The age ranges for Hope for Warriors and 1 coach were 25-35. The age ranges for Clockwork and 2 coaches were 32-63. Clockwork participants were Angel, the 53 year old blind white belt, Pete, 30′s blue belt, the old man, Spin, age 63 year old black belt and Alex C, 30′s, Israeli military, black belt in BJJ and black belt in Judo who also competed in MMA.
My personal take away is first and foremost, we all thank Hope for Warriors for their service. After training, we spoke at length with their Gunny. Gunnery Sergeant (GySgt) is the seventh enlisted rank in the United States Marine Corps, just above Staff Sergeant and below Master Sergeant and First Sergeant, and is a staff non-commissioned officer (SNCO). It has a pay grade of E-7. His name was Ed and he was a purple belt awarded by the Gracie team, as they do combative activities in addition. The Gunnery Sergeant insignia consists of two M1 Garands centered vertically between three chevrons and two rockers.
Ed was explaining in great detail that vets who were conditioned to react in certain ways for a long time during their military career, are now having a hard time dealing with the opposite way of interacting. They basically went from high intensity to low intensity and its causing challenges. BJJ is proving to be a valid solution to address the needs of these vets.
Ed’s BJJ team has competed in tournaments before and won. They were wrestlers for many years as evident by their ears and are pretty well schooled by Ed in BJJ techniques.
When we began the seminar, we were under the impression that the Hope for Warriors participants might be physically challenged and we designed our lesson plan accordingly. Once the Warriors got dressed and came out of the locker room onto the mats, it was apparent they were not first day participants. Ed jumped in and got a roll or 2 during Clockworks regularly scheduled class and I was very impressed as he was training with a blue belt.
Once the seminar began, we all sat in a circle and introduced ourselves and then Alex C. began a series of no-gi lessons that included 3 techniques all linked to each other and the Warriors began eagerly to drill. As the drilling went on, Angel had to leave as he was their for the prior 2 classes. I took his drilling partner and we drilled for some time. Towards the end of the drilling session, the Warriors asked me to offer a little resistance to see the effectiveness of the move. Usually during drilling, no resistance is offered and the next step of drilling is a little resistance.
As they did the move on me, I offered about 20% resistance and as a result, they countered my 20% resistance so I had a choice to offer more resistance to their resistance or “flow” around their resistance. Which do you think I did? Offer more resistance by a 63 year old against a Marine who trains in BJJ and combative arts? Hell NO!!!! I flowed around and prevented the pass. Then another Warrior did the same thing to me and I flowed around and trapped his leg and prevented his pass. His comment was very encouraging and the basis for this blog post. He said we need more guys at his gym like me that move and do BJJ, rather than coming in and using brute strength without technique and risk injury. I totally understand that. It was a compliment to me and to Clockwork that we do BJJ using technique.
Now we begin to do live training and we set the clock for 5-minute rounds. One of the Marines that I drilled with called me out right away saying he wants to train with me. We began and as usual, I move at 50% with 100% defense. Thank goodness I have 100% defense because for the first 4 minutes of the first round, I spent defending multiple attacks, back attack, side control attack, arm bar attack, rear choke attack and guillotine attack. Get the point? Remember, I train at 50% so not to injury myself and defend at 100%. I basically survived and defended attacks for 4 minutes before jumping over to the safe side of a guillotine and getting top side control. I have developed thanks to Tom, a very high percentage escape from a guillotine and often drill and go live with Tom. Tom has “lead pipes” as forearms and the Marine for some reason, thankfully for me, did not. Once I got top side control, normally we look for an Americana, a safe and high percentage submission from side control. However, as Tom and I have discussed many times, if you go through all that trouble to get your opponent down and submit him, once you reset and start over, its going to be the same energy if not more to get him down if you can and submit him again if you can. Rather than looking for the submission, I held my top position and rested until the buzzer went off. We shook hands and went on to the next partner. My second and last roll was exactly the same. Intense movement by the Warrior for 4 minutes until I was able to pass and maintained top side control. Even though there were 2 more Warriors to train with, I was tired from participating in the noon-1:00 regular class and it was now 2:30 and was burned out. Alex C. trained with all 4 Warriors and you know the outcome. Although, his first Warrior partner double legged Alex from the open guard and at that point, Alex knew it was on. Alex finished with a picture perfect head and arm choke from top mount to side control.
Pete had several rolls and was going at it the way we were. It was a great learning experience for everyone. First off, never underestimate a situation. Always be ready for extremes on both ends of the spectrum. Next, the Marines have a mojo/mind set that I identified and made simple and its called ABA for “always be attacking” or “always be advancing” meaning, use my 100% defense to set something up. I can’t just defend the pass, I have to defend first and then look for an efficient and effortless way to begin my attack (ABA) from my defense so I don’t burn out. Not launching an attack, because that’s fooling against a trained Marine, but use his attack to set up my attack while I am defending.
I understand this and hope you all do too. I am beginning this new BJJ philosophy January 17, 2017, which happens to be my favorite older daughters birthday.