In honor of my first day back to women’s Jiu-Jitsu class since breaking my wrist there, Amy had us do everything without using our arms. We started off with no-arm fall practice, where we grabbed our gi collars instead of slapping the mat. I preferred it that way, because I’ve never been entirely comfortable with the idea of extending my elbows so far from my body. I’m used to keeping them tucked in close for protection in Karate, which is also beneficial in Jiu-Jitsu.
After that, we did armless pinning and escaping drills, and it was actually more fun than it sounds. Well, the pinning part was, but trying to escape without using your arms was hard! At some point, she did allow us to use them to escape, but still not to pin. I was surprised by how well I was able to hold people just with my body. For some reason I was completely relaxed, and so my pinning was rock solid. AJ said my side control was “like being in a vise grip”.
Keeping someone in guard without using your arms is probably the hardest of all the positions, and it’s something that we regularly practice in our women’s class, but the rest of what we did yesterday was new, and enlightening. If someone had told me that I would have been able to do as well as I did without my arms, I would have thought they were crazy, but you never know until you try. I even almost finished a triangle choke from mount, without using my arms at all.
The philosophy of this kind of training is “If you can learn to do it without your arms, think of how much easier it will be when you can use them”. It’s also beneficial if you ever find yourself needing to choke someone when both of your arms are tied behind your back!