Classic Catch Wrestling Case Studies: Lou Thesz VS Rikidozan

These old vintage pro wrestling matches contain a lot of gems from way back when, since so many of the athletes had a base in catch-as-catch-can wrestling techniques that actually worked on resisting opponents.

Lou Thesz in particular is famous as one of the all-time great legitimate grapplers in this tradition, who could nonetheless put on a fantastic scripted show to entertain crowds who were totally invested in the action.

Check out the video playlist below, where I isolate a lot of these gems and add my own analysis and commentary.

Classic Catch Wrestling Case Studies: Lou Thesz VS Buddy Rogers

I’ve been slicing and dicing (and adding commentary to) a lot of old archival footage of classic catch wrestling matches, while mining them for the legitimate bits exhibited by the early pioneers.

To elaborate: early Professional Wrestling events were still very much rooted in realistic combative techniques performed by athletes who were used to grappling adversarially in unscripted bouts. Some of these guys were absolute legends, including Lou Thesz (one of the athletes included here).

How To Simultaneously Serve as A Student and Teacher

How might one be both a student and teacher of martial arts at the same time?  Even more specifically: how can one both teach and learn grappling and MMA disciplines that are “show me” arts, wherein there’s no artificial structure where the teacher is never tested, and their authority is a sacred and dogmatic presence on the mat.  And why is this question even important?

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Reverse Shin-Buster, Exposing Your Back

This is one of those tricky “junk-jitsu” submissions that actually requires you to do something we’re strongly discouraged to do in BJJ: expose your back to your opponent. Somewhat related to the way we manage the threat when we do knee-bars or toe-holds, we focus our weight toward the break rather than towards the choke. We threaten a break on a long bone (the shin) rather than a joint. When breaks do occur, it is VERY QUICK. So a great deal of caution and non-ego has to be used when training these. Not super high-percentage per se, but definitely a tool for the toolset.

How to Discover Spiritual Dimensions to Your Training Even if You’re An Atheist

BJJ is a voluntary ordeal by which you expand your notions of self and your capabilities.  It serves as a catalyst to your physical body’s evolution.  It deepens and adds to the types of relationships you have in your life, with a room full of training partners and mentors.  It thus also magnifies the extent to which you can identify your own concerns and dreams with those of your teammates, teachers, students, and maybe even your fans if you reach some sort of athletic or instructional celebrity.

You grow, or else you’re not doing it right.

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How to Train Something Better than BJJ – Cross-Training

I hate to be the one to break it to you, but there’s already nothing “pure” about whatever flavor of BJJ you’re training.  All any of these bodies of techniques, systems, philosophies etc. are: hybrids, bastardized arts, constantly evolving.  They all also assuredly have several points of dubious “authenticity” in their mythic lineages, just as often containing several crucial moments of cross-pollination with other surrounding (or even competing) arts.

So you’re a mutt.  Whether you like it or not.  And being a mutt is great!  Even from a genetic standpoint, if we use animal husbandry as a (terrible) analogy: cross-breeding tends to breed resiliency, whereas focused breeding “programs” usually produce exaggerated features at the expense of all kinds of other deficiencies and disadvantages.  Just look at a pug and tell me otherwise; it is designed for maximum ugly-cute effect, not much else.

Back to the direct topic at hand (cross-training), you should 100% do it.  If you have a professor or sensei that says you shouldn’t — if you’re an adult — you should probably ignore them. Yes, I said that.

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How To Train an An Otherwise Expensive Grappling Habit on the Cheap

I once polled a bunch of my friends within a few cross-sections of my social media demographics about why more of them didn’t try training BJJ.  The answers varied, and many would be the excellent cause for another post or ten, but I can address at least one simple answer here: the cost factor.  More than one of my friends from very different walks of life immediately identified the prohibitive membership fees and gear prices, and I couldn’t argue with them.  In fact, one friend in particular called it a “luxury hobby”.  I think he was right.

Now, many of you will immediately rattle off your “someone motivated enough will find ways to make it happen” line.  And its not that you’re wrong, it’s just that we’re forgetting about a window of time where people are even figuring out whether its a hobby they’d be interested in doing several times a week.  Just as many of you will maintain the previous line, and insist that it’s a sort of in-built filter to weed everyone out but those with disposable income or else those who already know they really want to do it.

Sorry, but that’s really pretty silly in my opinion.  Not everyone has to be immediately rabid about doing BJJ for it to have value in their lives.  In fact, the vast majority of casuals and family-oriented students make up the actual segment of customers keeping most dojos open.  Those students probably should not come with the same obsessive mat-rat attitude as the obsessed students; it will not, on average, be sustainable with everything else they have going on in their lives.  Or, worse: that level of zeal will end up injuring them out of practice prematurely anyway.

With that in mind, let’s consider a few ways to make it that much more affordable for newbies, who might otherwise represent a group of students adding unique value, viewpoints, talents, and so on… when they might be getting priced out unnecessarily in many cases.  Let’s at least review cost-saving things to make it easier on these potential students!

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