|Garrett is the yellow belt in the back row|
Sometimes I have a hard time remembering what happened in a roll that ended five minutes ago, but I can still remember the very first time I ever rolled. I had done some MMA-style grappling in sparring class, and a little Judo ground work, but I had never done any straight grappling with a Jiu-Jitsu player before. Then about four years ago, I went to a Judo/Jiu-Jitsu seminar that was held at the dojo, and at the end of it, we rolled.
My first partner was Garrett, who was one of the Jiu-Jitsu students at the time. I immediately took his back and tried to choke him. The reason I was able to do that is because I totally caught him off guard with my reckless aggression! I was unable to actually choke him (because I didn’t really know what I was doing), and he escaped my back mount. Then he got me in side control, and eventually submitted me with ude garami (aka kimura).
He told me that he thought I was a “natural” at Jiu-Jitsu. Oh Garrett, how wrong you were! I’m just a natural at attacking, and that whole “jump on people’s backs” thing usually only works on white belts, or in dirty sneak attacks.
A spark was lit within me that day, and I can even remember part of what Conan taught at that seminar (submissions from kesa gatame, aka scarf hold). It was also first time I ever worked with Amy, who is now our women’s Jiu-Jitsu teacher. It wasn’t too long after that seminar that I started training Jiu-Jitsu, and I’ve loved trying to take people’s backs and choke them ever since!