Competition Flow Roll

That doesn’t make sense because when you compete, you put the pedal to the metal and the go is very fast and much harder than when you do a flow roll and just move like yoga.

But today for some reason, I was able to merge together a competition roll with a young white belt and myself and had that “out of body” experience where I’m watching myself moving.

We played the passing game because I always say to my training partners “is there anything that you’re working on that I can help you with.” They always say yes and they tell me what it is and this young man’s goal was to work open guard passing.

So I start sitting on my butt with my feet on the mats, my elbows connected to my knees with my hands in front of me guarding my space so no one‘s coming in and we both know that I have bad knees and I’m not gonna go crazy with my knees. He comes in at 110% speed and intensity, blowing passed me with ease.

I go “beautiful wow” and we both smiled. Thats the purpose of working together with someone as compatible as this training partner. My training partner gets to work on his passing game in a real live and resisted situation, without the risk of injury. Higher belts understand how to move and therefore lower belts can can have a great experience and learn much from it.

We both have to benefit during the training session. I’m challenging my brain to experience a faster moving opponent. In my division master 7, which is age 60 and over, those guys move slowly and very technical.

So this is an opportunity for me to see what the other half of the world looks like, get my eyes used to a faster moving target and teach myself to either recover my guard or take an offensive position such as top side control. It’s that simple.

My 30 year old training partners goal is to pass my legs. He’s got to get pass my legs in order to use the benefits of Brazilian jiu jitsu and get topside control for three seconds. We then reset and start again.

So the way this works is that he normally goes pretty hard and fast with all the other belts and now that he’s going against a black belt, he really wants to perform. I encouraged him to bring it on.  I felt his first pass was legitimate. He used speed and technique and I applaud him. Now we go to the second pass and I immediately go into “a reflex reaction, muscle memory movements, fight or flight domination attitude…go with the flow and don’t worry about anything.” 

As I was working my competition flow,  I reminded myself that “I am a black belt and a 4 time medalist in national competitions.  I can out maneuver anybody, because I am stronger than my training partners. Let’s see what I can do.”

As my training partner moved one way as a fake and then moved the other way to get the pass.  I naturally anticipated his move and went to the turtle position because that’s the move of last week. From the turtle position, I fish behind me with my elbow looking for his over hook arm to secure for a brief moment.  From that turtle position (with his now outside hand or elbow trapped under my outside elbow), all I do is collapse my inside leg by straightening it out and replacing it with my other knee by sliding my knee 6” to the inside. This allows for my training partner to start his roll over my top hip. It’s a very high percentage sweep and it’s been done many times to me. The finish is when I roll backwards over the shoulder my trapping arm is on. The actual sweep is slow and in total control, so this makes for a great turtle sweep no matter what division you are in.

Well, I can’t tell you what or who initiated this competition roll pace before it turned into a flow roll, but we circled and went round and around and upside down in many positions because I was flowing but I was flowing at a competition rate and he was really pushing the pace to out maneuver me.

He looked and felt a little bit like he was gassing out and I was not at that point. Hmmmm. Now let’s talk about why a 69-year-old man with a heart attack, four stents along with 2 total knee replacements outmaneuver a 30 year old paramedic who is very physically fit.

As the founder of Spinnex Vitality at any age, I’ve been performing dynamic tension breathing with resistance bands for many many full moons. I do jiu jitsu three days a week, the other three days a week I do jiu jitsu conditioning where I spent 15 years of my life learning, honing, practicing and coaching high school kids to their national championships using this conditioning program.

So what I’m saying is that not only do I have 14 years of five days a week BJJ training under my belt, even though I took off three years, but apparently my skill level is better than a white belt training for a year.

So if you combine my skill, Spinnex Vitality conditioning, jiu jitsu conditioning, and the fact that my longtime training partner sensei Tom from Iron Guard dojo in Pine Bush New York asked me a question today on the phone. He asked if I think my knees can go to a competition. I answered that I don’t know. I’m wondering if subconsciously I answered Tom‘s question by doing a competition flow roll.

The only variable that I haven’t mentioned is the fact that I took my vitamins at 10:30 this morning, when my class starts at 11 am. The vitamin usually gets digested and goes to your bloodstream within an hour. That would mean at 11:30 my vitamins are fully activated in my body and whatever effect they are, it would start to take place in addition to using my sports tape and amino acids before and during training.

Also, I used sports tape, as we recently got sponsored by Thrive Tape for the
No Limits Jiu Jitsu Foundation competition October 1 with Ascension Grappling in Connecticut.

So my next training session I attempted to duplicate my competition flow roll and here is what happened.

I did “not” take my 10:30 vitamins before the 11:00 morning class. Everything else is exactly the same.

We had 2 rolls left in class and both a brown belt coach and purple belt coach approached me at the same time to train.

I went with the brown belt first and as usual, we flowed as he was pushing me, forcing me to continue to keep moving. That is the sign of a good training partner.
We started the round in a very slow training pace and as we got warmed up, our flow roll got faster and more intense. We were in perfect harmony, as we began to increase the pace. What I am articulating here is, at the more experienced and higher level belts, the goal is to move and be in total control of your body and your training partner. It was indeed a flow roll of the week.

At the end of the roll, I paid my training partner the ultimate compliment by saying that “it appears you train as if you were helping your training partners get better and allowing them to grow so you could have an even better training partner to train with.” He smiled and we both knew that we were both on the same page, as we are both great full we have great training partners.

The next round begins and the purple belt and I begin to train and it was an exact replication of the brown belt roll.

Now comes the best part. After class as we were getting dressed to leave, one of the white belts with 3 stripes approached me and said he was watching me roll with the brown belt and it looked like we were really going at it.

I smiled, said thank you and said that we were doing a high level training roll. I further said that is the goal. Train slow, perfect your technique and most importantly… look good as you move. You can always go faster, use more strength and before you do that, you must learn and must perform the moves, the positions, the set ups and the submissions slowly and to perfection. After training for 14 years, 5 times a week and having 2 total knee replacements and rehabbing for 3 years, I am great fully back.


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