tapping in bjj

Tapping in BJJ IS Losing, IT’S Failure  

This morning I saw a video showing a guy at a Brazilian Jiu-jitsu tournament who simply REFUSED to use tapping out as an option. He continued even after being caught in several submissions. One leg lock attempt that left him visibly injured, to the point where he could no longer stand without a limp

Here’s the video if you haven’t seen it:

 

Why Didn’t You Tap???

I’ve run into the “Not Tapping” thing several times in my 14+ years of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu training.

There was this time when I was a White Belt.  These 3 MMA fighters stopped by our gym for a grappling class. During the class one of my good friends who was nearing his Blue Belt (but was still a White Belt) caught one of the MMA fighters in a Kimura. As he cranked the guys arm the MMA fighter began to grunt and make sounds of discomfort. My friend sensing the pain eased up and held the position of the Kimura but stopped cranking it any further.

Eventually our coach stepped in and broke it off. The MMA fighter then stood up screaming about how he hadn’t tapped and my coach calmly informed him that he was saving his shoulder so he could train tomorrow.

The man stormed out of the room.

 

Why Didn’t You Tap?

As a coach I’ve run into this before as well. I once had a situation with a student who REFUSED to tap to things. In a lot of cases till it was too late.

In one particular instance. One of my other student’s placed a wrist lock onto another student who refused to tap. As the wrist lock slowly got tighter and tighter, the student applying the lock asked verbally, “Are you alright?”

To which the non-tapping student replied, “Yeah, I’m fine.”

There eventually came a POP and my non-tapping student stood up clutching his wrist while wincing in pain. I quickly rushed over to look at the person and see what exactly happened.

The student who applied the submission was visibly shaken by the fact that he hurt a fellow training partner. Contrary to the hard nature of training and potential of submissions. Most people don’t enjoy hurting their training partners.

I quickly, took the student over to the side and asked, “Hey man, did it hurt when the wrist lock was being applied?”

The student’s reply came as he was still holding the injured wrist in his other palm, “Yeah. . .”

My face at this point had to have been one of just complete anger because I was so irritated by that response. Then I asked the question that got to the root of the issue. “Why didn’t you tap????”

His reply sums up why some people still insist on waiting till the last possible moment or refuse to tap at all, “Because I didn’t want to lose.”

After hearing this. . . I lost it a bit and went on a long rant about training properly.

Not Tapping is like Not Respecting The Check Mate in Chess

Even at my worst in regards to being overly competitive and going too hard. I still tapped all the time. Could you imagine all the injuries if I hadn’t tapped often. I wouldn’t be able to do BJJ today. Even today. I’ll tap very quickly than risk my long term ability to train and just be a human. No tournament or win during a roll is worth 3 – 12 months of time off the mat and away from my students as well as the possibly long term consequences.

Also, if you don’t tap. You’re not respecting the game of rolling. Rolling is 100% a game. There are players, with basic rules to govern the environment and finally there is a way to win and lose.

When you don’t tap to a submission. It’s like playing a game and not respecting the rules once you’ve lost. It’s as if you were playing a game of chess. And once your partner established a check mate against you. Instead of saying good game and rearranging your pieces. You begin to just start moving your pieces as if nothing happened.

The difference though is that where as in a chess game you can always just get your pieces back after the game. When you don’t tap to legitimate submissions. You don’t get those “pieces” you’ve lost back.

 

Tapping IS Losing, IT’S Failure

People use this saying that tapping isn’t losing, it’s learning. I don’t agree with that exactly.

Tapping is losing. You lost. . . plain and simple. You can doll it up however you want to in order to make yourself feel better, but it’s losing. We play a game and when you tap, you lose. When you get the tap, you win.

That said, tapping out is still learning. As is every loss and failure. And I feel like that’s one of the benefits to BJJ is becoming ok with losing.

Failures are like the scars that lay scattered around my eyebrows. Each one of them has a story of me doing something wrong. The only reason I have the scars are because I did something wrong. And you better believe that I learned from them and corrected the mistakes later on. And I wear the scars proudly.

There’s no shame in losing, and failure. Here’s the root issue that a lot of us have trouble with. Including myself at times. We act as if failure is so bad. But it’s not. It’s only bad if you perceive it to be so and give it that negative power. It’s the failures we experience that really push us forward and make us better. Nothing lights a fire under you or makes you get your shit together quite like screwing something up. And behind each failure is a story of you not doing something correctly. And you’ve got to be open to reviewing that story to get the most out of anything.

So respect your opponent’s by playing the game of rolling correctly. Respect your body and it’s longevity by tapping to legitimate submission attempts. And lastly, embrace your failures. Lose the aversion you have to failure and move towards it! Failing is what you’re supposed to do! Because that’s where you need to go to improve.

 

-Chewy

 

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Focus of New BJJ White Belt

What to Focus On as a New BJJ White Belt with No Submissions

When you first start as a new BJJ White Belt, it can be overwhelming. There is so much going. It can be overwhelming and somewhat confusing about where to start.

I experienced this issue when I began training. And it is a question one of my new White Belts named Taylor recently asked me about. His question was essentially asking what to focus on as a new BJJ White Belt.

(If you’d like to read more about my early days in BJJ read this old post.)

So in this video, I share several tips about how I personally went about the initial phase of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu as a brand new White Belt with little to no submissions in my useable technique arsenal.

Tips for a Brand New BJJ White Belt

I share some tips for people who are more comfortable on the bottom playing form Full Guard and I share some options for people who are more comfortable playing from the top positions.

The general idea in this video is that if a brand new BJJ White Belt. Your goal should begin as just being able to control position as best you can and survive initially. 

If you can control the basic positions (holding full guard, maintaining top position, etc) then overtime you’ll find that you’ll be able to mount some sort of offense attacks afterwards. Brazilian Jiu-jitsu has the old saying of “position before submission” and this is so true. If you can control the position consistently and reliably. You’ll be able to have more opportunities to attack or defend yourself effectively.

But in the beginning, if you don’t have the ability to maintain positions properly. You’ll be hard pressed to mount any submission attacks or offense techniques. So this should be one of your main focuses in the beginning of training. So if you are brand new, and you’re wondering what to focus on during rolling or Bjj training. This is a basic answer.

So for all the newcomers to BJJ, I hope this video is useful to you!
-Chewy
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BJJ White Belt

This is Why You Roll Worse against White Belts in BJJ

Are you a White Belt in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu who feels better when they roll with a Higher Belt?

This is the question I received from our BJJ White Belt friend Brianda who asked,
” I’ve been training for four months and I know I’m improving a lot (everybody tells me), but when I roll with white belts. Why do I feel like I can’t do anything? When I roll with higher belts everything goes better and I can practice all the movements and submissions I’ve learned, is it normal?”

In this Chewy ramble video I discuss this common situation in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu.

So Why Do I Roll Better Against Higher Belts?

When it boils down to it this is caused by a couple things.

A higher belt (Blue Belt, Purple Belt, Brown Belt, Black Belt) is in much better control of the roll and is much more relaxed. This relaxed state is usually fueled by the fact that the higher belt can finish the roll and gain the upper hand at any point. This oftentimes leads higher belts to play down a little bit during BJJ training to allow the newer student to move around and attempt their techniques.

The roll takes on a back and forth flow dynamic. Rather than the super intense style of roll that happens when two people of the same level are rolling with one another.  So if you’re a White Belt and you’re rolling with a higher belt who is playing around a bit. This is why you feel like you’re doing better against them during BJJ training.

 

Why Do I Roll Worse Against White Belts?

In contrast you might feel like you roll worse against a White Belt. This is because a fellow White Belt does not have the security of being more advanced technically. They don’t have the same control a more experienced grappler does. So, instead they are fighting life and death when pitted against another beginner during a Brazilian Jiujitsu class.

The roll then takes on a much more aggressive nature and makes it more difficult to execute techniques. And this would lead you to think that you are doing “worse” during the roll.

I go into more detail in the video and share a few stories. But don’t worry, in short, yes this is a normal situation.

If you’re running into this as a BJJ White Belt. I hope the video is helpful!

Thanks!
-Chewy

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Using a BJJ Book

3 Easy Ways to Use a BJJ Book to Boost Training

Want 3 tips on how to use your BJJ book effectively for training? Maybe the book is just filled with awesome content and BJJ techniques. Well how do you decide on which BJJ techniques to focus on and implement?

In this video I give several tips on how to use a Brazilian Jiu-jitsu book effectively. I focus my attention on Jiu-jitsu University, as an example since it was requested by one of the viewers.

He said that he bought this particular BJJ book in order to help him develop his grappling abilities and is wondering on how to make the best use of it for training and his BJJ development.

The Basic BJJ Book Tips Are. . .

1. USE THE INFORMATION! Don’t let the books, dvd and videos you consume go to waste. Put into motion the things you’re absorbing. Remember, information is just information. Execution of this information is what matters.

2. Focus on problems you’re encountering during your Brazilian Jiujitsu training. Oftentimes when we have a deficiency in our game. We somehow seem to find ourself there constantly. So it’s very helpful to plug the holes in your game. Find areas to help you focus on those areas is a good idea.

3. Focus on positions where you’re already effective. This will allow you to easily slide new techniques into the mix. Often if you’re already good at a particular position. Adding another technique you see in a BJJ book won’t be a problem.

3. Augment the training your BJJ coach is already covering. So for instance if you’re covering Guard Passes. Find more options on Guard Passing in the book to go along with what you’re already doing. This will help you further develop those areas and stay on track with your coach in your gym.

I also share an idea on how you might use a BJJ journal along with a BJJ book to hold yourself accountable in regards to the techniques you’re trying to add to your game.

I hope the video is helpful!
-Chewy

Additional BJJ Book Posts

3 BJJ Books for Anyone

My Favorite BJJ Books 

 


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older bjj coaches

Common Fear of an Older BJJ White Belt

When you’re an older BJJ practitioner on the mat. Often you have to do things a bit differently than your younger training partners. Like moving a bit slower. Now, does moving slower during BJJ training make you lazy? This is a worry that one of our friends has currently with his training.

He is a 40 year old 2 stripe white belt and is wanting to move towards a slower Brazilian Jiujitsu game. This is because he often putters out during the Bjj rolling session when he tries to match the pace of some of his training partners. The issue he is having though is that he feels like his coach will look at him as if he is lazy and not progressing.

He also shares that he feels like he is kind of hanging on to his younger self and that part of the reason he goes so fast during training is because he is still trying to be that younger person.

In this video (below) I talk about slowing down your BJJ game to adapt to being an older guy or woman in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. While this is directed towards an older BJJ White Belt in particular. The same tip could be used for anyone in BJJ who is trying to make their game more efficient.

An Older BJJ Practitioner and Being Slower Doesn’t mean Lazy

As I share in the video. Moving slower when you’re doing BJJ doesn’t mean you’re being lazy or not progressing. In many cases, it just means you’re attempting to become more efficient with your movements and making everything count. Rather than expending lots of energy unnecessarily with movements that don’t really get you anywhere.

So whether you’re an older BJJ practitioner who is in the thick of Brazilian Jiujitsu and is looking to adapt to a slower game or if you’re just looking to slow down your game a bit when you’re rolling. Hopefully the tips in this video are helpful to you!

Thanks for watching!
-Chewy

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Why You Shouldn’t Teach BJJ to Yourself (When You’re New)

What is the most efficient way to train BJJ? Is training yourself Brazilian Jiu-jitsu an effective way to learn the martial art? Should you teach BJJ to yourself?

In this video I touch on this subject.

Our friend Nate on Youtube sent a message saying that he wants to maximize his time and save money by training with his friend in a basement first before he eventually joins his local 10th Planet BJJ gym.

He’s doing this to sort of bypass the White Belt phase of his training and prepare for his Blue Belt. So he plans to do this by using his friend to teach BJJ to each other.

Why Is Smart Not To Teach BJJ To Yourself

As I share in the video I think this is a bad idea for your BJJ growth. Primarily because I’ve done it.

When I started training Brazilian Jiujitsu.  I started like Nate is thinking about and piecing together moves in my basement with my friends. This was the way I began my Brazilian Jiujitsu experience.

We did this for about a year.

I found a BJJ gym in Louisville where I would eventually train. And when I did eventually step into an actual BJJ program led by an expert. I realized I wasted so much time training myself! I learned more in that 1 day of training than I did in the year of trying to teach BJJ to myself.

In any form of Martial Arts. It’s always a more effective means to growth to learn from someone who has been there before.

If you’re contemplating joining a BJJ gym or training yourself. I hope the video is helpful to you!

Thanks!
-Chewy

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How I Setup Takedowns in BJJ

When you’re going for takedowns in BJJ. What are you looking for? How do you decide which BJJ takedown to use?

Do you have a systematic approach to takedowns? Do you focus on looking for certain grips or adjustments from your opponent, or do you just lock up and cross your fingers that something will happen?

 

My Process for Takedowns in BJJ

In this video I give a little insight into what I’m looking for personally on my feet when I’m going for takedowns. Mainly I talk about how I determine the BJJ takedown I plan to use.

You’ll see, that just like any other position. I observe which grips i can secure and which grips my opponent gives me. From there I choose the best take down for the situation.

But most importantly, there’s a process to it! Just like any other position.

Often times. I see that most people don’t have a smart approach to takedowns in BJJ. They just lock up and move around until someone screws up. But yet on the ground they know exactly where they are going.

Likewise I try to give you some ideas on what you could look for when you’re on the feet in Brazilian Jiujitsu. So when you think about your takedowns. Think about the moves and positions and see if you have a process to everything.

You’ll have to excuse me a bit as I was super hyper in this video. And I’m kind of all over the place. This isn’t that unusual.

Hopefully these ideas will help you with your own Brazilian Jiu-jitsu takedowns. Whether its for training or competition.

Thanks!

-Chewy

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How To Be Aggressive from Full Guard As A BJJ White Belt

Some people are naturally aggressive, while others seem to lack this innate quality.

Our friend Megan who is a BJJ White Belt  says she lacks aggression. In particular she says she lacks being aggressive from her Full Guard and is unable to pull the trigger when she is rolling in her Brazilian Jiu-jitsu gym. And this is a vicious spiral. Because she lacks aggression due to the fact that her guard just gets passed and she gets passed because she is unable to be offensive.

This is a common situation I’ve seen as a Brazilian Jiujitsu coach.

Some White Belts have too much aggression while others don’t seem to have any at all. Personally I was one of the White Belts that had way too much.

Being Technically Aggressive In BJJ

In this video I discuss some of the strategies I used to build aggression off my back. Because as a Wrestler who got into BJJ second. Being aggressive off my back didn’t come naturally in my BJJ training.

On the subject of BJJ aggression I also want to stress that if you don’t naturally have aggression. It’s ok. Many people are overly aggressive because of  negative factors. Things like ignorance to the positions and fear of losing can cause this.

My goal for anyone wanting to develop more aggression would be to do so based on their technical abilities. Rather than blind aggression. Being aggressive in BJJ is great but doing so without the technique to back it up will lead to a road block eventually.

Anyways, I hope this video helps out any of you trying to be more aggressive in BJJ.

Thanks!
-Chewy

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What is a “Dick Move” in BJJ Training?

What is a ” dick move ” in BJJ? Where is the dividing line between using a perfectly acceptable Brazilian Jiu-jitsu technique and doing something that makes you a jerk, possibly injures someone, or just makes people not want to roll with you?

Before I dive into any more information. Let me say that if you are in question about whether or not you’re using a “dick move” or being a jerk in BJJ. . You probably are.

In the video I share, what I feel, are the 2 biggest determining factors.

Dick Move in BJJ Video 


Those 2 things being. . .

1. The origin of the technique within. What sort of place did this technique come from in you? What kind of emotions fueled it?

2. The intent or objective of this BJJ technique or move. What is the point and what are you trying to achieve?

There are some techniques that are inherently not cool to use. But for the most part. I believe if you are coming from a cool, collected place mentally when you’re rolling. You’ll be less likely to do something someone would consider a “dick” move.

 

When Used A Dick Move

From my own experience. I did dick moves all the time as a younger practitioner because I was afraid to lose, or because I would get frustrated.

And as I share in the video. You can take a BJJ technique or adjustment that is perfectly fine and change it into something negative just by the mental state in which it was executed.

I go into more detail in the video, plus I talk about the absolute most important thing to consider when you’re rolling in BJJ.

This is especially good for BJJ White Belts who are learning the ropes and trying to figure out what is ok and what’s not.

I hope the video helps!
-Chewy

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Grip Fighting Changed My BJJ Game

Mash the person who taught my more grip fighting

Mash in the center

BJJ has a funny way of bringing people into your life that sometimes change your game in ways you never anticipated. I had one such situation in 2011. I had the pleasure of meeting a person who would become a friend and great training partner.

Mash, which is short for Mashashi Takahashi, was a Purple Belt in BJJ and a Black Belt in Judo. He also competed in Judo in college back in Japan. He was visiting Louisville for about a year and while he was here he became a fixture in the gym.

We trained together, competed together and partied together. He was hilarious in the last respect.

 

Grip Fighting is the Nuts and Bolts

One of the things that stuck out about his stand up style compared to mine (and most of the gyms) which had more of a wrestling / BJJ element to it. Was the hand fighting for grips. This led to me having him teach Judo classes with an emphasis on the grip fighting techniques he used. These classes had a profound effect on me and sent me on a road of being kind of obsessed with grip fighting at times.

I know it’s a weird thing to obsess over. Especially with all the cool stuff in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu like submissions. I mean it’s not sexy and doesn’t make you go OOOOOooo. . . . ahhhhhh. But dominating grips and being able to dominate the BJJ grip fighting is huge.

When you think about it. Grip fighting in BJJ is a core element to everything! And yet many times it goes overlooked or just isn’t focused on much. Even though a technique begins with “grab this and grab that.”

I compared to a car. When you look at a car. You notice the color of the paint. The styling of the panels. The way the lights look. All that stuff. But you probably don’t even think about all the nuts and bolts that hold the thing together. Grips are the nuts and bolts to your BJJ game.

 

They Couldn’t Get Grips on my Students

This grip fighting focus spilled over into my BJJ competition game almost immediately. And as I started to fight more aggressively for grips in my Jiu-jitsu matches. My wins, and more importantly the way I won, shot up. And when I’m talking about BJJ grip fighting. I’m not just talking about the feet and doing takedowns. I’m also talking about the ground. Even submissions start with grips first.

This whole grip fighting focus came to head about a year later.

I realized I was competing against a Judo Black Belt in a BJJ competition. And I was dominating the grips. I was even able to score a throw! Which I’m not going to lie, I was pretty happy about.

He was better at throwing than I was. But I had dominated grips.

Soon after this. I was coaching my guys at a local tournament. We had so many people on the mats that I was rushing around like crazy. Then all of a sudden I felt it. My stomach start to almost cramp up. I had forgotten to use the bathroom for several hours. I rushed to the bathroom to get rid of the water I had been holding.While I was using the restroom. I overheard some people from another team talking in the locker room which was attached to the bathroom. Their conversation went something like this.

BJJ Player 1: Did you go against anyone from Derby City?

BJJ Player 2: Yeah. . . they’re so rough!

BJJ Player 1: Yeah! And I couldn’t get any grips on them!

When I heard this. I must have been grinning ear to ear. Probably inappropriate for a bathroom setting.

This is honestly why I created the Get A Grip video series. To help educate beginners on the importance and the how tos of grip fighting. Because if you can keep the grips your opponent needs off. Then they will be unable to use the techniques they want.

And I’ve seen first hand, both through myself and my students, how much of a difference being more focused on grips can make in someones BJJ game. And I can say 100% that focusing more on grip fighting changed my game fundamentally.

If you’re not already focused on Bjj grip fighting. Then you should be. If you’re a beginner and you’d like to shorten the learning curve for your grip fighting Bjj abilities.

Check out the Get a Grip series I created.

 

grip fighting series

 

 

 

Sadly, Mash (although he wanted to stay) had to leave the gym. But he’s still one of our team. And always will be! He even sports our patches. It always makes me happy that when people train here they enjoy the coaching and the experience enough to want to be a part of it even when they leave.

 

-Chewy

Mash sporting Derby City patches at his home gym in Japan!