We all have gotten hurt at some point in our lives. Maybe you stubbed your big toe, or smashed your knee into something. Shit happens and it hurts. You might say “Fuck” or whatever, and then just carry on with your day.
However, there is nothing like the first time you are hearing yourself actually squeal out loud in pain. My first time came recently, right after getting promoted to a two stripe white belt, I saw big man Kevin Luzardo walking onto the mats. He was free, I was free, and I knew I was fucked. Luzardo motioned for me to come over, and I did. I’m not one to run from rolling with anyone, but I knew that I was about to be in a world of hurt.
So we started working, and Luzardo methodically applied his techniques as I tried in vain to block, escape, or otherwise scramble. I felt him grab my arm, he easily dragged it across my body, and I knew what was coming, I could see it clear as day, but as I laid there on the mat, I was completely powerless to stop it. I mean, armbar, roll with it, stack them, whatever, escape, right? Nope, not on this day. I could see it, but I couldn’t do shit.
Basically that was our entire rolling session, Kevin doing whatever he wanted, me seeing what was happening, but entirely unable to answer or stop it. That’s not the thing I wanted to write about though, it’s understood that a BJJ brown belt will pretty much have their way with a white belt. The thing that really matters is how tight his game was, how methodical, and how strong he is as well as technical.
As my body was transitioned into positions, I actually heard myself grunting from the discomfort. I’ve never heard myself make audible sounds like that while training. Generally, I’ll hear heavy breathing from myself as well as my opponent. But I’ve never heard myself grunting or squealing from having the breath squeezed out of me or being tossed around like a child.
At the end of it all, Kevin gave me some pointers regarding conserving energy and properly bucking someone off of you from side control or full mount. I tried this today, though I almost pulled it off, the guys saw it coming and countered it.
BJJ is a life long learning process, and though I’m fairly new to the game, I intend to document my experience over the years for those of you who come after me. Had I stuck with it 13 years ago, by now I’d be a black belt, most of my old training buddies are up there. However, my journey is still ongoing, and I’m super excited about it. With guys like Kevin, Professor Fred, and all my other team members, I’ll be sure to go as far as I commit to going!
Growing Up Bronx