The Gi Confused Me During My 1st BJJ Match ( Wrestling for BJJ )

bjj gi

1st BJJ Match

My 1st match in BJJ has kind of a funny story behind it. I didn’t know how to stand properly! I had not idea how to use my Wrestling for BJJ.
The picture above is from that match.
1st, I was wearing my coaches BJJ gi. The gi that I had didn’t have any team patches on it, so he insisted that I wear his.
So I have this gi on and it still feels completely foreign to me. I had wrestled and so grappling felt fine. But I really hadn’t worked in the gi that much. And so I felt kind of out of sorts.
In my 1st match of the tournament I was placed in a Pigtail match. For those of you who haven’t wrestled this maybe a foreign term. But basically I had to win a match just to get into the normal bracket.
I’ll never forget it. I walked up to center of the match and as I stood there waiting for the ref to give us the go ahead to begin the contest. I didn’t know how to stand. 
Didn’t know how to stand???
Of all the things to be focused on right before the match started I was like, “How do I stand??? I’m not in a singlet, I’m in a gi!!!”
So what do I do? I for some reason decided to stand like my favorite 2 dimensional video game character. Ryu from street fighter. Even writing this I feel like just palming my face and shaking my head.
For some reason, since I had the gi on I felt like I was supposed to stand very different to my normal wrestling stance.
I had somehow completely ignored the whole tournament around me to notice the close resemblance to wrestling. I had completely forgotten that I had rolled in the gi from the feet a bit (granted I had only been training for 2 weeks at this time).
And while there are some adjustments needed to crossover the Wrestling to a BJJ match. It looked more like a wrestling stance then Ryu from street fighter.
As soon as the match started muscle memory took over. . . thank god.
I locked up in a traditional head and arm tie. From there I did a duck under, achieved a body lock on my opponent and lifted him into the air and brought him to the match and secured a Keylock / Americana for my 1st BJJ win in competition.
I would go on to place 2nd in that tournament. I won 3 matches in total. All by the same method. Takedown to side control along with an ugly keylock.
The match I lost was against a superior wrestler who put me on my back where I quickly reverted into a turtle lying on it’s shell in the sun.
Why am I sharing this story?
I’m sharing this amusing story to illustrate a few things.
1. Even though I was out of sorts in my heavy cotton pajamas. The muscle memory I had developed from drilling and wrestling took over. When I couldn’t think straight, my body simply just acted. 
2. After 2 weeks of BJJ I was able to do incredibly well in my 1st competition. On basic takedowns and top control alone. 
As I’ve progressed I’ve always felt comfortable on the feet. And being able to control the takedown games more times than not has allowed me the advantage of either going for the takedown or even shaking things up and pulling guard aggressively and throwing off my opponent who expects me to wrestle.
As a coach, takedowns are something we work on every single week. And our team does very well with our ability to achieve the takedown but also our ability to counter wrestle. We aren’t satisfied to lay on our backs and let someone achieve top position. They’re going to have to fight for it!
And in a couple of days I’m going to open up my favorite takedown techniques that I use in my own gameplan and takedown system, as well as the most valuable and easy to use techniques from the feet that work with my students.
I’m excited about it because after several surveys. Takedowns, wrestling and how to work from the feet seems to be a area that many of you want more knowledge from, and I’m excited to help.
I’ll continue to share more details about the video series and I will be Launching it this Friday for those who are interested, November 17th.
As I’ll be explaining. I’m doing a short opening window for the 1st launch because I want to work with a smaller group more directly to get feedback and do some live events.
But more details will come soon. 🙂
Hope you enjoyed the story of me struggling in the gi for my 1st BJJ competition match.
Talk to you soon!


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If you’d ever like to train with the team and I. Check out my gym Derby City MMA in Louisville,KY.

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