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Tuesday, July 12, 2011

TAKEN BACK: The Transition From Wrestling To BJJ

Warning: If that takedown felt too easy, it was.

When I was sixteen, after a night of "Quarters" with some friends in the beach town where I spent my school vacations, I found myself near the dunes with a pretty girl I'd been pining for all summer. After bearing with my fumbling for a half hour or so, she took control of the situation and pushed me to my back, smiling as she closed in.

"I, uh, can't do this..." I said.
"It's okay," she insisted, thinking that I was politely deferring to her honor.
"It's not that," I couldn't spell honor at that moment, "I just can never be on my back...I'm a wrestler."

True story. Sad story. A story that might raise suspicions in suspicious minds.

Besides the fact that this kinda thing didn't come my way often (and certainly the opportunity with this girl never presented itself again), I was not a top recruit for the University of Iowa or anything.

What the hell was I doing to my life?

I was comforted to learn that while he was at Penn State, future NFL running back Matt Suhey couldn't perform the bench press properly as he, also a wrestler, wouldn't keep his shoulders pressed to the bench.

"I don't sleep on my back. I don't make love on my back. I don't do anything on my back..." His teammate recalled Suhey saying.

And Suhey (to my knowledge) didn't wrestle much beyond high school.

Avoiding your back is one of the first things you learn, and becoming invulnerable or, at least, less vulnerable, requires an almost religious devotion as:

Your job is to put other people to their work towards that every moment you're on the mat!

Putting someone on their back who wants desperately not to be there, and avoiding going to your back as someone who drills techniques that enable him to do so, tries desperately to put you on yours.

Simply: that's wrestling...

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