Try something new.. Green Eggs & Ham Edition

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

First and foremost, sorry it's been a little while guys and girls, the last few weeks have been quite full with work, training, and holidays.

No excuses though, time to get back to it.

So, why am I calling this the "Green Eggs and Ham" Edition?

I'm betting Sam I Am's Jiu-Jitsu was stout.

Because it's all about trying new techniques.

I've noticed my game has gotten rather..stale lately. Sure there's a handful of guys I beat readily, on top of that there's a handful of guys that I can't beat to save my life. From what I could tell this monotony was going to continue until I figured out some way out.

Funny enough the solution came during a reading session with my daughter. We were sitting in her chair and reading her a favorite book, Green Eggs & Ham by Dr. Seuss. For those of you living under a rock, Green Eggs & Ham is a great little kids story about a young child, "Sam I am" trying to convince a friend to try Green Eggs and Ham. As the story goes "Sam I am" goes to extraordinary lengths to get his friend to try them, while I hate to spoil the ending for you but Sam's friend finally decides these Green Eggs and Ham are pretty darn good.

Wow, well that caption says it all.

So what does the mean for us?

Well if you haven't been hit by the obvious 2x4 of commentary here, let me spell it out for you.

1. Try new things, escapes, submissions, counters, etc.

2. Don't be afraid to lose, because it's going to happen when you try new things.

3. Repeat.

Now of course trying new things isn't smart when you are training for a tournament or a competition, but the rest of the time it's fair game.

Still need more help making this happen, let me give you a few more suggestions.

1. Start is a bad position, go ahead start giving up the back, or with your partner mounted, maybe bottom half guard (unless you are Eddie Bravo!).

2. Pick a new submission (Knee bar maybe? Toe hold? Head and arm Triangle?) and make it your goal to get one during the roll, even if you see something else, ignore it, go for you goal submission.

So go out, have fun, try something new, winning on the mats while training is pointless, learning, that's what matters.

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The magic of Muscle Memory

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Over the weekend Mrs Hazmat reminded me why we are married.. she set the DVR to record a very interesting new show on Discovery Channel (My Favorite Channel) because she thought I'd like it.

The show is called "Human Body: Pushing the Limits". If you haven't seen it yet, I recommend you do.

Human Body..Nifty computer animations..

The essential premise is as follows, the Human Body is amazing, it's capable of truly astonishing feats when pressed to the limits.

While the episode I watched covered the adrenal response that comes when the body senses immediate harm (great section on a true life story of a Police Officer escaping a fire storm!), it also covered something much more mundane but nevertheless very important to the white collar grappler..

Muscle Memory.

In the episode they talked about the process of muscle learning. While no, your muscles don't have memory as it were, the brain records the action and reaction of each movement, the subtle nuances of the action the resulted in the proper or desired outcome.

Essentially with each successful repetition the brain becomes more efficient, better able to achieve the same outcome with less "thinking" or cognitive processing.

So what does this mean for us?

Drills baby! Lots and lots of drills.

Again however the answer just results in more questions.

How do we get more drilling time without taking too much away from the family, work, etc?

Sure when I was younger and had 1/10th of the responsibilities I have now I could have trained as often as my body would allow, but those days are long gone.

So what have I found that gives me the opportunity to drill techniques early in the morning before the family wakes up or late in the evening after the baby is in bed?

Let me introduce you to "Harvey".

Submission Master Grappling Dummy AKA "Harvey"

Why do I call my Grappling Dummy Harvey?

Well for my older set of readers, old grandma Haz used to watch "Harvey", a 1950s film about a guy whose best friend is a 6ft tall invisible rabbit. When I was little I can remember watching the film with her. Harvey was the name of that "invisible rabbit". Somewhat fitting when you think about it..

"Harvey".. Takes a decent portrait.

For the more geeky readers...

Farscape lead character John Crighton and Scorpius (aka "Harvey")

The entertaining SciFi Channel show, Farscape, featured a character that existed as a figment in the mind of the lead.. his nickname? Harvey. As you'll see in the above picture, perhaps this Harvey and my new grappling dummy Harvey are distant cousins. :)

Anyway, all kidding aside I couldn't be more happy with this dummy. I'm going to put together short review on it soon, however in the meantime head over to Submission Master and check them out for yourself.

Also, check out "Human Body: Pushing the Limits" on Discovery, I think you'll enjoy it.

Until then, it's time to go knock out some reps.


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And the winner is.....

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Wow, first off thanks for being so patient guys.

Turns out Mrs Hazmat decided that this was the weekend to have the old Hazster repaint the interior of the house.

Oh, and did I mention she wanted the ceiling done as well?

So off she went to my in-laws (with my daughter) and left me and a good friend with..hmmm.. 28 hours to get it done.

It was a long weekend.

Now, here's how the contest went down.

With a list of each contestant's name written down I sat down to an early breakfast and pestered Mrs. Hazmat out of her Crossword and said..

Me - "Hey.. pick a number between 1 and 5.."

Her - "What's this for? Is this for your blog?"

Me - "Yes"

Her - "Can I win anything?"

Me - "No"

Her - "Sigh.. ok.. umm... Two."

Me - "Congratulations Steve."

Her - "Great, can I get back to my Crossword Puzzle?"

Me - "Sure."

Her - "Thanks."

So there you have it. Our winner is Steve!

Congrats bro, send me your contact information and I'll have it sent out this week.

Also, a special thanks to Stephan Kesting for making this possible and to all WhiteCollar BJJ readers for making this blog a success.

Now it's back to our regularly scheduled programming.

More reviews, posts, training, and commentary coming up.

Until then, Train Hard.. and Steve, Drill Hard!


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Contest Update

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Don't forget to email me directly (whitecollarbjj _at_ with the subject "Grappling Drills Contest" if you posted a comment during the last week, if you don't I can't add you to the contestant list. (Steve? Tom in DE? KingIndian? No emails?)

Currently we've got Five people! That means each person has a 20% chance of opening their email Saturday morning and seeing a message from me saying they've won the brand new sealed in the box Grappling Drills DVD.

Good Luck, remember you only have until Midnight Friday March 14th to post your comment and send me an email about it.

Get to it!


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Training when you can't.. Enter Grappling Drills

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Ok, I know I mentioned this a few weeks ago, but it's been crazy around here and frankly I was waiting for the traffic to build up a bit before I announced the exciting news at the bottom of this post.

It's a well documented fact, I'm a husband, father, and business owner, sometimes those three roles consume 100% of my "training time". What do I do? Well I try to schedule my day so I have an hour of gym time every morning, I want to use that time to work on my game, however I'm hard pressed to get a training partner interested in drilling and rolling in the pre-dawn hours. Answer?

Grappling Drills by Stephan Kesting

Yes, this DVD has been reviewed countless times on the web, so honestly there's precious little more I can add, however let me share with you a story from my teen years.

Back when I was a Senior in High School I felt like I was in pretty decent shape, I trained off and on, had moderate stamina and conditioning, so when a somewhat, we'll say, chubby friend of mine invited me to partake in a game of racquetball I jumped at the chance. Sadly, even though I knew he'd been playing for almost a year I figured my "athletic" prowess would let me win out handily.

The place of my first sports life lesson.

I could not have been more humiliated.

He had me running all over the court, up one side and down the other. His placement was impeccable, sure I could hit harder and run faster, but that meant very little when he kept me constantly off balance with his strokes and serves. lesson didn't end there.

Over the following weeks he continued to dominate me, try as I might I just couldn't seem to shake his precision game.

Then it happened.

He left on a summer vacation with his family, that meant I had 4 weeks to "prepare" for his return. The first step was an honest appraisal of my game, that meant reviewing the shots I made, and the shots I missed. The next step was a review of his game, what if anything was difficult for him? High backhand? Great, how do I exploit that..

Then, you know what I did? I drilled. Not just any drills, I went to the backboard and drilled the weaknesses of my game and his. I spent hours in the hot Florida sun, I drilled each morning until my shorts were soaked to the tips with sweat.

Four weeks went by quickly and my friend returned, and you know what?

He never won another match that summer.

What am I teaching here? The supreme importance of drills, and the ability to look at your game and admit your weaknesses.

It is said that if you know your enemies and know yourself, you will not be imperiled in a hundred battles; if you do not know your enemies but do know yourself, you will win one and lose one; if you do not know your enemies nor yourself, you will be imperiled in every single battle.
Sun Tzu - Wikiquote

Sun Tzu.. How was his Racquetball game?

So take Sun Tzu's advice, look at your game honestly, look at your opponent's game, and find the drills you need.

Where are those drills? In your copy of Grappling Drills by Stephan Kesting.

Yep, you heard it right, read on to learn how to enter the contest for your own sealed in the box copy of Grappling Drills by Stephan Kesting.

Step 1 -> Post a comment on this or another post on WhiteCollarBJJ, be smart or creative, inane posts don't count.

Step 2 -> Send me an email at (_at_ = @) and tell me which post is yours, put "Grappling Drills DVD Contest" in the Subject so it's easy to identify.

Step 3 -> Cross your fingers! I'll randomly pick one winner Saturday March 15th. Once the winner has been selected I'll email them to get an address to send the DVD.

Good Luck, and start commenting!


PS - Past comments don't count, only comments posted between today and March 14th Midnight EST.

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Skin.. your best defense.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Hywel Teague of Notes from Ringside put up a very interesting post the other day.. I'll save you the gory details, but I encourage you to check it out along with the rest of his blog.

Essentially he was covering the dreaded "Staph" in particular the "MRSA" or medically resistant staph ("The Superbug"), almost sounds like a bad movie plot eh?

Thankfully, just like Injury prevention 101, there are a few simple things you can do to reduce your chances of contracting this nasty disease and enduring the treatment process.

Step 1 - Keep your stuff clean, this includes your bag!

I like to keep all my equipment (mouth guard, towel, ear guards, first aid stuff, tape, etc) in a cheap nylon mesh bag. That way when I'm done training I can shove everything in there, and then when I get home I can shove everything (bag included) into the wash. Of course I don't put my ear guards in the wash, I toss them into the shower and scrub them off while I'm showering. However the bag tends to collect assorted nastiness making a run through the wash cycle important, no sense putting clean stuff back in a nasty bag right?

Simple, efficient, cheap and easy to clean.

Step 2 - Pack a very simple first aid kit and keep it in your bag.

Ok, you don't have to be an Eagle Scout to understand this, frankly it's common courtesy to cover up cuts and scrapes before you resume training with someone. What do I keep in my bag?

  1. Hydrogen Peroxide Gel, Very cool stuff, foams and stings without the mess, it's like a highly targeted germ RNC.
  2. Neosporin, simple, powerful, and straight to the point, a little goes a long way, toss some on then bandage that thing up.
  3. A handful of bandaids (No I don't buy name brand)
  4. Extra Tape, wrap the whole thing in athletic tape and you are good to go
  5. (Optional) - Liquid Bandage, I've got some, but I don't use it that often, I find it too easy to rub off or tear again.
Your Mom was right, put some in your bag.

Step 3 - Get some decent soap

Grab a stack of Dial Anti-Bacterial, first off, it's Dial, so it's cheap and good quality, second it's plenty strong enough for your bacteria ridden skin. Now, you might be one of those people who say that Dial is too strong and hurts my skin (you'd be saying this to yourself as sharing this with others would severely impact your manliness quotient) try Tea Tree Oil soap. Think of it as the "more friendly, green" version of Dial Anti-Bacterial, you can get some here from Puritan's Pride for a decent price.

Now, to close, a bit of showering humor, "How to Shower: Women vs. Men"

Embedded Video



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