Hey all. Welcome to my blog. I’m hoping I enjoy doing this and stick with it. We’ll see though. I’m fairly well occupied with other things already...
I’ve got Jits on the brain pretty much around the clock. It’s a problem, to be honest. It’s affected everything I do. In the 3.5 years I’ve been doing it, it’s touched all aspects of my life.
I know; “Cool Story Bro.”
I reckon the best place to start this, is with my start in BJJ.
I had in my mind, since high school, a notion of what it was to be tough. I lifted weights an awful lot, and that was about it. I actually started out high school about as humanly athletic as your typical Egg-laying Hen. It hadn’t yet, and I think a lot of people are still this way, occurred to me that toughness might be more than strength.
I’d recently had a bit of a realization about how not-very-tough-at-all I was when I got into a fight at a party. I lost. Spectacularly. I didn’t really do anything, other than shove some guy and get a black eye for it. Jesus was I embarrassed and ashamed. I was with my best friend at the time, your archetypal man’s man. He’d been scraping since he was born. I remember driving home in his beat up Sunbird, me with a bag of ice on my face, and he kept saying “All these muscles, and you can’t even throw a punch.”
Terrible story. In hindsight, this is one of the best things that has ever happened to me. If I ever see the guy who delivered the black eye again (I vaguely remember him) I don’t know if I’d shoot for the double or hug the bastard.
At the time, I was living in Hamilton. I’d seen some TV shows about Krav Maga... If you’re not familiar, It’s the Israeli military martial art. I did this for about 8 months. Despite the fact that I mention this with a little embarrassment these days, it did do a number of things for me. I got into better shape from it (I dropped 26 pounds or so,) developed an ability to push myself physically, learned to throw a decent roundhouse kick, and rather miraculously was introduced to BJJ.
Krav isn’t something I’d recommend these days. It has some serious methodology faults that make it , even more so than other arts, an impractical, fruitless venture. Krav is completely Piss and Vinegar based. It’s all Martial, no Art. Very un-technical. If I could sum up my diatribe, I’d just say that I spent an awful lot of time practising the fine art of kicking people in the junk. Does this require refinement? I’m not so sure. Beyond testicle soccer, the art is predicated on going ape on someone. It was never explained to me what on earth I was going to do if my would be attacker wore a cup, or if they were bigger than me. I really don’t think this had been considered.
One Saturday (March 10, 2007, in fact) there was a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu seminar at this school. I didn’t have the foggiest notion of what that was, but I signed up. The guy teaching sounded well accomplished.
The day came and I introduced myself to a guy who didn’t look intimidating at all. He was in fact remarkably nice and friendly. His name was PJ. (PJ has since started his own Club: Pura BJJ)
That day, PJ showed me a few moves I had never seen before. Things that had never honestly occurred to me to be possible, let alone practical. PJ showed some stuff that I found later was actually considered to be rather advanced techniques. I can’t recall all of them, but the peruvian necktie was one of them.
I still consider myself very fortunate that he took this approach. I was all at once marvelling with the intricacies of the sport, the sense of innovation, and the athleticism required for sparring. What more was there to this?
The Krav School I was at had PJ (and a few friends of his) come in to teach 2 days a week. I fell in love with the sport. I got my hands on a cheap gi pretty quick. I began to look forward to BJJ and rather disdainfully on the Krav. I was still doing Krav at the time, but it had become less and less stimulating for me.
Gradually, I abandoned Krav altogether. PJ had told me that he taught at another Krav School, over in Oakville another two days a week. I was now able to get in four days a week. Things were quite good. I bought a second Gi, A Keiko, so that I’d be able to show up in a non-stinky/wet gi.
Things were looking up. Jiu Jitsu had already become a force in my life. It had encouraged me to change other things in my life. I was actively pursuing effective eating and weight training for bjj, and had gained enough confidence to sign up for school.
How did you become involved in BJJ?
The history lesson will continue in Part 2.