Ginger the Giant Slayer


Three normal-sized people,
and a giant named Will.

In BJJ class last night, I partnered with one of my bros who I haven’t been able to work with in awhile, Will. He’s been out for a couple of months due to surgery, and it was good to see him back. He was a senior purple belt at the dojo, so he’s been my homie since the early days of my training, and we work well together, despite the fact that his limbs are roughly twice as long as mine! With Greg still out of town, Conan taught class last night, and between that and working with Will, it was almost like back in the day! Except that we worked on the Rickson choke (again), which we didn’t do back then.

There was an awesome moment last night when Will and I were rolling! We were doing positional grappling, starting from side control. When it was my turn on top, I tried for a few different submissions; the Rickson choke (of course), ezekiel choke, paintbrush…but I couldn’t get anything on him. Then towards the end, his near arm was underneath me, laying across his body, so I trapped it to my chest with my arms, and I started to throw my leg over for a cross-body armbar. Will realized what was happening, and he sat up to defend, but I still managed to get my leg over his head. At that point I was in a weird sideways position, and he had clasped his hands together. As I was trying to adjust and break his grip, Will, who was fighting me with everything he had, said “You better get this!!!” Yes, the person whom I was trying to submit was actually encouraging me to submit him! He wasn’t going to let me, but we both knew I had it, as long as I didn’t give up. I was able to break his grip, and I submitted him. Yeah, I got this! We won’t talk about how many times he submitted me when it was his turn on top…okay, I think it was three. However, despite repeated attempts, he did not get the Rickson choke.

That’s one of the beautiful things about Jiu-Jitsu that people on the outside can’t see. They think we’re just there beating each other up, but it’s really about helping each other, pushing each other, so we continually grow. No one wants to be submitted, but it’s an important part of the learning process. When your teammates improve, when they can pull off new things against you, it forces you to get better, and it’s rewarding to see your brothers and sisters grow. That’s why Will didn’t get all bent out of shape when he realized I had him in a bad place, he was actually happy for me. It’s an interesting dynamic, to be fighting with all you have, but still rooting for your opponent. It’s as though we love and hate each other, all at the same time…just like any other family!

“Love and hate, get it wrong
She cut me right back down to size.” -Bush


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