One of the reasons I like having Sheriff Amy as our teacher in Ethridge Jiu-Jitsu class is because she’s always coming up with new and interesting ways to challenge us, and I never know what kind of shenanigans to expect. On Sunday, due to the issues with my right arm going numb, Amy decided that Joe and I would do positional sparring, without using our arms! We were allowed to use them on the mat (such as to post), but we couldn’t touch our partner, use our arms to leverage against them, or have any kind of grips.
Trying to grapple without using my arms was super hard. Even just remembering to not use them was practically a full time job! At one point I asked Amy if I could use my elbows, and she responded “Are they part of your arms?”, so I said “No!”, but she didn’t believe me. Of course, those parameters also took most subs off of the table (although Joe and I did attempt to triangle each other), so it was more about using body movement to either pin or escape, and it definitely required us to think outside of the box. I was surprised that from the top, I had the most success with side control, and when I was on the bottom, I did the best from back mount, but I think it was actually easier to escape than normal, because I didn’t have to worry about being choked. The most difficult position for me from both sides was guard.
Sensei Ken was at the dojo teaching his no-gi class at the same time we were there, and he called our class “Paraplegic Jiu-Jitsu”, but since we were allowed to use our arms on the mat, it really wasn’t that bad. There are actual paraplegics who train BJJ, and after that class on Sunday, I have even more respect for them, and I gained a totally new appreciation for my arms!