Técnica: Guillotine to Triangle

December 9, 2012 1 comment

 

On behalf of rynobjj.com and my home gym, The Institute of Martial Arts, I’m excited to bring you guys our first of several technique videos! The plan is to post new videos every 6-8 weeks featuring one of our many world class instructors like Flavio Meier, Osvaldo Augusto Queixinho, Samir Chantre, as well as many of the high level black belt practitioners that visit our school to train with Caio Terra and the rest of the guys on a regular basis.

This is my first shot at making a video on my own and I apologize that it is a bit crude, but the technique is solid and now that I’ve worked out a few bugs, the videos will be increasing in quality.

Our head instructor Caio Terra is under contract for DVD’s at the moment and is unable to make technique videos with us, but as soon as he is available, we’ll get him on here. Until then, enjoy, and share this with your friends.

Ryno

Storm “Typhoon” Kimono Review

November 19, 2012 2 comments

Storm “Typhoon” Kimono

Who is Storm Kimonos?
I had never heard of Storm Kimonos until I saw them being worn by high profile competitors like Andre Galvao and the Mendes brothers about a year ago. Couple the big name Jiu Jitsu guys with aggressive marketing and I’m sure most of you have seen these gis around by now. Storm actually goes back to the mid nineties where their kimonos were conceived with the help of none other than Renzo Gracie.
Why I would recommend this gi:
-Great cut for guys with an athletic build that tend to find a lot of gi’s tight in the shoulders
-The gold weave jacket is very comfortable.
-Feels heavy duty without being too heavy
-A lot of attention to detail on the seams and stitching
Why I would hesitate to recommend this gi:
-Price….the Typhoon is their base model kimono and retails for $180 plus tax
-The color on my blue gi faded very fast
-Many other kimonos on the market offering similar quality for much less $
The Jacket:
The jacket is made of 550 gsm gold weave fabric which feels very durable but at the same time is soft and extremely comfortable to wear. Practitioners with an athletic build will appreciate the roominess in the shoulders. All of the seems and stress points look to have been carefully reinforced. The Storm website also specifies that the gi is treated with an anti-microbial/anti-odor agent and is highly preshrunk. There’s no way for me to comment on the anti-microbial treatment but I can say that I did not experience any shrinking in the jacket or the pants, even when drying on high heat. My one gripe about the jacket is that because it’s a gold weave, the sleeves stretch a bit when sweat soaks in and they end up being just a tad bit long on me.

The Collar:
The collar on the Typhoon is made of zero warp material. It’s nice and sturdy…similar to the thickness of my HCK collar.

The Pants:
The pants are made from 380 gsm 100% cotton twill. The knee area is reinforced with an extra layer of fabric and diagonal stitching which gives provides you with a little extra padding around the knee cap. The cut of the pants gives you freedom of movement without being too baggy. If you’re a fan of rip stop or light weight pants, you may not like these….they are made to withstand bullets.

Patches:
I admit that I did not like the look of these gis when I first saw them online and in advertisements. I felt that the logos were too large and obnoxious. Once the gi was actually in my hands though, I totally changed my mind. Now I really like the look of the logos and I think they add a nice touch without being too bold (granted it is close).

Price:
The high price tag is were I start to have a big problem with this gi. With so many companies making gis these days, it’s not hard to find one of similar quality for $30-$50 less. Not only that, the “Typhoon” is their cheapest model. If you want to get one of their “T2″ or 96′ models, be prepared to shell out $230 plus tax and shipping! But hey, I get it….Galvao, Mendes, Estima, and other top guys are not wearing these gis because they are the best ones made or  because they make their jiu-jitsu better. They are all wearing Storm Kimonos because they are being paid to do so and sponsoring top athletes and aggressive marketing is not cheap.

Conclusion:
I put in about 24 hours worth of training in this gi over 3.5 weeks and it held up nicely minus some major color fade. There are certainly more things I like about this gi than things I dislike but the main issue is a big one and that’s the cost. Bottom line is that for the $180 retail price tag, I cannot recommend you run out and buy one of these. I will say that if you come across a good deal online (speaking of which, keep reading…) or simply don’t care about the price, I doubt you will be disappointed.

Special thanks to Aaron Rubin of MAS Jiu Jitsu Gis :
Aaron was kind enough to send me this gi to review and offer a discount code to my readers good for $15 off a Storm Kimono! Please check out his website MAS Jiu Jitsu Gis for great deals on gis and other martial arts products. Make sure to enter the code stormryno at check out for the discount. Also like his Facebook pages BJJHQ and MMAHQ for great one day deals on a variety of gear.

Thanks for reading!

Jiu-Jitsu Characters: Part Two

October 20, 2012 1 comment

After a long hiatus, I finally finished the much anticipated follow-up to Jiu Jitsu Characters: Part One. Let me know what you think!

The Sideline Coach: While generally well-meaning, these guys can be extremely annoying and sometimes detrimental to your training. Sideline Coaches usually sit off to the side of the mats while you are doing technique or sparring and try to coach you or your partner. After seeing the instructor demonstrate a certain technique, sometimes only once, The Sideline Coach immediately becomes the consummate expert and can’t wait to share his knowledge with you. Ironically, Sideline Coaches usually have some of the worst technique in the class and spend more time on the wall than drilling or sparring because they’re too busy instructing!

Advice: The Sideline Coach can be detrimental to lower belts who don’t know any better and trust the advice they are given. I have seen many techniques regurgitated incorrectly to newer or lower ranked students (and I am certainly guilty of doing this in the past thinking I was helping) causing them to perform poorly and in some cases, abandon a technique all together because they think it doesn’t work for them. A good rule of thumb is if you can’t ask your instructor, seek out a purple or brown belt to help you.

The Sparring Coach:  You know that guy who is around your skill level or above that you spar with and every time you get him in a bad position or tap him out he immediately starts pointing out all the things you did wrong or could have done better? Maybe you caught him in a deep triangle and as your about to put on the finishing touches, he starts coaching you on how to finish then condescendingly tells you good job? That’s The Sparring Coach. Rather than acknowledge that he just got caught, The Sparring Coach protects his ego by talking his way out of  a bad spot thus making himself feel like you didn’t get the best of him….like he “gave” you something. It’s easy for lower belts to get discouraged by training partners like this because they never quite know whether or not they were really going to get the finish or really earned the sweep or the mount.

Advice: One of the greatest things about Jiu-Jitsu is that we can test our skills versus live opponents in almost every class. Live sparring gives you very real and instant feedback on whether or not what you are doing is working. Having a training partner confuse you like this can be really frustrating. If you identify The Sparring Coach in your class, go ahead and let him do his thing, and know that if he is coaching you there’s a good chance you did something right!

The Hulk: Have you ever seen that guy who walks into class and think he must have gotten lost on the way to Gold’s Gym? That’s The Hulk. With traps where his neck should be, forearms the size of your calf, and legs that resemble tree trunks, The Hulk can be a formidable opponent with even minimal training. In Jiu-Jitsu, technique is favored over strength, but there is no denying that there are some practitioners that are so big and strong that they are able to “Hulk Out” of submissions and bad spots at will. The Hulk can either be a great training partner or an injury machine. On one hand, training with The Hulk forces you to sharpen your technique and learn to survive with a larger and stronger opponent. On the other hand, if The Hulk does not know his own strength and doesn’t have spacial awareness or the sensitivity to let go of submissions yet, you could end up on the sidelines with an injury.

Advice:  When training with The Hulk, your goal should be to get on top or take their back and keep them busy defending or trying to escape. It takes a lot of blood to feed oxygen to those muscles so wear them down and only go for the submission when you are sure you have it. Trying to arm bar or Triangle The Hulk from your guard (unless you have really long legs) will usually result in being stacked horribly so save your spine! Lastly, stay tight and be ready to tap quickly if they get a hold of a limb…most of them have no idea how strong they are.

The Shredder: Also known as Wolverine in some parts, The Shredder often neglects one of the most important hygiene/courtesy rituals in Jiu-Jitsu…trimming your nails. Ever feel the claw from someones foot scrape your face during an omoplata attempt? How about someone reaching in for a nice deep collar grip and feeling the skin around your clavicle scraping off? I can’t even count the number of scrapes and scratches I’ve received from training partners over the years…but I’m sure I also doled out a few of my own.

Advice:  We’ve all been guilty from time to time of training with nails that were a little too long but I’ve flat out refused to train with a few people that had some ridiculous claws on them. Something important to remember is that all kinds of nasty bacteria and other gross stuff reside under peoples nails and open wounds and scrapes leave us exposed to other gross stuff on the mats (like MRSA) so respect your training partners. Carry a pair of nail clippers in your bag, if you don’t have any and need them ask around, usually somebody in class has them. Oh, and if you decide to trim your nails in class……for the love of God…..don’t do it on the mat!

The Gi Whore: The Gi Whore has every special batch number, pre-order, limited edition gi on the market. This guy will actually wait for a specific day and time just to make the pre-order window for a gi that he hopes will arrive in the next 6 months….heck, he’ll buy two and sell one on Ebay for profit to some other Gi Whore who missed the window. A few of my training partners are reading this and thinking “he wrote that specifically about me” but I really didn’t. So many guys have been doing this the past year or two it’s crazy. A personal observation worth noting is that the more senior the student, the less likely they are to be a Gi Whore. Also know that we secretly enjoy choking the shit out of you (if we can) in your spiffy new  batch number whatever, limited edition gi.

Advice: Get an unbleached HCK, shut the F-up and train! Seriously though, there’s nothing wrong with having a nice, comfortable gi, but please don’t turn Jiu-Jitsu class into a fashion show.

The Staller: There are guys in Jiu-Jitsu tournaments who will stall when they are ahead on points or advantages in order to win a match (which is bullshit) but there are also guys in class who will stall just to say they didn’t get tapped or passed or swept during sparring (also bullshit). To clarify, there are white belts who just don’t know what to do yet in which case I don’t consider them stallers. To me, The Staller is a blue belt or above who’s ego will not allow them to take risks for fear that they will “get beat”. The Staller can be very frustrating, especially when it’s just sparring, but he can also be beneficial to your training…especially if you compete.

Advice: So the Staller won’t take risks in class? Fine….you do it. I’ve trained with many Stallers over the years and it has forced me to really work on leaving my own comfort zone and taking risks. I’ve had The Staller with super long legs who can hold closed guard all day long…my solution is to bait them with submissions like a triangle or arm bar and work on stack passing when they take the bait. They finish me? Oh well, restart. I’ve also faced had The Staller who is content to sit in your guard and break grips for 5 minutes straight….my solutions is to open my guard and work on sweeps and other submissions. They pass my guard? Oh well, work on my escapes/guard replacement.

The Super Heavy Weight: The SHW is similar to The Hulk in many ways but is much heavier and much more “round” as opposed to being built like a body builder. You know that guy in class that you can’t close your guard on? The guy who you mount but your knees don’t touch the ground? That’s the SHW. The SHW is extremely hard to move…it almost feels like they are bolted to the mat and can also be very hard to submit, especially from your back. Like a lot of Jiu-Jitsu Characters though, there’s almost always a bright side. Training with The SHW or The Hulk is really the essence of Jiu-Jitsu….big guy vs. small guy, technique vs. size and strength.

Advice: Very similar advice to training with The Hulk. Focus on getting on top or taking the back and make them work. Knee on belly usually works very well to make The SHW gas out quickly. When on bottom, forget trying to triangle or arm bar…if it’s truly a SHW you can’t close a triangle on them anyways (again, save the spine!). My favorite thing to do is work on my Knee Shield Guard and hit my “Big Guy Sweep” which is just the knee push sweep but sounds cooler.

The Egomaniac: Similar to The Spazz but more conscious about what they are doing, The Egomaniac treats every sparring session as a must win and will do anything…even sacrifice their own body to not tap or to tap you. There’s usually more than one Egomaniac in every gym and they are usually white, blue or purple belts. You can have The Egomaniac in a submission so deep that you hear joints creaking or them gurgling and turning purple and they still won’t tap. The Egomaniac also doesn’t like to lose a submission and cranks extra hard to make sure they “get their tap” For these reasons, The Egomaniac has a high rate of injury to themselves and others and you should exercise caution when training with them.

Advice: As I mentioned above, The Egomaniac is a danger to himself and his training partners. If you are more skilled, sometimes you have to save The Egomaniac from himself and play a little catch and release. I find it’s always better to work on chokes when training with The Egomaniac because if the worst happens and you can’t let go of something in time, they’ll just take a nap rather than you having to feel bad about popping their elbow or tearing their rotator cuff. If you are less skilled than The Egomaniac you are training with, make sure you don’t play into their game and end up getting injured. Remember to tap early and often, especially against these guys and you will hopefully avoid unnecessary injury.

Thanks for reading!

Ryno

Don’t Fear The Reaper


Disclaimer: Before any of you get to excited, there will be no cow bell in this article. As is typical, it can take a while before I post new content on this blog. It’s not because I’m lazy (although I can be) , life sometimes gets in the way, but most of the time I’m just waiting for something to inspire me. Well, I’ve been inspired the past few weeks and I want to discuss…..drum roll please……sparring with upper belts.

Now that summer is here, our school has seen a lot of new faces walk through the door. Many of them are college students who are on break and finally have the time to train. Some of them have had previous experience in Jiu Jitsu but have only trained sporadically, and some are brand new.  The influx of new students means more training partners for everyone which is a good thing, but I’ve noticed a handful of them avoiding higher ranked belts like the plague when it comes time to spar. While this type of avoidance is pretty common until a student gains more knowledge and confidence, many don’t realize that they may actually be holding themselves back from a fast track to that knowledge and confidence!

A few weeks ago during sparring, I asked a white belt I hadn’t met before if he’d like to roll. Much to my surprise, he looked around the room and nervously said “I think I should find someone more my skill level.” I was a bit surprised by this response. Usually guys say they need to sit out a round to rest or complain of an injury to avoid the upper belts. Although I appreciated his honesty and completely understood his hesitation, I knew I had to help him see why this way of thinking was backwards.

I started by joking with him a little bit, I said “nope, you’re stuck with me now.” He let out a nervous grin and I asked him how long he’d been training. He told me he’d been training a few weeks. I said “you’re here to learn Jiu Jitsu right?”, “yeah” he said. “Well you know what’s going to happen if you go and train with another new guy? You two are going to fight. You will not be doing Jiu Jitsu because both of you do not know Jiu Jitsu yet.” He looked a little confused and I continued “look, it’s not my goal or the goal of the other guys in here to smash you and beat you up, we’re here to help you learn by pointing out mistakes you’re making and let you move and feel what it’s all about.” He looked more relaxed and it was time to shake hands and roll.

During our five minute sparring session I did not submit him. I did not crush him with pressure. I did not try and show him how much better I was than him. I simply let him move and flowed with his pace. When he needed to move his hips I pointed it out to him. When he needed to bridge and roll to escape the mount, I gave him the opportunity to do so. After our roll I said “see, that wasn’t so bad was it?”, “No” he said. “And you learned about moving your hips and escaping the mount”, “yeah” he said “thanks.” There was no need preach, he got the message and I was happy to help him as many have, and continue to help me.

Rolling with higher ranked students can be a daunting task at times. It’s normal to feel nervous or embarrassed because let’s face it…you’re about to get manhandled. But do know that we’ve all been there and it should be the goal of the higher ranked student to foster your growth and help you along the way so that they have good training partners in the future. If your experience so far with higher belts is only that they beat the crap out of you and send you home, you may want to check out some other gyms. There will always be a few guys with ego problems that have to show the new guy how tough they are by smashing them, but you will find out who they are pretty quickly and maybe those are the few that you do avoid for now.

I also want to point out that I’m not saying you shouldn’t train with other beginner students. There is certainly some benefit to figuring things out on your own and testing what you’ve learned on people with similar skill levels. But at the end of the day, I feel that training with more advanced students will fast track your progress in Jiu Jitsu and here’s a few reasons why:

  • Upper belts tend to have less ego and will generally let you “work” things that you’ve learned because they already know what you are going to do and have an answer for it.
  • Your chance of injury decreases significantly because upper belts have more body awareness and know when to let go of submissions and also know how far they can take them.
  • Upper belts have already been through many battles and will be able to point out things you are or aren’t doing allowing you to get instant feedback on how to improve.
  • Upper belts are also generally great sounding boards so ask them questions!
  • Lastly, as a white belt, you are not expected to beat a blue belt, a purple belt, a brown belt or a black belt! Enjoy this time because there is no pressure on you yet. Your goal right now is to survive and make the upper belts work harder and harder to defeat you (makes me kinda wish I was a white belt again!)

So……next time a higher ranked student asks you to roll, what are you going to say?

 

 

The Belt

April 29, 2012 5 comments


The belt. To a new Brazilian Jiu Jitsu student, the white belt around their waist is simply a piece of cloth that keeps their gi closed and signifies that they are a beginner. As you progress in Jiu Jitsu though, the belt starts to take on a whole new meaning…..whether you know it or not.

About a month ago, something happened to me that affected me in a way that I did not expect; I lost my belt. I’ve misplaced my belt a few times but it always turned up so I didn’t panic at first and figured it was probably just back at the academy. I called one of my instructors and asked him if he’d seen my belt and he said he did remember seeing a purple belt lying around but wasn’t sure what brand it was. I figured it had to be mine but when I showed up for class that night and checked, sadly, it was not my belt.

We had a lot of visitors in town that week for a camp so more than likely it was picked up by a fellow purple belt by accident and his was left in its place. Reluctantly, I put on this “other guys” belt that was left behind and jumped into the class. The next day I went online and promptly ordered a new belt.

You might be asking yourself why I didn’t just keep the belt that was left behind. The belt that was left behind was the same color as mine, fit me just fine, and was broken in from time on the mat. Why spend the money and go through the hassle of getting a brand new belt?

To me the answer was simple: It was not MY belt.

That belt was not tied around MY waist by Dave Camarillo after four years of hard work. That belt never had MY blood and sweat on it. That belt had not been present for MY training sessions with instructors like Caio Terra, Flavio Meyer, Queixinho, Roy Dean, Clark Gracie, Paul Schreiner, Cobrinha, Bobby Southworth, Mike Prudencio, Joe Moirera, Roy Harris, Andre Terencio, Hannette Staack, etc. That belt did not spend over two years tied around MY waist. That belt, although it looked and felt like it, was not MY belt.

There are those who think that a belt is only good for holding up your pants or simply displaying your rank. I feel sorry for those people. Earning rank in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu under a legitimate instructor takes years of hard work, dedication, and sacrifice. It’s hard work physically, mentally, and emotionally to get good at Jiu Jitsu. It takes dedication to keep coming back to class even after an injury or when you feel like you’re not progressing. Jiu Jitsu also takes sacrificing things like time with family, friends and your ego. Your belt, more than just holding your gi closed or pants up, is representative of all of these things and more.

What does YOUR belt mean to YOU?

Caio Terra’s Modern Jiu Jitsu: DVD Review

Caio Terra’s newest DVD produced by Mobile Black Belt created quite a bit of buzz after a trailer and a few short clips were posted online during the weeks leading up to it’s release. The first thing everyone noticed was the unbelievable level of production for a Jiu Jitsu DVD. I was lucky enough to get a quick interview with the director himself, Patrick Paulson, as well as a chance to review the DVD set. Enjoy.

Ryno- Hi Patrick, please tell us a little about Mobile Black Belt

Patrick- Mobile Black Belt creates high production value media.  Our goal is to produce products that have REAL VALUE to our clients, partners and sponsors.  What that means is; as a customer you love the product and think its a good value, as a partner you know we took your image to a higher level in our production, and as a sponsor your brand is attached to something worth looking at and is something dynamic that people are talking about.  We make our videos available to people all over the world through our mobile apps, DVDs and online videos.  We offer some of our content free, some priced very low, like our apps and other projects, like Caio’s four DVD set, that are priced higher…mostly to cover the expense of a professional quality production.

RynoHow did you choose Caio to make this instructional?

Patrick- My partner Aparecido Faria has known Caio since Caio was a little kid competing in Brazil.  He has followed him over the years and thought it would be a good fit.

Ryno- The production value of this instructional is unlike anything that has been done before. How did you achieve this?

Patrick- Thank you. Let’s face it, the bar for instructional BJJ DVDs is pretty low. In fact, it couldn’t get any lower. As a consumer of a lot of BJJ DVD sets, I felt a little cheated because they cost so much but looked so terrible. If I’m paying $150 for a DVD set, shouldn’t the sound, lighting and camera work be better than the amateur level? The short answer is “f*&k yes!”  I have over 25 years experience doing professional film and video work. I was a music video director for years and I directed Jay Z’s feature film “Fade to Black”.

I have done hundreds of live event broadcasts…this has been my life.  About four years ago I discovered Jiu Jitsu and thought I might actually be able to make this look good, so I started playing with some basic ideas. You haven’t seen the best from us yet. This  is all simple stuff we’re doing now.
Ryno- Do you think we’ll start to more instructional DVDs with this type of production in the near future?
Patrick- I think people who own our products will have a hard time going back and watching some of the DVDs other companies are producing. From the customer’s point of view, we offer the best value…plain and simple. Will other people try to do what we do? Yes, they will have to if they have any sense of responsibility to their customers. But this is not the kind of stuff you can fake. I believe Jiu Jitsu is a beautiful art and it deserves be filmed is a way that reveal its beauty.
Ryno- Do you have any projects with other black belts coming up that you can tell us about?
Patrick- We have been contacted by the biggest names in this industry and that’s a nice confirmation of the work we are doing. We like to keep things under wraps until the production is almost done, but I can tell you that you won’t be disappointed with the instructors or the productions.
Ryno- Thanks for your time Patrick
Patrick- Thank you. We really like the idea of people sharing what we do on the grass roots level; bloggers and people who actually train BJJ and own BJJ DVDs and apps.

As you can see from the clip above, the production value of this DVD set is above and beyond anything done to date for BJJ instructionals. How many times have you purchased a DVD instructional for $100 or more and it looked like someone just put up a tripod in their garage and started “directing?” Well, that’s probably because that’s exactly what they did! Let’s look at a few common problems with your average BJJ instructional and why Modern Jiu Jitsu is actually worth the money:

Average Instructional- Poor quality film and lighting…looks like a VHS tape from 1980.

MJJ- Filmed in stunning HD with professional lighting…the reason most people have high-def flat screen TV’s these days.

Average Instructional- Sounds like it was filmed in a bathroom stall.

MJJ- The sound and voice over work are crystal clear, just like the picture.

Average Instructional- Angles! I’m tired of trying to figure out what’s going on and watching the instructor spin the uke around in circles to try and capture all of the proper angles (which they still miss many times)….it’s really distracting and is one of the only things I griped about in Caio’s first DVD.

MJJ- Not a problem here. 360 degree angles, close-ups, wide shots, real time and slow motion ….I think the only angle they’re missing is a helmet cam on the uke and a helicopter cam.

Average Instructional- Instructor ramblings like “so like what you do is like uhhhh” and “so next it’s like, so you kinda uhhh grab like here and uhhhh.” Ramblings like this make it seem like the instructor put little thought into the lesson and creates a lot of confusion.

MJJ- Being clear and concise in an instructional is very important but is often overlooked. Although English is not Caio’s first language, he does a very good job of delivering the lessons clearly and the director’s editing keeps any ramblings to a minimum.

Now, all the production in the world doesn’t matter if the instructor and material suck right? There’s a reason why guys like Ricardo Almeida and Pedro Sauer invite Caio Terra to do seminars at their academy. Not only is he really good at Jiu Jitsu, he’s also great at sharing his knowledge as an instructor.

Modern Jiu Jitsu is Caio’s take on some of the most fundamental and high percentage movements in Jiu Jitsu that all practitioners need to know in order to have a strong foundation. The Jiu Jitsu in this DVD set can be used by people of all shapes, sizes and skill levels.

If you’re looking to learn inverted guard or flying triangles, this is not your DVD set. If you want to learn solid Jiu Jitsu with a modern twist, proven at the highest levels of competition, you should get yourself a copy. The DVD set is comprised of four discs totaling 140+ techniques and 5 hours of video, covering the following positions- Closed Guard/Mount/Turtle/Back/Butterfly Guard/Side Control/North-South/Half Guard/ Standing Passes/Takedowns and can be purchased at www.mobileblackbelt.net

*Full Disclosure- I’m not just a fan of Caio Terra, I’m also a student. I received a set of DVDs from Mobile Black Belt in return for this review, but I don’t get paid for this stuff and it wouldn’t be worth a free DVD and an “atta boy” from my instructor to give you guys a bunk review! You guys can learn more about Caio here.

PS- While putting the finishing touches on this review, Caio wins gold at the 2012 Pan Ams by submission! How’s that for advertisement. Congrats Caio!

Jiu-Jitsu Characters: Part One

March 23, 2012 7 comments

The longer you train Jiu-Jitsu, the more interesting characters you will come across. After almost six years of training, I’ve been able to build a pretty extensive list of the types of characters you will undoubtedly encounter at some point during training. Some of us are “That Guy” right now, some of us were “That Guy” and pieces and part of “These Guys” live in all of us. Some can be a hazard to your training, others are just pure entertainment. I had a lot of fun compiling this list and I hope you have fun reading it. My list of characters was so long that I already have a Part 2 in the works so stay tuned!

The Spazz- Every gym has at least one notorious Spazz. The Spazz has little control of his body and possesses almost no spatial awareness. They are usually stronger than they look and seem to have an endless amount of energy to waste. Spazzs’, amazingly enough, almost never hurt themselves….just their training partners. This is the guy that all the senior belts avoid and the lower belts learn to avoid eventually. Most Spazzs’ change their way by blue belt but every now and then one slips through the cracks and keeps moving up in rank.

Advice: The sooner you identify The Spazz, the better. This guy can be detrimental to your training due to risk of injuries. Part of an instructors job is to keep guys like this in check, but if you do get paired up to train with a Spazz, be careful not to get sucked into a battle with them….stay relaxed, try to get on top, and stay there. You can also flat out refuse to train with a Spazz but that can be easier said than done.

The Stinker- This guy gets done with a hard training session and stuffs his sweaty gi in a back pack, then puts said backpack in the trunk of his car, in the hot sun, and with no regard for his fellow class mates, pulls that marinated gi out of his gym bag and suites up for class a few days later. Other traits of The Stinker are bad breath, greasy hair and various types of body odor…..he also thinks it’s cool to not wash his belt because “it’ll wash all the hard work out”.

Advice: The most important thing to remember here is that The Stinker does not think he stinks! Stinkers are so used to their own funk that they don’t realize how foul their gi or other training gear is. The easiest way to deal with this is to ask the instructor to remind the entire class to wash their gi every time they train…and that should include the belt! Worse than being offensive to your training partners, dirty training gear can carry staph and other dangerous stuff you do not want.

The Late Guy- The Late Guy hates warm ups and drilling but loves to show up fresh and ask you to spar after you’ve already been working hard for an hour. The Late Guy generally poses no real harm to your training but is annoying nonetheless.

Advice: We all have responsibilities that make showing up to class on time, every time, difficult. If you’re always showing up to class late just because you don’t want to warm up or do technique, keep in mind that your training partners and coaches are taking mental note and many find it disrespectful.

The YouTube Guy- This guy has no grasp of the basics of Jiu Jitsu but is up to date on all the “newest moves” and owns every BJJ book and DVD instructional on the market. A first day white belt can easily open YouTube Guy’s closed guard but that doesn’t matter because he’s just waiting for you to try and pass so he can hit his berimbolo sweep and take your back. If YouTube Guy fails to hit his berimbolo on you, be prepared to deal with his Deep Half or Inverted Guard.

Advice: You’ve probably heard it a hundred times- basics, basics, basics! The longer you train Jiu Jitsu, the more you realize the importance of a strong foundation. During your first few years training it’s tough to not start “collecting moves”, but you will be much better off down the road by trusting your instructor and focusing on the basics.

The Prodigy- This is the “new” white belt that comes into class and starts wrecking shop. When you ask him how long he’s been training you usually get a response like “I trained a few months at so and so’s place” or “I wrestled a little in college”. The Prodigy always forgets to mention that the “little wrestling” he did in college was Division 1 and that he’s been “doing MMA” in his buddies garage for the last few years. Prodigy’s can also come in the form of Judo black belts or Sambo experts.

Advice: The Prodigy is the least of your worries but annoying nonetheless. Look, I’ve been training for almost six years and I’ve learned to take my beatings like a man for the most part, but if a “white belt” comes in and starts whooping my ass, I want to know the whole story!

The Restrictor- When it’s time to spar, The Restrictor will give you restrictions like “be careful of my neck” or “can you watch my left shoulder?” and then proceed to try and smash the shit out of you. Some Restrictors will give you two or more restrictions that you need to try and keep in mind making for an awkward training session.

Advice: There is nothing wrong with training with an injury and asking your partner to be accommodating, in fact, having certain restrictions can actually benefit both of you because you are forced to change up your game. Just don’t be the guy that gives his training partner a bunch of Restrictions and then takes advantage of the situation.

The Meathead- Meatheads are wanna be alpha males that usually posses a decent amount of natural athleticism and absolutely hate to lose. The Meathead was most likely a star football player in high school and was notorious for getting drunk and beating up unskilled opponents at house parties (they are quick to mention that they’ve never lost a fight). Meatheads are insecure and have extremely fragile egos so their forays into Jiu Jitsu are usually short lived due to the amount of times they have their own ass handed to them by guys who look like they’ve never been to a Gold’s Gym.

Advice: Meatheads are generally harmless and watching their eyes light up as they experience being manhandled by someone half their size is a guilty pleasure to witness. Sometimes The Meathead has an epiphany and becomes a great training partner, but many quit Jiu Jitsu after a few weeks and end up taking kickboxing on the other side of the gym where they whale on female training partners during “light sparring.” To The Meathead, the fight is always real!

The Bleeder- The Bleeder has this romantic notion that fresh blood on his gi makes him look like a real bad-ass. Rather than leave the mat when he’s cut or injured and clean up in the restroom, The Bleeder just wipes it on his gi and attempts to keep training with you. Blood on the mat? Don’t worry, he’ll wipe that up with his sleeve as well.

Advice: Zero tolerance. If your training partner is bleeding or has fresh blood on their gi, kindly point it out to them right away. Proper form is to stop training until bleeding stops or you get a secure bandage. If your gi has fresh blood all over it and you don’t have a backup gi, training should be over for the day….sorry, but no one should have to risk a serious blood-borne disease while training Jiu Jitsu.

To Be Continued……

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