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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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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leg locks in bjj

Are Leg Locks in BJJ More Dangerous Than Other Submissions?

Are Leg Locks in BJJ really that Dangerous? Some people avoid them like the plague citing that leg locks are so destructive that they shouldn’t almost not be practiced at all. As if they are some evil section of grappling that should be avoided at all costs.

 

But in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, as I think we all know, all submissions are dangerous and have the potential to alter someone’s life in a very profound way. I’ve met people who have had permanent caused by things like armbars or rear naked chokes (improperly applied), which many unanimously agree are “safe” submissions to use in BJJ training.

Rolling is a Serious Game

Because of this inherent danger in everything we do on the mats. I think it’s always important to remind ourselves of just how serious the game of Rolling can actually be. We have a blast and it’s so much fun. But when it comes time to finish our training partners in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. We have to be smart.

Accidents happen in BJJ and people get injured. It’s just how it is and there is no way around it completely. But one goal we should always keep close to home as a training partner is to do everything in our power to ensure our partners leave in the same shape they came in. So if they were healthy and uninjured walked into the gym. They should be that way walking out.

Aversion to Leg Locks in BJJ

Many people have a certain aversion to Leg Locks in BJJ. I know that during my first few years of BJJ. A lot of coaches at this time talked about the techniques as if they were evil and just bad! It reminded me of the Dark Arts of Harry Potter or something.

But overtime they’ve become more and more prominent in BJJ and because of this more and more people are practicing them as part of their Brazilian Jiujitsu. I believe their prominence was caused by the gaping hole that was created by the lack of people in Brazilian Jiujitsu actually focusing on the lower body submissions.

I personally had to let go of the consistent idea that I had about leg locks in BJJ. That idea was mainly that they were too dangerous.

I’ve actually found through years of coaching that with proper knowledge they’re just about as safe as anything else. In fact, inside our gym over the last 3 years I’ve seen less injuries related to Leg Locks since we started practicing them on a weekly basis.

People are more sensitive to them now, they know how to escape and they know how to apply them with control. They know when to tap and how to adjust their body through the technique.

I know you may not agree. But I hope you at least consider the way you think about Leg Locks. Are they you’re own thoughts based on your own experiences, or are they the beliefs of another person?

Because through my experience as a BJJ Black Belt and Coach. Whether we are talking about an Armbar, Kimura or a Heel Hook in BJJ. . . they are all dangerous.

Thanks!
-Chewy

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BJJ armbar vs tight hands

BJJ Armbar From Mount Vs Tight Hands

If you’ve train BJJ then I guarantee you have been in a Mount positions unable to finish your opponent. If you get someone in Mount and they just ball up it can be very difficult to get the Submission. This is especially true when someone keeps their hands together.

This is the problem our buddy Nurzhigit is having. He says he’s finally able to get some offense going during his Brazilian Jiu-jitsu training but says that he can’t seem to finish once he gets to Mount because the person will lock their hands together.

I have a whole arsenal of techniques to deal with this very situation because over the years I’ve experienced the same frustration. I could get to Mount during BJJ competitions or Brazilian Jiu-jitsu training but I couldn’t seem to get the submission.

So I had to develop multiple ways to attack because I knew I SHOULD be able to snag the submission from Mount.

In the video I give two of the simplest ways I know to combat our opponent in Brazilian Jiu jitsu locking their hands.

 

Basic Setups for BJJ Armbar and Keylock

1 option is a basic 2 on 1 that works well pretty much through all belt levels. A basic setup using the Keylock / Americana from Mount and transitioning to the BJJ Armbar from Mount if the opponent turns to defend (which is very common).

The 2nd is another evergreen technique involving a hand crawl to isolate the head and shoulder. I’ve used this one, again, since I was a BJJ white belt.

If you watch my channel you know that I’m not really into fancy techniques. I like straight forward, more “old school”, Brazilian Jiujitsu techniques that allow me to dominate position and chip away at the opponent.

I hope the 2 submissions and BJJ armbar setup from mount shown in this video helps!

Thanks again to Nurzhigit, from Kazakhstan, Aktau city. Who trains at Caspian Brothers BJJ.

-Chewy

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Fast BJJ Big guy

Be a FAST BJJ Big Guy by Rolling This Way

 

Are you a BJJ big guy? If so, how do you roll with smaller training partners during your Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practices?

In my experience one of the best ways for BJJ big guys to roll with their smaller training partners is to do so with as much finesse and speed as possible.

The reason?

Because every big guy is strong, right? But not every big guy is fast. So by adapting your style and attempting to move at a smaller person’s pace. You in turn train your body to be quicker. I mean who doesn’t want to become a fast big guy?

I was a BJJ Big Guy who wanted to move FAST!

One of the comments I get consistently when I roll in jiu jitsu with people is that I move really quickly for a big guy. This was not by accident or because I’m naturally a fast person. Instead, it’s something I’ve developed over the years when training with my smaller training partners.

I’ve talked about it before. But back in 2009-2010 I went on a journey to create more movement and develop more speed into my game. When I watched Brazilian Jiu-jitsu competitions I noticed that I was attracted to the people that had very good movement.

I also noticed that in many cases. The person that stops moving usually loses the match.

So in order to boost my ability to move in BJJ. I started training with my smaller training partners in a much more speed and finesse oriented fashion. There is far more scrambles and constant adjusting. Which is tiring for a big guy at first, but gets easier overtime.

This encouraged my smaller training partners to roll more with me because I wasn’t trying to smash their head off every time. And the benefit for me was that I learned to be faster and more fluid in Brazilian Jiu jitsu.

And I still have the option of turning the strength on and being heavy if I need it.

So if you’re a BJJ big guy and you train with smaller guys often. Try rolling with them in the way I talk about in the video and see how it helps you.

I hope the video helps!
-Chewy

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10 BJJ Solo Drills W/ Heavy Bag ( Top Pressure )

solo BJJ drills

10 BJJ Solo Drills W/ Heavy Bag (Top Pressure And Movement)

In this video I show 10 BJJ solo drills you can do with an old heavy bag you might have laying around. The BJJ solo drills in this video will help develop better top pressure and movement from top positions.

I shared in a recent video that I think grappling dummies are a potential waste of time and money. Not because they’re not a good tool. But because most people lack the discipline and drive to do use them much at home.

After I made the video a bunch of you sent me messages saying that you have grappling dummies or do solo drills a great deal from your home. Either because it’s supplemental BJJ training or because there isn’t a Brazilian Jiu-jitsu school close by.

So to help out with your BJJ training I did another set of BJJ solo drills you can do. Many of these are similar to the various drills I’ve done before. But the purpose isn’t just the drills themselves but getting you to think about how you can use a old heavy bag you might have. You can be creative and get something out of a simple tool.

 

How To Use These BJJ Solo Drills

When you do the drills, if you’re looking for a good workout. Do each drill for 30-45 seconds a piece. Then transition to the next drill with no rest. Do this for a full pass through and repeat for 2-3 rounds.

It’s guaranteed to get you sweating and you’ll be developing good movement for top positions in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu.

In our gym we also use old heavy bags that have broken for MMA fighters to beat on and punch like ground and pound. But you can also use them for your Brazilian Jiu jitsu training in the form of these solo drills.

So if you’re looking for solo BJJ drills you can do from home. This is a cheaper option than a grappling dummy. Check out the video and I hope it helps!

Thanks!
-Chewy
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Tips For Grappling After 30 ( I Feel Better At 31 Than 28 )

Tips For Grappling After 30 ( I Feel Better At 31 Than 28 )

Getting old and grappling after 30 years old is something I’ve discovered isn’t as bad as I was expecting. Eventually my body will break down as it ages. And hard rolling will be out of the question.

But for now, I’ve found several ways to lessen the frequency of injuries and stay healthy on the mat. Even though I’m now 30+ years old. I can honestly say I feel better than I did at 28.

In this video I discuss some of the issues I started having in my late 20s. Everyone tells you that as you get older you will just feel your body more. And this was the case for me.

In the video I share some of the simple things I started doing after I noticed my body felt worse and worse when I was around 28 years old.

 

The Secret To Grappling After 30

Making routine maintenance a part of my routine has been my secret to feeling better and healthier as I’m becoming older and grappling after 30.

Some of the benefits I’ve received by staying on top of my maintenance work is . . .

  • In general I feel less stiff and take less time to warm up.
  • By respecting my body’s needs. I perform better when I train hard.
  • I’m injured less and on the mat more.

Some of the different things I do to relax and repair my body are. . .

  • Stretching and deep breathing.
  • A more relax, yin, style yoga.
  • Myofascial release. Foam rolling, lacrosse ball work, etc.
  • Corrective exercises.
  • Believe it or not, walks. On my off days I like to go for a nice walk or hike.
  • Laying in my hammock. You might be rolling your eyes. But a lot of us don’t give ourselves proper time to rest. Even when we rest we feel like we’re being lazy or aren’t making progress. I know that’s a problem for me. Giving myself the mental OK that it’s ok to rest goes a long way.

Start At Any Age

No matter what age you are. If you take the idea that you are a high performance machine and work on developing a routine for your maintenance. I promise, you’ll feel and perform better when you’re on the mats.

Here’s the Attack The Back post if you’re interested in hearing more about my take on grappling after 30 and beyond.

Click here to check out the full interview at Attack The Back.

Thanks!
-Chewy

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11 Solo BJJ Drills W/ Stability Ball (Guard Passing And Hips)

11 Solo BJJ Drills W/ Stability Ball (Guard Passing And Hips)

Solo BJJ drills are no replacement for drills with a partner. But solo BJJ drills can be a great way to get some movement in when a partner is not available.

Maybe when you’re at home or unable to make it to the gym.

If I do solo BJJ drills. I’m focused on building good movement that will translate over to training. In this video I share 11 solo BJJ drills you can do with a stability ball that will help build your guard passing game and hip movement. BJJ is all about hips right?

 

Some of the movements may be challenging to you currently and if that is the case. Do what you can and work towards performing the movement as shown in the video. Also, BE CREATIVE! Think about ways you could perform movements that are tailor made for your game on the ball.

 

Turn This Into A Stability Ball Circuit Workout

Perform each drill or movement for 45 seconds to 1 minute and move through each drill without rest. Take a couple of minutes and then repeat if able. This would definitely be a solid workout. I know that just after filming these drills, I was soaked in sweat.

 

I’m a big fan of building movement. As a bigger guy I like being able to move with agility and quickness. Every big guy can be heavy but it takes a lot of work to be a fast big guy. So these drills are great for further developing that. Let that also be me encouraging all of you big guys out there to get moving on the mats and push yourself rather than always just being the heavy big guy.

 

I hope these drills help you with your BJJ training!

Thanks!
-Chewy

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BJJ Speed Drilling Session For Cardio

BJJ Speed Drilling Session For Cardio

I received a message from one of the people that watches my videos. He said that he loves the BJJ speed drilling videos but doesn’t get much of a workout from it.

So I had one of our BJJ speed drilling sessions filmed to give you guys an idea of what one of our BJJ speed drilling sessions looks like.

The scheme of the BJJ speed drilling in this video was 2 rounds of 5 movements drilled at 30 seconds a piece with no rest until all 5 movements are completed.

Then we bumped the duration to 45 seconds and then to a minute.

By the end of the BJJ drilling session, as you’ll see in the video, we’re huffing and puffing and tired.

Again this is a speed drilling session so the focus isn’t on the most perfect technique. The focus is boosting cardio and using the movements quickly.

Just like when you’re rolling, techniques will be a little sloppier. When you’re doing the techniques and movements at a super fast pace, some “sloppiness” will happen. But this is important because adding stress to the movements will allow you to deal with the stress of trying to execute a technique during a roll, better.

So don’t beat yourself up if you stumble a bit on the movements. I know that when my students first get exposed to this type of stuff they feel a little frustrated because they either have to slow down or they fumble with the movements a bit.

TO do this yourself. Just pick some moves or techniques that you like and drill them fast. The less complex the move the better for speed drilling. If you have a more complex movement you can break down the move down into different segments. You can also combine several chains of techniques together and extend the duration of the drilling time.

I hope the video helps give you some ideas.

-Chewy

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Bjj Drills For Side Control Movement (On The Mats With Chewy)

Bjj Drills For Side Control Movement (On The Mats With Chewy)

In this BJJ drills video I teach some fun side control movements. I’ve done a previous video showing these BJJ drills. In this video I take you along with me and a small group and go over the drills and give a little more of an explanation.

Side control can be an amazing position if you know how to use it. But often times I hear people say they can’t hold side control. This usually stems from a lack of counters to their opponent’s defense.

That’s Where These BJJ Drills For Side Control Come Into Play

In the video we cover the:
– Hop Over
– Hip Switch To Kesa Gatame and Reverse Kesa Gatame
– Identify the sweet spot for pressure
– Surfboard Switch
– Shin Cutter

Each one of these techniques is a great adjust to common defenses from someone on the bottom. They can also be used for great movement drills.

During this particular class we used them to warm up before we got into the more in depth techniques in our X Guard and 1 X system.

The reason I love these drills so much is that if you can move around your opponent’s defense it’s so much easier to fight them. For instance with the Hop Over. If my partner commits fully to defend on one side, if I am able to Hop Over. I can then make my way to his undefended side.

Also, by getting around the person’s defense with these BJJ drills we are more likely to have a stronger side control position.

As always,

I hope these BJJ Drills help you and your game. If you work them, I’m sure you’ll get a boost to your Side Control position.

If you have any questions, leave a comment below.

Thanks!
-Chewy

P.S Sorry about the clanging weights and music from the Crossfit side in the background!

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