This past Wednesday teacher skipped the normal lesson and had us work a little ground. The visitor from the last class was back with his wife so it may have been for their benefit. This time we worked two basic guard escapes: 1) The scissor sweep and 2) Shrimping and pushing.
Overall I really liked this lesson! It was new for at least three of us and we were all able to pick it up fairly fast and usually make it work. General old man observations:
- Much easier to execute if my partner was my size or less
- During both it was emphasized the importance of getting on your feet (though teacher did say you can use the scissor to reverse and mount)
- Conditioning is still a problem for me — I foolishly thought I’d expend less energy down there but I still find myself getting winded pretty quick (definitely means I need to escape fast!)
- Tight clothing can hinder
That last point was the laugh and the lesson of the night. We have no official “uniform” for this class. Since it’s self-defense for the street we are advised to wear loose fitting workout clothing with the option of coming to class in street clothing. I always wear old black karate pants and a t-shirt which works just fine. Every now and again we have one guy who does warehouse work and who will wear his work jeans and shirt.
Well Mr. Forklift was having a bugger of a time maneuvering on the ground in his very tight work jeans. About halfway through class we heard a rip followed by the word “shit!” Yup, you guessed it: he split the crotch in his jeans! Luckily Teacher loaned him a pair of sweats so he could continue. This did prompt Teacher to lecture us on what we wear and how it could affect you if you do get into a scrap on the street:
- Ties can become nooses
- Certain shoes will prohibit you from doing fancy kicks because of their high traction
- Other shoes might be so slippery that you’d fall when executing kicks
- Heavy shoes or boots can slow you down
- Tight clothing can impede movement
- Jackets or lose fitting shirts can be pulled up over your head and cause you trouble
- Bulky clothes can slow you down
This incident made me think of a certain commercial from the 80s. What Mr. Forklift needs are a pair of Segefield Jeans!
I liked these two techniques for sure. Part because they were easy to pick up and use and part because they have “escape” built in. I’ve been thinking a lot about why I am so uncomfortable on the ground. I think it’s a few things: fear of my age, fear of an old injury, and, thanks to the prison days, paranoia about getting shanked while grappling. Unless I have an epiphany I doubt I’d ever pursue BJJ seriously. When and if we are able to move from this city I’ll likely look for a martial art that at least has some ground basics in it. If I can’t find that I’ll make due with whatever offerings are available.
Anyhow, let’s close with two videos that show what I learned. The only note here is that we did not punch as we shrimped and pushed. Otherwise these videos are pretty close!
(Note: Videos can’t be embedded. To watch click play then click on the “Watch on YouTube” link)
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