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TripNSweep

Catch Wrestling

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Dude, you sound like a nice guy, so I'm not trying to be a jerk, but from what you describe, the gym you are at and the instructors are not very good. Seems like you are trusting and take what they say and present as face value, and just my two cents, but I get the feeling they are taking advantage of that with you and others.

 

There are so many random, small BJJ tournaments, let alone "catch" tournaments where there are so few competitors you automatically get a medal, even without having to win a match. Or just win one match to get a medal. You could rack up an "impressive" display pretty quickly. So, don't take that presentation as an automatic sign of legitimacy. Somebody could display all their PeeWee wrestling medals at the front of their gym and that would look impressive to the untrained eye too. But what if they had no State medals, or anything beyond that?

 

Some affiliations in jiu jitsu can be bought and sold quite easily, with no quality control. The seller gets money, and the buyer gets legitimacy - but the students get the short end.

 

In jiu jitsu, technique is king. If the only person that can "out technique" you is 60-70 pounds heavier than you that's not a good sign. The other thing about jiu jitsu is, not everyone competes. That's so different than wrestling. In wrestling, you spar with competition intensity because everyone competes. In jiu jitsu, you have to learn how to roll with competitors differently than you would casual practitioners. It would basically be like rolling with a middle school kid the same way you do a college wrestler. Jiu jitsu rooms are much more diverse in skill level, background, talent, etc than a wrestling room, which is generally fairly homogenous. If people claim to be "competitors" at a gym, but complain that you go too hard, that's another bad sign. Some BJJ gyms are very competition focused, others not so much. You'll never find a wrestling club that "doesn't compete".

 

The guard pulling thing can be annoying for wrestlers, but as long as guard pulling is not penalized in bjj competition, people would be dumb NOT to do it. Wrestling has 1 not 2, the guard pull in BJJ is basically 0 not 2. It is what it is, learn to pass guard and love that game is my only advice. That's still not an excuse for many gyms to never start from the feet, or do so very rarely. Especially around 180 pounds and up, takedowns decide lots of matches in bjj.

 

Like I said, I'm not trying to come off too harsh, but as long as you were respectful in the way you roll or offer advice, you should not have been rebuked or cast off the way you were. A bjj gym is lucky to have someone with extensive wrestling experience, but some instructors are threatened by that since it shows a gap in their skill set. There's a lot of fog and mirrors in jiu jitsu, and some folks cling to the mystique they create for themselves. 

 

The guy is pretty legitimate.  I'm not an ace at submissions or BJJ, so about the only thing I can do well is control from the top position.  When I first started he was able to sweep me or catch me off balance, but I've learned how to mostly avoid that now.  There's a few other guys who are pretty big and strong, and I'm not very strong myself, but strong enough to be able to hold them off.  There was a young guy who was there a lot, he wrestled in college and we were pretty even against each other, but he got busy with school and doesn't have time anymore.  I think what annoys some of them is that they pull to guard but can't really do anything because I know enough now feel wise to avoid leaving my arm or head out in a dangerous place for them to grab onto it and twist it or something.  I rarely try to pass or try what they consider a basic one, or use the can opener a lot.  One of the purple belt guys in there hates it because he says I don't really do anything other than sit in his guard, avoid getting tapped and don't try to pass.  The last time he didn't pull guard I took him directly into side control and held him between there and knee on belly for the whole round.  He really didn't like that.  I'm not saying I'm a great competition grappler or anything either. 

 

As far as people from the school competing, they seem to do pretty well.  True I don't know enough about the different tournaments or who's in them.  I did ask about competing once and at what level the instructor thought I should go, because I have no idea where I really stand, and he said I should go advanced/expert without a gi but in a gi he said going to compete in a blue belt division wouldn't be out of the question.  As far as I know his black belt is legitimate and his lineage and affiliation is legitimate.  If you want to look into it yourself PM me and I can give you his name. 

 

The people there are usually very nice, it's not strict and formalized like some BJJ places I've heard about.  I think part of it is you can't really run practices like a wrestling practice intensity wise, because like you said, people who aren't there to compete, would get turned off by it and not stick around very long. 

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The first thing I learned in judo was to forget about wrestling and do my best to learn judo.  I am not sure if that is worth anything to you or if it relates to your situation well or not, but it may.  You might benefit if you "Empty the cup" (for you fans of Bruce Lee).  You probably aren't going to learn better ways to take anyone down than you did in wrestling but you may still learn a lot about transitioning to advantageous self defense positions and submissions outside of takedowns.     

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The first thing I learned in judo was to forget about wrestling and do my best to learn judo.  I am not sure if that is worth anything to you or if it relates to your situation well or not, but it may.  You might benefit if you "Empty the cup" (for you fans of Bruce Lee).  You probably aren't going to learn better ways to take anyone down than you did in wrestling but you may still learn a lot about transitioning to advantageous self defense positions and submissions outside of takedowns.     

 

That's kind of it though.  If I emptied the cup and tried to learn what they're teaching, I would horribly regress.  They mean well, I think anyway.  The head instructor seems like the kind of guy who wants the best for people competing for him.  But subscribing to this catch wrestling stuff 100% is just baffling, because of the lack of basic wrestling fundamentals.  The extra movement, the wasted energy, the lack of sound technique and relying on just strength.  I don't try to go overpower anyone I roll against.  I'll use my strength if I have to, but mostly I don't because that isn't going to help me get better by out muscling some 160 lb guy who I've got 30 or so lbs on.  I'm open to learning the BJJ or submission game, but spending a bunch of time teaching bad wrestling fundamentals and skills isn't something I'd like to spend my time doing. 

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The guy is pretty legitimate.  I'm not an ace at submissions or BJJ, so about the only thing I can do well is control from the top position.  When I first started he was able to sweep me or catch me off balance, but I've learned how to mostly avoid that now.  There's a few other guys who are pretty big and strong, and I'm not very strong myself, but strong enough to be able to hold them off.  There was a young guy who was there a lot, he wrestled in college and we were pretty even against each other, but he got busy with school and doesn't have time anymore.  I think what annoys some of them is that they pull to guard but can't really do anything because I know enough now feel wise to avoid leaving my arm or head out in a dangerous place for them to grab onto it and twist it or something.  I rarely try to pass or try what they consider a basic one, or use the can opener a lot.  One of the purple belt guys in there hates it because he says I don't really do anything other than sit in his guard, avoid getting tapped and don't try to pass.  The last time he didn't pull guard I took him directly into side control and held him between there and knee on belly for the whole round.  He really didn't like that.  I'm not saying I'm a great competition grappler or anything either. 

 

As far as people from the school competing, they seem to do pretty well.  True I don't know enough about the different tournaments or who's in them.  I did ask about competing once and at what level the instructor thought I should go, because I have no idea where I really stand, and he said I should go advanced/expert without a gi but in a gi he said going to compete in a blue belt division wouldn't be out of the question.  As far as I know his black belt is legitimate and his lineage and affiliation is legitimate.  If you want to look into it yourself PM me and I can give you his name. 

 

The people there are usually very nice, it's not strict and formalized like some BJJ places I've heard about.  I think part of it is you can't really run practices like a wrestling practice intensity wise, because like you said, people who aren't there to compete, would get turned off by it and not stick around very long. 

 

I get your frustrations. They are pretty common for wrestlers coming into jiu jitsu. From what you describe in sparring, I think a comparison to wrestling might make sense. Imagine if a really big and strong jiu jitsu player came to a wrestling practice. During live goes on the feet, he avoids ties, circles away, and doesn't take any shots. On the mat, he clams up on bottom and doesn't try to escape. On top, he will throw legs in and can ride you out, but doesn't try to turn.

 

That's basically what rolling with a raw or relatively new wrestler in BJJ feels like. Wrestlers hate stalling and so do jiu jitsu players, stalling just looks a bit different in each sport. I think coaches in either sport would rather see someone in practice get pinned/submitted/scored on trying to score themselves rather than stalling.

 

So, don't worry about getting swept or tapped. Try to pass, play bottom, pull guard yourself. I think that will make the sport a lot more enjoyable for you and your partners. 

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Guest ShannonSofield

I'd second the suggestion above to forget as much as you can in and embrace being a beginner again and forget making it a traditional wrestling match. The wrestling will always be there in your back pocket when you need it. I wish I embraced it more starting out. I'm a Black Belt in BJJ under Saulo Ribeiro. Mostly due to my background as a wrestler, I was able to win the major tournaments (Pan Ams, Masters Worlds, American Nationals, etc). While I have the rank, I feel that I am terrible at jiu jitsu. Same with judo. I have a Black Belt there as well, but I am terrible with many of the techniques.

Edited by ShannonSofield

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