Highway to Hell

"You have to find comfort in uncomfortable situations. You have to be able to live your worst nightmare." -Rickson GracieFor those who don’t know what I mean by the phrase “eight minutes in hell”, it’s when one person is on the bottom for four straight two-minute rounds of positional grappling from disadvantageous positions (typically side control, mount, back mount, and knee on belly, or turtle), which equals a total of eight minutes. When we did it during the advanced class at LBJJC this week, one of the white belts misunderstood, and he thought that each round would be eight minutes. Since we always practice from the bottom and the top, if each round had lasted eight minutes, it means we would’ve be doing full-resistance positional sparring for over an hour, so I thought “That would be hell!”…and then it’s basically what we did during Ethridge class yesterday!

I guess it wasn’t quite that bad, because Joe and I traded top and bottom for each of the rounds (which is better than being stuck on the bottom for four rounds in a row!), but we rolled hard for almost the entire class, doing between two and four rounds on each side from all the positions (which were side control, mount, back mount, scarf hold, and guard). It was pretty exhausting, and since I’ve apparently become spoiled due to the air-conditioning at LBJJC, it seemed really hot and humid in the dojo, so it did feel a little bit like hell to me! My only saving grace was that on the last Sunday of every month, Ethridge class is no-gi.

Afterwards, Joe told me “You were more slippery than usual.”, so I said “Cuz no gi.”, and he responded “Well, I didn’t like it!”. I believe the fact that we weren’t wearing gis is the main reason I performed better against him than I normally do during positional sparring, and it’s why our final death match lasted about eight minutes, because I just kept squirming out of his submission attempts!

The magic happens outside of your comfort zone.I always say I don’t like no-gi, but when I do it, I usually enjoy it, and then I say that I should do more of it, but I never do. It’s good to get out of my comfort zone, and I’ve found that when I have some of my preferred options taken away (such as gi grips), it forces me to explore new roads, which can sometimes lead to surprising success!

“No stop signs, speed limit,
Nobody’s gonna slow me down
Like a wheel, gonna spin it,
Nobody’s gonna mess me around.” -AC/DC


3 comments on “Highway to Hell

  1. I feel you regarding gi vs. no-gi: I was a wrestler and started out doing no-gi, but when I switched to mainly gi, my new (now current/only) teacher said “you learn jiu jitsu in the gi,” and I agree with that. The gi slows everything down and really lets me think my game through. In no-gi, I feel like it’s “Attack! Attack! Attack!” Gi, for me, is a slower game, and that’s what I need in my journey now (that’s not going to stop me from going to no-gi class tomorrow morning, though!).

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