gets choked out taps and takes his place. The point being that no one should be able to get out of your triangle choke if it is done well. Well my traingle chokes sucks. I was able to only make one person actually submit. I mean I really suck at it but the drill was good because it made me realize this incredible weakness that I've been carrying around this whole time.
Finally the rest of the class was spent rolling with various opponents on the mat. The short version is: I was impressed by the skill level but I wasn't easily beat. I rolled with four white belts and beat every single one. They were all bigger than me and they had all been doing it for different periods of time. I rolled with one guy who I'm pretty sure was a purple belt (might've been blue his belt was so faded) abd he definately had the drop on me. I gave him a good run for the money but he was clearly the better grappler we rolled three times the first time he got me into a really powerful triangle choke the second time he armbarred me the third time we rolled for what seemed like forever and eventually I just tapped out of sheer exhaustion.
Some observations about their style:
1. Almost everyone uses standing guard breaks. It seemed like I was the only one who employed the ol' knee in tailbone guard break. I found out that while my guard breaking and passing were adequate my own actual guard sucked somewhat especially against their standing breaks and passes.
2. I was more knowledgeable in regards to various pinning positions and transitions than the white belts I fought. I locked one white belt up in north-south and he had no idea what was going on.
3. They absolutely love to pistol grip your gi sleeves. Very effective. However, I had some misgivings about this because it causes you to rely heavily on something that would not be there in a no-gi situation.
4. The instructor never stopped everyone in the class and started the ol' "Here's how you pass the guard" demonstration. Instead he would drag to the side white belts who were doing a crappy job at something and take time to teach it to them more one on one. I like that but the whole time I was wishing I could have listened to what he was saying myself.
5. These guys go pretty hard. I mean everyone was friendly but they gave it 100% I liked that. No egos. I was kind of apprehensive about the purple belt who put me in a triangle choke I tapped at least five times before he let the choke go. He was a little too into it but I still had a great time rolling with him.
6. Oh yeah: these guys are really friggin good with their triangle chokes. It was the one technique I was submitted with the most. It was amazing how deftly they applied it.
And those are my impressions. The short story is: these guys are GOOD. However, I also discovered that what I have been learning the past two years IS effective. Everyone I fought was heavier and bigger than I am but I beat all the white belts and even took a blue belts back I did get my ass thoroughly beat by the other higher ranking belt but I handled myself pretty well. It certainly wasn't the "you're going to get your ass handed to you by the old granny who has had her white belt for only a year" story that gets passed around by all the BJJ nutriders on this forum.
Bottom line: I'm going to keep training with these guys and take what I can from it.
Let the flaming begin....
10/01/2006 8:49pm, #2
I am unaware of Mods censoring content beyond illegal content.
Did I miss a memo?
10/01/2006 9:08pm, #3
Why aren't you telling us what school it was? Sounds stupid.
Have you ever competed in Judo? Have you ever competed in Jiu-Jitsu? Sparring in training is not necessarily a good indication of how well you'll do in a competition.Originally Posted by Osiris
10/01/2006 9:36pm, #4Originally Posted by Doctor X
10/01/2006 9:39pm, #5
Ah! I sit corrected.
I would think that indicative of a weak confidence in one's opinion--to censor opinions--but it is not my site.
10/01/2006 9:58pm, #6
Originally Posted by SimonBelmont
- Join Date
- Aug 2006
'Just curious about the the guy at the counter...kinda seemed like he worked there and I was wondering what rank and skill level this character was. Did his skill level match is intimidation level?
10/01/2006 9:59pm, #7
- Join Date
- Jul 2005
- SF CA
I can understand why he won't give names. I am in SF and there is alot of "politics"I see in bjj. I also am not in the habit of typing my life and where I do it on the internet. Glad you did the write up, I am in between schools and I am considering the school you reviewed. Gi or not to Gi? that place aint cheap either. there are alot of schools to choose from. good luck:thumbsup:
10/01/2006 10:07pm, #8Originally Posted by pl4zM4
10/01/2006 10:18pm, #9Originally Posted by pl4zM4
Relevant text is in increased font and in red:
Originally Posted by Aesopian"No. Listen to me because I know what I'm talking about here." -- Hannibal
10/01/2006 10:26pm, #10Originally Posted by Qtip inspector
It's understandable that you don't "type" you life and "doings" on the internet, but I hardly think that telling us which ef'ing school you reviewed is going to reveal the hidden location to the bat cave.
Out of curiosity, what experience level do you have in BJJ?Originally Posted by Osiris