Last week, the founding members of the Pappy Tap Inc had their midterm exam at Clockwork BJJ in NYC under Sensei Josh Griffiths. Black belts Tom and Allen and purple belt Roger, went to battle and successfully validated that You Don’t Need To Train Like a Beast to Beat a Beast. They all received an A+ on their midterm exam. (a figure of speech)
We all got there late and everyone had most of their rolls already. A few others got their late. I did a warm up with a purple belt who is the greatest flow roll ever. It was a cool down for him and a warm up for me since I got there late and its my first roll and that was his final roll. It was perfect. I was going to take a rest after the flow roll because we don’t stop moving. There is no focus on submission, rather the focus is on making as many technical transitions as possible, making your BJJ look good and trying new moves in a safe and ego free environment. When it comes to a submission because it was right there, its tap and go, meaning, don’t reset. Just continue from there so you are constantly moving. Its exhausting and beneficial if done properly. Tom and Roger just arrived and were changing and I did a drill with a purple belt who hurt his shoulder and we both benefited. Now Tom and Roger are on the mats ready to train and all 3 of us were warming up when another guy who came late approached us.
This other guy was a purple belt who won a few tournaments and was over 6′ tall and weighed over 220. He was 25 years younger than Tom and myself and very athletic. He was a good purple belt and to us, he is a black belt. Every 10 pounds heavier your opponent is than you, add one belt. Every 10 years younger your opponent is than you. add one belt. Get the point? Lets call him good purple belt.
Now the purpose of this blog post is to validate that You Don’t Need To Train Like a Beast to Beat a Beast.
The very good purple belt asked Roger to train and Roger replied he was training with Tom, which meant I was available to train. I don’t like to turn many guys/gals that ask me to train if they are on my approved list and good purple belt is on the list when I am 100%, and right now I am not 100%. So its questionable. It happens that good purple belt is a really cool guy that simply brings his A game when he trains. Nothing personal, he is all business, which is how it should be. Good purple belt poses a threat to us and if not careful, he will gracefully submit us. Even though I wear a black belt, it won’t protect me from tapping or getting injured.
So we shake hands and I sit in the bottom open guard position and he takes top combat stance. I am not looking to engage full speed right away. I need to diffuse and asses the situation. What the Pappy Tap members are perfecting, is, train smart – not hard so you can see moves in advance to defend and execute your moves to near perfection without worrying about keeping pace with your opponent. We set the pace. Good purple belt drives forward and works on passing my guard with force and power. I am not worried and rather than expend a tremendous amount of energy and gas out early, he passes and I position myself in a very strong and defensive side control. Thats my offense… having a stellar defense. As he begins his move to get me flat on my back, I do what I do best and escape and reverse the position. His technique is similar to how Tom controls his opponents and I am very familiar since Tom most often has me in the same side control position and we talk about how to work from there. In other words, I am very confident that if I get into someones side control, they really need to be black belt level to hold me down. I have several ways to escape and actually launch my offense. Look, there are times that a blue belt can tap a black belt or control the roll. Its how you do over a long period of training that matters and we have been training a long time and we train often. We have experience and understand what to expect. When we train, we are able to see moves, forecast outcomes and its like a chess match. Tom, Roger and myself stay after class and train this way. Others must wonder what the heck we are doing because it doesn’t look like we are doing much.
Now I am on top and he was in my traditional side control. I have about 3-seconds in the traditional side control before this very strong and athletic good purple belt attempts to off balance me and sweep me. He has before and he is really good at it. Because I train with Tom and we train like we do, it was easy for me to switch from traditional side control to a more secure side control for me that feeds into a high percentage submission. Its the Judo Side Control Wire Choke.
Getting right to the point…I was able to defend his initial attack, reverse the position, get my position secured, go for the set up and get halfway through the submission attempt before the bell rang to end the round. When the bell rang, it was a relief for both of us, we hugged and then he trained with Roger, as Tom and I trained. Tom and I watched very carefully when we were training and while Roger and good purple belt began to train and noticed that Roger was able to also control the pace, control the positions and did an amazing job, as Roger is a new purple and this guy was a good purple. Good means really good and new means you just got your purple belt and not long ago was a blue belt. There is for sure a difference between a new purple belt and good purple belt.
That seemed to be it. Tom, Roger and I spend 10-15 minutes each training session “micro drilling” moves and perfect the one thing that will make the difference between submitting and not submitting using pure technique. So, really good purple belt asked Tom him to show the move we were working on this week. Tom began to demonstrate on me and choke the shit out of me. He then did it to Roger and also choked the shit out of Roger. Then purple belt asked to feel the choke, which is a great way to see the set up and feel the submission and as Tom applied the choke, the purple belt began to resist and it turned into a very interesting roll. I could not believe it. I was peeing in my pants watching the good purple purple belt engage with Tom, initiate an attack where we were all not expecting that and how Tom began to defend and then launch his attack, staying within the principles of the Pappy Tap Inc motto. It was amazing how Tom, who is 61 years old and weighs 160 with a bad knee and bad shoulder, basically dominated good purple belt. Tom was not expecting to roll and was honored that good purple belt decided to go live. Its an honor when someone asks you to roll, because they feel you are a worthy opponent. Yes Tom is also a black belt, but again, the color of your belt won’t stop speeding bullets or a 220 pound good purple belt trying to smash the shit out of you. Remember, Tom is way older and lighter in body weight than good purple belt and good purple belt is a champion in his age, weight and skill division.
You Don’t Need To Train Like a Beast to Beat a Beast.
By training the way we do, by doing the micro drilling after class and taking care to train 5 days a week regularly with anywhere from 4-6 rolls a day with approved training partners, we just proved that there is a way You Don’t Need To Train Like a Beast to Beat a Beast and we found that way. We can train like this for the next 20 years for sure and that will take us to 81 and 82 years old respectively.