Sunday, October 31, 2010

Injuries vs. To-be-expected Aches and Pains

Aches and pains are to be expected when you are an aged and feeble BJJ student.  Unfortunately, injuries are also to be expected.  Since I started, I have had a rotator cuff sprain, elbow bone spur, elbow bursitis, popped rib, torn shoulder cartilidge, and arthritis in both shoulders.  These injuries and the elbow surgery have had me out about half of the year that I have been training.  I have learned how to protect myself and be smarter at training.  Here are my lessons learned:

1. get very warmed up.  Don't spar until you are loose and ready.

2. Follow the technique with no short cuts.  I screwed up my elbow by being lazy when break falling.

3. Be defensive and avoid being submitted.  Subs are brutal on the joints.

4. Tap as soon as you are caught.  There is no sense in straining your joints when you are already done for.

5. Give your joints a break.  When my arthritis starts to ache endlessly, I will take a break from class or spare for a shorter time.  Your younger team mates will not understand, but if you are in it for the long haul, be prepared to take extra time.

Historical Use of the Term Political Jiu Jitsu or Political Ju Jitsu

The term Political Jiu Jitsu or Political JuJitsu is a new one to me.  I heard it on a news show referring to the act of taking one's strength and twisting it to seem like its their weakness.  An acadwmic seacribed it as "The ability of weak actors to exploit the frequent contradictions that arise-particularly in advanced liberal democracies-between normative commitments and material interests."  Huh...uh...ok...  The origins of the use of this term is unknown, but it is something that appeared in the 2008 presidential race. 

This post did better research on the term ( "In his classic study, The Power of Nononviolence (1934), Richard B. Gregg coined the term “moral jiu jitsu” to describe the principles undergirding Gandhi’s satyagraha as he had seen them operate in India.  Martin Luther King, Jr. considered Gregg’s book one of five that most profoundly shaped his thought, and wrote the foreword to an edition published in 1960. (An abridged version of that edition is here.)  Gregg argued that the use of physical violence by groups that seek to challenge a repressive order legitimizes a violent response by that order, and since that order usually has a far greater capacity for violent force, this is a losing strategy.  A refusal to use violence, on the other, causes the repressive order to lose moral balance, in the same way that jiu jitsu causes an attacker to lose physical balance.

In 1973, political scientist Gene Sharp, termed by one commentator “the Clausewitz of nonviolent warfare,” published The Politics of Nonviolent Action.  In it, he dropped “moral jiu jitsu” in favor of “political jiu-jitsu,” a phrase intended to encompass tactics that went beyond Gregg’s emphasis on the psychological effect of nonviolent resistance.  The metaphor informs the entire book, and a key chapter is entitled “Political Jiu-Jitsu.”  Its first paragraph defines the term:

Political jiu-jitsu is one of the special processes by which nonviolent action deals with violent repression. By combining nonviolent discipline with solidarity and persistence in struggle, the nonviolent actionists cause the violence of the opponent’s repression to be exposed in the worst possible light. This, in turn, may lead to shifts in opinion and then to shifts in power relationships favorable to the nonviolent group. These shifts result from withdrawal of support for the opponent and the grant of support to the nonviolent actionists.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

BJJ in Lexington, KY

I was in Lexington for work and I brought my Gi in hopes of finding a BJJ gym. Four Seasons MMA is a great place. Head Coach Michael ODonnell, black belt and member of Carlson Gracie Fight Team, was very welcoming. The class was not large (<10) and the coaches were not lazy. They went out of their way to help with technique. The format was different than what I was used to: starting and ending with sparring. The BJJ mat was elevated on top of used tires, which added a spring and cushion to falls, very OMJJ Approved. I am still searching for the gym that has double mats for that cushiony soft landing from a toss, but 4S's were close (yes, its a joke)! It is located in an industrial building and it was like an oven during the hot September day that I was there. It was a very active place with kids and other MMA classes.

Bow and Arrow Choke from Full Mount

After succumbing to the bow and arrow choke many times, I finally was in a class where it was being taught and drilled.  We drilled it as a counter to the opponent shrimping out of full mount.  It is definitely OMJJ Approved.  It requires minimal movement and energy.  The especially OMJJ Approved technique is the variation where you don't pull back on the leg or hip, but just use the free hand to pry behind the head.  I couldn't find a YouTube video of the bow and arrow choke from full mount nor the head pry variation, but this video is close:

OMJJ Approved BJJ Techniques

In an attempt to identify the most favorable techniques for the old man jiu jitsu practitioner (and to assist me in remembering them), OMJJ Approved techniques will be listed with the following logo:
OMJJ Approved techniques meet one or more of the following criteria:
  • Minimizes energy use
  • Requires limited flexibility
  • Emphasizes technique over strength
  • Applies strategy over endurance
  • Frustrates youthful practitioners
OMJJ Approved may also be applied to BJJ schools and events that facilitate the aged and feeble BJJ practitioner.