Chapter 6

21 Oct

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Part 1: Balance of Power

I was a little nervous; it was that famous first free class of every martial art school. I was wondering what was going to happen; I didn’t even know what this style encompassed.

I’m going to pause here to point out that I have a little brother. I didn’t mention him during the Kuk Sool Won Saga because he was about a year old. Now, however, he’s 5. Back to the story!

My mom, little brother, and I walk into the school. The room is covered in foamy mats, with an unpadded area for chairs. We sit, and wait.

A shorter, kind of pudgy guy walks in. He introduces himself, and tells us a bit about his art.

“Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is, in my opinion, the best martial art. Practically every fight goes to the ground, so it’s good to know how to defend yourself down there. There are lucky punches in fighting; even good fighters get hit just by sheer luck. In Jiu jitsu though, there isn’t much luck involved, just skill. In fact, it’s essentially nothing but skill. A smaller guy can beat a bigger guy if he has enough skill.

Another thing I like about BJJ is that you can go full strength; in some striking arts, you have to pull your punches or not hit as hard so you don’t hurt your partner. In this, you can go as hard as you want without permanently injuring your partner. That’s why we call it the Gentle Art.”

The first thing I notice is that he isn’t a black belt. He’s a purple belt; how is he qualified to teach? Why am I getting inferior teaching from a non master? Almost on cue, my mom asks the same thing.

“Well, in Jiu Jitsu, the hardest part is getting to blue belt. By then you know everything you’re going to know, and the rest is just experience. The only difference between myself and a black belt is that he can promote people to belts, while I can only give stripes. You’ll get your belt during seminars, taught by a very experienced Jiu Jitsu master named Caique. Anyway, why don’t we get started?”

He shows my brother and I the mount, side mount, back mount, and guard. He tells us what to do and what not to do in each position, i.e. don’t push up while being mounted, don’t attack while in someone’s guard, etc. He then asks us to get on his back, in a back mount position. He tries to bump us off like a wild horse; my brother is enthralled, I feel a little stupid. Next he tells us to “throw on a Rear Naked Choke.” I don’t know what this is, and he shows us how to do it. One arm goes around his neck, grasps the bicep of the other arm, and then “comb the hair” with the arm of the grabbed bicep. He taps, which means he gives up. He gently applies it to us so we know what it feels like, and when we should tap.

I was pretty impressed. His initial speech was pretty convincing, and choking people was pretty awesome. I wasn’t truly initiated into the brotherhood of BJJ until two weeks later. I was in the beginner kids class. This was a white belt class, with myself, my little brother, and the instructor’s son. For future reference, the classes he had were:

Beginner Kids

Advanced Kids

Beginner Adult

Advanced Adult

During these two weeks, we learned various shoulder locks and armlocks. I learned how to punish people who pushed up while I was mounted, and how to attack from the sidemount. I knew the “Gracie gift” for guard passing, and the rear naked choke. The most prominent thing I remember learning was the “Trap n’ Roll”. When someone was mounted, you would wait for them to try and choke you. Then you would grab their arm at the wrist and elbow, trap the leg, then roll over. This Trap n’ Roll technique echo’ed throughout my jiu jitsu game until the end of my training at this school.

At the two week mark was when I truly loved Jiu Jitsu. We all remember my friend who was two years older than I was; how he sucker punched me, and we fought? Well, while I had been slacking off, he had been taking Tae Kwon Do. Not only that, but he was a black belt. I told him I started at this school, and was a white belt. He suggested we spar.

Now if some of you remember, I didn’t think much of Tae Kwon Do after my KSW experiences, so I eagerly agreed.

We put on that crappy foam sparring gear I had bought during my KSW days, and he had his crappy foam sparring gear from his Tae Kwon Do school. Tension is in the air. My plan is to take him down, so I can apply my Jiu Jitsu, but I don’t know any way to do so. I’ll just have to wing it.

We both agree that we’re ready, and so it begins.

He throws a crappy round house, I catch it, trip him, and we both fall on the ground. I crawl easily into a mount; this was going to be a breeze. Then, as if my prayers had been answered, he turns over on his belly, and gets on his knees! I get my hooks in, and eagerly throw my Rear Naked Choke (henceforth referred to as RNC) on him. He starts to choke, and I say “Tap when you give up”. He tries to hold out, but wanting to breathe gets the better of him, and he taps. He says “That’s cheap, lets start again”. We stand up, he throws some crappy punches, and I go for a crappy tackle. Eventually we both fall down; it was messy, to say the least. I crawl to the mount again, and he doesn’t make the mistake of turning over. Instead, he pushes up. Remembering my training, I arm bar him, and get ready to hump his arm to death. He tries to pull out, but to no avail. As I start arm barring, he yelps a little, and I relax, but still holding the position. “Just tap when it hurts dude!” I arm bar again, he yelps, and finally taps.

The next week, he starts Jiu Jitsu as well.


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