Foundations BJJ did an introduction seminar yesterday. I couldn’t stay through the whole thing, but got up to the choke Arun showed. It felt good to do an actual BJJ warm-up for the first time in a long time. Matt started with the cross-knee guard pass, showing a lot of details that make the pass, then the transition to side-control after the pass. Arun picked it up from there with a way to take mount and then a circle choke from mount. Good stuff, I wish I could have stayed through Mike’s part.

There was pretty close to (if not over) 50 people there for the seminar. It will be interesting to see how many start showing up for classes (it’d be pretty cool to see 40+ folks for classes). Since they’ve taken the stance of welcoming everyone from any background/club/team/tribe it was a very eclectic group with a nice mix of all the belt colors.


Judo has been going pretty well. Refereeing is a lot of fun, I’d recommend it to anyone. You learn a lot about the sport aspect – why rules are what they are, what refs want to see in a match, what the direction it’s going in is. With a bit of luck I’ll be nikyu by the time winter ends.

Still, I feel like I’m missing something. Matt came to class on Tuesday and we went on the ground and it was like old times. It made me miss the ground all that much more. Don’t get me wrong, I love judo, but BJJ is what made me start this blog. Groundfighting is what I truly love, and unfortunately judo is not about being a ne waza technician. The rules are coming around, and maybe in 5 years will see the resurgence of ne waza as a real focus thanks to the influx of jiujitseros into judo. For now though, I miss BJJ, or heck even jujitsu.

Birthdays always make me look back on what I did this year and what I want. I wanted black belts in judo and BJJ before I turned 30. This year I’m 27, and now have a daughter. Still, I’m on track to get a judo balck belt in the next couple years; but since I’m already a purple belt in BJJ, if I buckle down, three years sounds reasonable. I guess it’s just a matter of if I can do it before my ankle gets any worse or something else goes south on me.

There’s a new school in Madison. It’s called Foundation BJJ. It’s a member of the Jiu-Jitsu Brotherhood and is being started by some really good guys. They’re running a clinic on Sunday and I’m hoping I can stop by. Not to get into the drama, but there’s only so many guys doing BJJ in Wisconsin, so this is a splinter group from another gym. It’ll be interesting to see what becomes of it.


There used to be a time where I spent some portion of every day on sites like LockFlow and LapelChoke. It’s been awhile. Today I went to look and they’re both gone. LockFlow closed down September 2, so only a few weeks ago. LapelChoke seems to have closed down September 30 of last year – has it really been that long?

To anyone who’s looking for a site to make – we need a new equivalent to sites like LockFlow and LapelChoke.

Home Mat – Gone

Third post in a day, it’s like I just remembered I have a blog or something…

My home mat is gone now. We took it apart to finish the basement. I’ll have a planned hiatus from grappling in a month or so, but I’ve known about it for the last eight.

For those who are wondering – it held up well, though I never used it as much as I had hoped I would. There just aren’t enough grapplers around to roll with and I never had the ambition to do solo drills on it more than a few times a month. Some judo clubs who used the foam block sprung floor have noted that after a few years of heavy use though – the foam will compact and you’ll end up needing to swap it out anyway. To be honest, the mats are the expensive part anyway, and even those don’t last forever. If you have followed the guide, watch the height of your floor, and if it’s noticeably lower in a few years, just swap out the foam blocks on the bottom by unscrewing the OSB and gluing new blocks in place.

Status Updates

My ankle still hurts when I stress it too much. I was squatting the other day and had to just re-rack the bar and stop. The good news is, I am squatting again and the amount of stress/weight that my ankle can handle is increasing. It feels so weird struggling to squat an amount that’s less than I weigh, but it’s improving. This will be my first week squatting bodyweight again.

My recovery would have been much faster had I been lifting earlier. It’s a relatively recent change that I’m doing actual weightlifting again. Albeit the routine is short – the holy three and then whatever auxiliary I feel like which usually means some kind of curl, pull-up, or dip. To me, that’s all you need.

I’m still playing judo to the extent that I can. That means there are some limits when it comes to strength/force still. I can only go a round of randori or two before I need a break. I’m doing more rounds on the ground than that because the guys I’m going with are good about controlling the pace so that it’s not so stressful.

I miss the ground terribly. Yes, judo has ne waza, but it’s not the same. The approach is different. The focus is different. You don’t stand to pass the guard. The scrambles are typically just fleeting instances between any given position and turtle. To me, the ground is so much more than that. It’s about moving, flowing, submitting; there is no place for stalling, and yet I’m finding my old judo habits are back and stronger than ever so even I’m turtling when I’d rather not.


Saturday I made the drive up to Fond Du Lac. There was a judo referee clinic and novice judo tournament. I figured, I could ref. Well, it didn’t go how I expected…

First off, it was a great clinic. Lots of information. Lots of good questions being answered. The only thing I would change would be us spending some time practicing the calls before a match. All of the presenters were really good. We spent what felt like a lot of time learning the difference between a yuko and no score, and a yuko and a waza-ari. Since it was a beginners tournament we were reffing, there were very few ippons anyway, so not a huge deal that we didn’t definitively cover an ippon. Generally, you know an ippon when you see it. If you’re at all curious about the IJF rules, I strongly recommend going to a local referee clinic, or spending some time talking to your referees.

When it came to reffing in practice… Well, by the end of the day I was confident in my calls for points. At first not so much – call and then immediately look to the senior ref as my hand half hangs there somewhere between waza-ari and yuko. What I was still struggling with when I left were the nerves. Bad nerves. Forgetting my Japanese so I called out “toketa” when I meant “osaekomi” nerves. They’ll pass. I asked. It’s like competing. The first few times are nerve-wracking, but at some point you have the confidence that you’re going to go out there and it’s just going to be what it is. All you can do is your best. Except in this case if I screw up, rather than breaking my foot, a more experienced ref can overturn my call. So there’s that – a solid safety net of some of the nicest and most experienced judoka Wisconsin has to offer.

The next tournament I’m planning to ref for is the Badger Open in Fond Du Lac on October 17. If you’re competing and I screw up, I’m sorry, someone will help correct it. It’ll be my second tournament ever, and first real tournament. I’m pretty excited for the opportunity.

BJJ In The Olympics (Again)

Gamenes… in their latest two blog posts they’re recommending a name change for BJJ will actually help with it getting into the Olympics. They’re going so far as to say we can ignore sport ju-jitsu because the JJIF isn’t making “any serious attempts to popularize traditional jiu-jitsu as a sport”. For reference: 1 & 2

I’ve beaten this dead horse a few times. But since others still really want BJJ in the Olympics, let’s cut the shit and have a truly frank conversation.

First, I call bullshit on Gameness. The JJIF has had several applications to become an Olympic sport and has been actively trying for decades. It’s in the World Games and the JJIF is a member of both the GAISF and IWGA. Saying that there aren’t serious attempts to popularize sport ju-jitsu is just ignorant. The assumption that the JJIF is unused because their website is outdated is… well, it wasn’t until last week that the USJA updated their website, but that doesn’t mean judo isn’t practiced anymore. For that matter, sport ju-jitsu has the recognition of bodies like USJA which now pushes jujitsu tournament announcements to judoka. I promise you, it’s a grassroots movement, but there is a movement to popularize jujitsu. You’re just unlikely to hear about it unless you’re in one of the sports that has a real governing body that can court you about it.

I’m going to say this one more time, and then I’m just never going to bring it up again: Brazilian jiu-jitsu isn’t really a distinct sport from judo. It’s a separate rule set. It’s not even “basically just judo”, it’s literally judo that was taught to some Brazilians before the term “judo” was popular. If you want to compete in the Olympics, learn some throws, or at minimum some throw defenses, and go wreak havoc on the ground in judo. I promise it’s okay. The IJF will happily take you back like the prodigal sons and daughters you are. The rules for judo might even get better if there’s a large population of ground fighters actively competing. If you’re not willing to compete in the almost identical sports that already are in the Olympics, you probably aren’t going to like what being in the Olympics is going to do to your rule set if by the long shot, over the next five decades the necessary stars line up to make BJJ an Olympic sport.