Although most beginners drop out, dads stick with jiu-jitsu. So far, I know
at least eight dads, including me, who practice besides their kids. Most have
earned bluebelts and above. We'd joke that we don't want to be beaten up by
the kids but I sometimes wonder exactly why we are pulled into this.
The past month saw progress in defense as, although I often got dominated, I
protected myself well and rarely was submitted. In addition, I had a few
favorite moves and looked forward to using them on my opponent every time I
sparred. More people commented on my growth and my joy was hard to express.
Within someone's guard, for example, I would keep my elbows tucked. My lats and
core were strong engough that it was hard for even a big guy to pull my arm out
for a triangle which happened a lot in the first couple of months. From there, I
would swim my left arm under his leg to reach and grab his collar for a stack
pass. I was not doing every step right in this move but still was able to pull it
off frequently, even on purple belts.
My favorite on the cross-side was a stealthy knee-trap of my opponent's right
arm, leaving him helpless on his back with only one arm to fight against my two
arms. I was instantly attracted to this move once it was taught by coach Eric
and it had worked on half a dozen guys (mostly bluebelts) so far. This gave me
such joy that I didn't care if I eventually was able to finish them from there.
Even 200lbs+ guys often panicked once I did this on them.
Again, the coaches were super-protective. Coach Gene was my guardian angel on
the mat. He once saw I try to pull my head out of my opponent's two-hand grip
when I was in his guard. He told me to drive forward and stand up to pass guard
instead of pulling against his strength. "It's easy to hurt your neck." he said.
The technique went instantly into my arsenal.
I kept studying Jiu-Jitsu through videos. A concept from master Rickson felt so
important that I even practiced it when getting out of bed. When someone passed
my guard and was coming at me cross-side, it was crucial for me not to get
crushed with my back flat on the ground, a desperate situation if the guy knew
what to do to follow up. "The key element for the position," the master said,
"is for her on the bottom never be flat."
He explained further in the video where he trained his wife: "Something you have
to focus on in terms of a heavier opponent is not exactly 'Oh. I cannot let him
get on top of me' which is of course the primary idea. But that still happens.
The guy's heavy and he's going to get heavy on you. The most important thing is
to find yourself connected to the floor and finding an angle. ... Being
connected to the ground puts you in a position where you can explore the
middle... That position is difficult for the guy to control. If you are flat,
it's your fault. It's not because the guy's big but you did wrong. So make sure
you start to understand your hip movements and your ability to control the
opponent's weight even when you are from the bottom. Keep training. It's not
going to be easy, but it's doable."
This short video gave me great hope. I finally could see in a common worst-case
scenario that indeed strength and power could be overcome by leverage and skill
and how, as Steve Maxwell said, after purplebelt, you are not going to muscle
anyone on the mat.